First of all, I hope everyone had a great and blessed Thanksgiving! Holidays are so fun when they are spent with the ones you love. This Thanksgiving, Kevin and I went to my hometown to spend Thanksgiving with my side of the family. It was so great seeing everyone and being able to all be together in one place. We took this opportunity to take a family photo which hasn’t happened in years! Here’s a preview of our time together:


While we were doing the photos, my family was like “Hey! Let’s take a few of you, Kevin, and Annalise!” So here we are at 24 weeks and 2 days:


(She is growing right on track and really moving around the last couple weeks! I absolutely love feeling her kick me all throughout the day. My next OB appointment is December 10th. I can’t wait!)


During Thanksgiving it’s hard not to be thankful for anything and everything. But this Thanksgiving, something really stuck out to me. We live in a society that takes SO much for granted. How much time do we as people really, truly think about and appreciate every little thing? Once a year? Just because there’s a holiday to do that? We are such ungrateful people. Thankfulness should be a way of life, naturally flowing from our hearts and mouths. Right?

But right now… I’m going to be honest. I had a love/hate relationship with life during Thanksgiving with my family. As most of you know, my sister has a little girl who is almost one. I absolutely love this age of a child. When they are learning to walk, beginning to talk, relatively always happy and laughing. For some reason, this trip home, my niece was attached to Kevin. She always just wanted to sit with him and be with him. I mean look at this:


It was so stinking adorable. It melted my heart. How could you not love seeing that? How could you take such a sweet time for granted? Oh yeah. You remember that you are pregnant with a child who may not make it to that age. That’s how this time became so bittersweet for me.

I absolutely loved seeing Kev interact with her. Seeing how great of a daddy he is going to be. Seeing how happy he was to have the opportunity to have that time with her. But it was almost painful to watch that happen, for several days, knowing that we may not get that opportunity with our first child.

It was right then and there, in that moment, that I realized how thankful I should be and how easy it is to become ungrateful. Being ungrateful is a selfish desire. Being ungrateful keeps us in the pain of our current circumstances. Who wants that? Why do we do that to ourselves?

I realized just how much I have been given. How blessed I truly am. I realized that expressing thankfulness helps me to remember that God is in control. The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21). In all circumstances, situations, and trials, God is in control. He knows what He is doing. I just need to trust Him and give thanks for everything.

So, as I’m sitting here typing this, with Annalise kicking me like crazy, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, reaching out to us, reading our story, and encouraging us. You are appreciated more than you know. We don’t take the time enough to tell you how grateful we are for all of you.

I realize that some days are harder than others, with not knowing what to expect and how everything is going to turn out…. but, I am truly happy that God put me in this circumstance. I am constantly learning new things, realizing things I should have years ago, and relying more on God than I ever thought possible. Psalm 28:6-7 says:

“Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.”

I challenge this verse to be a way of life for myself and for all of you. Be grateful and give Him the praise.

I am so grateful for this unexpected journey now more than ever before. I am so thankful that God chose us to be Annalise’s parents.

With all the heavy stuff now said, the waiting game for updated news on Annalise is still going. Doctors don’t want to do any more “testing” until we are further along and and she is bigger. By testing, I mean rechecking the brain by doing an MRI to better look at the severity of the damage done. Normally they don’t do this until about 30-32 weeks along. So we still have about 6-8 more weeks before that may take place.

Until then, I enjoy feeling her move and watching my belly grow!

And the results are in!

I cannot believe it has been 4 weeks since we went in for our regular 2nd trimester appointment. The appointment that has forever changed our lives.

Today (November 12th) I had my “regular” checkup with my OB who I haven’t met with since this whole journey began. We discussed the results of the blood test I had done at Children’s Mercy for the testing of Trisomy 13 and what all that entails. We talked about where to go from here and started discussing delivery and labor options.

