Saturday, April 30, 2011


One of the things I hope to find out Monday is if this will happen again. Lord willing, we would like one more child, but I never want to go through this again.

Like, ever.

It was Valentine's Day of 2004 when I found out I was pregnant the first time.

We were not trying for a baby, but I had gotten rather lax with my birth control. One would fall down the sink drain, or I would forget for a few days at a time.

All the sudden I started calculating, and I was four days late.

I had stopped at the dollar store on the way home from work, and promptly gone into Josh's bathroom. I normally avoided his washroom, simply because I hated the burgundy and forest green floral shower curtain. I still wonder why I went in there.

I digress.

As one pink line turned into two, I remember thinking, "Well, there is no turning back now. We are going to be parents."

At ten weeks pregnant, I was working at Applebees and also choreographing a 7-8th grade musical production at Redlands Christian. Memory fails me, but it had to do with a family of ducklings.

Somewhere between "It's a Poultry Tale" and "The Wild Goose Chase", I felt sick and went to the bathroom to slash some water on my face. I then noticed I had passed a small shriveled-up sack, with a perfectly formed white baby inside.

Sitting at urgent care as they took my blood pressure, I held that mass in my hands wrapped in kleenex, thinking it was the first and only time I would get to hold my baby.

Little did I realize we were having twins.

One perfectly formed bundle of joy, heart beating loudly, was still in my womb. We left for Hawaii the next day, and I clutched my new found ultrasound pictures the entire trip there.

Two babies already lost, with this one in trouble.

Suffice to say, I have wondered if the problem is genetic or possibly X-linked.

15 vials of blood drawn on Tuesday will hopefully paint the picture.

Please pray with me that it is not genetic. I am not sure that it matters much because I am reliably certain I will never go through IVF again. Still, I worry about it being passed on to Kayden and Bryce's children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BBB Dolls

This morning Kayden crawled in bed with me before school. It's a delicate balance when we talk to him about the baby. I want to be honest, but also not overwhelm him with information.

Most of what I hear is difficult for me to comprehend, I cannot imagine how my six year old is processing.

I started stroking his hair and asked him if he was sad that the baby is sick. "Yes, I am really sad, Mom," he replied. "Now there won't be a baby to look up to me."

I explained to him that we are doing our best to help the baby feel better, and praying for God to give us a miracle.

"Are you about done with bedrest? Has it been a week yet?" he asked

Although it has only been one full day, I know how he feels.

I am about to float away.

A gallon did not seem like a lot of water. I wish I had taken better notes in Math class. Josh, who was a far better student than I, figured that I need to drink at least 8, 16 oz. bottles. I am seriously sick of water.

A couple people asked if we knew the sex of the baby. Unfortunately, the doctor does not think we will be able to find out until it is born.

Last night, I was having a really tough time with not knowing.

Ever since we started looking into IVF, I dreamed of the day I would finally be pregnant and I could buy a Baby Be Blessed stuffed animal for this new baby. I particularly had my eye on this one:

Each doll has the name of the child and your favorite scripture stitched into the belly.

Since they are handmade, there is a long wait list. Last night I checked to see if I would be able to get one in time to have it for this baby. Even if we could find out and give the baby a name, they take 12-14 weeks to make.

I started crying, because I realized I probably don't even have that much time left.

I want the chance to name this baby, and know everything there is to know about it. Will it like applesauce like Bryce, or bananas like Kayden? Will we get to celebrate a first birthday? A walk down the aisle?

To shove a lifetime of memories into {at best} 2 hours just doesn't seem right.

If you are a Bible reader, I am sure at some point you have played Bible roulette. You know, let your Bible open to a page, close your eyes and point. Before you get all theological, I know. Being rational is not my strong suit these days.

Today I came across James 1:2: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."

I'll be completely honest, I am not there yet. I am not sure I will ever see this as pure joy.

As I lay here, day in and out, thank you again for the prayers and notes and e-mails. Having our community fill this home with so much love and support is something I don't feel worthy of.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dr. Balaskas

When we lived in Redlands, we purchased a little white teacup poodle named Tia. To say I adored that dog was an understatement.

