Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sometimes it's The Simple Things...

This man make look ordinary... handsome, yet ordinary. But I am here to tell you that he is anything but ordinary.  He is filled with an extraordinary love for me and our kids and he pours it out on us every single day!

I appreciate all the things he does for our family, BIG and small! Here are some random things that I have been thankful for lately...

He puts my needs (and the kids' needs) in front of his every time. Period. No ands, ifs, or buts!

He is patient beyond all measure with the kids and teaches them things everyday, like how to pull weeds in the garden, how to fix a wobbly table leg, or how to fill the bird feeders.  He guides those small hands and uses his kind voice to encourage them in everything they do, even the little things.

He sends me texts throughout the day (especially when he knows my to-do list is overwhelming me) and tells me that he is praying for me.

He drops everything at 10:00 at night to run and get me that ice cream that "sure sounds good right now".

He works a job that he doesn't like and is very over-educated for, yet never mumbles a bit about it because it pays the bills and allows him to spend time with his family.

He gently strokes my hair or rubs my back every night when we fall asleep together, even though I am sure his arm is uncomfortable.

He lets me pick where to eat when we get to go on a date because he "doesn't care where we are as long he's with me".

He doesn't ask or even think of buying anything for himself, even though he provides 99% of our income. He's so unselfish and so giving... I wish I could be more like that.

He tells me I am beautiful every day - literally for the last 15 years, I don't think he's missed a single day.  He stares at me with no make-up on, crazy hair, over-weight, stretchmarks, bags under my eyes, flour all over my shirt and tells me that I am the most beautiful girl in the world. (That's love right there!)

He will text me from work and tell me that he misses me like crazy and that he can't wait to come home and wrap his arms around me.

He tells me all the time that he appreciates me. He will tell anyone he knows that I work harder than him any day of the week by staying home with our kids.

He points out tiny babies when we are in a store or at a restaurant and tells me that he wishes he could have babies with me forever. (He does however tell me that in reality, we HAVE to stop sometime! LOL)

He treats me like a lady by opening doors and treating me with respect like a gentlemen.  He is an amazing example to our kids of how a husband should treat a wife. I love him for that.

He is the one that puts God first, me second, and his kids third.  Anything outside of that gets pushed to the back of the line.  In this day and age, that seems rare to find in a guy. I am thankful I got a "rare" one.

This list could go on and on, but if you know Dave, you aren't surprised one bit by these things! He is an amazing husband and father, but he is also and amazing son, brother, or friend as well! To say I am blessed to have him is a complete understatement! I thank God for him every day and I can't imagine my life with out him! Thank you Dave, for 15 amazing years! I am looking forward to many, many more! I love you!!!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six Months...

I can not believe that six months have gone by since I've held my baby boy. Some days, out of the blue, the tears come.  I see something that makes me think of Kai and it makes me long to hold his little frail body.  Sometimes, from no where, my arms feel empty all of a sudden. I have to go to God's word to pull me out of it at times. Other times, what starts out as a cry, ends up with smiles and thinking back on sweet memories. Emotions can be funny things... all over the place - up, down, sideways, you name it! But my God is the SAME, always!  He has been there to give me strength every day! It was around this time last year, that my complete dependence on God began.  It was the first time in my life that I realized I was ENTIRELY dependent on Him. That has not changed. Not only with our situation with Kai, but with everyday life, I NEED him.  When I am willing to admit that, my life runs so much smoother. I am a stubborn one, so I believe it was some relief to God that I finally have figured that out after all these years!

God is still doing an amazing work through Kai. That little guy has changed me forever and I pray that God continues to change me through him. It's a comforting thought that someone so tiny had such a HUGE positive impact on our lives.

We decided early on that we were not going to do the "what if's" or "would've been's" with Kai. At Easter, we didn't say "just think, this would've been Kai's first Easter".  On vacation, we didn't mumble "what if Kai didn't pass away? He could've been here with us".  It was never God's plan for Kai to live beyond those 4 hours and 33 minutes. God created Kai to be exactly who he was for the exact time that he was here. Kai was never meant to spend his first Easter on this earth, so why would we mourn that?  I am definitely not saying anything is wrong with doing the "what if's", I am just simply saying it is not right for our family in this situation. It has truly helped with the healing process. We want to feel like Kai added to our life, not took away from it! 

We do choose however to keep his sweet little picture up throughout our house and to talk about his perfect life every chance we get. Every time I walk by his picture or it pops up on my computer, it makes me smile so big.  (Didn't he have the cutest little face!?!?)

We visit his grave every now and then, but honestly, I don't feel a connection to him there. My connection with Kai takes place every morning when I talk to God. I know it sounds corny, but I feel so close to Kai during that time. Not a day has gone by that I do not thank God for Kai and the work that he has done through him, in me and in others.

