Not my will, but your's be done.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Doing Somersaults

After my last visit with Dr. Cunningham I started doing my reading on breech delivery. I did my reseach and decided that I still plan on delivering him vaginally even if he stays breech....but I would prefer for him to turn in to the correct position. I began to stress about the possible complications of a breech delivery. I shared some of my worries with Josh, who was very encouraging. He explained to me that God loves me, him, and most of all, Tres. And God is not going to allow his birth to be a bad experience for us. I just need to trust the Lord and have faith that he has the best interest of all of us in mind. Breech or not breech, Tres' birth is going to be a beautiful experience.

I am very blessed to have a husband that has the gift of encouragement. He gets this gift from the Lord, but it has been amplified by the example of his mother, who is also an extremely encouraging person. Having both of these people in my life, especially during this season I am walking through, has been a treasure beyond words. God is constantly using one of them or the other to uplift me and remind me of God's promises. I am relieved that both of them rely so heavily on the Lord because I do not have the gift of encouragement at all, therefore the encouragment usually goes unreturned. I soak it up like a sponge, but never seem to expell any back to either of them. It is difficult to me to try to encourage others in grim situations. Even if I feel the need or want to encourage them on the inside, I am usually unable to find any words that I feel would be able to help the situation.

Inspired by Josh's pep talk I decided that I was going to do what I could do to get Tres to turn. This consisted of some exercises that I found online during my research, praying, and enlisting others to pray.

As I started my exercises they proved to be amusing. This was partly because several of the exercises consisted of propping myself somewhat upside down. Even if you have never seen a woman that is seven months pregnant hanging upside down you can probably still imagine the amusement that this would provide. The other aspect of the entertainment came from Tres' newfound experience with a different perception of reality. I am fully convinced that he loved it, because in those times where my hips were higher than my head is the most active he has been.

Shortly after starting my exercises I am convinced that he flipped from head up to head down. If felt like he flipped. So I checked with my fetal heart rate monitor, and sure enough instead of finding his heartbeat a couple of inches of the right of my belly button(as it had been for weeks), I found it down low and to the left. I was excited! The exercises had worked and it had only been a day and a half since I started them!

I was a bit discouraged when the following morning his heartrate had migrated its way back up to its previous position. Back to the exercises. After several days of doing the exercises and there not being any change, I realized that my strongest tool is not going to be the exercises, but prayer. Technically Tres doesn't have any room to flip, no matter how much inverted comical hanging upside down I attempt to do. Even though his size is probably somewhere around a pound and a half and 13 inches long or so, a womb with no amniotic fluid is more like a cocoon than a bubble. Normally a baby that is breech at 26 weeks would not be a concern because the baby is still small enough to flip fairly freely. But space, not size, is the issue here.

I started doing less laying on the slant board, and more praying. I prayed that God would give Tres room. I prayed that even thought he looks crowded on the ultrasounds and there is no amniotic fluid, that God would place his hand on this child and put him in His own special bubble. I asked the Lord to give him room to move a grow, despite what appears to be reality.

This Saturday evening I got in the bath tub and I felt Tres flip again. As soon as I got out I checked his heartrate and, just as suspected, his heartbeat had moved from high right to low left! Victory! Monday morning when he was still head down I called the doctor and asked if they could do a quick ultrasound and check his position. On the way to my appointment I asked Tres if he would please be head down and not make a fool out of Mommy. He cooperated. His little head was down, just as I had thought.

Once again, last night when I checked his heartrate(this is part of my nightly routine), his head wasn't down anymore. I never felt him somersault back up, so I am assuming that he did it during the night. When I realized that he was breech again I started to be disappointed. Then I remembered that this was an exact answer to prayer. I had been praying that God would give Tres room to move, and apparently he did! I considered his movement to be an answer to pray. Especially in light of the fact that before the somersaulting began he had been in the same basic position for over 6 weeks.

As I have said before and will continue to say, God is good. His mercys endure. He is watches over all he has created. He even provides room for his smallest of children to do gymnastics in the womb.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Visit

I had a check up with Dr. Cunningham, my OB, today. My uterus is measuring several weeks small. This is to be expected since Tres is small for his gestational age, and also the lack of fluid causes me to measure smaller. Tres is breech, which is another not unusual or surprising fact. He isn't expected to turn into a normal, head down position. Since there is no amniotic fluid to give him room to turn, little munchkin is pretty much stuck. We discussed delivery and Tres is most likely going to be delivered vaginally even if he stays breech. Dr C and I have discussed this previously and she knows that I want to avoid a c-section if possible. I have several reasons for this. First and foremost, I know that my time with Tres living is going to be very limited and I don't want the precious few minutes of my baby's life to be spent with me in surgery. She was more than willing to help me achieve the kind of delivery I am hoping for. She has a sensitive nature that is always comforting. And she always finds a way to encourage me, even when we are discussing the bleakest of situations. I left my appointment feeling uplifted instead of upset.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prayer Requests

I know that all of you are praying with us for Tres. All your prayers are greatly appreciated. When I pray I always prefer to pray as specifically as possible. I have a couple reasons for preferring to pray this way. 1. I like to tell God exactly what it is that I am asking of him. 2. When I pray specifically it is always exciting to see God answer my prayers.

Throughout this whole ordeal God has been so good to us. He has already answered some very specific prayers that I have prayed for Tres. I continue to pray and I urge you to continue to pray with us.

Of course the number one request is for God to place his mighty healing hand on our baby and heal him completely. We pray that God will give him two healthy, normal, fully functioning kidneys. We pray that God will straighten and heal his spine. We pray that while there is no amniotic fluid in my womb with the baby that God will protect his head, face, hands and feet from deformities that are a result of the lack of fluid. In a nutshell, we pray for a normal, healthy, God healed miracle to be born. We desire a miracle that doctors are unable to explain, therefore God will get all the glory.

I have a second set of prayer requests. These are things that are personally improtant to me in the case that God does not choose to heal Tres.

1. Pray that I am able to carry Tres to full term. With Tres' condition this is very unlikely, but every day that I have with him is precious to me. Therefore, I want this pregnancy to continue as long as possible.

2. Pray that Tres turns head down into the correct position before I go into labor. With out amniotic fluid, babies have a difficult time turning and often get stuck breech or transverse(laying on their side). If that is the case, then I will have to have a c-section.

3. Pray that Tres is born alive and that we have enough time before he passes for us to be able to hold and cuddle him and that Luke and Ray will have a chance to hold him while he is living also.

These requests hit the major points of what I pray for daily. To all you prayer warriors out there we thank you for standing in the gap for us. I pray and thank God for you daily. I have prayed that God will bless you for your failthfulness. In James he says, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16b. It also says, "the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." James 5:15a

Remember this though, God is at work and has his hand on this situation no matter what the outcome is.

And we praise him for that.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Latest on Tres

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 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.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hannah's Bean

Here is an update on my sister's appointment this past Tuesday. Everything looked great with the baby. The baby had a great heartrate, which was really good to see, since her regular OB was unable to find a heartbeat with the dopplar at her last visit. During the ultrasound they said that the baby is very active. She got to see legs, arms, and all that exciting stuff! The baby is growing just great. The news was just what she needed. She was very relieved to see that baby doing so well. I was also excited that her little bean was doing so well. This baby is going to be my 7th niece or nephew! And they are all 5 years old and under! Luke and Ray have lots of cousins to play with. I love it, and so do they!