Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beautiful Community

Nearly a month ago we sat in the emergency room and alternated between prayer and mild panic, between "the Peace of God that passes all understanding" and nausea.

In the days and weeks that followed that night those we know well... and those we barely know have fallen to their knees and whispered prayers from the depths of their hearts... for us. People have gathered in groups, come together, and they have surrounded and held us. We have received visits and letters and emails from sweet souls who have asked God to heal and mend and be glorified in all of this.

And Yesterday, we were told again that the hematoma has continued to shrink and is now fairly small compared to the pregnancy. And I was officially taken off of bed rest... something we were told was incredibly unlikely for my pregnancy. He is healing... He is mending... and our sincere hope is that He has been made known and glorified in every moment of this.

Today as I marveled in my new freedom of folding laundry, sorting piles of pink baby clothes, and pacing the floor offering whispered thanks... I realized something.

I'm going to miss this.

No, not the bed rest... not the mild panic and sick feeling that came when I worried about my daughter. I'm going to miss being sweetly held by so many. In the last month we have shared our hearts and our fears more rawly than perhaps ever before. We have allowed ourselves to be real and vulnerable with anyone willing to pray. We've allowed each of you in to the places of our hearts that are most deep and sacred. And we're better for it.

And today between whispering praise... I told Him how badly I didn't want that part to end. The part that has brought a sweet community into our lives. The part where we've been so honest about where we're at that it hurts... only to be held in a way that has moved us to love Him better. The part where I lay my heart bare in black and white... only to have all of you respond in a way that moves me to tears. I don't want to give that part up. I don't want to give up the part where we all get honest about the times when we hear Him whisper... and the times when we struggle to feel Him. I've come to deeply love that part of this.

This has changed not only us but the direction we were going. It has changed our perspective and drawn out some of our deepest passions. I still cannot work for the remainder of my pregnancy and each of my kids has been sweetly settled in to a new place which leaves me able to search my heart. We have learned, in all of this, that even our best laid plans can crumble leaving us in sweet surrender to whatever He would lead us to. And right now, I am at peace with allowing Him to usher me into new places. Right now, I am fully and utterly content with carrying Jayda and loving my husband and meeting for coffee with many of you. I am soaking up the mornings alone with my Jesus and having no agenda except for what He lays before me. This has been a sweet time of reconnection in so many ways.

And I'm praying that part doesn't end. We deeply value the community that has formed around us and the real and honest way so many of you have shared your hearts in response to our situation. I have loved getting to better know so many of you who have come and sat on the couch with me and shared your life. Please don't stop. I'd love if we could all continue on this walk of loving Him... together. A deep dream of my heart has always been to share life with many.... over coffee and laundry. So many of you have made that a reality... and one I want to hold tightly to.

So come on over... I'll make you some coffee... and we continue to marvel together over a Love so deep you cannot remain unchanged by it.

Much Love,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet our sweet girl!

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, for the second time we were told we're having a baby girl... and we could not be more thrilled! She is perfect... absolutly perfect. And today we got to see every inch of her. And let me tell you this one... I think she's going to be a dancer... she does not quit moving! We are so so excited for you all to meet the sweet little girl you've all been on your knees for...

So... without futher ado please meet our sweet Jayda!!!!

Isn't she precious???

This is actually an ultrasound picture from the night I went into the ER but it's the best one yet.

We didn't find out much today as I only had the ultrasound and not my regular appointment. I go in Wednesday and will post again after that.

Thank you... from the bottom of our hearts... for continuing to cover our sweet baby girl.

Much Love,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Many of you have made yourselves known these past few weeks. Until now, I really had no idea how many read my words. And in so many ways I am completely thankful and totally flattered. But honestly... I think I need to confess that more than once I have gone back intending to delete a post. It's not easy to allow so many into the shadows of your heart... your walk... your flaws. And as much as I love to write... I've always done it more for myself than anyone else. Maybe it's a defect... I need to write things... relive them before I fully understand.

