Saturday, December 29, 2007

Three Weeks to Go!!

Another restless night……but it’s okay. I am reaching the uncomfortable time in a pregnancy when you have to roll over about every hour, or go potty, or blow your nose from congestion. But…let me make clear I am not wishing this one away – for obvious reasons. The last few nights I have been able to go back to sleep and get good rest, ,so that’s been good. But…not tonight. Tonight my mind is racing so I thought I would come check on my friends. The last few days with Christmas and company being here I haven’t had the time to get on line….but my new friends fill my thoughts throughout the day, and I wonder and pray for how they are doing.

I had my 34th week Dr. appointment on Thursday. Was a bit of surprise, why I don’t know…I mean I am 34 weeks and should expect to be making plans. But…it got here sooner that I am mentally ready for. Maybe preparing for Christmas threw me off (a welcome relief). My Dr. said to pencil in the 17th of January, 3 weeks!! He said my fluid level is increasing and Mary’s weight is lagging more, so he is concerned to wait much longer than that in fear that we will not have time with her. So…I go weekly and we will make decisions as we go. Wow, have my thoughts been racing. I woke up yesterday morning and called Mom in tears. She asked what are you thinking…and I couldn’t come up with what I was thinking. Just needed a good cry I guess, which feels good for some odd reason. It’s hard to cry because the numbness is always there, so when I can get it out, it feels good. Honestly, I am scared. I am scared for this to be over, I am scared of Mary Grace not being with me any more. I am scared of not knowing how things are going to play out. I am scared for my little girl’s hearts to be broken when they lose their baby Sister. I am scared of the moment so many describe as somehow being beautiful (by God’s grace) being a nightmare for me, the kicking and screaming kind. I know that my God will take care of me, but I am scared non-the less.

My little baby Allison turned 5 on Thursday and we have her birthday party today (Saturday). Of course on our children’s birthday we replay every moment of that day in our thoughts….I remember being so excited for our family. When they said “it’s a girl” I remember the feeling of overwhelming joy that I had a 2nd daughter, that Kailey was a big SISTER, that Allison was so perfect and precious. I remember feeling so excited to bring her home and having everything ready for her. While replaying this in my mind on Thursday, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by sadness. When the reality of 3 weeks hit……I felt sad because in my mind I know that God could work a miracle, but honestly I don’t feel this is his plan. I hope the lack of faith doesn’t hurt my outcome, and I know that God doesn’t work that way, but I have to be honest in my thoughts. I feel sad because I feel like I am preparing to give Mary Grace up…not bring her home. I am preparing for a funeral not a home coming with excitement and joy. And although I should be rejoicing in the fact that she will be free of this world, this t-18 junk and she will be in Jesus’ arms….I want to keep her. I want her to be with us not in Heaven.
I know God is in control, I know he loves me, I know he loves my family and he will take care of us…I know that none of us know the outcome and I shouldn’t play thoughts of the unknown in my mind. But…I can’t help it sometimes….so I will go take a nice relaxing 6 a.m. bath, read some scripture and prepare for a nice day with my girls. And this reminds me how quickly our thoughts can change, how quickly God can real me back in. Praise him! Praise him! Praise him! He said to me….Do not be afraid…so I will work on that.

Please pray for these specifics:
Mary’s growth to increase
That she will turn from the breach position so things are not complicated
That my Dr. and nurses will be just the right ones to be with us during this time and that God will give them and us the wisdom we need for the decisions ahead of us.
That we will have time with Mary Grace…..just the right amount of time for us
That our families can make it to Texas at the right time
That I can control my thoughts and fears
That God will blanket my Kailey and Allison with his protective love

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Good Week; A Good Day

Well it’s been a good week. As you know I can have my moments but God has been carrying me through every day and although some days I may be heavier and more of a load to carry, most moments are good. This week has mostly been good because I have stayed so busy getting ready for Christmas. Chris helped with the cards this year, which was a big relief, and I do like shopping for him and the girls very much. I love the real “real reason for the season” more than anything (especially this year). How God chose to send his only Son to the world as a baby, to a woman like Mary, born in a lowly stable, to live among sinners and to sacrifice himself for us in the most horrific way....... so that we could be saved and spend eternity with him….and all we have to do is believe and accept him!! That’s it, just believe!! I am so thankful for Jesus and so thankful for his promises, his promises that make everything that happens here on earth fail in comparison to what Heaven will bring us. I am thankful for God’s perfection!

