Still Waiting

Well, here we are, last night, heading to the hospital after being told to come on in. We got there around 6:30 and were told to head to the waiting room. I knew things were busy because of how crowded it was. Lots of people, lots of noise, lots of waiting. Not exactly how I’d envisioned starting off Elizabeth’s induction. I was called back after about an hour and checked in, given a wrist band, told I’d be in room 308, but that I’d need to head back to the waiting room for a bit. After another hour of waiting, the charge nurse came and got me. She informed me that since we’d been called to come in, there had been a rush of women in active labor who had also come in. Every room had been taken, and she had a couple other ladies on their way who were pretty sure their water had broken. She said I was welcomed to stay in the waiting room, but with no end in sight, it would probably be better to just go home. She would call me as soon as a room became available and she was so very sorry that this was happening. I told her that I understood, this was labor and delivery, these things happen, right? Right. So, off we went, back home.

We left our hospital bags in the car, came in and enjoyed some time with our family (my parents and in laws are here, along with my sis and nephew!)and went to bed. At 5:30 am, the charge nurse called me to say that they were still packed and suggested that they put me on the list to be induced tonight. So, same drill as last night, call at 5:30 to make sure a bed is available, go in if so, and start the induction tonight.

So, yeah. Kind of an emotional roller coaster, but through all of this the Lord has been faithful to remind me that He is sovereign over all things, even when they seem messy and chaotic. His plan, His timing, they are perfect. I got to sleep in this morning and am now enjoying these scenes:

(My dad with my kids. Nothing better!)

(Mom and Sophia)

(Kisses for Grandma)

(play-dough time!)

(Maria in the kitchen, of course!)

(My sis and nephew!)

Not too shabby, and much more fun than the hospital waiting room. 🙂 Not to mention, this is one more day that I get to keep Elizabeth safe inside. She’s kicking and wiggling and hiccuping as usual, and I am once again so thankful for this time that I have with her.

I know that I keep saying this, but I am profoundly humbled by the prayers going up by so many. Truly, it’s overwhelming and “thank you” seems like too trite a thing to say. But we are grateful. Deeply grateful for your love, prayers, support and encouragement. We feel it and we ask you to please continue, knowing that you will. Thank you.

Due Date

Elizabeth Grace is due today, but I’m thinking she didn’t get that memo, which is more than fine with me. I am thrilled to get to keep her in for as long as possible, although I’m not sure how much longer that will be. I’ve been dilated to 1 and a half centimeters for at least two weeks now, and Braxton Hicks have been occurring more and more frequently. I have an OB appointment on Monday (if I make it till then), at which point I suspect an induction will be scheduled for some time next week.

So many of you have reached out lately to let me know you are thinking of us and praying. Some have asked for specific needs to lift up, so I thought I’d share some here, as I greatly appreciate the intercession.

~ Strength—spiritual, physical and emotional. I’ve been battling a nasty head cold for the last few days and honestly it’s left me feeling quite weary in each of these areas. I’m claiming 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. His power is made perfect in weakness.

~ Peace—facing so many unknowns and having never charted such territory before, there are many things that I’m simply fearful about right now. Please pray that the Lord would increase mine and Onan’s faith and that we would rely on the peace that only He can give. Pray that we will rest in His plan.

~ For God’s name to be glorified. No matter what the outcome, this needs to be the end result. If Elizabeth experiences a miraculous healing after she is born, then we want the explanation to be God’s supernatural touch and for His name to be made famous. If she experiences ultimate healing by being taken to Heaven, then we want to point to Christ in our grieving and let others know of the hope we have because of Jesus. Either way, His name must be glorified.

Thank you again for praying with us and for us through this time. We are so humbled and so grateful.


Last weekend my wonderful friends gave me and Elizabeth Grace a beautiful and meaningful “blessing brunch.” I was so honored and so humbled by their generosity and sincerity.

Everything was gorgeous!

And delicious…

But the best part was the company! My mom and sis got to be there:

And so did my Mother-in-love:

My highschool BFFs made an 8 hour drive from TN and suprised me!

(that’s my side profile “surprised face”)

And we cried, of course.

But we laughed too!

We also had a time of prayer (which I SO wish had been photographed, but…I guess we were all praying, ha!). Anyway, it was beautiful and profound and something I will never forget.

I also received many, many incredible gifts.

