Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A more encouraging day

After my discouraging day yesterday, someone wrote that I would surely get some good encouragement from somewhere. And I did! Today someone I do not know (but who has been reading my blog)  unexpectedly dropped off the most precious letter and set of books for me at the nurses' station. I was pretty much bawling as I read about how my writings have touched her family in the midst of  their true suffering and struggle and she just wanted to tell me thank you and encourage me just the same. It was one of the most precious things in my life to receive such a letter. And it encouraged me more than anything lately.

Sometimes I feel so alone, almost selfish like I am the only one who is suffering in this world. But that's just not true. I know I am surrounded my truly sick people in this hospital who are clinging to the same hope I am and this letter reminded me of that. Not only that there are sick people out there, but she reminded me again that God does heal!  He is not bound by medical statistics and can defy doctors' grim predictions. He has before and He will again.

Several elders and pastors from our church have stopped by since I arrived to pray for Maggie and me. What a quiet and unglorified task to walk the halls of this hospital and visit with critically ill patients, many of whom are given such little hope. I have said it before, but it is times like these when  you really see the Church at work. It's many moving parts coming together to glorify God through its works. Paul tells us to get the elders of our church to pray over us if we are ill. I never before understood why. It's not like they have more magical healing powers or anything. But I think it is because they are the leaders of the church. They know how to lead us in prayer when we may not know what to pray for. I am not really sure exactly but I am thankful for it. On days when I just feel hopeless, someone else praying for me is so comforting. Like Justin and I are not bearing this burden alone.

Speaking of Justin, he is feeling better and I have "allowed" him entrance back into my hospital room after being banned for several days. The minute he started coughing, though, I made him put on  a surgical mask. Justin loves to talk (a good thing, hub, I promise) but he is learning to sense when I don't have the energy to make conversation and just need him to sit with me. So without complaint he watched the ever virtuous Melrose Place on the ancient hospital t.v. with me  until I fell asleep at 9 o'clock. Another day marked off the calendar...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

24 weeks

I am 24 weeks today which is such a huge milestone but I am feeling daunted by how far we need to go. I have been so overwhelmed the past few days and gripped by fear. I don't know what is ahead and that is so hard. All day I pray for God to heal us and to save Maggie. I long for Maggie to be in my arms. I long for us to all go home together as a family. For Mary Lawrence to get up on the bed with us and hold her newborn sister. I just don't know what I'll do if those things don't happen. I know God hears my heart and my cries out to Him. I know I am not alone and I don't need to be fearful. But I am tired of suffering, I want a reason for celebration again.

I am discouraged because the sonogram today didn't show any fluid reaccumulation, even after no leaking for a few days. Please pray that our next sonogram will show more fluid and that I will not leak anymore. Also please pray against infection.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First few days in hospital

"I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good." Psalm 52:9

First, I have to praise God for sustaining Maggie and me for nearly 10 weeks. Ever since I arrived at the hospital, I have been told by residents, nurses, and doctors how amazing it is that I made it this far. I told a nurse that we were praying that Maggie is going to be our "miracle baby" and she said,  "Honey, she already is." So true.

I was hoping my transition to the hospital would be smooth and easy, but it was not. I have had some complications and started leaking fluid heavily. Major fluid loss can result in infection and bring on labor. So I have spent the past few days praying and pleading that God would miraculously heal me and for the fluid to quickly reaccumulate. I cannot go into labor anytime soon. It is very frightening because I felt like I have made it so far and don't want to stop now.

I am currently on antibiotics, which they hope will delay infection for a little while. We need to delay it a long while, though! Pray that the antibiotics do only good and no harm to us.And that I can make it at least another 10 weeks. The longer Maggie can stay inside of me the better.

Justin and my mom have been sick and so I have been by myself up in this little room for most of my stay so far. It has been kind of lonely but I have been reading a lot of Scripture and praying constantly. The nurses are so nice and are taking good care of me. It cam be hard sometimes because they come in here every four hours to check my vital signs and the baby's heartbeat. So it is been difficult to sleep, but I am sure I will get used to it. I just so badly want to make it longer. The scare I had a few days ago really shook me up but I am starting to feel better about things. I know that this is all in the Lord's hands.  He will get me through each day no matter what it brings.

