Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Reflection

As another decade ends, I can't help but reflect on what has happened in the last 10 years. I moved from Austin to Dallas for a job, met my best friend, Dwanna and that was just the beginning.

I made some wonderful friends through my job at S&P. Then off to TXU/Atmos Energy where I worked until I decided to follow my dream of becoming a teacher. In April of 2002, I met the love of my life, Jason. We got engaged and then married in 2003. Then we built our first home together.

In 2004, Jason began his fight against cancer. As of today, he's been in remission for 4 1/2 years. Woohoo!

2005 brought the end of chemotherapy with a diagnosis of Jason being in remission. I also left my job at TXU to begin my student teaching in Mansfield ISD. Jason was injured in a softball game and underwent surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. In the fall, I began my first year of teaching at Icenhower Intermediate in Mansfield and Jason was an SRO for APD. In August, most of my family was hit by Hurricane Katrina. For those of you who don't know, my Dad's family is from Biloxi, MS and my mom's family is in New Orleans. Needless to say, we had a houseful of family and some of my cousins friends from college staying with us while they waited to hear the outcome. In December, I said goodbye to my grandma. Once her home was destroyed in the hurricane, she never fully recovered. We traveled to Biloxi to say our final goodbye. It also allowed us to see first hand the devastation that my family endured during the hurricane.

In January 2006, my brother got married. We were able to be in Houston for this wonderful celebration. In February, we experienced the joy and sadness of becoming pregnant and then loosing our baby. Thankfully, in March, I became pregnant again with Jackson. He was born November 10th at 36 weeks after some pregnancy complications that required me to be induced. Our lives were changed again when he was born under great duress but again we were blessed by having the best doctors and nurses by our side taking care of our little boy. I also left my job to stay home with him which was a very hard decision. I'm really glad I have had these last 3 years to be home and watch him grow.

2007 started with Jackson's heart surgery to repair his pulmonary valve stenosis. He had a successful procedure and after our hospital stay, he came home on Jason's birthday. Everything was fairly uneventful until July. I found out that I was pregnant again and was overjoyed to be having another baby. I was also glad to still have a baby who was a good sleeper which helped me to get through the 4-5 weeks of morning sickness. Jackson turned 1 in November and Jason decided to go back to patrol and worked midnights.

In April 2008, we welcomed our second boy, Brayden. Life for us became super busy with 2 small boys and Jason was now working day shift which was a huge help. We quickly realized that we were outgrowing our home, so we put it on the market and were fortunate to have it sell within 3 weeks. We moved to Arlington in August to our new home and absolutely love it. We couldn't be happier with our new house and neighbors!

January 2009 started with Jason's birthday and the news that I was pregnant again. It was really surprising since we weren't trying for another baby quite yet, but we were excited. We were thankful we had moved already since we were filling up bedrooms pretty quickly. In April, we found out that our baby would never live to be brought home because of Potters Syndrome. It was the saddest day of my life up to that point. In May, my sister got married, so I traveled to Charleston, SC to be there with my family. We had a wonderful weekend and I enjoyed some alone time. Jason stayed home with the boys so I could attend the wedding. Now, I'm happy to say that I'll be an aunt again in April. I can't wait to meet baby Hester. In June, I was asked to teach summer school, so I did that for 3 weeks. I was glad to get back in the classroom and didn't realize how much I missed teaching. July was just another month, and then on August 18th, we welcomed our 3rd son, Patrick into our family. He was stillborn at 34 weeks, exactly 17 weeks after we decided to carry him full term. He was just perfect and saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I have ever done. In October, we decided to start remodeling our kitchen and after 4 weeks, it was done. We are so happy with it. I also started sewing diaper wallets and selling them at craft shows. It has been a success so far, so I'll keep doing that throughout the year.

That is a lot to process in 10 years, but what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. I am so grateful to my family and friends, to have a loving husband, and 2 healthy boys to share my life with. Here's to the next 10!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A White Christmas

Who would have thought that we would have a white Christmas in Texas. I guess if you consider it is Texas weather we are talking about, it's not as shocking. Yesterday it was 71 degrees and today, snow.

Jackson is so excited for Christmas. He keeps bringing me presents asking to open them. We decided to start our own tradition of opening family/friend gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa would come on Christmas morning. It gives us a chance to spread it out since we are home for the holidays. With no family around to share the holiday with, it's nice to have our own traditions to do with the boys. Brayden doesn't really understand what is going on, so he just likes to do what big brother is doing.

We had a busy week last week. Jason has successfully recovered from sinus surgery and went back to work today. It was so nice to have him home for a week and the boys loved it too. Jackson and Brayden were both sick with ear infections and swine flu and I battled an upper respiratory infection. Thankfully, we are all well and able to enjoy Christmas. The boys and I may be going to Houston for a few days if the roads are safe and we all stay healthy. Jason is going to be working some long hours this weekend, so I thought it would be nice to get away and visit family. This would be Patrick's first Christmas and he would be 4 months old. I think the boys would have enjoyed showing him their new toys and he would have loved to watch all the festivities. I know he's watching down on us and sending us this beautiful snow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some funnies :)

We have a new addition to our family! No, not another baby. An imaginary pet dinosaur. Yes, that's right! Jackson's own creation, who at times lives in his bathroom and sometimes on his bed. He only comes out at night. He's a friendly dinosaur, but he's scared of him too. So every night we send him out the window, mommy likes the window and the dinosaur goes to Eli's house. I decided to inform Lindsay of the dinosaur coming to her house every night. I'm curious if Jackson will wonder if he's there the next time we go over to their house.

He's also decided that showering is much better than taking baths. So this morning he was in my shower and I stepped into my bedroom to put away a few things. He then started belting out Ring Around the Rosie. It was just funny to hear him singing in the shower. I guess it just surprised me since I used to sing in the shower, but don't anymore. It put a big smile on my face.

Tonight, we went to a fundraiser with our mom's group and had pizza with Santa. He liked Santa this year, but not enough to sit on his lap or give him a high five. He only leaned in from a few feet away to tell him he wanted more trains for Christmas. Brayden started crying before I even got close, so no pics with Santa this year. When we got home, Brayden went to bed but Jason was watching football. Jackson came to sit with Jason and when the game was on and the play started, he said, "Go dude!" It was so funny. I have never heard him say that before, but I've heard his daddy say it. It's just a reminder of how much he repeats what he hears.

Jackson and Jason watching the game:
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today I'm Thankful For...

Today I'm thankful for many things. Most especially the few hours I got to hold my beloved son Patrick. Today would be his first Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for the love he brought us even though it was only for a short time. I'm thankful that God chose me to be his mother and Jason to be his father. I'm thankful for the support of our friends and family as they walked the difficult road with us. I'm thankful for the grace God has poured down upon me these last 3 months and the healing that I have experienced. I'm thankful for a wonderful church that has blessed our family with a beautiful garden where he was buried. I'm thankful for Jason's job, even when it seems some things aren't fair. I'm thankful for my friendships, near and far. I'm thankful for our beautiful home and the opportunity to make it our own. I look forward to many more Thanksgivings here. And lastly, I am truly blessed and thankful for my husband, Jason, and my two beautiful healthy boys, Jackson and Brayden who I couldn't live without! HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching Up

It's been way too long since I've updated the blog. I think about it everyday, but am finally pulling myself off of facebook and here's the latest news from the Banks household...

