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'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.