First of all, I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas with your loved ones. I hope that this New Year brings you many blessings and moments to be cherished!
The phrase, “Cherish Your Moments” is kind of my theme, if you will, from now on. Ever since finding out about our baby, I’ve started cherishing moments more than I ever thought I would. For example, the joys of feeling my baby kick- even when it hurts- is simply wonderful. The times I get with family mean even more because now I truly, fully understand that life is precious. You never know when the time is going to come to say goodbye forever.
This Christmas we considered it Annalise’s first Christmas (since we have the doctors words saying she will have a short lifespan. 😛 We hope and pray that she has another Christmas outside of the womb, though. How wonderful would that be?!) Because we considered it her first Christmas, this year was a little bit more special to us. “Hope” could be found in many places this Christmas. We had the word hope hanging right in the middle of our tree. My mother even did the same thing with her tree. Our Christmas card incorporated that word. It is just the perfect word to describe us and our situation with our precious girl.
Anyways… my Christmas break started off a little rocky. Tuesday, while at work, I started feeling really nauseous out of nowhere. Well, I ended up throwing up several times that night. Just what I needed leading into Christmas AND the night before my glucose test. But, you want to know something amazing? Wednesday morning I woke up perfectly fine; ready to own that glucose test! It’s a reminder that God knows what He is doing all the time…even when we don’t think or believe it.
So it was time to drink that oh so delicious fruit punch sugar drink and go to my appointment. When Kev and I got there, it was the normal routine checkup. Annalise measured right on track (which was 27 weeks 6 days at the time) and then it was time to find the heartbeat. Nothing. The doctor moved the Sound Doppler all over my stomach for a good 3 minutes. She could not find the heartbeat anywhere. It should have been at this time that I would be worried or scared but honestly, I started laughing. Annalise has ALWAYS been one ornery girl. Every time we really need to hear or see her, she does her best at avoiding the doctor. After reminding the doctor about that, within the next couple seconds the doctor put the Doppler clear down on my left hip. The doctor had to position the Doppler at a weird angle and push pretty hard to finally get the heartbeat but there it was. The heartbeat of my funny, bratty girl! 🙂 It was no wonder I had been having random sharp pains in my lower left half for the past week before that appointment! She had found her perfect hiding spot! Man, I love her so much already!
After finishing up with my appointment, Kev and I were on our way back home to pack to head to my side of the family’s Christmas. We spent several days with them eating lots of food, opening presents, playing with my nieces and nephew, and going after Christmas shopping. It was a wonderful time filled with many, many blessings.
One small but significant blessing that happened was Kev and I winning a free photography session. A really good photographer from my hometown was having a contest on Facebook where people were supposed to nominate others who deserve some kind of photo shoot. They were supposed to think outside of the box to people with circumstances that needed to be placed on camera. Several people actually ended up nominating me and low and behold, on Christmas day, the winner was announced. We are SO grateful to be given the chance to do professional pictures! Hopefully all works out to get the session done with our sweet girl!
The other blessing came from my hometown hospital. Every Christmas, the staff at the hospital “sponsor” two people. The people are somehow related to somebody who works at the hospital (which would be my mother for those of you who don’t know). Kevin and I did not know about this until a couple weeks ago when my mom decided she better tell us what was going on. The staff at the hospital raised money to help us with our future expenses for when the time comes for Annalise to be born. We could not have been more grateful and blessed by such a gesture! Thank you SO much to all of you who contributed to that monetarily or through prayers! We are so thankful for you!
Along with that, thank you to everybody who has already contributed money on our GoFundMe page or through gift cards! You all are such a huge blessing to our life and we couldn’t be more grateful for each and every one of you!
Talking about our GoFundMe page – we have hit a little over $500 which means ANYBODY can find our page if you just search the website! This makes it so much easier to share with others! You can search by zipcode (66216), by the title (Hope for Baby Annalise), by the name, (Annalise), or by my sister’s name (Cierra) since she was the one who created it!
The only reason I decided to remind you all about this fundraiser is because reality is starting to sink in. I’m FINALLY in my 3rd trimester!!!! (About time, right? :P) Annalise is going to come soon- who knows, maybe even early- so we have to be prepared to pay for medical bills that aren’t covered, finances while I’m off work and the necessary items for her to live the best life possible. And IF the time comes (which we always still pray for a miracle, cause our God is able-but it’s not always in His plan, that she will make it), there will be funeral/memorial expenses. Because of this reality sinking in, I may have to keep advertising the site. So please don’t get frustrated with me.
Anyways, back to Christmas! The Sunday after Christmas we were getting ready for our Sunday school class. (For those of you who don’t know, Kev is the student ministry associate –aka youth pastor- for the middle school aged kids at our church). Before we split into aged based, gender based groups, we meet as one large group to get the time started. We asked the kids if they had a good Christmas and with that came the question of if they got the presents they wanted. Most kids answered yes and were happy with what they got but there were some that said no, their presents were not “good”. Upon hearing this, we realized that we have never actually told our students what was going on with our baby. What a perfect opportunity to tie in a small lesson! We told them how our baby has a brain disorder which means she won’t live long.
It’s a reminder to all that there are times in your life when you automatically expect that you are going to get a “good” gift. Like at Christmas, you expect to get good presents…things you want or asked for. But sometimes, you don’t. Sometimes, God gives you something else. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, or isn’t good. He is always good. He always knows what He is doing.
We didn’t expect for our first child to have a rare brain disorder that means she may not live long. We didn’t want this to happen. We didn’t ask for such a good, precious gift to come out this way. But I’m so grateful that it has turned out this way. God knew what He was doing when He chose Kev and I to be Annalise’s parents. He will carry us through it all, whatever happens.
So, remember, sometimes good gifts don’t work out the way we want, but they ALWAYS work out the way God wants. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good. They are always good. It just means that our perception of good isn’t the same as God’s perception of good.
I am SO excited for what this year is going to bring. I cannot WAIT until our first child is born. It will be one of the best days of our lives. And yes, I can say that even with our circumstance. It won’t be easy when that time comes, I know that full well, but because of our hope in Christ, I know that He will get us through. I know that He will take care of her more than we can. His plan is always perfect. God is so, so good.
With that said… for this next year, I pray that you all cherish your moments more than ever. I pray that you have a year filled with many blessings. I pray that you have an attitude of gratitude all year long. I pray that you remember that God is good ALL the time.
Have a wonderful New Year! We love you all!