Kylie May

Kylie May

Layla Faith

Layla Faith

Zoey Noelle

Zoey Noelle


Our baby boy, due March 16th.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Growing Through Song

I used to love Ginny Owens. I had her cd in high school. I knew every word to every song. I think I even saw her at the Cup O' Joy. 

Music is funny, isn't it? It can bring back so many emotions, feelings and memories. I thought one of her songs meant something to me when it was on the radio in 2000. Eleven years ago! I was 15! 

Well, I heard one of my old favorites of hers on the radio the other day. I can't get it out of my head. I remember the words like I did when I was 15. They mean so much more to me now. It is what I have grown to learn and accept through this journey. A lot of you probably know the song, "If You Want Me To". It's a lot to read, but it is my proclamation. I will go through the valley and the fire, if You want me to. 

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I will go through the valley
If You want me to

Now I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kylie May is 3! (and a Layla update)

We had a perfect birthday weekend. Bryan was home Saturday & Sunday, so that was a treat! All three of us made snacks for the party. Bryan & I couldn't wait to give Kylie her present, so we did that too. She loves it (pink train set).

We had Kylie's party at Kidz Town in Howard. A few close friends and family came for munchies and cupcakes. I highly recommend having a party there! It was so nice to let the kids run around and play. We actually had to corral them for cupcakes & gifts! Thanks to everyone who came & gave Kylie some awesome toys & clothes.

Our 29 week ultrasound appointment for Layla Faith was yesterday. She was in a really weird position so the actual ultrasound was a little painful. I think it's just getting harder to lay on my back for so long. We didn't really get to see her because of her position. The tech just got most of the measurements she needed, so it was quick.

Then we had our meeting with the Dr. We've known the diagnosis for 11 weeks and at each appointment we have less & less questions. I think we know 'everything' there is to know. He said that my fluid is still 'within normal limits'. That typically increases at 32-34 weeks. She's grown a little in the past three weeks. She was 14 oz and is now one and a half pounds. Our Dr. seemed very interested in how we are doing, not as focussed on Layla, since not much has changed. He wasn't as 'doctory', which was kind of nice.

We signed some paperwork for the geneticist & the study that they'll be doing after Layla is born. Then we met with the hospital's social worker. She knows all there is to know about this situation. We found out that there are a couple local funeral homes that provide their services to families with children for free. The hospital also has their own photographer for after Layla is born. They also provide us with different keepsakes, like a baby ring necklace & footprints, etc. It was nice to know that they will take care of everything for us, so there's not much for us to think about.

Well, here are a couple pics from the weekend.

Her train set. 

Playing at Kidz Town.

Ella, Kylie, Rosie

Eating cupcakes!

Playing with balloons.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Pregnant, I Want a Baby

Bryan and I went shopping yesterday for Kylie’s 3rd birthday! We both can’t believe that our little girl is already 3. We’re so blessed to have a ‘perfect’ child. (Every mom can say that, right?)

That is what I need to remember. I think that every single day. I stop & look at Kylie, or smile because of something she says, and I realize how blessed we are to have her.

I want a baby. I want to wake up all hours of the night to feed my baby. I want to bundle her up in layers to go outside with Kylie and me this winter. I want to watch Bryan talk to her about football and the Packers. I want to give her bath and put lotion on her before putting her in jammies. There are so many things I want to do with our baby. 

When we were shopping yesterday, I couldn’t help but want to look at all the cute baby clothes and baby bedding. It just really made me want a baby. Now, I know that I have to be positive & have faith that Layla will make it though all of this. Trust me, I have faith. I can picture it happening. I would LOVE to be caught off guard when she’s born & have to find a car seat. But, I know the facts, too.

I was thinking about the future. I’m a little bit ancy about it actually. We found out we were pregnant with Layla in March 2011. We’ll have her by January of 2012. With some time in between having her and getting pregnant, the earliest we could have another child is November 2012. Which is really fast! Basically, it’s going to be about two years of waiting to have a baby. Not just waiting, but 18 months of being pregnant!

I know of two or three of you reading this right now that don’t feel sorry for me. Probably more than that. You put this in perspective for me. You aren’t able to have children of your own. I cannot even imagine finding that out or getting through that. I have one close friend who adopted a little girl, a family member who adopted a little infant boy, and a previous co-worker/friend that just found out she will not be able to have kids of her own. This just makes my heartache.

