Monday, June 29, 2009

Motherly Instinct

A Mother's Strongest Force.

What if I told you I have a confession? What if I said I had a secret? What if I came clean and told you there was a little voice in my head telling me to fight harder? What if the little voice in my head kept saying "Ask the questions, push harder, something isn't quite right in the doctor's speel."

Would you call me crazy? Would you think I was in denial?

What if I told you I think it's motherly instinct and it's fighting mad?

Afterall, I've been to the other side of crazy. That was last week.

It's not denial. I've found the peace I need. I've accepted a baby going to heaven.

What I can't accept is what may happen here on earth. That's where my motherly instinct kicks in. Where my motherly instinct fights harder. Where my instinct tells me it's not the end, because the end isn't going to be bad as it seems.

This all came about because I have two days of doctor's appointments ahead of me.

The first appointment was over and done with as of this morning. This is where we find out because I'm perfectly healthy and measuring right on track I will probably carry this baby close to full term.

This was where we find out the genetic counselor and specialist doctors have no idea what other cells the Mosaic part of Trisomy 14 has attached itself to. Meaning? Doctors have no idea how severe this is going to be, but they've been preparing us for the worst case scenario.

The blood karoytyping should also be back tommorrow that was done on David and I. If our chromosomes come back clear, chances are great this was just an act of God calling for Baby Angels. If one of our chromosomes comes back abnormal, it means we have a 66% chance of never having perfectly healthy babies of our own.

So this is where my instinct kicks in. This is where I get fighting mad. This is where I drill doctors with question after question. This is where I ask doctors to stop worrying about their career breakthroughs and be real. This is where I ask doctors to stop playing God.

They did the best they could for us today. Tomorrow after an ultrasound we should have more answers.

So what exactly is my instinct telling me?

If either David or I is walking around with the same abnormal cell structure, what's not to say my baby won't be a walking, talking, beautiful, thriving child as well? After all, we've lived this long. It may explain some weirdness, but we're here and doing the best we can.

If doctors don't know what cells the Trisomy 14 has attached to, what's not to say that it's merely the cells that control physical aspects and anything that would inhibit life are unaffected. After all, baby has made it this far.

More importantly, why do I have a strong desire to paint the baby room and screw the crib together yet? Why did I buy a carseat before all this happened? Why on a shopping trip through Target did I feel compelled to buy the spoons and storybooks on the clearance rack? Is it because this baby is coming home with me? Sometimes I have a hard time believing God would torture me like that otherwise.

Why do my most inner thoughts tell me the end may not come until October, because it's a better outcome than I could've ever hoped for? The only outcome better than sending a Baby Angel to heaven.

How come everytime I start to think sad thoughts about the future of our Little Angel, I get a hard kick in the ribs? Is Baby telling me that she's okay in there? I like to think so.

Call me crazy. I understand.

For today though I much prefer to call it motherly instinct. And today it's still fighting country strong.

The Science Behind Baby Angels.

When God and doctors who play God meet.

There's science. There's religion. Two different theories; two different thought processes on opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum.

Believe one. Believe the other. Never the two shall cross. Too many contradictions, too many moral dilemmas otherwise.

Then there's real life. While we're at it, let's throw in two specialist doctors and a genetic counselor. Each with their own thought process as well. Each trying to outdo the other. Each essentially thinking my precious baby is a science experiment.

Let's not forget the most important part. A Baby growing Angel wings. The center of everything. A tiny one pound being who has taught his parents that science and religion do cross paths in real life. A sweet little Angel that has doctors scrutinizing every little detail searching for a break through. An Angel God has spoken to. An Angel whom God entrusted his parents to make some serious decisions for.

Decisions where religion and science cross. Real life choices.

We found out today that the doctors don't really know what to expect when our Little Angel is born. What they told us last week was considered "normal" and worst case scenario. Since I'm perfectly healthy chances are good that I will deliver this baby full term, or after the 8 month mark. Baby could be stillborn, baby could die shortly after birth, baby could live a month. The doctor told us today that we have to make to make quality of life decisions upon delivery of Little Angel.

If it is born not breathing do we want a ventilator to keep baby alive until further examination can be done/baby can breathe on her own?

If she has severe brain impairment what effort do we want to make keep this baby alive?

Do we only want comfort care upon delivery of this child, so our little Angel passes into heaven naturally?