Thank you for all of your prayers. I know God is answering so many of them. Please keep praying against infection and for Maggie to live and be healthy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Update from Lee

Lee finally got a sonogram tonight and Maggie looked great! Maggie's heart beat is steady and strong and Lee is having no contractions. Such a blessing to hear some good news. Maggie has moved horizontally which probably caused all the fluid to leak out so quickly. The doctors are still very worried about the risk of infection since so much fluid leaked out. After much consideration, they are going to start her on antibiotics. They said that the benefits far outweigh the risk. Some of the risk include building up a resistant to the infection which means the antibiotics will not work & induce labor once the antibiotic are finished. They are also worried that because she leaked so much fluid so quickly it could possible make her go into labor. They are monitoring her closely. Please continue to pray and lift them up daily. Below are a list of prayers:

... Maggie will move back to "plug" up the tear where the fluid is leaking and will produce more fluid quickly.

... She will be infection free during her pregnancy.

... That God gives the doctors wisdom and knowledge to best treat Lee & Maggie. 

... Lee will have a little bit of peace so she can rest and have strength for the coming weeks.


Still waiting-sorry for all the typos I am writing this from my phone


Please Be Praying........

I am writing this for my sister. As all of you know she was omitted to the hospital yesterday, which is a huge Praise! But as of around 4 am last night she leaked a bunch of fluid and it was tinged with a hint of blood. The baby's heart beat is steady as of now. She is waiting for her doctor to arrive to examine and tell her more. She is extremely worried as any mother would be. I don't have much more information to tell. As soon as I do I will post it. She really needs prayers, especially AGAINST INFECTION & prayers that she would stop bleeding. Our God is good and I truly believe in miracles.
Thank you all for praying.

My God, my Rock, in Him will I put my faith; my breastplate, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my safe place; my Saviour, who keeps me safe...

2 Samuel 22:3

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2 more days!

God hasn't been trying an experiment on my faith and love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't...He always knew my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize it the fact was to knock it all down.

What C.S. Lewis wrote so long ago really spoke to me. Through the past nine weeks, God has revealed to me how weak my faith really was, just like a house of cards. I am 23 weeks today and praying that this journey continues a lot longer. The closer I make it to my due date,the better for the baby. But also the better for me. Each day that I am challenged my faith is being put through the fire. It is being refined to be purer and holier. And that surely has to be one of God's great purposes for this hardship.

Going to the hospital on Thursday -yippee! Who knew one could be so excited about a potential long term hospital stay?! But I am. I just feel like I have reached such a milestone and just want to keep going as long as possible. I will be admitted on Thursday and get my first steroid shot. Please pray that it will really make a difference in the baby's lung development. I am also praying for all the doctors and nurses that will care for us- that they will be of sound judgement and that God will work through them to save Maggie.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

For Mary Lawrence

My dear Mary Lawrence

It has been nine weeks since I last gave you a bath, fed you dinner, or even picked you up to hug you. Those things I often took for granted I now miss so much. I wasn't there for your first day of school or your very first ballet class. (How I would give anything to see you and your little friends prancing around like little pink angels!)  Nor was I able to rock you and sing "Fairest Lord Jesus" to you when you were sick a few weeks ago. So many precious moments I have missed out on, and so much time has passed that has threatened our once strong bond. And it makes me so sad.

Do you know that the two of us were inseparable before all of this happened? Your first year of life in Connecticut was so precious to me.  I didn't have any family to help me, and your daddy had to work so much that it was often just the two of us.  I had no idea how to be a mommy but had to quickly figure things out on my own.  Looking back, I laugh at all the silly 'new mom' mistakes I made. Like the first time you sat up - I didn't think about the fact that you would probably get tired of sitting up and stupidly didn't put anything around you to protect you when you toppled back over. After a few minutes you went straight back and hit your head so hard on the floor. Luckily it was carpet!  You cried, of course, but once I picked you up you were fine. It seemed no matter what I did or didn't do, you loved me just the same. Because I was your rock -the person that was always there for you no matter what.
I remember I would take you everywhere with me. We would take daily strolls into our little New England town. Everyone knew us because I had a blue stroller and a large white dog that was often mistaken for a horse. I'd take you to lunch and we'd people watch. I remember when you were fussy I'd take long drives through the rolling countryside and we'd look at all the beautiful estates nearby. Sometimes we'd take the train into the city and explore a little. Or we'd take Blue to the beach and get our feet wet.
We formed such a special bond that for a long time you didn't want anyone but me. Your daddy would try to hold you and make you happy but only I could. Thankfully you have grown out of the phase! Since I have been unable to help you over the past few months, your bond with him is even stronger.  In fact, you even prefer him! It gives me such joy to see such a precious father/daughter bond between the two of you. He loves you more than anything, Mary Lawrence.

