Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound

Yes, our precious girl is here and we are cherishing every moment with her. I'd like to blog about our experience in bringing her into this world as it culminating a long, prayerful, emotional journey that many of you traveled alongside us.

I spent much of Friday night finalizing things around the house and texting and chattng away with a great friend. Needless to say....I was restless, anxious, and excited, so we were on the phone well after midnight. After a few hours of rest, Fred and I got up bright and early and made the trip to Northside.

We arrived as scheduled at 6:30, however it was after 8:00 before we were placed in a room. We got in, got settled, and then looked at each other with a sense of uncertainty as to is this really real...are we going to meet her today? Things were busy, so not much went as planned, however, the day proceeded. My OB decided rather than wait on the epidural he would go ahead and remove my stitch. Well...that proved to be extremely painful and took me a short while to gather myself once that procedure was over. Shortly after, we began pitocin and then I received an epidural.

As anticipated, I had quite a bit of scar tissue which slowed things considerably. The midwife and my OB spent much of the morning and early afternoon trying to tear away at the scar tissue to help me progress. By mid/late afternoon I had made progress, however, Elizabeth was not dropping. Finally, after a very long day, the call was made at 6:15 for a C-section. As we prepared, I was overcome with emotion. I was tired, very tired, but now a bit afraid. However, I was reminded in my soul, He was with me, He had carried me this far, and He was not going to leave me or us now. I loved on Amber and William and gave them lots of kisses and reassured them all was well, while all the time hiding my tears. Mom and Dad took them to the waiting room, and Fred and I finalized paperwork and preparations to be taken to the OR.

We arrived in the OR and my OB was just as excited as we were. After lots of tugging, pulling, shaking, etc....we heard my OB say, wow...she is a big one! Shortly after, we heard her cry. It was at that moment, I fell apart. The cry I was hearing was the cry we, at one point, never thought we would hear. This cry was more than a new baby cry...it symbolized a journey of Faith, Love, and Prayer and as she cried, I felt the prescence of God holding my hand and just as I had reassured my children minutes earlier all was well, He was reassuring me at that moment, all was well.

I saw Elizabeth briefly, and Fred left with her to wait for me in our recovery room. Once I was finished in the OR, I joined them at which point I was finally able to hold my precious angel. All I could do was kiss her precious nose, lips, head, and stroke every part of her precious body. I could not believe she was real, the moment was real, and our journey was complete.

I did not sleep much at all that night. The pain was great, but I spent much of the night just holding her, staring at her, and finding myself in thanksgiving and praise over and over again. I knew she was here by the works of His hands, and only His hands. I knew if it weren't for prayer and Faith, that moment would not have been.

We spent the next few days in the hospital loving on her, welcoming her, and embracing the new life God had so richly blessed us with while continuing to remain humble. Time and time again, from OR recovery, to my many nurses, each would ask the other, "Have you heard this baby's story?". Sure it's a story, but I think now, it's much more than that. It's a revelation that God is real, prayer is real, and Faith does carry you. Our journey tells the story of God's love rather than simply just being "a story". Elizabeth is the living testimony of God's Grace, and His desire to Love us.

Yet, through it all, I am reminded that although our prayers were answered just as we had desired, there are many mommy's right now grieving the loss of their child and grieving for prayers that weren't answered as they desired. However, I still believe God answers all our prayers, but sometimes, they aren't how we want them answered. It is up to us to find the beauty in these moments, and trust in Him to give us the strength and courage to embrace the jouney that comes with those moments. Again, I am reminded of my friend Sarabeth's journey and her reliance on Faith. I admire her Grace and count it a blessing to call her my friend. She has taken her "unanswered prayer" and turned it into an answered prayer that has allowed her to share God's Love with so many.

Tonight, we are home. I'm still in a lot of pain, but I am home with my sweet Amber, my precious William, and my Amazing Elizabeth Grace. As I lay down shortly to rest before she wakes up, I am brought to tears by the blessings God has given me. Blessings I don't deserve. My children have been loved and cared for this weekend by my wonderful parents while Fred and I welcomed Elizabeth. My home is decorated for Christmas, Dad is baking, and mom continues to prepare meals to feed us. I hope, just as we are, you are reminded of the Reason for the Season.

I will post more pictures soon.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

10 Days and Counting...............

Counting the days! This past week I have struggled a great deal with frustration, lack of patience, and very little grace (just as Beckee). I guess this is normal for any pregnancy rounding the "final" corner. I entered 37 weeks this week and am feeling every bit of it as Elizabeth continues to drop and grow. As of last Friday, they estimated her at 7 lbs! Can you believe it....7 lbs. She is going to be the bigggest of my three babies, yet the one who gave us the most fear.

We met with my general OB yesterday, and the plan remains....I have been scheduled to be at the hospital by 6:30 a.m. next Saturday, the 17th. So we will be up bright and early on the road. I cannot believe it's 10 days away! It just doesn't seem real. Mom and Dad will arrive Friday night and plan on making their way to the hospital once we get there and get settled. We are not sure how long of a day it will be. The plan is to admit me early. MY OB will be there, which is a huge blessing, and he plans to remove the stitch, break my water, and begin pitocin right away. The stitch removal can be extremely painful, so we will decide at that time if I will go ahead with an epidural. We won't know if a c-section will be necessary until things get started. He seems optimistic and so I'll follow his lead on that one!

We are thrilled to meet our precious Elizabeth and truly see the work of His hands. Not knowing how the day will proceed, we are not sure about visitors for Saturday. We do know that we will want to make it a very special day introducing Amber and William to their new sister. This will be especially significant for William as he is so young. We pray he is able to make the adjsutment to her outside of my belly which he has come to love dearly loving all over here "in there". We'll be anxious to see if this continues once she's "out" and real. Amber is such an amazing big sister, and I know she'll be nothing but amazing as she meets Elizabeth. Mom and Dad are just as excited as well. They are the best grandparents, and each grandchild has been so special to them. We are so thankful they will be here to welcome Elizabeth as well as be there with the kids.

However, Sunday, we will welcome visitors with open arms. We are well aware that each of you have shared so much of our journey with us and through your prayers and dedication to our family, we will be holding our girl in our arms. We are looking forward to sharing her with each of you, but want to make sure we reserve the early moments Saturday for our kids and family.

Needless to say, the next 10 days will be BUSY. We will be making sure the house is all decorated and ready for Christmas, wrapping up all the final cleaning and organizing, and meeting with both doctors one last time. I doubt I will have time to do a post before next Saturday. I will, however, make sure to update via FB and the Blog by Saturday evening with lots of pictures of our precious Elizabeth Grace! As I type, I am overcome with such heavy emotions.

In May, I had a sweet childhood friend anxiously await the day of arrival for her precious daughter Faith. Faith lived 42 minutes, then went to live with Jesus. As I/we anxiously await the day of arrival for our Elizabeth, my emotions and thoughts think about Sarabeth and her precious Faith. She has and continues to be such an inspiration to me. So next Saturday, as we hold Elizabeth in our arms, I will be reminded of Faith...Faith that got us this far, and the precious Faith that Sarabeth has shared with so many people in her own personal time of grief. God has a plan, and at that time, we were unaware as to how much Faith we would need to carry us. As I mourned for Sarabeth, God knew His plan and was preparing His plan all along. He never fails!

With Love,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's a Date....A Retirement....A Sweet 16....and a Christmas of a Lifetime!

As posted on my status update on FB, we finally have a date for induction. The fact that we are even discussing an induction brings me to tears as we culminate this journey with our precious girl. I'm not sure what emotions I feel right now or will feel when we see her. I do know that without Faith and Prayer and the Love of my Lord and Savior, we would not have our girl or even be discussing an induction.

We met with my general OB yesterday. Many of you know, I have battled with one emotion lately....FRUSTRATION. I'm so ready for her to be here. I believe a large part of that involves my continued fear of something happening until she's in my arms. Not to mention, I'm just physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. We have been fighting for her since I was 5 weeks pregnant and I will fight to the end...I'm just ready and tired.

After a lengthy discussion with my OB, we were calmed and left with a clearer understanding of why we have to "wait". I am on heprin, a blood thinner. I can't just be removed from it and there is a time lapse for it to wear off. So, my OB is trying to schedule an "elective" induction so I can be taken off the heprin in time for my blood count to rise in case of surgery or to receive an epidural. Insurance will not allow an elective induction prior to 39 weeks. I've been beggin to remove the stitch, however, if he does that, the possibility of me going into labor on my own increases, and due to the blood thinner, I would not be able to get an epidural and in the case of a c-section would need to be put to sleep. So, as we stand now, December 17th is the date! There is still the "risk" of going on my own before hand and/or tearing the stitch. So we just pray now, she stays where she is for 17 more days.

We are overcome with excitement and anticipation of holding her in our arms! Amber turns 16 on December 15th so Elizabeth will make a wonderful present for Amber. I've often talked about how proud I am of her. It brings me to tears to know she will be 16, but she's such an amazing 16 year old and a wonderful blessing to her baby brother and sister. She even agreed to postpone her Sweet 16 Party to the end of January since things were so crazy right now! William and Elizabeth won't realize it now, but one day, they will know how much she does love them and is so proud of them. The simple way she interacts with William, playing with him, loving on him, helping with him, and comforting him, is precious. He's even learned when he reaches the top of the staircase right where her room is and boy does he go running in there! She just lights up when he does! It would be so easy for many teenagers to be annoyed or bothered by a baby brother or sister, but she isn't and never has been. I'm so proud of her.

