36 Weeks Update

March 02, 2015-5

36 weeks!  There was a time that I didn’t think we would make it this far.  I’m in awe of how quickly time has gone by, while still seeming to creep at a snail’s pace at the same time.  How is that possible?

Since my last post, we had a great measurement appointment at 33 weeks- ‘Wilburta‘ climbed up to the 30th percentile in overall weight!  I remember feeling like that was pretty darn huge compared to all of our other visits.  But on Wednesday at our 35 weeks measurement check, however, her growth had slowed quite a bit.  She dropped down to the 16th percentile with an abdominal circumference of less than 2%.  Since she had still managed to grow a bit though, she was given the green light to stay put for a little while longer.  The doctor said this slow down in growth may be an indicator that the end of her stay inside my tummy may be drawing very near.

So, just enough good news to keep marching forward…just enough drama to scare us half to death.

To be honest, now that we are at this point in the pregnancy I’m not scared of her being born a little early.  We’re only a week away from what is considered full-term and the doctors have reassured us that she will do very well if she were born this very day.

What is really scaring me, however, is her staying inside of me.  This may sound backwards, but I just want her out.  If something about my body or placenta isn’t giving her what she needs to grow adequately, I am really frightened that something bad will happen in between my appointments and that I won’t know- or be able to do anything about it.  I can remember feeling this way with Charlotte too, even though she never gave us any reasons to be worried.  It was just a natural consequence of losing Callie and meeting so many other women who have lost a child and hearing their stories of stillbirth.

There is a certain fear that I have held about pregnancy in the third trimester as a result ever since- this feeling like I am a walking death trap for my baby.  If you haven’t been there then you are probably scratching your head on that one, but I know damn well that the women who have been there know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  It’s not fun.  It’s not cute.  It’s all business.

I miss that innocence of feeling with all certainty, without question, that my body is a safe haven for my baby.

We are scheduled to have a C-section at 38.5 weeks on March 26th.  That is less than 3 weeks away!  We could use all your prayers and positive energy that our baby continues to grow until that date.  I’d also really appreciate prayers that if for some reason she stops thriving that we will know right away and be able to get her safely into our arms.  Lastly, please pray that God takes away our anxiety and replaces it with peace in our hearts.  We’ve been busily preparing for this little one’s arrival and trying to have fun with it.

And that’s what we’ll continue to do!

 

32 Weeks: An Update

32 weeks!  Little Wilbur (or maybe we should say Wilburta to be more gender-appropriate?) is doing great!  We have been making weekly visits to the maternal-fetal specialists, having weekly biophysical profiles (BPP’s) and bi-weekly measurement checks.  So far, Wilburta has continued to grow and in my non-medical, very educated opinion I think she has gained some ground (although the doctors will never give me the satisfaction of saying that).  She is in the 27th percentile overall!!!  Woot woot!  Even though some of her individual measurements remain on the small side, 27th percentile overall is not bad at all if you ask me.

When I taped Wilburta’s ultrasound photo on our mirror after our first scary visit, I wrote the word “believe” underneath of it in lipstick.  It was a physical reminder to believe that anything is possible.  But I have to admit, it was really hard to believe in believing.  Make sense?

Hope was easier for me.  I hoped.  I wished.  I prayed.  But in the back of my mind, all I could hear were the doctor’s words:  She will be born early.  She will be born small.  I couldn’t quite get past that fear to allow myself to believe that he really could be wrong, to believe the best case scenario…I guess, because he didn’t really give us one at the time.

However, as more time has gone on, Wilburta has made “adequate” growth each time…nothing tremendous, but she’s slowly growing and growing.  The doctors say she could go the whole way if I keep doing what I’m doing, but with every visit they have always left me with that little kernel of fear.  Seriously, there has always been something every single visit to worry about.  After they measure her and she’s grown, I’ll say “That’s good!  I think?” and then they will say something like “Yes, but the blah blah measurement is still blah blah”  followed by at least one other worry-inducing statement such as “Change your appointments to Wednesdays or Thursdays so we know your doctor will be on call if we have to send you straight to delivery at your next appointment.” or “The baby made adequate growth, but your fluid levels are borderline low.  Come back in 2 days and let’s check on that.”  I go in to these appointments just bracing myself for bad news, trying to not let my hopes get to high.

