Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick, Treat or Chuck E. Cheese...

We don't celebrate Halloween, and usually we stay home and hand out candy and gospel tracts, but this year, on top of our conviction that Halloween doesn't honor God, my heart was hurting in another way.

People in our neighborhood get very excited about Halloween.  They take days preparing their house for trick-or-treat night and do some serious decorating.  I will admit that the fact that he was staying up on his stilts (part of his costume) was pretty cool, but I could totally have done without the scary cemetery in the yard.  I have been having such a hard time with the idea of burying my baby and the view out my window was skeletons coming out of the ground and caskets with crosses that look fit to hold a real body.  My children, who are about to have to bury their sister, were given a vision of death and darkness that I pray will not be what they associate Rachel's death with.  After Des went to visit their yard as they were preparing for the night, she came back and said "that reminds me of Rachel".  

We put everything we are into teaching our children about the Light...about Jesus.  We tell them that death is not a bad thing when you believe in the Lord. I've been preparing my kids for months for the day we will have to say goodbye to their sister and put her in the ground, telling them they have nothing to fear.  And in one night of "celebration", any picture of hope I have set in their minds was taken over by the darkness that so many celebrate without considering it's implications.

I understand that not everything that night would have been scary.  I know we would have seen some cute lady bugs and probably a few fairies, but none of us are in a position to have our minds and our imaginations jeopardized by the in-betweens.  We decided this year that we needed to just separate ourselves from it.  Maybe next year we'll go back to handing out tracts, but I have to say that even that idea sounded like a compromise to me last night.  I guess I'm in a place where I am relying on God so deeply that anything that is unpleasing to Him breaks my heart.  To be honest, I hope I never leave this place...regardless of how unpopular it is.

So, if anyone is still reading at this point... we decided to get out of the house and go to Chuck E. Cheese instead.  I think this might be our new tradition!  The place was practically empty and there was no death and darkness to avoid... Sam is getting to an age where he really liked it - He did scare me a little with his version of skeet ball (he was throwing the balls - and he has a good arm!)  Isaiah was all over the place - going from one game to another...he had run out of tokens and the next time I saw him he had a cup full.  I ask him where he got them & he said "the girl gave them to me".  It pays to be cute. :o)  Desirae was really stepping up as big sister and kept calling the boys one at a time to go see different things.  She was also really excited to see a friend from church there and go play with her for a while.  So, this was Rachel's first time to see the big mouse, we figured we should have it recorded...

We get one of these drawings at each
kids' 1st visit to Chuck E Cheese.

Des kept saying all she cared about was "getting all that candy"... today at the benefit (I'll share all those details tomorrow) Isaiah asked a lady if he could have this huge jar of candy. (that's my boy!) She said no because they were having people guess the amount and whoever was closest would win it.  She told him "if I win it, I'll give it to you"  and guess who won the candy?!  That's right...a TON of candy is all ours! :o)  And Who do you think was in control of that??  God gives us the desires of our hearts when we are willing to obey for the desire of His.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I love ice cream

Did you know that a 16oz jar of Hot Fudge and a can of whipped cream are the perfect amount of each for a 1/2 gallon of ice cream?  Don't worry, I didn't eat it all at once... although I could, for the right prize. :o)  Dare me? 
I just decided to have some ice cream while I wait for my benedryl to kick in so I can back is KILLING me!  I actually had horrible pain in my rib earlier too...thought I was going to be on my way to the hospital and then it stopped.  Strange.  I've heard of people having rib pain with polyhydramnios (AKA, tons of fluid) but that was something else.  I really hope that doesn't become a daily thing.
Anyway, back to the ice cream... I got out all the ingredients for my favorite night time snack and realized there was only a little of each left..."oh well, I just use the container so I don't dirty a dish"... I poured  the rest of the hot fudge into the container and the last of the whipped cream and there you have it...a perfect hot fudge sunday...(minus the nuts, unfortunately, but Sam's allergic so we have a nut free zone here...what I give up for my children :o))  The best part??  No dishes and nothing to put away!  Love it.   It's not helping with my pain, but it's giving me something else to think about in the meantime.  I love ice cream.  And I think ice cream loves me.  And I am positive that Rachel loves ice cream too...she's jumping for joy right now - hopefully she'll stop when the benedyl starts working!  It's a tricky thing eating a sunday with benedyl while carrying a baby who loves ice cream and isn't phased by benedryl... Don't try this at home! :o) I'll let you know how it goes.... good night

SAT. MORNING UPDATE:  Last night went great...fell right to sleep, Rachel calmed down and snuggled in for the night and I slept well.  Woke up in pain, but hey, I can handle that.  I LOVE ICE CREAM!!  :o)

The top of the rollercoaster

Yesterday morning my phone rang at 6:30am... although my first thought was something was wrong, my back hurt too bad to move.  At 9:00 when my phone rang again, I remembered the phone call I ignored from earlier and got nervous someone died. (I know this sounds extreme, but just look at the last few months of my life...)  It was my sister calling...

"Do you know you're on the front page of the paper?"  she asked.  Apparently she was working the overnight shift at the assisted living facility that she works at and was handing one of her clients her morning paper and there was our family on the front of it.  She had just been telling the woman about us when she made the discovery and she said "that's my sister!"  At which point she starting calling people at 6am, thinking that just cause she had been up all night meant we wanted to be too.  But, hey, she was excited.

My first response was "And it's not for selling drugs!"  in case this has you tilting your head in confusion...  10 years ago I was seriously addicted to drugs & alcohol and got arrested for selling drugs.  My mother showed up at my house at 7am (apparently where my sister gets her patience from) with the paper and on the front page it read: "Gonic woman faces 87 years in prison and a million dollars in fines" Yeah, my family was proud.  I was a disgrace to myself, my family and to God, although I didn't know Him at that point in my life.  So, obviously this response was slightly sarcastic, but in a hard-to-explain kind of way, I was serious.  My next statement was "please tell me that whatever he used for quotes glorifies God" - Her reply? "Stacy, I don't think anyone could quote anything on your blog that doesn't make it very obvious that you're a Christian"...

This is my entire purpose in life.  I NEVER want to have anyone spend time with me, in person or on my blog, and not be completely certain that I am in love with Jesus.  I NEVER want to be able to blend in with this world.   I'm not ashamed to tell people where I've come from because I believe that it makes the love of God all that more apparent.  I am not afraid to show my weaknesses because I believe that shows the strength of God.  My only fear is that I will do or say something that brings shame to the name of the Lord or that would turn people away from wanting to know   Him themselves, since I know how much better my life is with Him in it, I obviously want that gift, and the gift of eternity,  for everyone I know too.

