December 27, 2012

A new thought process

It's been a while since my last post, mostly because for a while all my thoughts were bent upon Brett and Ransom coming to be with me, and no one needs to hear a constant "ImissthemImissthemImissthem!" diatribe from me...but then, when they did arrive life has been so much less solitary that I've enjoyed the time away from the Internet....turns out I wasn't addicted to the Internet, just people...and once I had people in REAL life I needed a lot less Internet time, go figure. ;-)
That being said, I've been so incredibly blessed by all the Christmas cards, and notes and messages from all the wonderful ones out there praying for us, I can't help but want to update you!

My thoughts of late consist of me praying that Tabitha would just COME ALREADY! First, my grandmother passed away on December 16th. She had pretty severe dementia and I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is so much happier in her house The Lord prepared for her, but at the same time, her passing made me miss all the many good qualities that she had: A quick wit, a ( often hilarious to those who knew her) very big imagination, a large knowledge of scripture that she passed on to her girls, who then passed it on to their children...and well, having THAT kind of a legacy is important and worth celebrating . And it made me re-think my stance on Christmas birthdays ( her birthday was Christmas Day). But, alas, Tabitha did not come on her namesakes b-day ( Tabitha Trott's birthday is on the 24th) OR my grandmothers...and she's still in there now. And even though I half pleaded with my Doctors at my appointment yesterday to move it up, they 've stuck with an induction date of January 7th. Not the greatest date for many reasons...mostly because Brett will be going into the "hole" as far as vacation days at that point, but also because I want to Go. Home. So. Badly.
However, and I do agree with this, it really WOULD be a lot better for Tabitha if she had a natural labor, and birth and those things are just, well, better naturally...so we wait, and I walk up and down stairs and make Brett give me foot massages ( my current favorite of the natural remedies), and all other things that make one go into labor...because, like I said, I am SOOOO OVER THIS.

Yet, every time I pray for God to have her come today, I also say a prayer of thanksgiving that I'm even entertaining such thoughts!!! How glorious that my prayers for this baby have come so far that now I actually WANT her to come out! That we're dealing with normal pregnancy stuff, and besides her needing to be treated with some kid-gloves during delivery and maybe a little after, she is healthy! And she's...wait for it....officially FULL TERM! (!!!!!!!!!) All my impatience aside, I am so very thankful and blessed and I know this stories happy ending is nothing to be taken lightly. 2012 has held a huge miracle and for that I still marvel.

But for now, can we all just agree to pray that Tabitha comes soon? I'm doing my part...we're taking Ransom to the natural history museum ( it's free Thursday afternoons) after his nap today and I'll be walking until my legs fall off...

December 16, 2012

Hearing

My thoughts are all jumbled up this morning. And writing a blog post seemed like a good idea. But, there's a part of me, the teeny tiny writer part of me ( its tiny, because I do not consider myself much of a writer...hahaha...I'm more of a talker who just writes down the talking words when there's no one around to listen.). Anyway, there's the tiny English Major part of me that is annoyed that my thoughts are so jumbled. And I'd rather just wait till my thoughts make more sense and then write them down. But you know what, I'm not sure if the things that are jumbled in my mind right now will ever make sense.....I mean, will the things of this Fallen World ever make sense? Depression, Sin, Death. I am at such a great loss when faced with them in such a striking way as this particular week has brought about-both on a grand scale ( the school shooting in CT) or a more personal level ( the phonecalls and text messages this week have been so full of heartache)...

And then in my quiet time this morning, ( I've been reading the Christmas Story in all the gospels this week...) I read this: 

 But the angel said to ( Zechariah), "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John..." 

I suppose that helped me because, knowing that Zechariah was really old at this point, I really really doubt he'd prayed for children for a long time. I bet that particular prayer had passed away with the years and the grey hairs and the test of time. But, the Lord had not forgotten. To Him that prayer was as fresh as the first day it had first been prayed. And I find such comfort in knowing that even when I am not faithful enough to keep praying, or when I do not believe enough in His Greatness to answer any and all the prayers of our hearts, or when my heart is just too grieved and hurt to put the longings of my heart into words....those prayers are heard. They are heard and treasured up. Today as I think of the suffering this World seems to afford in unspeakably large quantities, I must remember that the Lord's promises stand firm. Our prayers. They are heard. 

For nothing will be impossible with God.... 

.....He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.....

....Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be made low, the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places made smooth....  

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine....




December 10, 2012

No accident

Today I am 35 weeks pregnant. We NEVER thought we'd get this far. No one did. But last week my nurse told me that the doctors had the "long term plan" of inducing at 39 weeks if she had not come before then. 39 weeks(!!!)
Instead of thinking about other things ( more positive things) instead, I could only think about another month here...A. whole. Month. Boooooo

Last week was probably one of the hardest weeks I've had for various reasons. Being separated from Brett and Ransom has been so very difficult and I think I lost sight of my forest due to some large trees that had their names on them. But, all the difficultly aside I was given a few little reminders a long the way, and while it took a while, I'm coming around to seeing my miraculous forest again....

First of all, Tabitha's heart has made such incredible strides. Miraculous strides, the fact that she has been slowly but surely healing from all that she went through- at one point she had no kidney function, zero bladder to speak of, and her other organs were close to shutting down, then her heart...the doctors sat us down for one of those awful awful chats where they tell you things do not look good...and they didn't...But, she's come through all that, and it is in a word, incredible. The fact that doctors do not think she will need to be in the specialized NICU when she is born is downright, MIND BLOWING. And I must not forget that this is an actual miracle. The prayers of so many have been answered and I never want to forget that. Instead of focusing on the possible negative, I need to just embrace the truth that it is NOT normal for a Twin-to-twin baby to recover so well...

Secondly, 35 weeks. Ummmm crazy pills! When I think back to being in labor on a plane coming to Houston for this surgery, then all the near misses, including a month in the hospital and a trip to L&D all after the surgery. And yet, the fact that Tabitha did not see Thanksgiving and it's highly likely she will of see Christmas ( and so help me, this next thought is still not one that makes me happy...) she might not even see New Years 2013 because she's still hold up in my uterus....well, that's also nothing short of a miracle. Since I already used the word uterus I'll go ahead and say, if you could SEE how teeny tiny my cervix is you would be as shocked as my doctors and I are.

But then, aside from Tabitha and my pregnancy I am really and truly grateful for my time in the hospital when I learned all sorts of things about what it's like to BE in the hospital for a long period of time. I hope that I will have a better compassion and understanding for others going through similar circumstances. And now at the Ronald McDonald house I have learned even more about what Man can go through to fight for life, to fight through hardship, to fight for hope. This last week I watched one of my new friends say goodbye to her week old baby boy. It was incredibly difficult and I sobbed as I did my laundry thinking about her heart break. I've also been able to have some good and honest chats with my other new friend Jane, who is here walking through the unspeakably difficult road of chemo and radiation for her only son, KJ's brain tumor. He's 11 and his faith in the Lord and his positive attitude is literally a walking object lesson of the Grace of God. It is starkly in contrast to others in the house who are full of bitterness and hardness...but can I blame them? The difference, though, is clearly there and I'm learning a lot about those differences. The differences in how people treat one another and how they treat themselves. I have never felt so strongly my own need and all our needs for a Faith and a Hope in The Lord Jesus....

So, this weekend Brett surprised me with a last minute trip to Texas, he even made a late night ( 2am!) drive to Nacogdoches so that he could bring Ransom down in the morning for visit too. And, do to colds on Ransom and my part, we spent more time outside the Ronald McDonald house, train rides in the park, trips to Barnes and Noble. It was so incredibly helpful to my heart to be a little "normal" family for a minute or two. Once again, as I've said on this blog before, I was even more aware of the need to get out of the "bubble" and how much I feel for those who are in the same illness bubble and who don't have the luxury to get out of it any time soon... These are the lessons I keep learning, and that I apparently have a few more weeks to learn.
And so here's to week 35. A week I never thought I'd see...and yet I am grateful for what seeing has taught me.

December 04, 2012

Happy Pictures


It's only fair that after Sunday's diatribe I return with a bit more cheer... 

I am currently stuck in my room with a head-cold ( I'm particularly aware of my contagious nature because of my sweet little friends who live here at the Ronald McDonald house. The LAST thing I would ever want to do is give someone with a low white cell count a cold).  

Luckily my wonderful father got my computer fixed for me and returned it to me yesterday! I'm excited because, while my iPad rocks my world, my computer has something special. It has 79,389 pictures on it. Yup. That's right. From 2006 straight on until 2012 that's how many pictures I've taken and kept. Luckily before my computer completely bit the dust, I backed it all up on an external hard drive and luckily that worked and I am now back in the company of pictures...