We still have people approach us every now and then when we are out and about. It is a blessing!  Complete strangers have come up to us at the store saying, "You don't know me, but I followed your story about your little baby and it had such an impact on my life.".  And then some people say "You are awesome for the way you handled that situation!".  Those words just make me cringe though, because the truth is, I am not at all awesome. I am a weak, completely imperfect human that messes up daily, but I have a God who is awesome!  He uses my weakness to show His amazing power!  (2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...") Who would've thought that God could bring such good out of a tragedy that I wouldn't wish on anybody?  Yet in the end, I wouldn't have traded it in for the world. The thought of NOT having Kai in my life, even if it was for just a short time, saddens me. God knew what was best. I didn't. I never would've chosen this for our family, but I am glad He did.

I hope that I can be better about blogging now.  I had this silly thought that once summer hit, I would have "extra" time to sit down and write! Ha!  We've had lots of excitement and great stuff happening in our family and I hope to add it to the blog soon! =)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Time for Healing

I can't believe how the time has flown these last (almost) 6 weeks.  The healing that is taking place is good.  I feel like God has my heart "bubble-wrapped" right now. I have been able to think of Kai and look at his sweet pictures and it brings happiness to my heart. It's still a necessity to pray daily and ask God for strength... Strength to focus on God's plan for my life, strength to focus on eternity and not earthly things, strength to be happy with what we have and not to ponder on what we "lost".

It's been nice to have people talk about our little Kai and what positive impact this situation has had on them.  Even though it can bring tears at times, we would so much rather talk about him and remember him, than to just not say anything just in case they hurt our feelings.

God is doing a work in my heart still. I love that He is still right here beside me. I love how He guides and directs my life to where it needs to be, from what book of the bible I am reading through to the people that He puts in our paths, just at the right place and the right time.

Thinking back, it's amazing to see how God has been preparing me for this trial months, if not years ago.  About 5 months before we got Kai's diagnosis of T18, one of my friends posted a prayer request on a private FB board. She asked us to pray for her baby girl that she was pregnant with. She had just found out that her baby had a very serious heart condition. The outlook was not good and much medical intervention would need to take place immediately once she was born. My heart absolutely broke for her. I cried as I prayed, I struggled with this so much.  I can remember saying to my husband, "I could never go through something like that. It would be just too hard, I am afraid I would just lose my mind."  I prayed for her and her precious little girl and the whole time she was going through her trial, she was such an excellent testimony for Christ. As I watched her go through the birth and eventually the death of her daughter, I was amazed that she could keep praising God.  It was something that I didn't understand, but it encouraged me to keep moving forward with my personal walk with Christ. I knew that it had to be God giving her this strength but I felt that if I was in that situation, I could never get through it, let alone praise God while going through it.

I can also remember the week we found out that Kai may have some problems. From the point we got the results back from the 1st test until we found out that he definitely had T18, there was about a 3 week waiting period. During those 3 weeks, God spoke to me in every way.  In the morning, I was reading in

 I sat in sermon after sermon, that spoke directly to me... "Cast all your cares upon God"

After our amnio, which was the final "test", we had a 3 day waiting period before we would receive the results.  During the sonogram that took place right before the amnio the doctors saw several red flags for T18. We left the office that day knowing in our hearts that He had it. After soaking it in for about 24 hours and doing a lot of praying, I told Dave that I really felt like we could handle this, we were going to be ok.  The one thing that I worried about though, was "how" to tell people? I knew it wasn't going to be a one time thing, it would have to be told and retold over and over again. It seems funny, now that we have been though it, but I just really felt like I wasn't sure "how" to deliver the news to people, time after time.  Would there be tears every time? Would we have to tell people in the middle of Walmart? What about strangers that ask about my pregnancy, do we tell them?  Are we going to sound depressing when we tell people?  Do we sound hopeful or do we tell them how grim the diagnosis is?

I honestly don't know how I would've made it through if my personal relationship with God wasn't as where it needed to be when this all started. The thought of not being prepared is such a scary thought to me.  I don't know how anyone can be prepared to say Goodbye to their baby, just shortly after they meet that baby. It's not humanly possible, but it's possible for God to do that preparation!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Through the Smiles and Tears...

