Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some Updates... Finally!

Whew! What a week it's been! My sweet baby boy arrived on Monday and our lives have definitely changed dramatically! I fell in love with my Chase at first sight! He's perfect! I'll write the labor/delivery post eventually, but right now I'll let you know what's happened since his big arrival.

After Chase was born, he was whisked away to a stabilization room so the NICU staff could get a line put in his umbilical cord and do all of their standard tests.

They finished with me in the operating room and took me back to my labor room to recover. About an hour or so later, the NICU team brought Chase to my room so I could see him for the first time.

I also got to hold him for about 15 minutes!

It was pure bliss!!! I was so happy to finally hold my precious son in my arms after getting to know him over the past 9 months. I wanted to let hubs hold him for a minute or two, but I just couldn't let go! Before I knew it, they had to take him up to the PCICU to get him settled.

Later that night, we got to go up to the PCICU to see him. He looked so beautiful!

On Tuesday, we were told that they wanted to intubate Chase (put in a breathing tube) not because he was having trouble breathing, but because he needed help balancing levels in his blood (Note: I don't have a medical degree so I'm sure I sound like I have no clue what I'm talking about, mostly because I don't).

Basically he had too much lactic acid in his blood and putting in a breathing tube would help him with this. They also put in an ng tube (it goes through his nose into his stomach) so they could give him some nutrition directly into his stomach. It was really hard to see him with the tubes in and not be able to see his cute little cheeks! But knowing it was what Chase needed made it a little bit easier for me to accept.

Wednesday they told us they'd want to take Chase to the cath lab to put in a PICC line in his arm. The reason he needed this was so they could give him better nutrition through the PICC line than what they were already putting in through his umbilical line. It was planned for 2nd case this morning, which we were told would be around 10 or 11 AM. Imagine my surprise when hubs' phone rang at 8:15 AM this morning with a call from the PCICU requesting our authorization to do the procedure. Apparently the 1st case canceled and we were moved up. This meant Chase went into the cath lab around 9 AM and we weren't there to see him before the procedure! I was heartbroken, but I knew he was in good hands. I checked in later to find out how he was doing, and he did a great job! When we got to the hospital to see him after the procedure, he was still completely sedated, but he looked so good!!! It's hard to see him laying there, not able to move, but I loved touching him and whispering to him that I was there with him!

Hubs and I met with one of the surgeons last night, Dr. Hsia. We discussed the surgery schedule and were told that Dr. Bradley, the surgeon we originally wanted to do Chase's Norwood surgery, would be out of town Thursday through Monday, returning on Tuesday of next week. This means the earliest he could do Chase's surgery would be Wednesday, November 4th. The typical "comfort level" for performing a Norwood procedure is within 7 days from birth. The other option we have would be for Dr. Hsia to do the surgery. Ultimately it came down to timing, which we looked to Chase to determine what would be best. Based on his "numbers" (essentially they are playing "mother nature" by trying to keep his numbers at a safe level), it seems as though it'd be better to do his surgery sooner rather than later. There are two main reasons for this: 1) One of the medications he's on (Prostaglandin) that's used to keep his PDA open, is essentially "marinating" his tissue, meaning the longer he's on this medication before surgery, the more difficult it will be to operate because the tissue will be very soft and pliable; and 2) His body is pumping more blood to his lungs than to the rest of his body, meaning his vital organs (brain, heart, etc.) are not getting enough oxygenated blood. Obviously he needs to keep these organs safe and prevent any permanent damage, so the sooner we do the surgery, the better.

Hubs and I decided it would be best for Chase for us to go ahead with the surgery on Monday morning. He'll be taken back around 6AM and should be finished by 3PM. The good news is I'll definitely be able to hold him Sunday night and/or Monday morning. WOOT! The bad news is I'm so very scared! I can't even put in words how hard it is to know I'll be handing my newborn child over to a surgeon to save his life! Please be praying for us as we prepare for this extremely difficult day! I know God is in complete control and is working out His will for Chase's life before our very eyes!

On a related note, please be praying for little Josiah as he prepares for a big surgery tomorrow (Friday). He's also an HLHS baby and was born back in May -- he's over 5 months old! He'll be getting a tracheostomy and a g-tube placed, as well as a few other surgical procedures. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Surgery Scheduled

Please begin praying even now
Chase's surgery will be Monday morning! I'll share more details soon!

Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Little Update

We don't have much to update yet since the doctors haven't finished assessing Chase's situation. The good news is he's doing great! We should hear from the cardiologists and surgeons late tomorrow or early Friday. Right now we're guessing Chase will have the Norwood surgery early next week. What we have heard so far is he is close to a "textbook" case for HLHS and will be a single-ventricle baby.

We did get to spend some time with him yesterday and see his beautiful face. Late yesterday they decided to put in a breathing tube, not because he was having trouble breathing but as a preventative measure. I'll try to explain more on that later. Here's a pic of our cutie!

Here's one after the breathing tube and ng tube were put in. I still think he's a cutie!!!

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers! I'll share more info later. Right now we're waiting for a surgery case to settle in at the PCICU so we can see him again!!!

Posted from my iPhone

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chase is Here!

Meet our sweet boy, Chase! He was born on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 3:37 PM. He weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20-1/4 inches long!

We are so blessed! More to come soon!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm truly having a hard time believing the time is almost here!

Today is SATURDAY.

I'm going to be admitted to the hospital TOMORROW.

Chase will be here on MONDAY.

It's all so surreal! I am happy to report that I finally got around to packing my hospital bag today. I guess that's part of what makes an induction so convenient -- I can plan accordingly. And it's no surprise to me that Chase hasn't shown any signs of making an early debut. But now that the bag is packed and I'll be heading to the hospital in less than 24 hours, I think it's time for it to finally settle in that I'm getting ready to have a baby!

Although the future is VERY scary to me and I fear for my son's health and survival in the coming days, I know that ultimately we are all in God's hands and that He has a perfect plan for my family. I'm not at all loving that I will have ZERO control over our circumstances. I'm not loving the fact that I most likely will not be able to hold my son for the first time until the night before his surgery, which very well might not be scheduled for 7 or more days after he's born. I'm not loving being 3-1/2 hours from home -- from our friends, our family, the house we call home. It's really weird to prepare to go to the hospital to give birth to a baby that you know you won't be bringing home with you anytime soon. I almost feel like I'm just going in for a "procedure" of some kind, and then a few months later, I'll get to go back and pick up a baby to bring home with me. It's so strange! I've never felt anything like this before. But I'm truly anticipating that God will do wonderful things over the next several weeks and I'm so grateful I get to witness His work first-hand!

On a totally random note... after a bit of a battle with Amazon and FedEx (they showed my package was delivered to Seattle, WA when it actually was delivered across the street by mistake!) we DID get our cellular signal booster thingy today and it DOES seem to have improved our AT&T signal strength inside the house. Praise the Lord! Now I'm just hoping and praying the signal inside the hospital works!

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's Friday... THREE DAYS until Chase's arrival! I have to keep reminding myself how soon he'll be here because I'm just not believing it yet. There's just been too much else going on in our little world to really concentrate on the fact that I'll be giving birth in 3 short days. Crazy!

I am super-happy that my fabulous sister-in-law safely arrived today along with my equally as fabulous mother-in-law! They drove down together, although my MIL will be leaving tomorrow morning. I think LO was totally stoked to see her Gramma and Aunt D and hang out with them tonight. Hubs and I had the privilege of meeting with Erin and Milo Wilson for dinner tonight. It's such a blessing to have some "heart parents" to talk to, especially ones as incredible and knowledgeable as the Wilsons!

Not much else is going on with us. I did have the unexpected joy of telling hubs our Jeep Cherokee battery was dead. I was getting ready to leave for Target while LO was napping and hubs was considering a nap for himself (much-needed if you ask me!). I went outside, got in the Jeep and turned the key. Not a single light came on, not a single sound was made. It was all kinds of dead. As you can imagine, hubs was waaaaay less than pleased to hear this news. Long story short, I took our other car to Target to pick up a few last things, then found the nearest Home Depot to pick up some socket wrench set thing for hubs to use on the battery. After I got home, he was eventually able to jump the Jeep using our other car. He drove it to a nearby Walmart, where he had purchased the battery 4 short months ago, and they tested it saying it was fine. We'll see if it still starts in the morning after sitting all night long.

