Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ethan Robert It Is

Well folks, it's official. The baby's name is Ethan Robert Hoff. Keith and I agreed on this several days ago, but I seem to have forgotten to "officially" announce it here. So now you'll probably hear me referring to Ethan as opposed to "the baby" in my future posts. It kind of feels weird right now to refer to him by name because, like I said, I hadn't originally planned on coming to a definite decision on a name until much later. But the more I say it, the more easily it rolls off my tongue.

Today we got some more information about who we will be seeing for the rest of the pregnancy. Rather than continuing to see my original OB, we will be seeing a new Perinatologist in Shawnee. Next Wednesday we have a meeting with the Perinatologist in Overland Park that we saw before, and then we will be seeing our new doctor on Thursday (sounds confusing, I know). The reason that we're going to the new doctor is because: a) he is a specialist who will be able to answer all of our questions and provide us the best care possible, and b) the facility he's at delivers high-risk pregnancies. We still do not have the final results of the chromosones at this point and, unless they can tell us something over the phone, we probably won't know until we go in next Wednesday. We're still hopeful that this is the 1 in 10,000 fluke and not genetic. If it is a fluke, then Keith and I will probably start buying lottery tickets. I mean, if we can have such slim odds on our side for this...

On a more serious note, if you could please join us in praying that our meetings go well next week and that we are able to get more answers about what's to come with the pregnancy and delivery. We also pray that we can find out more about which type of Trisomy 13 Ethan has (there are 3 types). This will give us a bit more information about what the general outlook is.

Thank you for your prayers and love.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What A Beautiful Day

I hope that everyone enjoyed their weekend. As I posted earlier, mine was pretty busy with visitors from Saturday until Monday. It was great to get out and do something fun. On Saturday we took my parents out to lunch for some bbq, explored the Truman Museum, Union Station, Crown Center, and finally out to dinner. It was quite an eventful day. My mom also brought me a few little gifts: a St. Gerard medal, mini statue and prayer card, and my grandma's rosary. It was very thoughtful of her, and I've been wearing the medal every day since.

On Sunday Lisa came down and we grilled steaks and went to see The Bounty Hunter (which was not bad, but kind of a predictable romantic comedy). Yesterday we went to Country Club Plaza to do some shopping. I have to say I'm a little disappointed in myself, though, because I only came back with two books and an oven mitt! I wanted to find some cute (and roomy) dresses, but wasn't able to find any I liked. Why is it when you are on a mission to find something you can't, and when you're trying not to spend money everything looks good? I'll never understand.

Today it is a breezy 70 degrees outside and it's supposed to warm up as the week goes on. I love it! Of course, living in the midwest I know that we still may have some 40 degree days ahead, but I'm trying to pretend that Spring is here to stay.

I hope that the weather is as beautiful where you are, and that you're able to get outside and enjoy it.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yay For Visitors!

Today my parents are driving down for the day. Because the forecast calls for rain pretty much all day, it kind of limits what we'll be able to do. I know that we will take them to the Truman Museum. Keith and I went there a few weekends ago and it was really interesting. I hadn't known that President Truman was from Independence. The museum is all about his life and presidency, as well as the general events that were going on in the United States during World War II and after. It is really interesting. President Truman actually lived in Independence both before and after his presidency, and you can tour his home. Unfortunately, the home is closed until this summer so we won't be able to do that today. I'm trying to find some other museums/cultural attractions around here and Kansas City that we can go to after that. Hopefully I can find enough stuff to keep us busy for the day!

Tomorrow my good friend Lisa is planning on making a trip down here and staying until Monday. I'm excited to have her come, and she's an awesome friend for offering to do so. We will definitely be doing some shopping!

I am so happy to have some visitors to keep us busy this weekend. It will be good for us to do something fun and get our minds off everthing from the past 2 weeks. Now if only the weather could cooperate...

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and are also able to get out and do something that you enjoy.


Friday, March 26, 2010

An Appointment Made, Then Cancelled

I had mentioned on Tuesday that I called the doctor's office in Overland Park that does pregnancy terminations. Keith and I were still at a point where we kept going back and forth about what we should do. On Wednesday I actually called and made an appointment. The only reason I made it so soon is because we were still on the fence and running out of time. I figured I could always back out of it, but if we waited too long it might be too late to do it. The appointment was set for next Thursday and Friday. Because I'm so far along, they would have to give me something Thursday afternoon to help me start dilating, and then I'd go in Friday morning for the procedure. I can't tell you how sick to my stomach I felt while I was on the phone making that appointment. Afterwards I had printed off some of the registration/consent forms and began filling them out. Then I got to the "Past Pregnancy History" section. Since this is my first pregnancy, I put "0" next to everything such as C-Sections, Live Births, Miscarriages, etc. It hit me when I got to the Elective Abortions line. I realized that I could put "0" right now, but I'd never be able to that again. That means that if I get pregnant again and have to fill out paperwork for a regular OB-Gyn visit, I'd have to put a "1" on that line. I didn't think I could live with that.

