Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I was brave!

Well today was the photo shoot. I have to say that it went pretty well. The photographer who offered to do this for us is Kenny Sturm and he was wonderful with the kids and with us. He made us feel quite comfortable and got some great shots that we are very happy with! I am going to share just a few tonight because I got brave enough to bare my belly and let's just say some airbrusing needs to be done as my belly looks like a roadmap of the us after four kids!

So here are a few....I will post more as we get them touched up a bit...

Picture day....

Well, today is it, it is the day of the photo shoot with the NILMDTS photographer. Our sitting is at 4:40. I am so nervous yet very excited to see some of the pictures. As I scanned the pictures of Isaac last night I realized that we truly only have about seven photos of him. That makes me sad to think that that is all I have and will ever have. He was such a beautiful little guy and the pictures we do have don't even do him justice. He had the most amazing head of black hair! I wish I would have gotten just a picture of that! But at the time my thoughts were not on photos or making that point it was all about survival...what to do to get through the day in once piece.

As I think back about our time with Isaac I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember every thought and feeling I remember being terrified and shocked. I remember how strange it seems to place a newborn baby in an intensive care unit with all of the crazy beeping and weird smells. I remember NOT wanting to see Isaac because if I did not see him, maybe it wouldn't hurt so much. I will forever be thankful for the nurse who moved my sorry butt to a wheelchair the moment I was allowed to get up and hauling me down to see him. I am thankful for ALL of the nurses who knew better than I did what I needed at that time and they just did them. They took pictures, forced me to be with him in the beginning and they also forced me to be with them in the end and I must say that though it is not an experience I would necessarily wish on anyone as I look back I am so thankful. I would never have come into contact with those wonderful people without Isaac. I would have never known that love and the strange peace that comes from being there when your child enters the world and also being there at the moment he drifts out. I witnessed his first and last breaths.

Though the times I am describing were so filled with heartache, my heart is also filled with the memories of those days and I am so thankful I was able to experience all of it even in it's raw nature. It is weird because as I have stated before I was asked to give my testimony at our church this past summer, actually on the weekend that marked the anniversary of Isaac's death. This was also the weekend I found out I was pregnant with Happy. I stood on that stage and I gave the Cliff's Notes version of our story (if you are interested, you can go to and click on the podcast sermons at the bottom. Mine is the True Human Story or THS labeled Kristy) and I remember saying that if I had it to do all over again I would. Of course when I said that I had no intention of doing so, but here I am.

Maybe God WILL heal this baby and I pray each and every day that he does, but if he doesn't, this is a road I know. I now know exactly what I would have done differently to enjoy Isaac more. The element of shock has been removed this time and we have the time now to think clearly and plan for what we want.

Our doctor from Pittsburgh called yesterday and stated that they are quite certain that they have found a diagnosis based on Isaac's autopsy reports and photos and comparing them to what is going on with this baby. He has to confirm a few things and then he will be calling me this week. I guess in the grand scheme of things, this means very little to me. I don't really need a name for what my boys are going through. Though they are similar they are also different. I don't believe anyone can know for sure what is going on until Happy is born. The doctor is hoping that this diagnosis will help us determine if "survival" is possible and what decisions we want to make about Happy's birth and the days following. I am OK with not knowing. I plan to continue hoping and praying for a miracle yet, the realist in me is thinking ahead about the what if so while we are hoping for the best I also intend to give thought to all of those difficult questions the doctors will have that no parent should EVER have to answer.

Though I have a difficult time understanding all of this I also would not change anything about our situation. I know that God is using us and will continue to do so. I know that Isaac brought so much to our lives that we never could have imagined. I am sure Happy will do the same no matter what.

So tonight we get to make some beautiful memories with Happy while he is still safe in my belly. Though I am nervous I am also so thankful that this photographer is willing to do this for us and this is one regret I won't have with Happy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More pictures of Happy

No words needed...

I couldn't wait!

Ok so maybe not are some more tonight! Unfortunately what you see here is ALL we have. We were not thinking straight enough at the time to get a camera and get shooting...thankfully the nurses in the NICU thought of it and got at least a few great pictures.

Isaac Matthew...

Today I had to scan a couple of pictures for our doctor in Pittsburgh of Isaac, they think they are close to a diagnosis. I will likely post more tomorrow. I just wanted to share what a beautiful little guy he was with all of you. Looking at that face how could a person think this child was anything but perfect!? God doesn't say SOME children are a gift from Him, but ALL children are a gift from God and looking at Isaac I know that is so true! It is only through God that an ending can be a beginning! I thank God for choosing me and trusting me to be Isaac's mom!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Feet in the ribs...

Well, for the most part Happy has been much gentler on me up until this point than the other boys, but he is making up for lost time. As I mentioned before I work teaching online for Sylvan. Tonight I worked four hours in a row which means sitting down in a chair for four hours straight...this is tough especially when pregnant. So the ENTIRE time I worked tonight Happy braced what I am assuming (and hoping) are his feet into my right ribcage! Every few minutes he just has to stretch out and push up on my is the weirdest yet best feeling ever! Though for four hours it was slightly uncomfortable and annoying...bittersweet I guess....

Today I took the afternoon and cleaned my closet and bedroom that were in desperate need. My closet was overflowing with things "I wish" would fit! So I took care of that today and put a rocking chair that Howard had gotten me for our wedding in the bedroom in a way this is my preparation and hope for bringing Happy home. He will need very little but I LOVE to rock my babies! Ben still needs the rocker in his room so now we have one in ours in hopes that I will get to sit and rock him as well.

Thank you very much to the Hess family for dinner! It was great! Apple Crisp happens to be one of my favorite food groups aside from the ice cream food group and I had a fork into that before you pulled out of the driveway!

Here are some specific things we could use prayer for this week:

A miracle! We are still hoping for the best and knowing God can heal Happy! We pray he does!

A positive experience with our photoshoot...I am nervous yet very excited.

Happy finds his way to get his Head DOWN and that he stays put that way to avoid c section.

Our entire family is able to find peace in knowing that this baby is such a miracle no matter what the outcome.

That God continues to draw near and give us peace at this time of uncertainty...

This weekend at church we finished a series on Habakkuk and Sundays sermon seemed especially appropriate. I feel I have kind of prayed some of the same prayers as Habakkuk did. I have expressed my frustration, showed my appreciation though sometimes it is tough. In the end Habakkuk basically said to God....Ok, I know you are an awesome God. You are so capable of doing the impossible and I know that your plans are good and that in time this will all work out, but man we could really use some of your miracles now!

So, God, I know that you are there! I know your track record, and I know that through you ALL things are possible and that you have an awesome plan and though that plan includes hills and valleys in the end you will do everything with my best interest at heart. But things are seeming really dark and we could really use one of your miracles NOW! I am trying to be patient and I do believe with all of my heart that Awesome things are to come, but I could really use an AWESOME thing now!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guarding my heart...