It's been 3 weeks since Kai left our arms to be with his heavenly father.  For the most part, I can't believe how fast the time has gone by.  I really thought that the days would drag for a while, making me wish I could fast forward time.  It hasn't been like that at all and in a way, I feel sad that Kai's birthday is slipping farther away.  Sometimes, I worry that I will forget the details of that day or that maybe people will forget to pray for us as time goes on.  BUT I know the ONE that will never forget about us, the ONE that promises to be by our side and He knows each and every one of our sorrows.  He is the same ONE that created this complex universe (and maintains it!) and the same ONE that saves us from an eternal place called hell. He is mighty, powerful and sovereign, but He is also gentle, loving, forgiving, and capable of doing everything and anything for us!  Sometimes I need that reminder that I can cast ALL of my cares on Him!  Why do we tend to forget that our God who saved us from eternal damnation is the same God that can take care of our piddly worries of the day!?  He can handle it if we just give it to Him!

 Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

It's funny how our feelings can be so unpredictable at times. Most of the time, I can't help but smile when I think of beautiful little Kai, which is so very often.  I am so grateful for the many prayers that were answered and I feel like I am truly ok with the outcome of our journey, because of course, it was God's perfect plan.  But then there are times that I just wanna cry.  I want to just sit (and pout) and wish I could cuddle my baby boy up on my chest.  I wish he would wake me up in the middle of the night to feed him. I wish I could stare at his perfect little face while I stroke his soft cheek and grit my teeth, because the cuteness is just too much to take in. ( I do that with all my babies, my cheeks are always sore when I have newborns!)  I wish that I could dress him up in cute little outfits and take his picture. I wish we had to lug around a bulky car seat and heavy diaper bag as we run our errands and show off our new little baby.  I wish I could watch his brothers and sisters fight over who gets to hold him next.  I wish, I wish, I wish....

There are times that I need to just cry and "get it out", but it is always short-lived. I feel like God reels me back in. He gently reminds me that I need to dwell on what I DO have, not what I DON'T have. I have a sweet baby in Heaven that waits for me. He is perfectly healthy and in no pain. He was able to escape every evil part of this world.  I was blessed with him in the womb for 39 weeks and in our presence for 4 wonderful hours. I have gobs of pictures that help capture those memories forever! I also have a whole bunch of friends and family that took part in that day, whether it was in person or via Facebook, and they can help me relive those moments of love and celebration. I have several letters and messages from friends (and strangers) telling me how God has changed their life, through our precious little boy.

Even amidst the tears, God is still granting me peace. I am so glad that God's peace is different than the world's peace.  The world's peace is based on feelings and circumstances.  If all is good in life, then there's "peace", but what happens to that peace when conflict arises? What happens when God's plan isn't the same as our plan?  The world's peace easily drifts away, leaving us stressed and worried.  Only God can give true peace in the middle of our trials.  True peace comes from knowing that God is in control and submitting to His will for your life.  For me, it's my prayer EVERY day... "Lord, help me remember that YOU are in control.  Please make your will known to me and help me be submissive to it."

Philippians 4:6,7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

I am thankful that these past few weeks have held so many more smiles than I could've ever imagined. We have spent time together as a family, laughing and enjoying being together. The kids love to reflect back on Kai's birthday. They often want to talk about certain things we love about Kai.  Just tonight, Nevin said, "I love how Kai's head was so little and round, just like it could fit perfectly in my hand".  We've talked about so many things, like his perfect little body, his long typical Harris feet, his frail long fingers and his perfect lips that looked as if they were "drawn on".  I am so glad that God granted us enough time to make these memories of him.

Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers. I know I say it all the time, but we feel so blessed and loved by all of our friends and family!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Knowing God...

We have been busy getting back to our family routine and just lovin' on each other as we begin our journey to healing. It's definitely not going to be fast or easy, but I know what God wants for us and it's NOT for us to sit around being sad and depressed. Thank you God for promising a plan of hope!

Jeremiah 29:11 says "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."

All of our friends, family, and even some complete strangers have been such an important part of this journey and I want you to know how much you have meant to us!  God has filled my heart with more love in the past 6 months than I would have ever thought possible! The love that has been shown to us from all of you has been an amazing support! I don't know if we could have gone through this with such positivity if it wasn't for you, your constant prayers, and messages of encouragement!

One thing (the most important thing!) that I want our friends and family to know for sure is that you KNOW God the way that we do! If you have not excepted Christ as your Savior, it is so important that you do so!  God tells us that we are all born sinners (Romans 3:23) and because of that sin, we are destined to an eternity in Hell (Romans 6:23a). But He also tells us that because He loves us, He sent his son to die on the cross to take away our sin (Romans 5:8)!  If we confess our sin and accept Him as our Savior, we will live eternally with God in Heaven one day (Romans 9: 9,10)!!!  It's easy and free, but we must RECEIVE God's gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23b)!  We must put ALL of our faith in Christ dying on the cross and His resurrection, and that my friend, promises us an eternity with God!  ETERNITY!!!

