Thursday, July 31, 2008

Corn

Lately, I have to search and create things to make me laugh. One particular incident was after dinner one night when Gracey was eagerly watching and waiting for any little possible morsel. I figured the only thing I had left was some niblets on my corn on the cob. To our delight and amusement she really enjoyed it and chomped and chomped away at it. I just had to get my camera of course! My favorite part was seeing her nose crinkle as she bit into the corn. She actually had the whole thing in her mouth at one point. Silly Gracey!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Finally Back

I got back from the hospital yesterday afternoon. I am still very weak, but I am sure within days I will be better. There is so much to look forward to!

If you are ever worried about sleeping with a dangling IV, try putting a sock over your hand. It really made me more comfortable with less worry I would snag it on something.



After surgery they wheeled me up to the room where Bryan was waiting for me and I saw a little fury replacement Gracey that I have non-officially named "Snoopy." I love this little stuffed animal. I tell you, even a 27 year old needs something to snuggle with at night. You can see "Snoopy" in the photo above.


I was so blessed to have amazing doctors during my stay who really made an effort to make sure I was ok. Not only this, but the Lord really blew me away by providing some wonderful nurses. One in particular was Melissa who immediately understood my heart and was not only a nurse to me but a friend as well. Several friends came to see me and spoil me with cards, flowers, and books. Still now we are blessed with people providing meals for us.


I am happy to be home. I still have some recovery to do and hope it will go fast. Thanks for all the prayers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Am Excited

So if you read our post from yesterday you might ask why I am excited. But the truth is that my struggle is over, and I am happy. From the time we lost Natalie Grace in 2003 until right now I have battled with pain and sorrow about if I would be able to carry a baby or not. I was convinced I had to try and two more opportunities after Natalie left me heart broken and confused. But after we lost Rachel in our recent miscarriage I knew it was over. At first I was too angry that what I hoped and believed in for God to miraculously do did not happen. But if I have learned anything from my past it is that I must take my sorrow and pain and bring it to God. But not only this, when in deep sorrow I actually have a choice about who I am going to be. I could waste many weeks, months, and years being angry and bitter, but I am not willing to sacrifice peace, freedom and joy to be hurt. My hurt will remain real, but it will only act as a catalyst to find out more and more about God’s love for me.

Before we got the call from my doctor about repeating the procedure, Bryan and I began a conference call with an adoption-consulting agency. We are beginning the process of praying for our baby (who could even be alive in the womb right now!), finding a home study, gathering tons and tons of information, and making our profile. I can’t even begin to express the joy that is growing in my heart. The pressure is off myself. I don’t have to worry about dying if I carried a baby. I don’t have to worry about the health of the baby. I will not be able to have biological children and it is entirely ok. Once I knew this, something happened to me. It isn’t that adopting is second best in fact, it is my best. I do not feel angry or robbed. I do not feel like this wont be as good. Some people are dying because they have no food, some people suffer silently and wonder if their pain even matters to anyone. I am just one of millions and millions who have something to live with and it will not rule and take over what happens in my life. I will not let something like this destroy me. I will let it grow me and bring happiness to me. After all…we still get to have a family!!!!!!! There are many many wonderful married couples who cannot have kids. We are one of them and we now are given the opportunity to decide who we are going to be in this. I don’t want the process of adoption to be gone through with a grudging attitude. I want it to be exciting and joyous! This is what Bryan and I have chosen. It is a part of our journey together that will only bring us closer together. In fact it already has in many ways. We have talked about adoption from the beginning. He knew when we married that I having children would be nearly impossible. So it is not like this whole concept has been thought about over night.

So as I unfortunately go in for the second procedure, I will have again a little baby in mind. It will be that of our child who awaits us and again I will prayer and imagine and love.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Please Pray

I have been trying to write a blog about what is going on, but I just can't seem to find the right words. My husband (www.bryanbrigham.blogspot.com) wrote an update e-mail and I figured I'd post it hear instead of trying to explain. Please pray that this surgery will go smoothly and it wont take as long to recover.

God is still at work and I am so blessed to be a child of His.