We don't have any big plans for the weekend. We should receive our cell phone signal booster thing on Saturday, and I'm REEEEEAAAALLLLLLLLYY hoping it will fix our poor AT&T signal issues. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly BUMMED I am that my sister-in-law and mother-in-law both have Verizon and their phones work fine INSIDE OUR HOUSE?!?!?!? Argh!! So apparently it IS just an AT&T coverage issue. I feel awful since I was the one who worked so hard at convincing hubs to switch from Verizon to AT&T about a month before we came down to Charleston. ((sigh))

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alone Time

It's Thursday... FOUR DAYS until Chase's arrival! Today we had the opportunity to meet with Melissa, the head of CrossBridge Family Ministries, a local ministry dedicated to meet the needs of families with critically or chronically ill family members and to help families in times of crisis. We are so grateful to have them available to us as we head into this journey. Obviously no one can replace our family, friends and church family, but the folks at CrossBridge step in to fill the gap created by our being 3-1/2 hours from home.

Other than that, it's been weird the past few days -- almost like hubs, LO and I are all having some kind of individual meltdowns that is wreaking havoc on our family dynamic. I'm sure it's just satan trying to get in the way and break down our unity and strength before we head into our roller coaster ride. Honestly, I think a lot of it is because we've all been together constantly over the last several days and haven't had any time to ourselves. On top of all of this, LO has turned into a complete little tyrant. She's not listening to either of us, is being very defiant and down-right mean! I know she's going through a lot and this is a big adjustment for her, so we're trying to cut her some slack. But it's really wearing on hubs and I.

So my alone time today consisted of a Walmart run (woot.) and a much-needed mani/pedi. In total, it was about 3 hours of total bliss. Although it was frustrating a bit as I wandered the aisles at Walmart, talking to my friend on my phone, only to have AT&T drop my call TWICE. I finally gave up. I got tired of standing in the bedding aisle when I truly didn't need any bedding -- it was just the only place I could find where I had one whole bar of signal strength! Of course this evening I called AT&T, who referred me to Apple, who then got AT&T back on the line with me to discuss the issue. Still nothing can be done about it though. I purchased a cell phone signal booster thingy that goes inside the house that is SUPPOSED to amplify the signal enough for me to send/receive phone calls from within the confines of our rental house. What a concept! Who thought a mobile phone would be so immobile?? We literally can only use our phones if we're outside or if we keep our head hanging out a window. This has been the biggest pain! Hopefully this solution will solve the issue and we can go back to focusing on bringing our sweet baby boy into the world in four short days!!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making Progress

It's Wednesday... FIVE DAYS until Chase's arrival! I had an OB appointment this morning and turns out I'm already 2 cm dilated! Ack!! I was expecting the doctor to tell me there was ZERO PROGRESS towards labor, so imagine my surprise! I'm pretty sure it took a hefty dose of Pitocin and about 6 hours of contractions for me to get to 2 cm with LO! I'm very encouraged that perhaps Chase will make his entrance in a much less dramatic way than LO did! We still have 5 days to go, so maybe there's a tiny chance my labor will progress naturally! Either way, I'm sure that my body is much more ready for this delivery since it's my second time around. Woot!

So I do have to complain about one thing... As much as I adore my iPhone, I'm totally bummed about my AT&T cell coverage here in our rental house. Apparently this place is built like a bunker with cinder block walls, resulting in NO SERVICE throughout a majority of the house -- most specifically our bedroom and living room. This is a HUGE DEAL to me! Fast-forward about 2 weeks: Chase is still in the PCICU recovering from his open-heart surgery. Hubs manages to pull me away from the hospital long enough to come home for a few hours of sleep. For some reason the hospital needs to reach us, and they call both of our cell phones and THE CALLS DON'T GO THROUGH! I can't even imagine! I'm very freaked out about this. I went to the AT&T store and supposedly we're in a "good" coverage area, but since the house is apparently Ft. Knox AND it's located near the water, the signal strength isn't that good. I'm really at a loss regarding what to do about this. Anyone have any suggestions???

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Words of Encouragement

It's Tuesday. Six days 'til Chase's arrival. Hubs, LO and I have spent the day settling into our rental house. This involved more unpacking, driving around trying to find places, getting lost for a bit, a cranky 2-year-old waaaay overdue for a nap, a 2-hour shopping trip at Walmart and (thankfully) a nap for ALL THREE of us. I have to say this place is starting to feel more "homey" to me, and I think LO is adjusting quite well, too.

We'll be heading to an OB appointment in the morning to see where things are... I'm pretty sure they'll tell me I have ZERO signs of pending labor, and we'll just sit and wait until my induction Monday morning for things to start progressing.

