Friday, August 29, 2008

State Fair

In the tradition of the great MN get-together, we bought our over-priced tickets and our over-priced junk food and pigged out!
This was Charlie's first year really getting to enjoy all that the fair had to offer ... here are some pics!


We decided to try corn on the cob ... Maya is a few months older than Charlie and therefore wiser in the ways of corn, so he had a mentor along to guide him ...



Charlie: "Now how exactly do you do this?"



Maya: "It's easy, you try!"



And he dives right in! It's a hit!

Next we gave some rides a try. These pics are actually from two different days, as we had to go back with PaPa and Gaba (sorry, Gail, I know he'll eventually call you Grandma, but for now Gaba is just too cute!!). As a general rule, he doesn't look super excited as the rides are going on, but as soon as it stops, all you hear is "More? Pease? More?"

Daddy and Charlie waiting in line for the balloon ride


I think Josh fits perfectly into this ride, don't you?


Grandma gets to take him on his first carosel ride.





And Grandma and Charlie spinning happily in the tea cups.


We finished off our day at the fair with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk and one happy and exhausted little dude!


PS - thanks for all your thoughts and prayers about Emma. At this point, no news is good news. She's kicking me stronger and stronger every day and I'm growing like the pig I'm eating like :)

Our next appt is our follow-up ultrasound on Sept 9. Personally, my biggest prayer is for her growth at the moment. I know our Lord is able to work in us to achieve more than we can ask or even imagine and if it is in His will, Emma will be healed and healthy and whole.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A wonderful day!

We decided that being so close to the MN zoo and not having a membership was just silly, so we broke down and bought a pass.

Charlie loved it! Anyone who's been to the zoo knows you see the monkeys first, and once he saw what it was we were supposed to be looking for, he pointed out all the monkeys' eyes and elbows and toes and tails, etc. When he and Nana finally had their fill, he walked back to the stroller and said "more?" Yup, that's the plan, dude. :)

Next we went to the indoor water area and I think Charlie could have spent all day looking at the sharks and fish and turtles. They even have a spash area where he could reach in and point to all the "stars" (starfish and anenome indiscriminantly). By the way, the fish have eyes, too, in case you were wondering. He pointed them out on everything that swam in his direction.

Charlie even got to see a real swimming turtle. He was so excited!

Mommy and Charlie stopped to get a picture on the big bronze turtle.

At this point Mommy had to put the camera away to enjoy the adorable moment of Charlie having a LONG conversation with a big tropical bird in the bird's native tongue. :)
And then we headed home for a low-key afternoon. Mission accomplished for a wonderful day.
I have to share one more story that absolutely warmed my heart today. A little background ... we've been trying to talk to Charlie about how he's going to be a big brother. We tell him that he's going to be such a big help getting Emma her blankey and paci's and bottles and such, but we haven't really been sure whether he understands this whole Brother concept. He knows our baby's name is Emma and she'll sleep in her room with the purple blankey, but he's shown no sign about how he feels about his role in this scenario.
So. We have this book that has pictures of babies in it and for a long time it's been a fun one to read together because we do what the babies do. On the page where the kids are clapping, we clap. Where they are dancing, we dance. You get the idea. I particularly love this because the last page is the "I love you!" page and I know I'm going to get some snuggles.

So this evening, after Mommy got her snuggles, we were talking about the other babies and who they were giving loves to. Kitty, dog, etc. It's been awhile since we've read this book, actually, and it was fun to see how he could identify objects this time around instead of just pointing to something correctly when someone else named it.
He pointed to the older boy in the yellow shirt on the right. We've never really discussed him before, and without prompting or before I even said anything, he pointed to the older boy and said "brother."
Oh, be still my heart, I can't wait to see my Charlie as my Emma's big brother!


Two new links on our blog

Thank you to Tamara for introducing me to both of these.