We did not yet have kids, so she was my world. Three 'Poochie Bags' lined the door, waiting for her to jump into one whenever I went somewhere.

Right around the time we got her, my grandpa died very quickly and completely unexpectedly.

The Godliest man I know, trips to Disney world with the Van's Clan Gang was the norm. We would all don our "If You're Not Dutch, You're Not Much" t-shirts (no offense:-), and spend the week as a family of 40 enjoying all that Disney has to offer. Childhood weekends were spent at the cottage on Hess Lake, relishing time spent with Grandpa and Grandma.

About six months after he died, I was grooming Tia on the kitchen counter. She started squirming around, and the scissors cut a deep slit in her belly.

I rushed her to the vet, crying the whole way there.

As I entered the sparse, smelly room, the veterinarian came in. He was a dead ringer for my grandpa. All the feelings of sadness at what I had lost came rushing back, and I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of loss that I would never see him again this side of heaven.

It was the first time in my life I can clearly remember longing for something that was not to be.

Yesterday, in the waiting room, as belly after big pregnant belly walked out of the exam room, I had the same deep sense of longing and loss.

The ultrasound technician took Josh and I back and started showing us our precious babe. "Here is the little hand, up by the face", or "those are the feet". She took measurement after measurement to see if they could detect what was happening to make my fluid disappear.

Dr. Balaskas then spent a lot of time going through various scenarios, and I am so thankful for a doctor willing to walk along side us.

They did not find anything wrong- the baby looks perfect. My prayer going in was that they would find kidneys and a bladder. I realize that is not logical, as it is the lack of fluid that will ultimately lead to the baby's death, but I wanted it to have kidneys. I wanted to be able to fight.

And fight we are. I am flat in bed, trying to drink at least a gallon of water a day. The Dr. does not think it will change the fluid levels, but it's something. I have to give the baby a fighting chance.

What is causing the lack of fluid? There is not a definite answer as of yet. Either I am slowly leaking fluid faster than it can be replaced, or the placenta is not functioning correctly. There also is a small possibility the baby has some abnormality that could not be seen on the ultrasound because it is so small.

The next few weeks should tell us more as the baby grows and we are able to do more testing. The prognosis still is "very, very grave", but I am praising God tonight for the gift of hope.

Must go. Kayden just brought me a big pink glass of water. Love that boy.

Prayer Requests- peace and guidance for Josh and I. As our baby is galloping into the shadow of death, that we will sense God's presence.

Fluid replacement- that the placenta would start making fluid

Baby- that nothing else is found wrong with the baby.

I am honored that so many of you shared your stories of infant loss with me, shared your tears, and been prayer warriors on our behalf.

One of my favorite sayings is from the father of a child that died from Trisomy 18. "God showed up, but not how I thought. He showed up through His people."

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'll take it

It is late, and I will update more tomorrow. Just wanted to praise God that the baby does have kidneys and a bladder.

The doctor gave this baby a 10% chance right now.

At this point, I'll take it.

Still praying for my miracle.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not Fine

The question I struggle with lately is "How are you doing?"

I know it is a common thing to ask when greeting someone. It slips out so fast, mine comes automatic.

The problem is, I just don't feel like responding with fine.

I'm not.

I am searching for a way to praise the God that can heal this child, but is worthy even if He doesn't.

It doesn't fail me that this diagnosis came during Easter week. It has been an ever-present reminder that God understands this grief. He willingly offered His son, knowing beforehand how much pain he would go through to save the world. As I think of my own child suffering, I appreciate all the more the sacrifice.

Tonight we went for a bike ride with the boys. Kayden is an expert rider. Since his training wheels came off last summer, he is quite the dare devil. I watched horrified as he sped down the hill, only to slam on his breaks and wobble his bike side to side to see the tire marks.

Bryce, on the other hand, struggles to keep up. He would love nothing more than to follow and imitate the big brother he adores. But, training wheels are awkward to navigate with. His helmet doesn't quite fit and his feet bow out when he pedals. It is quite the sight.

Josh remarked tonight, "Watching Bryce on the bike is on of the rare times you have laughed today".

