Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Remeberance Of...

Hi, hope all is well with ya'll. We're good. Glad to be home and trying to get back into a routine. We're just trying to keep Selah healthy and enjoy this time with her. She's good, growing and becoming more curious everyday. We do appreciate your continued prayers and support...thank you!
This post has been on my heart for a little while now. I've debated on sharing it and thought of a lot of different reasons and excuses not to. But, God has persistently been leading me to share it. Again, He reminds me it's not my understanding of it that matters really...more obedience to Him in faith and trust. So, here we go :)...
I've shared in previous post about some of our story and the hurts in it...they will always be a part of me...thankfully there is also God's healing and grace...for all of it. As time has gone by, I've met people and made friends that have some part of their story that makes them able to relate to mine. It's amazing how God works and brings others alongside you...little do we know what He is up to. In sharing this I do not intend anything but to share that along the way I've encountered so many different people and situations...specific to the longing to be a family, to have that heart's be a mom. Although this is more specific to children and family, it's still relative to having desires and what seem to be unanswered prayers and questions...I hope :).
I just wanted to share a few stories...briefly and in confidence...
I have an amazing friend who longs to be a mom and yet time and again only faces the disappointment of that heart's desire being unfufilled...the "why" still lingers. Another friend, who for so long didn't believe that her prayers would ever be answered, celebrates her precious miracle. I have another friend that has experienced the heartache of miscarriages and loss and yet now has a beautiful family...her heart's desire...but still the sting of the past hurts remains. I have a precious friend that has experienced the hurt of miscarriage and yet is now trying so hard to not let the past hurt, fear, and uncertainty consume and steal the joy of this pregnancy. There's another sweet friend who in faith walks and trust in God's providence...not in her own understanding. There's some precious friends who seem to only know blessings in their story...thankfully not the heartbreak and loss. And yet there are some friends who still feel like the past hurts are too raw and too try go back to the pain...if it happens again.
 In all of these stories I know and claim that God is there. I know in my story He is here. At times I question and at times I wonder but I know He is here. So, with this I share and pray that you or someone you can share this with will be blessed, encouraged, and reassured that God hears...God His timing and in His ways...this is in rememberance of my story, of my precious friends' stories, of your story...
God led me in writing this...little did I know as a way of healing...
"Prayer From The Heart"...2009
God, thank you that you are a Heavenly Father who cares for us. Thank you that you are a God of hope and healing and a God of comfort and peace. I thank you for your grace and for the blessing of knowing you.
Lord, you are creator of all and everything comes from your hands. Father, I come before you knowing that you care for me. I approach you knowing that your love for me guarantees that your plan and purpose for me are for good.
Father, I also come before you broken, hurting, disappointed, and empty. God, you are the giver of life and joy but it is too hard to see right now. The emotions, hurt, anger, sadness, and questions are consuming me. God, the desire to be a mom and my shattered dreams are so real. God, I don't understand how this can be, God I can't do this.
I know you, I serve you, and I love you. I am capable and willing to be a loving mom. Spencer would be an amazing father. We are willing to provide a loving home for a child. I have a desire to be a mom. So, God how can this be? God, these questions and so many more resonate in my heart and mind.
God, if I am unable to have a child then will this desire and longing ever go away? God, will I always have a sting in my heart and just want to cry when I hear of someone finding out their pregnant or talking about hearing a heartbeat at their ultrasound? Will this feeling of the walls closing in on me when I am surrounded by moms-to-be and new moms ever stop? Will passing the ultrasound room where the hurt originated ever be less painful? Will I always dread going to my doctor's office because of the abundance of pregnant ladies or new moms? God, will I ever want to hold a baby again? God, will this always hurt so much?
God, I know it isn't anyone's fault but it's not my fault for feeling this way. I don't know how to go back to how I was before...the miscarriages. I don't know how to deal with this. I don't know how to let you heal me. Please help me...

"God's Response"...He spoke to me...
My child, this is part of healing. You have to acknowledge your feelings, your pain, your questions. I know you are hurting. I know you don't understand, but I do. I understand what it is to lose a child. My one and only son was given to death...but not eternally. He lives again, and this was done for you and for your child. Your child is not lost, for you will see them again, hear their heartbeat again, hold them...not in your time but in mine. It is okay to feel the sadness, anger, hurt, and disappointment. It is okay to feel a longing for a child. It is okay to have questions. Be gentle with yourself and let me heal you. I have never left you and I never will. I love you, I delight in you, and call you by name. My plans for you are for good and hope. Even though you don't understand, rest in my grace. As you rest in me, your child and desires rest with me. Yet again, you will meet and what a joyous and tender moment it will be. For now, my love, which surpasses all understanding, will hold you and carry you through...Love, God
God's promises in His word...He led me to...
"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown." Isaiah 43:2
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
"The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trust in Him and I am helped." Psalm 28:7
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15

Much love to you...I pray you know God's hand over you, holding you, reaching out to you...He is there...:)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Up To Date

I've meant to get on and update you but I've not done so well..sorry! We've had some busy past few weeks. Selah's reflux continued to get worse despite all the measures we were taking. So, we all decided that it was best to proceed with stomach surgery for try to help the reflux. It was something Spencer and I were hesitant about proceeding with...initially...but it just seemed to be more confirmation each day that it was the best thing to do. So, she had the Nissen Fundoplication...probably misspelled...done last Friday, Nov. 4th. The surgery went well and we are back home now and we are thankful for that. She is still fussy and not herself really...don't know if she's still sore or tired...unsure. We pray she'll continue to be healed and feel better. We had to come home on a different feeding method than what we're used to. We're gradually increasing the amount of her feeds as well as trying to get her back to how she "used" to feed...hard to explain what's different. We pray she'll continue to tolerate it all and that we'll be able to transition her before too long. So, that's where we're at. We are all tired but SO thankful to be home!
Selah is a tough girl and she definitely gets her "spunk" honestly...unfortunately it's from me :). She seems to be hanging in there and we are not living in continuous streams of projectile vomit...yeah! That is a blessing! We just want her to feel better and smile and be the happy girl she typically is...gets the gentle and laid back nature from daddy. As I type that it reminds me of something God has been teaching me today and here lately...hope I can make it "flow" together...
Today at church the message was base on James 4:13-16. Our pastor discussed how our life and time is not really ours to manage or short life is. I came home and read over the scripture again. As I read it and prayed, God spoke to me as I journaled. He spoke that things that come into my life, through the different seasons, do not need to be feared or dreaded. He spoke that often I fight things that I don't like or things out of my routine or agenda and that I freak out in the face of uncertainty. I thought about this and prayed and just begged God to help me. I don't want to fight any longer. I don't want to leave the legacy for Selah as a woman who is grumpy and discontent when things are hard, uncertain, or not going according to my ways. I want to be a woman who may not like it all or understand it all but yet praises God, trust God, thanks God, and rest in ALL of it. He spoke that it's in these times...when things are hard, I'm tired, it's not ideal...that is when it counts, that's when it I react and what I do with my time.
Now that she's had the surgery and we're back home it seems that although I'm thankful she's not vomiting, I'm not content with not feeding her like "normal" or because I'm so tired or she's not herself. I heard today's message and read on my own and God just reminded me that He has got it. He spoke not to dread it or view it as something else that's not right but to thank Him instead. When I thank Him then He becomes the focus...His power is invited in...I'm reminded that although this is so unnatural and hard for me, He knows that and yet when I am intentional about doing it...He is able to do more than I can fathom....
Now, I began to think of another teaching "lesson" that happened just before her surgery. The vomiting began to interfere with her sleeping at night and in the day. This one day she was so tired and so fussy. I put her down for a nap and she just kept fighting it. She cried and fussed and vomited and was so upset. I wiped the vomit away and suctioned her and tried to clean her up. I tried to calm her and tell her it was ok...with little success. I sat down beside the bed and just let her lay there. I silently prayed and spoke to her..."Selah, quit fighting it, fighting me. Just close your eyes and rest. You need it baby and I'm hear and I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to protect you and I love you. Please just rest." As I sat there with tears streaming down my face, God spoke, "Blair, quit fighting it, fighting me. I AM...I am not going anywhere. I am here to protect you and her. Blair, rest in me, let go and just rest." I just sat there and tried to just let these words, this truth just penetrate through everything else.
On another note, we were supposed to go to Arkansas for a consult about her jaw surgery the week she had the stomach surgery. That trip was postponed until we hopefully get all this settled. We will meet with the new doctor joining the team at UMC in December discuss the jaw surgery. We may also reschedule the consult at Arkansas. I figure nothing in regards to the surgery will be pursued until after the holidays. We hope to enjoy being home over the holiday season.
We cannot tell you how much your prayers and support mean...thank you so much more than you know! Much love!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More pictures... :)

Here lately I've been reminded and humbled while remembering how blessed we truly are and how amazing this journey has been. I was looking back at some pictures during my pregnancy and it just God's hand doesn't ever let go...ever. I thought I'd just share a few pictures. :)

Debated on posting this but...what the heck...Selah's in that big tummy!

