Hiccups that is!!! Carleigh is having them again right now! I don't think I ever got this excited about hiccups before, even with Kyndra. I guess it just didn't seem like that big of a thing then but now I feel it is a huge accomplishment! I'm sure it must annoy my little girl but it's very soothing for me. I really hope this is a good sign that she will be able to do well once she is here. I know that Myah's baby Faith had the hiccups and now she is over a week old! How amazing is that! Do you know how absolutely wonderful that would be to have Carleigh for that long!? It makes me so happy even thinking about being given a blessing like that from God. So pray for Carleigh and also pray for Faith! I know her mommy is so proud of her and loves her very, very much!
Something wonderful happened today!! Carleigh had the hiccups! And not only once-but twice!! This is the first time she has ever done it! I first noticed it sitting at work when I was processing a scan I had just completed. I felt her moving and at first I thought it was just the regular old movement but then she just kept doing it over and over and then it dawned on me.......HICCUPS!!!! I was soooo excited that I just had to share it with someone and Lindsey wasn't in the room at the time so I went down the hall and shared with the gals in Cardio. The fact that she had the hiccups was just so encouraging to me.
Before lunch Lindsey and I went back to Ultrasound and Kylee scanned me. Of course Carleigh was a little wiggle worm and had to have those arms up by her head but we still got some good pics of her face. And she got the hiccups while Kylee was scanning me! It was so awesome to see her little body jump with every hiccup. Carleigh was also sticking out her tongue and it was cute. I asked Kylee to measure Carleigh since at my last appointment I was measuring around 4 weeks behind. She measure her femur length (FL) and that was around 32 weeks, which is great! Next she did her abdominal circumference (AC) and that measured around 28-29 weeks, which is not so great. That area is measuring behind and that concerns me. I plan on mentioning it to Dr. Fauley my next appointment. So please pray that this area catches up!! Of course we couldn't get any head/brain measurements because it wouldn't be accurate at all. Good news too is that my fluid levels look good. No poly!
Most of you won't know what the heck I'm talking about but I feel the need to write about a situation that happened recently that upset me and some other people. I'm sorry for any part I had in the whole mess that caused a misunderstanding. I definitely could've handled things differently but know that I would never intentionally try and hurt someone's feelings. Please know I very much appreciate the efforts of everyone helping me. Try to understand I feel the need to have control in pretty much everything that happens on this journey because in reality I have absolutely no control of the thing that matters the most to me-my daughter. As my due date draws closer I am likely to become more emotional and sensitive to things. Just please bear with me. (Don't forgot you're dealing with a hormonal pregnant woman.) This isn't easy for me at all. Most of the time I do very well in front of people but when I am alone sometimes my emotions get to me.
I called the March of Dimes NW Ohio chapter today to actually find out what was going on and to set up a meeting with just Anthony and I. On March 7 we will be meeting with some ladies from the local chapter of March of Dimes (NW Ohio) that is interested in us as a family. I can't wait to meet them and share our story. It's a little different than what I was made to believe. We aren't the ambassadors yet. They are considering us and the meeting is to help them decide. So pray that they pick our family and we can share Carleigh's story with more people. I would love more people to know about anencephaly and to raise awareness. I know the March of Dimes has a folic acid awareness campaign and we can definitely help with that.
Today I had an OB appointment. I am currently 31 1/2 weeks. Just did the basics-weight, BP, pulse, pee in a cup. My weight is 118 lbs so I am up a little. Dr. F checked Carleigh's heartrate and it was great! She even kicked the doppler and she had to start over. I had to chuckle. I am still measuring small. My fundal height is 27.5 cm, which would equal me measuring about 4 weeks behind. (Fundal height should closely match your baby's gestational age. So, for example, if you're 24 weeks pregnant, your fundal height should be 24 cm.) I'm a little concerned that Carleigh might not be growing well but I'm going to wait until the next appointment to see if I stay the same or fall even further behind. IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) can happen with babies with anencephaly but other things can also cause it like abnormalities in the placenta. So if things aren't looking any better by the next appointment I think I may request an ultrasound. Although, it is hard to measure her size since they can't really do brain and head measurements. If Carleigh does have IUGR it may mean I would need to deliver her a little earlier than what I would want. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. I'm going to try and up my calorie intake to see if that will help at all. Let's just hope heartburn doesn't increase too.
