Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Due Date

I'm up at 3:53 AM. I've been up for a while now, just laying in bed. And now I type this; the glow of my phone hurting my eyes in this dark room. Eli is sleeping with me tonight and I am glad to have his warm, comforting little body snuggled up to mine.

I see her in him. So much. Especially when he sleeps and all of his features are relaxed. His pretty, full lips and his chubby cheeks. I love him so much that it's impossible to express with words, but I also have an impossibly great emptiness. Especially tonight. How can your heart be so full, yet so empty at the same time?

Today is Finley's due date. It's hard to describe exactly what I'm thinking. It's almost as if today marks a ledge I am about to walk off of. I'm about to move forward... without her.

I was supposed to have a perfect, chubby, pink, beautiful baby girl this month. I am supposed to be blissfully tired after having been up all night with her. Instead, I have pictures of her and a baby boy who's features resemble her. And I have tired eyes after long nights of fitful sleep. Her due date is about to come and go, but I still won't have her.

Why? Why did it have to be this way?
Why couldn't she have just cried? I just wanted to hear her cry and keep believing I'd take her home.
Today is just another day that throws it all in my face and makes it blaringly obvious that she isn't here. I couldn't keep her. And today, it's not okay. Today it's a tragedy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today I Am Thankful...

This may seem like a belated Thanksgiving Day post to some, but I assure you it's not! Everyone who knows me, knows that I am always timely (ha!). This post comes straight from my overflowing heart...

Not a day goes by that I am NOT thankful for my sweet babies. Both Eli and Finley have taught me more about unconditional love, true joy, and God's sacrifice for us; more than I would have ever learned on a solitary walk though this life. But this post is not about my children (even though THAT is the purpose of this blog)...

Today I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for a man who loves the Lord unashamedly and loves his family above all else. Daniel is a man among men in this downtrodden world. I married him because I fell in love with his soul. He is one of the most compassionate, loving, and selfless men I have ever met. Sure he isn't perfect; he leaves his clothes and empty cups all over the house and watches a little too much football... but he is mine and I will cherish him for the rest of our lives. His love for our children has made me appreciate and respect him more than ever. I thank God for him every day, especially in this time of grieving. I could not ask for a better man to be by my side.

Today I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for a faithful father here on earth; a father who prays and walks with God daily. He is someone I admire above all others for his strength, his wisdom, and his unconditional love for his family. I am thankful for a mother who is kind and loving; a mother who has empathy and who is crippled by her daughter's pain. She is the mother I aspire to be. I am thankful for a brother and a sister with understanding; not a word need be spoken, but through the silence I see their love. I am thankful for in-laws who care and who are prayerful for the family they clearly love with all of their hearts.

Today I am thankful for friends.
I am thankful for friends who drive 3 hours at a moments notice to cry with me and pray for me. I am thankful for friends who randomly text me their hilarious stories or even their petty complaints because they want to make sure that I am still treated like a human being and not like a ghost of who I was "before". I am thankful for friends who recognize that I want to talk about my daughter and who bring her up in conversation because they love her too. I am thankful for friends who don't know the right words to say, but can give me a look or send just a few words so that I know they are mourning with me. I am thankful for friends I have never met in person, but who constantly and genuinely express their love for me and my family. I am thankful that in a world that can be so cruel and confusing, I have met beautiful people to walk among when all is said and done.

Today I am thankful for healing. Although my heart will never be completely healed (and what heart CAN be in this world?), I am thankful for pieces of comfort.

I took the plunge this evening; I gathered all of the cards and letters that we have received in the mail throughout this past month, I sat on the couch, and I opened them one by one.
I don't know why I "hoarded" them for so long in multiple, big, UPS flat rate envelopes. I think part of it was the unfamiliarity with being the one in grief. Maybe if I didn't open them, then I wasn't the one who needed the sympathies of others... yeah right. Nice try, Kelli. I wish I would have opened them as they had come to me. It was simply overwhelming to see love come to life in the form of words. Lots of words:

Comforting words. Words of peace, words of hope, words of empathy, words of confusion and sadness, words of love. Words on store bought cards, words on homemade cards, words on scrapbook paper, words on notebook paper. Words in the form of poems and song lyrics. Drawings and sketches...
Words filled with LOVE.

I don't know a better way to reach all of the people who sent US cards and who sent Finley letters other than to put it HERE where our story was told.
To my family, to my friends, to those whom I have never met, to those I don't even know personally: I thank you from the deepest parts of my heart and soul. You have given me comfort. You have given me healing. Please know that your words were read and your words are cherished. I thank you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photos of Finley

After Finley was born we had a photographer (through an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep") take pictures of her and today they came in the mail!
NILMDTS is an amazing organization that provides free photography services to parents who experience a stillbirth or the death of a child soon after birth. I had several people recommend their service to me and I am so glad that I contacted our local NILMDTS photographer. In a way, these pictures are "proof" that she was here and that she was a person and that she was born into this world.
I am such a proud mommy and I think she is absolutely perfect.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear Finley,

Sweet baby girl, I miss you more than words can describe.

Today is the first time that I have been alone since you were born. Your big brother is sleeping in his crib and I've been thinking about you a lot. It makes mommy sad because I wish you were here to snuggle with, but please don't worry about me when I cry! I am surrounded by so many people who love me and who love you too. Mommy will be okay.

I keep touching my belly wishing I could take it all back and that you could be with me still. Or I find myself laying silently dreaming that you were in the other room napping with Eli; while I wait for your soft moans and waking up sounds.
Actually I'd probably just let you sleep on my chest, so I could listen to you breathe and smell your sweet baby smells. You'd probably snuggle up really close under my chin like your brother did, making me really uncomfortable... but I wouldn't mind. You'd probably giggle in your sleep like he did too. I wonder what you'd dream about...

It's selfish I know, to want you here with me. I know that heaven is so much more than what this world could give you. It makes my heart smile to know that you are in such a beautiful place and being taken care of. It makes me happy to know that you will never cry or get hurt.
I hope you're smiling, even when mommy isn't. I hope you're laughing, big belly laughs that make you fall over and lose your breath. But I so wish that I could kiss your cheeks and stroke your head. You should be with me and my arms ache to hold you; they always will.

I'll never forget when they put you on my chest. I was so proud. I was proud of what we had been through together and I was proud to be your mommy, I still am and I always will be. I will always love you. I will always miss you.

I know you're waiting for me in heaven. For now I need to take care of you brother and daddy, but I will come and get you soon! Don't worry about me baby girl, run off and play! Dance to the angel's music and run into God's arms for extra hugs when you need them.

I love you Finley, always!
Love, Mommy

P.s. Your brother just woke up! I'll give him an extra kiss just from you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hospital Ramblings

During my time at the hospital I took some time to write down what I was thinking and feeling. I think most of this was written late at night/early morning and I was on strong medications, but I wanted to post it here so that I wouldn't forget my thoughts.