Chris has the rest of the year off starting today and we had a really good day. It’s been a while since he has had some time off to do NOTHING and I didn’t realize how doing the daily “stuff” by myself has put me in a rut. He has always been the kind of Husband and Father who helps out a lot and I am thankful for him every day…..but just getting the normal stuff done when I feel like my life is anything but “normal” has kind of been getting to me. Kailey went to school for half the day so Chris and I was able to spend some time talking this morning about nothing really and then Allison came and got in the bed with us and we loved on each other and cuddled. Why don’t we take time for that more often?? Then we got some paperwork stuff done that we have been putting off and the rest of the cards out. Kailey got home and we went to a lake nearby and Mary Grace took her first hike. It was beautiful weather and Chris and our three girls and I hiked and found really neat treasures like fish bones, smooth rocks, a broken fishing pole and shells. Then we went fishing but caught nothing. There were several moments when Satan was trying to get to me, I was trying to imagine never getting to go hiking and fishing with Mary Grace, thinking about next Christmas and her not being with me any more. There was a time when the girls were climbing rocks with Chris and I was able to have about 15 minutes to myself to reflect on the day and listen to the water and think…well you know the thoughts that come racing – the negative ones, but I stopped Satan in his tracks today!! HA!! I said I am hiking and fishing with Mary Grace and she is with me now, she is with me today and I will have fun in it! It worked… It was a really nice, normal, non-hurried day and I am thankful for it!

This week while reading a few other blog sites from precious Mommy’s who are in the same shoes I am in, I found comfort, peace and thoughts that really helped me to think differently this week. Thoughts on Christmas and its focus, thoughts on how to enjoy this celebration of Christ and to not let Satan still this year with my girls from me. Also something in particular was shared at a prayer meeting for Maddox Stanfield by his Mommy's (Kenzie) Pastor. I printed it out and have read it every day, several times a day. It’s something I believe but have never been able to word it like he has. I do not mean to copy…but I wanted to share it with you because it is what I believe and reading over it every day has given me comfort. I know Kenzie would want me to share/copy! I put Mary’s name in and a few additions for myself where applicable.

He said “There is a guarantee of a healed body, hopefully here on Earth, but definitively in Heaven in the presence of our God. Mary Grace will for sure be free of the extra 18th chromosome that invades every cell of her body. Life begins at conception. God has created Mary Grace inside of me and although we may not know her immediate destination, we know that he doesn’t make mistakes! That each and every child created, whether lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death, was created in God’s image to be brought into the presence of the Holy One. In God’s perfect creation, this wouldn’t be happening…but we live in a fallen world, full of sin and evil. And still, God has His hand upon us. He has ordained each child conceived in a mother’s womb to have an everlasting life with Him. If for no other reason then to have an eternal presence with the Lord, our Mary Grace was created for a life and a purpose. Our only job is to honor that life given.” We thank Jesus for the honor to have Mary Grace as our 3rd baby girl!!

I want to again thank my new friends who are willing to share themselves so openly and honestly. I hope you all realize how much it helps me and others to get through every day!

A hymn comes to mind:
Oh Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood. He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.
I have the Victory! And Satan you may hold my thoughts captive at times and you may pull me down sometimes but I have Victory and you can never, ever win that battle!! It's already won!!Praise Jesus!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can't sleep

When I got in bed tonight, miraculously I wasn’t focusing on Mary Grace. We had watched a movie, got into bed and was talking about something not related to this pregnancy! Then…. Chris turned out the light and the thoughts immediately came rushing in. How does that happen? One minute fine, the very next a nut case. I was having a break down with all the thoughts jumping from one thing to another and I had to get out of bed for fear of keeping Chris awake and/or having to talk about my feelings that I have no idea how to explain. So…I had to come check on my friends and try to maybe write some thoughts down. Who knows where this is going to go????