God continues to show Himself in this journey. Mom officially retires on December 16th making that her last day of teaching after 38 years! Bitter sweet, I'm sure! But...with the 17th being the date, she and daddy are expected to arrive here the night of the 16th. So, Happy Retirement to my Mom as she welcomes another granddaughter. This will be our first Christmas not being able to go to Florida. As difficult as that will be, we are reminded of the Reason for the Season as we will celebrate Christmas with our Elizabeth Grace, who we thought we may lose months ago. I can't imagine a more blessed Christmas than to share the power of Prayer and Faith with my other two children on Christmas morning. It will be nice having mom and dad here though!

We will keep you updated in the days ahead and on her arrival. Amber beat me to FB when William was born, so we'll see if she beats me again! She was able to witness his birth and it was truly amazing to share that time with her. I'm hoping to share that same experience with her as we welcome Elizabeth into this world.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Reflection...My Faith....Your Blessing

So while our Thanksgiving dinner is finishing up on the stove and in the oven, I thought I would sit and rest a bit and update our blog.

I woke up this morning with so much emotion on my heart. I believe I was simply overcome with thanksgiving in a way I have never experienced. I began my morning at 5:30 (before William even woke up). I seasoned our turkey and put him in the oven to began cooking. I then prepared Amber's two must haves, sausage balls and breakfast pizza. Once all that had started, William woke up...of course Amber was hours later, haha.

As I stirred around the house cleaning the kitchen, I began to think about all I have been blessed with and all I have to be thankful for. As abundant as those things are, they are all only because of the love of my Lord and Savior. In my life, I have been blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends. I have been blessed with His provision, His Faithfulness, and His Love to me, even when I least deserved it. As I continued to reflect, I realized my greatest of blessings were right in front of me. God has given me such an amazing husband. I don't think we truly realized the significance of our wedding vows until this past year. "Richer and Poorer, Sickness and in Health". As we have stood strong for each other for 14 days until we brought our sweet William home from the NICU, through our house fire, through guiding and loving our teenager through challenging "teenage" times, and walking in Faith for our Elizabeth, we have stood the test and are a testament of relying on our vows and trusting in God.

Above all, I am so very thankful for my three beautiful children. There is nothing in this earthly life that brings me more happiness, more joy, and more love than my children. Each one of them has their own unique personality that defines who they are. As a mother of a teenager, there is no greater joy than watching my daughter grow and walk in Christ.

So as we prepare to sit down together and eat, reflect, and give our thanks, I am so honored God chose me to be Fred's wife, and Amber, William, and Elizabeth Grace's mother. For our family, this Thanksgiving has a more significant meaning. We will be giving thanks for the power of prayer and for our Elizabeth Grace. 17 weeks ago, we began a journey that would challenge our Faith more than ever. However, as a family, we have met that challenge, followed His calling, and placed our trust in Him. For that, we have been rewarded. As we prepare to welcome her into our family, we are anxiously waiting to wrap our arms around her and daily tell her the story of Jesus Christ.

As you enjoy this day with your family, I pray that you stop for just a moment and reflect on all your blessings. For some of you, they won't be hard to find, for others, you may have to search a bit, and for others you may feel like you have none. I trust that through our story, and our Elizabeth Grace, you will know your greatest blessing and the Love and Forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

Enjoy your day, eat LOTS, and most of all be happy!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

We Are Finally Ready!

I'm a bit behind on updating on Elizabeth! Yes, I am still pregnant, and tomorrow (Monday) marks 35 weeks!

We met with both our specialist and my general OB last week. Last weekend was a little eventful resulting in an overnight stay at Northside for monitoring and medications. This was followed by my regular weekly appointment on Monday with my specialist and my OB on Thursday. Due to all the activity I'm having with contractions some medication adjustments were made. I will, however, continue with my final two 17P injections. I have had this injection once a week since I was 17 weeks pregnant. Essentially, the progestrone released keeps my cervix from "changing" despite the MANY MANY MANY contractions I am having. The plan all along was to be on these injections until 36 weeks. So, neither doctor is budging on this one.

The next issue at hand is the consensus on when I will be admitted for removal of my stitch. My specialist has agreed all along, 36 weeks would be sufficient and is pretty standard. My general OB would prefer I wait until 37 weeks. Of course I'm ready, but the more challenging question is Plan B, if my body does not transition into labor. The initial discussion is to admit me for 24 hours, then send me home if nothing happens and a scheduled induction/c-section would occur at 39 weeks (the Monday before Christmas).

So here we are...I see my specialist tomorrow. Both doctors have scheduled a meeting to discuss a birth plan for Elizabeth Grace and try to reach an agreement as to the date for stitch removal and whether or not they'll both agree to aide through induction at that same time if I do not go into labor on my own.

In an attempt to minimize more time off work for Fred, if we can all agree on a 36 week stitch removal with induction, then we will most likely request next Thursday (36 weeks 3 days) to admit me and hopefully meet our precious girl over the weekend.

So...............that was a lot to take in, but needless to say we are anxiously waiting to hear what the doctors decide tomorrow.

I personally cannot believe we are at this point. At our last appointment, Elizabeth weighed nearly 6 pounds, so I know she is at 6 pounds if not over by now. Based on her movements, kicks, and location of her head, she is a very LONG little girl as well. She is super strong, and a lot of the time, I can feel her little foot and even measure it with my fingers.

Every kick, every movement, and every appointment is a reminder of God's Faithfulness to us. Our human nature is to call her a little miracle, and that she truly is. However, there really are no miracles. God has His hand on all we do and to discount that with calling all great things miracles, is discounting the power of Faith, Love, and Prayer.

The past 16 months for our family have been challenging. We have weathered one premature birth, the NICU, a house fire, and then of course our journey with Elizabeth. However, we have and will continue to Praise Him for his Faithfulness to us, His never ceasing Love, and the privilege He has given us to share His Love. We have stood the test, and are ready to take the next step in this journey which is to Serve Him in all we do.

I will update once we hear from our doctors.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Would I really push rewind?

I must say....it's been an eventful, busy few days in our household!

I want to start my blog by shouting to the world how proud I am of my amazing husband. His Master's Degree was conferred tonight, FINALLY! He was to have finished in the Spring at the same time of the house fire. Well, needless to say, it was "postponed". Then, through all we've been going through and all he's had to handle with the kids and our home while I've been on bedrest, he was finally able to finish. I could not be more proud of him!!!!

Next...let's just say....Elizabeth Grace should be making her debut within the week. I started contracting Friday night. This is nothing new so I just tried to carry on as usual. However, when Saturday night rolled around and I was still contracting (4 - 6 an hour) I knew 29 hours later, something was wrong. So we headed to Northside. I was admitted for monitoring overnight and around 2 a.m. the contractions increased and intensified. They immediately gave me trebuteline (sp?). This did not work with William, so I was a bit hesitant. However, it did stop the contractions and I was discharged and sent home around 10:00 Sunday morning. Well, by mid-day Sunday, everything started back up AGAIN. I decided I was not going back to Northside and would just see my specialist Monday (today) for my routine appointment). Well...Miss Elizabeth is LOW LOW LOW and weighs a great 5 lbs 13 oz. I am continuing to contract and did so in his office. He feels like we should be meeting her any day and sent me home. He wants my contractions to be a bit more regular and closer together before admitting me back to L&D and cutting my stitch. He said from this point forward there will be no steps to hold off the labor like the other night.

We are as ready as we can be to meet our precious girl and are so excited about the days ahead. All the nurses in my specialist"s office including my specialist truly believe she is a little miracle and in the words of my specialist "you have defied all odds in the pregnancy". In addition to all the issues with my cervix, I also have Factor V Leiden, which makes me high risk for clotting (hence the blood thinner injections I take daily). In most cases, these pregnancies result in low birthweight. We see in Miss Elizabeth that's not the case. In fact, she is measuring between 36 and 37 weeks. So I guess you can say we "defied all the odds", but I'd rather think there was a Greater Physician holding our girl's hand and has once again proven Himself Faithful.

I am looking forward to the Holidays ahead. Although this journey has brought us through so many challenges, we continue to face the financial impacts of all we've been through. However, as Thanksgiving rolls around and shortly after that, Christmas, we are reminded of what truly matters. I could not be happier, more content, or more at peace with this amazing life God has blessed me with. Sometimes, I'd prefer a rewind button (especially since my sweet Amber is turning 16 in a month). But what is a rewind button really worth when looking forward brings me such big smiles and such a full heart. So in the end, I think I'm liking this "play" button I have pushed and have no intentions of pushing rewind except in my memories and stories as I tell my children of God's love for them and our testimony of that Love.

I will keep you posted in the coming days as we anxiously await the arrival of our precious Elizabeth Grace.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a Simple Life....But So Full of Blessings!


Tomorrow will mark 33 weeks and 4 days into this pregnancy. You may or may not remember, but that's when William was born at exactly 33 weeks and 4 days. So from all appearances, it looks like this little stinker will pass her brother! Can you believe it?!?!