Last Wednesday, Feb 18, was my maternity session with Kim of Mud Pie Photos. Kim was so nice and was great in our session. Kim is affiliated with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) and will be our photographer for when Carleigh is born (besides you Ashley-much love!!). It was great to meet her beforehand and she thought the same too. She's never met a family before having to take the pictures. Our session lasted about 1 hour and she took so many photos! She took some of just me, Anthony and me, our family, and just Kyndra. Kyndra did very well during the session until we got closer to the end and then she started getting tired. She really hammed it up for the camera. I just checked this morning and our proofs are up on her website and they turned out great! I will put up some photos soon once we get our CD with the proofs.
I received in the mail today some gifts from Casting Keepsakes. These gifts were from Sarah T. and she sent me quite a bit, which I didn't expect. Sarah first introduced me to this website and it was really neat. They have different types of casting available, such as if you want to cast your baby's hand or foot or even doing a belly cast while you're pregnant. They also offer belly art for when you're pregnant. Sarah generously offered to get something from the site for me so I picked a few things out and told her I'd let her decide. I picked out a belly casting kit, a hand/footprint tin for Carleigh, and a pregnancy henna art kit. Well, I open up the box today and everything I had picked out was in there! She got them all! Plus there was a baby ink pad in pink too! Thank you so much, Sarah! I can't wait to use them!
This is just a reminder for all of those considering coming to the prayer shower on March 14. It is being hosted by our pastor's wife, Holly, and you can view the original invitation here. Please RSVP to Holly by this Saturday, February 28 by emailing her at email@example.com. (Or you could also let me or my mom know and we will get in touch with Holly.) She needs to know how many will be attending to make sure enough food is available. We really hope to see you there!
I have some really great news to share! According to our Aunt Jeanna, our family is the local ambassador for Findlay for the March of Dimes. This means our story will be shared both locally and nationally. Carleigh's story will be even more national than what it already is as I know there are many people across the states right now that have been sharing a part in our journey with us. I imagine they will post our story of Carleigh on the March of Dimes website once we sit down with them and give them an interview, which is still in the works. The March for Babies walk in Findlay is scheduled for May 2 and we are to give an interview there if we are able to make it. My due date is April 24 so if I chose to wait to be induced I will be 41 weeks pregnant the date of the march. It would be great to have lots of our family and friends do the walk with us and help show their support. What a great opportunity this is to share about Carleigh and to raise awareness about anencephaly. I hope to show people that even though a baby has anencephaly their life still has immense value and that carrying to term is so rewarding. Also, there will be a few fundraisers following the march. I believe there is 2 in May-a spaghetti dinner and pancake breakfast-and 1 in June-a bike run.
Friday I received a wonderful present in the mail. It was a baby blanket for Carleigh from my friend Emily (Luvmylilmonkies) from Cafemom. Emily knitted the blanket herself and "although it is less than perfect it was made with a lot of love, and admittedly, a lot of tears." How wonderful to know that so much love and thought was put into it! I appreciate it soooo much! You have to know that this blanket is unbelievably soft and just the perfect shade of pink. I could help but to keep rubbing it against my skin. Thank you Emily!
It isn't letting go. It's going on. It isn't only shadows, And it isn't only dawn. It isn't getting through it, It's letting it come through me. Not living in the darkness, Though the darkness I can see. It's living with the sorrow But finding memories sweet. It's knowing that it takes both sides To make it all complete. It's soaking up the sunshine Along with the rain. It's learning to let laughter Live side by side with pain. It's knowing that the years Won't change a love that's real, Or take away the joy you brought, or the sorrow that I feel. It's knowing tears and laughter Can live on the same face, And your impression on my heart Can never be erased.
Many of you may have wondered, "What's the point?"... or perhaps pitied us for 'having' to continue carrying a child who is not going to live for long... I understand these thoughts, because when my sister was carrying Thomas Walter (who had been diagnosed with anencephaly at 18 weeks and lived for 17 ½ hours after birth) I really didn't properly comprehend the whole situation. I knew it was the 'right' thing to do. I didn't question that I would have no other option if the same thing ever happened to me (although I knew it never would!) But I thought how awful it was to know for over four months that the child you are carrying is unable to live outside your womb.
