Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our Newest Girl

I know that I have not updated anything about our new baby here on our blog since originally posting about her back in October.  Much has happened in our lives since first learning of her physical condition.  Most importantly, my wonderful, wonderful saintly mother was diagnosed with cancer last week.  I am not sure even how to formulate the words so I will just begin writing.  

First, I love talking about our new baby and I LOVE talking about my mother.  I promise I will cry both times.  I am really good at crying.  Really good, but it doesn't mean that you made me feel uncomfortable.  I wear my emotions plastered across my face and chest.  It hurts.  I love both of them  It is not awkward especially if I know you in person.  I love giving updates on her and will share willingly my joys and worries about her approaching birth.  Doctor's appointments, ultrasounds, surgery consults, and the like have become so normal I believe I have forgotten what a "normal" delivery was like.  Our children are so used to talking about all of this that it has become so normal to them.

We love her already so much.  I do get sad that this tiny, innocent baby will suffer from pain her first early days.  We know God will bless her and us with wonderful doctors and nurses that will help us tend to her needs.

I regret not having noted just a bit after every ultrasound so I could look back at her progress, concerns, and plans.  To back up, I will try to recall all that I remember from the beginning.

My mother is such a part of our lives and the timing of her being diagnosed with cancer and our baby's birth is something only God could have orchestrated.  I have written so many times about how wonderful and holy she is.  She has been my best friend since I was born.  She is my heart.  God blessed me from an early age to be able to see the sufferings she endured not only physically, but as a mother.  She loves deeply and is so willingly to take one for the team if that means someone will come to know Christ.  To know what she is about to endure has brought me to my knees more than once.  I wish I could share her saintly emails and all that she is offering this for.  It makes me sad and proud all at the same time as she is slapping satan in the face because she says "YES" at every appointment.  Her courage is the kind you read about in books.  One of my mother's good friends mentioned to her that maybe God is allowing her to suffer so a miracle will happen for our baby.  She really is a saint.  I can only imagine the deals she has made with God for her children and their souls.

Each ultrasound we had brought a variety of emotions.  Each of the technicians were so wonderful and we usually got into the deepest conversations about faith, family, and children.  One morning in particular, the computer system was down so the technician and I talked for about thirty minutes.  She was away from her Catholic faith.  She asked me how many children we planned on having.  I told her that we let God determine our family size.   We have no set number. We want what He wants and want who He wants.  I told her that it was easier for me to accept her diagnosis because I hadn't planned anything.  For me, when I plan events and it doesn't go as I had originally planned it is so much harder for me to accept.  When I just let God plan life, it is much easier for me to see that this is what HE MUST want.  She said that she wishes more families had that mentality because trying to control the situation leads to so much disappointment and anger.  I thought that was interesting.

Some technicians said that our case was very minor and small.  Others would say that her omphalocele isn't the biggest they have seen, but not the smallest.  I left some appointments really hopeful and some appointments with my mind very occupied and worried. She has measured big at each appointment.  At a couple appointments, the doctor was concerned about my size, gestational diabetes, a larger amount of amniotic fluid, and her head size.  Her head has been measuring about 3 weeks ahead each visit.  Although, this isn't uncommon in our family as we have BIG heads.

 John and I met with her surgeon in late November.  He was from the Children's Hospital in Omaha.  Dr. Cusick couldn't have been more kind, gentle, and hopeful.  He has four of his own children.  I told my own mother how fatherly and kind he was.  He was very hopeful for her case and for surgery to go very well.  He agreed that her omphalocele is on the small end and doesn't forsee any/many complications.

Originally, we were told that she would be taken immediately after birth and transferred to Omaha for surgery.  John and I would arrive after my dismissal.  Dr. Cusick has found that babies handle surgery better if you are able to give them a few days to get their physiology going, heart rate stabilized, and respiratory balanced.  Currently, she will be born in Lincoln and in the NICU for two days.  After those two days, we will be transferred to Omaha for her surgery.  Originally, we thought we would be looking at weeks in the hospital with her.  Dr. Cusick was very hopeful we would be home within a few days.  John and I sat there in shock.  We were planning weeks, but to be told DAYS...we just couldn't believe it.  I was more anxious about leaving our other children at home for weeks than her actual surgery.  I know much will be determined after her birth, but for now that was a great shot of hope.