I can not tell you how much all of the words of love, support, encouragement, confusion, anger, grief, empathy, hope, faith, etc. have helped to get me through some of the most difficult days of my life. My soul has been touched in such a profound way, I will be forever grateful.

Although these past few days have been tragic and heartbreaking, Daniel and I KNOW that Finley was given to us for a reason. She has had a lifetime of purpose and meaning in this world, even though her time with us was short.
I must share one of the most profound reasons that I believe she was given to me. I have come to realize, just this afternoon, that Finley was sent here to save me:

Through Finley's birth and delivery I was able to learn a lot about my anatomy. She was born at just 32 and 1/2 weeks gestation, with 2 more months of growing and developing left to do. She was small and easily manipulated, yet she still had a VERY traumatic delivery.
Towards the end when I was pushing her shoulder became stuck; even after the doctor cut me to make more room for her to come out she remained stuck for quite a while.
When I saw my OB this afternoon we discussed the gravity of this situation and the need for me to consider c-sections for subsequent pregnancies. Had this been a vaginal delivery with a full-term, live, healthy baby the outcome would most likely have been fatal for both of us.
The most chilling part of this realization for me is the fact that ever since I was a little girl and have dreamed about having babies I've had a haunting premonition that I would die in childbirth. I think I have only told Daniel and one or two others. Although it is completely unfounded, this was never just an offhand fear or phobia to me, it has always been something that I have accepted as my reality. When I became pregnant with both Eli and Fin, it was my first thought and it terrified me. Even on the drive to the hospital, with both Eli and Fin, I very consciously took in all of the sights around me because I believed I was experiencing my last moments in this world. I remember after Eli's birth, I didn't even want to see or hold him. I thought I was dying. I kept asking the doctors what my vital signs were, just waiting for them to gradually decline.
Finley's birth was a gift. It allowed me to have a vaginal delivery and to experience pushing my child into the world, something that Daniel and I so desperately wanted. However it also came with a warning, that this is not a safe option for future pregnancies. There is no doubt in my mind that Finley was my miracle. I believe she has saved me from a very real and grim fate. She came so that I could be a mother to Eli and a mother to our future children. For her, I will strive to be the best mother to my earthly children that I can be.

There are good moments and there are bad moments, there will be for weeks and months to come. A piece of comfort in my world is that I have so many loved ones lifting me up.
Although I will leave the hospital tomorrow with empty arms, my heart will be so full and overflowing.

I know all of our lives must go on, so the only thing I can ask of anyone now is to please not forget my baby girl.
Finley Fayth ♥ 10/30/11

The Hardest Thing

I won't be able to write much or very eloquently, but I did want to give an update for those following our story.

Finley Fayth White was born on Sunday, October 30th at 3:09 AM at almost 33 weeks gestation. She weighed 4 lbs 12 oz and was 16 inches long. She had Daniel's nose, my lips, and Eli's sweet toes. She had the longest fingers and the daintiest hands. She was perfect in every way.

We found out on Friday morning (at our appointment with the specialist) that Finley's heart was no longer beating. This was very unexpected and everything from that point on was a blur. We were scheduled for an induction on Saturday morning.

It is hard for me to write exactly what happened, so here is my dear friend Jenny's update she posted on facebook while I was in labor:
"Updating on Kelli... It's been a long a emotional day. She got here at 7 am and was started on pitocin at 8am. When she arrived she was dilated to about one. She ended up with very strong contractions that lasted about a minute to a minute and a half and they were about 30 seconds apart. She rocked and rolled on the ball and did such a wonderful job, so amazing and strong through it all. By 5pm she had not progressed at all and decided that an epidural would be her best option. She got her epi at about 5:30-6:00 and then got a well deserved nap. At 9:30 her doctor checked her and she was a 7, Praise God!! We have prayed so hard for this! We are now waiting for her doctor to get here and she will be checked again and then only time will tell. Kelli has done an AMAZING job! As we all know she has such a beautiful soul and spirit. Daniel has been amazing through all of this as well. What a beautiful example of what a husband and father should be. We are so very proud of them. I will update when we have more news."

At 1:30 am I reached 10 cm and we began the process of pushing. I was scared and I didn't want her to be taken from me. I wanted to keep her with me forever.
I don't remember much of the actual birth, but I was told that it was very traumatic physically.
I do remember: Daniel was by my side, holding my hand, stroking my hair, and counting the whole time. My mom was on the other side telling me that I could do it. My dad was next to my mom, I'm sure in constant prayer. My dear friends Jenny and Kerri were at my feet encouraging me the whole time. I am very blessed by the people God has placed in my life.

As soon as she was born Daniel cut her cord and she was placed on my chest. I remember screaming in agony. My little girl was in my arms, but it was only her body. I was holding out for a cry, I still had hope. I remember thinking that there was never anyone so beautiful and didn't want to accept that I wouldn't be able to keep her. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. I didn't want to believe that it was actually happening.

We spent all day Sunday with her. We dressed her in the clothes that we picked out and wrapped her in her blanket, we took turns studying her and memorizing her perfect features. We hardly slept, knowing we didn't have much time with her.

One of the best moments was introducing Eli to his sweet sister. He smiled at her and pointed at her and even said "Baby Sister". He looked at her as if she were "normal" and didn't see a thing wrong with her. We let him touch her hands and toes; he smiled.

On Sunday night we said our goodbyes. We kissed her forehead and let the nurse take her from us. We cried together in the hospital bed knowing that we'd have to wait our lifetimes to see her again. I still can't believe I had to let someone take my daughter away.

On Monday afternoon, Daniel decided it was time to leave. I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone that I wanted to be discharged. I didn't want to be. I didn't want to leave her. I didn't want life to go on or move forward without her... but I couldn't stay forever. My husband has been my rock throughout all of this; taking the initiative when I have been too weak. I don't think I have ever loved him more than I do now.

Leaving the hospital was THE hardest part. Driving away and knowing that I'd never get her back. Knowing that I'd never hold her again. Knowing that I'd never kiss her again. Knowing that life was moving on and that she wasn't with me.

Finley will always be my daughter. She will always be a part of my family. She will always be loved. The one thing I ask is that people don't refer to her as just a baby or just a pregnancy or just anything... She has a name. She is a person. She IS my daughter. She is very much a part of me and my life. She always will be. She will never be forgotten.

People ask how I am, the only thing I can respond with is that I am alive. I am breathing. I am living minute to minute. I am getting by. It's so hard. So hard.
The only thing that makes it better are Daniel and Eli. I am so thankful and blessed by their sweet spirits; there are no words to describe what they mean to me.