I didn't want this to be "too much" but it was such a personal and   tender moment...thinking of our hopes and dreams...trying to not let the uncertainty consume us...trying to enjoy this sweet experience.

One of the first pictures taken of Selah...oh how God has protected this sweet girl!

 Another one of the first pictures of Selah...she looks so fragile...she is far from it though!

First time she got to wear clothes...she wasn't a fan of getting them on...or off :)

One of first family the UMC NICU

First days after we arrived home...she's probably just as unsure of what's going on as we were

Few months old and much more alert

Five months old and actually beginning to "tolerate" her hearing aid...I got a smile

Six months old...she's a big girl now...and yes, she's naked!!

Family picture...thankful for these moments

Thank you for your love and continued support and prayers! Much love to you!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Special Moment

On Sunday, September 18th we were able to celebrate Selah's baby dedication at our church here in Hattiesburg. It was a special day...a longed for and prayed for moment. For a long while now I've sat in the audience and watched the family on stage while they celebrated their baby dedication. I would be thankful for their celebration but at the same time my heart would break for the two miscarriages we've had and the shattered dreams and hopes that came along with those experiences. My heart would ache for the family and baby we've wanted and I would sit there, fighting back tears, silently asking God if we would ever be "the family on the stage"...having that moment...that celebration. Well, we were blessed to share that moment and we are truly thankful and humbled. Now, I have to give you a little recap of the morning of. We fed Selah very early hoping that all the vomit she does would come up and be done with before the service...due to her reflux. We took her in nothing but her diaper so she didn't soak her clothes if she spit we had our "fashion show" in the car when we got there...trying to decide what to wear. We brought her headband/bow but forgot her shoes. She managed to get hold of her headband though and unraveled some of it...under her daddy's watch :). We made it though...on time! It was a special moment seeing Jeff...our pastor...hold her and pray over her too. He came to see her when she was in the UMC NICU and he prayed over her...they also have the same he says they have a special bond. She did so vomit. The verse we've claimed over her and the one she and I read daily now was the verse read. We stood there and I tried to take it all in instead of trying to have it all "together" take in the just be in awe of the grace that's gotten us here.
On that note, I was in the car shortly after her dedication and a song that is such a blessing came on K-LOVE. It's by David Crowder..."Oh How He Loves"...I think. There's a line or two that really sticks out and resonates in my mind quite often..."Oh how He loves...and all of the sudden I am aware of all the afflictions eclipsed by glory...oh how He loves"... There's been several times where God has spoken through these words but on this day He spoke specific to Selah and the dedication and being able to celebrate that moment. From the beginning of the pregnancy it was uncertain how things would least to us it was...not Him. At delivery it was uncertain as to how it will all work out. Now as we face daily things and as I look into the future...surgeries, her health and development, how it will all work seems uncertain. But, when I stop and think and listen to Him I am reminded that none of it is uncertain to Him. He reminded me of the many "afflictions eclipsed by glory" that have occured and still are...things that could've happened but haven't, blessings all around us. All of the sudden my awareness of them was awakened...wake up Blair. For example, her reflux has been really bad...or so it seems. Despite it though she isn't aspirating and she hasn't gotten pneumonia...she's staying healthy, gaining weight, and she's at home instead of having to be in the affliction eclipsed by His glory and goodness, His grace... I hope this makes sense????
So, all that to say, we are so thankful for where we are at right now in all of it. Yes, my faith and hope fade at times and my strength definitely does. But again, God reminds me to rest in Him, to "cease striving," and to be thankful by faith and trust...He has got it...
A verse I read the other day really stuck out, specific to this topic. I'm going to share how He spoke to me and I hope it makes sense...
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights" Habakkuk 3:17-19
....though circumstances are uncertain and how things will work out are unseen...God provides...though things aren't going according to "my" plans or all as I would have it...God calls me to be thankful in faith and trust and joy and peace then reside in me...we will not be consumed or overwhelmed in any of it and we will not be defeated...He is holding us and His hand is on us....He calls us to enjoy the sweet moments along the way....:)

Much Love to you!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Arrival Delayed

Odd title...I know...I will attempt to explain...
I have come to realize...yet again...that life isn't fair, that I will not ever "arrive" at a place in my life where it's all figured out, where I can fix it all, where I can rest and be comfortable and it all be just as I've planned or like, or where I will ever naturally be thankful in ALL things. It's as if this is news to me...imagine realize that I haven't arrived at "letting go" and surrendering my ways to our Heavenly Father. With each season of life in this story and in this journey God is weaving together, I am learning that it is an ongoing series of "lessons" and growing experiences and opportunities to trust God and obey in faith...each step of the way...moment by moment. "One day" it will make sense, there will be an answer to the unanswered questions, it will all fit day...
I found myself at a place of finally surrendering and letting go and experiencing peace, grace,  and restoration during Spencer's deployment and during our pregnancy and the arrival of Selah. I guess I thought I had "let go" so that was took care of all the other seasons in life...yeah right. My eyes have been opened yet again...
Selah is doing well...such an answered prayer! She is staying healthy but is having trouble with reflux...for a while now. It seems to be getting worse with each day. She is vomiting daily at least one but usually all of her feeds up. We are trying meds, adding rice to the milk, keeping her upright...all we know to do...with the help of a compassionate pediatrician. Despite all these remedies, they are unsuccessful. We have concerns because of her trach and keeping the vomit out of her lungs so that she doesn't aspirate or get pneumonia. It is scary for her and myself. She is staying healthy thus far aspiration or pneumonia...thankfully. However, thoughts and feeling like I am doing everything I can and yet it is a failure...I am a failure... consume my mind and I can't help but feel defeated, overwhelmed, helpless....
There are opportunitites available now for Selah to be taken care of and to give me some in our special needs nursery at our church and one in a Mother's Day Out program for special needs children at a local church. Both of these opportunities involve qualified and loving servants. Despite this though, I am still not "able" to leave her. My mind whirls with all these scenarios of what could go wrong and I have not found the ability or peace to "let go" and try...
Now, in both of these circumstances God has been speaking to me. He is teaching me that yet again my arrival to having it fixed or figured out or wanting to be thankful when I don't like things is...delayed. I don't have it all together and I can NOT keep it all together...I am not strong enough too. He is teaching me that I am to call out to Him, to trust Him, to thank Him if it is all going well or even if it isn' rely on His strength. He is teaching me that yet again, I am to "cease striving" and I am to surrender...let go...and rest in knowing He has got it! I came across the verse in Psalms again the other day..."Selah's verse" :). I read it to her daily and it's just become familiar I guess. But, one day some of the words jumped out at me and got my attention..."He knit me together in my mother's womb"...God used these words to remind me that just as He reassured me that He formed all of her in the womb, He formed all of her now...He is aware of the reflux, of her body, of all of it. Now, I may not understand it or like it but that doesn't change that He is aware...He made her....
I am learning that this is now a new season in our story...a new part of our journey. God is teaching me that no matter what season I am in or what one I am coming out of or going into, there is always going to be an "arrival" of sorts, a growing experience, a refining processing...getting rid of what God sees needs to go and strengthing what He sees needs to stay. Now, it is up to me whether or not I go along with His ways and yield...let go of my ways...surrender and trust....OR...fight it, complain and worry about and strive to fix it and in the end up feeling overwhelmed, defeated, helpless....
This is something that I am learning and thankful that God is willing to help me grow in. I pray and hope that it makes sense to you and that it is His words that resonate. There is a verse in scripture that is one of my favorites. It is one that I claim in the things that just don't make sense, in the things that leave me asking "why," in the unanswered day though it will be known...if we know Him...  
"Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully..." I Corinthians 13:12