We have had a really good few weeks, thanks to a great psychologist that we have been seeing. We have a lot of love for one another, but with the death of Patrick among all the other obstacles from the last 6 years, I finally needed someone to talk too. Jason was also excited to join me and it has been such a great experience for both of us. I'm actually quite amazed that we made it this long without talking to someone. Needless to say, we are back to getting into our old groove and things are great! Say a little prayer for Jason, he is putting in for a detective position tomorrow and we would love this opportunity for our family. He has worked really hard the last 8 years and it would be a great payoff for all his hard work.

I have also been sewing up a storm. Most of you know that I make diaper wallets. I'm going to be in 3 upcoming craft shows with my friend Lexy who is making baby blankets and loveys. I'm so excited to actually try this new venture out. We will be in Dallas November 20th and in Arlington on November 21st and December 5th. If you want to come shop for some Christmas, it would be great to see all of you there.

On Tuesday, I went to get my haircut (by the best hairdresser in the world) and was watching a little boy get his haircut while I waited for my appointment. In the meantime I was playing peek-a-boo with his little sister. To make a long story short, I ended up talking to their mom, Whitney. After a few minutes talking about our kids, MDO, and mom's groups, I mentioned that I was President of AECPTA. She asked my name and then said, "I know you." She's been reading my blog and we have actually commented back and forth a few times. It was so cool and a total God thing that we met that day. I'm looking forward to having her at pancake parties on Monday's and maybe we will be able to convince her to finally join our mom's group too. Shannon has been working on it for a while already.

I want to say congrats to my friends Joy, Laura, and Becky who all had beautiful baby boys in the last 6 weeks. It's a blessing to have your boys in my life for me to love on. They remind me so much why I chose life for Patrick and even though my baby boy is in heaven, I get the chance to celebrate the healthy lives of these 3 little boys. I can't wait to spend more time with all of them.

Here are some recent pics of the boys. They are doing great and loving their new school. I can't believe Jackson will be 3 in a couple of weeks. It's hard to imagine how fast they are growing up. We are truly blessed!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Deep Fried Butter

Yesterday, Jason and I headed to the State Fair of Texas. Of course, it's our date day since the boys are in MDO. We opted for an enjoyable fair day hence the reason we went while it would be just the two of us. Neither one of us ate breakfast with the full intention of gorging on all kinds of wonderful fair food. Let's just say, we ate and ate and ate some more and then drove home only to rest for 20 minutes before picking up the boys. My first thing to eat was a Fletcher's corndog, then onto Jason's first pick, deep fried butter. That's right, deep fried butter. The funny thing was that the guy who created this was actually trying to convince us that it was healthy since it was butter and not margarine. Anyway, they weren't bad. We had ours topped with honey and cinnamon/sugar. They looked like donut holes. It won for "most creative" in the food category for the fair this year. Next was a big ear of corn, fresh squeezed lemonade, and Jason had come beef gordita and a chicken soft taco that he liked a lot. We ran out of coupons, so we opted to stop eating and just walk off some of the food we just ate.

I got a new wallet in one of the market areas and then we got suckered into purchasing Shu-Nu after a demonstration on my very old and dirty shoes. Jason has been cleaning and spraying all his shoes and is convinced we didn't get scammed out of $20. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. We were hoping to look at some mini-vans while we were there, but the car show area had been scaled down a bunch. Honda wasn't even there, Nissan didn't have a van, so we only got to check out the Toyota Sienna. I really liked it and I think we've narrowed it down to a Sienna or Quest. Somewhere in our future a mini-van lives. Can't hardly wait. It's a little embarrassing to think of how excited I am to be driving the "looser cruiser" as Jason calls it.

If you get a chance, head to the fair and enjoy the beginning of fall. It's one of my favorite times of the year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some poems

~I'll Be There~

Daddy please don't look so sad, Momma please don't cry,
Cause I am in the arms of Jesus and He sings me lullabies.
Please try not to question God, Don't think He is unkind,
Don't think He sent me to you, And then He changed His mind.
You see, I am a special child, And I'm needed up above.
I'm the special gift you gave Him, The product of your love.
I'll always be there with you, And watch the sky at night
Find the brightest star that's gleaming
That's my halo's brilliant light
You'll see me in the morning frost, That mists your window pane,
That's me, in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a gentle breeze, From a gentle wind that blows
That's me, I'll be there, Planting a kiss on your nose.
When you see a child playing, And your heart feels a little tug,
That's me, I'll be there, Giving your heart a hug.
So, daddy, please don't look so sad, Momma don't you cry,
I'm in the arms of Jesus, and He sings me lullabies.

~Angel Wings~

A precious angel slipped away,
no one heard a cry.
No time for Dad and Mommy to sing me lullabies.
My time with you was much too short.
I had to leave too soon,
But love had joined us as I grew
inside my Mommy's womb.
It wove it's way within our hearts,
in all our hopes and dreams,
Until the very purest love became my tiny wings.
Although I could not stay with you,
I knew right from the start,
That once you felt your angel's love,
you'd keep me in your hearts.
I'm just a little angel but time was not in vain.
As dark clouds that surround you
give way unto the sun,
My precious parents you will see
that any heart will sing,
If only for a moment it is brushed by angel wings.

By Jean Rozon

~My Mom is a Survivor~

My Mom is a survivor,
Or so I've heard it said.
But I can hear her crying
When all others are in bed.
I watch her lay awake at night
And go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
to help her understand.
But like the sands upon the beach
That never wash away...
I watch over my surviving mom,
Who thinks of me each day.
She wears a smile for others...
A smile of disguise.
But through heaven's open door
I see tears flowing from her eyes.
My mom tries to cope with my death
To keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her
Knows it's her way to survive.
As I watch over my surviving mom
Through heaven's open door...
I try to tell her
Angels protect me forevermore.
I know that doesn't help her...
Or ease the burden she bears.
So if you get a chance, talk to her...
And show her that you care.
For no matter what she says...
No matter what she feels.
My surviving mom has a broken heart
That time won't ever heal.

by Kaye Des'Ormeaux

The time...

It has been exactly 4 weeks since Patrick's birth. At this very time 4 weeks ago, we were still holding our little baby, taking pictures, and trying to process what the day had brought. I was completely exhausted and in a fog. Time seems to be playing a trick on me. I know it's only been 4 weeks, but it seems like 4 months these last few days. I think this might be God's grace on meas I try to pull myself together everyday and focus on my family.

Speaking of my family, we are all doing amazingly well. Jason is going back to work this week. It's been nice having him home this last month. I couldn't have done it without him. He is having some cardiac testing done, so please keep him in your prayers. Hopefully we'll have more information in the next few weeks once the last appointment is done on the 22nd. I'm sure the stress of Patrick's death hasn't made any of this better, but he's in great hands and has a wonderful doctor. The same one we saw while he was going through chemo. We have always had such great doctors and I know we will continue to be blessed.

Tonight we all went to the Ranger's game. Our friends, Laura, Jason and Alexander also joined us. Unfortunately we had to leave around the 5th inning since the boys were past their bedtime. I hope they sleep in a little bit in the morning. I should really go to be myself soon.

Below is a picture of the plaque that has been donated to place at the church where he is buried. There will be some sort of dedication at the church once we receive it. I'll let everyone know when that is.