Her omphalocele is measuring 4 cm x 2 cm x 4cm.  Right now, it only contains a small part of her small intestines.  At one appointment, they were concerned about her liver being involved, but I haven't heard that since.  I am going to be induced February 11th...the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  I will be 39 weeks.  The doctors want to have a more controlled environment for her birth.  It is so funny to know the day your baby is going to be born!  Right now, she is not completely head down, but not completely transverse.

I also wanted to write about the additional physical conditions a child diagnosed with an omphalocele may have.  At our first appointment, Dr. Kenney said that often babies with this also have Downs Syndrome or Trisomy 18.  There are numerous other conditions, but these are the top two.  Of course, this made no difference to John and I.  He told us if she had Trisomy 18 that she would probably not live after birth.  He mentioned we could do an amniocentesis or a specific blood test that is 98% accurate on determining other genetic factors.  He recommended the blood test as knowing if she had any additional conditions would better help the doctors treat her during and after delivery.  Everything came back completely negative from the blood panel as to her having anything additional.  By the time the blood work had come back which was about a week, God really filled my heart with such peace. I had decided that before I answered the phone that I would praise God for the gift of this child and thank him for whatever the doctor told us.  I can honestly say that I wasn't anxious.  He said, "Everything looks normal."  I don't remember feeling relief just peace.   I wanted what God wanted and believe so firmly to my very inner core that EVERY LIFE IS SO VALUABLE and every suffering has meaning.

My mother won't be able to be with us this time.  She begins chemotherapy on Tuesday and will continue with treatments every 21 days leaving her next treatment the day before I deliver.  God's timing....They told us that the second treatment is brutal.  I have shed more tears over those stupid words.  I know she is going to be going through utter darkness and OFFERING IT ALL FOR ME!!!!  That hurts.  I wanted to take her pain, not the other way around.  Right after her diagnosis, it was such a wonderful push for the last lap as we prepare for our daughter's birth and upcoming trials that may be presented.  I was focused on offering it all for my mom.  The tables have been flipped and now that wonderful woman who gave me life will once again be suffering so that I may have courage.  I am so grateful and it hurts very much.  

For now, this is a start.  I want to write about the following next:

1.  The life changing advice from my spiritual director
2.  Blessed Matt Talbot
3.  My saintly mother and her sufferings
4.  Our WONDERFUL family and friends...Simon of Cyrenes

59 comments :

  1. Wow, Lindsay, what a beautiful essay on two ladies you love--one who gave birth to you, one who will be born to you. I will pray for your mother and continue prayers for your little girl. God is extraordinary. His timing is stunning. Your ability to see that and praise Him through all the suffering is just beautiful and so inspiring. I admire that so much.

    The ability to see God's hand and offer our sufferings for something else is so unique to Christian life. I have been emailing lately with a woman I barely know, but who is in a writing group with me, whose husband is on a ventilator. She has no family and no faith. She said that hell is not a place you go after you die, but is here on earth. Of course I do not believe that, but it made me think of what life is like without faith, without seeing a greater purpose to our sufferings, and without the ability to imagine that God's birds-eye view and plan are greater than our own.

    Love your writing. Praying for you.

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  2. Praying for your mama and your newest little darling. Your love for your mom and her wisdom and saintliness really shine through.

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  3. Prayers for you and your family. What a testament to LOVE and LIFE!

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  4. Lindsay- Praying for your family and you. You are such an inspiration and God loves you so much. Thank you for sharing your feelings and for letting us into your lives.