We do appreciate your support and love so much more than you know...thank you!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Everyone Has A Story

I recently had a less than pleasant encounter...due to me...with a Walgreens employee and there was a lessoned to be learned from it. God has been impressing on me to share what He is trying to teach me through it.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, I haven't been venturing out too much, and definitely not solo. A little bit ago though I left Selah and Spencer home napping while I decided I'd "hurry" to Walgreens to try to print some of the pictures we got taken. So, I am on a "mission" and intending to get to Walgreens and to be uninterrupted so I can decide which pictures and sizes I want to print...and then to get home with my mission accomplished. I make it there ready and armed with my memory card, flashdrive, and CD. I hurriedly walk to the back of the store to the picture kiosk. I start but quickly realize that the kiosk will not accept my flash drive...first "hitch" in my plan. I then try my memory card and it will not stay in the slot...I checked to make sure it was the correct one...second hitch in my plan. My frustration is starting to time is being wasted I think to myself. I quickly move over to the other kiosk...before anyone decides to get on it. I see it also won't accept my USB but it will take and hold my memory card and CD...not a complete success but it will have to do. So, I get my pictures loaded and prep to pick out the sizes and pictures I want...all while I am glancing at my clock repeatedly to see how I'm doing on time. I begin looking at my pictures and have a sense of relief, since my mission is becoming a success...or so I think. A Walgreens employee, who works in the picture department, walks by and I ask her a question about packages and sizes. She looks up at the kiosk and my pictures and immediately says that I cannot print my pictures. SAY here's where I am ashamed to say that I was less than considerate. She proceeds to calmly explain that the pictures appear professional and that they have to have a copyright statement in hand from the person that took them saying they "release" the pictures to me to print. ....ok, stay with me :)
Now I have to make a reference to a term that we commonly use and more often than not applies to me...NASTY...My first year in the school system I was assigned to the cafeteria for morning breakfast duty...with junior high age to add to that. Now this early in the morning the kiddos are not pleasant to begin with. Add to that...they were expected to come in silently and remain silent while eating quickly and getting to class...yeah right! So, every morning the same group would give me trouble and one day I told a "repeat offender" to sit down and keep her mouth shut or to throw her breakfast away and to head to class. She proceeded to stand up, place her hand on her hip, and to cock her head to the side in a sassy way, and she exclaimes...with attitude..."you're so nasty." Now, I was not dirty, stinky, etc. so I don't believe she meant nasty like that :). She meant I was rude and putting a cramp in her style, so to speak. Well, I came home and told Spencer that and my family and the term has stuck. So, as I mentioned earlier, I'm often told by Spencer or my family to "stop being nasty." Ok, now back to the Walgreens story...
So, Walgreens gal...I know her name but will keep it confidential...proceeds to explain the copyright information. I don't even let her finish before I began rudely interuppting her by exclaiming that these pictures were taken in my home, on my "freaking"...yes I said that...couch. I continued to loudly exclaim that I don't ever get out and that I actually have time and they won't help me or let me print my pictures...all I want to do is print my pictures I exclaim. Wow, drama put it politely. Now Walgreens gal manages to remain calm and professional throught my rant...that is amazing! She lets me get it out and then says that I can pick the pictures out and print them and that they could hold them until I brought the copyright statement...get this...she then offers to help me pick out sizes and a package. I calm a little but am still extremely agitated. She helps me look at the pictures but the kiosk begans freezing and we have to "retry" loading the pictures three times...what hitch is this in my plan/mission...lost count. While we are waiting on the pictures to load she begins to ask about Selah and what all is going on with her. She then tells me about her son and some special needs and complications he has had. Now, despite having her identify some with me and having her willing to share her story, I am still wrapped up in what I want to do and only what I want to do and that is my mission. The kiosk continues to freeze and another customer comes up to the counter so she goes to assist them. I decide to just hang it up for the day and to leave...thinking to myself about all the wasted time I spent there. I do offer her a brief apology and thank you for her help but then I rush off...I don't have any more time to waste I think to myself. As I walk out I pass the manager and stop him to let him know that despite my rude behavior his Walgreens gal remained polite and professional. He looked at me a bit shocked and just responded "ok, cool." With my time at Walgreens being more than exceeded I hurriedly head out the door and jump into my for the lesson...
I get into my vehicle and start it up. My radio was turned up and tuned to K-Love...a Christian radio station. The guy was finishing up what he was saying but the last bit of his words spoke SO loudly and stuck out...he said that everyone has some sort of trial and story and you never know what they may be going through so..."be kind to everyone you meet"...OUCH...WOW!!! God spoke and boy did I feel awful, filthy...who did I think I was and how do I think I have the right to act in the way I did. I asked God to forgive me and only by HIS grace did He continue to's not my time, my mission, my purpose that is important. What if the whole purpose in me going into Walgreens that day was to meet Walgreens invest time in her and her story and to share mine with share the hope and peace I have and why I have it. What if this was a "divine appointment" that I missed out and totally blew just because I wasn't aware...available...approachable....
Ok, so I hope and pray that the lesson I learned and am still learning makes sense???? I hate to even share this because I can be so imperfect. Thankfully God does teach and in His grace does try to refine us along the way, through each of these experiences...oh how I need it...

