Thursday, January 31, 2008

Extreme Makeover

I've thought several times over these last few days about what I now have to say... and honestly I'm still not sure. I know that I can't believe yesterday marked one week already. It's been one week since our tiny Maddox entered this world and slipped from it almost immediately. I don't really understand how a week can go by so quickly, and yet... how it can feel like I last felt my child in my arms years ago.

“From the end of the earth I will cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”- Psalm 61:2

I know what I loved most of my time with him is his touch. The time I spent holding him in my arms, rubbing his little body and telling him how much I loved him. I can close my eyes or look at the pictures and remember his beautiful face, but the memory of feeling him, so little and light, in my arms is something that brings me great joy... and with it great pain. The other night as I cried, I could honestly feel physical pain... I ached to have Maddox with me again. What I would give to be able to hold him. What I would give to have him back to love on, to pray with and to kiss. Oh, what I would give...

“His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Each day, each moment, has been new and different. Most have been very good, some have been excruciating. I feel safe in my house right now, so that is where I've been. I feel most myself when I am with Deacon as he can so quickly remind me of the "normal"~ playing puzzles, and trucks and trains... he has been my gravity through this last week. Dusty, well, he has been my rock. He has been phenomenal. He has loved on me through the tears, kissed my face, and held me as I couldn't control myself.
...But I have to say that it's funny. Funny because although I've cried many tears, truly I thought I would have cried so many more. I have spent wonderful days watching movies, going to the park, running little errands, potting plants... small things that give me a sense of normalcy. I do have to admit that I have strange feelings when I get out, like I suddenly don't want to be in public. It's weird. It's almost like I've just come home from a war and I need to decompress... like I need time to settle back in. Or maybe it's like being halfway through an Extreme Makeover and I don't want people to see me before my transformation is complete. I guess that is more precise... God has taken me through an Extreme Makeover and I'm not quite sure how to be this same, but completely changed person.

Undoubtedly the Lord has been so good, so gentle through this time of tremendous sadness. I have never once felt abandoned or alone... I KNOW that He hasn't left. He promises that. Joshua 1:5-6- “…I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous…” This sadness that I feel, and is being played out through the rain outside my window, is not one without hope however. I am so thankful for my sweet friends that remind me of that... as Paul says, we aren't grieving as those who are without hope. I am grieving with the assurance that I will see my son again. I know with complete certainty where he is and that is what I cling to through these unsure feelings.

As I talked with Dusty and Alma (my mother-in-law) last night, we discussed the pain. The hurt. The aching and longing to be with Maddox. And then we began talking about God's pain. How much pain He felt as He sent His Only Son to the cross to die for each of us. How when Jesus gave up his spirit, the Earth shook and went dark. How the veil was torn. How it poured down rain. To us, all of those are signs of Our Father grieving. It's the pain and loss of His Son. ...God isn't immune to these feelings of pain and hurt. He knows our sense of great love and tragic loss. He doesn't expect us not to be sad. In fact, I believe He even cries with us. But, through his pain He painted a picture of how to walk with him through the storm. Grieving is good, the pain and longing are fine... as long as we keep our eyes on the One who walked before us, and walks with us... as long as I trust that the child that I gave over to Him will remain eternally whole, and in the happiest, most glorious place imaginable.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4:7

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Words of Gratitude

These are the words that were read at Maddox's Celebration of Life Service. Dusty and I wrote these words as a small way to express our love and gratitude to all of those who have walked this road with us. We can't thank you enough!

Luke 5:17-20 “And it came about one day that He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And behold, some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in, and to set him down in front of Him. And not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, in front of Jesus. And seeing their faith He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”

This story, one that is found in each of the four gospels, is one that speaks volumes to us. It speaks to us not just of the healing power of Jesus Christ, but the faithfulness of the friends that loved this ailing man. That determination, love, faithfulness, and unwavering support is what we feel from each of you present in this room. We feel it from the closest friends and family that shared our precious time with Maddox to the many hundreds that can’t be with us today. This celebration is to honor Maddox’s life, God’s faithfulness to our family, and His love poured out on us through His faithful people serving as the hands and feet of Christ. We are so incredibly thankful… so blessed.

