Sunday, February 28, 2010

Survival & Strength

We go into a pregnancy taking all our vitamins, drinking water, eating healthy, exercising, & doing what we can to make sure we have a healthy baby. When you finally announce that you are pregnant to all your family & friends one of the first things we ask is "ahhh are you hoping for a boy or a girl?" What do we usually say? "You know as long as it is healthy, that is all that matters." What if that baby isn't healthy? Will you love it any less? Will you ignore it? Will you choose to terminate? Will you resent that baby? If God trust's you in this trial, will you accept it? No one can predict how you would handle this news, no one can expect you to act a certain way.

Never do we think that we will walk into the doctor's office for a regular check up.To have your doctor tell you your baby is not healthy, & he will not live long after birth if he even survives to 40 weeks in your belly. No one can prepare you for the suffocating, and earth shattering news. You always think that it will happen to someone else, not you & then it does. The room starts to spin & you think it is all a bad dream. So what do you do when your worst nightmare becomes your reality? How do you function after you walk out of that doctor's office? No one can tell you how to act, feel or even think when you are battling with this nightmare. Let me tell you the things some people say are unbelievable. You immediately have compassion for other people who have walked in your shoes. It is so true when they say you don't truly know what people are going thru until you personally have gone thru the same trial. Everyone goes thru things, & everyone has there own trials and struggles. Some trials & struggles are different than other's but the compassion is the same. You grow up and you learn things about yourself, you never thought was in you. You discover strength you only could imagine. The strength that only can come from God. I don't know how I would get through this w/ out God, he is truly the reason I am still waking up everyday, he is helping me breathe & focus on the next task.

I say all this for one reason. We ask, we pray & sometimes we expect for God to give us what we ask. Are willing to take what God gives whether it is what we asked for or not? Are we willing to lay it all down at the cross for him. I prayed and I asked God for a baby after we suffered a loss in the spring. When I found out I was pregnant, I just assumed & expected for a healthy baby, but that wasn't God's plan. Now his plan may be to heal Zeke before he is born and oh how I pray it is, but how can we ever know what God is up to. We can't. We have to learn to just love him & to worship him because of who he is, not what he can give us.

Tonight that is were I am at. I am worshiping God for who is. He is our Abba Father,
He is our comfort in time of need & He is the one we praise when we have a good day or we have a bad day. God is in control. God will not forsake us. No matter what our day is like, no matter what we feel, God is there with us whether we feel him or not.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Even when the sky is falling..... Miracles can happen

I have been having good days and not so good days, but I am writing tonight to tell you that the faith I have has grown so much in the last month it is unbelievable. I am not the same person I was before that dreadful day on the 7th of January. I am not the same person I was the 1st of Feburary. I have grown so close to God in the last few weeks, that I feel his presence w/ me where ever I go. It is a wonderful feeling to know that God is right by your side & he is not only walking w/ you, but he is actually carrying you thru the fire.

I am reminded of that poem we have all heard "Footprints." I am at that point in my life were I only see 1 set of footprints, before January 7th I would of thought they were my footprints & I was walking thru this fire alone. Today I can tell you the footprints in the sand are not mine they are God's & I truely feel him carrying me thru this fire!! We have had many ups & downs in the last few weeks. We are so thankful that he has already done some healing in Zeke. We still have a long way to go in order for him to completly heal him from his head to his toes but I am at peace knowing in the end everything is going to be okay & in the end God will be finished making Zeke whole. I am not afraid to plan a nursery and to buy all the needed baby things, or to even have a baby shower. I know that when the time comes for Zeke to be born, he will be healthy. God will finish what needs to be done & Zeke will be a testimony to all of us & to all of those doctor's who spoke death over him for 25 weeks. They will have no choice but to say it was God and God alone who healed this baby. We are praying for a miracle, we are expecting a miracle & we are desperate for a miracle.

I have gotten alot of words from God thru songs. Especially the last few months I have soaked in worship music, listening to what God wants to say to me. This week I can't get enough of the new Kutless song called... "What Faith Can Do"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

His brain is healed!

We survived the appointment. After waiting for over an hour we went it to the ultrasound room. I immediately saw that we had the same ultrasound tech & thought....oh great not her again she was not friendly @ all last time. She took many picture's of him and asked if we had a name picked out for him & then confirmed with us that he was most defiantly a HE! =) She was very friendly this time and it was alot nicer to have some conversation while we were being scanned for close to 45 min.

