I’m pretty excited what I am learning lately and what is crazy is that we are
learning the same things at the same times in different ways. At the “art
party” I went to they asked us to write a letter to ourselves titles “What I
want most for myself…” At first I was stumped and really hate questions
like that but as I really began to think about it I wrote the following:
The life I want most for myself is that I would love to be present at all
times. Present with Jesus, my husband, children, family and friends. I would
love to allow Jesus to fill my cup every day with love so that I can truly love
others. I’d love to be a part of the amazing stories that change people’s lives.
I would love for the Lord to guide my steps and to follow His lead and to not
plan to far in advance unless He asks me to. I’d love to raise loving children
who bring Glory to God. I’d love to be truly balanced in what I eat, how I
active I am, how much time I spend on being creative, serving others and living
the every day life.
I thank the Lord for the moments this happens and for reminding me when I
am not in those moments.
This week we had lunch with some friends and there was an Advent reading that
hit our friend Chuck by Henri Nouwen about being present. How cool is that? I
would love to just type you a quote from it but it was so good I want you to
read the whole thing.
Henri Nouwen wrote “Jesus came in the fullness of time. He will come
again in the fullness of time. Wherever Jesus Christ is, time is brought to its
We often experience our time as empty. We hope that tomorrow, next week,
next month, next year real things will happen to us. But sometimes we experience
the fullness of time…when time stands still…when past, present, and future
become one…when everything is present where we are…when God, we, and all that is
have come together in total unity. That is the experience of God’s time. It is
in the fullness of time that we meet God.
I wonder and I am excited to learn what else the Lord will teach us this year
How crazy that the Holy Spirit is bringing this to light in both of us?! I am
so excited to see what’s in store for us.
I love your letter and plan on stealing it and using it as my
mantra. These thoughts reflect a good portion of what I’ve been taught
during Advent and giving up Facebook and other sites–things I didn’t necessarily
plan on learning. I’ll share those thoughts soon, but suffice it to say, after
just 25 days, I believe I am changed forever. Granted, it’s a 3 degree change
when I have 160 degrees to go, but I’m better off than I was 26 days ago.
Wonder where we’ll be with all of these intentions at the end of 2012? Can’t
wait to see!
Thursday I had an ultrasound. The doctor mentioned a few things and since
they will never find anything perfect with this pregnancy I decided to blow it
off and not worry about. I have googled something only once this entire
pregnancy because it’s not really worth the misinformation I could be getting.
Friday I had a doctor appointment and a few things really started to make sense
They have found that the cord to the placenta may not be giving baby blood
and oxygen like they would like it to. It’s borderline (that’s our story with
everything) right now but because of this I have found three things that make
This could be why my blood test tested positive for Down Syndrome. Other
abnormalities are picked up through that test such as placenta issues.
This is why my doctor has mentioned stillbirth in most of my appointments.
She never mentioned she believed stillbirth could be prevented until this
This is why I go to non-stress tests (NST). They want to make sure the
baby is moving in a healthy manner.
It’s great to have this puzzle fall into place but I will say for the first
time I’ve started to become concerned. It’s all on me if I don’t feel her
move as much, and if for any reason I am concerned I need to go to the hospital
to have an NST. Sometimes I don’t notice her all day while tending to the
kids. Next week we will be scheduling an induction for some time during the
first week of January. If I go into labor naturally that is fine, but they don’t
want me going past my due date. Right now they think she is 8lbs so I’m
fine with not going much longer!
Please pray for these last few weeks. This has been a peaceful
pregnancy despite what the doctors have said and we’d love for her to be born in
peace as well. I will be induced on January 5th and if for some reason I am not
dilated before then I will be spending the previous night and they will give me
something to dilate. I am hoping we won’t have to spend that extra night away
from the girls!
Wow, I can’t believe we’re at this point. I’m starting to get paranoid if we
don’t connect at some point every morning.
Although I hate that you have to live with that pressure of monitoring her,
I’m also glad to see these pieces of the puzzle falling into place and things
making a little more sense. Of course there are still lots of question marks
about baby, it’s nice to have some more information.
Definitely praying. I really pray that God would give you a kind of sixth
sense so you would be able to feel her squirming and kicking, and that you would
be able to continue experiencing the peace I know has been such a part of this
I seriously thought I would no longer be posting on how the baby and I are
doing but today was RIDICULOUS! I went to the doctor at 1:45 for an appointment
and then immediately afterward had a Non-Stress Test (NST). The baby was so
active that the heart monitor would not stay in place, so after an hour they
sent me over to the hospital. Then at the hospital the baby falls asleep and
they can’t let me go until they see a certain anount of movements. I left
the hospital at 5:30!
