Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No news

No new news is just that...

No news.

Nothing better, nothing worse.

We are grateful for the nothing worse part. My ultrasounds usually alternate between great and horrible, so secretly I think all of us were praying for "not horrible" after our last appointment.

Dana the ultrasound tech, whom I adore, said she thinks there might just be a little more fluid.

My amniotic fluid index is around 3.5, which is still very, very low....but not unsurvivable. Only once born will we know the true lung capacity. 10-20% of babies survive this, so we will just pray and petition the Lord that we are in that percentage.

With my previous pregnancies, the pregnancy part was more of a time waster. I viewed the pregnancy as the previews and birth and life as the show.

I have a different perspective this time around. I don't take movement or time for granted, and feel more in tune with likes and dislikes and how I can get the baby moving the most.

List of Five Things I Know About This Baby:

5. Time of conception. Two embryos were implanted on 1-14-11 at 11:34 and 42 seconds.

4. I receive the most movement if I am laying down.

3. As odd as this sounds, the baby really likes it if I drum my fingers against my belly.

2. Coke seems to motivate a few good kicks.

1. It's a girl. Josh and I have suspected for a while, but weren't 100% sure because of the lack of fluid.

Dana finally got a clear shot tonight.

Please meet our first daughter, Tessa Landrey, and the scripture we chose for her doll:


Origin of the name:

Growing up, all of my cousins were much older than me. Well, not really, but three to four years is huge when you are 12.

Around the age of 16, my cousin Tom met Rochelle. Her and I became fast friends. Some day I will have to recall the story of us paddling down the creek on a large Styrofoam board and screaming to be rescued from the 1 inch waterfall. Our male rescuer must have thought it was a rather large waterfall, because he ran Baywatch style through the weeds and muck and snakes to save us.

Anyway, she has a sister named Tessie and I always loved the name. Imagine my surprise when I looked up the meaning after we decided on it and the name stands for "Harvester".

I pray she produces a good harvest, and gets the chance to do so here.

What's the plan?

Staying inactive for the next few weeks. Dr. B has no idea if or when I could face a placental or bag rupture. To be safe, I am laying low as much as possible.

In two more weeks, I will have one final ultrasound with Dr. B to check measurements, placenta function, amniotic fluid, and chorion-amnion separation. If God decides between now and then to perform a miracle, and I have normal amounts of fluid, I can stay clear of Spectrum.

Otherwise, my bags will be packed, hopefully for the long haul.

Today, we are thankful for no news.

Thankful for another day.

Thankful for our first daughter, and the gift God has blessed us with.

Praying we make it to viability, and ultimately a healthy baby.

Thank you, as always, for celebrating this life with us and praying us through the storms.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weary

My little guy is graduating from kindergarten next week.

Normally, I would be very weepy about the passing of another school year.

The end of preschool picture CD almost did me in, with Kayden and classmates wearing panda masks and singing "May the Lord Bless You" lined up at the door before pick up. I was updating baby books over Christmas and gasped aloud when I saw the picture of him leaving preschool the last day. He was so little.

I hated the thought of him being gone more hours during the week.

Kindergarten met only two and a half days. He was ill 15 times since November, many of them school days. Multiple more were missed between September and October (our family was hit with a parasite last fall. I am sure if you have been around me long enough, you have heard me moan and groan about camping so I will just leave it at that).

I had a ten day stretch in November when we harvested eggs. With the transfer in January and all the busyness surrounding IVF and subsequent doctor appointments, it did not feel like I was home that often without him.

His teacher is exceptional, and I saw him flourish both emotionally and academically this past year in spite of it all.

Part of me feels guilty that I am anxious for this year to be over, and do not feel an ounce of sadness to stash it away in the memory books.

They put together an adorable end of the year program, where each kid dresses up as a zoophonic animal and recites 4 rhyming lines.

Bubba Bear wanted some honey, Yancy the Yak joked about talking too much.

You get the idea.

Terribly cute.

Thursday was a rough day for me anyhow, and it was all I could do to get ready and out the door in time for the program.

After finding out that Kayden was missing his trusty Kayo Kangaroo partner, I wondered how he would do flying solo:




video

So proud of that kid.

The slideshow at the end was the culmination of the year. All of the various activities they participated in flashed across the screen. I was sure that would finally do me in and start the tears flowing.

Mothers Day, making zoophonics animals, Pumpkin math, field trips were all represented. So many times through the video, I thought "Oh, Kayden missed that day because he was sick." "Yet another day missed because of illness".

I was downright foul, and feeling good and sorry for myself at how difficult this past year has been between illness, my deep longing for another baby, the horrendous IVF retrieval, and now the current situation we are in.

Wondering if there will ever be pure joy back in our household, and just a month or two where our lives aren't centered around calamity.

For all of you who think I am a really sweet person, you might want to turn away now.

Sitting a few rows in front of us was a brand new baby. Could not have been more than a month old.

And she was fussy.

The proud mother in me understands why she did not want to leave to take the baby in the back and miss the slideshow. The entire year is encompassed in those pictures. It's what we love as parents- picture of our kids interacting in their environment. Memories of those special events unfolding with the years' progression.

As the baby got fussier and fussier, louder and louder, I could feel my teeth starting to grind.

Just take that baby out already, would you? I thought to myself.

Each position change made the baby more upset, and eventually the little newborn face was squeaking right at me.

For crying out loud, I cannot even hear the music, I seethed. How's a person to enjoy the show with that baby crying and sputtering all over the place?

This went on for a few more minutes, me internally bantering with the mother and willing her to exit so I would not stand up and scream at her like a crazy person.

I am sure did not even think twice about her newborn fussing. I wouldn't have, as there were many other kids just as noisy....Bryce being one of them.

Two years ago, I would have relished the noise and been thankful to listen in on those sweet baby sounds.

Thursday night, it almost put me over the edge.

One more reason I find it so much easier to stay in lately.

Josh and I left before cake, because I again was having cramping.

I feel sad that so much has been missed this last year. I wish April 19th was the start of this downward spiral. The last leg has definitely been the roughest, but I often wonder if I would have more fight in me had this been the only stressful event from this past year.

Kayden's teacher sent me this last week through e-mail, and it was a good reminder that someday, eventually, I will not be so incredibly weary.

Isaiah 40:31 (New International Version)
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

New Doc.

Well, my new OB is awesome.

There are so many things I like about the way he practices medicine, but his willingness to hope along side us is seriously refreshing.

One of my favorite bits of information he received from his phone call to Dr. Balaskas is that the anatomy of this baby is perfect.

