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Monday, April 18, 2016

Baby Chip & the Growth Scan: The Journey Continues

Joe-Joe, because he's cute and he knows it

     Another day, another doctor's visit in this crazy pregnancy journey. Baby Chip's not getting as much bloodflow as he should through his umbilical cord, but it is steadily bad not getting worse (as doctors feared two weeks ago). Growth scan showed he's up to 1lb 6oz, which is three weeks behind and below 1%, but does show he continues to grow i.e. he's not dying. He still has lots of fluid and is very active--all great signs of life.

Baby Chip's Doppler Results

      The doctors' plan right now is to do a doppler a week to check bloodflow, and a growth scan every two weeks to check his percentile. Once he reaches about 2lbs, if anything gets worse bloodflow wise they'll immediately do a c-section, which means months and months of NICU. Stillbirth is also a big risk right now. In another week, we'll get back amnio results to see if Baby Chip has some horrible or even lethal genetic disease (as the high-risk OB seems to want to think), or if it's just the bloodflow making him small.
      So we're waiting and praying for our little guy. I keep thinking of our journey with Joe-Joe and how we almost lost him to meningitis at birth and how many people prayed for him and how healthy he is now. I'm awed by how many people prayed for Joe-Joe and how many are now praying for Baby Chip.
      Some people tell me they are praying because they're convinced God is listening and that He often works miracles. Some people tell me they aren't so sure God intervenes in our lives, but they're giving praying a shot because they want Baby Chip to be healthy.
          Others have told me they don't really believe there is a God out there, let alone that He's listening to them, probably not. But they're praying because they care so much about me and Baby Chip that they can't not at least try to appeal to some Higher Being.
         I'm so grateful for each type of prayer. Sometimes I wonder what God thinks of hearing the name "Baby Chip" over and over again from so many people these past few weeks. Other times I wonder what the people praying for Baby Chip think when they're talking to God.

     Do you believe in a God who intervenes in your life and works miracles? Why or why not? How does that affect whether or not you pray?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Baby Chip & the Amnio

Written by Baby Chip

     Today started like any other morning. I saw the faint glimmer of sunlight streak into my pool of warm, safe water.
    Then I heard the car starting and Mama taking me up an elevator. Soon, I was in a room filled with voices. Someone Mama called "the Doctor" kept talking.
    All of a sudden, a shiny, pokey object invaded my pristine pool. The needle sucked my water up. Lots of it! I was not happy. Then, as quickly as it had come, it left.

The dips in the bloodflow are lower than they should be,
but, unlike last week, fewer interruptions in bloodflow, praise God!

        A little while later, I heard Joe-Joe and Nana's voices and they were all talking about how I looked up on the big TV screen and my little feet, which the doctors still think are clubbed, and my little heart.

        Joe-Joe started talking to my Mama and saying the picture of me was fuzzy. I'm not so sure about this Joe-Joe. He seems to have not grasped the simple fact that the world revolves around me. I mean, isn't it obvious?
         Late at night, I hear Joe-Joe asking Mama, "Can I stay up and snuggle, please?"
         Mama tells him, "No, Joe-Joe, you have to go to bed."
         Do you ever see Mama making me go to bed? No, sirree. I snuggle with Mama all day and get to sleep in her bed.
          Sometimes, Joe-Joe kicks Mama, or shoves a pokey elbow into her ribs when he's trying to snuggle. Mama tells him, "Ouch, no, Joe-Joe. Stop that."
          Do you ever see Mama telling me to stop kicking? Didn't think so. I'm clearly Mama's favorite. Joe-Joe just hasn't learned that yet.

           Nana, though, she seems a lot more malleable than this Joe-Joe character. I think I can swiftly wrap her around my finger.

           After that, I heard Mama asking the doctor person about bloodflow and am I small because I'm not getting enough of it?
          The doctor said she thinks I'm small because my chrom-o-somes aren't right and that's what they're testing in the amnio.
         Mama kept asking, but couldn't it just be the bloodflow, and thus lack of nourishment that is making my arms and legs short?

        What? Am I being given second-rate accommodations in here? I demand better food. Maybe I should write a petition. Then again, I don't actually have any friends to sign my petition . . .
          Troublesome issues. Guess I'll just go back to swimming.
          But I'm telling you what, if I had that shiny, pokey thing they stuck into my sacred pool and I used it to poke other people, I bet they'd start listening to me more.

~Baby Chip

On a medical note: In two weeks we find out about Baby Chip's genetics through the amnio. Praying for a clean bill of health and that Baby Chip keeps growing.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Hidden Waterfall: Guest Blogpost by Laurie Driesen

Excited to welcome author Laurie Driesen to my blog today. Enjoy some lovely nature pictures and read about the lesson she learned from her journey into a desert canyon.

The Hidden Waterfall

A waterfall in the middle of a desert canyon?