I know God is watching over my family at this time, but it is so hard for me to see past the pain at this point. I don't know what to pray or what to ask or what to say to Him. I know there is a plan, but I feel lost in it. I know He is at work... but right now, I just want my daughter.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." [Jeremiah 1:5]

Please pray.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fasting for Finley

This upcoming Friday I have another appointment with the specialist. We are praying for more good news and continued hope for our little girl.

This journey has not been easy for us at all. There have been so many ups and downs. We still don't have any clear answers. In fact, the range of possible outcomes is so broad that we don't really know what to think.
Through it all our only hope is that the Lord has a plan for us and for her. However, this doesn't mean we are giving up! We are still praying for a healthy daughter. We believe that a miracle can happen.

Daniel and I have decided to pray and fast tomorrow, the whole day before my appointment. We will be bringing all of our hopes, worries, and fervent requests to God in complete belief that HAS heard us and will continue to hear us!

We have also decided that we will pray and fast every Thursday until the baby is born (only 8 weeks!!). This is such a personal spiritual decision, but we believe that God hears the faithful. My family will be joining us in our praying and fasting; we would be honored to have as many people as possible join us in our petition!

"...for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” [Matthew 17:20-21]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fun in the Fall!

This weekend we took Eli to his first Pumpkin Patch! It was a lot of fun!

We took a hayride out to the patch and spent some time in the field of pumpkins! Eli was so fascinated! He would walk up to a pumpkin, squat, and pat it! He also tried picking up a few of them and was really confused when they were too heavy!

We all picked out a pumpkin for ourselves and by the end of the day Eli kept saying "pupkin, pupkin!" After pumpkin picking we walked around the farm and looked at all of the animals at the petting zoo.

It's really fun to watch Eli explore his world! He loves wandering around and watching/interacting with people. He especially likes older boys and girls, he tries to talk to them and is constantly intrigued by what they are doing! There was one little girl on our hayride who he tried to talk to and kept smiling at, it was adorable!

The next day we took Eli to Trunk or Treat at our church. This year Eli was an owl! I ordered him a hat and sewed "feathers" on to one of his shirts. It was a pretty simple costume, but he looked very cute!

Unfortunately he kept taking his hat off, so most of the time he just looked like a little kid with a weird shirt on!
He was really amused by the other kid's costumes. The two other little ones in our group were monkeys and Eli could not stop staring at them!

It was pretty funny! I think his favorite part of the whole thing was getting a sucker!

Next weekend we plan on carving our pumpkins! It will be interesting to see how Eli likes that!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Testimony

10 weeks ago the doctors told me to prepare for my daughter to die; that she only had about a week left and that her heart was the main concern.
Today I was told that my daughter has a perfect heart muscle with no apparent anomalies.

10 weeks ago the doctors told me that my daughter's heart rate was in the 60's and that she was in heart failure.
Today I was told that my daughter's heart rate is well within the normal range and pumping effectively.

10 weeks ago the doctors told me that my daughter's heart was much too big and that the fluid around her heart was "very concerning".
Today I was told that her heart size could potentially normalize after birth and that the amount of fluid around her heart "was not enough to be of major concern".

Praise God! What a testimony of His power!

No, this doesn't mean we have NOTHING to worry about. However, He has proved that the doctors and the statistics are NOTHING compared to his grace and love.

Today we met with the pediatric cardiologist for a focused ultrasound on Finley's heart, which has been the area of most concern throughout this journey.

The doctor that we saw had NO background information on why we were there or who had referred us, which leads me to the next shocker...
Before really starting the detailed exam he pointed out her position, the location of the placenta, and the fluid. He described the fluid as being "appropriate"!!? What?!? I really wish I would have asked him what he meant and if the fluid level looked normal to him. The very thing that started this horrible roller coaster was "abnormally low fluid".

He then moved on to the heart. He looked at the four chambers, the valves, and the vessels surrounding the heart. He listened to the heart rate in all four chambers and recorded the heart rate as "in the 120's" (normal is 120-140). All in all, he said that the heart muscle was "perfect". There were no structural abnormalities and heart beat sounded great (there was no longer an arrhythmia!). There were also no obvious markers on the heart to indicate a chromosomal disorder. He pointed out the fluid surrounding the heart and said that it wasn't enough to concern him at this point. He also noted the enlarged size of the heart, but was not overly concerned.

He did say that there was some back flow of blood in the chambers. However, he stated that this wasn't due to a heart problem. If anything it is a sign that the heart is working hard and overcompensating for some other underlying problem (which would also be an explanation for the enlargement). He finished the exam with saying, "there are still a lot of unknowns, but what we do know is that there is not a problem with the heart".

The results of this exam left me in a state of shock. This news was totally unexpected and completely the opposite of everything that we had been told up to this point! I asked the doctor if the enlargement of the heart and the fluid would correct itself after birth. He seemed to think that this was highly likely.
I also asked him what would cause the heart rate to stabilize after months of being so low, he had NO explanation. In fact, he tried to brush it off as a "bad reading" or "bad timing". I didn't buy it. It had been in the 60's for months, it wasn't just a fluke reading. I KNOW this for a fact. I even listened with a doppler in my home, it WAS in the 60's and NOW it wasn't....
He had no explanation for me because this is a miracle. Plain and simple.

At this point, Daniel and I really don't know what to think. Of course we are elated! On the other hand, this doesn't mean that Finley doesn't have any other issues and it doesn't mean that she is perfectly healthy, but it is IMPROVEMENT. It is definitely not what the doctors or the statistics pointed to. And we believe that she can keep improving! We believe that we will be able to hold her and love her on this earth. We believe because we have a reason to believe! He is faithful!

Prayers have been ANSWERED! I can not even express how much I feel God's love and grace at this moment in my life. He is listening and He is using Finley in such a special way.

Now what? Now we wait until October 28th when we meet with the specialist again. Hopefully he will have some more good news for us and hopefully we will be able to do the amniocentesis... so we can prove them wrong again :)
Also, I should probably start preparing to have a newborn in my house in just over 2 months!!!

Please keep praying! Please spread the word about our baby and about our miracle! Please use this as a testimony to God's faithfulness.
And finally, please don't tell me I'm strong (after all, I have no other choice right now)... just remember our story and let it speak of HIS strength and power!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Smiling for Finley

I can't believe I am typing this update with a smile on my face! It feels surreal.

Today we met with a different MFM specialist for an ultrasound and possible amniocentesis. It was an amazing experience and a complete 180 from the way we have been treated thusfar.
For once Finley wasn't spoken of as if she were a disease or a growth. She was marveled at. The doctors (yes, there were THREE in the room with us) took time to show me her sweet face and to speak of her as if she were a living, breathing child. They handed her back her humanity, what a wonderful gift. They reassured me that this is not a "closed case" and I have hope. I am no longer waiting for her heart to stop beating. We are fighting. The doctors are fighting. Most importantly, SHE is fighting.

