Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LO's 2nd Birthday

I have every intention of sharing pictures from LO's 2nd birthday party last Saturday! I just haven't gotten around to it yet! Please check back soon (in the next day or so) and hopefully you'll get to see how much fun LO had at her big Elmo Party!!!

Here's a little sneak peak at the birthday girl the morning of her party...

Monday, July 27, 2009

26 Weeks!

Week and day: 26 weeks and 1 day

Belly Button in or out: Still in. :)

Wedding rings on or off: Still on. Seems they're a bit tight early in the morning but not to the point that they're cutting off my circulation! I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Food cravings: None specific. Still loving chocolate milk and sweet tea.

Food aversions: None, other than the foods/beverages that seem to cause heartburn. Ugh.

Nausea: None!

Energy level: Same ol', same ol'. Nothing new to report here.

Weight gain: Do I have to be honest on this one? I'm afraid I'm looking at about 18 pounds already... ((sigh))

Mood: Excited! I know God has a perfect plan for our son, and we are totally committed to Him and are trusting in Him every step of the way!

Maternity clothes: 24/7.

Size of baby: He's just under 2 pounds and is about 14 inches long.

Baby's changes: The network of nerves in his ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both my voice and hubs' as we chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs.

Next appointment:August 19th for our regular OB appointment. August 18th for our next appointment with the fetal-maternal medicine specialist, Dr. Greig. We'll also have an appointment at MUSC in Charleston, SC, around 32 weeks, which will be in early September.

What I've been up to:We celebrated LO's 2nd birthday over the weekend. It was such an awesome day and I think she really had a wonderful time with the celebration. I'm also planning a baby shower for one of my best-est friends EVER (she's due 4 weeks before me) and am trying to line up some rental properties in Charleston for us to see when we head down there next month. Also looking forward to a fun gathering with hubs' family in Cincinnati in a few weeks.

Here's my 26 week pic...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, LO!!!

Everyone said time would fly.
Everyone said to enjoy her because she'd grow up before our eyes.
Everyone said we'd blink and she'd be a teenager.

Well... they were right.



Luckily, we're far from the teenage years. However, it's still so hard to believe it's been two years since we welcomed our precious little one into this world and into our lives. We never could have anticipated exactly how our lives would change once she arrived. Every day has been an adventure -- full of ups and downs -- but an adventure nonetheless. We are so blessed to call this sweet girl our daughter! God has truly given us an unspeakable joy and the truest form of love in our precious daughter.

It really is like watching your heart walk around outside your body. I never knew I could love someone the way I love my little one!

Happy 2nd Birthday,
My Sweet, Precious Girl!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Appointment Update

We met with Dr. Horne, our Pediatric Cardiologist this afternoon. My prayer list for the appointment was as follows:
  1. Complete healing for our boy!
  2. If not complete healing, then at least some kind of an improvement in his diagnosis.
  3. If not complete healing nor an improvement, then at least no new "bad" news or any additional issues to be discovered.
I am pleased and so incredibly blessed to say that although God did not choose my Option 1 (and that's okay by me!), He did answer my other two prayers! We didn't spend a lot of time on the ultrasound, and there really wasn't anything significantly different than what we discussed at our previous appointment last month, but he did say something I found to be incredibly encouraging. He said something along the lines of Chase having sort of "a ventricle and a half," which basically sounded to me like his left ventricle isn't so small that it will be completely unable to do what it was intended to do. This doesn't change the outlook on the 3 surgeries we'll need, but it did make me feel encouraged. And I was also happy to hear that Chase's aorta isn't the smallest he's seen. In fact, he's had some babies without heart conditions that are born with smaller aorta's than Chase's is right now at just 25 weeks of development! I'm so very pleased that Dr. Horne didn't find any other unusual issues or problems. It appears we have a relatively "textbook case" of HLHS, which I'm actually thankful for! Our situation could be MUCH worse!

I was also encouraged by a conversation I had with Dr. Horne after hubs had to leave the room to take care of an extremely whiny LO. I mentioned an underlying fear in my mind about how I try not to think about the long-term prognosis for our son. I asked that if Chase made it successfully through all 3 surgeries (God willing), is it a guarantee that he'd require a heart transplant as a teenager or young adult? He indicated that was NOT the case at all. His oldest HLHS patients are only around 15, simply because these surgical treatments have not been happening for much more than 15 years. But he doesn't see any indication in his older patients that a heart transplant would be necessary. In fact, he further calmed my worries when he mentioned that he has non-HLHS patients who have had the 2nd and 3rd surgeries (basically the Fontan procedure) for a different type of heart problem, and those patients are in their 40s. So God definitely used this appointment to set my mind at ease about the one looming concern in my heart. He is SO GOOD!