In some of my internet research I have come across websites and blogs of many families enduring trials similar to my own. I found the website of a woman named Nancy Guthrie who is a Christian speaker and writer who years ago had her second child only to learn of a genetic disorder that she was affected by. She was told that her baby daughter would live only six months and that is about what happened. Knowing that they had a 25% chance of this syndrome affecting each child they had the family decided to take surgical measures to prevent pregnancy. A year later Nancy was again pregnant! They were shocked and went for prenatal testing which revealed that this baby too had the syndrome that took their daughter just over a year prior. They had another baby, a son and this little guy blessed their lives for 6 months also. So, Nancy has written a book called The One Year Book of Hope and at our bookstore date the other night I purchased the book. It has scripture and thoughts for each day as well as prayers and meditations. It is good to hear from someone who truly understands the heartache.

My Bible verse for today in this book is from Phillipians 4:6-7 "Don't worry about anything; istead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It goes on to explain how vulnerable a broken heart is and that a broken heart must be very carefully guarded because when a heart has been broken it is very soft and pliable. A heart in this state can either soften toward God or harden toward Him.

We must be willing to use our softened hearts to become like clay for God to use and the softer the clay the easier it is to work with. In his letter to the Phillipians, Paul explains how to keep our hearts from hardening. He says, "Tell God what you need. Thank Him for all He has done. If you do this...His peace will guard you hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

So in a situation where your heart is broken, it seems that the thing to do is to just continually be in prayer. God wants us to tell Him what we need. One important thing I have learned is that I not only NEED to tell God what I need, I also need to thank him for all of the blessings I have in my life. I need to praise God and thank him for who He is and all He has already done. Sometimes we get so caught up in our current circumstances that we forget to be thankful for what we DO have. Gratitude goes a long way.

My heart is still broken...there are many things that cause me pain, confusion, and anger. But I am thankful that I serve a God who is sovereign. Circumstances change, people change, the world changes, but God is the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER. He will always be there. I am so thankful that I have a God that I can count on. I am thankful for the blessings in my life. I have the best husband anyone could ever ask for. He is my best friend and the love of my life not to mention the most amazing father I have ever seen. He has a heart for God and is one of the most amazing people I have EVER met. I have had the opportunity to experience the MIRACLE of pregnancy not once, but FOUR times in my 29 years on this Earth thus far. I have two children at home who amaze me every day with their wisdom beyond their years, they are such a light even on the darkest day. I have a son in Heaven who has taught me more about how I need to live my life here on earth than I could ever have imagined and one on the way who I am sure will teach me even more whether he blesses our lives for one day or a lifetime. We are so blessed! I have a wonderful family,church family, and group of friends. I live in a home that my husband built for our family with love and it is perfect. Our finances though tough, seem to always work themselves out and we are all HEALTHY! For all of these things I am so very grateful.

All of that said, I also need for God to draw near at this time of uncertainty. I need for Him to grant peace to our family in a way we cannot even imagine. I continue to pray that if it be his will, he heal our precious little guy, but if that is not the plan, I pray that he continues to mold us and use us to further His Kingdom. I pray that though my father's heart is hardened, He draw near to my dad and give him peace. In time I pray that his heart will be softened so that he can experience the love of his Heavenly Father. So many of our prayers have already been answered and I am so thankful to have God on my side in all of this! Thank you all for your kind words and support during this difficult time. Please bear with me as I ride this rollercoaster. I know that it is difficult to find words for me at times...don't worry about that...words aren't needed. It is good just to know you are all there! Each of you has been a blessing to my life. I have gotten so much encouragement from so many of you who leave comments and send us messages and gifts of love!

Speaking of gifts of love, I am scheduled Wednesday to meet with a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Oganization. I am going to have some pregnancy photos done with Howard and the boys. As I have mentioned before this is a wonderful non profit organization that works with families who are dealing with situations such as ours to create memories of the short time we have with our babies. I am very excited for this as I have never had maternity photos done however I am also extremely nervous as I am not incredibly comfortable with my changing body and thoughts of pictures off MY belly seem wierd. I have seen some of the work these photographers have done and they are so beautiful, but it just is a little out of my comfort zone though it is something I really want to though it seems like a silly prayer please pray that we have a great experience Wednesday evening and are able to create some great memories of this amazing journey. Also pray for the generous photographer who is taking time out of his schedule to do this for us...may he be blessed beyond all measure!

Again, thank you all for your support and for reading and sending comments and messages our way! I love you all and may each of you be as blessed as I have been!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cannot Sleep...

I sit here tonight at the computer and everyone else is asleep. I should be sleeping too...I know that. I am so very tired and yet I just cannot sleep. I am not sure whether it is sheer exhaustion or if it is just grief catching up to me but I am really struggling tonight. It has been a tiring day. It is tough to begin your day with mind numbing exhaustion and persevere through caring for children, making meals and household chores, add to that I had to work until 11. I teach online and it is a fun job but time and energy consuming none the less. Tonight as I sit here I feel as though I have nothing left to give. My cup that normally runneth over is running on E. I cannot control my tears and I must say I haven't cried all that much through all of this.

In the last week the physical symptoms of pregnancy for me have begun. I am one of the lucky few who feels pretty great up until the end. I still physically feel great and I am sure better than many women who are 31 weeks pregnant. I just ache. My whole self aches. Each joint in my body is aching as my body prepares for labor. Happy is active and seems to be angry if I sit in a slouched position causing his space to be invaded by my ribs. I LOVE pregnancy and all that goes with it but for some reason as I think tonight that I will endure all of this physical pain once again in just a few weeks I am reminded of the agony of losing Isaac and how unjust it all seemed for a woman to endure such excruciating pain only to go home without her baby. I pray that this is not what happens again but I also must be realistic and at this point that is what all signs are pointing toward.

As I stumbled through the bookstores last night I gazed at all of the pregnancy and baby books thinking to myself that there is not ONE pregnancy book out there to help me understand what is happening. There is not one book that can help me know what to expect or how to handle it. There is no chapter in What to Expect When You're Expecting that covers what I am going through. I often feel so alone. It is also interesting to me how when you go through something like this some people have no words for you because there are none. Then others offer Bible verses and give you "magic words" that should make you feel better, but nothing does. I know that the only book with answers is the Bible and that is where I will find the truth...During pregnancy however I have ALWAYS LOVED pregnancy books. I love to learn all the amazing things a body does as it grows and births a baby. I have several and yet they seem to be lacking because while women in my stage of pregnancy are washing blankets and buying bottles, my husband and I are discussing life support, life saving measures, comfort care and memorial services.

I have come to the realization tonight that though I trust whole heartedly that the Lord is going to bring us through this, I am still a human. I am a mom who desperately wants ALL of my sons to be with me. I want to bring this little guy home and nurse him. I want to be mind numbingly tired because HE kept me up all night. I WANT to do endless loads of laundry that come with having a newborn. This all may be selfish but it is how I feel. I have been telling myself that if I give in to these feelings that it must mean that I am doubting God or that I have less faith. That is simply not the case. There are no easy answers for what is happening here. I hurt. Plain and simple. Jesus wept so there must be something to it... Psalm 34:18 says that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. I surely am crushed. I know God is answering our prayers and though he may not answer all of them as we see fit I know the answer will come in his perfect time. I know that he is a sovereign god who knew this baby before even I did. I know God is drawing ever near to me and to our family, but I wish it didn't have to hurt so much.