This might be my favorite. It’s a box filled with letters from friends and family. Touching and heartfelt thoughts, prayers, scriptures, songs and poems. I know people must have just poured themselves into it. A treausure.

Some beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry:

Some incredibly special handmade presents…

And Elizabeth received some absolutely gorgeous hand made clothing and blankets as well!

I’m not sure I can express how overwhelmingly loved and cared for that I felt, or how much I felt like Elizabeth was loved and cared for. I have been praising God for the friends that he’s placed around me at this time in my life and never before have I been more grateful. Each prayer that you lift up, each encouraging word that you speak to me, every tear that you shed on my behalf–it’s all so very deeply appreciated. Thank you, thank you.

Joy and Pain

“There’s only one address anyone lives at and it’s always a duplex: Joy and pain always co-habit every season of life. Accept them both and keep company with the joy while the pain does its necessary renovations.” Ann Voskamp

Thank goodness somebody said it. And in her New Year’s post, no less! With all the joyous optimism surrounding this new year, I can’t help but feel even more isolated in the singular thought that’s been hounding me since midnight on Sunday: 2012 will be the year that I likely have to bury a child. All the good feelings and hopeful resolutions that usually accompany the ringing in of a new year have been overshadowed by this reality, especially since it’s fast approaching. In the four months since we’ve received Elizabeth’s diagnosis, I’ve been telling myself that we’d deal with all of that “sad stuff” after the holidays. I just wanted to get through a normal, happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years before having to really think about such things as picking out a newborn casket, locating a cemetery, planning a memorial service.

I knew that when I got out a new calendar, I’d have to mark January 28th as my due date, schedule in each of my now weekly OB visits and have a constant, visual reminder that this is the month. One of my mom’s token Christmas presents is always a big, pretty brand new calendar. The one she gave me this year has scripture at the top of each page. The verse for this month that I have opened on my fridge displaying my due date and all those OB appointments? “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13. He always provides the grace. The grace that leads to joy, even in the midst of pain. For they can exist together. So, I go boldly into 2012, into the “sad stuff” that awaits. He’s holding my hand.

Sweet Elizabeth

This morning marked what should be the last appointment with my high risk OB before I deliver. I didn’t realize this beforehand, otherwise I probably would have tried to savor the ultrasound even more than I did. The news was all good. The first thing I was told was that she is in the head down position. I practically let out a “whoop!” and definitely exclaimed, “Good girl, Elizabeth!” I had a feeling she had moved from breech, to transverse then finally to head down just last week. And by “feeling” I mean hard and swift kicks to the ribs as she got herself that way. I was having coffee with a friend when it all went down (pun intended!). I could barely stay in my seat and nearly spilled my peppermint mocha all over the place. Totally worth it. I know I’d been told by all the medical professionals I’m seeing that I would and should be able to deliver her breech, but the thought always made me uneasy. Labor and delivery make me nervous enough–especially this one–so, this news was a relief…and an answer to prayer.

More good news: she’s estimated to weigh four pounds, right on track for a 33 week old baby. At my regular OB appointment last week I was measuring four weeks behind, so it was nice to find out that she’s where she’s supposed to be and it’s simply due to how I carry (read: my freakishly long torso). She’s still swallowing well and my amniotic fluid was in the average range, another big praise. My doctor noted that she was “very active”–something I could have told him months ago. I’m not sure if she really does move a lot more than my other kids did, or if I just notice it more with her, but this baby never stops. And I love it. In the picture I got today, she has her little hand up by her face, a favorite move of hers.

Since she’s head down and “thriving” according to my doctor, he won’t need to see me again before delivery unless a problem arises. He made sure I still have support in place and asked me to call him after Elizabeth is born so that he can come visit us in the hospital. What a blessing my high risk doctor has been throughout this pregnancy.

Still coveting your prayers, friends. We’re in the homestretch now and I’m feeling many emotions as Elizabeth’s due date draws closer. I’m truly excited to meet her, still praying for a miraculous healing, all while preparing for the worst. I’m constantly claiming Romans 8:28, constantly having to relinquish control and trust God with all of this. He has been so gracious and He is so faithful.

Guest Post: “Learning to be a Thanks Giver”

This week, in light of Thanksgiving, and because my husband is a much better writer than I am, I’m sharing his most recent article at The Patriot Update, where he writes weekly. Obviously, I am incredibly thankful for him.