We are so grateful and blessed to have the wonderful support and prayers of our family and friends. It is so evident that people are praying and that God is giving us the strength we need to handle this situation. I keep reminding myself of something my dear Uncle Darryl shared with me when I spoke with him the day after we received Chase's diagnosis. He told me that God chose us. He selected us to be our son's parents because He trusts us and knows we would be the best parents possible for this sweet child. I couldn't agree more. With God in control, we are confident we can make it through whatever comes our way!

Laminin

If you need a little reminder that you're not alone and that God is in control, take a look at this quick video. If you're praying for healing for yourself or a loved one, take a look at this quick video. If you are desperate for assurance from God that He is with you every moment of every day, take a look at this quick video.

I cannot tell you what an inspiration it was to hear the words of this video in my Sunday School class a few weeks ago. The speaker's name is Louie Giglio and he speaks God's truth in ways "normal people" (like myself) can understand. It has been so encouraging me to listen to this over and over and over again and to remind myself that God IS in control of every single detail of my life. He is the Ultimate Healer and my son's precious life is in His healing hands.

Again, I want to ask for your prayers this afternoon as we head to our appointment with the pediatric cardiologist. I pray for complete healing for my son, but I know that may not be God's will for his little life. So I also pray for some kind of improvement for his condition. I'm also asking God to keep him safe and prevent the doctor from finding any additional issues or problems with our sweet boy. Please be thinking of us and say a prayer for baby Chase!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Half of an Angel's Heart

I found this story on another HLHS blog. It brought tears to my eyes but also warmed my heart as we look forward to Chase's arrival in 3 short months.
It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels, to go live on earth, and be born.

One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave, I like it here, and I will miss you".

He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay, and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea. So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you, will that be okay?"

The angel smiles and says, "I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks, "Will I be okay with only half of my heart?" Jesus replies, "Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out, and you will be fine."

Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan. He says, "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart. Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday. And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves."


-Author Unknown

On another note, please pray for us tomorrow afternoon as we have our second appointment with the Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Horne. My hope and prayer is that Chase's situation has improved in some way or another since it's been about 5 weeks since we saw Dr. Horne for the first time. We trust that God is in control and our faith is resting totally and completely in Him!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Inspiration

"Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, "My heavenly Father knows all about this!" This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise...God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?

Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him...Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God's will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. 'Ask, and it will be given to you...' (Matthew 7:7)"

~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good Morning!

Monday was a fun day. Hubs and I (okay, really it was all me) decided it was time to phase out the pacifier ("paci") with LO now that she'll be TWO a week from Saturday. She's only ever used it at nap time and night time, so I knew it shouldn't be too painful. However, she really does love her paci and her teddy bear when it's time for sleep. I dunno. We thought we'd give it a go anyway and see what happens.

A good friend of mine told me she had read that you can cut off the tip of the paci, causing it to lose it's suction ability. Then you just cut off a little bit every 2 or 3 days until there's not much left of it. Usually by that time the child has already given up on it.

So starting at Monday's nap time, I gave LO two pacis, both of which had been "snipped." I closed the door and before I even got to the living room, she was standing at her door, wailing. It only lasted about 12 minutes before she tired herself out and went to sleep. That night, it was pretty much the same.

She's done very well at both nap time and bed time, although the first several minutes are a struggle. Quite frankly, she's more irritated at her paci than anything else. She doesn't even bother with it, but that doesn't stop her from being mad about the situation (understandably).

We've noticed she's not sleeping as "heavy" or as much as she had been previously, but we figure that's just how it's gonna be from now on. Case in point? This morning, she woke up around 7AM (normally it's not until 8:30-ish) but I refused to get my lazy self out of bed. After all, she has an entire toy box in her room that could occupy her for hours (ha-ha). However, this morning, she apparently found a better use for her time:



Isn't that just lovely? One entire drawer emptied, another half-emptied, clothes taken off hangers in her closet AND "Pat the Bunny?" Another casualty of her boredom. You can see it all ripped up on the glider chair.

Oh, and that toy box FULL of toys?? Not even touched.

Good times.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Daily Prayer

I recently received this prayer via email from a very good friend of mine. As I read through it, I truly felt this to be the prayer of my heart as well. It is such a comfort and encouragement to be know that we are not alone. God loves each and every one of us and desires to have a relationship with us. But it's our choice. He's waiting patiently for us to choose Him. He's ready and willing to help us in our times of desperation. He will be there for us no matter what comes our way. I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father is in control of my circumstances and that He will see me through whatever comes my way.



Dear Lord,

I thank you for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness.

Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.

Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.

Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see sin through God's eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.

And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus' example -- to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It's the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will.

Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don't know You intimately. I pray for those who don't believe. But I thank you that I believe.

I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.

I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

This is my prayer.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LO's Birthday Invitation

I mailed LO's birthday invitations last week -- only about 2-1/2 weeks before her party (versus the 6 weeks prior I sent them out last year! LOL!). I thought I'd share them with you guys. I have to totally, absolutely LOVED Vistaprint for printing my invitations (and other stuff, too!). You can download templates for Photoshop, InDesign, etc., create your invitation, and upload it for printing. I used them last year, too, and haven't been disappointed. The prices are VERY reasonable and with every order I've ever placed, they send me some kind of discount (up to 25% off) your next purchase. VERY NICE!

Anyway, here is LO's party invite. Of course I changed some of the original information to make it blog-safe. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

24 Weeks!

Week and day: 24 weeks and 1 day

Belly Button in or out: Still in. :)

Wedding rings on or off: SO still on. And I finally took the time to have them cleaned by our jeweler. You would not BELIEVE how much these babies sparkle after a good professional cleaning! Woot!

Food cravings: Nothing specific, really. I have been living off of chocolate milk these past few weeks, though.

Food aversions: None.

Nausea: None! No other major pregnancy-related ailments, which I'm VERY grateful for! :)

Energy level: Same ol', same ol'. Nothing new to report here.

Weight gain: I'd guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 pounds, although with the way I'm feeling at this moment, it feels like 40 pounds!

Mood: Excited! I know God has a perfect plan for our son, and we are totally committed to Him and our trusting in Him every step of the way!

Maternity clothes: 24/7.

Size of baby: I swear it feels like he's quadrupled in size over the past 4 days, but he's just now over a pound and is almost 12 inches long.

Baby's changes: His body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Next appointment: July 15th for our regular OB appointment. July 22nd for our next appointment with the pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Horne. We'll also have an appointment at MUSC in Charleston, SC, around 32 weeks, which will be in September.

What I've been up to: LO's birthday is just under 2 weeks away, so I've been spending time getting ready for her party, figuring out what presents to buy her, etc. I'll post her party invitation on here tomorrow so you guys can see how cute (I think) it turned out. The other thing that has been consuming my time has been searching for properties in Charleston while we're at MUSC. I've been focusing on vacation properties since they are furnished and should have all of the basic amenities we'll need. But gracious! Has it ever been an arduous process! Finding a place that meets our needs, is in the right location (as close as possible to MUSC) and is in our budget is proving to be quite the task! But we know God is faithful and He will open the right doors and lead us to the place He already has in mind for us.

Here's my 24 week pic. Does it not look like my "baby bump" had at least doubled in size since week 22? Seriously. I'm feeling huge, and this baby still has a lot of growing to do!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

That's Our Boy!

We are approaching 24 weeks! Isn't that exciting?! In some instances, it seems like this pregnancy is flying by. But at other times, it seems like we have a lifetime until we get to meet our son. Isn't he the cutest? :)


Hubs and I have been talking, and we decided it'd be so much easier for our friends and family to be praying for our son if they knew his name. So, although I've kept mine, hubs, LO and TO's names "secret" on this blog (for safety and security purposes), I do want to share our son's name so those of you who are reading this can be praying for him by name. So for future reference, our son--the adorable little guy in the picture above sucking his thumb--is named Chase.

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.


~Psalm 139:13-14

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LO's Birthday Wishlist... (Not)

LO and I had some time to kill this morning, so we headed over to Toys R Us. For a little over an hour, I let her run around like a crazy-child and check out all the toys. She was in heaven! Around almost every corner, you'd hear an "Oh, my goodness! A BIG (fill-in-the-blank)." Whether it was a puppy, a Mickey Mouse somethin-or-other, Yo Gabba Gabba toy or Thomas the Train (she has varied interests, people!), it was always an "Oh, my goodness!" Too cute!

You should have SEEN her when she hit the jackpot aisle. All of those motorized cars? Gracious. It was nothing short of hilarious. She went from car to car, climbing into the driver's seat, pressing buttons, then moving on to the next one. She's so crazy! Granted, she won't be seeing one of these anytime soon, but it sure was fun to watch her act a fool!




Monday, July 6, 2009

Elmo Cake

Okay, so for LO's birthday, I've pretty much decided I AM going to make her cake. See, I love to bake and decorate cakes, and I'm all about putting in the effort required (and there is a LOT required) to make something spectacular for a big event like my daughter's birthday. Now, I'm ready for some inspiration.

I've been looking online for a great idea that I can duplicate myself. But, whoa is me! You would not believe the cakes I've found out there! Check these out...
People, there is nothing that says, "A professional did NOT make this cake" like using (and writing on) foil as the base. I'm pretty sure there's a cookie sheet under there.