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer" Psalm 19:14

Sunday, August 14, 2011


So, just thought I'd fill you in on how we are and what we've been up to. We are good...tired but good :). Selah is staying healthy and you can see in the pictures. We weigh in at the doctor this next week but her last weigh in she was 10lbs, 12 oz. She's been having some reflux (spit up) over the past few weeks so we're trying to adjust her feeds to see if we can decrease that. I know babies spit up but I get scared because I don't want it going down her trach (airway, lungs, etc). Other than that she's good. She is a fun baby..silly like her daddy and tempermental like her mommy...can I get an Amen from those of you who truly know me :). We are in the process of trying to figure out where we might meet with Craniofacial Teams for her surgery. We are looking at Dallas, Arkansas, and Birmingham. We're just praying doors open and close where they need to and that we just see God's hand leading us in His direction.
So...according to the title of this blog I promised some information on our recent adventures. Let me start by saying that we require an additional amount of "stuff" when we venture bags I believe...her diaper bag, emergency kit bag, suction equipment bag, monitor (heart rate, oxygen), feeding pump, milk bag, and my bag with pumping her car seat and stroller. So, those are our "routine" items for when we decide to take an adventure out. Now onto the adventures...
When Spencer is home we now try to get errands done. I will ride in the back with her in order to keep eyes and hands on her...readily available to act...keep her from pulling on her trach, in case she spits up and needs to be suctioned, etc. So we tag-team it when he's home. We haven't had Selah out in the public, except for a doctor's appointment, until here recently. We talked to our pediatrician though and he recommended going ahead and starting to get out with her. Her first public outing was to the chinese mom and dad could get some sushi...thankfully that was a smooth time. Since that went well we decided to give church a try. We have missed being there and were ready to go as a family. We got ready and had her in her "Sunday best" and loaded in the car when the spit up began. She soaked her dress and required and unexpected and rushed wardrobe addition to the fact that we were concerned about her being a bit of a tiring and eventful start. Then we were on the way to church when I realized I didn't have her matching head band or the newly changed which daddy said "it will be okay" but mommy knew how crucial it was to making the outfit, lol. We made it though and what a blessing it answered bring her to come as a family with the precious baby we prayed for. So, those have been our two adventures with the three of us. Now...just the two of us...
 Spencer is balancing a lot between the firehall, military, and tile work and he is having to be gone a lot. For the most part Selah and I have been hanging out at the house. We have some visitors and her therapists that come into the home but mostly it's the the "boys" aka dogs. All that to say...Selah and I haven't ventured out on our own yet. I have been concerned about it because I am not in the back seat with eyes and hands on her. But, Spencer is having to be gone so much here lately and will continue to be over the next few I recently decided to give it a try. My brave and confident spirit stems from six consecutive days without leaving the house or without having any visitiors. I prayed about it and gave myself a pep talk and to my suprise a newfound peace and confidence filled me...I also was stir crazy. :) So, Selah and I set out...not too far the closest McAlister's...about 10 miles away. We made it there and back safely...thankfully. To my suprise, the only mishap is that when loading her carseat...less than gracefully...I pulled her tubing to the feeding pump under the car seat...therefore the tubing became disconnected from her g tube extension...what that all means is the milk no longer went into her g tube and into her stomach but instead through the tube and into the bottom of the car seat and onto my seats. Not only did I not give sweet Selah her feed but I also drenched Phoebe (my 4runner) with what Spencer lovingly refers to as "hooter milk"...hope that's not too crude...:). I have to say though that other than that it was a nice outing and it was a taste of we'll see what's next. :)
Now this is just too funny that I have to share...funny now that I am looking back. A few weeks ago Spencer was gone to Jackson for a week. His mom (Donna) came down for two nights to stay...thankfully. We had a nice visit and it was uneventful. On the morning that she was going to head home though...oh me! I was getting Selah started with her seven a.m. feed when a loud bang on the front door scared me. At the same time, literally, she began projectile vomitting...streams of repeated vomit...coming out of her nose. So, I am hearing the door and at the same time trying to stop her feeding pump and running across the house to her room to get the suction equipment. I, needless to say, was terrified at the amount of vomit that was coming out and was trying to keep it from going down her trach. I must also add that the dogs are going crazy because of the knock at the door...which I still hadn't answered. I yelled for Donna and she went to the was the pest man...he was going to spray outside. Now, our security system was still in alarm mode from the night before so it goes off...extremely loud. But, I am oblivious to it as I am tending to Selah..who is continuing to vomit. His mom gets the pest man taken care of and comes to assist took two of us. For about and hour and half Selah vomitted...projectile and streams of it coming out of her was traumatizing for all of us...she cried and I cried but Donna was calm...thankfully. In the middle of this we hear another loud knock on the door and this time it was the sheriff. In the midst of caring for Selah I ignored my ringing phone...which was the security people from when the alarm went off. Since I didn't answer they sent out the law enforcement. So, Donna, standing in her bath robe with her bed head...but still beautiful...had to explain in a hurry so she could get back to helping me. I also need to add that the dogs, who haven't been let outside yet, are still going crazy because of another knock at the door. Donna got that taken care of and rushed back to help me. A few hours later the vomitting had calmed down along with our nerves. I talked to the doctor and we got a "plan" in motion. Selah recovered, as did I, and we survivedour first "tummy bug."
Well...not sure if that's as entertaining to you as it has been for us...:). I just wanted to share a little of what we've been up to here lately. During these recent adventures and in our moments throughout our days at home, God has reminded me to myself, at the circumstances, at each other, and to not be so serious and intense...oh, I can get wound tight too. God's protected us along the way and I do have to say it's good to laugh and see that in all of it there are blessings....thank you for your prayers and support!
Much Love!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Pics...:)

We had a sweet friend come over and take some pictures...what fun it was!! Just wanted to share a few...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Change In Plans

We've been doing good...Selah is getting bigger and staying healthy. It is time for me to post some more pics...if I can remember how. :) So, there's been a big change in plans. We had her first phase of the jaw distraction surgery scheduled for this coming Monday, July 25. The surgery has been cancelled though. We got a call from a nurse at the surgery clinic and she informed us that one of the doctors involved in the surgery is no longer employed at UMC. This doctor would have performed the surgery with one other doctor, who is still at UMC. Without them working together though the surgery isn't possible. The clinic is hoping to have another specialist join them in the fall but they aren't certain. So we are not sure what we will do from here. We are going to look at other locations with Craniofacial Surgery teams and just see what we find. We're praying for doors to open and close where they need to and for us to know God's leading in what to do.
 I do have to admit that when we found out the surgery was cancelled I was relieved...for many reasons. I know that the sooner we begin the surgical process that the sooner we will move towards hopefully opening up her airway and eventually hoping to remove the trach. But...I just hate the thought of having her go through more hospital stays and the pain and risks involved. We've had good experiences with UMC and the doctors we've seen but I wasn't sure about proceeding with the surgery there. The craniofacial "team" involved in this surgery is small and hasn't performed a jaw distraction on a severe a case of Micrognathia as Selah has or on a child as young as her. I know they are competent and knowledgeable doctors but I do want them to have more experience with this procedure under their belt...specific to the severity of her case and her young age. I had been wanting to seek second opinions. I just had been praying about a peace about proceeding with the surgery and I haven't had it. I've dreaded it and the upcoming surgery date has been "looming" over me. I've just not had a good feeling...deep in the pit of my stomach. I didnt know if it was a true lack of peace or just fear of the surgery and all it entails for Selah. So, I've had faithful prayer warriors praying on our behalf too and it does seem that this door has least I believe it has. So, we are just praying and asking for God to lead us in His way. For now we are enjoying having Selah home and all the sweet moments with her. We value your prayers and support so much....thank you! Much love!!!
"And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone that comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6... After we found out about the surgery cancellation I tried to take some time with God. I prayed and asked him to let us see his hand at work and where he is leading. He led me to this verse and spoke to me that if we keep truly seeking him in faith and trying to obey and trust (earnestly) that he will take care of it all...he is faithful!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Say Cheese!!!

Daddy's Girl!

This is the life!

Selah in her Fourth of July outfit

First family picture since coming home...minus the 'boys" (Stud and BB)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Daily Armor...Brighter Days