I often am asked how it is that I make the choice to get out of bed each day to live another day and as I sit here tonight I must admit that as I look toward the future it all seems so overwhelming. There are certainly days and nights like tonight that I just want to hide. I want to run away, but there is nowhere to hide and no place to run so I just have to keep on going. I so desperately want another baby. I am so blessed to have two healthy happy boys at home but I ache for another baby. I know that when we are given a child it is merely a loan. They are truly God's children and some only get to stay briefly, but that is such a hard thing to actually have to live. I have done it once and have often thought to myself, what have I done that has caused God to punish me in such a way not once but twice.? I have shaken an angry fist at God and still I have no answer. I will say it helps to take it up with Him though. I have no doubt that God will work all of this out for our good. I know that Happy will bring such joy to our lives, he already has. Mother Teresa once said "I know God won't give me more than I can handle, I just wish He didn't trust me so much." That quote resonates with me. I know that God chose us for this journey for a very specific and awesome reason. My heart, along with the rest of my body still aches.

I sat here pondering whether or not I should publish this is definitely one of my weaker moments here tonight. I am feeling lonely and hurt. I don't want anyone to think that I am losing faith or that I would change having this miracle in my life for a moment. I know that even if I only get this little guy for a brief time he will touch my life forever and likely many other people's lives as well. Miracles are happening each day for us. And as I sit here I know that this does not for one moment take away from what God is doing. I am human and there is a human side to all of this...I trust in God, I believe his Word to be the truth and I know how blessed I truly am. The truth is that the Bible says that God loves brokenhearted people, he draws near to them. He wants to know the desires of our hearts. My heart is broken. He is our heavenly father who knows us better than we know deny my feelings would do no good anyhow...He already knows...God made this promise in Isaiah 25:8 "The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears." I believe this hurt is necessary. I have just been putting it off. It is part of this journey and I need to allow myself to feel all that I am feeling, the hurt, the anger, pain, frustration, loneliness, emptiness, joy, sorrow, grief, hope, love, and everything that comes my way... but I need to know that God will wipe away my tears and in the end he will remove all the hurt and pain from my life and I will be forever with him and my boys. I do find comfort in that, I know that having Isaac in my life caused me to love deeper than I ever knew possible and that love has grown with each of my boys and I can only imagine what is to come, but for tonight, I am a brokenhearted mom asking God to draw near and bring me some peace in knowing He's got this under control.


Each and every day I am completely astounded at the responses I get to this blog. I cannot believe how many people are actually reading what I write. I thank you all! I started this blog more for myself than anything else. To be able to record the ups and downs of my pregnancy to have things to put in Happy's baby book and also so that when there was actual news or updates I would not have to repeat the story a zillion times to all of our friends and family as that can be exhausting in and of itself. Anyhow...I am so surprised each day when I check and people from ALL over are reading my thoughts and responding. I am so thankful for all of the kind responses I have received and all of your support.

I got an email from a photographer in Erie who works for an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Someone had emailed me a link to their organization and so I contacted them and they have offered to do some pregnancy photos and also to come to the hospital when Happy is born so we have professional photos. How amazing! We have about seven pictures of Isaac when he was in he hospital. We were so stunned it never occurred to us to take pictures so the nurses did. I am so thankful for them! It would be so awesome to have professional pictures though! If you want to know more about the organization you can go to I have seen some gorgeous work they have done and am very excited!

Howard has decided to take a little break from student ministry at church until the baby comes. Wednesday nights have always been so tough for all of us and we are trying very hard to reduce stress right now. SO, last night Howard asked his parents to watch the boys because he needed to go to the bookstore. YES, Howard and I got to walk around the bookstore aimlessly reading without interruption! We used to do that ALL the time when we were first married but since we had kids one of us always sits in the children's section reading to the boys which we love, but this was a different kind of outing. It was so fun! We actually took advantage and went to Barnes and Noble AND Borders. I also ran in to Old Navy to see about finding a winter coat that would zip around my ever expanding torso! No luck!

But, as nights such as this often go for us, we got home, got the boys to bed and around 1:30 Ben was up! It seems like this happens anytime we leave him with a sitter! He would not go back to sleep. Howard got up with him for a while and got him back to sleep but as soon as he layed him down he was screaming! So Howard brought him to bed with us. I am already having a hard time sleeping each night, my mind races, I am like a human furnace so I am so hot and I CANNOT stand to be touched! Well, with three of us in the bed this was impossible. Add to that I was having some contractions off and on and well, I did not sleep AT ALL last night! So today I am in a fog! I guess that is life when you have little ones! Someday my time for napping will come! I doubt today will be a very productive day for us. Sometimes that is ok!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Help Support The March of Dimes

As many of you know after losing Isaac, we created a Walk America Team in his honor. The team has been very successful and has grown to be one of the largest family teams in Erie! We are very excited about this!

Well, Walk America is now the March for Babies. We intend to March again in memory of Isaac and with hope for our new baby. If you can we would love to have you join us in April! It is a super fun day and we will do tailgating and we are even looking into team t-shirts. So, if there is any way possible that you could join us we would be very honored! If you cannot join us but would like to donate you may also use the link at the right to make a donation.

If you want to join, click the link at the right and then click on Team Isaac and click join this team! We hope to see you there! We have LOTS of time to begin fundraising!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another weekend flew by!

We had a pretty good weekend I must say. We were able to relax and enjoy the boys and spend time with some friends! The snow forced us to pretty much just hang out at home and it was great. Monday I had a prenatal appointment with my doctor in Erie and it was uneventful as usual. My glucose and blood test that I had done last appointment came back just fine and I am measuring fine and the baby's heart sounds great. I have lost some weight, but they are not terribly concerned about that just yet. I must attribute that to additional stress, heartburn and two active children. I truly am trying to be as healthy as I can to give the baby the best start I can no matter what. Though I must admit there have been times I have thought, what is the point? I try so hard during pregnancy to be so healthy and give up many things I love and yet it doesn't really seem to make a difference. There are many women out there making VERY poor lifestyle choices that will have a healthier baby than me. Frustrating, so I try not to think about that because it angers me. So, I just want to know that I have done all I can!

We still are waiting for a call from Pittsburgh and our doctor there. He was going to meet with some of his colleagues and try to determine what they predict the outcome for Happy to be. Basically though, we won't know for sure until he is born and we know how much his brain has developed. We aren't sure if his microcephaly will be as severe as Isaac's or not. I pray that he surprises everyone and shows a great amount of growth. In the next few weeks we will be talking with doctors about predicted outcomes and what our wishes are. There will be many decisions we will have to make that no parent should ever even have to consider. So the weeks to come will certainly be tough but we pray that God will help us with each decision as we look to Him.

