October 15th…the day I will NEVER forget!

One year ago today…. Kevin and I were getting in the car, heading to my OB for our 2nd trimester screening. We were SO excited to find out whether we were having a boy or girl. We pulled up to the doctors office feeling so anxious… not knowing that just a little bit later, we would be sitting in that same car, crying, aching for an answer as to why something “bad” had to happen. We waited for a couple hours before we saw a specialist to further diagnose what was going on. Those were THE longest hours of my life. I just needed to know what was going on. I needed answers.

(I cannot even believe it has been an entire year since that day!)

A year ago, my world came crashing down on me. I will admit… I fell into a deep, dark pit that day.

BUT! When we had finally digested it all- we just laid in bed and prayed…. Giving it ALL up to God… oh how my world forever changed that night.

I’m just going to attach the very first blog post I ever put up, right now. (Read it and be amazed at how far we have come!)

https://babypragel.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/surprise-of-a-lifetime/

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

“Your girl has the most severe case of HPE. She will not make it.”

NEITHER of those are true to this day! 😛

HOW GOOD IS OUR GOD?!?!?!?

Okay…. now that I have gone down memory lane ;P

I know it has been awhile since I last blogged. I apologize for that… but life has been SO busy.

Because Annalise is getting more active and “developed”, I’m pushing therapies even harder now.

We have our weekly nurse, Infant Toddler therapist, CCVI therapist, Children’s OT, Children’s PT… (not including her random pediatrician, neurosurgeon, and neurology visits)… so you can imagine… it gets quite busy.

Because my brain is all over the place right now… I’m just going to copy and paste some of the major stuff I put on our Facebook page from the last month.

So here it goes:

On October 5th I wrote-

Every time this momma sees an “October is pregnancy, infant, and child loss awareness month” picture/status/etc…. My heart just bursts with all kinds of different emotions while my eyes are pouring.

(Last night at youth group, we talked to our kids about human life and abortion— along with some other things. And Annalise was laying right in the front of the room for all to see as proof. 😉 We are ALL unique and made in the image of God. How wonderful is that?!?)

Anyways… I have tears of joy knowing that our sweet Annalise Hope was “supposed to be” part of that awareness, 7.5 months ago, but is not. I have tears of joy that our God has sustained her life (one that we were told to abort because she wouldn’t be able to do anything) and will continue to do so until the day He calls her home.

I have tears of sadness and sorrow for those who have gone through that loss. Although I have not been in that exact situation and I truly do not know what exactly it feels like at the time, I do imagine (almost on a daily basis) what it would be like. I think about how different our lives would have been if we had been in that situation with Annalise.

So to all of you sweet momma’s and daddy’s out there that have been through that loss, I look up to you and respect you more than you can even imagine.

(I can promise you one thing though, you WILL see them and be with them again if you believe in the Lord and His promises.)

The only thing I can say is that we are so, so blessed by our always smiley, happy girl! 😉 (Who is now 14lbs 13.6 oz big! :))

On October 10th I posted this-

Dear Annalise Hope’s fan club ;),

This momma put together 11 “short” (some just a few seconds, some a couple minutes long) clips and combined them for one big movie. Now this should cover all your video needs for awhile ;P

Clip1-I was sitting beside Annalise and she would look over at me, smile, and then snap back to center. She was doing this for several minutes and it was too cute!

Clip2-This was a Sunday morning, right after we got to church. Daddy was setting up and getting ready for Sunday School, so momma and Annalise were playing.

Clip3-Shows her trying to “lift” her head to the side =)

Clip4-Annalise just being her normal, silly self.

Clip5-Trying to lift her head (I shared this as a picture in a previous post but decided to throw the video in so you could really tell!)

Clip6-This clip was too funny not to share! She hardly EVER “whines”. And by hardly ever, I mean, like… Never. So hearing her “whine” and “be sad” when daddy was gonna get up and leave was sooooo cute!

Clip7-Again, her just being her normal, silly, smiley self =)

Clip8-Talking and playing with one of her new favorite toys… Minnie Mouse!