The time we shared with Maddox is something that is difficult to put into words. We anticipated his arrival from the moment we learned of his conception, and the joy of seeing his precious face, after waiting 8 months, was far beyond our expectations. Each day with him tucked tightly inside held beautiful surprises. We relished in his regular movements, peered at his tiny body in frequent ultrasounds, witnessed him respond to Deacon’s voice, and were overwhelmingly blessed by each new morning knowing he was alive and well. We are so thankful for the time we enjoyed his presence in our lives and although his time on Earth was all-too brief, his impact was so profound. We are eternally grateful for the life-change a tiny child was able to bring about in us… most importantly the strengthening of our faith in Christ Jesus. As we gazed at the face of our son Maddox, we couldn’t help but stand amazed at the Lord’s awesome hand of creation.

To our friends and family, we wish we could express to each of you individually how you have touched our lives and how we have been blessed by your prayer, service, support and love. The simple truth is there aren’t enough words of gratitude to adequately describe how you have touched our family. God has truly worked through you to serve as a witness to us and to others we have come in contact with throughout this journey. You are all very much a part of Maddox’s legacy and the impact he has had on numerous people across the country. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do…you are the faithful ones, the people that have carried us into the presence of Jesus.

"Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you wouldn't believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5

Sunday, January 27, 2008

PRAYERS NEEDED!

Friends and Family~

I am asking you to please pray tonight for Trayc, Yvette, Tanner and Tayden Hostetter and their families. Baby Tristan passed away today at 4:40PM and is now with the Lord. I spoke with Trayc a little while ago and they are spending time with Tristan as we speak.

This was very unexpected as they were making plans for future medical interventions for Tristan. I feel overwhelmed with emotion tonight and am asking you to please be on your knees for them tonight and the next several days as they deal with this loss. Although this was always a possibility, it is definitely not something I expected and I'm sure they didn't either. I am SO thankful that they know that he is healed and whole tonight with Christ... but it is a tremendous loss.

I thank you for being such huge prayer warriors and lifting up our families... PLEASE PRAY FOR THEM!

"... This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby." John 11:4

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pictures of our Angel






Isaiah 43:1 "But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.'"


Pictures by Hayley Barnes, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

**Of note, we don't believe that Maddox is truly an angel, but simply a precious baby in the presence of Our Lord.

Celebration of Life Service


Information Regarding the Celebration of Life Service

Saturday, January 26th, 2008
10AM
The Williams House
Second Baptist Church- West Campus
19449 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77094

We would love for you to join us to celebrate the life of our sweet boy, Maddox Donald Stanfield. Please note, black attire is not necessary as we are rejoicing in the precious life that was given through our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Maddox's Arrival

We welcomed our second little boy, Maddox Donald Stanfield, at 4:25PM today. He weighed 3lbs and was 15 inches long. He appeared with a brief, faint heartrate, opened his eyes to look at his daddy, and then went home to be with our Lord.

We are doing well and so thankful for all of the prayers storming Heaven on our behalf. The Lord has been extremely faithful and answered each prayer for us... some exactly as we petitioned and others somewhat differently than we had expected... yet all answered prayers.

We will be having a memorial service at Second Baptist Church- West Campus on Saturday, January 26th, 2008, at 10am, to celebrate our Creator's faithfulness in bringing this child to us. We love our son, and our God, so much! We are so thankful for your prayers and that we could share this journey with you.

(Pictures to soon follow.)

Maddox's verse- "But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, And He who formed you, 'Do not fear for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine!'" Isaiah 43:1

Still Waiting

This is Karli, Kenzie's sister...

Things are continuing to progress slowly but we are expecting his arrival still today! Thank you so much for the continued prayers and we will keep you updated.

Waiting and Praying

Another update from Kenzie...

I can't tell you how much it means to us to hear about all of your prayers and comments that have been posted. Our prayer pager has not stopped buzzing all day and it encourages me to know that God's name is being lifted up for the sake of my baby boy.

After meeting with our doctor this morning we have some new concerns that we would like to ask all of you to pray about. In addition to the Trisomy and spina bifida issues that we are expecting the doctors are now concerned about the premature nature of Maddox's arrival and the complications that this could add. We would like to ask you to specifically pray that Maddox's lungs would be sufficiently developed for his delivery today and that he would be able to breath on his own.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support and I will post more info as I get it.