Next week I start one ultrasound a week, two NSTs a week and one doctor’s
appointment. I am thinking of just handing my kids over to someone else to raise
until I have this baby.
OK, part of me is glad they’re watching so closely. Nothing’s gettin’ past
these people! But for someone who hates to be fussed over you’re sure getting
the treatment. Ugh.
Four years ago we were invited to party by our friends, Jeff and Kim Russell.
For almost 20 years they had been meeting with the same couples, exchanging
handmade Christmas presents. They decided to mix the party up and invited us! We
were, and still are, so honored to be included in this fun celebration.
This year I created earrings from the rocks found in front of the Russell’s
cottage in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
received my gift this year. Could someone tinier have sat next to me?! She is so
enthusiastic about whatever you make so it’s a great person to pick your gift.
You feel like you are an art genius.
I got Kim’s gifts this year! She made three
different snow globes. I haven’t taken them out of their box yet because I know
the girls will love them. I also know they love dropping glass snow globes so
they are staying hidden for awhile.
made this record purse last year with the help of my Mom.
I don’t sew so she
helped create the purse part.
know this picture is super blurry but wanted to show you Greg’s project. He made
a decorative bowl out of sticks. I love how the women are all huggy about their
projects and the guys are all business-like about their exchange. You can see
Taraneh’s hand in this picture. Again, super-cheerleader telling Greg what a
great job he did!
I’m not sure what week I’m in for my Advent fasting, but as predicted the
honeymoon is over.
I’m not sad at all about giving up Facebook in particular. But giving up one
layer of my “vices” has only exposed others. They were really just escapes, and
now I notice so many more: eating, daydreaming, talking on the phone, just to
name a few. All of them take me to another place mentally, and yet I want to be
here 100% for my family!
I’ve also noticed other things in my life that can play games with my head,
making me feel like my life is not as interesting as others’. Our beloved Real
Simple that we read form front to back? Yeah, pretty much makes me think
like my life is crap. Parenting websites and magazines? I suck. It’s making me
realize that, although some things are totally worth avoiding, at some point I
just need to adjust my perspective so I can experience these things again and
yet not get sucked into that low place. I know it’s do-able, it’s just going to
take a level of consciousness I don’t usually operate from.
On a positive note, I am still noticing joy in places I used to overlook, and
trying to notice the fairytale under my nose, but it is certainly a choice I
have to make every singe day.
Focusing on gratitude.
This brings joy to me that you are seeing things more clearly. You
are an amazing mom and have great kids! I like to think of Parenting and
Real Simple as pretty things that have been photoshopped. Our homes will
never be as organized as Real Simple because not everything fits in a perfect
hole and doing a craft with the kids will be much messier than they describe in
These past weeks have flown by. I’ve noticed after I sent my last update to a
few friends and family that because I said our baby is doing well and all is
well they assumed she doesn’t have Downs Syndrome. I don’t want to go around
saying “She’s healthy but she might have Downs” so I have decided to let it go.
She is who she is and I’ll just update them on tests as I feel comfortable.
Now at 32 weeks, I had another ultrasound. Things look good for baby. They
are concerned my amniotic fluid is high. It was really high with June. I
remember when they broke my water the nurse was running around saying she’d
never seen anything like it and couldn’t find enough towels. My level was at a
23 (not sure if this is–oz, mm, jigawatts…). Normal range can be up to 24 BUT
somehow he is very concerned about me. I’m really starting to get annoyed with
this concern. Almost every test I have taken I have been in the normal range but
close to the abnormal. How is it if I am within normal range they have to freak
Here is their next proposed plan: Two non-stress tests (NST) a week, one
ultrasound a week, and one doctor’s appointment a week. Somehow, I need to fit
those in while taking Catina to and from preschool three times a week, June’s
speech therapy two times a week, June’s doctors appointments and well…just plain
living life like, um, maybe going grocery shopping? The NST I took this week
took an hour and fifteen minutes excluding drive time. I’ve convinced my doctor
to let me just have one NST a week until 36 weeks. The specialist is the one who
has been pushing for all the extras. I will see my doctor again on Wednesday and
ask if I can cut down on ultrasounds as well. I just don’t see the point. Oh,
and the specialist says if he sees the fluid continue this week I can just
retake that 3 hour glucose test again. Why don’t I just move into the hospital
until she is born?