The doctor came in and right away there was something about her I didn't like. I felt uncomfortable with her. She started off rambling about everything that was wrong w/ him. She pointed out that he had alot of fluid around his heart and around where his lungs will grow. She said that his heart was about 3/4 the size of his chest & could be swelling. She told me that his stomach was measuring about a week smaller than his heart and over all he is only measuring 19 weeks and 5 days. I should be 22 weeks and 6 days. My regular OB say ed last week that he will never "catch" up but that as long as we see growth that is promising. The specialist started rambling on about how his leg looked hyper extended the opposite way & she looked at me weird when I just smiled at her , I was thinking to myself his leg is the least of my worries lady are kidding me. She would not stop talking about his leg! LOL She went on to say that with his heart being so big and my placenta covered in calcium & looking like it is near the end of a 40 week pregnancy she expects me to loose him w/ in the next few weeks. She was very blunt about what she said and how she said it. It just gave me the creeps. She never mentioned anything about his brain until I brought it up & she said nope his brain looks good nothing to worry about and his chin looks normal size to me. !!!!! I wanted to laugh at her.I told her I didn't understand that when we were there the first time he didn't have kidneys, the next time they found his kidneys but he has a major part of his brain missing along w/ his chin not developing. Now she is telling me that his kidneys, brain & chin were okay but his heart is swelling & my placenta looks like it is about to die. I feel like every time I go back in for an ultrasound something is different & they don't know what they are talking about.

The doctor just looked at us like we were crazy because my mom and I could not stop smiling during the appt. & she kept telling us he was going to die in utero w/ in the next couple weeks & we just smiled and say ed okay. I wish I could of known what she say ed about us after we left cause I am sure it was an interesting conversation. =) She kept talking about the amnio & I know she was thinking they could get the results rushed back in the next week so I could make a decision about termination because i only had a week left to legally terminate. I told her no we are not doing the amnio,we will carry him as long as we can.

I wanted to scream & laugh at her all at the same time. I have had 3 intense ultrasounds in the last 6 weeks and every time they all sayed there was something terrible wrong w/ Zeke's organs or body parts. David told me later when I got home that pretty soon they are gonna run out of body parts to diagnose problems with. Praise God for healing Zeke & Praise God for the miracle's that are still yet to come for this little boy. I have been told many times that he must have an amazing call on his life for the enemy to be working so hard to take him out before he is already born. They are so right!! God has shown up so many times already & healed this little boy it is amazing. Our faith has been built up so much through this trial and I know the best is yet to come.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. If you are praying w/ us for Zeke we are concentrating on his heart, the fluid in his chest & brain, & my placenta & his legs. We love you all & I know when we go back in 2 weeks all of these will be healed & we will move on to the next body part until he is healed from his head to his toes!

Hope, Faith & my amaising Husband!!

Today is the day. Today is the day that I go back for my follow up Ultrasound w/ Zeke. I was planning on getting an amnio done @ the same time, but after alot of prayer, talking w/ david and both our mom's I have decided to just wait. I got alot of advice on the topic from my Facebook status & probably a handfull of my friends mentioned the same verse...." Be still and know that I am God." As I sit here w/ tears welling up inside I know in my gut and in my heart not my head that he is God! He is in Control! The smart thing to do is to wait.

I thank God for my husband! The respect and love I have for him was unexplainable before this nightmare began, but now that we are walking thru it I am just in awe of how he is handling this. I thank God for the strength & wisdom he has brought me. When I forget the scriptures & I keep spitting out medical knowledge he is the one to remind me that when it all comes down to it. God is God & he will talk care of us & he has a plan for Zeke. He is amaising & wonderful. Isn't that why God gave us a partner? To pick us up when we fall. He is the strong one right now. He is my rock, I prayed & begged God for. Now that I am the one on the floor barely able to function & have hope most days he is there to lift my spirits & to think of the good times we are having w/ Zeke. David sayed to me the other day....."Stefani remember we need to Praise God when we win and we need to Praise God when we loose." I have clung to that like it is my last breathe to God. I am riding on emotions right now, he is riding on facts from the word of God. I need to cling to David & let him pull me through my emotions & when or if the time comes I will do the same for him.

I say all that to say. I am just going to have the ultrasound done. I am going to wait on the amnio and see if @ 34 weeks it is still important for us to move forward w/ it. For now there are to many what if''s to be thrown in to the pot. I keep thinking that if something did go wrong with the amnio how would I live with myself knowing that I did not HAVE to get this test done. Right now I am clinging to the prayer that God is still God & he can heal Zeke from the top of his head to the bottom of his toes.