Goodnight all! Thanks for your continued prayers and support. I am truly grateful.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Patrick's Video

I think I figured out how to finally put the video on the blog. I look at it everyday and listen to the song over and over again. Something about it makes it "Patrick's Song" to me. I'd recommend having a Kleenex box nearby if possible. I can't tell all of enough how awesome it is to have these pictures and video of our son. There is something comforting about knowing that I won't forget what he looked like and who shared this experience with us. Like I told Carleen last night, "thank you" isn't enough for what she has been able to give me. I love you, Carleen, and am so happy we are friends!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Monday's

It seems like Monday's are a regular blogging day for me. I really intend on doing more posts, but just don't have the time. Actually, if I could peel myself away from Facebook, I'd probably get more blogging done.

We had a great week last week, with the boys starting Mother's Day Out at our new school. Jackson is going 3 days a week and Brayden, 2 days a week. I was really nervous on Monday since B usually naps around 1o and they weren't going to be napping until 12. Well, after his first day, one of the directors tells me that she held him most of the day. At first I thought he was just falling apart from not napping like he does at home, but it really was that she just adopted him and loved on him all day. I can't blame her since he does have the cutest little face and those big blue eyes with the Bambie eyelashes. He's already got the ladies wrapped around his little finger. It made me happy to know that someone else was loving on my baby. I think with not having Patrick home, I needed that security. God really knew what I needed, and that was it. Dropping him off on Thursday was much easier knowing he was well loved. Jackson did great at school. This is his second year and he's not missing a beat. He seems to really love his new school and teacher. He is napping great, talking about school, and the drop offs and pickups are much easier too.

It's nice having 2 days a week for myself and I am hoping to get my sewing business up and running a little more. I am also going to look into tutoring for the district part time to give me something to do. For now, I'm going to try and ease into things and enjoy some much needed down time. It'll be great for Jason and I since he is off on Tuesdays and we have a day to ourselves. I know we are both looking forward to making this our "date" days.

I hope all of you who actually read my blogs have been able to see the video that Carleen put together of my maternity pics and of Patrick at the hospital. I can't believe how awesome it is and I treasure it. I probably watch it at least once a day. I just can't get enough. If I can figure out how to put it on my blog, I'll add a link, otherwise, email me at and I will be glad to share it with you. I try to keep him alive in my heart and talk about him. I just don't want to pretend that he doesn't exist. It's a weird line to walk, but I am doing my best. I am now going to be taking all the gifts I received and make a shadow box with all of my momentos for Patrick. Other than that, we are getting back into our normal routine at home and am feeling better everyday!

Monday, August 31, 2009

One Week Ago...

It was only a week ago that we buried our little boy. I think I just realized that a minute ago. At times it seems like longer than a week. It's hard to believe that only 13 days ago he entered our world only for a brief time. It was way to short. I love him! I miss him terribly! I cry daily for the most part, but am doing better than I would have thought. We've had so much support and family lending a helping hand.

My parents left on Tuesday morning after Patrick's funeral. My aunt, Nan, stayed with us through Thursday to help. I was so sad to see her leave for the airport. I can't wait to get to visit with her again. She brings so much comfort to me. Then Friday morning, Sue, Jason's mom came. She is still here and will be leaving on Thursday. She's definitely been keeping the house running, laundry and dishes clean, and spending lots of time outside with the boys. I'm glad she's an outdoors person, although her flowers are probably a lot easier to tend too. Liz also came over this past weekend. I know the boys enjoyed seeing their favorite babysitter. It's a mutual admiration of the boys and her. Ben has a run for his money when he gets to town.

Wednesday, Jason, Jackson, and I went to SMG to visit Patrick. It was the first time I'd been back since the funeral on Monday. I didn't want my first time going back to be on Sunday when I went to church. I brought plenty of kleenex, but didn't need one. I felt completely calm and we talked to Jackson about his brother. I only hope Jackson doesn't think that dirt is named Patrick. We'll have to keep working on that. As we were leaving the garden, Jackson was holding Jason and my hand's. He turned his head to look back and said, "Bye-Bye Patrick, Bye-Bye Patrick." It was sooooo cute. It's like he knew all along about his brother. It was moving. I try to keep Patrick alive in my conversations, thoughts, prayers, blog, whatever I am doing at the time. It was what Fr. Mike said to do at the funeral and I agree. He is alive! More alive now than even we are. Rejoicing in heaven with his other brother or sister. Watching over all of us! Seeing me at Mass each week and praying for us! It does make it somewhat easier but I would still rather have him here.

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Heart

It's been such a whirlwind since Patrick was born. Things I thought I never could do, I've done. My heart is broken, hurting. No pain medicine can make it feel better. I'm trying to recover from surgery, focus on my boys, be supportive for my husband, and grieve the loss of my baby. Sometimes it feels surreal. Did this really happen?

I decided to spend an extra day at the hospital to try and recover more before coming home. I'm so glad I decided this. I didn't come home until Saturday morning. I thought I was ready to come home. Things had been all taken care of, at least I thought. As I'm waiting for my discharge paperwork to be completed, Jason came barging through the door of my room flustered and angry. We find out the hospital made a huge mistake with Patrick and our paperwork we had filled out for the funeral arrangements. Without going into details, all of my preparation ahead of time to make this as easy as possible for when we were in the hospital was all for nothing. The hospital blamed the funeral home and the funeral home blamed the hospital. Needless to say, I was hysterically crying and Jason was not the person who needed to fix this, so we called his parents who came to the rescue. All I can say is that without them, Patrick's funeral would have not happened until next week. I knew I couldn't wait that long, and thankfully we didn't have too. I just told Ray that I needed someone to fight for Jason and I and he said one of the nicest things I've heard in my life, "I'll fight for you, Jason, and Patrick." Patrick needed his Pa to make sure he was taken care of with dignity and respect and he was.

The funeral was postponed by just a few hours. All the people who we had invited were still able to make it. That was important to us. My friends from AECPTA prepared a wonderful lunch for our family and friends prior to the service. So many people took the time to come over and have lunch, pay their respects, and then attend Patrick's funeral. I felt so loved and supported and it gave our families a chance to see how important our friends are to us and how much they love us too.

Patrick's funeral was peaceful. When I was walking up to the garden, all I saw was the hole and I lost it. Hiding behind my sunglasses wasn't enough. I know everyone could hear me sob. I felt like my heart had jumped out of my body. I wanted to jump in the hole with my baby. I thought that I wasn't sure I was actually going to make it. As Jason and I sat down, Fr. Mike went to get Jason a towel as the sweat was pouring off his head. The church bells started to play. I think it was Immaculate Mary playing and was beautiful. I couldn't have planned it better. Fr. Mike then began the service, reading from scripture and also a letter he had. He blessed the hole with holy water, sprinkled rose petals into the ground, and then poured his ashes there. He began to fill the hole with dirt and asked our family and friends to do so if they felt they wanted too. Jason and I walked up and placed a scoop in ourselves. I couldn't even bend down to get the dirt or I would have put in more. Thankfully my brother, Jeff, was there. He came forward and began to fill in the hole. He just kept going and all I can think of was "he's doing this for me". I watched in awe of him as he was going to make sure he did all he could for me. It was my favorite moment of the whole funeral. I'll never forget it as long as I live. Then Jason's parents, Ray and Sue, took a turn. Then my parents, Jack and Cheryl. Lastly, Liz, went and poured in a scoop of dirt before Fr. Mike filled the rest in. After a short prayer, it was over. Several of our family members as well as Jason and I laid white roses on top of his little grave. It was finally over.