So lately my fingers hit the keys often... in an effort to make all that is grey in my life tangible with black and white. I used to scrapbook life... I never fully took to that. I've always liked this better, simple and honest... letting words come and not allowing myself to edit their depth nor their simplicity. I have years of journals written. It was only recently that I began to to share those words with all of you.

This hasn't been easy for me.

When it comes to letting each of you in to the confines of my heart... to the things of that keep me up at humanness and flaws... my questions and fears and my deep deep love for Him... I've struggled. Yet, I feel deeply compelled to share. And I have been blessed in doing so.

Many of you who read this I know well. Others, I know but not deeply. And still others of you I have never even met. And I just want to say that as hard as it has been for me at times to share so much of my heart... you all have made it incredibly wonderful. Your kind words, letters, and emails have moved me beyond words. And for those of you who have written and told me that you've been reminded of His love... of the God who gives songs in the night... within the confines of these pages... I'm humbled. My deepest hope is that my words would be full of Him.

If you're here and havn't made yourself known to me... I'd really love to meet you :)

I think all I simply wanted to say is that I'm glad each and every one of you are here... and although sometimes this is difficult for me... you have made it completely worth it.

Much Love,

OH!! Don't forget to stop back Monday to meet our sweet baby!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Breathing Deeply...

We had another appointment today. This one was a little longer. Our ultrasound tech was wonderful! She took her time and let us look at every finger... every toe... spine and ribs... heartbeat. It was wonderful. Simply wonderful.

Afterwards, we headed to Dr. Goerish. She came in and greeted us with such good news. The hematoma is measuring only about half of what it did last week! This is a very good thing... as it leads us to believe that it may just disappear completely within a few weeks. I smiled the entire appointment. There are, of course, no certainties. But, this is good news... and we are rejoicing!

They did find a septum on my uterus. I had no idea what exactly a septum was. This is my basic understanding after Dr. Goerish explained it to me:

Basically, my uterus is shaped like a heart. Imagine the middle of the heart goes down too far. That is a septum... basically a part of the muscle that just goes down too far. She explained that it puts you at a larger risk for a miscarriage (but then told me that I am past the point where they worry about that as our baby did not implant on the septum but to the right of it.) She said we do need to watch it because it does put me at higher risk for pre-term labor and a C-section as it constricts how baby grows and limits the positions the baby can be in.

I laughed. I know... probably not appropriate... but I did. I mean, at this point I'm pretty much a high risk for everything... so this was simply not that shocking.

"Aren't I already at a high risk for both of those things?"

We both laughed. She went on to explain that she doesn't think this is a big deal right now as it doesn't seem to be interfering with anything at this point and we will simply continue to watch it. I went on to tell her that at this point I could care less how this baby is delivered as long as we have a healthy, near full term baby.

She is also allowing me to have a little more freedom. I still cannot work or lift or do anything strenuous whatsoever. BUT... I can get up a little more, do my dishes, fold the laundry, and simply stand up!!!! Sweet goodness I never knew I'd be so grateful to be able to stand.

Amazing how God changes your perspective.

My thyroid also came back a little off. So she did a couple of more tests today and said she has had one other patient who had heart palpitations because her thyroid was off during pregnancy. If my levels are off again today she'll put me on medication for that and everything should be fine. More, good news. And, everything with the heart monitor came back normal :)

Oh... and in other news... We found out what our sweet little baby will be today! And yes, we even have a name. But, as we want to be fully sure before we introduce you to our sweet little babe so you can pray for him/her by name, we are waiting until next week to introduce you. I'll post pictures then... promise!!!

Stay tuned. As always, we are humbled and so grateful that you are walking this road with us.

Much love,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Loves like a Hurricane

I wake up often in the night these days. I've always liked the night. The darkness, stillness, the quiet of it. And often when I lye there I think of these beautiful words

"Your protector will not slumber." (Ps. 121)

He doesn't sleep... my Jesus. And when night comes and closes in and I lye awake it's nice to know I'm not alone. I lye awake with the One whose loved me all my life. And faithful and true, that love has carried me. Through every dark night, every fear, every moment that love has held on. Because of that love I've never been the same.