We decided to stay in tonight since we just spent a zillion dollars on groceries and I'm certain I can figure out a quick and easy dinner. In the meantime, hubs and LO have been playing Go Diego Go Safari Rescue on the Wii while I read through a wonderful book of encouragement that my sister gave me before we left for Charleston. As I read through the quotes in the book, several of them jumped off the page and truly blessed me! I thought some of these might be meaningful to you, regardless of where you are in life. Several of my friends and family are going through difficult trials and I'm hopeful some of these quotes will speak to them as well. God's blessings to each and every one of you!!!
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. ~ Phillips Brooks

The world was made round so we would never be able to see too far down the road. ~ Isak Dinesen

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen. Either there will be something solid for you to stand on--or you will be taught how to fly. ~ Patrick Overton

Always know in your heart that you are far bigger than anything that can happen to you. ~ Dan Zadra

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I've never been one who thought the Lord should make life easy; I've just asked Him to make me strong. ~ Eva Bowring

To deem any situation impossible is to make it so. ~ Bernard Drummond

Know in your heart that all things are possible. ~ Dan Zadra

Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day. ~ H. Jackson Brown

If I were absolutely certain about all things, I would be fearful of losing my way. But since everything and anything are always possible, the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, ever cease. ~ Robert Fulghum

When nothing is sure, everything is possible. ~ Margaret Drabble

The moment you move out of the way, you make room for the miracle to take place. ~ Dr. Barbara King

Where there is great love, there are always miracles. ~ Willa Cather

Just as angels are attracted to the light of joy and kindness, so too are miracles attracted to the lamp of faith and love. ~ Mary Augustine

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. ~ William Allen White

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? ~ Henry David Thoreau

God doesn't comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters. ~ Unknown

Never place a period where God has placed a comma. ~ Gracie Allen

Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none had ever happened. ~ Libbie Fudim

How simple it is to see all the worry in the world cannot control the future. How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and that there will never be a time when it is not now. ~ Gerald Jampolsky

Update: The book is called Little Miracles compiled by Dan Zadra.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Final Countdown!

One week from today, our sweet baby boy Chase will be here! It's so hard for me to believe that our journey is finally beginning. It seems like a lifetime ago when we first found out we were expecting -- what joy we felt! Then it seemed our world came crashing down around us when we heard his diagnosis at 20 weeks: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. It was like hearing someone speak another language. We had no idea what it meant or how it would impact our lives. The last 18 weeks since the diagnosis have crawled by so slowly... I thought we'd never get here! But now we have a week to settle in and make a new home for our family here in Charleston. The rental house is very nice and we all seem to be adjusting well. I was most worried about LO, but she appears to enjoy the "newness" of being here and has been running around like crazy all day. In fact, we just put her to bed a little after 10:00 PM! This, of course, after we allowed her to eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts for dinner! We figured if it was good enough for mommy and daddy, it was good enough for her! We did throw in a grilled cheese, too, though, to try to keep it healthy. ;)

So this week basically consists of settling in at the house and preparing as much as possible for the journey that awaits us. I'm so very grateful to have my sister-in-law joining us on Thursday and my mom driving down on Saturday. My precious LO will be in the best care while hubs and I take care of Chase.

I have to admit I really haven't even started thinking about the delivery. I know that's kind of a key part of this process, but I've been too focused on getting to Charleston and then trying to emotionally prepare (as much as one can) for Chase's first open-heart surgery. The whole process of giving birth to him is waaaaaay back in the back of my mind! I'm sure that will change very quickly come Monday morning when my induction begins! Ack!!!

So I guess overall it will be a quiet week here in blogland. But stay tuned... our roller coaster ride begins on Monday (if not sooner!) and I plan to keep all of you informed on how things go over the next few weeks. My hope and prayer is still that God will choose to heal Chase of his heart defect before he's born and astonish the doctors! But if that isn't His will, I pray that He will choose to heal Chase through the skilled hands of the excellent surgical team at MUSC. It would be really awesome if Chase's ascending aorta were to grow large enough that they wouldn't need to do the open-heart Norwood surgery at birth -- just an open-chest surgery to band his pulmonary artery. But at this point, we are prepared (as much as possible) for a long journey of 3 open-heart surgeries for our sweet son.

Please be in prayer for us over the next few days as we settle in. I'm sure the anxious/nervous feelings will start to set in BIG TIME and I know I'd certainly appreciate prayers for peace concerning my pending labor and Chase's delivery, as well as for his "official" diagnosis and surgical plan after he's born. Hubs and I know God is in control and has a perfect plan for our family. I just know we couldn't make it through this without the prayer support of our family and friends -- and even a few strangers! Thank you in advance for seeing us through this journey!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not-So-Inspirational Saturday (Sorry!)

