Miscarriage and Healing

1 Samuel 1:27-28
27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to make a post on this subject. On one hand its personal, it hurts, and wrecks my heart. On the other hand, God is good, merciful, present, and deserves the glory even in our heartbreak.

About 8 weeks ago, we found out I was pregnant. After our initial fears subsided (high risk pregnancy, etc.), we were super excited about it. The girls were even more excited about it.

May 30 was our first ultrasound. “There’s no heartbeat”: three words that no parent wants to hear. 20 days later and those words still shake me to my core. But God has shown up. In friends sending cards, making dinner, cleaning our house. HE has shown up in the quiet moments. On June 9, I gave birth to a sweet little baby. We named him Samuel Enoch. Samuel because God heard our prayers and because he will spend his life with Jesus. Enoch because he escaped death and it means dedicated.

As hard as this month has been, we have had peace and joy in it. Our sweet baby will never experience the good of this world. We will never feel his sweet hand on our face as we rock him to sleep. But he will never experience the sin of this world. He will get to praise God every day for eternity, think about that blessing. We have the hope and promise through Jesus of seeing him one day.

I share our heartbreak because despite the sorrow in this, I believe God has a plan for things. I also believe to many women experience this and grieve in silence. 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I believe it’s a trauma.

“The cultural language surrounding miscarriage is careful and politically correct, and despite its best intentions, it leaves many parents conflicted about the appropriateness of their feelings and without words to process their experience. Words like “fetus” and “pregnancy loss” do not validate their grief over a baby who existed and is now gone.

The language we use creates a framework for explaining what has happened. So, when that framework implies that the loss was anything less than a living human being, parents may try to reason away their tears or at least hurry past them, because culture is telling them that this is the loss of a dream rather than the loss of a child.”

Today’s Christian Woman
https://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2014/september/church-lets-talk-about-miscarriage.html?start=1

We buried our sweet Samuel. I wept. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. To bury your child is unimaginable. I imagine the scene at the cross was so much more unbearable. To a God who has never been separated from his child, to watch him die. The love that comes from that. The love the God displayed. It’s indescribable.

But as always, our story doesn’t end there. On Sunday, I started to have bad cramps/contractions in the evening. Late that night, I started to hemorrhage. We left for the hospital at 2:45am with two little girls. Nate dropped me off at the front door, since OB triage is right there, to park and get the girls in the stroller. We forgot that it would likely be locked. I almost passed out and collapsed on the ground and security came running out. Nate got there seconds after with the girls and he ran to OB triage as security pushed me in a wheelchair. My blood pressure was 62/40. Thankful that we felt the need to leave and get to the hospital. After 30 minutes of procedures, they did an ultrasound and found that my entire uterus was full of blood clots and I hadn’t passed all the placenta. The staff told me with my blood pressure being so low, the loss of blood, and the dizziness I needed an emergency D&C surgery.

The best part of this. How big of a God do we serve?! They lay your arms out on the table and the staff asked me about my tattoo that means God is my strength. To God be the glory, even in our suffering. In a room full of people surrounding me, HE gets the Glory. 2 Corinthians 12:99 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

So I am sad and my heart is heavy. But I have a peace that comes only from Him. For He is good. And He has promised me hope and a future. I know that our sweet boy is in heaven with a heavenly Father I can’t wait to meet one day. So, I will love you sweet boy, until the day I meet you in heaven.

Cerebral Palsy, Seizures, and a big God

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.-2 Corinthians 12:9

This season of life has been hard with feelings of being emotionally broken and drained.
It started the Sunday after thanksgiving when my father was found diseased in his home. That was a lot of emotions to work through, but I have an awesome husband who listened to me and helped me find my way around the emotions I was feeling.

On December 19, Evelyn was officially diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia, a type of Cerebral Palsy. The type of Cerebral Palsy she has affects her hips, legs, and feet. The specialist told us she has a 70% chance to walk, but will likely need help from braces or walker while learning.
She started Physical therapy a few weeks ago. She is doing fantastic with therapy and is starting to crawl correctly. She is having an easier time sitting and standing.
God is so good. Evelyn (who is 13 months adjusted, 16 months actual) is cognitively at the level of an 18-month-old! So incredible. Her fine motor development is that of a 15-month-old. Her fine motor and cognitive development are excellent. Her gross motor development is that of a 8-month-old

God is good and always puts in place people and events for us to know he is there. The night of Evelyn’s diagnosis we had a prayer night at church. Nate “happened” (not a coincidence) to be paired with two of the pastors. They prayed with him and spoke words of wisdom and grace and encouragement to him. I received some of the best wisdom I’ve received in a long time – that when I don’t know how to pray,  whatever brings God the most glory, is what I should pray for. That is a lot easier said than done – to pray for Gods glory or my happiness and security is one I will struggle with for years to come.

