Monday, September 29, 2008

Little Did She Know

Well, I was thinking about the Promise Bracelet that my mother has bought and advertised to literally hundreds of friends and family around the world on behalf of our little Maia today and a wonderful thought occurred to me! Little did she know that this small little reminder would also serve a dual purpose in such a short time. Now this bracelet is a reminder to all these friends and family to pray for my mother who now faces breast cancer once again. One side "Promise" the other side of the little charm... the breast cancer ribbon symbol. The Lord is so amazing that way! Thank you for the little miracles, Lord. They give us such hope! You are taking care of us in such awesome ways before we even realize it! Thanks for the small messages, Father! May we always have open eyes to see and attuned ears to listen!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mama Mia

Brother Joel and Mom (Judy) at her birthday celebration on the river two years ago.

Hello All! Well, if we weren't already facing what we thought was the maximum, we now have found out that my mom has a growth in her right breast. She will have a biopsy sometime this week, at the latest on Thursday.

For those of you who don't know this, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, had a lumpectomy, and radiation treatments that year. She has been cancer-free since those procedures 11 years ago. A little over a year ago the she had a mammogram that revealed some more calcification deposits than normal and so she has been having screenings every six months just to be on the safe-side. Well, this last one had something on it that had not been there at the prior screening and it was large enough that my mom could see it on pictures being taken from across the room and she knew it was different too, before the doctor told her.

Please be praying for my mom, Judy. Pray for a peace during this process. Pray for the tumor/growth to be benign. Pray for her oncologist and that he can get exactly the sample that needs to be taken for an accurate reading. Pray for my Dad and the others in our family that we will be an encouragement and strength to her.

This has rattled her a bit more this time than last. She wants to be there so badly for Maia and for our family in a few weeks. She knows the routine from last time and is afraid that she won't be able to come up to New Jersey / Pennsylvania due to any procedures that need to take place immediately. I know God knows exactly how this is all going to work together for His Good, but I pray that He will help us to trust in Him during this time even more.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

He is Sufficient

It has been a good week thus far. The Lord is meeting my needs in all the weak areas of my life.

1. Days that I should be running low on energy because of restless nights, I have all the energy I need and then some.

2. When I need a pick-me-up, my brother Joel calls and tells me that his son, my nephew, Ethan, throws up when he laughs just like Joel and I did when we were kids. Love it!

3. I read my friend's (SaraAnne's) photo blog and she mentions a song (His Strength is Perfect) that I haven't thought of in years and it ministers deeply to my soul.

4. I have sciatic nerve pain that is just ridiculous and our resident teacher / doctor, Doctor D, at our school today shows me just the right stretch to alleviate some those frustrating aches and spasms. He keeps his eye on the sparrow and how much more will he watch after his sons and daughters.

5. My school is has been so very supportive in prayers as well as in an understanding attitude in how much time I am having to take off for Maia.

6. I have a wonderful husband and son who give me tons of love and kisses from the moment I walk in the door and a husband who is so patient and giving when it comes to household chores as his preggo wife has a hard time dragging herself off the couch at night. He has been doing so much for me!

7. Then I have the blessed opportunity to feel all those kicks and jabs throughout the day that remind me I have a growing and wonderful little girl coming in a matter of less than 6 weeks! Amazing!

God you are so very Good! You do not have to bless me with any of this and yet you do! How thankful I am for all the little things that up to ONE BIG wonderful act of LOVE. I cannot express how wondrous you are!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pics from Thursday's Trip to CHOP

The bracelet that reminds so many of us to pray for Maia's healing and protection each and every day! Thank you MOM!

Gideon is Mini-Me Daddy on Thursday Morning Before I Leave For CHOP

The Ultrasound Room that I spent about an hour and a half laying on that wonderful sciatic nerve.

They even provided me with a wonderful box lunch (Turkey sandwich, tex-mex coleslaw, pear, chips, cookies, and a water). They are so considerate!

This is the entry into the special delivery unit right at the Children's Hospital. It is twenty feet away from the Children's ICU and the Fetal Heart Program Office that I have been going to the past week. I'll have to see if I can get some more pics of the rooms in the SDU it is pretty snazzy and made to order for families that will be dealing with quite a lot of stress after their little one is born.

