Yup, that's me!!! The kids were out drawing with chalk early morning before it got too hot. Erik told me he drew a picture of me. Noah is in my belly, but then my water broke and I went into labor so he also drew Noah in my arms. That boy cracks me up!!! For those that don't know, the kids will be in the room with us when Noah is born, so they are very aware of the entire birthing process as we've been very open with them from the begining. After all, we were planning a home birth.

Erik was hugging my belly and talking to Noah, and he said to us "my eyes get all watery when I'm so in love with something like Noah". Kevin asked him, does that mean your eyes get watery about me? Erik just looked at him, then kinda turned his head and said "Naaa not really". HAHA Gotta love the honesty and thoughts of a child.

Wow less than a week until my due date. It is SO hard to believe. In fact, my first due date had been June 27th, but they changed that early on based on my 7wk ultrasound (it's now July 4th). I've been having more contractions each day that goes by. I admit, I'm getting very nervous lately. It's enough to be anticipating labor and delivery, but then factor in everything else we're facing.....yeah, I'm getting anxious and scared on top of it because we are facing such huge unknowns. This last week, I've only been averaging 3-4hrs of sleep a night if I'm lucky. I am trying my hardest not to think past birth because honestly, it's too overwhelming. But I'm still scared.

Due to my history of going super late with all my kids, I have a feeling Noah too is going to be late (which is a complete miracle considering they keep telling me he wouldn't make it this far). Though I really want to avoid having him on the 4th & 5th. The 5th being Hannah's birthday. Please pray nothing happens that day. Especially if he comes before that, I don't want anything negative to impact her birthday. She has been struggling so much already with losing him, I can't bear the thought of having something happen that day.

Other than having my doctors appts on Friday, this is the first week since last September when we went on vacation, where we've had NO other appointments or obligations at ALL. It seems so weird not to have to be rushing off to something....speech, deaf teacher, babysitting, homeschooling, etc. It's both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the fact that I finally get a break from the rush of things and can just sit and give my body a break. But a curse because I have too much time on my hands and my mind wonders (because I can't do a whole lot physically anymore to stay busy), thinking too far ahead into the future. I am trying SO hard not to think past today. But it's not easy.
Today was our typical Friday having both my OB & specialist checkup. The first one was my OB checkup. I was thankful my blood pressure was my normal low for me. I had been monitoring it off and on this week and had a few higher readings which I was attributing to the heat and being in pain. But still, I knew if I got a high reading at my checkup, they would be concerned. So I was glad that was one less thing to worry about.

Last week at my checkup they mentioned checking me this week to see if I was dialated at all. It appeared the doctor wasn't going to do this so I asked about it. She said she doesn't do internals until 39wks. I was 2 days shy of 39wks but she wouldn't budge. I am getting irritated at being told different things each week by people in the SAME practice!!!

Then we headed upstairs to Maternal/Fetal Medicine for our ultrasound. Each week I never know what to expect because they've told us for awhile to expect Noah's health to deteriorate. But once again, my little man had a great report!! He had no hydrops, no heart failure, my anmiotic fluid level looked great and he even looked like he got chunkier!!!! (he better have chunked up considering the way my appetite has been lately & even waking in the middle of the night to eat! LOL) WOW!!! He is just beating the odds so far. We then met with the specialist who is our favorite. He was the one we met with at our first appointment and we really like him. He told us that Noah is still looking really good all things considering. And that he sees no reason why I can't go past my due date as long as both mine & Noah's health is ok. YAY!!!! That's what I've been saying all along, so it was great to have him say it too. Especially considering some of the OB's have just wanted to schedule me for a c-section just to get this all done and over with. So I was thankful to have his backing on this. He really made my day.

Noah once again had his hand by his face. The kids kept telling him he needed to move his hand so we could see his whole face and he eventually moved it! I am sharing part of the video clip we got of him. You can see his arm move, his mouth move, he even opens his eyes and then moves his whole head making it hard for us to see him. And if you compare his arm now to how it looked a few weeks ago, you can see he got chubbier....awww!!!!!! Of course, he didn't leave his arm down for long before he hid his precious face again.