The next night Eleanor had her first seizure. It was terrifying. I was in the room, rocking Evelyn and watching Netflix. I thought Eleanor was having a night terror, so I laid Evelyn down. Then I realized that Eleanor was seizing. I ran her downstairs and screaming for Nate to call 911. Her lips and fingers were blue. She threw up, stopped seizing, and then passed out. By the time she came to she could not talk for 15 minutes. The entire time I just desperately prayed for her to be okay. At church today, during the sermon, Pastor Matt said, “you must come the end of yourself to know who you are in Christ”. And honestly at the end of myself I can say God came through and was there.
For the next two weeks Eleanor kept having these random spells where she would stare off into space. Sometimes mid-sentence, and then she would finish what she was saying like it never happened. If you tried to talk to her or rub her nose or play with her hand she had no idea you were doing anything. We called the doctor about her dazing out moments and they told us that it sounded like Absence Seizures and she needed an EEG. The first EEG she had came back as abnormal. She had two absence seizures while asleep. We met with a Nurse practitioner who said that she wanted a longer EEG (24 hour) to rule out sleep abnormality verse epilepsy.

At her 24 hour EEG last week, God really showed up big time. Her doctor came in and told us that he reviewed her 60 minute EEG and talked to us about her zone outs. He said that she had some form of epilepsy but they would review what happened on the 24 hour EEG to determine how to treat. He told us there was no way Eleanor didn’t have epilepsy. The 24 hour EEG was only to determine what medicine to put her on.
Heavy-hearted, we asked our friends to pray for God to show up and that it would be a normal EEG, and if that wasn’t his will that we would be okay with it. Our friends prayed, and God listened. Our night time nurse was my Sunday School teacher 25 years ago. She was randomly assigned to our room. Talk about a small event from a big God!! Those are the moments I can really see God’s hand in our lives.
The next morning, we had one very confused doctor. Not only did he remove her epilepsy diagnosis but also her EEG came back 100% normal. He didn’t know what to say, except to keep her 6 week follow up in case we saw further issues. One of my life group ladies messaged me and said that she and her husband prayed “specifically … that the EEG would come back completely normal and that it would be clear that only God do something like that. Prayer is a powerful thing!!!”

What a God we serve. In some of the most terrifying moments God was there. He orchestrated events to let us know he isn’t a far-off God. At prayer night, Chery told me that “my life might be uncertain, but it isn’t insecure”. As I sit here and remember one of the hardest seasons of our marriage, with tear filled eyes, I know we are blessed.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

6 Month NICU Evaluation

I love this blog. It keeps you all updated, because I believe that you deserve to be after all your prayers and support.

Today we had Evelyn’s NICU follow-up for 6 months adjusted.

She did well on her developmental milestone evaluation. She scored a 12 out of 13, which keeps her in the same low risk of serious handicaps and delays. She missed a point because she doesn’t love to move across open spaces. They need to see her travel 12 inches. She did great at paying attention to the small white sugar pill and noticed and found the spoon dropped on the floor. The spoon was to test object permanence, that an object exists when it is no longer in sight, which is surprising to test for at 6 months adjusted because per Piaget’s theory it does not develop until 8 to 9 months. (Thanks for giving me a minute to geek out on child development theories…sometimes the college degree comes in handy). That shows me she is meeting her actual age milestones.

After the nurse did her play evaluation the doctor came in to see us and did a more thorough neurological evaluation.  She explained to us that Evelyn would need another eye exam before preschool age because ROP babies tend to be prone to near or far sightedness.

Evelyn had a brain bleed while she was in the NICU. This has resulted in some neurological deficit/delays. The doctor told us it was very minor and affects a lot of preemies. To explain it simply, she likes to tighten her muscles in her feet and toes. Muscles are designed to straighten and bend. Where her bleed was controls her feet, and ability to bend. Evelyn clinches her toes and tries to stand on the balls of her feet. As she grows and develops she should make up the difference and start to use her toes and feet correctly. Sometimes this results in preemies taking some extra time to learn to crawl and walk. The doctor gave us ways to help her correct this.