Do we want to deliver this baby in a hospital with the latest and greatest equipment in case we can save baby? Or was this baby meant to be heaven bound all along and it should be born in the home town hospital surrounded by the people who love it the most?

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions I would never wish on my worst enemy.

Where David and I stand on this we can't say for sure. We need more prayer time. We need a few more doctors visits and ultrasounds to determine the truth.

We need more time to figure out the contradiction between science and religion.

We both know however that a struggle for life on earth is no match for earning a place in heaven.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Plea Bargaining for Peace.

God really does listen.

I've always been the argumentative type when it comes to things I'm passionate about. If I didn't think law school was out of my league I would've been there. I would've been one fiesty DA. Instead I settled for teaching HS school government and helping classes of wandering teenagers to find their passion. I was paid to play Devil's Advocate and it was an amazing experience.

Needless to say, I spent the last week plea bargaining with God. Wednesday I argued and argued with Him asking He at least reduce the charges to "finding peace." It's the least he could do for taking my Baby. His response was long in coming. I swore God was off in the Courthouse in the Sky fighting bigger battles.

Turns out, the lawyer in me caught His attention. He was listening. I woke up Thursday without a tear in my eye. I woke up Thursday not wishing it was October. I did the laundry, cleaned my house. I mowed the lawn and thought all that thinking time was going to get to me. I didn't run out of the barn crying. I made dinner that didn't come from a box. David's silly jokes made me laugh. I was happy for today.

As I laid down to go to sleep I thought. "Maybe it's just a fluke." Maybe I'm out of tears and time and tomorrow all hope will be lost again. Then it hit me. Baby Angels aren't given wings to make his parents miserable. Baby Angels are called home to watch over, protect and bring peace to parents. Baby Angels are the hope for the future. It's a theory bigger and stronger than me. But it brings me peace.

Call me crazy, but I'm also of the school that believes babies feel what mothers go through. Maybe Baby was tired of being sad and worried. Afterall, Baby has a wonderous life in heaven. I should celebrate that. I need to celebrate. Also I'm sure Baby wants to spend his last weeks with me happy. So that's what I'm going to do. Be happy for the time we have left. Not miss out on the life I currently have. It makes Baby happy. It brings me peace.

So I woke up this Friday morning. Again without a tear in my eye. The sunrise didn't make me want to pull every shade in the house. My coffee didn't taste like battery acid for the first time in a week. My favorite cow was back to being my favorite cow, not just a huge, slow pain in my side. The flowers in my garden no longer looked liked a sad reminder. I laughed with my mother in law just like always. For the first time I believed that Baby Angel is getting wings because God has a grander plan for us.

Today I'm going to celebrate finding peace. It's also the weekend of an annual family vacation. I'm excited to spend this time with family. I'm going to play in a waterpark. I'm going to be silly with other people's kids. I'm going to wear my cute clothes and love my baby belly for the time being. Baby Angel needs this. So does his parents.

Not to say I wouldn't love to file an appeal against God, but I'm not pushing my luck.

After all. I have found Peace. I have found Contentment. There's nothing more to ask for. Case closed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Give Me Your Right Ear!

Listen up!

Last night on the news Fox 9 was investigating (I know I know..the newscast with the least amount of real news) in which ear you need to speak if you want people to truly listen to you.

The answer is the right ear.

So please turn your right ear to me for a second.

God if you are listening: I know you're doing what's best for David and I at the moment. But if you could help us find some peace in the meantime we would appreciate it. I will be indebted to you forever if you could send us down a reasoning as to why you're doing this to us. Please watch over us and protect us. Also, if you must call our baby for you own, please take good care of the little one. I hear Baby Angel wings are fragile.

Baby if you are listening: Your Mom and Dad love you very very much. We wish you the best in heaven and hope you take good care of everyone up there. Please watch over us and protect us all here on earth. There are many people who love you and wish you the best no matter what. We love every little baby kick and spending the short time we have with you. Love you forever.

Friends, Family and Supporters if you are listening: We appreciate your love and support. Many of you have asked what you can do for us. The honest truth is, I don't know. I don't know how to help myself sometimes. All I ask is you hug the children dearest to you and never let go. Tell them you love them and pretty soon there will be a Baby Angel to watch over them.

Everyone has a story waiting to be told. Always be willing to lend your right ear.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting Through Our Days

It's the little things.

The support of friends, family and well wishers.