Tick, Tock

Here is an update on behalf of Kenzie...

It is now Wednesday morning and we are still waiting to see our little boy. Praise God that Dusty arrived last night and that Maddox did not decide to arrive before then. Dusty's Mom is now here and my parents have about two hours left on their drive down from Nebraska. We have a very large group of friends here by our side that have been a tremendous help. In has been amazing to see the outpouring of love from those around us and those sending their love from far away.

Not a whole lot has changed as far as my progression. My doctor has given me Cytotec and still thinks that Maddox is going to be in our arms some time today. We expect to be talking to our doctor again very soon and should have more details to update everyone with. Thank you again for praying for us and please continue to pray for Maddox's safe delivery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's Time!

While at a playgroup this morning I started to not feel very well and decided to give my doctor a call. I was having some trouble with my vision so they decided that I should come into the office to get checked out. After arriving they determined that it was time to get things going. I am starting to progress but they believe it will be later tonight or tomorrow before we are able to meet our beautiful boy. Our family is rushing to be here and will be arriving tonight and tomorrow.

Please pray for our family tonight and ask God to lay his hands on us and bless us with His courage and strength. Also please pray for safe travel for all of our family and friends who are coming to be with us. I will post updates as often as I can. Thank you as always for all of your love and support.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"

As I sit here tonight in the quietness of my house, my mind is skipping ahead. My thoughts are drawn to this very time in two weeks when Dusty and I will be checked in to the hospital and awaiting morning to meet our Maddox. I keep wondering how I will be feeling... what my thoughts will be. How anxious will I be? How excited, scared, overwhelmed, at peace will I be? I know this sounds ridiculous, insane probably... but regardless of all the questions, I know that we will be okay. The Lord, the Creator of this very child I think so much about, assures me over and over of that very thing... I will be okay.

Dr. Young just started a series a few weeks ago on the book of James. Honestly, it is one book that I really haven't previously spent a great deal of time in, but one that is full of "uncommon sense" (as Dr. Young says). As he spoke two Sundays ago, with a title called "Suffering Produces Character", all I could think of was this is meant for me. This is meant for right here, right now. And he began...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

And then he said something that is written at the top of my Bible, and will hopefully remain etched on my heart forever... "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"

For some reason, we have been called to be Maddox's parents. We have been blessed with this child that doesn't conform to worldly standards of perfection or health. We have been given trials of a sort that I could have never imagined before that diagnosis day. And it would be so easy to ask why. Why us? Why now? Why this child? Yet, through the dark days we've walked, and the darker days to come... that is now my prayer. "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"

I don't want to waste a minute of the joy that Maddox has brought to our lives. Not a minute of the time he will grace this earth. Not a minute of time being completely overwhelmed by intense grief and sadness that I can't process. Not a minute of not "seeing the forest for the trees." Not a minute to be able to stand witness to the incredible blessing of His people surrounding us, loving us, praying for us, and ministering to us. I know it sounds crazy... like I'm setting myself up for failure... like it just won't be possible... but I don't want to waste this opportunity to love, to witness to others, to be a living testimony to God's faithfulness, compassion, grace and healing. He chose us for this, and if I'm going to walk through a valley of this magnitude, then you best believe I will not waste this. I will not walk out unchanged, lacking more than when I entered in. I have a long way to go to spiritual maturity, and yet, the perseverance to get up and continue on this road each day will bring me closer to that goal.

Am I saying that I won't be sad and grieving? NO. Am I saying that I won't shed immeasurable tears? NO. But I do know that the Lord is standing so close that I can feel Him and, like the Footprints poem says, I might not be doing the walking, but He is carrying me. He has held each tear I've cried in His Fatherly hands... and I'm sure the tears up to this point won't surpass the amount that are to come. But He knows my heart. He knows that I love this child, more than myself, and that I have already given his life over to the Giver of Life himself. Not because I don't desperately want him here with me, but because that's also what we did with Deacon when we dedicated him to the Lord. We gave him up. ...It's like what Abraham did with Issac, what he was willing to do in faith... and ultimately what God the Father did with his only Son, Jesus Christ. I can honestly say, without fear or reservation, that I know each life here on earth is not our own... and Maddox is no exception. Our Father has great plans for this child's life, whether that means him not taking one single breath here in this world, or that means 20 fabulous years of blessed time with him ahead. Either way, Heaven is still at the end of the road and that is the best promise yet.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Deacon's ABC's

I thought it would be fun, and definitely on the lighter side as we are getting so close to our scheduled induction date, to post a little something of Deacon. So many of you are walking this journey with us as we prepare to meet Maddox, but Deacon is here with us now and we would love to share him with all of you as well. He is a HUGE part of this family!