I think of how short Kai's little life was and also think of how short our life on this earth really is when we compare it to eternity!  In James, we learn that our life is "like a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes".  I hope that all of our friends and family know where they will spend eternity because we never know when our last day on this earth will be! Please feel free to message me if you ever have any questions about your salvation. I would be more than happy to talk with you!

For those of you that are Christians, I want to encourage you to pursue your personal relationship with God if you are not already. It can make an AMAZING difference in your life! I have been a Christian for almost 30 years and it wasn't until the last few years that I really got my personal relationship with God on track!  I've sat through umpteen church services and many bible classes where I learned so much about the bible, but that information rarely prompted BIG changes in my life. Don't get me wrong, it was beneficial and I am sure it kept me on the right path, but it wasn't until I made my personal relationship with God a priority, that He has changed me from the inside out!  Now that my personal relationship with God is going where it needs to be, my heart is open to so much more when I am sitting in those church services or listening to gospel messages on the radio!  I feel like I am constantly learning and growing! It's so exciting!

The biggest difference for me, was when I started taking time early in the morning (before the kids get up - which was HARD for me because I am NOT a morning person!) and truly listening to God and getting to know Him.  Just me, my bible, my coffee and God.  I swear I can feel His presence right there in the room with me.  I pray first, thanking God for who He is and asking Him to show me exactly what I need for that day.  Then I read a chapter of the bible and finish by praying and bringing requests to God.

Believe me, it's not always easy and I have a lot of spiritual growing left to do!  Some days I have to practically drag myself to the table to open my bible and other days, I sit for hours reading God's word and praying. But no matter what my attitude is in the beginning, I always walk away feeling totally blessed and ready to take on the day. 

I am definitely not wanting to come off like I am perfect or like I've got it all figured out. I am simply encouraging you to take that same step that I did towards improving your relationship with God.  I know if I didn't take that first step, I never would've been prepared for what God had in store for us!  God is so much wiser than I am and it's His power and grace that enables us to keep on moving forward!  I am thankful that He doesn't give up on me, even when I have been stubborn and hard-headed! God is good like that!

Anyways, I have so much on my mind and in my heart that I want to share on this blog!  I have started a long list of blog posts that I want to write, everything from details of sweet baby Kai's birthday to lessons that God has taught me through Kai.  I technically don't even "like" writing, but it provides such a wonderful outlet of healing for me, so God has pointed me in this direction for right now.

Please continue to praise God with us for all the prayers He has answered in the past weeks. Also, please continue to pray for our family and the healing that is taking place.  Some moments are harder than others, but God continues to comfort and surround us with His never-ending love!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweet Memories Captured...

A sweet, dear friend of mine made this video that captures Kai's life and the love that we shared with him. It is such a priceless gift and a blessing that will last a lifetime! Thanks Michelle!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Perfect Gift from Above...

Our sweet beautiful baby boy, 
Kai Jeremiah Harris
3 pounds, 10 ounces
16 inches long
born on January 31, 2013 
at 1:59 pm and taken to his home in eternity at 6:32 pm.

Thank you God for this tiny miracle that changed our lives!

Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart..."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Letter from Mommy...

Dear sweet baby Kai,

We are now counting down the hours until we get to meet you!  So many mixed emotions run through us.  Feelings of excitement and anticipation, but also feelings of cautiousness and sadness. Some days I just wish I could keep you safe inside me forever, and other days I feel like I can't wait a minute longer to meet you, our amazing little boy.

As the time comes closer that we will get to welcome you to this world, I can't help but feel so much different than how I felt with your brothers and sisters.  Before, I felt like I was going to get to meet a little bundle that would change our lives from that point on.  Now, I feel like we finally get to meet the little bundle that has already changed our lives in so many ways.

You've taught us how to give everything, and I mean EVERYTHING over to God and to surrender to His will, not our own selfish wants.

You've also taught us that it's ok if we aren't always in control.  We must depend on God to get us through the trial that He put us in. If we deny to ask Him for the strength to get us through, we are giving up the grace that He WANTS to give us, and we are depending on our own flesh to sustain us.  I used to think that "I" was strong enough to get through anything, but I have come to realize how truly weak I am without God's presence and power.  Never once, have I felt alone on this journey with you, Kai. Your daddy and our family and friends have continuously been an amazing support and encouragement to me! Most of all, God has been right there with all of us the whole time.

 You have taught us what true faith is. Faith is believing that God is who He says He is and believing He will do what He says He will! We thank God for the promises that He gives us in his word... oh, how we have clung to those many promises! Promises that He will heal your body, promises that we will have eternity with you, promises that He wants what is best for us, even when we can't understand no matter how hard we try.