So, even though it seems like a world away, I will share pictures that make me happy: 











December 02, 2012

Uh-oh

Yup, it's a Sunday and I'm posting again. Really these should be the BEST days for me to post, right?! Another week down and all that jazz....but as I've said before I inexplicably forget the positive and can't see the forest for the trees on Sundays.

I just went through an entire box of tissues in one of those totally awesome sob fests where you look like a cross between Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility when she fiiiinally cries at the end ( but that's technically a "happy cry" so we cross it with...Kim Kardashian crying when she gets a divorce after only 72 days.. The. worst. Ugly. cry. ever. And yes, I just put a classic movie and reality TV together in one sentence.

Honestly, I am telling myself that I am writing tonight's post as some sort of trout to "honesty" blogging where I never give the impression that I have my life together, but in reality I am blogging for therapy. Therapy blogging. It's free. If you don't want to hear my complaining come back at my next post...

Complaints begin here:
I am so so so tired of living here. I'm tired of having zero semblance of control of my life. I can neither be a good mom or a good wife on a daily basis. On one hand I'm so grateful that my parents are such great parents and are fully capable of caring for my son, but a part of me smarts that he relies so greatly on them for his "parenting needs" even when he's visiting me. It's humbling.
And as for my wife skills. They basically consist of paying our bills online. And you can imagine how great THAT'S turning out for me....

I'm tired of living in this one depressing room and missing my Christmas tree. Have I told you how much I love my Christmas tree?! I bought it three years ago with my birthday money. It's pre-lit and it has holly berries in it. To all those people who are stark "real tree people" I say come over and look at my tree when it's all decorated and I've lit a Yankee Candle "Christmas tree" candle and TELL ME it's not awesome. Of course, none of you dare speak against my tree now, especially since I'm likely to break into my Emmadasian cry...but whatevs. I know my tree is great and I am really missing it. I miss sitting in the dark with only the tree lights on....it makes every night from Thanksgiving till New Years festive.

I'm tired of being pregnant. I'm in that totally awesome really fat phase where even maternity clothes look at you and laugh. That phase where people say "you're glowing" because "glistening with sweat" doesn't sound as nice. I'm in this awesome place where my doctors ask me how much weight I've gained and I lie about all the Christmas cookies I've eaten at the Ronald McDonald house. I daydream about going for runs and being able to see my feet.

I'm tired of being scared of Tabitha's arrival because I do not know how it's going to turn out. I do not know whether our future is full of joy or full of more sorrow....I am tired of being mad at myself for wanting this to all "get over with" because I know that me staying pregnant is really what is best for her.

I'm just so tired.

Oh, hey, it should be noted that I think I'm coming down with a cold. I have a sore throat and on top of that my left side has been hurting like the dickens since last night ( meaning I didn't sleep much). And it's Sunday. So tomorrow will be better....

( here comes the part where I end on a positive note:)

And guess what?! We made it to 34 weeks!! This is SO CRAZY! I don't think aaannnnnyone thought I was going to make it to 34 weeks. Not me, not my family, not my doctors. Tabitha is a little miracle plain and simple and I rejoice in the blessings of her crazy kicking in my stomach right now. I am thankful for how she has recovered in such miraculous ways, it's hard to even remember when she was quite literally stuck in a corner (insert bad Dirty Dancing joke here) and most of her organs had completely shut down. This baby is a gift. I am so thankful for her in every way right down to this journey that her life has put me on. Little girl, your story has a great prologue.

So here's to three more weeks at least. And since the last 5 months of drama are behind us, that shouldn't be too hard....right?

I'll probably need more tissues though.

November 26, 2012

These little ones

Thanksgiving/birthday was really a great celebration. We were flooded by love from friends and family and for a few days, getting to stay in a nice hotel and talk about other things, I got to momentarily forget our current circumstances. I felt like a normal pregnant waiting to have a baby in the coming months...

In those moments of forgetfulness I hope I gained some perspective that there is life outside of these circumstances, and there will be life again...I will ( hopefully!) one day be the sleep-deprived, frazzled mother of two and I will be able to decorate my house for Christmas and plan Holiday menus. These things are not over forever, just for a little while. And in return for the "break" from a normal life I am getting to learn from others who are in a bubble like our own. A bubble of hospitals, doctors, statistics, fears, hopes and unknowns. These are lessons I hope are written on my heart forever.

Today I struggled to write about some of the people I have met here, I have prayed for more little ones who are suffering and fighting harder than most adults that I know than I ever have before. One day I hope to share some of their stories here, but until then can I just say that I am grateful for the opportunity to know them.

November 20, 2012

A thousand years

This week has seemed longer than normal. Probably because I'm so looking forward to Thanksgiving. The Abt side of the family is making a major effort and all descending on Houston so that we can all have some time together. I'm way excited about it. Cousins and nieces and sisters and parents and aunts and uncles!! Plus time with Brett and Ransom, plus getting to stay in a hotel for a night ( not that I don't appreciate the McDs House...but sometimes a girl needs some "comforts") and celebrating my 29th birthday. Yes, I'm sure my excitement is making the days go by slower. But then there's also the reaching of the 32 week mark in this pregnancy which we did on Sunday. Wowzers.
I can't believe we made it this far! And I can't believe we're talking the long hail now....another whole month? The thought is both exciting and mindblowingly long.

But, I was reading on Sunday and I came to this passage in John 9:

As ( Jesus) passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3 ESV)


At first the passage struck me because of a conversation Brett and I had right after we found out we lost Priscilla and we were hit with awful thoughts like, "Did this happen because we didn't pray hard enough? Or because we did something wrong?"
Maybe that's just us, but such "what if" thoughts are bound to hit you in times like that and I think this passage spoke to that in me. Realizing that bad things happen to "good" people....

But then, I read the passage again and realized there was so much more there. Here's a guy who had been BLIND for his whole life! He's childhood. His adolescence. His adulthood. Blind, blind, blind. How awful! And here is Jesus saying that it was all so that God might be displayed in him.
Of course, we know that this statement was followed by the remarkable healing of the man's eyes. And as a Bible reader I've always focused on that, I've taken it at face value...yup, here's a dude who was born blind so that one day, many many years later Jesus could give him sight. Yay!

But, whoa! How totally crazy is that?! Years and years of suffering for a miracle? Is it all worth it? And the answer is,a resounding "yes."

But even though the answer is yes, I know that I need help in my own heart to believe that for my own life. It's easy to say someone else's suffering is "worth it" for some remarkable story of God's working...but what about for myself? Can I have the faithfulness and patience to believe that all that has happened and what we continue to face is all working together for something that, one day, will be altogether worth it?

In 2 Peter 3:8 it says :

‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’

So, the bottom line is that I can wait one more month for my daughter to be born. I can wait one more day. I can also wait an even longer time to see how her life, and even her sister's life and death will impact the world. How our family will be forever changed by this season and how, hopefully, prayerfully,I will believe the promise that "the work of God might be displayed in us." Will indeed come about.

November 16, 2012

An Example

At the end of August 2011, Ransom was barely 1 year old ( and not even walking, bless him), I was just starting to feel like a "human being" again and not a crazed new mom ( yes, it took a year...), and Brett had just taken on the job of Company Commander.

Probably to most of my readers that job title means very little. It really didn't mean much to me either, I mean, I knew it was a big deal and something that Brett really felt like he needed to do. I knew that he'd be responsible for the jobs and lives of 150 or so soldiers. I knew that when Brett and I got married and I was a green little lieutenant's wife, I was totally intimidated by Brett's Company Commander so there was that....haha! But really, I didn't know what the job entailed. But boy I learned quickly! That very first weekend, in fact, when Brett was called into work at 3am and then was gone most of the weekend dealing with some Company Issue, I began to learn what it meant..and thus it began....

Today, I sat and looked at a picture of Brett and I at that Command Ceremony when he took that job and I couldn't help but smile at how rested we looked! How much younger! If only we had a comparison picture! But that brings me to today....

Here in the middle of November 2012, Ransom is a few months past his 2nd birthday, he's a running, paragraph-talking, ball of energy. I am a huge pregnant Momma stuck in a Ronald McDonald House in Houston Tx, and Brett just gave up his Company Commander duties today....several months earlier than planned.
So much has changed. We have changed. And today, Brett put into action what he believes. He believes in putting his family first, before his career success, before the United States Army, before any of the things that the World would look at him and judge him "successful".