So far, the chest measurements are not falling behind. It can be one of the first signs of slow development in the lungs, when you start to see a small chest ratio.

Knowing that this is not the complete picture (only once the baby is born will we know what damage this has done to the lungs), it is reassuring to us that they are not lagging behind thus far.

Tuesday's ultrasound marks 22+3 weeks.

Ultrasounds used to be a cherished event. I remember with my first two pregnancies counting down the days between getting a glimpe into the womb.

Not so much anymore. The fear of them finding something bad always makes the days before filled with caution.

Please know that I am so thankful for your prayers. I love that I can put prayer requests out there, and know you are genuinely taking these requests to the throne.



Prayer Requests for Tuesday:

1. fluid levels back to normal. At the very least, I do not want to have lost the fluid that was accumulated.

2. measurements are on track (specifically chest, lungs, kidneys, heart)

3. the separation of the amnion-chorion is not increasing. In fact, let's go ahead and pray for the miracle that it has fused:-) Might as well pray big, huh?

4. Peace. In this situation, fear creeps in often.

I appreciate you so much, prayer warriors.

I will update Tuesday night after the appointment.

James 5 has been a favorite recently:
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the Dance

I was a junior in high school.

I purposely omit the year. Let's just agree it was a long time ago.

Homecoming dance was fast approaching, so a group of us decided to attend together. Two couples and then Jenny*, who I set up with a mutual guy friend, Chad, for the evening festivities.

We would take pictures, eat dinner at a nice restaurant, head to the dance, then watch movies together into the late evening.

Anticipation was most of the fun. We spent weeks dress shopping, planning hairdos, getting nails done, and picking out boutonnieres for the guys.

The big day arrived, and it was a good one; beautiful fall evening with perfect weather. Not too sticky, not too brisk.

After the curls were piled high on my head and hair sprayed completely stiff in the classic 90's do, I put the finishing touches on my makeup and headed with my date to Jenny's house for our 5pm group picture time.

It wasn't odd that 5:15 rolled around with Chad still missing.

5:30 came, and we reasoned, "He'll arrive sooner or later. He knows how important this dance is; he must have fallen asleep or something."

By 6 pm, and multiple unanswered phone calls, it was starting to look like a no-show. Our dinner reservations were for 6:30, so we couldn't wait that much longer for him to arrive.


As we were snapping memories of the occasion, Jenny huddled in the garage, humiliated.


Nervously, she wrung her hands as minute after minute passed.


As each car drove by, we all whipped our heads to see if it was him.


Chad never showed.


We asked her to still come with us, since she was dressed and all. We promised it would be fun, even if she was alone. Reasoning that there were bound to be others without a date, we wouldn't let her spend the entire night alone in the corner.


With a forced smile, she told us it was okay and to go on without her.

I remember feeling so sorry for Jenny.

But it didn't affect me enough to stop me from having a good time once we parted.

Then again, I wasn't the one standing in the garage, wondering if my homecoming date was going to show up.

Only in recent years have I truly put myself in her shoes.

How did she feel watching us take pictures, smiling and holding hands with our dates?
As she stood on the sidelines in the garage, was it heartbreaking watching us pin on corsages with parents snapping pictures?


Did it hurt her feelings as we drove off without her?

I have been invited to a few baby showers since our diagnosis.

Baby showers, pregnant bellys, newborns in car seats all produce the same result.

Avoidance.

For if I dodge the situation entirely, maybe for today I can forget the things I should be doing right now.

Putting up a crib.
Installing car seats.
Purchasing new outfits for the baby.
Buying a stroller, since the wheel fell off our last one.
Washing baby bottles.
Sorting through tubs of baby clothes to see what I want to keep and what no longer suits.

I am still in the garage, waiting to see if I will get to go to the dance.

Not pretenses about it.

It's tough.

The road is so very long.

And as much as we pray and hope for it, there is no guarantee our homecoming date will show.

If I could ask for one specific prayer request tonight, it is that we will not lose hope or start to doubt the things our God can do while waiting on Him for an answer.

That baby showers and pregnant bellys would not distress me, like they currently do.

Thank you, as always, prayer warriors and friends near and far.

*names changed for privacy:-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baby Zerberts

Kayden and Bryce love to zerbert the baby.

They take turns, and laugh and laugh as if it is the funniest thing in the world.

Tonight, as they were laying in bed watching Wheel of Fortune on either side of me, I asked if they wanted to feel the baby kick.

Of course they never held their hand long enough to actually feel movement, but I think both left satisfied.

Kayden bent down and kissed the baby.

"I love you, baby."

"I hope for a miracle every day for you," he whispered.

Me, too, buddy.

Me, too.

Waiving the White Flag

We were in Michigan, applying for a 4th grade job opening at Ada Christian. After an initial meet and greet with the principal, the official interview was set two days later with the full board.

Both of our families live in the area, so the weekend was spent relaxing, visiting, and preparing for the firing squad of questions.

Early evening, a phone call came in from a board member at Dutton. They also had a 4th grade position open. Someone had recommended Josh, and they were wondering if he could come for an interview the same afternoon as the Ada appointment.

Most of you know how difficult it is to get a teaching job here in Michigan. For Josh to land an interview with a school in which he never sent his resume during the very same weekend we happened to already be here... we knew it was a God thing.

We snuck on each campus and peeked through windows to try and get a feel for the schools.

Josh interviewed at Dutton first, and immediately fell in love with the faculty.

Before he even arrived to the Ada interview, the treasurer had called to offer Josh the job. He met us at the airport with the contract.

We returned to Redlands to get things packed and a plan figured out. Wanting to move directly from one house to another, Kayden and I flew back to MI one month later to find our home.

Six or seven were considered; many pictures were sent to Josh so we could figure out the best fit.

Only after we moved did I realized there is a huge problem with this home.

Josh is too tall.

Three ceiling spots hang low due to vents, leading Josh to hit his head about once every other week.

It is completely my fault, and I feel horrible about it. With the housing market the way it is, we cannot easily sell this home and move without losing money.

Josh has every reason to rail me for it, but he doesn't.

He simply doesn't complain.

It is not his nature.

So when he started grumbling this morning, I could tell he is about to hit the boiling point.

Both boys have some illness we cannot get rid of. Between Kayden throwing up all night last night, Bryce going to the bathroom 13 times this morning (thank God we still buy diapers for overnight!), and Josh being sick for the past two weeks, we all are getting frazzled.

Kayden has had 14 days of throwing up since November. Six of those have been in the last month since our baby's diagnosis. We are currently working with the pediatrician to figure out the cause; I have to admit that both of us are ready for a break from illness.

