3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beautiful Fall Wedding

David, Rachel and I attended a beautiful fall wedding this weekend 2 1/2 weeks after Rachel came home.  It was so wonderful to see this beautiful young couple join their lives together in front of God, family, and friends knowing FULLY that they were placing God first in their relationship.  I feel so honored to be good friends with the grooms family and to have been a part of and watched the groom and his siblings grow up in my church. 
The Hart family is among the sweetest individuals I know on this earth, and I am always amazed at how they serve God and our nation.  Three men of this family already protect our freedom by being a part of the United States Marine Corp. and my dear friend Dana serves our nation by caring for her wonderful family and staying strong when her husband or boys are serving away from home and sometimes in harms way.  Truly a shinning family and a wonderful example of Christ.  I know Meredith was freezing, but she was so beautiful in her vintage style dress her photographers captured some beautiful moments.

It was so wonderful to see dear friends and celebrate the beginning of this young couple.
My life long friends and sisters in Christ, Donna, Dana Mother of the Groom, and Melanie

Congratulations Todd and Meredith, May God bless your life together!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Welcome to Holland

This was shared with me while I was in the NICU with our little Rachel to help me have a perspective of where we now were in life and that we weren't alone in it.  Facing a life with a disability living within our family is a place I thought we would never be, but we are now living in Holland and we are not alone.
Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

"But there's been a change in the flight plan." says the stewardess.  "They've landed in Holland and there you must stay."

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Traditions

Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Preparing the Thanksgiving Meal
Having the National Dog Show on while cooking
Playing a game of Cornhole with the family
A light lunch of my Mom's Cream of Brocolli soup and my homemade Chicken Salad
Dinner with my family around the Thanksgiving Table
Watching White Christmas at the end of the day
What are your Thanksgiving Day traditions??

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!
I am thankful for my Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am thankful for my amazing husband, friend, and partner in life.
I am thankful for my 3 little Miracles and especially for Rachel being home with us this day.
Finally, I am thankful for my extended family and friends!

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving from My family to Yours!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Willow House Holiday Gifts with Melanie Grant (Part 2)

Willow House Holiday Gifts with Melanie Grant

Willow|House Black Friday and Beyond

Enjoy 23 days of savings with the Willow House Very Merry Markdown!
Save 40% or more on 23 Willow House products that make perfect holiday gifts!
1. Click on the “Shop Now” button from my Consultant Webpage.
2. Browse a variety of current Catalog products and special values in the Outlet section.
3. Select items to purchase and click “add to cart.”
4. Once you have made your selections, proceed to checkout.
5. Register as a Preferred Customer (saves your information for future shopping trips), or simply enter in your personal information to process your order.
6. Determine if your order will be added to an active party (Enter my name "Laura Cole" as the hostess)) or processed as a single independent order.
7. Provide payment information and click the “Submit Order” button.
8. Check your email for an order confirmation (a copy is also sent to the Design Consultant).
9. Once the order ships, both the YOU and the Design Consultant will receive an email ship

And REMEMBER that I will be donating all of my profits from my December party sales to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, NC to assist other families in need of housing during a family medical emergency.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A SMALL peek at Rachel's room

I was so excited that something arrived today for Rachel's room, that I couldn't help taking pictures to share with you a LITTLE sneek peek into her room.  With everything that happened with Rachel's health in the first three weeks of her life, her room is just now getting done.  Her book shelves are done, her crib is in her room for napping, the rocker is back from the upholster, and her changing table is organized and functional.  So here is another item checked off her room list.

I purchased a monogram from Leen the graphics Queen
Step 1:
Step 2:
Final result:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

December party profits go to Ronald McDonald House

I have been a Constulant with Southern Living at HOME,  now known as Willow|House, for seven years.  Willow|House (Southern Living at HOME) works hand in hand to support the efforts of CUT IT OUT and Juvenile Diabetes.  However, as much as I support the efforts to raise funds for both of these organizations, this December I will be donating my profits to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, NC.

As you know when our little Rachel was born, she was airlifted to PITT Memorial Hospital where she lived the first three weeks of her life in the NICU.  The social workers at the hospital knew I desired to be by Rachel's side as much as I could and arranged for me to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Greenville.  I never thought that we would ever been in a position to need the services of the RMcD House, but when we found ourselves facing Rachel's uncertain medical needs an hour and a half from our home, they provided me a comfortable and safe place to stay. 