I had no idea this was coming...My cousin Aaron, Uncle Dale's son, contacted the paper to get the info for the benefit put in and the reporter was interested in the story.  My mom had emailed me a letter from a reporter a couple weeks back who wanted to talk with me and I never responded.  I got another email last week saying that he wanted a hi-res photo and that he could connect with me through email or just get info off my blog if that was easier.  This was the day that we canceled our trip to Florida, and honestly, I just didn't want to deal with it.  So, I sent a quick email saying I didn't know how to get a hi-res photo, I could talk to him on Monday and that he was welcome to use info from my blog if he wanted.  I never heard anything back, so I just figured it wasn't going to happen.  Monday came and email and I didn't really care.

I was on my way out the door to bring Isaiah to pre-school when Meg called me, so after I dropped him off, I stopped at the store to get a paper.  I walked in and my huge belly brought on the usual "Ah, when are you due?"  I said on Christmas day as I put the paper on the counter and she asked "Is that you?"  Yep.  that's my family... She said "I'll have to read it" and grabbed a copy to read as I left.  I sat in the van outside totally blown away.  I was crying as I was reading the article to Desirae and I watched person after person leave the store with a paper in their hands, very clearly with our picture on it!  It was like a slow motion scene in a movie... like every single person that came out had bought a paper.  A paper that I had no idea was going to article that I had no part article that got the name of Jesus on the front page multiple times - on multiple papers!!   I came home I cried on and off all day in awe of what God had done.  I looked on the blog and by 9:30am, there had been over 380 people who viewed it. By the end of the day, there was over a thousand views.  People everywhere were listening to "Sing to the King"!   I have gotten emails and comments and facebook friend requests from lots of people I don't know, all touched by Rachel's story, and I pray they were also in awe of how the Lord is carrying us through this.

Minutes after we found out about Rachel, Matt & I made a very clear decision that we were going to honor God and let His name be glorified through our daughter, no matter how painful it may be.  My prayer is that I have done that and will continue to do that.  My hope is that the people who read this blog will walk away with a better understanding of how awesome our God is.  I did not start the blog to bring attention to was to bring attention to our Lord.  I am not excited about the fact that WE are in the paper...I'm a thrilled with the fact that Jesus is! 

It is not very often that Jesus will be mentioned in the newspaper - never mind the front page, unless of course someone who claims to follow God does something horrible and then they are all over it.  But the fact that our baby girl and our journey through anencephaly gives glory to God's name on the front page of multiple papers, is yet another accomplishment that she has made in her short little life. 

I so wish I would have time with her to tell her all the amazing things that God has done through her.  I wish she could understand how special she is.  I wish she knew how meaningful her life has been.  I pray that when she gets to heaven and meets Jesus face to face, and He says "well done, my good and faithful servant" that she will fully know what He means.  I hope she knows how proud we are to be her parents and how we are not disappointed with who she is.  These amazing gifts would not have come if she was a healthy baby who was going to live.  I want her to know that she is perfect in our eyes, and in the eyes of God, just the way she is.  I want her to know that she changed the world.

I would never say that I wouldn't change this if I could, cause that would be a lie.  I would have never chosen this path, but I am so thankful to be part of it.  I am so humbled again and again that God is allowing me the opportunity of being this precious baby's mother.  I don't want to do this...not one bit.  It's so painful and it's scary.  I am a human with a mother's heart and that makes this the worst thing I could ever have to endure...but she is worth ever bit of it.

This was definitely a high point on the rollercoaster we're on.  I am so thankful for these times.  Times when we can clearly see our purpose in this pain.
Here's the link to the article:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blessing in Heartache...And the big day is picked!

My appointment went well today.  It was the quickest one yet...only gone from 9am to 2pm!  My sister went with me this time cause Matt had to work.  The sonographer did an awesome job and gave us some time to just watch Rachel move around...and boy, does she dance!  I'm so happy that I have it on video too so I can watch it later.  We also got some good pictures.  I'm falling more and more in love with her every day.  She is so cute.  I have to admit that, although it's a lot of work getting to Maine Med once a week, I am so glad to have all these high-tech ultrasounds.  It looks like she has Daddy's nose, like her sister and brothers do, and Mama's mouth.  I can't wait to see if she has any hair and if so, what color it will be. (if you're wondering, some times they have hair in the back)  So far, all of our kids looked identical at birth, so I imagine she will have a lot of the same features.  Here's our girl at week 32!

My big belly!

This is my favorite
You can see all her fingers

The sonographer thought that my placenta and cord were showing on the side... I think her ears are folded over, which is a common feature in anencephalic babies.
They didn't measure her this time, so I am not sure what she gained for weight this week. They were mostly concerned with my fluid measurement. The medication they put me on last week seems to be helping with my fluid levels. They had a hard time getting an accurate reading because she moves so much, but it seems to have dropped a bit and I am definitely not in AS much pain, although I still have a very difficult time at night or if I sit for too long. My fluid levels coming down are a HUGE answered prayer. I was very nervous about taking the medication and really only can take it for another week since they don't recommend it after week 32. Please continue to pray that my fluid will decrease and that Rachel will not have any side effects from it. Dr's say that lots of meds are ok to take during pregnancy, that I just don't believe. I cried for an hour before I got myself to take it. I researched it and it seemed that there were definite risks,which the doctor had explained, but there were big risks for her in allowing my fluid to build up too...another double-edged sword. Have I mentioned how bad this stinks?

So, the big news is that I set a date for her birthday... December 3rd it is! That will put me at 37 weeks and a day. She will be considered full term and is able to donate her heart valves any time after 36 weeks, so now we're praying that she will meet the weight requirements. We would be so blessed to see up to 4 other babies live because of Rachel.

Let's see, how am I feeling about all this... well, I'm going with the flow. The flow of God's plan and not my own... trusting Him in spite of my fears. Letting go of my hopes for this pregnancy and my baby and holding on to my hope in Him.

Losing another baby was one of my fears...and it's coming true. A lot of fluid was one of my fears...and it has come true. An early delivery was one of my fears...and it's coming true. I have many fears about what all this will bring...most of which will come true. Yet, I am filled with peace. Filled with the hope of Jesus.

Do I still have specific things that I would like to see happen? Of course. I pray for them daily. I want my fluid levels to even out and stop building up and I want my back pain to stop.  I want Rachel to come on the scheduled date and not have my water break early. I want to hold her alive. I want her to live long enough that I don't have to let her leave the hospital with a stranger. I want her to spend time in our home with us. I want to nurse her and I want to hear her cry and change a poopy diaper. I want to take 1500 photos of her for her scrapbook. I want for her to prove the Doctors wrong.  I want to watch her grow and kiss her boo-boo's and tell her "no".  I want to see her walk down the isle and marry a strong Christian man like her Daddy someday.

But if I get none of those things...I'm ok with it. Will I be devastated? Absolutely. Will it change how I view life in this world? Probably. This whole journey already has. Will it change how I view God? Not a chance. It is only by His grace that I have been blessed to spend even one minute carrying Rachel - and it is a blessing!...and only by His mercy and love that I will get through the pain of losing her - and it will be painful.   None of it would have come to be without Him. I couldn't get through any of it without Him and I am thankful for it all. He allowed it, I trust His reasons - and I trust that He will carry me through it.