From Bryan

Hello, friends. I hope this email finds you all blessed and walking under the fullness of the grace we have been given. Allow me to update you briefly and then share our prayer request. I'd also like to apologize to our new friends whom we haven't written. Even with everything that has been going on, I have no good excuse. We'd love to hear from you!

Our trip was amazing! We still think about it every day. We prayed for a couple of weeks after we returned, and felt we couldn't make a move to the land right now. We also found out we were pregnant again, which was an amazing blessing to us. We found a doctor, applied for Medicaid, settled on a name, pulled out the pregnancy clothes, and prayed constantly. Because of our difficult history with pregnancies, we told only a very few people as we felt the Lord was leading. On Wednesday, June 25th, we went in for a special appointment to see the baby because Olivia's numbers were looking really positive. There, for the first time, we saw our baby's little beating heart. 140 beats per minute of hope, love, and joy!.

Then, in a matter of hours, everything changed. Olivia woke the next morning to a gush of blood and fluid and by Sunday our heartbeat was gone. Several of our friends supported and prayed and fought for us during this time and we are eternally thankful. Due to Olivia's blood regulating medications we had to wait until Tuesday, July 1st, to have a D&C performed. This was supposed to help Olivia's body through the process of miscarriage, but actually resulted in a frustrating and painful 3-day stay in the hospital. I stayed with Olivia the whole time, and we made the important financial sacrifice to go through this together.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end here. For the past two weeks, my Olivia has battled weakness, nausea, and cramping. We've cried, prayed, and struggled to find God's peace. Despite the constant reminder of our aching hearts and hurting bodies, we sought some closure. We buried our daughter and planted a tree in her memory. We've even chosen an adoption consulting agency to help us as we begin the process of discovering God's plan for our family. This process is going to be extremely expensive, but well worth it. We're so excited to discover our family. (Olivia's difficult recovery has proven that trying pregnancy again is simply too dangerous to consider!)

This week we had our follow-up appointment with the OB and some blood work done to monitor Olivia's condition. Yesterday we received an urgent call from him. Her test came back with high hormone levels, indicating that her D&C was not completely successful and her womb still contains some tissue from our pregnancy. Her D&C has to be repeated! We are scheduled for first thing Monday morning.

We both hate that we have to do this. Olivia responds poorly to both anaesthesia and antibiotics and will be hospitalized for at least two nights. I will stay with her throughout. Hopefully, it will not be as difficult an experience as last time. Please pray for us. We appreciate you all.

Bryan (& Olivia)

Monday, July 14, 2008

How Big is Love?


You asked me “How big is love?"
“As tall as the highest tree?
As deep as the ocean?
From here to the moon?”

“No,” I answered
“Sometimes love is so big
so enormous and so huge,
that it fits in the palm of your hand.”

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Promise Never Fades

Several nights ago I went for a drive because I felt sad and angry. I blasted music really loud in my car and drove to Fort Phantom Lake. It was an annoyingly sunny evening except for rain clouds in the distance. I asked them to come closer, but instead they created something deeper for me then wanted tears from the sky. Approaching the lake I saw the biggest brightest rainbow I have ever seen. And although it was drizzling I got out of my car and stood by the waters edge. I thought about what it symbolizes. It's just like what began my journey to this exact moment in my life, it started with a promise.

“This is a sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth…Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 9:12-16

But as I stood there and beheld a result of His promise, my heart became even sadder. I believed God made a promise to me. That is why I stood there that night, because what I believed seems to be mistaken.

I looked at the colors in the sky as it reflected in the water. My figure was right in the middle of it. My body was within the walls of magnificent color. I stood still somehow trying to make sense of it all. God’s promise to me was that He would restore what was taken away from me. A child is a part of this. I believed God would give me a biological child, but my body can’t. After my illness attacked me with kidney failure, after 2.5 years of chemotherapy, and 3 tries for a baby, I came to realize that I am not meant to have a biological child. The drops now were my own. The rain was parting. My tears fell on my cheeks. I whispered softly what I have said over and over for days, “I tried.”

I tried physically, mentally, and spiritually to be well and trust that God could do what my doctors thought was not only somewhat impossible but too risky. Does God close doors to protect? It may be the only consolation.