Grab a box of tissues before you click on either link:
"Bring the Rain" is the story of one family's struggle with the loss of a child. It has been so good for me to read this and be reminded of God's soveriegnty.
And "Cake Wrecks" made me laugh so hard I cried! You'll have to check it out for yourself, there really is no way to describe the madness. :)

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Emma

Well, I suppose we'll have to post sooner or later, so I guess it's time to start reflecting about what we're going through, here, although even as I sit I'm not sure what I'm going to write.



For those of you who don't know, here's what's going on with our pregnancy:

Our multiple ultrasounds have left us with concerns about our little girl. The umbilical cord should have 3 vessels (2 arteries and a vein) in it, but ours only has 2. She is measuring small. She has a condition called micrognathia, which means her chin is small and recessed instead of inline with the rest of her profile. And she has what they call an absent nasal bone, which is sort of a funny term as the nose is cartilidge. Absent nasal bone is a term for a flat profile. She has a nose, it will work just fine, cartilidge will grow, but the profile is a marker for other issues.



At 22 weeks, these issues led us to believe that she may have Down Syndrome, so we did an amniocentesis. Down Syndrome has been ruled out, praise God, along with any other chromosomal abnormalities. We're tentitively relieved that the amnio came back normal, but our genetic counselor was quick to remind us that there are about 200 other syndromes that could be indicated by these markers, some of which are similar to Down's, just not caused by chromosomal abnormalities. At this point, we have no further testing that can be done and we'll just have to wait until she's born and go from there. There is a possibility that she will be cognitively normal and typically developing, but there is also a possibility that we are welcoming a special needs child into our family.



The concern now is for her health until we get to that point. One study we read cited 20% of babies that have a 2 vessel cord don't make it. The lack of 1 of the arteries means that she will probably be early and small. Our OB explained that eventually her growth will start to lag farther behind as she doesn't get nourishment she needs for her growing body and we'll have to decide when it's time her for to start getting her nutrients outside of the womb. She's not going to let me go to 40 weeks; they'll induce me early as Baby starts to lag in growth.



BUT!! We're having a little girl!! Yea!



We've always said we'll have an Emma if we have a girl, so that's the name we're going with. Charlie prays for Emma every night and practices bringing her blankey to her in bed. (He knows hers is the Pur-Po one:) ) We also practice swinging her swing very gently, and he is absolutely obsessed with pointing out babies he sees when we're out and about.



And today sort of feels momentous because I'm 24 weeks pregnant today, which is the week they call the baby "viable." That sounds crude, but the point is that at 24 weeks, babies *can* survive outside Mama. I don't know if that actually makes a difference for my situation, but it feels different today.



When we were first going through this thought process, I was having trouble not focusing on the negative, so my Darling Husband insisted I go shopping for Emma (he's so wise!!)



And now we have some little girl stuff! I'm going to have a daughter!



I'm so not a pink or flowery type of person, but I really love this lilac purple color in the green room and I've found some very sweet butterfly accents. My mother bought Charlie his Blankey, so she wanted to do the same for Emma, so we found a purple one to match the theme.

Setting this stuff up has helped me not think of Emma as an "if." I can't control how long God will let us have with her, but I know that His hand is in this situation. I need to be ready to welcome my daughter into our world, even though the possibility exists that my daughter will leave the hospital to go to Heaven instead of into this bed we have waiting for her. For me, getting the room ready has almost been a process of telling myself and my Heavenly Father that I am ready to accept whatever God has for us next. Well, maybe not "ready" but what mother is ever "ready" for what comes out of her tummy?! :)

God is giving me strength day-to-day with the blessings I recieve through Charlie. He loves to read his Bible and pray (we still spontaneously have to drop everything and pray several times a day). He reminds me of how much joy a child can bring into a family, and I know that God has joy for us with Emma as well, regardless of what struggles lie ahead.

Well, there! That post ended up being much more positive than I expected it to be! Thanks to everyone for their prayers, we'll keep you updated!