Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kai's Appointment Update

Thank you so much for all of the prayers! We feel very loved and blessed!  We talked to the older kids tonight about what an amazing support system we have!  I know that it brought some comfort to them, just knowing how many people told us they were praying and left sweet encouraging "notes".  Knowing that so many people are storming the throne on our behalf gives us an amazing peace! God, the creator of the universe, hears each and every little prayer. How awesome is that!??!

Our appointment went very smooth today.  We saw Dr. Shah and we really, really liked him!  We've heard great things about him from people who have had experience with him personally.

Just so you know, today was ALL focused on Kai's heart. He has many other "issues", but those were not addressed today. We had about an hour and a half of straight sono on his heart... thanks to his wiggly self!  He was not behaving and made it a little difficult on the doctors to get the info they needed, but in the end, the doctors felt like they had a good idea on what we are dealing with.  Here are the details that we know from the appointment today.

Kai has 2 major issues that the doctors are concerned with.  He has a few other small heart defects, that don't seem to effect how his heart functions, so as for now, we are assuming that the smaller defects will not require surgery. This is good news!

One of the issues (the lesser of the two) is a large VSD... which is a large hole in between the bottom two chambers of his heart. This will require surgery, but not immediately. Good news!

The other issue has to do with his aortic valve. Kai's aortic valve is very abnormal and doesn't function properly, which causes the blood to flow in different directions. It is also very narrow and leaky.  Kai would more than likely require open-heart surgery, but the good news is, that it shouldn't need to take place immediately after birth!  Originally, we were told that he would need to be rushed off to surgery, which for obvious reasons, would be very risky.  Even though this defect is very serious, we are thankful that it's not as bad as it originally seemed to be. (I won't go into the details of all that! It's enough to confuse anyone!)  With this heart defect, he is at a higher risk for going into heart failure in utero.  If he does go into heart failure in utero, sadly, there is nothing that can be done.  He is going to be closely monitored and they will be checking up on his heart again in a couple weeks.

Also, after talking with the doctor today, he highly recommended that we deliver in Peoria.  He said with Kai's condition, he believes it would be best if the heart team was there at his birth. Baby's can always throw a curve ball, and if he was to need surgery right away, we can't imagine sending him off to Peoria in a helicopter. We would both want to be there with him.  This obviously adds some unexpected changes to our plan, but we think it will be best for Kai.  We fully intend on having all of the kids there with us and I think with our families being so willing to help, we can come up with a plan! We will be going to the hospital to visit and meet with some of the staff in a couple weeks. Please pray for us as we make these arrangements.

Once again, thanks so much for all of your prayers and concern. We will do our best to keep you updated on a more regular basis!  Our next appointment is on the 14th and they will be checking on his growth and my fluid. Please feel free to ask any questions, any time! Love to you all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Update and Prayer Requests...

We've had a couple appointments and I figure I am past due on updating, so here's some things we know.

We had an echocardiogram done on Kai a few weeks ago. It was not a real detailed echo, because I was only about 24 weeks along at the time. The doctor did see some quite complex issues and seemed very concerned.  He had a hard time giving us a definite diagnosis because Kai was so wiggly! 

On that note, this little boy moves 24-7!  I've read that a lot of T18 babies are not very active, but God sure blessed us with a boy that moves and grooves all day (and night) long! I love every second of it! I can tell he's grown in the past couple weeks because the feeling of his movements have changed. =)

At our last couple sonograms, Kai has been growing bigger! Yay! Most T18 babies have very low birth weight, so they have been checking on him regularly and he seems to be keeping up!  I am definitely doing my part on feeding him well!

In other news,  I have been diagnosed with a condition called polyhydramnios.  This basically means that I have too much amniotic fluid.  We were told it is caused by 1of 3 things... #1. Kai hasn't properly developed the muscles to "swallow", #2. Kai's brain is not sending him the signal to swallow, or #3. Kai has a blockage in the esophagus area, which is not allowing him to swallow.  For those that don't know, the baby usually swallows amniotic fluid on a regular basis and then urinates what is not needed. That process has been interrupted and my body continues to produce the fluid. It shouldn't cause any major issues with the baby, but they do plan on monitoring him (and me) regularly through sonograms and non-stress tests.  In the meantime, this mama may be extremely uncomfortable!  At my last appointment, I measured full term, even though I had 2 1/2 months left to go!  Needless to say, bending over to pick something up is NOT my favorite thing right now! Thank you Lord for a hubby and kiddos that are willing to help... most of the time without even being asked!  It's a good thing that I have that God-given talent of picking stuff up with my toes... that has sure been coming in handy lately! 