Coming out of the park entrance, the transition to sidewalk is a sharp turn. Bryce rounded the corner and fell onto the cement.

Stubborn like his mother, he wanted to walk his bike. No amount of coaxing could get him to try again. We had a long way yet to go, so we encouraged him to get back on.

He refused. That child walked a whole block with his training wheel slamming into his leg before he relented and again mounted the bike.

I promised him that I would catch him if he was going to fall again.

Right as we turned the final corner to our street, the bike started toppling. I reached for his shirt and lifted him as the bike fell at his feet.

He had to fall before he knew I could be trusted to carry him.

I am struggling with trust. I have the Christian answer of "God plans to prosper you and not to harm you", but I want it my way. I want a healthy baby. Heck, right now I would settle for alive. I don't want to trust that everything will work out for my good regardless. I want to know how the ending is written.

A lot of people have asked how they can help. Sending a note, e-mail message, or even leaving a comment is of great comfort. It is balm to my soul. Knowing that our story and this life has value and weight in this world; that people are touched through our suffering. Although I lack the energy to respond, I love simply reading a verse you thought of or that you have been praying.

Thank you, as always, for your prayers offered on our behalf.

Friday, April 22, 2011

From the mouth of babes...

Kayden was asking about what is going to happen on his birthday. The baby was due October 1st, and my mom often teased him about how the baby would sing Goo Goo Ga Ga on his October 21st birthday.

Kayden just asked me if the baby will be singing to him now from heaven.

The 5th grade class sent along cards yesterday. Last night, as I was reading through them, I was deeply impressed by the level of Godliness and sensitivity a lot of these kids' possess. Most included scripture verses to help us through this valley.

The final one I read, though, said "Whatever happens, just be happy because that is the way God planned it to be."

It was good to have a laugh at how simple things are for children.

My diagnostic ultrasound is Monday at 4:45. I go in first for the ultrasound, and then get to meet with the maternal-fetal specialist. They said it should take two to three hours.

I am thankful that on Monday, I will have more answers.

I hope you are not sick of prayer requests. Often, it helps to know people are praying on my behalf when sometimes I just can't.

Please pray for sleep. It is not coming. Last night was about two hours total, which is making things worse. Not only am I mentally drained, I am physically exhausted.

Kayden woke up at four this morning with the flu. Again. Actually, I am not sure if it is the flu or just nerves with all the unrest in our household. Please pray for our family to be healthy.

Please pray for wisdom. The picture looks so huge right now; I am constantly overwhelmed. I am having a hard time taking it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Sorry in advance that this post is kind of all over the place. I started this blog as a place to vent my feelings, good or bad. I intend to remain.

One of my biggest priorities today was trying to make it as normal as possible for my boys. This has already been a rough pregnancy, and I felt like I missed a lot during bedrest and the OCD I suffered in the beginning.

Yesterday as my boys watched hour after hour of Looney Tunes, I made an inner pact that there would be some fun today, even if I did not feel like it. After all, they do not understand the grief and absolute anguish of all this. I thank God for that.

My mom suggested getting out to watch airplanes. It was a beautiful, sunny day. After watching a few takeoff and landings, Kayden tagged me and wanted me to chase him. So I did. We both were laughing and I started tickling him and sitting on him. Bryce joined in the fun, being his silly self.

Then I started bawling, remembering the situation we are in.

I just can't stop crying. I cry when I take a shower. I cry when I watch the boys riding bikes. I cry when I eat. I cry opening the mail.

But mostly, I cry in bed.

Nights are so difficult for me. I cannot sleep. I am exhausted and lay down to rest, and spend hour after hour crying silently.

Last night when I was laying in bed, I inadvertently started rubbing my belly and the baby started wiggling around. I promised the baby that I will do everything possible to limit the amount of suffering they will have to endure once born. I told the baby that I loved it from the moment of conception, and every minute since.

When sleep finally does come, I don't want to wake up. Facing the reality of this situation every morning is reliving it over and over. I wake up having to remember that this is our life now.

I lay in bed and second guess everything.

How much will this baby have to suffer before it dies?

Am I dishonoring it by thinking all the time about it dying? About the funeral and what we want to have happen.