Wednesday night as I went to bed I began to feel a knot in the pit of my stomach. I thought about how a week from now I'd be preparing to go and terminate my preganancy. End my baby's life. I woke up on Thursday and read some more of the emails that people had sent me. Like I said before, their messages about God choosing us as this child's parents and how He would get us through anything really began to hit me. I suddenly felt like I knew what our answer was. We would continue this pregnancy. We had to.

When Keith got home from work last night, I talked to him about what I was feeling. He revealed to me that he too had been thinking about that during the day. He said he just felt sick to think about ending the pregnancy. Although he's also worried about what's to come, he said he knows we would never regret letting this pregnancy getting as far as it can. Then he pointed out something else to me that I hadn't even realized. Being that I'm currently not working, my sense of days of the week/dates is somewhat blurred. He brought it to my attention that next Friday is Good Friday. GOOD FRIDAY. Not only would that name be a complete contradiction to how we would feel about it, but it's a Catholic holiday!! How in the world could I do something so awful on a day like that?

Keith and I decided at that moment that we would go forward with this together. He said something that is so true: "It's the easiest choice we can make, but the hardest road to go down." While we feel the anxiety in our stomachs temporarily lifted after making our decision, we know it will be back throughout this journey. But we also know that we have a lot of faith and support that will help us get through it.

Today the nurse who had made my appointment called me. She asked if I could come in Thursday morning instead of the afternoon. I told her that we had changed our mind and decided to continue with the pregnancy. She was very kind and understanding and actually told me that if I ever needed anything, even just to talk, I could call back. That kind of took me by surprise. But I guess it shouldn't since everyone I've spoken to in the last 2 weeks has offered me the same.

So I guess the whole point of this post is to inform you of our decision to go on with the pregnancy. Am I scared out of my wits? Yes. Am I going to let that control me? No. I ask that you continue to pray with us that we can remain at peace as we face whatever hurdles lie ahead. Here's a piece of scripture that my friend Stacey shared with me that I think is perfect for the theme of this blog:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4



Music has always been something that I've loved. It sounds cheesy, but it's like music creates a soundtrack to my life. There are certain songs that I hear that immediately remind me of a certain period, event, or age. I remember hearing the song "Smile" in a movie when I was younger (My Girl 2 if you're familiar) and I really loved it. This week that song crept into my mind. I googled it and found the Nat King Cole version that's really beautiful. The song has such a positive message, though I must admit that I've been blubbering like a baby when I listen to it. Here's the lyrics:

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

This song is becoming sort of a motto for me now. The perfect background music for what's going on in my life. Years from now if I hear this song, I will no doubt be brought back to this place. I know there are going to be days when I have to force myself to smile, but I guess that's just how you get through life sometimes.

I've also attached a link to play the song if you'd like to listen to it (from youtube):

Maybe it can be a reminder to you as well that sometimes in life you just have to suck it up and carry on.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today's Thoughts and Feelings

Every so often for the past few weeks I would feel a sort of "bubbly" feeling in the bottom of my stomach. I would feel it here and there and think, "Was that the baby, or just a muscle spasm or gas?" People who've had a baby would tell me that was the first sign of its little movements. I couldn't wait until I would finally get to feel the stronger rumblings that I would definitely know were from the baby. Yesterday was the first time that I started to notice more of a frequent feeling. Everytime I sit or lay down, I start to feel those little bubblies. I wish I could say it made me feel really excited, but it actually made me feel a little sad and guilty. Because I am still wrestling with my choices, I almost didn't want to feel him. Is that horrible to say? It was like I just wanted to forget that he was still down there living and moving while I contemplated whether or not I would continue with the pregnancy.