One of the biggest decisions we are currently faced with deals with the delivery. Isaac was breech so I did have a c-section with him. This was extremely difficult because after the surgery I had to remain in bed for 8 hours. So Isaac was going on 9 hours old before I ever even got to see him. At that time I was in such shock that it didn't seem like all that long, but this time I know it will be different. I want to be with my son every moment possible! I was able to have Benjamin VBAC which is vaginal birth after c-section. I was very thankful for this. Recovery is so much easier after a natural birth and that is what I am hoping for with Happy. The trouble is that microcephaly babies tend to remain breech (upside down) because their heads are not large enough to engage in the pelvis. So, they are saying there is a great likelihood that Happy will be breech. If this is the case and I want to deliver in Erie that means a c doctor here is a great advocate for natural birth but doesn't feel comfortable with recommending a natural breech birth, he feels it to be too risky for both me and the baby. The doctors in Pittsburgh however are willing to deliver the baby natural even if he is breech because the reason they don't like to deliver a breech baby naturally is that the head is the largest part and if it comes last there are obvious problems there. Since the baby's head is so small they don't see that as an issue.

So, either the baby gets his head where it needs to be so we can deliver here in Erie naturally or if he is breech I either go to Erie for a c section or Pittsburgh for natural birth. This is really tough for me. I desperately want to have him naturally to be sure I can make the most of my time with him should our time be limited especially. I also desperately want to give birth in Erie so that as many of our friends and family can meet him as possible. We want the boys to spend time with him as well. SO...we are praying for the best option....HAPPY GET YOUR HEAD DOWN! That is our prayer. That would be the best for him for me and everyone involved. I think though that I have decided that should he be breech we will go c section...there are reasons my doctor doesn't think that natural breech birth is safe and I trust him. I don't want to add risk for Happy or myself. So, I have explained to Howard that my wishes are that if I have a c section that he go with the baby immediately and remain with him. I will be fine. With Isaac he was so worried about me he stayed with me and Isaac was alone and I regret that. We did the best we could at the time but it is one thing I would change if I could. There will be plenty of people willing to be with me if needed. Howard will need to be with our son.

So I guess I am asking that for the next two months we pray that the baby hangs in there for at least 6 more weeks and that he gets his head where it needs to be!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Being thrown into the fire...

Lately one of my biggest challenges has been my dad. He is a great guy and has such a kind heart. He would do anything for anyone and has been through so much in his life. He and my mom lost a baby before they had me and then when I was nine he lost my mom. He has suffered many losses in his life, but the loss of Isaac was particularly hard for him. I think because not only was he losing a grandson, but he saw how his daughter was hurting and there was nothing he could do. He felt very helpless. Because of all of this he began to doubt that there even was a god. He has a difficult time understanding how there could be a good god or even a god at all when things such as the death of an infant can occur in a family who wants him so badly. I have had a hard time with this and now with our current situation it has gotten worse. My dad is so worried about me and is so angry that we could lose another little boy! He has completely given up on God and it isn't even a conversation we can have because he just shuts down.

In a conversation with him yesterday he mentioned that when this is all said and done he hopes that Howard and I look at the children we have and just be thankful for the healthy ones we have instead of trying to have any more. I understand where he is coming from and yes, this has been a painful journey, but I wouldn't change it for anything. Isaac touched our lives in a way we never had imagined. I cannot say what the future brings for our family we are taking this one day at a time. I do know that we have ALWAYS wanted a bigger family and the doctors have told us that they see no reason for us to continue. This may be genetic but percentages are still low. We also believe that WHATEVER children God gives us were chosen for us. So, who knows what God has in store for the future...we will know when we get there. I was hurt by my dad's words though, and I do understand but we are okay.

I look at how hard my dad is taking all of this and honestly I am more worried about him than I am about Howard and myself. I had called my grandma yesterday and she said to me "do you know what this is doing to your dad?" and I just thought to myself, why on earth should anyone else be more shattered about all of this than me. And I am reminded that my dad is not leaning on God. That is the difference. He doubts that God even exists and I cannot blame him but I know that is not true. I know God exists and I don't know why some of us have to endure such pain while here on earth, but I do believe it is not without purpose. I told my dad this and he said he cannot imagine what that purpose could possibly be. And I guess, neither do I but I have faith and I have to believe there is a purpose. I also know that most of the time my heart is peaceful I do have rough moments but just the idea that I could have any peace about this tells me there must be a God, I know that that peace is not coming from me!

Today I ask that you pray for my dad. I know he isn't in a place right now where I can even talk to him about this but I love him and it hurts me to see him hurting like this. I know that I can't feel responsible for it but in a way I do. I want for him to be able to feel at peace. Not that things don't hurt, but that he is able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Again because I tend to be a do-er I want to DO something to shake him out of this fog, but I have been reminded when sharing this with my wonderful small group that maybe the best thing I can do is just be an example and allow God to shine through me. It makes me think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were thrown into the fire but came out just fine. May I have the faith of those men and be able to show my father the power of faith in God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Additional song...

There is another song that just keeps running through my head and I wanted to share that with you all. It is called Be still (go figure) and it is by McLane Church's own The Gathering Band and I have been just singing it to myself all day. It is really helping me so much in all of this. So you should check it out if you get a minute! The Gathering Band is a great group! Go to and look for the Gathering Band you can listen to the song on there.

Be Still!

Each morning I try to sit down and read a daily devotion from the book "Streams in the Desert". My mother in law gave us the book when Isaac died and it is perfect for me. Often times I don't have a whole lot of time in the morning where I can read a book without pictures. This book has a bible verse and then accompanying wisdom for the day. I have found that it is always amazing how perfect each day's words for me are and though I have read the entire thing as this is actually the third year I have used it, they always hit me differently.

Well, I had lost the book a week or so ago in the craziness of our home and hadn't read it for about a week. We have a couple of other devotionals I had been using but I missed my old favorite. So this morning I was determined to search the chaos of this house in all of those piles of things that we move when we see someone pull in the driveway. At least I do. I found the book in my bedroom which is always the worst room in the house but I sat down to catch up. I was very interested in what wisdom the book had for us the day of our appointment January 15th. God never ceases to amaze me.

I have shared that whenever I pray or search God for answers all I EVER get is "Be still" that's it, oh sure maybe sometimes a full "Be still, and know" or even on occasion "Be still, and know that I am God." When I open the Bible that is where the book opens, Psalm 46. Apparently I have not been quite getting it. So patiently God continues to remind me of what I need to DO. You see, by nature I am a doer. Anyone who knows me probably knows that. When things get tough I want to know what I can DO to improve the situation. If a friend is suffering it makes me feel better to DO something for them, whether make a meal, visit, or send a thoughtful card. I don't do well with being still. In fact I am horrible at it. I am a multi-tasker. After all I am the mom to two small children. I cannot be still long enough to use the bathroom on my own! I AM trying to be still but apparently God is still not content with my efforts. I continually ask Him to show himself to me and all I get is..."Be still."

So this morning as I read the passage from Streams in the Desert, It began with this verse, "That night the Lord appeared to Isaac." Genesis 26:24. Great, I thought, for Isaac. Where was God now. It has taken me a long time to get a grasp on the idea that our God is a living God. He is here just the same as he was in the time of Isaac. I think often we think of God and all of the things he did for all of the people in the Bible and we get so caught up in those things that we forget that he is the same yesterday, today and forever! God is just as much with us as he was with Adam or Abraham.