In Job it says that God gives us songs in the night.. (Job 35:10) He would be... the God who gives songs even in the darkest of night. The God whose love is more real than the fear. The one who holds your tears in a bottle. Here's the thing about me... I really believe it. Every word of it. I believe he speaks through burning bushes and sends manna from heaven. I believe in the God who parts the water and the Jesus whose very touch could heal. I believe He gives songs in the night and keeps every single one of my tears in a bottle.

I've had many conversations with many of those I dearly love in the last two weeks. Those who believe it.. and those who don't. Those that are scared for us, those who care, those who have walked a similar road with their own children. People who have asked questions about survival chances and told us how awful it is that we are going through this. And we are so grateful for the love and the mercy of so many.

But the word awful doesn't really seem to fit.

One of the songs He's brought in the middle of the night is the one that talks about His love being like a hurricane (How He Loves). At first thought... I know, hurricanes are violent and scary... overpowering and consuming. Hurricanes and unpredictable and turn lives upside down. But same song, every night...same words that play over and over in my heart. "He loves like a hurricane."

On second thought. Scary, unpredictable, overpowering and consuming just might fit. His love is consuming even in the dark of night. It is unpredictable and has wrapped itself around me in the most uncertain times I have ever faced. When I am a mess of fear... His hurricane love overpowers... takes over... I have known what it is to be quieted with His love. Every moment of every day that I lye here... I have known. The songs in the night... they overwhelm me... and I bend beneath His incredible mercy... the weight of glory. The only thing greater than my fear... His affection for me.

Awful isn't the word.... because this fear... this pain.. this not knowing is eclipsed by the depth of His love and the songs that come in the night. Because, you see, He redeems even the most difficult roads... I've seen Him do it. A sweet friend of mine who knows deeply what it is to fear for the life of your child wrote me this last night.

"I don't know what will happen in all this, but it is actually a SWEET time to be held by God... Don't hold back."

I like that word much better.... sweet.

A sweet time to be held, to let Him give songs in the night, to spend time with my Jesus who does not slumber... to let Him overpower my fear with His violent love. And I don't want to hold back. She's right, my friend. We don't know what will happen in all this. We never really know. But to be overwhelmed by love from the Jesus who does not sleep... that is sweet... my goodness is that sweet. To know he treasures with me every kick and move right along with me...

He really does quiet with His love. My spirit knows that to be true. He holds my fragile heart. As my sweet friend also said... "It only gets scary if you don't let go of the steering wheel..."

Because His love... it's like a hurricane.

And this time... uncertain as it may be... is becoming oh so sweet.

Oh sweet Jesus... thank you for redeeming the uncertain road we travel... there is not one moment in all of this that you have missed.

Because your Love... it's like a hurricane.

Much Love, Faith, and Hope,

Monday, January 11, 2010


**Warning I tend to get a little long winded. If you are here strictly for a medical update... just scroll to the bottom :)

As I sat in the waiting room today waiting to be called back for my ultrasound this beautiful peace just swept over me.... As I felt our sweet baby move around in my belly I found that I treasured the waiting. I didn't know what they were going to tell me or what they were going to see. So... for that moment I kind of relished in not knowing.

Our appointments today were long, and there was so much information to take in. Risks and percentages, opinions and medical terminology. My ultrasound technician Lorie was so sweet. She was very kind and told me she'd seen a few mommies with a subchorionic hematoma.

"Some of them go on to have full term deliveries and very happy endings. Plenty of them do... I always tell people to hope for the best."

I treasured each sweet moment watching the baby kick and move. At one point we both laughed because baby was waving right at us.

After the ultrasound I went on to see Dr. Goerish. Of course, we had many questions for her. What is the survival rate? What is the likelihood we will deliver a premature baby? Do we need to see a specialist? Is there a chance that my early pregnancy complications were because of this and it just went undetected? And so on.