This morning I laid in bed reading for awhile. A friend was texting me and I didn't think much of it. Then her texts started getting goofy and she asked to borrow my hoe for the garden. I thought well yeah, you can borrow mine but you'll have to wait till I can drive it over. Long story short, I discovered my friend and her helpers were in MY garden at 7am this morning weeding it for me!!!!! WOW what a surprise and such a blessing as I had just said how my garden was being over run by weeds because I was finding it harder to keep up with it right now. So it was nice to see her this morning. We arranged after Susans speech therapy at Schreiber that I'd drop the kids off at her house so they could hang out for part of the day. Thanks again Sharon Garner for your help!!!

As if that wasn't enough, I received a phone call from a lady from our church who wanted to bring over a meal for us to either make then or freeze for another time!!!! A huge thank you to Sharyn Newswanger for blessing us with this meal!!!

I am just so overwhelmed with how people have been helping us lately and meeting needs before we can even ask. I also appreciate the cards & notes, emails/messages, phone calls, etc. I'm sorry if I am not always able to thank each and every person directly, but please know I appreciate everything you all have been doing for us recently. Just continue to keep us in your prayers!
I am SOO thankful I've been able to stay really active and feel good up until almost the very end. But boy have I been feeling really pregnant today. The kids & I headed out first thing this morning to do grocery shopping. It wasn't far into it until I really started minding it. My lower back was killing me and I noticed I had the dreaded "penguin" walk. Yup, I think I was sadly waddling due to the pain I was in. (yes, go ahead a laugh!) It took me forever to shop. Of course as we were checking out, Susan reminded me that we forgot to get our eggroll supplies. UGH so back we went to get that stuff since I told them I would make eggrolls this week. It's hard to believe it was only 3wks ago I was out biking 18 miles. And today I could barely tolerate grocery shopping.

My blood pressure was a little elevated when I was done, I think due to being on my feet and in a lot of pain. So I spent the rest of the day doing nothing. Which is SO hard for me! I'm used to being on the go and getting stuff done. And my poor garden, while doing well, is getting over run by weeds because I just can't keep up with it right now. I wanted nothing more than to be out there working in it. I did for a little bit yesterday. I'd sit in one spot, reach everything I could in that area, then move my butt to a new spot, sit and work some more! Yeah, I'm sure I looked funny.

I managed to get a little nap in today. I've been up since 3am (only went to sleep before midnight) so I'm sure the lack of sleep contributed to me feeling kinda crappy today. The kids were wonderful. I got up from my nap to find dishes done, floors swept and clothes folded! And no, I didn't ask them to do that. All I stated before laying down was to not wake me up unless they really needed something (ya know, like someones bleeding, house is on fire, etc). My kids are my rock & I don't know what I'd do without them!!

The kids got out their small suitcase and packed their stuff for the hospital. I guess they figured with how I've been feeling, they want to make sure their stuff is ready. Forget the fact that I haven't even packed yet!!!! It's really special to see their anticipation of me going into labor. Even though they know what's coming, they are still excited and anxious for me to go into labor. I just pray that God grants me the grace of a quick & easy labor knowing everything we have been going through and what is yet to come.

Tonight Erik went to Kevin and said he has something really important he needs to ask him right away. Erik said he wanted daddy to come up to his room so they could talk. Kevin said that Erik asked him that if Noah doesn't make it, can he (Erik) get a balloon and send Noahs outfit to heaven to him. Kevin told him that he will probably want to keep Noah's outfit for himself, but that he could send Noah letters via the balloon. Erik seemed happy with that. Made me tear up when he told me. It's amazing the things kids can comprehend and think of.

It's getting so close now......

38wks & Noah's room is done!

It's hard to believe I am 38wks now. The closer I get to the end, the more nervous I get. It's just all the unknowns, not knowing how to plan or when things are going to happen. And I know at my next appointment on Friday, they will be doing an internal to see if I am dialated at all. Normally I'd be all excited for that, to see if my body is progressing. But I'm scared. At the same time, I am getting to the point that I am ready for the next step, whatever it is.

I am thankful for this time we've been given with Noah. I'm grateful I've been able to prepare for him as much as possible. I've gotten pretty much everything on my "to-do" list done for him. All I have left yet is to pack our bags for the hospital. I can't even begin to explain the rollercoaster of emotions these last few weeks have been. Trying to prepare for a birth and eventual death all at the same time has been beyond draining. I am so thankful for those who have come along side of us to help us bear these burdens. It's been a hard load to carry.

The kids have been doing as well as can be expected lately. They are excited to meet Noah and talk about it all the time. (of course we are too!!!!) I got them each their own disposable camera for the hospital that they are looking forward to using. Hannah has been praying over Noah several times a day lately. It's so sweet to listen to her prayers. This experiance has definitely been growing their faith and giving them an understanding most kids their ages don't have. Makes me wonder what God may be preparing them for eventually!!