Her next NICU follow-up appointment is more in depth and looks at language, gross, and fine motor development. We were told that an occupational therapist does most of the testing and will decide if and how often she needs physical and speech therapy.

The next major appointment until December is an audiology appointment coming up to double-check her hearing.

Until next time! God is good; but seriously! Look how far He has brought our little 2lb miracle.

 

9 Months Already!

Happy 9 Months to our incredibly strong Evelyn!

Can I just pause to reflect on how good God is?

 

I really don’t update this as well as I used to. But that’s okay. Eleanor and Evelyn love each other and are both healthy and happy. Evelyn is doing great! She can sit by herself and stand up holding on to anything that is stationary.

She loves to talk! She says babadaaa whenever she sees Nate. So, I am claiming that as her first word because she doesn’t say it unless Nate is around! She has started to give big sloppy kisses.  She is just starting to army crawl her way around instead of rolling everywhere. We have her 9-month appointment and see her ENT this week.

We are hoping that her pediatrician is still okay with us refusing the Help Me Grow program. My college degree is Child and Family Development, so I work with the little miss on her developmental milestones. So far, she is meeting and surpassing them for her “adjusted” age (the age she would be if born on her due date).

Evelyn is done with her Synagis shots for the year. RSV and Flu season are finally over! She loves being outside and meeting new people. We are down to only 4 groups of doctors/specialist now! There is always the possibility of needing more as she grows. Right now she has her pediatrician, her ENT, her NICU follow up doctors, and her Endocrinologist. We see the ENT because she was born with a injury on her tongue, we will no more about that later this week. She also was developing an odd growth on the roof of her mouth, which cleared up on their own. We will see the endocrinologist until at least age 3 for her thyroid.

I don’t believe I have ever seen a greater love then Eleanor’s affection for Evelyn. The first thing she ask for is “Cece”. She prays every night for “Cece” and runs as fast as she can to help if she hears her crying. Eleanor demands to help change diapers and get Evelyn into the car seat (don’t worry we help and make sure she is in correctly)! We hope and desire for Eleanor and Evelyn to be the best of friends growing up. We pray that Eleanor’s empathy for others continues to grow and her determination is channeled into a way the Lord can use for His glory.

Evelyn Joy lives up to her name. She has a joy and happiness for life that I have never seen. She may be a baby but she is joyful and inquisitive far beyond her age. We praise the Lord daily for her and Eleanor. But we pray that she always finds joy in her life because she has already over come so much.

 

Happy 9 months of life Evelyn. You love to be early, maybe you’ll teach that trick to momma.

 

 

Crazy week!

What a week it has been!

Eleanor had an allergist appointment on Tuesday.

Evelyn received her 2nd synagis shot.

Evelyn keeps getting blisters in her mouth. The pediatrician wasn’t sure what was causing them. We went to ENT today. He thinks that it is her Reflux, Thrush, and a personal mini virus, causing the blisters. He said it is nothing to be concerned about.

Right now Evelyn gets Polivisol with Iron daily, Thyroid medicine daily, Zantac 2 times a day, Thrush medicine 4 times a day, and Anti Acid put on her blisters 3 times a day. This girl is on more medicine in a week then Eleanor was in a year.

We are hoping that the blisters go away on their own. If they don’t we will follow up with ENT in a couple weeks.

We are so excited for Christmas!

People always ask what NICU life is

It’s 5AM alarm clock.

It’s coffee, grab something quick, and run out the door.

It’s a 20 mile, 25-minute drive at 6AM every morning.
It’s driving 100+ miles every day to see your baby.

It’s washing your hands and using so much Purell your hands start to burn.
It’s trying to figure out what to make/buy for dinner that’s quick and easy so you can get back to the hospital.
It’s seeing your 2lb baby and knowing she shouldn’t be here yet.
It’s a whirlwind of learning more medical terms then you’ve ever heard or needed to know.
It’s the sound of an alarm that you will forever hear in your nightmares.
It’s seeing your child through panes of a plastic isolette.
It’s seeing your baby hooked up to monitors, masks and goggles.
It’s wanting to desperately hold your child and not getting to until day 5.
It’s seeing your child going through test after test.
It’s watching your child have blood drawn from her head because she is too tiny to have it drawn from her arm.
It’s showing up to your baby’s room to find it empty because you’ve been moved to another room/floor.
It’s having to leave your heart at the hospital.
It’s walking the hospital halls and making relationships with the employees.
It’s when the hospital feels like home.
It’s when your toddler knows how to get to “sissy’s room.”
It’s the heartbreak of having to leave her with complete strangers, but know they can care for her better than you can.
It’s having to use a code word to get an update on your baby.
It’s being detached from the situation, but never feeling such heartbreak and joy.
It’s having your heart torn between a hospital and home.
It’s that phone call from the hospital that makes your heart drop.
It’s waking up every 3 hours to pump.
It’s seeing your child drop down to barely a pound.
It’s the joy of seeing your baby gain gram by gram.
It’s being excited for an increase in feeds.
It’s the wave to the receptionist as you make the walk to the elevator.
It’s the anticipation while you wait for a nurse to buzz you through the unit entrance.