I had a day of contractions last week where they were ten minutes a part. I
think it was due to dehydration. I did not bring this up to the specialist
because who the heck knows what he would do with me then?!
Trying to stay calm and educated in this mess of being an old lady having a
So glad you talked your doc into a little more reasonable schedule! Now if
only Catina could drive herself to preschool, you’d be pretty set.
We’ve had an fetal echo-cardiogram and her heart looks good! I am so grateful
for this. Through our journey towards children I realize that its not about if
our baby is a boy or girl, if they are smart or dumb, ugly or cute, healthy or
unhealthy, it’s about us loving them and wanting to be with them, whoever
they are. I’m really looking forward to holding our baby.
We had another ultrasound and everything is progressing well. They still plan
to monitor me a lot which is annoying but as the doctor who joked with me when I
came in for the fetal echo-cardiogram “Are you here because you’re old?” I
laughed out loud! YUP! Apparently, 37 is over the hill these days.
Here is a picture of our cutie patootie! I swear she looks like June!
I really love this blog called Reduce, Reuse, UPcycle! I sent
Rachel pictures of the sock animals my Mom sewed for your
baby shower and she posted them on her blog. There are so many creative
ideas she finds and I have started to bookmark the “some day” projects I may
Recently Rachel e-mailed and asked if we have any more projects to share, and
since Greg and I are always trying to make things out of recycled items, in
particular pallet wood, I sent her a few pictures. In celebration of the
season I wanted to share our Christmas light bulb project.
We took a piece of plywood and painted it black and
then glued old Christmas light bulbs onto the board using JB Weld. We started at
the top and laid the bulbs flush to the end of the board. We didn’t measure but
used a bulb to help with spacing the next line. I like this piece so much
we keep it up all year round. Some day I think it might be fun to create
different designs like flowers or swirls using the light bulbs. Fun
A few nights ago our fire alarm started chirping in the middle of the night.
Not only is that sound super annoying but its right at the bottom of the stairs
to both the girls and our bedroom. What is even more annoying than that is Greg
can sleep through it! I finally nudged him and told him if I weren’t pregnant I
would go downstairs and get on a chair to pull the battery out but I just
couldn’t do it. In a fog he went downstairs and pulled the battery out. An hour
later I hear the chirp again. What the…?
The whole day went by and it was in the middle of the next night that the
fire alarm began to chirp. I hit Greg and asked him if he changed the battery.
He said he hadn’t but there was no battery in the alarm. I told him he had to
get out of bed and get a battery because I am not going another night where its
harder to sleep than it already was. This whole time I am feeling badly about my
bossiness but COME ON!
The third night it begins to chirp. SERIOUSLY! After smacking Greg and waking
him up he tells me that he put a new battery in last night so he has no idea why
its chirping. I let it go because I could tell he was not getting out of bed.
The next morning he took the fire alarm and after investigating we figured it
must be too old and we need a new one so he threw it outside in the garbage.
The fourth night I hear the chirping! Jen, seriously, I thought I was losing
my mind. Come to find out we had been working with the wrong fire alarm. There
is another one in the living room that we didn’t think to check and because it
was so loud we just assumed it was the one closest to our room. OY!
Lately I’ve been wondering how we’re supposed to announce our baby’s
birth now that some people know that she has the potential to have Down
Syndrome? Everyone will want to know now as soon as she is born. How should the
text to friends read?
<Born at 8:57am, Nameless Baby, 8lbs, 5oz, Down Syndrome> or <Born
at 8:57am, Nameless Baby, 8lbs, 5oz, does not have Down Syndrome>
SERIOUSLY!!! Then if she doesn’t, I am again fearing people’s reactions of
wanting to “praise the Lord.” Would you not praise the Lord if she was?
Jen, seriously, struggling here!
A few days later…
I asked my doctor today when we would find out if our baby has Downs and she
said the test results may not come back for 5 to 7 days. This was comforting to
me because I no longer have to worry about how to announce how she is doing.
People will know in time.
This is complicated! Sort of glad the question is answered, but this
totally hits a nerve with me.
