Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Crash

Well it is all over. We have taken down our tree and put things away and are beginning to get back to "normal" if there ever was such a thing. Luke was very disappointed that we took the tree down, but we assured him that it will be up again next year. We had a great Christmas and everyone has recovered from the flu, though I am still trying to catch up on the laundry that backed up as a result of urgent flu related laundry needs.

I have been really struggling the last few days. I had previously been trying so hard to remember to just live in the moment and enjoy each and every second even if that meant leaving housework go a bit. (This is REALLY hard for me) I seem to be falling back into my old rut though the last few days. I can't quite tell just exactly what my problem is but I feel like I am slipping a bit in many areas. My patience has been gone both with the boys and with Howard and it seems as though I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I know that much of what I feel is brought on completely by my own doing, but nevertheless I often feel so confused and angry.

Happy received a few gifts for Christmas, a little lamb from his Grandma and Grandpa Bolte, a soft snuggly little bear and a pack of awesome receiving blankets from my friend Lannea and a super soft and cuddly Project Linus blanket from my sister. These gifts meant a lot to me this year. I know that under normal circumstances I would be preparing the nursery and getting things ready for my new baby, but under my current circumstances I am so confused as to what to do. A few special people purchased gifts for Isaac such as snuggly little stuffed animals and blankets and they are some of my most prized posessions because they were his and he touched them and I am so thankful that Happy will have some of his own things no matter what.

Coming home from the hospital without Isaac was so hard and having to disassemble the nursery and pack away all of the baby stuff was really some of the hardest stuff we had to do. I want to believe that this little guy will come home with us just as we all pray, but if he cannot I just don't know if my heart can take coming home and seeing an empty nursery and having bins of things to pack away. Preparing for baby is one of my favorite things to do though and it is so painful to be so uncertain about things that I have done basically nothing. Maybe this is just another lesson I must day at a time. This is just so hard for me though...I am a planner and a doer!

I have also been feeling that my prayers are lacking a bit. They seem so redundant but the main things that I am thankful for and am asking for are the same and I don't know how to get myself closer to God at a time when I am kind of angry with him in the first place. I am excited that tomorrow at church we will be beginning a new series on the book of Habukkuk and it will be focusing on just that...when you are angry at God. I am praying that God speaks to me through these lessons so that I can continue on this journey as close to Him as possible. Without him I just know I can't do it at all, each day I grow even more weary.

The books say that Happy is probably approaching the 2 pound mark this week. I am 27 weeks pregnant. He is growing rapidly and I can tell by the strength of his kicks and nudges. I find myself having a difficult time sleeping most nights because night time is when he is active and I just don't want to miss one single movement. Please continue to pray for us to continue to have the strength and obedience to keep on this long and windy road and for God to be glorified in Happy's life. I have a doctor appointment in Erie next week and back to Pittsburgh on the 15th. We are praying that a new year brings good news!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well this morning was eventful to say the least! Howard woke up in the middle of the night with the flu! He is the last to get it! So he and I were up way before the kids. We sat anxiously awaiting Luke's reaction to the living room with presents and filled stockings. Ben woke up around 7 and around 7:30 or so Howard went to be sick and Luke came running out in total shock. Howard missed it! My sister and Joe came over to watch the events and the boys opened their gifts first which were AWESOME! They each got a stuffed Snoopy ad Ben got a rocking horse and Luke got a Radio Flyer scooter. Then it was on to stockings and then gifts. We all opened gifts and when they were all opened Luke continued to look around. He had asked for ONE and only ONE gift and he had not gotten it and you could see how disappointed he was.

So he walked out to the kitchen to get his juice and play with the kitchen set my dad had brought for them yesterday and he saw a giant Christmas sack by the back door. In it, THE CRASH UP SPEEDWAY! the one and only gift he had asked for. He was so excited. He played with that for quite a while and I made breakfast for everyone and Howard went back to bed. We all relaxed and played with the boys and then Jill and Joe left and Luke and I made Jesus' birthday cake. At this point in time Howard is sleeping and the boys are in bed but definitely NOT sleeping and I am sitting here downloading to my new MP3 player my sister got me and reading the Deceptively Delicious cookbook Howard got me. So far we are hanging in there but what a horrible time for the stomach flu!

Happy has been very active today and it is my hope that next year he will be sitting on the floor buried in paper with his brothers! My sister got him the best blanket! It is a Project Linus blanket and looks just like the blue blanket Linus from Peanuts carried around. It is SO soft! I am sure he will LOVE it!

Each year Christmas just gets better and better for us and I look forward to all of the Christmases to come with our boys! Seeing the faith of a child is one of life's most amazing gifts!

I pray that each of you are having a great Christmas as well! Take the time to enjoy your family!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Taking it all in stride this Christmas Eve!

Well, we woke up this morning with great expectations. Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve with my family and Luke especially was so excited to go to Papa White's and open gifts and have dinner! So this morning we got up and began the cleaning of the house. We had realized that with gifts coming in to a full home we needed to clear some things out so we began sifting through toys and cleaning out closets to make room for the gifts. Our friend Julie had called to check on the health of the family since the stomach flu and I reported we were doing great! (My mistake) about twenty minutes later I put Ben down for a nap and fifteen minutes after that he woke up SCREAMING. I went in and of course he was covered in puke. The flu struck again! So we were homebound for the day. My dad was kind enough to bring our gifts to us since Luke was so excited and brought us dinner.

I was very disappointed not to get to be with my family for Christmas but I have to say it was a pretty nice day! We got the house cleaned, Ben slept a lot and we just spent time together. We opened my family's gifts when Ben woke up and he seems fine now. (we are praying Howard isn't next)

The night has been SO fun! Luke can bearly contain his excitement and we opened our new Christmas PJs and got baths. Then we watched a movie and made some reindeer food (oats and glitter) we put Ben to bed and Luke, Howard and I went out and sprinkled the reindeer food all over the lawn so that the reindeer would be drawn by the glitter and get energy from the oats. We then came in and got Santa's cookies ready, Luke insisted on water instead of milk and Luke wrote him a note that said "Merry Christmas Santa, Enjoy the Ride! Love, Luke" Which we got a kick out of! We then read The Night before Christmas and the story of the First Christmas to him. While we were reading, Howard's parents jingled bells outside Luke's windows and he about peed his pants! He flew to bed like never before! He is in bed right now and he randomly screams out "I am so excited!" I have to say I am so excited for tomorrow! We will probably just be staying home unless Ben is feeling 100% otherwise we will be going to Howard's parents for dinner. Luke commented that Santa must really love Jesus to bring everyone presents for His birthday! We agreed!

Tonight my heart is just overflowing! It was a trying day with the puking of a one year old and all but such a blessing to slow down and stay home and just enjoy eachother! I hope and pray that next year Happy can be a part of all of this! I can't wait until morning we are going to make jesus a birthday cake and open presents!

I hope you all have a joyous Christmas. Take the time to be still and be filled with God's love and enjoy your family! Every moment is such a precious gift!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

Well, we just got home after church services and dinner with some great friends and it was a great day! I am so filled with hope and peace right now. I cannot even describe it. I know the journey ahead may be very difficult for us but I know that everything is going to be fine. We are always astounded at the way God's love shows through his servants to those who need it and man has it been shining for us in the last few weeks! We have received so many cards and phone calls and messages of people praying for us and telling us how Happy is already reaching people and it is amazing. Happy hasn't even been born yet and is bringing so many people closer to God and we are so proud of him!

The other day in the mail came a beautiful Willow Tree figurine of an angel holding a baby bird called "angel of miracles" and a wonderful note from some dear friends of ours! It provided me so much hope for the day and today at church I went to get our name tags from our mailbox and there was an envelope from our "church family" and in it were several gas cards and the message simply said that we were loved. I am overwhelmed. It is so strange how at a time which would seem so devastating, my heart can be so overflowing!

Church service tonight was great. Luke had to stay with us as there was no child care tonight for children over 3 and it was such a blessing. It is always refreshing to see him "worship" in his own way! This year Christmas is so different for me. It is so much clearer. It is so not about lights or decorations or silly songs or presents. It is about the most amazing gift! The gift of Jesus. The light of the world. Such a bright light even in the midst of total darkness. I know that the road that lies ahead may be a much more difficult journey than I would like, but I know that our God is a sovereign god and that his plan is far greater than any plan I could ever imagine so while things may not be going as I had planned they are going EXACTLY as they were meant to and I just need to be obedient and open to listening to what God has to teach me next.

I am so looking forward to Christmas. The boys are so excited, especially Luke and I am sure it is going to be a very memorable time for all of us! I have been so blessed to have such a great husband and each and EVERY one of my children has been an amazing addition to my life from whom I have learned more than I ever thought possible. We are also very blessed to have such amazing "stretcher bearers" in times of need. That is what life is all about. Carrying others to Jesus when they are too weary to get there and Loving them as Jesus would and we are already being lifted up and loved more than ever! I am so thankful for all of life's blessings! Thank you all! We love you so much and are filled with your love and hope for us! Merry Christmas or as Luke would say "Mary Christmas!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Howard!

