Friday, March 27, 2009


I listened to this song so many times before Isaac was born. I wondered if no matter what happened I would truly feel that I was still standing in God's presence. It's hard to believe that when you're faced with losing something so precious. But this song looped through my head constantly after Isaac was born, and it's true. The world has fallen out from under us, and we're still standing in Him.

Shadowfeet by Brooke Fraser

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
Toward home, a land that I've never seen
I am changing
Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began
And I have sensed it all along
Fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

There's distraction buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it's easier to stay
But I've heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

You make all things new

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Part 2

When you look through a kaleidoscope, the clearest point is always the center. The edges are blurred. Twisting the kaleidoscope never makes the edges clear; it only makes the image in the center blur until it changes. When I think about Isaac's birth and short life, I feel as if I'm squinting through a kaleidoscope. I so desperately want every detail to be clear, but the more I twist the scope, the less it helps. For CJay and me it seems essential to recall the finer points. We don't want to forget, but there's so much we can't remember. It happened so fast. That's why I'm writing everything down now. I'm afraid my memory will fail and I won't remember how funny it was, even with all the tension, to hear Isaac kicking the fetal monitor. It was so loud that we jumped every time. Even the nurse jumped. I just don't want to forget those details.

The nurse walked me to the OR while CJay went to scrub. I looked up at the clock in the OR right before I got the spinal block. It was 1:24 a.m. As soon I was flat on the table, I focused in on what the doctors were saying. The baby's heart rate was dropping fast. It seemed like hours before CJay came in the room. The nurse was making him walk slowly - I could hear her talking to him - but I wanted to scream at CJay to run. There was urgency in the entire room and he should be running. When he finally sat down, he said my mom was there. Just in time. I felt better just knowing she was out there.

The doctor broke my water not long after CJay sat down. I had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid), a common complication with babies who have genetic problems. It sounded like gallons of water hit the floor. I could only see CJay's eyes but they were huge, and it made me laugh.

Isaac was born at 1:31 a.m. He wasn't breathing, but at some point, he let out two cries and they were good, strong cries. CJay and I both teared up. We really were prepared for the worst and those little cries were so sweet. CJay had to watch while the neonatologist and nurses worked on Isaac. He didn't react, which had to be difficult, and he tried to keep me focused on him. CJay told me later that they were performing CPR and it was so odd to watch them work on such a tiny person.

Eventually, the neonatologist bent down beside us. "It looks like there's a genetic problem. His neck is short and broad, and he has elfin ears." A nurse popped around and held up this tiny little thing. I remember thinking that he couldn't be mine, could he? After the neonatologist walked away, CJay and I just looked at each other. I don't remember much after that. CJay left at some point and told me he would go tell my mom what the doctor said.

I remember being rolled back into my room. CJay and my mom walked in as the nurse was getting me settled. It was good to see my mom. I got to tell her the name we had chosen - Isaac Liam. Isaac for the laughter he would bring and because of the faith that God required from the first Isaac's parents - Abraham and Sarah, and Liam because it was short for William (CJay's dad's name) and meant "strong-willed warrior."

*I thought I could write this story in two parts. Obviously not.

CJay, Isaac, Bill, and Connie

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why God Doesn't Fully Explain Pain

I found this post on John Piper's blog pretty interesting, and I wanted to share. 

By: John Piper

One of the reasons God rarely gives micro reasons for his painful providences, but regularly gives magnificent macro reasons, is that there are too many micro reasons for us to manage, namely, millions and millions and millions and millions and millions.

God says things like:
These bad things happened to you because I intend to work it together for your good (Romans 8).
These happened so that you would rely more on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1).
This happened so that the gold and silver of your faith would be refined (1 Peter 1).
This thorn is so that the power of Christ would be magnified in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12).

But we can always object that there are other easier ways for God to accomplish those things. We want to know more specifics: Why now? Why this much? Why this often? Why this way? Why these people?

The problem is, we would have to be God to grasp all that God is doing in our problems. In fact, pushing too hard for more detailed explanations from God is a kind of demand that we be God.

Think of this, you are a blacksmith making horseshoes. You are hammering on a white hot shoe and it ricochets off and hits you in the leg and burns you. In your haste to tend to your leg you let the shoe alone unfinished. You wonder why God let this happen. You were singing a hymn and doing his will.

Your helper, not knowing the horseshoe was unfinished gathered it up and put it with the others.

Later there was an invasion of your country by a hostile army with a powerful cavalry. They came through your town and demanded that you supply them with food and with shoes for their horses. You comply.

Their commander has his horse shoed by his own smith using the stolen horseshoes, and the unfinished shoe with the thin weak spot is put on the commander’s horse.