I don’t know if there’s a book that’s popular or something that
promotes this, but I keep hearing everyone say “God is good.” (OK, I
know the book that originally said it is the Bible,
but for it to be on everyone’s tongue all of a sudden? I mean, it’s
definitely a true and good thing, but…well, read
on….) So what makes me so crazy is that it’s said
as though the THING that happened MADE Him good. “My husband got a
job! God is good!” “We finally got pregnant! God is good.” “I passed my exams!
God is good.” These aren’t false statements, but one really has nothing to
do with the other; those accomplishments have NOTHING to do with His
goodness! They’re totally separate. He’s good when we’re unemployed, and
infertile, and failing out of college. Period. I know it seems like I’m
splitting hairs, but I think a more appropriate response is to praise
God because certainly all good things do come from Him,
but His character (as in God IS good) has nothing at all to do
with these things.
You know how great you feel after you’ve cleaned your whole house
top-to-bottom, knowing every nook and cranny you’ve ignored for months is now
OK, well that’s the best way for me to describe the euphoria I feel after 1
week away from some of my “escape vices.” For the season of Advent I’ve decided
to stay off Facebook and some other internet sites that tend to put my brain in
I’m sure you weren’t surprised when I told you I felt like I was supposed to
do this. I comment a lot about having a bad attitude even though I love my life
and wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, LOVE my life. I realized that I was sort of
living a lie by escaping online, watching how others lived and then unwittingly
becoming insecure or discontent about how I was living. Let me give you an
example: I feel discouraged because I can’t keep up with duties around the
house, and BAM! There’s a Facebook post from a lovely friend who lists her
superwoman accomplishments from that morning. Or I feel frustrated because I
have the best paint colors picked out for the living room, but can’t find the
time to actually paint, and BAM! There’s the most beautiful, put-together
house on Apartment Therapy.
I love pretty things, and even though my life is exactly what I’ve asked for
it to be, it’s not really pretty. I mean, it has moments of pretty, but then it
gets puked on. And I don’t really mind, puke is surprisingly easy to clean. But
there goes the pretty, and “high” I get from it. After a week of not escaping, I
can’t believe how much I’m enjoying our little life here, how much more mellow
and how in-tune I am to our kiddos.
Well, that’s where I’m at after 1 week. We’ll see if I’m detoxing a little
harder in another 7 days.
I am so excited to see where this leads you and to learn from you during this
time. As long as you don’t “fast” from ME its all good!
Why is this topic of healing always an issue for me? I struggled with it when
I learned of your baby Elisabeth. I believed she could be healed but at the same
time she had a condition that never had been healed before so I knew that this
was most likely not in God’s plan for her. I guess I feel the same way about
Down Syndrome. The Lord knit these babies in their mothers’ womb and praying for
“healing” is a struggle because who is to say they should be different than what
they are now? Elisabeth taught me what true Hope is. She had a purpose beyond
her little life. Why can’t we think the same of these babies with Down
Then I wonder if maybe I lack the faith I should have. Am I way off-base and
I should be praying that certain conditions should be different? The
Lord knows my struggle and continues to give me peace as I seek His thoughts and
ways on it.
This was definitely among the hardest parts of our journey with our daughter.
We’d waited so many years to finally conceive, and then we find our our baby had
a lethal condition. Right away people dismissed the prognosis (God will heal!)
and like you’ve experienced, ignored the medical information (Doctors are wrong
all the time!). Levi and I felt a specific calling to accept the bad news and
yet live gracefully with it. Of course we hoped beyond all hope that our baby
would be born screaming and normal, but around that time I had read Philip
Yancy’s Prayer, and my thoughts about healing were actually being lived
out in front of me: God CAN heal, but He is in charge and He doesn’t always
choose to do this. I believe the healthiest perspective is to acknowledge how
confusing this is to us as humans. We desire healing and He created us to have
these longings, but we live a broken world and this is one of the examples.
I cannot picture Elisabeth any other way–if I imagine her to be healed from
her fatal dwarfism, I am picturing a different baby. At the same time, if we
lived in a perfect, heavenly world, there would be no fatal illnesses or painful
medical problems. Or for that matter, no cellulite or wrinkles or jealousy or
judgement. Even though our babies are perfect gifts, WHATEVER their conditions,
I do think there is room for healing. They aren’t flawless. We pray for their
health just like we pray for the health of our seemingly “normal” babies (have
we not both prayed for our quick-tempered children to get control?!).
