Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Wonderful Gift






Over the past few weeks, Julie and I had been looking forward to going out to dinner with her parents, Skipper and Dalma, this past Saturday night. They had invited us to eat and would not tell us where they were taking us, only that it was going to be a very nice restaurant. In the days leading up to the dinner, we talked about it several times and we were all very excited when the night finally came. Julie's parents picked us up at around 6:30 pm (we had a 7:20 pm reservation) and we headed out where all the best restaurants are.

Along the way, Dalma asked us if we knew where we were going and, of course, we had no idea. She gave us a hint saying that she was going to order fried crab claws (I think) as an appetizer which indicated just how nice the restaurant was going to be. I got even more excited at the prospect of such a wonderful meal. As we got a few minutes away from the house, Julie's mom got a phone call from Julie's sister, Lori. Lori had planned to have the youth group kids over to her house that night and told her mom that she really needed us to go by her house, pick up her two daughters (Caroline and Emma) and take them with us  because there Julie's other sister, Jennifer, would come take them off our hands. Julie's mom told Lori to call the restaurant and see if they would delay our reservation and if they would, we would turn around and go pick up the kids. Julie and I were certainly not pleased at Lori's apparent selfishness and horrible timing. After another phone call, we turned around went back across town to Lori's to pick up her daughters. Julie and I were becoming more agitated as we got closer because this seemed to be ruining our special night. Julie's mom called Lori to tell her to have the kids ready to go and outside so that we could just swing by and pick them up. Of course when we got there, nobody was outside ready and I was getting very frustrated with the whole business. I couldn't believe that we had gone all the way back to pick up Lori's kids and she didn't even have the courtesy to have them ready to go. After a few moments, Lori came out to the car and asked us to come in and help her get the kids ready. We all said that we didn't want to get out and that she should have had them ready by now. She begged us and finally Dalma got out to go in and Lori asked us to help to. A moment later, Skipper, obviously frustrated, turned off the car and got out to help. I followed and then Julie finally agreed to go in. I was giving Lori dirty looks for ruining the start of our special night. Julie was already fairly tired from a long day before all of this and she, understandably, was becoming more upset with Lori. As we got into the house, I had been expecting it to be a wreck with the girls running around trying to find their shoes or whatever, but the house was very well kept. Lori told us that we really needed to look out the back window at all of the youth kids back there to see how many could fit in her yard and how crazy it was back there. We certainly didn't want to look, but we eventually agreed. As she opened the door, we could see Jennifer standing there with a video camera and an awful lot of people behind her. I quickly noticed one of our good friends, Meghan, who lives in Alabama now and I knew what was going on. The whole thing had been a set up for an enormous surprise party for us celebrating Magdalena! They all yelled "Surprise!" and Julie, overcome with the emotions of the whole thing, stepped back inside for a few minutes to regroup. I went ahead out to see and greet all of the people there. There were probably between 75 and 100 people all eating some amazing food and sitting at lovely tables or standing around talking. As I looked around, I saw the tent that was set up with a huge spread of food, including one of the largest chocolate cakes (thanks, Lori!) that I have ever seen with Magdalena's initials on it. There was also a table set up for people to write prayers for us and to sign in that they had come to the party. It was so great to see so many friends, many of which came from out of town or even out of state. I couldn't believe the number of people there that Lori did not know at all. How did she know to invite all of them? It turned out that Lori had emailed every person that had joined our Facebook group, Magdalena's Feet, and asked for their address to send them a personal invitation to the party. She also went through Julie's email contacts to invite them too. The invitations told guests, instead of giving gifts, to donate to a fund for Magdalena's future expenses. People were so generous and we are so overwhelmed at God's goodness and provision for us.