Clip9-Every time we walk into our OT/PT office, this is what she does. She gets SO excited to be there and it’s oh so cute!

Clip10-I stopped reading so you could hear the smacking noises she was doing ;p And I loved how she was bringing her feet up to the book!

Clip11-Last night, she was really into her zebra… Which still remains her most favorite toy 😉

We are working on grasping things– which is why in the video from church when she actually grabs one of the toys and brings it to her mouth I was saying good job. She NEVER does that!— She will grab at toys –like you can see in the last one when she’s playing with her zebra— but she will not hold on to things. She just hasn’t figured out that she can do that yet. =)

She continues to use her voice daily and we try to encourage that as much as possible!

We are working on arm strength— she is just now figuring out that she can tuck her arms under her and push. We (PT and us) have noticed she is “stronger” on one side so we are trying to work on keeping that more balanced.

She has still not figured out how to roll from belly to back… So we are trying to help her with that too. 😉

Her vision has slightly improved over the last several weeks!!!! She will track things at times now and is getting faster at looking! (We go see the eye dr next month so hopefully we will have a little bit of a more definitive answer to how well she can see.)

The new and exciting thing is that after visiting her OT this last week, we decided to try new bottles/level flows of nipples. (Due to the fact that her ability to suck and swallow isn’t like a normal babe. She does have a harder time processing. Also we are trying to figure out why she makes so much noise when she eats. (Strider, loud sucking noises, etc.) The OT is thinking that her tongue isn’t doing the right motions that it should be doing. But since she is still getting adequate amounts/calories and is still gaining weight, it’s not a major concern yet.)

She has been eating SO much better though. (A 4 oz bottle would take her about 30 minutes (minimum) to eat, with lots of breaks. These new bottles, she will eat 4 oz in about 10 minutes!) She has even been eating more in a day (total) than before.

Spoon feeding is still going on! We do it just once a day, trying to get that oral stimulation going. She is doing slightly better. It’s still a very slow process and it takes 20-30 minutes just to get 10 tiny little scoops down her. But. We’re trying 😉

We are so thankful for all of the love and support we get from y’all!

(Here is the attachment to that video I was describing!)

https://www.facebook.com/1543499849231425/videos/1629360787311997/

On October 13th I posted-

Our home health nurse came today for Annalise’s weekly visit…

Because we changed her bottles this last week… She has been eating SO much better!!! Let me prove it….

Last week at her visit, she weighed 14lbs, 8oz.

Today, she weighed 15lbs, 6oz!

Almost an entire pound weight gain in one week! YAY!!!

Maybe our (almost) 8-month-old girl will start outgrowing her size 3 month clothes now! (One can hope, right? ;))

This Saturday, the 17th, Little Miss Annalise turns 8 months old!

She has changed SO much in just 8 months.

I am SO incredibly blessed and thankful that I get to spend this time with her at home. I would not want it any other way.

Because I don’t have much time left to hurry and post this… if there is something I missed talking about, ask away!

Oh! Just for the record… this last weekend we found out someone was stealing our pictures and using them as their own. So if you ever see anyone using them, let us know. ALSO, because of this… we have started to watermark OUR photos with the phrase “Devoted to God”. (Devoted to God is what Annalise means ;))

But because I don’t have much time left and need to get back to Annalise… most of the pictures posted today with this blog… won’t have the watermark (this will be the last time though ;)) and will be the collages I use on Facebook.

(Maybe I should start updating the blog more often so it would be easier ;P)

Anyways…  here’s your giant Annalise picture fix- (UPDATED…. deleting photos that don’t have our new watermark so people will stop using our photos inappropriately)

 

Thank you for all the continued support and prayers for our journey with sweet Annalise.

I hope that y’all have a great weekend!  (This momma gets to spend her birthday, celebrating Annalise’s 8 month birthday! SO excited I get to share the same number with my mini me!)

May the Lord bless you, keep you, and give you peace!

And always remember… to anchor your hope to the One who has already scripted the PERFECT ending!

http://www.gofundme.com/hopeforannalise