I love how Philip Yancy says it:
When I fall sick, or learn of physical suffering in a friend or loved
one, I bring that request to God, whom the Bible describes as “the Father of
compassion and the God of all comfort.” Sickness, not health, is the abnormality
that Jesus came to expose. While not solving all the problems on earth, Jesus’
miracles gave a clear sign of how the world should be, and someday will be. His
acts of healing restored to specific individuals what had been spoiled on the
planet as a while.
Maybe I’m the one with the faith issue, because I’m perfectly fine with
living with all this gray.
Do you remember this story from Lent, earlier this year?
During Lent I really wanted to wait on an answer from the Lord. I have heard
people make comments about praying for the healing of June’s hearing loss and
for some reason it has always rubbed me the wrong way. At the same time I
believe we need to ask for healing and have prayed for June. I wanted to have
peace with what to tell people when they suggest praying or even imply that we
don’t have enough faith. A week or two into Lent, Kate e-mailed and asked people
to pray for her college roommate’s son who is profoundly deaf. I was more than
willing to pray but again felt this irritation. Was it because I felt when
people implied prayer was needed, they were implying something was wrong with my
child? Was it because my child wasn’t healed and now you’re asking me to pray
for someone else’s?
I continued to ask the Lord about this and tried to figure out what my
feelings were. I was talking to my sister-in-law, April, who also has two
children with hearing loss. I was telling her about how I was feeling and how
mainly I am upset because I don’t think anything is wrong with June. She was
created by God and I think she is great the way she is.
We were having this discussion on Good Friday (the last day of Lent) and she
told me she hung out with her step-sister, Jen, the night before. They were
watching one-hour documentaries on different topics and one of them was on
healing. April expressed to Jenny some of the feelings I had been having and Jen
said “But the Lord has healed.” April looked at her like, “What?” And, Jen said
“The Lord has healed you so that you can see your child as whole.” It was my
answer! How amazing. My daughter is whole in my eyes and we are healed!
At small group today we were asked how to pray for our baby. Greg and I had
different requests and I don’t believe it’s a bad thing. We are processing
things differently so why would we not have different requests?
I have asked people that our journey towards this baby would bring Glory to
God and that our baby would as well. Greg is asking first for her not to be Down
Syndrome. He says he has to ask the Lord for what he would desire for her most
and it would be for her not struggle. In this, Thy will be done. He will
love and accept her regardless but this is what he will ask.
One of our friends mentioned that Greg’s children have really brought Greg to
his knees. With our struggle to get pregnant with our first two and now
in this the Lord has taught Greg to talk to Him about them all. During
these times it is when I have become more dependent on my community because I do
not have the words or even know how to pray. I depend on these people to pray
for me. Both are good; both have taught us much.
Even to this day Levi and I handle our experience with Elisabeth
so differently. My prayer is that your differences will continue to unify you
and not cause dissension.
I’ve gone crazy about this stuff as well and one thing I have decided is that
as long as we continue to expose our children to good food we are doing o.k. Did
you like vegetables as a child? I liked very few. Now I LOVE them. I make Catina
PB&J or mac-n cheese but ask her to try something along with it. At our last
doctors visit the doctor showed Catina this picture.
Between her exposure at preschool and the doctor she has
decided to try a few more things. Sometimes we need people outside us to
encourage them. As our kids grow older we can enforce things a bit more.
Catina isn’t allowed to eat after dinner. If she’s hungry she should’ve eaten
what was presented. I do, however, always make sure there is at least one thing
she will eat. That’s why we almost always have a piece of fruit as part of the
meal. I also try to make sure she has limited snacks a couple hours before
dinner. This way she is hungrier and may try something new. She also isn’t
allowed to have dessert unless she eats the vegetables and protein. We don’t
have dessert every night but she has had many a nights watching the rest of us
eat a brownie because she didn’t eat her meal. Its tempting to not want to eat
the brownie in front of her because it sounds mean but it does teach her to live
with her choices. She has impressed quite a few of our friends by sitting
quietly while we eat dessert having none for herself because she made the
choice. We learned this from a Love & Logic conference we had gone to.
Another thing that has encouraged Catina to eat a better variety is allowing
her to help me cook. She seems to eat more if she can help. There is a great
website called http://www.weelicious.com/. It has been
helpful as well. Having her help isn’t always the most convenient but if it
Catina is still not the greatest of eaters and its a constant struggle with
her. A lot of my suggestions are for older children but know that your kids will
be able to do these things before we know it. Crazy! We should create a
link where we share the recipes our children love. Although they may love it for
a few weeks and change their minds the next!