I would like to ask for some specific prayers please!

#1.  Our appointment with the pediatric cardiology specialist from Peoria is tomorrow...well, I guess today, Wednesday.  Please pray for wisdom as the doctor diagnoses Kai's heart condition.  Please pray for us as we are in this appointment. It's always nice to see our sweet boy on that screen, but it's always hard to hear the list of issues that he has.  Just pray that Dave and I (and our family) will continue to trust in God's plan, no matter what the outcome.

#2.  Please pray for us as we make some very difficult decisions over the next few weeks.  Decisions that we never would've dreamed that we would have to make for our unborn child.  Please pray that God will give us the wisdom and understanding to make decisions that we are confident with.

#3. Also, please pray for physical strength for me.  With all of my pregnancies, I have felt great, right up to the day that I delivered.  However, this diagnosis of polyhydramnios is obviously going to be something that will hinder me physically. I am a do-it-yourselfer, and I am not good at asking for help.  My husband has been wonderful about making me stop and sit down and take breaks, even when I don't want to! I am so thankful for him! But, unfortunately, he's not always around, and I usually end up kicking myself for doing too much at the end of the day. I am just a "little" stubborn and hard-headed sometimes! It's taking a while to sink in, but this past week, I have really tried to take it a little easier. Bed rest is just NOT an option when I have 8 other people to take care of!

#4.  Please just pray for strength for us. Not just Dave and I, but our kids and family as well. Every single day, usually multiple times a day, I beg God for strength to get through this trial and He delivers!

We are so thankful for friends and family that pray for us! We can tell you are all just lifting us up in prayer!  Your notes of encouragement and messages that let us know that you are praying mean so much! God is so good... all the time, God is good!

Psalm 33:20-22
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our Week in Review

We've had quite the exciting week! I wanted to share some pictures and jot some memories down so I don't forget them!

Four of our boys have birthdays this month. Nolan and Nevin turned 6 on the 18th, Bryson turns 8 on the 29th and Ashton turns 14 on Halloween!  October is such a fun month for us!  We celebrate and have special traditions all month long!

Last Saturday, we had our 6th Annual Octoberfest! We had beautiful weather and lots of family and friends that joined us to celebrate!  We had a pinata, pumpkin painting, face-painting for the kids, and of course, lots of yummy food for everyone!  It's such a fun day for everyone, not JUST the birthday boys!

The kiddies wait in line to do the pinata

Time to sing "Happy Birthday"...



Everyone insisted on singing to Mama too! =)

 I love seeing all of our family mingle!  Dave's side and my side all seem to enjoy each others' company and all of the kids get along great!

My hubby and awesome in-laws. Seriously, I am one blessed lady to have these sweet peeps in my life!

 On Sunday, we wrapped up our soccer games.  We definitely didn't have a winning season, but all of our boys played awesome and had a great time doing it!  A couple of our teams didn't have subs, and I will say that our boys played their hearts out! Often times, they would come off the field after a game feeling like they were gonna get sick from so much running! I was proud of them sticking with it and doing their absolute best, no matter what! Unfortunately, I am terrible about taking my camera with me to the soccer games. Scratch that, I am great about taking the camera to the soccer games, it just usually stays in the van during the games!! I never think about it until we are leaving! I did manage to get a couple though! Oh well...

This guy is a go-getter on the field! He wears me out just watching him!

 Tuesday was my birthday.  Dave and I had celebrated last week with a day trip to Brown County since we knew he had to work on my actual birthday.  (Hopefully a post on that trip to come!)  I had fun plans to go out to dinner with my BFF and have some girly gab time. Unfortunately, those plans got interrupted when our littlest guy, Tucker woke up in the middle of the night sick!  He was throwing up all day, poor guy!  Mama needed to stay home and get extra cuddles! Birthdays Shmirthdays!