Today is Howard's Birthday! And already it has been memorable! Last night we had some great friends offer to keep the kids for a few hours and we went to dinner with some of our friends from our small group from church. We had a great time with everyone and it was good to get out for a little bit as we have been completely smothering our children lately and I think everyone was ready for a break! The kids had a great time at the White's house (thanks guys!) and we had a great time at dinner so we all came home feeling great and almost human again! The kids went right to bed when we got home and we watched a little of a movie and fell asleep. A perfect evening...

OR NOT! Then Luke woke up at 12:45 screaming his head off and Howard went to check on him. He was covered in puke! He threw up over and over again and this is only the second time he has EVER been sick like this so he was totally freaked out. Howard got him in the tub and stripped his bed and I went downstairs to begin the laundry. So, poor Howard stayed up most of the night with him. I think he came back to bed around 4 and Luke slept on the couch. This morning Luke seems better. He hasn't really eaten anything besides popsicles but he is in good spirits and is resting. And thankfully no one else seems to be affected yet. So today I am praying that no one else gets sick. I don't think it would be beneficial to Happy for me to get sick right now! So today I am cloroxing EVERYTHING and doing insane amounts of laundry. Hopefully by the time Howard returns all is calm and all is clean! He is such a great dad and did so great with Luke tonight.

At times like these I am reminded of just how truly blessed I am to have such great friends who offered to watch our kids and they even got us a gift card for dinner at the restaurant we were headed to (how thoughtful) and such an amazing husband who cared enough to let me rest and is such a great father that he took wonderful care of Luke! As well as the great friends we met for dinner. So eventhough the night may not have ended as we may have liked, all in all it was a good day and thank you to everyone who contributed! We love you all and feel so blessed to have you in our lives!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What an active baby!

I had been worried about this baby in the beginning because he did not seem quite as active as the other boys had been, but he is making up for that now! My placenta is on the front of my uterus so it kind of acts as a pillow cushioning his kicks and man I can't imagine those kicks without that pillow! On the 15th Howard was finally able to feel him moving and that was a great milestone! I had been praying that Howard would have the opportunity to feel him. Yesterday Luke got to feel him! It was so funny! I had showed him the pictures from the last ultrasound and told him that it was his baby brother's face. Luke informed me that this is not a brother but a sister. Couldn't I tell from the picture? He then proceeded to hug and kiss my belly and talk to his "sister". I guess anything is possible!

I am such an impatient person and I have to say that this whole thing is teaching me a lot already. I typically would already have the nursery ready and be ready to bring him home tomorrow and I am learning to just take it day by day! I hope and pray that we do need to get his room ready for him and since we have had all boys, we have all of the stuff here we need. One of the most painful things we had to do after losing Isaac was come home and pack the nursery away. I am blessed that it is already set up because Ben is still in there and when Happy comes home he will be in the bassinet in our room for a while so I just pray we have to go downstairs and get the bassinet and the newborn clothes. I am learning that there is NOTHING I can do on my own. I have no choice but to lean on God and trust in Him through all of this.

It is also so amazing to know how many amazing people are praying for us! When we went to Pittsburgh on Tuesday we could actually feel it! It is so amazing!

Tomorrow is Howard's birthday! So if you see him tomorrow wish him a happy day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So many thoughts going through my head!

Well we put the boys to bed a little early last night and had some time to rest and that was nice. It was an exhausting day yesterday and this morning I am reflecting on everything that happened. So many prayers answered yet so many things left unknown. I know that God just wants us to rely on Him and that is what I am trying to do.

Our prayer for better doctors was answered the sonogram doctor took quite a bit of time with us and told us that he "didn't see anything different from last time" and asked if we had any questions about anything. I asked about the clubfoot and he looked puzzled. He said he didn't see any indication but he would look again and he did. He said the feet look perfectly normal and he could not say for sure about the heart because Happy was moving so much he could not get a clear picture so we will have an echocardiogram in four weeks to check the status of that. I asked if he could give us a few of the pictures and he printed us three 3D ones they are kind of crazy! He looks like a little old man! They needed to get a good picture of his face to try and rule out some chromosome abnormalities that are often seen in facial features. They think his jaw is a bit underdeveloped. He was patient and kind and didn't seem all doom and gloom. He then sent us to Genetics where we met another Doctor.

He was very kind. He asked us to explain our understanding of what was going on and said we had a good grasp on things. He then began to ask questions about Isaac. He said that he finds it unlikely that anyone could be "unlucky" enough to have two similar completely unrelated experiences so he is quite sure the two are linked. He said that though Isaac's autopsy report showed infection that they cannot be sure that that is what caused everything. So he wants to look into it further so we can be prepared for what is to come. Our next appointment will be in four weeks and we will meet wih him again. He has asked for Isaac's autopsy reports and pictures of Isaac so he can compare the boy's faces. It is so crazy to think that we could be going through the same thing again. I wouldn't consider us "unlucky"though Isaac was a miracle. Our next appointment will likely be our last Pittsburgh appointment unless they think there is something they can do to help the baby at birth in which case he will be born in Pittsburgh. This doctor said we will just have to wait and see. No one can determine the outcome at this point but they are very concerned.

I know I am jumping way ahead of myself but I am very concerned about the genetic thing. If this is genetic it could mean that Howard and I have a 25% chance of having this happen with each baby. We have ALWAYS wanted a large family and I LOVE being pregnant! I know I don't need to think about this now but I cannot help it. I really want lots of babies! But, I am so thankful for the ones I have and that Luke and Ben are healthy!

The doctor predicted that the pregnancy should be just as uneventful as my others as far as my health and we will just keep an eye on Happy. I believe that several of our prayers were answered yesterday and I am going to continue to pray for God to heal Happy. Who knows, at the next appointment they may see great growth! So to all of you out there, please keep praying! God is good and he is taking care of us!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Appointment

We are exhausted and so this will be brief. We went to Magee again today and we did have much better doctors so that prayer was answered. They took quite a bit of time with us. They found NO evidence of clubfoot and are not completely sure about the hole in his heart. His head is measuring small still however by about 3 weeks.

We were referred to a genetic doctor because they feel quite certain that this baby's issues are linked to Isaacs. The two cases are too similar to be unrelated and so they want to investigate that possibility further. We will have one last appointment in Pittsburgh in four weeks to assess the situation and prepare for birth.

So, again and still we do not know for sure. I guess God just really wants us to rely on Him! There is a possibility that this could be the same thing that happened to Isaac and there is a possibility that even if it is it won't be as severe. We are still certain that God will take care of Happy. The clubfoot issue has been removed so who is to say He won't remove this issue also? So please keep us in your prayers. It was an amazing feeling knowing how many people were praying for us today! We are so thankful for you all! Please keep up the prayers...they ARE working! God hears and he will respond!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mary Christmas had baby Jesus in a staple!

We finished our Christmas cards last night. As I was ordering the boy's picture card online we were trying to think of something we could add since Luke is so into the Christmas story this year and has had some great question that we cannot answer! He is convinced that Jesus' mom is Mary Christmas and that Jesus was born in a staple! So we added that to our cards. We struggled with what to do this year for our card. Last year we did a March of Dimes card to include Isaac in our greetings but when I went to order them this year it just didn't make sense to me to spend 150 dollars on cards and only 20% goes to the March of dimes when I could spend 20 dollars on picture cards at Walmart and donate 130 to the March of Dimes. So that is what we did.

Tomorrow is the BIG appointment to determine whether Happy's brain is growing or if it has stopped alltogether. I am praying every moment that there is growth. I am dreading the trip for many reasons. I really don't want all of the "specialists" telling me about all of the things they expect to be wrong and the horrible outcomes. I know that this baby is a gift and no matter what we love him so deeply. I just wish that the doctors spoke of him as the gift he is and not the misfit medical case they have to deal with. God put him right where he is and created him just how he is for very specific reasons. Not to say that I don't have a hard time with all of this because I struggle each day. It is beyond belief for me that some women just get pregnant and have a healthy baby nine months later no questions asked. I wish they could know how blessed they are. It frustrates me immensely when women take this blessing for granted. I have tried to eat the right things and do the right things and still I have this cloud hanging over me.

So anyhow...if you could ALL pray tomorrow we would so appreciate it! We know that God is hearing our cry and we are hoping he responds. We know that great things are yet to come!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Upcoming appointment...