Well, God came to Isaac the same night Isaac went to Beersheba. That was the night that Isaac reached rest. Isaac had been yearning for God to reveal himself and yet Isaac's mind was too troubled to be able to receive what God had to offer. my devotion read this..."God's voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the quiet of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God brush by him. His still night became his shining night."

Following those words was the verse from Psalm 46 "Be still, and know" Imagine that! It then went on to say "In the hour of distress, you cannot hear the answer to your prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come much later! The heart heard no reply during the moment of its crying, its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But once the crying stopped, once the stillness came, once your hand refrained from knocking on the iron gate, and once concern for other lives broke through the tragedy of your own life, the long awaited reply appeared."

So, I think I have been going about it all wrong...I mean as a mom of a busy four year old and an even busier one year old I seldom have the time to be still. As I sit and type this our home is anything but still. It is quiet time in our house right now so everyone is in his bed resting but quiet they are not. The verse "Be still, and know." it seems has less to do with physically being still and more to do with quieting your heart. I so often tell Howard how much I long to rest, and by this I mean I physically want to lie down and rest, but more importantly I should be taking time to allow my heart to rest. There is more to it than just being still and trying to listen. God is not going to reveal himself fully until I surrender it all fully. I must clear out the doubts and the fears, I must cast out the anger and confusion. It is not something that can be done in a day. I must continue to pray without ceasing and know that there will be days that this task will be much more difficult than others.

The hardest thing about all of this is just living one day at a time. And that is all we can do. None of us really know what tomorrow brings, but we do have today. And certainly today brings sufficient worry for itself. It is when we try to tackle the worries of tomorrow that things become insurmountable. Happy is teaching me so much already about what is truly important. I just need to breathe and take it one moment at a time and for me to be able to experience whatever it is that God is trying to tell me I must be still, I must clear out the junk and find a place where the waters are still and it is there and only there where God will answer. We become so accustomed to background noise that even in our house there is always a TV or radio on. Apparently God is not willing to compete with background noise, and he shouldn't have to. So for today I am praying that I find a way to TRULY Be still and know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Struggles for today...

I must say that I do feel a sense of peace about me today so I thank you all for your prayers, they are working. The main thing I want to convey is that for all of you who have prayed and prayed for us please do not for one minute think that God is not responding. HE IS! Sometimes God does not deliver us from a situation because that situation is vital to His plan. I am certainly not saying that it is not possible for God to completely pull us out of this, but if he doesn't I do not want anyone to think that it is because He is not listening. We are going to continue to pray for God to heal our baby, but as of right now we have no indication that that is happening. We are not giving up. Even if this baby is not healed, a mighty thing is about to happen we are sure of it.

We want God to use us as HE sees fit. This is certainly not a path we would have ever chosen for ourselves but the reality of life is that we don't get to choose the path. We do however get to choose how we respond to God. We are not sure what God has in store and right now we feel it is just important to remain in prayer and be still and listen to what He might have to tell us. So friends, please do not lose hope...The good news is that there was some growth...not what we had hoped but is certainly something. No matter what God has planned for Happy we want to make his time on this earth so incredibly full of love. I know that he already feels the love from all of you and we are so grateful! So please keep up the prayers! God is at work here and we know good things are to come!

My prayer for today...

Be Still And Know
by Rebecca St. James

Alone in the valley
I cried for You
to fill me with Your peace
So when the lightning strikes
thunder rolls around me
Still I live in peace
You ask that I...
Be still and know
You are God(2x)
You are God...
When the fires rage
When the storms surrounds me
Still I live in peace
Though the mountains fall
Crash into the ocean
Still I live in peace
You ask that I...
Be still and know
You are God(2x)
You ask that I...
Be still and know
You are God(2x)
You are God...
Lead me through the valley
Lead me by the streams
Restore me and draw me to You God
To You I lift my soul
To You who makes me whole
Gently You hold me close to You
Be still and know
You are God
Be still and know
You are God
You are God...
You're near me
You love me
You hold me
You reach me
You steal me
You move me
You draw me to You God
You are God...
steal me,
You draw me to You(You are God...)
When the fires rage, still I live in peace...
You are God...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Well first let me say thank you all for your prayers, phone calls and kind words. They really mean so much to us. I must say that today didn't go quite as we had hoped, but knowing that we had so many people behind us made the day a lot easier. This was the first time I wasn't shaking and terrified the whole way down to Pittsburgh. I even ate in the car. That may not seem like much but just that I was able to feel that much peace prior to such a big appointment is a miracle in and of itself for me.

It has been a long day, a day of traffic and construction as well as snowy, icy roads. When we arrived in Pittsburgh we were surprisingly greeted by our friends Ginger and Maggie who live not far from the hospital. They just wanted to welcome us and show their support with their smiling faces. It was good. We waited in the waiting room for what seemed like forever! Shortly after 2 we were called back to sono. The woman who did my sonogram was very kind and gentle. She took quite a bit of time and we got quite a look at this little guy. She then called in Dr. Hill and he went over the measurements and showed us that this baby is DEFINITELY a boy, sorry Luke! Dr. Hill spoke with us for a few moments. He explained that the baby's head was still lagging significantly in growth. He got a look at the heart and said that the hole is still there but that the heart looks good and the hole may close it is still early and even if it doesn't it can be taken care of.

We then met with a geneticist, Dr. Hogge, who we do really like. He reviewed everything with us and went over Isaac's pictures and autopsy report. He saw nothing significant in the pictures but he firmly believes that we are definitely dealing with genetic microcephaly here. This means that he is quite certain that this baby has the same issues as Isaac. He does not think that Isaac was affected by infection. He was very patient and he answered all of our questions and said he would be in touch with us. At this point he is trying to pinpoint the gene that we have passed on to these babies that is causing it and he is trying to determine whether survival is possible. He said we will be discussing at length what our wishes are for this little guy and how aggressive we want to be. He thinks that this baby will likely also be breech since microcephalic babies have small heads they don't engage in the pelvis. That may mean another c section if I want to deliver in Erie.

So, in actuality we don't know much more. It is just a wait and see. The baby's brain is measuring 23 -24 weeks and I am 29 weeks pregnant. Isaac's head quit growing between 17 and 20 weeks. To me this means that this baby's head is already bigger but we are not sure what that means. At this point I know that God still may heal our son but if that is not the plan I think now we need to look ahead at what God wants us to do with the time we have this little guy. I regret so much of how I handled Isaac's 6 days on this earth and I want to make the most of whatever time we have with Happy. I am not giving up by any means and I do believe the prayer is working in many ways. God is working in this. I know that for sure. I am going to just try to be still and listen to what He is saying.

I will write more tomorrow. I am so tired. I am going to head to bed. Thank you all for your prayers! We love you!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I cannot believe tomorrow is here...