The Ronald McDonald House provided me with a private hotel like room, along with a hospital grade breast pump so I could provide for Rachel as soon as she was able to feed. All I had to do was pay $10 per night to cover the cost of my room, if I couldn't afford that then they asked for whatever I could pay or nothing at all.   In addition, the had a fully equipped kitchen with a pantry closet STOCKED with food to fix for breakfast and lunch, and dinner each night prepared by volunteers.  They also had a FREE shuttle service that picked me up at the house and dropped me off at the children's hospital whenever I needed it.  Ronald McDonald gave me a place to rest and heal while I tried to stay as many hours in the day at Rachel's crib side.
So in an effort to help them continue the work they do to help families like ourselves through a difficult time, I am giving them all of my December profits.  So go to our willow|house catalog and shop for your remaining Christmas presents OR stock your gift closet with some great willow|house deals.  Shop with me before December 15th and they will ship directly to your home and YOU will help to raise money to help other families in need stay with Ronald McDonald.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

PREVIEW of Rachel's first photo session

Meredith Cornett Photography website
Meredith Cornett Photography on Facebook

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 21

(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Heading HOME

Wordless Wednesday - Finally Coming HOME!

Which ONE Which ONE??

I am having a debate on which announcement to finally use to formally anounce to our extended family the arrival of Rachel in our lives.  Which one do you like?

I plan on getting a copy of this one just for fun to put in Rachel's baby book, because she was originally due to come home on Halloween.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 19
(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Rachel Update: Rachel is still at PITT in the NICU because New Bern did not have a room yesterday or today for her to be moved our way. There is still hope that PITT will release her completely tomorrow, but they still want to do one more test in the morning (a swallow study). David and I will go up tomorrow early in the morning in hopes that Rachel will be in the car with us when we come back home 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 18

(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Rachel Update: Well our little Rachel had another Brady last night and her HR dropped to 68 for a brief time. The doctors want to continue to keep her under medical care, but they are trying to get her back in at Carolina Medical Center so that I can be back home with the boys each night. If they get her a room, Rachel will be moved by ambulance later today, back to New Bern.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 15

(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Rachel Update: Unfortunately we will not be coming home with Rachel today, prior to us arriving this morning she had a Brady where her heart rate dropped down to 73. IN additon she is not eating as much as they would like and her weight is down some. So they are going to give us another 24 hours of observing her before they make any decisions. Pray Pray Pray, we want our girl home healthy!

The NICU staff is wonderful, David and I had already checked out of the RMcD house this morning before coming over and finding out Rachel wasn't coming home with us. So, they set me up with a private family room IN the NICU and Rachel will get to sleep in here with me tonight while being monitored. Pray we have a good night with her heart and her feedings.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rachel's Birth Story: Part 2

On October 21st my husband and I went for my final OB appointment scheduled at 8:15am, my MoG wanted to go with me because he knew it was my last ultrasound before BIRTH day.  Of course he knew he would see our little Rachel in a week, but for some reason it was important to him to see her last TV appearance ;-)  We arrived on time and were taken back for the first phase of the appointment, the ultrasound.  Little did we know that in a few minutes our lives would be changed forever and at a rate of speed that we had no time to catch a breath.

We had gotten to know the two ultrasound techs pretty well considering we were having weekly ultrasounds for the past 3 months, and we started joking with her right away and I was helping to pick things out on the screen as she rolled the wand across my HUGE belly.  We found Rachel's lungs right away and watched her practice her breathing, then the tech started watching for her head, arm, and leg movements.  Rachel did the first two just fine, but when it came to her legs, she had them so tight up into her chest and it seemed as though she had no room to move them.  So she measured her amniotic fluid, and she said it was very low, she asked me to remind her of how many weeks I was, and I told her 38.  She jotted down some notes, printed off some pictures and I was moved into an exam room.

David and I waited for the doctor to come in and while we waited we went over the grocery list because we were going shopping after the appointment and we also talked about how huge my feet were.  The doctor came in and said, "We are having this baby soon."  To which I responded, "Yes next Wednesday is coming pretty fast."  Dr. J said, "NO, I mean this baby is coming soon."  I responded, "So, you think I will go into labor over the weekend?"  The doctor looked at me like I was a little daft in the head and said, "NO, I mean we are having this baby today, tomorrow at the latest."  I foolishly responded with, "But we were going grocery shopping after this."