Our next appointment is on Tuesdaay, December 18th at 12:30. This is a date and time I must say I am dreading. Our previous experience in Pittsburgh was not so great and I have been living the past month with HOPE! I know that God is the ultimate physician and He and only He can determine the outcome of this situation. I know that whatever that outcome is, He will guide us through it. Part of me wants to just give up on the doctor thing alltogether. It doesn't really make anything any better and it doesn't change the outcome just by seeing a doctor. They insist on monitoring the baby though for my health. They fear he may not make it to birth. I do not share in their fear! I can feel him and know that he is very much alive! He is already impacting this Earth and I am so blessed to be his mom. Many people are emailing or calling and talking about how Happy is bringing them closer to God. I am always amazed!

So, friends, as we head to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, we are praying that we get great news! We are praying that he has already been healed and is growing! We know that he is perfect no matter what! We are praying for a miracle, whatever that means. Please continue to pray for us. Pray for healing for Happy so he will be able to join our family at home. His brothers cannot wait to wrestle him! Please also pray that we will have the wisdom to lean on the Lord throughout the rest of this pregnancy, leaning on him and NOT entirely on doctors. Please pray that God will give us clear answers as we are asked to make decisions and that no matter what we are obedient enough to allow God to use us as HE sees fit. Our desire is to bring glory to God ! Happy is such a gift! I cannot lie though, deep down I am truly praying for amazing news on Tuesday, it would make such an incredible Christmas gift to know that our little man will be healthy! We love him so much!

Depending on weather we will be leaving around 9:30 or 10:00. We have a few options for childcare and are debating right now what is best for everyone so please pray for us in that area as well as for travel. It is always difficult leaving Luke and Ben behind!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The "Son" is shining!

Each and every day I am astounded by the love we are shown by others! We are so blessed to have an amazing church family and circle of friends who not only love us but also love God! It is this group of people who honestly give me the hope and encouragement to keep on truckin'! We have received many thinking of you cards and offers for babysitters! This week I have been especially touched by two acts of kindess...One, a friend had lent me some maternity clothing since I am now pregnant at a time when I have never needed maternity clothing before. Mine are all summer. And as I was going through the bag there was a small gift bag inside and in it was a little daily inspirational book with just a short devotion and message of hope for each day. I was so surprised! I have the book sitting in my kids bathroom and have been reading it each day at bathtime because by then I usually need a pick me up! So, Thanks Lannea! And the second happened today as I went to the mailbox to grab our daily handful of bills and the occasional Christmas card. When I got in the house I opened what I assumed was a Christmas card and found a beautiful thinking of you card from a very special group of ladies I have gotten to know through my wonderful MOPS group at the Federated Church. Inside the card was a gas card for us to use for our appointment on Tuesday! How thoughtful! At this time of year that was an amazing gift to us! So thank you ladies so much! I love you all!

Each day brings new amazement for me. Just when I feel that I am being consumed by life, the Lord sends me just the right people to breathe hope back into me! So I am thankful to the Lord and to those who shine His light so beautifully!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This is the day that the Lord has made...

I WILL be glad and rejoice in it. This is the constant decision I am trying to make each and every day. This whole situation has only made me realize even more how much a moment means. So many times during the day I tell my little guys, "just a moment" I have been reflecting on that today though...a moment is all it takes to change everything! So we need to be careful in chosing what we do with what moments we have. None of us really knows what tomorrow brings. So we are to just rejoice in today. This is easier said than done I have to admit. It is comforting to me to know that in the midst of the chaos, God does have a plan and it is a great one if only we get on board and go with his plan rather than our own, another easier said than done. I know that this child we are welcoming was chosen specifically for us by God. We have been amazingly blessed and this baby is just as much a blessing as any. This morning we watched the Veggie Tales movie of Rack Shack and Benny and am reminded of how they had an amazing faith and they would not waver despite the threat of being thrown into the furnace! And though they were thrown into the fire, they were not burned. God protected him and he will protect us through the fires of life!

I also have been thinking of Isaac a lot lately. When we were going through that season of our life the story of Abraham was so personal for us. Abraham had such an amazing faith! When others asked how to pray for us we asked for people to pray that no matter what we would have the faith of Abraham and remain unshaken. Abraham not only offered his own son Isaac to God, but what I have found just as remarkable is that God promised Abraham a son eventhough he was like 75 years old and his wife was barren and Abraham believed...he continued to believe that God would bless him with a son. It wasn't until 25 years later that Isaac was born! That is amazing faith...we are so wrapped up in our need for instant gratification sometimes that we forget that God's timing is the perfect timing. How many of us would have continued to believe for 25 years!? Not many, we would likely talk ourselves out of the fact that God promised us anything at all or that he even exists.

I was hoping for some answers from my own doctor on Monday but I believe there is a reason that those results were not sent at that time. I continue to have hope. I am terrified of going to Pittsburgh because I am so afraid they will squash the hope I have left. The doctor we saw there was so cold and hopeless when speaking of our son. I dread going back. But I am realizing that they cannot squash it if I don't let them. There is NEVER a situation without hope. Regardless of what God's plan is in this situation, I am praying that my heart will remain hopeful and that I will remain steadfast in my faith. Though God does not always answer our prayers immediately, he hears and is working a plan for our good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My struggles for today...

I had a really tough day yesterday. Benjamin was up all night, we think he is getting more teeth and I was just exhausted al day and on top of that Ben was just so cranky all day! After Howard got home we went to Erie and got some Christmas shopping done for the boy we adopted through church. It was nice. We got quite a bit done. I am having a hard time with shopping though because normally I would be already preparing for this baby and since the outcome is uncertain I haven't done a thing. I so badly want to be getting bottles and diapers for Happy but I have this fear that he won't make it home. Deep in my heart I really feel that he will be fine, with Isaac I always had just a little nagging feeling that something was wrong but I was always told that things looked perfect. I have not even the slightest inkling that something is going on with this little guy. He is very active and his heartbeat is strong. Howard firmly believes with all of his heart that he is going to be just fine...He insists that until someone tells him with certainty that something is wrong he refuses to believe it.

Our appointment in Pittsburgh for a follow up is next Tuesday the 18th at 12:30. I am so dreading that day. Right now we are living with hope. I am afraid that the doctors are going to rob me of that. I have a tendancy to try and prepare myself for the worst and all I can think about is how I will react if they tell us that there has been no development in happy's brain. It would be so amazing though if they saw development and gave us hope. With Christmas coming the miracles of Christmas are very inspiring to me and I am praying for a miracle for our family. We so badly want this little guy to join our clan! Luke talks about him and prays for him each and every day. (Although he is certain that there is a possibility he could still get a sister!) I guess it isn't impossible.

So, I guess what we need prayers for now is for Tuesday. It is going to be a difficult day for all of us. We really didn't like the way we were treated down there as some misfit medical case. this is our family! The kids have a really hard time being with someone else for an entire day and it makes the entire next week difficult because we have clingy kids. Howard also has to take off from work which is hard because he still has to do all the work he just has one less day to do it. And most of all we need prayer for Happy's brain. The other abnormalities they "think" they found are definitely treatable. His brain is what will determine his outcome and we are praying as hard as we have ever prayed for his brain. We know God has the power to intervene and he can change this entire situation and bless our family with a healthy baby. Please pray for me, that I am able to stay positive and focused on God. We know that no matter what the outcome a miracle is happening. I am praising God today that I have today and it is teaching us that no one knows for sure that tomorrow will even come for any of us so we MUST make the most of today!

Monday, December 10, 2007


So today we met with my doctor and he was supposed to go over the test results from Magee with us...Guess what???? They never sent them. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.... we talked to him for a while about what we were told and what his thoughts were. He said it is hard to say and there is nothing we can do but wait. He went over the sonogram results he had from his office and said on that report the only finding was that the cerebellum was on the small side but he wasn't sure if it was anything to worry about yet...just something we need to watch and make sure it keeps growing. So, who knows!? He was optimistic but he had nothing from Magee to go on and they were the ones who basically gave us no hope. I am so frustrated witht hat hospital! It has been three weeks and we were told that my doctors would have the reports by the middle of LAST week!

Doctor appointment today...

This afternoon I have a doctor's appointment with my doctor in Erie. I haven't talked to him since this rollercoaster ride began. He will go over the results from Magee with us. I am looking forward to seeing him in some ways...I know he will be more supportive, but I also dread doctor appointments now. I feel like everyone just looks at me and feels sorry for us. Doctors are trained to be scientists and so they are likely to give you the worst outcome and little hope. I just can't have anyone stealing my hope right now. So I am anxious today. I hope it goes well and he is optimistic. I want to be realistic about the situation but at the same time I do not believe that there is EVER a situation without hope! I will let you all know how it goes!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lessons from Job

It has been interesting to me how many people have sent me Bible verses from the book of Job. Now if we want to talk about suffering, Job went through it all! Thankfully I cannot even begin to compare the two. God took EVERYTHING from Job and Job was faithful. It has been in reading this book however that I have learned that though Job was faithful he struggled. He was human and often times what he was feeling in his heart did not match up with what was going on in his head. He got angry with god and felt very targeted. This passage is especially powerful in showing Job's heart ache in his struggles. He also felt great injustice. It reminded me tha when I am feeling these things I need to take them up with God himself. It is okay to yell at God ad get upset. He wants to know what is in our hearts.

