Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bible Study

God knew the words I needed. This was my Bible study I did the next night after my last post. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I'm not coming into this post with an agenda of what I'm going to type. And it will probably be short...

We're getting back to our "normal" selves. (Took the kids to the Circus, had fun.)  But this new normal isn't the same as before. The fear most parents have is the loss of a child. And now we are in waiting for that day that we fear. Most people who lose a child, probably lose them suddenly. Or maybe it is to illness, where they have come to know that child. Still hard. But how do you prepare to lose a child you haven't even met? A child you love so much already but you don't know their personality or characteristics? We still cling to God's miracles and pray for one, but we have to also prepare ourselves for what the world tells us will happen, so that the devastation isn't as hard later. So we don't feel anger towards God for not doing what we prayed for, in the way we wanted it to be.

So when most people are waiting for something, they ask for patience. But in those cases, they are waiting for something can't wait for, probably something exciting. We're waiting for something we don't want to happen. I haven't asked my friends who have lost a child at birth this yet, so this is a reminder to me. When that day comes, where we prepare for a c-section (my 3rd) and Kendall is still thriving inside me... how will give up that struggle inside me to want to keep her as long as I can verses saying, "ok, we're ready"? We won't be ready. And I know that the doctors will have a big say so in when they believe that time is. And obviously a pregnancy can't go on forever. But...??? It's not fair.

There aren't too many words from here to the next doctors appt. So I probably won't blog that often for a week or so. It's hard to answer, "how you doing?" We're in a "blah" state. In a waiting game that we don't want to play.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One Week Down

One weeks gone by and this subject matter in the post might be all over, as I have little pieces of different things in my head... so I'm thinking about where to start.

I could have typed an entry last night, but Kirk and I spent some quality/snuggle time in front of the TV together, watching our shows we DVR. I know I could do anything with God alone, but I feel like I couldn't get through this without him, Kirk. We've never had to doubt our marriage or our love for each other. We've been married 8 years this coming July. And if it weren't for our kids, we'd still feel like we were in the honeymoon phase. Thank you Kirk for standing with me, and I am always here for you.

I wanted to give an update on Kristen. God provided me with a conversation with friend that was quickly passing through the sanctuary on Wednesday night, as I was sitting alone searching through my Bible. I'm not usually in there, and she doesn't usually cut through to go where she was going. We had already spoken and she felt there was something else she needed to talk to me about. Where our conversation went helped me out a lot in a couple different places. She had told her daughter, 2nd grade, about Kendall. So I asked how she did it. Today Kristen asked why people were bringing us dinners and I explained it like this: "They wanted us to know they are praying for us and Kendall. And want Kendall to get better." She then asked if Kendall was "sick". And I said "No. Kristen, knock on your head. You know how your head is hard? That is your skull. And inside it is your brain." Kristen, "Is your brain soft?" Me, "Yes, I guess (never touched one). When we grow in mommy's tummy, our cells are coming together to build our bodies. But those cells for Kendall didn't form for her skull. So that is why we are praying for Kendall and her skull." She seemed to understand a lot better. The first conversation with her on Monday night wasn't that detailed on what was really "wrong" with Kendall, so this conversation was good for her understanding.

I also wanted to add, that if you know Kristen from church or school, feel free to let her know you are praying for her sister. I don't think that would be something anyone would have to avoid. It's good to show her that we pray for each other.

The next part of my conversation with my friend was about God having a plan for everyone. And I know that, but as she told me about her story, she said something to the effect that 'when God's plan is fulfilled by that person, He can take them back to be with Him'. And how awesome is it that Kendall will be able to fulfill something for God while being not even born or just a baby? How we long, as Christians, to be more like Him. We struggle to know what God wants for us and from us.  And lastly, calming,  was about the possibility that God might be protecting her from something else that could have been too hard to handle for her in her future. Thank you Lana for being late to your class and stopping to talk to me again!

God doesn't give you more than you can handle-- many people have said this and I've read it, and it helps me get through. But man, why do I have to be able to handle so much? Talking with another friend, as people have commented on how strong I am, I told her my original testimony... Keep this in mind... who's testimony through God really starts at 12 years old? And luckily, I already had this typed and I only copied and pasted.