I had a revelation this weekend though.  I realized that there is a HUGE difference between “hope” and “believing”.  Although I’ve been scared and worried about little Wilburta, I haven’t lost hope that she will be ok.  Never once.  The hope has always been there.  But believing it- well that’s another story.  That deep down knowledge that everything will be ok has escaped me.  I guess it has ever since we lost Callie.  It’s kind of difficult to have faith and believe again after something like that because your fear of being wrong has been justified in the most horrible way.

It’s so hard to believe in something that you have no control over.  It’s even harder when the experts give you reasons not to believe.  It’s scary because it’s not in your hands.  I think the hardest part is just handing it over to God and saying “Here is the deepest desire of my heart- please transform my hope into faith.”  What a battle that is!

Somehow, though, I’ve crossed over.  Despite all the worrisome visits, the good but never-quite-perfect reports, I have decided that everything will be ok.  In fact, here is what I truly believe:

  • “Wilburta” is FINE and because of our history and her little lag in growth back in December they have decided to watch us like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t become NOT FINE.  Which she won’t, because she is FINE!
  • “Wilburta” will be born on her scheduled C-section date.
  • She will be between 6-7 pounds.
  • She will be healthy and perfect in every way.

You know what?  I don’t even think she needs to be called Wilburta anymore.  She’s not a runt in my opinion. She’s just doing things her own way and when she comes out she will be like “Um, what was all the big fuss about?”

I’m not sure when or how I turned the corner, but I have.  Yesterday, I saw a rainbow in the clouds and it just cemented all those hopes I mentioned above into firm beliefs.  What is the good really of believing anything else?  I could be wrong, but why stress over that?  It does me absolutely no good and it robs me of all the joy and excitement that we should be having over this little one.

So, I’m done.  I’m done letting fear break my spirit.  I’m done stressing over what could be.  It is not for me to decide.  It is not for the doctors decide.

Nope, it’s between our baby and God now.

And, I believe in them.

Three Years

Pay It Forward

We celebrated Callie’s 3rd birthday in heaven yesterday.  I always wonder what she would be like if she were here with us today.  What would her little personality be like?  What would she look like now?  For now, we will have to wait and wonder.

 

Today marks three years since our little angel went to heaven.  I wanted to share a poem that a sweet friend wrote and shared with me.  We have never met, but she we share a positive outlook, little angels named Callie, and the sweet rainbow gifts that our angels have given us.  It’s beautiful.

Livin’ in the Light You Left Behind…

It’s so hard to explain it
Almost impossible to describe
Just how warm it really feels
Livin in the light you left behind

To some you were a baby lost
A tragedy they might say
But to us you’re our sweet Callie
A beautiful daughter that couldn’t stay

It’s no doubt we’ve cried an ocean
Because we had to say goodbye
But it doesn’t mean your life doesn’t bring us joy
Livin in the light you left behind

You were a precious dream to hold
Now our hearts hold you safe and sound
We can only see you in photos or sweet memories
But there’s no doubt that you’re around

We feel you every single day
You never leave our minds
You left us a lifetime of grateful hearts
Livin in the light you left behind

You sent us your precious little sister
She reminds us so much of you
In her face, her smile, her sweet spirit
She’s a miracle just like you

You’re our sunshine angel
She’s our rainbow, in her we find
That hope is always possible
Livin in the light you left behind

You are our sweetest gifts
Our babies, our precious little girls
The pride and love you bring us
Compares to nothing in this world

She’ll always know her sister
And how you changed our lives
How you made us parents, helped us find peace
Livin in the light you left behind

Because now we live so truly
The glorious ordinary fills our days
Your time here on this precious earth
Has changed the world in so many ways

Oh what we wouldn’t give for one more kiss
One more snuggle, just one more time
But your love will last a lifetime, while we’re
Livin in the light you left behind

We whisper out your precious name
And we know that you’re right here
Your sweet and happy little soul
Reminds us not to fear

We know you’re safe in heaven’s arms
So until the good Lord says it’s our time,
We’ll be swaddled in your sweet angel love
Livin in the light you left behind…

~for our sweet Callies~
dawn helen jansen 11/11/14

 

Thanks for all the message, yellow, and acts of kindness.  It really brightens our day.

xoxo

Callie’s Due Date

Callie's Birth Story

3 years ago today, wearing yellow on Callie’s due date.