Today I feel overwhelmed. I have been dreading tomorrow for quite some time. At this point tomorrow will tell a lot. They have enough measurements now to tell for sure tomorrow whether Happy's brain has stopped growing or is just behind. I am praying so hard for growth. Through the autopsy reports, we learned that Isaac's brain stopped growing at 17-20 weeks. At our last appointment they had told us that Happy was measuring at 21 weeks so I am encouraged that it is already a little ahead of where Isaac was. I am trying very hard to cling to this verse:

"We will have no fear of bad news; our hearts are steadfast, trusing in the Lord." Psalm 112:7

I desperately yearn for some good news. As of now I am able to live each day with hope. I am okay with not knowing what tomorrow will bring...I just can't handle doctors telling me that things are hopeless. I feel horrible that I have no desire to see my precious baby on a sonogram screen. Each sonogram is so awkward and painful. The technicians and doctors whisper and type and tell us nothing for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours until we meet with another doctor. It is a horrible feeling and makes it very difficult to enjoy seeing him.

The truth is, that this baby is such a precious gift to our family. Whether he lives for six minutes or sixty years his life is a gift. I would not change having him for anything. Though Isaac was only with us for six days they were six days that changed our lives in a way we never knew possible. I know that no matter what this baby will do the same. That is what babies do! I am okay with the uncertainty of tomorrow. I know God has this under control and there is nothing I can do but protect and love this little guy for as long as I have him. I just wish the doctors understood that.

It is very likely that tomorrow will be our last appointment in Pittsburgh and this appointment will tell us everything we are going to know about this little guy before he is born, which is not too far away. Tomorrow they will be looking for head/brain growth, they are going to take a detailed look at his heart to see if the hole is still there and if it is what will need to be done if anything. They will look at Isaac's autopsy and photos to see if they can find a link and we will decide whether we should deliver him in Pittsburgh or here in Erie. (We are pulling for Erie, we know so many of the hospital staff, especially all of the ones who cared for us and Isaac and they were wonderful, we also want as many people to have the chance to meet Happy as possible)

As I have spent some time with God in the past few days I have repeatedly heard him say to me...."Be Still" I swear every time I pray that is how He responds to me. I go to him so worked up and frustrated and all I get is "Be Still" so I am trying to just Be Still and rest in knowing that God has this thing covered...there is nothing I can do to change what is to come nor should I want to. This is hard for me...those of you who know me, know that I am painfully Type A! So I am learning new lessons each and every day. I am enjoying my family and the time I have with this baby safely inside of me. I am so thankful for him. I know that God is hearing everyone's prayers and I am so grateful to each and every one of you who has taken the time to pray for our family. In reality...tomorrow is not the defining day...only God knows how this will play out and no matter what the doctors say we must just continue to look to God for our answers. Doctors are human and make mistakes, God doesn't. I must be still and know!

As we head into tomorrow I do have several specific prayer requests: (our appt is at 1:30)
1. Safe travel for Howard and myself (we will be leaving around 10:30)
2. A great day for the boys as they stay home with their cousin Jenna
3. The doctors treat us with compassion and kindness
4. The sonogram would show brain growth
5. That the hole in his heart has closed
6. That Happy is healthy in every other way
7. That no matter what Howard and I will have the strength to be obedient and allow God to FULLY work in this situation, whatever that means.
8. For peace for all of our family in all of this, we are not the only ones struggling...our parents desperately want to help us and save us from this pain but don't know how and we are so concerned about Luke's heart. He is such a sensitive little guy and he still talks about how much he misses Isaac...he is so looking forward to his new little brother.

We want God to use us. Though this entire situation is nearly unbearable at times I want to submit and be obedient to God, and not let bitterness overcome me. I don't get a choice about much in this life, but I do choose how I respond to God and I desperately want to obey and allow him to fully use me and our family however He sees fit. That is not to say that I am not struggling with this, but we must all remember that God gives us babies for a reason...the Bible says that Children are a gift from the Lord, and that is so true. So we must be willing to accept and love that gift no matter how God chooses to give it. So, please understand that though I often write of my struggles, anger and frustration, I also know that God does love us and that this baby is one of God's greatest blessings in my life and I will love and cherish him for as long as God will allow.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support. We love you!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We are officially CRAZY!

I will say that this morning things seem a little better. Last night in desperation for something fun to do Howard and I took our children, yes, BOTH of our children to a 9:40 movie! We went to dinner ran to Target, put Ben's PJ's on him and took Luke to opening night of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything! It always cracks me up the way people look at us when we do these things...Most children 1 and 4 would have been in bed by 8 but not the Bolte children! I can't even chalk it up to stress. In the summer on a moment's whim we packed up our kids, Ben who was only 10 months old and headed to CreationFest and stayed awake 24 hours because we drove down at 4 am, enjoyed the day and got home around 4am. This is just us! I think it is part of why we love having kids...we still do the fun stuff we used to do and our boys are flexible enough to go with the flow and enjoy!

The movie was a fun break from the norm and Ben slept through it until the end and was super confused when he woke up and saw the Veggie Tales on the big screen. Luke loved it but did get a little scared a few times. We got home around 11:45 and that was when Ben decided he had slept enough so it was kind of a rough night but well worth it! He went back to sleep and we all slept in this morning.

Howard went over the autopsy report with me and we have a lot of questions, but it does state that Isaac died from something called meningoencephalitis which is basically inflammation and infection of the brain. So maybe there is something there that I am also says though that all signs point to viral infection but no virus was able to be isolated. So I guess we will ask about all of that on Tuesday. Please continue to pray for this baby. I continue to pray that the doctors are all wrong and he surprises us all. But I do know no matter what his life was not a mistake and we are so blessed to have him.

Please continue to pray for our family also, I will be teaching in Children's Ministry at the church all weekend again this weekend which means I do not get to attend service again and I do think that has an impact on my week a bit. I get so filled up by the kids and having fun teaching them about God but I need to continue my learning as hopefully I will be able to listen to the sermon online.

Friday, January 11, 2008

When a tough task becomes tougher...

Well, I did it...I went in to the hospital this morning and got the autopsy reports to take with us to the geneticist on Tuesday. As with most similar tasks the anticipation is probably worse than the actual event. I signed the release and showed my ID and had the paperwork in my hands within 5 minutes. On the way out of the hospital my curiosity got the best of me and I sat down in a waiting area to read the report. I am still somewhat stunned by what I read. You see, prior to this I had no desire to ever see these papers I have been content with the information we were given and felt no need to look any further.

As I read the papers first I was a little shocked that they had my age off by about 8 years...the report said that the baby was a 6 day old male born to a 34 year old mother...I was 26 when I had Isaac. But I guess that is not that important. I then continued to read that most of the finings were normal...normal heart, liver, lungs (aside from pneumonia from meconium aspiration) and then came the info on his head and brain. The report states the size and appearance of his brain and each of the specific parts of the also states that it appears to have ceased to develop beyond 17-20 weeks gestation. It then states that these findings would be MOST LIKELY associated with viral infection (which is what we were told happened) BUT and here is the big BUT....NO viruses, fungi, or bacteria were found in any of the tests!

This blindsided see, when all of this originally happened the doctor called and went over the report with me...he explained that the issues Isaac had WERE caused by a virus and therefore we need not be concerned about subsequent children or genetic testing. I was so relieved when we got that news. I never looked any this.

