Monday, March 31, 2008

Amnio Take III

Thank you for all your prayers today. The doctor was able to get the sample. She did the ultrasound and then moved quickly to make sure she didn't miss her window of opportunity. We are thankful to have aggressive and skilled doctors.

She noticed the baby's heart beat isn't as strong as it was last week and there wasn't as much movement in the arms and legs. She thinks that the end is near. We plan to let nature takes its course. We have another appointment Friday unless they want us to come in earlier to check the heartbeat.

Preliminary results of the amnio should be in Friday and we will know with 99% certainty if it is Down syndrome.

We are certainly feeling loss, but also peace. Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Praise in the Midst of our Trial

As you know, the last week has been intense for us. Yet, God has been holding us together and giving us strength for each hour. There have been so many blessings and demonstrations of His presence in the last week. They have been an encouragement to us and hopefully to all who read this e-mail.

On Wed. night we needed to know that God cared and that He was present in our circumstances. Intellectually we knew that He was, but we needed some reassurance. At 9:28 pm a 3.1 earthquake hit Newport Beach. We have never heard of an earthquake hitting Newport Beach before. We felt God had sent us the message that He knew exactly what we were going through, that He was with us and a reminder of His power.

On Friday, the rise in the amniotic fluid was such a blessing. Although we were not able to get the sample, and we will continue to try, there is a peace in knowing that we are doing all that we can to find out as much information as we can.

On Sunday, Jose and I received prayer at church. They prayed for hope, restoration, comfort, peace and restful sleep for both of us and God's will. God has provided all of these. When we walked in I looked like a human black cloud, and upon leaving there was a distinct difference in my appearance, my outlook and my level of peace.

Pam felt prompted that we should have Communion (and therefore the baby had communion). They had a picture of Jesus and a precious baby looking at each other and smiling with Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart." At first when I looked at the picture my heart broke, but now I look at the picture with hope and peace - knowing that God will heal this baby (either here on Earth or in heaven). And there is no better place for the baby to be than restored and in the arms of Jesus and Grandma Carmen (my mom) in heaven.

When we went in I was still uncertain about what the future would hold in terms of children. The women prayed for life in my womb and the promises of God that we would have children. I had been seeing a picture of our child, about 3 or 4 years old with curly blond hair laughing and dancing around on the rocks at our church. The picture had begun to sting when thoughts that it might never be would come. I shared it during the prayer time and Pam asked if it was a boy. It was a girl, so we believe that God plans for us to have 2 children. Jose's mom told us later that day she had a dream on Wed. that we were eating lunch at her table with our blond haired son and daughter.

Another picture from Felicia was of Jesus pushing me in a swing with flowers, butterflies and a bright light around me. It was such a picture of hope, new life, love and a reminder that what we are walking through is temporary and that there is joy on the other side of our mourning.

There were several scriptures that were given to us that comforted us and gave us strength.

Psalm 115-118. We had been reading Ps. 118 and been finding comfort in it daily. We told Jose's mom and she brought out her daily devotional - Ps. 118 was the scripture reading of the day.

Psalm 23 & 91 - we had been reading 23 daily

Romans 3:3a - "For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not!"

I Kings 8:56 - "Blessed by the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses."

Daniel 3:16-17 - when Shadrach, Meshack and Abed-Nego were in the fire and God brought them through unharmed. We are in the fire, but He will bring us through it and we will not turn away from Him.

Mark 11:22 - God can move mountains

There were so many more. It was such a blessing and God did a lot of healing in that prayer time. Jose and I both slept soundly last night and feel much more at peace. We know that we still have a long road ahead, uncertain about what it will look like day by day, but confident that God is in control and that He will sustain us through it all.

We can't thank you enough for the prayers, support, e-mails, phone calls and love that you are sending our way. They are such a help to us. We welcome phone calls and any other form of contact that you feel comfortable with.

We appreciate your continued prayers. We have another ultrasound today and will attempt an amnio - we are praying for lots of amniotic fluid and no contractions so that we can get a sample.

We love you all and thank God for using you to help us get through this difficult road.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baby Update & Prayer Requests

Today we met with the perinatalogist, who is a specialist with high risk pregnancies. She did an ultrasound and saw fluid on the front of the baby’s neck and gave us more information about the impact of the fluid in and around the brain. These two factors were new negatives we hadn't heard on Wed. The good news was that there was more amniotic fluid. This is important because the baby needs that fluid to survive.

Based on the increased amniotic fluid we decided to have an amnio with the specialist. Unfortunately, she tried twice and was not able to get any fluid. I experienced contractions and when the uterus contracts the fluid spreads out to the point where she wasn't able to get a sample. All the major complications still point to severe Down syndrome.

Monday afternoon we will meet with the OB/GYN. She will do another ultrasound and if circumstances warrant we may try another amnio. We have an appointment with the Specialist next Friday for an amnio.

Prayer requests - that God would perform a miracle, that the baby would hold on so that we can get an amniotic sample, that the amniotic fluid levels would continue to rise, and this sounds like a strange request - but we are praying that the amnio shows that the baby has Down's because that would mean there was a chromosomal problem instead of a genetic problem. Chromosomal problems are flukes whereas a genetic problem would mean a 25-50% change of the same thing happening again. Also, for our spirits - this is a rough road and it is going to be long. We are so comforted by the prayers, emails and phone calls of support and encouragement that we are receiving - they mean so much to us right now. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Day our Lives Changed

Last week I had an AFP test to screen for potential birth defects in the baby. On Monday we found out the test came back positive and we found out today that the results showed a high risk of problems with the baby. They scheduled an ultrasound and genetic counseling as our next steps and we did that this morning.

The ultrasound did not go well - there are multiple abnormalities found in the baby that point to severe Down syndrome. The Dr. evaluating the ultrasound, the Genetic Specialist and the OB/GYN all said they felt the pregnancy was not viable. There is a lot of fluid throughout the baby’s body - surrounding the brain, abdomen, behind the neck, lungs, around the heart, in the arms, etc. The intestines look more like bone than fluid in the ultrasound and there is very low amniotic fluid - they feel the kidneys may not be working correctly. They were able to detect a heartbeat but not able to take a close enough look at it. They detected some cysts in the fluid behind the neck and shorter femurs than normal. All of these factors lead them to believe that the baby has Down syndrome but without an amnio they can't be certain. They are leaving that decision up to us. This isn’t the type of Down syndrome that we are accustomed to seeing, it is far more severe and none of the doctors have seen a baby in this situation survive. We have no plans to terminate the pregnancy, so the advantage to doing an amnio is that we would gain more info. about the pregnancy - if it is a syndrome that could affect future pregnancies or if this is just a random occurrence. We are praying, and seeking prayer, about the decision to have an amnio. We have an appointment Mon. afternoon for another ultrasound and if we want to have the amnio we can do it then. There are risks with any medical procedure, but since the baby is so sick already the amnio has increased risks.

The OB/GYN said that in most cases they don't see the baby at this state. Typically the mother comes in for a prenatal visit and when they aren't able to detect a heartbeat they look further and determine the baby had these symptoms and passed away. They expect that will happen with our baby, not tomorrow or 2 months from now, but sometime in the next few weeks unless God has other plans.

We know that God is powerful and can do amazing things. If His will is to bring this baby to term it will be an amazing testimony. Right now, Jose' and I are feeling overwhelmed, pretty discouraged and numb. We appreciate your continued prayers for us, the baby and God's will on how we should proceed. Today has been overwhelming, so we are going to take it easy tonight and try to relax as much as possible.

Thank you so much for your prayers - we have been feeling them all day and they have been a source of comfort and strength.