It's hard to explain what the last year has taught me about my husband, because I'd have to tell you about the long hours, the pressure of his higher up and the pressure he put on himself. I'd have to tell you about the crazy things I've seen ( I could tell you some stories...) that go on in the Army. I'd have to explain what all those late night phone calls were about or how many weekend dates were spoiled by something urgent that needed to be dealt with right then, there is so much I'd have to explain. So, instead you'll just have to believe me when I say: My husband is strong. My husband is infinitely caring. My husband is full of integrity. My husband is incredibly humble.

I know these things to be true because I have seen him go without food, without sleep, without any rest for the sake of his men. And then, on top of that, in the last few months I have seen him up that game by adding in the craziness that is our Life right now.... For a good month he would come home from his 24/7/365 job and take care of Ransom and our home when I was unable to do anything. And then I saw him drop everything, leaving in the middle of a training exercise, and fly to Houston with me where we had emergency surgery for the sake of our twins, mourned the loss of a daughter and then returned to his job in Georgia. And then over the last two months he has been traveling back and forth, usually taking red-eye flights, between Georgia and Texas, doing more than one person really ever should.

So, to say that I am glad this season of our life is over, is well, an understatement. I am glad that, hopefully some of the responsibilities Brett has taken on, will finally be lifted. But, while I am SO glad to put this season behind us, I am also aware of how it must feel for Brett to have to give, something that he's worked so incredibly hard for, up before we were expecting. Because there is one other thing I know: My husband is a perfectionist.
And I know it'll be hard for him to let go of all the things he's been working on for the last 14 months. And I know that being "just Captain Wilson" again will be an adjustment.

So I will say it again, I am blessed and beyond grateful for a husband that puts me and our children above the passing things of this life. We will one day look back on this Season of our lives and we will see so many things working for Good...but I think we will also be able to see the affects of our decisions because of our circumstances. Things like coming to Texas, doing the laser surgery in the hopes of saving our girls, coming back to Texas to give Tabitha the best chances, having our families take on the responsibility of taking care of Ransom for us so that he has some stability, and now Brett giving up his Command....I hope our children will see that each of these decisions were made for their good and because we were doing our best to follow Christ's example. Because that's the other thing I know: My husband is living for Christ and His sacrifice for us.
Not in our own strength, but in Christ's alone, were we able to get through these last 14 months, and particularly these last 2 months. Today I celebrate that fact.

November 12, 2012

Desert Days

There is a clear pattern to my Bad Days. They coincide directly with having to say goodbye to Ransom, or Brett...or both. It's pretty cut and dry and I know I don't have to explain why it's hard to pull it back together again and re-focus on why in the world we are doing this, but for some reason those bad days still shake me a bit.

Today, Tabitha had a really good doctors visit and so did I. We both passed every test with flying colors and my Doctors were so optimistic they were throwing around things like "37 weeks" and other such crazy full term words. And I promise that was great news to hear considering what we've been through, but at the same time my heart was still stinging from my most recent goodby with my son and my heart was also preparing for my goodbye with Brett and so there was a part of me, a major part of me that was thinking...really?! Six more weeks? I. Can't. Do. It.

Awful, I know. How can I not want that for my daughter? But for now I will allow myself a little awfulness and know that tomorrow will be a little better. The sting of my goodbyes will be a little further behind, and the happiness of their next visits will be a little bit closer.

Because really last week could have been the worst, I was "by myself" for the first time in months and I was wondering how all the downtime (aka time to think) would affect me...but honestly it was good, I actually met people, I heard people's stories, I listened to their troubles ( and let me tell you, here people have Real Troubles) and I told our Story. I told about the miracle of Tabitha and the testimony of Priscilla. I am thankful for that and I realize that these are not little things. The walk through the desert is not JUST about getting to the other side, but it's also about the desert itself. I'm hoping it won't be for 40 years or anything dramatic like that,  but I do hope I can remember that even in the desert days we have a chance to wake up and do something worth while with that day.

November 05, 2012

Ungrateful

This week I cannot have a baby. Tabitha must stay well and truly inside. I mean, I'd probably go ahead and say that anyway because I really, really want to make it to 32 weeks...but I say it even more emphatically because this week I do not have anyone to "look after me".

I feel like such a big girl ;-) hahaha! But seriously, I feel like its now or never when it comes to not needing a babysitter. According to my doctors and my own personal opinion regarding my body, I think Tabitha and I are really hanging in there right now. But, of course, the odds of that continuing decrease with each passing week so this is my week.

 My week of it being just me ( and Tabitha). Chillin' at the Ronald McDonald House. Or, as Ransom calls it: The Ol' MacDonald House.
He loved it here. And it's honestly so hard waiting until next weekend for his next visit ( this weekends visit was cut short because he had a really bad cold and got a fever, meaning he had to leave....we wouldn't want to give any kids here a cold...especially when it could be super dangerous for them.) This place is made to make kids happy...the totally cool indoor playhouse...the large supply of tricycles outside....the large selection of baked goods ( oh wait, that is why I like it here.). Basically everything here reminds me of Ransom....

So, this week I do have a couple of things I need to do, some "army wife" business that I've been putting off, a lot more Thank you notes to send....I need to do some knitting, I should repaint my nails....and I say all this because what I want to do is blob out in front of my iPad watching something on TV....BUT THAT CAN'T HAPPEN. 

And now you will learn what a terribly ungrateful person I am:
Sure. This place is $25 a day and run my volunteers, and sure even MORE volunteers bring us meals sometimes twice a day....but I NEED INTERNET ACCESS. 
When I first got here it worked in my room, but would get spotty late in the evening. 
By my third night here it stopped working at ALL in my room. Or even on any floor other than the ground floor. 
THEN today it got worse, and now it only works very very slowly in the lobby, meaning I can no longer watch any TV shows via streaming. I also can no longer download any movies on iTunes and go watch them in my room later....
Do you see the pattern?! If you stop hearing from me it'll probably be because tomorrow there will be no Internet at all. THEN I WILL DIE. 

Clearly I should be learning a valuable lesson right now, but I can't. I've learned too many lessons lately and I am PLUM OUT of growing as a person. I mean, I need at least this one flaw (ok. There is more that one...)!!! Don't you all think I am more interesting because I like to read US Weekly on the sly, or I know what's going on with the Kardashians or I really really like the shows Revenge and Once Upon A Time and want to watch them on Mondays?! That's what I thought! 



October 30, 2012

A new normal

I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, I hate change.  And yesterday I geared myself up for a major dose:
After one month and one day, I moved out of the hospital and down the street to the Ronald MacDonald House.  I don't think anyone in my immediate circle, minus my doctors, wanted me to leave the hospital- mostly because it looks like the next few weeks are going to have me hanging by myself a little more, but ultimately I think we'd all gotten really comfy in the hospital setting. Clearly this is another example of how quickly I dig in my heels and make myself a "home" whether its a basement in Kansas or a hospital room I start to get attached! Hah. But, in this case, as much as I'd gotten comfortable I know that if I want to go the long hail in this pregnancy, then I need to do as much as I can outside the hospital. I need to get fresh air, I need to move around a bit more ( not too much!) and I need to keep being pregnant. And while this will sound bad, you tend to stay pregnant longer if you're not under observation as much....sure it's good to have people looking out for possible red flags, but also the chances of "finding" an excuse to deliver early is a lot higher when you've got 24 hr monitoring by protective nurses.

So, all that being said, yesterday I moved into the McDs House as I call it in my head....

My initial thoughts are always a bit tainted ( because of the hatred of change) but here are my first impressions:

I've probably come here at the best possible time of year, because people generally like to "give back" during the holiday season and that's just started up. Meals are not actually included in having a room, but volunteer organizations have been giving us meals almost every meal time since I arrived. Spaghetti, Frito Pie, donuts....lots of cake and brownies. Lets just hope this extra fat is going to Tabitha and not to further my stretch marks ( who are we kidding?).

The Internet connection is not nearly as fast, especially in the evenings when everyone is probably using it the most, but then, other than my very important FaceTime conversation with Ransom, using wifi less in the evenings is not a bad thing! Plus I've got books to read, two craft projects in the works  and a bunch of thank you notes to write...I do not need to be wasting more time pinteresting recipes I won't get to make for aaaagggges to come....

You wanna know what will put your own situation in perspective? Staying in a place where Every. Single. Person. is going through the Ringer. The little girl sitting at the table next to you? She had a lung transplant and has to stay here for three more months to see how it takes. The couple sitting at your table? They are here visiting their niece who's in the hospital for new lungs...for the second time.  Chemotherapy side effects are living and breathing realities at the next table....
As much as my last month has made me crave the normal: To want to wake up in my own bed, make breakfast, do a little cleaning, take Ransom to the library, go for a walk, go to the grocery store, get stuck in traffic, run late to hair appointment, have date night with Brett....I know these families probably need it even more and they'd probably trade normal for healthy any day...we're all hoping for miracles. Healthy children, healthy babies. This place is blowing my mind.