I also wanted to make this note. I AM sincerely happy, joyful, excited and anxious for those of you who are pregnant or who just had your babies. It makes me jealous to see you holding your babies and dressing them in cute clothes. That’s my own issue, not yours. Don’t feel bad talking to me about your baby. If anything, I’m probably going to live vicariously through you. I can’t wait for my two sisters to have their babies (in November)! One girl, one boy!

I am blessed. I know I can have more kids. I don’t know if they’ll be healthy, but we have two adorable little girls. One is a princess. The other, an angel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantastic Weekend

I'll start by saying, we heard Layla's heartbeat today! Our next apt is next tuesday. It's a long one with an ultrasound, meeting with the Dr. and geneticist, and hospital grief counselor.

The Bricker family came to visit this weekend. They got here early Saturday morning. We made a trip to Delzer's Pumpkin Farm in Oconto. It was a ton of fun. Saturday afternoon, we went shopping at Hobby Lobby & redecorated Kylie's bedroom! It's so cute. I'll have to get some pictures together! Matt & Crim worked at the church concession stand at the Packer Game on Sunday, so Bry and I took the 3 girls to church. I had to stay & work, so Bryan brought them all home. After the game, we had chicken tacos & they headed home. It's always so nice to have them visit for a long weekend & actually just relax and let the girls play!

Our little princess Kylie May will be three on Sunday, so we're getting ready for her party. For now, I'll post some pictures from last weekend :) (p.s. You can click on any picture to make it bigger.)

Finally, a good family picture. 

"The Girls"

We had our share of fun, too.

My growing baby bump.

Rosie had just slept for 3 hours. Kylie & Ella just fell asleep. 

It was a fun-filled weekend. But, it was pretty exhausting! Totally worth every minute :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Remain Steady

I know some of these posts are probably getting boring. I'm glad! I don't want any excitement. Slow & steady. I'm 27 weeks & had an appointment today. As usual (so glad I can say that), Layla's heartbeat was 150. I am still measuring right on track, which is a great thing. 

It is becoming more obvious that I am pregnant, so I'm getting more & more people asking when I'm due, what I'm having, etc. I don't mind talking about Layla, but I've had time to process this & it always comes as a shock to people. 

One person I told on Sunday replied with, "What an honor.". Hmmmm. My gut reaction was, "Really? An honor to carry a baby that will not survive? That's daring to say." But, he explained. What an honor it is, that God would choose me to carry Layla. For some reason, He trusted me to carry her and love her no matter what is going on. He believed in me, that I would not end the pregnancy when given the option, that my family would be able to pull through this challenge and find the good in this situation. What a different way to think about this. 

Sticking her tongue out and making a silly face, another woman said, "Tell the Devil to bring it on. You will not bow, you will not break. Satan only tests men of faith." (James 1)

My last comment is a "Thank You". We had a rough weekend. At first I thought, I don't need to complain on the blog. Then, I decided to be real and tell you all that I was having a hard time. Thank you for your encouragement, saying it's okay to have a bad day, and for praying. One of my friends posted this on her 
blog. God gave me each of you to help carry my burdens and remain steady. Thank you! 

P.S. I'm super excited for this weekend. Matt & Crim are coming for our annual pumpkin patch trip!! 

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Please Be My Strength

Bryan posted a week or so ago. He said, "This is testing me and my faith to a measure that I didn't know existed. I am not sure how to feel right now. There will be a point where the feeling overflows, a point where I let it all out." I can't speak for him, but yesterday was rough. I think that when our car broke down, that was our tipping point. Bryan, Kylie and I were sitting on the curb with a car that was smoking. For about 2 minutes, I wasn't tough. I could only think of everything bad in our lives right now. I shed a few tears, and Kylie came on my lap & hugged me. She said, "It's okay, mom. It's okay." It was so sincere. I think God was using her for me. 

Most of you know, I'm usually pretty optimistic & positive. Today, I've been feeling sorry for myself. I don't feel sympathy for anyone else. I feel guilty about it. Not only that, but I've been more emotional. Well, I am pregnant, so I cry easily anyway!

I guess my point is that I can't stay like this. I wouldn't be able to make it if I stayed in this place of self-pity. Yet again, God came through for us with the car. I don't need to say who, but someone paid for it to get fixed. Just when we think we're stuck, God does His thing. 

So, right now, I'm calling on God to pull me out of this rut. It was my 24 hours of feeling sorry for myself. I have to pick my head up & move on :)

I'm looking for a place where I can plant my faith. One thing I know for sure, 
that I cannot create it. I cannot sustain it. It's your love that's keeping me. 

Please be my strength,
Please be my strength,
I don't have anymore. 
I don't have anymore. 