This shot is pretty self-explanatory. This is the sign for the offices of the Fetal Heart Program.

This is the beautiful mosaic wall right across from the aformentioned sign. It has an adult hand reaching out for an infant's hand in the center of the artwork.

This is a beautiful mobile type sculpture that hangs in the atrium of the entry way of CHOP.

If you can't read this window, it reads..."CAncer is no match for Super Baby Little Lila Kay. Born with leukemia in April getting better since April. Many of the rooms windows that face this large lighted area of the hospital had similar encouraging signs for the kids and little ones.

This is the lighted entry way that Little Lila Kay's window faced. Many of the windows aligning this area have beautiful pictures and sayings drawn on the windows. What a great thing to allow the families to do!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Great to See Maia Today

Well, I had a full anatomy scan for my ultrasound today. It was so nice to see pictures of her entire body and not just to focus on her heart. One fun comment the ultrasound tech said when she got to her Maia's legs and measured them and went..."Whoa! Who is the tall person in the family?!?" "Are you ready to be the shortest person in your family?" I thought that was really cute.

There was another mother in the lounge that was in obvious emotional pain. I don't know what the diagnosis of her little one was, but she was so devastated! Please pray for her and her husband. I wasn't able to get her name before I left for my next appointment with the OB doctor. I pray that our paths will cross again so that I may have an opportunity to encourage her in the Lord.

Dr. Bevington, my OB, and I had a small meeting. There was no physical examination other than the ultrasound from earlier before. We just talked about some different delivery options.
It looks like my C-section will be scheduled sometime in week 38 of the pregnancy. That is anywhere from October 27th through the 31st. I am hoping we can push it to November 3rd so that Kenny can have that full week with me. He has one week of vacation left ( 5 days) and then that way he will definitely be available if and/or when Maia's has to have any heart procedures that week.

Also, I don't think I explained this at all in my last major posting, but we asked about the protocol immediately after Maia is born. They told us that most likely we will be able to hold her for a few minutes and have time with her then they will take her on the children's ICU for the diagnostics to be run on her. They will watch for 2 to 3 days and then decide what procedure will be done performed, valvoplasty or shunt.

We are specifically praying that the tricuspid valve will grow and be healed. This would give her more of chance of not having the more invasive operation of the shunt.

My mom sent me the following email about a week ago about the Promise Bracelets she has purchased that have the word "promise" written on them (The meaning of Maia Elisabeth's name). She is asking people to wear these as a reminder to pray for Maia daily.

"Well, the bracelets are going world-wide! I sent out an email telling people about the "promise" bracelets at Coldwater Creek and people are going to purchase them. I've given out 20 here and I'm sending some through the mail to people who don't have stores in their area. Everyone will be wearing the bracelets in honor of Maia and will use them as reminders to continually bring her before the Lord, asking for healing. So far I have people wearing the bracelets throughout Louisville, Shelbyville, Frankfort, New Orleans, Dallas, Missouri, Florida, Connecticut, Alaska, Texas, Alabama, England, Wales, Kenya, China, Belgium, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Oregon."

Thank you to everyone who is wearing a bracelet and praying for our little one day by day from around the world! I am thoroughly in awe of our Lord Jesus Christ and his children! It is very humbling. We are living each day on the grace of the Lord as we put our hope in Him for his healing power!

My batteries are dead in my camera or I would put some pics of the bracelet and the shots I got from the hospital today. Oh well!

At CHOP This Morning

Hey All! This is a quick note to you all. I am at CHOP again this morning. I am now seeing the fetal therapy program that takes care of the OB portion of the speciality. I arrived in Philly at about 8:40 and I have various appointments throughout the day. What is really nice is that they have two computers in the waiting lounge for patients to work on while you wait. What a great thing! Thanks again for your prayers!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

We Love CHOP!

It was a long day, but a good one. A bit bittersweet, but the sweetness was ALL from GOD. The drive over to Philly was a good one. Kenny and I talked about so many different things. It was good to just be with my husband. We laughed quite a bit. We talked about how strange it is to be as joyful as we are in the midst of what is happening with Maia, but we chock it up to the fact only the Lord is giving us this joy. Are we sad about the prospect of our daughter's future? Yes. We would definitely prefer to go a different route, but at the same time God has girded our hearts.