"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occassions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Ephesians 6: 10-18
This is such a powerful and practical section of scripture. It's the "Armor of God" and here lately I try to pray it over myself, Spencer, our marriage, friends, family, etc. daily. I pray it out loud, claim it out loud, and visualize it over who or what I am praying for. I've read and prayed through asking God to speak, and he has shown me the power and need for it...especially in these past few weeks.
We have been home a few weeks now...yea! As I mentioned in an earlier post, it has gotten better :). We are tired but as I understand...welcome to parenthood :). We have gotten more of a routine and that helps. Selah seems to be adjusting well and it is truly a blessing to have her here at home! There are still moments though that I wish for us to be able to get out of the house together or to be able to go and do how we used to. There are moments where I wish things were "easier" for Selah now and in the future. This is not a complaint by any means...just human nature I think...but I am truly thankful for this experience. It has been adjustment though. Due to hormones, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and more, the first week or so was pretty rough. Things have gotten a little more settled and less "intense" too...emotionally that is. My "bestie," Jill, has been fabulous at talking me through some of the emotions and feelings and has really helped in reminding me that I am "normal"...thank you friend, love you! I know that we have been covered in prayer also and we can truly say thank you and that it makes a difference. The calls, texts, meals, visits also show your support and have been a blessing...thank you!
Despite the abudance of love and support though, darkness has tried to take over, and I am sure as we journey on, will try again. What I mean by darkness is feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, anxiety, selfishness, jealousy, sadness...despair. Now these feelings may all be justified and normal but none of them are of our Heavenly Father...especially when they're prolonged and consistent. They have been battling for my mind, heart, and spirit though...and it's a fierce battle. I can only say I have been less than pleasant to live with...just ask Spencer :). Anyway, as I have try to "deal" with all these feelings and "darkness," I continue to fail...trying to win this battle on my own is just not working. As I've taken time to seek God and listen and look for him, he has yet again led me away from "my ways and thinking" to his. He has been teaching me the importance of this "battle" and clothing myself or equipping myself with his armor, his truth, his power, his strength...making my thoughts "captive to him." He has taught me that although these feelings are normal, they are not healthy and not of him. He has led me to daily, throughout the day, pray and claim his armor over myself, my mind, my entire being. My thoughts, behavior, reactions, desires become transformed and as I have responded to his leading, a lightness has began to fill me and his joy and hope and peace have begun to fill me again...leading to brighter days. This "battle" is something he is using to teach me that I cannot combat the feelings, the circumstances, or anything else solo...only in his power and strength...suited up in his mighty armor.
Now praying the armor and visualizing during prayer may seem like a strange concept but there is power in it. Praying it out loud and claiming it out loud has power that Satan cannot defeat. It is something that I often forget, but God has been reminding me, that the treasures in my life are "worth" mind, my spirit, my marriage, my family, my friends. As this has been occurring, the tension has lessened between Spencer and I, there is true joy in looking into Selah's beautiful eyes as I care for her, there is hope where things seemed so hopless, there is joy where there is sadness, there is an awareness again of the amazing blessings and support surrounding us....his Spirit is working on transforming the "dark" into "light" in me...only by me yielding to him.
...On another note...:)
Selah's jaw distraction surgery is set for July 25th. Anxious, worried, sad...are only a few of the emotions battling for my mind and thoughts when I think of this surgery and the ones to come. She is home, settled, growing, doing "good" with her why "mess" with this...going through my mind. The thought of her being in the hospital and hurting breaks my heart. But it is recommended to proceed with the procedure in hopes that it will open up her airway. So it is something I am truly trying to give to God...don't even know the words to pray about it...just silently come before him and lift her up.
We also have a "loaner" hearing aid she is wearing temporarily...yes she's rockin an aid on a soft pink headband that has "demo" on it...we're truly thankful for the opportunity to borrow it!!! :)We are not sure the extent of her hearing loss so we are not certain what hearing aid and methods will benefit her best. As she grows and further testing is done, we hope to find out more. So, for now we're letting her wear this aid and trying to see how she responds.
So that's about it for now. We still go to some doctor visits and just hang out at home...keeping her out of that "unsterile" public, lol! We are truly thankful to be home!
Thank you for your love, prayers and support!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We are now home in Hattiesburg...yea! We've been here going on two weeks now...I think. We are so thankful to be home. Selah seems to be adjusting to her new environment. She is still gaining weight and growing. She is doing well with her trach and g tube also. We are going to Jackson a lot for follow up doctor visits. Our days consist of caring for Selah and going to doctor appointments. She has different equipment set up here at the house that is necessary for her to have daily. Spencer has gotten creative and figured out ways to make all the euipment more "portable" so we can move it around the house with her. This has be able to leave her room. We are still trying to figure out a routine and schedule...not sure if you ever get one just right. She is sleeping pretty good. Her days and nights may be mixed up a little. We have her in our room at night set up with her equipment and we are playing around with not taking sleep "shifts." We are just trying to figure out what is safest and will is nice to lie down beside Spencer at night rather than just passing by him as we take our "shift." So, we are good, just trying to take it day by day.
The first week was emotional, sleep deprived, exhausting...shall I go on :). We are feeling a little better though and things seems less "intense." We are truly thankful to have this precious baby here with us and we just have to remember that in the "moment." We've had so much support from our family and friends and we are truly thankful!
The next "step" for Selah is the jaw distraction surgery. We are looking at having this done in July. It is a hard think of putting her through more surgeries, hospital stays, etc. We are just getting her home and settled and to think of taking her right back is hard for me. But, we want to do what is best for her. The doctors recommend going ahead now, July, and proceeding with the surgery. The hopes are that it will extend her lower jaw out enough to open up her airway. If her airway is opened up enough then we can possibly look at the trach coming out (eventually) and having her breathe on "her own." If this was successful then we hope that she'd also be able to feed on "her own" and be able to have the g tube taken out. So, this first surgery is to try to accomplish that. It will be a gradual process.
She will have to have further surgeries as she grows and develops. Her jaw is underdeveloped and they say will not grow as she does. This will have to be corrected as well as if her teeth are affected. So, really this will just be addressed as she grows. For right now we are looking at trying to open up the airway.
We will also meet with the doctor about her hands and the options for that. She doesn't have a thumb on either hand. We will look at the best optons to handle this and the timeline. We are waiting on getting financial approval through Mediacaid for Disabled Child Living at Home. This program is based on the child's disability and will help pick up the financial bills/expenses that insurance doesn't cover. She has to be ruled eligible to receive it though. We have applied and are waiting to see about that. We hope and pray she will be eligible and we can go ahead in ordering her hearing aids and taking care of other needs.
So right now I think that is where we are at. We look at pictures of Selah when she was first delivered and how far she has come already. We hold her now and look at her beautiful blue eyes and are truly blessed. When the moments of uncertainty or "why" hit, I try to remember all the blessings in where we are at right now. God has been reminding me not to miss out on all the "sweet moments" along this journey. I read this morning about Abraham and his story. I concluded reading about how despite the unanswered questions and unseen pieces of the puzzle, he had faith and he was blessed. I pray that in this part of our story and Selah's that we like Abraham walk in faith and continue to cling to God's promises and hope.
"Yet he did not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Romans 4:20-21

We truly value your support and prayers...thank you, we love ya!!!

PS The "boys" are home...Stud and BB...and thankfully that is going well...answered prayers! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tired and weary...yet humbled

We are going on week 4 in Jackson...seems like it has been much longer than that. We are truly thankful for the care Selah is receiving. We are thankful for the opportunity to stay at the Ronald McDonald house. We know we are blessed but this seems to be the point in this part of the journey where we are battling growing tired and weary. Our days are staying pretty busy. They consist of going back and forth between the RMCD house and the NICU. We are now training on providing care for Selah...her trach, g tube, general care, etc. We are talking with the team about when we may possibly go home...maybe a few weeks. We are trying to take in all the information and process all that we will need to do in order to care for Selah. At times it has been overwhelming and honestly freaked me out. She is in such a controlled and sterile environment now. the thought of taking her out of it and having it in our hands is scary. But, they are trying to give us the experience and training we need in order for us to feel comfortable. We are also trying to meet with some of the different specialist that she will need. We will meet with the doctors on Wednesday to discuss the jaw distraction surgery. We aren't sure what it will entail or the timeline really so we hope to get these answers and more at our visit on Wednesday.
 Selah has still been doing pretty good. She seems to be tolerating her feeds well and is slowly gaining weight. She seems to be having less trouble with her respirations...not breathing as rapid. Unfortunately her hair is not looking to much better :(...she is still beautiful though. The ENT and audiologist did talk with us about hearing aids for her. She does appear to have a significant hearing loss in both the severe loss range. So, that is something we will follow up ongoing visits. I do believe she is comforted by us when we talk to her so I know there is some hearing there. We will just see as she grows what all is going on.
So, that is what is happening as of now...I think that's all :). As I mentioned earlier, I have struggled with being a little, no a lot, tired and weary lately. We haven't been sleeping much so that doesn't help. I tend to try to take it all in and then my mind races with thoughts and questions and concerns. I also have not been taking the time to get away with God and just talk to him, pray to him, read his word...I can tell too. I picked up my devotional and Bible today and the word I read was exactly what I needed to hear and applied to exactly the situation, the thoughts, the concerns on my mind and heart. As I tried to soak it in all, the "stuff" seemed to fade away. Oh how I miss this personal and intimate time with our Heavenly Father. I tried to let it all out to him, mostly just in an unspoken plea for him to hear it all. As I tried to listen and just be, He reminded me of his word in Matthew 11:28-30...going to try to paraphrase..."Come to me all who are tired and weary and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I read these words of truth and knew God was reminding me to not stop "coming" to him. I need this time with and sustainment for the soul. He knows I am tired and he knows I am weary. He knows all the "stuff" and he wants me to keep "bringing" to him. As I did and do, his peace and hope fill me again. All the stuff that seems to be a burden are things that he wants to teach me, to strengthen me, to refine me, to bless me.
I started thinking about all the things I have been so overwhelmed and worried about and he began to bring to light all of the false and unnecessary concerns related to that. I was reminded again that his hand continues to be on us and on Selah. His hand continues to be mighty to save and all powerful. His hand continues to bless and show compassion and grace. I began to realize how truly blessed we are.
In the past few weeks we've seen many families who don't have their baby anymore. These different families who have been clinging to the hope that their baby will get better or "make it" only see their precious baby's life fade away. These families watch helplessly as their precious little one's ends. We've seen it all too much and close and it is heartbreaking. Our hearts ache for these families and we just try to pray for comfort over them...I often don't even know what to pray...just a silent prayer of mercy and hope over them.
As I was reminded of this I realized that I need to be so thankful for the blessing of precious Selah...a miracle, an answer our prayers.