Our appointment went well this week. He is no longer doing any cervical measurements or FFN tests as they are both no longer relevant. From this point forward, I will be monitored once a week by my specialist and once a week by my OB. My OB will administer the weekly NST on Elizabeth.

Monday will mark 34 weeks. I must say, it's a bit emotional as we become more and more aware of the amazing power of our God and the work of the One True Physician within my womb. Both my doctors continue to be clear about how much I have defied the odds...wink, wink......but you and I know different. There were no odds....only the need to rely solely on Faith and the power of trusting in Him and His many promises to us.

Needless to say, we are READY. My suitcase is packed, batteries charged in cameras, Elizabeth's bag is packed, and the carseat has been washed and sterilized!

I am finally doing a bit more (against orders still). I attended Amber's True Love Waits Ceremony (previous post), her youth choir Fall Follies performance Sunday, and Fred's Softball banquet last night. I'm feeling okay, but when I do get out, I pay for it later. I'm still very weak, out of breath, and just plain pregnant.

We will measure Elizabeth again on Monday and I will see my OB on Thursday. I'm convinced at this point, I'm going to be pregnant forever. I do however, have a few choice words for this precious little girl.....Ha Ha. We did learn last week she has a head FULL of hair. Which is really funny, because William had little to no hair until he was 8 months old. However, Amber was born with a head full of hair.

Words can't describe how anxious we are to finally get our hands on her, love on her, and soak up her precious little life. We remain blessed beyond words and so very proud to be her mommy and daddy, just as we are with each of our beautiful children. We live a simple life, but I could not imagine it any other way.

As I close, please continue to remember Ben and Katie Horton and their precious daughter Lucy Jane "LJ" in your prayers (previous post). Their daughter was born Tuesday with CDH. Her first 2 days have been FABULOUS and her surgery went well today. It actually went far better than the "doctors" expected. Once again.....there is a GREATER PHYSCIAN. She'll have some challenging days ahead with recovery and her parents will need lots of prayers as they travel to and from the NICU to be by LJ's side. They are amazing parents and God continues to shine through their little girl.

I hope as Thanksgiving approaches you are able to stop and reflect on your life and find many things to be thankful for. Remain focused on why you have what you have and remember to thank Him. For our family, we are simply thankful for our Faith, thankful for Prayer, and thankful for such wonderful friends and family. Who would ever have thought such a simple life could be so rich in blessings?!?!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

True Love Waits

So...I guess there are some things a mommy just doesn't miss. My greatest challenge throughout these past months has been trying to juggle what is best for Elizabeth Grace (bedrest, obviously) and trying to meet the simple needs of both Amber and William. I have always recognized the critical nature of our situation with Elizabeth, but as I noted in a former post, I'm a mommy of three, and nothing changes that fact.

Two weeks ago, against Fred's wishes and believe it or not Amber's wishes, I attended her first Chorus performance at school. Although I spent the evening in an extreme amount of discomfort, I had no regrets about going. I was so very proud of her and so proud to be there listening to her sing. Just another proud mommy moment!!!!!

Last night, the youth group at church held their True Love Waits Ceremony. Of course, I WAS NOT going to miss this. So I prayed for the strength to withstand the evening, and once again against both Fred and Amber's wishes, I went. Again, I had no regrets. Again, I was one proud mommy both during and when we left and wouldn't have changed a thing. We are so blessed to have such an amazing youth minister, Jamie Merritt who along with his wife, Tiffany, lead and guide our youth in so many amazing ways. If you have a teenager, you know far too well the challenges they face in "the world". We as parents have to set the example while also guiding our children through a church that also embraces these same values. I was moved by the stories shared and the prayer time I had with Amber and her sincerity.

It is so wonderful to be able to share with her my life decisions and use them as learning tools for her. Sometimes, I wish I could push rewind and make her a baby once again. But, that's not His design and it shouldn't be mine either. As nice as it would be to hold her in my arms as a tiny baby again, I must say, seeing her blossom into the amazing young woman she is becoming is just as gratifying and fullfilling. I am so proud of her committment and I pray she sees this through in her heart until the day she finds the man the Lord is preparing for her.

So tonight, I don't feel the need to do a daily gratitude list for the month of November. Gratitude is shown in what we say and what we do with and for those we love daily. My prayer is that as I travel through life, I demonstrate gratitude through my words and my actions with and for those around me. Even through life's greatest fears and challenges, we have so much to be thankful for, if and only if, we choose to see it in that light. For our family, these past few months has taught us to simply be thankful for one another and the love of our friends and family. To some, that may seem insignificant where you are in your life. However, I pray that for you, it doesn't take one of life's greatest challenges for you to realize what is significant. Be thankful today for each other, for the love of those around you, and most of all for the fact that Jesus died for you, and for that alone, you will find thanksgiving daily.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hanging On....By a Thread!!!

We have now entered a much anticipated phase of this pregnancy. We saw our specialist today. Once again...to his surprise, I am still pregnant! Yes, I am, very pregnant. I am now 32 weeks pregnant. This of course is a milestone we never thought we would see. Elizabeth Grace is doing great and measured today at 4 lbs and 12 oz. We were able to get a few quick glimpses at her on 3D and she does have some chubby little cheeks. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be where we are, see her doing so well, and anxiously anticipating the coming weeks.

My specialist is allowing my OB to make many of the calls from this point forward with regards to timing. Neither one will be doing any FFN tests anymore as they feel these are no longer relevant. My OB will make the final decisions on stitch removal, inductions, and c-section as those times approach in the weeks ahead.

As of now, here is where we stand. My OB does not want to remove the stitch until I am 37 weeks. This puts us into the first week of December. At that point, they will see if I go into labor. If not, I will be released and sent home. If by week 39 I have not gone into labor, he will schedule a c-section due to how big they anticipate Elizabeth to be. My 17P injections will continue until week 36, however, I will remain on the Heperin until we narrow her birth down to within a day or so.

We did learn today, she has dropped again since last week and I am feeling every bit of it. This indicates the contractions, cramping, and pressure I am feeling are productive. Essentially, if this continues, we could be lookng at another week or so. So in the Ashford home, we are washing little girl clothes and blankets, packing a little girl bag for the hospital, and washing the infant car seat. The entire time, we continue to stand in amazement we are even at this point in this journey and are so very thankful to be here. Not to mention EXCITED!

Needless to say, things are getting busy around here for the first time in a while. Although he still insist on bedrest, I am slowly pulling the reigns back a bit in an effort to regain a bit of normalcy around our home before we welcome Elizabeth Grace. By 34 weeks, I am able to slowly regain my strength and normal routine again. I anticipate this will be difficult, but with lots of patience I will get back to normal. The good news is I have only gained 9 pounds the entire pregnancy. I feel as though I've gained much more, but the scale says different. That's never been a point of focus anyway, so it's just a side note. LOL

We are looking forward to the day when we can share our precious miracle with each of you as we know each of you have played a large role in carrying us through this journey. When going through an extended journey of this nature (life saving surgery for our baby, 14 weeks of bedrest and counting, financial burdens and loss) it would be easy to tear through a family or a marriage. But in the midst of this storm, God saw fit to draw us so amazingly close to one another. We have learned the significance of prayer and leaning on each other. We have come to value the small things such as being together and laughing at each other. We have learned the material things won't buy you happiness, but time together, prayer together, and love for each other will. Our marriage is unbelievably changed forever in ways we never imagined. I knew I married my best friend 4 years ago, however, I never really understood that until these past few months. He has dried so many of my tears, held me in his arms when I was most afraid, and lifted my spirits when I felt like I couldn't fight any more. He has repeatedly told me how beautiful I was (despite the grossness I feel on bedrest). He has fought alongside me in his own way keeping our family together, stable, happy, and fed (haha). For all these reasons, I would not change a thing that has happened in the past 3 months.

So as we move forward, we continue to do so with our hearts filled with gratitude. We enter November, with an abundance of thanksgiving. Although we continue to wait patiently, we are hanging on...literally by a thread!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Precious Girls and the Power of Prayer

I wanted to post a link to a very special "Blog Friend". This is such a precious couple who will welcome their precious daughter Lucy Jane (LJ) in just under 2 weeks. Lucy has CHD. I am unsure as to specifics of this disorder, but you can read through their blog. Essentially, she will have to undergo some major surgeries and weeks in the NICU to prepare her to go home with her mommy and daddy.

They will be at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. My mother and father were blessed to have met them through my mom's cousin. Although we know she has some of the nations leading doctors, we also know there is a Greater Physician who will be holding LJ's hand as she enteres this world.

Please pray for her mommy and daddy for strength, courage, and Faith in the days and weeks ahead. Also, please pray for strength for LJ, and guidance for all the doctors. Their prayer, and our prayer is that LJ will be able to go home by Christmas! Wouldn't that be a sweet Christmas present!

The link to their blog is: http://bkhorton.com/2011/10/8th-update-on-little-lj/.

We know first hand the awesome power of prayer. Both our precious girls, LJ, and Elizabeth Grace will carry with them a lifetime of testimony of God's Love and the power of prayer that will carry them through into the precious little girls they will both grow to become.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Simply Proud and Amazed

Well, I spent 30 minutes the other evening posting a blog update and it somehow got lost in blog world. So, we'll try this again.