I don't have words for this one. It's like someone skinned Elmo and this is what was left. No fur for you!!


This close-up is just too close for my taste. Such an interesting texture for this Elmo, yes? At least he's a bit more proportioned than our skinned Elmo friend above with his big ol' orange nose. But again, with the foil?? Come on.

This one probably scares me the most. The blue tint used to outline Elmo? Why? And the writing leaves a bit to be desired. I know I specifically requested there NOT be cursive writing on my daughter's 1st birthday cake. Not that she could read it any better than printing, but I guess it was just principle.

So I guess I'm back to the drawing board. I want to make a cake that includes Elmo on it, but isn't made 100% of nasty red icing. I also wouldn't mind incorporating some elements from "Elmo's World" (like crayons, Dorothy the fish, etc.) since that's where LO's love of Elmo began. I'll continue to scour the Internet for inspiration and will be sure to share any other disasters I may come across for your viewing enjoyment.

Friday, July 3, 2009

13 Months of Blogging!

So I missed my blog's 1-year anniversary last month! How lame is that? I guess you can say I've been a bit preoccupied lately. Anywho, I figure I'll just celebrate today as my 13 month blog anniversary instead! Woot!

I clearly remember the circumstances that prompted my very first blog post. It was the worst dining out experience hubs, LO and I have had to date, and for those of you who know us personally, that is saying a LOT! Take a gander at that post and relive the wonderful memories.

On a semi-related note, I was just asked what must absolutely be the dumbest question I've ever heard in my life. I was ordering some take-out from a local Mexican restaurant, Anita's, and this is how it went down:
Me: "Yes, I'd like to place an order for take-out, please?"
Them: "Okay. What would you like?"
Me: "I'd like one chicken soft taco."
Them: "One chicken soft taco. Okay..."
Me: "One beef soft taco."
Them: "Beef as in cow??"
Me: (dumbfounded) "Excuse me?!"
Them: "Beef as in cow??"
Me: (still very perplexed) "Um, yes...?"
Them: "Okay. One beef soft taco."
I finished the rest of my order, and was told it would be 15-20 minutes. No problem.

I hung up the phone and told hubs he would NOT believe the question I was just asked. He was just as speechless as I was.

Seriously, is there such a thing as beef as in something other than cow??

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thoughts

It's been 16 days since hubs and I received our precious son's shocking diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). It's strange to feel as if life has returned to normal, albeit a "new" normal. Hubs and I have remained extremely positive about our son's future, regardless of the many hurdles we know we'll be facing in a matter of months. It's still so scary to read about the experiences others have had who have been in the same situation as us. There are so many variables to take into account--several of which we don't even know about yet! It's still so early in our pregnancy (23 weeks! what?!) that we've only met with the Pediatric Cardiologist once and we have yet to meet the OB and surgical teams that will deliver and operate on our boy (that will happen around 32 weeks when we visit MUSC). We've started talking and thinking about the various housing options that will be available once we relocate to Charleston for the baby's birth and surgery in October. Our best guess is that we'll live there for a good 2 months -- through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I'm hopeful we can find a furnished rental somewhat close to the hospital for a decent price -- we need to make wherever we are our "home" so life can be as normal for LO as possible. Wow. There's just so much to be thinking about and planning for, and we haven't even had a chance to ask all of our questions yet or get a good "scoop" on things from the staff at MUSC! I know God is with us through this journey and He already has worked out the details. He has a perfect plan for our little boy and we're just along for the ride! I guess there's really no point to these random thoughts... I'm just unloading some of the stuff swirling around in my head.

While there is a lot to be thinking about regarding the joyous event of bringing our son into this world and ensuring his health, I am trying to stay somewhat focused on planning LO's birthday party! She'll be TWO in just over 3 weeks! I have her invitations and will be sending them out next week (not 6 weeks early like last time!). I've already purchased all of her gifts (can't WAIT to see her reaction to one in particular). All that's left is confirming with myself that I'm up to the task of making her cake and also figuring out what the lunch menu will be. I still have time though, right??

Sorry for the randomness of this post, folks. I'll try to do better next time!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chocolatey Goodness

Okay, I can't explain it. I've been drinking chocolate milk like it's going out of style lately. I guess I can consider it a pregnancy craving. But it can't be that pre-made chocolate milk, or that nasty Yoo-Hoo junk. I have to make it myself each time, using 1% milk and Hershey's chocolate syrup. I'm telling you, I'm drinking two LARGE glasses with dinner each night, a big ol' glass at breakfast, and even more during the day as a "snack" of sorts. I guess the baby is craving some serious calcium, but only if it's chocolate.

Yum!