After taking the tram all the way up to the top of the canyon, it was finally time to hike down.  We started down the main trail, which was more like a wide, winding street.  I had never been in a canyon before … until that day last month while on vacation in Arizona. 

I really didn’t even know anything about canyons.  The little bit I did know was this:  it’s hot, dry and brown.  And I figured it wouldn’t have plush green plants and cool rushing water. 

But it turned out to be beautiful as we hiked down the trail.  Cacti lined the mountains as well as trees and plants that I had never seen before.  Lots of people were walking down the mountain enjoying the magnificent scenery.  What an experience, I thought, the massive canyon is so impressive.
I could hear water bubbling nearby and as it got louder, I asked my friends, “Is that a waterfall I hear?”  

They explained that in order to see the waterfall, we would have to get off of the main road and climb through some rocky terrain.  We all looked at each other for a second and quickly agreed, yes, it’s worth it. 

So, instead of hiking with the rest of the people along the main, wide road, we found a narrow path that was a little rocky.  It was challenging as I tried to find the right places to set my foot each time I took a step or climbed a rock.  But suddenly I could see the foamy waterfall gushing into a pond of gorgeous, cool water.

I stood there, awestruck.  In the middle of this huge, hot canyon and the sense of dryness everywhere, here was a powerful, bubbling waterfall with an energy all its own.  I looked over my shoulder at the wide road and saw the hikers walking and talking, blissfully unaware of the beautiful treasure just a few feet away from them.

Isn’t life a little like our hike that day? 
So many people are on the wide road of pleasure, distractions and security.  But on the narrow path nearby lies a treasure just waiting to be discovered.   Willingness to take a risk and get off of the main path brought us to something so much better. 

Why did the hikers on the wide road miss the waterfall?  Maybe it was because….
           They were so busy hiking and talking that they didn’t hear the waterfall.

·         They heard the bubbling water, but had no desire to divert off of the easy, wide path to seek it out.

·         They knew the waterfall was nearby, but saw the craggy rocks and decided it wasn’t worth the risk to reach it.

·         They were enjoying the scenery of the main road and didn’t value the unique beauty of the waterfall.

I     I wonder if many people miss out on a life-giving relationship with God because of similar reasons.

        In John 4:14, Jesus said, "...but whoever drinks of the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." On our hike through the Arizona canyon, it was worth it to seek out the treasure of that beautiful waterfall.

Laurie Driesen is a writer and entrepreneur.  She is the author of a book titled:  Beyond Regret Living Your Life Purpose in Spite of Past Choices.  The book discusses missed opportunities, the “why” behind our mistakes, how regret can help us, and preventing future regret.  Beyond Regret sheds light on God’s true will and purpose for us and how we can live out His purpose no matter where we are today.  Through her writing, Laurie seeks to share the truth of God's Word and help others grow spiritually.  Her blog and additional information about Laurie can be found on her website:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Difference Between Naming A Firstborn and a Secondborn: And Baby Chip Update

Third doctor appointment this week for Baby Chip. The bloodflow isn't great, but it's WAY better than three days ago. Thank you for praying!

Somewhat blurry 4D ultrasound of Baby Chip

Docs are also once again checking for some super-scary, potentially lethal, and now very rare chromosomal abnormalities (the common chromosome disorders have already been ruled out, praise God.) So praying for good results on all those tests. And Baby Chip still needs a name. So, in honor of that, welcome to The Difference Between Naming a Firstborn and a Secondborn.

Naming a First Baby

Wife: Checks out fifty baby name books. Takes a week off work to pour industriously over every page. During a candlelight dinner she prepared, says to husband, "My dear what do you think we should name our child."
Husband: "Err, sylvester?"
Wife: Stares at husband, wondering if by any chance he could have not comprehended the question. "You are talking about our lovely baby not a pet gerbil, right?"
Husband: "Uh-huh."
Wife: "No, seriously, what do you want to name our precious babe?"
Husband: "What about Methusaleh?"
Wife: Cue tears and hormonal wails. "Why don't you care what name our child will have for the rest of his life?  You must come up with some names. You do want our child to have a name, right? Why aren't you reading the baby books? It's like you don't even care about our child!"
Ten weeks of nagging later, husband skims baby books.
Wife, happily: "So now what name do you think fits our lovely babe?"
Husband: "Umm....I should probably go fix the toilet. The siding needs repair too. Did you say the kitchen sink was running slow?"
Wife, wailing: "But our child is coming in LESS than five months. We need a name!"
Husband: "One of the names you said sounds fine. Just name it that."
Wife: "But what do YOU want to name our child."
Husband: Blank stare.
Wife melts into tears convinced father/child bonding will never occur.

Naming a Second Baby

Wife: A week before due date does quick google search. Scrolls down half a page. Selects first name that catches her eye: "Dear husband, I have decided to name our baby  ____ ___. Does that work for you?"
Husband, between wrestling the firstborn as aforesaid firstborn laughs hysterically. "Um, why not."
Wife: "Wonderful. We make such a good team."