Grandma came this morning to help with the kids, and I could tell Josh sighed in relief as he hopped in his truck for a day away.

There is one lesson I have learned in abundance through this journey.

It no longer matters that the layer of dust on my picture frames leaves a trail if you touch them.

Housework comes last.

Things that really bothered me before- a counter full of school papers or shoes cluttered in the entryway, just do not matter in the grand scheme of this season.


Please pray for Josh and my mom. Unfortunately, they pick up the brunt of the load when the boys are ill. My mom tends to get sick right along with the boys, as she did this morning.

I am not sure what having the flu would do to my fluid levels/placental separation, but we do not want to find out.

Please pray for health. We are weary of fighting the never ending battle of throw-up around here. I can take it once or twice a winter...fourteen times in light of all else that is going on is a bit much.

Please pray the next three weeks go quickly. Normally, I hate to see the end of the school year. This year, it cannot come soon enough!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our early exit

I was in labor over 50 hours combined with the boys, so I am pretty sure I know labor pains when I feel them.

Halfway through church this morning, I started feeling familiar pain. Contraction like, and coming one to two minutes apart.

After 10 minutes, I left church to see if I could walk it off. Possibly change positions to see if that helped.

With Dr. Balaskas' warning about early labor fresh in mind, I went and got Josh and the boys out of church.

My good friend Nat was sitting with me, waiting for Josh to get the mini-van.

"I'll pray," she said as I walked out the door, her concern ever apparent.

Driving home, they started slowing down to around 5 minutes apart.

I rested in bed until my parents arrived, still contracting about every ten to fifteen minutes.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, we headed to labor and delivery.

By the time we checked into the room, they had stopped completely.

Hooked up to the contraction machine for about an hour, all looks at rest currently. Cervix is closed tight, praise the Lord.

I was so worried that today might have been the day.

Discharge instructions: lay low, limit activities.

To be honest, I am not sure Josh (or my mother, for that matter) is going to let me out of bed for the remainder of this pregnancy.

So thankful today for false alarms. I am pretty sure I was the only patient relieved to be discharged from the L & D unit.

Meeting with my new OB tomorrow. The name should be familiar to most of you. Dr. Dood was kind enough to chew on the situation with me Friday over the phone. I am pleased to be working with someone who sees this as our baby.

Seeing that Josh teaches their son currently, I think his wife and kids are pretty invested, too:-)

Thanking God, especially today, for one more day.

*Special thanks to Nat for making this cute little banner for Baby Bird. We are so appreciative of the prayers and thoughts on our unborn babes behalf.

Honestly, some days it overwhelms me how many people care about a baby they have never met.

We are humbled and grateful, to say the least.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Josh's Last Ride

After a long day of riding roller coasters, we attempted the newest one in the park.

Millennium Force.

That should tell you how long ago we last visited Cedar Point.

The line was shorter than it had been all day. Most of the older crowd had gone home. The remaining children were either sleeping in a stroller, or perched atop dad's shoulders as families trudged towards the exit.

The overpriced junk food made our belly's ache, but not enough to keep us from shutting down the park with one last ride.

Night is my absolute favorite time in any amusement park. The sky pitch black, illuminated only by lights from roller coaster and game vendors. The sound of the coaster clinking to the top and screams in the distance as riders experience the fall.

I have always loved roller coasters. I fully extend my arms into the air, tip my head back, and relish the ride.

Josh....not so much.

He rides out of love for me, instead of a thrill for loops and turns and tunnels.

OK, maybe for the picture taken during the descent down the hill. He gets a big grin every time he spots us in the photo center, almost like it's the first time he has ever seen his hair straight on end. I am far too thrifty to spend $20 for a 5 by 7, so I don't have any examples from the actual day.

My apologies.

After an hour in line, it was finally our turn to board the coaster. I pulled the lap bar down easily and was trying to discreetly listen to the conversation in the car ahead of us. It was a young couple, fighting, and I couldn't figure out what they were bickering about.

I know, I know. I should have been minding my own business, right?

I looked over at Josh and he was struggling to tuck his knees in below the lap bar. Each position looked more uncomfortable, and nothing would achieve the goal of locking the bar into place.

He tried to push his hips all the way to one side and tuck his feet under the seat, but the bar still would not lock. Back and forth he wrestled, trying to squeeze his knees in.

I could see the panic setting in.

Not for the lack of seat belt, but because Josh hates a scene. He despises being the center of attention; detests a platform full of people looking at him.

I reached over and tried to push the lap belt down, just as the thumbs up sign was given by the park attendant.

The coaster started moving, and Josh still wasn't strapped in.

Now, that's fine if you are riding the Blue Streak; not so much when experiencing a 310 foot tall, 92 MPH ride.

I started screaming for them to stop as the front car passed the loading station.

Thankfully, the operator recognized my panic and the train came to an abrupt halt. Josh was able to shimmy himself securely into the seat with the help of an attendant.

As we exited, Josh officially informed me that he would no longer ride coasters with me.

I can't say that I blame him.

As I have gotten older, I notice that I don't love the same things as I did before I was a parent. Roller coasters being one of them. I know they are safe, but being responsible for two living, breathing human beings requires I take fewer risks than I used to. Even if they are only imaginary (chance of dying: 1 in one-in-one half billion. Not sure what the risk jumps to if you aren't strapped in).

The ups and downs of the journey has been likened to a roller coaster.

Up when we found out we were expecting, down when we got the diagnosis, up when we saw Dr. B for the first time, down when the bed rest didn't work, back up when we received the news of more fluid this week.

We are not even to the end, so I cannot accurately rate the overall ride.

I can only tell you how it feels thus far.

When I look back over this past month, there is so much to be thankful for. The meals, phone calls, visits, e-mails, gifts for our kids, flowers, cards, prayers, the support from this community--none of it would be experienced if this wasn't our life right now.

Fear always threatens to encompass the whole, though.

It prevents me from tipping my head back, throwing my hands up, and fully experiencing this roller coaster called high-risk pregnancy.

I have this on my mirror as a daily reminder:
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Thanks to whoever sent me that!

As I sit here tonight with this new life kicking me as I type, I am trying my hardest to enjoy the ride without constantly fearing the fall.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dad's Blog

Thank you, first and foremost, for all the excellent OB recommendations. I am working through the various names, sending out my medical records, and trying to figure out who will take me as a new patient.

Tuesday night was a little all over the place emotionally. You would think, after Monday's excellent appointment, I would have been on a high all day.

For the most part, I was.