The doctor went on to explain that Rachel's amniotic fluid was 3.7, my blood pressure was slightly up, and with the swelling in my feet, he felt it was too big of a risk that the baby or I would go into distress if we waited any longer.  He said, "I think God is telling us it's time for Rachel to come out."  Both David and I were in stunned silence for a few minutes and then everything started moving in fast gear.  It was like an out of body experience as the doctor and his nurse started making calls, jotting down instructions, writing prescriptions for my med's after getting out of the hospital, it seemed as though everything was going so fast and yet at that moment we had been in the doctors office for 2 hours.  After getting all our instructions, we were directed to go over to the hospital and check in for an emergency c-section.

As we drove the few miles from the doctors office to the hospital, I started frantically trying to get a hold of the family.  My niece Hilary was watching our youngest son who was home with an ear ache.  We had scheduled an appointment for him to go to the doctor in the afternoon and now someone else would need to take him.  My mother had NEVER missed the birth of one of her grand babies and I didn't want her to miss Rachel's, so I was trying her at every number I could think of.  My poor sister had called me the night before and informed me that she had gotten the two days off the following week for Rachel's scheduled c-section and now I was leaving a message informing her that her niece was arriving today.  Then just as we were about to walk into the hospital I remembered that we were supposed to prepare a meal for our pastor and his wife, who had just had a baby 2 weeks before.  So, we quickly called the church and asked the secretary to find someone who could take our place in bringing them a meal.

I will never forget the look on my husband's face as he sat beside me while they prepared my IV, asked a bunch of medical questions and family history, and got me ready for our little girls arrival . . . . . he looked like his head was ready to spin off of his shoulders and yet he was trying to remain calm.  Both of us commented that it felt a lot like the day we had our first son, that quick decision we had to make then to have a c-section because the induction wasn't working, and how quickly things went once we said yes.  We knew that very soon we would be able to take a deep breath and that we would realize all of this was real when they placed our little girl in our arms.  Unfortunately, we didn't know that the deep breath would not come and our moment to relax and soak in the day would fly away.

At 12:46 Rachel was pulled from my belly and I knew right away that something wasn't right, she didn't cry.  When they got her over to the warmer I could see the nurse rubbing her body and trying to stimulate her and I could hear tiny bursts of crying and then gasping for air, she was struggling to get a good breath.  The nurse remained very calm and said, "I am going to wrap her up for a quick peek from mom, but we need to get her up to the nursery as quick as we can."  They brought Rachel over to David and I and I barely could reach to brush my hands on her head, and at the angle she was being held I couldn't really see her face, just her cute puffy cheeks.  I could hear Rachel's gurgling breaths, and I said "Go, you need to take her now, David stay with our girl but GO now please."  So the nurse gently took her from my husbands arms and David kissed me goodbye and I watched them leave the OR.

My surgery was completed and I was rolled back to recovery where I tried as hard as I could to stay awake and begin working on moving my toes, I knew the quicker I could move the quicker they could get me to my family.  The nurse came over and handed me a packet of pictures, "These are the pictures we took of your little girl in the OR, thought you might like to have these."  I pulled the pictures from the clear bio bag she had placed them in and started looking at my new little girl . . . . . and that is when I knew.  I worked even harder to try and move and as I did I began to cry.  The nurse came over and asked if I was OK and I said, "The news isn't going to be good."  She said, "What do you think is wrong with her."  Not, "NO, I am sure she will be fine", but, "what do you think is wrong with her."  At that moment her phone rang and she said that was the pediatrician, she was on her way down with my husband to talk to me.  The nurse started moving around the recovery unit closing all of the patients curtains and telling the other nurses we needed privacy.  When my husband came through the curtain I said. "She has Down Syndrome doesn't she?"  He said, "Yes how did you know?"  "Her eyes"
The pediatrician came in and confirmed what I thought, but she informed me they wouldn't know until a genetic test was done.  More importantly Rachel had some other issues and she was going to be air lifted to a hospital over an hour from us.  She informed me that Rachel's heart appeared to be enlarged and that she may need heart surgery, but they would know more when they got her to the NICU at PITT Memorial.  In addition, Rachel was still struggling with her breathing and her white blood cell count was high.  I asked if I would be able to see her before they took her and the doctor thought that I would because they were still working to stabilize her for the flight before she could leave.  The doctor started to leave and my husband seemed confused as to whether to stay with me or go to Rachel, and once again I told him to "go be with our girl".