Testimony of where my faith begins:
I grew up in a Christian home, knew about God/Jesus and became a Christian myself late in elementary school. In 5th grade is when I was ready to show the church and be baptized. That was all and good,  but I wasn't sure I "saw" God working in my life at that point in my life.

Two years later my grandparents from Ohio moved down to Georgia b/c my grandfather was really sick with cancer. The night of Christmas Eve I knelt down next to my bed to pray for my grandfather. My specific prayer was that he wouldn't have to suffer through Christmas, even if that meant having him gone from us.

The next morning was a relief and a shock for me, as my grandfather was in Heaven.  God was real. God hears me. But did I do this? Should I have prayed that prayer? That Christmas wasn't as joyful while opening gifts, as the adults and my grandmother held back tears. And through the next few days, we were  up in Ohio for the funeral. I remember seeing his body and feeling sad. Seeing everyone around me sad, probably some tears... but none from me.  I even TRIED to cry. I was still in shock, and no one else knew what I was going through. And I'm sure there were some good moments my family shared, so it wasn't all tears.

From then on, I felt my life change, but I didn't know I had a story forming.  One thing I do remember is shaping up around my "friends". Cleaning up the potty mouth, that was "cool" in the  day.

Three more years went by, and this time it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and my other grandfather was suffering with a different cancer. My dad had just picked me up at school after I returned from an indoor drum line competition. He told me on the way home that they weren't sure how long my grandfather had left. That night, I knew in my heart that I was in the same situation and prayed the exact same prayer as three years before.

As my father woke me up early the next morning to let me know they were headed to the hospital and that my grandfather had passed, I felt a more peaceful feeling. I went back to bed, as I was to watch over my sister (4 years younger) the next morning, if they weren't back.

You better believe that my emotions came flowing out at this funeral, more than the last one. At this point, I knew I had something special. Not only a strange (to most other people) story or testimony as it has come to be, but it opened my eyes up to the wonders of God. And showed me, even through the very little things in life, how wonderful He is. How much He loves us. That He is listening and caring. Through events so hard, that He is there for us.

And at the end I had written:
This part of my testimony will always be the start of my story, but since then it has grown with the way I met my husband, having a family.... and it will continue to grow and change.

And I will end this post with:
I love telling God's story. It gives me such joy and I feel Him smiling down on us.

 From my ladies Bible study of "Brave"... Romans 8:5-6
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Putting Myself In Your Shoes

Quick update on our conversation with Dr. G before talking about our growing family of followers. We will be going to the doctor a little more often, every 2-3 weeks, as long as movement continues. She let us know we can call and ask to come in at anytime to make sure there is a heartbeat, if need be. We talked about the two different hospitals I could deliver at and which one would be the best. We didn't come up with a definite answer, might depend on organ donating. But my main question was how soon they would have to take Kendall if we decided to donate. If it is right away, then that most likely won't be an option for us, as we want as much time with her as possible. That is being looked into. And to do organ donation, I would probably have to an amniocentesis test to check for any other chromosomal issues. And blood test for checking my health will be done. My next appointment should be next week.


Our "followers" are growing, which makes me happy to watch. And emails keep pouring in, even from people who don't know us. And it hasn't even been a week. We have thought and tried putting ourselves in your (the reader, our friends) shoes. Most likely ones who haven't been in our shoes. And even ones who know us well and have young children that they will have to speak with about death when/if that time comes. So I will address maybe some of your questions. And please, if you have anything else I haven't touched on, ask.

We don't expect anyone, even ourselves, to have the right words in the right moments. If you happen to see us and feel lead to give a hug, we are willing to accept one. ** (The true, not sad, me- bluntly) Now, this refers to people we know or recognize from church or our neighborhood, friends. If you are a complete stranger, please at least introduce yourself first- yikes**

We love getting emails, text (if you already have our numbers), cards, and FB posts. The next 15 weeks will be long. I'm sacred those things would fizzle off at some time and I'll start feeling alone. So keep them coming every now and then. Even if just to say we're thinking and praying for us. -- Had to pause a moment after thinking about being alone. Can't type through tears. I know I'm not alone and that I never will be with the Lord. But how do people do it without? That's another blog...