Now onto the news you've been waiting for:

Finley no longer has a heart arrhythmia (an abnormal beat). Her heart beat sounds NORMAL. Her heart rate is also back up to the normal range! They measured it three different times and it was consistently above 120. I couldn't believe it when they told me this! Her heart is STILL working, in fact it has IMPROVED! If this doesn't show the power of prayer, then I don't know what does! The doctors gave me no hope for 2 months, yet now she has made progress!

On the other hand, this doesn't mean we are in the clear. Although her heart seems to have stabilized, she still has some pretty critical issues. It appears that her circulation is abnormal. She has some vessels that are narrowed and some arteries that appear to be "going the wrong way". She also has an enlarged umbilical vein.
These circulatory issues could be the underlying cause of the low fluid, enlarged heart, and enlarged placenta that we have seen all along. Now, it also appears as though her spleen and liver are enlarged.
However, instead of these things appearing to be isolated abnormalities as a result of a genetic disorder they may all be connected by this one thing.

When the doctor was finished scanning me, he actually took the time to sit down with us and go over all of this information. I asked him if he agreed with the other specialist in thinking that there is no hope. He did NOT.
Although he recognized that her demise is ONE possibility, he also discussed with us that she could be born in critical condition (in such a case we would need to be prepared for intervention).... but she could also be born much more stable than we have been preparing for.
He wants to make sure that we cover all of our bases before assuming the worst.

The office is scheduling an appointment within the next couple weeks with a team of fetal cardiac doctors to look more closely at her circulation. Hopefully they can give us more answers as far as how these issues will affect her and if there is anything that we can do about them. We are also planning on the amniocentesis at our next visit to rule out chromosomal abnormality.

One very encouraging thing that I took away from this appointment was the doctor DID NOT rule out the possibility of her thriving outside the womb. When a baby is born the heart structure and circulation make several changes upon that first breath of oxygen. There is a possibility that Finley will IMPROVE once she is born. This was the first time in a long time that I had even thought about giving birth to a LIVING baby girl!

Doctors tried to take away our HOPE 2 months ago and we were told to prepare for the worst.

Instead, we have had HOPE in a God who has a plan for us and who has a plan for this special little girl.
I am not going to say that I have not doubted in a miracle, I have. In fact, until today I had lost hope that I would ever hold my baby girl and look into her eyes and see her smile. But I have never lost hope in God's hand being at work. He is faithful, He is present, and I will never doubt that.

Please, continue to pray. Continue to have HOPE for our baby. Lift her up to our God who is faithful even through MY doubt.

Lord we come to You.... and now, with a smile. With tears of joy and a heart of hope.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eli's First Haircut!

Today I gave Eli his first hair cut! We were going to take him to a salon this afternoon, but I decided that I would give it a try myself!

His hair was growing out the point where it had become a pseudo-mullet, definitely NOT cool.

At first we tried putting him in the tub to distract him, while at the same time getting his hair wet.... yeah, he wasn't happy.
Then we decided to put him in his booster seat and put some food in front of him. Daniel also distracted him with a balloon (still inflated from his first birthday party!). That worked out pretty well! Between the bath and the booster seat, I'd say I did a pretty good job!

I saved one of his little curls and am planning to put it in the baby food jar I saved from his first time eating solids! Look, I am actually being sentimental for once!



I think he looks pretty cute, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Accepting Hard Answers

I heard another song on the way to the hospital this morning, sometimes it amazes me how His hand is working and how He speaks to me through the storm....

"You know me in and out and lovely are your thoughts about me.
How great is mercy. You chose me though I am unworthy.
All that is within me - cries you are holy.
Even when I'm walking through the valley of death.
Even when I'm broken and nothing is left, you lead me on... you lead me on
So I'll pour my tears in the ocean. And I'll leave my pain by the shore.
With your mighty wave you'll sweep them away, till they are no more.

Almost two months ago an educated guess estimated that our little girl would only survive another week. She defied the odds.

If nothing else, this proves that Finley is just as stubborn as her mother! It proves that she is the spunky, strong willed little girl that I have always dreamed of having one day. I can just imagine her in there kicking and punching and complaining about being uncomfortable. My heart smiles every time she nudges me. It's as if she is saying "Hey mom, no worries, I'm all good!"

At the same time, my heart is hurting. These past several weeks have taken an emotional toll on me. I LOOK pregnant. I FEEL pregnant. There is a baby growing inside of me. She is active and she makes it known that she is ALIVE! But with every kick comes a reminder of something that I will never have.

It's hard to wake up and face that reality every day. It's hard to go to a doctor's appointment and be told my baby isn't going to make it, then spend the next four weeks LOOKING and FEELING like a normal pregnant woman; getting the quick, not-so-subtle glances from strangers at the grocery store as I waddle around with my one year old, sitting on the couch with Daniel's hand on my belly feeling her move, waking up every two hours at night having to pee. When I go to the store and pass the little girl's section I STILL have to tell myself that I am not allowed to pick out a dress or a bow for her. Simple things, that most pregnant women take for granted (I know I did with Eli), are amplified beyond my control.

I was given some answers today. Answers that no one wants to hear, but answers that I honestly expected.
The doctors suspect that there is an underlying genetic abnormality that is causing all of her problems. There is not ONE thing wrong with her that we can fix or monitor. The main issue is that she is in heart failure, THIS is what will ultimately lead to her demise. However, there are also several small things that are abnormal; her heart is too big, her chest and abdomen are filled with fluid, she has had gradual small changes in her brain.

She can't be "fixed". But I don't think she is broken. I think that her life, even if she doesn't take a breath in this world, will be full. Full of love and purpose.

Next week I have two more appointments; one with my regular OB and one with a new MFM specialist. My OB did a bit of fishing around and found a highly recommended specialist (NOT the same one we have seen in the past!) at a different hospital to perform another level 2 ultrasound for us. We will see him next week and at this point we are leaning towards consenting to the amniocentesis.
The amniocentesis will give us a clearer picture of what is going on genetically. It will also point Daniel and I in the right direction as far as having genetic testing done on ourselves and Eli.

As always, we appreciate the love and prayers from our family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers! Finley has shown us what GOODNESS can come from this world.

Dear Doctor.....

(I have an OB appointment this morning and I printed this out to hand to my doctor as long as there is still a heart beat)

I typed this up because I didn't want to forget any of the questions that I have for you. Also, I don't know if I would be able to actually say these things or ask these questions out loud while still making sense. This is a very difficult thing for me to discuss…..

I was told 2 months ago that my baby wasn't going to make it and later was given about a week for her to continue having a heartbeat. It's been 8 weeks and she is still alive and moving. Do we still believe that this will be the outcome even though she has lasted this long?

I can't just stop fighting for my daughter, I need to know all of my options to help her. I can't just be expected to sit back and let her die without even trying to find a way to save her.