I finally got Noah's room all assembled today!!!! It felt good to get that done. But I admit, it was bittersweet standing in the doorway looking in, wondering if we are going to have the chance to bring Noah home or not. And even if he does come home, he won't be sleeping in there anyway because one of us will be holding him 24/7!! I honestly am trying not to think past the current day, because otherwise, I get overwhelmed.

Today, we are all healthy, Noah is kicking and making my insides ache so we have much to be thankful for! And we got to spend fathers day with all 5 of our children. Life can't get much better than that!!!

Another Great Day!

Well, I was able to "sleep in" till almost 5 am!!! I was still awake around 2am but managed to doze until around 5, which compared to the last few mornings, was considered sleeping in for me. I spent the first part of the morning getting the kids and myself ready for our photo shoot today. We were blessed to be put in touch with an amazing couple, Kevin & Kerry High. They have been down this painful journey of losing a newborn. Kevin is a professional photographer who has been blessed with an amazing talent! http://www.kevinhighphotography.com/

We drove about an hour to meet them half way at a park for our shoot (we unfortunately live pretty far from each other. They are friends of Jen which is how we got in touch). They were simply a wonderful couple!!! Kind, sweet, funny, etc. We really felt at ease with them and they did a great job at engaging the kids and made them feel at home with taking pictures. I am so excited to see the pictures they took as Kevin really did some neat poses with us. If any of you "local" people are looking for a photographer, I can't recommend Kevin enough!!! His personality (as well as his wifes) was amazing and he has such a great eye!!!

They were so sweet and even brought along iced water for everyone. Kerry had picked up on the fact that I like iced coffee and they had that for me too as a treat!!! What a blessing this couple was to us during our time together. They ended our session in prayer that just brought me to tears. In a good way of course!! Again, it's sad that our similar situations is what brought us together, but I was blessed again by how complete strangers reached out to us and we made yet another great friend for life. We share a special bond and are reminded that once again, there is a reason we've all been lead down this difficult road, even if we don't yet understand why. A huge hug and thanks again to Kevin & Kerry for such a great time together this morning!!! :)

This afternoon I decided to finish up Noah's mural. I wasn't letting myself work on it until my homeschool paperwork was done. And I just got my portfolios finshed so I could hardly wait to finish Noah's room. I put his bedding in the washer and got working on the last few animals. And I'm thankful to say the painting is officially done!!!! I quick snapped a few pics of the painting. Tomorrow I will assemble his room and take more pictures. But for now, here is a glimpse.... The first picture takes up and entire wall!

A special day!

What a great day today was! We left the house about 7:45 this morning to head to my usual 2 Friday appointments. I was up at 3am today, which is a half hour later than yesterday morning. Yeah, I still haven't been sleeping well. We had our first appt with the OB. It went well and the Dr (whom I hadn't met before) was really nice. We then headed upstairs for our ultrasound. Praise God Noah is still looking great!!!! He has not had any negative issues thus far and they kept telling us to expect him to deteriorate. So far, he is beating the odds!! He still had his usual hand up by his face so we didn't get a good face shot today. But he is still looking chunky for supposedly being small. I do think he is going through a growth spurt as my appetite has been crazy this last day or so. If I remember correctly, my other kids didn't seem to put on weight until the very end of my pregnancy. They are predicting him at 4-5lbs, so who knows! Today was the first time I've walked out of both appointments without shedding a tear. I was so thankful to see he is still hanging in there, proving the doctors wrong. I know it's still a day to day thing, but I am holding hope to any small positive news I'm given.

After the appts, we went to spend the day with 2 wonderful gals whom I mentioned last week, Michele & Jen, that have been down this road before me. I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing they continue to be to me. It was such a relaxing, carefree day for me. A wonderful way to spend a Friday. All our kids get along great and they spent the day doing a lot together while us gals sat around and talked & laughed about everything & anything. ;) Michele was so sweet and had lunch prepared for all of us. What a special treat!!

And if that wasn't enough, they blessed me with the most precious, thoughtful gift for Noah. A beautiful memory box with "Noah Alexander" inscribed on it!!!!! A special place to hold his momentos. They each have one like this for their special babies that is just so dear. This is a gift we will treasure forever and I'm SO thankful for it!!