Once he was born, I was able to hold my nephew and see him finally as a real person - a precious unique creation - I began to realise that there was a lot more to it than mere 'ethics'. When, much to my disbelief, my own baby, Benedict, was diagnosed with this same condition four years later - I was finally able to grasp it, although it has taken me a long time to be able to put my thoughts into words. It is only since Charlotte's diagnosis that I have found words that almost convey my feelings.
Some people think we carried Benedict and Charlotte to term because we don't agree with abortion, because we are Catholic, or perhaps because our nephew was carried to term after a fatal diagnosis. While these factors probably all played a part in our immediate refusal of the option to 'terminate', this is not what it's all about! It's about love! It's about our baby! It's not about some tragic, fatal medical condition - it's about our child. We do not possess more strength than other people. It's not because we can cope where others wouldn't. There is no way to avoid the sad fact that she cannot live long after birth with this condition, but causing Charlotte to die earlier will not stop this happening. Causing her to die earlier will only take from us the beautiful experience of knowing and loving her.
The tragedy is not the fact that we know our baby will die. The tragedy is that our baby will die. It is not nice to know for months beforehand, but it gives us a chance to appreciate a life so brief, and not to miss a moment.
The value of Thomas Walter, Benedict and Charlotte cannot be measured by the length of their lives - we don't apply this yardstick to adults, so why should we to babies? A baby is not a possession, an accessory to acquire. A baby is a gift, a new entity, a precious, individual soul loved by God. We are created for a purpose, there is a reason for our being here. Even if that reason is unclear to us most of the time, we are constantly affecting other people in our families, communities etc. Who knows what purpose can be fulfilled in 9 months and one day? I don't know, but God does. I do know that Benedict left a lasting impression on our family, he made us slow down, savour life, and treasure our other children even more. He made us realise that we cannot control or predict what will happen in the future, he made us rely on God. And how often are we given the opportunity to really give another person true unconditional love? Love that truly expects no return? It is a blessing to experience that kind of pure love!
So don't pity us for carrying a child we know will die. Carrying this beautiful person is an honour. Grieve for the fact that our baby will die. We wouldn't wish away the time we had with Benedict, and also this time we are now experiencing with Charlotte, just to save us the pain of losing them. I've always thought of it like this; if your 3 year old was diagnosed with untreatable, fatal cancer and had only 4 months to live; would you prefer the doctor kill your child straight away so that you didn't have to wait for his/her impending death? Or would you prefer to spend as much time as you could with your child and love him/her for as long as you had left?
Someone asked us after Benedict died, "Was it worth it?" Oh, YES! For the chance to hold him, and see him, and love him before letting him go... For the chance for our children to see that we would never stop loving them, regardless of their imperfections? For the chance to give him everything we could? Oh, YES! Love your children, and remember that they each have their own unique mission. Children are always and only a blessing from God - even if they don't stay very long...
I've got some more goodies from great people to show off!
I got some hats from Carol (carol143grump) and Kathryn (Kat770) from Cafemom. Thanks ladies! The hats are so cute!My Aunt Nancy also got me some bracelets. They are so tiny even though it doesn't look like it in the picture. Carleigh is going to wear the pink one with her hospital outfit and the white one with her burial outfit. They'll look so cute on her. Thank you Aunt Nancy!
Well, I've hit the big 3-0. No, not age-wise if that is what you were thinking. I've hit 30 weeks into my pregnancy with Carleigh. 30 WEEKS! I actually turned 30 weeks on Friday so I'm more 30 1/2 weeks now. I only have 9 1/2 weeks left until I reach my due date of April 24. It's crazy how time has flown by since Carleigh's diagnosis. Time decided to speed up to take precious time away from my daughter and me. Well, that may not be really true but it sure feels like it.
Reality is really starting to hit. The odds are I'm not going to be able to take my daughter home. I pray often that I am one of those rare cases where my daughter gets to live for months. It's a long-shot but I know God can make anything possible. I would be grateful for even a few days! Kind of a mixed blessing it would be. For one, I would get to spend more time with my daughter but I imagine it would be even harder to let her go. I would give anything so that she wouldn't die. Why does she have to die? It's not fair. I know God never promised us life would be easy or fair but can I stomp my feet and throw a fit anyway? I'm sure no one will hold it against me, not even God.
Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 27:4-5 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
Psalm 37:39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble
Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 71:20-21 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
Proverbs 14:32 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.
Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 40:18-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 49:14-16 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
Isaiah 51:3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isaiah 54:10 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 66:12-14 For this is what the LORD says:"I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.
Lamentations 3:31-33 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?
Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 6:19-34 I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 11:25-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
John 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 14:1-4 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Romans 8:14,15 ...because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Romans 8:31-39 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: " For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:52-57 In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 4:13-16 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Revelation 7:15-17 And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Yep, that's right! HE WENT TO JARED! lol It was a total surprise. Anthony told me he was going to be late coming home from work because he had a machine to work on so he said to go ahead and eat supper without him. Well, he gets home around 7:30pm and he comes inside and he has a card for me. It was a Valentine's Day card. I wasn't too surprised about that because I was expecting he'd get me a card even though we always say we're not going to get each other anything. I haven't even gotten him anything yet. I haven't had time to go anywhere. After I open and read my card I turn around to thank him and he's holding a small bag that you just know has some sort of jewelry in it. Plus, it said Jared on the outside. I open up the package and inside is a necklace. Anthony knew I wanted a mother-child necklace and that's what he got for me. It's brand new from the store-they just got it in. How sweet is my husband!? So, he wasn't really working when he said he was. He was off going to different jewelry stores trying to find something for me.
Last night was our 3D/4D ultrasound at Envision Imaging in Columbus. Boy, was the wind ever blowing! It was pretty rainy in certain sections of our drive too. Eerily dark. We got there safe and sound and even early. We made sure we left a little early because of the weather and in case traffic was slow because of any accidents. I filled out a little questionnaire once we got there. My parents and sister got there before us and Kyndra was excited to see them. She went right to grandma. We made sure we brought food, drink, and her baby doll to keep her entertained during the scan. They took us back and got us set up and while they were doing that Anthony's family came and then we got started! Kyndra ended up doing great during it. It was so funny because she would make cute little noises at exactly the right time during the ultrasound to where it look like she was reacting to what she saw on the screen, but really she was just playing with toys they had in the room.
We were able to see Carleigh's face pretty well the whole time, which was so great! I'm so glad she decided to cooperate for this ultrasound. Of course, she had her hands up by her face pretty much the whole time. She really likes to keep them there. We were able to see her open her mouth and stick out her tongue and also try to suck on her fist and her thumb. It was so sweet! We were able to get a better idea of exactly what her defect looks like and that really helps. It's so different with every baby. We noticed right away, and the technologist too, that she has such chubby cheeks-just like Kyndra when she was born! It made me laugh. Anthony and I were very grateful to my coworkers who generously gave money that we used for our ultrasound. It was such a nice surprise!!
I have asked my friend Ashley, who owns Ashley Whitmoyer Photography, to take pictures during and after labor/delivery and for Carleigh's visitation and service. She takes great photos and I know she will do a wonderful job! (Thank you VERY much Ashley.) She is so sweet because she doesn't want any money for it either! However, we will be showing our appreciation in some way to her. I originally was going to have my Aunt Becky take pictures at the hospital but I decided it would be best to not have any family to do it. I would rather family be able to just be there for us and not have to worry about anything like that.
It may seem weird to want to take pictures at her visitation and service but also keep in mind that we will be experiencing a wide range of emotions and may not remember everything that took place or the little details. Hence, pictures!!! I will probably also have the service videotaped. Speaking of videotaping my best friend Lindsey is going to be videotaping once Carleigh arrives. Again, so family does not have to do it.
We will still be having Kim, who owns Mud Pie Photos and is affiliated with NILMDTS, come and take pictures of Carleigh also. No one has ever regretted having too many photos but I'm sure there are some who wish they would've taken more. I've also been given advice by many mommies to take TONS of pictures. So that is the plan!!! Next week we will be getting maternity photos done with her! Can't wait!