There are times that I have to stop and think, is this really happening? Is this a bad dream that just seems real? Then when I actually get myself together the reality hits me that I am 32 weeks pregnant and I not preparing to raise my 3rd daughter. How do I accept this? I had a pretty productive day cleaning the house, getting laundry caught up and the thought occurred, am I nesting? Then it hits me that I had that energy today that I had with Kailey then with Allison but what is it for today? Then honestly I felt bitter, I felt bitter that my “nesting” energy is used on my every day laundry not on preparing a nursery for Mary Grace or getting her things washed with Dreft for her to wear when she comes home. What in the world is happening, how can I possibly be okay with this?

Then I think about parents who have 2, 3 and 4 year olds that have cancer, for some reason can’t walk all of the sudden and have to go through testing or have just simply lost there children tragically. And I think, Oh God please don’t ever let that happen to me/us – I know that I could not handle that – I could not give up my girls- no can’t do that, can’t handle anything major happening to them!! I had even said when I first learned that this baby could have t-18, before I knew it was a girl, before I knew her as my Mary Grace, that if it was in my life’s story to have to lose a child, then I would rather lose this one than Kailey or Allison. And just thinking those thoughts and saying those words actually makes me sick, it breaks my heart. To even have to be in a position to think that is unbearable. It makes me feel guilty in ways I can’t explain but the thought of Mary hearing me say those words or think those thoughts kill me. I want her to know that I love her, I want her, I want to keep her, I want to raise her, I want to rock her and sing to her every night like I have Kailey and Allison. I want her to wear the outfits that I have loved on Kailey and Allison, I want to have the family room junked with baby toys so I can complain about the mess all of the time, I want to lose cabinet space to her baby food and sippy cups….the list goes on and on. But…the house structure will not change, there will be no baby room for Mary, toys will stay in the toy room…things will look the same, I will even look the same eventually. But…the truth is…the house will not be the same, I will not be the same, we will not be the same because although we are still praying for a miracle, realistically we will not get to keep Mary Grace with us. And even though I would rather have had Mary Grace with us for a moment than not at all, it still breaks my heart, I still feel sad, I still feel anger and it will break my heart to give her up…..even to Jesus.

Keep praying for me please, and even though this entry may not look like it, God is carrying us and helping us through this time. I never want it to look like he is not with us because he truly is – his grace is sufficient and we do have joy in our hearts. Moral of this story don’t write at 1:20 a.m. in the midst of a break down!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just an Update

I wanted to give everyone an update on my Doctor visit yesterday. I am, this week 32 weeks. I had an ultrasound yesterday and a Dr. appointment and went well. Mary’s heart rate is still looking good at 146 – she is measuring about 2 weeks behind now so that gap is getting a little bigger each time. She is gaining weight so that’s good. I have more amniotic fluid than I should but nothing abnormal with t-18 babies. The Doctor said that if nothing happens between now and 38 weeks he would like to induce me then to have Mary in a controlled setting - he feels she will be ready then – so 6 more weeks to go. I sat in his office yesterday and felt numb and sad in the reality of it all. That Mary and this pregnancy can seem so “normal” and the outcome still looks the same.
With all the sweet babies with Trisomy 18 or something similar that I have got to know, every story and outcome is different. So I can’t help but wonder, be excited even fear what mine/ours will be. Most of the time I do not allow myself to go there yet but as the date approaches it seems that my mind will be “there” before I know it. I pray to God daily that with his all-knowing power that he helps me to accept his timing and know that it’s what is right for Mary Grace.

My Mom and Dad went to the local Christian Radio station in KY last night (WDFB – 1170AM and 88.1 FM) and held a prayer meeting for Mary Grace. My Dad has bought a little outfit for Mary to come home in and they anointed it and prayed for her. The preacher that I grew up with runs this radio station and has been so close to our family for many years. We are blessed to know him (Bro. Don Drake) and his family and to have them as prayer warriors! We are continuing to pray for a miracle!