Seeing that adorable baby profile made this baby more tangible for me. Truth be told, the previous ultrasounds looked a little alien like. Of course we will love this baby no matter what, it just didn't look all that babyish before.

Now that I can visualize how this baby will look once born, it is making me all that more attached.

All that more resistant to let go.

My dad noticed my sadness, and I explained how I was feeling to him.

Late Tuesday evening, an e-mail popped into my inbox.

Introducing my very first guest blogger, my dad (shared with permission):


Just for the record, I have been reading your blog, so here is my one and only attempt at a blog. We’ll call it DAD’S BLOG.

Why I’m optimistic about this baby.

Let me first say that I am usually optimistic about most things, so it should stand to reason that I would be about this also. Here is why:

In the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: 4 - 6 it says:

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

I have heard many times when people have said to me that I live a charmed life. I have to agree with them, and I attribute a lot of this charmed life to my dad (your grandpa). For he loved the Lord and I believe my children and I are reaping some of the benefits from this. So my prayer is that now we can have some more of God’s love with this baby.

Also, I believe in miracles. As you stated in your blog, the ‘tumor’ went away when you were young. As Justin Powell would say, “ the unexplainable happened” (His statement for what he wanted Chapel Point to be know for is - ‘where the unexplainable happens’)

I also believe that we have great genes. We will our bodies to get better. I have heard you saying this many times. Telling the baby to grow and fight. I do this when I get sick, I will the white blood cells to ATTACK the virus. Josh’s family must have great genes also; anyone who can survive winter with just shorts and short sleeve shirts must have good immune systems.

So am I optimistic? Of course! I will be until the bitter end. If the Lord decides otherwise, then I will pray for strength to accept His decision. Until that time my motto will be GO FIGHT WIN

LOVE YOU GUYS VERY MUCH


I'd say he did a pretty great job, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anyone?

"You need to find a doctor willing to walk along side you, not fight you every step of the way."

Good advice from a trusted source....my mom.

Before being released from the ER, the on-call OB recommended we set an appointment with my regular OB for the next morning.

After the worst night of my life, I was sure it couldn't get any worse.

Josh and I arrived the next morning, distraught and looking for something to cling onto to. Any shred of hope, we would take.

Still in shock, and trying to sort out what happens next, we sat in the patient room crying and clinging our list of questions.

Dr. P walked in, shook Josh's hand, and cut right to the chase.

"You know the condition of your baby, right? The lack of fluid means the baby has no kidneys, and the prognosis is fatal."

We told him we understood, and asked him what that meant as far as carrying the baby.

"Well," he said, "basically you will carry the baby, many in your situation carry to full term."

We had already discussed that he does not give epidurals until 5 cm was reached.

I told him that it takes me almost 20 hours to get to 5 cms, and I was very concerned because both of my boys were sunny side up. Having to push 4 and 3 hours respectively to deliver my boys, that plan terrified me.

Since my placenta is anterior (on the front side of my uterus, instead of the back), I asked him if there was a good chance this baby will also be sunny side up.

He agreed that it most likely would be.

I asked if I could still deliver via C-section, as we had previously planned, so I would not have to endure hours of hard labor for a baby with no chance at survival.

"Nope. I won't do a c-section. Studies have found it is very therapeutic for moms to deliver stillborns. It might seem easier to just cut the baby out, but that is not what the studies show."

"Have you ever, I mean ever, seen this turn out okay?" I begged.

"Nope, never. It just is not going to happen. Sorry, kiddo."

I asked him what would happen after the baby was born.

"Well, if it is born alive, it will essentially struggle to breath and then pass. Sometimes right away, sometimes in a few hours."

So, let me get this straight. 20+ hours of horrible labor without an epidural, 4 hours of pushing, then 2 more hours of watching my baby struggle to breathe and then die?

I left more broken, and more hopeless, than when we found out the prognosis.

Obviously, a lot has changed since we last saw him a month ago.

The baby has kidneys.
The baby has a bladder.
The baby has a small amount of fluid.
Since it is a placenta issue, we are trying to hold off delivery as long as possible. There is not a huge chance I will make it to full term.

Instead of seeing him next week, as scheduled, they had room to see me today.

I wanted to go in with an open mind; give him the chance to walk along side me.

"So, what's new?" he said. "Have you had an ultrasound yet?"

I brought him up to date, and then he again asked me about the baby not having kidneys.

"The baby has kidneys," I said.

"Oh well, that doesn't really matter. The anhydramnios is the biggest concern anyway," said Dr. P.

"Yeah, but, the baby has fluid. We went from no fluid, to 1-2 cm of fluid to 3-4 cms of fluid. All hope is not lost to us. There is a chance this baby could survive."

"Well, there might be more fluid, but normal is between 7-20. You are nowhere near that," he said.

"Dr. Balaskas said that the percentage is not zero, so until it is, we will pray and hope," I said, inwardly pleading with him to join us in our glimmer of hope.

"Understood."

I felt like banging my head against the wall.

As I said before, hope and prayer is all we have. Although he may not see the difference between the baby "never" surviving and "rarely" surviving, I do.

I informed him we were believers, and we trust that God has the final say in this outcome regardless of numbers.

"Yep, Yep. Understood," he said skeptically.

Here's where I am seeking help. After my appointment today, I am switching OB/GYNs. I need someone that is not going to make me feel like a complete idiot for hoping and praying that this baby will live. I want a doctor willing to see it as our baby, instead of a percentage of a chance.

I want a doctor willing to see this as a life worth trying to save.

Also, I want to deliver at Spectrum. No offense to St. Mary's, because I had Brycer there and loved the staff and experience. I personally feel Spectrum is better equipped to handle either outcome.

Anyone have a recommendation?

Thanks in advance:-) As always, we are humbled to have you as part of this story.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More.

Huddled in our church's prayer room, some of the Godliest women I know lifted this baby up in their prayers last Wednesday for over two hours.

Close friends, students, people we have never met are lifting up this sweet life.

All praying for one thing. More fluid.

There's more.

My single deepest pocket of fluid was 1 cm by 2 cm, and now it is 3 cm by 4 cm.

I can do nothing but thank God for that. On my knees, praise God!

The baby is also measuring right on track.

Thank God.

Thank you, GOD!

It was a long appointment. We did not get back to the ultrasound room until 7:30. I am so thankful my parents have been willing to babysit our kids so I did not have to worry about getting home to get them in bed. I know my dad doesn't read this... so, thanks Mom:-)

Honestly, I did not even ask for a percentage tonight, because I don't want one at this point.

Want to see who you are praying for?




See the cute little foot?