(This one is hard to type) It was brought to my attention just today that many of our friends from church and the neighborhood might one day have to somewhat explain to their children why "Ms. Stephanie" was pregnant but doesn't have a  baby with her. I quickly mentioned at one point to friends that "I" am putting them in this hard spot. But I know it wasn't anything "I" or "we" did. It's just unfortunate that the situation will bring up some tough conversation in other households. Just telling Kristen last night, that heartbreak is still strong in my mind, so it's hard to think that others will have to have a similar conversation.When the times come, and you need some help find the words, call me. I think the biggest thing I learned was not to say "sick", as a child might relate all sickness to death. And if someone would like to type up a short note written to a child, in their terms (I might be able to do that soon), please pass it to me so I can pass it along to others. This site might help as well:

So I will end this tonight with my prayer being for those families. May God give you the words that your children will have some understanding. May their hearts be open to receive God's story. And if they don't know Jesus yet, let it be a seed to be sowed.

And I don't like to end all my prayers with "Amen", as I was once told that sounds like the end of a conversation. And we are to walk and talk with Him all day long. Even in our silence, he knows our thoughts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Told Kristen Tonight

Drew (1 1/2) was in bed and our nerves started turning. It was time to take Kristen (4 1/2) up, brush her teeth, put her pjs on and tell her the news. We started by bringing up my computer and telling her I had a picture of some [new] friends I wanted to show her. She loves looking at pictures, taking pictures, anything with pictures.

The picture we showed her was the top picture on The Green's blog. Katie and I didn't know each other through high school, but we both went to CGHS. This past December her and her family brought a beautiful little girl into the world. Hallie had Trisomy 13 and went to be with the Lord after 5 days.

Showing this picture to Kristen, I told her everyone's names. She first said, "Three girls?!" Then proceeded to count our family and include myself and Kirk by saying we will have "2 boys and 3 girls." I mentioned that Chris, Katie's husband, is completely out numbered.

Then we focused back on us. I said we had some news and started with the good news. She knew that we went to the doctor on Thursday, as she saw the u/s pictures on Friday and was a little sad she didn't get to go. But she had school and she seemed to be okay with it when we said school comes first. So I continued by letting her know that the doctor told us we were having a baby girl. Took a pause as I took in her smile, then told her that we are naming her Kendall and took another pause.

Then back to the Green family. (Which I completely need to thank!!!! Don't know what to say, but you know how that is.) Started talking about baby Hallie and that she had a condition [not the word I used- wasn't exactly sure how to put it in her terms] but she wasn't sick, and she lived for a few days after she was born before she went to live in Heaven with God. Kristen seemed to have listen, but replied not too long afterward with "they can have another baby!" I shook my head in agreement slowly and said that was a possibility.

I'm not sure when we started crying, but this is probably the point. We started by saying that we were in a similar situation. (talking slowly) "Baby Kendall might have a couple days to live after she is born before going to live in Heaven with God." This is when we knew that she understood what we were talking about, as she said through tears, "I want her to come home". I didn't want to leave the "coming home" issue, as we don't know if she will. And basically said that we don't know the outcome. The conversation of having another baby for us was touched on but wasn't dwelled on, as we do not know our future. 

I went on mentioned my grandmother and reminded her that we always say she lives in our hearts; and that Kendall will one day too. But then reminded her that Kendall is still in mommy's belly and that we love her SO MUCH! That brought us out of the future and back to the present.

She prays with Kirk every night before bed, so I switched the conversation to what we can do now. Reminded her that she can continue to pray for her baby sister. Reminded her of our conversation just a week ago (before the news) about how God does miracles. I didn't go into "miracles" with her, as I don't want her to be upset if God doesn't give us the complete 100% miracle. And lastly asked if she had any questions. She didn't. But we let her know she could ask us anything at any time.

We all had many hugs and kisses. Told each other how much we love each other. Then I let her go back to her more normal book time with Daddy. He came out a little bit later and said she seemed ok. And now she is sleeping.

So my specific prayer for tonight is for Kristen and Drew. For Kristen's continued love for Kendall without being scared or confused. And one day for Drew's understanding, as we'll always speak of Kendall whether she is with us or in our hearts. Thank you all for prayers for them.

