Please keep them all in your prayers, especially baby Finn during the first early, critical days.
I will update when I know more!
Please continue to pray... for wisdom for the doctors, for peace for Carly and her husband, and for protection over their precious baby boy. I will update when I know more.
(*That's not a sale price: this month's orders have actually run me out of stock on one of our comics, so I dropped the price.)
Since I'd essentially promised to load in a few bonus treats, I put some more postcards into that envelope (along with every comic I still had in stock), and since I love Halloween almost as much as the next blogger, I adorned the envelope our little werewolf guy from "The Graveyard of Forking Paths."
Hooray for a growing readership, hooray for lagniappes, and hooray for Halloween!
She is a serious wiggler!!
What has been really neat for me as a second time mom is to see how different she is, even now, from Isaac. If you've been reading a while, you know that Isaac loved Zazz... he just responded to it. There's no sugar in it, so I can't quite figure out what it was about it that he liked so much. But without fail, I would drink a Zazz, and he would wiggle.
Several people have asked if baby sister likes Zazz as much as Isaac. Nope! Not at all. She seems to respond best to sugar! Whether it's hot chocolate, lemonade, or peanut M&M's (but really, who doesn't love those?!), it doesn't matter. She seems to love it... a girl after my own heart!
One of my fears with this pregnancy has surrounded how I would be able to still love Isaac and be an ambassador of his legacy while fully loving this new little girl. As several moms of 2 or 3 kids have shared, each child is different... you love each of them completely, yet differently. Even now, I am beginning to see how that works, and God has been gracious in just guiding me through that.
Quick Carly update... she went in for screening yesterday and all was well. She is back home for now, and is hopeful of making it to 33 weeks on Tuesday! Praise God for his protection over their baby boy.
Thankfully, my appointment on Monday was boring... incredibly boring! All the usuals... weight, blood pressure, and listening to baby sister's heartbeat on the doppler (which sounded great in the mid 150's!) Dr. D (one of the docs who delivered Isaac) measured my tummy and everything is right on track.
We discussed the H1N1 vaccine, which truthfully, I have lost some sleep over. With working in a school, germs are everywhere... and several of my students have been out with confirmed cases of H1N1. My doctor's office doesn't yet have the vaccinations, doesn't know when they'll be getting them, and they don't know whether or not they will be mercury free. Please pray for me for wisdom as to whether or not to get this vaccine, and for peace of mind. the whole thing just has me a bit on edge.
I had the chance to see Carly and our friend Susi (another baby loss mom from our support group is also pregnant again) last night for dinner. Carly goes in again today (around now, actually) for more bloodwork, a fetal non-stress test, and some labwork. Please continue to pray for her that things hold steady with their little guy!
Dear friends and long-distance relationships,
While she is still exhibiting signs of preeclampsia, they have regressed a little, and they are not yet severe. She is going to the doctor every other day for monitoring, and if any of her labs spike again, the doctors will need to deliver their baby boy.
Please continue to pray for God's protection over both Carly and their son, than He would cause her labs to remain stable so that baby boy can have a few more weeks safe inside his precious mommy, and that He would continue to provide both Carly and her husband with peace.
And if you'd like, swing by Carly's blog to read a more detailed update and to show her some love :)
And as I cogitated on the prospect, I got a little Ironic Sans: that is, I came up with an idea, possibly a rather good idea, that I have no power to realize:
Imagine lozenges in your favorite spicy sabor, at a nose-runningly intense degree of heat. Mysteriously potent wasabi, sriracha, chipotle, and vindaloo, in an easily portable form. Wouldn't that be healthful when you had a cold? What better way to dislodge a loogie or make your phlegm less phlegmatic?
Dr. Propter's: they get your juices running!
If anyone from Hall's or Vick's or Altoids or whatever is interested in the idea, I'll sell it for a very reasonable sum.
If any of you poetry fans can tell why I've attributed these pills to Dr. Propter, bonus points for you. Ditto if you're a candy aficionado and identify the origin of those shapes and colors.
Now, enough about salubrious lubrication, and back to my usual lubricious lucubration.
In fact, here's a little bit of "Doodle Penance" for our failure to deliver on our two-posts-a-week promise.
Someone came to the blog last week looking for "balloon critter." I'm pretty sure we know what he or she was looking for...
I welcome any speculation on the cartooning influences and subtexts in the image above.
Onto the envelope, I doodled this little guy, whom I'd never see again if I hadn't scanned him.
I also tossed a few random postcards into the envelope, since they weren't going to affect the shipping costs. Hopefully, when the envelope arrives, it'll seem like a treasure trove of goodies, chock full of dorky fun. I know that when I get a package in the mail, I'm always psyched to get a little random bonus, even if it's something I'd never have paid for. I like the little lagniappes, so I try to put them into (or onto) every package I send.