Lori and Jennifer planned the whole thing with the great help from Stephen (Lori's husband) and Skipper and Dalma, and they all did such an incredible job. We had such a wonderful time visiting with friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in years, and eating way too much great food.
We are so thankful for such support from family and friends. God is so good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Poem for Magdalena

Today at work I was reading through the Psalms and I was struck in a new way of the beauty of the poetry. As I was reading some of David's deepest, most agonizing thoughts put into poems, I thought of an idea for a poem of my own. I do not claim to be much of a poet at all, but as lines started to form in my head, I couldn't help but start to write things down. After a few minutes I was in tears trying to express my thoughts. While it is not great poetry or anything, I have decided to share it.

My dear, sweet daughter
August creeps this way
Giving us the hope of holding you
Desperate to delight in your beauty
And share you with this world
Loving hands that adore you
Every precious moment more blessed
Never will we be the same
August rushes this way, my darling
Giving us the fear of losing you, yet
Rejoicing in the gift that you are
And while in His perfect hands you remain
Close to our hearts you will stay
Eternally in the shadow of His wings


As you can see, I wrote it as an acrostic (first letter, in this case) which is the first time I have ever tried to do anything like that. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just a Little Note...

I am so glad that Noah updated you just a few days ago. I really lack the words to express my heart at this point, and I am not sure how much more I will blog before we meet our sweet daughter. It always amazes me how many people talk about the strength that we have, but I feel just the opposite. Although my body is exhausted at the end of the day I lie awake just thinking about Magdalena and crying for her and the unknown of what is to come. Keeping busy by house cleaning and grocery shopping are attempts to get my little world ready for when I go into the hospital, but it only makes me more tired, which makes my emotions even crazier. I am sure a few women can relate to this feeling if I explained it well. We have known about this disease for a few months now, but I still didn't understand how I can feel her playing inside of me so fiercely but she will have problems once she comes into the world. When I asked the doctor about this, he explained that I was performing all of her major functions for her. I wish that I could continue to do this and knowing that I can't makes me feel helpless, but there will come a point when I have to let her go. Her body is so little that it won't help give her a good fight, but I believe that it has all been determined by God no matter her weight or how much air she can consume at first.

This past week my oldest sister went out of town, and each family member had the honor of caring for her beautiful daughters. The night they stayed with us, Caroline, the oldest of the two, who is six made a sign that said "Pray for Magdalena", hung it on the wall, and waited for people to come to sign it. Noone came. The next morning she hung an "open" sign and one letting people know where to find the markers to sign, and again she waited for people to sign. If she had stayed at my house much longer I would have had a hard time explaining why people weren't coming. She understands that Magdalena is sick, but after a few things that she said I realized that she doesn't completely understand the situation. Her sweet hope is beautiful. I wanted to take a picture of the sign, but it rained before I got the chance and all the words were smeared.

Also, I wanted to share this video of a beautfiul song that was posted on another Trisomy 18 blog. The words express everything, which leaves me little more to explain.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

A Little Update

I feel it is time for a little update to keep people posted on what God is doing in our lives. Julie is much better at this, but I will give it a shot and let Julie fill in the blanks.
Yesterday we went to the doctor for our weekly checkup, and we got a few more answers to some of our questions. As of now, Magdalena is laying across with her booty down. We are hoping some time in the next few weeks that she moves into a head down position that is the best for delivery. Because she is small (3.2 lbs., I think) and there is still plenty of fluid, there is a higher probability that she will still be able to turn. If she is able to turn, we will plan to induce on the Tuesday the 5th or Wednesday the 6th of August. If she doesn't turn, we will plan to have a C-section at that time, although we would certainly prefer to avoid that if possible for a variety of reasons.
While we are nervous about many things that are still unknown, we are certain that our God is our Father and nothing is unknown to Him. We know that no matter what God brings our way, His mercies are new every morning and His grace will be there for us every step. He loves us and cares about us even more than we do. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Blessings

Psalms 28: 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

After posting yesterday that I was going to be mailing in my portfolio I realized how I have not shared the many of the blessings that have helped Noah and me to deal with this difficult situation. These are only a few of the many blessings.

