Now for an update on my latest visit to the specialist. My appointment was this past Wednesday. The first few days following my appointment I didn't really feel like posting an update. My emotions have been rather strung out. My body feels tired. Tired to the core. I have felt nauseated also. I have been wondering if the tiredness and nausea are from being pregnant, or am I just tired? I think that strong emotions can exhaust a person in a way that physical activity is not capable of. You become tired down to the very center of who you are. So I think that I have just been tired. Very tired.
I planned on going to my appointment by myself. Josh was off and able to stay with the kids, so I thought it was an ideal chance for me to have a few hours of quiet to myself. My specialist is in Houston and it takes me about and hour and a half to get to his office. I have a couple of sermons on cd about parenting that my sister had loaned me and I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to listen to them. So I was rather looking forward to my day trip alone. Not to mention that I(among others) had been praying for Tres daily and I wanted to know if there had been any changes.
The morning went smoothly. Both the kids woke up on the right side of the bed, which is always a blessing. When you are in the mist of teething, happy mornings are never a guarantee. I was even ready to walk out the door on time. As I was saying goodbye to Josh I suddenly got emotional. I did not consider this to be a good sign. The last time I suddenly became emotional before a doctors visit was the day before this whole ordeal started.
Still I loaded in the car and left. As I was leaving our neighborhood I drove past a cemetary. I don't know if you would really call where we live a neighborhood. We are outside the city limits and we live on almost an acre. But "neighborhood" is the best way to describe it, and non the less, there is a cemetary on the outskirts of it.
The cemetary got me to thinking about where the baby would be buried should he not be healed. Josh and I have discussed this briefly. But this is not a topic that either of us have wanted to dwell on, therefore, we haven't come to a conclusion about where we would bury Tres, if need be. As I drove past the cemetary I started thinking that maybe this would be a good place to bury him. It isn't the nicest cemetary in our area. But it is close to our house, which would make me feel better. Also, it has alot of oak trees. And I love oak trees.
I realized how much my life has changed in the past few months. I have almost completely switched gears. I have gone from planning sleeping arangements for having a new baby in the house, thinking about names, and anticipating life with 3 children...to thinking about whether we should choose the nicest cemetary, or the closest cemetary to our house to bury our child. I have always lived under the assumption that I would out live my children, so this is something that I never dreamed of having to consider.
About 45 minutes into my drive I started having contractions. They were non-painful Braxton-Hicks, I know, but at the same time I started to get a little nervous. I am at the stage of pregnancy were Braxton-Hicks are completely normal. With Ray I started having them daily by 20 weeks. But I have been blessed this pregnancy to have very minimal contractions thus far. The reason that I say that it is a blessing is because in my condition,(meaning, not having any amniotic fluid to act as a cushion for the baby), strong Braxton-Hicks are part of what cause you to go into labor early...often times, very early. With Ray I had very strong contractions for about 6 weeks before she was finally born. That is why I say that I have been blessed to have very minimal contractions so far with Tres.
I don't know if it was just stress and nerves, or just a normal part of pregnancy that caused me to start having contractions on the way to my appointment. At first I didn't think anything of it really. I was pretty into the sermon I was listening to. But after about 30 minutes I noticed that I was still having them. That is when I started getting nervous.
My wait at the doctors office was basically uneventful, minus a brief dizzy/lightheaded period. A lady that was also waiting kept staring at me. I must have looked as loopy as I felt. It was at this point that I started thinking that I shouldn't have come alone. I have a history of getting lightheaded while pregnant, and have even passed out cold with Luke, and very nearly with Ray several times. I dug a protein bar out of my purse hoping that it would help. It did, thankfully.
Between the anticipation of the ultrasound, the contractions, and my attempt at fainting, my nerves were completely shot. I grabbed the Bible out of my purses. The only thing I could think to pray was, "God, just give me a word. Tell me something. Anything." I kept praying this over and over, not knowing what to specifially ask for.
I immediately turned to Proverbs 23. I am 23 weeks pregnant, so that was what made sense at the time. As I read the Lord showed me Prov 23:18. It says, "There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."
That verse has stuck with me since then. God hasn't revealed to me exactly what it means to me for this situation, but the promise of hope is encouraging.
After what felt like and eternity(but was actually a little over and hour), I was called back and the nurse got me settled in for my ultrasound. The specialist, Dr. Kirshon, came in shortly thereafter. He is a knowlegeable doctor that truly seems to cares about me and Tres.
As he performed the ultrasound I recieved good and bad news. The good news is that Tres' head measured very close to the size it should be for his gestational age. But what was the even better news and a huge answer to prayer was that Tres' brain looked completely normal. That is an awesome answer to prayer! The first abnormality with Tres that was identified 7 1/2 weeks ago was that he had a small abnormal brain, fluid on his brain, and a misshappen head. All of those things were normal on this ultrasound. I was estatic to hear that!
But as he continued the ultrasound he found that there are problems with Tres' spine. He has a shortened spine, and it is pretty curved in a way that it shouldn't be. Also, the measurements that he was able to get of the rest of Tres' body measured about 2 weeks small for gestational age.
I asked him if he was able to find any fluid at all in there, and he said that it my womb was "dry as a bone". Not what I was wanting to here. I also asked him if he would try to see if the baby was a boy or girl. He tried, but was unable to see. This is not what Luke was wanting to hear. As I had left for my appointment this morning Luke had told me that while I was gone he was going to be praying that the doctor would be able to tell if the baby was a boy or a girl.
He concluded the ultrasound by saying that there were pretty severe problems with the baby's spine, and he could not identify a stomach, bladder, or kidneys. The bottom line is that there is still no chance of Tres living long at all after he is born.
He then talked with me about my plans for delivering the baby. He gave me the option of delivering in Houston. I told him that I really prefered to deliver with Dr. Cunningham, unless he thought that it would help that baby in any way for me to deliever in Houston. In that case I would be willing to do whatever where ever. He said that where I deliver is not going to increase Tres' life span, therefore I can choose to deliver him where ever I am comfortable. He then brought up the option of Tres' body being sent to Houston after he passes away for an autopsy. I was just ready to leave by this point, so I told him that I would think about all the options in regards to an autopsy and I would let him know.
As I left I was feeling pretty discouraged. I thought that my news couldn't really get any worse than the news we had already been getting. But to hear that there were more problems than we had already known took what little wind was left in my sails completely out.
Then God brought to my mind prayers that he had answered regarding this visit. I had prayed that Dr Kirshon would be able to see things clearer than he had been able to previously. As he was looking at the abnormalities in Tres' spine he actually said that he could see his spine much clearer than last time. Also, the big thing, Tres' head and brain looked completely normal. It is hard to get excited about your baby's brain being fine, when he has other problems that are going to make it impossible for him to live. No matter how "normal" his brain is, he still isn't going to live. He is going to die with a normal brain. Not encouraging at all.
I had to keep reminding myself that God obviously had his healing hand on Tres' brain, so he could definately choose to heal the rest of his body also. In no way have I given up faith.
Josh has specifially been praying that God would perform a miracle that the doctors could not explain at all. If God chooses to heal Tres we want it to be completely for His glory and in a way that no doctor can take credit for it. Since there are obvious physical deformities it will be such a glorious act of God if Tres is born normal and healthy.
God is good. He has answered prayers and we pray that he will continue to do so.