Today I feel more comforted by his movements. It's reassuring to me that he's still there. I called the genetic counselor and the perinatologist today to see if I could get more information about the general outlook for my pregnancy, as well as if the perinatologist had detected anything wrong with the heart or the brain. Unfortunately, she told me that she couldn't detect that quite yet. I know that there will likely be an abnormality with his brain, but I just hope that his little heart is spared. As of last week his heartbeat sounded so good, so strong. Only time will tell if it is in okay shape. Neither person could give me a solid statement or percentage of what the outlook would be. The genetic counselor told me that it really is a baby-by-baby situation. She did say, though, that while it's in the womb the baby would be relying on me for a majority of its survival. That gives me some hope that maybe I could carry him through this. However, the perinatologist also told me that in one of her books it simply stated that most prengnacies with Trisomy 13 end in miscarriage. But that doesn't mean they ALL do. Should I look at this from the glass half-empty or half-full perspective?

I feel like my biggest fear in continuing the pregnancy is what will happen between now and birth. If someone could tell me that he would without a doubt or most likely make it to term, I would have no reservations in moving forward. I know what the prognosis is after birth, but I guess I'm just afraid of what will happen if he doesn't make it to that point. I know I'd have to go through labor and I just wonder if I'd be in a lot of pain. It sounds so stupid, but I'm such a scaredy cat of all things medical. I've never even gone through having my wisdom teeth pulled, so you can imagine how gung-ho I am about the thought of giving birth! I guess it seems much more tolerable when you think about the reward that you get in the end. Sometimes I just wish my reward could be like everyone else's.

So many people have told me that God gives you the hurdles that He knows you can make it through. That He will give you the strength to overcome whatever obstacles you encounter. I'm starting to really take those statements to heart. I also read yesterday that most miscarriages in the first trimester are due to a chromosonal abnormality. I never knew that before. It starts to make me think about how my baby somehow made it past that time frame, when he had all of the odds against him. Can he continue to do it for the rest of this pregnancy? I very much would hope so.

If the expression "food for thought" is true, then my mind should be obese by now from all that it has taken in.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So Much Support

The last few days I have received dozens of emails and calls from friends and family. Even people that I have never met before have taken the time to contact me and offer their insight and support. It fills me with so much gratitude. Just knowing that people care and are willing to take time out of their own busy lives to listen to me ramble on means a great deal to me. I just hope that I can do the same for someone else who is ever in need.

I feel like the last few days have been focused solely on our situation and today my plan is to try and get out and do something productive. I didn't leave the house at all yesterday, and it was beautiful outside. Of course today it is cloudy and rainy, but I don't think I can stand to be cooped up again all day. If you've ever been to Independence you know that there's not a whole lot to do here. If nothing else, the most exciting thing I may do today is go to Target! I just need to get my mind off things for a little while.

Thanks again for your continued support as we face this tough situation. We love you all.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Answers, More Questions

Today I spoke with a nurse at the medical center that does the termination. While I felt a sense of comfort in getting the answers that I sought about the overall procedure and what is to be expected, I find myself with more internal questions. If we go through with this, are we bad parents? Have we failed to truly follow God's plan? Am I going to be cursed with some kind of bad karma that will affect my chances of a future healthy pregnancy? These are the the kind of thoughts that tear me up inside. All Keith and I ultimately want to do is save our child from any pain and suffering. Is it selfish that we also want to save ourselves from this? I struggle with feeling like we're making a decision that benefits us more than our child, but I know in my heart that this isn't the case.

Like I've said, we still haven't made a definite choice. We still go back and forth at times, discussing what feels right for us. If you could just pray with us that I can find answers to my questions, as well as come to a definite conclusion within the next few days, I would really appreciate it. For now I guess it's time to try and get some sleep and hopefully get my mind off things, at least until the morning.


To Name Or Not To Name?

The last few days I've thought about this. Most of the parents whose blogs I've read named their child before birth. Even some of the parents who terminated their pregnancies decided to name the child after termination. They felt that by naming it, they were recognizing that it was their child, not just some "being" that was taken out of the mother's body. I'm not sure where I stand on this. Weeks ago Keith and I had talked about how we would probably narrow down our list of names to 2 or 3 that we really liked, and then would wait until we saw the baby to determine what we would name him (we've felt all along that this baby was a boy). What's kind of ironic, perhaps eerie, is that last Sunday night I had a dream about our baby. This was one day before everything began to unravel. I dreamt that he was born and was healthy and beautiful. Earlier that day we had discussed a few of the names we liked, and Ethan had come up. In my dream we named the baby Ethan Robert Hoff, since Robert is Keith's middle name. I've read about other parents who had bad dreams or premonitions shortly before learning terrible news about their child. I thought,then, that this dream was a surefire sign that everything was going to be great with ours. Now I'm not sure how to interpret the dream or the name that was in it. Is this a sign that we should name this baby Ethan Robert? Or was this God's way of telling me that someday down the line we will have a healthy baby boy and he will be Ethan? I'm really going to have to think about this. I wasn't ready to commit to a name, but now this dream and the news we've received has started to make me reconsider. As soon as we make a decision on that, I will be sure to post it for all of you.