Now that I am nearing "viability" can we do amnio infusions to help her survive and grow?

Now that I am farther along, is there a chance she will survive? Is her lasting this long an indication that it's not as bad as we originally thought? If it would help could we induce early and take her out while there is time to help her? Would it be better for HER to have her inside me or try to take her out and help her?
If we induce or if she makes it to term what will happen? Could she have surgery to correct her heart? Could she have a heart transplant? Could we drain the fluid around her heart?

Why aren't we fighting harder for her or considering all possibilities? Why am I just being told she won't make it??

I was told we would have to consider life support. Why would we need to consider that? What are the facts that point to her not being able to survive after birth?

Why don't we THINK she will survive?? Just the heart failure? The low fluid? I'm trying to understand this better.

I keep getting told I need to have an amniocentesis to get definite answers, but I have been told on more than one occasion that my baby will not survive. Why is THIS the definite answer I keep being given?? If this is my answer then why would I even have the amniocentesis?
I chose not to do the amniocentesis because I was told she would not make it. I decided that I would opt for testing after her birth. It has been 2 months and she is still here.

If she does pass while I am still pregnant, what steps do I take? What happens if I come in for a heartbeat check and it isn't there? What will the steps be? Are we going to wait to see if I go to labor on my own? How long would we wait before inducing?

I just need some answers so that I can be at peace with all of the decisions I need to make.
I can't just be told that she will not make it and accept that as a fact without some answers.
This is my daughter, she is a person, I can't just let her die.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eli's Fall

This weekend we were in Tupelo, Mississippi for Daniel's Ultimate tourney (sectionals). We stayed at a church in the area and all of the married couples stayed in a carpeted area upstairs. On Saturday night we went out to eat and then rented a movie. When we got back to the church building we were all getting ready to watch the movie and Daniel didn't realize that I left the room to put on my sweat pants. I didn't realize he didn't know I had left and somehow the door to the staircase was left ajar. Daniel turned his back on Eli for mere seconds to shut the sliding door to the roof when it happened.

I was in the other room changing and I heard a sound as if someone was running down the stairs. I was thinking to myself, "Who is that???" when the screaming started. I will never forget that moment when I realized it was Eli.

Daniel and I both ran to the stairs after him. The first thing I saw was Eli laying at the bottom of the stairs on the tile. He was propped up on his arms, looking around, and screaming. That was a GOOD sign! I held him in my arms to try to calm him and had Daniel look at him while I held him. Daniel told me he was bleeding from his mouth and my heart stopped for a second. I immediately thought the worse, but it turned out to be a cut on his tongue! Man, do tongues bleed!!!

We took him upstairs and continued to sooth him. I checked his pupils, all of his limbs, his neck, his head. We kind of forced him to walk, and talk, and play with us. We made him laugh and asked him to wave. All of this just to see if there was anything physically wrong with him. He seemed fine after about an hour of keeping him awake save for a big bruise on his forehead.

Leave it to my little stinker to fall down a flight of 22 old, wooden stairs and be perfectly fine!!

This was Eli's FIRST big accident!!

(so THIS is why in all of his birthday pictures he has a huge purple/yellow bruise on his head!!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eli, you're ONE!

I am officially the mother of a 1 year old!!

Happy Birthday Eli!
You are officially one year old and so grown up! I can't believe that one year ago you were snuggling and sleeping on my chest. Now you won't sit still!

You are such a joy and blessing to our lives; the world is definitely a better place with you in it! Your ability to make people smile, even complete strangers, always amazes me and makes me proud to be your mom. You have a light inside of you that is clearly visible. You may not know it, but you have been my rock in this incredibly difficult time of my life. Just looking at you reminds me of how great God is.

Let's see... what have you been up to?
You are now waving "hi" and "goodbye" to everyone! You try to say "hi", but it sounds like "Ahhhhheeeee"! You are a very social little boy. You pretend you are shy at first, but you will walk up to anyone and greet them with a grin! You absolutely love other little kids, especially older boys. You like to watch what they are doing and follow them around. One day you'll be just as big as them, don't you worry!

You also LOVE music and dancing! You will dance to anything and sometimes you make up your own music... sometimes you even dance when there is NO music! It took us a while to figure out what you were doing! You kind of sway back and forth and bob up and down. I keep telling your daddy not to sing to you (I don't want you to be tone deaf like him!)! When we are alone during the day I sing to you and it makes you smile and laugh.

You are pointing out everything these days! I will say "Eli where is the tree" and you point to it... then you wave at it! You love looking out the window at the tree right off of our balcony, especially when the wind is blowing. You point to the things you want too; what you want to eat, what toy you want, people that you recognize. You are such a smart boy!

Your favorite food is mashed potatoes, especially when I put cheese in them! You could eat mashed potatoes everyday and be perfectly content. You've also discovered fries, you LOVE fries! Last night at your birthday dinner it's all you wanted to eat!

You are becoming more and more independent! You want to make choices about what you eat, feeding yourself, where you want to walk, etc. You are starting to throw little fits now when you don't get your way. They don't last too long, so it's okay!

You still love to climb! You have been trying to get onto the couch, but it's a little bit too high! If I am sitting on the couch you have learned to grab onto my pants to help pull yourself up!

You act really funny when you get excited or hyper! You clench your teeth, clamp your hands into fists (or grab my face), and shake with excitement! It is so funny! I got a picture of it last night!

You are such a sweet and loving boy! You love to snuggle with Daddy and Mommy. You also love to give us hugs and kisses! When we go to Nana and Grandpa's house your Nana likes to say "Hugs for Nana" while she crouches down... you run over to her and wrap your arms around her!

I can't believe that one year ago I met you for the first time! Now, I can't imagine this world without you in it!
This world can be a scary and sad place, but I am confident that you will walk through life with a smile on your face and joy in your heart! You are a very special person, never forget that!

I love you so much baby boy!
Love you always,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hold My Heart

I went to the hospital today. I hadn't felt Fin move in a couple of days, so I was starting to get worried. On the way to the hospital I was pleading with God to make things better, for some kind of miracle. I heard this song on the way and the lyrics could not ring any truer for me at this time in my life:

I'm on my knees, Father will You turn to me?

One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye.
But if there's no other way, I'm done asking why.

So many questions without answers, Your promises remain
I can't see but I'll take my chances to hear You call my name
To hear You call my name

One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.

Finley's heart rate was only 68 today. She is slowly letting go. The OB thinks that she has about a week or so left.

She is showing signs that she isn't developing properly anymore. I am just over 24 weeks pregnant... her head is measuring 22 weeks, her legs less than that. Her chest is measuring 26 weeks from all of the excess fluid. The doctors think it was just a fluke (nothing genetic) in development. There was nothing I did wrong. I have to keep telling myself that though....