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  5. Lindsay, I cannot say what an example of a wonderful woman you are because words fail. I'm beyond impressed by your faith. I'm so sorry I never got back to you about making s sleep sack!!! Anthony and I are praying hard for your daughter and your mom. And you all. Blessings and love.

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  6. We will be praying for your sweet mom and that she will be comforted with grace to get through this... And for you and your beautiful family for continued peace!

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  7. So glad to have you posting again Lindsay, even though there is such trials to share.
    As I've messaged you, you are ALL in my daily thoughts and prayers.
    You are not alone, dear friend. As a mother now, you know how YOU would take one for the team, so even though this is SO painful, you KNOW in your heart of hearts, how your mother can push through so courageously...her love for you in indescribable.
    Much love and prayers!!!!

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  8. Prayers for you, your baby, your mom, and your whole family. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  9. I read your blog but rarely comment. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am expecting my 4th baby and can only imagine what you are going through. Your daughter is so blessed to have you and your family. Your faith is such an inspiration!

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  10. Our Lady of Lourdes! Fervent prayers for your baby girl and your mom…and you too! Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!!!

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  11. Lindsay, I, too, am praying for all of your family--especially you, baby, and your dear mom. I am grateful for your updates.

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  12. My prayers will include you and your family too. Your witness to the power of faith in the midst of suffering affects more people than you probably realize. Thank you for letting us know a bit about what God is doing in and through you.

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  13. That last paragraph about your mom brought tears to my eyes. You are such a testimony of how faith can help us through any difficulties. God bless you and we will pray for your baby and Mom.

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  14. You have the most beautiful spirit! I want to be you when I grow up.

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  15. Thank you for sharing the joys and the sufferings of your beautiful family. You are all an inspiration and I will be praying for you, especially your mother and the baby.

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  16. Lindsay, I have a dear friend whose son was born with an omphalcele (my son had an encephalocele - brain). Both boys are doing beautifully. I know hospitals well. You're welcome to reach out anytime. In the meantime, you have my prayers!

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  17. Congratulations on your blessed little baby girl! I'm a NICU Mom. I found the Children's Hospital NICU to be such a place of peace and hope. It's shocking after all the bitterness of anti-life stuff in secular OBS to have this pro-life place where every single child is totally adored by so many strangers. I remember the janitor talking to me with words of encouragement while I was waiting alone in the hallway during a scary heart procedure for my daughter. Prayers for your strength, courage and peace as you wait beside the cross of suffering for you Mom and your Daughter at the same time.

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  18. So glad to hear more about your baby and so sorry to hear the news about your mother's cancer. What a beautiful soul she must have! We have family in Lincoln and had a baby of our own with omphalocele 15 years ago in February. I will be praying for your baby and your mother during these coming weeks.

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  19. Lindsay, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. That's really rough. I'm praying for you, your mom, your little girl and the rest of your family…that all may be ok.
    Your faith is very inspiring…stay strong! :) I look forward to "meeting" your little girl via this blog!

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  20. Lindsay, I'm behind on my blog reading so I'm just now getting caught up here. Sweet girl- you are such an amazing testament to the faith. You encourage and inspire even in the midst of heartache and uncertainty. I am grateful beyond words for the example you are to me.

    Praying for your mom, your sweet new baby, and all of your beautiful family.

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  21. Thank you for finding the time to write, and beautifully at that, during what is undoubtedly an incredibly busy and tiring time for you. It is inspiring to see how you keep your mind open to God's will, and peace in your heart. I am sure your daughter can feel that peace! Your mother sounds like an amazing woman, she needs a blog:) God bless you and your family my dear.

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  22. Lindsay,
    Praying for you, your sweet baby and mama. You have such strength and courage. I can see how God has been by your side every step of the way.

    Tanya

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  23. Una preghiera per tutti voi... il Signore vi benedica...

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  24. So many prayers for you, your baby, and your mom. God love you.

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  25. Praying for you and your family. Offering our nicu stay with 30 week old baby number seven for your little girl and your mom.