More on talking to Kristen

First Sunday

Church was good yesterday. And I didn't expect anything less. I think I was nervous to be in a more public setting.

What I wrote on FB before starting here: Sometimes you wake up the next day and feel like what you just went through the day before didn't really happen. I have a pit in my stomach, probably need to eat breakfast. First church service since our news. Bringing a box of tissues.

Later: Church was refreshing. [one of the songs we sang] "Greater things are yet to come. And greater things are yet to be done... (in this city)"

Our Sunday School, or what our church calls BFG (Bible Fellowship Group), also prayed over us. I only needed two tissues the whole day. 

Later in the afternoon is when we went to pick up the kids and see both sides of our parents. So now we're back on our normal schedule. "Don't pick him up" to Kristen and "Don't climb on that" to Drew. Kirk took off today and will be back at work tomorrow.

We haven't told Kristen yet about Kendall. We spoke with people who have been in our shoes with children. And have spoken to a child councilor... making sure we say the right thing. Something she will understand, things that might scare her, words to avoid and words to say. We might face that tonight. It will be a continued process for her as well. Our prayer is that God gives us the words for her understanding through any questions she might have. 

In some ways we're lucky with Kristen. She's not a girl or typical 4yo who asks #million questions. She accepts things as they are. And she's already been through death, as my grandmother passed away 2 years ago. We still talk about grandma Angelene. That she is in Heaven and in our hearts, like Jesus. The main thing I'm nervous about is that she wanted a sister so bad. To think about that she won't be able to play with Kendall. Tea parties and dress up and everything in between. 

Okay, I'm going to end this here, as I'm getting emotional about things and the kids around. More to come...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hangin' On- First Post

Starting  a journey of this magnitude deserves a special place to write about it. I didn't want to keep it going on FB, as that is usually about more trivial events of our lives. I didn't want people to have to fish through statuses and notes, so here is our new blog! I'm not a big blogger, but I'll try my best to give updates for the ones praying for us, loving and supporting us. We also have many family members living all over the world from AZ to GA, MO, TN, NC and SC to VA, PA,NY, OH, and all the way to Germany and Russia. Yes, big family and proud to have their support. Just hope I didn't leave out a state :)

As for the name of the blog... God is in control. We are His children. My children, I have REALLY come to realize, are HIS. I am surrogate for Him, whether my children are here for 90 seconds or 90 years. And I hope in reading this, many more people will come closer to Him. We are God's family!

I will start with what I wrote on FB:
Excited to have our third child, we entered the 20 week ultrasound (Thursday, Feb. 16) with courage not to find out if our baby is a girl or boy. And always in hopes that any child we have is healthy, first and foremost. We have one of each already and felt prepared for holding to our decision not to find out. The u/s tech (W- short for her name) was excited for us and started as normal. In just the first couple of minutes, the tech had to leave the room. She didn't say much, if anything at all to us on why she was leaving. More like, "be right back." 1-2 minutes pass and we know whatever it is, it isn't going to be good news. a few more minutes pass, and a nurse (K) comes to check on us. At this point we've already started to worry and cry. She asked if we were ok. Not knowing what she knew I laughed it off and said, "not really, she (the tech) left a while  ago and as long as she comes back without the doctor..." She was sweet enough to lie and said there were "computer problems, she'll be right back", before she left the room.

At this point, knowing down syndrome is in our family, I told Kirk, "I'll be relieved if she says DS. Anything else will be hard." We have many friends through church who have beautiful down syndrome babies with such life and character. On the other hand, I've heard so many stories of other conditions that aren't so happy ending. One very recent story, but the parents have so much faith in God, that it gives others hope.

Couple more minutes (probably at least 10 in total after the tech left) she came back with our doctor (Dr. G). The news isn't good, as the doctor starts telling us about Anencephaly. She then asked if we had heard anything about it before. This is where I start realizing that God has already started to prepare my heart. Just the day before, while Kristen was at school, I was doing laundry in front of the TV with Drew in my bedroom. On TLC's "A Baby Story", there was a woman who mentioned this condition with her child, but was having a second child afterward, which was the birth story they were filming. Obviously I wasn't thinking anything about it then, but took peace in the fact that I knew what the outcome could be before the doctor had to explain it to me.