Being Rachel's Mama, has forever changed who I am. I would never give that up...not even for a promise of a pain-free life on earth where everything goes as I have planned. I've found so much blessing right in the middle of my heartache.

In 5 weeks and 1 day, (unless God has other plans!) we will meet our 4th child.  Oh, how I wish she could stay with us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Benefit Concert this Weekend

My family and friends are doing a benefit concert to raise money to pay for my Uncle Dale's funeral expenses and to help pay for the upcoming burial expenses for our baby.  It's on the 31st, my Uncle Dale's birthday, at the Elks in Dover NH (I believe it will be outside) from noon-6pm.  Kids are welcome and there will be music, food & raffles.  Please come out and join us! 

If you can't make it, but would like to donate, put your email address or phone number in a comment and I'll contact you and tell you how you can do that.  I can delete comments before they are seen so I will delete contact info and not post it on the blog.  If you want to leave a comment as well, do it separately and I will post those.  Thank you for your support!

Sing to the King

Another night of extreme back pain... wish I had a recliner.  If it wasn't for the benedryl, I probably wouldn't sleep at all.  I got up in the middle of the night to pee and could hardly walk.  It must have been an interesting scene.  I was thinking that if someone recorded me, it could work well for abstinence training in teenagers.  The title of the film could be "this is your body while pregnant"  I think I might get me some depends and just stay in bed.  Kidding...sort of.

I sounded like I was 90 years old trying to get out of bed when Matt had to leave this morning.  I thought for sure it was going to be an awful day.  I had guitar lessons today and last week I had to stop early cause I was in too much pain to finish. I thought it would be a repeat of that and I'm getting discouraged with how little I can get through these days.

I came downstairs and was listening to the CD that we gave as favors at Rachel's party - and before I knew it, I was having the sweetest time of worship in my kitchen.  The song that really got me today was "Sing to the King" - It says "come let us sing a song, a song declaring we belong to Jesus and He is all we need...lift up a heart of praise, sing now with voices raised to Jesus, sing to the King... for His returning we watch and we pray, we will be ready the dawn of that day, we'll join in singing with all the redeemed, cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King!"

In my kitchen, in my PJ's, horrible back pain, carrying a baby that can't live outside my womb and I was singing to my King.  Praising Him for what He's done for me - Believing that He is all I need - and praying in a more sincere way then I've ever prayed before that He will come back soon, knowing that when He does, Satan will no longer have a hold on this world and all those who believe in Jesus will spend the rest of eternity without tears, pain or sorrow.  I've had times where I've (I know, this doesn't sound very faithful) actually wondered if I really want Jesus to return.  I love my life and in my humanness it's hard to imagine that I would rather be anywhere else than here or with anyone else than my amazing husband & kids.  But this morning, it dawned on me that as of right now, we would all be going to a better place...a place where Rachel will also be.  Here on earth, a piece of me will always be missing... Here on earth, I will have to lose them one by one or they will have to lose me.  If Jesus came back today, we'd get to forfeit all that pain and loss and be together with our Father...pain free, completely whole.  A few years from now, when my kids are faced with their decision to follow God or not, that might not be the case.  Our children are not born into our belief, no matter how much we want them to be.  They might not all choose to believe in Christ's sacrifice and they might not go to heaven.  The thought of that breaks my heart.  So, this morning, I was given a new found desire to see Christ return.  A new found hope in what that means for our family.  Another gift from God given to me through my precious baby girl. 

I am also really thankful that I can approach God in such an ugly state and sing totally off key, looking like I should be one of those fillers on American Idol (you know. the ones who are obviously there for entertainment purposes and not because they think they can sing)  and He is ever so happy to hear my voice being lifted to Him. He meets me there every time.  He welcomes me and washes over me with His love and mercy until He's all I can see. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

my last appointment

Some things I forgot to include in post about last Dr's apt...
  • Rachel is approx. 2lbs 9oz now...that's 7oz in 2 weeks! 
  • My iron level is where it should be - I knew I felt better...thank you Floradix!
  • I have to go every week now so they can monitor my fluid levels.  It should be between 18-22 and it is 46, whatever that means...I know it's not good and it's painful.
Please pray that my fluid levels would not continue to go up at this pace and for my pain and discomfort.  Also, that the details of the weekly visits, which end up being all day events, will fall into place.  My next apt is Wednesday...  

Plan B

Well, we decided to come up with a "Plan B" after having to cancel our trip to Florida. It was very obvious that Florida would have been too much for me this week.  I look and feel like I could go into labor at any moment and I have 10 weeks left to go! I am at the point in my pregnancy where most women start counting down because you start to get unbearably uncomfortable.  Usually the last 2 weeks I'm pregnant are torture on my back (I always carry like a big basketball and get huge) and I have had all my kids 1-2 weeks early and they've all been big babies...the difference is I'm not 2 weeks away, even though it feels it,  and the countdown that we're doing is for the most painful thing I'll ever have to endure - and it's not childbirth... 

 Today when Desirae said she wanted to go to Disney World and I told her we still would, just in a few months when I am not pregnant anymore, it was a reminder of the fact that Rachel will be gone soon.   I will catch myself thinking "I can't wait until this is over" and then realize that "over" means something different this time.  Everywhere we went, someone asked me if I was due any day...and although this is a question I got frequently in my other pregnancies... it says something different this time.  I know the reason I am measuring at 36 weeks, when I'm only 30 is not just because I get a nice round belly when I'm pregnant - although I do and I love that part! - it's because something is wrong with my baby and she is going to die.  It's hard to smile through those conversations, although God somehow gives me the joy and strength to do it every time.  I am so grateful that even when my heart is breaking, I can smile sincerely at the thought of my little girl and the blessing that she is - even if in the next breath I want to cry, and sometimes do. 
I think I understand why so many people don't choose to walk this's hard.  It's more than hard.  I never imagined I would be planning a funeral for a baby I can feel kicking inside me while I'm standing on the grave she'll eventually be in.  I never imagined that I would be picking songs for a funeral that will soon have my baby's casket sitting at the front of a room full of people, all while still suffering from heartburn and backaches.  I never thought I'd be picking out a going home outfit that would also be a burial outfit. 