It's probably not the most optimistic joint, but it is full of people making the most of their situation and that is so very powerful. This season has been so full of challenges, and I know it's not over yet, but the lessons learned are invaluable. I can't believe the things I've complained about! The things I've taken for granted! It's embarrassing.



October 26, 2012

The least of these

This week my doctors have been busy. Not with me, thankfully Tabitha has played nice all week and so has my body, but with other fetal cases and it seems like every time I talk to them they are on their way to some new specialized fetal intervention. It's truly amazing and it blows my mind what medicine is doing today to save babies lives and quality of life even before they are born!

Yesterday my Aunt Donnave took me on an extensive wheelchair ride throughout the hospital. It was crazy how just seeing lots and lots of people walking around was almost overwhelming to my senses! I've been in the hospital for almost a month and I suppose I just hadn't even thought about how much I've missed being out in "public".  The other thing was how sensitive I felt towards all the children, both babies and older, who are in the hospital for one thing or another. How little I thought about my own blessings with Ransom's health before all this started! Now as we face each new day with the unknown of Tabitha's health future I am reminded what a gift it all is...and I marvel at the incredible struggles that others are facing right now that I know so little about!

Last night my doctor told me about a mom who was driving nine hours to get the same surgery that I had. Her twins are in Stage 3 of twin to twin transfusion, which is pretty much where we were, if not a little worse...I do not know her situation, but I do know that she was driving, not flying which makes me think of what an incredible sacrifice/fight she is making for her children's lives. I hope things went well, I think about my own nightmarish flight from Georgia, that included continual contractions and throwing up uncontroably in the Houston airport, and I pray her nine hours were some how easier ( though I can't imagine how they could be!). And at the same time I thank The Lord again for how many BLESSINGS we have had! That we could afford to fly last minute, to fly many many times over the last few months, that our insurance has been good and relatively pain free and that we have had SO much support over the last few months. Wow.

I will probably be moving to the Ronald McDonald house on Monday if the weekend goes well. Knock on wood! Because it seems every time my doctors want me to leave, something happens to prevent it! But, this time I feel ready....I've had enough time to think about it and I want this pregnancy to go on many more weeks and therefore I want to not be in this hospital room another month ( at least) ! I also feel like I will probably learn a lot from being in the McDs house- another place where I will be reminded of the fragility of our circumstances and how blessed we are really.
I need that reminder since I started to feel sorry for myself  as I realized I had come back around full circle on my wonderful friends who have been staying with me while I've been here in Texas! It's hard enough to ask someone to stay with you ONE go around but in the coming week Billie will be back again for another stay. Asking for help does not get easier. And while its been incredible  the out pouring of love I have received it is hard to not let the little worry wiggle in about what will happen if this pregnancy DOES continue on as long as we want it to?! How will I possibly keep depending on others generosity? Ah! Why do I doubt, when things have been so wonderfully cared for thus far?

So, like I said, I am grateful for the reminders of what is going on outside my hospital room. The many lives being lived and often struggled through. I am blessed and I pray I do not forget those less fortunate again,

October 23, 2012

Silver lining

Well, since its Tuesday, I think it's finally safe to say something's for sure: this weekend was very unexpected and dramatic....Though I say that with some irony, since WHEN have we had an expected day during the last few months?!

So to back up, many of my Facebook friends started getting status updates on their feeds late Saturday evening, basically saying things like Tabitha's heart was decelerating, delivery could be eminent etc etc. so now I'll tell you what a status never does....

A 27 week old baby's heart does not just beat like a little drum, perfectly in rhythm all the time, they are just not mature enough for that-every so often they their heart rate will spike or go really low, but the important thing is that it doesn't stay that way. On Saturday night it did. Tabitha had four major decelerations of the heart while I was having my routine evening heart monitoring ( I have 3, 30 monitoring of her heart and movement a day). The floor was having a slow evening, they only had three patients so, I literally had 3 nurses in my room, putting me on oxygen, trying to stick me for an I.V. ( incidentally it took SIX needles In. MY. ARM. to finally get an IV going. ), it was a bit crazy. And Amy ( thank goodness The Lord had my oldest friend there with me...) and I were just part of the craziness....honestly at first I wasn't scared, Tabitha had some decelerations before, they went away... No biggie. But then my doctor showed up and pulled out his ultra sound machine and we waited patiently ( only outwardly) for him to tell us what was up.....

In the end nothing could be determined for sure, but my main doctor arrived straight from the airport ( coming back from a meeting in Chicago) and sat down by my bed to say that he felt like we couldn't afford to let such a long lasting deceleration happen again that night, that it would be considered a sign of distress and so he would do a c-section right away if she had another episode. I needed to call Brett and tell him to come, but that he probably wouldn't get here in time ( by now there were no more flights from Atlanta to Houston, and the earliest he would arrive was 9am the next day).....

Then we had to pack up my room and move down to Labor and Delivery. Two words I did not want associated with me or my baby.

 Oh, and incidentally, do you know how much stuff I had acquired in my 3 weeks in the hospital? An EMBARRASSING amount. Poor Amy and two nurses had to pack it all up...and normally I would have fixated on that,  but at this point all I could think about was that I was going to L&D 4 hours shy of 28 weeks pregnant. Not the worst thing ever, but as it sunk in I realized I was SO NOT PREPARED to give birth that night! Also, while her heart has been miraculously healed, she still has some residual effects of that initial trauma that have not completely recovered-making delivery still a bit on the extra scary side...

Sure, my first goal had basically been met, Tabitha was sooooo much better off physically, as far as prematureness goes I felt like she'd make it... But I wasn't ready and I sat in my new MEGA ( seriously the Labor and delivery room was MASSIVE ) room and cried to The Lord that He would keep Tabitha safe inside me.

And then began a super duper long night. I got put on a Magnesium Sulfate drip to help prevent labor and more importantly to help fortify Tabitha's brain if she was born early. ( which, ps, is AWFUL stuff.... ) and I got another round of steriods for her heart and lungs.....was told I couldn't eat or drink anything till further notice and then there I was to wait...
Because I was on a fluid IV I was having to pee like every three minutes, and because I was plugged into all kinds of monitors it took a good 10 minutes to unplug and replug myself back in every time. Luckily ( haha) there was no sleeping for me anyway....the thought that at any moment Tabitha's heart could plummet and we'd be off to delivery. Yes. I was not sleeping. Plus anytime she moved and thus came off the monitor, the nurses would come in, turn on all the lights and want to chat with me....Not cool, not cool. ( especially for poor Amy who was ALSO trying to sleep.)

But, through all that my baby's heart held strong. And the hours slowly passed. And strangely enough, an event from earlier in the day helped me through it.

My parents had brought Ransom up to visit me for the day, however it became apparent rather quickly that he was not feeling well. A major bummer, but also a major blessing for a selfish, cuddle deprived Mama. Ransom climbed into bed with me and read books, and then snuggled down and put his head on my belly and went to sleep.  Now you may know children that will fall also p&p ANYWHERE, or want to be in bed with you...but my kid....not one of them. I can count on my one and how many times he's fallen asleep on me since he turned one....this was not normal. But, boy did I love it!

So, it was the sleeping head of my son and the memories of getting to stroke his hair, and admire his long lashes- all very comforting things- that got me through my moments when anxiety would rise up quickly.....Later I've thought about how in the same way, The Lord was allowing me to rest my head, fully of worry and stress, and yet for a moment at peace, on Him.

We did miraculously make it through the night, and I was able to celebrate 28 weeks in style with Brett....another gift that came from such stressful circumstances...so far Brett's visits have been both rushed, but also a little stressful, since we also try to have Ransom here when Brett is in Texas. But this trip was unplanned, and Ransom was sick...so in the end Brett and I got much needed time together without R. I don't think I even knew how much I needed it, but it is another thing I am grateful that The Lord gave us from this rough scare.

The other thing was, all discussion about me leaving the hospital ( something that was definitely still in the back of my mind!) has gone off the table! Hahah! We'll see what happens, but for the time being it looks like room 1111 is back to being my home.

Today's Echo of Tabitha's heart showed that she continues to slowly heal, and as the cardiologist said, now we just need to keep me from going into labor for a other 2 weeks at least. I'm up for the challenge...the next party is for 30 weeks...but this time I'd like for the night before to be a little less exciting.

October 18, 2012

A wall.