Please pray specifically:
That God will continue to be glorified in all of this.
Mary’s weight and growth will continue to increase.
My spirits to stay uplifted and that my mind and heart would stay focused on Christ, his goodness and truth and not focused on fear and doubt.
A Miracle for Mary and an acceptance of whatever that may be
Praise Jesus for Tristan Hostetter - He is home and is now 10 days old!!
Pray for my neice Tara - she is not feeling the best with her symptoms from Lupus (she is 15)

Almost every day Kailey Mae leaves for school or Allison goes to school I say “This is the day that the Lord has made” and they say – “we will rejoice and be glad in it”. I want to live that every day – I want to show them what that looks like – I want to show them that it’s real and not just words we say. Only with God can I do that right now, but then again only with him can I do anything….. and with him ALL things are possible.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Dream.....

I had a dream last night about Mary and it was not the first time I have had it, so it has tugged on my heart to share it.

I dreamed that I was pregnant with quadruplets (and nobody knew – not even the doctors!) and all 4 babies had T-18. Three of the babies decided to get together and take all the 3rd 18th chromosomes for themselves and let Mary live! Mary was the one that was the most kind in the womb – she moved over for the others, made them feel more comfortable and gave them kisses. They also heard and felt all the prayers that were specific to Mary because she was the only one we knew about. Mary was born perfect and healthy and the Doctors were astonished. Then I started to give birth to the other babies who did not make it. The Doctor then realized that they were the ones reading positive for t-18 but Mary was perfect!! I obviously mourned for the three babies but I didn’t realize I had them to begin with and Mary was going to get to stay with us. We were the .01%!! The Doctors didn’t give God the credit for a miracle they just said it was the other babies who had it all along. I shouted out that God had healed Mary and that he took the t-18 from her body and gave it to the ones who were willing to be sacrificed.
When I woke up – I lay there and thought about this dream and the possibility of it. Can you imagine the joy?!!

I started thinking about all the hidden meanings I could take from this dream. The first thought was Jesus. The ultimate sacrifice. God gave his only son to suffer and die so that all of us could have the hope of eternity in Heaven, living in perfection. And Jesus willingly stepped down from his throne to die for us. If it had only been me on this earth – he would have still died for me. Thank you Jesus.
Then I thought why is Mary even still with me today. She is already beating the odds. She is with me first because God’s timing is perfect but also I think because she has more people to touch. She in a sense is being sacrificed to somehow, someway have Jesus and God be revealed and glorified to someone. I have always been a “good” Christian. I have loved the Lord for years and have always tried to be what he wanted me to be. But I could have never witnessed and been a testimony for God the way that I have been able to be this year without my precious daughter Mary. I have always been a Christian who has lived this life mostly by faith and feelings but have never really been knowledgeable enough of the bible to feel comfortable testifying about God – I just talk more about my feelings and not the facts. But now and the age of 37 God has given me something, something more powerful than me, something more powerful than I could have ever come up with on my own, and I pray that I make him proud through this trial. I pray that I make Mary Grace proud, she deserves the best from me, the best of this crummy circumstance because she and God have given me my dream, my 3rd Daughter and I will always be her Mom. My little girl Mary will do more and will touch more people than most living on this earth. I am so proud of her!! I will not "waste" this opportunity, I will not have this be for nothing. I love her and God too much and am too grateful to let Satan win any aspect of this battle. We are more than conquerers with Jesus on our side.

We had a session today with two wonderful photographers from the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep foundation. They were photographing the girls hugging my belly and kissing Mary Grace like they do every night before bed. And I realized that I will have a record of this, not just from my heart and my memory, but for others to see that I am a Mother of 3 precious girls and that we are and will always be a family of five. Now abides faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love and I am full up!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Standing on the promises of Christ my King

It has been a very sad weekend. Not only do I struggle with the reality of my own, I struggle for the dear friends I have met who are also going through this or a similar journey. I have said before that if someone has to endure this I wish I was the only one, but unfortunately I am meeting more and more who are dealing with t-18. This weekend the Luce family met and had to let go of their sweet precious girl Poppy Joy. And although they “beat the odds” and got to spend some time with Poppy, it just doesn’t seem like enough – it doesn’t seem fair that we should rejoice in 3 hours. But we do and the Luce family does. How faithful is that!? Please continue to pray for them.

