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Where are we now?

Is it really October and the last time I posted was New Year’s Eve?  Guess I’ve been busy with two active little boys. :)  For those you have been following this journal and wondering where are they now? I thought I would give you an update.

My HELLP free baby Asher is now 13 months!  Every day he is looking more like  little boy and less like a baby.  We are having a big garage sale this weekend and getting rid of most of the baby stuff.  This is breaking my heart but my body is definitely glad that we are done with the “having babies” stage of life.  Asher is taking a few independent steps, says about 6 words but understands so much more, and is the happiest baby.  I don’t know how he can be so happy when he is such a bad sleeper but I love his smiles and laughter!

My HELLP baby Levi is 3 years old!!  Has it really been 3 years?  You would never guess that he was a 3lb 2oz baby.  He is tall for his age and everyone thinks that he is older than 3.  His behavior tells you otherwise. :)  We are potty training which is NOT fun.  I’m hoping that Asher is watching and learning so that he won’t be as difficult.  I just keep reminding myself that this too is just another season in life.  Levi loves to ride his tricycle and play outside.  But Disney Cars is his absolute favorite thing ever!

It looks like Matt and I will be facing some new challenges as possible layoffs are threatening his employment.  One of the GREAT things about God is that when we heard the news, we both experienced an amazing peace about it.  We have faced many trials in our 7 years of marriage and God has always proven Himself faithful.  Why should we doubt it now?  It just makes me appreciate even more all that He has given us.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:31-33

That’s the update. Happy Fall to you all!

Faith in the New Year

I have to apologize for how long it has been since I have posted, but the boys keep me busy and tired.  I have a rare moment where both of them are napping at the same time and decided to reflect back on this past year.  I am amazed by how God has refined me by fire and my reaction to the trials that have come this past year.  At one time in my life I lived in fear, not trusting my life into God’s hands and trying to control the world around me.  Such a heavy burden to carry when there is no way I could control every aspect of life… our emotions, our health, our safety, ect.  Upon hitting my emotional bottom a few years ago, God taught me to lay it all into His hands and give up control.  By doing so I found freedom and peace.  I feel this past year was a true test to see if I really had surrendered, if I was actually trusting God with my life, my husband’s career, and my children’s health.

Faith means to have complete trust without question.  It is so easy to want to question… Why did I have HELLP Syndrome?  Why do I have to make the tough decision of whether or not to get pregnant again?  Why me?  I’ve been honest with God and have asked Him these questions, but I have also accepted the answers.  God sees the big picture in my life and knows the woman I will become having gone through these trials.  My relationship with Him will be stronger than I could imagine and I will learn what it means to trust.  As Ben Franklin said, ” Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”  I will die someday and it is best to be ready… besides, I already pay my taxes.  There is no guarantee for a perfect life, free from heartache, pain, and tears because that is the world we live in.  Corrupted by sin… my own and others.  But I know that my real home lies in heaven, where life will be perfect.  Until then I must live by faith, trusting that God will see me through this life and by His Son Jesus’ sacrifice, I am made holy enough to enter into God’s presence.  Thankfully He has blessed me to experience joy while here and grants me peace during the difficult times.  Matt, Levi, and Asher are my joys and I am blessed to be Matt’s wife and the boys’ mother.  This is a very happy new year indeed!

“So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine.  It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.  So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”  1 Peter 1:6-7

Asher’s Story

Asher is our second miracle baby.  Another gift from God to our family.  Two years ago we had just taken our premature son Levi home from the NICU, still in shock from the trama HELLP Syndrome brought to our lives.  Facing the reality that having another child of our own was most likely not in our future, we shared this possibility with family and friends.  This decision was made quickly based on the severity of how sick I had become and the high probability that it would all happen again.  Matt didn’t want to lose his wife and raise Levi (and possibly another premature child) on his own and I didn’t want Levi to not have a mother.  Fortunately Levi was very healthy for being born 9 weeks early, but we also didn’t want to put another child at risk for having medical or physical problems.  So our decision at that time was no more children.  It broke my heart and fear had won the battle.