“It’s the week of Thanksgiving, one of our most important American holidays, and a writer would be remiss to not write about this important day. Several hundred years ago our forbears landed on the Atlantic coast and settled in for a long stay. These early colonizers met their challenges with fear, trepidation…and thanks. How could they be thankful for a cold, harsh, dangerous and imperfect new land where life was precarious and so many of them would die? Freedom. Not just any kind of freedom, but the freedom to worship God in the way that they believed the Bible taught was correct.

We have so many reasons to be thankful in America today, but perhaps the most important reason is our freedom to worship (or not worship) freely. No American is forced into an “underground” church, our religious leaders are not told to keep from preaching about certain topics, and our citizens are allowed to give freely of their income to their religious institutions. Perhaps there is a day coming when some of these things are not so, but for today we are a “free” people.

At my family’s Thanksgiving gathering this year we will no doubt gather around the table, holding hands and each of us recite one thing that we are thankful for this year. Someone will mention our soldiers overseas, someone else will mention having work, another their health, and invariably someone will mention family. We are so blessed to have our family, as crazy and imperfect as some of them may be. Isn’t that the crux of our society’s current ills? The failure as a culture to remember just how important our families our? Fatherlessness, single mothers, broken marriages, abuse, addiction, abortion… aren’t all of these just symptoms of a basic misunderstanding of what the family is supposed to be? The family is supposed to be a brilliant reflection of God’s desired relationship with us, a community of love, mercy, discipline, and most importantly grace.

I want to give thanks today for my family. I am so thankful for my beautiful and brilliant (in so many ways) wife, Leah. I am so thankful for my three wonderfully unique, hilarious, and energetic children who brighten my life to no end. I am so thankful for our fourth child who is on her way, due in January, Elizabeth Grace because she has taught me so much already.

It was through Elizabeth that I learned about something called anencephaly. Anencephaly is a condition where the top of the baby’s skull does not grow into place, and so the brain is left unguarded from the amniotic fluid that the baby lives in for their first 40 weeks (or so) of growth. Without this protection the brains higher function cannot develop and so the baby will grow and mature with only is lower level brain functions. The short version of the story is that while the baby will generally grow and develop normally, after she is born and removed from her mothers’ body she will not be able to live on her own. The condition was described by our doctors as … fatal. She may live outside of the womb for a few minutes, a few hours, or maybe a few days – but she will leave us, far sooner than we ever imagined.

I cannot adequately describe the absolute shock I felt when we were told, or explain the excruciating pain that comes not from a physical blow but from what feels like an emotional bludgeoning of finding out you will lose your child, and soon. The sharpness of the early pain has dulled, but the throbbing ache of loss is still constant. There are days when I feel as if I have had no sleep because of the fitfulness of my dreams, and the understanding that my night was filled with thoughts of my baby girl. Mornings are the worst, as I ready myself for my day and my mind settles on thoughts of my beautiful and precious Elizabeth. I think about all that she could have been, and all that I will miss – and how it all seems so unfair. My perfectly imperfect baby girl, who is so beautiful and precious to me, will be gone so soon. Why? That was my first question, isn’t it everyone’s? Why is this happening? What have I done to deserve this? It took months before I could say in a clear headed way, the answer is sin. We live in a world that God once said was good, but since the entrance of sin into our world and the fall of man, we and our planet are far from good. We sin against an Almighty God and there are consequences. Our perfect little world, and our chance to be perfect here – it’s gone. It seems like a sad story, that only gets sadder with the news of my perfectly imperfect baby girl, but Elizabeth’s story is not one of sadness but one of Mercy and Grace. Thinking about Elizabeth has made me realize the beautiful picture that God is painting.

You see, the story doesn’t end with the fall and our imperfections. No, as soon as man sinned God’s plan went into action, and one day His Son, Jesus Christ was born to this Earth. The Perfect, sinless Christ lived, died, and rose again to defeat our sin, and our imperfection for us because we couldn’t do it on our own. Why does Elizabeth and anencephaly remind me of this? It’s why I am so thankful this Thanksgiving, for my freedom and for my family.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ assure me freedom, and it can do the same for you – if you will accept it. His gift promises us freedom from sin and from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God after death. In fact His gift offers us the very real promise that we can one day be made perfect again! Just like it was supposed to be way back when, before it all fell apart…and that’s where I am so thankful on behalf of my family because, I know that one day I will get to see my beautiful precious baby girl again, and she will be perfect.

This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for my freedom and for my family. I am so blessed.”