Thank you for these lessons and many more Kai. I have a journal that I started at the beginning of your life, and in this journal I have listed the many, many things that God has taught me through you. I will treasure that journal and the verses in God's word that have brought us through this pregnancy.  My relationship with God will never be the same and I have you, Kai, to thank for that.

Tomorrow will be a day like no other. I hope we have some time with you, even if it's just minutes or hours, to get to know you better, but in some ways, I feel like I feel like we know you already.

I know that you are a mover and a shaker!  They said we probably wouldn't feel you move much, since you were unhealthy and I had too much fluid.  Oh, how I am glad they were wrong!  We have felt you kick all over.  All of your brothers and sisters love to feel you kick and as soon as they know you are being active, they would try their hardest to feel for themselves.  It is so cute to see the smiles on their faces as they feel you move around.  They love you so much!

Another thing I know about you is that you are a night owl! Many times, when I would wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you would be doing your own little jig, moving all around!  This would usually happen at least 2 or 3 times a night, and I enjoyed laying in the quiet darkness, feeling you squirm as I drifted off to sleep again.

I know that you're not a fan of the hiccups!  It was a long time before you got the hiccups, but in the last couple weeks, you've had them several times.  I love that feeling, but sometimes it seems to irritate you as you try to settle yourself and get comfortable.

I know you've got a stubborn streak!  Sometimes in the last few weeks, when the sonographer would try to do your biophysical profile, you would be sound asleep. After much shaking and prodding, you would start practicing your breathing, so we knew you were "awake", but you still would not budge.  They would need to count your movements, in order to give you a good score, but your stubborn side seemed to kick in.  No matter how much she would "shake" my belly, you would not move, just lay there looking peaceful, totally ignoring all of our attempts.

I often wonder if it's that stubbornness that has kept you thriving all this time. I read early on that most Trisomy 18 babies aren't strong enough to even endure life in the womb and that only about 5% make it through to a full-term pregnancy.  We knew that our days with you could be numbered and that at anytime, God could take you to be with Him.  Sonogram after sonogram, they monitored you and your heart, and you continued to be strong and hang in there.  Here we are at almost 39 weeks, and we are praising God for having all this time with you... 244 days and counting....

God only knows how this story goes from here.  We have tried to plan and prepare for you, but the only way we can truly prepare, is to prepare our hearts and let God's plan take course.

Though this journey has been heart-breaking at times, I wouldn't change any of it for the world. I love you and who you are with every fiber of my being.

Looking forward to our time on earth and our eternity together...


Monday, January 28, 2013

Keeping up on Kai...

For those that don't know, our c-section day will be on Thursday, January 31st, unless Kai has plans on coming sooner. =)  We are blessed to have LOTS of family and close friends that are going to be there with us to welcome Kai into the world.

We have made a Facebook group for those who want to keep updated that day. We know that there are people far and wide that are praying for us and our sweet baby boy and we would love to keep you "in the know" on what is going on and how to pray for us.

Would you be willing to commit to praying for baby Kai and our family?  Would you like to keep updated? If so, please join our Facebook group, "Kai's Crew".  Everyone is welcome to join, you don't have to be "friends" of ours on Facebook.  We would love to bring our brothers and sisters in Christ together before His throne as we prepare for this day and the days to come.

If you have any problems with the link or being able to join the group, please e-mail me at

On the day of Kai's arrival, one of my very best friends, Shanda, has graciously volunteered to update the group as the day unfolds.

Thanks again for your prayers and support!

Matthew 18;20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Counting down....

 This pregnancy has been a journey like no other. In the beginning, I often wondered if the sad times would take over and put a dark shadow on our lives.  They haven't!  Our God and Savior has sustained us the entire time. I am definitely not saying there have been no tears, but there have been so many more good days than hard days. We've made good memories with our Kai the best way we know how and I hope we can cherish these memories forever. Each family member has different ways of dealing with this trial, but we've learned to lean on each other and support each other.  We've seen our kids' relationships grow stronger and watched them encourage each other. What a blessing!

I wanted to jot a few memories down, so that we don't forget them...

Nolan and Nevin (6 years old) are so young, it's hard for them to even wrap their little minds around this.  They pray for Kai at dinner time and often ask "silly" questions about him. The innocence of their youth is so sweet.  A couple of times in the past few months, spunky little Nevin would blurt out, "I can't wait to die!".  To which I would respond "Nevin! Don't ever say that!" and he would tell me "I am just saying, heaven is going to be awesome, with streets of gold and mansions, and plus I would get to be with Kai sooner!"  Needless to say, we've had some conversations about God's purpose for us here on this earth and that heaven will always be there for us and never fade.

Tucker, who is even younger, just 2 1/2 years old, has his own love for his baby brother as well.  We go through the same conversation every night when we sit down to rock at bedtime. Tucker snuggles all in around my very round, protruding belly... he seems to fit just perfectly. His hand wonders down to my belly and he sets it right on top and the same words are said every night...