In the decisive battle against the loyal troops defending your homeland the enemy commander is leading the final charge. The weak shoe snaps and catches on a root and causes his horse to fall. He crashes to the ground and his own soldiers, galloping at full speed, trample him to death.

This causes such a confusion that the defenders are able to rout the enemy and the country is saved.

Now you might say, well, it would sure help me trust God if he informed me of these events so that I would know why the horseshoe ricocheted and burned my leg. Well maybe it would help you. Maybe not.

God cannot make plain all he is doing, because there are millions and millions and millions and millions of effects of every event in your life, the good and the bad. God guides them all. They all have micro purposes and macro purposes. He cannot tell you all of them because your brain can’t hold all of them.

Trust does not demand more than God has told us. And he has given us immeasurably precious promises that he is in control of all things and only does good to his children. And he has given us a very thick book where we can read story after story after story about how he rules for the good of his people.

Let’s trust him and not ask for what our brains cannot contain.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where we were - Part 1

It was 2 weeks ago today when we were dealing with the fact that Isaac wouldn't live long. It was about this time when one of the neonatologists came into my hospital room to tell me that he had crashed. He was okay, but his lungs hadn't grown much past 24 weeks. He couldn't breath on his own. Regardless of what the genetic test showed, he wouldn't be with us long. We had some decisions to make. CJay wasn't even there at the time. He had gone home to shower and meet his parents.  

I should probably start from the beginning. 

I walked to my ultrasound appointment Wednesday. I work about a block from the hospital. I was waiting on CJay to get there, so I stood in this little loft area overlooking the hospital's main waiting room. A man who appeared to be a doctor was playing the piano; he was good. I noticed that Isaac didn't move much in the 10 minutes I was standing there. I thought it was strange because there hadn't been a time during the entire pregnancy when he didn't move to the sound of piano music.  

When CJay arrived we made the familiar trip up the elevator to the specialist's office. I didn't want another ultrasound. As a matter of fact, I never wanted to go back to that office. But there we were and that's where the story of Isaac's birth begins. Isaac didn't move much during the ultrasound. We could see that he'd grown lots of hair in the past month. And he was still breech. And after 40 minutes and even after I had some gum, he still didn't move much. The lady said they like to see their diaphragm move at least once, but Isaac never cooperated. 

When Dr. Saller came to talk to us, he was concerned that Isaac was stressed. The next step was the fetal monitor down the hall in labor and delivery. Dr. Saller warned that we would most likely see the baby's heart rate dropping and would have to make a decision about a c-section. Down the hall we went. I don't remember much until we were in the room. I was hooked up to the monitor and surrounded by a couple doctors. They were explaining how fast this could progress. After only an hour, they came back. Isaac was distressed. His heart rate was dropping significantly with just mild contractions. "You have a couple options: we do a c-section tonight, we do one first thing in the morning around 8 am, or you go home and wait - but we don't recommend that." What? 

Doctors rushed in every 20-30 minutes when Isaac's heart rate dropped and the alarm sounded on the monitor. At 9:30, the doctors said they didn't want me to eat because they were certain he would need to come out before the morning. (I remember the time because CJay had been gone for 30 minutes to make phone calls and get me some food. I hadn't eaten since 2 that afternoon! I was hungry.) It was close to midnight when the doctors came to say it was time for the c-section. I was actually pretty surprised because things had been calm for a while - no alarm. We would have to wait one hour for a full NICU staff, but that was as long as they thought Isaac could wait. He really wasn't doing well.

I know this is a long story,  but I think it's therapeutic for me to write it all down. I'll post Part 2 soon. 

CJay and Isaac

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isaac Liam - March 5, 2009

Maybe one day I'll be able to write the entire story of how Isaac came into this world, but not today. Right now I think it's important that everyone knows how we're doing: CJay and I are okay. We're sad and thankful and many emotions in between. But we're okay. 

Isaac was born with Edwards Syndrome or Trisomy 18. We knew it was a possibility. There were many possibilities, but we chose to trust God's plan for our child. There was nothing we could have done to change the outcome. Isaac was made this way at conception. I'll be able to give more details later. For now, please check out the page created for Isaac on behalf of his uncle, Seth.

Monday, March 2, 2009

9 months - 36 weeks

I didn't think I had grown that much in the past few weeks, but I really have! I'm still carrying small but measuring a week ahead. We'll see if that means the little guy will show up early. I still think he will. 

Nursery In Progress

We were fortunate enough to have both sets of grandparents-to-be come up in the past few weeks and help with the nursery. What else are grandparents for?