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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Weekend...

After the long week we've had, we packed up and headed to Asheville Friday morning. This trip was planned months ago for my Aunt's Birthday, and earlier last week we discussed whether to still make the trip or not. We quickly decided the getaway and birthday celebration was good timing and the change of scenery would be a good for our souls. The weather was crisp and clear and it made for a beautiful drive to and from. We enjoyed downtown Asheville, a tour of the Biltmore, and the Grove Park Inn.

We are trying to soak in everything we've learned the past week (it's been quite a bit of information to take in) and attempt to move forward with some peace with the seen and unseen.

I must share, I am blessed to have Jimmy. We have been married since July, and found out we were expecting in November, we were beyond excited and thrilled! Jimmy was over the moon when I told him we were going to be parents. He has been an amazing source of strength and hope. His words are real and reassuring. His heart hurts so much, just as mine does, but he's an amazing example of believing God, having unrelenting faith as we are called to do, and knowing our heavenly father has his hand in all of this. This little girl is already beyond blessed to have this man as her Daddy.

After our news last Friday, I was thinking how many exciting things in just a quick 7months. A wedding, a dream honeymoon, a home as "ours", and a positive pregnancy test. We couldn't feel more blessed.

We get ready this morning to face another week, back in the routine of things, back to Doctors (hoping for final CVS results this week) after a pretty relaxing weekend away. Our minds are never clear of all of this, but we certainly tried as much as we could this weekend to relax, and enjoy some time away from our routine.

Thank you again for your continued prayers, your amazing messages, your comforting stories of healing and hope, your sweet texts that let us know you are on our knees for us right that very minute. We are touched by each and every one. It was amazing to be away from home and receiving a messaage and knowing people were praying for us. We are blessed and humbled with the army of prayer warriors lifting us and our family of three up. As Frances Crosby wrote in 1873 in a beautiful hymn, We are watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

With much love, hope and faith,
Jennifer

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Diagnosis Results

We received our first diagnosis results today and we must celebrate our answered prayers and "small victories" on this journey and this was defintely one! The results were normal. None of the major chromosomal issues were found from our testing Monday, praise God! We still must await the final results, which will be in about a week, but there is a 99% chance that the final results will match with this. I know it's a bit confusing; to explain further, we had a CVS test Monday (as you can read below) and during your CVS test with that specimen, you can do a FISH test that gives you rapid results on the major chromosomal issues; Downs Syndrome, Turners, Trisomy's. These results are returned within 48 hrs, which we chose to do and we received late this afternoon. The specimen taken during the CVS will continue to culture and we will have final results in about a week. So we still await those results, but the preliminary results were positive.
What does this mean?
Well, we are learning just as you learning, so we are not quite sure. A CVS test does not test for neural tube defects, heart defects, or any other defects, just for the chromosomes we mentioned above. The nurse started the phone call with "I have some good news....your tests came back normal" So I listened to her about getting the final results in a week and asked again "so, this is good news?" and she replied "yes." This is good news because it immediately rules the major chromosome issues out but we still don't have a cause, and that is important. The Doctors are still "very concerned" because something is causing the cysytic hygroma(the fluid, that's large and on our sweet baby girl) not to drain, an issue with the lymphatic system and we must find out what is causing this. It can be many things, scary things, but we most certainly believe in the power of prayer, and you wouldn't believe some of the miracle stories we have heard,we pray constantly ours is another one. We truly trust our wonderful specialists, but we also put our faith in the hands of the divine healer. We ask you not stop with your prayers, that you pray these mountains are moved. We are still very early on in this journey and still have a lot of things to face. Your prayers are what get us through each of these and they mean everything to us. As I said in the post below, you are all our "Aaron's and Hur's" holding us up to withstand this battle.

We treat this as a good day and pray we have more. We have more Doctors to speak to tomorrow, we will hear our final CVS results in about a week and we see our specialist in a about a week and 1/2.