On Thursday, the kids got out of school early and the weather was PERFECT...upper 70's and sunny!  We decided to head over to Curtis Orchard. We try to make it over there every year once Fall rolls around. I am so glad we did too! We had fun just horsing around and taking our time.

And my favorite one of the day....

We also stopped by and visited Dave's dad at work. He works over in Savoy, so we don't usually get to drop in on him with all of the kids. He just happened to have some spare time, so we made a quick stop!  It's been a couple years since we made it over, so the little guys were thrilled to try out Papa's desk and get a tour of his workplace. We had a such a nice visit and his co-workers couldn't believe how the kids have grown since we'd last visited! I think Papa's office saw a lot more action than usual that day.   A certain curious 6 year old (cough.. Nevin...cough) got his finger stuck in a hole on some post-it notes. We all couldn't quick giggling when we looked over and saw the concerned look on his face as he dangled the whole stack upside down. It was so funny, but I think it was a "you had to be there" type of thing.

This was just a cell phone pic, but it was too cute not to post!

After that, we decided to splurge on a trip to Dairy Queen. This was a first for our kids. With our tight budget, we are usually fans of Mike's Chill or else the $1 cones at Mickey D's!  We took them in and let them order whatever they wanted. They were in hog heaven!  I asked Nolan if he wanted a blizzard and he replied "What in the world is a blizzard!?!?" I told him it was ice cream with candy mixed up in it.  Well, his BIG eyes let me know his answer! He finally settled on an Oreo blizzard and ate every drop of it!  Perfect way to wrap up a fun afternoon! =)

 On Friday, the kids were out of school and Dave didn't have to work.  The temperature had dropped about 40 degrees, so other than a quick trip to the school for parent/teacher conferences, we were completely thrilled to stay in!

Our conferences were first thing in the morning.  I just have to say that I LOVE my kids' teachers this year!  They are such fun, creative teachers and the kids are loving school.  The teachers had SO many nice things to say about our kiddos. ( I really could go on and on, but I will spare you!) It's always so nice to hear, not only how smart they are, but also how they are kind and considerate of other kids.  Both of the teachers mentioned that all 3 of my boys were friends to everyone and always wanted to make sure that everyone is happy and taken care of. 

We had a nice lunch that afternoon, homemade chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade bread. With the cool temps outside and the good-smelling food inside, it made us all anxious for Thanksgiving! 

After lunch, we got to carving our pumpkins!  Oh my, what fun we had!  It's funny, when it comes to carving pumpkins, Ashton and Nevin were totally grossed out by "digging out the guts", as we call it!  The other kids all enjoyed it, but NOT those two!  In fact, Nevin is our "gagger", so a couple of times, he about lost it!  We couldn't help but laugh!  He would just watch people pulling out the "guts" and it was all he could do to NOT throw up! He he!  Here's a few pics from that day...

Even Tuck enjoyed carving pumpkins. He was very direct w/ telling daddy what he wanted him to do. He pointed out exactly where he wanted the "trigangles". =)

Mama helped these guys

The girls particularly liked digging the "guts" out.  They were both very creative w/ their pumpkins!  Taelyn even gave her pumpkin a mustache! Silly girl!

Finally done!

Today, we got to go out to Camp Assurance and enjoy our annual church picnic! It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast!  The weather ended up being great... ideal for our hayride! My mom remembered her camera, so we took some cute pictures with it. I will try to post those pics soon! After all, those pics have some very incriminating evidence against our Pastor, who I am sure will say he was perfectly innocent in the "Hay War of 2012".  I think we all had hay in places we never thought hay could be! Needless to say, my van needs vacuumed out and the kids all had baths as soon as we got home! =)

I am feeling very blessed this week! I love that God has given us so many friends and family to celebrate the different seasons with!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Top Ten Reasons

I really did plan on blogging more regularly. My intentions were good, however, life got in the way! Which is definitely NOT a bad thing!

Here are my TOP TEN reasons (in no particular order) that I haven't posted in the past couple weeks...