TUCKER: (in his sweet little voice) "This is baby Kai?"
ME: "Yep, that's baby Kai."
TUCKER: (lifts his head up with his big eyes looking right into mine, raises his eye brows, and then pushes his hand a little harder on my belly)  "I 'quish' baby Kai???"
ME:  "Noooo, don't squish him, you should be soft and show him love."
TUCKER: "Ok mom"  (then he starts to rub my belly very softly, sometimes till he falls asleep)

Bryson, our sweet sensitive 8 year old, has loved to have his hand on my belly, every chance he gets.  Many times, he would come and talk to me about his day and his hand would gently rub over my belly the whole time we would be talking. I think some of the time, it was done subconsciously, but out of pure love for that little life growing inside me.

The girls (12 years old) struggled with telling their friends about Kai's situation, but they wanted him to have his place in their life.  They are proud that he is their brother and didn't want to keep him a secret, so as hard as it was, they told their friends that he would probably only be with us a short time.  They took Kai's sonogram pictures and hung them in their locker, so that they could remember how special he is to them and show him off throughout their school day.  Also, at night, when they would head up to bed, they would usually ask, "Is Kai wiggling or is he sleeping?"  They would give him a little pat and tell him "Good night little Kai!".

Ashton (14 years old) has been the quietest of the kids when we talk about Kai... actually he's probably the quietest of all the kids period! =)  He has always been a deep thinker and would ask questions about Kai as they came to him.  He continued to remain strong and only say positive things, knowing that the kids all look up to him as the older brother.  He told us at one point, that he feels like Kai will always be with him throughout his whole life even though he won't be on this earth.  I think he's right.  =)

We've been able to do so much throughout the pregnancy.  I have felt great the entire time! We have had some fun family time.... of course, the highlight was our trip to the beach, which "kicked off" this pregnancy!  We also did a couple Brown County trips, a Holiday World adventure, a few spontaneous day trips to Indy, and even a 3 day trip to an indoor water park right before Christmas!  (Of course, Kai and I spent most of our time in the lazy river, which was fine with me!) =)

On a side note...  I don't know what I would've done without Dave, he is my rock.  He has been there for me over the last 15 years and this pregnancy has been no different. Our relationship is so uniquely solid, thank God! I have always felt like we have something that most of this world could never even understand. He is my absolute best friend and I couldn't love him any more than I do. Just when I thought our relationship could never be any stronger, God put us "here".  We have grown even closer and our bond is tighter than ever. We have cried together, encouraged each other, and praised God together.  I would have never chosen this recent path that God put us on, but I am convinced that I couldn't have walked it without Dave.  God knew that almost 16 years ago when He brought Dave into my life!

There are so many emotions going through us this week.  We are approaching the day with a positive attitude, but there are times that it's just too much for our human minds to bear. Times that we have to break down and have a good cry and bring ourselves back to the point where we can thank God for this.  I am thankful for God's word and my personal time with God daily.  It always seems to encourage me and get me back on track and thinking about things eternally. 

Please pray for us this week. I know that so many are praying, and not just because you tell us, but because we are reaping all the benefits from your prayers.  I cherish the sweet comments and messages that you have sent to us.  So many times, if I am feeling down, I go back and read over them.  I plan on printing them out and keeping them as keepsakes. It's amazing the support that we've had from friends, families, and even some perfect strangers!  God has put you in our path for a reason and we thank Him for that as well.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Unofficial Official Plan...

Here's our plan, which we've learned by now, could change at anytime!

*After talking with the Peoria doctors and our Champaign doctors (and God!), we've decided to deliver in Champaign.

*Kai's delivery date (as long as he's patient enough) will be January 31st.  =)

*We will be having a c-section. Our doctor ultimately left the decision in our hands, but recommended c-section as the safest way to deliver Kai without putting too much stress on his heart.

*We plan to have all of our family, including our kids, at the hospital when it's time to deliver.  We want our family to meet Kai and be able to enjoy what time we do have with him.  Our doctor is working out plans with the neonatologist and the nursing staff so that everyone can be with him as soon as possible.

*Once delivered, Kai will be stabilized (hopefully), and taken immediately to the NICU for an evaluation and an echo cardiogram. By the time I am in recovery, we should be able to hold Kai and spend time with him.

*If the echo cardiogram would show us any signs of hope for successful surgery, we would be transferred to Peoria within the first few days of Kai's life.  