Here is our sweet, happy, energetic 2-year-old singing his ABC's... Of course we think it's awesome! In the middle, he stops and says, "Oh... Where'd Deacon go?" Just thought I'd share... Happy listening! (Click on the post title to listen)

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cross to Bear

I have received this email from a few different people and just love it! It reminds me that (for the most part) each of us are NOT in control of the individual situations we are facing... We all have a cross to bear~ large or small, heavy or light, and if we try to control the outcome, we will surely be missing many blessings that lie ahead that are yet unforseen.















"We complain about the cross we bear, but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we cannot."
"Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, there will always be sunshine, after the rain....
Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall; But God's always ready, to answer your call....
He knows every heartache, sees every tear, a word from His lips, can calm every fear...
Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night, but suddenly vanish at dawn's early light...
The Savior is waiting, somewhere above, to give you His grace, and send you His love... "

"All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God" Deuteronomy 28:2

Thursday, January 17, 2008

34 Week Appointment

Just a quick update to let you know how things are going... We saw Dr. Rowe today and just did a scan to check Maddox's heart rate and my fluid level. The heart rate was good, but my fluid level was very low... a 6. Generally they say they want it between 12 and 20, but they don't start getting concerned until it's 5 or under~ we're getting pretty close to that. The good news is that Dr. Rowe didn't seem extremely concerned and said that because I've been sick for the last 2 weeks, that probably is playing a role.

I will have another appointment next Thursday to check Maddox's measurements one last time. He mentioned that he should hopefully be around 3- 3 1/2 lbs by delivery and that is what we are continuing to pray for at this point.

We are also praying that we will make it to the 5th of February, when I will be just 2 days shy of 37 weeks. From the check today, I am already progressing and my body is beginning to remember what to do amidst all the craziness. So, it sounds like we really could go at any point, but hopefully I can hold on and stick with the plan so our families can be in town... It's like Dr. Rowe said, God is the only one pushing those control buttons!

Thank you again for the continued prayers as we are within a few weeks of the planned delivery. We are doing well and are getting anxious to meet our tiny little addition... Deacon keeps asking and talking about "Baby Maddox" so it will be exciting for them to finally meet!

"He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes." Deuteronomy 10:21

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update on the Summons Family

I had been waiting with much anticipation, as I'm sure many of you have, to hear news about the arrival of baby Mary Grace. I was able to speak with Kim's mother tonight who shared with me what is now posted on Kim's blog.

Mary Grace was born about 7:15am via c-section and weighed about 3lbs 9ozs. Her grandmother said she looked absolutely beautiful and many of the "anomalies" they had mentioned seeing on ultrasound were not apparent. She spent some beautiful time with family and friends and lots of time with her older sisters Kailey and Allison loving on her. At 2:15pm the Lord called Mary Grace home to be with Him in Heaven.

We are so thankful for the brief, but precious time this little girl was able to grace this earth. However, as you can imagine, the other side of this journey is just beginning for this family as they are mourning the loss of their tiny girl who just entered the world this morning. PLEASE continue to pray for them, as the prayer requests now change, but the need for these prayers definitely continue. Please pray for an all-encompassing peace to surround Kim, Chris, their girls and their families, for friends walking this road with them to move to be the hands and feet of Christ, for a quick healing for Kim's body, and for a grieving and then healing process to begin in each of their fragile hearts.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, January 13, 2008

PLEASE Pray

I continue to call upon each of you during this time... right now it is specifically for prayer for Kim and Chris Summons and baby Mary Grace. If you have followed their story, you know that they will be going to the hospital tonight to start the induction process to meet Mary Grace sometime tomorrow. Mary Grace has also been diagnosed with T18. Please pray for time with this precious little girl alive, for her big sisters Kailey and Allison's hearts, and for joy and peace for Kim and Chris.