Thanks again for all of the calls and emails of support and prayers.


A Rough Night

Last night before I went to bed I decided to look through the book that the doctor gave us last week after the amniocentesis. It's a book for parents who are faced with making a difficult decision about the babies they love. There are stories and anecdotes from moms and dads about the choices they made and how they healed. I hadn't been ready to look at this book when we got it, but last night I felt like maybe it might help me as we think about what we're going to do. To say the book overwhelmed me would be an understatement. I felt the grief and emotion that I'd kept at bay most of the afternoon come flooding out of me again. It just seems so unfair that God would impart this kind of pain to families like us, but I guess there's always a reason for everything that happens. The only good thing about having a cry like that is that it wore me out so I fell asleep really quickly. However, I woke up a few times in the middle of the night and my thoughts immediately went back to the baby.

Today I'm going to be calling the doctor's office in Kansas City to find out more about the option of terminating the pregnancy. I'm not saying that this is what we are definitely going to do, but I do need more answers about it before I can make a decision either way. I need to be as educated as I can be about terminating or continuing the pregnancy so that I know what the risks and benefits are of either choice. Please help me pray that through the information I gather, it will become clear to us what the right decision is.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

This is a question that I've been pondering all afternoon. I'm not sure when I'll have the answer to it. I've made phone calls to family and some friends who have all offered support and a listening ear. As of this weekend I was all set to forge ahead with the pregnancy no matter what. I have to admit that after receiving the blow that we did today, I'm weighing all of my options. On one hand, I can't fathom the thought of ending my child's life. On the other hand, I also can't bear the thought of losing him before or after birth, not to mention seeing a baby that's suffering. This afternoon I found a few more blogs, this time of parents whose babies were diagnosed with Trisomy 13. These parents chose to continue their pregnancies. Unfortunately, the babies died not long after birth. They also did not have the abdominal wall defect that our baby does. I'd like to find a blog of a parent whose child did have that in addition to Trisomy 13, to see how they handled the situation. In the meantime, I have so many unanswered questions that I need to resolve within myself. Am I ready to face the journey of uncertainty that lies ahead? Can I handle all of the stress and anxiety it may involve? If the baby survives, am I ready to see it in such a condition? Will I be prepared to see it for such a short amount of time? If I choose to terminate, am I a bad person? Did I give up too soon? Am I letting others down?

These are questions that I don't know the answers to at this time. Keith and I have a lot of talking and soul-searching to do before we can come to a decision about this pregnancy. I just hope that God can lead me to the answer that will put me in a state of peace and understanding. I know that our family and friends will support us no matter what choice we make, and that means a lot.


More Bad News

Well, today we got more devastating news. We learned that there is a defect of Chromosone 13, also known as Trisomy 13. This is what sparked all of the other complications within the baby. The prognosis is grim. Rather than attempt to inform you of all of the complications associated with Trisomy 13, I'll let you go to this link:

It's a lot to take in right now. The final results of all of the chromosones (which we should receive in another week or so) will tell us if there is a third separate Chromosone 13, or if the Chromosone 13 attached itself to another chromsone. If it is a completely separate third chromosone, then it is a fluke occurence. If it is attached to another chromosone, then we have a 1% chance of it happening again on a future pregnancy. We have some difficult choices to make, and have to let it all sink in before we can make them. We were told that babies who do make it to term and are born with this condition usually do not live very long. If we were to decide to terminate the pregnancy, then it would have to be at or before 22 weeks. Otherwise we would have to go somewhere out of state to have it done. That only gives me roughly 2 weeks to decide. Of course if we decide to continue with the pregnancy, there is also a risk that something will happen on its own. Both prospects terrify me. Right now I just need to talk to God and listen to my heart to help me decide what is right. Please join me in that prayer if you could.
Thanks for all of the love and support you have given me so far. Both Keith and I really appreciate it.


A Morning of Anxiety

Our appointment is in two hours. I am feeling really anxious and scared right now, and said one more prayer this morning to help calm me down. Not only did I pray that we receive good news, but also that I will be able to come to terms with whatever is thrown our way. The only thing I can do for the next few hours is take deep breaths and maintain a sense of hope...

