Saturday, October 17, 2009


Hope is everywhere. Sometimes you just have to look.

I've spent five months telling myself exactly that. Well, today I found it.

I've been told repeatedly if David and I were to need anything, we should just simply ask.

Today I am asking. Today I want you to find a sign of hope in your daily life.
Then please tell us about it. You may have to search a little as well. Hope is there though. I promise you.

Today I found hope in the eyes of children at play. Today I found hope in knowing a calm sense of peace and relief from worry far outweighs any sense of grief.

Hope is also my daughter.

Hope Angela entered this world on October 15, 2009 at 2:49pm. Who knew hope would arrive with the darkest hair you'd ever see.

Instead of watching for hope, Hope is now watching over us. She may have entered this world an Angel, but she will never truly leave it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God's Middle of the Night Comedy Show.

It's funny how pregnancy and God can mess with your head at the same time.

Lately my night time routine goes something like this:

Crawl into bed, settle in, sleep blissfully until 2am.
Wake up wide awake having to pee for the fortieth time.
Lay back down.
Realize pregnancy induced backache isn't going away. Toss and turn trying to get comfortable.
Baby decides to plan trek across the dessert. Is thirsty.
Get up. Get drink. Decide Kool-aid is better than the water you should've had.
Lay back down.
10 minutes later still wide awake. Baby is on a sugar rush after all that Kool-aid.

Wonder to God if baby kicks and insomnia are a sign of things to come or if God is just giving me every last minute I may ever have with Little Angel.

Put that thought out of head. Try not cry. Kleenex is too far away and I finally found the latest greatest contorted position in which to fall asleep.

Pray that God gets me through these last 30 days. Wonder how I managed to make it this far. Silently say a prayer for everyone that's helped us along the way.

That's a little too emotional. Kleenex still too far away.

Try to remember if I turned the dishwasher on or not. Husband needs clean spoons for breakfast.

Ponder baby names. Remember while everyday is good there will be GREAT ones ahead.

Wonder how husband sleeps with his hands across chest, staying in the same position all night, never moving. NOT EVEN ONCE.

Apparently God has an ironic sense of humor. Who knew?

Wishes husband could be pregnant. Consider kicking him in the leg just to simulate the Charlie Horse that's currently running through mine.

Think about what I could do make our baby better.
Can't dream up one rational theory.

Ponder waking up husband to analyze ways of the world.
Remembers waking up husband will lead to someone looking forelornely into his Golden Grahams all bleary-eyed because and confused because a) There are no clean spoons
b) he doesn't do middle of the nights very well.

Decide to let husband sleep. Crabby husbands aren't worth it, no matter the circumstance. They're not coherent at 3:30am anyways.

Look at clock.

One more hour. Thinks maybe it's just a good idea to get up. Time to clean the closet no one ever sees. The one with long lost elementary school report cards and random items that have no home.

Task seems to exhausting. Fall asleep instead.

Hear alarm. 5:15. See the start of a beautiful morning outside of my windows.

Begin the day all over again. Give thanks for what is good ask for help with what isn't.

Wash spoon before husband realizes different and hit start on the dishwasher.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things to be Happy About!

With 33 days left before the arrival of Little Angel, there's lots of things to complete and think about. Sometimes so much that I don't even know where to begin the explanations. However, there are always things to be happy and excited about no matter the circumstances; no matter the thoughts in my head.

1) Homemade applesauce. I'm getting good at this.

2) The Card Shower my sister planned for me. David and I know we've been loved and supported on this journey, but it's amazing to the see the kind words and well wishes in print.

3) Coffee. It will always be coffee. It makes everything better.

4) Baby calves. Cute, silly and just wanting to somebody to love them. They're my hope for the future.

5) A certain set of pint-sized family members that learned how to empty cupboards. Love the little clowns dearly and now my tupperware is organized. Maybe not by choice but that's irrelevant.

6) The love and support marriage brings. Even if it is in our own unique way.

7) Golden Girls reruns. Little House on the Prairie DVDs as well.

Please take the time today to think about the little things that make your life enjoyable. They're always there, in spite of or despite the situation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back at the Beginning

Choosing to end the battle doesn't mean admitting defeat, rather it's giving hope a whole new direction.

