Topping Twins

Topping Twins

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

God will carry you

Prayer really works. Plain and simple.

3.5 weeks ago when we found out that one of the twins was missing his right arm, simply put, Nick and I were devastated. But, the troops rallied, dropped to their knees and began once again, praying for our family.

We are blessed.

We felt every prayer, read every note, and have appreciated every card, meal and gesture made towards us. Our hearts are truly full. Full of love, full of faith, and full of peace. Your prayers surrounded us in warmth and comforted us when we needed it the most.

The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster. It may seem silly. We are just talking about an arm. However, worry can be toxic and really hurts our hearts at times.

Last week, we were finally able to get to Children's Mercy for a four-hour sonogram and consult with the team there. Let me just say this - Children's Mercy is amazing. And Alicia, our sonogram technician is phenomenal. We had her when we went there with Preston and Peyton and she seriously is just the best. Anyways--- the sonogram was very long. For a momma that is struggling with severe sciatic nerve pain, it was a little uncomfortable, but it's par for the course. The boys were literally spinning in circles while the sonogram was happening. Just to paint a picture --- Baby A, when we started the sono, was on my right side, head down. By the end of the sonogram, he was breach, still on my right side. Baby B, started out transverse to the right of Baby A. By the end, he was laying sideways across my stomach under my rib cage.

All of that being said, my point is, that these boys were giving our sonogram tech a run for her money. In the midst of scanning Baby B--- I thought I could see what would be his right arm. You read that right. Baby B looked like he had a right arm

! Trying not to be rude, I asked the sono tech if that was what I was seeing and she nonchalantly said yes and continued to scan. Then, it was like a light clicked on and she paused and said, wait--- which arm were you concerned about? I responded, saying we thought he didn't have a right arm. So - she changed gears and began to focus on that arm. We discovered that Baby B does have a fully developing upper right arm. His lower arm (the radius and ulna bones) are both there, however, they are measuring short. Think of about a third of your forearm. The sono tech was also able to see five finger bones. Yes--- you read that right too. Now, these bones are probably more fist like than anything, but this is SO much better than we had initially thought.

Baby A's sono went pretty well too. They found an echogenic focus on the left ventricle of his heart; however, there are no other indicators/signs for us to be concerned about that at this point. They will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks.

After the sonogram, we met with the team; a neonatologist, occupational therapist and geneticist. They all provided the same information, basically saying that we won't know if there is anything else wrong with Baby B until he is born. They also provided information on what to expect once Baby B is here, how he will naturally adjust, etc. (There are several syndromes that can come with a limb deficiency, however, we are not going to think about any of those until they can actually evaluate him upon arrival).

Late last week, we met with both our pediatrician and my OB. Let me also say how much I love my OB. Nick and I walked out of his office completely different people. We felt so at peace and confident with the future. (again- prayers are so powerful) I'm not sure if it's because we've been seeing him for seven years or just his presentation of information. He just had a way of making us feel empowered and at peace.

We are officially scheduled for a c-section delivery on January 24th. We will deliver at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

At the end of the day, it IS just an arm. We are going to be one very happy family of six + 1 very special angel who just so happens to keep reminding us to keep the faith. Throughout all of this, we've cried, screamed and laughed until we cried. What we've discovered is just how important our faith is. And also, just how important we are to each other.

Hebrews 4:16
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need."

Thank you all for showing us grace and providing us the strength we need to continue our journey.

Our story isn't over yet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My journey hasn't been easy, but I'm still...

"My journey hasn't been easy, but I'm still... standing, laughing, forgiving, loving, learning & living. I'm perfectly imperfect."

We all have a plan in life. One, that, although I would love to have control over, I do not. Simply put, God's plan is much greater than I could imagine. And, unfortunately, it is something that I cannot just pull my magic eight ball out to see what my future entails.

The thing is, when they talk about mother's intuition, there really is some truth to that. You see, I can distinctly remember having a conversation with my mom several months ago saying that I really wanted to write a book. Share our story, so that others out there going through something similar could use my writing as an outlet for coping. I ended the conversation saying, that I want to write it, but my story wasn't complete yet. I just felt like there was more.

When I found out we were expecting twins again, I knew this was my "more" to the story. I couldn't help but think we were getting a second chance to raise twins.

The saying "God doesn't give you more than you can handle," is really a saying I'm getting tired of these days though.