It's amazing how much can change in less than 24 hours. It seems like I was in a good place yesterday. I knew what was ahead of me for the weekend -- packing, preparing, finishing up the "to do" list before heading to Charleston. I was starting to get that anxious/nervous feeling as it seems our journey is just a few steps away!

Then late last night, I found it difficult to motivate myself to start getting things done. As I lounged on the bed watching hubs pack up his clothes, I started to get overwhelmed. A feeling came over me that I truly haven't dealt with up to this point. It was an emotional response that's been buried in the depths of the back of my mind for so very long:

I don't want to do this.

I don't.

When I should be overjoyed at the pending arrival of my baby, I'm instead filled with uncertainty.

When I should be packing a simple hospital bag for a day or two, I'm instead packing my entire closet, LO's clothes -- even her bed! -- and several months' worth of things!

When I should be looking forward to holding my precious newborn baby in my arms, I'm instead resentful of the fact that I won't get to do so for who knows how long!

When I should be thinking of a brief hospital stay before bringing my baby home to our family, I'm instead concentrating on how to handle sending my baby with a medical team to open his heart up and perform an 8 hour surgery.

When I should be installing an infant car seat a week or so before my due date, I'm instead wondering if I'll even have the joy of bringing a baby home in that car seat at all.

When I should be worried about bringing home a newborn, getting him onto a schedule and trying to find the time to sleep AND do laundry, I'm instead worried about the countless weeks/months I'll be leaving my baby in the hospital at night, traveling to and from the hospital and splitting my time with my 2-year-old at a temporary home while my heart is aching for my precious son who will be fighting for his life.

When I should be excited about LO meeting her baby brother for the first time, I'm instead overwhelmed at the thought that he might not survive through all of this, and I have no idea how to make a 2-year-old understand that her baby brother is in Heaven and won't be coming home with us.

I don't want to leave the comfort of my home.

I don't want to pack almost every belonging into a box and drive 4 hours away from my family and friends.

I don't want to be forced to make a new home for my family in another city during an already tumultuous time.

I don't want to fear the outcome.

I don't want to fear the unknown.

I don't want to lose my son.

Yes, I fully realize God is in control of our circumstances and He has a perfect plan for my family's life.

But I'm still human.

I feel emotions.

I have fears.

But I will continue to look to Him to lift me up when I'm down.

To give me the strength I need with each new day.

To provide healing to my precious son.

To see my family through the most difficult time in our lives.

He is good. And He loves us. And I know He will help me do what has to be done over the next several weeks. I'm so grateful for his faithfulness. I'm so blessed to rest in Him, even when I'm feeling not-so-inspired.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Inspiration

I received a card today from one of my mom's coworkers, Mrs. B. It was VERY unexpected! I honestly don't believe I've ever met this wonderful lady, but she knows of me and our situation with Chase through my mom. This sweet lady has been praying for our family and she doesn't even know us. This completely blows my mind. God is so good, and He uses people in ways we cannot even begin to understand.

The card Mrs. B picked out could not have been more perfect! It was such a blessing to me that I couldn't help but share it with you in the hope that it might inspire you today wherever you are in your life. My hope and prayer is that this poem will especially speak to my sisters as they have been through so much in the past week.
God knows what's in your heart
and what you need
before you ask.
Even when
you don't know for sure,
God knows,
because He knows you.
He knows
the outcome of every situation,
and He's guiding you
even when
you might feel
that you've lost your way.
He knows
how much you can bear,
and He will give you strength
and fill you
with His grace and blessings
as He walks with you
every step of the way.
He is surrounding you
with His love
and holding you gently
in the palm
of His hand.

~Sharon Valleau~

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Say "Cheese!"

Somebody likes her Cheetos!

The Latest Update

I'm sitting in the fetal-maternal specialist's office (Dr. Greig) right now. Just had my last ultrasound before we head to MUSC! They estimated Chase's weight to be 7 lbs. 8 oz. (+/- 1 lb.)!!! I am so hopeful we have ourselves a big baby so he can tolerate his first open-heart surgery well a few days after he arrives. (Side note: Can you tell I'm blocking out the whole "giving birth" part of the process?) LOL! Really, LO was 8 lbs. 13 oz. so I think I can handle however big Chase ends up being. I know that today's measurement is just a guess and is subject to a 1 lb. variance, but I'm still encouraged that his weight gain is still very much headed in the right direction!!!