I know that things could be worse. People have gone through worse. At least we know and we can somewhat prepare for her passing, but no one should ever have to lose a child. For us, she isn't a child here with us on earth. She hasn't been born yet, but she is still a precious soul. She was given to us and we will always be her parents.

I think what hurts the most is that we are losing a future with her. I will never know what her laugh sounds like or if she is as stubborn as me. I will never get to see her and Eli play together or take her shopping, just us girls. It hurts that there will always be a piece missing from our family. Always.

I know people read my thoughts and feelings here, they tell me I am strong - but it is far from the truth. HE is strong and HE is carrying me. Just because He didn't give me what I wanted doesn't mean there isn't a plan and that He is not a loving God. He is holding my heart and I know he hears me.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Psalm 139:13-16

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dancing in the Rain

In the aftershock of devastating news people cope in so many different ways.

For me, the easy way out would be to hide my grief inside; to avoid the "poor you" looks and the possible "I'm so sorry" confrontations. It's always been hard for me to confront emotion and talk about it. I prefer to distract myself and then cry when no one is looking. Doesn't sound like THE most healthy coping mechanism, right?

I can easily say that this is the most difficult thing that I have ever been through. Yet at the same time, I can see God's hand working so clearly. He has been preparing me for this time in my life.

I have a husband who loves to "make me" talk, even when I'm reluctant.
I have a very unplanned little boy with the sweetest disposition who can make me smile no matter what.
I have friends in my life with gentle spirits and discerning hearts.
I have a family with such strong, unwavering faith.
I have a trust in God that is stronger than ever before.
I fully believe that this time in my life has a purpose. Finley has a purpose.

I know that people are waiting for good news from me. They are waiting for a good update. Consider this: God is GOOD! He is at work and I am getting though this one day at a time. I am surviving. I am not hiding away. I am confronting the pain. I have hope.

This past weekend I took a trip out to Atlanta with Eli to meet up with two of my close friends and their one year olds. I am so thankful that God put such amazing women in my life to share in my journey. The weekend was filled with fun, laughter, tears, LOTS of talking and very LITTLE sleep! It was exactly what I needed.
I don't think they fully know how much I appreciated the "normalness" of the weekend. They didn't give me the "poor you" look and they didn't tip toe around me.
If it were up to me we wouldn't have talked about Finley at all and they knew that; but they also knew that I NEEDED to talk. They didn't force anything. Each time we ended up talking about her it was without me even realizing it til it was too late.

To my friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and love.
To my family, your presence and your prayers and your understanding of ME are helping more than you know.
To everyone else who may come across this, this is a GOOD update.

As cliché as this might sound, the metaphor rings true to this moment.
There is a storm coming, but for now I am just trying to dance in the rain.

Please continue to pray.

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Heart that is Much Too Big

You'd think that having a big heart is a good thing, but of course that is figuratively speaking.
A heart that is too big means more love. More joy. More goodness.

It also means more burdens to bear. More weight to carry. More sorrow.

This of course is not what the doctor was referring to when we met with him this morning.
We were told that Finley's heart is much too big. It takes up over half of her tiny chest; it is supposed to be about 1/3 of that area. She is in heart failure.

Finley's heart is working extra hard to pump and she is slowly letting go. Her heart rate, which should be between 130 to 160, is only 101.
We were told that it could be a matter of days, weeks, or months. She might even make it to term. Even still, I should prepare for her "demise".

I was given the option to have an amniocentesis. This would allow for the doctors to know exactly what caused this and the chances of it happening in subsequent pregnancies. We could wait til the autopsy, but then we won't have "living cells" and the diagnosis would not be as accurate.

How am I supposed to decide what I want to do when you just told me that I should expect "fetal demise"?

I have so many questions, but they aren't questions that the doctor wants or expects to be asked. So who am I supposed to ask? Who knows how to get through something like this?

Will the nurses know that I am coming to labor and delivery to give birth to my dead child?
How am I supposed to get through the labor and recovery knowing that I won't be bringing her home?
Who will watch Eli and am I supposed to tell him one day about the sister he never had? Will he understand?
Where do you bury a baby?

If I think too much about it I get lost, so I try not to.

We will have to take it one day at a time. We will have to "wait and see".
We WILL keep praying.

Maybe I should be praying for peace now. I don't know.
I just know she is still alive right now. I hope she isn't suffering - is that possible in the womb?

Please continue to pray for us. The support and love that we have received is evidence of His hand working through this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Test of Faith

I always knew Finley would be special. I don't know how or why I knew, I just knew.

We've had her name picked out since before Eli was even born. It has always had the perfect ring to it. I've pictured her over the years as being a little firecracker - spunky, stubborn, and strong-willed.

Today at my OB appointment, I was told that Finley probably won't make it. Her heartbeat has become abnormal, a significant change from weeks passed. Taking this into account with the fact that she has fluid around her heart and that it is too big for her little chest, I was told that I should prepare myself for a stillbirth.

How do you prepare for that?
How do you ease your heart when the passing of your child is (statistically) imminent?

I wonder if maybe I should have been better about taking my prenatals or drinking less caffeine... though the rational side of me knows that it wouldn't have changed anything.
I was told that this is not my fault, there is nothing that I have done to cause this and that we will have clearer answers with an amniocentesis and/or an autopsy.

I feel guilty for not getting excited when I saw that the pregnancy test was positive, for not knowing if I was ready for another child, for not bonding with her right away.

I'm sorry I'm rambling.

Tomorrow I go to the specialist again (yes, the same one). We tried to set up an appointment with a different MFM, but for a couple of reasons it didn't work out.
I will have another sonogram, but I honestly don't know what else they will do...
They want to know what is going on so that we have a better idea of what "we are dealing with".

All I have been told so far is that she probably won't make it. She will probably never get to see how amazing her big brother is and Eli will probably never get to snuggle with her like he does with me and Daniel. I won't stay up late watching her breath after we get home from the hospital. I won't see that first smile....

Despite constantly thinking about these moments I will never have with her, I know that if there is any chance for her it is through prayer. We are NOT giving up on her. Even if in this world we would be considered fools for thinking that she has a chance of making it... we have a reason for our hope.

I know that God has a plan for us and for her. Maybe He just thought she was too special to stay here with us. Maybe this is a test of my faith. I don't know. But I DO know that I have faith that His hand is working in all of this, no matter the outcome.

Please keep praying for us and sweet Finley.

(And please excuse my rambling... this is the only way I know how to work through my feelings.)

In the meantime, I will rub my belly and cherish those little kicks that she aims perfectly at my bladder....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Update on the new baby

I've been kind of MIA from posting because we have a LOT going on, but here is a small update on our baby girl.
I am 5 months pregnant and last month I was diagnosed with low amniotic fluid.
Yesterday I went in to see a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist.