But you know what else I can't imagine?  I can't imagine that there would be any blessing or healing in doing it any other way.  I can't imagine I would feel any better or hurt any less if I decided back in August to end her life before God had done everything He wanted to do with her.  I can't imagine how much that would hurt.  I understand that in the moment of fear and uncertainty, it can seem like the easier route, but I honestly don't believe it is.  This is not any fun at all, but I am making the most of it knowing that this is not the hardest part.  I've had people ask why "they are making me carry her", "when will they just induce me", and "can't they just take her out?"  and my answer is always the same... nobody is making me carry her, I want to because she is my daughter and I would do anything for her.  It's bad enough that she has anencephaly, but my daughter is not going to die from anything but anencephaly if I have anything to say about it.  If God decides she should come before she is full term, then that's His choice... but as far as I'm concerned, this is out of my hands.  And I am glad it is to be honest because this journey would be a lot more painful if I tried to fight God's plan in it. 

So anyway, we decided to get out of here for the weekend.  My Dad got us 2 nights at a Hilton in Portland so that we could get away and still be close to the hospital.  It was a relaxing weekend...with my 5 favorite people, Rachel included. The kids got to swim in the pool, we went to the train museum and for a train ride. Then Des, Rachel & I went for pedicures! They had a special kids chair in a Disney Princess room...not quite Disney World, but a nice alternative.  Desirae's eyes lit up when she saw it and she got to hang with the princesses, while Rachel & I got to relax.  I haven't been able to reach my toes for weeks, so they needed it and it sure beat walking around Magic Kingdom! :o)  Not to mention the joy I got watching Des giggle her way through her foot rub! 

If there is one thing I've been learning through this entire journey, it's how to go with the flow.  I tend to be a planner by nature and not one plan I've made has since I found out I was pregnant has come to be.  I used to fight that, but am finding great peace in letting go.  I'm also becoming painfully aware of how little control we actually have over things...and how what I consider to be my "plan B" was really God's "plan A" all along.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Double-Edged Swords

Did I say I wanted choices??  I must have been out of my mind.  I'm not a decisive person to begin with and now it seems like there's choices all over the place that I have to make that are all double-edged swords.  I can't win either way. 

Had my appointment yesterday at Maine Med to check my fluid and meet with the neonatologist. My appointment was at 10:00 and we didn't leave there until 3:30, minus a lunch run to subway.  It was an informative, yet very long day - and not all the information was information that I wanted to hear. 

First, we had an ultrasound...always my favorite part - Rachel is growing good and is ever so cute.  The bad news is that my fluid is building up at a very rapid pace.  It's over twice the amount it should be, but since my belly hasn't expanded that fast, it's being carried towards my back.  This would be the reason I didn't get any sleep the night before.  It's very painful.  By the time we got done with the ultrasound, I was in so much pain from laying down I was crying.  The nurse checked me to make sure I wasn't in labor, which I wasn't...thank God.  Having this much fluid makes me high risk for early labor, so we had to cancel our Florida trip, which was a huge bummer.  We were supposed to leave on Saturday :o(  I'm trusting that God's timing will be perfect and that the trip will be better for us in a few months from now. 

Our appt. with the neonatologist went well.  She cried with us a few times, especially after reading my birthplan.  She said that they do it like Burger King - we have it our way... Music to my ears! She did say a couple of things on our plan she wouldn't recommend, like giving her oxygen and a feeding tube.  We're going to pray about it and make sure we're comfortable with that.  They'll do it if we want them to, but it doesn't make a difference in the end result.  We will still try to nurse her and if that doesn't work, try giving her my milk with a dropper though.  These are those choices I'm talking about.  I hate every single one of them. 

 These are a few of the pictures that they gave us... Her toes are my favorite part.  I've always been a baby foot lover. :o)  I know as you look at these pictures, you're going to wonder how I feel looking at them, since she is obviously not "perfect"...  I'm going to be very honest.  It's extremely hard to look at my baby and see an imperfect body.  It's hard to have all my hopes and plans for her very obviously shattered.  I actually debated  putting them
on here in fear of what others might think of her.  But I am not ashamed of my daughter.  I am actually quite the opposite.  The fact that she is imperfect in body (aren't we all?)  only makes it that much more clear how beautiful her soul is.  I have a verse on my mirror in the bathroom that has been hanging there for years that says "Beauty should be that of the inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1Peter 3:4)  To God, she is perfect.  To God, she is beautiful.  She has a gentle and quiet spirit.  She is of great worth
 in God's sight.  And she is of great worth in mine.  I've always wanted to love like God and this is the closest I've ever come and probably will ever come in my entire life.  I love her just as much as I love my other children.  I love her and would do anything for her.  She blesses my heart every day for just being her.  The painful part of this is that it is going to hurt just as much losing her as it would losing any of my children.  But I will never regret loving her without reservation.  I will never regret showing her off, just the same as I would with a child who was "perfect" in our eyesSo, here she is... my beautiful, perfect baby girl.  We are so looking forward to holding her in our arms and telling her how much we love her, how much God loves her and how
we'll miss her.  We pray we'll get lots of time with her so that we can tell her all the things we want to tell her.  No matter how much time we get, it will never be enough to show her how much we love her, but we sure will try.  Because of the amount of pain I'm in and the fact that my body might not hold out till the end of December, we've decided to meet her around 37 weeks, which is considered full term.  We are praying about what day will be best and will let you know when we decide.  It's a very hard decision.  Looking at the calendar yesterday, I kept coming up with a day that sounded like a good birthday, but then realizing it will probably be the same day we say goodbye.  Not an easy choice.  Another double edged sword.  This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  But I'd do it all over again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

From the Inside Out

No shower again hair is probably much happier (hairdresser tip: don't shampoo every day!), although you'd never know it by how it looks right now.  School went really well with Desirae this morning and I had the house picked up and was feeling pretty on top of things - and next thing I know, the day is almost over, everything's a mess again, I'm still in my PJ's and I never got any of the things done that I needed to...well, that's not true, I managed to remember 2 phone calls I needed to make and get paperwork filled out for the Duke University Study.  Matt is out getting some groceries right now because I've literally only gone shopping 2 times since we found out about Rachel...that's in 10 weeks if you're trying to do the math.  If it wasn't for my family and our church family bringing us meals and picking stuff up for us, we'd be one hungry family!  We have been so blessed by the dinners you all have provided...I wouldn't be able to pull it together at that time of day to get dinner on the table, so you're probably really helping my marriage too! :o)  Matt is very grateful...and not only because he still gets his hot meal at the end of every day, but because he knows how greatly you're blessing me as well.

I'm not telling you all this stuff so you can worry about me or decide that I need help or something.  I'm actually writing all this more for the other Mamas who are walking this journey and need to hear that it's not easy for me either.  I find it very difficult to relate to people who don't struggle because... well, they are lying - and I don't like liars.  Life is hard.  People struggle.  It's the way it is, but most people don't like to admit it at risk of sounding like they don't have it all together.  So, I'll let you in on it...I don't have it all together.  I didn't before Rachel and I certainly don't now.  If you're glad that I just said that, I hope it is because you can relate and not because you're happy to hear it...but here's some more dirt for you...