Anyhow... Baby SISTER (well, the sonographer was 90-95% sure!) is due March 25, 2010; however, with needing a repeat c-section, she will probably be delivered between 38-39 weeks.
In anticipation of some things you may (or may not) be wondering...
- I am 18 weeks pregnant (I know... I held out for a long time on this one...)
- So far, everything with baby girl looks great !!
- No, we don't yet have a name; but we're getting close. We have a middle name, and have narrowed her first name down to three or four choices. We'll let you know once we've decided, as we would love for you to pray for her by name.
- Yes, I am receiving additional monitoring. I have an open invitation at my OB's office to come for heartbeat checks, though now that I can feel her move, I don't really need them anymore. I am also being monitored by monthly ultrasounds.
-No, we are not doing any testing... no first trimester screen, no CVS, no amnio. Even normal numbers would come back higher than the odds of what happened with Isaac, and so numbers are pretty meaningless for us. Particularly with the ultrasounds looking so good at this point, we want to move forward in faith believing that things are okay, and if the time comes that they aren't, we will deal with it then. God has been good in really affirming this decision for us.
- Physically, I feel great. My body just "does" pregnancy well. I had some morning sickness early on (more like a seasick feeling) but it didn't last long at all. I am really lucky in that regard.
- Emotionally, being pregnant again is difficult. But the specifics of that will serve as another blog post... or several :) There is a lot I have been processing over the last few months.
For now, I'll just say that while I feel like I can breathe a little bit easier with each appointment that goes well, it has been difficult to feel blissfully excited about this pregnancy. It is so hard to balance feeling hopeful, with knowing that there's never a safe point in pregnancy. It's hard to balance joyful anticipation, with the ache of missing Isaac so much.
In some ways, I feel like I am grieving in a fresh way. This past Sunday, Spencer and I went out to breakfast before visiting the cemetery and going to church. As we were sitting there, in walked a family of four: mom, dad, big brother, and little sister. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that this baby girl will not know her big brother, other than what we share of him, on this side of heaven.
So while we are hopeful, and we are incredibly thankful for the tremendously good news so far, the missing is still there. The ache for my son is still there. We are just in a new place in this journey as we wait with hopeful anticipation for our baby girl, and at the same time, miss Isaac so much. God has been gracious in walking so closely with us through this, showing us day by day what it means to live out this delicate (and at times exhausting) balance.
That's about all I can think of for now. I wanted to share the news with you all, my faithful readers, encouragers, and warriors of prayer. Please specifically be in prayer for:
- My upcoming routine OB appointment on the 26th. Please pray that it is just boring and uneventful!
- My big 20 week ultrasound on November 5. Please pray that baby girl's development is still
right on track and that everything continues to look perfect.
If there's anything I missed that you may be wondering, please feel free to ask... but I reserve the right not to answer :)
Thank you for praying... and please continue praying for my friend Carly!
Please pray specifically:
1- That her blood pressure doesn't continue to rise, that her fluid levels don't continue to drop, and that her protein levels come back okay;
2- That God would protect their baby boy. Carly said that at her last scan, he was measuring just under 3 lbs;
3- That God would give wisdom to the doctors in how to handle all of this;
4- The Lord would just really surround Carly and her husband Mike with peace.
You can read more from Carly here. Please feel free to swing by her blog to give her some encouragement and let her know you are praying.
So, fast forward about a year later to this past spring. A sweet woman who reads my blog emailed me to tell me that Angie would be speaking at their church's women's retreat this fall. This woman's church isn't terribly far from us, nor was the location of the retreat. As the next several months passed, we continued to dialogue about this retreat, and this past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting this incredibly thoughtful and generous blog reader, as well as Angie herself.
I could only attend the retreat for the day yesterday, but after the morning session at which Angie spoke, she and I sat down for quite a while and talked... talked about Audrey, talked about Isaac as Angie poured over my pictures of him on my camera, talked about some of the hardest and most painful moments of losing a child that only two mothers who have walked that road would even think to discuss, talked about the emotions that come with losing a child, and talked about the Lord's faithfulness in how He has met each of us so personally in the midst of each of our journeys. Not that the journeys are over; there is no "over." But there was something that was just so refreshing about sitting down with someone who really wanted to hear about your child who is no longer with you, knowing that she really knows what it's like.
As if that hour and a half wasn't enough, I also got to eat lunch and dinner with Angie, as well as Todd and their sweet daughters Abby, Ellie, and Kate (sorry... no pictures!). It was such an incredible opportunity to get to know Angie in person, and to spend some time getting to know their girls and talking with Todd as well. They are the real deal, that's for sure.