We finally made it to 30 weeks! Praise the Lord. We saw our specialist on Monday and learned our itty, bitty (or so we thought) girl weighs a HUGE 4 lbs. 2 oz. She is measuring in the 73% for her gestational age, measuring at 31 weeks and 5 days. She does, however, have her daddy's trademark head, which measured at 33 weeks and 4 days. She was sticking her tongue out at us! Guess she thinks she is funny. We had a complete anatomy scan and everything looks fantastic.

My specialist will continue to conduct the FFN test every two weeks. I have had 3 and all have been negative. However, due to the significant changes in both my funneling and my cervix, he had me promise last week I would agree to be readmitted if I got a positive. Once again, prayers answered. My FFN this week was NEGATIVE. Appears our little girl has decided to settle in for a while longer. She continues to leave my doctors and nurses speechless and at a loss for an explanation as to why I have not delivered her yet. My only response...PRAYER and FAITH!!!

I received a second round of steroid injections for her lungs yesterday and today as well as my weekly 17P injection. No, three shots are not fun, but boy, are they worth it knowing they are for her benefit.

So, that brings us to "The Plan"...if one even exist with this little girl. I will be 36 weeks the Monday after Thanksgiving. I will then be admitted to Labor and Delivery for stitch removal. Considering I am at nearly 3 cm dilated now, both doctors believe I should go pretty quick once the stitch is cut. However, 1 in 4 women will form scar tissue due to the length of time the stitch has been in (for me an eternity) resulting in a c-section or forced dilation. We are prayerful we can avoid a c-section, but as we have done from the beginning, we will trust in God's plan and God's plan alone. Our goal is to get Elizabeth Grace her as safely as possible. So it would appear, she may just be a Thanksgiving baby.

I have written in many of my posts about the emotional roller coaster ride this journey has taken us through. Although we wouldn't change a moment of it and remain faithful and blessed for having traveled this journey, we are emotionally exhausted. We have gone from preparing ourselves for a "baby loss" to preparing for an extended NICU stay, to now the reality, we may actually bring our precious Elizabeth home from the hospital with us.

I long for the moment I see her eyes for the first time and feel her precious cheeks on mine while holding her tiny fingers. I know we'll share in the normal emotions of meeting our precious girl for the first time, however, I am overcome with emotion at what I may feel looking into her eyes knowing how close we came to losing her. She has not even arrived yet, and she has already taught you, me, my children, and my family the importance of prayer, the idea of trusting in what you cannot see or understand, and accepting only one plan, the plan of God and using that to praise Him even in the storm.

What I have learned the most is that you should not reach out to God only in your time of need. He does tell us He is there and will answer our prayers. However, we have to accept his will may not always be our will and trust in Him to answer us as only He knows what is best. These days, my prayers consist of so much thanksgiving. Of course, I always pray for protection for my children and my husband as well as peace and comfort. However, our lives have been so richly blessed by many of you in ways you may never know. How can I not be thankful and give thanks to the one who has made that happen?

If it took this journey to draw me closer to Him, realize the strength of my commitment to my husband and my children, and to reaffirm my Faith, I will raise my hand first again! I will beg and plead for Him to choose me to travel this same journey a million more times.

We still do not know what the coming weeks hold in store for us. But we do know, our prayers have been answered, and He isn't finished yet. My prayer for each of you is that you will find in your trials a sense of peace and comfort. An understanding of how to use your trials to the benefit of your growth in walking with Him. I promise, he will not give you trials without a purpose. It is up to you to choose to find that purpose and use it to grow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking Forward

Today marks 29 weeks! Today also marks another visit to the doctor. We saw our specialist today and all is the same. He has begun doing the fetal fibernectin test, which he will do every two weeks. Essentially, this is a swab test that will indicate if there is a protein present which is released when the membranes are leaking or when labor seems imminent. I have had three done and they have all been negative. The ultrasound didn't really reveal anything "new" other than very slight buldging past the stitch, but nothing that seemed "new" or concerning to him above the situation in general. He would love for me to be hospitalized, but is willing to continue as we are since things are working (the bedrest from home). However, at this point, things become a little more risky since she is growing. So, he made me promise that once I get a positive fetal fibernectin test I will agree to be readmitted.

So, the plan now is...I will be 30 weeks on Monday. He has ordered steroid injections to be administered again next Tuesday and Wednesday with my home nurse. He said typically these are administered at 24 weeks and rarely administered twice because most mothers deliver shortly after administering the steroids. However, we have proven this different (well...God has proven this different). So they can be administered 4 to 6 weeks apart because they only last about that long. This will be the last time I receive them. In addition, we see him again Monday afternoon of which he will do another fetal fibernectin test, measurements for the baby, and anatomy scan. Needless to say, next week marks another milestone (30 weeks), as well as a busy week for me and Elizabeth. The further we go with each week is promising and now for Elizabeth it makes the difference in a ventilator or a simple c-pap to supplement oxygen (if she comes early). I'm convinced we will carry her to December! She did show signs of practice breathing and sucking in the ultrasound which made my specialist very happy.

We had a wonderful weekend here at home. I spent much of this morning helping Amber work on her Science project "stuff". I think she and I agree...Science projects are not cool! William decided to experiment using the big boy potty and actually did it! That was hilarious. I figured if he can go get a diaper when he has a stinky then he can begin becoming exposed to the potty! LOL

Amber has her sophmore homecoming this weekend and seems really excited about that. She's really keeping us busy (or better said...keeping Fred busy). I do what I can from the couch, and it isn't always easy! She has a chorus performance next week, Fall Follies for youth choir in 3 weeks, and youth retreat in 3 weeks. Needless to say, I keep a calendar close at hand juggling all her events, my many, many doctor appointments, bills (ewwww), and the wonderful help coming in daily to help me at home. I long for the day when I am once again a BUSY BUSY mommy. I guess I took much of that for granted in the past, and don't foresee that happening again. I can't wait to be "busy" again running errands, grocery shopping, cleaning my house, and chasing my three kids around. It's been a long several months, and our journey isnt' over, however, each day reveals more blessings and answered prayers than I ever thought I would ever deserve. So, for that, I wouldn't change a thing.

That pretty much sums up the Ashford household! As the weeks move forward, we realize how blessed we have been and continue to be. Each of our children teach us so much about patience, love, life, and prayer. I draw much of my strength from the three children God has blessed me with. I have said it before...we continue to be honored God chose us to be Elizabeth's mommy and daddy and chose our family to travel this journey.

I listened to Joel O'steen Sunday. He compared our lives to that of a window in a car. He said the reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what has happened in our past is so small compared to looking to our future (along those lines). I truly believe that. I don't discard the "past" few months, however, when I look forward, I see nothing but great things. Great things for my children, my husband, me, and my family. I will forever look back on our journeys and trials and reflect on God's Grace during those times. However, I think looking forward offers so much Hope and Joy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

No Burden Is Too Great

I thought I would write a quick blog asking for lots of prayers tonight. I see my specialist tomorrow. If you read my last post, you know our appointment Thursday was not "great". So tomorrow is a result of that and a chance for our specialist to follow up to offer more direction. Specifically, I am asking for the following:

1. Please pray the stitch is holding and my membrances are not buldging past it. As of now, they have NOT ruptured. If they appear via ultrasound to be buldging, I will have to immediately be admitted to Labor and Delivery for stitch removal and/or c-section. We are thankful and blessed tomorrow will mark 28 weeks!

2. Please pray for our hearts and comfort tonight so we don't worry. We have come this far because of each of your prayers, love, and encouragement. We know He will be holding on to our hearts tonight as well as tomorrow.

3. Please pray for Fred as he returns to work tomorrow. I'm sure he's ready to get back to the routine of work, but has expressed numerous times how anxious he is about leaving me/us at home, especially now that things have taken a turn.

4. Please pray for Elizabeth Grace and her continued growth. She's done so well and continues to do her part. I struggle daily with feeling as though I am failing her b/c she has fought so hard and is doing so great right inside mommy!

I'm not usually one to define specific prayer request, but it was on my heart tonight as the evening draws near. I'm anxious about Fred returning to work, I'm anxious about our appointment tomorrow, and prayerful for William and Amber as they have and continue to do so well, despite all the craziness these weeks have brought. It's a large burden, but I am reminded daily, my burdens don't compare to the burden He carried when he climbed on the cross so that I may be eternally forgiven.

Please know how much we love each of you, and are so very thankful for your friendships, prayers, love, support, encouragement, and kind words. I'll update tomorrow when I have an opportunity.

With Love,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holding on to Grace

Another week means another blessing and another doctor's appointment. These week has brought us to our knees. We met with both my specialist and my OB today for routine visits as I've managed to stay out of the hospital and doctors offices for a week! However, we left today needing lots of prayers.

Elizabeth Grace looks wonderful. However, there is worsening of both my cervix and my membranes supporting her. Here are the facts as we learned them today: 1) my cervix has always been weak so we've been monitoring it; it's down to .8 (essentially nothing left), 2) I've always had funneled membrances into the cervix at times to the stitch; however today, the membranes at my stitch are no longer funneled, they are completely wide - meaning - more fluid means increased pressure; increased chance at tearing or bulging past the stitch, and 3) at times, they funneled slightly past the stitch, but moved back up, still open.