1 "My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me; Show me why You contend with me. 3 Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, That You should despise the work of Your hands, And smile on the counsel of the wicked?Job 10:1-3 (NKJV)

I also know that when I was at my worst after losing Isaac it was my friends and family who pulled me to Jesus when I was to weary to get there myself. I have spoken of the story of the lame man and how his friends carried him to Jesus when he couldn't get there himself. So many people have said that they don't know what to say to me or how to help and I think anytime we have a loved one who is suffering through a rough patch in life we should all refer to this passage in Job:11

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place--Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.Job 2:11-13 (NKJV)

When Job's friends heard of his troubles and struggles they just scheduled time to be with him. I find it interesting we also bought a new Rob Bell DVD the other day entitled Matthew. It is a story of grief and mourning and in the DVD Rob Bell speaks of the tradition in those days to just sit with a person in silence. Friends would just go sit with friend who was struggling and physically BE. They waited and let the person experiencing the grief take the lead. If they wanted to talk that was fine but if not they just sat in silence and the person knew they were loved.

The reality of the situation is that there is no quick fix. There is nothing anyone can say that will make it better. Job's friends sat with him in silence for 7 days! I don't think I could handle that. Everyone struggles with what to say to a friend who is hurting but often the best thing we can do is say nothing. We can quote Bible verses or share what we feel might be similar experience but often that can make a person feel worse. You see, in my case, my head already knows all of these things. My heart is struggling immensely. I know that God says not to worry and to put my faith in him, I know he works all things out for good, I know that no struggling happens without reason. My heart cannot help but feel broken and wonder as to why I need to learn another lesson!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Paradox of Blessedness

I suppose it is absolutely no coincidence that I am carrying this baby during the Christmas season and he is due at Easter. Two times of the year when we are reminded of God's most amazing miracles. Happy is such a miracle. No matter what happens he will be one of my life's most amazing miracles. All children are! The Bible says that children are a blessing, a gift from God.

A few days ago I had picked up a book written by William Barclay, it is a daily study Bible on the book of Luke. There is a section on the Paradox of Blessedness that is focused around Mary's prayer the Magnificat. As I contemplate the Christmas story I am so reminded that being chosen by God for a task is often a "crown of joy" as well as a "cross of sorrow", as Barclay puts it. For Mary she was granted the blessedness of being the mother of Jesus! What an amazing blessing! But at the same time being the mother of the son of God would also mean watching him suffer and then hang on the cross. Barclay says in his book that "The piercing truth is that God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy but for a task that will take all that the head and hard and hand can bring to it, God chooses us in order to use us." God is chosing to use our family. When I look at the grand scheme of things and look beyond my life here on this earth I can see that these sufferings and difficult times are actually my blessings. All things that are suffered are for God. Happy is already an amazing blessing. We are living life more for each day than we had been, we are searching the Bible for answers more than before and we are TRULY understanding Christmas in a way I never thought possible. Suffering is never in vain unless we allow that and I REFUSE! Happy is a miracle and I am going to be sure that I help to accomplish whatever it is that God is looking to accomplish through our family. As I said before, I am praying for a great report and for God to intervene at our next appointment on the 18th but I am also asking God to use us for his Glory. I know that greatness is bound to come from this situation no matter what!

Barclay also quotes a great preacher who once said "Jesus Christ came not to make life easy but to make men great" This quote gives me hope! Those who sail through life with little pain cannot live life with the same passion and intensity and I am going to try my hardest to be thankful for everything God gives no matter how hard it seems.

As I remain focused in the Bible and studying those who suffered in the Bible I am constantly seeing that they were not "targeted" they were chosen! Some of the greatest people in Biblical times suffered a great deal. I have been looking at Christmas as I had never seen it before from the perspective of Mary and Joseph. I am reminded that no one suffered the way Jesus did. And the book of Job is another book I am studying intensely right now. I am working on a journal post with my thoughts on Job but it isn't done yet. Job suffered and he got angry with God. He struggled a great deal with getting his heart and his head in line and the book of Job also tells us so much about how we should deal with a friend or loved one who is suffering.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thankful for a new day and butter!

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I haven't been sleeping much and I was just tired and cranky. I had stayed up for hours the night before because Happy was really active and I went out on the couch so I could feel him rumbling around. I am so thankful that I get to experience him in this way. I wish that Howard could experience it too. It is tough to feel him on the outside yet.

So back to yesterday, I was intending on going to MOPS at the Federated Church but I had forgotten to tell Howard that I needed the car so when I got up the car was gone and I had no way to get there. It was really frustrating because I haven't been getting out much with the weather and all. But I figured as soon as Howard got home maybe we could go get something to eat and get a few groceries, but then he called at 4 and had gotten himself stuck in a ditch on the way home from work. I called my dad and he went to get him but by the time Howard got home we had no time to go eat or get groceries because I had to work at 8. It certainly wasn't Howard's fault but I was so tired of being cooped up especially since tonight, Wednesday, Howard goes to youth group and so I am pretty much on my own all day and night on Wednesdays. So I know I was tough to live with yesterday.

Sometimes I get so frustrated because I feel like there is no possible way that Howard could understand what I am going through and I am not very good at expressing it sometimes. I just want him to just know when I am having a hard time and I want him to just understand. I know I frustrate him though. He wants to help and be supportive but he isn't mind reader as he often reminds me. I get confused because often he seems so unaffected by all of this. I know he loves Happy just as much as I do, he is the best dad any kids could ever ask for and he really is an amazing husband who puts up with a lot from his crazy wife. He just takes that stand that we have no definitive answers and so there is no reason to get all worked up right now. He has an amazing faith in God and he is so strong. He is definitely the perfect balance for me but he is so positive it is frustrating sometimes because I feel guilty for feeling the way I feel. It is different for me because this baby is growing inside of my body. I am the one who feels when he is active, I am the one with constant heartburn and an aching back. I am the one who is excessively exhausted all of the time. Don't get me wrong I LOVE pregnancy but at the same time each and every symptom is a reminder of what is going on inside of me and all of the questions I have about Happy's future. There is not a moment that goes by that I am not thinking of this baby.

Another thing that bothers me is when I think back to the experience I had with Isaac, though I know what a blessing he was and am so thankful for him, we went through a lot of pain at that time. We all had emotional pain but I was the one going through the physical pain that goes with having a c-section, recovering from childbirth and then the joys of the after effects of pregnancy. All of these things seem so worth it, but when you have lost a baby they are just constant reminders of what was lost. I guess what I am saying is that I know that I can do this and no matter what I know that God's mighty arm will pull us through victoriously. I KNOW that! I just want permission to be human and though I know that I need to stay positive, this is still MY body that is going through extreme changes and I feel like sometimes that is forgotten in the midst of it all. I am tired not only emotionally but also physically.

On a positive note, we have a book we are doing with Luke and it is called Keeping Christ in Christmas for Kids and it has an activity for each day and Monday's activity was to make a Blessing Box and talk about all of God's blessings in our life. I had to work but Howard and Luke did an awesome job making a beautiful blessing box out of a wet wipe container! We all wrote down our blessings. I realized how blessed I have been. Howard and I wrote things like family and our home. Luke, wrote butter! We were getting ready to have popcorn for a snack and he was thankful for butter. Simple and it seemed a bit silly, but maybe we all need to be thankful for butter! It is awesome to see things through a child's eyes. They are not only thankful for the BIG things in life but also the butter!

Today is a new day and as I see the kids getting excited about the snow and Christmas I am reminded that our life is so full of blessings. We have so much to praise God for! Sometimes it is like my heart and my head are trying to get on the same page and it is a tough battle. My head knows that I need to praise god and have blind faith but my heart is aching for my new son.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thank you ALL!

I just want to thank you all for all of your thoughts and prayers for our family. You have no idea how much it helps to know we are being lifted up by each of you and to know we are loved. So, thank you! I feel less alone each and every day!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Breath of Heaven

This is a song that was used to end the service today. The worship team did an amazing job and like I said before though I know I am certainly no Mary this song had significant meaning for me this day. This is my prayer for today:

Breath Of Heaven
Lyrics by Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.
I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.

The Magnificat Prayer of Mary

For those of you unfamiliar, this is Mary's prayer after visiting Elizabeth and realizing how blessed she truly is...

The Magnificat
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,my spirit rejoices in God my Saviorfor he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:the Almighty has done great things for me,and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy,the promise he made to our fathers,to Abraham and his children for ever.

Christmas = Hope!

I am feeling a bit better today. It has been very interesting to me how God's word seems to find you even when you feel so far from him. I woke up this morning and I really didn't feel like going to church. We ALWAYS go to church and I am tired and just wanted to relax. I knew however that that was likely not the answer to my sadness. Church is a place where we are to go to get renewed for the week and this morning that is exactly what I got.