Cupcakes with sprinkles.

Purple wildflowers from a friend.

A Serenity bracelet.

A decade of Hail Mary's we say each morning.

Hope in the faces of other people's smiling babies.

We thank and appreciate every one of you and everything you have done for us.

We love you.

Country Strong

Where we find strength.

I've always been a strong girl. I can throw hay, drive a tractor and milk a cow with the best of them. I can keep a class of rowdy high school boys in line, no problem. In college I gave a guy a black eye at the bar because he wouldn't leave my friend alone. I don't need a guy to move my couch when it's time to vacuum. I love an afternoon date with the weed whip. I never understood girls who tell me mowing the lawn is too hard. I let half the things that people say roll off my back. Life is too short to be crabby, after all.

Around here we call that Country Strong. Being the farmer's daughter and the farmer's wife I know all about Country Strong. Where I come from there's two options; Either do it or ____?

I've been too busy doing to figure out the ___ part. No one else is going to do it for me. If I don't do it we all suffer. So I might as well do.

Same thing applies with our baby situation. I have to keep doing because there is no ___ part. What else can I do? Life is still going to tick by one day at a time.

That's not to say that I'm perfectly okay and have accepted everything that comes my way. I've fully accepted that my baby has a home in heaven. It's a miraculous thing being the Mom of an Angel. I can't accept that God won't tell me when it's going to happen. I struggle with the situation in general and scream "It's not fair" about six times a day. I don't understand at all why God did this to us, what His intent is.

I function throughout the day. Anyone that barely knows me thinks I'm fine on the outside. Anyone that truly knows me sees me run crying out of the barn. My friends know that I'm not in the mood for a lot of chit chat these days. David knows that while I'm doing my best, the things that were once so important to me, seem trivial. David knows that I struggle waking up in the morning knowing I won't wake up and find October and the whole thing over with.

I still get out of bed. I still dry my tears. I still put my all into the things that matter. What choice do I have? Again do it or ___?

No one ever said being the Mom of an Angel was going to be easy. But I am Country Strong and I will do the best I can. There is an end in sight.

People describe us as "courageous, brave, strong, inspirational." I don't know about that. We're just too busy helping an Angel grow wings to figure out the ___ part.

PS. Baby your Mom a place in heaven. She's a bit of a rebel. She needs all the pull she can get. ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me and Rain

My shot at hope.

Rain and I go way back. I was born in the rainiest spring on record. I was born in a downpour and it rained everyday for 2 weeks after that. My farmer Father was entirely beside himself. The bonding time we had however, formed a special connection we have to this day.

Rain and I have always been best buddies. For 27 years it’s rained on my birthday. Without fail. Sometimes just a sprinkle, sometimes a downpour but always without fail.

My HS graduation party was a 30 degree pouring rain event. My college graduation was a rainy night. My uncles took bets on rain on my wedding day.

This May was the 3rd driest on record. June comes and we find out that our Little Angel is making the way to heaven. Along with it comes a rainy June. While I’ve come to accept the facts, I still have my down days and an empty sense of longing I can’t fill.

And then comes rain. Just like clockwork. Just like always.

It’s my shot at hope that maybe God is really working miracles up there. What that miracle is I can’t say for sure, but God knows and that’s what matters.

So rain, rain, rain. Bring on the rain. I won’t mind.

It’s my last shot at hope.

Waiting for a Lifetime.


I love sandboxes, color crayons, a good story book and swingsets. Rocking babies is what I do best.

David loves pushing tractors across the floor, blocks, showing toddlers the farm and having staring contests with babies.

We both love waterparks, silly Disney movies and four wheelers.

There's popsicles in our freezer at all times.

Needless to say, we're kid people. Always have been, always will be.

I used to be the most in demand babysitter in my hometown. Parents loved me, kids loved me. My standing date in high school was Saturday night with a 3 year old, 2 year old and a baby. Life was good. To this day, bring me anyone's kids and I'm all for it. I'll never say no.

David is the Uncle that everyone wants to play with. He knows how to keep kids entertained and has an imagination as big as the sky. He also lets kids do things their Mothers wouldn't let them. He's the Uncle everyone said they'd get even with when he had kids of his own.

I'm the Aunt with the fun toys, cute craft projects. I'm the Aunt that lets kids crack eggs in the cookies when their own Mom doesn't. I'm also the Aunt that keeps Uncle David in line, making sure big kids and small kids alike behave (it's the teacher in me).