I ignore most phone calls that come in and a lot of knocks at the door.  This is not because I want people to be more persistent and try harder to pull me out of my "depression" - it's because that's just how I feel right now.  I want to be alone and I have little energy so I can't be using it on the wrong things, including what other people think is good for me.  Today I actually pulled my shades and told the kids to stay away from the door when I saw the group of people dressed up get out of their car and start knocking on doors...I just don't have it in me.

I've been staying up WAY too late every night and usually eat ice cream too. (I've actually heard someone be criticized for that before!)  I'm sleeping ok, but always in a lot of pain (for some reason my back is killing me at night) and because of the nightly bathroom runs, and the fact that there is no bathroom upstairs, by the time I get back to bed my mind is going again and I don't get much sleep...  Let's see, last night it went something like this:

I came downstairs and noticed that the heat had clicked on, I thought "it must be getting cold out", then I thought "it would be good to have a separate thermostat on the 2nd floor so that all this heat doesn't get wasted down here", then I had a debate in my mind over that thought, because we all know that heat I wasn't quite sure if that made sense.  "Would it make more sense to keep the heat on only downstairs?" I wondered.  "or just put it on really low upstairs and not use it at all downstairs"... (good thing I can multi-task or I probably would have peed on myself with how distracted I was by this dilemma - as if I even have 2 thermostats!)  Then I thought "it's nice having a basement so we don't have to worry about pipes freezing like when we had the trailer"  Then I wondered why basements stay warm if they're not heated...and then I thought "hey, maybe it's not going to get as cold in the casket in the ground as I thought"

Now, before anyone gets the urge to write me and let me know that's not possible, I need to say that I already know it's not.  I also know that only women's minds think in such a complex, all over the map kind of way, so most men won't understand how the heck I got to that point all from the heat being on.  But the truth is that most women won't get it either cause I know it sounds crazy.  But no matter what I am doing or what I am thinking about, it ALWAYS comes back to Rachel.  There's no distraction big enough, no pill strong enough, no reasoning good enough to make this easy for me. God put this uncontrollable need to nurture babies in me because He made women that way.  How in the world do I reconcile that with putting her in the ground?  How am I not supposed to think about what it's like down there?  Again, before you fill me in on the facts...I know it's "pointless" to think about and not helpful...I know she's not going in the ground.  I know it's just her body...I know her soul is going to live on... Does that really make a mother feel better about putting her baby in a box in the ground?  I mean, think about it.  Oh, I know it should...and I wouldn't want to put her there without the knowledge of the truth of heaven, but does it really make it any easier...  My educated guess is no.  No, I don't think it does.  I'll let you know come January, but I doubt I'll be eating my words on this one.

So, now you know the truth - I hardly shower, cook or clean anymore...I eat past 8:00 every night because I want to, not because I'm hungry and I don't care if I gain weight...I don't get enough sleep and it's all my fault...I feel like being alone most of the time and although usually a talker, finding that I have less and less to say to most people...I think random and sometimes morbid thoughts and could easily cry at any moment.  Oh, and I even yell at my kids sometimes.

The gift that all this has brought about is that my perspective on a lot of things has changed.  I never thought there would be a time that I would not fret over keeping my house in tip top shape or what people would think about the dust bunnies on my stairs.  I never thought I would not worry about the number on the scale AT ALL at my prenatal visits...I have much more important things to think about at my visits. (technically we all do, but we all tend to forget how fragile life is and worry about vanity instead)  I have realized who my real friends are and have gained some new friendships that are straight from God.  I spend much more time with God in prayer and in His Word than I could when I was cooking, cleaning, showering, going places and talking on the phone more.  And for every time I fail my kids and have to ask forgiveness and they grant it, we're all learning more and more what it means to be a sinner in need of a savior - and how amazing His grace is. 

Some people would look at me and think I'm falling apart...  and honestly, I have my days, but it's worth the trade off for me.  God is taking from me the ability to keep up with the worries of this life and things that are temporal and in it's place, He's giving me something that can never be taken away.

So, if you're walking this journey carrying a baby with anencephaly, just know that it's ok if you don't have it all together.  It's ok to fall apart.  God will pick up the pieces and make you even more beautiful than you already are!  From the inside out.  

If you're watching someone you know or love walk this journey, try to walk beside them at their pace and not tell them what their pace "should" be, keeping in mind that God knows what each one of us needs.  Here is a link that is very helpful when it comes to supporting someone during this time.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dearest Rachel,

My sweet baby girl,

We had a party today to celebrate your life and the gift that you are to us.  You had over 85 people who came to shower you with love!  You got some really cute clothes, a couple blankies, a jewelry box (and some jewelry!), a beautiful Christmas ornament, a poem written by Nana along with lots of cards with words of hope and encouragement...and $1,410.00 towards your playground!  

One of your gifts is a little plaque that has a picture of a footprint and says "Sometimes the smallest gifts leave the biggest impressions."  You, my precious one, have touched so many hearts.  I am so proud to be your Mama.  The card that came with it said that she would never be able to see a footprint in the sand and not think of you...

I won't either... and my next thought will be about the picture that we are given in the footprints poem where the person asks the Lord, "Where were you when I needed you most?" and He replies.."When there is one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you"  There may only be one set of footprints, my girl, but there are three of, you and Jesus - the prints in the sand are His, the ones on my heart are yours... Mine are nowhere to be found because this is all about you and Jesus - and I am so honored to be chosen to carry you to Him, as much as I don't want to let you go.  I will never ever be the same and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love you with all that I am and I will never ever regret your story.  It's amazing and you are beautiful. 

All my love,
He is carrying me while I'm carrying you.. 

Some people come into our lives and quickly go
Some people move our souls to dance...
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon
They stay in our lives awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Light your candles!

Today is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  Although I am sad that a day need exist, I am glad it does.  I had become more aware of how common miscarriages were after we lost our 3rd baby at 8 weeks, however, I was still very unaware of how often moms and dads had to bury their new bundles of joy until  I now find myself preparing to do the same.  I spent some time looking at the numbers and found that:
  • 500,000 babies are lost to miscarriage each year
  • Approximately 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the U.S., according to the March of Dimes and 19,000 babies die within the 1st month of life.
  • SIDS claims the lives over over 7,000 babies each year nationally
There are so many affected by the loss of their baby.  If you are one of these people, I encourage you to share your story in a comment below - and I invite the people reading to take a moment and pray for the ones who have courageously shared their stories.

Also, as the site has announced, you are invited to light a candle on October 15th at 7pm in your time zone to create a wave of light in remembrance of the child/children you have lost. or in honor of someone else who has lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.