I haven't reall been into Christmas lately. I find myself depressed with how commercialized the holiday has become and how it is pushed upon us as soon as Halloween has passed in each and every store completely shoving out Thanksgiving. It is hard to remain unexcited about Christmas though with two little boys in the house. The sermons at our church during this series are all on the Prayers of Christmas and last week it was interesting how much the message lined up with exactly what I needed to hear. It helped me to know that it was okay to pray for a miracle but also that I need to be open to God so that he can use me as he sees fit.

This week was on another prayer of Mary's (the magnificat). In her prayer Mary praises God for being who he is in spite of the fact that he has totally rocked her world. She is a lowly unwed teen who finds herself pregnant. This cannot be easy for Mary but she rejoices because she knows that God has a "mighty arm" and that despite what her circumstances look like she knows that God will be glorified and that she has been blessed and chosen to carry this special child. she knows his mighty arm will bring good out of the worst of circumstances. The prayer is from the book of Luke and though I must say that while I really cannot identify with Mary I have been able to find comfort in her story. I know that the baby I am carrying is not Jesus and I don't claim to be anything like Mary but I do belive that the child I am carrying has been placed just where he is for a very special purpose. I know that God has blessed me with this child no matter what the outcome. All children are a blessing from the Lord. I have been finding it tough these days to praise God. I have been angry with Him. But, I am trying very hard to change my mindset. I have read many stories in the Bible about righteous people who loved God and still suffered many tragedies in life. Justice may not happen on this Earth, but as was taught today, in the end God is a just God and he will be faithful to his promises if we patiently endure whatever life brings our way and have faith.

This is not to say that I still do not hurt tremendously for this baby. I am still praying each and every day that when we go for the second set of testing on December 18th we get our Christmas miracle. I know God can do it! But I guess either way, God is performing a miracle. I hope with all of my heart that the plan of God is to heal my baby boy and use him to further his kingdom, but if that is not the case I would never consider Happy to be anything but a miracle because I KNOW that good will be done in and through him despite our earthly circumstances.

Brian's message today gave me hope. I feel a little less targeted knowing that even people in Biblical times, even the mother of Jesus suffered a tremendous amount, but it was always brought to good. They never suffered without reason and purpose. Today I am thankful that the God we serve is a loving, compassionate and most of all a forgiving God. Maybe instead of feeling so down and victimized I should consider myself blessed that God gave me this baby at all. After all, we do not know what the end result will be. I AM learning to cherish each moment and that in and of itself is a gift. I know in the end justice will prevail.

So tonight we put up our Christmas tree and I am filled with a new hope. I know that this is just the beginning of a miracle and God has great things in store for this family if only we surrender ourselves to his plan. We surrender....we surrender to a mighty God who is so capable of bringing us out of this circumstance we find ourselves in, a God with a "mighty arm" who no matter what will bring it all around to good! The meaning and hope of Christmas this year is so much clearer to me than it has ever been! I am so thankful to Happy for that! He is a miracle!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Last night Howard took us to dinner when he got home and we had a really nice dinner at the Olive Garden which the boys LOVE! It was good to get out of the house and it did make me feel a bit better. It is tough though to go out because I am obviously pregnant by now and of course people always gush over the pregannt lady asking when I am due and such. It is great to have people excited for us but at the same time I am troubled about what is happening. I pray that God delivers us from this situation and when we go to our next ultrasound on December 18th they give us some hope!

I am super angry this morning. Life is so unjust that sometimes it is difficult to see how a loving God can allow those who love him and live according to his rule suffer so much. We took the boys to see Santa this morning at a club my dad belongs to. They had a great time and were so excited to get a gift! I haven't really been in the holiday spirit lately and this was good for us. I may even get the tree up tomorrow. As we were leaving the club though there were some women standing outside the door smoking. The one girl was standing there talking about how she is due to have her baby in January but they are worried that the baby may come early because she is already having contractions and went in to the hospital last night. She says this as she puffs her cigarette. My blood began to boil. Today I am asking God to help me to understand why some of us who try to make every right decision for our unborn child, who give up their own body for nine months and live healthier than ever before for the benefit of our babies can be allowed to suffer loss and worry of babies riddled with health issues while some mothers just could care less and they smoke, do drugs and abuse their bodies have completely worry free pregnancies and will never know this kind of loss. The injustice of that is beyond my comprehension today.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Please leave us messages...

Since this is basically my way of documenting my pregnancy and all of the feelings that go along with it I would REALLY appreciate it if those of you who are taking the time to read also took a moment to leave a message or comment. It could be a comment to me or just a prayer for Happy! I am going to put them in the baby book I am starting. I have changed the settings so that ANYONE can leave a comment or message. I think it would really help to know that we have people thinking of us each day. Thank you all! We love you so much!


Today I feel a range of emotions. I barely slept last night, each night I dream of this little baby. Most nights I dream that everything works out just fine. I am tired, agitated, and feeling like no one in the world could possibly understand. Most people avoid talking to me about the topic and those who do just don't know what to say. Thankfully I don't know another soul who has been in this situation and I certainly wouldn't wish it upon anyone. Having already lost one baby I know the immense physical pain and heart ache that came with that and it is all too fresh in my mind. They say that the pain of childbirth fades after you get to hold your baby and while i find that to be true for the MOST part with Luke and Ben's births, Isaacs is still so fresh. So many questions overshadowed his birth. I have many of these same questions today about this new baby boy.

I am confused and frustrated when each and every day someone comments on my "strength". I cannot even say how many times I have heard things like..."God doesn't give us more than we can handle." or "I know that I would never have the strength to go through what you are going through and God just knows what people can handle certain circumstances." Well both of these comments frustrate me. I will start with the God doesn't give us more than we can handle comment. When I hear this it makes me angry because quite frankly I don't want to handle it! If that is really what it is about I would much rather be weak. It has been my experience that God ALWAYS gives more than we can handle so we have to lean on Him. I don't feel strong in any way. Now, to the second comment. God knows what people can handle tragedy so he must just bestow it upon those who can handle it....give me a break! That just makes me feel even more targeted than I already do! So with this theory if we handle circumstances we are given with God's grace and lean on him and make it through victoriously he will continue to know we can handle these things and forever bestow tragedy upon us. I surely hope that that is not the case because if it is I just want to crumble to avoid this heartache ever again!

The thing is...I certainly don't want to be sensitive to everything anyone says to me to try and provide comfort. I KNOW that no one knows what words to give me....that is because there are NONE! No one really understands what I am going through right now and that is OK! I just need friends who will show love to me and listen. When unsure of what to say I find it best just to give a hug and say, I love you, support you and am praying for you. It isn't helpful when people avoid the topic because it just causes awkwardness. (as I use that word I can only think of Andy's description of awkward which is funny for anyone who knows him) I can assure you that I am thinking of Happy every moment of each and every day. I am praying with every ounce of my soul that he makes it through this a healthy boy who will show the world the amazing miracles God is capable of.

Which brings me to my next struggle I am praying each and every day that God will heal Happy and we will all be amazed by God's miracle in our family. I want to believe that that is what WILL happen. I am having trouble with this immensely. I know that God wants us to have a positive attitude and believe that he will deliver us from circumstances such as this. We are to ask and expect him to deliver. This is what I have a problem with. I am asking and I know he CAN deliver but because of my previous experience I am not convinced that he WILL intervene. We prayed very hard for Isaac and had everyone praying for him and yet God chose not to change that circumstance and I will be the first to tell you that I am a better person, mom, wife and friend because of him. Though he did not live he was a miracle and I firmly believe that but we prayed for him to be healed and he was not. So, how can I know that God will heal this baby. His track record with me isn't so great. Yet I want to believe he WILL. So, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety because I know that I should believe and expect a miracle and yet I have doubt. I know that my plan and God's do not always match up. I want a healthy baby with every ounce of my being. I have never wanted anything more, and I want to believe that the God who loves me will hear my cry and feel my pain and deliver me the miracle I so desperately wish for, but someone tell me how to do that!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I am feeling SO tired today...I feel like all I want to do is sleep. I am feeling frustrated. I am mostly frustrated with doctors right now. I dread going back to Pittsburgh. I want someone to talk to me as an intelligent mom not just some random number. I so do not understand what is going on with this baby. It would be nice to have someone sit and thoroughly explain what they are seeing and what they think the prognosis is. I know that doctors are certainly not the end all be all and I know that God can intervene and change circumstances at any time, I am just having difficulty rationalizing why I even am going back to Pittsburgh.

On a positive note, the Mischler family I spoke of earlier did have their appointment yesterday and God DID perform a miracle. Their little girl is going to live! She does have Spina Bifida but it is a more mild case and while she will have a few medical issues to overcome they expect great things. I am so glad to know that this family will not have to go through the intense heartache of losing a child. God is good.