As soon as the doctor and David left I cried so hard I struggled to breath, the recovery nurse came over to sooth me and told me she would work quickly to get me up on the floor so I could see Rachel.  They rushed me through recovery before I was really supposed to leave, I still wasn't moving my legs very well but enough that the doctor said it was OK to move me to my room.  Once on the maternity floor, they got me into my room and settled into bed.  I told the two nurses that were helping me to settle in and taking my vitals, that they were supposed to bring Rachel to me before they took her to the other hospital.  The nurse spoke up and said, "Oh honey, they won't bring your baby here, she is too critical."  I told her I had to see her before they took her away,  I couldn't imagine not seeing or touching her, especially when it could be my only time.  Next thing I knew the two nurses were unhooking my IV, unplugging the bed, and moving toward the door.  "I know how you feel, I am a mother too and I would want to see my baby too, I may be breaking rules but you are going to see your baby."  So the two nurses pushed my bed through the halls of the maternity ward and pushed me up to the nursery window where they opened the blinds for me to see Rachel.  It was still difficult to see her from where I was, but to me she looked so small and helpless as the doctor and nurse worked on her.  My husband and my sister were in the nursery standing beside Rachel's bassinet, and although I was glad they were physically with her, it gave me small comfort because I wanted to be the one in there touching her and telling her everything would be OK.  In truth, I didn't know that it would be.

The nurses moved me back to my room and re-hooked everything and retook all of my vitals.  To my surprise my doctor, who was not on duty, stopped by to visit me to see how Rachel and I were doing.  He had called to check on how my c-section went and heard the news about Rachel's unexpected medical conditions.  It really touched my heart that he went out of the way to come and see me even though one of his partners was the one who actually performed my surgery and was my doctor for the night.  In addition, a member of our church who is the lead partner in the pediatric practice that we take our children too, heard that our little girl was in trouble, and he too came to the hospital to support us and do what he could for Rachel even though he was not on duty.  The haze of people that came to visit me is difficult to remember, all I could do was think of my little girl waiting to be air lifted an hour and a half from me and I couldn't go with her and wouldn't see her for several days while I recovered.

After they had stabilized Rachel, the flight crew changed their mind and decided she was stable enough for them to roll her life flight capsule to my room.  The maneuvered the large capsule as close as they could to my bed and opened up a small window near her head and I was just barely able to reach her finger tips, my husband stood on the other side holding her other hand. I think I remember David praying over her and I sang one of my favorite little lullabies to her, then the flight nurse said, "We need to get her going."  I told Rachel I loved her and off they went.  The crowd seemed to disappear after that, and all that was left in the room was David, my sister, and me.  David didn't know what to do about driving up to the hospital, staying with me, or going home to our boys, he was so torn about where and what he should do.  The doctors came back in and talked with us about what was going on with Rachel and said that tonight they would do a lot of tests on Rachel but they more then likely wouldn't do anything to her until morning after they got a good assessment of where she was and had her stabilized in the unit. 

Once again it was just the three of us and I told David to go home.  It was a difficult decision to make, had I physically been able to do it I would have gone, but I knew that David had already been up all day long.  We had been slammed left and right with shocking news all day and the road to PITT was not exactly safe at night for even the most alert driver, and I knew that David was physically and emotionally at his limit.  I told him and my sister to go home and get rest and then tomorrow they could go see Rachel and find out how our girl was doing.  Some time in the night I got a call from the NICU with an update that Rachel was stable, and that they had done an Eco-cardiogram on her heart, and her heart was not enlarged as they thought.  Her white blood cell count was still high and her red blood cell count was also high, they had already started her on antibiotics and she would be on those for seven days.  As for the breathing issues, they felt like the problem was a flap on her heart that allows blood flow to the lungs, that while inside mom reduces blood flow because they don't need their lungs in utero, but when the baby is out is supposed to close and seal allowing blood flow to the lungs.  The doctors felt this issue would more then likely right itself over the next 24-48 hours but she would be under an oxygen hood until it did.