*We have so many generous friends and family that have offered to help in so many different ways!  Some are making personalized keepsakes for Kai, some dear friends that are professional photographers are going to be there at his birth to take pictures of our family with him, and some have offered to help with the kids before, during, and after his birth. I know it's hard to make exact plans (especially as far as the kids go), but it is so comforting to know that we have so much love and support. We appreciate them offering help with such generosity. It truly does make this situation easier. God has put some amazing people with us on this journey!

So, on a side note, we had a really sweet sonographer in Peoria. At the end of the sonogram, she pulled out the 3D sono machine and offered to try to get some pictures of Kai. We really had no idea what to expect, some trisomy babies can be severely deformed, albeit absolutely beautiful. Mr. Kai was so shy at first, with his little hands up over his face, so we checked out his tiny little body. We loved seeing his long legs and precious little feet. Dave and I sat there with tears in our eyes, just totally amazed... this was our first 3D sono and it was just a perfect experience.  He would move his little arms and hands around, but kept them up over his face most of the time. The sonographer was so patient, thank goodness!  His little hands were so adorable, with his little overlapped fingers, a common trait among trisomy babies that I think is absolutely adorable!  Finally for a brief second, he moved his hands long enough to get a picture of part of his face.  Awww... we just felt like we could burst with love for this little boy!  We have disc full of pictures, but she did print out a couple of his little face that we would love to share with you. The quality isn't the best because our scanner isn't working, so I had to just take a picture...

Lamentations 3:22 - 25
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is they faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heavy hearts, but still praising God! Update on Peoria appointments....

Most of you know that our big day in Peoria was on Monday. We had several appointments that lasted all day, including an echo for Kai, meeting with maternal fetal meds and the doctors that would be delivering Kai, touring the hospital and the NICU, and meeting with the neonatologist.

Honestly, I was excited to go and spend the day with Dave and make plans for our little Kai entering the world!  But what started out as a fun day ended in an emotionally draining day.

Our first appointment was the detailed echo of Kai's heart. After a LONG echo was performed by both the cardiologist and the sonographer, he had to break some pretty devastating news to us.  Kai's very complex heart problem is worse and more urgent than we thought.  The doctor sat down with us, with tears in his eyes and very shaky hands, and told us that it doesn't look like Kai will be able to survive longer than 12-48 hours after his birth, due to his heart problems alone. Needless to say, our hearts just broke.

The problem remains that his aortic valve has several defects.  Without going into too much detail, Kai has 2 issues w/ his aortic valve, called critical aortic stenosis and aortic regurgitation.  The aortic valve is completely responsible for the blood flow out of the heart and into the rest of the body. His valve doesn't open properly and can not carry out that very important function.  The other problem (aortic regurgitation) is that the valve is incompetent and the blood flows in the wrong direction, back to his heart.

While we are still trying to make sure we are well-informed on our options,  it currently looks like surgery is not an ideal option. If open heart surgery can be done, it would need to be done within the first few days of his life. This specific surgery doesn't have a high-success rate in a healthy newborn, let alone a baby with health complications.

I will say that I am so thankful that most of our doctors, including our pediatric cardiologists, have been wonderful!  Most of you may not know, but Trisomy 18 is a very controversial disorder.  Some doctors think that these babies should be left to die and obviously as I said before, termination is encouraged.  A lot of  mothers have to fight for appropriate care during their pregnancy and then also fight for care of their newborn as well.  I have read many stories from T18 mamas about their doctors being very cold, negative, pushy, and also giving them false information to try to suede them in a certain direction. Our doctors have been amazing and have gone above and beyond to provide us with the best care.

After getting today's diagnosis, unfortunately, our doctor seemed to have very little hope, but tried to still remain positive and encouraging.  After getting home and researching what he has told us (concerning Kai's diagnosis and the possible surgery), he was exactly correct.  It's devastating to get this news, but it's comforting to know that we, including Kai, are getting the best possible care. I can't even imagine the stress of having to fight for care, while learning all of these things about our unborn child.     

Please pray for us as we have to make some hard decisions.  We need God to guide us and give us wisdom.  We still have no doubt that God has a purpose and plan for Kai.  We continue to pray that in the end, no matter what the outcome, God will receive all the glory!

Please also pray that we will be accepting of God's plan for him.  This is SOOOO not what we want for Kai, but it is obviously what is best for him and our family.  Even though this has been heart-wrenching at times, it is amazing that God has given us such an amazing peace. A peace that I never would have thought possible in the middle of such a hard trial.

Please pray for our kids. Some of them are more emotional than others and it's so hard for them to understand. Shoot, it's hard for an adult to understand, let alone a child! It just breaks my heart to hear them ask if just maybe the doctors could be wrong and maybe Kai will get to come home with us.