I know that I have asked for many specific prayers lately and I am SO THANKFUL for each comment that tells me you are praying. The Lord is using these prayers in miraculous ways and He is displaying mighty works through His people... Thank you!

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:15-16

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Riley's Video

I talked to Christie this evening and they seem to be doing very well! Thank you again for all the prayers that continue for their family.

I asked her if I could share this link to the video that was played at Riley's service and she said that was fine. Click on http://web.mac.com/thewingofamily to catch a glimpse of their time with their precious little Riley.

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Update on Chrissy

Thank you for all the prayers for Chrissy and baby Eva! She was monitored all last night at the hospital and then was able to come home this morning after no changes occurred overnight. She has now updated her blog (see Eva Janette link) to give more details of how things could progress this next week. Please continue to pray for them as she is on bed rest with two other children in the mix. Thank you for praying!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Prayer Request

I just received a message from a couple of friends who are in contact with Chrissy, Eva Janette's mom. Chrissy is currently in the hospital with pre-term labor and her daughter, Eva, has also been diagnosed with T18. As Chrissy is due in late March, she is only 28 weeks along at this point.

PLEASE pray for her labor to subside so that she can carry Eva to a safer gestation. We know that the Lord has plans for each of these babies, but we also know that He answers the prayers of His people. I am asking that you join us in prayer for Chrissy, her husband Vinnie, their two other children Mya and Dominic, and especially baby Eva. Thank you for being such awesome prayer warriors!

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; The Lord is the defense of my life." Psalm 27:1

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Well done, good and faithful servant."

Overall, this weekend has been a good one. Due to the New Year holidays it seemed short and I was able to spend lots of quality time with my family. We enjoyed our lazy days playing trains, watching Dora and Diego and several of the Bowl Games, and luckily, taking naps. Today held true to that relaxing pattern as we enjoyed church and went to lunch with friends... Yesterday was slightly different.

Yesterday we attended baby Riley's memorial service. From the moment I found out the details of the service, there was no question in my mind that I would be going. I asked Dusty if he would go with me and without hesitation he said "yes"; although in his voice I could hear some reservation. He has been very protective of me, both mentally and physically, and I think he really feared how I would hold up attending a service of a baby who, in so many ways, seems so similar to Maddox. After dropping off Deacon with our brother and sister-in-law, we made our way to the church for the service.

I really felt fine all the way there, and then, as we pulled in and were listening to KSBJ, the Casting Crowns song "East to West" started playing. My body took over as my arm flung across the dash to shut off the radio... too late! The tears were already coming as I looked across the parking lot to see people walking into the church in their black attire. As Dusty put the car in park, I took off my sunglasses to wipe my eyes. I kept thinking, "I know I can do this... for Christie... for me," but in that moment it all seemed uncertain. Dusty took my hand and looked at me, "I want you to remember something... this is not Maddox's funeral." He reminded me that we were there to support my friend, and although the situations seem very similar, we have no idea what the Lord has in store for us. Honestly, I felt annoyed and undoubtedly he could see it as I replied, "I know, but I would be upset if this were any of our friends..." He said okay and left it at that. What an awesome man! No pushing, or "I know but" in return... just a simple okay~ he made his point and it was valid. It was needed. He was right... this wasn't our situation. Who knows? It could be, or it could be one of a million others... but in that moment I needed the reminder.

We walked in and took seats in the back. I think overall I was in control of my emotions, something I was very worried about prior to attending. It was difficult as Christie and James walked in with their Wesley and I watched her move to the front crying... my heart was (and is) broken for them. However, they did amazingly well and I know that it was due to all the prayers for them. Thank you also to all of those praying for us yesterday, and to my sweet friends praying specifically for peace and control for me... the Lord came through once again in a very evident way.