Tonight Howard is taking the kids to see Santa, Luke is excited. I am having a Pampered Chef Party. I am looking forward to that but am very tired. I just want some answers and it seems there are none. Well, I better get to cleaning!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Struggling today...

This morning I find myself struggling more and more. I am trying so hard to just be patient and wait to see what God has in store. I am eating well and resting so that I am giving Happy the best chances possible, but ultimately I know that this is completely out of my control. No matter how hard I try, I cannot control this situation. The thought of going back to Pittsburgh makes me nauseated. It is still 3 long weeks away but it was not a pleasant experience and it was very difficult to be positive there. Today I am feeling a little sorry for myself. I am wondering what God is trying to show me. I am trying so hard to live and learn and yet each and every time I think I may have a moment to breathe, tragedy strikes again. I have joked that I wouldn't dare walk outside in a lightening storm but in a way I am not joking. I feel kind of targeted. I mean I am totally losing the odds game. We all have bad things happen in life but as I look back at my life I see a trainwreck and good always comes out of the pain, but I just need a moment of rest. I am tired today. I am feeling weak and am questioning everything yet have no answers. I pray that God will deliver me from this situation and heal my little guy. I long to hold him in my arms and let him know how deeply I love him. His brothers are anxiously awaiting him. Luke is so sensitive, and he knows something is up. If he doesn't know where I am he constantly will come to find me and "check on me". It breaks my heart that he is worried. His view of what it means to get a new baby is so different from most children. He knows what happened with Isaac and was confused when Ben came home. Now, I am just praying I don't have more to explain to him after this. He already hugs the baby every morning and talks to him through my belly if that is the microphone to Happy's heart! It is so sweet. Today I am just praying for God's grace and strenghth. I cannot do this on my own. I am growing weary.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sometimes Miracles Hide!

I firmly believe that sometimes miracles hide. That was the song that played during Isaac's memorial DVD. In the last few days I have had a few people ask what we are going to "do" about this pregancy. It baffles me really...I mean what does anyone "do" when they are pregnant...they have a baby! I see that as my one and only option. I will carry this baby for as long as God will allow and I will rejoice in every moment. Some women NEVER get the opportunity to feel what it is like to grow a life inside of them. That in and of itself is an amazing blessing. I do not believe that God gave me this baby so I could choose to terminate the pregnancy. God DOESN'T make mistakes! This baby was placed inside my womb for a reason and just because he is not perfect according to world standards does not make him any less important than any one of us! All lives matter! It is what we do with them that makes a difference. So, I don't even really see carrying this baby as a is what you do when you get pregnant. When you choose to get pregnant you are never guaranteed a smooth ride. This baby will be perfect because all things that God creates are perfect! Who am I to stand in the way of that.

I know that Isaac's brief life has made such an impact on myself, my family and so many others that I cannot think of this baby as anything less than an amazing miracle. His life is precious. None of us know what tomorrow brings. I would rather experience 9 months of exceptional circumstances than a life filled with mediocrity. None of us are perfect and some of us show it on the with physical disabilities...others have much deeper issues. But regardless we all have them and I believe that we are all in for an amazing experience with Happy Bolte!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another day...

Today was a pretty good day. I took the boys to a friend's house to play with her boys and we all had fun. It was nice to get out and do something normal. Then we all had lunch and rest time. We went and had dinner and ran to Target. Overall a typical day. Uneventful and nice. It has been nice having Howard home the last few days as it has given me a chance to rest a bit and spend time as a family. We are happiest just hanging out with the boys! I feel good today. Full of hope and life. Happy has been very active today. It is such a blessing that I get to feel him move. I cannot wait until Howard and the boys can feel him from the outside! He is a miracle!

On another note I need to ask for prayer for another friend. Oddly enough I got an email from today that informed me that the Mischler family who attends church with us is expecting another baby at the end of April and they had a sonogram earlier today and found that they are having a girl. The sonogram showed that the baby's brain was not developing properly and there was some swelling. They are being sent to Pittsburgh on Wednesday November 28th to have further testing. This is their fourth baby also. they have two boys and a little girl...all 5 and under. They are a wonderful family and it breaks my heart to know that they are going through this. So I ask that you all pray for them and their new little one on the way. We all know that God is in control and that he performs miracles each and every day. I pray that they have a positive experience on Wednesday and that the doctors are very kind and supportive as this is a trying time.

I am off to bed... I love to lie down...the first 10 minutes Happy dances in there and it is so fun to feel him moving! It is my favorite time of day! Thank you all for continuing in prayer for us and please add the Mischler family to your list also as this is a time of uncertainty for us all!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A new day...

Each day I find that my feelings are just a bit different. We got up and went to church this morning and I found myself having a difficult time praising God. I am still having a bit of anger toward him. I know that this baby is a blessing and I have been ultra blessed in my life but I want this baby to be healthy. As I stood there reflecting and crying amidst the praise music I realized that what I may be getting so angry with God for may first of all not even be an issue. It isn't over yet, and God may heal this little guy and there is always the slight chance that the doctors are wrong.

Then came the sermon and today the sermon was about prayer and it really put things into persepective for me. I pray continually that God will heal this baby. See, I have been confused as to what to pray for. I know God CAN heal him and I know the Bible says that we should ask and expect God to answer. I struggle with that because I know that my plan may not be the same as God's plan. I have been a witness to that before. Today I learned that it is okay to pray for both. I can pray for God to heal our baby and I can also turn myself over to His plan and submit to whatever comes our way knowing that the blessing is that I am not in control and my plan does not matter. God has it under control and it will all work out for good. That is not to say that I don't still struggle with this idea, I mean sometimes I think to myself, I already lost one child and endured unbearable heartache and overcome it, so I have paid my dues! But I know that is not how God works. We are all a work in progress and I am no exception. Yes, we came through the trials and tribulations of yesterday but that doesn't mean that the battle is over. So, today I submit, "God my life is your life and I pray that you work in me and through me whatever will bring you glory. I pray that you allow us to give birth to a healthy happy baby, but if that is not your plan I know that what ever you bring us to you will bring us through. Use our family, we submit to your perfect plan."

I will rejoice in today because for today I still have hope. For today I am the mother to two healthy happy boys here, one in heaven and one performing a miracle inside my body. None of us know what tomrorow brings so I will rejoice in today! We are very excited to have been chosen to be the parents of this special little boy no matter what and we know that God chose us to be his parents because we are the perfect people to love him JUST the way he NEEDS to be loved!

Howard has named him Happy! He is convinced that this little guy will be born happy and will make everyone around him happy...therefore Happy. I have tried to argue that Happy is not a name but he throws Happy Gilmore in my face and it is difficult to argue with that, not that Happy Gilmore is someone you want to name your child after.

So friends...continue to pray for us and for Happy! We are praying for a healthy little boy but also for God to use us how he sees fit. The control lies within Him!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


My heart is still aching...the wounds of Isaac's death are fresh in my mind as I anticipate the birth of my new son. I have so many questions but the reality is right now I MUST wait for answers. I will have another scan on December 18th. We pray that this scan shows major brain development. I pray that this baby is completely healed. Many of the answers I want will not come until birth. Sonograms are limited. I know that this is in God's hands and he will work it out for our good. I will love and cherish this child no matter what package he comes in. Continuing to trust god in the midst of painful and seemingly unjust circumstances is the only way for survival and victory. I know that when I no longer know what to say or how to pray that the Holy Spirit takes over for me and these prayers move the hand of God.

We have to go through difficult and painful circumstances to become more like Jesus. Hebrews 5:8 says that "although he was a son, He learned obedience through what he suffered." In becoming more christlike it is often a painful process. I have heard it described this way...Imagine clay when it is pressed into a mold. There is always excess clay and some must be pushed out and trimmed off. Imagine if clay had feelings...this is what it is like to be molded in Christ's likeness.

So, each and every day I am hurting and confused. I am using my energy to care for myself, my family and this baby. I must surround myself with positive people who will support our decisions and will understand. If you are a friend of mine and you are reading this...please DON'T be afraid to call or ask about the situation. I guarantee I am already thinking about the baby. I feel like everyone is afraid to talk about him because no one wants to hurt my feelings but the truth is that he is just as much my child as Luke, Isaac, or Ben and my love for him is deep and true. My heart is aching but I know this is not over yet! Please pray for us, and continue to be my friend. I am the same person just hurting a little more these days and I need my friends now more than ever. We are going to need an army to get through this and I pray that a healthy baby is the end result! Help me to stay focused and positive. Send prayers and scripture my way. I need to surround myself in faith because that is the only thing that can get us through this!

The next several days...

Over the next few days my emotions teetered. One moment I was filled with hope and knew that God would bless me with a healthy baby, even if we had medical issues or disabilities to overcome I would give it everything I had because of my love for God and for this new son. Other times, I just wanted to hide. I barely talked to anyone because no one knows what to say to me. No one wants to call and bother us. Sometimes I felt alone and depressed. My mother ended up committing suicide when I was nine. Some say that she never got over the loss of my stillborn brother. My father and my grandma called to be sure I wasn't going over the edge myself.