Fortunately God is greater than my fear!  He broke down the walls in our hearts over getting pregnant again and gave us the insight to seek professional advice.  After going to a specialist, we learned that there was a 60% chance of reoccurance for preeclampsia but they wouldn’t let it escalate to HELLP syndrome if possible.  So the odds of HELLPs was a lot lower.  Also if it did happen again it would be more likely to occur later in the pregnancy, giving the baby a better chance at being more developed and healthy.  With this new info and the prompting of God’s peace in our hearts, we decided to go for it.  Only four months later on Christmas Eve, we received the best gift… we found out that we were pregnant!

38 weeks and 4 days later, Asher William was born full term, healthy, and no signs of preeclampsia or HELLPs in Mama!  In my very first post, I mentioned that no matter what the outcome we would find joy at the end of this journey through a pregnancy after HELLP Syndrome.  And JOY we have found!  In Hebrew, Asher means “joyful.”  We didn’t choose this name based on the meaning but how appropriate it has become. 

For my own recollection and to those who are interested, here is the story of Asher’s birth.  The morning of August 23rd, I was preparing Levi to spend the day with my parents to give me the extra rest that I needed.  Just after 9 am, unknowningly my water began a slow leak.  After Levi was picked up, I had another small gush.  This began to concern me.  Calling Matt at work, he advised me not to wait for my doctor’s appointment later that afternoon but rather call them right away.  I called, left a message and waited.  10 minutes later, I called back, afraid that I was leaking amniotic fluid.  This time I told the receptionist that I was concerned and didn’t want to wait for a returned call.  She went and talked with a nurse, got back on the phone and said that it sounds like my water broke and I better head to the hospital. 

A call to Matt immediately brought him home from work, at a shockingly fast time.  He wasn’t sure how he would find me and was pleasantly surprised at my relatively calm state.  Just after 11am, we pulled into the hospital and made our way to labor and delivery triage.  The process started out slow.  Initially I wasn’t feeling any contractions and only had the slow leak of my water.  I received my IV and the decision was made for me to get the epidural and they would dose it when I was ready.  Having previously had a c-section and now trying for a VBAC, it was important for me to also be ready for surgery.  During this time of prep, my water finally broke while being checked.  I was already 3 to 4 centimeters and the labor process had begun.  As they were giving me my epidural, I decided to go ahead and dose it as the contraction were suddenly coming on strong. 

I was quite thrilled with how well I handled everything from internal monitors being put in, to the epidural and IV needles, and even feeling the contractions.  Labor progressed beautifully, gaining a centimeter per hour or so and the baby dropping into place.  We had one moment of Asher’s heart rate dropping, but all concern left once I had been repositioned.  Progress slowed a bit as the day went on and the nurses predictions of the baby being born before midnight became false as I began pushing at that time.  As active labor progressed, we realized that the baby was transverse, meaning he wasn’t face down but rather up and a bit to the side.  The goal now wasn’t to push him out but to try to turn him.  After two hours of pushing and little progress, my epidural wore off.  I do not know how women do it completely natural!  I continued to push as it actually helped relieve the pain but was encouraged to rest for awhile.  A new dose of meds gave me a renewed momentum to keep trying.  Another hour of pushing went by and the doctor made the decision that he wasn’t going to turn and the only way to get him out was by c-section.  Matt was relieved that this decision had finally been made as he hated seeing me in pain, but I could have gone all night trying if they would have let me.  The doctor was disappointed that the VBAC did not work out for me.  I too was disappointed but happy that I had at least tried.  I was prepared mentally and emotionally that a c-section could possibly occur. 