The next 48 hours passed with agonizing slowness for me, I wanted to be with Rachel so I pushed myself to meet every medical mile marker they wanted me to do.  Getting out of bed, using the bathroom on my own, taking a shower, walking in the halls, if they said I needed to do it, I made sure I did.  The doctors agreed to let me out early on Saturday so I could get to Rachel as quickly as possible.  Over those first 48 hours I know I called the NICU dozens of times, but I just had to stay as connected as I could to Rachel and try my best to be informed so that both David and I would understand everything happening to her.
A day that was supposed to be such great joy, ended with shock, heart break, and complete uncertainty.  We clung to one another and to God in faith that He would bring us through what was ahead.  We poured out tears of pain and prayers for strength.  We knew that we were preparing to walk on a road that many parents before us had walked, but for us it was a path and direction we had no clue was ahead and the heart ache over having to walk it was almost unbearable.  Had Rachel been born only with the diagnoses of DS we might have been able to handle things a little better then we were, but with so many medical issues we were scared, confused, and overwhelmed but deep in our hearts we knew the Father would get us through.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes

Day 14
(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Rachel Update: The Yo-Yo of the IV continues, today they had to put it back in because Rachel's hematocrit was 69 and the needed to push IV fluids to try and then her blood some and bring it down hopefully to between 55-65. The great news is that Rachel's platelets are now 192 and her feedings are continuing to go well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes

Day 13

(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Rachel Update: The latest news for our little Rachel is that she has done very well for the past 24-36 hours. She is once again IV free and will probably have her NG tube taken back out again today. Rachel is still struggling some with her feedings and having spit up issues, but then again both of our boys did the same thing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 12

(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

9AM rounds

Central Hematorcrit 65

Half/Half formula and breast milk

May do a video swallow tomorrow

Advance to 5 every other feeding

**Going to try and push for swallow study today

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baby Girl {Hospital Notes}

Day 11
(transcribed from diary I kept in Rachel's NICU space)

Today's Rachel Update: Rachel's platelet test came back this morning, and her platelets came back up ON Their OWN to 84, YEAH!! They have started feeding her again at a reduced amount and a combination of bottle and tube feeding so that her little tummy has a break every other feeding. Today the roller coaster is UP 

Feeding again 30cc's by mouth OR NG tube, this afternoon if doing well they will got to 40cc's

Needs central hematorcrit (result 68)

Rachel's Story: Part 1

These days we are really clinging to our life verse found in Romans chapter 15 verse 13, "May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." The emotional roller coaster we have been on since October 21st feels some days like we are at the top of the big hill and other days like we are laying tied to the tracks with the speeding coaster car coming at us.

I have tried several times to sit down and tell Rachel's story, so that I won't forget the beautiful details, the miraculous details, the details that some days tore me apart.  If you have been following my blog for very long, then you may know that my husband and I struggled with infertility and went through fertility assistance to have out 2 little Boys.  After J was born in August of 07' we really prayed about whether or not we wanted another child, after all I wasn't getting younger and the process to get pregnant was really taking a toll on my body.  We left the matter at the Master's feet and trusted that He would truly guide us.  Late last year we really felt God pressing on our hearts that it was time to try for our third little miracle, we knew that financially it didn't make sense, we knew physically for me it didn't make sense, and we knew that medically the doctors were not supporting it, but we trusted the Father and made an appointment with our fertility doctor in February of 2010.  So, in January I started preparing my body for the medical process I would begin in February by stopping the pill, and beginning to mark on the calendar when my cycle was, etc.  (Note:  I was only on the pill to regulate my cycle, I had never been able to get pregnant in 9 years of marriage on or off the pill without the assistance of infertility treatment.)

On February 8th we went with excitement to our appointment hoping to start the process to get pregnant and instead of being guided into an exam room like we always had been before, we were directed into the doctors personal office.  We sat across from him for over a half an hour while he listed off all the reasons, new policies, and statistics as to why he and his office would no longer assist us with our fertility.  Top of his list, my age, (I am 41) followed by my weight, my blood pressure, and the statistical chance of being able to get pregnant even with their assistance being 5%.  We walked out of the office and clung to one another in the parking lot while I wept, and yet even as I stood there in my husbands arms I felt God speaking to my heart and telling me this was not over, He had a plan.  He told my heart "I don't deal in statistics."

Five weeks later I got up one morning and realized my cycle had not started, not unusual for me my cycle was never regular.  However, even though I knew it would be negative I decided to take a home pregnancy test and much to my shock it was positive.  Guess God meant it when he said "He had a plan".  I ran to my bedroom calendar and flipped back to when my last cycle was and to look for the red x on the calendar (you know what that means).  The last red x on the calendar was on February 6th, the same day I was diagnosed with bronchitis, after that I didn't feel much up for red x days ;-) 

I called my doctors office first to schedule an appointment to have my home pregnancy test confirmed.  Much to my shock, my joyful phone call turned into my first upset of the pregnancy.  The person I spoke to said, "Congratulations I guess.  Mrs. Cole I need to inform you we have a new office policy, we no longer take care of high risk patients, and with your maternal age it puts you in the category of a high risk pregnancy."  I was in total shock, I mean no physical exam, no face to face conversation, just over the phone DUMP.