#10.  We've been doing a lot of reading at the Harris house! Tucker is really into reading books. He brings a big pile of books over to me, Dave, or one of the kids and says "read it please".  He sits so intently and listens to book after book!  We've also got 2 new readers, Nolan and Nevin, who love to show off their reading skills!  It's so exciting to see them reading and learning so much! Kindergarten is just a whole new world to a 5 year old!

#9. Dave's had a wacky schedule at work, which isn't always convenient, but there's been quite a few of his days off in the past couple weeks that we've got to enjoy while the kids are at school. We take Tucker with us and do our grocery shopping or run errands. Sometimes we just do some "window-shopping" and have a little lunch date. I know those things probably sound mundane to most people, but we just really love being together and being able to actually hold a conversation without being interrupted. Tucker's just so laid-back, he loves being on the go with us too!

#8. Soccer, soccer, and more soccer!  With 4 boys on 3 different teams, we keep busy for sure! I am enjoying every second of it, but it wears a girl out sometimes!

My "serious" soccer player

Also, we have been enjoying this beautiful weather! I am a lover of Autumn and October is by far, my favorite month of the year!  

#7. We've played in the leaves...


#6. We've watched Ashton entertain us on the trampoline...

#5. We've enjoyed some spontaneous weinie roasts in our back yard after the LONG "burn ban" was lifted...

Riya and Nevin

#4. I've enjoyed my days with this little guy!  It's been a long time since I have only had ONE kiddo at home. Tucker is officially 2 1/2 years old this month and potty training is right around the corner! Tuck and I  love our 1-on-1 time together during the school day! He is so anxious to learn. He can recognize his numbers and all of his uppercase letters.  We are working on the lowercase now. He is so much fun and keeps me smiling all day!

#3. I have thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with my 3 "junior high kids". I never thought I would be old enough to say that! ha!  They are all 3 so chit-chatty at this point. I love all of our silly conversations.  I can remember when these three were toddlers and people would warn us that as the kids got older, it would be so much more difficult and stressful. I can honestly say, that we don't feel like that one bit. Ashton, Taelyn, and Mariya have grown up to be such loving, respectful kids and I loving this stage that they're in!

Getting ready to head off to their first Band/Chorus concert

#2. Party-planning is in full swing!  Ashton, Bryson, Nevin and Nolan all have birthdays in October, so we have one BIG party, which we've dubbed "OCTOBERFEST". We go all out with a weinie roast, a pinata,  a pumpkin painting contest and other games with prizes, and LOTS of food!  It is such a special time to get to spend with both sides of our family and some very special friends! Other than Octoberfest, there are the other parties and festivities that we have with the boys' friends from school and church. And don't forget, the Halloween parties at the grade school!  Lot's of memories made for ALL of us in the month of October! Fun times!

#1. I've been enjoying every second of my pregnancy. Dave and I lay on the couch at night and just wait for Kai to start kicking around. He's really started moving and kicking so much more in the last 2 weeks! All day long, Dave can't keep his hands off my belly. He is such a sweet daddy and tells me everyday that I am the most beautiful girl in the world. Even though this pregnancy has so many unknowns, we are taking in every second that God gives us with this precious baby boy!

I've popped out quite a bit since this pic was taken a couple weeks ago. But you know how it is, mama is always BEHIND the camera.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Baby's Name

 We have been pleasantly overwhelmed and amazed by the outpouring of love and encouragement from so many of our friends and family, and even complete strangers!  With so many people wanting to pray for this little guy and our family, we would to introduce you to him by name! God definitely had a hand in helping us chose his name and we would like to tell you the story behind it first.

We actually found out that we were pregnant the night before we left for North Carolina... our FIRST family vacation to the beach!  Once we got to the beach and settled in, we decided it was time to make the announcement to our kids! We had them each write their names in the sand and took a picture of them next to it. Once they were all done, we wrote BABY #8 in the sand and I sat next to it.  Dave called the kids over and with big eyes, they jumped for joy and were thrilled to be adding to our family!

When we got home, we had made an album of our vacation pictures and added that "Baby #8" picture in there. We shared the pictures with our parents and family members and that was how the baby was announced to them as well!

