Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Faith, Praise and the power of Prayer

Here she is all comfy and cozy in her ocean of fluid as I like to call it. This was taken last Friday February 22 at our last high risk ultrasound appointment. As you can see, she is quite the drama queen. A majority of the weekly profile shots we have are with her hand propped up on her forehead! Oh, baby it to us already.

I think even at this late hour I am in denial that we are welcoming our 3rd child into our family tomorrow morning. It really has not hit me yet that she will be here tomorrow. It definitely has not hit the boys yet...poor little fellas, they don't know what is about to hit them. Maybe come 4 am when we are getting up it will hit me:)

We could not have made it this far without many of you. Your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, emails and many phone calls have brought great joy to us. The Lord has been gracious and provided us with all the support we have needed. He has held us tight and guided us along the way. When we realized our dreams and hopes for this pregnancy and potential outcome were not to be...we were able to lean heavily on His mercy and grace knowing that His will would be done. Only by our faith in Him and His undeniable love for us have we been able to let go of our dreams and hopes and cling to His plan. There has still been hurt and pain but ultimately this season of disappointment in our lives has drawn us closer to Him. It has allowed me to see his love, compassion and body of Christ in ways I might not have been able to. I have learned that my dreams are separate from my faith in God. Just because my dreams do not come true, does not affect my faith in Him.

Not my will but Yours be done. There have been many days this was much easier to say than cling to. I am sure tomorrow a flood of emotions will rock my boat but in the end it will not capsize.

A friend sent me an encouraging email along this journey and it was perfect for us.

"Be Open"
"Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:23

"Be open to the possibilities...that these circumstances hold more than what I see right now.
Be open to the possibilities...of God's promise to grow good things in hard places.
Be open to the possibilities...of discovering new hope.
Be open to the day at a time.

When I look ahead, I have a choice: to fear the future or to stretch my imagination to embrace God's possibilities each morning.

Lord, I don't know what this new year will bring, but You do. Awaken me to Your possibilities, one day at a time."

Chris and I have both drawn so much from this time in our lives. It has brought great change in us as a couple, individually and spiritually. I will have to expand on this more at a later time as it is late and this post is getting long:)

OK, so now some of you are wondering what in the world is going on...aside from us having a baby tomorrow. I have been sending weekly and biweekly updates to many of you but it never made it to the blog. So much for me "linking" to my previous post at this point. Where oh where has my brain gone?

To recap the 2nd half of our pregnancy...

Our 20 week ultrasound looked fabulous and we found out we were having a girl this go round and reconfirmed there was only ONE monkey this time. We had a pretty good idea at 8 weeks or so that it was just one...but we wanted to know for sure:)

I delivered our boys at 32 weeks and we were being cautious as we approached this time period. We were never really sure if my cervix was the problem or if I was just done at 32 weeks since there were 2 monkeys in me and my uterus thought I was at 40 weeks. When we got to 28 weeks this time, we did another internal ultrasound to check my cervix and get a baseline to go on. Everything looked fabulous...nice and closed:) The ultrasound tech asked if I wanted a belly scan so we could see the baby's face and grab a picture or two. Of course! Well this happened to be a blessing in disguise. While she was looking around and trying to get Miss Priss to cooperate, she found something a little off. My amniotic fluid levels were a bit too high. The baby's kidney's, heart and facial features looked fine. Those can all have birth defects that would cause high or low amniotic fluid levels. Her tummy looked fine but her intestinal area was showing a questionable problem. My OB really felt like it was nothing but wanted the high risk docs to check it out and do a level 2 ultrasound for a better look. Insert 2 weeks of waiting here. The LONGEST two weeks of my life! It was over Christmas so we had many things and family to distract us. When we finally went for our appointment we received some not so fun news. Yes, my amniotic fluid levels were up, higher than the previous 2 weeks and the baby did have loops of bowel that were dilated. Meaning they were filled with amniotic fluid that was not getting through. As she swallowed the fluid like normal, it was getting blocked somehow in her intestines. On top of all this, they requested that I be tested to see if I was a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. Many times when they find these types of problems it can point to CF. If I came back a carrier, then they would test Chris. It takes both parents being a carrier to pass the gene along that causes CF. More waiting.

The first two days after this appointment were REALLY tough. Thankfully my mom was in town. She was able to keep the boys for us. This allowed Chris and I to have some time together and I was also able to spend some time with my mom. By the end of the weekend I was in a much better spot. I quickly realized I had to let go...of many things... in order for the Lord to take the wheel and guide me. I was a wreck trying to do it own m own for those 2 days. Thankfully He was patiently waiting on me, His faithfulness never changing as mine did.

Prayers were answered and we found out my test results came back negative. This does not 100% rule out CF but the doctors no longer feel this is an issue. CF can cause life long problems and I hoped and prayed this would not be what we were facing. No, it would not change a thing in how we would love her or guide her...I did not want her to face the challenges that this disease can bring. I have taken care of many CF kids in the hospital and it was something I did not want to face with my child. As a nurse, I have said goodbye to several children with this disease and could not imagine having to do this as a parent.