Thank you for your stories, prayers and for participating in this event to bring hope to healing hearts. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rachel's Birth Plan

I made a page with our plan for Rachel's birth.  You can click on it to the left.  I found it extremely helpful to me as I was preparing this to be able to read other people's plans.  I have been working on this here and there since we found out she has anencephaly and it has weighed on me significantly.  The real heart breaker was when I went to save it on my computer and realized that I had already saved our plans for her funeral service...  you'll never understand what it does to a mother's heart to be planning your baby's funeral before you even get to plan her birth, until you've been there.  There are no words to explain the sadness.  My hope is that putting this on my blog will help other Mamas in this situation as they work their way through this daunting and painful step of this journey.  Of course knowing all the while, that we can plan anything we want, but we ultimately have no control.  That's difficult in most things, but when it comes to my sweet baby, difficult is not the word.  I am not positive that this will be our final draft.  We meet with the neonatologist on Wednesday and some things may change depending on how that goes, but I feel pretty confident that it is what I would like to see happen. more thing checked off my list... getting more real every day and I don't like it one bit.

Just call me Pigeon

Went to look at a cemetery in Rochester today...  would love to have one close to home.  The one that we liked I had decided against because last summer there was a homeless guy living in the back of it that we used to leave food for.  I drove through today and decided that I liked it too much to let a homeless guy scare me out of it, until I saw a guy sitting in a car at the back corner suspiciously looking down and licking his "cigarette" until he lit it and drove away...  OK, so maybe I'm paranoid because I started my drinking days in the back of cemeteries and did other not-so-legal things in them, but I know I want to be safe and comfortable when I go to visit my daughter's grave.  I found a space closer to the road that looked like it would be open for purchase and figured there wouldn't be anyone sleeping in the woods or getting high there, so I felt ok about it and decided I'd call and see if that was possible.

I drove out and was looking at the cemetery as I went passed, and I'll admit, I was driving slow...20 in a 30...and then I noticed the lady behind me was all bent out of shape, waving her arms and yelling at me cause I was slowing her down.  (only to get to the end of the road and have a red light anyway!)  But my first thought was "you'll be ok, Lady" and then my next one was that I wanted to get out at the light and apologize for delaying her busy life with my concern over where I would bury my baby's casket.  Sarcasm...never a good thing, but that's how I felt. 

But then I remembered the day I was rushing Sam to the hospital with one of his breathing attacks.  He was turning gray on me in the back seat and had stopped responding when I said his name.  I got stuck behind this woman going 20 in a 30... I beeped my horn in my terror and tried to get her to pull over so I could get by.  She waved at me with the "you'll be ok, Lady" kind of wave and kept on going 20.  Then she pulled into the parking lot...and surprise!  She worked in Frisbie's ER.  That would be why she was so slow...  there I go with that sarcasm again.  sorry.

My point in this is that I've been on both sides of the coin.  The one going 20 and the one wanting to go faster.  And what it comes down to is that you never know what someone else is dealing with.  I doubt that lady swearing at me today was bringing her baby to the hospital, but who knows what she has going on... can't be good with a response like that.  Just the same as the ER nurse had no idea my 15 month old son was in such bad shape in the backseat, she just thought I was impatient. (I was on the road to the ER, but hey, who would think you'd be in a rush there?)  ergh, sarcasm. 

Some days your the pigeon and other days your the statue...that's just the way it is.  I kind of wish that pigeons would find a better place to poop.

I got home and called another cemetery in Dover and the woman was very nice.  As we talked about the details, I had another moment where reality struck me.  She put me on hold so that she could look up where my Nana was buried so she could describe to me where the graves they are selling are, in comparison to where my Nana is.  I started to cry and I looked out the sliding glass door - the sky had turned gray and there were leaves falling down from the trees by the dozen.  I felt God speak to my heart... bend with me, Stacy, I'm with you through the seasons....

A note from Desirae

Here is a letter Desirae asked me to put on the blog... She wanted me to let her type it, but since I showed her how to write an email, she has been sending them constantly without me knowing, giving people her Christmas lists and inviting people over for her birthday (in January!) She even figured out how to find people's email addresses. She's too smart for her own good - and I don't necessarily want her writing on the blog all the anyway, here it is - typed by me, with her typos :o)

From Desirae

I realy love Rachel and it's hard for me to do school and stuff like that, because I don't want her to dye. It's "realy" hard. So anybody that reads this please please please pray for her, and believe God can heal her. - Desirae   PS. Have hope. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Afflictions eclipsed by Glory

I remember years ago, sitting in my counselor, Tammy's office when I was in rehab as she explained to me why trees are able to make it though the change in seasons - including the cold, harsh winter - and bloom again when the spring returns.  She said they bend and move with the wind, let their leaves fall and adapt to the season at hand.  She was telling me this to encourage me to let God work through my difficult season and to not be afraid of it.

I was there for 7 months and I spent the last 6 working as part of the "maintenance team" - and that meant during our down time, when I wasn't busy smoking (gross!),  I did lots of woodworking in the garage.  I made Tammy a big tree to hang on the wall, because of how significant that analogy was to me then, and carved in the middle "Fear knocked, Faith answered, No one was there" - In other words, fear and faith don't exist together. 

So, ironically enough, back when we did the cardboard testimonies (mine had to do with where my addictions had led me), the song they put on the video was "How He love us" - since then, the song reminds me to a deeper degree of the pit that God lifted me out of.

Sunday at church, we sang this song, which always makes me bawl - and I heard it differently than in the past.  In the first verse it says "He is jealous for me" - that means God wants nothing else to come before Him in my heart... "Loves like a Hurricane" - that's pretty serious, and doesn't let anything get in it's way... Here's the big one "I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy" - wow... my mind went right back to that day in Tammy's office.  I started to think about how He rescued me from myself back then, even though I was so hardened to Him and so far away from Him, and would be for a few more years to come...And then I caught myself questioning Him... "Why did you bother?  Why did you rescue me from all that and then lead me to this?  What are you thinking? - have I not been through enough?"  I've mentioned before that I haven't struggled with feeling angry towards God for allowing this, but this was one of those few moments that I was mad about it - and it was intense.  There I stood, sobbing, almost feeling as if I had been mislead.  Like I had been given a false hope,  If that makes any sense...

So then came the second verse... "He is our prize...Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes" - I sat in church for MONTHS before I accepted Jesus, at first denying He was real and then crying because I didn't know what I was doing there... and then weeping week after week because I couldn't believe He could love me...after all I had done and the life I had - it made no sense.  His amazing grace and unending love had stolen my heart.

Now years later, I am in a place that is so painful.  If I could run from it, I would.  I thought at the beginning of all of this that I was really going to enjoy the time I have with my daughter and make the most out of it - and at times I feel guilty because I seem to have entered a stage of this where I'm just not enjoying it.  My heart is broken and with every kick and every bit of pregnancy pain, I am reminded that I am not going to have a baby at the end of this road.  It feels like it's all for nothing and although I am truly grateful for all the blessings that have come to others from her life and that will come in the future, it doesn't take any of my pain away.  It's here and it will be for a long time.  There is no "getting my mind off of it" by keeping myself busy. Trust me, I'm busy.  Everywhere I go and everything I do, there it is.  I still have joy, but my happiness is on hold.  And I'm okay with that, but I had to wonder "Why did He bother?  Why didn't he just leave me where I was - Why won't He stop this?"