The last five months have been full of anxiety and questions. The final steps of this journey were over and now we can start to heal and keep Patrick as a part of our daily lives.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Patrick Steven Banks

We are proud to announce the newest addition to our family. He was welcomed into Jesus's arms on August 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm, weighing 4 lbs. 6 oz. and 16 1/2 inches.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day Filled With Milestones

Today, Jason and I celebrated our 6th wdding anniersary. On August 16, 2003 I was blessed to marry such a wonderful man. I don't think I was fully aware how much we would be tested over the course of our marriage, much less in 6 short years. Thankfully, we have been a strength and support for one another and that our love has also grown. I remember the priest saying at our wedding, "This is the day that you will love each other the least." I was a bit confused but then realized that it was just the beginning of our lives together and that we would be constantly growing and our love would grow too.

I also hit 34 weeks today. It was exactly 17 weeks ago when we found out the news about our baby. I was thinking that I've been pregnant for as long knowing about our little angel as I was before we found out. I only have 24 days until my c-section. That is not long at all. I'm starting to want to push the date back a week. I don't know if it's because I think that I need more time for a miracle to happen or if it's my way of not wanting to deal with it. I know eventually I have to deliver, but for now, I'll leave everything alone. After my drs appt on the 26th, I'll talk to Dr. S and see what he says.

My parents have been here for the last few days and I'm so thankful for their help this weekend. With Jason working long days, it's always nice to have an extra set of hands (or two). Jackson will be so sad tomorrow when he realizes they aren't going to magically appear out of their room. Brayden has loved playing with my dad, but I know they are tired and need to go back and restup before the baby is born. We'll see them in just a few weeks. I love you Mom and Dad!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome Home Slackney's!

I wanted to say that I'm so excited to have Laura and family back in Texas. I'll get a chance to see them in the morning and can't wait. It'll be a race between Lindsay and I to see who can drop off the boys at MDO first and drive fastest. Thankfully I have a husband who is an Arlington cop and feel I have permission to speed down Green Oaks (at least until I hit Fort Worth). :)

This week has been a great week for the boys. On Tuesday, Mema & Pa (Jason's parents) came down for a visit to see the boys. It was great because Brayden went down for a nap about 20 minutes after they got here, so Jackson had them all to himself. Then we had lunch. After lunch, Jackson went down for a nap. I took Ray & Sue to see the cremains garden where we plan on burying the baby and when we got back, Brayden was up, so he could have them all to himself. It seemed much more peaceful this way.

Today, my parents came in for the weekend. Jason starts another week of Rangers games tomorrow, so it'll be nice to have a helping hand through the weekend. Of course, Jackson doesn't understand why Poppa's tractor isn't here. We're making do with Tonka trucks and building big towers while Brayden is busy showing us all his climbing skills.

Only 4 weeks to go

I had my drs appointment yesterday and just wanted to give a brief update. Nothing new to report as far as they can tell. I didn't have a sono, but the heartbeat was strong at 140 bpm. The nurse actually commented on the fact that she can't believe how strong the heartbeat has been through all of this especially with no amniotic fluid. Our little baby is a fighter and I hope is fighting so he/she can meet us.

I did find out that if I were to go into preterm labor, that my doctor would try to stop the contractions so that I could go full-term. If I go into active labor, then he'd have to deliver via c-section because he doesn't want to risk my uterus rupturing (which I appreciated)! I haven't had many contractions at all lately. Nothing that I can really even pinpoint. I'll go back in 2 weeks for another appointment and sonogram.

For those of you who saw my comment on facebook regarding a story that sounds really similar to mine, here's the link: It is a glimpse of hope that a miracle could happen to us too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just needed to write...

It's only 8:40 pm, but all 3 of my boys are in bed asleep. It's been a long day for everyone. I'm trying to get some last minute stuff to memorialize the baby and before you know it, I'm crying uncontrollably at the computer and saying out loud, "I don't want to do this!" This is the downfall of it being too quiet around here. I'm all done with the dishes, not tired enough to go to bed, and time to think. I guess with all the contractions earlier in the week, I was thinking I would have a baby soon. Now that it's been 3 days since I've had any, I'm starting to think we might make it another 4 1/2 weeks. I even have tears running down my cheek as I type this post.

I look at these other women who have put their scrapbooks together and realize I'm not the only one who has had to go through this, but it just makes my heart break. The other day I finally found a small enough t-shirt for the baby to put on after he/she is born. One in pink and the other blue with a yellow duck. My dear friend Lexy made the baby a blanket that we'll wrap him in and then take home with us. She's made one for both boys and they sleep with them every night. It really is special.

I don't know what else to write, but am just sad. It's been a long few months and with end nearing soon, I'm ready for it to all be over so we can try and move on and enjoy the boys we have been so blessed to have already.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A letter to our angel

My sweet little angel,

It seems like yesterday we found out you would be joining our family in September. I remember the shock on your dad's face as I told him we were pregnant...again. We were excited, but nervous too. That only took us a few moments to get through before we started to plan out how we would rearrange your brother's rooms, put you in the nursery, and squeeze a third carseat in the car.

I remember having to go see Dr. Seligman for my many blood draws as I'm always progesterone deficient and need supplments. I then got the phone call that things were progressing, but not the "textbook" way they were supposed to. After a few days, all that changed and I was given the "you're officially out of the woods" speech. So for a few weeks, we just plugged along with our plans to figure all this out.

Seeing you on the sonogram pictures, your heart beating so perfectly strong and trying to guess if you would be a boy or a girl brought so much excitement too. I still get excited to see you at every sonogram appointment. Last week, you were moving your mouth like you were trying to say something to me. All I could imagine was "I love you!" Your dad and I wish you could know how much we love you already and wish you could stay with us.

Today we took pictures of mommy's belly with you safe inside. It's our way of holding on to the short time we have together. As happy as we were to do it, at lunch we talked about how sad it was too. We just want to see your precious face, kiss you, tell you we love you and share you with our family.

As we get closer to this day, I remind ourselves that we will only be seperated from you for as long as daddy and I live. When we see you again, you'll be in a perfect body, free from imperfections, rejoicing in heaven and ready to greet us when we come to see you. We will only ask that you watch over your brothers as they will only have had the memories we gather to know you.

We'll be meeting some day soon! Keep fighting and prove those doctors wrong. Your prayer warriors are still fighting for a miracle for you and you deserve it!

Mommy & Daddy

A Quick Update

So it's been quite a week so far and it's only Tuesday. Last week, we had decided that Jason was going to have sinus surgery tomorrow. Well, that's now been put on hold.

I had my OB appointment last Wednesday. I've officially hit the 8 month mark. Who would have thought? It went as well as can be expected. The baby weighs about 3 lbs. His abdomen has now started to slow in its growth. They call it Intra Uterine Growth Retardation which is fairly common in abnormal pregnancies. So his head will be bigger than his belly when he's born. They still were not able to tell if it was a boy or girl, but there was one shot that looked like it could be a boy so I still call it "him". I also asked if he thought I would actually make it to September 9th and he said he never expected me to make it this far. He does think that the baby will live for a few hours after birth, that the nursery nurses will do no heroic measures to save the baby and will just hand the baby over to us to spend as much time with him as possible.

On Sunday, I began having really bad contractions, so I called Dr. Seligman and he said he thought they were Braxton Hicks. I've never really had contractions before like this, so I just thought it might be the beginning of preterm labor. There are a few cases where people have shared their story on Potter's Syndrome and all of them delivered between 32-35 weeks. I've continued to have contractions and am just waiting for them to get close enough together to go to the hospital and see if I will deliver early. So needless to say, we have postponed Jason's sinus surgery until after the baby is born and at the end of his paternity leave.