Thank you again for all your continued support and prayers...we are so humbled. Much love!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Selah's surgery went well. She has been recovering since then. They are still trying keep her resting but have decreased her pain meds. They removed her IV today and they are slowly increasing her milk intake through her G tube. She has been tolerating the feeds so far and we're thankful. She has some chest congestion but her oxygen and respiration stats were better today. She has been pretty agitated the past few days but we're hoping she calms down as time goes by...she seemed to be more calm today. We are so thankful the surgery went well and we are just continuing to pray for healing and health over her. When they had to restart her IV before surgery, they had to start in her scalp. They tried several times before success and have had to change IV sites a few times. Well, each time they did this they shaved patches of her hair off. Needless to say, her pretty hair is gapped up!!! I let the nurses know I was not a fan :) and they kindly referred to her first haircut as "NICU haircut...where they leave their mark."
So, its been an exciting few days. We wanted to give you a quick update. I'm trying to type this from my Blackberry..more challenging than I thought. We will fill you in again soon. Thank you for your prayers! Love ya

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prayer Request

It seems like too long since I've gotten on to give an update...sorry. Our days consist of going between the Ronald McDonald house and visitng Selah in the NICU. I intend to get on and give and update but I end up having a really hard time leaving her and often end up staying until I'm too exhausted to think of "thinking" and typing..make sense?? I haven't meant to neglect keeping the blog updated though because I know it is a way to keep all you who care in the loop. I appreciate your understanding and continued support though. :)
So, I wanted to say thank you for your prayers and support. We are truly humbled and so thankful for all the love that has been shown to us...thank you! We wanted to ask you to continue to think of us, specifically Selah. She is going to have surgery tomorrow, Friday 4-22-11. She is scheduled for some time mid morning. They are going to put in her G the way she is fed. It is an "operation" in which she will be put under complete anesthesia. We are praying and claiming blessing and protection over her...the fear and "what if" tries to creep in though. We do appreciate your prayers. I will give an update as we know how it goes tomorrow. Again...thank have no idea how much your prayers, comments, texts, visits, and support mean...we love you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have intended to get on and give an update...but hasn't gone as planned. We've had long days and I haven't had consistent access to the internet. I found out I can access it at the NICU waiting area. That is not my ideal to be in quiet and get "in the zone." :) I will just have to adjust though.
So, Spencer and I are staying here in Jackson at the Ronald McDonald house. It has been a blessing. Selah is in the NICU. They are taking good care of her and watching her closely. We've been blessed to have doctors and nurses that are compassionate. Of course there are times when it is still so hard to leave her in hands that aren't ours. It kills me to leave her there. I think about her care and if she is awake or upset and want to be there. I want to be there to comfort her and to love her and to reassure her that she has not been...just abandoned. It is a struggle but I try to just pray over her and pray against all those worries and concerns that surface.
She has her original trach in now. They are talking about changing it out this week. She will keep the trach because it is her way of breathing. She is breathing on her own but she still has some air/oxygen support. Her oxygen levels, breathing, and heart rate have been staying good. She has a NG tube now...a small tube that goes into her nostril and down her throat to her stomach. This is the way she receives milk/nutrients. She just got that put in today. We are praying for successful feedings with it. We should meet with the facial surgeons within the next week or so to discuss surgery for her. They call it a jaw distraction. We don't know what it will entail or when they look at doing it. We will just wait to meet with them. We met with the genetic specialist and they told us that she has Nagers Syndrome. It is a rare syndrome. Some characteristics of the syndrome that she presents with are the small jaw and lack of thumbs on both hands. Hearing difficulties are possible and they have been checking her hearing and don't have any definitive information yet. They will also check to see if reflux will occur as they increase her feeding...can be associated with the syndrome also. There are still some concerns that can arise but for now those are the main ones being looked at. They did say that it should not affect her cognitively or developmentally. There is still so much that is uncertain. We are truly trying to take it day by day...moment by moment.
We look at her beautiful face, her precious lips and nose, her long fingers and toes and are in precious! We are so thankful to get to see her and yet it hurts so bad to think of her hurting or having to go some of things she is or might have to. I do have to let God gently remind...again and again...that He did "knit her together and form her" (Psalm 139) and He knows about all of it. I don't like it or understand it, and I have a lot of unanswered questions. I do believe God's promises, I do hope in Him, I do trust in Him, I do thank Him for His presence...I pray and my heart cries out for God to continue to help us to rest in Him.
We are truly thankful for your prayers and support...thank you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Selah is here!!!

Selah Blair Taylor arrived Monday, April 4th. She made it here though at 5 lbs, 7 oz and about 19 inches long. There were many answered prayers Monday and it was evident God's hand was at work. The exit procedure was a blessing and successful. The were not able to intubate Selah because her jaw is so small/recessed and there just isn't room to establish an airway. They then moved to the tracheostomy and had a difficult time with that. They did get it in though and established an effective airway for her. She of course was hooked to the placenta for all of this and did not lose any oxygen. We are truly thankful for the results of Monday's procedure and know it is all from God's hand...answered prayers.
She is being closely monitored in the NICU here at UMC. She, as well as us, have been surrounded with a team of compassionate and knowledgeable nurses, doctors, etc. We are truly grateful and know yet again it is an indication of God's mighty hand at work. She was moved off the vetilator today and the CPAP (continuous postive air pressure) machine was connected to her trach. So she this is allowing her to breathe a little more on her own. Her oxygen levels and heart rate are staying good. She does have her hands and feet restrained to keep her from getting to the tracheostomy site and causing damage. She is also being given a sedative to try to help her rest and keep her from getting too stimulated. They want the trach site to form/heal and so they have to take these precautions. It is so hard to see her like this but we try to remember is to help her and to help the trach get "set" where it can form and heal.
We are so humbled and amazed to be able to meet her and to know she is our precious gift from God. She is so beautiful. I just look at her and am truly honored and thankful for this experience...a miracle from God. We go visit her regularly but it is usually a hard visit. We are so thankful to see her there and to here the good reports. I see her little hands and feet restrained though and it hurts me. I want to talk to her, touch her, sing to her, read her verse in Psalms to her but it seems to get her worked up. I tried to sing to her and she started squriming and turning red and trying to cry...the thought of her struggling broke my heart. Spencer tried to talk to her and she just eyed him and squirmed to try to get to him and got so worked up. We just want her to know we are here and we love her and that we haven't just left her all alone. But then she gets so stimulated and stirred up...exactly what the doctors don't recommend. So, it has been very emotional. I try to go and just look at her and pray her verse in Psalm 139 over her...usually with sobs and tears streaming down my face.
We are trying to just be thankful we can see her and pray over her. We know God has placed amazing doctors and nurses around her. We know our prayers as well as many others on her behalf are being lifted up. We are trying take it day by day and to celebrate all of the blessings along the way. We cannot thank you enough for the prayers and support for us and Selah...thank you! I have definitely had some prayers this week that have been just silent...just quiet before God, resting in knowing he hears my heart and resting in knowing so many are speaking those words I don't have for us...thank you!

Saturday, April 2, 2011 we come!!!