We both knew when we got married that we wanted a half a house full of kids. 3 maybe 4. Cute little blonde haired, blue eyed babies that would fill our lives with joy and wonderment. Kids. The reason we could now be kids ourselves and not look stupid doing it. Whatever God had in store for us was fine.

We didn't know this was what God had in store for us.

We've waited a lifetime for this.

Now we're waiting a lifetime for it to be over.

It's amazing how 4 months and 27 years can both take a lifetime to pass.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Naming and Angel

What to call the Little Angel?

Just like any happy expecting couple David and I spent the previous 22 weeks discussing baby names. We came up with a short list of names we loved. Autumn, Amy, Ryan, Nathan. Simple people. Simple names.

When you discover your little Angel is heaven bound, you quickly realize that there's no worthy name for a baby about to begin the fight of his short life. There's no earthly name strong enough or good enough for a baby earning angel wings in heaven.

In the barn last night (milking cows is what we do best after all), David and I were talking about what kind of name our Little Angel needs.

For a girl we've both always loved Hope but took it off the list because it seemed trite. Well let me tell you Hope is no longer trite when it's all you have to hang on to.

So Hope for a girl it is.

After thinking quietly about boy names for a while David says to me, "What about Gabriel like the Angel Gabriel in the Bible?" Beautiful. Perfect. Also the name of the biggest jerk in high school. Damn reality always getting in the way of something so perfect. :)

We're still considering Gabe. There was also an angel named David. We're pondering. I'll keep you filled in. If you have any suggestions for us, we're more than welcome to them.

Today is a new day. It doesn't make anything easier, but it's still a new day. Little Angel Mom and Dad are hoping for the best for you. Whatever the best may be.

Our Story.

This is our story.

The fine line between waiting on a baby to go to heaven and the reality of life that is sometimes hell. We love every minute of being with our little one, cry every minute of being with our little one. It's a hard thing to comprehend. Nonetheless, this is our story.

We found out we were expecting in February of 2009. All was really well. No morning sickness, no problems. David even commented that I was "good at being pregnant." We were busy guessing the sex, and arguing one way or the other about it. To this day we still don't know the sex and much prefer to keep it that way.
At our ultrasound on June 1st, the doctor found some problems with baby. Baby had an echogenic foci on his heart (Calcium deposit), and a clubbed foot. None of these issues are a big deal in and of themselves. I was also born with a clubbed foot, so we somewhat planned on that happening.

We were then sent to a perinatal specialist for a followup Level II Ultrasound. There the perinatal specialist told us that Baby had the previous conditions plus a lemon shaped head, and a cupped hand. As a result our chances of birth defects for our age were greatly increased. After the doctors rattling off every disease known to man and David and I shedding lots of tears, we decided to do the amnio.

The FISH (fast) results of the amnio came back clear as can be. We were both convinced that all was well. If it's internal organs and brain were functioning properly, everything else was completely minor.

Fast forward 2 weeks. The genetic counselor that we originally spoke to told us that the long term amnio came back saying that Baby had a major chromosomal defect. The 14th chromosome was growing into the 13 and there were 3 14 chromosomes instead of 2. The doctors told us that they don't really know what this means as there's only 21 cases of such things in the world. All but six of these babies have died. Babies that suffer from such a sad thing either a) are delivered stillborn preterm b) die shortly after birth or within a couple months. There have been no babies born with this issue that have lived without extreme medical intervention.

We had two options 1) Terminate the pregnancy 2) Wait for God to intervene. Even though it goes against everything we believe in, we seriously considered termination. Judge us if you want, I understand. We judged ourselves too. However, we felt trapped. When your two options are essentially "killing" your baby or a carrying a baby that won't make it, no choice is the right choice, best choice or wrong choice. We just felt that termination would give us some closure and a chance to move on. However after an ultrasound determined that medical termination wasn't an option due to baby being too big, we figured it was a sign that we were meant to carry this baby.

This is where we stand. We're hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. We know that God takes care of these babies. We've accepted the fact that God wants baby angels in heaven. We're okay with that. We just wish that God would call his angel home now, sooner than later rather than October. We need the closure, we need to heal.

It's a hard place to stand. But we have to stand strong. We have to get through this. We will get through this.

We thank our friends, family and well wishers daily for the support.