Professors at the university - Upon finding out about Magdalena's health, I was in my last semester of graduate school. Noah began to take off on Thursdays to drive me to the university a couple hours away for my class, and I really just became emotionally overwhelmed. It is university policy that a student be enrolled in the semester that they graduate, so it didn't seem possible to me that I would be able to ask for an extension in order to take more time to finish my classes. While I was barely keeping up with my work I wrote to my professors explaining the situation and asking what could be done, and I set up a meeting with the VP of student affairs to discuss graduation. Noah and I talked and realized that I needed to take the time to deal with all of my emotions instead of just feeling stuck.
I just didn't think that I was going to make it....and I only had a month and a half left. By the following Thursday when I met with the VP, my two professors and the VP of student affairs had worked every detail out. It was no longer required that I drive to Hattiesburg the last few times; I would finish coursework online. If I didn't finish my classes by the end of May they would enroll me in a summer "research" class, and they even went so far as to find me a scholarship for that class. It was just the mercy we needed at the hardest time in my life, and I am so thankful for those individuals.
Tomorrow, Monday, I will be mailing in my final portfolio. I am so thankful for the time given so that my strength could be put in other areas of my life.

Work - When Noah and I first found out we were both emotionally exhausted which poured into our physical strength. There were so many nights that I had problems sleeping, if I slept at all, and it wasn't helpful that I had to leave the house by 6:40 to arrive at work on time. It was such a blessing to work with an amazing team. I took some time off for rest, and after sleepless nights I was excused to go into work a little late. Meanwhile, I was still going to the doctor for visits, etc. It took some time for me to be able to be around people.

My mom - My mom has given me so much of her time this summer during her vacation. Just look on my patio and you will see potted plants, chairs, etc. all put there and positioned by her. She has gone with me to my doctor's appt. when Noah has to work.

My nieces and nephew - In a difficult, unique situation like this one it is difficult sometimes for adults to know how to act and what to say around a hurting individual. For this reason, I am thankful for my innocent nieces Caroline (6 years old), Emma (4), and Laura(3) who have continually shown love to Magdalena, and through their innocent remarks, they have reminded me of how her sickness will glorify God. They continually hug Magdalena (through my stomach) and give her kisses. They may not understand the disease or even know its name, but they know that she is sick, which could allow her to be with Jesus sooner than most people. My nephew, Landon, is only 2 and 1/2 months old, but when I hold him Magdalena gets very active. I wonder if they are communicating with each other, or if they can just feel that the other one is there.





My Family - For throwing Life Day parties for Magdalena after every doctor's appt., for showing strength when she is their niece, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter, and this situation affects them too. It would be hard to list all of the small things that they have done for Noah and me.






Just a comment on tears....


Without Jennifer's permission I am writing about a discussion that I had with her yesterday. She always felt so bad if she asked me a question or made a comment that would make me cry. However, I tried to assure her that it was nothing that she did; it was the situation. Many of the comments and questions were difficult ones that I was dealing with at the time. The tears are there because of the love that I have for my daughter, and they will be there forever. It doesn't mean that I am miserable but that I feel strong emotions for her. The only way to avoid the possibility of me crying around you is to avoid me all together or avoiding the fact that I am a mother. Don't feel bad if I cry. It is ok. There is nothing that could have been said to avoid the tears, and sometimes they come because I have been avoiding them for so long.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Almost There...

Just a few more days will mark Magdalena's 35 week birthday! The time has passed by so quickly that it took me by surprise how I needed to begin to get my things ready for the big day!
Yesterday seemed so busy, and it seems as though that is how it will be for the rest of the summer. It is going to just fly by! Noah sells Serta mattresses, and yesterday we had one delivered. Although it seemed so comfortable in the store, last night I tossed and turned, which is harder as a very pregnant person. Noah slept soundly! He said that with a new mattress you have to give it a couple of nights before you can fully decide not to like it.
Although, I have completed the work for my Master's I have to turn in my portfolio to be completely finished. I am working on that today, and the plan is for me to be done by the end of the weekend. To have it in the mail will be such a relief! I really can't drag it out because Magdalena could be here any day now!

My next doctor's appointment in Thursday, July 10th at 10:40. Then, I will be going to see the doctor every week.