And then came the last line in the third verse... "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves me"...

All I have to do is go back to those first few months when I began to understand Who God was and how much He loved me - not because I had my life together and went to church wanting to know Him, but in spite of the fact that I was a mess and really wasn't interested in Jesus - and I can say without a doubt that I know that my God loves me. And because I know that, I can take comfort knowing that my afflictions will be eclipsed by His glory and that His sovereign plan is good.  Doesn't mean I like it and it doesn't mean that it makes me feel better right now, but I trust Him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Naptime Turned Chocolate

I had an appointment this morning and by the time I got home, I was so tired, I could hardly move.  Kelly usually watches the boys on Fridays for me while I bring Des to art class, but today she offered to take her for me and bring Isaiah so I could nap while Sam was.  I shut the door behind them and waved goodbye, thinking about how good bed was going to feel and headed up the stairs.  I got to the top and the phone started ringing.  I have gotten pretty good at ignoring the phone, but I decided to go see who it was...mistake #1. 

It was the organ bank calling back.  Yesterday when I spoke to them, they gave me the rundown of how it all worked and it included the morgue.  I had told them that if I was going to donate any of Rachel's parts, she would not be allowed to go to the morgue as part of the process.  It is already an absolute in my birth plan that my daughter is at no time to be brought to the morgue and put in a freezer.  Can't handle that. So this was the call that would answer that and I couldn't not pick up.  So I did...mistake #2.

It was "good" news... they said that they would be honored to work with me in whatever way necessary.  We talked about what would be possible donations from Rachel and what wouldn't - and it looks like the main thing we're going to try for is her heart valves.  "Ok, I can handle this" I thought.  They kept referring to her donation as a "gift" which made me happy to think of the babies lives her heart valves could save.  She told me that there is a huge need for infant heart valves and that they are usually immediately used as soon as they are ready for donation.  She told me they'd need to take her whole heart "Ok, it would only go into the ground anyway" I told myself.  And then she said that I could donate her heart to research after they remove the valves..."or what, throw it away?" I wondered.  I said from the beginning of this that I didn't want my daughter to be a science experiment... She explained how big her incision would be - from her collar bone to her ribs. "ok, they can cover that and put a onesie back on her so I don't have to look at it"   She went on to tell me about the weight requirements for donation and the gestational age she must make it to  - and then started to talk about how they will accept a lower weight since part of the weight that would normally be included, will be absent.  Then she explained that if Rachel was any smaller than this required weight, her valves would be too small to work with and they'd have a hard time implanting them... and that's when I wanted to puke.  "She is so tiny, so innocent, and... so on her way to heaven that I can hardly take it.  Her heart is strong and healthy and I'm already talking about donating it for research."  As I'm having this conversation, I can feel her dancing in my womb.  I am positive that I want to do this, but it's yet another hard thing for my heart to bear.

She said "I am just so in awe of the fact that you are so together (she had no idea that I was bawling and sick to my stomach) and that you are even able to make this phone call or be thinking of helping someone else right now.  It really is a testimony to how strong you are."

At that moment, I let her in on the fact that I was sobbing and told her through my tears "It's actually a testimony to how strong God is"

I tried to go lay down after we hung up, but I couldn't stop crying.  I laid there for a while until I came to the realization that it just wasn't going to happen... so I got up and drank a cup of coffee and ate a few pieces of chocolate to get me through the afternoon.  Not a bad trade in my book - and so much quicker than a nap.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yummy Potatoes

I just spent an hour on the phone, first with Duke University talking about the study we're going to participate in on anencephaly, and then with the Organ Bank to get info on possibly donating some of Rachel's organs or tissues.  I hung up exhausted from the mental energy it took to make the calls, but feeling pretty happy about the potential good that could come from these opportunities, smiling over the people it could help.

I went down to the basement to get a frozen meal out for dinner.  Denise's famous "yummy potatoes." As I opened the door to the freezer, it hit my big belly and the reality of those phone calls became undeniable.   These are the plans I have to look forward to...donating her organs and DNA samples.  Tonight, she'll be enjoying yummy potatoes with Mama and in a few short months, she'll be gone.

Kind of makes me appreciate yummy potatoes even more.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

5 Down, 2 to go!

I couldn't get out of bed this morning...I was sooo tired.  I knew we needed to be out of the house in 1/2 an hour and there I was laying there trying to keep my eyes open.  I finally made it to the shower 5 minutes before my mom got here to watch the kids.  Needless to say, we were late for my appointment at Maine Medical.  But, that didn't matter because my appointment was at 10:00 and they didn't call me in until almost 11:00 - wish I would have stayed in bed a little longer!  I have been so tired I'm having trouble doing anything.  I picked up some liquid Floradix (iron) tonight though and I just drank the whole bottle, so I should feel better in the morning. :o)  Kidding.  Hopefully I'll start to have more energy in the next week...please pray for that.

So, the first part of my appointment was tough.  The ultrasound tech was having trouble getting a good picture of Rachel and said that I had a lot of extra fluid.  I didn't get any 4D pictures this time, which I was expecting and had my heart set on, so I was disappointed.  We did get a profile picture this time though, but that was sad because it seems like her scull stops lower than it looked like in our last pictures, which was really hard to see.  My heart aches for my baby girl.

We met with the nurse, and that went well.  She was very nice.  We told her about our desire to have a c-section and she asked the reasons.  I gave her my list of reasons and she said she'd let the doctor know. She told us that a vaginal delivery would be safer before she left, so as we waited, we prepared ourselves for another "no".

We had some friends over last night and spent time praying that God would make a way for this to happen for us.  I had been praying specifically all week that He would clearly shut and open doors so that I knew which way to go.  I had started to second guess my decision and was afraid that I might be trying to make something happen that God might have been trying to protect me from.  I didn't want to look back and wish I had listened to the "no's".  I was prepared to leave there and have to ask another hospital to do it,  because after our appt. there 2 months ago, I didn't think there was a chance they'd do it. 

The doctor came in, sat down, and told us that he thinks our request is reasonable.  He went over the potential risks, and was careful to say that he wanted us to keep them in their proper perspective because they are rare and they do c-sections all the time.  He said that, before he came in, he asked 4 other doctors there what they thought and they all said that they would do it, so now he just needs to ask the other 2 and we'll be all set!  Please pray that the other 2 will agree.  We talked about the details of how it will all go, recovery time and other information I'll need for the future.  I asked about my mom & sister being able to see her (they have seen all 3 of our kids be born and can't come in for a c-section) I wanted to know if she only lives for a few minutes, will they miss it and was very encouraged to hear him say that he thinks we'll get a few hours with her.  Obviously, he can't tell us that for sure, but it was music to my ears.   I am praying daily for more than that, but hours sounds better than minutes.  I will be grateful for whatever time I get with her, including now. 