I also was given another gift by someone who I haven't met yet, but who also has experianced the sad loss of their infant. A friend of Jen's, Kerry, gave me an encouraging CD of music and scripture as well as a meaningful card. I hope to meet her and her husband Kevin tomorrow. Her husband is a photographer who took pictures for Jen and who graciously offered to take photos for us as well. I'm really excited for this but sad it's through our difficult circumstances we've been brought together. But I can't begin to express how thankful I am that these amazing people have reached out to us.

After being blessed with such special gifts, Michele pulled out a special ice cream cake in celebration of Noah!!! Between this and the amazing gift, it just brought tears to my eyes. It meant a lot to me that others are rejoicing and celebrating Noah's life!! He is no different than any other expected baby to be, despite his prognosis. And I know it meant a lot to my kids to have others acknowledge Noah like they would any other new baby. Here is a picture of most of our kiddos....between the 3 of us, we have 14 amazing children we've all been blessed with! The cake says "We love you Noah"!!

It was just overall such a special day to me. We stayed there until after 4pm. I know the kids didn't want to leave, and I myself hated to go. The day went fast. But it's a day I will always cherish. It's hard to believe it's only been a month ago we found out the news and that I was put in touch with Jen & Michele. But I feel like I've known them forever. I'm so thankful to have them in my life!!
Here's a picture of the 3 of us....Michele is in the green & Jen is in the white shirt! What special women God has placed in my life!!!!!

Portfolios are done!!!

Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Normally, I don't procrastinate this bad. But I was thankful my friend and evaluator pushed me to set a date for evaluations. I have to admit, I was still finishing assembling my portfolios this morning. Nothing like last minute pressure. I keep telling myself, NEXT YEAR I will do better!! haha I tell myself that every year. Maybe this time I'll actually listen to myself. I usually do have good intent though.

It was nice to get together with Rachel and catch up while doing all this. The kids were glad to have her girls over to play with for awhile also. I am very grateful she made me set a date to get this done. It is a huge burden lifted. I even got my objectives and affidavit done for next year so I can turn that in with my portfolios, yay!!!!

After she left, I started working on getting supper prepped. Hannah came up to me like she normally does and started talking to Noah. I could tell by the way she was hugging my belly, she started to choke up and cry. Which of course made me start bawling. She has been doing really well, but I think she is realizing how close I am to having him and she said she doesn't want him to leave us.

I reminded her of how lucky we were to have someone so special and so close to us going to heaven to watch over us. I said think about it, we can't get much closer to Jesus than Noah. Noah is going right from our arms straight to Jesus's arms, how amazing is that?! That's like us almost touching God. She thought that was pretty cool. I also told her about our friends, whose brother/son went to be with Jesus this year. That they send him letters attached to balloons, and that anytime she wanted to write to Noah, we could do the same thing. She seemed comforted by that.

It is SO hard to try to comfort the kids, when I myself am losing it and questioning God. If it wasn't for the kids, I don't know if I could hold myself together and be as grounded. I really think I'd be lost without them. I can't believe I am just about 38wks. Why is it when you want time to stand still, it seems to pass by too quickly? Today Noah was doing gymnastics it felt like. The kids spent a lot of time just feeling him beat my insides up!!! It was amazing! Just so hard to fathom he is as sick as they tell us. Because he sure moves like a little ninja!!! He keeps beating the odds and doing far better than they expect. I still say he is gonna prove those doctors wrong and hang around for a bit!!!

After supper, Kevin took the kids to the park for a bit while I cleaned up. My grandma called and said someone dropped something off at her house for us and that she wanted to bring it over. Here, a dear lady from church who lives by her, made us a TON of cookies, all put into boxes for the freezer!!! It just brought tears to my eyes that she took the time to bless us with such a special treat that I know the kids especially will enjoy in the days to come when cooking will be a challenge for me. Thank you Carol Martin for your sweet gift!!!

Here are a few pictures I snapped the other day of the kids and I. Hopefully we'll capture some more soon:
It's been a busy couple of days. Sunday night I was crampy & had contractions for about an hour which made me nervous. Under normal circumstances, I probably would've jumped on my bike to make them worse and said bring it on!! But I know I didn't have everything together yet and certainly wasn't ready for labor to start so I soaked in the hot tub in hopes that would stop things. It did. And thankfully I slept after being up since 1am that morning.

Yesterday was busy with errands and I got called in to clean a camper in the afternoon. The kids and I also worked on taking some photos of us all that I will try to edit and share soon.