While we were on the beach for that week, we walked every morning around 10 a.m. Even though some mornings were overcast or rainy, the beauty of the ocean and the beach never ceased to amaze us!  The kids would ask to go "shell searching", so we grabbed our sand pails and headed out! We had a certain direction that we would walk because at that time of day, there were plenty of shells to choose from. On about the 3rd day, Dave mentioned to me that he thought the broken shells were neat.  He said, '"Isn't it amazing that these shells have been tossed and turned and smoothed by the waves? It makes each one unique and more beautiful, despite the fact that they are not whole."  Looking down at my bucket, I noticed that most of mine were not whole. There were a few, but my favorites were those that weren't "perfect".  This theme seemed to carry on with all of us. We would lay out our piles of shells at the beach house and talk about our favorite ones. We all saw the beauty in the unique, broken shells.


In August, just days after we shared our story with our Pastor, he gave us an encouraging little book. Ironically, the title of the book was called "My Beautiful Broken Shell".  The book tells how there is profound beauty in brokenness when placed in the hands of the Lord.  Reading the book brought back that conversation that we had at the beach that day.  Since day one of receiving the news of our baby's condition, we still believed that our baby was a wonderful , beautiful blessing despite the medical world telling us he is physically "broken".  This baby is made exactly the way God wanted him, so to us, he is perfect.

 After finding out there was a possibility of T18, we spent days hugging and holding each other every spare second we got.(We're huggy people anyways, so this was really no different!) Dave and I constantly said the words "Whatever happens, it is God's plan!"  I bet some days, we said it 20 times a day.  A couple of verses kept coming to our minds. One of those verses was Jeremiah 29:11, a very familiar verse that I always thought was good, but now I looked at it in a whole new light. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God knows what's best for us, even when we don't understand! 

After finding out for sure about our baby's condition, I couldn't help but have this gut-wrenching feeling that something was taken from us. We had been planning on bringing home a healthy baby.  The girls and I would look at cute little baby clothes when we were out shopping and plan what we would like to buy.  We planned on moving Tucker upstairs and maybe adding on a room addition since we would need a "baby room".  One day,  God took me to Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before your were born, I set you apart.".  It was kinda a DUH moment for me. We never had anything taken away from us!  We were given this baby from the very beginning.  Nothing had changed from the second this sweet babe was "formed in my womb".  THIS situation is what God completely intended. No accident... no whoopsies, he didn't just "happen" to get an extra chromosome.

That verse has been on our fridge since we found out our news. The kids have drawn sweet pictures around the verse and wrote our baby's name around it.  Dave has it on his phone. It is a perfect reminder that things are just the way that God intended them to be. Right away, we both agreed that his middle name should be "Jeremiah".

So it came time to start thinking of first names. (Boy names are so hard for us, that happens when you are on your 6th one!)  There were a few that we liked, but we just didn't feel like they fit this little guy. After a couple weeks of racking our brains, I threw a name out at Dave. He decided he liked it and definitely wanted it to be on the list.  That night, as I was searching the internet, I typed in the name.  The first link I clicked on took me to the "meaning" of the name. The meaning was "OCEAN". My heart just jumped for joy.  (Usually, we are not big on meanings when we come up with our kids' names. Ashton's name means "settlement from the ash-tree grove"...not exactly earth shaking! ha!)  I mentioned it to Dave and he felt the same way that I did. The ocean has had such a special connection with this pregnancy, it made it just feel right! Next, we talked it over with the kids. Our family does everything as a team, so we wanted them to have a part of naming him too. It was unanimous, they loved it and loved the meaning!  It was official, his first name would be "Kai" (pronounced Ky).

Kai Jeremiah... such a sweet, but strong name for our unique little boy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our Special Blessing

Many of our friends and family know that we are so excited to be expecting our 8th child!  We are about 19 weeks along and our due date is February 7th!  We figured we better give you an update since so much has gone on with this new little addition to our family!

SOOOO....let's rewind a couple months...