Isn't that the most beautiful thing?

I am in love.

Madly, head over heels in love.

When the ultrasound tech pulled up the profile, tears of joy started falling. We have never got to see a profile before. Even during my earlier ultrasounds.


We are so thankful.

Here's where I still need you, prayer warriors.

There is a long way to go.

First and foremost, I still need more fluid. The baby is moving, and pretty active, but more fluid is needed both for the baby to grow and the lungs to fully function. The risk of pulmonary hypoplasia is still very high.

Second, it has not been confirmed that I am leaking, but it has not been ruled out yet either. Please pray that I am not leaking fluid. A myriad of things can go wrong because of it, and it would be better for both the baby and I if I was not slowly leaking fluid.

There is also a more noticable degree of separation between the chorion and amnion.

Problems caused by this:
1. The placenta could detach
2. My bag of waters could completely rupture
3. The placenta could fail, leading to a fast death to the baby.
4. The placenta could fail, causing the baby to slowly stop growing.

We decided against doing CVS tonight. Josh and I talked it over and did not want to agitate the placenta. We might do it next visit, depending on what the fluid looks like.

Tonight was a reminder of Who is in control. Nothing about this pregnancy has gone according to our plan.

Thank you for your prayers thus far, and please, please, please do not stop praying!


If you do not mind praying for these things specifically:


1. More fluid.


2. No leaking of fluid


3. No placenta problems due to separation


4. The baby to stay put. I need at least 4-5 more weeks to even have a shot at viability.


5. The pulling and pushing to get various views of the baby has made me really sore. I am also praying that the fluid that has accumulated stays put!

What happens from here?

Next week, I go to my regular OB.
Two weeks from now (May 31), I go back to Dr. B for a re-check of fluids and growth.

I cannot thank you enough for your prayer for this sweet life. I appreciate you willing to walk this road with us, and am amazed how one little life has been prayed for and cared about by so many.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do you?

At a young age, I knew I wanted children of my own someday.

I forever bugged my mom to let me serve in nursery, even when it wasn't technically my turn. Flipping through old photos, a random baby is often on my hip. It did not matter whose baby- I was a magnet.

We were enjoying a sunny day at the family cottage in Newaygo. What started as dull ache in my side turned into sharp pains. With a male teenage cousin looking at me strangely, I remember laying in the grass contorting myself for relief.

Nathan and Justin were left behind with Grandpa and Grandma, and the three of us started the hour ride to Butterworth emergency room thinking I had appendicitis.

I don't remember much, but two things about that night stand out.

There were a gazillion different doctors coming in and out of the room. Not to sound crass, but try being thirteen with 6 male doctors staring at your lady parts. One was holding forceps. Wide eyed, I remember asking my mom what the heck those were for.

We were there for a really long time. The clock on the wall glitched when it got to the number 10, and skipped forward by the time the second hand cleared 11. I watched it circle for hours.

Once appendicitis was ruled out, an ultrasound revealed that I had a mass on one of my ovaries. Since the tumor was solid and had "feelers", the official prognosis was ovarian cancer.

I was admitted and the OR was booked for the next morning to remove one (or possibly both) ovaries.

A specialist was consulted for a second opinion in the morning, and the ultrasound pictures were sent to him for guidance. He agreed with my prognosis, but recommended holding off on surgery until he could see me due to my young age.

The appointment was set the next week, and we headed home to wait it out.

Phone call after phone call came in during that week from people wanting to offer help, prayer, support.

My mom cried a lot; I couldn't understand why.

I felt fine.

Our church organized a special prayer time, pleading with God for a miracle on my behalf.

1 Timothy 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands...

One week later, the mass was gone.

No medical explanation.

That is why I believe in miracles. There is no way to explain how or why the tumor disappeared.

I know with all my heart that God can miraculously heal my child; I am praying without ceasing that He will.

My appointment is Monday at 5pm (meaning I will probably have the procedure around 6-ish). I go first for CVS to rule out genetic abnormalities, and then for a diagnostic to check fluid levels/ fetal growth.

I will have the results of chromosome 13, 18, and 21 within the first 48 hours, the rest take about 10 days.

Please pray that the fluid levels are back to normal and nothing else is wrong with this baby. We love it so much already.

Thank you, as always, for praying for us when we sometimes can't.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Perspective

I like to know the odds of things.

I always have.

For example, did you know that the highest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev(1707-1782) of Shuya, Russia? Between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 confinements, she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. 67 of them survived infancy.

Want to know the odds of that happening?

1 in 20,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000*

When we were going through infertility, all I wanted to do was stay in the majority.

80% of the time, 12+ eggs are retrieved for my age group.
90% of the time, at least half of those result in hatching blasts.
71% of the time, completing a fresh transfer with 2 hatching blasts resulted in pregnancy.

Many of you know that OHSS resulted in having to freeze our embryos, and complete the frozen transfer two months later.

The odds were 40% that one would implant.

I belonged to an online forum with many other women going through IVF. Before we started the FET process, I was bemoaning my odds being significantly lower than going through a fresh transfer.

"Your odds are not really 40%," one user said. "They are only 100% or 0%. There is no such thing as 40% of a baby."

The truth is that I would not take a plane tomorrow if it had a 99% odds of crashing.

But in all of this, I have to remember that God doesn't play the odds. In His sovereignty, every last bit of this is planned.

Whether my odds are 99% or 50% or 1%, God knows the outcome already and isn't surprised or constricted by overwhelming odds.

Even had this pregnancy been perfect, it doesn't guarantee me a baby at the end of this. I have read countless stories of women delivering stillborns at 40 weeks. No explanation, no reason. (The odds are 1 in 116, in case you're wondering).

I am not trying to sound cynical, but through this I realize that death can happen to anyone, regardless of odds or facts or figures.

No guarantees.

As cliche as it sounds, this situation has forced me to take each day as it comes, never relying on tomorrow as a certainty.



Psalm 139:16 All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

*http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-trivia.html

And now I know.

I call it my 10 Most Wanted.

A list of people I pray for every day.

Some have a relationship with God but aren't active in their pursuit; others aren't sure what to believe.

Over the last few months, my prayer has been that I would be able to share my faith in a real way with each of them.

This happens, and people on that list are praying that haven't prayed in years.

And now I know.



It looks pretty healthy in this picture, the tree in the corner.

Obviously, this picture was taken before we moved in. The yard looks pristine without all my kids ride-on toys scattered about.



Josh loathes the red and blue Little Tikes plastic swing set structure that calls the grassy area home.



We were told when we moved here that the tree needed removal. The leaves came in sparser and sparser each Spring.