I have two doctors. One is from Brazil and he is one of the top fetal specialists in the world, he has a very thick accent and can be both hard to understand because of this and also because he tends to never want to say anything for sure....which, given the nature of our situation, I understand....but boy can it be frustrating! But for the most part I really like him a lot. He has been so kind, so optimistic and he ultimately saved Tabitha's life to this point and for that I will always be grateful....
My other doctor is the first prenatal fellow in this particular field, which is still relatively new ( the surgery that I had was only developed in the last 7 years!) he is from Iran and he is much easier to understand but I also feel like he listens less and talks more. But I do feel like both of my doctors are really really good at what they do, and I am so thankful for all the care I have received.....

That being said, they are both bent upon releasing me from the hospital! They wanted to do it last week, but for whatever reason, I won that battle and got one more week in the comfort of hospital living. However, this week I am not so lucky and unless something drastically changes ( for the worse) I will be leaving the hospital in the next few days. In any normal situation I think I'd want to get out of the hospital but our situation is far from normal. For one thing, I'm pretty much homeless....sure we have fantastic people who've offered up their homes for my use, but its hard to fit all the criteria that the doctor has....being close to the hospital, stairs are frowned upon etc etc...and then there is the fact that my family does not actually LIVE in Houston! Every day is a logistical puzzle that, my sister in particular, has to sort out. Then there is the fact that my baby boy  is currently being taken care of by our wonderful family in Nacogdoches and while I know with all my heart that its the best situation for us right now, it is so so hard to be without my son. Somehow being in the hospital solidifies it in my mind that I can't have him with me....buuuuut take that away and I just see days upon days stretching before me, sitting around without getting to care for my kid. I'm not even sure if that makes sense. If just a change of location changing my attitude about all this makes sense to anyone but me....but that's the reality. I'm pregnant. I'm emotional. It's my prerogative to be a bit irrational.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'll use this time when I'm feeling particularly happy about being in the hospital ( we always want what we can't have, right? Blah) I will tell you about how awesome this hospital is....I almost wrote hotel just then, because the room is pretty much that nice. Not only do I have a wall of windows ( crutial for my sanity), a fancy bathroom ( it's got water jets that come out of the wall from both directions plus fancy tiles every where and freshly delivered towels and toiletries pretty much twice a day). The staff is super nice and incredibly helpful. All the wonderful ladies who have come to stay with me over the last few weeks have barely had to ask for anything on my behalf OR theirs! There are also a slew of volunteers who are constantly doing nice things. Art projects, afternoon tea brought to our rooms. I am literally embarrassed about how great I've got it. Clearly another reason that I'm happy to stay.....

Buuuut, if I'm optimistic, and I want to stay pregnant ( and therefore basically on bed rest) for another month at least than I better pace myself. Even in a nice hospital like this, I'm sure I'd be going crazy if  I spent it all here. So, if all goes according to plan than I'll be moving into the Ronald McDonald house at the beginning of next week. This is yet another blessing,  I'm trying to be grateful for its provision. But honestly I'm starting to just feel....tired. Especially tired of being away from Brett and Ransom. Tired of the constant twists and turns and unexpected changes that seem to be an every day occurance. I just want to go home. I want normal problems like complaining about lack of sleep because I have a healthy newborn and a two year old....you know, problems like that. That would be so fantastic....

October 14, 2012

Week 27

Well, we made it through another week! Only one more week and I swear I'll be throwing a party! I remember distinctly before the surgery, how much the doctors pointed towards 28 weeks...it was like the goal post of babies who have this surgery. The risk is so high after having the laser procedure for preterm labor that to even get to 28 weeks is a big deal. And. We. Are. Almost. There.

Last week went by pretty fast, thanks to my dear friend Esther who took off a whole week, unpaid from her job to come play nurse for me! I am so blessed by such love! Quality time is definitely high on my "love languages" and boy is my tank full with all the time and energy our wonderful friends and family are giving...to me, to Brett, to Ransom. Because we are all separated right now, it's clear to see how much our loved ones are taking care of EACH of us!

Last night Brett and I had a super exciting conversation where he went through the mail for the week piece by piece ( he'd been in the field all week), and by piece by piece I mean that he opened and read parts of the "Hikers of America" letter I had received asking for me to join their very special club. ( They clearly do not know me AT ALL.) He also let me know of any new editions to the William Sonoma catalogue ( they are selling a Starbucks espresso machine now...which isn't as cool as it initially sounded)....so yes, it was RIVITING.
However, I then got to tell him about the awesome mail I had received.
 People.
You blow my mind with your kindness. Your packages, your cards and notes of encouragement and love. The thoughtful gifts that are just so perfect. I know I have over used the word humbled but people, it's true. I always thought I was a pretty good gift giver, and that I was pretty thoughtful....but I have been put in my place. I have learned lesson upon lesson about generosity and love these last few weeks.

So we continue on! Every day I post my "count up" picture of this pregnancy journey on Instagram so if you'd like to follow me it  my name is abigailsday.  

October 09, 2012

The little things

So, here I am. Week 2 in the hospital. Things are seemingly all status quo, but I should probably not type something like that- you never know what will happen. In some ways having a second week in a row start out in the same manner as the week prior is new to me! In the past month I've pretty much had some major change every single week, and for a girl like me, who loves a good plan like I love a good Reese's Peanutbutter cup (mmmmm doesn't that sound good!?) it's been one of the roughest aspects of this journey.
 But I'm settling into my life in a hospital room. And most of the time it isn't too bad. Thankful the fall season on TV has started and its genuinely knitting weather somewhere in the continental United States ( I say that because its suppose to be a balmy 88 today in Houston)... And since I can keep my room temp at a comfy 68 degrees a decaf pumpkin spiced latte from the Starbucks around the corner also helps to keep me happy. I've started a super interesting and highy entertaining book called "7: an experimental mutiny against access" , I'm also keeping up with Ransom's first day of school through texts messages with my sister and I'm a constant troll on Facebook.  Instagram is addictive and I've "reorganized" all my recipe boards on Pinterest....

My sweet friend Esther is visiting me this week and she's currently reading the third book of the Hunger Games in the corner, exclaiming every so often. I am a supporter of an "active" reader since I come from a family who can't read a book without reading half the book out loud to anyone in earshot. I suppose it's just a good thing I've already read the books ;-) I'm just trying not to give anything away!

 And thus another day spent keeping Tabitha baking.

October 04, 2012

25 weeks and 4 days

This morning I woke up out of a dream where I was talking to my doctor. He was saying not to listen to the other doctor (he has a resident that he works with who is always with him) , that Tabitha had totally been healed by God of her heart problem....I was then awakened by a nurses aid wanting my blood pressure....

Friends, I know that The Lord healed Tabitha of a very serious heart problem. I know it because when they told us she had it, the cardiologist-who did not mince words told us that hearts that looked like hers don't usually repair themselves. But it did. And we all have let out a huge sigh of relief. Yes, Tabitha is still in a lot of risk, neurological issues, her embiloical cord is apparently not getting the proper flow right now, my cervix is still short.....but honestly all these things seems trivial to me right now. The Lord can cure hearts. He can continue to take care of these things....

My job is to lay here in this hospital bed and get her to 28 weeks....maybe 30....even 32.....34 It's so very hard to think that long, to think that far....but two week increments seem a little more doable. What does not seem doable is not having my other baby with me for weeks on end. I miss Ransom so much. It breaks my heart and I've been thinking a lot the last few days about other mothers who are separated from their children for one reason or another. I've never had to experience it before and boy, do I have a new appreciation for that hardship. Two year old little boys need their Mommys. But I think more so, Mommys need their two year olds. For the last few days I've gotten to see Ransim once a day on little hospital visits. But, after this weekend, we are planning on sending him to Nacogdoches where it will be easier for family and friends to give him a normal, every day routine. I am happy and grateful for this but at the same time when I think about it my heart breaks a little.


So, my mind has been going a lot to Hannah in the Bible ( which you can read about in the first few chapters of 1st Samuel).....I feel like I've been learning about her for the very first time the last month or two. First, because when I was scared out of my mind, driving to the hospital way back in August with two very very sick babies inside of me, worrying that I wouldn't be cleared to travel to Houston for any Hope of survival for either of them.....I sat in the car at a stoplight, crying and I heard myself telling God ( and probably more myself) that these babies were His. That, sure, He was possibly letting me keep them for a while, but clearly these where His babies.....Of course, it was probably less than a week later, while mourning the loss of Piscilla that I was reminded of that conversation with The Lord. He gently reminded me that while He had let me be their Mommy, these girls were still His.....