As for this current experience, I know people say that you are too young to remember. I pray that is true. But I see your face and I know that you are confused. You ask me all of the time, "Are you okay, Momma?" It breaks my heart. And I know it is going to be even harder this week when I go to the hospital. For two months you have consistently seen me on my bed. You may not always want to play with me, but you know you can always run into my bedroom whenever you want to see me. I worry what you will think when you no longer see me here. I am praying that you are not scared.

It is not fair to you that I am not able to be here for you during this time. But Mary Lawrence, your little sister needs me right now and she needs me to rest in the hospital so she can grow and thrive.  I know that I am putting my life at risk by having this baby. But, Mary Lawrence, I would sacrifice my life for you just the same. That's how much I love you. 

I have written many letters for you over the years that tell you how much I love you and what I desire for your life. But what I write today is so important and I never want it to get lost, so that's why I am posting it online. If for some reason I can't tell you myself, I am telling you today that I am doing this all for you! Although of course I want Maggie more than anything, even more I long so badly for you to have a sibling. I want you to have someone to run and play with when you are little, but also a sweet sister that will be there for you as a confidante and friend when you are going through the seasons of life.  I know what it means to have that and I want you to have it, too. That is my prayer and my heart's desire and that's why I so gladly take on this risk.

For some reason God is allowing all of us to go through this trial right now. Even you. And He is asking us to put all of our trust in Him right now. I keep pleading with God that if he lets Maggie live, I promise to raise her to know and love Jesus. But every time I pray this, though, I am convicted that I already have a daughter that needs this heavenly direction just as much. So it is my hope that we are leading you to Him each day and each night.  It is my prayer that through all of this tribulation you will learn that the Lord is your true rock, Mary Lawrence. Whenever you are scared or alone, for the rest of your life you can rest in the fact that Jesus is always with you and will never leave you or forsake you.

I love you always, my precious angel.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something to smile about

Laughter is supposed to be the best medicine, but apparently not for me. Last night Justin and I had some time alone together for the first time in a long time. We were watching SNL Weekend Update and he was laughing so hard it was making me laugh so hard.

But every time I laugh I get so stressed out because I feel like any kind of sudden movement or jerking (coughing, sneezing, laughing) might make me leak fluid (sorry, TMI). I was trying so hard to bury my face in a pillow as to hold in my laughter, but anyone who has ever tried to suppress laughter knows: it doesn't work. After both of us were very unsuccessful at holding it all in, I made him turn off the t.v.  It is just too stressful! Poor Justin, some fun I am. One day, I keep telling him, we will get to laugh again like we used to.

Anyways, one thing we can be happy about is that I am 22 and a half weeks and will be admitted to the hospital next Thursday. I know that's not something most people look forward to, but for us it's a goal we have almost reached. A point in which the doctors will try to save our baby if she is born (although we don't want that to happen just yet:).

We went to my doctor today and everything was about the same. The doctor saw fluid in the bladder which is another good sign - that she is swallowing and digesting fluid.  She is moving a lot which is also good. I haven't gotten an infection yet so that is an answer to prayer.

I have modified the prayer requests to the right. In addition to her lungs, we also need to pray that her muscles grow and develop properly. With a lack of fluid, sometimes these PPROM babies can't move freely like they can when they are surrounded by water and that can have negative effects. Everything on Maggie is measuring normal, which is good, although her legs are measuring a week behind everything else. Not that big of a deal, but I am still  going to pray about it. Please pray also that she is just completely healthy and free of any chromosomal abnormalities. And that she will stay in me as long as possible!

Overall I am feeling good this week. So thankful that God has allowed me to progress this far. I am not laughing, but I am definitely smiling.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update from Pediatric Cardiologist

We went to the pediatric cardiologist today who did an echo test and (surprise!) it was inconclusive. The good news is that Maggie's heart is perfectly formed and there are no issues with the chambers or the valves. The bad news is that she saw some things that she cannot explain. There are some bright lights on the heart which could mean a number of things:

1. it could be a sign of that something is wrong with the placenta and the heart is trying to overcompensate
2. it could be a sign that there are chromosomal abnormalities with the baby
3. it could be that the the lack of amniotic fluid makes things hard to distinguish and they could just be showing up on the screen like that because of this . When she does the test again in six weeks they may have disappeared completely.
4. it could be absolutely nothing at all.

So...what does one take from that? I could be terrified that something is wrong with Maggie, but honestly (and I never thought I would say this) I don't care. All I care about is that she lives and breathes. There are already so many risks and so much that could go wrong, that one more thing to be concerned about really doesn't phase me. Either God is going to let her live or not. We are asking for a miracle and that can cover a multitude of problems I am sure!