To those of you that know me, it won't sound odd that I got attached to that poor old tree.

I am the girl who feels a tiny bit of sadness when each goldfish dies. I refuse to flush them down the toilet, even when they are clearly dead.



I long to nurse the sick back to life; give chance to something everyone else sees as broken.

I came home one afternoon to find the corner completely bare.

Josh was loading up the branches onto our burn pile.

"Why didn't you ask me whether or not it was okay to cut down that tree?" I asked.


Okay, it was more of a pissed off accusation.

"Honey, it was dying. It had to be cut down."

I think he was surprised that I cared so much about that stupid, dead tree.

"Fine, but you are replacing it." I demanded.

That was last year, and the corner has stood bare as we contemplated what to plant in that spot.

Six friends I have worked with for the last few years through MiniMe BabyGear sent a beautiful Magnolia tree to celebrate and honor this sweet life.

A tree meant for that spot and as a daily reminder of how caring and thoughtful our community is.



And now I know.




I mentioned previously that my friend lost her daughter, Hannah, a few years ago to anecephaly.



Being a small traveler on her road marked with suffering, I gained insight into the loss of a child. For the first time since being a mother myself, I ached with despair over her empty arms. Visiting her in the hospital moments after their daughter passed, I experienced a level of anguish I hadn't known existed.



I remember leaving their apartment a few days later, seeing the beautiful photos of their daughter, and wondering how in the world they ever would muddle through that depth of grief.


They handled it so gracefully, when all I wanted to do was scream for them.

Fast forward one year.

I watched one of my best friends go through the loss of her infant daughter.

Her post on the subject sums up my thoughts entirely.



Advance two years, and here we are.



And now I know.





"A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence, trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse."
Philip Yancey


This is the struggle, though, isn't it?



Today marks 20 weeks. Halfway there, for most pregnant folks.


Perspective changes when given a 50-50 shot at making it to 25 weeks.



Every night, I thank God for one more day. One more day to love this baby and feel it kick. One more day to hear a heartbeat and find new foods that will make it wiggle. One more day towards the goal of 25 weeks, and trying to aggressively inflate underdeveloped lungs after birth.



My prayer request for today is for faith. Sometimes it comes easy; other days I fight all day long to remain hopeful.



Thank you, as always, for traveling this journey with us.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Some good, some bad.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I felt it when I woke up, and could not shake the sadness as the day lingered.

During this season of my life, I wish I could be more like my brother Nate.

Thinking back on childhood, the biggest thing I remember is how easy going he was. Justin and I would be racing down the path; Nate would be a mile back looking at worms.

I flew home often when I lived in California.

It did not matter if I traveled with the kids, without the kids, with Josh, or the few times I flew with my mom.

I am a worrier.

I worried whether I packed enough activities and snacks to occupy the kids. I worried that their bottles wouldn't make it through screening. I stressed about getting strollers and diaper bags and shoes through security. I checked and re-checked boarding passes. Even before I left home, I wondered if I forgot to pack extra contact lenses or if I would miss my flight.

Nathan arrived home with a bank envelope full of money in his back pocket, and his BMW convertible car cover. Not one carry on; nare a checked bag in sight..

He just doesn't worry.

I envy that.

Justin and Amber are due with their first baby October 5th. Yup, you calculated that correctly...four days after my due date.

How our family is going to restructure is weighing on my mind. We currently do everything together- Sunday dinners, July 4th fireworks, Halloween trick-or-treating, lazy summer days by the pool.

It’s not a relationship I can step away from for a season.

I know I will love their baby. But I realize already that sweet newborn noises and baby coos will be a constant reminder of all lost if God does not grant me a miracle.

It felt heavy.

So unbelievably heavy.

Weary to the bone, I laid down to rest and finally fell asleep when Brycer took a nap.

Nightmares come often, the likes of which I won’t detail here.

Suffice to say, I cannot bear the thought of burying my child in the ground.

I desperately don’t want to do it.

By dinner, I felt unable to shoulder the load.

After the boys were appropriately fed (thanks to all you God gifted people that brought us meals), I did what any respectable pregnant lady would do.

I took a big box of pink nerds and went upstairs for a good cry.

My head knows The Truth, by that doesn’t stop my heart from hurting.

There is no pretty way to say it.

This hurts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I still have hope.

If you know anything about Josh and I, there is one thing in which we never procrastinate.

Everything else can be falling apart- the ceiling leaks, our bathtub doesn't drain, and 20% of our lights do not work.

But come April, we are the first in the neighborhood to open our pool.

Some years the snow has still been falling.

It signifies to both of us that summer is coming.

Finally! Warm weather is right around the corner.

We live for summer.

This year has obviously been busy with other things. For the first time since we moved here, May rolled around with the pool still bleak and black and winterized.

My mom had the kids overnight, so Josh and I decided this evening was as good as any other to start the long process.

Held in place by 20 two by fours, the black winter cover is the first step. Each of the boards need to be removed before we can pull the cover onto the grass to clean it for summer storage.

On the way home from my moms, we were figuring out our plan of attack. After the cover was pulled, I would start scrubbing down the tile and getting it ready for paint touch-ups. He would paint. A new stopper needed to be purchased for the hot tub.

"Okay, but you are not lifting the 2 by 4's", Josh said.

"I still have hope."

More and more lately, I feel like everyone around me is slowly giving up hope.

When I asked my OB if I could take Advil PM, his attitude was "Why not? The baby is going to die anyway".

An old neighbor was in front of me in line at the grocery store, and he asked if I was pregnant. When I told him the full story, he parted ways with me by saying "I wish you better luck with your next baby."

I am not naive.

We have yet to visit Sherwin Williams to pick out paint colors.

But, hope is all I have at this point.

I need hope.

I cannot carry this baby eight more weeks without it.

I still believe God can change this situation.

"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted". Job 9:10

By the way- thank you to all of you that have sent note cards. I sincerely appreciate it! They are helpful to me during the day in so many ways.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Questions

There have been a few really good questions asked lately, so I thought I would address them here as well in case anyone else is interested.


Has anything changed since diagnosis?

The week between our initial findings at the hospital and my subsequent visit with Dr. Balaskas, some amniotic fluid appeared. Not enough to make the outcome different, mind you, but the baby does have a teeny, tiny amount around the head and butt. We have watched multiple times as the bladder empties so we know it is being swallowed and digested.

There is not yet enough to change the outcome.

I keep trying to recall the various things I did during that week, and cannot come up with anything I did different.

Frustrating.


Why bother doing CVS if they already know what's wrong with the pregnancy?