Today we had plans to meet up with some moms & kids from our homeschool co-op for a picnic lunch. And then afterwards, all 3 girls were going home with a friend for a sleepover. So you can just imagine the excitement in our house this morning. The kids couldn't wait until we left! On the drive there, I received a phone call from our maternal/fetal specialist. He wanted to touch base with me since a bunch of hospital staff had yet another meeting today about our case. He stated how the OB's in my practice were still pushing for me to have a scheduled c-section. Again, there is NO reason necessary for this except it would be convenient for them, period. Thankfully the specialist backed us up and told them there is no reason at this point that I need a c-section. UGH just frustrating how c-section happy some doctors can be.

He also went on again to remind me that he strongly feels that Noah won't be born alive. And that IF he is, he won't have much time at all. He also went over some other scenarios we need to consider and make decisions on before I go into labor. I can't even begin to type them, it's just too hard. Needless to say, it was a difficult phone call. Maybe it was a good thing I was driving because I had to keep myself together and not lose it on the phone with him. He again stated his feeling is is that I shouldn't carry Noah past due. I'm still so torn on this. If he & I are both fine, then I'd rather take things a day at a time. I've never been one to want to pick my childs birthday, let alone the possible day of their death. I can't do it. I pray I go into labor on my own.

I admit I shed a few tears after I got off the phone. Sarah reached over and just rubbed my arm. My kids have always been very empathetic, but I see even more of a sensitive side to them since going through all this. Trust me, they see all sides of our emotions lately. We have been very open with them since day one. If they even hear me choke up throughout the day, they are right by my side hugging me. I'm so thankful for my kids!!

We had a nice time visiting with friends and I personally was glad it was overcast outside and not nearly as humid as I don't think I could've stayed outside long. Heat usually doesn't bother me but the last 2wks I've had to have this huge fan on me at night time, while Kevin is bundled under blankets! LOL And that fan is in addition to a/c at times!!! So yeah, for once I'm the one who is always feeling hot!!

We got the girls things situated with their friend and said goodbye to them until tomorrow afternoon. We headed to Michaels on the way home. I've been wanting to get some molding kits to make molds of Noahs hands & feet for a keepsake. So we found a few things there as well as getting some different colored paint for each of us so we can do group hand prints w/Noah. It was bittersweet shopping for these things. I bought more kits than I probably need because I want to make sure we capture all that we can. I'm just thankful none of the clerks made any comments to me because it was hard enough holding back the tears while shopping.

I should've came home and started working on my portfolios since after all, my evalutions are on Thursday, but I was just feeling too depressed. Erik invited a friend overnight so he is just having a ball!!!! I am hoping to have some renewed energy tomorrow and will get the portfolios done!!! ( I don't have much choice! lol)
Today was a day full of appointments. We had our first one at 9:15 with the OB practice. Was pretty routine and nothing new. It was nice to meet a different provider. His name was George and he was funny but sympathetic at the same time. I'd love if he was on call when I go into labor.

Immediately after this appointment, we headed across the street to the hospital to have a meeting with the heads of different departments who would be involved in different aspects of our labor and delivery. Our pastor also joined us for this meeting for some extra support for us. I didn't really know what to expect going into this meeting. Their goal was to set up some sort of birth plan and have an idea of our wishes and desires of what we'd like to have happen if at all possible.

Because of Noah's condition, no one can tell us what is going to happen or what to expect. Which makes planning very difficult. There are SO many possible scenarios of things that could happen. And because of that, there are a lot of tough decisions that may have to be made that honestly, I pray I don't have to make. PLEASE pray that we have a normal birth and are not faced with those tough decisions that no parent should ever have to make. This whole process is difficult enough as it is.

I was very frustrated to hear that some of the OB's think I should just have a scheduled c-section. All because it would be convinient for them. If you remember, last week we were told that Noah's abdomen was measuring a little bigger than his head and that this was cause for concern. That I could need a c-section because of this. After our meeting at the hospital, we had our specialist appointment for an ultrasound to check on Noah. I mentioned what we were told about his ab to head ratio. She was very surprised we were told that and opened up my chart and said no, in fact, his ab to head ratio is NORMAL!!!! Oh I was furious!!! Someone either read my chart wrong or was trying to find a reason to "convince" us that I needed a c-section. The tech was also irritated and stated she would be talking to the head of the practice about what we were told. That he has a lot of pull and would take care of this for us. This is precisely the reason when it comes to the medical field that I am a HUGE supporter of being your own advocate. You can not just take blindly what someone tells you. Even if it's a doctor. They are human too. I always do my own research and get a 2nd and 3rd opinion if necessary. I was SO glad we had this practice on our side. THEY have been the ones who have been watching Noah each week and seeing what is going on.

