Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home at Last!

I was finally released from the hospital today around lunchtime. After my surgery on Friday, I went home feeling completely fine and then began spiking a fever just hours later. I ended up back in the ER (per doctor's orders) around 10 pm that same night. It was devastating and J.V. and I (up since 3:30 am that morning) were exhausted. I didn't know that I would be admitted once I got to the hospital, but with a fever of 103 and a recent induction and surgery, my body was sending up red flags of an infection. Still, I had no idea I'd be spending the next 3 nights there, separated once again from my family! It was hard, to say the least. This was not just emotionally challenging, but physically challenging as well.

I was put on strong antibiotics via my IV and had to be fever-free for at least 36 hours before being allowed to go back home again. Well, I'm home (dare I say) for good?? I am thankful to be out of the hospital and back with my family. So many of you have helped us in so many different ways--caring for our children, providing meals, and even groceries. We are so grateful. I can't tell you how much your messages by text, voicemail, email, etc. have meant to us and, truly, we could not have gotten through this experience with out all of the support. I am really tired and not really computer-savvy so J.V. has to do anything "technical" for me (including uploading photos to our computer from our camera) so we will hopefully do that in the next day or so.

There is a fabulous nurse that works at St. Joseph's Hospital named Barbara. She does clay hand/footprints for families who have lost a baby. She does this at no cost, but as a ministry to these families. I remember going to her house when she did our kid's prints 2 years ago (after Caden & Cooper were born). I saw these plates with teeny-tiny little hands and feet and I was shocked. I asked how old those babies were when the prints were taken and she explained that they were babies that hadn't made it. How sad, I thought. I never imagined that 2 years later she'd be making them for us. She worked that day I had my surgery and in recovery when I discovered my doctor had been able to get the hands and had made ink prints for me, I called Barbara right away and asked if she could come do more permanent clay prints for us. She said she would do whatever she could to make it happen for us and she did. Once she was off of work at St. Joe's, she came straight over to UC Irvine. She found the pathology lab where the body of our baby was and made us 4 tiny plates with perfect little hands. I haven't seen them yet, but she said they came out really well. I can't wait to share them with you all. This is the highlight of my last week, and I am so grateful that she went out of her way to do this for us. So many of you have gone out of your way to encourage our family in different ways, and we are humbled. Thank you so much for your kindness.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We will deliver her tomorrow

May 12, 2011
I want to give an update because it must seem like things have been pretty quiet over here for the last several days and there may be some confusion about what is going on. Last Saturday morning I was admitted into the hospital to start an induction and allow our baby to be born “naturally.” After 4 days being separated from my babies here at home, my doctor finally consulted with the specialist again. I am (not surprisingly) in the small percentage of people whose body resists such an induction. In fact, my body was doing everything it could to retain this baby, and even still protect her. The nurses kept telling me that my body believed it was much too early to deliver a baby at only 20 weeks gestation, and even after several different drugs, my body was not letting go of this baby with out a fight. (No problems with preterm labor here!)
It was very hard to be away from my family for all those days, and I was ready to move on. Everyday the nurses listened to me voice my frustrations, concern, and sorrow for the kids who needed me at home. Some of the nurses even prayed with me, asking the Lord to touch my body and release this child within me (just the shell of a baby who had already gone to be with Him anyways). For whatever reason, the Lord didn’t decide to do that.
Instead, the doctors decided that the best route of delivery would be a D & E surgery. This is not pretty, and this is not what I expected would be the end of my precious child—but like I said—it’s only her shell I carry now. Still, we were hoping for the privilege of seeing her, getting her handprints, and experiencing a natural birthing process. None of these hopes will be realized with the D & E surgery. As disappointing as this is, at this point, we just need to be able to move forward.
We are realizing more and more, that the Lord is asking us to be willing to give up everything for Him. This is not only a sacrifice of my sweet baby to the Lord, but also a sacrifice of the hopes I had for the way she would depart. Probably no single part of this has happened the way I would have liked it to, but I am learning to surrender everything to Him.  I love what I read in the book, “I Will Carry You.” The author reminds us of a woman named Mary in the Bible, who shattered a very valuable bottle of perfume (estimated to be worth approximately $30,000 in our economy) over the feet of Jesus and wiped her hair along His feet as a form of worship unto Him. She compares the perfume bottle that was shattered to the valuable “bottles” we all hold dearly now. She says, “I still struggle with my false sense of control. In the weeks and months that followed Audrey’s death, I could feel my fingers tighten around the bottle He was asking me to pour out. My three daughters, my husband, my house, my parents—everything I could physically put my hands on—felt dangerously out of control…If you have been through this, you will know that what I am about to say is true. It never brings relief. The more we try to cling to our babies, our jobs, our bank accounts, the more we realize that they are not ours.” (pg. 123)
I know I am not elaborating much on this story, but it is worth studying and it applies to a lot of the things in our life, including my own situation. In short, I have broken my perfume bottle over the feet of my Lord and am pouring it out. I am fully surrendered now to whatever He is asking through this offering.
The plan is to go to the specialist’s hospital now (UC Irvine) in the morning and remove this little (one pound) baby from my body. If all goes as planned, I can go home about an hour and a half after surgery and resume “normal activities.” The thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever be “normal” again, but I’ll be just the way He wants me to be. Forever changed and armed with an entirely new testimony and sense of surrender to Him.
A couple last blessings in all of this that I want to mention: One, the fact that the Lord has chosen to preserve my body and spare me a c-section in this loss (granted everything goes as planned tomorrow), and two, that we have been presented with an amazing opportunity to minister to a person who performs abortions on live babies. I don’t think I would ever be in a position to talk to a person who does this type of thing and the fact that the Lord has brought us into contact with this woman causes me to believe that He wants to use us even in her life. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

An Answer to Prayer: Embryo Adoption


The video linked above was taken from over 2 hours of footage and any reference made to God was edited out. Please know that this story can't really be told fully with out Him in it.

Enjoying Baby While I Can

                                                                   18 weeks pregnant

Details & Prayer

I am scheduled to go in for induction in the morning (Saturday). Our prayer now is for safety over me and guidance for the doctors. I would ask that the Lord allow the process of induction to be one that is not very painful (physically) and happens quickly. A vaginal delivery is the ideal choice in this situation, however, a c-section might occur if all does not go as planned. Our desire is to deliver this baby naturally (meaning vaginally). We also pray for the care of our other children at home. The nurse said this process might be a slow one and could take days. It is very hard for me to be away from my other children, and so I ask for God's provision with care for them, and comfort for my heart. We would also be grateful if the baby could come out in tact and able for us to see and hold. Thank you, thank you for continued prayers and support!