So here we are...home with our bags packed. Since the beginning, they (the doctors) have told us Elizabeth Grace could come any day. So, we have, to a degree, held to that and mentally remained prepared. However, as the weeks have passed, we've come to level off a bit and not be so much on edge. However, due to the worsening seen today, the open membrane bulging onto my stitch, the doctors could only conclude that any day my membrances will rupture, or buldge past the stitch. Should they buldge past the stitch, I will have to be admitted to Labor and Delivery and the stitch will have to be cut. As a result, my specialist will now see me twice a week instead of once to make sure if I bulge past the stitch, it is caught before the stitch rips, which could lead to hemoragging.

I'm sorry to make this a little graphic, but so many have asked about us, prayed for us, and worried with us. I just felt it easier to blog our information, than to make or take a million phone calls and relay the story a million times.

For now, I am home. I will see my specialist again on Monday which will mark 28 weeks. Here are the facts for Elizabeth Grace as of now: 1) she is strong, growing well, and has a great size for her gestational age, and 2) should she come in the coming days, there will have to be intensive interventions for her to aide in her breathing and she will face the possiblity of heart surgery for the PDA. As for viability, both doctors agree, she is no longer in danger in that aspect. However, we all recognize and agree there will need to be measures taken to help her continue to grow. Anyone with a micro preemie knows this far to painfully real.

At this point, we continue to ask for your prayers for Elizabeth Grace. Prayer for her strength and continued growth. Please pray for our family. Our hearts are tender and our human nature is very scared. We do know who holds our hand and who is holding our Elizabeth Grace in His hands. We have to continue to trust in His plan and His promises to us. We do not know in the days or weeks ahead when we'll meet our precious girl, but we do know until that day, I will continue to hold tight to her in my womb, while God continues to reveal His plan for her and our family.

It's a beautiful day, and the Fall weather is coming. I know in my heart God is reassuring me there are nothing but beautiful days ahead. Open your windows, and enjoy the beautiful weather. I know I sure will here at home!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Praise Him From Whom All Blessings Flow

I hope this week has been a great one for each of you! Not too much news in our household this week, but I bet things are going to only get busier!

I realized today, it was 9 weeks ago we began our journey with Elizabeth Grace. However, when we woke up that Wednesday morning, we had no idea the baby inside of me was even a girl. So, then began our journey of Faith, Love, Hope, and Prayer. As I stated on my FB post earlier today, so many "physicians" were determined in their expertise and knowledge to think our precious girl would not make it. There was just simply no way my body would hold. However, we knew then, but little did they know, that God would show Himself the ONE AND ONLY GREAT PHYSICIAN! Here WE are, 9 weeks later, and inside of ME is a healthy, happy, growing little girl named Elizabeth Grace! She has NEVER been a specimen, as "they" so called her. She has always been OUR Elizabeth Grace given to us by our Father as a reminder of His Amazing Love.

Since this pregnancy began, we have stood in amazement of God's Love. Initially, we were shocked I was even pregnant. Then the shock turned to anguish as we were told at 5 weeks, we would loose our girl. Then from there, well if you've followed us, you know the "rest" or at least until this point! I don't think I ever stopped for a moment and feet excitement. I was excited, however, I guarded my feelings so deeply at times. Now, I am overcome with excitement, joy, and happiness at the continued faithfulness of His Love for me, my family, OUR girl, and our many friends following us on this journey.

We visit both doctors tomorrow. We are prayerful for positive news. I will come off my current blood thinner which I administer through injection once a day now. They will be switching me to Heprin, which I will have to administer twice a day until Elizabeth is born. Heprin is a reversible blood thinner, which usually isn't administered utnil the final 4 weeks of pregnancy (36 weeks). But, since, my final week(s) are unknown (to us at least), my doctors don't want to "gamble" with any more time and will switch me now since I will be 28 weeks on Monday. Please pray that I am able to handle this form of the blood thinner well. I was given it for only a day with William, but at that time they were pumping me so full of medications to try and hold off labor for him, I felt miserable, so who knows which of the drugs was making me sick then.

Amber leaves Friday for 3 days at a Chorus Retreat with school. I'm sure gonna miss my best girl, but I know she's going to have a blast! I'm so proud of her. Also, Fred returns to work Monday. I cannot believe how these past 5 weeks have flown by, but I couldn't have been more blessed by him being home. He has carried such a burden on this journey and so often all that gets overlooked. I blogged about him on a previous post while I was still in the hospital. Little did I realize then, how really strong he was! He has had the glorious opportunity to venture in the grocery store SEVERAL times a week, vaccum, mop, play taxi driver for our teenager, and nightly bath time with William. Sure, these are basic household things, but when you have a stay-at-home wife/mom, you don't often get to experience such fun! Ha Ha....However, he has done it all with a smile and with so much love for our family. I'm sure going to miss him during the day when he goes back to work.

However, I have some amazing friends (family) coming in to help with William. These ladies have unselfishly sacrificed their own time to come into our home to help with my children. I'm so humbled by such love! Tuesdays will consists of a play date with my sweet friend Brittainy who will bring her two kids over to play with William while she helps me as well. What an amazing blessing and such a sacrifice, but so willing to do it with such a loving heart. Grammy Huanne will of course be here! She doesn't miss a beat! Such a blessing she has been to our family. With mom and dad in Florida, it's hard sometimes to go back and forth. So Grammy is always here to step in. My kiddos just love her to death! Finally, Mrs. Pat will be here. She also helped me the first week I was discharged and we had such wonderful conversations with some laughs. Not to mention, William absolutely adored her! Mom and Dad remain on standby to come if we call, so we are holding off on them b/c we know they'll be burning up the road to get here when we call to tell them "it's FINALLY time".

I daily sit and wonder what I did to deserve such blessings in my life. Our church, our family, our friends, have all been such blessings. My hope is that somehow, I/My Family has touched each of you the same way you have touched us. The ladies above are just a few of the many people who have helped us...and I promise I will get to all the thank you's soon!

Okay...that was a LONG post...sorry! I hope each of you have a wonderful evening. Embrace the one's you love, laugh often with them, and remember to be thankful for even the small moments.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Grace is Sufficient For Me

I came across a song the other day and wanted to share a bit about it. The name of the song is "Grace" by Laura Story. She also sings one of my favorite songs "Blessings" I blogged about on a previous post. However, this song "Grace" really touched me deep within as I listened to it over and over again. Here are the lyrics:

My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.
I see the things You do through me as great things I have done. And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me and hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up, when I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abound?"
And you answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face, You'll walk in the pow'r of My daily sufficient grace."

At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged, knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job. For who am I to serve You? I know I don't deserve You. And that's the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up, when I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abounds?"
And you answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face, You'll walk in the pow'r of My daily sufficient grace."
You are so patient with me, Lord.

As I walk with You, I'm learning what Your grace really means. The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary. So, instead of trying to repay You, I'm learning to simply obey You by giving up my life to you For all that You've given to me.

I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up, when I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abounds?"
And you answer: " My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face, You'll walk in the pow'r of My daily sufficient grace."

As I listened to this song it really brought me to tears. So often it is easy to get caught up in the day to day struggles in life that I so easily forget the sacrifice He paid so that I may live for eternity. I believe with all my heart He puts challenges in our lives to remind us how much he truly does love us. The songs says "and now you gently break me, then lovingly you take me and hold me as my father and mold me as my maker". I believe this is what He has done through me, through us, as we have traveled our journey with Elizabeth Grace. I think we, as His children, take this amazing love for granted at times when we become comfortable in our walk with Him. Yet, He always forgives us, and through these very challenges, reminds us He is there.

I have made many mistakes in my lifetime...many I'm not proud of. I've said hurtful things, I've made poor decisions, and have at times strayed from Him. As I listened to this song the chorus made this far too real because I have prayed many times and asked Him why He would continue to forgive me. "How many times will you pick me up, when I keep on letting you down?" His answer is always the same, "My child, I love you, and as long as you're seeking my face, you'll walk in the power of my daily sufficent grace". How humbling is it to know I/We serve such a loving and forgiving God.

In the beginning days after I was rushed into surgery and the weeks that followed, I became angry at times. I was angry at myself, feeling like I somehow had failed Elizabeth. I was angry at the fact I lost control of the situation and couldn't change it. And honestly, I had moments where I was angry at God for doing this to us. How selfish is that! Who am I to question Him and what he does. He has loved me through this. He has held my hand and my family as we have walked in the power of his daily sufficient Grace. Most importantly, when I have cried out to him on my knees, He answers me. His answer may come through a song I "happen" to come across; it may come through an email, call, or text from a sweet friend; or it may even come through the gentle kick of this precious girl inside my womb. He does hear me when I call. I have to be willing to sit back and listen when he calls on me reminding me He hears me.

Fred returns to work after next week. It's been a wonderful 5 weeks with him home, however, it came at a price. He didn't have leave accumlulated as a result of the house fire earlier this year, so he won't receive any pay for these weeks. We were fortunate to be able to pull from some resources we had through retirement accounts and 401 plans. However, those only go so far. As he returns to work, we now face the challenge of wondering how the bills will get paid. Again, He commands us to call out to Him and He will listen. To seek His face, and he will give us the power to walk in his daily sufficient Grace. For me, that's all the affirmation I need to know my God will continue to carry us. When I quit work to stay home, we wondered the same thing...how will the bills get paid. Let me share with you...they have been paid, they continue to be paid, and we continue to stand in amazement at how He provides.