In fact, after being told last week that they won't let me go past 40wks, I've decided I will possibly argue this point. I have a history of going late, and most likely will still go late this time also. If we are both being followed and monitored, and are both doing well, then I see no reason to rush in at the 40wk mark and say I HAVE to have him. I know too well that could lead to even more complications. So I also ask that you pray that God would allow my body to do what He naturally intended it to. I want this whole situation to be in HIS hands!! He has brought both Noah and myself this far for a reason and I want to let Him finish what he has started.

The ultrasound today went well. As we were prepping for it, Noah started really getting active. In fact, you could see all sorts of him protruding from my right side so the tech immediately went there so we could see what he was doing. Here the stinker was rotating himself to face towards my back. And this was after the kids gave him a pep talk saying he needs to show us his face today!!!! So because he turned himself, all we saw was the back of his head, no face shots today unfortunately. BUT he is still looking healthy, no hydrops and his heart still looks good, praise God!!! My little man is still SOO active!!! He is active and stubborn just like me and I hope he keeps that up after he is born for awhile too!!!

Special Friends

Today I had the privledge of meeting 2 wonderful ladies. The day I was presented with the news about Noah's condition, a friend of mine contacted her friend who recently traveled this same road. She immediately contacted me to let me know I wasn't alone and also put me in touch with another friend who also recently went through this same thing. Both Michele & Jen have blessed me with many emails of encouragement and comfort these last few weeks. I honestly don't know what I would've done without both of them.

Michele's son Hezekiah went to heaven 8 days after birth from anencephaly this past January. Jen's daughter Olivia joined him in heaven 6 days after birth from Trisomy 13 this past March. Both these women never met me, but they came along side of me even as they themselves are still healing, to help me along in this journey.

Today we finally all met up in person at Michele's house for the day along with my friend Sharon who had put us all in touch. What a wonderful day it was!!! I felt like I have always known both Michele and Jen. We all hit it off great and our kids all got along wonderfully. It was nice to finally talk to someone who has been through what we are going through now. They know what I'm feeling and could relate and understand everything. And most of all, they both have survived going through everything which gave me the encouragement that I too will be able to pull through. Today was probably the best day I've had since finding out the news. I felt so at home and relaxed with everyone today. It felt good to have others to talk to and be honest and candid with my feelings about everything.

Thank you Michele, Jen and Sharon for taking the time to spend with me today!!!! It meant more than you'll ever know!!! I'm so thankful God brought us together, though I wish it was under different circumstances.

Preemie Clothes

Woke up to a dreay, overcast rainy day today. Guess it was a good thing we had to go into Schreiber for speech therapy or I probably wouldn't have left the house let alone got much done today. I've noticed these types of days really affect my mood lately. They really leave me feeling even more down that I do at times.

Since we were in at Lancaster and had to pass Babies'R'Us, we decided to stop there to see if they had any preemie clothes. They didn't which surprised me. We had already checked at our local walmart the other week and hadn't seen any. So I called the Carters Outlet and they said they had some so we headed there. Getting Noah a few outfits was on the top of my to-do list so I didn't want to put it off.

The kids and I gazed around the store for a bit trying to find some outfits. The selection of preemie clothes wasn't big but we found a few things. Then the kids asked if they could each pick him out an outfit, I said why not. So they got really excited as they went around the store, each picking "their" outfit. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I said no matter what happens, we will put Noah in each of their outfits and take pictures with him and the kids in each special outfit. Then the kids can each keep their outfit that he wore. This really made the kids day!!!

While we were there, I told the kids we need to think about an outfit that will be Noahs final outfit. I can't seem to bring myself to say burial outfit because that just makes me bawl my eyes out. Final outfit seems much easier to say right now. I didn't want to use any of the kids outfits they picked because I want them to keep those. We had a hard time finding anything we liked until we saw this precious preemie layette. It's simple but so dear. It has baby blue colored pants, socks and little beanie hat, a white onesie shirt trimmed in the matching blue and stitched across the front it says "Little Brother". It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. We should've been at that store picking out his homecoming outfit, not thinking about his final outfit.