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  26. I followed the link from Sarah's blog, Lindsay, and I will be offering up my rosary for you, your sweet baby, your mother and your family. God bless you all -- you're such a witness to faith in God and His love for you.

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  27. Your faith is so inspiring to me as a young catholic mom. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for your mom and your family.

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  28. I will be celebrating our fourth child's first birthday on Feb. 11th. I'll be thinking of you and the baby. Prayers for your sweet child.

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  29. Someone told me about your blog, so I'm here "checking you out" hahaha!!! You and your beautiful baby and family will be in our prayers. Along with your mother.

    My youngest was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Now, this is not as a severe as what you are going through, I can relate a little to all you've talked about. The uncertainties, the everything. One thing that helped me a ton, and gave me peace (not that you need it because what you wrote is beautiful) is, that God chose us to be his parents from the very beginning of time. And from the beginning of time, God knew who our little Simeon would be and all the surgeries he'd need to go through. God is amazing and makes NO MISTAKES. Simeon is now 3 (Dec 22) and he's one of the biggest joys of all of our lives. I dread each surgery, (pure torture for the mama, I tell you, pure torture) but know it is as God wishes and we will make it.

    Many blessings, (((hugs))), love and of course prayers.

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  30. Lindsay,
    I am so sorry to hear about your mom, and am praying for the Lord to hold her in true peace. Love to you guys from TX. I am also so excited to "meet" your newest little one! I am sure she will be absolutely adorable. <3 -Lily

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  31. Praying for you and your sweet baby girl.
    Our Lady of Lourdes is one of my favorite feasts of our Lady. So, so lucky to be induced that day :)

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  32. Praying much for you, baby, and your mother, esp. as Feb. 11 approaches!

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  33. Lindsay,
    Though I read your blog every time, but commenting on it first time. My well-wishes will be always with your mother and newest girl. Meanwhile, have a look on http://compoundwisdom.com/how-to-teach-your-kids-to-eat-everything/

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  34. Just wanted to check in and let you know I'm keeping you all in my prayers over the next few days! God Bless!

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    1. Hope everything go well into tomorrow's induction!!!

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    2. Hope everything go well into tomorrow's induction!!!

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  35. I will be praying for you mother today and for you to find peace and strength for tomorrow. May the favor of the Lord be upon you and your little girl!!!

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  36. Thinking of you and praying for you and your family, especially tomorrow. That all may go well :).

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  37. I am thinking of you and your family. All my love and well wishes for you!

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  38. Praying for you, John and your little girl - from Australia on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

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  39. Praying for you now and at Mass tomorrow morning.

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  40. You and your family are in our prayers today.

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  41. Offering my today for you. God bless you and Our Lady of Lourdes hold you close to her loving heart. Kiss your sweet baby for me.

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  42. Thinking of you today.

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  43. I'm offering every moment of my day for you and your mother. Happy Birthday to your new little love!

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  44. Love your blog and am so thankful for your family and example! My prayers are for you all today and during this season. Remembering the "one blessed be God" today for you. Peace and blessings.

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  45. Been praying for you all lots today!

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  46. praying for you and your family today.

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  47. Been praying for you and your sweet baby girl. I hope she is here and doing okay. Prayers for your mother also.

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  48. Please update us on how you and baby are. Praying for you!

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  49. I"ve been following on Facebook and she is beautiful! Thanks be to God!

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  50. I just wanted to let you know that I've been praying for you, your mother and your family and thinking about you all during this time. God is sending your family crosses because He knows that you will offer them up as best as you can. Your faith is so inspirational. I know that your Holy Guardian Angels are giving you all the strength that you need. It was definitely part of God's Divine plan to have your angel born on the beautiful feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick. And I was also born on that feast! :-) So now your little one and I share a birthday! :-) can't wait to hear the name and see pictures. May God bless your whole family now and always!

    P.S. I have been offering my daily crosses for you and your mother and humbly ask you both to do the same for me. Thank you! :-)

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