It's always amazing to me how life is a series of circles. Life hasn't been lived, the battle hasn't been fought, the victory won until the circle is completed. The circles in life are everywhere. Generations of people overcome the same struggles as the generation before. The moon is a series of shapes leading to one big full circle, before starting over. The wreaths making their way to my door each season signify a pattern of changing seasons. The clock ticks by from 12 to 12 365 days per year, never waivering.

David and I are currently working on closing the circle. Essentially we're back right where we started this journey four long months ago. If you ask either one of us if this is how we thought the circle would be closed, if this how we thought it would end, the answer is a resounding, "NO." If you ask if we're sure of this decision, you'll hear "Yes" ringing loud and clear.

In real life, without the philosophy, all of these analogies translate to, "We're back in our hometown hospital with our usual doctor."

This wasn't a decision we took lightly. We've been to countless doctors. Every file has been read, the research has been combed through all in a valiant effort for some miracle cure; for some answer that would allow us to wake up and have the whole situation be a distant memory.

All we found were eight doctors with eight opinions and no general consensus. More questions and less answers. There was the doctor that didn't read my file before sending us off with more scare tactics. There was the genetic specialist who saw the precious little baby on the ultrasound screen as insurance money. There was the doctor whose miracle cure was to prolong the inevitable. This was no longer an issue of "saving" Little Angel but one of life vs. quality of life.

David and I realized months ago that there is no miracle treatment for Little Angel. We had hit a breaking point where we just want to be in control and at peace with our tough decisions. This doesn't mean we've given up. We just wanted to return the whole situation to God, rather than doctors playing God. We still have our hope and faith, after all it is the greatest treatment.

Nice sentiment right? Makes sense in our heads. However, try finding a doctor that won't call you every shade of crazy for saying it out loud.

After touring Children's Hospital last week, we did find a kind-spirited doctor with a big heart to agree with us. This doctor told us he could perform every heroic measure there was, but the only "save" to this baby was to love her while we had her. The best best place to love Little Angel was back at home in the comfort of everything we know. After all, if this was going to be a miracle baby, it didn't matter what hospital. If this was going to be a baby born with Angel Wings, it didn't matter what hospital.

This wasn't how we meant to close the circle of our little family. However, this is what gives us the most peace and comfort. The lesser of two evils. The best of two bad choices. It's this sense of peace and leaving it to God, that will allow the circle to flow with love, long after it's been closed.

David and I have faced some tough questions from people trying to make sense of our decisions. It's okay to wonder and even judge us. We understand. We've judged ourselves more than anyone else ever could.

Last week we were posed the question, "If you won't let the doctors determine life vs. quality of life, who are we to make that call?"

Well, we're Little Angel's parents. That's who. As parents you just know what's right in your heart. It's amazing how in times of struggle, when faced with decisions you only read about on other people's blogs or see in the movies, that strengh gives you all the answers needed. The answers may not come right away, but they will come to you. They will be the right ones. It could be God. It could be Intuition. Very well a combination of both. Whichever, David and I have been guided through this battle with on outpouring of allies in faith, love, hope and support.

It's not defeat if you can see the hope in the circle.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Octobers in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.

When time is inching in on your sideview mirrors.

I know it's been awhile since I've posted any updates of great significance. Truth be told, I just don't have much to say these days.

I'm a basket of mixed emotions to be quite honest. I can't explain how I feel, so I'm not even going to attempt to do so. In the past months I've learned to just be honest. I've learned confirming feelings and denying nothing is the best path to survival. There's no sense in rationalizing what can't be rationalized.

On one hand I've made it this far, when doctors told me I wouldn't. Little Angel is still kicking around, happy as can be. I'm fine healthy and strong as ever. I count these blessings and give thanks every day. It's how I maintain my chance at hope.

I'm so excited to meet Baby and see what the future holds. On the other hand I never imagined I could be this scared of anything. I'm a brave a girl after all. Other than the opposums and rodents roaming the barnyard from time to time, not much sends chills down my spine. Except for my own baby.