That evening Todd did a concert featuring several songs of Selah's new album "You Deliver Me," including "I Will Carry You" which was written for their daughter Audrey, and that Spencer and I used as the song for Isaac's slideshow at his memorial service. It is an incredible album... one you seriously should go out and buy. I know you'll be blessed by it.
If you had asked be back then... in the late spring of 2008... if I ever thought I would be given the opportunity to actually talk with Angie in person, I would have laughed. I am just so thankful that I did, and that God used a complete stranger (who is thankfully no longer a stranger!) to help orchestrate such a divine encounter. And thankfully, Angie is also no longer a stranger :)
The winner of the necklace from My Forever Child is...
True Random Number Generator Result: 45 (from random.org)
Comment number 45 was Keisha, in memory of her precious babies Kyndall and Kaiden. Keisha, please e-mail me at email@example.com so that I can put you in touch with Sue at My Forever Child.
I would also like to ask you to pray for my friend Carly. Carly's son, Will, was born on January 17, 2008 at 26 weeks. Carly had an early onset of severe preeclampsia and needed to deliver. Will lived for 9 days in the NICU, and passed away on January 26, 2008. Carly is currently pregnant with Will's little brother, and thanks to the addition of several medications to her prenatal care, she has made it further in her pregnancy with this baby than she did with Will... she is currently 30 weeks pregnant. However, at a recent doctor's appointment, Carly learned that her blood pressure is on the rise, and her amniotic fluid levels are have dropped... signs that preeclampsia is beginning to rear its ugly head again.
I am fortunate to know Carly in real life, having met her at the monthly infant loss support group that we both attend. She has been a tremendous support to me in my own grief journey of losing Isaac, and so I would love it if you would join me in praying for her and her sweet baby boy. Please pray that her blood pressure does not continue rise, that her fluid levels do not continue to drop. Please also pray that her baby boy's development and growth aren't constricted by either of these things, and that she is able to make it to at least 32 weeks which is what her doctors are hoping. But we know that our great God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or ever imagine, and that Carly could make it much farther than 32 weeks.
Please pray for her... I know she would deeply appreciate it.
This was a great week for book signings at Costco. The buzz over the new Dan Brown book is fading away and I am finding my groove. I am encouraged by a whole bunch of emails from folks who are enjoying my book and recommending it to their friends. It seems this is a book that folks of all stripes are finding relevant and important and comforting.
Book Two, Discovering Isaac, is coming along well. I am still on track to have it available on November 15th or thereabouts. If you would like to be notified, let me know via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I spent the weekend on a much needed vacation with friends down in Moab, Utah in one of my favorite places on earth, The Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. 20 years ago I was exposed to this very unique place and have never been the same. Lynnette and I started a guest book 11 years ago in a wonderful slot canyon we call the Fat Man's Dilemna. I looked at the guestbook yesterday and was surprised to see that probably fewer than 150 people had been through there in the last 11 years. Most who had, knew me or someone I lead through. I am costantly amazed at the beauty of this earth. Utah is an amazing place to live.
Got to get to the editing of book two. Cheers. Ben
Many of you know that October 15th is designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While I am saddened that a day like this has a need to exist, I am glad that it does... as remembering our babies can bring so much healing and hope.
I was doing a little research this weekend about this topic and here are some preliminary findings:
-According to emedicine, the overall miscarriage rate is 15-20%. Some physicians believe this percentage may even be higher, as miscarriage can often occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
- Approximately 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States, and according to the March of Dimes, about 19,000 babies die within the first month of life (called neonatal death).
- SIDS claims the lives of over 7000 babies each year nationally.
All of this is simply to say that many, many people are affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. And if you are one of those people I want you to know this: your child matters.
So, I would like to do a few things this October 15th.
First, I would like to pray for you. If you are comfortable, please feel free to share as much of or as little of your story in a comment below. And I would like to invite those of you reading to pray for the people who have courageously shared their stories.
Secondly, Sue Mosquera from My Forever Child has generously offered to allow me to hold a giveaway in honor of October 15th. If you aren't familiar with Sue's work, she creates beautiful remembrance jewelry. She has graciously offered to giveaway a Baby Footprints Heart Necklace. By leaving a comment sharing your story, you are automatically entered in the giveaway. Entries for the giveaway will close at 10pm EST on Thursday, October 15th... but you are certainly welcome to continue to leave comments sharing your stories. The winner will be randomly selected and announced by 12 noon EST on Friday, October 16th. Be sure to check out My Forever Child at http://www.myforeverchild.com/ and www.facebook.com/myforeverchild.