It was a very sweet service~ short, heart-felt and loving. It was a wonderful tribute to who the Lord called Riley to be in his brief life here, and what He has done through Riley's parents. Their faith and willingness to continue, in the face of great uncertainty, was celebrated. There was a slide show of the amazing time they spent with their little 3lb. 7 1/2oz. boy and a beautiful picture at the front. It was so important for me to be there. To be there for Christie, to be there as a witness to the life they gave this child, to be there for me to see first hand that life does go on, and to remember that through it all, God is still in control. It was a blessing for me to sit in that room with about 40 other people and know that the Lord was saying to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant(s)." (Matthew 25:21)

As I realized yesterday was the 5th of January and we are scheduled for the 5th of February... things have started seeming a little more real. My parents and sisters have booked their flights and hotels to come and stay, we met with the hospital staff and were showed around the NICU and L&D, and a sweet friend has asked to do one more prayer service as we are within the final weeks. Wow... so much going on~ many of these things a family should never have to do to plan for the earthly arrival of their son, and yet needed. We need the preparation and we are thankful for the time to enjoy our sweet boy while he is here with us... his little hiccups and all!

I would ask each of you, as you are lifting up our family, to continue to pray for God's will to be very evident in the decision-making process once Maddox is born. I continue to be concerned that we will know the "right" things to do for this child, so we are asking that He will be ever-present and guide us through. We are also asking that you would pray for steady weight gain. I know that a 2lb baby can survive, but I also know that a 3 or 4lb baby has better chances in all that we are up against. Again... THANK YOU! Your prayers and support have truly been life-changing... one of the many unexpected blessings on this journey we are walking!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Baby Riley

Thank you for your prayers for Christie and her family today... little baby Riley Thomas was born today at 12:13PM but sadly he only lived one hour... He is now with the Lord Jesus. I talked to Christie's sister this afternoon and Christie and James were spending time with their precious little boy when we spoke. Please continue to pray for this family as they have just experienced the birth and death of their son. I ask that you pray for peace, for understanding, for healing for Christie's body, and for God's healing for their hearts. Thank you for asking Christ to cover them with the Father's love.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Please Pray

Please pray for my friend Christie and her husband James as they will be going to the hospital early tomorrow morning to begin her induction to meet their sweet little boy. She is pregnant with a baby who is also diagnosed with full Trisomy 18.

I know that she greatly appreciates each prayer lifted up for their family (they also have a little boy, Wesley, at home) and I will be sure to update you as soon as I get any information.

Thank you for praying!

The Date

Well, today, January 2nd, finally arrived. It has been a day that I have been looking forward to for over a month now as I anticipated setting a specific date to meet our Maddox. Now we have it... February 5th, 2008. The day sits well with me and I feel like we are giving him a good opportunity to continue to grow over the next 4 1/2 weeks... assuming everything continues as "normal."

The appointments that we had today were a tremendous answer to prayer. We spent time with Dr. Rowe as he continued to look at Maddox's condition... not improved, but not a great deal worse either. His heart continues to look the same as it did almost 2 months ago, now with the exception of being a little more enlarged. The hydrocephalus remains, although at this point it hasn't increased enough to warrant a c-section. As I always mention, this child is extremely active and seems pretty playful for his peanut size, which was what concerned me most today. He has only gained 2 oz. in 2 weeks since our last ultrasound, bringing him to 2lbs. 5 oz. He also continues to fall farther behind in growth measurements- now just over 4 weeks behind. We are definitely praying that over the next month he will continue to add significant weight that will help him survive upon arrival.

After we met with Dr. Rowe, we had a little down time and then went to the hospital to meet with the neonatologist and a social worker. They were both fabulous and gave us the answers that we were looking for in regards to what the hospital can offer and what they are willing to do to treat Maddox. We discussed several possible scenarios and also what steps we, as a team, would take to ensure the best care for our son. We are so extremely thankful that this day went well and also thankful that we are in excellent hands as we continue down this road.

I do want to mention what a beautiful blessing the prayer pager was today. It started going off around 6am and continued throughout all of our appointments and beyond. At one point, during our meeting with Dr. Patel (neonatologist), he looked at us like we were crazy. I'm sure he thought our cell phones were "buzzing" off the hook! I smiled and told him it was our prayer pager... that it meant people were praying for us as it went off. He smiled and acknowledged that we must be getting lots of prayers for our baby... it was awesome!

Thank you again for each of you following this journey and walking this road with us. The encouragement and love has lifted us so greatly and as we move into these final weeks, I know that it will just continue to lift our spirits and bring us peace. We covet your prayers~ THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

**A special thank you to Christine for keeping our Deacon ALL DAY LONG so we could make all of the appointments- you're so wonderful!