It’s hurrying down the hallway to find out what happened overnight.

It’s the excitement of the first bowel movement because her digestive system is starting to work.
It’s the moment she starts using a pacifier because she is developing the sucking reflex.
It’s the excitement of the first time she nurses because she is getting closer to coming home.
It’s celebrating all the “firsts” that come naturally to a full-term baby.
It’s preparing for your child to come, just to have a setback that keeps her there for 5 more days.
It’s staying at the hospital nearly 24/7 so your baby can breastfeed.
It’s trying to figure out what your next quick meal is going to be so you can get back to the hospital.
It’s being terrified to bring your baby home with no nurses and no monitors.
It’s appointment after appointment for eye exams, weight checks, and thyroid checks.
It’s being in isolation during flu and RSV season.
It’s offending people you love to keep your baby safe.
It’s having your baby reach her due date at nearly 12 weeks old.
It’s your preemie at the NICU.
It’s your life for 9 weeks.
It’s something you hope others never experience and
It’s something you’ll never forget

Home Sweet Home

I am so blessed that Eleanor loves Evelyn. She tries to help in every way possible. From bringing diapers, bottles, and pacifiers, to running to Evelyn when she starts to cry.

Evelyn gained great the first week she was home. She is supposed to gain 8oz to a pound each week. Unfortunately she did lose just a little bit of weight this week. With a normal child it isn’t a big deal, however with a preemie it is crucial for her to be gaining weight. Because her weight was taken at her endocrinologist they told us not to worry because it may not of been  done correctly. We have our next weight check on Friday.

Insurance is covering Evelyn’s RSV Shots. We are so thankful, and praising God for this. Each shot is $3,000. She will get a total of 5 shots.

 

November is Prematurity Awareness month. Pray for all the sweet babies and their families.

Finally Home

Evelyn came home on Thursday October 20th! She was over double her birth weight and doing so well. It is crazy to believe that she has been home for 5 days! What an amazing God we have.

These past 9 weeks are the hardest thing Nate and I have faced together, or ever.  I am not sure I’ve ever cried so much or been so anxious about anything. However throughout this entire experience there has been a true sense of calm and peace.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Nate and I spent a week away from each other while I was in the hospital on bed rest. I never thought I could miss him or Eleanor so much. We knew it’s where I had to be, but it didn’t make it easier. Giving birth to a 28-week-old preemie is terrifying. Nate told me when I texted him early morning on Aug 21st, he was terrified of the idea of his sweet girl coming so soon. He prayed all the way to the hospital for contractions to stop. God had a different plan. A better plan.

Our time in the NICU, while exhausting, was also a time to pull together and give God glory for all that he is doing in our lives.

We don’t know what prematurity means for Evelyn. She has tons of dr.’s appointments and we know that children born that early can have all sorts of delays, cognitive and behavioral issues.  But as I sit and look at my two sweet babies who are both napping, I can’t help but know that we are so blessed.

Almost Home

The past week has been crazy and so good! We have an awesome God.

On Thursday the 13th we were told the goal was to have Evelyn go home on Monday.

The removed her from her isolette.  We started doing all feeds by mouth.  Her ng tube was removed on Saturday. She could eat everything by mouth, gain weight, and maintain body temperature.

Sunday morning, she had her first non self-stem heart rate in 7 weeks! It’s an automatic 5 day stay in the NICU. She just decided she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her drs and nurses. The dr was not concerned about the low heart rate. She said it was likely due to all that happened over the weekend; she had her ear exam twice, an 1.5 hour car seat challenge, a discharge exam, blood drawn from her arm and head.

 

Day 52: Weight Gain

Evelyn gained almost an oz last night!

She was able to nurse again today.

The neonatologist said we just have to get her to eat by mouth for all her feeds to go home! We decided with her team today that she will learn to nurse and bottle feed. It would be impossible for me to be there around the clock with a toddler.