Today I need hope. Today I need good news from the specialist @ the hospital. Today I need to enjoy Zeke moving around in my belly, to watch with excitment as I see David & the boys feel him as well. Today I need to think of carseats, cribs, baby clothes & plan what kind of nursery we should do for Zeke. Yes the amnio will help us prepare for the what if's & help us know if we should design a nursery, or if we might be planning a funeral. I can't do it right now I thought I could. Today I want to plan for his arrival like I would any other baby & get him all the things he deserves. When the time comes for him to be born & God does choose to take him home the grief will be as heartbreaking then as it would be now w/ the devastating test results. We want to celebrate him right now, we want to plan for him & love him the way he deserves to be loved.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

He is in the little things....

2 posts in 1 day I know crazy right, but I have had a great day & wanted to share it!

The last week was hard, agonizing to say the least, but this weekend was just what I needed w/ my family. God knew that & he blessed me w/ a great weekend w/ the best 3 men in the world (well 4 if you count Zeke in my belly). We just lay ed around yesterday until about 6pm & decided to venture out to the mall. We went to the Bass Pro shop & felt like we were back in GA for a little bit it was nice. We then went to the coolest candy shop ever & I think all 4 of us drooled over what to pick out! =) We then walked around & looked for an outfit for Zeke William. I was nervous walking into the store's but the minute I did, I couldn't help but smile at all the cutest little clothes & yes we are still convinced after the 2 boys we already have that they STILL do not make as many clothes for boys as they do little girls! LOL We looked at baby gear & found a bassinet we liked & a crib & some really cute bedding w/ monkey's & polka dots on them. For the moment it seemed perfect it seemed like we really did have a healthy baby growing inside me & I admit my mind kept trying to go back to reality but I just couldn't let it last night. Last night @ the store I just dreamed & I prayed that this would be our reality. We walked into carter's which by the way is the best baby store ever I have always loved & always will! There Malachi decided he was in charge of picking out Zeke's blanket & Elijah decided he was in charge of picking out Zeke's stuffed animal. (for those of you who don't know Malachi is severely attached still to his blanket & Elijah has a stuffed horse who he is attached to named Fred.) We found the blanket and it was perfect it was gorgeous & it truly felt like silk! We all wished we could have one for ourselves. =) It was the little things last night that God showed me through shopping for Zeke that all though we are going through the fire, he is still w/ us & he does want show to us some happiness.

The last 24 hours i have had a strong & I mean very strong craving for mac & cheese bites! You can only get them @ TGI Friday's that I am aware of well, I didn't want to go out to eat for lunch after we went out the night before just to satisfy my craving. So I was going to try and satisfy myself w/ mac & cheese from home. We were on our way home when this chili dog fast food place had chili dogs on sale for .99 cents no limit, we decided to stop for a quick snack before I went home & made meatloaf for dinner tonight. We walked in there & guess what they had??? You know it! Mac & Cheese bites! Can you believe it!! I was so happy I almost started crying! Instead of spending 40$ for lunch @ TGI Friday's we were able to spend just 10$ for a great lunch & make Zeke completely happy w/ his Mac & Cheese bites!! I felt like God was smiling down on me & saying ..." See I do care about you & I know what you want even when it comes to your cravings, I know you Stefani & I will take care of you!" David & the boys thought I was completely crazy on how excited I was to get those, but it meant so much more to me than just getting the mac bites, & I am not one of those people who see God in every situation & analyze everything super religiously sometimes things are just apart of life, but not today. Today God blessed me in the littlest thing I wanted in comparison to my baby being healed. He took me to a place to eat lunch were they specialize in Chili Dogs, why would they carry mac & cheese bites that doesn't even make sense on there menu. God is wonderful & God loves us ! Even when we think we are alone he shows up in the most mundane acts of life like eating lunch & satisfying a pregnancy craving.

ps... I can't wait to go get some more tomorrow on my lunch break... did I mention you get 3 bites for a $1.oo!! woohoo talk about a steal, especially when I would pay $5.00 for 1! =)

All things work together for my good!

Sunday's are good days! Sunday's are my best days! Sunday's are day's I look forward to!

I have no doubt it is because I am in church. I am surrounded my his presence & the church body that is so hungry for his presence. It just amazes me how wonderful our new church is & how God knew exactly what we needed at this time in our life. Encourager Church has been such a blessing & strength to us. We don't even know that many people yet, but we still feel so much love & support from them it blows me away.

I feel so much strength, & faith when I leave church. It is so refreshing to just sit in his presence & I may cry but it is not the kind of cry that makes my heartache & makes me want to throw up, it is a sweet cry & cry out to my father in heaven I truly feel his arm's around me on Sunday mornings. I feel him wiping my tears & just being w/ me, not saying it will be okay but just sitting there with his arm around me letting me cry. It is almost like a cleansing cry.