Thank you to the mom's that have shared their hearts with us by telling their stories, that gives us hope and strength. Thank you to the complete strangers that have committed to pray for our family, we feel immensley blessed that you are doing so. We can't thank you enough for the messages, emails, comments, texts, phone calls, cards, flowers, dinners after our testing procedure and most of all for your prayers. We ask that you continue your prayers for whole healing for our little girl and her cystic hygroma, continued peace as we go through each day, for wisdom and knowledge for our Doctors, and for our families.

So many of you ask how we are, and we certainly have our share of tears and questions of "why," I don't want to "sugarcoat" that, we've had some downright sobs. But those moments are somewhat short lived as the calmness begins to overwhlem us. It's the calmness that brings peace. Although, I am eternally grateful for the rest that peace brings, at times when I start to feel the peace, I begin to feel guilty for it. I wonder, how can we be peaceful at a time of total uncertainity and fearing the worst for our first child? I have quickly learned to accept that the peace can't be explained or understood, because it's simply the peace of God that surpasses ALL understanding. (Phillipians 4:7)

With faith, hope and much love,
Jimmy & Jennifer

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our testing update

We are so overwhelmed by the support we have received its a paragraph on its own, so we'll save room for that....
We did have our CVS testing done today. We don't have much more information but we will have some prelimenary results by Wednesday. These may or may not tell us what we have going on, however the final results will be in 10-14 days. The test was done at Northside Hospital Doctors center and it was quite a long appointment. It was defintely more painful that we had anticipated and longer than we expected, but its over. We got to see our sweet baby again and to us, she certainly looked perfect. We want you all to know that we FELT the prayers in the very room of the procedure. Thank you for praying for us and thank you for praying for the doctors, we absolutely loved our specialist today. We expalined to her, as we said in our last post, that no matter what the test results may read, we are carrying this sweet baby as long as God allows us to. We felt so comfortable with this specialist practice, we plan to see them in the future as we journey on this road. An absolute answered prayer.

We are amazed that people all over the country are lifting us up in prayer and we just cannot thank you enough. We are astonished and overwhelmed at the love and support we have been shown. We have received hundreds of emails, texts, facebook posts, messages,phone calls,etc that we are so blessed by. We want you all to know that if you have sent a message, email, text or any type of communication we have read it(and Ican almost guarantee more than once). Your words and prayers are comfort to us in this time of our lives. As we pulled out of Northside today and headed for 285, we said how we "truly felt covered in prayer". From the test and well into the evening, we have been at peace. More peaceful than we have been since hearing the news. This weekend wasn't easy, we were still in shock and processing everything that had gone on Friday, and I'm sure we will continue to do so, but the peace that surpasses all understanding was in the Doctors office today as well as gracing our home right this very minute. Bless you all that have stormed heaven's gates in our family's name. We ask that you continue to pray without ceasing. (1 Thess 5:17)
I must tell you all one last thing, because I want you to know how much every.single.person reading this is doing...
My (Jennifer) Uncle Brian, a minister at Burnt Hickory Baptist, came over Saturday evening unexpected and prayed for us. What a blessing this was. He laid his hands on us and prayed for our family. He explained he was going to claim whole, healthy life and he would be "our faith" while we go through all of this; not that we don't have faith, we certainly do, but he's going to be the one standing on the rock for us. He is going to be our strength and faith while we trod through medical terms, appointments,etc. In Exodus 17, Moses & The Israelites are at battle with the enemy, the Amalkeites. Moses, trying to fight as hard as he can,states "I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” (vs 9)
The neat thing about this is "as long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. (vs 12) I can imagine this must be quite the task and hard to do as one man, and it was....because Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
Please know that if you have said ONE prayer in our names, you are our "Aarons & Hur's". Just like Moses, we grow tired and its YOUR words, YOUR prayers, YOUR thoughts, YOUR comments and YOUR amazing love that is holidng us up to withstand the battle. "Thank you" is not enough. We are blessed to know you (or even not know you) are praying for us. We believe in miracles and we do know, with all of our hearts, that good will prevail. Please continue to pray for us on this journey as we await test results, as we try to go on day by day with uncertaintity. The one thing we are certain of is our God is ever present in our lives and in this situation. We will leave our hearts with the on "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power..." (Ephesians 3:20)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

With heavy heavy Hearts....