After thinking about this all afternoon it's funny to me that once again the supposed brilliant specialist has really no idea what's wrong or what's going to happen. I am so tired of doctors not knowing.  And not being able to do one darn thing to help. They help so many people, why can't they help me?! 

But I think God is showing me once again that really He is the only one who has control over this situation. He does not want me to put half of my faith in Him and the other half faith in the doctors. He wants me to put my complete faith in Him. Luke 18:27 says that "what is impossible with men is possible with God." To me that means that although the doctors may be powerless to do anything to help me right now, God is not. I truly believe that. And I am calling on Him to pour out His healing power on sweet Maggie right now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update from Doctor

But let all who take refuge in  you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:11-12

I have been praying the above psalm for Maggie today- that God would spread His protection over her and surround her with His shield. 

We ended up going to the specialist today instead of Monday. I have to admit that I am frightened over some things. First, the doctor saw something that concerned her about some of the heart valves. She admits that it is very hard to tell due to the lack of fluid, but she does want me to go see a pediatric cardiologist for further examination. This was upsetting because if there is a problem, it is not at all related to the amniotic fluid problem, rather it's just another rare problem. Please pray that the cardiologist will see nothing at all wrong so we have one less thing to deal with when Maggie is born.

Second, she said my cervix looks like it could be shortening, which is really scary if that is the case because it could send me into labor. If I didn't have the risk of infection, they could do more to help but instead all they can do is tell me to continue bed rest. 

I feel discouraged and weak, like I just don't have the heart to take any more bad news. The situation seems so dire sometimes that I catch myself wondering how on earth this could all turn out okay? But as a dear friend reminded me yesterday, God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. I keep telling myself that over and over.  I just so badly want to make it further so our baby can have a chance to live.

I am pleading with the Lord every hour to show us his mercy and goodness during this time. I cannot go on without His strength for I have none left of my own.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Please pray against infection

Had to go back to doctor today because I was having some symptoms. He tested me for infection but they won't get the results back for several days. Would appreciate any prayers for Maggie and me - that we would be clear of infection and stay healthy for the rest of this pregnancy. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update from Doctor

Great appointment today with my doctor. He saw more fluid than last time and thinks that it's the most fluid he's seen since this first happened. While it is just a fraction of what most babies have at this point, it was encouraging news for us. Any fluid is better than no fluid at all! Everything else with the baby looked good. She had her little hand up to her mouth like she was trying to suck her thumb (just like her sister!).

I really believe that God is answering our prayers for our Maggie. To all of you praying out there, thank you so much. It means so much to us. Please keep praying thought because we still have a long way to go.

Here is how you can pray for us:

Right now, the biggest threat to the baby and me is infection. So pray that God would protect us from all infections. Also, pray that I can make it as close to 35 weeks as possible (they will not let me go past that). The earlier she is born, the more problems that can arise. With so little fluid it is important for her to stay in there as long as possible. Most importanty, pray for our precious baby to develop normally and be healthy when she is born. And pray that she can breathe!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Worrier or Warrior?

"Therefore, put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground." Ephesians 6:13

I have been a chronic worrier my entire life. Ever since I can remember I always seemed to have something to worry about. Something that felt like a pit in my stomach every time I thought about it. Some were typical childhood worries. This time of year brings back those first day of school jitters.  I would worry the whole week before if I would like my teacher, if I would make friends, or if I would get lost finding my classroom. Some worries were silly. I remember when I was nine I worried about turning ten - being double digits meant I was growing up and that scared me! Some of my worries were more serious. For example, I often worried about dying or about my family dying.

These childhood worries eventually turned into adult worries. After September 11th, I became deathly afraid of flying. Which became a problem as I lived on both coasts and flew home often to see my family (I worried that since I was the only child that moved away, my relationship with them might suffer if I didn't come home a lot).  In Connecticut I worried every time I took the train to Grand Central - you never know when a terrorist might strike.  When we lived in San Francisco, I constantly worried about the "big one" striking. And since we lived in the neighborhood that suffered the most damage in the '89 earthquake, I would often go over in my head at night what I would do if the ground started shaking. I talked about it so much that I would drive Justin crazy (who, by the way, is the complete opposite of me and worries about nothing). 