During this time of labor, my parents and Levi had visited twice and a pastor friend and his wife had come to pray with us.  I had invited Mom to stay during delivery and after the first 2 hours she had decided it was best to go home.  Dad wanted to be a part of the activities as well, so he had Levi camped out on a sofa in the lobby.  It was a good thing they left, as the c-section was not a spectator event.  I say that but Matt watched the entire thing.  He was surprised by the extent of the surgery and tells me that someday he may share what they actually did to me, but now is not a good time as I continue to recover. 

At 4:26 am, Asher was born.  Loud cries, pink skin, and surprisingly a head full of dark brown hair!  He was 8 lbs 6.9 oz, 22 in long, and beautiful!  Matt was able to hold him during the rest of my surgery and it was my turn to cuddle while I was in recovery.  It was such a joy to be able to experience EVERYTHING and to be able to take our healthy baby home with us three days later. 

 

Almost 4 weeks later, our family has found our routine and feels complete.  I am recovering well and with each day I gain more energy and endurance in overcoming my lack of sleep.  It is nice to feel like my old self once again.  Matt is truly a gem as he continues to help in every way with the boys and the house on top of his long days at work.  Levi absolutely loves his brother.  Holding Asher, hugging him, and helping Mama.  Asher has started cooing and spending longer time periods awake and alert, just taking us all in.  He is a content baby but isn’t afraid to use his strong set of lungs.  God has blessed me with each of my boys and I try not to take them and my life for granted.  For those who have been reading, THANK YOU for following our journey, encouraging us along the way, and praying for a HELLP free pregnancy.  God heard our prayers and blessed our family beyond measure!

 

Welcome HELLP Free Baby!

We are excited to announce that Asher William was born on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 4:26 am.  Baby Asher is beautifully healthy weighing 8 lbs 6.9 oz and 22 inches long.  I too am healthy and extremely happy that my water braking sent me to the hospital this time around.  Asher’s birth story is one I look forward to sharing and will have to make time this week to write it down.  For now, we are at home and adjusting to being a family of four.  It was 9 months ago that I surrendered this pregnancy over to the care of God and 9 months later He has answered our prayers.  HELLP syndrome free.  Preeclampsia Free.  The sweetest baby boy, a true gift from God!

Let me count the ways.

Pregnancy alone is not the easiest time in one’s life.  Adding on the emotional stress of being high risk  and taking care of a 2 year old can only make things harder.  Fortunately for me, I have the most incredible husband who has taken on so much of an extra burden to make life easier for me.

“How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.”

  • Laundry – I may do a load here or there but the majority of our laundry is done every weekend by Matt, including folding and ironing.
  • Dishes – Every night before bed, Matt makes sure the dishwasher is full and runs it so that I have plenty of sippy cups and clean dishes the next day.
  • Yard Work – Now this will generally be Matt’s responsibility (until the boys are old enough to help mow), but having it solely upon his shoulders to take care of right now is an added burden.  But I must say, our yard looks beautiful and we are in the midst of the rainy season!
  • Cleaning – When I least expect it, I will hear the vacuum going or see the counters being wiped down.  I am amazed by Matt’s willingness to take care of the simple things at home as well.
  • Decorating – With everything that Matt already has going on, he doesn’t hesitate when I ask him to paint, hang pictures, and just follow my ideas in setting up our new house into our new home. 
  • The Toddler – My parents lately have been taking Levi in the mornings to give me extra time to rest or get things done, which I am incredibly blessed by their love for him.  Matt, after a long day at work, always takes the time to play with Levi, to help him during dinner, to get him ready for bed, to say his night-time prayers, and to tuck him in.  I get to enjoy cuddling with Levi before bed without the physical strain of wrestling with him in play and into his pjs.
  • Work – Matt is a wonderful, hard-working provider for our family.  He gets up in the morning before Levi and I do and puts in a long day.  And yet, doesn’t complain about his responsibilities at home even when he is tired.