Then there's the shock of having 58 (or less) days left. While I do the best to enjoy every last minute of this pregnancy while I'm still in control, all the same I just want the whole ordeal over with. I know I know...take my "Mom of the Year Award" away right there. After all, who essentially wishes a baby would just be "over with?" Who refers to their Miracle as an "ordeal." Lastly, Who feels scared of their own baby?

Well.....somedays I do. I won't deny it in the least.

Then the next minute I turn around and have big dreams Little Angel is going to be the greatest Miracle there ever was. I won't deny that in the least either.

As for the doctors, I'm learning to trust blindly. I've come to accept that every doctor has a different theory and a different plan. While some I agree with more than others, I just have to accept they're stating what they think is the best course of action for Little Angel. I can agree, disagree or agree to disagree, but ultimately it's mine and David's decision. It's our baby after all, and we know best in the long run.

The sense of control helps us survive countless doctors appointments, phone calls and pages of research information.

On the same note, everytime I have to speak to a doctor I could throw up. I hate visiting the hospital, I hate hearing about theories that may or may not be true. I hate hearing words like NICU, prenatal death, surgery, brain scan, echocardiogram. Then again, they are just words which will maybe lead us to the best possible outcome.

I'm sure the words on the page today seem like incessant rambling. They probably are. It's what happens when you're feelings are incessant rambling. I just do the best I can to realize my feelings, stay occupied and move forward one day at a time.

Or should I say one baby step at a time.

58 days will be gone before I know it, and with it will be feelings of hope and sorrow, pessimism and optimism, bravery and fear. It's simple faith and the reliance on the terms "we" and "us" that we will get through this.

We have to get through this, full speed ahead, until it's past us in the rearview mirror of Life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gratitude and Latitude.

Always appreciate what you have, turn to God for what you don't.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for 7th and 8th graders. Junior high kids can definitely give me a run for my paycheck, but I enjoy their lessons in contradictions. They're all attitude on the outside; waiting for someone to love them on the inside. Want to be treated like adults and wanting to be told a lame joke at the same time. 12 and 13 year olds can come off as oblivious to the world while at the same posing moral dilemmas and questioning life issues most adults don't even think about.

As a former classroom teacher it was my job to help these students navigate life while being themselves. It was a challenge but I accomplished this through weekly journals. I posed a question and simply graded students on how well they defended their response. There was no right or wrong. There was nothing for me to disagree with. The students came to appreciate this and left me reading more honest answers than Aristotle or Socrates could have ever dreamed up.

I know. I know. Journal writing is a schoolkid's worst nightmare. It was a struggle for some but they did it anyway. The week I posed the questions "What are you greatful for? Where do you need latitude in life?" I had a 100% turn in rate.

When I left full time classroom teaching; being the glutton for punishment I am, I signed up to teach religion at my small-town country church. I asked for 7th and 8th graders.

7th and 8th graders are the same everywhere. They want to be heard and want their thinking challenged. In religion class I adopted my journal writing to the "Gratitude and Latitude List." It was small scale journal writing in a list form with a religious perspective. The Gratitude were things that we needed to give thanks to God for. The Latitude were things we needed to ask God to help us through or to accept us as we are. Some weeks the answers were obvious. The next they were so heartfelt and honest I couldn't believe they were written by the same 12 year old who came in snapping on her gum; testing me with the latest swear words.

As a classroom teacher and religion teacher I was doing what I do best; hoping I was making a difference.

I ran into a former student of mine earlier this week. The first thing he asked about was my very obvious baby belly. As I was telling him the story, he was listening intently. This student as an eighth grader was very intelligent, had a strong understanding of the important things in life but was rather reserved at the same time. Now as a junior in high school, he was a little taller, a little less awkward and a little more outspoken. When I finished with my story he said, "Miss. My thoughts are with you. Have you made your "Gratitude and Latitude List? I still do that sometimes when I'm worried about something."

After the shock wore off of a student remembering one simple assignment, I decided I should practice what I teach (or preach depending on who you ask).

In honor of every student of life who remembers a simple assignment; here is my Gratitude and Latitude List.