Please bear with me, I am still trying to figure out how to feel/think/respond. This will probably be pretty long.

I went in yesterday at 3:00, filled out a bunch of papers for about 30 minutes on my previous birth and my health history (which they obviously didn't read), and then was called back by the tech.
The tech scanned me for about 45 minutes. I knew SOMETHING was wrong because she kept looking and double checking the same spots. She then left the room to to talk to the doctor. About 10 minutes later they both came back in. The doctor had horrible bedside manner. I realized it while I was there, but couldn't really react to it or call him out on it because of the nature of what he was saying. Afterwards, I was furious that anyone could treat a patient the way he did.

The doctor came in with the tech and they both scanned me together again. They were focused on the heart. They were zooming in and out, doing all kinds of "tests", looking at all different perspectives. The doctor was making little sighs under his breath and muttering things I couldn't hear. I knew he was going to give me bad news.
He then asked if I had any other children and I said, "Yes, an 11 month old boy". He asked if I had any complications with Eli and I said "No". When I said that he said, "Really? Wow!" WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN!?

He scanned me for a long time without saying anything; occasionally making sounds like "Whew!" or "Huh?" and whispering to the tech. Then he finally addressed me. He told me that my fluid is definitely low, but there are a few other concerns that he has that he "can't believe" no one else saw.
He said that the baby has fluid around her heart, a pericardial effusion. This could be an indicator of heart failure, a heart defect, or it is in association with a genetic disorder (I later researched that it can also resolve on it's own, but he didn't tell me that). He also said the baby has a "bright" (echogenic) bowel. This is usually indicative of a genetic disorder as well (but THIS can also resolve on it's own as I later researched). He also said that it was hard to visualize the stomach. I don't know whether its because the fluid was low so it was hard to see or because he thinks there is an issue with the stomach.
He said "all of these things are concrete and I have seen them".

Then he said that if you take all of these into account together (the pericardial effusion, echogenic bowel, low fluid, and stomach) then my chances of having a baby with a genetic disease are, and I quote, "through the roof". He asked if I had any genetic testing and I told him my quad screen was negative.
The rest was pretty much a blur, but THIS is what he was saying. He thinks that I have a baby with a "lethal" genetic disorder and basically wants me to get an amniocentesis so that we can "prepare". He also wants to do an amnio infusion (they put saline into the amniotic sac to better visualize the fetus on the u/s because low fluid levels cause the u/s to be hard to read). He made it VERY clear that an infusion will not help the baby whatsoever and my fluid levels will go back down after a couple days.
He highly encouraged the amnio and then got an "emergency" call, so he had to leave the room.
As he was walking out I asked him if there was ANY way that I could still have a healthy baby....
He said "Well... the chances are very small and even if all of this means nothing we will have to monitor the baby very closely because it is probably something to do with the placenta. We'd have to find a way to help the baby survive." Nice.

He basically left me crying in the room with the awkward tech.

So, the doctor gave me basically no hope whatsoever. However, when I researched it I still found that there IS a CHANCE all of this could resolve and the low fluids could be a fluke. I just don't know what to think. I'm mad that no one is giving me a realistic view or even a chance at hope.

My feelings on this news are so complicated. Of course I would love my baby no matter what, but part of me would rather have her pass on inside of me than her have a rare genetic disorder that would cause her to have a very rough, sad, painful life. No mother wants to see their baby face hardships. If she DOES have some kind of disorder, you better believe I will give her all of the hope and opportunities to live a full life filled with love that she could ever have.

At this point, I think we are planning to do the amnio. Part of me doesn't want to because I won't be able to change her or do anything. However I do think it would be good to have time to "prepare" ourselves for whatever we are facing, whether it be a disorder not compatible with life or a baby with special needs. I just need to schedule it and get it over with.

We are asking you to pray for us and our little girl.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10 Months!!

It has been FOREVER since I last posted! The reason I haven't updated in a while is because something happened with my account and it wouldn't let me login! I have FINALLY figured it out and so I can post again! I was getting worried I would have to create a while different account!

Eli is 10 MONTHS!
Double digits! He seems so much older! Only 2 months from turning ONE! I can hardly believe it!
Although it is bittersweet to see him grow up so quickly, I must say that I am enjoying EVERY stage of his development!

The biggest update that I have is that Eli is now walking!! He started on July 4th weekend. That weekend Daniel was in New Mexico to be in a wedding. Eli and I were in Georgia with Nana, Grandpa, Uncle Sean, and Aunt Kaysi! He had a lot of encouragement to walk while Daddy was away! However, he waited til Daddy got home to actually start mastering his steps!
Now he is ALL OVER THE PLACE! He walks pretty much everywhere he goes unless he falls over mid-walk; then he just crawls the rest of the way. He is getting really good. He can side step, turn around, and he is picking up speed every day! He likes to chase Boo around! It is so cute! I guess I will finally have to buy shoes for him :) Here is a video we took of him when he first started walking:

He is saying "mama" and "dada" pretty consistently now. He mostly just says "mama" when he wants something, is tired or frustrated. He says "dada" throughout the day, I think because he wonders where Daniel went! We are usually up when Daniel leaves for work, so he sees him leave out the front door. Sometimes he goes over to the door and pounds on it, saying "dada, dada, dada"!

Eli has also been clapping and dancing, mostly when he gets food!

I don't think he is doing anything else new! Now that I have a new password and am able to access my account I am going to try to keep up with this better!

Here are a few pictures:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

9 Months!

Yesterday Eli turned 9 months old! I just can't believe how the time flies!

Here is a little update on my 9 month old :) This is why we are blessed...

Eli is adventurous!
He climbs, crawls like a mad man, cruises all around the room, pulls up on everything, and yesterday he took his FIRST two steps! He was holding on to the couch one second and then he let go and took two steps by himself before falling! He has come a long way from where he was a few months ago when he was falling and bumping into everything!

Eli is smart!

I can see him thinking about things and figuring things out! Whether it's how to get a toy from a high place or moving something that is in the way of his walker so he can move, he is definitely a thinker! He also said his first word yesterday (besides "mama" and "dada")! It was "Boo" the name of our dog! He has also has been clapping for a few weeks now, especially when he gets excited!

Eli is joyful!
Sometimes all I have to do to make him laugh is look at him from across the room! He is just such a HAPPY child! It brings such joy to me, seeing him smile and hearing him laugh! In fact, I can't even put Eli to sleep at night anymore! When I try to rock him or get him to settle down he starts giggling! Only his daddy has the magic!

Eli is healthy!
Ever since starting to use formula, Eli has really started to chunk up! He knows what "milk" means and he gets so excited when he sees his bottle. He's also eating pretty much everything that Daniel and I eat (but then again, this has been typical for the past 2 months!). He has three teeth now! About 2 weeks ago the top right tooth came in and I can see the other top tooth about to pop out!