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental ;)

What's your baby naming story?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Announcing the Sequel to the Adventures of Joe-Joe

        To those of you who have faithfully followed The Adventures of Joe-Joe from his tumultuous birth where he spent three weeks in NICU fighting for his life against meningitis. To God's answer to prayer as, far from being deaf or dealing with cerebral palsy and mental delays as the doctors suspected, Joe-Joe met every milestone. To those of you who watched as Joe-Joe learned to talk and started his laugh-worthy dialogue. Thank you.

Now announcing the sequel to the Adventures of Joe-Joe.

The Never-Ending Exploits of Joe-Joe and Baby Chip.

      Joe-Joe wasn't quite sure how he felt about Baby Chip right off. First, Joe-Joe refused to believe Baby Chip was real.
     "Baby Chip is in Mama's tummy," I told Joe-Joe.

     Joe-Joe laughed and pointed out the window at the squirrel running the fences. "Baby Chip's out there."
     "No, Baby Chip's in Mama's tummy. He's your brother," Daddy said.
      Joe-Joe snorted and waved a dismissive hand. "Baby Chip's not real."

      Nine weeks later, after enlisting the help of Nana and Grandpa, we finally convinced Joe-Joe that Baby Chip was indeed real. Then the true "fun" started.

        Joe-Joe screamed and stomped his feet. "I don't want a brother! Get him out."
         I shook my head. "No, Joe-Joe. Baby Chip is going to keep growing in Mama's tummy." We pray. Having some scarily-close calls just now. More on that later.
         Joe-Joe pouted. "Alright, but when he comes out, I'm going to chop his head off with my sword."
          A look of terror crossed my face. If you'd seen how Joe-Joe swings his wooden sword, you'd know my terror was justified. "No, Joe-Joe!"
         Joe-Joe crossed his arms. "I'll bite his head off like a sharp tooth dinosaur."
         "No, Joe-Joe!" I grabbed my little boy's arm.
         "I'll throw him out the window."
         "No, Joe-Joe! You may not hurt Baby Chip or you will be in big trouble." I looked at Daddy for reinforcement.

          Several months of words from Daddy, which for some reason are ever so much more sobering to the four-year-old mind than Mama's words, set Joe-Joe straight.

          Joe-Joe pouted. "Alright. When Baby Chip comes out, I won't hurt him. I'll give him to a different Daddy and Mama. Because I don't want to share my Mama and Daddy."
          I sighed. "It will be fun to have a brother."
          "You're my Mama. You're NOT Baby Chip's Mama."
          "Um...I kind of am Baby Chip's Mama. Sorry. Want to see a video of Baby Chip growing in Mama's tummy?"
          Joe-Joe nodded eagerly. Who would say no to screen time? He watched enraptured as I pulled up the video. "What's that, Mama?"
         "Baby Chip's umbilical cord."
          Joe-Joe's nose wrinkled. "What's it do?"
          "He eats through it."
          Joy flashed across Joe-Joe's face as he bounced on the carpet. "Can I come to the hospital and see Baby Chip's umbilical cord when he comes out? Can I? Can I? Can I?"
          I stared at my son. "Err...maybe . . ."
          "I like Baby Chip's umbilical cord, but I don't like Baby Chip. I will have my snake bite him."

           Great, just great . . .

          Finally, in month five, as I contemplated security locks on Baby Chip's doors to save him from his terror of a brother, something changed.
          Joe-Joe looked at me. "What will baby Chip eat when he comes out and the doctors take his umbilical cord? Can I keep Baby Chip's umbilical cord?"
         I groaned. "No, you can't keep it. And he will drink Mama's milk."
         "But I want to keep it." Queue several minutes of tears and screams. Suddenly, Joe-Joe brightened. "Can I feed Chip his milk in a bottle?"
         Joe-Joe rummaged in a bottom drawer. "I will use this bottle. I will sneak in at night and feed him. I like Baby Chip."
         My jaw gaped. "You do?"
         "Yes. I will keep him in my bed and feed him lots and lots of bottles. Then he won't be lonely."
         "Er...thanks?" I think? So not letting my baby co-sleep with a four-year-old. But it's the thought that counts.
        "I love Baby Chip," Joe-Joe said.


EDITED TO ADD: After a scary month where the doctors thought Baby Chip might have potentially lethal chromosomal abnormalities because of his small size (less than 1% and clubfoot), he's in the clear there and may very well not have a clubfoot either. Thank you to all who prayed! But he's still not growing  well and has an increased chance of stillbirth because of decreased blood flow from me to him.
     Now we are enjoying weekly high-risk doctor appointments and praying Baby Chip keeps getting enough blood while preparing that the doctors will most likely deliver him well before his due date.
     Because, you know, Baby Chip wouldn't want his birth story to be any less stressful and tension-filled than Joe-Joe's. What kind of a page turner would that be? ;)