I have to go back in 2 weeks, which will be hard to keep up with, but they need to keep an eye on my fluid.  Please pray that my fluid won't build up too quickly.  It can cause premature labor.  It occurs because Rachel is not swallowing as often as she should, so pray that her sucking will get stronger and that will take care of that problem.  She is very healthy in every other way.  All her organs look great and her cord is circulating blood properly.  She weighs about 2lbs 3 oz right now, which is average for healthy babies at 29 weeks - this made me so happy to hear.  She is amazing. 

We walked out of the office and went to get on the elevator.  Matt told me to give another pregnant girl our card with the blog address and I really didn't want to, but went with it.  She took it and said "I've got double trouble"  Matt asked "how so?"  "I'm having twins, twin girls.  And I have an 18 month old boy at home.  This ought to be great."  I said "Well, if they ever give you a hard time, give us a call cause we'd love to hold one of them" and told her to take care as we headed for the car.  I pray that she'll someday see the great blessing those precious baby girls are. 

I was so excited that the doctor responded so well, that I wanted to scream.  I didn't though cause a screaming pregnant girl can be scary and I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. :o)

There really is no answer for this turn of events other than answered prayer.  Thank you to everyone who has been bringing us before the Lord.  I am so grateful.  Our God hears and answers prayers.  I asked Him for a clear answer and I am confident that this is it.  I am also extremely happy that it was the answer I was hoping for.  I know if His will was for me to have a vaginal birth, that He would have closed this door, especially since it was only open a crack to begin with.  And I also know that if He changes His mind and I go into labor early, He will prepare me in advance.  I know that I don't need to worry about the future potential risks or the con's of having a c-section, because God has again and again proven Himself trustworthy, reliable and aware.  I know He is in this.

I came home and took a nap, which never happens.  I fell asleep saying "thank You God" over and over with a renewed sense of hope for Rachel's birth.  I am so relieved.  I think I'll probably sleep better tonight than I have in a long time. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh, to be three again...

Remember when your mom told you not to rush growing up?  If only I knew then how great being a kid was.  I was reminded of the simplicity that seems to disappear with age at dinner tonight...

"Can clothes walk without people in them?"  Isaiah asked us with wide eyes.

If only life was still so simple.  I had spent much of the afternoon looking at pro's & con's of c-sections with anencephalic babies and praying for God to open and shut doors to protect my heart and give me peace.  I'd love it if the only concern I had now was about how clothes make their way around... although, I have wondered if there was a way to get them to put themselves away!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Emotional Breakdown Anyone?

I thought I was feeling pretty good this morning.  I was tired, but totally oblivious to the fact that I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. 

I was up entirely way too late last night (as usual), and of course that combined with the bathroom runs and heartburn, I had another night of too little sleep.  Combine that with anemia and it's safe to say that I'm not on top of things. 

So, all it took was a mix up of scheduling my week (I had no idea what day I had to do what or where I needed to be when, or when I needed a sitter or didn't) and I started crying.  I cried...and cried some more...and cried some more.  My original thought was "I can't remember anything...I can't keep anything straight", at which point my friend quickly interjected that I have a ton going on.  That didn't seem to make me feel better though and my thoughts went to "I have WAY too much going on - how is one person supposed to do all this?" and from there, I was all over the place... "I can't believe I am going to go through all this and all I'm going to have left is this blanket - I'm carrying around a stupid blanket as if it's going to bring me any comfort later, knowing that it's in the ground with my baby.  I can't believe this is really happening to me...  I can't believe this is real.  This is not fair.  How am I supposed to do this?"  And I cried...and I cried...and I cried some more.  I sat in the sanctuary alone sobbing for 30 minutes knowing that there is no turning back.  There's no way out.  And it's not going to get any easier from here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You don't have to let a bad apple spoil the bunch

I had some time in my car today while Des was at her art class.  I went to check out another cemetery - apparently the only one in the area that does burials in the winter and keeps the grounds plowed in the winter.  This is important since her birthday and the anniversary of her death will be in the winter and I want to be able to get to her grave at those times.  It's not as close as I would like, but it's pretty - it's a big field, and I have a thing for wide open them.

Anyway, what am I talking about....oh yeah, apples.  (Just found out today that I'm also really anemic and I think it's affecting my ability to think, so bear with me)  I was driving along and thinking about all the people who have blessed me lately.  Shannon had me make a list, did my grocery shopping for me, brought them in and even put them away!  Melissa brought us a meal to eat and a meal to freeze, and the next night, we got another meal from Amy.  I've had Kelly here 2 times babysitting and she is taking care of all the details of Rachel's shower.  Denise has been working with me to help make my vision for Rachel's playground a reality and helping me out with many other random things.  The teachers at Tri-City all pitched in, and when I brought Des for her first art class, handed me an envelope with a financial blessing in it.  Roy had one of his electricians come over and do some work at no charge so that we could finally call our mudroom "complete".  Donna stopped by randomly and gave us money because she felt like we should go out on a date. On top of all the ways people we know have cared for us, we have been blown away with what God is doing through our little girl.  This week, we were so blessed to hear from Matt's sister, Angela, who we haven't seen in 1 1/2 years, calling to tell us that she read the blog and to make things right with us.  We got to see her and her daughter, Giada, and spend some time with them.  We have received some of the most encouraging emails and blog comments from people we've never met.  We have been humbled time and time again, even just in this past week, by how God loves us.

What does this have to do with apples?  As I thought of all these people and all that they've done for us, I realized that I have been allowing a few bad apples to spoil my bunch.  God has put a lot of beautiful "apples" in my life.  I have so much to be thankful for.  If I focus on the bad apples, I'll miss the blessing of the good ones.

So, what is it about the "bad apple" that so easily steals our attention??  I think Eve probably can relate... satan has been using bad apples to distract us from God since the beginning of time.  I so often wish Eve would have chosen not to listen to satan, but apparently she was just as human as I am.  Someone wrote in a comment on my recent post, "Don't let satan distract you from what God has in you", I read that and it all clicked... satan would love to have his way with this - well, he can't beat it.  My daughter's life is too precious to let satan distract me from what God has in her.

another one bites the dust

another doctors office down... talked to an office in Portsmouth today and they said "no" to the c-section too.  "there's too many risks involved" and, very nicely, she wanted to make sure I knew that anencephalic babies born c-section are born dead too.  You know, just so that I don't have any false expectations.  Thanks for the input.

Honestly, my heart can't handle the constant disappointments.  I'm meeting with Maine Medical again on Tuesday and we'll get to see Rachel again on a 4D ultrasound. I'm looking forward to that...with a little reservation.   I'm going to have another talk with them about the c-section.  Please pray that they will be responsive.