I am angry, angry that there are these questions fogging my pregnancy. This is supposed to be a joyous time for our family and we are riddled with stress and apprehension. I am angry that I asked for genetic counseling after Isaac was born and I was told it was unneccessary. I am angry about that until I realize if something had shown a genetic cause I may have never had Benjamin and he is such an amazing blessing! I realized that despite my anger and confusion, this was all out of my control. This was in fact how God had planned things to go. As difficult as this road may be this is the one I must travel. I am a mom and I love my children and I want to believe with every ounce of my being that this will all turn out just fine, yet with every kick, I wonder if my eyes will ever meet the eyes of this little guy kicking me. I never did get to see Isaac's eyes. I do know that whatever happens that it will be great because God's plan is always great and though we don't see what he sees and we cannot understand, we have to give it to him. I am struggling to do that each and every day! Day by day and hour by hour I will make the most of the time I have with this amazing little guy. That is the reason for this blog. I want to remember this pregnancy and all of the ups and downs no matter what happens.

That night..

I was so glad to see Luke and Benjamin when we got back. I am so thankful to have such blessings in my life. They light up a room and make everything seem right again. I was so exhausted and we had so many people praying for us all day and waiting to hear the news and I was just plain too tired to deliver the news. I got home and took a nap. I then sent an email to friends and family explaining everything because I was to weary to go through the whole story over and over again.

I needed to stay positive and focus on taking care of myself and this life inside of me. This battle is far from over and I will not give up! I may only have the duration of this pregnancy to enjoy this gift God has bestowed on me but I am going to treat it with extreme reverance. While I know that this is entirely out of my control, I will do everything that is within my power to take care of and protect this unborn life! So in an act of self preservation, I wrote the email, ate dinner, played with the kids and we all went to bed!

The ride home...

The two hour ride home was mostly silent. I had so many thoughts rushing through my head. I am sure Howard did too. I read from a devotional we have been reading and the message was profound. The message was titled " A perfect plan" It used scripture fom Phillipians 1:6 - "And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.


Ephesians 2: 10
"For we are God's handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them.

I began to imperfect as I am and as this baby may be, God IS perfection. The plan he has for our lives IS perfect because he IS the Perfect Planner. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus and his ablility NOT our selves and our own disabilities. The book went on to say that as soon as we turn our attention and say "but wait, I am not perfect, I fail." We have taken our attention off of God and allowed Satan in to distract us with wrong thinking. Too often we cry to Jesus to heal us and to take care of our issues and deliver us from our problems, but we don't expect good things to happen. we allow our minds to dwell on the negative aspects.

As I sat in the car my mind kept steering toward the negative and I was constantly trying to pull it back. I truly with all of my heart believe that God CAN save my baby, but I am just not sure he will. I mean, he didn't before. I have been down this windy, painful road. I am just not sure what to think. I mean I believe in God's power but I know that our plan is not always His and so our prayers go unanswered. I believe that Isaac's six days on this earth made me a better person. I have a richer life for knowing the love I have for him, but the pain remains and still stings each and every day. No one WANTS to go through that again. I want a healthy baby and I know that that is what I need to pray for. But will God answer?

Back to genetics...

So we met again with Michelle. She had spoken with the cardiologist and he had confirmed that he thought too that there may be a hole in the baby's heart. She expressed concern that because there were multiple things going on with our son that he may have a chromosomal abnormality and that the amnio was the only way to find out for sure. She explained that they generally only do an amnio before 25 weeks or at the end of a pregnancy due to the risk so I would need to either do it today or the next appointment or I would have to wait until the end. I decided against it. I want to know what is going on but in my mind I was already losing the risk game. I mean come on what are the chances that a mom gets pregnant four times and two of the four children have serious defects. I knew that regardless of this baby's condition, he was a gift from God. All children are and I was being trusted to care for and nurture him. I knew I would continue with my pregnancy NO MATTER what and so the reasons didn't really matter and the test wasn't even guaranteed to give any definitive answers. So, no amnio for me. We scheduled our next scan for December18th and then it came...she was respectful about it and I know she HAS to ask but, she asked how we felt about terminating the pregnancy. She said that in PA 22 weeks is the limit so if we are going to go that route we would have to act soon. Howard and I both answered "out of the question" immediately. There was NO hesitation. It was not our place to take this situation into our own hands and we know that God CAN heal this baby. God doesn't make mistakes and we are not in control so we just gave it to Him.

The Cardiologist...

Now we were in another exam room and I was again lying on a table while someone performed a sonogram test. This time it was on the baby's heart. They used an echocardiogram to examine the chambers and development of my son's little heart. I didn't even watch the screen this time because nothing looked recognizable to me. The doctor came in and he looked at the pictures and examined the heart. He then drew us a diagram of what he thought was the problem. There was a small hole between the two bottom chambers of the baby's heart but otherwise it was functioning just fine. He also noted that the muscle seemed a bit thick but everything seemed to be working. He also said that sometimes these holes close on their own before or shortly after birth. Because our baby had multiple problems he thought this one likely would not heal itself but it could DEFINITELY be fixed he said. He said it would be a major surgery but the success rate is extremely high and they perform these surgeries all the time. It was hope! He led us back to the genetics waiting room .

This room was filled with crying pregnant moms and stunned expectant fathers. The pain in the room was thick. We sat there with a little hope knowing that two of the known abnomalities were repairable and the third was still unknown and would be until the next ultrasound. I sat there praying that God would help this baby's brain to grow and prove them all wrong. I also sat there pondering the exact accuracy of these tests. It seemed each time someone looked they found something different. I prayed they were all wrong.

Meeting with a Genetic Counselor...

The next step was meeting with Michelle, a genetic counselor. She was very kind and asked if we had any questions, ANY QUESTIONS??? All I had were questions and virtually NO answers. I tried to collect myself and I asked her what the prognosis would be. She said she did not know and recommended an amniocentesis to try and find the cause of these problems. She explained that a needle would be inserted into my abdomen and about a tablespoon of amniotic fluid would be extracted. Sonogram would guide the needle to keep the baby safe. This test would tell us if the cause for the abnormalities was chromosomal.

I had gone to this office dead set against the amnio but was considering it. I asked how it could help the baby in the long run and she said it would help by helping us to prepare for what was to come IF the problem was in fact chromosomal. If a name was given to the diagnosis they would know what other problems to look for and I could plan on and prepare as needed. I was confused. I asked about the risk as I had seen the risk for this procedure to be 1 in 200 babies lost. She said at this particular facility the risk was 1 in 1000. I told her I needed more time to consider it. I then asked about the clubfoot. She said it was definitely treatable. I asked about his heart...they said there "might" be a hole in his heart. I wasn't sure what to do with a might. She said she could talk to the cardiologist and see if we could get in for a fetal echocardiogram. I said I would appreciate that. That left the problem with his underdeveloped brain. At this point it is about two weeks small. This is the BIG problem. IF his brain continues to develop that would be a very good start. If it does not there would be little hope. At this point he would be born in a similar state to Isaac.

She said we could go see the cardiologist and she would meet with us afterward so we went.

The next appointment...

We left very early in the morning to be in Pittsburgh on time and continued to hope and pray that the baby was just fine. I was nervous but knew God had this in control.

At 10 they called me in to begin the scan. These tests just make me sick! I think it is horrible to sit for 30 minutes with a tech who is probing and measuring but cannot tell you a thing! The tech was great. She explained everything. She told us that the baby's head seemed to be measuring just fine and that everything looked okay to her. Before she went to get a doctor she said that she did not see any major abnormalities other than the nuchal fold seemed a bit thick but that it wasn't necessarily an issue. We breathed a sigh of relief.

THEN...the doctor came in. She was very cold and abrupt. She scanned my belly for a few minutes before sitting down and asking what we already knew. Which was basically NOTHING. She put her hand on my knee and said..."Your baby has significant issues" from what I see I see that the baby's brain is measuring quite small, he has a clubfoot and a small hole in his heart. There is obviously something going on here and it may be chromosomal. I am referring you to genetics where you will meet with a counselor to discuss further testing. I am so sorry. And she left....I despised this woman. I shut down completely. She treated my baby just as another case. Significant issues?? What does that mean? We are talking about my son! Not some fetus! I wanted answers but was feeling so shut down I didn't want to talk to anyone!

I HATE ultrasounds!