She gently answered each question for us as best as she could. Yes, we are at risk for delivering a premature baby. There isn't exactly a survival rate... it very much depends on the case. She will refer us to a Perinatologist once I am twenty weeks who deals with high-risk pregnancies. Yes, this could have gone undetected early in my pregnancy which is why I had problems. She was kind and reassuring and incredibly understanding of our fears. She has personally called me quite a few times in my pregnancy and I can simply tell that she cares deeply about her patients. I cannot express in words how comforting it is to have Dr.'s who care in such a genuine way.

After that I went for lab work and then to cardiology.

In the last week I've been having some symptoms Dr. Goerish wants to check out. All of the suddenly my heart will pound and I'll get a terrible headache. I almost feel like I've taken some kind of stimulant. I get fidgety and shaky and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. I told her I think it is just anxiety... she said it very well could be but that she wanted me on a heart monitor for the next 48 hours to make sure I'm not having any irregular rhythms. I'm not to worried... although our living room is beginning to look more and more like a hospital. I have the big straw mug from the hospital, balloons, flowers, and now sticky things all over my chest with a little portable monitor :) I must admit... the food around here is far superior to hospital food. Thanks to all of you!!!

There is a sweet peace that has lingered over our home that last couple of days. I'm finding it easier to rest and simply to wait. Yesterday, when I woke up... I just buried my head in the pillow and the Lord and I had a nice long heart to heart. I know we have very little control over this. I know that things could go either way. I know the risks and the success stories. I also know that we are really realizing what it means to have faith in what you cannot see. We know that the road ahead is long... and that there will be days when our hearts ache and days when we rejoice. We are simply so grateful so many of you have entered into this with us. I cannot tell you what it is like to feel covered in the prayers of so many. We are so grateful for each of you.

Here are the details of what we found out today as well as what we would ask that you pray for:

The next weeks are crucial. It is very important that I stay on strict bed rest as this can help significantly with bleeding and keeping things stable. Once I reach 20 weeks (I'm 17 weeks now) we will be referred to a Perinatologist who will work with Dr. Goerish on my case. We are at risk for having a premature baby... and the very earliest I could be delivered would be 23 weeks. Of course, our hope is to make it much, much longer. We don't have the full details of my ultrasound yet... at first glance it looks like things haven't changed much. The subchorionic hematoma is very close to my placenta(it almost looked attached on the ultrasound) which is not a good thing (the further away the better). Right now baby's heart rate and growth are right on target. I'm on a heart monitor for the next 48 hours to make sure everything is going well there. From now on I will have both weekly ultrasounds and weekly appointments to closely monitor everything.

Specifics you can pray for:

1. That whatever is going on with my heart will stop. Whether it is small anxiety attacks or irregular rhythms pray that my heart will beat perfectly.

2. That the clot would get smaller and not bigger (Dr. Goerish said it either gets bigger or smaller, they do not usually stay the same size)

3. That the baby would continue to grow unhindered and the placenta would stay securely attached to the wall of my uterus.

4. That God would continue to provide. We have seen His hand in so many ways.

5. Most importantly, pray that we would give Him praise with our lives and make known His love as we walk this out. We are deeply humbled that he would use our situation to bring so many to their knees.

We cling to the Hope that does not change and the peace that defies our situation.

Much Much Love,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

to have Your heart

The house is dark and Micaiah sleeping. And I found myself again lying awake... eyes wide... mind racing. It's been four days since we left the ER. I don't think we ever really imagined four days could change the flow of our life so dramatically. We are simply overwhelmed at the sheer number of you who have called, written, offered to bring meals, visited, and brought our family before the throne of God in prayer. We are humbled beyond words. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts... those of you who have entered into this with us and come alongside us. We are moved by your willingness to be Jesus to us.