I said to a friend today that as long as we have our babies in our tummies that we have hope that at least one of us will be the full-blown miracle, the .01%, but as time passes there is more loss and it is heartbreaking. It scares me to be upset about “only 3 hours” because I would rather have that than nothing at all with Mary, but God knows I want more. Isn’t that okay? So please continue to pray that I will have some time with Mary Grace and that my bitterness will not take away from what God has in store for us. Please pray that I will continue to find joy in this situation and that the sadness does not let me allow Satan to win the battle he is waging against me. Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world. I’m standing on the promises of Christ my King, and Satan will not win – he will not steal my joy, he will not take away the great things God has in store for my family. God will carry me when I cannot walk, he will walk beside me when I can walk and he will take care of me when I feel like I cannot make it through this. How do I know this, because he said so!

One thing I would like to specifically praise God for is the opportunity to share this journey with sweet Angie, Emily, Chrissi, Yvette, Kenzie, Mandy, Kristen, Boothe and more. The more I read of their hearts the stronger I feel that I can make it through this. I am amazed at their strength and faithfulness to our Savior Jesus Christ. I am honored that God chose us for such a thing as this and however difficult it is, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us. I know I couldn’t make it without them, they are each a great support. God is using them and I am thankful. I am also so thankful again for all the support and prayers we continue to receive from our dear family and friends. We could not do it without you. The cards, e-mails and messages to our blog help us to stay focused on the good of this – thank you. I want to also recognize the total strangers who have poured out their hearts and prayers to me. I am so thankful for you all.
Most importantly I am thankful that Jesus will never leave or forsake me and that he is faithful to his promises.

Please continue to pray for the Hostetter Family. Tristan was born today. I will be checking their blog for updates so please feel free to do the same. I pray that God will continue to bless them with sweet time with their new precious baby boy!

My sweet and loving Aunt Rita sent me a card from Nashville and I wanted to share a quote that she wrote to me from Beth Moore. “When our hearts are hemorrhaging never forget that Christ binds and compresses them with a nail scarred hand. Christ never allows the hearts of his own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes.” Thank You Aunt Rita, I really needed that today!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sweet Poppy Joy

I wanted everyone of my prayer warriors to pray for the Luce family. I have had a weekend of checking my computer almost hourly to catch updates on this sweet baby girl, Poppy Joy. I have had the honor of meeting several friends who are going through this t-18 journey and have found strength and comfort from each of them. Angie Luce (Poppy's Mom) has particularly been one of those sweet women who has reached out to me and helped me to find some joy and hope with what we have been challenged with. I am in awe of her strength and Godly wisdom and how she shares her faith and love of Jesus.
Angie was expected to meet Poppy on December 6th but on Saturday after hours of contractions, the Dr. decided to deliver Poppy. Poppy was born and Angie, Nathan, Marianna and a ton of friends were able to meet her alive. They were blessed with 3 wonderful hours but as you can understand, this will never be enough. 3 hours, 3 years, 3 decades, 3 lifetimes will never be enough for us to have with our sweet babies. So....the days/months ahead will be difficult and I pray that God will give them peace that can only come from him. Please read Nathan's (Poppy's Dad) entry about her birth and pray for them as they go through the next phase of this heartache. (I have Poppy as a link).

I along with others are comforted in the fact that Jesus is holding sweet Poppy now. She is with Copeland, Jonathon, Eliot, Miller Grace, Madeline and so many others and they are perfect, they are well and they are happy. Yes, we want them with us, but if that is not how it is to be, then praise God they are with our Savior and his promises are being fulfilled to us. They have no tears, sickness or sadness in their life, just perfection, sweet perfection. Something we will never have until we are with them.

God bless the Luce family. They are faithful and they will continue to be blessed. My heart aches for them but I know through the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ, they will be okay. We will be okay.

I ask that you also pray for Tristan Ashton Hostetter, another sweet baby that I have been in prayer for. He will be born tomorrow, so please lift him and his family up in your prayers.

Jesus give us strength to get through these horrible circumstances and to keep our eye on the prize, you - Sweet Jesus - you!