Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A few pictures...

Our Family
   Aunt Christy and baby Jack!


 Aunt Connie and Future Uncle Matt!

Our Cutie!

Uncle Bill and Abby

Cousin Anna and Siah

Cousin Norah and Siah

Josiah at bat

Abby and Mommy

Josiah and Cousin Maddie

GiGai and Abby

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

various updates

New Baby update:

  These feet represent what our baby's feet look like at this point.  (obviously not real picture of our baby)

I had my 11 week OB appointment yesterday and got to hear the baby's heart beat through a doppler for the first time.  
Because my pregnancies are considered high risk I have had an ultrasound every 2 weeks so far and have gotten to see our baby grow!  I was a little bummed I didn't get a new picture yesterday, but thought I'd post this "look-a-like" to give you an idea of where he/she is in development.

The baby's heart beat was strong and wonderful to hear.

The plan for this pregnancy is to continue bi-weekly check ups, most of which will include an ultrasound to make sure the "baby house" is functioning as it should.

We are scheduled to have my cerclage procedure done on January 9th.  At this point I will be 14 weeks along.  Although this procedure, like any other, does carry some risk we feel that the potential benefits for me out way those risks.  
We had the option to skip the cerclage and just take a watch and see approach.  After much thought and prayer neither of us are comfortable with this plan and would rather do everything possible to avoid a prematurity surprise.  Looking at my pregnancy with Josiah and how well things went with the cerclage and p17 injections, we have opted to go the same route and take advantage of all the tricks available to keep this baby in as long as possible!

Our doctor has been very supportive and agrees with our plan.  She doesn't anticipate that I will need to be on full best rest at any point during our journey, but she has recommended a "modified bed rest" approach.  I will continue doing what I need to do to care for Abby and Josiah and nothing more.  She said this includes taking Abby to therapy!  

Of course at any point this plan could change, but we are praying for the Lord's mercy and strength as we take each day literally one moment at a time.

Because I have had two previous c-sections this baby will come out the same way.  Although I am really disappointed that it has to be this way, I've come to terms with it and am actually looking forward to having my first c-section without having to go through an exhausting labor!  I might even feel human when I meet this little one.  

My nauseating fog still continues.  Thankfully it is not as severe as my other two pregnancies.  I am really looking forward to feeling whole again, instead of the horrible, green, fraction of myself that I see in the mirror.  Zofran has kept me functioning (marginally), and Phenergan has whisked me off into a coma state for some sleepy relief as needed.  

Soon enough I will be large and clear-headed.

Abby is doing well these days, staying busy with PT, OT, Speech, Feeding and Music therapies in addition to extra PT at UCP.  The sessions on the treadmill have helped her make progress in several areas.  We've noticed more rolling, more lunging forward when in a sitting position, more stepping action in the gait trainer and better range of motion overall!  We are so thrilled. 

 Her therapist at UCP has been doing scar manipulation, or stretching/massaging her multiple abdominal scars.  She says this will improve her range of motion and free up her tissues to stretch more easily.  It is very interesting to watch.

(Abby's B-day 9/03/08)

Her seizures have stabalized again after a few strange days and nights of irritability and myoclonic seizures.  We slowed her medication decrease schedule to allow more time for her to adjust.  It seems to have helped.


The glaucoma issue is also stable for now.  Her last eye pressure measurements were in the low 20's.  The doc would like to see them decrease into the teens but said he could live with her measurements for a while.  We don't see him again for a few months, but unfortunately he will no longer be coming to Huntsville for clinics... we will have to drive to Birmingham.  

A few nights ago I was putting Josiah to bed and he asked me to tell him about the Christmas story again.  As I was recapping what we had just read about baby Jesus, he stopped me and pointed to Abby.  Then he said, "Jesus holds Abby like a little baby."  With the sweetest little smile he signed "baby" and said, "Jesus holds me like a baby too, doesn't he momma."

I couldn't help the tears as I envisioned our powerful Savior holding my children in His arms, loving and protecting them.  I remember that image as being the most comforting to think about when Abby was tiny and sick lying alone in the NICU.  We couldn't hold her, but knowing God WAS brought peace and comfort to my heart.  When that thought entered my mind it was the first moment of full surrender.

Abby and Josiah both bring these precious reminders to me daily.  

Children truly are a blessing from the Lord!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lamictal dosing

This past year we have been really hopeful to start decreasing one of Abby's seizure medications (she's on 3), now that she has the VNS.  We started slowly weaning her off of the Lamictal this past Spring.  Then she started school in August and couldn't stay healthy.

During one of her long seizures our doctor told us to bump her dose back up.

Now that she is no longer in school and somewhat isolated from childhood germs we are trying to decrease her Lamictal again.  The main concern of her neurologist is that this move could increase her risk of more prolonged seizures.  From what we have experienced, Abby has terribly long seizures when she is feverish no matter what medication she is taking.

In light of this, we are anxious to clear her system at least a tiny bit from all the heavy medication she is on.  The VNS is definitely working better then we had hoped.  She no longer has myoclonic seizures and is having fewer tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures now that she is staying healthy.

Please pray with us during this change in medication.  The past few days Abby has been starting to show signs that her body isn't liking the decrease.  Last night she was up till past 11 pm tossing and acting agitated in her bed.  We think she is having additional seizures that are harder to observe, as she occasionally calls out with an eery tone and looks a little scared.  

We've decided to slow down the schedule of weaning this drug.  Hopefully this will give her system  more time to adjust.

Josiah is getting really good at following directions from his mom who is often out of commission on the couch.  He has learned to help Abby sit up in her new "Bumbo" type chair.  He gives her pats when she is upset, or if she is working hard at a task.  I'm really proud of him.

He has also started to enjoy "laying on the couch" with mommy.  I asked him last night if he would sing me a song while we snuggled.  He thought for a minute and sang me "rock-a-bye baby," almost word for word.  I didn't even know he knew that song.  Then he jumped up and belted out "Rescue Me" from one of our Selah albums. (can you tell we love this group?)  He knows almost all those words too.  It was pretty cute. That moment created my biggest smile for the day.

Job side Family picture at the Younger's

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Although Thanksgiving has officially merged into the Christmas season, I find myself heavily impacted by the reminder of all the things I am truly thankful for.

As a mother, memories of the past remain vivid and hopes for our future continue to grow.  This year we have a new reason to rejoice!  Some days I have to remind myself that in less than 7 months we will have a new little person to love, and seeing him or her will make all these weeks of "the stomach bug" worth while!

I am thankful:

For my family.
For my precious munchkins.
For a husband who is there when I need him!
For a sister who I can share my heart with.
For parents who love our Lord Jesus.
For our preemie experience that changed us forever.
For music that touches my soul.
For simple moments watching a sun set.
For quiet answers to my prayers.

Music has always had a unique way of reaching into my spirit and helping me see what the Lord has been trying to tell me.

I'd like to share the lyrics to a song that hit me this past week as we were driving and I was feeling especially sick.

(I found the song on YouTube so you can listen to it.  I still haven't figured out how to post a single song on the blog for sharing... let me know if any of you knows how.)  

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high priest whose name is love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.

My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my saviour and my God!