Well, we head to Jackson tomorrow to stay the night and go for the delivery of Selah on Monday! We are not sure what to expect...excited but nervous. We are just praying that it is evident God's hand is at work. I have had some anxiety about the uncertainty but I am trying to get rid of those thoughts. I had a friend share some scripture with me not long ago and God spoke to me about our story through it. It is in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. Now I am going to try to give a recap on what is happening and then how God related to our situation....bear with me. :) You really need to check out the scripture yourself though...I don't do it justice!
It has Jehoshaphat as the leading man. Because his name is not so fun to spell I am going to refer to him as J. from here on out. So we have J. finding out that a "vast army" is coming to attack him, his people, and his land. Now as I read and thought about it, the situation seems similar to ours. Here J. is with this news that probably intimidates him, makes him feel helpless, worries him, and he has uncertainty that he is facing. He doesn't know what to do. Yet, he seeks God...actually scripture says he "resolved to inquire of the Lord."  I am sure being human and all that he did fret a bit and have his moment, but he also looked to God and realized he didn't have the power or control and he called on the Lord's name. He resolved to not let his human tendencies, the fear, etc. consume him or his reactions and he looked to God. J. cries out to God, "...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." (20:12) The scripture then tells us that God answered J. and that God instructed him, taught him, counseled him and his people. God told J. that the "battle" was not his to fight and that what he needed to do was to trust and obey. "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your position, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you." (20:17)  J. and his people did obey and God's hand at work was evident. God's power, purpose, and glory took center stage...not anything of J. Scripture also tells us that after the victory in battle that J. and his people were able to acquire so much plunder that they couldn't carry it all away at abundance. (20:25)
So, how does all this relate to our story...let me try to relay it. As I read it, God spoke and pointed out how relevant it is to what we are going through. Just as J. faced a "vast army," we face a situation that seems so "vast" and full of uncertainty. Just as he probably felt intimidated, helpless, hopeless, we are trying to put aside the same feelings. We, as J. did, want to look to God and not ourselves...with the realization that it is not our strength or power that is sustaining or at work. J. trusted God and obeyed and saw God's mighty hand at work...on his behalf. We are trying to trust God, hope in God, obey God. We have seen and do see that He answers prayers, He speaks and teaches, He provides grace that is enough when that is all we have. God spoke to me that it is not the "vastness" of the situation, the worry, the uncertainty that matters. He spoke to me that it is not our "battle." He spoke to me that it is Him that is in control and it is Him that is working. What He calls Spencer and I to do is to keep praying to Him, to keep looking to Him, to keep trusting in Him, to keep hoping in Him. As we do, He is working and it is His glory, His purpose, His power that is evident.
As we go, we are trying to rest in this and yet "stand firm" in this truth. Just as God was with J., He is with us now. He is with Selah. He is in all of it. At the conclusion of J.'s story, it says that "God had given him rest on every side." (20:30) My prayer for us is that we have that same "rest." Resting not in the fact that it all works out according to our plan or desires but resting in knowing that we are held in God's hand.
Much love to you, thank you for your prayers!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prayer for Selah

Psalm 139:13-16
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
One night a little bit ago I was lying in bed and just crying out to God. I was crying about all the concerns I have about Selah. I was crying about the broken "plans" of a perfectly healthy baby and pregnancy. I was crying about the uncertainty of what is to come. Unspoken questions were whirling through my mind and I was just coming before God, not really speaking just crying out in hopes that he knew all the unspoken fear, hurt, disappointment, and questions. As I spent time before him, he gently led me to this scripture in Psalms. I read it and asked him what he wanted me to learn. He spoke to me that it is his mighty hand that has knit and formed Selah from the beginning. It is his loving hand that is sustaining her life. It is his powerful hand that has ordained her days. So, he knows about all the "concerns" and uncertainty. He knows about what may or may not be "typical." He knows and is aware of all that she has going on and what it may involve. Now I don't understand it all or even like it all. But after reading this scripture and seeking his word, I knew he was reassuring me that not any of it is out of his control. Since that night I have prayed this scripture over Selah each day. I put my hand on my stomach and pray it, claim it, over her out loud so she and myself can hear it. God's word is mighty and alive...truth!
As I have begun to do this and have tried to see that God has formed "all" of her, my prayers for her have transformed...only by his doing. I started out praying for her to not miscarry, for her to live. I have prayed for her to grow, for her to be healthy. As we've found out about possible "concerns" or abnormalities, I have prayed that she would be healed. But with time God has changed my prayers and desires of my heart...I now come before him and ask him to help her to live, to breathe, to swallow, to develop according to his good and his purpose. Not that I don't want her to be completely healthy and happy, no problems, but as I have tried to surrender my will and desires to him, he has helped change my prayers as he is aligning the desires of my heart with his.
In addition to this there is another prayer I have been claiming over her. It came from a song I heard on the radio. I came in one night and heard a song starting. It hit home and was emotional and I raced to turn it off...just didn't want to hear it. Not too long after, I came in again and heard it coming on. As I raced to turn it off, God's gentle voice said "listen." I hesitantly sat down to listen. I'll try to summarize as gracefully as possible :). It was a man singing from a father and mother's perspective. They were pregnant and being told their baby will have certain conditions and won't have a good chance of survival...basically. The man sings from his wife's perspective that she just wants to see her baby, to touch her baby, to hold her baby, to love her baby as long as she can. Of course, tears are streaming down my face...tears of healing though. These are desires of my heart that have been unspoken but are so real. As I listened, I knew God was reassuring me that he knows these desires and he just wanted to remind me. He taught me that I need to speak these desires out loud to him, to claim them. So, after this I have also began to pray with hope and confidence that we will continue to experience God's hand on this pregnancy and that we will get to meet Selah, to hold her, to touch her, and to love her as long as we God's grace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Restless Night

So, if you read the previous post you know that we have a "plan" in place for delivery. I am relieved to know that we do but at the same time my mind has been racing with all the "details." Being the control freak and "planner" that I am, I am struggling with wanting to have it all worked out...each detail, each piece of the puzzle fitting together just so, knowing how it will all fall into place...yeah right!!! If I have learned anything, and am still learning, it's that I am not even the slightest bit in control. I still strive to be and struggle with this though. I tried to sleep last night but it was a restless night. My mind raced from thoughts of are we doing the best procedure for us, to how will Selah do, to will my babies (dogs) be okay for so long without us, to many more worries and anxious thoughts. I thought about the procedure and the risks they discussed, the recovery associated with it. I thought about Selah and if they will get an airway for her and how things will be for her. I thought about the NICU and just wanting to be able to bring her home right away...healthy and happy. I thought about Spencer and all that he has on him right now...trying to balance work, the military, completing the remodel at the house, taking care of me. Do you get a little of the whirlwind that has been going through my mind. Needless to say, it was a long restless night.
I awoke this morning and started by praying that God would just help me let it all go. I read my devotional and it was the word I needed to hear. God spoke that he is a God of infinite resources and abilities. He is the everlasting God and he does not get weary or grow tired. So, it is not my strength, my ability, my resources that has to "figure" it all out or work it all out. He knows all about it and is in control. He reminds me yet again that when I look to him and pray to him about all of it...boy have I, then he will help take the anxiousness and worry and instead replace it with peace. When I keep looking to him and call on him and really trust him then he will continue to work for his good and purpose, on our behalf. The verse in Ephesians reminded me that he is my heavenly father and he can do so much more than I can "plan" or strive for...if I just trust him.
 Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY more than we can ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"The Plan"

We had another visit at UMC today to discuss test results and delivery. We were told that the amniocentesis results came back showing no chromosomal abnormalities. We are very thankful. They told us that not all conditions or syndromes are ruled out at this point though. Once she is here they will do further chromosomal/genetic testing in order to determine if there are additional conditions going on. There are still concerns about her hand, her arm, her ear, and of course her jaw. For now the primary concern is havng an airway established for her.
I am thankful to say that after leaving today we have a "plan" in place. We will plan to have Selah on Monday, April 4th!!! We will go to UMC for the procedure and have the team of specialist there for her and myself. We are not having a typical vaginal delivery or c-section. We are going to have what they called an exit section. The procedure is more invasive or more of a "major" surgery for myself. There have been only two done in Mississippi (at UMC) we'll make the third. They are recommending this procedure over the others due to the concerns about getting her an airway effectively. With this procedure they will put me under completely and then make an incision, bigger and higher than with a section. They will then bring her out, just her head and arms. This will leave her attached to the placenta and the lower part of her body still in the uterus. She will still be "connected" to the placenta and therefore able to receive oxygen from that. This will "buy" them time to try to figure out the best way to establish the airway, without lack of oxygen for her being a concern...hopefully. They will try to intubate her if possible but if not will try to use a tracheostomy to establish the airway. So, that is the plan. Needless to say....a little nervous about it!
I've been hurting and having contractions and the fear of being here in Hattiesburg when I know we need to be in Jackson has been on my mind. We will go to the doctor two times each week to be monitored for this week and the next. We will go up a few days early to get there and get everything settled before the procedure.
So, we are anticipating meeting our sweet Selah. The uncertainties and "what if" can be so real and consuming at times but we are trying to be hopeful and continue to trust that God's hand is on all of it. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate the encouragment and prayers offered up on our behalf...we are truly thankful!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Baby Story