I feel tremendously misled. I am angry but not because I am seemingly in this same place in life again, but because I was not informed. I cannot say that had doctors told us this was a genetic issue that Howard and I would have decided to stop having children...I think we probably would have anyhow, I just feel that it is our right to know what the reality of the situation is. I feel it is our right to make an informed decision. We should have been offered the genetic testing if for nothing else to rule OUT genetic problems. And if we chose to continue growing our family anyhow at least we were doing so with the knowledge that this could happen again. I just feel cheated and angry.

I am praying this afternoon for peace...I feel so unsettled. I know that the only one I can truly trust is God and so that is where I will place my trust. I am anxiously awaiting Howard's arrival home, I am hoping he feels like getting out tonight because I feel like I am suffocating here! Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. Please continue to pray...there are miracles happening in the midst of all of this!

Tough tasks...

Yesterday and today I have felt particularly crummy. I thought it may have been that since I taught in Children's Ministry this weekend I never attended service for myself so I went to the website to listen to the sermon, but the sermon was not available yet. So I read a little bit and then Howard called yesterday before coming home to see if I had remembered to call the hospital for Isaac's autopsy report to take with us on Tuesday. I have known that this is something I needed to do for months and I continually put it off. I am not sure why it affects me the way it does but I really have been dreading it. I confessed that I had not called so he said not to worry about it...that he would do it. He knew I was feeling yucky about it. So he called, but they explained that one of us would have to come in to the hospital with ID and they close at 4:30 so either Howard would have to leave work early a day or I would HAVE to do it. Howard offered to take off early, but I really don't want him to take any additional time that is not completely necessary.

Which brings me to this morning. I am getting ready to head in to get the report and it is really bugging me. I don't know why! When the results came back I was the one who went over them with the doctor and I was ok with that, but I never wanted a copy for myself. I never requested a death certificate either. So when the doctor had asked what the "cause of death" on Isaac's death certificate was I had no clue. I got a birth certificate and a social security card and several mementos of his life but quite frankly I did't want any mementos of his death. That is just me...I don't need that for closure. Some people do, but I am content to know what I know and I just didn't need documentation. So I am sitting here dreading getting ready and heading in to get the report. It just seems so strange to go in and ask for my infant son's autopsy report. People always look at me with such pity. I try to focus on the fact that Isaac lived and we celebrate his life, albeit short, it was profound and has impacted us in ways we never dreamed.

Going through all of this with this new baby is difficult enough. Now I feel like not only do I have to deal with all of what is going on in the present, I am also having to relive the past. Some days it is like living a nightmare over again in slow motion. There are days that the pain is so great that it consumes me. If the pain were physical I don't even think that a body could endure it. I think logically about my tasks for the day and running in to get this report seems like a simple task and yet it is taking all the strength I can muster. So today I pray for strength and peace, even simple tasks as this one zap what strenghth I have. I know that God will pull me through whatever is to come and he will give me peace.

Each day I have to make a concious choice. I must choose how to live through this storm. I can either hold my head up, lean on God and endure or I can curl up and hide. I must be honest there are many days I want to hide and I have to give it everything I have to get through my day. Today is going to be one of those days. I don't know how a person gets through something like this without God because I know I surely could not.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Prayer does make a difference...

Lately I have been kind of lax with my prayer life...I have been feeling that my prayers are ridiculously redundant and I have been tired of repeating myself. I know that when I don't know how to pray that the Holy Spirit intevenes and prays for me so I just was leaving it up to the Holy Spirit, but obviously we need to continue to pray. I am amazed at my patient husband who has been putting up with my crazy self. I sometimes get so wrapped up in myself and what is going on with the baby inside of me that I let my responsiblility to Howard and the boys slide. They have been very patient but they deserve so much more. I am trying each day to be a little better. I have been pretty stressed and have had quite a bit of cramping and contractions lately so I really need to take it easy and enjoy each day, so if you stop over and my house is not as clean as normal, I am trying hard to prioritize.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of people who are praying for us and send us little gifts of love each week. Baby Happy is going to be the warmest baby ever as he has received several little blankies and my friend Lisa even made him a little silky like my other boys have had and it is perfect. I am so thankful that others are thinking of our little boy.

He is becoming more active and I am feeling him under my ribcage now, which as every woman who has had a baby knows is sometimes pretty uncomfortable. We had a doctor appointment Monday with my doctor here in Erie and I am measuring just fine, but haven't gained any weight in over a month but he isn't too worried about it yet. The baby's heart sounded fine and I had my glucose test and results should be back any day. He was encouraging and said that we would not truly know anything until the baby is born and we will just take it one step at a time. I still dread our next Pittsburgh will likely be the last and this sonogram should tell whether or not his head has stopped growing. I am still praying for healing. Some days I just am in kind of a fog, it all seems so unreal.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Great song!

This is one of those songs that really hits home...when you are unsure of how to help someone dealing with great pain...all the advice you need is right here!

Love Them Like Jesus :Casting Crowns

The love of her life is drifting away
They’re losing the fight for another day
The life that she’s known is falling apart
A fatherless home, a child’s broken heart
You’re holding her hand,
you’re straining for words
You trying to make - sense of it all
She’s desperate for hope,
darkness clouding her view
She’s looking to you

Just love her like Jesus,
carry her to Him
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light
You don’t need the answers
to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves her
and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus

The gifts lie in wait, in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to grey
As the little one slips away
You’re holding their hand,
you’re straining for words
You’re trying to make sense of it all
They’re desperate for hope,
darkness clouding their view
They’re looking to you
Just love them like Jesus,
carry them to Him
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light
You don’t need the answers
to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them
and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands
He cares for them just as He cares for you
So love them like Jesus, love them like Jesus
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Love them like Jesus

Monday, January 7, 2008

Going crazy...

Well sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite. I know what I need to believe and I know I need to trust God and let go of the past and yet it is just not that easy. Many days I just feel like I am going insane. It is nearly impossible for me not to let all of this consume me. The baby is so active these days which is so reassuring but at the same time is a constant reminder. Many days I find it nearly impossible to be the mom and wife that I want to be because I am so consumed with my feelings for Happy. Some days I seem to do okay and other days I fail miserably, lately I feel like my failures far outweigh my success.

Yesterday after church I went to Walmart, since I was alone and well, walking around Walmart with no children is a luxury I don't often have the pleasure of enjoying. I purchased my first thing for Happy. A few people now have gotten him blankets and little stuffed animals, so I bought him a sleeper. Isaac had a problem with his skin blistering and so we never had the opportunity to dress him. I always wish I had a picture of him in a cute little outfit so either way, this little guy should have a few little things of his own.