For me... the last four days have seemed like weeks. As I lye still growing this sweet miracle I've had many hours to ponder in my heart the events in the last year of our lives. Micaiah and I never have moved slowly... life and the way we live it has always been at least slightly chaotic and incredibly full. We met and four months later were engaged, six months after that married, one month later I left college to come alongside Margy at Grace Refuge, eight months after that pregnant. Our life was full of children and messes and people and fellowship and our first year of marriage has flown by at an incredible pace. That night though, lying in the emergency room... everything in our lives just stopped. The blood kept coming and the tears burned hot in the corners of my eyes as we waited for what seemed like an eternity for them to bring in the ultrasound that would let us know. We walked out several hours later holding radiology reports and information on the signs of miscarriage. I don't know if it was the sheer exhaustion of it all or the simple fact that I was overwhelmed by how quickly things can change, but for the last four days... I've simply felt numb. I haven't cried, haven't known how to pray, or even how to feel. Kid's are no longer running wild... I'm no longer holding babies. The parents have started to look for someone else to care for their children. I'm not reading devotions to 3 year olds or praising Jesus for the 2 year old who finally learned how to use the potty. I'm not laughing with mommies at the end of the day as we revel over how fast they grow. Our house isn't loud and full and full of people. Now, I lye here... still and silent... and I wait. And I've just felt kind of numb to it all.

Until tonight.

The tears are starting to come a little bit. The quiet and the stillness are starting to sink in. And I'm realizing why. I don't think I really know how I'm supposed to feel right now. I realize that many pregnancies survive this... and then I try to find as much information as I can about it... and hear the stories of those who have lost their babies because of it. The clot could dissipate completely in a day... or it could stay the same for weeks and months... or it could grow and cause things my mind just can't bear to think about right now. While I realize that on the grand scale of things that could go wrong... this is most certainly not the worst. For us... this is a pretty big thing. I'm caught in the middle. I trust God with my child... completely, wholeheartedly, fully trust Him. I know He can heal this baby in a second. And I told Him a long time ago when we first had complications that we would love Him and give Him praise nomatter what the outcome. Then, there is the other side. There is a very real chance something could go terribly wrong. What we fear most... could happen. And at the same time that I want to plead with Him to just make it all better... I remember something Beth Moore said a long time ago that has changed the way I've prayed. "God, protect us from everything but your glory." Because as much as I want Him to just make this better... I don't ever want to miss the glorious work he does in situations that, to us, seem most terrifying and uncertain.

I'm stuck in the middle. I trust Him... but I'm afraid. I love Him and know that all things work together for good... but I want my outcome. I want to see the world with His eyes and love with His heart... but I don't want it to have to take something like this. There is so much I want to tell Him right now... so many tears I want to let Him have.... and yet I'm unable to utter a word because maybe then I won't feel the full weight of it.

It's so tempting to want to look at the statistics, the medical explanations, to want to get an exact measurement of my hematoma so I can know how it compares and how much greater that puts this baby at risk. It's tempting to want human answers and try to fill the stillness of my days with knowledge of what this means. But today, I realized it changes nothing. The hardest words my Dr. said were these...

"For now, we watch and we wait."

I've never been very good at waiting. And a week seems like an eternity when you're waiting to make sure your baby is okay. A week of waiting before you get to watch that little heart beat is a very long time. But as I wait... I remember.

One of the most frequent and fervent prayers of my life... Jesus I long to have your heart...

As full and chaotic and vibrant as our life was just a week ago... I'm beginning to understand that at some point... a stillness and a waiting has to come. I have longed my whole life to have a heart like His... And as I lye here each day I'm gently nudged to hand over the pieces of my heart that I so desperatly want to hang on to. My dreams. My expectations. My flow of life. My fears. My deepest longings. There is nothing better than hours of silence to make you examine the places of your heart you have yet to offer Him.

And tonight... the numbness is slowly melting into tears and confessions. I feel the weight of it... but I also feel His hand.... And I've learned that when no human answers can satisfy... sometimes all I have to do is just hold His hand and give Him my heart.

It's been far too long since I spoke with Him for hours in the dark of night...

Jesus I long to have your heart.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We cling to the unchanged.

As we drove my teeth chattered. I was so cold that my body shivered, making it difficult to let the tears come. It was twenty-something below... nearly 2am. And the five minute drive from our house to the hospital seemed like an eternity. I remember Micaiah's hand grabbing mine... I remember as he searched for words to know how to pray. And I remember the feeling of blood that wouldn't stop coming.