Today, Jason and I went to my friend Carleen's house who has been awesome in offering maternity pictures and will be there at the hospital to take pictures of the baby. I had approached her at one of our PTA meetings to see if she'd be interested, and lucky for me, she said she had been thinking the same thing. She has now joined the non-profit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep organization and am so glad she is willing to do this for us. I know the pictures will be beautiful and will give us memories for a lifetime. You should check out her website Thanks again Carleen!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I just have to say that I have the best friends in the whole world. So many of you know that I feel my friends are my family. Never has this been more clear than the last few years. Some of you have been around since before I met Jason. Some of you I met because of Jason and were by our side through his 6 month battle against cancer. Then you were there as we desperately wanted to have a baby and couldn't. Finally, we got pregnant and soon after miscarried, only to find out a month later we were pregnant again with Jackson. Then there were you who were there for Jackson's birth and the aftermath that came afterwards, praying as my personal prayer warriors. We caught a small break with our uneventful pregnancy and birth of Brayden. Now with this special baby, you've proven your love and loyalty again as you stand by our sides. Without you, we wouldn't be able to make it. There is something about friends that family just can't replace, and visa-versa.

Thank you Laura for your sweet card I got in the mail yesterday afternoon; Stacey, thanks for your quick email to check in; Jill your phone calls are always a treat. And to those of you who I failed to mention, please know that I think of you often, pray for you daily, and look forward to our next visit, phone call, or playdate. I just wanted to say thank you for your friendship. And to my best friend, Jason, you are a great husband and father to our beautiful boys and we'll survive the climb up this mountain too.


Friday, July 24, 2009

A Week of Ups and Downs

It's been an interesting week for me. On a personal note, I just feel like I've hit a wall and have checked out for a while. It's been a long 14 weeks and I need a break. I can't pray any harder, any longer, and I'm not even asking for a miracle anymore. I am confident that what God has planned is what is best. I'm leaving it up to all of you to pray for a miracle, for me, and for Jason. This is taking it's toll on our marriage too. I love him and am thankful for him. I also want to run away and just be alone for the next few months and that's not fair to him either. Thankfully he's a patient man who loves me unconditionally and is by my side through this. We are processing this differently which poses its own issues. I guess as long as we don't hit the bottom at the same time, we'll be ok. We've been through so many other life-changing events together and have made it. I'm just trying to get all the loose ends wrapped up and "planned" if possible. I'm not afraid of asking people for help, but I just don't know what to ask and who to ask. The only part that is up in the air is who will stay with the boys at home, so Jason can be at the hospital with me during my recovery. Last time, he ended up being home with Jackson more than at the hospital and with the circumstances being what they are, I think I'm going to need him more with me. I'm sure between the grandparents and family, it'll all get taken care of.

Last weekend, I drove the boys and my babysitter, Liz, to Houston to see my parents. The boys slept great, had a great time running around on their land, playing with the hose, riding with Poppa on the tractor, and eating all of Maemie's yummy food. I especially loved the lemon cake. I think I actually ate it for dinner one night too. Good thing I'm not on the diabetes diet. :)

This week, we received a letter in the mail from Hawaiian Falls (a waterpark in the area). Apparently, someone nominated us to be "Family of the Week". Now, we didn't win the grand prize but they did send us free passes to use by the end of September. I think we'll try to go at the beginning of August. Thank you if it was you who thought we were worthy of that title.

I want to say congratulations to Aaron & Andi who welcomed their 3rd child, a baby boy, Cole yesterday. Can't wait to come see your little boy. I'm sure his big sisters are already in love with him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Have A Date...

My doctor's appointment today went well, besides stepping on the scale, of course. I barely passed my 3 hour glucose test, so I don't have to do the diabetes diet or finger pricking. Woohoo! I'm so happy for that small blessing. Also, my c-section has been scheduled for Sept. 9th at 7am. There's a small possibility that the date could change depending on how the baby is doing. My doctor said that sometimes babies can start to go into distress under these circumstances, and then the date will stay the same, but if all is well, it could get pushed back another week. For now, we are leaving it on the schedule as is and we'll know more at my next appointment on the 29th when I have another sonogram.

I'll upload more pictures soon. I am just too tired to try and remember what to do and figure it out again. I promise when I have some free time, I'll work on it instead of taking a nap or watching tv. I take the breaks while I can since the boys usually have me going non-stop while they're awake.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What A Week...

Well, it's been another busy week at our house. Jason worked at the ballpark and Alley Cats three nights last week. I'm glad this week, he'll be home with us more. I met with Fr. Jim at SMG to discuss some sort of memorial plaque we'd like to donate after the baby is born since he/she will be buried there. We ended up talking a lot about what has been going on, how I'm feeling, how Jason is doing, and what not. He has a gift of just having the perfect words to share with you when you are there. I could go see him every week, because he is so inspirational and comforting. It's nice to know he's there when I need him. I'm sure that will not be the last visit.

On Wednesday, Brayden had his 15 month well-check visit with the pediatrician. Where has the time gone? He was 23lbs13oz and 33 in tall. What a big boy! We love him and am so grateful he's healthy and happy. Our only obstacle now is getting him off his bottle. At least I'm trying to contain it to nap time and bedtime, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll be done.

Oh, did I mention, that I failed my 1 hour glucose test. So, Thursday, I had to drink that lovely concoction again for the 3 hour test. I don't know why I even bothered with the one hour since I've never passed it. I passed the 3 hour with Jackson, failed it with Brayden and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and am guessing that tomorrow I'll be getting a phone call saying to come in and meet with the nurse to go back on the diabetes diet and checking my blood-sugar levels again. Not looking forward to pricking my fingers 4 times a day. I'm starting to wonder if I'm borderline diabetic and just don't know it. I think I'll get checked a few months after I have this baby.

Saturday, we drove to Richardson to celebrate our niece, Rylee's 5th birthday. She had a fabulous party at a sprinkler park and the boys enjoyed every minute of it. Brayden was the only one who would even run through the spray ground, as Jackson mainly wanted to sit with Pa and run around the spray area. It was a great party and we had a lot of fun. Rylee got some pretty great gifts too.

Today, I hit the 29 week mark. I still can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going. I will be going to the doctor on Wednesday and should have a c-section date schedule pretty soon. From what I know, it's not likely that I'll make it to my c-section date, but then again, I don't ever seem to do anything the way the textbook says to. I've read that 32-35 weeks seems to be the average for someone with an abnormal pregnancy. Pre-term labor is common and I suspect that if I go into labor early, they'll just do my c-section then and not try to stop labor. Of course, I'm still hoping that there's a miracle happening and I'll get to hold and love on this baby for many years to come. We've decided on baby names so here you go... If it's a boy, Patrick Steven and a girl, Julie Elizabeth. I'm glad that decision is done and that we can pray for him/her by name now. If I find out what it is for sure, I'll let everyone know. I still think it's a boy, but there's no guarantee with that. Gonna hit the sack. Jackson got up at 1am and 6am last night as well as Brayden somewhere in between (thank you Liz for getting up with them and letting me sleep. I love you!). Don't want a long day after staying up too late assuming I'll sleep through the night. Sweet dreams everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sweet N Sour

So I had my glucose test this morning. Oh, what a wonderful way to start the day. I was hoping the boys would sleep until 7:30 so I wouldn't have to be awake a long time before my 9:00 appt. Of course, Jackson wakes up at 6:04. I was starving when I got there and then had to choke down fruit punch concoction. It wasn't as bad as the other 2 times I've done it, so somehow, the drink has improved. I am hoping to pass this test on the first try. It would be a first since I've had to do the 3 hour test with Jackson and Brayden. I had gestational diabetes with Brayden and really don't want to do that for the next 9 weeks.