We have had some bad and sad news today. Right before Thanksgiving we found out we were pregnant. We were very early, we found out super soon, we were excited about this as we could take all the proper precautions, and we did. We had a 6 week ultrasound in early Dec and things were good we even saw a strong heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound screen. This past Wednesday we hit the 3 month mark and had our 12 week appointment Thursday, hearing another strong heartbeat through the doppler, then Friday we went back for an ultrasound since the tech was out Thursday. It turned out to be a heartbreaking ultrasound. Our baby was waving and seemed to be normal, we were elated to say the least. We were told shortly thereafter by the tech that our baby has a major defect that is “not compatible with life.” Our hearts were instantly broken as we stood there and listened to what we were going to face. We were immediately sent to a specialist at Piedmont hospital. We had several long and detailed ultrasounds, in which they were able to tell us the baby we had fallen in love with is a girl. They did extensive ultrasounds at the specialist and confirmed that she has a severe problem with her lymphatic system. This is known as Cystic Hygroma where the baby has extra fluid around them that is caused by the body not draining properly. The reason the body is not draining properly can be caused by many defects, such as; down syndrome, turners syndrome, trisomys, heart defects and many other things. While we don’t know which one we are carrying, we do know our baby girl’s fluid is quite big, 9mm to be exact and the prognosis is not good. We were given 3 options. We can have an invasive test on Monday, called a CVS to determine what strain of this we are dealing with and if it’s chromosomal or genetic. We could do nothing and see how things turn out, or we can terminate the pregnancy. We both immediately agreed that termination wasn’t for us. For us, our faith is too great for that, and after our very long ultrasounds today with a baby girl waving at us and sucking her thumb and a clear strong heartbeat, we just can’t fathom that option for us, the thought never stayed in our mind for even a second. We did choose to have the CVS test, which will take place Monday afternoon at Northside Hospital. This test will draw fluid from the placenta and it will be cultured and after an agonizing week of waiting, we will know what chromosomal or genetic defect we are dealing with. Having a Cystic Hygroma in a prenatal screening is very very rare, it happens in 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies. From what we’ve learned, in cases similar to ours, the baby will eventually succumb to the defect, whatever it is that is not allowing the body to drain the fluid, and this typically happens between 20-26 weeks in utero. When this occurs, the baby is then delivered. If this is our case, we will carry our baby for as long as God’s plan is and go from there. We have read about many miracle stories and can only pray our baby might be one of those. We trust and pray for our Doctors as we enter this road. We serve the divine Healer, if he chooses to so heal her.
We will hold our faith and will appreciate prayers as we enter this long road. We are so very sad right now, so devestated and have shed more tears in a few days than one could imagine. Please share as you feel led, we need as many prayer warriors as we can get. We are blessed beyond words with lifelong best friends and such loving and supportive families. Nobody, up until this point knew we were pregnant, we were waiting for the 12 week mark, which we are at, but with news we didn’t expect. We still feel it’s important to share. We also feel it’s important to be as transparent in this journey of faith and hope as we can possibly be. We will update the blog as often as we can and we promise to you, the ones praying, that we will do so. We absolutely believe we serve a God of miracles and we know we can rest in His arms and His word no matter what the outcome. We ask that you pray for a miracle, for our broken hearts, for God’s will and for His love to shine through in such a dark time for us. We love you all and we ask that you put your faith where ours is right now, at the foot of the cross.

With much Love, Hope and Faith,
Jimmy and Jennifer