And now I'm being reminded again. This time with my son. Do you realize that when Hannah said that once her son, Samuel was weaned she would take him to the temple....that that probably meant he was maybe THREE years old?! Yeah, I may have known that fact from Sunday school or something....but I didn't have my own two year old to compare it! Let's just say my mind can bearly fathom the lesson there.....the lesson about our children. Children I want to hold on to so tight that they start to wiggle and pull away...Children that from the time you even know of their existence you obsess about their well being.  These are the children that do not belong to us. The sooner I acknowledge it the way Hannah did, the better for all of us....the sooner I know in my heart of hearts that the Father of my children, of Ransom, Tabitha and Priscilla ( incidentally He is my Father too!) is the one in control...not me....well, that while it probably won't make it easier to let my little boy go for weeks on end, at least I'll better see that there is never a time when he is just mine. I know that he and I may be physically back together soon, but even then he is on loan to me from above. And I pray I can always see him that way....

October 02, 2012

More important

Last night was a particularly rough night. I'm back in the hospital, and this time it is more than likely for good.
All the worry of having Tabitha too early ( my doctors and I have our eyes fixed upon 28 weeks... But, oh, wouldn't further than that be great?!) which is still 3 weeks away... And all my worry about Ransom who is now being taken care of by wonderful friends- but not his Mommy or Daddy something that is beyond hard for me to get my mind around in a positive way...all the worry seemed to come to a head for me in a powerful way.

Lots o tears.

Add in the low blow of being put in a triage room with no shower because all the "normal" rooms are full just added insult to injury.

Pity tears.

But, it's a new morning and tomorrow is the all important cardiology echo where we will find out if our prayers have been answered in regards to Tabitha's heart. We will find out just HOW difficult the coming road may or may not be... And there is something I need to say before we even find out. I need to say it now, because its important that the outcome has no weight upon this truth... An outcome that I sincerely hope is a good one. But, either way this is something that I feel like God told me a few weeks ago and it's the truth in it is for this season:

In reading in Luke 5, there is the pretty well known story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man who was so desperate to be healed his friends made a hole in the ceiling of the crowded room where Jesus was teaching, and lowered him down so that Jesus would see him. And see him, he did. Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven."
Yup. Sins. Something that can often seem to us pretty intangible, for others- depending on our sin- easy to hide on a day to day basis. Most definitely something we can get by with having around, not like the inability to walk, right?!?

So, of course, everyone there who witnessed Jesus' words started grumbling... For one thing, who does He think he is?! healing sins! That's a big claim! And one not so easily proven. So, Jesus, knowing the their hearts said something else, " Which is easier? To say,' your sins are forgiven', or to say, 'arise and walk'? But so that you know that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins...Arise and Walk."

Ok, so I was struck over the head by this because it was so very very clear what was more important to Jesus. It was not whether or not this man spent the rest of his days on earth on a cot, afterall, those days are relatively short. No, Jesus cared so much more about the man's heart. The heart is eternal, the heart is what affects every other thing that we do and experience and above all our relationship with our Father. To be able to have a relationship with the Father is to experience the greatest Peace, the greatest Love and the greatest acceptance one could ever know. These are the things that Forgiveness brings.

Now, to bring this back to me reading this story, I felt so strongly The Lord reminding me that through this whole experience with Priscilla and Tabitha we have prayed for healing after healing. And often times we have gotten very caught up in the "present need" of wouldn't it be great to walk on our own again? To not have to rely on someone else for literally everything ? ( come to find out my life has a lot in common with the paralytic, right now!) wouldn't it be wonderful if Tabitha was born healthy? All these things remain our most adamant prayers but I know that what ever HAS happened and whatever WILL happen will be more important, it will draw us closer to our Lord Jesus. It will somehow help to refine and strength the bond of love and peace and acceptance that we so desperately need. And as for my daughters. They are already His. If He decides to heal Tabitha as He did the paralytic it will be a glorious day. But even if healing doesn't come tomorrow... It WILL come and the more important thing is already being done in our hearts.

October 01, 2012

I've never really liked roller coasters..

The last few days have been a bit of an up and down..
Up: Brett came into town.
Down: having to go into the hospital because of sever cramping.
Up: No clear cut contractions were ever seen on the monitor.
Down: Brett heads back to Georgia a day late. ( the down part is him leaving not the day late part...hehe)
Waaaay down: I have another ultra sound and they decide to keep me in the hospital. My cervix is dangerously short. And the odds of me going home are slim. Also, I suppose are Tabitha's chances of staying inside of me for as long as we would like.

 The last few days my mind has been all consumed with Ransom's increasing Terrible Two Behavior. I worry about how all of this is affecting him and just what I should or shouldn't be doing about it. But, here I am in the hospital and I suppose I'm getting my answer. I do not get to do anything about it. In fact, both of my children are out of my hands in so so many ways.

And for a control freak like me, this is the biggest test of all.

As for the roller coaster, I pray it slows down for a while. I'm having a hard time catching my breath between hills...

September 24, 2012

A-big-girl

Well, it's good for everyone that I'm writing this later than when I was first going to write. Let's just say having to say goodbye to my little boy who was saying, "come on, Mommy!" all the way out the door of the hospital room plus the delay of getting to eat dinner made me down right teary. But I told myself to put on my big girl panties and pull it together...so after a meal that was way smaller and not as good as the last time I was here ( strange), I am feeling a bit more like myself. I swear, dont mess with me when I have low blood sugar....it's not pretty.

So, now I'll back up and fill in some details: Today I had my first appointments with doctors regarding my care here, and during my routine ultra sound, it was clear that my cervix was quite a bit shorter than it was last Thursday. Enough that the Doc decided he wanted me in the hospital for a few days just to make sure everything stayed as it should. They also went ahead and gave me my first round of steriods to boost Tabitha's lung development just in case she does grace us early....P.S. that needle was big and it went into a place that I usually rely on for cushioning....One day, when she's a teenager I hope someone mentions all that I have done for her ;-)

I'll stop here and say that most days I do not feel like an adult. If anything I'm a little girl playing house. But days like today I definitely feel adultish. Having to listen to a new doctor rehash what our little girl may face ( yes, she might have some neurological problems that we can't even foresee yet because of her condition....gotcha, thanks for bringing that up when I can't do anything about it.), having to decide if we wanted to do the steriods now or later, giving Brett all the info over the phone so that we could make the right decision...), making a million and one phone calls trying to make sure I'm covered by insurance while I'm here ( major prayers about that one....apparently my transfer approval still hasntgone through yet....here's hoping we aren't adding this hospital stay to our list of current expenses...meeeh!) while also worrying incessantly about Ransom and what his care should look like over the next few days....and only at the end of the day even thinking about the fact that I'm spending the night  in a hospital by myself. Yup. I'm giving myself big girl credits.


All in all, while today is not my favorite day it's not the worse day either. Family and friends continue to love on us with such devotion and with such consistent outpouring it is a constant reminder of how we are being upheld in the less visible ways. This morning I came to the 23rd Psalm....

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want....

My title explained: An eternity ago, my friends, Andrew and Cindy allowed me to stay with them for a week while Brett was doing some training before his deployment. During that time, their son Jack was only about 3 and he misunderstood my name prenounciation and ended up calling me "a big girl" during my stay...I've always thought it was funny. I think I've earned the title.

September 23, 2012

The changing of the seasons

It is my favorite time of year in Georgia right now, the sky always seems bluer and there is a crispness in the air in the mornings that makes you want to take really long walks. The weather starts to get perfect, highs in the low 70s and I start to obsess about pumpkins...pumpkin decorations, pumpkin flavored everything, and I start to crave soups and heavy pieces of bread ....but not this year.

This year is different. This year is hopefully a one of a kind, and I have to keep reminding myself that, just like fall in Georgia, it will come and go. This year Ransom and I are in muggy, hot Houston for my favorite months of the year.  And while I'm holding on to fall in the only way I know how-pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks-I'm trying to accept that this fall is just not going to be the same.

But it is important to acknowledge seasons, isn't it? My friend Miranda lives in Hawaii where, from what I hear, it's always beach weather...yet I know her heart, and I know she's probably drinking pumpkin spiced lattes too...sometimes we have to make our seasons what they should be....and so I've been thinking about the one I'm in right now...And how I can personally make it a little better...

I can't tell you how hard it is to be far away from Brett right now, to think about facing scary doctors appointments and dark nights of not sleeping without him next to me. It's hard to see our cute son learning and growing and doing adorable things knowing that Brett is missing him like crazy. And yet, I  hear the little whispered reminder from Above that this is just a season, and so I ask the Lord to draw our family together even when we are physically apart....and I ask Him to draw me closer to Himself during those hard times, especially since I should be relying on God and not my earthly husband during those rough times anyway!