Today, I got a regular OB check up. The first one since before we found out the baby has Potter's. I felt like normal for a split second until the doctor walked in. He measured my belly which he said measures right on track as if I had amniotic fluid. Maybe God is working some other miracle I don't know about. He also said that in 2 weeks he'll schedule my c-section for 36-37 weeks gestation. That should put me delivering the first week of September. Maybe I'll ask for 9-9-09 and see what they say. It would be kinda fun! I have another sono in 4 weeks and that's all I know for now.

It's been an emotional couple of days. I think Jason is starting to process through this more and my anxiety level is rising steadily. I had to call my mom this afternoon and just cry (more like balled) my eyes out. I don't know if I can do this. Can I really hold my baby and kiss him/her goodbye? I don't think I can, but I don't have a choice. It's not fair. Why has God chosen me, with his all-knowing and loving heart, to carry this cross? I don't want to have to pick a delivery date. I can feel the ulcer already starting to form with the anticipation that by getting on the operating table, I'm fully aware that giving birth to my child is also his death. I just don't want to have to know when that day is. Someone will probably have to drag me to the OR as I'll be inconsolable at the moment.

As many of you are continuing your prayers for me, please pray that I can be strong and not weak, accepting of His will, and have the courage to face the next 9 weeks or so with thanksgiving that I have been chosen to be the mother of this baby.

Peace and God Bless!

Go Rangers!

Tuesday night, Jason and I went to the Rangers game with his friend Aaron and his wife Andi. Andi is 9 months pregnant with a little boy due July 27th. Imagine how great we were feeling sitting in the stands. Thankfully a cold front came through and instead of the 101 degrees it was supposed to be, it was only 85. Still we were hot, uncomfortable, and feeling a little claustrophobic sitting there. I had a strange older man in front of me who liked to put his arm stretched out on the seat chair next to him. This isn't really a problem unless you have a drink in the cup holder on the back of that chair. I guess he didn't realize there was a straw poking him in the armpit. It was slightly annoying and grossed me out too. We just kept laughing and eventually, I had to throw the drink out. Other than that weird little scenario, we had a good time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another week down

Well, it's Saturday night, both kids are in bed, thankfully, and Jason is working a Ranger's game. Poor guy, it's 8:30 pm and 100 degrees outside. He's such a hard worker for our family and really the one who wants our boys to be home with me. Another week down at Ousley JH where I'm teaching summer school. The teaching part is over and now they will take the TAKS test on Monday. I hope they will take there time, use the tools I tried to teach as well as the content and finally pass.

Tomorrow I'll hit 27 weeks. I can't believe that 10 weeks ago, I found out that our little one was sick. At lot has happened since that dreadful day in April. Of course, my belly is growing and so is he. I can feel him moving a lot more now and I try to cherish every touch. I have saved every card, sono picture, and email that people have sent to us. I plan on having a scrapbook made with all of this in it, including the blog posts. This last week, I attended a healing Mass at SMG and am trying to balance the desperation for a miracle and that God can heal this child with the reality that He may not because He needs him more than me. I walk around in some state of denial as I think the baby deserves the miracle of healing, while not "nesting" around the house since I don't think I'll be bringing a baby home. I don't know if any of that makes sense, but it's just the best way I can describe it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of you who continue to pray for us and this child. Take care and drop me and email or phone call sometime.

This was letter was printed in our church bulletin last week and I thought I'd share it...

My Child...

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1 I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2 I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3 Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation.

Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 I am the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5 I desire to establish with you all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41 And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20 For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4 And I will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4 I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3 He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, You receive me. 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I will throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7 I have always been Father and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is... will you be my child? John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-12

Your Dad
Almighty God

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

25 1/2 weeks and counting...

I went for my regularly scheduled ob appt today. It's been 3 weeks since I've been able to see my little one. I've been feeling him moving a lot more often during the day, so I know that he's still hanging in there. His heartrate today was 160, perfectly normal, and he's still in his pike position. Today, I was able to see him grabbing his foot with his hand. It was cute. I also asked them for a cd with some video so I would have that. All in all, it was a good appointment, although still no changes. I told Dr. Seligman that I have a feeling that I'm going to go all the way, and he thought so too. He's so supportive of all my decisions and I could not ask for a better doctor to have. I wish everyone had a doctor like him.

Summer school is in full swing and the kids are doing well. They are hanging in there with me as we drill through 9 months of math in 3 weeks. It's really shown me how much I love teaching, especially this age group. Most would think it's crazy to want to teach middle schoolers, but I love it. It's been a nice break from the daily grind of playing referee at home, changing diapers, and short-order cook. I miss the boys and they miss me, but it's only short-term which is doable.

Jason's parents came in town to visit for the day. I'm sure Jason appreciated the extra set of hands and I know Jackson and Brayden loved seeing Mema & Pa. I was only able to visit for an hour after school before they headed back, but it was nice to visit for just a bit anyway. My parents just went back to Houston on Sunday after spending the weekend with us, so the boys have been spoiled by both sets of grandparents in 1 week. I'm sure I'll be hearing Jackson asking for all of them for another week or so.

Off to go lay down since both boys are napping and I can enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Crazy Week

Well, another bit of craziness in the Banks' household. It seems that it's never a dull moment around here. As you know I was sick for the last 2 weeks. I am so glad to be feeling almost back to 100% normal. Last week my mom came up to help with the kids while I was sick and we got a lot of things put away that were just shoved in closets from moving almost 9 months ago. I can't believe it's almost been a year since we moved. On Friday, my sister-in-law, Susanne and my neice and nephew, Rylee and Joshua stopped by, brought us lunch and played with Jackson. Unfortunately, Brayden slept the whole time they were here and woke up about 15 min after they left. It had been a while since Jackson had seen them and he loved every minute they were here. I think they liked playing with him too. Then on Monday night, I got a call to teach summer school in Arlington starting on Wednesday. Needless to say, I ran around on Tuesday trying to get everything ready for me to start working on Wednesday. I'm teaching 8th grade math which I wasn't sure about at first, but the kids are actually good and working for me which is all I can ask for now. It's definitely put into perspective the idea of going back to work full-time which I was considering for the new school year.

Jackson also started swim lessons on Monday which shortly ended on Tuesday once I was not able to take him anymore since I leave for school at 7:15 and don't get home until 1:30 or so. I may have to see what's available in July. He'll be starting a MDO program for the summer so that should give him plenty to do as well. Brayden has become the ultimate climber. Last night I found him sitting on my laptop on my desk. I had turned my back for less than one minute and he was up. I didn't even know he could do that. Now, he can climb to the top of the swingset, which we boarded shut one side to keep him from falling out, he climbs up the slide, on top of the kitchen table, up our retaining wall in the backyard. He's so strong. I told Jason he'll be in the "world's strongest man" competition when he's older. He's got a grip like none I've seen before and he just turned 14 months old yesterday. Jackson was still crawling at this age.