On November 15th we were scheduled for our routine ultrasound to check the baby's anatomy. We were also hoping to find out the gender and we felt the appointment would go just fine. WRONG again! We did find that we were expecting a 4th boy! That was a bit of a shock to my system, but I truly was excited! The ultrasound tech did not lead us to believe anything was out of the ordinary and we went on to my appointment with the doctor. This is where things changed. Howard and I were in the exam room waiting and joking that there weren't any good boy names left, as we had used them all. The doctor came in with that look on his face. He said, I am so sorry to tell you this but we think something may be going on with the baby. Like Isaac, his head is measuring small. It may be nothing but we are going to send you to Pittsburgh to get it checked. If it were anyone else we would probably wait it out and see but we cannot ignore your history. I am sorry.

WHAT!? I was so confused. I had been told that Isaac's illness had been caused by an infection and that it was not something I needed to continue to worry about. I had asked for genetic testing and had been told that it was unnecessary. How could this be happeing again? The doctor said that there may be a genetic link and we needed to get it checked out.

I felt completely betrayed. I had been told that genetic testing was NOT necessary. What is wrong with me? I can't even grow babys well! I was in total shock. I didn't know what to think. Isaac was a blessing to us and I would never regret having him, but the thought of going through all of that again made me nauseated. I relived Isaac's birth and death over and over in my mind for the next day or so.

The next morning I called first thing to schedule my next appointment. Finally around 3 pm I got a call and my next appointment would be November 20th at 9:30. I clung to the hope that it was nothing. I prayed ever so passionately that my baby's head and brain would grow and develop.

And again???

July 2007 was an emotional month for me. July 20 marked the death of Isaac and I had been asked to speak and give my testimony at chuch on July 21 and 22. I was so honored and could not have thought of a better way to honor my son. This testimony can be heard by going to and going to the podcasts and chosing THS Kristy Bolte. It was a very difficult thing to do but also very healing. It has been an amazing journey.

But that weekend I wasn't feeling quite right and it was a feeling that I found all too familiar. I knew it wasn't the stress. I was pregnant again! AAAAAAAAHHH! But I decided not to tell a soul until after the weekend was over. I took a test and it confirmed what I already knew. I was not sure how my husband was going to react, but to my delight he was overjoyed. We would be having another baby this April!

We decided we woudl keep it to ourselves for a while just to enjoy a special secret between us. But at 9 weeks I began bleeding and had to go to the hospital for an ultrasound. We ended up telling Howard's mom so that she coudl watch the boys while we went to get checked. As I have stated, my feelings toward ultrasounds are very different and I was in agony over this one. The first tech could not get a heartbeat so she had to call in a second tech who found it right away. they sent the tests to my doctor who confirmed that everything looked just fine. We went home and breathed a sigh of relief.

The pregnancy progressed as the others had and we were beginning to feel comfortable that things with this baby would be just fine.

Expecting AGAIN??

About three months after Isaac's death, I found out I was pregnant with another baby! I was not expecting this just yet, but we had gotten all of the results from Isaac's autopsy and they had determined that he had died from an infection he contracted in the womb. It was not genetic so there was no need to fear that the incident would happen again with this baby. I found out that my due date was August 12. Isaac's due date had been August 6th the year before. These baby's would be almost exactly one year apart.

I had so many confusing emotions throughout this pregnancy. I was desperately hoping that the birth of a new baby would take away some of the sting of the loss i was still feeling. Again my pregnancy went on uneventfully. I was monitored closely and dreaded each and every ultrasound. They constantly monitored his growth and he constantly surprised us all. My first two babies were 5 lb 3 oz and 4 lb 13 oz and this baby was going to outweigh them both! On July 27th 2006, six days after the anniversary of Isaac's death, Benjamin Oliver was brought into this world a healthy 8 lb 6 oz gift from the Lord above! We were so excited to have Benjamin.

It was good to know that my body could still produce a healthy baby. Despite my efforts I feel that my body failed Isaac in some way. I felt defective and this proved that I could do it. Having Ben did not take away from the pain I still felt but it added so much joy! He is an amazing little red headed hot tempered toddler who lights up a room! We have a wonderful bright and adorable 4 year old, Luke and a rambunctious toddler, Benjamin.

Losing Isaac

July 2007 marked the two year anniversary of our son Isaac's death. It also marked the first birthday of our son Benjamin. This year especially it was a bittersweet month for our family. We absolutely treasure the six days that Isaac graced us with his presence on this earth but I ache for him daily. I am also very aware of how blessed I have been in my life to also have two beautiful healthy boys at home. Until you experience the loss of a baby I don't think it is possible to fully understand the true miracle it is to have a healthy one.

My pregnancy with Isaac was uneventful and textbook. My my first son Luke was born 5 weeks early so around the 35 week mark I began the sprint toward preparing for our second son. At 37 weeks I went in for my routine appointment feeling like the day was drawing near. The appointment went well and at the end I asked the doctor if she could tell if the baby was head up or down because I had a distinct feeling that he was not in position. She agreed and decided to send me for an ultrasound to confirm my fear.

This particular ultrasound on July 14th 2005 would change my life forever and the way I would view an ultrasound. Until this point the ultrasound was a really neat way to get a good peek at the baby and it was so much fun seeing him squirm around. It made everything so real! This ultrasound proved to be different. The technician was especially quiet and she continued to try to measure the baby's head size. After about 20 minutes she explained that the baby seemed to have an abnormally small head and she could see fluid on his brain. We were being sent to meet with a doctor to discuss a c section immediately.

The meeting with the doctor is somewhat a blur to me. I heard what she said but was in shock. Howard and I were planning on going out for lunch together since we had a sitter for Luke and who knew when we would get the opportunity to enjoy eachother's company like that again for a while. Well this day there would be no lunch. We were taken immediately across the street to the hospital where they began prepping me for surgery. It was all so surreal. It was like the world was spinning out of control and I was standing still. Everything was moving so fast that my mind just could not comprehend what was happening. We were told to be prepared for the baby to be flown to a nearby hospital for proper care and that my husbad would go with him. I would be ALONE and without my baby.

The baby was born and I heard no cry. They told me that they were takin him to the NICU for evaluation and they would take very good care of him. I was sewn up and taken to recovery. Howard got to go and be with the baby while I sat and cried silently. I could not sob. If I tried it felt as though my body was being ripped in half.

Soon the OB and the neonatologist came in and told me that it did not look good and they would not be transporting the baby because there was nothing that could be done. I needed to think about what kind of measures I wanted to be taken to care for the baby. They explained that for some reason the baby's brain quit developing around 21 weeks and he did not have enough brain tissue to be able to function normally. They explained that he was blind and deaf and that they were not sure if he would make it through the hour, day, week or month. Howard and I were both just completely shocked.

Two weeks prior Howard and I had been baptized and decided to take our relationship with Jesus one step farther. I could not understand how a loving and compassionate God could allow such things to happen. If this was what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus, I wanted no part! He was a traitor! I shut down for most of the day and told everyone that I didn't want to see anyone not even the baby. Around 8 o'clock that evening a nurse came in and started moving me to a wheelchair. She explained that she was taking me to see my baby. I told her that I didn't want to go and she kindly ignored my pleas. She said he was amazing and I needed to see him. She wheeled me to the NICU and she sure was right! He was a sight for sore eyes. He was perfect! He had the most amazing head full of thick shiny soft dark hair, it was like fur! He was the most precious thing I had ever seen. I held him and I sobbed. My dreams for him dying with him.

I had told myself that if I just didn't hold him, I would not love him and it wouldn't hurt so much when he left me. I could not have been more wrong. I loved him already. We were bonded. I had felt him for nine months moving inside of me. We had a deep connection that I could not deny. I loved him more passionately that I could have ever imagined and my heart was breaking at the thought of being left on this earth without him in my arms. He was my son. My Isaac Matthew.

We spent six long days caring for him in the NICU and on the sixth day when we arrived in the morning the nurse came to me and explained that she firmly believed that he had waited for us. His vitals were dropping and they were losing him. We had chosen not to have drastic measures taken to prolong his life. We knew God was in control and we wanted his will for our son no matter how much it hurt us. I ran out of the room and threw up while a nurse held my hair. I did not want to see him. I was terrified. I could not see my baby struggle or suffer. I wanted to run away. But my wonderful husband brought our son to me and I am so grateful for those last moments with Isaac. I was so blessed to be there when this amazing gift came into my life and I was there as he quietly drifted out. We held him and talked to him. The doctor came in and checked his heart. It had stopped. They told us we could keep him as long as we needed and to let them know when we wanted them to take him. We said our goodbyes. We knew that Isaac no longer lived in his earthly body and we handed him over.

I left the hospital that day, July 20 2005, the most painful day of my life. I went into the hospital to have a baby and I was going home empty handed. I felt angry, cheated and betrayed. My body ached, my milk was coming in and it all reminded me of what I was missing. Thankfully because of my wonderful husband, son, family and friends we made it through this season of our life and though we still miss Isaac each and every day we know we will be with him again. He was a gift to us. A perfect gift from God. For some reason, God knew that we could love baby Isaac like no one else and he entrusted us to be his parents. I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.