As I looked up again at the rainbow I watched as it vanished before my eyes. The frame around my silhouette faded away and with it a promise. How can something so beautiful and right be there one moment and then be gone? How could peace and joy fill someone so completely and then not exist at all? How could life be so full and then in a moment be empty, hollow, blank?

I got back into the car and slowly drove away. And although most of my thoughts on this adventure brought pain, there was just one thing I couldn’t deny. There was one thing I had to recognize in spite of all my heartache: There will be another rainbow and there will always be a Promise.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rachel Elizabeth

"Record my lament
Put my tears in your wineskin
Are they not in your record?"

Psalm 56:8


I haven’t been writing because I have been very sad. Bryan and I were pregnant and everything was going very well. Of course I was being monitored very closely, so we actually got to see the tiny little baby developing even at 5 weeks. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. We were in love already with our little bean. A little over a week later we had another sonogram and this time we got to the see not only the baby but also a strong healthy heartbeat! It was so beautiful and I was so overcome with joy. I felt like things were going to be ok. But everything changed the next morning.

Things went from joy to worry and from worry to sorrow. I bleed and we rushed to the doctor and our little baby still had a heartbeat. But I knew that as I looked at the screen, it would be my last time seeing our baby alive. We went home with orders for bed rest on Thursday until next Tuesday when we would have another sonogram. We had prayer warriors over Thursday night to pray with us.

Friday morning I had a vision. I was praying on my back in bed for about 2 hours. I was pleading and begging Jesus to save this baby. I quoted scripture and sang songs. Maybe somehow I thought if I did the right things I could earn what I wanted, which is a dangerous position that creates responsibility on oneself for things that are out of our control. (A great topic for another blog.) But I felt Jesus put His hand on my abdomen and He had our little baby in His hand. At this point I was not wondering what He was doing. I knew. He knew I knew and there was peace. He took our baby to heaven.

I stayed in bed until Sunday morning. I woke up around 3 am and by 5 am I woke Bryan up and said we needed to go to the ER because I knew the baby was not ok and I couldn’t lie here until Tuesday. So we went and they did a sonogram and we saw our baby had no heart beat. They released me to go home and call my doctor in the morning.

The next day we called my doctor and went immediately up to the office and did another sonogram. They again confirmed there was no heartbeat. We then began to discuss what my options were. My last miscarriage was very painful and drawn out. It is almost like labor in a way because the body has to dilate and contract. I was already tired and so sad and this time was different because there was a baby. (Last time we had a blighted ovum). So we scheduled a D&C for the following morning and went over to the Day Surgery and registered. I was very nervous because of my illness and the fact that it is surgery where they put you under.

We woke up the next morning and arrived there at 5:30 AM. They got my IV in and by 7:15 AM I was being wheeled in. We talked to our doctor and asked him if they would let us keep the baby. Some of you might think this is strange, especially if you never lost a child, but for them to throw our little baby away is not acceptable. After talking to Pathology we were allowed to keep our baby to bury her. We are going to buy a tree and bury her under it. We named her Rachel Elizabeth.

After surgery I woke up shivering and scared. I was in pain and got medicine. They finally brought me back to the recovery pod and Bryan came to be with me. A couple hours later they encouraged me to start thinking about leaving. I had a bad feeling. Bryan went to get the car and all I did from the time I got in the wheel chair until we got home was throw up. When we got home all I did for the next 4.5 hours was throw up still. I couldn’t take any medicine for nausea or pain. And I couldn’t take my antibiotics to fight possible infection after the procedure. By 4:30 PM we were on our way back to the hospital. I was admitted and stayed for 3 days. I had a severe reaction to the anesthesia so they had to give me all my medicines through IV.

Even after I got home last Thursday, I was still very nauseated because of the antibiotics. I am finished with them now and feel so much better. Bryan’s mom and grandmother have been helping me a lot. But this is honestly the first day that I have felt a little like myself.

There are a lot of emotions running through my mind. But what I will choose to believe is that God is good and loving. I am being challenged at trusting this, but my questions will only deepen my desire and love for my God.