These are just a few of the burdens that are laid upon Matt’s shoulders as I have grown bigger and bigger over the last few months.  He does them without complaint, without grumbling, without anger, without resentment.  Rather I see joy, patience, his strong work ethic, and the love he has for me and our children.  I look forward to having my energy and my body back, so that I am able to take some of the weight off of his shoulders, but in the mean time I must express how much I appreciate the sacrifices that Matt makes for our family.  I love you Matt, more than these words can express.

38 Weeks 2 days… the countdown is on!  8 days or less!!

37 Weeks = Full Term!

First of all… THANK YOU JESUS!  If it wasn’t for your grace and provision, I wouldn’t even be here today.

Today is another milestone in this pregnancy.  I have officially made it to full term.  If Baby is born today, he won’t be considered premature.  Most likely we won’t see the inside of a NICU and we’ll have a plump baby boy.  I really can’t wait to meet him and would be thrilled if today was the day.  But it looks like I will have to have patience and wait a little while longer.

Two days ago, I had my first appointment where they checked my cervix and I haven’t started dilating.  Baby is head down but he hasn’t dropped yet.  The doctor and I discussed a plan of action for the next few weeks.  Due to my previous c-section, they can not induce me for labor as there is a higher risk of uterine rupture.  But I am still a good candidate for a VBAC, so if I go into labor naturally we will move forward in that direction.  If I don’t go into labor, we are going to schedule a c-section around the time of my due date.  Carrying past my due date has its own risks of allowing more time for preeclampsia, HELLPs, or blood clots to develop.  I am happy with this plan… having a scheduled c-section but also allowing nature to take its course.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The other topic at my appointment was MTHFR.  It seems as though it was the reason I developed HELLP Syndrome.  I have had this all of my life and probably wouldn’t have ever found out if I hadn’t developed HELLPs in my first pregnancy.  It seems as though my MTHFR is a lesser version, where there is one copy of a gene which requires me to take a baby aspirin and extra folic acid.  If I had the double copy, then I’d have to have daily shots to keep myself from developing blood clots.  Extremely thrilled that I don’t have to do the shots!  For women out there who have had HELLPs, make sure your doctors do a full blood workup and look for genetic disorders like MTHFR.  I do not know why this was not caught at the beginning of this pregnancy (or even right after having had HELLPs), but I trust my life in God’s ultimate care.  I haven’t had in blood clotting issues so far and I know that God is the one overseeing the baby’s development.

“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”  Ecclesiastes 11:5  I may not understand but I do trust that God is at work to mold me into the woman I was always meant to be.  I am always thankful for the lessons I learn, the experiences I have, and the gifts I am given.  Thank you Jesus for bringing us to full term.  Thank you for Baby, my hope and my joy.  Thank you for Levi, my strong survivor.  Thank you for Matt, my self-sacrificing husband.  And thank you for life, now and into eternity with you.

Nesting

Even with my lack of energy and feeling the weight of my belly, nesting has kicked in!  There are a few boxes that still need to be unpacked, but decorating the boys’ room became my priority.  I didn’t have the opportunity to get ready for Levi’s arrival, so this time around I want to be prepared. 

The last week was spent taping off patterns, Matt painting both rooms, Levi “helping” Daddy, and adding decor.  Even our cat Dubya got into the fun.  The rooms are missing a few accessories but that will come with time.  Overall I’m thrilled with Baby’s nursery and Levi’s toddler room. 

We’ve also washed carseat covers, set up the pack n play in our bedroom, and packed a bag for the hospital.  I still need to pull out the pump to make sure it is in working order and clean the parts, as well as pull out the baby bottles and have a few of them washed and ready (just in case nursing doesn’t go as planned).  Overall, I’m feeling ready.  Every time I do basic housework or pay bills, I think “I’m glad I’ve got this done because you never know when I’ll suddenly be distracted by the newest member of our family.”  I’ll be full term on Saturday and then the baby can come at any time!  Mama and Daddy are both nervous and excited… the wait is on!!

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