(Side Note:  YES I called my husband at work to tell him the news, all I said to him was "Hi Daddy" and he said "Hi Daddy?", I repeated, "Hi Daddy", and then there was a big pause and then he asked if I was saying what he thought I was saying and I said, "Yes".)

They went ahead and scheduled the confirmation pregnancy test and once my pregnancy was confirmed the referred me out to a medical facility 3 HOURS away.  STRESS STRESS STRESS in the place of where I should have been feeling complete joy over our baby.  We did go to the first appointment at the facility they referred us to, but we hated it and the distance and decided to do our own homework for a OBGYN that was closer to our home.  With God's grace, we contacted the clinic I USED to go to when I first moved back to the area after college and had stopped going to because of a botched surgery.  When I met with the OB charge nurse I told her that I would like to avoid this one particular doctor, and she said no problem and made a note in my chart.  We LOVED and still do love the doctor that I was assigned to.  Dr J asked me the first day he saw me how I was doing, and I started telling him about how tired I was, etc., you know the typical early pregnancy symptoms.  He said, "well actually I meant how are you doing here", and he held his hand over my heart, I cried.

Everything went pretty smoothly in the early days of the pregnancy, I was tired and nauseous all the time, but nothing I couldn't handle.  Then at 10 weeks pregnant I started bleeding, and it wasn't just spots.  I called my husband at work and he met me at the ER, we were there for hours and all I could do was keep praying that God wouldn't take this little one away from us, not after all the amazing things that had brought 'her' to us.  They took me back for an ultrasound but wouldn't allow me to see the screen or tell me what they saw, they told me the doctor had to speak to me.  Then I was moved back to an exam room where my husband waited for me and the doctor eventually came and told me that "for now" the baby looked fine but that I had something called a Subchorionic Hematoma which is a gathering of blood between the membranes of the placenta and the uterus. The doctor warned that I would more then likely loose the baby in the next 24-48 hours, but that in some cases the baby ended up growing to full term, he recommended rest and no heavy lifting.  So, we went home and prayed, put my feet up, and waited. 

Two days later we saw my primary OB and he said that although I could still loose the baby, he didn't feel that I would so long as I continued to rest as much as I could and no heavy lifting.  He told me NOT to return to the gym until after this baby was safely in my arms and that more then likely the SCH would resolve itself around 18 weeks (and it did). 

Two weeks later I went into the bathroom and felt a popping sensation and looked down to find a pool of blood at my feet, I was bleeding very heavily and had passed a large clot.  I screamed for my husband and he went into immediate action after he saw what was happening.  Mom came down to watch the boys and David rushed me to the ER.  We went through the same LONG process again, only for HA HA's they included an invasive vaginal exam and scrapping (not something I would ever allow if i were in the same position again).  They waited for hours for me to be able to produce a pee so they could confirm that I was pregnant (this was AFTER they had already done an ultrasound).  Finally, 6 hours later the doctor came in and said that I was still pregnant and the baby looked fine, but again warned I could still loose the baby, obviously he was wrong because God was in control. 

On May 24th we found out that our bundle to be was a little girl, we were of course thrilled to pieces that we would be adding a little lady to our family.  Because of my maternal age, we were traveling once a month in my second trimester, to a hospital over an hour away to have level 2 ultrasounds, all of which showed the baby to be growing fine and looking healthy.

For the next 3 months everything went very smoothly, with no additional trips to the ER and no further medical complications for me until August 24th.  On August 24th, my MoG, my mom, and I went to the OB for the much awaited 3D/4D ultrasound. We were taken back and the tech. started and very quickly said that "this isn't going to work", Rachel was facing my back and in such a position that she wouldn't be able to get any good shots of her.  Then she said my amniotic fluid was low, really low . . . . . she took some measurements and said it was measuring 6 when it should have been measuring between 10-12.  She left the room to consult with the doctor and came back and said he was putting me on full bed rest with plenty of fluids and that if my AF didn't come up within a week, they would have to consider taking Rachel out if the number fell below 5.  A week later the fluid came up to a little over 7. 

The remaining 7 weeks passed without major event, believe me Rachel was giving me every indication that she was strong and viable inside of me, this little one was a mover and shaker in mamma's belly.  It wasn't until my pre-surgery appointment on October 21st during my 38th week, that we got a surprise we hadn't counted on. . . . . .