It's been a hard couple of weeks. I've had a difficult time finding the motivation to write at all. I mean, wasn't I just here? This journey is all too familiar. GRIEF. A different road, but a parallel path.
I've spent lots of time with Crystal and her kids, and even more time thinking and praying for them. And in so many ways, it has taken me back to the raw emotions of our own loss last summer. But in other ways it seems so much harder than what I went through.
My heart longs for Crystal and her kids to be far enough down the road that the hurt has subsided and they've found a way to make it. I wish I could do that for them. I can't, and it hurts.
O Lord, be gracious to us, we long for you.
Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
A blogging friend that I've never met, sent me this verse on a 3 x 5 card in a package of wonderful homemade soaps I ordered from her. She had read my last post and had some encouragement for me. Actually, she sent me 9 incredible verses. She must have remembered that I like to write them out and put them around my house. Or maybe God just put that in her heart as a gift to me. Either way, these verses are now spread around my home and car, to literally bring me strength throughout the day.
And it reminded me why I needed to write. It's because of all the beautiful emails and comments I've received that have encouraged me in the last couple weeks. Many of you have been where I am. You are all too familiar with this journey. So I share in the hopes that maybe you can help me travel it just a little bit easier.
UPDATE # 1: Pregnancy, week 20.
About two weeks ago, I had a detailed ultrasound with a perinatologist. He was checking on the baby's health, the previa, the placental tear and most importantly - Gender! I have good news all around.
The baby looks great. No issues, no "markers" to indicate any problems. We're measuring exactly on track. And there is no sign of the previa. That has grown up and the placenta is now off my cervix, clearing the way for baby to make it out with no issues when the time comes.
The placental separation cannot be found! Praise God. 12 weeks of bedrest finally did its job and my body was able to heal. More importantly, this means my physcial restrictions were lifted. And God knew the exact timing. I needed to be able to be up and around so I could help my friend these last few weeks. I would not have been able to watch her kids, since I would not have been allowed to lift the baby. My stamina is not yet what I hoped, but I'm believing it will get there. The doctor advised me to ease back into things gently. That has been easy on some days, harder on others. But my body lets me know when I've overdone it, and I don't have much choice but to sit back down for a little bit.
And lastly, it appears with some degree of certainty that we are being blessed with another girl! I'm not sure what God had in mind giving my husband four girls to take care of in his house, except that he must be pretty good at it. It was not a surprise to me, as I noted the similarities with my first pregnancies. Just like last summer I was able to be confident we were pregnant with a boy because of the differences. We are grateful and excited!
I am also happy to announce, I had my first inquiry of pregnancy from a stranger. It may have had more to do with the awkward clutching of my belly after a too-long trip with the girls to the library but I have convinced myself it is because I am finally starting to get a belly.
UPDATE #2: Madeline
I am happy to report some improvement in her health, immune system and allergies. Without getting too detailed, it appears that the chemicals that have been so hard for her body to filter out have finally started to leave her system. This allows for her filtering organs, such as her liver, to actually begin healing and stop being overtaxed. We added 3 new foods into her diet in the last 2 weeks. Foods that she previously couldn't handle. It may not seem like much, but to us it is nothing short of a miracle.
On the other hand, if you've gleaned anything from previous posts, you will already know that she is a character. She is full of life, energy and has no fear. That being said, yesterday she was at her grandparents house for an overnight with her sister and cousins. Troy and I were looking forward to an evening that didn't include making dinner, baths or bedtime routines. We had just finished one of our goals for the evening, dinner out, when we got the dreaded call.
Something involving Madeline, her cousins, her sister and a swiveling office chair resulted in a fall requiring immediate attention. (Can I just admit to you at this point that my primary feeling was not overwhelming concern for the well-being of my daughter, but rather a selfish disappointment in the loss of a rare evening alone? Just keeping it real.) In spite of her protests over the phone that she had been "healed for a minute" when everyone prayed for her, we knew we had to get it checked. This IS the same girl that toughed it out for 6 weeks with half a toothpick lodged in the arch of her foot, and only complained twice - once when it happened and six weeks later when we realized she needed a doctor visit.
So I packed my bag and made the 45 minute trip to my in-laws. My father-in-law graciously accompanied us to the ER, probably because he didn't know it was going to take over SIX hours. But thank God that he did. Madeline's arm was so hurt that she couldn't lay or sit or move without being in intense pain. I was in no condition to lift, carry and move her on my own, not to mention I wasn't allowed in the room for the X-rays.
After a second round of x-rays, the doctors could not find a fracture. That's not to say there isn't one, because apparently they hide in the growth plates of kids her age. And whether it was a fracture or a sprain, the poor kid did NOT want her arm moved. They stabilized it in a hard cast and she immediately perked up. She hasn't cried since unless you touch or move her, or she is trying to roll over in her sleep.
And yes, my two year old still has a pacifier. But seriously, at 7:30 she gets her blanket and pacifier out of her room and announces to us that she is ready for a rest. THEN, she goes to bed willingly. Who am I to mess with perfection? It's a summer goal to get rid of it. As is potty training and moving her into her sister's room. Any and all tips are welcomed.
Thank you for your notes and thoughts and prayers. I hope I get some time to get caught up with everyone in the next few weeks.