Grow, baby! Grow!!!

Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hubs!!!

Happy Birthday to my darling hubs! I am so grateful for our life together and for how incredibly awesome you are! You are my soul mate, the love of my life and my best friend! Thank you for being such a wonderful husband and father! Our children are so lucky to have you as their daddy!

Thank you for making my life worth living!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

15 Days and Counting!

We're down to 15 days before Chase's arrival. This week will be a busy one as we prepare for Charleston. I'm still doing my best to keep busy, which, of course, means more baking! I'm thinking of trying out the Oatmeal Raisin cookies I never had a chance to try the other day. Yum!

This afternoon hubs and I took LO to the park for a picnic and some fun. We had a GREAT time! I busted out my Nikon (since no, I haven't been overly impressed with my iPhone camera -- GASP!) and took almost 300 pics of the little tyrant and her daddy. It was such a beautiful day and I was so happy we made it a point to spend some fun time together as a family. Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Now it's time to get to those cookies... Mmmmmm!

Friday, October 9, 2009

17 Days and Counting...

So the lack of blog updates obviously means there isn't much going on these days. It's crazy how slowly the last few weeks have passed. I guess it's also crazy to think that Chase will be here in just 17 short days. There truly is a LOT to be done between now and then, but we really can't start tackling the To Do lists until next week. I'm at the point now where I'm telling hubs thinks like, "You know, we only have one more Friday to relax here at home before our world turns upside-down." I've also been thinking about how much we'll wish we could just lounge on the couch, watching TV after LO goes to bed, knowing our family is all together under one roof, safe and healthy. A month from now, we'll be balancing living in a temporary home, spending time with our precious son at MUSC, trying to spend time with LO, trying to stay sane as a family, hoping and praying that God will touch our son and bring healing to his tiny little heart. Our lives truly will never be the same.

On another note... I'm planning a surprise date night for hubs and I tonight. He doesn't know anything other than the fact that we have plans. I'm really excited about where we're going and what we'll be doing, but I can't share that here (not that hubs reads the blog or anything -- just still don't want to somehow spoil the surprise). I'll share details later. But I figure this will be a good opportunity to have "one last date night" before things get crazy, while also celebrating hubs' birthday together. He's got a BIG birthday coming up on Tuesday, although apparently he had forgotten all about it until I brought it up last night. I'm telling you, he's been so overly slammed at work the past few months and is completely mentally drained. Plus there's so much looming just around the corner that he really doesn't have any breathing room with everything on his plate. I'm really hopeful he'll be able to relax for a bit tonight and forget all about everything, if only just for a few hours.

On a totally random note regarding my earlier Cookie Day post... I still absolutely LOVE the peanut butter cookie recipe. It's seriously completely fool-proof, and they stay soft for days (assuming they stick around for days and aren't eaten moments after coming out of the oven). I did try the Snickerdoodles recipe but they came out A-W-F-U-L. You know, like when the dough spreads out on the pan and results in one huge, flat, underbaked cookie? Ya, it was bad. I need to try to find a new Snickerdoodles recipe to try out. And unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to try the Oatmeal Raisin recipe, but I hope to give it a whirl over the weekend. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cookie Day

In my ongoing attempt to occupy myself during these last few weeks before Chase's arrival, I've decided to turn into Betty Crocker. Or Martha Stewart. Or whoever you equate with a bake-a-holic. So I've deemed today my own personal "Cookie Day." I am working with three recipes, one of which I've tested previously and absolutely fell in love with! All of these recipes are from Smitten Kitchen -- a foodie blog I highly recommend to anyone who knows their way around the kitchen... and even those that don't!

The first step in celebrating Cookie Day was, of course, to clean my kitchen OCD-style. Check!!

The recipe I've made previously and loved was Peanut Butter Cookies. These things are to die for! They come out so soft and chewy -- absolutely fool-proof and delicious! You can substitute anything for the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. I've used all chocolate chips and even M&Ms with great success! This is now my one and only peanut butter cookie recipe.

One of the new recipes I'm planning to try is Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. These look delish! I've always been a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies because somehow I've convinced myself that these cookies are "healthy" -- what with the raisins and oatmeal... right?? Right??!