When we reached the Emergency Room my eyes were wet with tears as I tried to answer their questions. I stumbled as they asked me my name, where I lived, how far along I was, my birthday, how much blood I'd lost... I remember thinking how surreal it was to stumble over such easy questions... just trying to keep it together... to remember anything beyond seeing that terrifying clot of blood and fearing the worst. I remember silently thanking Jesus for my sweet nurse who reassured us that my heart rate was probably just low because of all of the excitement... who saw my obvious vulnerabilty and was so kind as she gently reassured me it was okay if I bled on the hospital bed. When the brought in the ultrasound machine I remember praying the same words I'd prayed just ten weeks earlier "a heartbeat... please Jesus a heartbeat..." It took her a minute but she found it and we watched in awe and wonder as our child kicked and moved within me... heartbeat strong and steady. I remember thinking that whatever was going on inside of me was something we could handle as long as that little heart just kept beating. They ran numerous blood tests and eventually brought in an an ultrasound technician. She was quiet but kind as she wheeled me through the hallway to a special room. We were in there for almost an hour as she looked at all different areas of my womb and took pictures to send to a radiologist in the cities. I savored that hour... watching our baby kick and move and wiggle. Seeing tiny fingers and toes... a perfectly formed little mouth.

It was nearly 5am. when we returned to my room. We were quiet that night... sometimes there simply are no words. We didn't have words for this... for our fear or for our relief. We simply waited. For good news... bad news... any news that would help us understand what was happening. As I laid there in the dark room trying to rest my thoughts drifted back to earlier that night.

I'd woken up in the quiet of night with the feeling that something was terribly wrong... I felt the strange wetness beneath me and immediatly knew it was blood. As I stood up to get out of bed I could feel something shift... The next thing I remember is looking down at a clot.. the size of which made my heart sink....

It was six am. now and the results were in. They handed them to me and explained that they'd found a lemon sized hematoma (blood clot) next to my placenta. Their only guess as to what had happened that night was that something had shifted causing the hematoma to press against the wall of my uterus and cause a rupture which is what caused the clotting and bleeding. They sent me home on bedrest and told me to consult with my OB Monday morning. We were thankful for the exhaustion as it made sleep come easier that day.

The next morning I talked with my OB and she gently explained what this could mean for our child. "Our main concern is that if this hematoma gets bigger or shifts it could cause the placenta to detach from the wall of the uterus and cause your baby to loose it's blood and oxygen supply. We'll need you to come in for weekly ultrasounds from here on out to closely monitor you and make sure it doesen't grow." Another concern further down the line is that hematoma's can cause premature labor. When I hung up the phone I just sat there... The nurse had said something that kept playing over and over in my mind... "It's amazing how quickly things can change."

And as I've had a couple of days to think about it I've realized something. Some things have changed. This is not what we would have chosen. This isn't a road we ever wanted to walk. No one wants to fear the loss of a child. We are no exception... we prayed for a healthy pregnancy just as everyone else does. But as much as fear sometimes tries to take over... we hold closely to the things that never change. Our God is the same as he was before we ever walked into that Emergency Room. We still feel His comfort and embrace as we face a road that feels so uncertain. And as we search for the words to pray... we rest in knowing He hears our hearts. And while we pray for the hematoma to shrink and dissolve or to allow to the baby to grow unhindered... we know that whatever the outcome He holds this chid in the palm of His hand.

For now, we do not take one day that this child continues to grow for granted. And as I lye here, I'm thankful. I'm thankful to have so much time to lye here and cover this child. I'm thankful for the people God has already provided who are praying for us and bringing us meals. And I'm thankful for a husband who has dropped everything to pick up the load of household duties and financial provision. And although this road feels so uncertain, I am so thankful we do not walk alone.

We covet your prayers. And for those of you who are praying on our behalf... thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

I will continue to update weekly with each appointment.

Much Love,