Please praise God with us!  We are so thankful for the time that God has given us with Kai so far!  When we first found out about his diagnosis, we knew his chances of surviving this pregnancy were very slim. God has given us 223 days with him since we found out he was with us! He has been loved and enjoyed for every single one of those days!

God has continued to teach us SO much through this journey. I have grown spiritually in leaps and bounds in these last few months!  He truly knows what is needed in our life and my faith in our omniscient God has taken on a whole new meaning!

We will be meeting with our regular OB/GYN, Dr. Shepherd, and revising our plan tomorrow.  I will be sure to share the details with you all soon!

Thank you so much for all the texts and FB messages that you sent, letting us know that you are praying for us! We appreciate your love and support! =)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year! Updates on Kai...

There's not been anything major to report in the way of appointments lately. Everything has been going pretty smooth and that is an answer to prayer!  We are usually going back and forth to appointments at least once or twice a week. Here's what we do know...

Kai has continued to grow bigger!  The last time we had a growth sono, he was about 3 1/2 pounds, which was right on target.  I feel like they always tell me that my babies are going to be bigger than what they end up being.  They said that Tucker was going to be at least 11 pounds and he was "only" 8 lbs 13 ozs.  I think it's their long arms and long legs that throw them off.  But at least we know that Kai isn't lagging behind too much!

His head/profile are in the upper right corner. It looks like he's sitting in a hammock,
legs and feet on the left side. =)

He is looking straight forward, chubby little face in the middle of the picture.

Kai has done great on his biophysical profiles. We usually go about once a week for these ultrasounds.  He has had a good strong heart rate, excellent fetal movement, and has gotten great scores for practicing his breathing! He is still SOOOO active.  There was only one sonogram where he was barely moving. It was so cute, in the beginning of the sono he was being very wiggly and within the first few minutes, he put both hands behind his head and went to sleep.  The sonographer pushed and prodded him for 15 minutes and he would NOT wake up! Kai just does his own thing, I guess... stubborn like his mama!

Little man has been head-down for the past month or so, but about 3 days ago, I told Dave that I thought he flipped around.  I could feel his hard kicks in a totally different area than usual.  Sure enough, when we were in for a sono today, she mentioned that he was transverse (sideways).  Little stinker!  Our doctor said that he could still easily flip back, especially with all the extra fluid... it gives him more room to swim around! Ha!

As far as my fluid, it is still considered very high, but it could be worse! The normal range of fluid is 8 - 20 cm and mine is around 35 - 39 cm most of the time.  I am still feeling great though!  I imagined I would be totally miserable by now, but thank the Lord, I am still enjoying every bit of this pregnancy.  Dave has been off work for a couple weeks, due to a shut-down at his work. I think that has really helped! God blessed me with a wonderful, sweet husband that takes good care of me! 

Some plans on labor and delivery...

After talking with our OB/GYN, we have definitely decided to deliver in Peoria. It is a little sad for me. We just love Carle and we love, love, looooooove our OB/GYN, Dr. Shepherd. We feel comfortable with him and he knows me so well. He has been such a wonderful support to us throughout this pregnancy.  He has called me at home to check on me and always tells us that he is there for us, even if it's just to talk. We've shared lots of hugs and even some tears over the past few months.  He agrees that we need to go to Peoria as well, for Kai's sake.  I will continue to see him right up until I deliver.  He assured both Dave and I that we will be in excellent hands in Peoria.  He had a lot of great things to say about the doctors and the hospital over there.

Dr. Shepherd said that he assumes that they will induce labor at 39 weeks, which would put us having Kai the last week of January! Yikes... only 4 weeks away!  It's so scary and exciting at the same time! I feel like we have so much preparing that needs to be done, yet we have no idea really "how" to prepare!

There is a chance that I could go into labor on my own, especially since my fluid is so high. It could "trick" my body into thinking that I am full term.  If I do go into labor, I am to immediately get to Carle, where they will evaluate me and put me on a helicopter to Peoria.  This will make things so much more complicated, so we are praying that Kai will just hang in there until his appointed birth date gets here! 

We aren't sure yet if we will have Kai naturally or if it will be c-section. We are hoping to find out more once we talk to the doctors at Peoria.  I have never had a c-section before, so that will be a whole new ballgame for us!

All that being said, we go to Peoria this Monday, January 7th. We have several appointments that day, including an echo appointment for Kai, maternal fetal medicine, and tours of the hospital and NICU.

Please continue to pray for us!  We appreciate every prayer and every sweet message that you send to us!

We feel like God has blessed us tremendously on this journey already and we know that He has so much more in store for us! There are going to be sad times for sure and it may not be what we want, but knowing that it's all part of God's perfect plan will be our hope!  I am so thankful that God knows what is best for us and we can hand it all over to Him. 

Isaiah 55:8,9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.