I could go on and on about all of my endless worries. You wouldn't believe them all if I told you.  You also may even be skeptical that I am a "believer" because Christians aren't supposed to worry or be anxious. Of course I knew that and memorized all the appropriate Bible verses about not worrying. Yet I still worried.  During all these years I thought I had a perfectly healthy faith.  But looking back, I question that.  Where was my trust in a sovereign God?  I prayed and I read Scripture but I looking back it is obvious that I didn't fully and completely trust God with my well-being.

I am not sure when it changed for me, but sometime during the first trimester of this pregnancy the burden of worrying became too heavy and really too time-consuming that I just sort of gave it up. After one miscarriage I realized that I really didn't have control over the number of children God had chosen to bless us with (my biggest worry is that we wouldn't be able to have any more). So I just stopped worrying about it. And a lot of other things, too. One day, when I was about 11 weeks pregnant, I remember thinking, "Wow, I haven't really spent time worrying the past few weeks." And it felt so good!  Like a huge weight I had been carrying had been lifted off of my shoulders. Those next few weeks I felt so elated about being pregnant, not worried about it as much anymore. My grandmother even commented about how happy I seemed compared to months past. 

But then my world came crumbling down around me with the horrifying news we received nearly seven weeks ago. I remember coming home and being almost in a trance the first few days I was in bed. I didn't want to watch t.v. or read.  I just wanted to lie flat and think. As I processed everything in mind - what could happen, what I wanted to happen- I was struck by the fact that there was literally nothing I could do on my own to save this baby. No medicine, no surgery, no special clinical trial would help.  I just had to wait. And while I was waiting, I figured I could do one of two things: either I could frantically worry myself to death about it, or I could trust that God had it all in His hands.  My old self would have been on autopilot for option number one. But the second option sounded so much better, so much easier, and so much more peaceful. I remember praying, "Lord, please take this burden from me. I trust you with my life and my baby's life."

For the first time in a long time worry has been defeated.  I surely do have moments of panic and bouts of fear, but the chronic worry is not casting its huge ugly shadow over this situation. Instead it's God's grace and mercy, and His peace that passes my understanding of this situation.

And as I lay here I almost want to chuckle over the fact that none of the things that I worried so much about during my life ever happened. Instead, something happened to me that I had never even heard of! I wasted so much time worrying about things that were so out of my control.  Looking back, I just want to shake myself and say "Stop it, Lee! Enjoy life when it is good. Concentrate on your faith in God so that when something does happen, you will be prepared to fight the battle." All you fellow worriers about there: learn from me!  Remember Jesus' words, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Luke 12:25)

I can't go back and change the past but I hope my chronic worry is over for good. My prayer for when life returns to normal is this: that this experience won't turn me into a more developed worrier but rather a warrior- in my faith, in my prayer life, and in my knowledge of God's word.  For putting on the "armour of God" is the only way to truly fight these battles.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Margaret Lee Cordon

We are excited to announce our baby's name: Margaret Lee Cordon. We are going to call her "Maggie."

We chose "Lee" as the middle name because we wanted to use a family name and nothing seemed more appropriate than mine. The two of us will be forever bonded in a special way after this experience.

"Margaret" is a name we loved when I was pregnant with Mary Lawrence. We considered many names this time around but when I read that Margaret means "child of light" I knew it was the right one. I've been reading Psalm 139 a lot lately, which is familiar to many for it is the one about God "knitting together our inmost being.". But what is intriguing to me is that it goes on to say that God does this in a womb that is so dark the psalmist calls it the "depths of the earth." In ancient times, the mother's womb probably did seem dark and mysterious and almost like secret place. There were no ultrasounds that revealed the intricacies of life being formed week after week. Mothers weren't given that awesome gift of modern medicine: to see their baby moving and kicking and sucking their thumb on that marvelous screen.

With Maggie, I don't get the luxury of seeing all that on the screen either. The lack of amniotic fluid prevents us from seeing all the details of the baby. It makes me sad to compare ultrasound pictures from before and after this happened. Before I could see her perfectly formed body; now it is hard to distinguish anything. But that's why I love this psalm. Because it says that even though where Maggie is may seem dark and mysterious to us, it is not to God. For darkness is not dark to God, according to the psalm. To God, "darkness is like light."

The truth is that He can see clearly the little girl He is weaving together so perfectly, even though we can't. I don't have to be scared that I can't see what's going on, because I know that He can. And I don't have to be worried that there is so much unknown about little Maggie, because I can trust that she is "fearfully and wonderfully" made. As our minister told us last night, whether it is in this world or in Heaven with Him, our precious little Maggie will have life. For she is a child of Jesus, the ultimate "light" of the world.