"For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made

in the secret place, when I was woven together

in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my

unformed body; all the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be."

Psalm 139: 13-16

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Growing Pains

I can hardly believe January is nearly over, and so is this pregnancy! Meghan’s birthday was re-scheduled for March 1st at 39 weeks. I am glad for a little extra time, and also for the extra week to let her grow and become stronger knowing what she will face when she is born. In the meantime, we continue to watch her growth on the Ultrasounds every week (she is now somewhere around 4.5 lbs), which instead of just focusing on her ventricles has now shifted to watching her movement and practice breathing. Her ventricles continue to enlarge, but thankfully its been slow growth. Daily, I watch in amazement at how a human body can accommodate such a miracle, especially when one of her knees, elbows or feet really start stretchingJ

At the beginning of a nine month journey, it feels like forever until the end will be near- but as with any journey, time inevitably passes and suddenly you find yourself ever so close to the goal. Whether it’s something you’ve been looking forward to or dreading, eventually it comes to pass.  I suppose that what makes the period in between worthwhile is what you do with the time you are given. I am really glad I have had the time over the last few months to process everything, and to try and prepare. I have learned a lot about how I handle difficult situations, and how I process things. Looking back I needed to break down the situation into manageable parts, and deal with each one separately- fully feel, evaluate and give whatever piece it was its place in my mind. Eventually, I came to a point where I feel like I’m ready to move forward- ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead- and ready to be Meghan’s Mommy. I know that I am able to face a trial, and allow the strength of my Savior to carry me through. Difficult things hurt, they are not easy, and we all face them in life in some form or fashion. So many people look for a way to escape whatever painful reality they face, but I truly believe that running is not the answer. It is facing the heartache, viewing it through the eyes of Truth, and realizing that you are not alone on your journey that allows people to grow and change and become better for what they have been through. Somehow, on the other side there is peace, strength you never knew you had, and hope. Hope that is born out of knowing that you can face the trials that lie ahead- and come through them a better person than you were before.

I still feel anxious about facing the future sometimes, but I take great comfort in knowing that the Lords promises to not depend on how I feel at any given moment, ever. (being a hormonal pregnant woman that is a very good thing!). His promises of strength, unfailing love, compassion, and faithfulness will not change because I have a bad day, or let fear and doubt take me down for a minute. I am certain that there will be more challenges ahead, and it’s ok.  I’ll get through those too.

            Continued thanks to my family and friends for being so awesomely supportive and sweet. It makes so many things easier…I hope that this blog can give back an ounce of the encouragement and love I’ve received.

            “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint” Romans 5:3-4

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hope Floats

If there is a vessel called hope gliding along amidst raging waters in a storm called hydrocephalus, today we got to climb aboard. While hope has always been present, the last twelve weeks since Meghan’s diagnosis have been for me about learning, growing, and accepting that things are going to be different than what we expected. As we face so many unknowns in the weeks to come the type A, color coded calendar me has been trying to function in the middle of uncharted territory and it has admittedly freaked me out a littleJ  I realized about 12 weeks ago that I couldn’t do this on my own and I’m glad I got that out of the way in 2011. It frees me up this year to move on to completely surrendering to God’s plan for my life. Part of that plan included Meghan Grace right from the start even though I have no idea what her life or mine will look like once she’s here. I have been researching, planning, and trying to put as many pieces of the puzzle together ahead of time as I can, but ultimately it is out of my hands, and completely in His. Though it has not been an easy process, through days where I am at peace and days where I am fearful, I am aware that this time has allowed me to prepare emotionally for the next part of this journey. For that I am thankful, because come what may it was intended for me, for Meghan, and for our family.

So why is today different? We met our Neurosurgeon today, and I’m pretty sure she said the actual word “hope” about 8 times in 45 minutes. She told us many stories of kids that she has seen who do very well after being born with severe hydrocephalus- even one who she actually operated on who was in medical school intending to go on to Neurosurgery because of all he had been through in his life. We know we will take things one day at a time, and rejoice over every accomplishment, taking them all as tiny miracles no matter how simple or complex they are. Being in the medical field I know how important it is to be realistic, present all the options, and maintain a firm grasp on what really is right in front of us. However, going through this as a parent I cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for someone that offers hope in the face of a poor prognosis. We know there is a spectrum of disabilities that can come out of this situation, but leaving us room for hope allows us to be the best parents we can be for Meghan.

Since the doctors are not 100% sure what is causing her hydrocephalus, Meghan will have another Ultrasound and or MRI of her brain right after she is born to help identify the cause and make sure that getting a shunt is the right course of action. From the way things have progressed it sounds like that a shunt is very likely. The timing will be determined by how stable she is after delivery. We also met with the Fetal Care Coordinator and saw where we will be delivering her at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, and walked through the delivery day’s events as best we can “imagine”.  The general consensus is there is an average stay of about 2 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for Meghan after her surgery, so we had time to see where family rooms are, a playroom for Addie, and also talked about getting a room at the Ronald Mc Donald House so that I can stay and be close after I am discharged from the hospital. Provided she doesn’t arrive on her own time, we are scheduled for delivery on February 23.

I am excited to see what God will do in our lives this year. I know there is a reason I have been challenged to grow as much as I have in these past few months. I am thankful for the gift of Meghan’s life, thankful for the gift of truth, and the way that my faith has been increased because of that truth. My resolution this year is to simply live in the moment and be content with today. Tomorrow is not promised, but strength and hope for today, for this moment, are promised abundantly.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23