Today I have an appointment with my doctor here and I have my glucose test. It is hard to believe that I am over 28 weeks pregnant and the farthest I have ever gotten in pregnancy was 37 weeks...that would make only nine weeks left...that is just over two months! I am to the point where I hate going to the doctor. I am trying very hard to stay positive and I just hate having a doctor look at me with such pity, thinking that I should have ended this months ago. I don't want to be pitied. Just loved. I feel like anyone who knows Christ would understand why ending this pregnancy was not even a choice for us. Our love for our children is the closest thing we can compare God's love for us to and that love for this little man began the moment I saw two lines on the pregnancy test. He is a gift, a perfect gift and when we became parents we made the choice to wear our hearts outside of our own bodies and to love and protect our children no matter what. No one chooses this. But there are no guarantees in life and it angers me that some people can treat life with such little regard for it's sacredness. In doing research I have found that 90 percent of women who find out that their baby has an abnormality will terminate...some of those "abnormalities" are things like clubfoot, and other minor things that can be corrected. We are so afraid of the unperfect. I have met several women who are wonderful moms to children with Downs Syndrome and EVERY ONE will tell you what a blessing that child is to their life. Yet many would choose to abort that baby. It baffles me and angers me. I just want my baby to live long enough that he will know how passionately and unconditionally I love him NO MATTER WHAT! He will be perfect.

I am just filled with so many emotions lately and they seem to have overtaken me in many ways. I appreciate all of you who read this and respond with such love and I appreciate all of my friends who just listen, knowing that they cannot fix anything and they don't understand but they will support us in anyway possible. (Thanks especially to you Julie for listening to me ramble yesterday. I needed to talk and just hadn't taken the time to do it! I do feel better today just for having chatted with you.) So, please continue to pray...our next Pittsburgh appointment is next Tuesday and I am dreading it. I love this little guy so much and I just cannot listen to one more doctor talk about him like some misfit medical case. He is my son. I am praying for compassion and hope from this appointment. May God heal our son and our hearts....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reflections of 2007

As I look back on 2007 there are so many things that stand out to me that will be things I remember about that year. Benjamin turned one and celebrated so many firsts, first steps, first words, etc! Luke turned 4 yet seems to be 14 and knows it all! Howard and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and celebrated being in our new home one year. We celebrated Isaac's life that we were so blessed with 2 years ago, and we found out we were expecting our fourth son! We will also remember the year with our trips to Pittsburgh and concern for our fourth son.

As I look back I see that we celebrated many joyous occasions and also have endured some trials and hardships. As I look ahead to 2008, I know that our family will also celebrate many joyous occasions, we will get to meet our new little guy! And we will likely also endure hardships. Each year is filled with both of these things and as I reflect I realize that sometimes the hardest things we endure are life's greatest blessings. If only we are obedient and allow God to work through our hardships we will see great things come from him. After all, he has a "Mighty Arm" and will work everything out for our good. This is not to say that we don't struggle with this and wish for good and happy times, but we must remain obedient and faithful. I have learned so much from 2007 and though I would never want to go backward I remember the year quite fondly.

Interestingly enough I received a message this morning from an "online friend" who reminded me that though it may be tough to believe that God will heal Happy because of what we went through with Isaac, God calls us to look forward and not to look back. Though I will never forget Isaac and my life will be forever changed because of him I cannot always hold that against God. We do not know the outcome of our current situation, but there is no reason to believe that just because God didn't heal Isaac, he won't heal Happy. Happy has the benefit of everyone's prayer before he is even born. we had no clue Isaac was not well until after birth. While these two situations are remarkably similar they are also different. Only God knows what is to come. So it is with great JOY that I look to the future. God told Lot's wife NOT to look back.

As humans we call it "wise" to always be secure in things. We must have enough money for whatever may come our way, we want to know where we will live, and what will come next. We need to be "prepared" that is "wise". Jesus doesn't necessarily consider this "wise" he wants us to take risks and trust in Him. He expects you to follow Him where ever he may lead. The Bible tells us that you cannot tell where the wind will blow or what it will do next. Following the Holy Spirit is much the same. The good news is that where ever Jesus leads us he will care for us. When he leads us through difficult times we will always be able to look back and see His goodness. No matter how tough things get, he will carry us he will hold us. Now that is security!

Throughout this trial I have been holding on to my experience of pain and anguish when Isaac was taken from me. If I believe in God, I believe that I need to let go of these things. Kind of like forgiving. I have to let go of the past, I cannot use what happened in the past as a reason not to follow or believe now. My hands have been so clenched it makes it too difficult to receive all that God has to offer. When Moses asked God who he is, God replied with three words "eyheh asher eyheh" with these three words, he said two things... He said "I AM WHO I AM" God IS it is that simple....he is all things, all places, everywhere. He also said, "I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" God is our future! But interestingly enough He never says I WAS! This makes me realize that no matter what is to come, God will be there to hold us up. God isn't the past he is the right now and the future so my prayer for today is that I can let go of the hurt of the past and look to the future and whatever that brings...afterall, our God is a god of second chances...that is what being born again is all about!

What I do know is that I will get to meet my new little boy in 2008 and I am very excited about that!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Rough Night...

Last night we really didn't have any plans so we decided to go out to dinner and then get a mattress for Ben's bottom bunk when he is ready and we were thinking about getting another TV for the house with some gift cards we got for Christmas. Well little did we know that everything would be closed. We ran a few errands and we went to Walmart. We got home and got the kids to bed and Howard and I sat down to watch the ball drop with a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry's! Then off to bed! Well Howard fell right to sleep but I started feeling sick, not sure if it was the Ben and Jerry's or what but I realized that I had barely felt the baby move all day and now I was convinced I was in labor which was why I felt so yucky.

So, I got up and came out to sit on the couch to try to see if what I was feeling was really labor. I got myself so worked up. I was convinced that since I had not felt the baby in quite some time that he must have died and that I was surely going into labor and I would spend New Years in the hospital giving birth to a baby who was already with Jesus. I tortured myself for quite a while. You see, I also attend a support group for bereaved parents and I know so many women who have lost babies! Many of which have had stillborn babies and I thank God every day that I at least had 6 days with Isaac. But nonetheless knowing so many women who have lost babies sometimes has a tendancy to remind me of ALL of the things that can go wrong. I get so frustrated sometimes because I don't think many women understand how blessed they truly are when they get pregnant and have a healthy baby 9 months later. Many women suffer with infertility, miscarriage and infant loss and once you experience one of those things you are NEVER the same.

Anyhow, around 3:30 I fell asleep on the couch and Howard came out to check on me an hour or so later and I went to bed. This morning Happy was very active and I tried to sleep in because Howard was taking care of the kids but I just layed in bed enjoying every moment with Happy. I was in such a panic last night and I just kept praying for this little guy to move and he must have been sleeping! I feel much better today though.

Actually I got a new cookbook for Christmas by Jessica Seinfeld, called Deceptively Delicious, and the idea is that you hide veggies in every day meals to get the kids to eat more so I spent the day pureeing beets, spinach, squash, broccoli, and carrots for use in the meals I plan to cook this week. It was fun! I can't wait to try the recipes!

I am trying very hard to live one day at time. It is so hard. Tonight we are going to start a family devotional time with Luke and I am looking forward to that. I am praying that this new year brings many blessings for our family and for all of yours! Our next appointment in Erie is the 7th and Pittsburgh the 15th so please continue to keep us in your prayers. We are still praying for God to grow Happy's brain and heal him, but we are also praying that he uses us for His purposes and that we are able to remain steadfast and obedient in allowing Him to do so. We know good things are to come, we just have to take it one day at a time!