I held myself together pretty well while shopping. I had the kids excitement to thank for that. When we went to checkout, the lady kept going on and on about "our baby boy" and just making comments that had she known the situtation, would've been inconsiderate. Of course, I start tearing up at all this, not knowing if I should stop her rambling and explain before I totally lost it or just let her keep going. I could tell the kids were ready to speak up, they just stood there rubbing my belly and holding my hands trying to comfort me. I could barely see to walk out the door through my cloud of tears. It's not fair I couldn't be like the other pregnant moms in that store, happily picking out my soon-to-be newborns clothes. Instead, I'm just hoping to have a few minutes to be able to dress my son in the clothes his siblings picked out for him.

When we got home, I just couldn't do anything for awhile, just felt too depressed again. I decided to start working on the mural in Noah's room. It was the perfect distraction and stress reliever. I can't wait to get his room together soon!!!

Hannahs Letter

When we first told the kids about Noah's health, Hannah took it the hardest of out of all the kids. She had several days where she would break down crying and just clinging to me. She has been doing better, but she still remains very attached to me throughout the day. I don't think an hour goes by that she isn't over talking to Noah or rubbing my belly. I do believe she & Noah share a special bond. It never fails, she can come over and talk to him and ask him to move and he does it EVERY TIME!!! Noah could've been quiet for a few hours, but as soon as she starts talking to him, he gets active. It's just so sweet and it really means a lot to Hannah.

Hannah showed us a card she made that she is going to give him when he is born. She traced her hand and she wants to put his hand print next to hers. She gave me permission to share it with you all :

Dear Noah,
You are the best boy. We will miss you very very much. But I will miss when you can't kick and roll. When I tell you to kick you always kick for me. No matter how you look we still will love you as much. You will be in Gods hands all the time. You are so funny and silly. Your birthday (due date) is July 4th, before my birthday (her's is July 5th). We are going to take lots of pictures with you.
Love, Hannah

30 days

Today I had my 2 weekly doctor appointments, one with my OB and one with the specialist. We had our first one with the specialist where we got our usual Friday peek at Noah! I'm glad he's still being a good boy and staying head down. One less thing to worry about. As usual, he had both his little hands in front of his mouth.

On the profile view, we could see his mouth moving and it looked like he was sucking on his wrist, too cute!! I still can't get over those chubby cheeks!!! Another view, we were shown that Noah has quite a bit of hair, yay!!! Just like his older siblings who all had a good amount of hair when they were born. The hair is the white lines in the upper left hand corner of this picture below. And he has hair all over, not just this little patch. ;) She had to change angles to see all the hair, this was just a glimpse of one area. Amazing what you can see on ultrasounds!!!

They said Noah is still looking pretty good. His organs still looked fine and had no hydrops and my amniotic level was good. They did say they saw some skin edema which I guess they said they expected eventually. The specialist also informed me that they will not let me go past my due date. For those that remember, I have a history of going 2-3wks late. It really hit me when she said that....today is 1 month exactly until my due date. 30 days. I mean, I know the end of my pregnancy is coming but to be given a definite deadline, well, just brought a rush of emotions. I was suddenly reminded of all I had to do yet to get ready for Noah, well, as much as I possibly can. And I'm just not ready to face the things that may come in the days ahead. I had to do a reality check before I got too overwhelmed by thinking too far into the future. I was reminded I am given the strength to deal with the here and now and to not worry about what is going to come. I have to trust that God will give me whatever I need in the coming days to get through whatever I am going through at that time. Right now I need to be thankful Noah is doing good, my health is still good and to just enjoy life where it's at now.

I still feel a sense of urgency though to make sure I get those little things I want done sooner rather than later. I started working on his room this week. And I was reminded just how much I hate painting ceilings!!! haha At least that part is done and I can now do the parts that I enjoy. It took me months to come up with bedding and a mural that I wanted to paint (hence why I waited so long to do it!) I also wanted something that was a bit different as well as gender nuetral since at the time we didn't know what we were having. So my plans are to finish up the walls and start on the mural in the next few days.