Did I do the wrong thing going through IVF, putting all of our eggs in one basket?

Will I ever get pregnant again? I feel like I have limited the options for our family because we spent so much money on this.

Will I be short changing the funeral of this baby because we spent our savings getting pregnant?

I spent 16 weeks praying for the baby to live. Is it wrong to now pray for it to pass peacefully in my womb?

One of the hardest things the other night in the hospital was the second doctor that came in. After the ultrasound tech, a doctor came in to go over the results. He said "I have to have a radiologist look at the images, but the baby looks great to me. The brain looks great, it is measuring exactly on target." He seemed miffed that I was even sent to the ER. I am not sure if that was a blessing or a curse, because we all took a huge sigh of relief.

When the next doctor came in to tell us the bad news, it was almost harder because we had that brief moment of "everything's alright- this is a huge mistake".

I also wanted to clarify the diagnosis. It is called anhydramnios. It is not that the baby has low amniotic does not have amniotic fluid at all. The outcomes are very different. If the baby has at least some amniotic fluid, sometimes the baby can wiggle around until it creates a pocket for itself to breathe the fluid and build the lungs. Without it, the lungs will never develop and it will essentially struggle to breathe and then pass.

Today, I ask that you please pray for my mom. I sometimes wonder if it is harder on her, watching me go through it. You never want your kids to suffer. Not only is she dealing with the loss of her own dreams with this baby, she is dealing with all of my emotions, too. My dad is also struggling. All of this is so overwhelming, it is weighing heavily on my parents. I am very needy, as I do not want to be alone right now. My mom has stayed here the last few nights, waking up with me to be my sounding board in the middle of the night.

Please pray for Josh and I, as we navigate waters we never thought we would be through. Pray that our marriage gets closer through this, as we make the toughest decisions of our life. Pray for him to get sound sleep, as he has a job that takes a lot of energy.

Pray that our kids have some normalcy. They deserve to have a mom that is present.

Thank you for the prayers offered on our behalf. The messages have been so helpful to me. Feeling the community uplift us and have heavy hearts alongside us is very comforting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today's Appt

I have to be honest- I am not even sure what to pray for.

I took a nap this morning. When I woke up, I was sure this was just a bad dream.

Every kick I feel reminds me that I am slowly suffocating this baby.

We went to my doctor this morning, who led us through the process of what will happen. The hard part is that no one really knows.

One thing is certain- the baby will not live. I asked him if he has ever seen a case where the outcome turned out well, and he said no.

More bad new-it is possible that I will carry this baby full term. I am praying with everything I have that doesn't happen. I have had horrible labor and deliveries with the boys and I really do not want to go through all of that for a baby that has no chance of surviving.

The next step is to go to a maternal-fetal specialist and get a full ultrasound to try and figure out what is causing all of this. Regardless, with such little amniotic fluid this early, my hope is slowly leaving.

On top of all that, both Josh and my mom have the flu.

Thanks for all the messages, prayers, and love- we have felt it and it has helped tremendously.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Praying for a miracle, expecting the worst.

I went in for an ultrasound this afternoon. After one minute, the ultrasound tech stopped what she was doing and told me to go straight to the ER.

Not exactly what you want to have happen.

We rushed over to Metro Health, praying the whole way.

After an ultrasound and bloodwork, the doctor finally came in to give us the news.

This baby will not survive.

The amniotic fluid is so low, that even if the baby does make it to 30+ weeks, it will not survive. The lungs will not develop and the baby will certainly die in the first few days of life.

What caused it? The cause as of this moment is unknown. It could be that the baby does not have kidneys, it could be that at some point my water ruptured, it could be a slow leak over time. In any case, the baby will not develop and grow properly without fluid. Looking at the ultrasound, there is just so little fluid I do not have much hope for a happy outcome.

The absolute hardest part for me was that as the doctor was telling me that this baby will not survive, the baby was kicking like mad. To know that the baby will die and yet still be so attached to this little is misery.

Things we covet your prayers for:

1) A miracle. We are expecting the worst, but sincerely praying for a miracle. My God is big and the great physician. If it is His will to fix this, it will be done.