I had an OB appointment today and it went well (and quick!). I got in right away. My weight was 117.5 lbs (up 1.5 lbs from last appointment) and my BP was 80/60. Dr. F went over the usual-any swelling, pain, etc. I told her that yesterday I started having some back pain so she asked about that a little bit. I wasn't real concerned about it. I'd call it more discomfort than pain and I think it's probably how Carleigh is lying in there or just cause my belly is getting bigger. Carleigh's heart rate was good-it was 132 bpm. She kicked the doppler to show her displeasure of being disturbed. I'm still measuring small. I am 29 1/2 weeks and I am measuring 27.5 cm. Probably even a little less than that because Dr. F said she'd give me 27.5 cm. So until the next 2 weeks!
I am getting quite excited for tomorrow evening. Why you ask? Because I am getting my 3D/4D Ultrasound!!!! Woohoo!!!! I am getting it done at Envision Imaging in Columbus. I was wondering whether we'd be able to get it done tomorrow because they called the end of last week saying the technologist wouldn't be able to be there but luckily they were able to find someone else. We couldn't come in the other times they suggested for us. I called them today, too, to let them know that we'll be having more than 8 people attending the session. As of right now it will be me, Anthony, Kyndra, my parents, my sister Katrina and her daughter Audrey, Anthony's parents, Anthony's brother Todd and his girlfriend Taylor, and Anthony's sister Chantel. Whew! It should be an exciting time for all of us! For everyone, except me, this will be their first glimpse of Carleigh (besides any ultrasound photos). Please pray that Carleigh cooperates and we get good images!!!
I've noticed a few things about Carleigh as she hangs out in my tummy. Well, first of all she is very active, but I've also noticed some patterns in her behavior. She is more likely to be active around mealtimes. If I have music playing she will kick around but if I start singing she settles down-like my voice is soothing to her. She can be as active as can be and then when someone wants to feel her move she gets shy. I swear she moves around A LOT! I'm not making that up!! :) Early mornings and evenings she's more active too.
I know she probably has her arms and hands up by her head. On every ultrasound so far that's wear they have been! She's "camera shy" too. My last ultrasound was the first we were able to see her face and profile good. However, that only last a short period before she flipped over. Let's hope she cooperates a little better for our 3D/4D ultrasound on Wed.
I put a thought bubble on Cafemom today. I got it from the lyrics of Jeremy Camp's song "Take A Little Time".
"...there's more going on, than what these eyes can see."
What I mean by this is that there is more going on behind the scenes in this journey with Carleigh than what I realize. She is touching so many lives, even my own. Of course only God knows how many! I know the tremendous impact she has had on me so I can only imagine how she is changing others.
I would love to hear from you (my blog readers) how our story has impacted your life! Please share!
I had noted in an earlier blog how I wanted to get a sweater and some tights for Carleigh from The Preemie Store to finish off her burial outfit. Well, I had a very generous person get me a gift certificate for the website so that I could get those things. Thank you Wendy P. and her family-John, Charles, and Charlotte! I was quite surprised to receive such a gift and it was very kind.
I looked online at the site for the tights and sweater but didn't see what I wanted so I called Pat, the owner. Pat was very, very nice! She is giving me the sweater and the tights for what the gift certificate was and free shipping. The sweater alone would cost more than the gift certificate because a mom from another country made it by hand. I was touched by her thoughtfulness! Pat sent me an email of 3 different sweaters to choose from and below is the one I chose. It got shipped yesterday!
Today we had a girl named Megan going around our department because she is a new hire and Lisa from CT brought her back to our area. I got to talking to Megan and she got hired on to work on Mother Baby Care. She was wearing gray scrubs so I kinda figured that's where she was going to work. So we chatted for a bit and she saw our area and then I took her back to Ultrasound. Bethany and Beth were working today and so I chit-chatted with them for a little bit. They didn't have anything going on so I asked Beth if she could check my fluid levels. I'm worried about the possibility of developing polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) so I figured this could help ease my mind. So Beth and I went into the room and I let Bethany and Megan come in too. The more the merrier! Beth just glancing at my fluid said it looked normal. She measured it later and it indeed was. Whew! What a relief. There was also fluid in Carleigh's stomach and bladder so that is a good sign! I hope that means she is swallowing well. When Beth first started scanning she was actually able to get a picture of Carleigh's profile! Amazing! She has been so stubborn every ultrasound so far that it was just so cool to see it. She usually has her arms all up in her face. You can see her anencephaly pretty well on her profile pic. Beth was able to get a good picture of her face too. It was so precious! And we were able to see her ears! Well, Beth told me it was ears but I couldn't tell very well! Beth converted one of the images into a 3D too. I just love seeing her!!