Right after our specialist appointment, we went downstairs to my OB appointment. While there, we were given a message from the specialist that they now want me followed twice a week by the OB instead of the once a week I had been doing. And they stated if there is any increase in my blood pressure or any other changes, I have to be induced right away. Again, just hearing that hit me all over again that I NEED to get some things done this week just in case. I don't want to be scrambling if something changes all of a sudden. Because they seemed to imply they will be surprised if I will be allowed to go until my due date. :( The doctor also told us when they had their weekly meeting & were going over my case with others in the practice, that they noticed that Noah's measurements of his head and chest need to be watched. Due to his abdominal issues, his abdomen is bit bigger than his head. When typically it's the other way around. They said they need to watch his growth because there could be concern I won't be able to deliver him vaginally if his abdomen gets too much bigger than his head. Thankfully everyone is on the same page in trying to help me avoid a c-section. So please keep this in prayer, that we can have a normal delivery. I believe this coming week when I go in for another ultrasound, they will be taking his measurements again and we'll know a bit more.

She also said she will try to schedule a meeting with us & the different heads of hospital staff who will be involved with us so they can all be on the same page in trying to help us still have the birth experiance we want as well as try to make it as best as possible under the circumstances. We also talked again about the many different circumstances that could possibly happen. There are SO many unknowns still so it really makes it hard to know just how things could go. It really is a day to day thing right now. And many decisions will have to be made as things happen which is difficult. Pray that we will make the right decisions as things arise and feel a peace about it. Because even now just talking over different things, it's so hard to know just what to do.

June 1st

I can hardly believe it's finally June. I had been looking forward and counting down to this month for a LONG time. Even just less than a month ago, I could hardly wait for June. Amazing how only 2 1/2 wks can change things forever. June doesn't hold the excitement for me like it did. I am practically full term and could go into labor at anytime (though in the past, I've gone 2 & 3wks late). Last night I had quite a bit of pain and honestly got a little scared thinking that maybe that could be early labor. I went to bed at 7:30 just so I could lay down in hopes the pain I had would stop. I panicked and made sure I knew where the camera and video camera was at least. Thank goodness the pain stopped. I think I just did too much over the weekend. (Maybe biking 18 miles wasn't a good idea!!! haha)

Noah has been just as active as ever, praise God!!! It was cute, last night, Hannah came and said goodnight to him like she does every night and he went nuts jumping all over. He often does that when she talks to him. Hannah talks to him a lot actually throughout the day. It's been hard in this hot weather to constantly have her laying on my belly (last thing I want right now is someone hanging on me as we don't have a/c), but I know she needs this, and I am positive Noah intentionally reacts to her voice. He often moves when she talks to him. It's so amazing!!!

I am just a mix of emotions still. I stayed busy all weekend which was nice for a change to almost forget everything. But then when today hit, back to normal schedule and I saw the date, a feeling of dread sort've took over. I am doing my best to not think about what may lay ahead. I realize what reality may be but I also am holding hope that Noah is actually going to come home to spend some time with us for a bit. I almost have a sense of peace that this WILL happen! I am working on his room right now. The kids helped me rip off the old border and I patched a hole in the wall today. I will start to paint tomorrow.

Last week, Noah received his first piece of mail/gift!!! I couldn't believe when the kids brought it in to me, as we had only found out we were having a boy and publicly named him just the week prior. He received a beautiful blankie from a Trisomy 13/18 support group with a letter of prayer for him. THANK YOU to whomever submitted his name to this group. I will be forever grateful for this beautiful keepsake for Noah!!! I just cried when I opened it. We will take many pictures of him with this.

The emboidery on this says "Child of God". Oh my sweet Noah, I can't wait to wrap this around you!!!

Noah also received his very first outfit this week from dear friends of ours. I haven't gone shopping yet for him, so I am thankful to have at least an outfit so far. A tiny little preemie outfit...

It's hard to believe it's not much longer. Such a bittersweet time! I can't wait to meet him, yet I'm scared of the unknown. Of not knowing how to prepare or what to expect. I wish I could put into words how I feel. I honestly am trying to live in the "here and now" and not worry about the future. God already knows what's going to happen and it's out of my hands. Almost like a phrase I read today.... "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today". Each of our days are numbered. I'm just blessed to have been given an insight into Noah's condition which makes me appreciate each and every day all the more. I truly appreciate every minute and hour we have together. It makes you take a whole new outlook on life when you are faced with a situation much like we're in. You learn not to sweat the small stuff, to appreciate the little things. To stop and not let life pass you by. Noah has taught me a lot in his short life so far. I still would give anything to not be going through this and I still question God as to why. But I am trying to take it all one day at a time and trust that there is a bigger purpose to why MY dear son Noah is going through what he is.

Just keep praying please.