Yesterday, I woke up ready to conquer the world. I read a few blogs before starting my day and even shared a post about everyone going through struggles and how we handle them. That afternoon, we went to Shawnee Mission Medical Center for our 20-week sonogram and high-risk appointment. We weren't being labeled as high risk, for any other reason, other than the fact that we were expecting twins again, and with our history, my OB wanted to play it safe. I'm good with safe. I'm good with a plan.

About half-way into our sonogram, Nick sent me a text. "I'm nervous",  is all it said.

On pins and needles and an hour and 45 minutes of scanning later, the sonographer informed us that she needed to talk to Dr. Wickstrom, our specialist. Nick and I knew immediately that something was indeed wrong. Panic was setting in. I knew there was a reason I hadn't slept the night before. Tossing and turning, but not really sure why.

Dr. Wickstrom informed us that Baby A was perfectly healthy. Brain and heart look great. Growing right on track and a very active baby boy.

Baby B's (another sweet baby boy) heart and brain looked good (I actually had to call to confirm this after the fact - everything is such a blur), and he was measuring right on track. However, it appears that his right arm did not form the way it should have. If I stood here and told you that I held my head up high and remained strong when we were given this news, I would be lying. I was a complete wreck. I couldn't contain my tears, or my emotions. I literally felt like I was in a crazy dream. Someone pinch me so I could just wake up from this nightmare.

There is really no explanation for why this happened. And no explanation for how either.

We are automatically being referred to the team at Children's Mercy. We will meet with an orthopedic surgeon and a whole team of doctors there to discuss Baby B and his future. We understand that he will have surgeries in his future. We just do not know when or how often or any details really, right now. We hope to know more in the coming weeks once we have made our visit to CM.

Now, this by no means will impact if Baby B will survive or not. He WILL survive. Does this mean that he will live a different life than his twin brother? Not if I have a say. He might have to adjust how he does things, but with technology and strong-willed parents, he WILL persevere.

Despite being heartbroken that we are once again, faced with hardship, I am confident that we will look back on this moment in time and it will be a small memory compared to what the future holds for Baby B. This is a trying time in our lives and is truly a test of our faith, our marriage, and everything in between. It's only been almost two years since Peyton passed away-- something that may seem like "just an arm" has stirred up emotions we didn't know existed.

Please pray for strength for our family. Pray that we remain each other's rock and that we continue to lean on our faith to pull us through. Going through something like this is not easy. It plain sucks, and we find ourselves questioning what the purpose of all of this is. Pray for us today, but tomorrow, pray for our son. Pray for his future and that this is all we are dealing with.

"it's not the disability that defines you; it's how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with." - Jim Abbott

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"...we have not stopped praying for you..."

Can you believe that in just a few short months Preston will celebrate his 2nd birthday?! On this Father's Day, I find myself overwhelmed with the happiest of emotions and longing even more for Peyton to be here. 

Also on this day, Nick, Kaylee, Preston and I drop to our knees in thankfulness and full of prayer. 
I'll cut right to the chase. :) Preston is pretty excited to announce that he is going to be a BIG brother!!

But, our story doesn't stop there. Our rainbow baby, is something I have dreamt about for so long now. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have always wanted a big family. When you ask me how many kids I want, I jokingly have always said, "I'd have ten kids if Nick would let me." All kidding aside, I knew that I wanted a bigger family, and so did Nick. On May 24th, we found out we were expecting. A crazy, happy day! We could hardly believe our eyes. So much so, that we took NINE tests to confirm we were right. 

On June 17th, we headed to our OB, Dr. Lynch for our first sonogram and appointment. Of course, I was super excited, and nervous. I had told Nick, he should be prepared, I was convinced we were having twins, and Nick of course told me I was crazy and we were on our way. 

Into the sono we went and within seconds.... there it was. 

The sonographer didn't even have to say it, Nick and I both knew instantly. TWINS.

Tears, lots of laughter and smiles and a little freaking out were in the moments immediately following. Shock and pure excitement too. Dr. Lynch was certainly surprised. He even stated that in the 30 years he's been practicing medicine, he has never had a couple conceive twins naturally, twice, much less back to back. Little did he know that I have TWO family members that have (My dad's mom had two sets of identical twins back to back and my mom's grandmother had two sets too!). And here we are, carrying on the tradition. 

I can't begin to tell you how happy, excited, nervous and scared we are. I cannot wait for the day that we are holding our sweet babies in our arms. I am confident that these babies will both be coming home with us. And I know that our family will be complete when we do. In the coming months, continue to pray for us. Pray for strength and pray for healthy babies. 

Welcome to our next chapter. One that I know we will truly enjoy and live to the fullest. 

"Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for You." -- First Thessalonians 5:17-18