I'm going to try and keep my blog updated more frequently now that I feel better. With school going on for the next 2 1/2 weeks, I'll probably get behind again. I'm doing pretty good. The baby is still growing since my clothes are getting tight. I can feel him moving a lot more and am hoping that next week there will be some miraculous appearance of amniotic fluid. I will definitely be keeping everyone informed of any changes and thanks again for your continued prayers.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Finally I've figured out how to post pictures.  Thank you Becky!  I'll try to post some more pictures, especially ultrasound pictures.  I'll be having some maternity pictures soon as well as some professional pictures of the baby once he is born, thanks to Carleen of Charm Me Photography who is a part of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a national organization that you can learn more about at  

Jackson & Brayden - Spring 2009

The boys with Mema & Pa at Brayden's 1st birthday party.

Brayden just being cute.

Stay tuned for more future blogging.  I'm just starting to feel back to normal after this horrible cold thing.  Still on my second round of antibiotics and asthma medicine.  Who would have thought that my asthma would come back after 5 years of nothing.  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Bless Your Heart"

So I was in Target on Thursday, picking up a new watch battery since Brayden decided that my really, really nice watch that was an anniversary gift from Jason two years ago, belonged in the trashcan unbeknownst to me.  Out to the trash it went.  Needless to say, going to my backup watch, the battery was dead and needed to be replaced.  I'm standing at the jewelry counter waiting my turn with my double stroller...Jackson in the front, Brayden in the back.  An older woman looks at me and says, "twins??".  "No", I reply.  She points, "one, two, and another one on the way?"  "Yep (with a smile)", I say.  Her next line..."Bless your heart".  What is that supposed to mean?  Of course many things run through my head to say back one of which is exactly what I just said, "What is that supposed to mean?", but of course, I smile and nod, since I'm still sick, have 2 cranky kids that are ready to go, and am trying to respect my elders.  It's now been 3 days and it is still on my mind which is why I'm now blogging about it.

So, I wish I would have said that to her just to see exactly what she meant.  It does seem overwhelming when you look at us.  I'm sure people are wondering if I'm getting a triple stroller, the econo van, among the most popularly asked question, "was this planned?"

To answer all of the above, NO, No, and sort of.  If you know Jason and I at all, you know how much we have been through in the last 5 1/2 years of our marriage.  We were told that we would not be able to have any children after he went through 6 months of aggressive chemo therapy for his cancer.  We feel that children are a blessing, after thinking we would never have any, to have two healthy boys, and a 3rd on the way, despite the outcome, we know he's a blessing in another way.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A week filled with doctors appointments

Well lots has been going on in our household since I've posted last.  Sorry it's taken me so long.  I've been sick with some sort of cold/sinus infection since Saturday.  Thankfully Jason was off early in the afternoons and Tues & Wed.  I have just finished my antibiotics today and am starting to feel a little better.  Brayden is also on medicine and this morning Jackson started coughing like me.  I guess he'll be next to take to the doctor.  

Jason's been busy working at the Rangers this week.  The timing wasn't so great with me being sick, but we've managed.  On Tuesday, he took Jackson to see his cardiologist at Children's Hospital.  It's been 18 months since we've had to go.  Dr. Fixler said that he could hear a slight murmur still, but that his EKG was normal and that Jackson is not on any restrictions.  We also don't have to go back for 2 years at which they'll do an echocardiogram to look at the valve that he had heart surgery for when he was 7 weeks old.  Good news!

On Wednesday, I went back to the doctor.  I had a sonogram and the baby is still growing and his little heart is beating away.  I'm going to scan in some pics of him so you'll get a chance to see his profile.  Again, looks just like Jason, Jackson, & Brayden's.  He's so cute.  He moved to the other side of my belly and is in what I call, a perfect pike position.  Future diver I would guess.  His face is looking at his knees and his toes are by his head.  She said this is normal and many babies do this. Maybe she was just being nice, but it made me feel better.

I promise to work on getting my pictures figured out.  It's really been great to hear from many of you.  Thanks for your prayers, and keep them going.  I believe in miracles!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

We were gonna have a baby, but we had an angel instead...

On Monday,  a friend from my mom's group, Megan, handed me this book.  At first, I thought, after reading just the title, I'll never be able to read it.  Feeling strong that afternoon, I cracked open the book and read it.  It's such a great story, especially for kids who are older than mine and really can't understand what's going on.  I have it on my mantle in our playroom and glance at the cover often.  Something about "having an angel" is really sweet.  

I get asked a lot how I'm holding up so well.  I've told many of you that I truly believe that because so many people are praying for us, that I can feel those prayers sustaining us everyday.  This is not a normal situation, and I face strangers who do not know what is going on and have to try and have a conversation as if this is a normal pregnancy.  If they start digging, I eventually tell them the story.  I hope that through my example, people will see that all life is valuable, even the unborn.  Choosing to carry a baby to term knowing that I'll never have the chance to get to know him, makes me appreciate the 2 beautiful boys I have and the wonderful supporting husband, who is also dealing with this on his own terms.  This isn't a loss for just our family, it's a loss for my parents, Jason's parents, our siblings and as many of you have said, "this is our baby too!"  

Lastly, I came across this prayer a couple of weeks ago.  I felt mixed emotions as I read it and yet I had some comfort from it as well.  I'd like to share it with all of you as many of us need to read this...

Your Cross

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from 
eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from
 His inmost Heart.  This cross He now sends you He has 
considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His 
Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving
 arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not 
one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has 
blessed it with His holy name, annointed it with His grace, 
perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last 
glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you 
from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, 
an alms of the all-merciful love of God.

- St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Way To Keep Up...

Well, after much hesitation, I've decided to start a blog for our family.  I'm hoping that this will be a way for everyone to keep connected and updated with us as we walk this journey with you.  Let me post a bit of info for those of you who don't know what has been happening in our world for the last month or so. 

BTW, I am pregnant again with our 3rd baby due September 27th!

April 20th:  I get a phone call from Dr. Seligman around 3:00pm.  He proceeds to tell me that my quad screen came back normal for Down's Syndrome and Trisomy 18, but at an increased risk for spina bifida (1:33) and that it means there is a 97% chance everything is normal.  I struggled with that concept for a few minutes despite having been a math teacher, but I think my brain was just trying to think through everything he just said.   I am scheduled for our BIG ultrasound on the 28th to find out if it's a boy or girl, but begged him to see me sooner.  I just didn't think I could wait another week.  The nurse calls me back and says to come in the next morning at 8:00 for an ultrasound and I am relieved.

April 21st:  Jason and I head to the dr and my great friend Lisa, comes over to stay with the boys so we can go together.  She has been a lifesaver with this pregnancy and I owe her big time. Lisa, you are the best!  Thanks for all you have done for me.  So, the sonographer looks at the baby's spine which is completely normal Allelujah! and then starts to ask me if I've been leaking amniotic fluid.  I tell her no and she looks concerned.  She starts to look for vital organs, but still not saying much.  She does tell us that she is having a hard time seeing the kidneys, but that it could be from the reduced amount of amniotic fluid.  At 9:30, we have an appt with Dr. Seligman and decide to come home, pick up Jackson and take him to MDO.  As I am telling Lisa about the sonogram, she tells me that it sounds like Potter's Syndrome, a condition her mother had with one of her pregnancies many years ago.  Still not knowing for sure, I at least knew that whatever the doctor was about to tell us, we were in for a long journey ahead. 

