Wednesday, December 24, 2008

He's Always Been Faithful

Yesterday we had another amazing sonogram! Boston had a growth spurt in the last month that exceeded both mine and the doctor's expectations. He is now an estimated 6 pounds 5 ounces. He is measuring like a baby who is full term -- 37 weeks! That is almost a full month ahead of my due date. The doctor commented on his super-long limbs (just like his daddy), his gigantic melon (the biggest measurement was his head -- means he must be smart) and my favorite comment from her was -- "Oh my goodness, look at all that hair!" I am picturing lots of dark hair like his daddy (even though I know Brian was blond when he was born). It was a great time to spend with my baby boy and to see how he has grown. The fluid level is still good and his kidneys did not look enlarged or bright.

What this ultrasound means for his diagnosis: nothing. Unfortunately, regardless of how magical and special each positive sonogram is and how much we treasure getting to see our sweet little boy, nothing done prior to his birth can erase the doctor's early findings of a high AFP and the genetic testing. A baby can look perfectly fine on the sonogram (like Boston) and still be born with Pierson Syndrome, so we will still have to wait for him to be born to know for sure.

I also had my first non-stress test (NST) yesterday. It is a very simple procedure where they hook up monitors to my belly and listen to Boston's heart. They are watching for movement and heart rate accelerations that accompany the movement. Each NST is 20 minutes long and they are looking for at least 2 accelerations in the 20 minutes. Boston had his first two within the first minute or so, but we still had to wait the full 20. I will be getting NSTs every 3-4 days until he is born. Luckily, I snapped up all of the 7:30 am appointments so I won't have to miss any work.

Yesterday I also met with Elaine Swinehart, the Maternity Care Coordinator, who helped me fill out all of my admission paperwork and consent forms. She read through a copy of our birth plan and said it was very well done. She took me on a quick tour; I will have a more extensive one when I go back to meet with the neonatologist. I was not expecting how the visit to the NICU would affect me.

I walked into the NICU and all of a sudden it struck me that this was not a place I wanted to be. Although they try to make it as friendly as possible, you don't have to be there for more than a few seconds to know that the babies here are sick. On the ceiling, part of which you can see in the picture, is the phrase "Wish I May, Wish I Might, Grant the Wish I Wish Tonight." It hit me that the wish these parents wanted granted was for their babies not to die, and that was overwhelming -- a parent's plaintive plea for their child to survive. All of the doors are glass for security reasons and so you are surrounded by room after room, bassinet after bassinet, of babies who are gravely ill. I teared up as I realized that Boston could be coming here and I had such a surge of protective mother instinct -- thinking "I don't want my baby to be here -- I don't want him to be sick. I don't want to have to wish that he would live." I am pretty sure that this aversion to the NICU will pass; after all, I want Boston to be where he needs to be in order to get better. But I was surprised how much it affected me.

The title of this blog is from a Sara Groves song. As we celebrate our positive sonogram and wait for Boston to be born, I recognize God's faithfulness. We will not be tempted to fall into sorrow or despair, or to let our hope wane. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Here are the lyrics to Sara Groves' song "He's Always Been Faithful"

Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.
Season by season I watch him amazed,
in awe of the mystery of his perfect ways

CHORUS: All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me

I can't remember a trial or a pain
he did not recycle to bring me gain.
I can't remember one single regret
in serving God only and trusting his hand.


This is my anthem, this is my song,
the theme of the stories I've heard for so long.
God has been faithful, he will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting ready...

This weekend we made some exciting progress towards Boston's birth.

On Saturday, Brian washed Boston's clothes while I set up the nursery. For right now, we have put all of Boston's stuff in the guest room because we don't know when (or if) we will come home from the hospital or what kind of set-up we will need when we get there. There may be some major furniture rearranging depending on what we need, for a dialysis machine, feeding apparatus, etc. But for now, I blissfully arranged his Winnie-the-Pooh baskets on his shelves, filling them with onesies and sleep and plays and baby washcloths and booties and other assorted baby-morabilia. I separated out the smallest items in case he is less than 8 pounds and we need some preemie or newborn clothes. They are the tiniest of outfits and could fit on his teddy bear! Clark helped arrange things. He was highly disappointed that he could no longer fit into his swing. He looked adorable as he peeked over the bassinet to see what was inside. For now, it only holds a green teddy bear and a blanket, but hopefully he will soon get to peer at his baby brother! The new paint in the guest room looks great with all of Winnie-the-Pooh decor.