 

I woke up this morning with one crystal clear thought.

Today was Callie’s due date.

Right before that thought had been a dream.  But really it was a memory…

I sat in my first grade classroom, concentrating so hard on whatever it was that seemed so important at the time that I didn’t realize I was pressing my stomach into my desk.  Inside my belly, Callie pushed back against the desk so hard that I was scooted back a few inches in my wheeled office chair.  I thought that was pretty funny at the time and told her I was sorry for squishing her.  I can remember seeing that yellow striped sweater like it was yesterday.

She seemed so strong, so healthy, so… alive.  Just right there beneath the surface.  Ready to be born.  Ready to live.

Later, after she was born and fighting for life, the doctors, trying desperately to understand how such a large issue could have gone undetected, asked me millions of questions:  “Did you receive prenatal care?”  “Did you take any drugs?”  “Did you feel any decrease in movement?”.   I could answer all of the questions confidently, although slightly offended, except for the one about movement.  I was so busy and stressed right before Callie was born that I wasn’t paying attention that much.  I knew I didn’t NOT feel her move, I had countless videos of her squirming and kicking in my belly, and she certainly had a lot of hiccups (which apparently didn’t count, who knew?)- but it caused me so much agony that I didn’t know for sure if there had been a ‘decrease’ in movement.

However, I did remember that push.  I remembered her pushing me back from the desk with strength and vigor and, perhaps, a touch of annoyance. At least I had that.

After I woke up, the memories from that day three years ago kept flooding in, taking my breath away with their clarity.  I read an article about car seat safety recently written by the parent of a child who passed away in an accident.  She said that the people who tell you that time heals have never lost a child.  I couldn’t agree more.  It doesn’t heal-  it still hurts just as much.  But I guess it is different after three years in some ways.  Time has allowed this loss to become a part of our new lives, our new normal, our new reality.  We have had time to learn who we are now and how to navigate the world.  But it doesn’t really make it any easier-  just different.

This is a stupid thing to be angry about, but this morning after collecting myself, I found myself supremely jealous of people who can use the TimeHop app on Facebook with carefree abandon.  Stupid, right?  It’s a neat concept- being able to see exactly what you posted on this date for the past couple of years- but the thought of seeing posts from three years ago and beyond fills me with sadness.  I’ve never been able to bring myself to do it.  It would be like reading about a stranger.  Who is that girl?  The girl who thought having babies was cute and fun.  The girl whose biggest worry was how perfectly perfect her lesson plans were or having things checked off of a checklist.  Who is that???

Nope, not for me.  I’m ok right here in the present.  I’m not that girl anymore…I have been changed forever.  Consider this post my TimeHop for the day.

Today is all I have and all I can count on…even when my ‘today’ is hard.

If you are thinking about Callie too, please wear yellow on the 27th and 28th to remember her.  You have no idea how much it means to us when people say her name and honor her life.  It truly means the world.  Please do an act of kindness.  Give a hug.  Spread some love.

It’s nice to know that, because of her, the world is a little bit better and a little bit more sunshiny.

28 Weeks! Another Update…

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28 Weeks!!  Woot wooooooooot!!  We are in the third trimester :-)  So happy and thankful to be here.

Since my last post we have had another measurement check on little Wilbur.  She continued to grow, making what the doctor described as “adequate” growth.  There was a very slight slide in her percentile, but she remained the same number of days behind.  He was happy with the fact that she was continuing to grow and make progress.  However, one of her measurements slid below the tenth percentile so we are now having to make weekly visits to the maternal fetal specialists.  We will alternate weeks between biophysical profiles (BPP) on the baby to check on her well-being and measurement checks.  Today will be the first BPP and I have no doubt that it will go well…she’s an active, strong little thing.  The next measurement check will be next week.

All of the doctor appointments can be a little tiring, but we know she is being closely monitored and that can only be a good thing!  The doctor seemed a lot more optimistic about her getting to full term last week so that was really encouraging.

We just have to keep on doing what we are doing and staying positive!