9:30, we are pulled into Dr. Seligman's office and wait for him to come in.  He gives me a big hug and reconfirms to me that I'm going to be ok.  For a moment I feel relief.  He sits down and tells us that the baby has Potter's Syndrome a condition where the kidneys never formed during the first few weeks of conception and that without kidneys, the baby is not able to produce amniotic fluid, a crucial process in the development of the lungs.  Without this, the baby would not survive to full term or would only live a few hours outside of my womb.  Jason and I looked at each other with the most confused look and at least for me, I was thinking, how can we face another huge medical obstacle.  Lord knows we have already seen our fair share in the last 5 years.  I desperately scramble for a fix, "can't we just put the baby on dialysis until we can get a kidney?", "isn't there a way to force my body to produce the amniotic fluid?"  Certainly in this day and age if medical advances and technology, I'm not going to have to bury my baby.  All of these were answered with "I am sorry, there is nothing we can do."  I lost it, right then and there, with Jason just holding me.  At this point we were given all the possible options, termination, inducing early, continuing on until we couldn't take it any more, or trying to go full-term knowing the outcome would still be the same.  I asked the question that I feared the most, "Am I at any danger to carry this to full term?" Thankfully, the answer was No.  There is no risk to me whatsoever.  With all of this still freshly processing, he said let's not make any decisions right now, do another sono in a week, and see how things look.  Then decisions will need to be made. At this point, I am 17 weeks, the baby's heartbeat was 156, and looked otherwise, perfectly normal.  We leave the doctor's office and head straight over to our church and talk to a priest.  Fr. Jim is wonderful, has the perfect thing to say to make you feel comfort, and offered us the cremains garden as a place to bury our baby if we decided that was what we wanted to do.  On the way out the door, he stopped us, gave us a statue of Jesus carrying a cross, and said that he felt we needed this in our home as we were carrying a big cross right now.

April 27th:  Jason's parents come in town to watch the boys so we could go to the doctor.  As I lay on the sono table, I am desperately seeking a miracle.  As soon as she puts the conducer on my belly, I can see that things are still the same.  At least they weren't any worse.  I just wasn't prepared to make any more decisions.  The baby looked fine, other than the lack of amniotic fluid and kidneys.  It's amazing how it can even survive.  I've now crossed into my 18th week.  I should have been finding out the next day what we were having and instead we were getting ready to head over to the funeral home to make tentative arrangements.  How life can be so weird.

April 28th:  We asked my next door neighbor, Tanna (another angel) to watch Brayden for us so that we can head over to Moore Funeral home do gather as much information as possible.  After we dropped Jackson off at MDO, we head up there.  I think we were both in denial as we just went through the whole process, picked out burial plots, looked at caskets, looked at the headstones we had to choose from, did we want to be all buried together one day or bury the baby by itself.  I just couldn't imagine not laying with my child again.  So we thought we'd just buy 3 plots, had everything picked out for the baby, and then the sales pitch begins.  It's a little like buying a house, and a little like buying a car.  As I'm standing there looking at the infant casket, I can feel the baby move.  It takes all of my being to not just break down and scream out loud.  This is not normal.... people don't bury their babies.... how are we going to pay for it ($7600 for just the baby).  Of course, they try to get you to sign off and finance what you've picked out.  I said, we'll take the info with us and decide what is best over the next few days. Thankfully, my parents were coming in town the next day and we would have them to talk through all of this with.  Boy was I in a mood the rest of the day.

April 29th:  I decide to go to bible study and get away from everything for a couple of hours.  I could tell when I woke up that morning, I wasn't in the right frame of mind.  I am so glad I went, as it helped me to escape this nightmare even for just a moment, and to be surrounded by some great prayerful women who were so encouraging.  When I got home, I just cried, and cried, and cried for hours.  I could hardly stop to catch my breath.  Jason just sat there on the couch holding me and praying for us out loud.  It was one of the most beautiful prayers I had heard.   Just as I was starting to settle down, my parents arrived.  The mere sight of them made me ball all over again.  It was as if having them here was going to finally take the pain away.  We cried together and then I took them to the church to see the cremains garden and to the funeral home to show them the plots we had picked out.  It was more real this time around and I cried several times while walking around the cemetery.  This was the beginning of several decisions that needed to be made.  I couldn't have done it without my mom here.  She was instrumental in helping me to process through all the emotions and helping to gather all the information for Jason and I to go through.  At this point, we have decided to cremate the baby and bury it at church.  Since there is no way for a permanent marker to be set, we are going to donate a memorial plaque to be placed there in memory of the baby.

April 30th:  My mom and I go to the specialist, Dr. Goldaber, a perinatologist to see what he has to say.  Again, Lisa B. came to my rescue and watched the boys so I wouldn't have to go by myself.  He pretty much said the same thing, the baby has Potter's Syndrome II, which is the only one that is not genetic or hereditary.  He also said the baby has a 0% chance of survival, which seemed so severe even though it's the same thing as we heard before.  I guess just having a number associated with it was hard.

May 8th:  It's been since Tuesday that I've felt the baby move.  I realize that I'm going into the weekend and I decide to call my drs office to see if I can get a heartbeat check.  They tell me to drink a coke, lay in the bed still for an hour, while she talks to my doctor about what they want to do.  At 4:30, I go in for a quick sono.  The heart was beating and I was told again that without any fluid, the baby isn't able to move much.  This is why I don't feel a lot of movement.  So back home I go and wait until my next appt.

May 13th:  I go for my regular office visit and see the baby moving and still very much alive in my belly.  I call it a "him" since I already have boys, it's easier.  I see his hand by his face and his mouth moving as if he's saying, "Hi Momma!"  I had tears roll down my cheek as I try to fathom the idea that I'll never get the chance to hear those words.  Then, for the first time, his legs were apart.  I ask if she can tell the gender.  No one up to this point has been able to see.  She looks, and looks, and first says that she thinks it might be a girl, but can't say for sure.  Then she switches and says she thinks she sees something, boy parts.  She keeps looking and now says, I think it's a boy.  She even put "It's a boy" on the picture with an arrow pointing... then 5 ????? follow.  So, for now I think it's a boy, but I guess that could be wrong.  Maybe when I go back on the 27th, they'll see something more defined.  After my sono's I go into Dr. Seligman's office.  It is kinda weird that I don't go into an exam room.  He basically says everything is still the same.  I ask him again how the baby is surviving without any amniotic fluid.  He tells me that amniotic fluid is for cushion and lung development.  The umbilical cord is sustaining everything else.  I guess now that I'm out of the "fog" things make more sense.  The next day, I fly to Charleston, SC for my sister's wedding.  He gives me the ok and off I go.  

Thanks for putting up with such a long post.  This is my way of journaling and sharing with all of you the details if you choose to read.  From the first day (April 21st) Adrienne Vaughan showed up at my door at 5:30 with a meal for our family.  For the next three weeks, meals arrived every other day from AECPTA.  I can't thank all of you enough for meals, cards, emails, phone calls, blueberry muffins (thanks Lisa V.) and your support.  We wouldn't have survived without you.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Charleston, SC

Last weekend, my little sister, Kathryn got married in Charleston, SC.  What a beautiful city and place to have a wedding.  She looked gorgeous and I'm going to try and get some pics up soon.  It was Jason's first time to stay home with the boys while I got the chance to have a little getaway.  I missed everyone but enjoyed only having to worry about myself.