In the previous post I ended with mentioning we are now in our third pregnancy...farthest we've gotten along in one! We are 34 weeks with a little girl. Now if you read the previous post you are aware that we've had two miscarriages previously. So, needless to say, we are so thankful that we are getting to experience this pregnancy. That is not to say that it has not been a bit of emotional roller coaster.
I found out in August 2010 that I was pregnant. I began spotting and hurting some and of course was so scared. I remember peeing on the pregnancy tests, three of them, and having mixed results. Two of the tests showed a light positive result and the other test a negative result. I couldn't wait it out so I went into our local after hours clinic for the blood test. The test came back positive and with lots of congratulations from the nurse...if only she'd know the fear and worry in my heart. The next morning I didn't call to make an appointment, I just went to my doctor's office and told the receptionist to let her nurse and her know what was going on and that I needed to see her. Now this is demanding I know, but it was what I felt needed to be done. I have regrets about the past and what should or could of been done. I knew that I didn't have time to wait to get in for an appointment...extra precautions needed to be done (hormones, medication, etc.). My doctor and I had discussed it all but then having to go through reception, etc. and trying to convey that can be the challenging part. So, my doctor, who is beyond fabulous and truly a blessing, saw me that day.
I had the blood test done and titers done to measure the pregnancy hormone. Not to my surprise, they came back postive for pregnancy but very low. The doctor explained that they were not even close to the range of where they should be, as far as how far along in the pregnancy I should be. I was given the extra hormones, etc. and told to rest and set up a follow up appointment to measure them again. Now, the first two pregnancies I did not really share a lot or call on family and friends for prayer. I know God impressed upon me to realize the blessing of how many prayer warriors we have on our behalf and to call on them...and I did. I went back to the next appointment and the numbers had almost that is nothing but a miracle. Since that visit, the numbers and ultrasounds showed a baby growing and developing, with a precious sign of life...that heartbeat.
Now I have to stop for a minute and relate what I had written in my journal during the first part of this pregnancy. I looked back and read my prayer to God asking him if he will to bless us with this life. I asked him if he didn't though to help us through it, in his grace. I ended this specific journal entry with the prayer that he would help me be joyful, thankful, and filled with peace in all of it. I wrote that he was a God of miracles. Now at the time I didn't realize the impact of this prayer. Not until a little while back did I realize that he is answering this prayer. I will continue with this part a little later in the post.
So, we continued to have ultrasounds with heartbeats and the baby developing. I hurt a lot from the start of the pregnancy though and have had to modify and limit a lot of my and take it easy. The doctor has also monitored me very closely and has been so great. Each time we go to the doctor for a visit though, my heart races and I think, "Will this be the visit where it all falls apart?" It is a struggle of fear and worry I have to try to overcome by remembering God's promises throughout the day...have fabulous family and friends to help encourage me also.
We went the week of Thanksgiving to find out the sex of the baby. We found out it was a girl. The doctor also told us about a concern she had with the baby's lower jaw development and she referred us to a specialist in Jackson to have him check it out. The next week we went for our appointment with him. He diagnosed her with abnormally small lower jaw or lack of one. He also saw abnormalities with one of her hands, arms, and legs possibly. He explained the complications involved with the jaw as well as possible syndromes or conditions that may be associated with it. We declined an amniocentesis though so none of the chromosomal or genetic information was definitive. This was hard to hear and very devastating at first. I couldn't help but ask God why this was happening...I mean we will love this baby and will try to take care of her...will we be able to, will she survive, why would she have to suffer in any way were questions racing through my head. We went home in a fog and just tried to process all of it. We began seeing him as well as my doctor here. From the start her survival after delivery was mentioned as a concern. When the lower jaw is too small it affects swallowing, breathing and feeding. The extent of how small her jaw is or how much it will affect her will not really be determined until she is here. We do know that her having an airway is a primary concern. The baby swallows the amniotic fluid and regulates it and she is swallowing some but not as much as she needs to so my amniotic fluid levels are higher than what they need to be. They recommended that we deliver in Jackson where there is a team of specialist that can hopefully be there for delivery in order to try to address all these concerns and needs.
Now let me go back to my journal entry and prayer that I mentioned above. Since this pregnancy began and throughout it, God has spoken consistently to me about thankfulness, joy, and peace in all things. He has used my devotions, messages at church, scripture read, songs, and friends encouragement to teach me about being thankful and having joy and peace no matter what "fire" we are in or what season it is. Now this has been a challenge for me. I have struggled with being thankful for some of what we are experiencing. But, he is teaching me and trying to grow me in it. I am learning that if I come before him honestly in prayer and thank him for all that is going on then joy and peace began to grow. Like I said, this has been hard...saying thank you for some of these concerns. He has led me in trying to be thankful in this experience and not letting the uncertainty and "what if" overrule that...not to miss out on the sweet moments in it. I am truly humbled and honored for this experience and have tried to enjoy these moments...seeing her grow, hearing her heartbeat, growing a belly, buying maternity clothes, having a baby shower. As I have tried to obey him, his peace and joy, beyond anything of me have penetrated through all the other "stuff."  I may not understand any of it or like it, but I do know and believe that his hand is on us and that he is working. Not until I let God help me did I realize what a priveledge this experience is and I am thankful. His word is true and alive and his presence is here...if only I will be aware. Now, not any of this is due to me, but of Him and of the truly faithful prayer warriors praying on our behalf...thank you, you are loved!
Now to mention the part on miracles. I remember looking back at my journal entry and seeing where I wrote our God is a God of miracles. I started thinking about this and asked God what does this mean, a miracle in our situation. Through time with him, he began to speak to me that it wasn't necessarily a miracle where we see it all work out how we want or plan. It wasn't that it all goes how we like it or how we feel comfortable with it. It is instead, evidence of his power, his presence, his glory, his grace at work. It is evidence of his hand in all of it. As I look back from the start of this pregnancy, what a miracle it has been. We have seen prayers answered for this sweet girl's life to continue, we have seen doctors brought into our path that are beyond compassionate and helpful, we have seen friends and family step in on our behalf and truly claim God's power over us, we have seen him gently speak to us when we come before him in our fear and disappointment. All of this has been true evidence of his hand at work...a miracle!
So, we have started having visits at UMC in Jackson where we are told is the best place for us to deliver. After a visit last week, we decided to have an amniocentesis done. We go for an appointment next week and hope to find out more about a delivery date and plan and results of any chromosomal or genentic conditions that are occuring. We are trying to be hopeful and just take it day by day. We are thankful that we know ahead of time that we need to deliver in Jackson. We are praying for the doctors involved and just asking God's hand over all of it. So as for now, we are waiting...expectantly and with hope and trust!

PS Thought I'd share a little note on our sweet baby's name...Selah. You will find it several times throughout Psalms, in the Bible. You see it to the side of the scripture or verse. It means to pause or reflect you see it and you're to pause or reflect upon God's word you just read or what he is speaking to you and to worship him. We thought about the meaning and there isn't a better fit for her and our situation. We are trying to pause in the midst of all the uncertainty and unanswered questions and to reflect on who God is...faithful, mighty to save, our Father...instead of all the other "stuff." We want to worship him by trusting him in hope and faith and that his hand is on this sweet girl...all of her.