Our second baby-related event happened overnight on Saturday. I tossed and turned all night and had major lower back pain. I couldn't figure out what was going on until Sunday morning when I got out of my bed and realized that Boston had majorly changed positions. I will find out at the sonogram tomorrow whether or not Boston has officially "dropped" but I can tell you that it sure feels like it. I used to have a shelf that I could rest a drink on, but now he has moved down much lower. Although I can breathe easier, it has made walking much more difficult. For first time moms, the baby can drop weeks ahead of time. Since this is my second pregnancy, I was not expecting Boston to move down quite so early, but hopefully I still have a few weeks left before I deliver. The doctors have agreed that it is medically impossible for my due date to be Feb. 12, so I have a due date "range" of Feb. 1 to the 12, making my due date 6 to 7 1/2 weeks away. I want to get everything done at home and at work so I don't have procrastination stress.

My sonogram is tomorrow at 4 and I have my pre-admission appointment at the hospital at 6. I am excited to see how Boston is growing and to get a tour of the maternity ward at St. Luke's.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My two boys

We had 3d pics taken of Clark as well, and here are a couple of side by side comparisons. We will see how they play out when Boston is born.

More than halfway there!

We found out about Boston's likely diagnosis 10 weeks ago today. His due date is 9 weeks from tomorrow. It is hard to believe, but we are more than halfway through this first period of prayer, the waiting for his due date. The hardest thing about the four month period between the time we found out about his possible diagnosis and our due date is the uncertainty -- knowing that all we can do is wait and pray and trust in God. The most fun thing about this time is that right now Boston is doing great! He is living his little life to the fullest, kicking and growing and moving around. I can only wonder about what his little brain is thinking -- most likely something along the lines of "my Mom is awesome; she takes such good care of me...keeping me fed and warm and letting me listen to good music. My dad is awesome too...I like it when he talks to me and tells me how I am going to look just like him. I like Clark too, but I wish he wouldn't always sit on my head."

The comfort of knowing that he is okay right now is also part of the uncertainty -- not knowing if right now is the only time he will be "healthy" and okay. So while I am anxious to meet him, I also want him to stay right where he is for as long as possible, because I know he is safe and taken care of. This is the part where God comes in...where he tells me that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9). God will perfect his power not only in Boston's weaknesses, but in my own. And so I trust in that. And as Paul put it so perfectly: May the God of hope grant you all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 Can you picture that? Someone overflowing with hope? Gushing with hope? Spraying hope like a firehose? Sweating hope? Walking around with an aura of hope? Beams of hope shooting from their eyes? It's a visual picture. And not just hope, but ALL joy and peace as well. I can't imagine a more perfect place to be then filled with all joy and peace and overflowing with hope. Call it that "pregnancy glow."
A view of Boston's right side: his head, shoulder and right arm and a bit of his chest.

Boston's face and a bit of his foot.
A shot of his lower face and chest.

Boston's face.

Boston rubbing his left eye with his left hand; right hand tucked under chin.

Boston grabbing his foot with his hand.Rubbing his right wrist against his mouth -- all tucked up.
A shot of his five fingers :)

Curled up -- arms crisscrossed across his face, belly in the middle and crossed legs.

One beautiful foot

A shot from the back -- Boston's legs crossed at the ankles and the right side of his bottom.Boston's right leg.
Profile pic -- left arm by left eye

A closer view of Boston

We had our 3-D sonogram of Boston last Wednesday. My mom and dad came with Brian and Clark. We brought the portable DVD player so Clark spent more time watching "The Wiggles" then he did watching his baby brother. We were grateful that he was so entertained by the show that he didn't try to pull me off the sonogram table or turn off the big screen tvs. It was wonderful to see Boston close up. He looks so cute! The biggest difference that we saw between him and Clark were their feet. Boston only has five toes, as opposed to Clark's six, and his feet look so narrow compared to Clark's. Enjoy the pics!