-"Please Be My Strength" by Gungor

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

26 Weeks & Looking Good

What a long appointment (long post)! We started at 10 & got finished with all of our meetings at 12:30. There a few times in the meetings that I stopped paying close attention. When I took a step back, and thought, we shouldn't have to be talking about this. But, oh well. 

Overall, everything went pretty well. Thank you for your prayers! It went very smoothly, no tears, & got a lot of questions answered. I have been pretty 'matter of fact' in my posts/conversations. Please know that just because it's said like it is, doesn't mean it's easy to say. Trust me, I have my moments, when it's harder to talk about. So, this is how things are going (details):

We had our ultrasound and then met with Dr. Hayes for the consultation. Basically, things are progressing as they anticipated. We're still on track with the same diagnosis that they gave us. Lalya's heart is occupying all of her chest. (She has a big heart!) The size of her chest cavity is causing fluid to back up. Right now, the fluid is still "within normal limits". So, we're looking good! (The more fluid, the more likely for pre-term labor.) Although, that could change in as quickly as one week. As everything progresses, the lungs will become compressed, then the trachea, and then the esophagus.  It doesn't look like she has any lung tissue at all. Our neonatologist later said that that can change, by the time I have her. So, let's pray for that! According to what measurements they could do, Layla weighs a little less than one pound. That's tiny! 

While we were waiting for the NICU Dr., we talked to Amy, the geneticist. We weren't planning on this meeting, but it was something that needed to be done. We had to discuss all the testing & things that need to be done after Layla is born. Mount Sinai Medical School in California will be doing some research. It is also the place where they will test for an official diagnosis. There are certain things that they need, like cord blood, x-rays, and ultrasounds. This will help determine what type of the deficiency Layla has & if it is genetic (odds for our next baby). Oh, and there's a lab in Milwaukee that decided to bank Layla's DNA from the amniocentesis for free. That will also help us with the diagnosis. 

After all of that, we met with the neonatologist, Dr. Broetzman. Bryan & I had looked at a sample care plan online which helped us start thinking about everything. We discussed what would happen after Layla is born & how we want everything handled. They can't say what her survival time will be. If her heart is beating when she's born, when they clamp the cord, she will not be getting oxygen from me. If she doesn't have lungs, then it is only a matter of time before her heart stops. We plan to hold her tight & spend as much time with her as possible. They will periodically check her heartbeat. It was nice to hear the neonatologist say, "If by some miracle she comes out crying, we'll do what we can.". Yes, let's pray for that, too!

Other things we discussed with her were funeral arrangements, where Layla will go, how long we can hold on to her, calling a pastor, having a family member in charge of phone calls, etc. The hospital has a counselor that we will meet with at our next apt. It sounds like she is the 'event planner'. She'll make sure everyone is on the same page as us when we come in to have Layla.

These were a few good appointments to have, but our brains were fried afterwards! It was so much to think about, so many decisions to make. We feel better 'knowing' how things will work. But, we can plan like crazy & still not know when anything will happen or how it will go. Overall, I would say it was a good morning. 

The best part is this:

Our sweet Layla Faith :)

And coming home to this:

Sparkly flowers from Adam & Staci!

Thank you, again for your prayers and support. We feel blessed to have made it to 26 weeks! Please pray with us for her lungs to grow, the fluid to stay 'normal' and to carry her 12 more weeks! 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Still Expecting a Miracle

Well, I'm nervous. Tomorrow is our big appointment. I made it to 26 weeks! Yay! Almost to the third trimester. I've been having some cramping the last couple days. Nothing really bad, but different for me.

Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow. Our appointment is at 10 for an ultrasound, meeting with the Dr., and meeting with the NICU to discuss a care plan. Still praying for a miracle. Let's shock the Dr.'s!

Pray for:

-The fluid around Layla to decrease.
-The swelling to decrease.
-Layla's chest cavity to grow!
-Our peace & knowledge to make decisions.

Sunday was another exciting day at our church. Not only did almost everything go wrong for my job, but Pastor Mark had an interesting morning too. His wife is going through chemo treatments for cancer and it has been really rough. He spoke an 'impromptu' message. It was the "Be Real" part of our church. We are transparent. Life isn't always perfect! Here are two quotes from him:

"Whether good things or bad things happen, it doesn't mean jack squat, because I am serving God, and I'm trusting God and I know God is faithful."

"I would rather be in the middle of  a hurricane and know your love, than to be the richest man in the world, were everything's going perfect, and not know you."

Amen to that!!

I'll try to update tomorrow or Wednesday to let you know how our apt was. Expect a miracle :)