My next new recipe test is for Snickerdoodles. I don't think you can do snickerdoodles wrong, unless of course they come out like crunchy little coasters. I'm a fan of the thick, chewy cookie -- if I wanted something crunchy, I'd grab a cracker! So I'm really hopeful these come out as wonderful as they look!

* All images from Smitten Kitchen. *

In case you're curious as to what in the world I'm planning to do with a zillion dozen cookies, no, I'm not planning to eat them all myself. One of my bestest friends on the planet had a baby last week and I'm planning to take her an assortment of these fresh-baked goodies. Then, of course, I'll probably send some with hubs to take to work. As for the rest of them? Well, I guess they're up for grabs! Lemme know if you're interested! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Dinner "Dance"

At TGIFridays with hubs and LO. I think this is a dance, or maybe some new boxing moves?? Always keeping us entertained...

Posted from my iPhone

36 Weeks!

It's hard to believe my sweet baby Chase will be here THREE WEEKS from yesterday! I feel as ready as I could possibly be. Sure, we've got a heck of a lot of packing to do, and there are still so many "unknowns" lurking ahead of us, but I think I'm ready to get the ball rolling! I know I haven't posted much lately, but really, it's because there isn't much happening right now. It's that "holding pattern" type thing. We're down to only 3 more doctor appointments before we head to MUSC. I'm getting excited but also anxious. So really, I apologize for the lack of posting. Trust me, before long there will be waaaay more posts on this blog than you guys will be able to keep up with! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Walking by Faith

I have to be honest. While I do feel I've been focusing on all things positive during this journey, I have to admit there has been a constant, nagging, negative thought in the depths of the back of my mind. I mean, really, my newborn son is going to have open-heart surgery a few days after he's born. There IS -- as much as I choose not to think about it -- a chance that we will not be bringing him home, that God will choose to heal him forever by taking him home to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father. Regardless of how much I hope and pray that Chase will exceed our expectations with his recovery or that God will provide a miracle by healing his heart before he's born, I do have to constantly push the one negative thought out of my mind.

God gave me His peace with this pregnancy from the very beginning. When we got the news of his HLHS diagnosis at 20 weeks, God's peace continued to dwell in my heart. I am fully trusting in Him to see us through this journey, whatever the outcome.

Since I am admitting to having this one negative thought, I will also add that this one thought has kept me from doing much of anything to prepare Chase's room for when we come home. I mean, we purchased his convertible crib and dresser a few weeks before we got the diagnosis. But I've been in no hurry to do anything to get his nursery ready. It's that one nagging thought that's been keeping me from it! Plus, I reasoned, God-willing we bring our sweet boy home, he'll probably sleep in his Pack n' Play in our bedroom for a few months before moving into his room. So I'd still have plenty of time to set it up when we get home.

I guess God has been convicting me of allowing this one negative thought to remain in the back of my mind. I truly feel He is asking me to rely solely on Him, His peace, and His promise to see us through. I believe He wants me to live a FEARLESS life, regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. He is helping me grow through all of this and is making Himself known to me in ways I've never experienced before. I'm so grateful for His love, His promise and His blessings in my life.

A few weeks ago, my fantabulous Uncle Darryl was in town to lead a revival at my church. He is one gifted man of God! While he was here, he gave hubs and I a small plaque to take with us to Charleston and hang up somewhere where we'll see it often. It simply references 2 Corinthians 5:7.
"...for we walk by faith, not by sight." (NASB)


"That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet!...It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going." (MSG)
Well, I've decided to embrace walking by faith, not by sight. To trust in God and His peace, rather than allow negative thoughts to permeate my mind. I truly believe this is what God wants for me as He's preparing my heart and mind for the journey that lies ahead.

My first step in walking by faith? Preparing Chase's room for our return home. Hubs had put the crib together a few weeks ago, so I went ahead and laid out his bedding (it hasn't been washed yet, since I know it's pointless to do so now since he won't be in it for several months). I set up his dresser, cleaned out the drawers and put liner down. I've sorted through the clothing, blankets, towels, gifts, etc. we've received and finally washed a load of his things to take with us to Charleston. I've even packed a few things in his diaper bag. See for yourself!

Overall, I know God will be walking with us through all of this -- most likely carrying us at times -- and I believe it's my responsibility to continue to keep my trust in Him, to believe in the peace He's given and to walk by faith, not by sight.

"Thank you, Lord, for all You are showing me and teaching me right now. All of my faith and trust are in You alone. Amen."