It is hard to be on bed rest, it is hard to have to rely on the sacrifice of loved ones for your day to day care. But I have found that in just the two days we've been in our "The Lord Provides" house ( as I like to call this amazing gift) it has been easier to just lay around here than when I was at home, there is just something about your own space that really makes me want to clean and organize and do, but here I am much more willing to sit. But, what will I do with all that sitting? Besides trying to be as involved as possible in Ransom's upbringing....I want to use this time more wisely. Let's just say I'll keep the excessive watching of Gossip Girl to the times when I inevitably can't sleep every night and spend my days on things a little more worthy of thought. One of the greatest blessings of this season has been the correspondence with others that has increased....in sharing in our pain and struggles, friends have also opened up about their own....it reminds me that we are all fighting battles great and small...and more than ever I am aware of the great power of prayer. As much as I am grateful for others lifting us up in their prayers, I am reinvegurated to pray more myself...friends with illnesses, at risk pregnancies, job loss, relationship troubles, life cross-roads....these are all important to the Lord and I hope I can do a better job of lifting them up as they have lifted me up. After all, this is a Season....and at some point it will be over, I do not want to look back on it and see how I missed out but instead I want to look back at how it was used....used to point me closer to the Mark, closer to what is truly important. I want to look back and see Life rather than Longing for something that I can't have. So here is to Autumn 2012...may it be a good one.

September 17, 2012

Another chapter

The last few days have been a bit more relaxed around here, due probably 99% to our dear friend Tabitha who arrived from Vancouver for her "vacation" aka...waiting on us hand and foot. When I said in my post about the girls names that baby Tabitha would have a wonderful real life example I was not kidding....Tabitha is a gem. Bonus: Ransom can now say "Tabitha" perfectly.

So, I am grateful for this last week which definitely was full on highs and lows, including some scary news and a hospital visit....I think now I've just come to expect such things and didn't even blog about it....because, hey, we're dealing with some high risk stuff here and me going into preterm labor is literally a daily possibility. That being said, Brett and I did some soul searching and decided that even though it will mean us being apart and Ransom only getting to see his Daddy on long weekends and some short weekends too (hopefully!)....the hardship of all that is worth having Tabitha in the BEST possible place for her medically....sooooooo.....back to Texas we go....as early as Thursday.

My doctors agree that I am tentatively stable as of "right now", I will literally have an appointment on Wednesday just to make sure...but that that window is fast closing so if I want to go to Texas, I better go soon.

But let me be totally honest with you, it's very hard for me to go back to Houston, especially without Brett by my side. As much as I appreciated our stay there ( enough for me to believe that we will get THE best care for Tabitha there), I did not have the best of times....we lost our daughter there, and we dealt with much of our grieving there too. While coming back to Georgia has had its major challenges....it was still home, and I will always be a homebody. 

I am continually reminding myself that a lot of my worry for Ransom regarding homesickness and displacement is probably just projection on my part. Lucky for me, my sweet boy is actually very very adaptable and at the lovely age of two I can also be thankful that he'll probably not even remember much of what is going on.... Other than the extra time having fun with family members and Texas loved-ones that he wouldn't normally have...

And so, tomorrow we say goodbye to Tabitha and we begin the process of leaving for Texas. Did I me too, that Brett is in the field this week? Cool. No bigs....I've got my Georgia girlfriends for one more week and I am sooooo blessed by their kindnesses.  

September 10, 2012

My net

In some ways the last few days have been harder than the first super hard days that we had in Houston....not because of any particular awfulness but because sometimes its harder to have Faith on the "normal" days. You aren't in a hospital, your family isn't surrounding you, you do not have the hope of an ultrasound in a few hours or a doctor standing there with answers to your questions. And above all, you do not have the Abundance of Grace that seems to pour out in times like that. Seriously, I believe that the Lord pours out with such abundance in times of dispair and I've lived it first hand. I know it to be true. He carries us through.

 But what about the other days? The normal days. All there is to do today is take care of Ransom, which I cannot do, and be still and rest, which I do with difficulty, and wonder about tomorrow....and that's where it gets difficult and the little lies creep in, I start to wonder if any big prayers will be answered ( forgetting the ones that already have been), I wonder if Tabitha will be taken from us too? I wonder if we'll find the help we so desperately need to take care of our home during this season ( forgetting that he has so far).... I forget it all, and I feel so empty. So, the question is....is there grace on these days too? I believe so.

Today in my reading I read Luke 5:5: where Jesus is in the boat with his soon-to-be disciples, and he tells them to let down their nets. Peter replies with, "Master, we have toiled all night and for nothing, but at your word we will let down our nets."

This verse struck me hard, I felt like I have been such a fishermen of late, toiling in my own strength, getting nothing in my nets but an old coke can and some rusty nails....the question is, when the Lord asks me to lower my nets again, to have Hope again, to trust Him again....will I do it? In this passage it says nothing about whether or not Peter believed that this time would be different, in fact, later when they do pull in a huge load of fish he falls down at Jesus' feet and asks for mercy so maybe he didn't really think things would change...but, even if he didnt, he was still obedient. And I believe that is where my own Grace-filled Truth lies today. In being obedient. Lowering my nets into seemingly empty waters and trusting that the Lord has a good reason for my nets to be there.... What will I haul in? Only the Lord knows...but whatever it is  it will be about Him and not me, it will teach and mold and change  me...but first I must be willing to lower my nets again. 

September 06, 2012

People who need people

People can be really lovely sometimes. Yesterday was super awful in a lot of ways, but today was so much better and when I look at the facts-nothing had really changed from yesterday to today other than me seeing more clearly the incredible band of people that I have at my side....

I got cards from people today and I'm not even kidding I've met only two of them. One I've only meet a hand full of times! The other two I've never met....and yet their kindness, their heartfelt words of encouragement and solidarity was so kind. I was so moved. 

Today I got a little package on my door from Brett's boss's wife. I'll side track for a second to say, that often in the military you meet "higher ups" who go through the motions of "Family Development" and who's wives are the same...seemingly kind and friendly but once you get past the exterior you get little. I have not experienced this. Brett's last two bosses wives have been some of the kindest, classiest ladies and I have learned so much from watching their consideration of others. Anyway, I got a little package and when I opened it, I found this ( and I cried a little bit) : 




And speaking of gifts, some of my dearest friends who live far away banded together in one of the craziest and most creative ways ever and have gotten Brett and I a DEEP FREEZER which will be filled with tons of food that has been coming our way and which we will need over the next few months of Bed Rest. 

And then my wonderful friend Melissa, who gets special name credit because this girl has put such effort in to helping me and finding others to help me during the next week or so before I can ( FINGERS CROSSED...who wants to be my naaaaannnnnny?!? ) find more 'permanent' help...and she does it with such ease and with such a happy spirit I am just uplifted by her optimism. And P.S. Her hubs is deployed. And here she is rockin' out with her 1 y.o. daughter in tow making my days SO much better....THAT is grace. 
And then there is the little "army" of friends she's pulled together to stay with me during the day and feed us at night...and...well.  We quite literally couldn't do it with out them at this point. I am at the mercy of others and it turns out that's not a bad place to be. 

I write this post not just to share the sweetness of these people, but to remind myself of the importance of even the smallest gesture of kindness towards someone in need, toward someone who's hurting. It matters, and sometimes its the difference between feeling like you're drowning and feeling like you just might make it till tomorrow. I want that for others and I hope that I'll remember this time in my own life, with the focus squarely placed upon my silver lining....people. Glorious, kind people who have come through and reminded me of an even deeper more perfect Love. 

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a Ransom for many.
(Matt 20:28)

September 05, 2012

Fly away

I'm sitting in the airport and we're headed home. It's been 12 days since we left and how our lives have changed so much....

Yesterday we had follow up appointments for Tabitha and learned that she has developed a heart defect. Her right ventricle is not working well at all, and unless it reverses itself* in the next month, we're looking at an EVEN longer road ahead... A road of heart surgeries after shes born. The first one being almost as soon as she's born. This means, we are now looking into the likely possibility that we'll be coming back to Houston for Tabitha to be born...the logistics of that are currently dwarfed in my mind by the logistics of our immediate future. The swirl of how my life has changed overwhelms me. It maybe the 5am wake up call talking here, but knowing how much I will be relying on friends and family to care for me...For Ransom's every day care... It is humbling and it's hard. Hard because in the midst of all this grim news and continued worry for Tabitha I long for normalcy. I long for Ransom and my usual week schedule. For grocery store trips and story time....Yes, it's definitely lack of sleep talking, for who can be melancholy when you've got a cute little boy sitting next to you? A little boy who's currently calling his breakfast muffin "happy birthday cake" ( confirming what we've always known...muffins are just naked cupcakes).