Two things make natural delivery really difficult:

1) there isn't amniotic fluid to help aid the baby into the birth canal

2) the baby is breech

Our only real option for seeing this baby alive is to deliver via c-section. I would have to have the classic 5-inch vertical incision, which is associated with more complications for me.

If the baby has Trisomy 13, 18, or 21, Dr. B said it is uniformly lethal when combined with severe oligohydramnios so he would rather not risk doing a C-section.


How can they tell it is a placenta issue if your fluid looked great at 12 weeks?


Other than the lack of fluid, the strongest indicator is a separation of the chorion and amnion. Between 14 and 16 weeks, they fuse together and you should not see space between them. At two places around the sack, you can see space between the two.

What is not normal is that I have not had any bleeding. In almost all cases, Dr. B has seen some type of bleeding or loss of fluid.

It's sort of an educated guess at this point.



Will giving steriod injections help mature the lungs?

If we make it to 24-25 weeks, the most aggressive option is for me to check in to Spectrum and have the baby monitored daily for the remainder of the pregnancy. That would include giving steroid injections in case there is any lung function.

If growth restrictions present or the fetal heart rate starts dropping, we would then have a c-section immediately.

Once born, Josh and I can either choose to let nature take it's course, or utilize breathing machines to see if there is a chance we can force open the lungs.



Will you guys adopt?

I must admit, I don't love this question these days.

I love this baby. I want this baby.

The truthful answer is that I do not know. When we were struggling with infertility, there were two roads ahead.

We only had finances for one.

We chose the shared-risk IVF plan, betting against the 98% odds we would have a live baby at the end of this.

I would hate to think that this is the very last opportunity to hold a baby of my very own, but it is too early for me to count anything in or out.


Could you tell this pregnancy was different?

This pregnancy is far more uncomfortable than my previous two. Due to the lack of cushioning, the baby is really, really heavy.



If you have any more, feel free to ask. I am more than willing to share details.


I hope your Mother's Day was fantastic.

If you are blessed enough to share that title with me, I celebrate you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blog Title

Every winter, Josh immerses himself in basketball.

I learned long ago that if I want to spend time with Josh, I need to love it too. There is rarely a night from November to February that some type of basketball game is not included.

Josh scouts games for the East Kentwood Varsity Boys. I'll spare you the nitty gritty; it involves videotaping the opponent and trying to figure out their plays.

90% of the time, my objective is to keep my kids from ruining the footage.

We pulled into the driveway at Catholic Central and started gathering our things. As we stepped into the brisk evening air, I looked up and St. Mary's was standing before me.

The hospital in which I delivered Bryce two years prior.

You could see into the windows on various floors. As creepy as this sounds, I stood and watched the hustle and bustle.

I love to people watch.

My eyes settled on the fifth floor, drawn to a father standing near the window, looking down at his newborn daughter. She was swaddled in the white and teal hospital blanket, with a knitted pink cap slipped on her head.

He had her outstretched so he could take her all in. Breathe every last detail, if you will. I could tell he was talking to her and would stop to repeatedly kiss her on the forehead over and over.

It was one of those rare moments I knew I was observing their "Deliriously Happy". A glimpse into the newness of life, full of hopes and dreams.

And I longed for it.

Deep in my gut, I ached for it.

Time passed, we finally got through harvesting eggs and the illness OHSS. Our frozen embryos made it to transfer, and we were pregnant. My "deliriously happy" was on the horizon.

As this journey plays out, there are many days I feel the peace that passes understanding. My trust in God is easy and I feel the certainty that this will all work out exactly according to His plan.

The torment comes, usually as night time falls, when I feel intense oppression and start to question God.

Why me? Why can't this happen to someone who can conceive children easily? Why not someone who hasn't already been through a year of heartache and thousands and thousands of dollars trying to conceive a baby?

I don't have the answers, and I am not strong as some may think.

It boils down to having only two options. I either believe God is who He says He is, or I don't.

Daily, sometimes hourly, I choose to believe that He is. I cannot imagine going through this, not knowing there is a greater purpose for our suffering.

Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering. Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name. Matt Redmond

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vander Ploeg Style

Just so you don't think all fun is lost.

video

It is a rare privilege to experience the vocal stylings of the infamous Vander Ploeg crew.

Happy Birthday, Nate. Love you brother.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Amnioinfusion and a small favor

Dr. Google, as I like to call it.

I am convinced doctors hate the invention of the Internet.

Any lump, bump, or bruise, I immediately start searching.

When we were going through egg retrieval this past November, the nurse admonished me a few times to trust the doctor. He had 15 years of experience, after all.

I put a call into Dr. B yesterday regarding amnioinfusion...after extensively googling, of course.

The process is similar to amniocentesis, but instead of withdrawing fluid, a saline solution is added to the sack. It's risky for a number of reasons, but a few outdated articles from Italy seemed to imply success if the saline could be retained for over 48 hours.

I was grasping at straws, but I needed to know if we should attempt it.

Long story short, Dr B. does not think it will work in my situation. Because my placenta is already not attached well, he is fairly certain it will completely detach from my uterine wall within 30 minutes of the infusion.

Rats.



My brother flies home on his birthday tomorrow. It has been bittersweet having him here under these circumstances.


Kayden said goodbye tonight, and sobbed the entire way home.


So I sobbed with him.


It just felt right.






I have sincerely appreciated the verses sent through e-mail, facebook cards, etc., so I feel selfish asking a favor.

Confession: I can't keep track of the verses.

I would show you my "stuff it here when someone is coming and you don't know what else to do with it" closet as an example of how utterly unorganized I am, but I am pretty sure no one wants to see that hot mess.

A good friend of mine sent me this today and I now have it next to my sink. One the back, she included a little note with why she chose that verse series.





If you think of it, and would not mind giving it to Josh or possibly our mailbox at church, I would greatly appreciate a few verses on index cards.




Thank you for holding us up during this process. I am daily humbled to hear how often our family and this baby are whispered in your prayers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Angel Bear

I realize other details are probably more pressing. Then again, I already told you logic is not my friend these days.

I spent two hours last night googling angel bears for Kayden and Bryce.

Nothing quite fits. Either the bear was beanie baby size (and much too small for loving) or it wasn't squishy enough. Some were pink or blue. Not much help when you aren't certain of gender. None were fuzzy and worn looking like I desired.

I called in reinforcements (aka Grandma and Uncle Nate) and decided to head to Rivertown Build-a-Bear.