I am thankful for the strength to get through each day.
I am greatful to have access to some of the best medical care in the country.
I am happy to be surrounded by close friends and family who do anything for me
I am thankful for polka-dot wall decals that make my baby's room bright and cheery
I am greatful for the motherly intuition that keeps me fighting and hopeful.
I love baby kicks.
I love songs involving Big Green Tractors.
I appreciate my stockpile of chocolate chips.

Give me latitude because I'm not always as positive about the future as I could be.
Give me latitude because sometimes I fear the challenges ahead of me.
Give me latitude because sometimes 74 more days is a long wait.
Give me latitude with the aforementioned chocolate chips.
Give me latitude because sometimes I'm angry I don't have answers.
Give me latitude becuase I don't understand how people who don't want perfectly healthy beautiful babies receive them anyways.

It's the ebb and flow of gratitude and latitude that that gets us through everyday. Always be greatful but don't be ashamed to admit the latitude.

Friday, July 31, 2009

In Other News

Today's newscast is brought to you by 10 tiny, cute (albeit crooked) toes.

Sometimes I feel like my life is a 9pm newcast. Goofy weather man included. If you've met my husband you know what I mean.

In the endless barrage of doctor's appointments and specialist vists I feel like I'm in a constant state of "Extra" editions or "Investigative" reports. You know all the stuff you really want to see after they cover the pitiful economy, who robbed a bank, who got bailed out this week and the fact Obama, in all his esteem prefers Bud Light.

So Today's Top Story:
Yesterday David and I went to my regular OB for a scheduled checkup and a follow-up on Little Angel.

The first thing OB covered were the results of my last ultrasound on June 30th. Turns out Little Angel's head measures in the 45th percentile but the limbs only measure in the 5th percentile. It isn't awkwardly noticeable on the ultrasound and may or may not be in real life. Little Angel's body is developing what's most necessary, which happens to be the brain. My regular doctor stated hands and feet will catch up with time as an infant but brain development won't, justifying why the body is focused on that now. Either way, this is definitely a positive sign.

With the new ultrasound yesterday, nothing new or suscipicious has developed. Everything looks pretty much the same. Baby measures about a week behind, but still falls into chart range. Little Angel gained a pound in the last month bringing his weight to 2 pounds exactly.

Baby measures in the 10th percentile all around. My regular OB told me the specialists were probably going to diagnose growth restriction, but I shouldn't let it bother me. To quote the doctor directly:

"They'll diagnose growth restriction so they can have a medical code for repeat ultrasounds. As long as Baby keeps growing consistently it's not so much of a concern. Further more having a small baby is partially due to the chromosome issue, and mainly because 5'2" 120 pound moms and 5"7' 150 pound fathers do not have 8 pound babies. Also, some babies have to make up the bottom of the growth chart."

David and I also questioned brain function because while we can handle anything physical, we do need to prepare ourselves for mental delays as well. The OB just like the specialists admitted we won't know for sure until October, but there are no signs of brain malformations or unusual activity. All of the lobes are there and all of the necessary nerves are attached in physiologically appropriate places.

Lastly, our OB went on to explain my feeling good is a positive indication. He said usually babies with chromosome issues affect not only their systems but the systems of mom as well. I have no signs of preterm labor, no signs of pre-eclampsia, no unusual pain, I'm not sick etc. In fact, if it wasn't for my belly prohibiting me from crawling through the gates in the barn (and the never ending stress), I'd never know I was pregnant.

David and I also found out we will need to deliver this baby at Children's Hospital. Our regular hospital while great, does not have a high level NICU unit and because of liability issues they will not deliver a baby with known complications. The only way I could deliver in my regular hospital is if we have explicit after-care instructions for Little Angel. However, that's not a decision I'm willing to make until delivery. How can we tell doctors what I want done to help our child, if we don't know what's wrong to start with? It's an emotional battle neither of us are willing to fight until we can see Baby and make a rational decision.

So basically, after two hours of in-depth investigataive reporting, we here at BabyTV have uncovered no news is good news. Little Angel is still growing and kicking around more than ever. At the moment, that's all we ask for.

We'll be the first to keep you informed of the latest updates. Stay tuned.