I blogged previously about living a life of love and devotion to those you love. Money doesn't define you. How you walk in your life, love those around you, and the time you spend with the ones you love will define you. When you leave this Earth, what will those you leave behind talk about when they talk about you?

The past 2 weeks have been difficult. We have made several trips to my doctors and the hospital. Although my body continues to weaken, God continues to carry out His plan, and Elizabeth Grace remains in my womb. We learned Wednesday, she is now 2 lbs. 7 oz. measuring at 27 weeks and 3 days. I was only 26 weeks and 2 days. Needless to say, she is growing amazingly well. I continue to be humbled by this experience and so amazingly blessed. If I could go back 26 weeks, I'm not sure I would change a thing. My sweet family has traveled such a journey over the past 14 months (William's birth, the house fire, and Elizabeth). Yet through it all, we ramain committed to each other and to our Lord and Savior! As the song tells us:

"As I walk with you, I'm learning what your grace really means. The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary. So, instead of trying to repay You, I'm learning to simply obey You by giving up my life to you for all that You've given to me".

So for that, I continue to turn it all over to Him. How can I not? Who else has proven themself so faithful, loved so unconditional, and demonstrated such a foregiveness that only He can give? We have weeks ahead of us that remain uncertain. However, one this is very certain, He loves me, He loves my family, He loves Elizabeth Grace, and He loves You. Make today a special day...love those closes to you, and I encourage you to not take anything for granted. Look at all you have and for just a moment, stop and thank God for those things.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Every Day is a Beautiful Day

I have found that blogging has been a wonderful way to share my testimony, in both good and bad moments. However, I have also found it very theraputic as I spend so much of my days reflecting on my thoughts, my family, my friends, and my feelings.

As many of you read from FB, we spent most of yesterday at Northside. If you've been following us, it was a long week. I woke up yesterday morning in an extreme amount of lower back pain. It was so intense, I could barely walk. I tried to drink some water and rest, but the pain worsened and was beginning to transfer to "other" locations. Locations which triggered instant fear and concern. Needless to say, I called the doctor and without hesitation they said to get to L & D. I guess this is part of the journey we will travel considering the high risk nature of this pregnancy. We arrived and they immediately got me into a room and hooked on the monitors. They drew some blood and rushed me down to APC, my specialist office located in the hospital. Much to our relief we learned my stitch was stable as well as my cervix in comparison to Thursday's routine appointment. However, her head had dropped quite a bit. My labs were normal and the consensus was that it was largely due to her dropping position, the weakening of my joints, and the deterioration of muscle tissue as a result of the nearly 8 weeks I have been on bed rest. Although we were thrilled to know we would be coming home with our girl, we now face some more challenges.

The greatest of these challenges being the continued deterioration of both my muscle tissue and weakening of my joints. Both are common with extended bed rest, and often require therapy at the end. Despite the amount of pain and discomfort I am in, it's not about me or my comfort level. It continues to be and has always been about Elizabeth Grace and giving her the best chance possible. In addition, I continue to pray for my sweet family as they continue to carry such a load here at home.

Amber continues to do well in school and is now beginning to perform with Chorus. This of course is a huge emotional challenge for me as I just to don't miss anything involving my kids. She is performing at half time this Friday night at the football game and I won't be able to attend. She will be gone the last weekend of the month to a Chorus Retreat which I'm so excited about for her. We are really trying to make sure she remains a teenager and stays busy. She spent yesterday with her best friend and a few other friends at the fair and had a blast. I could not be more proud of her patience, love, and strength during this time as she too has had to carry some of the responsibilities at home that she otherwise would be free from.

William has begun to WALK EVERYWHERE. He loves playing with his ball and his toy cars. He rolls them all over the house now. He'll even play ball by himself at times throwing the ball, going to get it, and throwing it again. He has just this week started wanting to feed himself. Yep....this is always fun to watch. Yogurt and Speghetti O's are the messiest, but he thinks he's such a big boy.

I guess I have spent this week in a bit of a slump. When going through something this life altering, some days are just harder than others. I don't want to appear to be complaining, because I have nothing to complain about. I am richly blessed, I am a believer in the One and ONLY Physician, and as challenging as this pregnancy is, it is truly a miracle and a testimony of God's Grace and the power of prayer. However, some days I miss my "freedom" of going out to lunch, playing in the yard, going for a walk, or just enjoying the beautiful weather. Most of all, I am really missing my weekly women's Bible Study that was always a huge highlight of my week. Despite my restrictions to the bed, I have a beautiful life growing inside of me, and for that, I'll find every day to be a beautiful day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We Will Trust in You

We went today for our routine visits to both my OB and my Specialist. We thought they would cancel today's appointment since they saw us Tuesday, but they were adamant about keeping them. As indicated in my last post, I have been experiencing a lot of discomfort and pain in the past week. On Tuesday, we learned Elizabeth was breech and that could be the source of the discomfort. Today, the ultrasound indicated she had flipped back down and the discomfort has not eased. After a more extensive ultrasound, we discovered since Tuesday, my cervix has shortened considerably, at least what was left, which wasn't much. In addition, the funneled membranes are larger opening the way for her head to drop into them and as of today, they were bulging at my stitch.

There was discussion about readmission, but after further conversation, we agreed I would come on home and just notify them of even the smallest of issues I see or feel. The concensus between both doctors is that Elizabeth Grace could come any day now. They feel my body is beginning to transition into possible labor, but again, we have no way of knowing, only The Great Physician does.

They don't do measurements but every 4 weeks, which means they will measure her again in 2 weeks if I'm still pregnant. However, based on her measurements 2 weeks ago, they estimate her to be at or near 2 pounds. Her heart looks wonderful, she is very active indicating good lung development (for 25 weeks), and she is opening and closing her mouth indicating she is swallowing well. All of these things indicate she is doing really well. Of course, we do not want to deliver her this early, but realize, along with our doctors, we have fought a great fight for her, essentially saving her little life having gotten this far. I take none of that for granted, but continue to pray for many more weeks with her in my belly.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Elizabeth Grace's plan has already been designed and has been from the very beginning. For that, we will continue to trust in Him to carry out His plan, not ours. Selfishly, I am begging with all my heart and a million tears for God to let me hang on to her longer in my womb. However, I know, and I trust in Him to carry out His plan and provide our hearts with all we need to accept that plan and walk alongside of Him with Elizabeth Grace singing His praises. We will be at Northside and they have one of the leading NICU's in the country. They took such wonderful care of William and we know they'll do nothing less for our Elizabeth. As for how she will be delivered will not be decided until that time is here. My OB and Specialist agree there will be many factors, the greatest being her position as to if I have a c-section or not as well as how far I really do get with her. Until I am much further along (32 weeks or further) they acknowledge my desire to have her c-section to minimize pressure on her soft little head.

Please continue to pray for my sweet family. Although I am in quite a bit of discomfort, it isn't about me. Right now, I live each moment praying for all three of my children, their hearts, and for my amazing husband. It would be so easy to dwell in my own sorrow and self-pity, but I can't do that. As I type this, I am sad, I am scared, but I'm not alone. I am loved by an amazing God who has truly proven Himself faithful. I am comforted in a peace that surpasses all, and as a family, we remain honored to have been chosen to travel this journey. Until we meet our Elizabeth Grace face to face, we will continue to trust in Him, His will, and His many promises to us.

I will sign off and leave you with some more 3D pictures of Elizabeth Grace.

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Monday, September 12, 2011


It has been a "busy" week and a little while since my last post. We had our weekly appointment with my specialist on Thursday. However, prior to the appointment, my nerves got the best of both me and Elizabeth. Wednesday night was very scary. I woke up in the middle of the night with about 4 contractions in a 30 minute time period around 2:00 a.m. I really think this was simply my anxiety level about the appointment. We woke up early and headed to Alpharetta. The ultrasound went well and Elizabeth still looks wonderful. However, my cervix shortened again and my specialist felt the only other place for it to go is open. The stitch is holding so that's what they focus on now, not so much the length since that's obviously worsening. The issue now will be watching the stitch and making sure it holds.

I also received three injections last week. Needless to say, I was a bit sore considering the location of all the injections and the fact that I'm on bed rest meaning all I have to do is lay on the injection sites. The steriod injections went well and I received my normal 17P injection. Although my specialist is still greatly concerned, he is comfortable with what I am doing at home as far as the bed rest is concerned.

This brings us to today. Saturday afternoon I was extremely uncomfortable. Honestly, I'm only 25 weeks pregnant, but feel like I'm at the final mark. I'm not sure if this is all her positioning, the bed rest resulting in an extreme lack of energy to even walk to the restroom, or something else. I had a terrible time sleeping Saturday night and tossed and turned much of the night. I am having a ton of pain in my lower back as well. Sunday was not much better in fact things got a bit worse. I have developed severe indigestion. Well, when you are on bed rest, and they want you sitting up as little as possible this does not make for a comfortable feeling at all. I still experience some contractions, am extremely fatigued (not sure why I don't do anything) and am coping with the indigestion as best I can.