We saw the high risk docs every week there after. High amniotic fluid levels can cause preterm labor and stress the baby. They wanted to monitor for both of these. Once again, prayers were answered and we have made it to 38 weeks and 5 days without any problems! She passed her tests every week with flying colors:) I think she knew how many ultrasounds we had with the boys and she wanted her baby book to be just as full:)

For the past 10 weeks we have been hoping and praying that everything will be great when she gets here. We will not have any answers until she is born and they can run specific tests on her. The ultrasound can only tell us that her bowel is still dilated (not normal) and my amniotic fluid levels are still high (not normal). This is why I like to say she is swimming in an ocean...maybe we have an Olympic swimmer in the making:) The docs are guessing there is some sort of webbing remaining in place from early on in development. In a fetus the intestines start out as a solid structure and open up into a mine and yours are. They are thinking there are parts that did not fully separate and thus the webbing causing a blockage. This can all be fixed at birth but does require surgery:( We are hoping and praying they will find nothing when they run tests on her tomorrow.

If they find a problem and it is going to require surgery...they will have to transfer her to one of the two children's hospitals here. Both are fabulous and ranked #3 in the country. There are two different campuses and it just depends on which one has an opening in their NICU. This is going to be the hard part for me (aside from my child needing surgery). She will be an hour away from me:( It is a stand alone children's hospital and they therefore do not do adults. The thought of shipping her off breaks my heart.

For those of you still reading're a trooper. We will update tomorrow. I hope to get some pics on here and of course more info on what we find. Not quite sure it has fully hit me yet...the birth and the awaiting diagnosis. Seeing that it is after midnight, we have to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning and I am still typing:) Why start with sleep now:)

Here is a list of prayers we have been sharing with people. We would love to have you join us in prayer and thanksgiving during this time. We have already seen many prayers answered.

1.His glory and goodness will be seen during this time.
2. Pray we will not loose sight of this pregnancy and precious baby girl, that all these tests and findings will not overshadow the joy and hope of her arrival.
3. Pray that I can keep my nursing knowledge to a low roar and not create "what ifs" from my past experiences.
4.Pray for her arrival and the medical teams that will be evaluating her...everything will check out OK and no surgery will be needed
5.Pray that we will not loose sight of God's goodness and graciousness through this... that we may be a light to those around us and to the medical teams caring for us

This is certainly not the plan I would have chosen for our family, this pregnancy or our little girl. My plans are not my own...I all too often do not understand His...maybe never will. I do understand that He is there to carry my burdens and guide me along the way. Am I willing to let Him or do I cling tightly to the journey as I see it? He can strengthen and sustain me...that is just what he has done.

I will leave you with a quote from a quiet time I recently had. It spoke to me in perfect timing.

A Journey with God
Leah DiPascal
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 (NKJ)

"One thing I am learning is that when we ask our Heavenly Father for something, the journey He takes us on while we wait on Him is often times greater than the answered prayer itself. I hope you will let Him carry your burdens today and trust that He knows what is best for you and those you love.

Remember, you were not designed to walk this path alone. He is right by your side to strengthen and sustain you each step of the way.

Dear Lord, help me to trust in You when life doesn’t make any sense. To know that You love me unconditionally and are always there to carry my burdens. Remind me to seek you first when trials and challenges come my way and to recognize Your faithfulness and goodness throughout my journey in life. "

Now I must run off to get some sleep:) ha ha. I think I have to be up in 3 hours...yep, I am in DENIAL that we are having a baby tomorrow the 28th...err today now.

Joyfully in Him,


Chrys and Mike said...

Oh, wow! Martha, I am praying right now.

I am up late tonight and thinking of you--it won't be too long before you're waking up to meet that sweet baby girl on her birthday! I can't wait to read news!!!

Much love and many prayers from Texas.


Casey said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. You, Chris, the boys and sweet girl will be in my prayers! Happy Birthday Little One!

Casey Childs Garmendia

Anonymous said...

We are thinking about you and praying for a safe and healthy delivery!!!
Rye and Lainey Tuten

Michael & Catherine said...

We are thinking of you all and praying for you and your sweet baby girl! Hope all is well and we look forward to hearing of her arrival! We love you all!

Tallon said...

Praying for you guys and sweet little baby girl- can not wait to see pictures!! Praying for wisdom for Dr/s nurses and you guys as well!! Looking forward to seeing the 2 big brothers meet little "miss priss"

Anonymous said...

Just heard the news through the grapevine that the little girl has made her entry to the world...and more importantly is healthy and doing great! Talk about answered prayers!! Congratulations! Can't wait to meet her! Post some pictures fast!!

Much Love from your cousin in SC,
Cynthia Anne (and my Chris too!)

Jill said...

Well probably a lot has happened by now! We will be praying for your whole family during this time. Martha, thanks for emailing your heart. The Lord is using it in my life! The Lord is good!
Can't wait to get an update!
Send love to the whole family from us!

Laura Hamm and the Hamm Family said...

The Hamm family is SOOOOOO happy for you all. We are so excited that you are all doing well and she is healthy (and apparently eating well!) God is just SOOO good! And all of our prayers have been answered! We love you all and we cant wait to meet her!!!

Laura and the entire Hamm/Horne family

Anonymous said...

It's Thursday! I need Pics!
Going crazy here in Cali!

Laura said...


Just got the email you sent my dad... he forwarded it on to me! It made me VERY happy that she was wearing all her Clemson Gear in the pictures!!! She is BEAUTIFUL! and the boys in their big brother t-shirts with the fire trucks were precious!!! Love you all and, like I said before, I cant wait to meet her!!!!

sage said...

Martha - I came across your blog from Rebecca Cannon - and I'm so glad I did - I loved the update on your baby girl - this testimony is rich and powerful. Oh how I loved reading your journey through this. Thanks for sharing. You are so precious. We are continuing to pray all goes well with your precious newborn GIRL!! :)