Anencephaly, in my terms, is the lack of development of the baby's skull and the under development of the brain. Doctors told us straight up, fatal. Later we will find out that there are some very rare case, of young children still alive with this condition. More on the actual term, I'll let you decide if you want to look it up and learn more.

So to double check what the first tech was showing our doctor, she sent us to a specialist to confirm.

We had Drew with us till this point, but wonderful friends picked him up for us and picked up Kristen from school for a play date. They were taken care of for the day.

At the specialist is where we decided we were finding out if the baby was a boy or girl. We needed some good news to hold on to.

SHE'S A GIRL! Kendall Mackenzie!

My mom was showing up by this time for support, and we went back to my doctor to talk about what our next steps are. She gave us all our options and answered our questions we could think of off the bat. At this point we had already had time for some crying, maybe some shock (more Kirk then me), and strength to hold back some tears when needed. My doctor has been great and has stretched her arms out for us and has let us know that we can get in touch with her for anything at anytime, literally.

On the way home I think of another question I didn't ask, which was if organ donation was a possibility. I called her back when we got home. She said she hadn't seen first hand too many of these, and she needed to call around to find the answer for us. She returned my call and confirmed that it was a possibility, if all her other organs grow correctly at full term. This gave me more of a peace. If our out come turns out the way it is expected, then we can have the opportunity to maybe save another child's life.

As soon as we get home, we have our family flooding (4 people) our house with love. And the first thing we want to do is call our Pastor. I knew from a previous spot in my family's life, that our old pastor (Pastor Phil) was at our side through some tough roads when my grandfather was sick in the hospital and about to pass away. It was comforting to know that he and the church would really be there for our family, and I knew that is what we needed this time. Pastor Bob came straight over and gave us words of wisdom and strength as best as he could. The family prayed over us with him. He gave us his love and spoke with us (b/c I asked) about future funeral preparations. Never thought I would be asking those questions.

That night, the kids came home and Kirk and I were somber about talking about our decisions we had to make. My mom spent the night and helped with the kids the next day before taking them to her house for the weekend. This is allowing us to grieve, talk, and have some quiet time with the Lord before getting back on a normal schedule next week.

Thursday night we slept 3-4 hours, and were wide awake afterwards. I decided to get up and finally felt able to do a little research on the internet. This is when my heart started to know what we had to do. And after some emails from friends, then talking with Kirk, we knew that carrying our baby girl full term was the only way to go. And the only way we would be able to spend as much quality time with her as possible.

So, I think that is where we are now. We are waiting for Monday to come. We will meet with Dr. G again then and talk about what is ahead of us. How often we'll have to go. How often to the specialist. How many more tests they will have to do on me. How often to take my blood to count white blood counts and make sure that my body is holding up health-wise.

We also will have to prepare to speak with our children. What to say, how to say it, when to say what?

So for now, we ask all to PRAY. God is in control. We know He can preform miracles. But now our faith will be tested on how much we believe that can really happen for us. Going full term will allow Him the "room for a miracle" (Angie Smith of Selah).1) Pray for that miracle first, because God is so good! Then you can pray for all us. 2) First our health through the pregnancy. If anything happens with our (mine or Kendall's) health before full term, we will have to go in to give birth early. 3) Pray for our marriage. This will be a trying time, but we know together we will be there for each other and be able to give each other strength. We will also always need our communication lines open; no bottling up our emotions and hiding from each other. 4) Our family as a whole with our children and extended family. All the rest of the miscellaneous things. And 5) for things to come. That we do not worry and truly give it to God. And deal with things as they come.

Many friends have already said how strong I am. And as I would in there shoes, say "I don't know if I could do it, if I was in your shoes". I leave you with a link to a Selah song. For it is not of me, but God using me.God's strength coming through me.The lyrics are below the song on the link.

And on a good note. We have started to look forward to the wonderful things we have to look forward to. Any time we will get to spend with Kendall. little footprints on the hospital paper, and my first pregnancy photo shoot with all of us there.

Thank you for reading the beginning of our story, God's story.