Honestly. The hardest thing for me right now is deciding where to deliver and get all of the care for me and sweet Annalise. If you know me at all, you know I’m a HORRIBLE decision maker. Especially when it comes to big decisions like this. So deciding to keep my regular OB and the convenience of Shawnee Mission being several blocks away from our home or switching to Children’s Mercy where we have met with all the amazing specialists is just too difficult for me. There are pro’s and con’s for both places so for all you prayer warriors out there- please pray for us as we continue seeking guidance and figuring out where our little girl will get the best care possible.

Overall, this past month has had its downs but it has definitely had its ups as well. When people face trials, struggles, and suffering, it’s hard to imagine those situations as blessings or a time of joy. I’ll admit. The first couple days after finding out was hard. I’m not going to lie and say it has always been easy just because I believe in Jesus. We all have to deal with pain and suffering at some point and we have to effectively cope with it. It’s part of being human.

I’m a sucker for songs. There are just some songs that help me get through things and help me cope. They are the ones that have taught me what I needed to learn most. If you didn’t notice. The last 2 posts ended with song lyrics. The first post referenced the song “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin. This was the song I heard on my way to work at 6:30 AM, the morning after we found out about her brain. Literally just 12 hours after. “My strength is in Your name. For You alone can save. You will deliver me. Yours is the victory..” I’m not a strong person. I have realized that more than ever in the last month. My strength is found in Him and in Him alone.

Just a few days after finding out, we headed to my parents house to be with family. While driving there, a song called “Fall like the Rain” by Citizens Way started playing. I shared the chorus on my Facebook page before anybody knew what was going on. “Why is healing so painful? It feels like I’m losing this war. But I know You’ll be there as we walk through this struggle, because You’ve always been there before. There’s a peace that’s perfect, a hope that is real. There’s a plan and a purpose no matter how you feel…” This was just what I needed to remind me that our trials and struggles refine us and strengthen our faith. We respond to suffering with confidence that God knows, plans, and directs our lives for good. He always provides His love and strength for us. He is so good.

The last post had the lyrics from the song “O’Lord” by Lauren Daigle. “Your strength is found at the end of my road. Your grace it reaches to the hurting….I will stand my ground where hope can be found.” Our hope is in Christ and when we stand firm in His promises, we know everything is going to be alright. We have a peace knowing that God will work this out whichever way He has planned.

When it comes to finding the blessings in trials…One of the little blessings, for me anyways, in this journey is being able to do more sono’s. Since most people only get a couple sono’s throughout their entire pregnancy, I’ve been so blessed with having 6 done in the first 21 weeks! Since we don’t know the life expectancy of our little peanut, it has been such a privilege getting to see her grow every couple weeks. I absolutely love watching the life she has now and celebrating the fact that we, as her parents, can see her growth and development now…since we may not get the opportunity later. And let me tell you. She is one ornery little girl. She is ALWAYS moving and will never let the sonogram technician get a good enough look at her. Which just means I always have to go back to redo the sono later. She knows just what her momma needs 😉


Now that my thoughts from the last month are out there, I suppose I should reveal the test results and not make you guys wait any longer!

So here it is: the blood test which looked into my DNA to see if the number of chromosomes for chromosomes 13, 18, and 21 were off came up NEGATIVE! Annalise Hope does NOT have a trisomy disorder on top of her HPE disorder. This means that the cause of HPE is unknown. And it will be unknown until Annalise is born and they can run genetic tests on her after birth. This does give us hope that she will make it full term and be delivered alive but there’s always a chance that the brain will shut down at any given second from here on out.

This simply means one thing. The rest of this pregnancy is unknown. We will not have the answers to anything. We won’t know how severe she is, until she is here. We won’t know if she makes it, until she is here. But. We are okay with that. Sometimes I feel like it is better to know God than to know answers. I believe it challenges us to trust Him even beyond understanding.

And that is exactly where I’m at in this unexpected journey….while eating my pickles. 😉