Lastly, as the http://www.october15th.com/ site has announced, you are invited to light a candle on October 15th at 7pm in your time zone to create a wave of light in remembrance of the child/children that you have lost, or in honor of someone else who has lost a child thought miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.
So, I will start...
My name is Stacy. In the fall of 2007, we lost baby #1 to a miscarriage due to triploidy discovered at 13 weeks. On October 7, 2008, we met our precious son Isaac at 8:33 am. He passed away due to complications from a series of congenital birth defects 16 minutes later. He is deeply, deeply missed.
One year ago today, my life was profoundly changed by the most beautiful little boy I have ever laid eyes on. I remember when the nurse brought Isaac over to us after he was born and told us he was alive, the tears came streaming down my face. I couldn't believe he was ours. I wanted so badly to be able to tell him, while he was living, how much I love him and how proud I am of him. I wanted him to feel what it was like for his mommy and daddy to kiss him, to hug him, to snuggle him, and to hold his little hand. I wanted him to fully experience the love his parents... and I know that he did. I am so thankful... I just wish it could have lasted longer.
While talking about our time with Isaac that day has come fairly easily (though not without tears), something I haven't been able to talk much about is later that night when we had to say goodbye... to have the joy of meeting your child juxtaposed with the anguish of having to then say goodbye. This is the part that I am not sure many people think about, particularly if you haven't lost a child yourself. People have mentioned to us how hard it must have been to leave the hospital carrying a picture of Isaac rather than Isaac himself, or how difficult it was to plan and attend your child's funeral. But neither of those moments come close to the pain of handing your son to a nurse you've never met, knowing you'll never see him again on this side of heaven. I am not sure I could ever adequately put into words the way that emotional pain transcends into physical pain at that very moment, the level of emptiness that a parent feels inside, or the sobs that echo through the very core of your being. Nothing about it is right. It is all terribly, terribly wrong, and unfortunately part of the fallen world in which we live. But thankfully, there is a Redeemer who meets us in the midst of life's most painful moments such as these and provides His comfort.
Today Spencer and I will spend time doing several things that we did while I was pregnant with Isaac... a hike at Sugarloaf Mountain and a picnic in a park. Of course we will spend a while at the cemetery, and will send up letters to Isaac carried by blue helium-filled balloons. But I think it goes without saying that these are all just consolations... because I would much rather be putting the finishing touches on a party for this coming weekend... and I would rather see Isaac demolish his first cupcake while attempting to eat it. Gosh I miss him. I know that he is in the most perfect place, but I am still his mom, I am still human, and there's a large part of me that would rather him still be here. Not because I think I can care for him better than God himself... as Spencer reminded me, I can't. But because I love him and I miss him.
Thank you for upholding us in prayer today. Thank you for remembering our sweet little strawberry-blonde haired Isaac with us.
On this day, one year ago, you were born. It was the most glorious day of my life...knowing you has changed me.
Some doctors came in to take one last look at you on the ultrasound machine so that they could figure out the best way to get you out of my tummy safely. It was neat to see you in there one last time.
Pastor Guy and Pastor Rob came back and prayed with us and they prayed for you... knowing that it's never too late for God to perform a miracle and to heal your sweet little body. Then, we went to the operating room where you would be born.
You were born at 8:33am; and while God didn't heal your body like we prayed He would, I know I met a miracle that day-- you. You are the most beautiful baby I have ever seen... your fuzzy hair, your perfect little nose, and cute lips just like daddy's. Daddy and I are so thankful that we got to meet you while you were still alive so that you could feel us hug you and kiss your little face, and so you could clearly hear us tell you how much we love you and how proud we are of you. We do... and we are.
After you were born, nurse Kathy helped us give you a bath an put on the blue little outfit we got for you. Then, you got to meet everyone!! Your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and some of mommy and daddy's closest friends who also love you very much. We're so glad that they all got to meet you and hold you. You are just precious.
Isaac, do you know that you have changed the world? That your life has impacted many, many people for Jesus? Do you know that there are people who didn't want to go to church who are now going back because of hearing about your life? That over one hundred people played in your golf tournament? That there are people who spend more time with their family, who hug their children a little bit tighter because of you? I am so proud to be your mommy... and I am so thankful that God has chosen to use you in a mighty way.
We miss you so much. We wish that you were here, just learning to walk, babbling out sounds like "dadada" and "mamama", and devouring your first taste of cake. Mommy and daddy know, though, that you are perfectly cared for in heaven... that you are healthy and whole, and that you have everything you need. We are thankful for that; but we still miss you. Deeply.
I love you, Isaac. I am so proud of you. Happy birthday, sweet boy.