Here are some of the ultrasound pics (28 1/2 weeks):
Today I was given this award, The Lemonade Award, by Adrienne at Our Unexpected Journey! "This award is for those who show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE!"
Adrienne nominated me because "Holly's blog is truly inspirational in that her attitude of what she is going through is amazing! Holly's unborn daughter Carleigh has been diagnosed with Anencephaly-this I copied from her blog: The prognosis for individuals with anencephaly is extremely poor. If the infant is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours or days after birth. So most would terminate-let's just face it but Holly has amazing faith and love for God and she has chosen to not take it into her own hands and let God take over. So thank you Holly for letting us follow you on this difficult journey that you are taking- so many people will learn from it!"
Thank you Adrienne for nominating me for this award! I was so surprised by it but I am also grateful that you thought of me. Now it is my turn to nominate some great mommies! Here are the instructions... If you are given the award, then put the logo on your blog or post. Next, nominate at least 5-10 which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE! Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.
So I nominate...
Tiffany from Emma's Story. Her daughter Emma was diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks in September 2008. She was born still on January 15, 2009.
Shelley from Elisha Enrique Ramirez. Her son Elisha was diagnosed with anencephaly at 17 weeks on August 20, 2008. He was born January 13, 2009 and lived for 43 minutes.
Myah from The story of Faith Hope. Her daughter Faith was diagnosed with anencephaly at 19 weeks on September 12, 2008. She is currently 39 weeks pregnant with her little girl.
Celia from Noah Benjamin-Our Story. Her son Noah was diagnosed with anencephaly at 19 weeks on December 15, 2008. She is currently 26 weeks pregnant with her little boy.
Jessica from Consider the Lilies of the Field. Her daughter Lily was diagnosed with anencephaly at 13 weeks on July 3, 2008. She was born on December 12, 2008 and passed away December 17, 2008. She lived for 5 1/2 days.
PJ from Baby Seth's Story. Her son Seth was diagnosed with anencephaly at 18 weeks on December 10, 2008. She is currently 25 weeks pregnant with her little boy.
All of these mommas I have come to know and they are all so wonderful and friendly. We are all members of the group Anencephaly Blessings From Above. All these mommas have children with anencephaly, but each story and child is unique. Even though I have never met these mommas in person I feel a special bond with each one of them. Although the road is hard, these mommas have shown true love for their children and amazing strength. Thank you ladies! I hope that other families can learn from your journeys.
Today we told our church family about Carleigh. They knew we were having complications or whatever but they didn't know the details, except for Pastor Mark and his wife Holly. I wrote a letter for Pastor Mark to read that way we didn't have to get up and speak. I thought it'd be easier that way. We told them at prayer time. Here is the letter:
Dear Church Family, As you know we are experiencing a difficult pregnancy but we want to share with you exactly what is going on. On December 15 we found out that our daughter, Carleigh, has anencephaly. With this defect she is missing most of her brain and skull cavity. This is a fatal defect and she is not expected to live once she is born. Finding this out about our daughter was truly devastating but we have accepted that it is God’s will for us to have such a special child. While many parents ultimately choose to end the pregnancy this is something we could never do to our daughter. We love our daughter very much and don’t want any part in ending her life prematurely. This journey isn’t an easy one so we ask for your support and prayers. We have set up a website for Carleigh that tells of our journey with her. If you would like this website please let us know. Thank you. Anthony & Holly
I could tell that many were shocked and upset for us even though my back was to most of them. Pastor Mark had us come up front and they prayed over us. I know we'll get a lot of love and support from them.
My Forever Child- Remembrance Jewelry, Memorial Keepsakes, Sympathy and Decorative Gifts to comfort those touched by the loss of a Child. Personalized, Engraved & Handcrafted Miscarriage-Pregnancy Loss Bracelets, Baby-Infant Footprints Charms, Custom Necklace Pendants with your child's Footprint, Handprint image or photograph.
Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, etc. I just love hearing from you! If you are carrying a child with a fatal diagnosis or have lost a child and need some direction feel free to email me at caring4carleigh at yahoo dot com.
From a Lullaby to Goodbye
Contains Carleigh's story as told here. Click picture to buy.