Fingers crossed that I can relay some good news this afternoon.


Prego Pictures

From the time we found out we were expecting, Keith and I have been taking pictures to document how much I've been growing. We usually take a picture every 2 weeks or so. After we found out this news, I found myself contemplating whether or not I wanted to continue taking pictures. Part of me thought I might jinx myself (there goes that superstition again), and another felt like I would be acting phony, pretending to be happy and excited when inside I'm falling apart. I came to the decision yesterday that we shouldn't stop taking pictures. No matter what happens in this pregnancy, it will always be part of me. Therefore, I should take advantage of every opportunity we have to document it. I've attached all of the pictures we've taken so far. The latest one is from yesterday. For so long I felt like my tummy wasn't showing, but the last few pics prove that I obviously am! It's funny, because now I look back at the pictures from 8 to 17 weeks and I wish I could go back to being blissfully unaware that anything was wrong. Obviously I can't do that though. For now I just hope that I have many many more photos to come!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Praying to St. Gerard

Yesterday my mom gave me a prayer book of St. Gerard. St. Gerard is the patron of expectant mothers because of a miracle effected through his prayers for an expectant mother. Now many pregnant mothers pray to him for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. The book has 9 daily prayers, and last night Keith and I said the first one together. Tonight we will do the second. I plan on continuing these prayers every night. I have read online that there are St. Gerard medals that pregnant woman can wear or keep in a prayer book if they are experiencing a difficult pregnancy. I'm going to be scoping out local religious stores to see if I can find one. If anyone else would like to pray to St. Gerard with me, here is a prayer you can say:

O Almighty and Everlasting God,
who did draw to Yourself Saint Gerard,
even from his tenderest years,
making him comfortable to the
Image of Your Crucified Son,
grant we beg you that imitating
his example; we may be made
like unto the same Divine Image,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord.


How Our Story Began

Up until this point, my pregnancy was a typical healthy one. I found out that I was pregnant in December, much to my surprise and delight! Keith and I knew that we were ready to start a family, but we hadn't really been focusing all of our attention on "trying." We were both amazed when I had a positive test at that time. Keith had also been working nights at that time, so our time for "trying" was very limited! Throughout the next 18 weeks I had routine appointments with no sign of anything abnormal. My ultrasounds at 7 weeks and 11 weeks looked great, and all of my blood work came back fine, inclding the AFP screening at 15 weeks. This screening tests for chromosonal abnormalities, and an elevated result can indicate anything from spina bifida to Down Syndrome. I felt relieved when I heard that my results were in the normal range. I've always been a superstitious person, and throughout this pregnancy I was very cautious of what I did and was afraid to let very many people know I was pregnant before 14 weeks. Only a small group of family and friends were aware. My hope was that by being protective, I would hopefully avoid anything going wrong. When I made it to the 2nd trimester, I was ecstatic! I felt much more comfortable telling people and was beginning to feel more comfortable with my pregnancy and that it would be normal and healthy. Funny how things can change in an intstant.

My first appointment here in Independence was last Monday. It went very smoothly, and I was able to hear the baby's heartbeat for the second time. It was strong, and reminded me of a horse galloping! My new doctor(Dr. Adams) assured me that from how healthy I was and how everything so far had come back normal, I was a low-risk pregnancy. Because I was just about 19 weeks, I asked about setting up an appointment that week to find out the sex of the baby. He told me it shouldn't be a problem, and we were actually able to get in later that afternoon. This was the ultrasound Keith and I had been looking forward to for weeks, and we were very anxious to go.

When we started our ultrasound, things seemed normal enough. I could see the baby's heart beating, the spine, hands, feet, etc. The tech was having a hard time getting a good enough look to determine the baby's sex because he/she wouldn't turn around (I knew then that this stubborn baby was definitely my child). A few minutes into the ultrasound, she mentioned that the stomach looked a little abnormal, as did the kidneys. Immediately, my mind started to panic a little. After about 15 minutes, we stopped the ultrasound and she took the pictures to my doctor for an initial look to confirm what she thought. When she returned, we were told that we would have to do a Level 2 ultrasound, which looks much closer at things. We were scheduled for Wednesday, and told that Dr. Adams would call me that evening after he'd thoroughly reviewed my ultrasound. We left that appointment feeling very unsettled. Not only did we not learn the sex of our baby (though she did say she thought it might be a boy), but we left with more information than we'd wanted to hear.