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if there is anything excellent or praiseworthy- think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

That's what we say right? That's what we are conditioned to say, what we told Deacon to say to his grandparents and family, and what I repeated last night as I sat amongst my best friends... "Happy New Year."

And then, driving home from our gathering at 1:30 in the morning, my sweet husband leaned over and whispered "Happy New Year." I looked at him and simply said, "I hope so."

I hope with all my heart that it will be happy... that it will be filled with wonderful moments of great times with family and friends. I hope that it will be amazing and truly a year to remember~ but then again, of that I have no doubt. No doubt that 2008 will be one that I will never forget.

As Dusty and I laid in bed last night, I cried again. I cried thinking about these next few weeks and worrying about how my heart will hold up. I silently asked the Lord to remember us. I reminded Him that our hearts are fragile and pleaded that He won't give us more than we can handle. And then Dusty prayed outloud for us... it was the best prayer I've ever heard. One of thanksgiving and praise, one of specific requests and for working miracles, one that my heart cried "YES LORD" to as he thanked Him for our family, our time, our friends and this unpredictable road.

And then as we continued talking, we discussed our hopes for this special child we are anxiously awaiting and about our biggest fears~ mine now being one of time. And probably not the time you are thinking... time to let Maddox truly steal my heart. Time to get to know him and then have to let him go. Time to let his presence encompass all that I am and then watch as he moves from my arms to those of the One that created him.

Am I being overly optimistic? Maybe. Are these deep fears for nothing? Maybe. I guess in some way I have "prepared" myself for not leaving the hospital with him... for somehow thinking I will be okay with just that. And now, I realize that I might be placing expectations on what is in store for us- that somehow I'm not being open to what ALL the possibilities are. So as I pretend to prepare myself for each scenario, a new one keeps coming to mind. And so do those words- preparations, expectations, control. What I realized very suddenly the other night is that the Lord's specific plan for me in this journey is still in play~ relinquishing all of that (expectations, control, worry) to Him and simply surrendering is my job. This is the path He has me on and He promises to do something so wonderful in my days that I wouldn't believe it, even if I were told. (Habakkuk 1:5) So then what's expected of me should be simple- remembering to trust Him and let Him guide and teach me as we move forward.

As we are very aware, 2008 holds so many unknowns, but one thing is for sure... I will finally get to meet our sweet Maddox that we have been praying for and loving since before his conception. I will get to hold my second little boy in my arms after all of these months of feeling him move about inside my tummy and whisper to him "I love you!" So instead of thinking about the happiness of this "Happy New Year", which most of you know is simply a temporary feeling, I want to think about joy. The joy that comes from the Lord. The joy and peace that only those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ can truly understand. The joy that comes from knowing that through my deepest fears and pain, I still have the promise of Heaven. That is the JOY I am going to focus on in 2008.

And so what about 2007... as we say goodbye to a year of great joy and fulfillment and yet, one of seemingly dashed hopes and dreams? ~I will remember the excitement of discovering we were finally pregnant after it seeming to take an eternity. I will remember finding out at 11 weeks that they were 85% sure that I was having another little boy and that the doctor said, "If he reaches down and grabs himself, I'll give you at least 90%." Sure enough within minutes, Maddox didn't disappoint... and of course we all laughed. I will remember sitting in that same office 6 weeks later and finding out things didn't look good- that he definitely had spina bifida, and that they strongly recommended an amnio to determine if there were more significant problems to be aware of. I will remember feeling like my world was crashing down on my head and not knowing what to think as we awaited the results. I will remember calling my girlfriends over on that September Wednesday night without telling them why, but simply asking them to be there... all 6 showed up without question and sat there crying with me as I detailed what we found out. I will remember the amazing support, prayers and love that we received immediately upon people finding out... our family, friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. I will remember the words of encouragement and the hope for getting through from my new-formed friendships with girls across the country walking a similar road to mine. I will remember the steadiness of my husband and the encouragement that he has provided to simply take each day as its own and to put all our trust in the Lord. I will remember all those little perfect moments with my Deacon as he continues to develop and grow into who Christ is calling this sweet little boy to be. I will remember it all!

So, goodbye 2007, hello 2008. I do think that it will be a happy one, but I will always choose for it to be JOYFUL.

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14
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