The staff at CHOP were sooo hospitable and encouraging throughout the entire process. Through the paperwork, hour and 20 minutes on the Ultrasound table (ouch for my sciatic nerve!), and the hour long consultation.

So here is the nitty-gritty.

The praises first! Maia's great vessels that lead out of the heart do not seem to be affected by the disease and also there is no VSD! Two things we were worried about and now those have been eliminated.

Now the sobering part. She does have hypoplastic right ventricle, triscuspid valve stenosis, and severe pulmonary valve stenosis. The staff is hoping the triscuspid stenosis is mild and not moderate to severe. If the tricuspid valve is not compromised then there is the possibility that Maia may only need a balloon procedure for her pulmonary valve conditioning it to open up more for blood flow! The balloon would only need to be inserted via catheter in her femoral artery and up into her heart. The heart might over time repair itself. See diagram below.

NOW....if the tricuspid valve is poor then surgery will have to be performed to place a BT shunt into the heart to open flow in a different spot. This would involve opening her chest and putting the shunt in the right location. What is very encouraging is that what use to be a 50% survival rate for these little ones is now a 90% survival rate after the BT shunt is in place.

It was an informative and overall encouraging time. We are relying on the Lord each day to provide us the the wisdom in the decision we make for Maia and for His glorious peace and of course for His miraculous works!

On a lighter note...after the specialists it was time to head home to New Jersey and we were a bit hungry. I mentioned on a earlier blog this year that we missed an opportunity to eat at a Bobby Flay showcased restaurant from his Throw-down show called The Pop Shop in Philly. Well, we entered Pop Shop into our TomTom GPS system and low and behold it showed up! It actually took us to a secondary location in Collingswood, NJ near Camden (right across the Delaware). It was fun! So below are some pics from our time there!

Outside of the Shop in a cute electic area of town.

Kenny deciding what he wants from the menu.

50's style Soda Stand and Paper Hats with the Staffs' Names

The Frazer...Kenny's Choice it had chipoltle, chicken, jalepeno cheese, and carmelized onions.

The Calvert (Featured on the show) Bacon, Avocado, Turkey, and Homemade Sauce.

Some of the Best Onion Rings I have had in a long time....better be for $8!!!!


Some Memorabilia you could leave with after your dinner here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Summer Vacation is Officially Over!

Well, today was the last official day of summer vacation in New Jersey. All the public schools and private schools go back this Wednesday the 3rd. It has been really NICE to have such a long vacation, but I must say that Gideon is rearing to get back. He has been begging me for quite a while to return to school. As I was driving back home from prepping all day in my classroom, I let Gideon know that after dinner, and after bed tonight he would wake up and it would be a school day! He expressively, almost over-dramatically said, "This is what I have ALLLWAAYS been waiting for!!!". Too cute! I am definitely glad that my son has that bent! I pretty much had the same attitude growing up, but what do you expect from a professional teacher???? :)

My mom called tonight and she wanted to let me know that Elisabeth means "God's promise or His Oath". I looked it up when we first picked the name but had forgotten what the meaning was since then. Gotta love that. Basically Maia Elisabeth means MY (mine) Promise! God is definitely soooo Good! She is sending me a bracelet that she got for me and her to wear that says...promise, as a reminder of His promise...her name!

Well, school starts tomorrow. Fortunately it is only an introductory half day, but please be praying for me. I have an appt. with my OB on Thursday after school and then my appt. with the specialists on Friday. I will have to miss the last part of the school day to attend this, so I want to make sure that I carefully planned for the sub who will be assuming the responsibility of my classes on the third school day of the year! Yikes.

Below are some posts of the pictures that will catch you up with all that we have been doing since Gideon's birthday. I haven't been using my camera as much as I usually do because it is causing me problems. I will try to be better. I didn't get as many pics of the family in Louisville as I thought I would, because I thought we would have more time there and have more photo ops, but God had different plans! :)

Paddling with the Dolan Family




Posted by Picasa

Paddling with Dad and Friends




Posted by Picasa

Being Goofy with the FAM



Posted by Picasa

Picnicking with Our Church Family




Posted by Picasa

Finally Home with Dad before His Cath


Posted by Picasa

Making snow cones with the Terry Girls!




Posted by Picasa