This pregnancy, we decided to do a new prenatal genetic screening.  We have always declined in the past, but now they have a new accurate way of testing and we were encouraged to take part. If nothing else, we would at least get an ultrasound, which would confirm if there were 1 or 2 babies! (Normally, we wouldn't have an ultrasound until we were 17 weeks along.) We both felt totally comfortable with it and proceeded with the testing in August.

At our appointment for the testing, they went over family history and past pregnancy information first.  (Oh how I love that I can say "no" to so many of those health risks!)  With perfect pregnancies and pretty good family history (other than heart disease), the lady assured us that we were not likely to have any type of genetic problems with the baby.  We went on to the next office, which was an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, they measure what's called the "nuchal translucency", which is fluid beneath the skin behind baby’s neck. The ultrasound tech assured us that it was within normal range. She also confirmed that we were having just ONE baby! It brought tears to our eyes instantly, when we saw that little body moving and bopping all around.  The excitement just doubled, that baby was so real at that point. I could already feel that maternal NEED to hold and kiss all over that baby.   As we left the office, Dave looked at me and said "I love your smile honey. You saw that baby and couldn't grin big enough. It just shows the love that you have for our children, even this early on."  As we went upstairs to complete the last part of the test, which was a blood screen, I could feel my cheeks hurting. I couldn't get that smile off of my face. I looked over at Dave and he had the same bright smile! God is so good to bless us with yet another baby! I had my blood drawn and we headed home to share our exciting sonogram pictures with the kids.

For those that are sonogram savy, profile shot at the top right w/ little fists in the air.

Not another thought was given to the testing that was done that day until I got a call 5 days later. The lady told me that my blood work results come back and there was some concern.  The blood screen measures 2 hormone levels.  She told me that both of my hormone levels came back extremely low, which put me at a 1 in 5 chance of having a baby with Trisomy 18.  Those words sent chills down my spine. She asked me immediately if I was aware of what Trisomy 18 was. Unfortunately, my answer was YES. I knew all too much about this horrific chromosome disorder. You see, one of my best friends had a sweet baby girl, Makayla, born with this disorder and I walked that hard path with her until Makayla died at 4 1/2  months old.  Tears filled my eyes instantly.

A few quick facts about Trisomy 18:
* This disorder is caused by an extra 18th chromosome. Instead of getting just ONE chromosome from the father and ONE chromosome from the mother, the baby gets an "extra" chromosome at the time of conception.
*  It is very rare. It takes place in about 1 in 6,000 babies.
* Majority of these babies die before birth, usually within the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
* Most of these babies have structural heart defects (usually multiple defects) and many other internal malformations.  The results of these defects causes them to be labeled "incompatible with life".
* 90 - 95% of the babies born, will die within the first year.
* The average life span of the babies born is about 5 to 15 days.

We shared this news with our immediate family and close friends so that they could pray for us.  Dave and I prayed every single day.  We didn't just pray that this baby would NOT have the disorder, we prayed that we would be able to handle what God had given to us.  We prayed that God would receive the glory no matter if this baby was in perfect health or in fact, did have Trisomy 18.

As Dave and I discussed it, we assured each other that we could get through this with God's help, no matter what the result was.  We tried to think on the positive side.  1 in 5 meant we still had an 80% chance that the baby was perfectly normal.  We were constantly assured that this was just a "screening" test and not a "diagnostic" test.

After talking with our doctor, we decided to do an amnio. It was the only way that we would know 100% if the baby had T18. We would have to wait 2 weeks to do the amnio. Those 2 weeks felt like an eternity.

In the following days (while waiting for our amnio), God led me to so many bible verses... most of those verses were about handling challenges and using God as your strength. I dug into my bible daily, searching for hope and for God's promises. My relationship with God became something that I have never experienced in my life. I knew that God was right there beside us the entire time. Dave and I leaned on each other every day, so many times, talking about what we felt God had laid upon our hearts. We tried NOT to talk about the "what if's", but both of us couldn't deny that those thoughts crept into our minds.