We see both doctors on Thursday and will do the diabetes screening then. I have experienced so many different emotions over the past 7 weeks. However, for the last few weeks, I have felt good, confident, and determined. Right now, I'm more scared than I have been in weeks. I'm not sure if the bed rest and lack of exercise is catching up with me, or if Elizabeth Grace is trying to decide if she's ready to see us. I'm sure this week will bring some answers and may result in me returning to the hospital.

We remain very thankful and blessed we have made it this far and will continue to fight with all we have to make it further. The last few days have just been a bit scary and uncomfortable. We know who is in control, and continue to trust in Him. Please continue to pray for our Elizabeth Grace, God's will, and the comfort we need to remain relaxed and focused on her.

God is still so present in our lives. I logged on to Facebook last night only to find where a long time friend's son had song a duet in church yesterday. She uploaded it to YouTube and posted it on Facebook. The song was "Blessings". I first heard this song after a friend lost her precious baby girl in May and mentioned it in her blog. As I was feeling so weak and scared last night, what a powerful reminder that God was right there with me. I listened to it and cried as I let Elizabeth listen as well. If you haven't heard it, I encourage you to listen. The lyrics are below:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace. Comfort for family, protection while we sleep. We pray for healing, for prosperity. We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering. All the while You hear each spoken need; Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near. We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love; As if every promise from Your Word is not enough. And all the while You hear each desperate plea. And long that we'd have faith to believe.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win. We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home.

What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are Your mercies in disguise?

Our trials are blessings if we choose to see them for just that. I've had lots of sleepless nights, feelings of lonliness, and many storms. However, I have never once felt abandoned by my God nor forsaken. May you find the many blessings you have been given even when you feel there are none to be seen. I promise there are many.

Monday, September 5, 2011

We Remain Faithful

The number 24 means different things to different people. I guess to some, it's double 12. For others, it may represent your birthday. However, for our family today, it represents a 6 week prayerful journey to reach a critical part in my pregnancy. As the storms move in outside today, it would be easy to feel gloomy and long for sunshine. However, for me, it is another reminder that life isn't always sunshine and pretty days. There will be clouds, rain, and darkness. Even in those moments, life is so beautiful; if you chose to see it that way.

As I replay the past 6 weeks in my mind, it is overwhelming. We have traveled such an emotional journey to get to the magic number of "24". During the course of these weeks, we had to do somethings our hearts were not prepared for and I haven't shared with many people. Due to the critical nature of the situation, and the doctor's doubts on survival or extended length of my pregnancy, as Elizabeth's parents we had to write a plan for her. We had specific desires for how we wanted her and our situation handled should God chose to take her home to heaven. If these desires are not specifically stated, the situation can potentially become overwhelming. As part of our plan, we had to contact a funeral home and express our desires and questions to them. I must say, as "strong" as I may have appeared to be over these few weeks, this was surely a weak moment for both my heart and Fred's. As I began to type out our desires, I started my first sentence with this..."This is a plan for our Elizabeth Grace we pray we do not have to implement".

Prayer is not just a word or something people do. It's speaking to God in a way only he can hear. Prayer is communicating with Him both your heart's desires and your praises. Throughout these past few weeks and in the weeks to come, I continue to pray for Elizabeth's continued growth and health. However, I also thank God for the many blessings He has given us; one of which is this pregnancy. I cannot help but to think of how different our lives would have been if we weren't traveling this journey. As hard as it has been and continues to be, we have been drawn so much closer to God and each other. Specificlly, at a time when there is so much stress and emotion, it would be easy to strain a marriage. However, Fred and I have found our strength in each other and our marriage like we have never had before. It hasn't always been "beautiful" and we certainly have stressful moments. However, I have seen my husband hold tight to prayer and to our family like never before. I am so thankful to have him as my partner, husband, and best friend as we walk this journey together with God at our side.

Today has been a wonderful day of continued rest. Although I have a fairly bad head cold and have had some mild cramping, I otherwise feel great. I am anxiously anticipating my nurse's visit tomorrow so we can begin the first of two steriod injections for Elizabeth. We will follow the first one with a second injection with my 17P injection on Wednesday and visit my specialist on Thursday. All seems to be holding stable and we continue to pray for many more weeks with Elizabeth growing in my womb.

We continue to trust His plan and remain faithful in prayer for Elizabeth Grace as the days, and weeks move on. We still do not know what her future holds, or ours, but we do know God remains in control and Elizabeth Grace is a living example of the power of prayer.

Look closely at the picture above. Elizabeth has her face turned to the camera, with her mouth open, and is giving us a "thumbs up". God spoke through her and she reassured us, and each of you, all will be well.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Through The Fire

This song means more to me today, than ever before. Who are we to ever question God's plan for our lives. Without trials we easily begin to take our blessings for granted. No one desires trials in life, but when they come, it sure is reassuring knowing that my God shows up just in time and EVERY time proves Himself faithful to me. As the song states...He has never forsaken me yet, and I know He never will.

I wish I could figure out how to link the actual song...I'll keep trying....but until then, I hope these words offer you encouragement today as they do me daily.

So many times I've questioned certain circumstances
Or things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
And my frustration gets so out of hand
Its then I am reminded I've never been forsaken
I've never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories
The spirit rises up in me
And it’s through the fire my weakness is made strong

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again

I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flames again, again

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If It Weren't For Prayer

What a busy morning! I don't think I realized how weak I really was until we spent much of the morning out. However, it was a wonderful morning. We met with my specialist at 10:00. They did measurements on Elizabeth and she now weighs 1 pound 7ounces. I am 23 weeks and 3 days and she measures 23 weeks and 6 days. She was very active and her tummy was full. This indicates she is drinking the amniotic fluid and her kidneys are functioning great. They did a full anatomy scan and her heart looked wonderful as well. So...in summary....and I am a bit bias....she is perfect. My specialist was really happy with her growth (11 ounces) in four weeks, and very happy with my stability. Although there has not been any lengthening, I am stable and the stitch is doing it's job. We were even able to do a 4D ultrasound and get some awesome pictures. So I am back home. We will see my specialist every Thursday and my OB every two weeks.

We left the specialist office and went upstairs to my OB. He was very excited to see we are just 3 days shy of 24 weeks and has set his eyes for a new goal of 28 weeks. My tummy measured 26 weeks so he was very pleased with both the growth of the baby and my growth. Of course...it's that time....I got the lovely "juice" to drink for my next appointment (2 weeks) to test for gestational diabetes, which we have no reason to think that'll be a problem. We left the doctor's offices this morning with big smiles, continued answers to prayer, and a continued closeness to each other and to God.

Despite all the chaos right now, Amber is doing excellent in school. I checked her grades on the portal last night and we could not be more proud of her right now. She has taken on such a load with school and helping around here and continues to maintain A's and B's. We really work to minimize our expectations for her here, as we want her to remain focused on school and being a 15 year old, but she continuously insist on helping and contributing. She's such a joy, and we are so blessed she is walking along this journey with us as we, as a family, see God so close to us.

We continue to remain faithful in trusting God's plan. Please continue to think of us in prayer from week to week. Each week is an incredible milestone and we are so blessed to mark them off on the calendar as another week Elizabeth Grace has had to grow and mature inside mommy. More and more each day, we see God at work in our lives, in our family, and in the lives of our friends. We also realize, we would not be where we are in this journey if it weren't for prayer. What a testimony of His Amazing Grace!

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Greater Love

Wow! I have been home for an entire week. I haven't posted in a while as we have been adjusting here at home to my limited activity level. Fred's FMLA did not kick in until today, so last week I was richly blessed with some wonderful ladies who gave their time to come and help me with William all week. What a true blessing and an answer to just many of our prayers.

I am now 23 weeks pregnant and I cannot put into words what that means to my heart. Although I never doubted the power of God, but while in the hospital, my doctors were always so quick to remind me they never expected me to make it past 19 or 20 weeks with Elizabeth. Boy, are we showing them Jamie style! However, I do realize, the fact I am now 23 weeks pregnant with a very healthy baby girl and so far my body is holding well is only a true example of the power of prayer and trusting in my Lord and Savior.

Although our journey ahead is uncertain and still scary, we are comforted in the peace we find in knowing we continue to fight for Elizabeth Grace. Early on, when this journey began and we were told at 5 weeks we would loose her, I told Fred then, as well as the ER doctors,"I will NOT loose my baby". As I entered for surgery just shy of 19 weeks, I told everyone in the OR, "I will NOT loose my baby". Once again, as I was admitted to Northside, I told my OB and my specialist, "I will NOT loose my baby". I have a determination about me, but that doesn't come without the need for prayer and the Faith to trust in His plan. My strength and determination daily are drawn from Him and His many promises to me, as His child.

Amber continues to be an amazing light in my life. Some days, I just look at her in amazement. Last week was a bit of a challenge in the evenings as Fred worked to juggle work, coaching, and the needs at home. Amber rushed in from school daily, went right into doing her homework, then jumped right in to helping with William. She spent countless hours in the kitchen doing the dishes, feeding William, playing with him, and helping me wherever I needed all while maintaining her schoolwork and dedication to church. What an amazing gift God gave me 15 years ago. Little did I know, how truly amazing she really would become as she matured as a young lady. I'm so proud of her and so thankful God chose me to be her mother, what an honor.