*you better believe we are praying for a miracle for Tabitha's heart. The Lord can heal it, even now, and I will pray that he does until the last possible moment.

August 29, 2012

Fancy free

So, today our plans were changed yet again and we found ourselves finally released from the hospital ( yay) but still in the Houston area ( not so yay), since we'll be returning to Texas Childrens for a follow up appointment with my attending physician to check on Tabitha on Tuesday and then another appointment with the Cardiologist for Tabitha at an undisclosed time ( seriously praying hard it'll be Tuesday too... Otherwise they said the next time they could see me was next Friday and so help me I will have gone Crazy by then!)

Anyway, we have been ABUNDANTLY blessed with several amazing offers of housing for our time here, and have ended up at a sweet four bedroom pad all to ourselves about 30 min from the hospital! Our friend Mary and her brother Mitch are truly a Godsend to us and one of the many parts of this whole ordeal that have reminded me just Who has the reigns here...

Ransom will hopefully be joining us tomorrow and I can HARDLY wait! I cannot tell you how much I miss my little dude! But in the mean time, I lay here on my side, willing all my health and energy to Tabitha.
One things for sure, glad I'm not eating hospital food tonight!!

August 28, 2012

Day by day

Yesterday was the longest day in the history of days. We had a scan of Tabitha around 8:30am and then crickets until around 6:30.... Of course the day could be rivaled by Friday which was long and awful in its own way, but at least we were doing things. And I'm a DOER.

So, according to family members, Brett and I kept a calm exterior yesterday which I guess is better than nothing.... That being said, I was glad we ended on a good note- with a visit from our friends, the Woods... Moving to a new room that is much less high-maintenance ( I'm no longer attached to 50 machines!!) .... And of course, above all a visit from both my doctors who gave us hope for today. Hope that Tabitha is slowly fighting. That she hasn't given up yet.

Today we have continued our plod forward. Tabitha continues to make tiny improvements and I feel like my doctors are cautiously optimistic. We could be out of the hospital tomorrow if all goes well, and I'm just praying my body will be willing to handle a flight back to Atlanta + 2 hrs in the car on Friday, which is when we planned on returning. Though, even when my mind goes there I try to push my thoughts back to today. Today is the only day I have, the only thing on which to focus. The only day I've been given the Grace to fight through. And believe me there is just enough grace for today.

Oh how hard it is to see Priscilla's little body every time we check on Tabitha, to hear the ultra sound tech remark at how much Tabitha is moving, when I know that only days ago it was my other little one dancing around the screen. Or even to see Tabitha's little profile and to finally see her stretch out her legs, something she hasn't been able to do with her limited space.... Oh, how I love them both! And how I must remember that even though Priscilla's body will be with us a while longer, her little soul is far from my belly. I think that I love these girls- or even Ransom, who I miss so terribly- though I know he's having the time of his life with our family...yet I know that my Love is not perfect. Not like our Heavenly Father's...and so I remind myself again that this is a Day by Day thing... And so we continue. In Hope. In Faith. Each day with our daily manna from Heaven.

August 26, 2012

It is well with my soul...

We lost baby Priscilla Beth today. I am so sad, and probably in shock. We were so hopeful, and yet we must trust in the Lord that He knows all and has all working for good.
Tabitha is still with us, and according to our doctor- the chances are good and I am battling against fear for her. I trying trust in the Lord for her. And we pray that her name with ring true for her.

Hearts

This morning we were most blessed to see both babies alive. Tabitha is doing well, and already has a little amniotic fluid around her. Yay! Priscilla however is in the most danger post op, since her living conditions have changed the most... Her heart is beating but is not as strong as they would like it to be. I am now on oxygen, laying on my side and eating spinach for lunch ( the last one was my own idea! Haha) I the hopes to help my iron levels and the girls' blood flow!

The picture: My incision is covered with a heart shaped patch. I thought that was extra sweet this am as we pray for these little girls hearts,

August 25, 2012

The whirlwind

Well, it's probably time for me to come out of my haze and respond to all the Facebook, texting, email lovin.... But how can I? There is just so much of it I  am overwhelmed by the love! And as I was awakened this morning after only a few hours of sleep and rushed off to surgery my thought was of all the prayers surrounding us and it was a comfort.

I cannot begin to discribe the last 48 hours. But a whirlwind...nah, a tornado! Two hospital stays, one two hour drive, one missed flight,  one delayed flight across country followed by a surgery consult at 2am makes for one heck of a story, which I'll save for the book deal. Ha.

But now, I am laying in a super flashy room at Texas' children's hospital trying not to be overwhelmed by the future. A future that is a complete mystery.

First off, this mornings surgery was a success... Meaning both babies made it through, they were able to divide the placenta as best they could see, and remove some of the fluid build up ( probably the biggest physical relief to me).
What you may not know is that just because today was a success, every day is now a little battle of its own. Tomorrow is our first hurdle, an ultra sound to see if they are both alive. And from here on we have a 50/50 % chance they will both survive, an 80% that one baby will survive and a pretty much 100% that either way I'll be having these babies early. ( the surgery does mess with my body enough that this part is inevitable.).... Of course, coking from before surgery where there was little to no chance of either baby surviving- that's a good bump up. Yet as a Momma it's still scary.

I will also be on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy... And I can't go up stairs ( obviously) so... Yeah my future living situation is a mystery. But one thing all of this is teaching me is to rest upon the Lord. This is all pulling away the veil we as humans cling to, the one where we think we have control over today. Ah, how I do not! And how much so is each day but a gift!?

Thank you for the continued prayers. As you can see we are still in need of it.

August 24, 2012

This Day.

With everyone but my insurance company rearing to go yesterday, I was feeling the kinda calm you  get from knowing that something is about to happen...hopefully for the good! Yet, what that something was changed rather quickly at around 6:30pm when my OB called to say they were worried that my "mild contractions" were a sign that I couldn't travel...so off I went to the hospital. Leaving Ransom behind with our friends Jared and Britton- or in his mind- a before bedtime party.
Luckily Brett was able leave the Field where he's been the last two days and come meet me at the hospital. Honestly, having him with me is the most calming thing, and yet a luxury in this military world.

So, here we are, after a night of monitoring and the fitful sleep only a hospital can provide. ( apparently there idea of darkness is "dusk"  and that baby heart monitor next door....did it need to be on at top volume?!)... I saw the on call doctor this morning who was a combo of fatherly and grim. Things are looking dangerous for the babies and it's safe to say they are not giving me answers about my ability to travel till the last possible moment...for everyone's sake.. He left promising to  have an "early ultra sound" to check on the girls which I so so dread. Normally a mom delights in pictures of her children,but it is beyond painful to see them in their current states-with no power to help them....

Ah, power....the power to comfort, the power to save....such powers we as humans have been trying to master from the beginning. Yet with what success?!

This morning I read Isaiah 41, and it's promises are what I must stand upon today:

The oppressed and the poor look for water but there is none; their tongues are parched from thirst. I, the Lord,will respond to their prayers, I, the Lord of Israel, will not abandon them.

I will make streams flow down from slopes and produce springs in the middle of the valleys. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and the arid land into springs. 

I will make cedars, acacias, myrtles and olive trees grow in the wilderness; I will make evergreens, firs, and cypresses grow together in the desert.

I will do this so people will observe and recognize, so they pay attention and understand that the Lord's power has accomplished this, and that the Holy One of Israel has brought it into being. 

Friends, I do not know what today brings...but I do hope you will all see the ever perfect Hand Of God at work. I guarantee it will be perfect. Hard maybe. Seemingly Tragice. Maybe hopeful or victorious...but whatever the case....may He be recognized as the Author and Accomplisher of this day.

August 21, 2012

Update without details

So, I'm gonna post this even though I'm sure its just going to annoy people. It would annoy me, because I like answers and this post is going to lack answers....

Today at my doctors appointment it was determined that the twins do, indeed, have Twin to twin transfusion . I will have to have fetal laser surgery to try to disrupt the blood flow from one twin to the other, and hopefully even things out a bit. This is a pretty high risk procedure but we have been assured that if we do not do something than both twins' lives are in jeopardy.
I am going to have the procedure at Texas Children's Hospital, in Houston Texas. This is good because they are not only use to military families, but they are also close to our own family in Texas.

All of this will probably happen in the next two weeks.

Please pray for our little girls. And for us. I know above all that the Lord will be glorified in this situation. I just don't exactly know how its going to all play out.