Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nick Update

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Three weeks ago Nick was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer. There aren't any good treatment options for his type of cancer, so we are treating his pain and loving him well. And he is getting lots of treats from the kids. Nick is a loyal and protective dog and he is a treasured member of our family.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

34 week ultrasound


I had another 4d ultrasound last week and the munchkins all tagged along. They are fascinated by the ultrasounds and it is so sweet to see! We have them on dvd and their favorite screen time request is "to watch the David movie!" Love seeing the joy they have for their baby brother. The first picture is looking down at his face--you can see his mouth and nose. The second is a partial side profile. And the third is obviously his hand. :) David has not let us see his face since the 20 week ultrasound. He had one hand over his face most of the time (so we could see his cheeks, lips, nose, chin, and sometimes one eye) and then towards the end he put both hands over his face, hands facing out toward the ultrasound transducer as if to say "quit poking me!" He is definitely my baby who wants his own space. When I rest my hands on my belly he always starts kicking them off. I know some would say with his reduced brain function all the movement I feel is just reflexes...but we know his personality is shining through, even in the womb. At this ultrasound we learned David has hair! It looks like he'll have sweet baby hair sticking out the edges of his little hat. Wonder if it will be black like Nora's was?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Celebrating

Sweet friends hosted a celebration for David and me a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to do it but I was worried it would be sad. But it was perfect. I enjoyed my favorite foods and beautiful flowers and precious time with my mama and my friends. They prayed over David and all of our family and shared promises from God's Word for us to hold on to in the coming weeks and months. It was a hopeful and encouraging time and I'm so glad we chose to celebrate together. They also filled a basket of gifts for us. I let the kids open them when I got home, because I knew they would find it fun and happy to do and I would think it was happy instead of sad when I could share in their joy. We have gift cards for everything you could think of, a beautiful handmade blanket for David, and a couple of precious tiny gowns for him to wear in the hospital. Thankful for friends who are helping us hold on to the joy in these moments.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

David's Birth Plan

Some things are so similar to my previous birth plans, and some are so very, very different.

Our son’s name is David Shalom. David has anencephaly. We have chosen to carry him to term and we have looked forward to this day with joy and grief. We realize that David will look different physically, but we hope everyone can see him for what he is: our precious son who we love. We know our time with David will be short, and we want to cherish each moment we have with him in a loving and caring environment.
• We ask that our son be referred to as David.
• If possible, we would like a nurse experienced in bereavement.
• We are hoping for an unmedicated birth, with as little intervention as possible.
• Please do not offer pain medication; I will ask for it if I want it. I prefer a heparin lock to an iv.
• We do not want any heartbeat monitoring. We may choose to listen for a heartbeat when we first arrive at the hospital.
• I would like to be able to change positions and labor outside of the bed, even if my water has broken. Also, I may want to push and deliver in alternative positions such as squatting or side lying. I prefer to use people for leg support.
• I do not want to have my water broken; I prefer it to break on its own.
• (If a cesarean delivery becomes necessary, please follow as many of our wishes below as possible. Please give David to his father as soon as possible after delivery.)
• After delivery, please place David on his mother’s abdomen to care for him. Please apply a non-adhering bandage to his head, and then put on the hat we have provided for him to wear. We would like skin to skin contact.
• Please do suction David’s airway as soon as he is born to help him breathe. We would like mechanical assistance to be used only temporarily to initiate breathing.
• We do not want any extraordinary measures taken to maintain David’s breathing or heartbeat. We do want him to be as comfortable as possible. Please keep us informed of our options (use of oxygen, pain medication, etc). We do not want any routine medications given to David.
• We would like the nursing staff to weigh and measure David when we request it. If we forget to ask, please make sure this is done before he leaves the hospital.
• We want David’s life to be surrounded by love. He has siblings and grandparents who are eager to meet him. If we think it best, other family members, a few close friends, and pastors from our church may come and meet him as well.
• _____________from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep will be taking memorial photographs.
• Please offer us a choice of a postpartum room or a room away from the maternity floors.
• If David is doing better than expected, we would like to take him home under hospice care.
• We do not want David’s body to go to the morgue at any time. We request that the hospital contact ______ Funeral Home when we are ready to say goodbye. We wish for David to be picked up from us and carried from the hospital by the funeral home representative.
• Please save any keepsakes and mementoes for us to take home.
• After David’s death, his mother would like to be able to go home as soon as it is medically safe.
We appreciate your support in this difficult and emotional time, and thank you for helping us make David’s life as meaningful as possible to our family.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Huckleberry

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Huck's birthday was last week. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, him or the kids! They were SO EXCITED to give him his present (doggie nutter butter treats). Happy birthday, Huckleberry, our goofy one and lover of all people!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Annie: Six

Annie turned six a few days ago. SIX. I really can't believe it. What can I say about our six year old? Annie loves dress-up, make-believe, crafts, dolls, her dollhouse, playing outside, Little House books, and being the oldest. She needs her "alone time" each day. She is enthusiastic about life--school, her siblings, ballet class, her friends. She loves to talk and uses big words--correctly--all the time but she doesn't realize other people find that amusing. She is often more comfortable talking with adults than with other children. She has developed quite a sense of empathy this year, something the Gent and I had been praying about. We are so thankful for this precious girl!

Mama took her to the nail salon for her first manicure
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Daddy makes the best birthday biscuits!
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she wanted a real purse for her birthday
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it was received with great joy
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she also got a jewelry box
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and a garden for her dollhouse, and a book about drawing
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After breakfast we went to church and her class sang Happy Birthday to her, which she loved.

pizza and chocolate chip cookies for dinner rounded out her day!
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

8 Months

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I am feeling good and strong and keeping up with walking and yoga. David is an active little guy and we love feeling his kicks. Either my babies have gotten more active through each pregnancy or my ab muscles have gotten weaker. ;) I've made my birth plan and am getting the final draft together, made plans for the other kiddos while we are at the hospital, and just generally been getting my ducks in a row. The Gent and I are making some hard decisions about burial and memorial plans this week. We just want to get those details over with so we can rest and enjoy this time while David is alive and not have to worry about making a lot of big decisions immediately postpartum. Some sweet friends are hosting a celebration for David this weekend and I am looking forward to that. Each day we get closer to meeting him...I look forward to it and I dread it.

P.S. If one more stranger tells me (after they ask and I tell them baby is a boy) that they just knew it was a boy, they could tell by the way I am carrying him, I may throw something at them. I have carried all my babies exactly the same way, had the same morning sickness with all of them, gained the same amount of weight with all of them, etc, etc. If I hadn't had so many ultrasounds, I would be convinced David was a girl like all the others!