Thanks to everyone again for all the messages and for checking in on us :-)

Angels Among Us: Our Christmas Prayers Answered!

xmastree-1

We were a bundle of nerves going to our appointment today to check on “Wilbur‘s” progress.  You name the scenario, I had envisioned it.  I had thought of the best case scenarios and the worst case scenarios and the in-between scenarios.  Every time I had a negative thought, I told myself, “NO!” and replaced it with a positive one…but I’ll tell ya, I had to do that a lot.  I even yelled “NO!” at myself so loudly in my dreams that I woke myself and John up!

Today, driving to the appointment the song “Angels Among Us” came on the radio and I made John stop our conversation so I could listen.  It’s a little cheesy, but I’ve always loved it because it was a song we sang in our sorority and after losing Callie, it had a different meaning for me.  The lyrics talk about how angels walk amongst us, in you and in me, and I connected it to my feelings of having ‘Earth angels’ who help you in your times of need.

Suddenly, in the middle of the song, a large shuttle bus swerved into our lane to avoid another car.  John slammed on his brakes and I shouted, “Lord, please protect us!!!”  I could see us heading straight for the back-corner of that bus- right into my side of the car.

I’m not sure how, but we stopped a few feet shy of that bus and luckily no one rear-ended us.  As my heart slowed down to a normal beat, I heard the  song continuing like there had never been an interruption, “Ohhh, I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above, they come to you and me, in our darkest hours…”

Later at the doctor’s office, we were taken back for ultrasounds and met an upbeat technician with beautiful dark skin and a gorgeous Nigerian accent.  Entering the room, we could hear Christian worship songs playing softly in the background (there’s never music!) from the tech’s Pandora Station.  She was bubbly and talked to us about her kids humorously but with so much love behind every word.  With every breath she told us how she asked God for patience with this or prayed to him to help her with that and it became clear that she was a deeply faithful woman.

I was listening, but also kind of tuning her out as I hyper-analyzed every measurement she made on the baby.  Is she growing?  What does that number mean?  Is her foot turned funny?  Questions zipped through my mind at a rapid speed.  At some point, she asked us how old our first was.  We told her about Callie and then told her Charlotte was 20 months old and that her favorite word is “No”.  She laughed and said, “After ‘no’ comes ‘why’.”

And then she told us a story that left me with chills.  She said once she was listening to her pastor’s sermon.  It was a story of a young boy who was racing to greet his father who was returning home from work after a long day.  The boy, joyfully distracted, ran right over top of some railroad tracks in the path of an oncoming train.  The father screamed out to his son and told him to GET DOWN!  The boy listened right away and his life was spared because the train rolled right over top of him, leaving him unharmed.

The tech looked us in the eyes as she told us, “You see, if he had stop to ask, “Why?”, he would have been killed instantly by the train.  It is the same way with God.  You have to trust Him and not stop and ask, “Why?”.”

My eyes filled up with tears as she finished the story, lovingly telling us that she reminds her son of that story every time he bugs her with a “Why?” question…”because I said so!”  she laughed.  But my heart was still back on the parable of the boy, his father, and the train.  I sat there thinking, here is another Earth Angel, right in front of us– just like my Maggiano Angel from that Valentine’s Day so long ago.  It was no accident that she was our technician today, when out of all of our bajillions of visits we’ve never seen her.  We were meant to cross paths and meant to hear that message.

She left me with a feeling of peace that was soon followed up with joy- because, GREAT NEWS!  ‘Wilbur’ grew!  She made great progress and even caught up a few days!  She’s still small, but the fact that she didn’t fall any further behind and actually made further progress than expected was OUTSTANDING news.

The doctor told me to keep doing whatever it is that we are doing and that he will check up on us again in two more weeks.  That means more rest, eating enough protein to qualify me for an NFL linebacker, and keep praying and staying positive.

We have no doubt that the love, support, and prayers from all of you played a part in today’s outcome.

We also know that there were angels among us today.

Especially one dressed in yellow with sunshine glistening off of her wings.