Walking through JC Penny, it's strange feeling so normal when your world is falling apart. I was hoping and praying I did not see anyone I know. I can hold it together pretty well when dealing with strangers. Once I start talking about it, all pretenses fade.

My eyes darted back and forth as we passed by each store.

My brother headed to the play area with Bryce as I popped into Build a Bear. I was looking through the various stuffable animals when one of the sales clerks asked if she could help with anything.

"I am looking for angel wings," I replied.

She led me to the accessories wall, where she opened the package to model them on the bear. I can't say they are my first choice, but they were soft and trimmed with white marabou so they look pretty heavenly.

Since they were seasonal, she informed me not to wait on a purchase because there were only a few left in stock.

"What are these for?" asked the sales clerk casually.

I froze, as I was completely unprepared on how to answer.

I could feel my throat tightening, so I asked my mom to tell her why.

"She just found out that the baby she is carrying is most likely not going to live. She wants to give the bears at the funeral as a gift from the baby," my mom replied.

Have I ever told you my mom is my hero?

I couldn't even look her in the eye, but my mom said the cashier choked up and couldn't speak. I am sure it was quite the site- all three of us at the checkout counter crying over two pair of pink angel wings.

Sometimes I think it is harder because we know what's coming. Then again not having time to plan our wants and desires wouldn't be ideal, either.

I guess there is no easy way to prepare for the death of a child, even one you have not yet met.

Please pray for us as we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

My good friend, Cara, sent me this much needed verse today: Psalm 121 "I lift my eye up to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from you, Maker of heaven, creator of the earth."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just a quick thought...

More and more lately, I have had friends write to let me know that they are unsure of what to say to me.

There really are only two things that I ask you to refrain from.

1. Making light of our suffering by telling us that we already have two kids.

I once went to a seminar on grief led by a man in remission for cancer. He had lost one of his eyes during the long battle. Over and over he heard, "Well, at least you still have one eye."

To my friend that lost her dear mother, I would never say, "Don't fret- at least you still have your dad."

Those two boys are my favorite blessings, but it doesn't minimize this loss/situation.

2. Please do not say, "You'll have more children."


The best responses generally fall along these lines:

I am so sorry.
What can we do?
Our heart aches with you.
Your story touched me.
We won't stop praying.
We believe in miracles.

I know I walk in leper's shoes these days. Emotions and sadness are tough, and this deep valley hurts. You can't wrap it in the traditional glossy Christian platitude, and that's okay with me. I have learned that is is perfectly okay for me to sink into the deep trench and know that God will rescue me, one way or another.

Thank you, as always, for walking this road with us.

Not Good.

Did I ever tell you I gained over 50 pounds with Bryce?

I have decent sized babies (and by "decent", I mean 9 lbs. plus) and gain my fair share of weight while pregnant.

When I stepped on the scale today and had lost two pounds, it was the first time in history that I was disappointed. I knew instinctively there would not be more fluid.

Thankful that we were alone in the waiting room, we got into the ultrasound room fairly quickly. I am grateful this doctor is willing to see us after hours so I do not have to watch the pregnant parade every week. The wall of babies and birth announcements is hard enough.

The news is not good.

Our "odds" went from 10% to less than 1%.

I am broken.

Neither the bedrest or drinking water improved the fluid levels.

Dr. B is fairly certain the problem lies with the placenta. We are doing CVS in two weeks to rule out chromosomal abnormalities, but all signs currently point to placental insufficiency.

If there is any good news, my bloodwork and the baby look great. The doctor was very concerned that I potentially had a blood clotting disorder. It can be life threatening and very serious; we are thankful that was ruled out.

So, where do we go from here...

It's pretty much a waiting game from here on out. We went through the various possibilities today, and Josh and I decided to wait it out and see if we even make it to 24-25 weeks. At that time, we have the option of being hospitalized and trying aggressively to give this baby a {less than} 1% shot of survival. Without fluid, the lungs most likely will not develop and the baby will pass within an hour or two.

I told the doctor that Josh and I are believers, and I just can't count myself out from a miracle just yet.

A good friend of ours lost her baby to anecephaly a few years ago, and I finally got in touch with her this past week. I asked her for advice. Although there were many treasures, two that stuck with me:

1. Enjoy this baby while we have it. For me, it is so difficult not to want to rush to the end. I keep envisioning this poor smooshed baby in a teeny, tiny coffin and it haunts me.

Taking each day, and savoring the kicks and hiccups do not come natural to me. Patience is a virtue, just not one I possess. Come what may, I want to know.

2. Never dwell on tomorrow. The hardest part of suffering is looking forward to it.

Josh and I are setting up a time in the next week to meet with funeral homes and decide what details we want to have in place. Dr. B gave us a 50-50 chance that we would miscarry before 24 weeks, so we want to be ready in the event that happens.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We obviously wish we had better news.

Thank you for the meals. I wish I could say I have it all together. Unfortunately for Josh and the kids, I am a total scatterbrain. I could walk around for an hour and not accomplish one thing. Not having to worry about feeding these boys has been a blessing.

I appreciate all the letters and e-mails. I have a file named "New Baby" in my e-mail, and I look through them often when I am down or need extra encouragement.

Please continue to pray for a miracle.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surprise and Prayer Requests

Josh's parents had just left, and the kids were being ushered to bed.

That is, after Kayden had tried to measure his man parts with the new tape measure provided in his Easter basket.

My patience was wearing thin. Two hours past their bedtime; both boys were full of the giggles and dragging their feet.

I heard the door open and muffled voices, and whispered to Josh that I think his parents had forgotten something. Looking down the hall, I could see a shadow coming up the stairs.

It took me a minute to realize it was my brother, Nate. He had flown in from Florida to surprise me. I have not seen him since last summer.

After the waterworks on my behalf, he went in to visit....er, tackle....the boys.

"I was dreaming about seeing you and all the sudden my dream came true," Kayden said. Brycer's big smile peeked out from behind his pipey-doo.

It was a great surprise.

Our life is a roller coaster. I find myself crying one minute and laughing the next. I want Monday to come, but dread it at the same time.

Our appointment is at 5pm, which means we probably won't get into the ultrasound until 6:30 or 7.

Prayer Requests:

I would love to know people are praying for us specifically during our appointment.

We are praying that some amount of fluid would be accumulated, the kidneys and bladder are working properly, nothing else is found wrong with the baby, and that this problem is not genetic.

I know. It is a long list. I just want hope that this could possibly turn around, or it is going to be a long pregnancy.

Thank you for the meals brought, the cards sent, and mostly the prayers offered on our behalf. We are clinging to the Great Physician, boldly approaching His throne and pleading for a miracle.