The worship is wonderful and the songs have touched me, everyone of them. Here are a few lyrics from the past few weeks that just melt my heart when I think about how much God does love me & how much he wants to take this pain away from me.

"With the furnace burning I know rescue is coming the promise never fails in the darkness the light shines breaking over the horizon.... carry me on your back Lord, through the storm Lord ....... waking up in the arms of love, singing a new song. "

"All things work together for my good, You make all things work together for my good you same through the ages your love never changes there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning and when the ocean rage I don't have to be afraid cause I know that you love me.

"My chains are gone I have been set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me & like a flood his mercy rains, unending love AMAZING GRACE!"

I know that the hardest part is yet to come, I know that I will shed many more tears & the fire is still burning & will get hotter, but today I have strength to get to the next day. I have to be thankfull for the little things in my life right now to get me through. Like taking the boys to check out new things in our new town, or going to the cool Rainforest Cafe' @ the mall & drooling over all the candy in the huge candy store & trying to pick out the best 1 for dessert. =)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

His 1st outfit...

I have had a long grieving week. I am 21 weeks, I should be shopping for our little boy scouring consumer reports for the best car seat, stroller & looking for a steal on Craig's List. I should be excited to find the PERFECT coming home outfit for Zeke, one that would match the Georgia hat & socks both his brother's wore. I can't, I can't bring myself to go touch those beautiful, adorable baby outfit's in the store, but I am so stressed in finding the perfect outfit that he may only wear 1 time! I don't want him to be naked in the hospital. This might be the only outfit I get to pick out for him, this might be the only outfit I get to put on him. I want it to fit him perfect. I am looking for the best outfit & I am determined to start looking even if I am crying while I am standing in the baby section.

I found the stroller/car seat combo I want on Craig's List the other day for a steal.... I just sat there and cried. I cried because I don't know if I will be able to use it. I told myself you have to buy it you will never come across such a bargain like this again, I couldn't do it. I couldn't pay for that stroller & car seat knowing that the likely hood of him coming home from the hospital is a 10% chance & if he does come home, we will be savoring time w/ him not running errands or doing mindless space filler activities. Then I thought where is your faith Stefani? Where is that faith that you believe in, that you long for? Is Zeke not worth the money of a wonderful car seat even if he only uses it 1 time? Does he not deserve a beautiful nursery complete w/ everything that you always wanted to do for Elijah & Malachi but never did? Zeke William deserves it! He deserves every kind of prep & planning that any other baby would get. So why am I not doing it? Why am I so scared to actually believe that he will be healthy and whole, that he will come home w/ us in June. Bottom line.... I am scared I will have to come home w/ empty arms & walk by that beautiful nursery & not be able to watch Zeke wake up in it every morning or to rock him to sleep every night.

I am jealous! I am jealous that I can not buy that coming home outfit, or that newborn checklist of necessities or register for baby stuff, (we got rid of everything after Malachi ) I am sad that I don't get to have that beautiful baby shower or get to stock up on diapers & wipes. I am jealous of every healthy baby that I see. I am jealous! I am so jealous I can feel the resentment settling in & I don't like it one bit, but I can't help it. My reality is not sleepless nights due to late night feedings & covered in spit up or even colic, right now I would love colic to be my problem!... but my reality is a little white casket. I think I have every right to be jealous of healthy pregnancy's or healthy babies, but it doesn't mean I like it or I want to feel this way, I just can't help it. I can't choose what emotion I feel at this moment & right now these last 2 weeks I have felt jealousy.

To all of my wonderful friends who are pregnant right now or have beautiful babies, I am truly so happy for you, I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone. I honestly can say how happy I am for you. Babies are a blessing from God & you can't help but smile when you see one. I love to go look on my face book & look at all the baby picture's & keep in touch w/ you all, but I am also not going to sit here & lie to you say it doesn't hurt a little bit either. I feel like this is better than isolation. This is better than cutting off from the world, to just live in my pain. I have to get out there & I have to see healthy pregnancy's. I have to see healthy babies. Because maybe just maybe David & I will have the strength to try again. I have to believe that it is not my fault for Zeke to be sick, I have to believe it is not my fault that Zeke may die. And by seeing all of you w/ your growing belly's & your beautiful babies it gives me hope that this is honestly not my fault & my chance to try again for a healthy baby is the same high chance that I had before we found out about Zeke's condition.

