Friday, August 5, 2011

The Source of Our Strength

In April, 2011, we were told, to our surprise, we would be adding a new member to our family. Little did we at that time, how much this surprise would forever change our lives, our Faith, and our hearts.

At 5 weeks pregnant, I experienced quite a bit of bleeding. Fred immediately rushed me to the hospital to find out what was going on with me and/or our precious baby. After many tests, monitoring, and observation, we were told I had a subchorionic hemotoma and we would most likely loose this baby. After seeing a tiny seed with a beating heart, I was not ready to accept this to be it. The ride home from the hospital was difficult. As I stroked William's hair in his car seat as he drifted off to sleep, I couldn't stop crying at the thought that there was a life inside of me and I felt at a loss as to how to save this life God had given us. Later that evening, I was reminded by Him that our children are not really ours, they are His. He loans them to us temporarily, and when He is ready, He calls them home to Him.

Selfishly, I continued to question God. As if that was my place to do so. A week passed and we had a viability scan with my general OB. I was terrified as to what we may find at this visit. However, we found a heartbeat and a growing baby inside of me. Again, I was humbled and brought to tears. We were told we would take it day by day and do another viability scan at 8 weeks. That time came around and once again, we entered the doctor's office scared. And....once again, there it was, a beating heartbeat inside a beautiful growing baby. For a while, my heart would smile and we would begin the "fun" part of pregnancy.

I spent the next several weeks sick as I could be, but continued to hear and see a healthy baby growing inside of me.

We decided mid July we would make our normal summer trip to Florida to visit family and friends. However, before leaving, we had to coordinate a home nurse to administer my 17 P injections which my doctor ordered to prevent preterm labor. This was proving to be difficult, but we were finally able to schedule a nurse to see us in Florida. I began the injections on July 24th, right at 17 weeks and 6 days pregnant. Wednesday morning of that week I woke up having some intense intermittent cramping in my lower abdomen that didn't seem to let up. I contacted my OB and they recommended I be seen right away. Fred took me to the hospital and fortunately, my previous OB was on call and was able to see me in Labor and Delivery. After an examination we learned my cervix had begun to then to 50%. We knew this was not a good thing so early on, so once again, we were terrified. He performed an ultrasound and we asked if he could tell us what we were having. After several minutes, it was very clear we were having a precious baby girl. At that time, we thought her name would be Madison Elizabeth, however, we have since changed that and now she is our precious Elizabeth Grace.

After consulting with several doctors on call as well as my OB in Georgia, it was agreed that I was not stable enough to return home. I was referred to Shands, a high risk hospital, and admitted within hours. On Friday, I was taken in for a cerclage placement when we discovered I had dilated to 2. Again, as I laid awake in the OR hearing the concern in the doctor's voices, I was overwhelmed with fear, while at the same time comforted by a peace that only God could give me. They reassured me they would do the best they could while trying to avoid both my membranes and the baby. For a brief second, I thought, it's not "the baby" this is our precious girl, Elizabeth Grace.

The placement went as well as could be expected under the circumstances and I spent the next day and a half recovering. Saturday night, the doctors felt they had done all they could do and were satisfied with my stability and said we could return home. We spent Sunday resting and begin our trip home on Monday. The trip went well. Amber listened to music and William watched Mickey and Elmo the whole ride home. I began to feel some pressure and cramping so I contacted my doctor. He immediately requested I be seen upon our return just to double check everything. We had an ultrasound and discovered my cervix had shortened again. He sent me to my specialists to perform another ultrasound. During this ultrasound I began contracting and the specialists immediately send me for admission to Labor and Delivery. We would spend the next two days uncertain and scared. We knew God could do anything, but 19 weeks was just way too early to deliver our precious girl. On Tuesday, I was moved to HRP (High Risk Pregnancy Unit) and given what we were told was a permanent room.

Nights passed and my heart continued to break. It broke for my precious unborn daughter, it broke for my precious babies because I missed them so very much, and it broke for the future which was unknown to us. I had plenty of time to sink myself deep into thought and prayer and once again He proved faithful. I could hear Him speak to me reminding me, our Elizabeth Grace's plan was already decided.

God's plan for all our lives is defined long before we are even conceived. Our human nature tends to want to change or control that plan, when it's not our place. My prayers were to carry my precious baby to term, hold her in my arms, and carry her home. However, I soon realized my prayer needed to be for the strength to accept His plan and to praise him in the meantime.

Today is Friday, and it looks like things are slightly improving in my body and it's efforts to carry our baby. We remain hopeful I can return home to my precious family and continue bed rest with my children and my husband at my side. Although Elizabeth Grace's future remains unknown to us, it is known to Him. Should He decide to call her to Him, we trust he will give us the strength we need to praise him through that time.

Each day she teaches us to love big and cherish every moment. Each time I feel her move, I am thankful for that day and that moment with her. Fred and I are honored God chose us to be her parents.

For now, we continue to pray and trust Him. That is our source of strength.

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