My home nurse has resumed her weekly visits for my 17P injections. She comes every Wednesday and checks my vitals, administers the injection, and of course, we get to listen to Elizabeth. As of now, she is scheduled to come next Tuesday, September 6th to administer my first steriod injection and again on Wednesday, September 7th to adminsiter the second injection along with my weekly 17P. Of course, the fact we are now able to get the steroid injections is a huge relief.

There are no words or a blog apprpriate enough for me to express our gratitude to all the wonderful people who have reached out to us over the past 5 weeks. Our journey has been and is continuously made easier through the many calls, emails, texts, meals, help, prayers, thoughts, and visits during this time. There is nothing harder as a mother than the feeling of helplessness when it comes to your children. As I continue to follow my doctor's orders and remain on bedrest, this is made easier knowing that the ladies who have come to help did it from their hearts. They loved on William as if he were theirs and he continued to smile and be his happy self all week. For that....I am truly grateful. Fred is now home and will be home through the first of October.

As each of you remember us in your prayers, I ask that you please remember the many mommy's at the local hospitals in HRP (High Risk Pregnancy) units as well as their precious babies. I am not alone in this journey. I only pray that each of them know our God and if not, may be touched through my blog and your prayers during this time. In addition, please keep my friend, Judy, in each of your prayers as she has now embarked on her third battle with cancer. She is a fighter and I know she's not going to stop fighting now.

Before I end, I want to summarize a little of what I have learned this far. Most importantly, I have learned never to underestimate the power of our God and the power of prayer. I have said numerous times, we consider it an honor He chose us to travel this journey, and it is a greater honor to share it with each of you. In life, it is easy to get caught up in the material things (clothes, big houses, nice cars, money, jewlery, work, etc.). However, at the end of the day, all of that can be taken away in an instant. What really matters is how much you loved those around you, how much time you invested in them, and the lasting legacy you will leave them when you leave this Earth. For me, I have come to know no greater love than the love I have for my children and my husband as well as the many family and friends that surround us. Greater than that, I have come to a closer relationship with my Lord and Savior. I'm not sure you can put a price on that, other than the price of eternaly salvation in knowing I won't suffer in pain or anger, I will only be able to see our journey as one of Love, Trust, and Faith. My prayer for each of you is that you find this same peace and enjoyment in life.

With Love,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

He Will Not Leave Me Nor Forsake Me

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Today, I'm another year older. As I reflect on the past year, I am overcome with thanksgiving for the Love of Jesus Christ who has carried us, as a family, through many challenges this year. Our Faith has been tested, we have stood the test, and now we walk with Him and trust He will continue to carry us.

My day began with a wonderful visit from a sweet friend. Not only did she come visit, but she bought with her a giant butterfly balloon and some flowers. They are beautiful, but she said it symbolized my desire to fly away from this hospital back to my family. Although this is very true, I look at this butterfly tonight, and I think about my precious children. Each one of my children started as a small being inside my womb. I nurtured them, loved them, prayed for them, and carried them under my heart only to give birth to them and watch them spread their beautiful wings. In life, there are always challenges that we would like to fly away from. However, if we didn't stand the test and always flew away, what would we learn? If we had given up during our many challenges, we would have missed out on so much. We spread our wings daily, but we choose to allow God to choose when we'll use these wings to fly. My prayer is that when we do fly we fly with Grace and fly closer to Him.

Mid morning I was greeted by another sweet friend who bought with her beautiful pink princess birthday decorations, balloons, and a cake. It took me a while, and then I realized, wow...pink again! For the past year, it's been blue, boy, blue, boy and nearly 16 years since I had the girly pink everywhere. Wow....we are really having another precious girl. Once she had my room decorated, she left and informed me she would drop dinner off at our house for my family to bring with them to share a dinner with me for my birthday here in the hospital. I was taken away with emotion at the simple thought and how much it meant to our family.

Early afternoon, I was SURPRISED by my husband who walked through my door with my precious boy. I had no idea he had taken a half day off work to surprise me. My heart melted and we settled into a wonderful afternoon. The three of us slipped off for a brief nap, as I snuggled with my precious boy in my bed. Again, thinking about the butterfly floating in my window sill and how one day, my precious boy will spread his wings far and wide. I pray he'll use all we have taught him, all he has seen and heard in our home, to fly along with Christ.

Early evening, my mom, dad, and my sweet Amber showed up. I was so glad to see my girl's face. I didn't see her yesterday because it was a church day, and I certainly wanted her there as opposed to this hospital. So, I was able to see her, her big smile, and hear her giggles as she and mom prepared to give me a pedicure. Again, the butterfly balloon reminded me of how my girl has already spread her wings and is soaring high along side Christ trusting Him, living for Him, and setting such a wonderful example for her brother.

Now, everyone is gone. I'm sad, so sad, and I miss them so much. But my tears only flow selfishly. I have no reason to be sad. I have been blessed with such an amazing husband, wonderful children, sweet friends, a great family, and an amazing church. We have weathered many storms together and continue to come out more blessed than ever. Now, we continue to walk our journey with our Elizabeth Grace, and what an honor it is to call her ours and be her parents. We are promised in Deuteronomy 31:8 - It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. He has not left us yet, and we know He isn't leaving us now. So today, I may be a year older, but that's another year full of blessings and for that, my tears are now tears of joy and happiness.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm the Mommy....May I be Heard....

I'll try not to include too much information here....Sorry in advance....

We had another ultrasound today. Elizabeth Grace still looks fabulous. She was quite the show off. In fact, she even turned into the camera and gave us a thumbs up! She knows everything will be perfectly fine and was reassuring mommy of that same fact. My cervix did lengthen, however, I am still here in the hospital. My cervix is in no way "normal" or a healthy measurement and may not be this entire pregnancy. However, it is improving and the stitch is holding very well. While scanning me, Elizabeth Grace decided to stretch. At this point, we saw her tiny little hand slip into my cervix. Although that was neat to see, it was very scary, but proved the stability of the stitch.

Due to the volume of pressure with her so low, I spent much of the night in a flat tilted position. This worked and she readjusted herself so she wasn't so low relieving all the pressure.

I spent a lot of time yesterday in tears. This journey is so difficult in its own way, fighting for the life of my girl. However, the desire to just be heard as her mother and constantly being discounted or ignored can take its toll as well. Please don't judge me while reading through this. That's easy for someone to do if this isn't your reality. I'm simply writing as a way to express my heart right now, and I trust it will be heard with an open mind. My desires to go home are not selfish desires. They are the desire of a mother willing to sacrifice all for my child/children. Let me explain...

We tried for many years to have William. Nothing we were doing was proving successful. I spent many months loading my body with clomid in an effort to get pregnant. We met with a specialist and underwent a failed fertility treatment. At which point our hearts were devastated and we were at a loss. During the three years we were undergoing all these treatments and medications I battled with my doctors over and over. I insisted on exploratory surgery early on so as to reassure us there were no "hidden" issues. Both my OB and my specialist insisted I was not "symptomatic" of any issues and surgery was just to evasive unnecessarily. I never let up, but they never gave in. So, after LOTS of money, insurance doesn't cover infertility, and a three year emotional roller coaster, I continued my fight. My OB finally "gave in" and agreed to do the surgery. I was prepped for a 30 min exploratory procedure which entering surgery he said, I know we won't find anything, but this will put your mind at ease. 2 1/2 hours later, I woke up in recovery in pain. Once I was able to regain my oxygen levels I was moved to a room where I could see Fred. At this point, he explained to me they had found some complications....I had endometriosis, a cyst, and an issue with my left ovary. Eight weeks after surgery, I was pregnant with William.

My story here, is I had to advocate for myself and our child (which we didn't know we would have at that time). I said I would stop at nothing to try and have another child, and I meant that. Had we sat back, listened to our doctors and specialist, we would not have our William.

There are times when a patient has to advocate for themselves. As with all my pregnancies, from the moment I find out, I have always said I would stop at nothing to assure this baby has a chance. That hasn't changed. Elizabeth Grace deserves nothing short of all I have to give her. Whether I lie in a bed at home or in a hospital, I am determined to give her that chance.

My struggle lies with the fact, I receive no treatment here. I am not on monitors because both the baby and my physical vitals are exceptional. I need no nursing care. Most of the time, my nurses are begging to do something for me like get me water or change my sheets. That's how little care I need or receive. I sit alone in a cold hospital room, meals are brought to me three times a day, and I eat them alone. There is little socialization, and my muscles are deteriorating which is evident through my weight loss. My husband and my family have been excluded from this pregnancy. My ultrasounds are done at random so there is no way to allow Fred the chance to be here, he has very little time to talk and interact with Elizabeth Grace and she is deprived of the sounds and happiness of her home environment. I understand a mother sacrifices all for the life of their child, but sometimes, that doesn't require unnecessary sacrificing.

It's a hard place to be in. Not wanting to make the wrong decision, but trusting yourself and your Faith to make the right decisions. Ultimately, our God is in control. He is how I DO manage to make it from one day to the next along with knowing that's one more day our sweet girl has had a chance to grow. I minimize none of this. I just feel I'm not heard by anyone. I feel I have no say or control over my precious baby girl or my own body or health and that scares me. Each morning I wake up, and each night I go to sleep, I am the Mommy. All I want is a chance to be heard.