Everyone around me believes, everyone who supports us & prays for us believes with out a shadow of a doubt that he will be healed & God will touch his body. I want to say to all that.... Good for you, Thank God for you, because I don't feel it. I am scared beyond words. I am petrified beyond explanation. I have prayed this week so hard, but all I can do is cry & say "Jesus help me!" I think that God knows my pain & he knows what I need right now, & it is okay. I do not need to declare life & health over him everyday in order for God to heal him. My tear's are just as important & mean just as much to God than if I declare life over Zeke everyday. I don't have to feel guilty if I am sad or angry w/ my situation. I don't have to feel guilty because everyone else around me feels strong in there faith & believes Zeke will be healed even if I can't spit those words out. I am in the fire. I am in the fire of pain, heartache, grief, & sorrow. I can't escape it & go to a movie w/ my family or go to the grocery store & not think about it. I can't run away from it. All I can do is walk thru it & while I am doing that all I can do is cling to God & pray not for just for my faith to increase, but pray for me to not loose the faith I do have & turn away from God.

Monday, February 1, 2010

We are still a family of 5!

Sheeeesh! What a day it has been for us! We are home from the hospital and we are emotionally drained. We heard Zeke's heartbeat & it sounded like music to our ears!

It was quite scary walking thru those labor & delivery doors this afternoon, knowing that unless we have a miracle I was not going to be one of those happy mom's in June. We passed the nursery (of course) & I got all teared up just passing all those cute, pudgy HEALTHY babies! The nurse led us into our room complete w/ the baby incubator and all the gear he would need after he was delivered. I was so scared & so sad, but @ peace. I really felt that God was in complete control & he knows the number of Zeke's days. If I was to actually be in labor I felt God's love & his grace. He knows how much we can handle & at that moment I believed that if Zeke was going to come this evening then God would be with us. As hard as it would have been to deliver him this evening @ only 20 weeks, maybe God thought that was better than me going another 20 weeks & then having to hold him & watch him die in my arms. Only God knows how much we can handle & maybe just maybe this was it for us... 20 weeks w/ our sweet little boy. (written last night before I fell asleep)

They hooked me up to all those monitors & I had to get into one of those drop dead gorgeous gowns we all wish we could take home w/ us! =) After countless questions about everything related to being pregnant & some that made absolutely no sense, we heard the most magical sound you can imagine! Zeke's heartbeat! It was strong and sounded so healthy, hard to believe he has such a major brain abnormality. They ran some tests & checked to see if I was dilated & to my surprise I was not! My cervix was completely closed! Praise GOD!! Part of me was disappointed, now don't start yelling at me but I wasn't disappointed that he was alive, I was disappointed that I was prepared for him to be born. I was emotionally prepared for this to be the last day w/ him. I was relieved that I did not have to hold him in my arms and watch him die in 20 weeks, I was scared & petrified of giving birth to him @ 20 weeks, but I am just as scared & petrified to give birth to him @ 40 weeks. Like I said before it is not an exciting time, I feel this huge weight on my shoulders of the unknown. Yesterday afternoon I thought that the weight would be lifted & we would move to the next step & grieve for our little boy & his short life. Now all that to say as soon as we were finally released & I got dressed, I walked back by those cute pudgy babies I had my hope back. I felt refreshed. I was so thankful that God showed us his grace & mercy that afternoon. We have 20 weeks for God to perform his miracle on little Zeke & I don't doubt w/ all my heart that he can do it!

It is hard when people find out I am pregnant & are so excited they just keep saying congrats, congrats & then the big ole' BUT comes in & I have to explain the situation w/ tears flooding my eyes. My boss asked me today what I was going to do & I just looked at her & said I am going to go home & be w/ my family and then I will come to work tomorrow & I will do that everyday until something changes. Some people think I am crazy for continuing on w/ the pregnancy (my doctor included) knowing the "logical" end result, but all I can do is just focus on the next hour or the next activity in my day & pray that God will get us thru & he will he has to.

Please continue to pray for strength for David & I. Pray that our Faith is renewed every morning and that we keep clinging to each other. Pray that I keep breathing & can concentrate on my job & my boys. It is a daily battle when it comes to our minds & our thoughts. I am not ashamed to say i deal w/ it constantly. I know in my heart that God can & will heal our baby, but logically I just don't see how it is possible to not only heal him but to actually put that spot in his brain. This is not something a surgeon can fix, he can't fix something that isn't even there. We need to be prepared for what may happen, but pray I don't let it consume me to the point that I forget God is God & Zeke is in God's hand, not the doctor's.