2) My prayer from the beginning is that I would accept the outcome of this pregnancy, no matter what. That is still my prayer tonight.

3) The weeks waiting will go by quickly. Not knowing when all this is going to happen is stressful for me. I probably will not go full term, but this could last another 16 weeks.

4) My kids. They really do not understand what is going on and just keep asking over and over "Why is the baby going to die?"

5) The rest of my family. Josh, my parents, is difficult for the whole family when something like this happens.

As for me, I am taking a little break from tech life for a while and go on autopilot. We go tomorrow to my doctor to see if he can tell us any more information and I will update here if there is anything more.

We covet your prayers through the next few weeks, as they are going to be really tough for our whole family. Thanks in advance for your prayers offered on our behalf.

The Lord gives, the Lord takes. May His name be ever blessed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Appt today

I had an OB appointment today, and all looks good with the baby. Heartrate was around 156, and I am starting to feel the baby wiggle around quite a bit. I absolutely love the feeling.

We talked at length about previa, which eased my mind greatly. He would still like me to take it easy, but I am no longer on modified bedrest! Praise the Lord! My only restrictions right now are not to lift anything more than 10 lbs, limit exercising, and sit down when I start to feel the sharp pains where my placenta is. Thankfully, I only get pain when I overdo it.

I am so happy that it was short lived, and hope to stay off it the rest of this pregnancy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Booby Prize

I just have to get this out.

Since it is my blog, and my feelings...this is as good of a time as any.

A few years ago, I remember sitting at dinner with few friends. One of the girls was talking about how she saw an old classmate that she did not get along with in high school. Both were now pregnant, each had one boy prior.

She asked the classmate what gender she was having, to which the classmate replied "Another boy."

"Ha", she said smugly to all of us. "I just laughed because I am having a girl, and she is stuck with another boy. Serves her right."

I had just had Bryce, and it did not sit well with me that "another boy" was a booby prize.

In all honesty, that is how society makes you feel when you have all one gender. That NOT having a pigeon pair makes you a failure. I probably did it, too, before I had boys (and I am so sorry if I did!).

I heard the echos of "another boy?", "wow, your house is going to be wild", or "you trying again to get a girl?" long before we were even pregnant.

So, please--if this is another boy--put on your happy face and congratulate me. Don't treat it as a disappointment. I will absolutely LOVE whatever this baby is, and think it is the most special thing in the world.

Would I love a little pink? Absolutely. From my wise son, Kayden: "you get what you get, and don't make a fit."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What the....

96 shots, taken before 9am
507 pills, three times a day
39 estrogen patches, changed every other day

I never missed a pill, or took a shot late.

Yet I cannot remember to take my prenatal vitamin. I missed one last week, and one yesterday.

What the?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Changing my Mind

I have wondered for a while about the gender of this baby. Some things have pointed towards girl-the high betas in the beginning, my lack of acne, huge estrogen imbalance during the first trimester....

Did I tell you when I felt the first movements?

The March Madness Championship Game.

Must be a boy:-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kick Me

I am fairly certain that I have been feeling movement. It is so hard to tell with the placenta being anterior because it feels different than it did with my boys. With the boys, it felt like flutters. This time, it feels like movement without the fluttering sensation.

The last week or so, I have felt this on and off....but thought maybe it was my stomach. Last night, it happened way too many times for it to be gas bubbles (sorry if TMI:-)

Praise the Lord!

In other news, I think my plans to go to Myrtle Beach with my family the first of May have been foiled. I called the doctor's office yesterday to see what they thought, and they really want me to talk to my own doctor on Monday. None of the other doctor's wanted to give me the all clear.

Maybe he will take a peek and the placenta will be moved! I sure hope so, 'cause this girl needs some sun and sand.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Appointment today

It wasn't until I got into the parking lot, and went to shut off my phone, that I realized the doctor's office had called.

Emergency surgery trumped my appointment today.

Should have known better than to schedule an appointment on the Friday before Spring Break. Rescheduled to April 11th.

I was really looking forward to hashing this whole previa thing out with the doctor, but I guess it will have to wait until after Spring Break!