When it came time for the amnio, we both felt very peaceful and we knew that peace came from God!  Before the amnio, we had an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound, they came across some "soft markers" for Trisomy 18.  They assured us that these markers were not a for-sure thing and it could just be that maybe we were not as far along as we thought we were. Dave and I were not "surprised" to see the markers, it was as if God had prepared our hearts.  The amnio went smoothly and we would now have to wait for 3 days to get the results. Dave and I walked to the car and got in to drive away. We sat and cried and held each other a few minutes.  I think we both knew in the back of our minds that we were about to face one of the hardest challenges in our life.

Monday came and we knew the call was going to come. We both knew what she was going to say. Sure enough, the results were in. It was 100% positive that our baby has Trisomy 18.  Several times throughout the process of our testing, we were asked if we would terminate if the results were positive. Of course, that is not an option for us and they have been told that several times.  That phone call was no different. "Do you wish to continue the pregnancy?"  We responded with "Yes, we are sure we want to continue."  She was sure to leave her number and let us know that if we change our minds, we could call her anytime.  You see, 80% of  women who are diagnosed with a Trisomy 18 baby, decide to immediately terminate. This is so sad to me and just breaks my heart.  If we were to terminate, then that would interfere with God's purpose for this sweet baby.  The thought of it just makes me shudder.

At the last second of the phone call, I asked the lady, "Can you tell us if it's a boy or a girl?"  She said "Yes, you are having a boy."  We couldn't help but smile through the tears!  Another boy!  Us girls are outnumbered and loving it!

We told the kids immediately about the trisomy and there was a lot of crying and even more questions.  All we could tell them is that God created this sweet baby for a specific reason, this is the baby brother that God wanted you to have!  He knew this baby's health would not be perfect, but He also knew that this baby would be a blessing to us!  We told them that we may not get any time with this baby on Earth and if we do, it would probably be very short. BUT, thanks be to God, we will be able to spend eternity with this little guy! ETERNITY... Yes!! Thank you God for that promise!

In the next few days, we had to tell family and friends. They were all so supportive. We are so thankful for our church family as well. We've had many people tell us that they will pray for us.  We know they've been praying because the comfort and peace that we've felt has been amazing!  There will be hard days ahead and many tears as well, but we know that with God's strength, we will get through this!

It's been a few weeks since we've known the results, and even though we've felt sadness and heartache during these times, we have never, not even once, felt hopeless or depressed.  We have been amazed how God gives us strength and helps us to see His purpose in this trying time.

We are honored that God saw fit to make us the parents of this sweet, special baby boy.  We are determined to remain positive and enjoy this pregnancy and this baby boy while we can!  He is just as much part of our family as any of our other children. We encourage our kids to talk about him and ask questions often! We don't know what the future holds for us or our baby.  The one thing that we do know is that God promises to stand by our family through this challenge and He promises He will give us strength to get through it. All we have to do is just ask for it!

Isaiah 41:13 - For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gettin' Back in the Groove

I have been getting the itch to blog again! It seems like it was so hard to find the time to post when I started my last blog, but I am bound and determined to get some of these wonderful memories down in the books! What a blessing it will be to my kids (and us) someday!

Ever since we went to the beach in June (for our very first time as a family!), my heart has just been exploding w/ all kinds of emotions!  JOY is number one for sure!  How awesome is it that God sees fit to not only meet our "needs", but also some of our "wants"!?!?  AMAZEMENT is a close second! How crazy is it that the God I meet with every single day is the same God that created and controls the ocean!  The massiveness of that huge body of water is beyond what I can even comprehend.  My kids getting to see that first hand, was truly a blessing and still blows my mind to this day! Anyways, more on that trip later!  That trip is definitely one of the things that got me stirred up to want to blog again!

Our family has experienced so much and amazement are just two of those emotions.  We have felt blessed, overwhelmed, excited, heart-broken, encouraged, thankful.... the list could really go on and on! Sometimes, it's almost too much to process when you keep it bottled up, so my husband, being the journalist that he is, says we need to start up a blog! He is going to be joining me on this blog journey and writing some posts along with me. Besides being an amazing father and husband, he is such a talented and creative writer! He's gonna totally have my back, I just feel it! Hehe! =)

So, hang tight with us. The new Blogger has got me totally confused and I know that this blog is going to go through LOTS of changes as I figure it out!  We are just gonna dive on in and figure it out as we go!