That evening Dr. Adams called me to tell me what he saw on the ultrasound. It indidcated that our baby's umbilical cord is a single-artery cord. What this means is that there is only 1 artery taking waste out of the body instead of 2. As a result, one of the kidneys was quite swollen due to a buildup of fluid. Keith and I did more research on this at home, and were very hopeful that worst case scenerio would be that maybe the baby might lose a kidney at birth. Little did we know there was more in store for us.

The moment I laid down for the Level 2 ultrasound on Wednesday, I felt nervous. I didn't know what to expect. When the Dr. mentioned that the single-artery cord was the least of this baby's worries, my heart sank. She then informed us that there was an abdominal wall defect. Basically, this means that when the umbilical cord formed on the stomach, the stomach failed to close properly, leaving the intestines and other organs on the outside of the abdomen. I lost it. I felt like I had been punched in the chest and began sobbing uncontrollably. The Dr. said that in order to know how this would impact the baby's survival, we would need to know if there are any chromosonal abnormalities. To know this, we would have to do an Amniocentesis. This would involve sticking a long, thin needle into my abdomen and retrieving amniotic fluid from the womb. Anyone who knows me knows that I am deathly afraid of needles, and from the moment I read about Amniocentesis in one of my pregnancy books, I was terrified of it. Keith and I told the Dr. we needed a minute to talk and process what we'd just heard. Although I felt like I couldn't possibly endure an Amnio after hearing such awful news, I knew we needed answers soon. Plus, I would just fear it if we put it off. So, a few minutes later I was lying down having the Amnio done. I have to say that it wasn't quite as bad as my mind imagined it to be, though I definitely didn't enjoy it either. Needless to say, we left that appointment feeling defeated and didn't get much sleep that night.

We now are meeting with the Dr. tomorrow at noon for preliminary results, which will tell us about only a few of the chromosones. It takes about 2 weeks to get the full results. I am praying that we hear some positive news tomorrow and on the next appointment. I'm not sure I can handle hearing more bad news. If you could join us in this prayer, we would really appreciate it. I will post again tomorrow after the appointment, hopefully with good news.



An Introduction To Our Blog

My decision to create this blog came on the heels of some devastating news that we received last week. We have learned that our unborn child not only has a single-artery umbilical cord, but also an abdominal wall defect. Immediately upon hearing this news, I googled to find out as much information as I could. I stumbled upon some other blogs from parents whose children were diagnosed with the same condition. Reading their blogs gave me hope and a sense of comfort in knowing that I was not alone in this. Coincidentally, I had also been following the blog of a girl whom I went to high school with. She learned in her pregnancy that her child had Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Type 2. Most babies die during or shortly after birth from this, but Lindsey decided to continue with her pregnancy. I was so impressed with her strength and ability to continue the journey knowing that it might ultimately have a terrible outcome. Her daughter, Evie Jayne, was born in September and is still a trooper! I continued to read Lindsey's blog throughout the summer and fall to see how Evie was doing. Last week when I received the news about our little one, I immmediately thought of her and decided to email her for advice. She emailed me back and offered so much insight and support. I plan on continuing to keep in touch with her throughout our journey. Lindsey, if you are reading this, thank you so much for your inspiration and support!
After a few days of thinking about it, I decided that I should also keep a blog to document our journey. I wasn't sure I was ready to do this, but after thinking about it, I decided it would be beneficial for many reasons:

1. Communication- This blog will serve as a way for us to keep our family, friends, and other well-wishers updated with what is going on. It is hard to relay the same information dozens of times, so hopefully we can post once and others can read and follow along.

2. Hope- For me, reading other people's blogs had given me a sense of hopefulness of what is to come. Though I am frightened of the unknown that lies ahead, I can only hope that our story will be like the ones that I have read about. I also hope that it will serve the same purpose to others who receives a similar diagnosis during pregnancy. Perhaps my blog can fill them with hope too.

3. Faith- I can certainly say that receiving this news has instilled upon me a strong urge to deepen my faith. I hope that others will join with us in this faith and trust that God will do what is right for us.

4. Healing- If nothing else, this blog will be a tool for me to release the feelings I have inside. I will go crazy if I keep these locked up inside of me. This blog will be a way for me to channel my feelings and hopefully come to a sense of peace and understanding.

I thank you for reading this blog and sharing in our journey with us. If you know of anyone else who might benefit from reading it, please feel free to share.