Merry Christmas everyone!  We feel so blessed to have our Christmas prayers answered this day.

xoxo

PPL<3

“I was walking home from school, on a cold winter day
Took a shortcut through the woods, and I lost my way
It was getting late, and I was scared and alone
But then a kind old man, took my hand, and led me home
Mama couldn’t see him, oh but he was standing there
And I knew in my heart, he was the answer to my prayers

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

When life held troubled times, and had me down on my knees
There’s always been someone, to come along, and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend, just to say, I understand
But ain’t it kind of funny, at the dark end of the road
That someone lights the way, with just a single ray of hope

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places
To grace us with their mercy, in our time of need

Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love
To guide us with a light of love”

Wilbur

25weeks-2John has been re-reading Charlotte’s Web and has taken to reading it aloud to Baby #3 lately.  We have obviously always loved the book and decorated Charlotte’s nursery with a Charlotte’s Web theme when she was born.  Charlotte, the spider, is a loyal friend- brave, intelligent, and selfless.  It wasn’t until John started reading the book again to our littlest rainbow that I realized how special Wilbur is too.

Wilbur the pig is the runt of the litter.  The farmer’s daughter, Fern, saves him from being killed because he is “small and weak” and “will never amount to anything”.  With some mothering love, Fern nurses him into being a strong, healthy pig who then has to worry about becoming the Christmas ham for his new family.  You can’t help but fall in love with Wilbur.  He is innocent, sweet, polite, and cheerful.  He loves unconditionally.  The author mentions numerous times how Fern, and his new friend, Charlotte, look upon him with utmost affection.

You probably know how the story goes… Charlotte begins writing words in her web as a way to show Wilbur’s humans that he is an extraordinary pig, one worth saving.  When John read the following quote the other night, I couldn’t help but make connections to our own lives right now:

“Have you heard about the words that appeared in the spider’s web?” asked Mrs. Arable nervously.

“Yes,” replied the doctor.[..]

“Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider’s web?”

“Oh, no,” said Dr. Dorian.  “I don’t understand it.  But for that matter I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place.  When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle.  But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.

“What’s miraculous about a spider’s web?” said Mrs. Arable. “I don’t see why you say a web is a miracle- it’s just a web.”

“Ever try to spin one?” asked Dr. Dorian.

Mrs. Arable shifted uneasily in her chair.  “No,” she replied.  “But I can crochet a doily and I can knit a sock.”

“Sure,” said the doctor.  “But somebody taught you, didn’t they?”

“My mother taught me.”

“Well, who taught a spider?  A young spider knows how to spin a web without any instructions from anybody.  Don’t you regard that as a miracle?”

“I suppose so,” said Mrs. Arable.  “I never looked at it that way before.  Still, I don’t understand how those words got into the web.  I don’t understand it, and I don’t like what I can’t understand.”

“None of us do,” said Dr. Dorian, sighing.  “I’m a doctor.  Doctors are supposed to understand everything.  But I don’t understand everything, and I don’t intend to let it worry me.

Sometimes you don’t realize how miraculous the smallest, ordinary things are around you until something big happens.  I’ve been praying for a miracle -that we will hear at our next appointment that everything is just fine- but I’ve missed the miracle right in front of me.  Baby #3, our runt, our Wilbur.  She is a miracle already.  So is Charlotte.  So is everything else that is gloriously ordinary in our lives.  We don’t really like hearing worrisome news at doctor’s appointments and we like it even less that we can’t understand it.  But I’m going to do my best to stop trying to understand it, and I’m trying to not let it worry me.

Today at church, our pastor talked about Mary and how she was struck with fear when the angel told her that she would become Jesus’ mother in Luke 1: 26-38.  Despite this fear, the implications her pregnancy would have, and the multitude of questions she must have had running through her mind, she gave herself over to God completely and allowed herself to be his servant.  What a gift she gave to God and what a gift He gave to her and to the world!  She did not understand.  She didn’t know what to expect.  But she trusted God and found peace in that.  And look at where that trust led.

After watching the lighting of the candles on the advent wreath- faith, hope, love, and joy- and listening to these words, I felt strengthened and peaceful.  Like Dr. Dorian mentioned in Charlotte’s Web, I don’t know everything but it gives me great peace that I don’t have to.  It’s in God’s hands.

Thank you so much for praying for our “Wilbur” ;-)  We have been so comforted by your messages of support.  We are so lucky and so blessed.  I hope you all have a wonderfully, amazing Christmas.  We’ll keep you posted on how things are going after our next appointment!

Leaving you with our favorite Christmas song right now…