Eli is a lover!
Even as active and crazy as he is, he still loves to cuddle with mommy and daddy! He has moments during the day where he reaches up to me and just wants to snuggle up in my lap. It absolutely melts my heart! It's what being a mom is all about!

I am so not deserving of this adventurous, smart, joyful, healthy, loving baby boy! Thank you Lord for showering blessings on us!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wishes for Eli... love mom

i hope that you will always turn to me for comfort and unconditional love

i hope that you aren't afraid to live by faith

i hope that you love
your fellow man and remember that everyone is someone

i hope that you get to live an inspired life

i hope you laugh constantly because you deserve a spirit of joy throughout your lifetime

i hope you never forget who you are or what you stand for

i hope you ignore negativity and are a light in this world

i hope you become a great friend, loving husband, and self-sacrificing father

i hope you respect
those who have come before you and those who will come after you

i hope you grow
into humble servant

I love you Eli

Friday, May 27, 2011

More weight issues!

Wednesday I took Eli in to the pediatrician for several reasons.

The weird bowel movements were no big deal, the ped said it happens.
The low grade fever was attributed to teething and really the ped said that he wasn't even THAT feverish.
No ear infection.
We did blood work for the weird rash because it looks like petechiae, but the ped just said to keep an eye on it.
The blood work showed some "viral cells", so he might be getting over a small infection.

OK. That's fine. All answers that I suspected....

HOWEVER.... Eli has NOT gained any weight since the last time we went in. He weighs the same as he did almost TWO months ago. I know the nurse weighed him correctly, I watched. He is still only 16 lbs 14 oz. He dropped from the 75%ile to the 50%ile to the 25%ile and is now in the 10%ile. How is that possible?

Eli eats three large meals and snacks throughout the day in addition to breastfeeding. He SHOULD be gaining. The doctor seemed a little bit concerned, but brushed it off as a fast metabolism and being an active baby. He said he usually sees this drop off in older babies, but then it levels out.
In my mind, that doesn't really justify it though. There are plenty of 8 month olds who are just as active if not AS active as Eli... they still gain weight and chunk up. I'm just paranoid now that it is something else, some underlying condition.

I am strongly considering switching to formula so that I can know how much he is getting. What if I am not producing enough milk for him and I don't know it??

We talked about increasing his solids, but I am wary about this. I informed the ped of how much he already eats and told him that I DO NOT let him eat to his fill. I have always stopped him from eating. He has never REFUSED food. The ped said to let him eat as much as he wants. WHAT? Is that healthy? He is already eating SO much!
We tried this Wednesday night and this is what he ate for dinner:

He nursed for 10 minutes beforehand
Ate a whole Gerber Tray of Ravioli
4 Chicken Nuggets
A cup of fruit
Potato and beef stew (about 4-5 ounces)
A piece of bread
Then nursed for 10 minutes afterward
This was JUST dinner!!! I don't know where he puts it.

I just feel so lost on this. Like I am failing my child. He should be gaining and getting chunky, but he isn't. He is skinny. Babies shouldn't BE skinny.... I just feel like maybe I am doing something wrong. Even though I know that's not logical.

What if something bigger is wrong? What if he has some kind of condition or disorder or something that we haven't looked into??

I feel like I am going nuts! It's so hard when it's someone you love more than anything in the world and you think there might be something wrong. I never knew that my heart could be so full of worry and my mind could think the worst just by having a baby!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A much needed UPDATE!

Well Eli has certainly been keeping me busy, busy, busy! That along with the fatigue associated with early pregnancy (we found out in mid-April that we are expecting our second blessing!!!!!) have prevented me from updating here more frequently!

Here is the much needed update that I have been putting off!

Eli is now 8 MONTHS old!

He is like a mini-tornado! He is all over the place! He crawls like a pro and has been gaining speed ever since he learned how to move! He also LOVES to stand! He will use anything and everything to pull up. He even lets go now for a few seconds at a time to stand unassisted. Keep in mind this only lasts for about 5 seconds before he falls down on his bottom with a shocked look on his face as if he is thinking "How did that happen?!" If he can't find anything to pull up on he just stands on his knees! It is the funniest thing!

He also loves to CLIMB! He has attempted climbing out of his crib using his bumpers, climbing over the back of the couch, and he has climbed on to the couch from the floor (it was funny to watch his little wheels turn to figure out HOW to do this!)!

He is also eating table food now. He LOVES pancakes. If he could eat them every day, he would! He also loves pizza crust, bananas, apples, macaroni, ice cream, grilled cheese and eggs. He can eat pretty much what we eat, within reason. This little boy still eats a TON, but I have no idea where he puts it all! He is still very lean. He must have a fast metabolism like Dad and Sean! Maybe he'll be a runner!

He hasn't popped any more teeth, but he has been very fussy lately and drooly. Plus, his sleeping habits have gone a bit downhill from where he was last month. He has been waking up about 2x per night to nurse back to sleep. He has also been having a hard time falling asleep! Poor guy! I'm hoping that this phase passes quickly!

Eli's personality is really shining through! He is SUCH a boy! Anything dangerous or messy or that he is NOT supposed to get into... he DOES! Then when he gets caught he starts giggling at me! I can't help but laugh (this is going to be BAD when I am trying to discipline him!).

He is also constantly smiling and laughing! The cutest thing is that if I am smiling at something or if I laugh, he starts smiling/laughing with me!

Eli has also learned how to utilize his whining skills! If he is hungry and I take a snack away from him, he breaks out this high pitched scream!! It is so loud! I have started to say "NO!" to him and "We do not whine about snack time!". I know it doesn't do much good, but I figure that we might as well get in the habit now.

He is also very independent at times. He does so well playing by himself on the floor with his toys! He could go 30 minutes to an hour without even looking to see where I am/what I am doing!

Eli's quirk is that he twirls his wrists while wiggling/opening and closing his fingers! I need to get a video of this! He does it when he is eating sometimes or when he gets excited! We are hoping he outgrows it before he goes off to college!

Eli is also a mama's boy for sure! He goes through periods where he JUST wants me. For example, Daniel may be holding him and if I leave the room he starts to fuss! Or he may lean towards me to take him from Daniel! I think it is very sweet, but it can be hard sometimes too! Especially when I am trying to be productive. Don't get me wrong though, he LOVES his daddy! When Daniel gets home he gets this HUGE smile on his face!

His other favorite person is Boo! He LOVES dogs! When he sees Boo he starts smiling and squealing. It is so funny! Boo has gotten to the point where she runs away when she sees him coming for her!

I can't believe that in 4 MONTHS we will be throwing Eli a first birthday party! It seems like yesterday when we were in the hospital with our tiny little newborn! Watching him grow and change is so amazing! I feel so blessed to be a mom!