Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 30

Baby is the size of: A head large head of lettuce (18 inches, not sure about weight, I go to the Dr. tomorrow)
Symptoms: They may need to change my name to Dragon, because I sure have enough heartburn to breathe fire. I am sleeping sitting up basically, super comfy...not! 
Sleep: I have just accepted the fact that from here on out until we are retired with all of our children out of the house, I will never get another full nights rest. I usually sleep about 4.5 hours a night and make it through the day like a champ most of the time. I do admit that I sit and watch Jonathan sleep, jealously thinking about how I long to be snoring alongside him. 
Fun moment this past week: Meeting my friend Kalee in person! We had so much in common, she and Jonathan are even from the same hometown! It was awesome to connect with another friend through this process. Also, picking out paint colors for our new house! Who knew paint could be so fun?!? We bought it for the WHOLE house, now we to get it up on the walls. 
Movement: When does he not move? He has taken to rolling and flipping over which sends a nauseous feeling through me, but I am learning to adapt. I actually caught a little boxing match with my belly on camera the other day.
What I am looking forward to this week: Well, we are closing on our new house TODAY! So moving is something that we have really been focused on and working towards. Thank goodness we started our packing a couple of weeks ago, now we only have to paint and actually move all those pesky boxes. I am planning on writing a post about our new house, so pictures will be up soon!
Reflections over this past week: Luckily, this whole house thing could not have come at a better time. It has given us the chance for us to focus on something positive. It is those moments when we slow down that we get sad. Then again, the feelings fluctuate between sadness and hope. The mixed bag of emotions are what has been so hard to deal with. The reality of the whole situation is so sad, but yet our hope in the Lord is such a beautiful thing. It's so strange how at one time in your life you can feel such opposite extremes. 
Prayer requests: This week we ask for prayers that the Lord's healing hands be wrapped around Dalton. We ask that he comes out proving every Doctor wrong living a healthy, fulfilling life. We ask for prayers that we make it through this move as sane as possible with the least amount of hiccups. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Parenting 101

I had the opportunity to write for a very cool project this week. The3six5 is a worldwide project that seeks out authors from all over the place with different voices to share their experiences that day. I applied and was accepted to write for this year, some time ago. I had planned on writing some thought provoking educationally driven post, but once I sat down I knew what I truly wanted to share with the world.

Once finished, I read the post to my friend Marsha and she asked me if I was sure I wanted to share Dalton's journey with a vast audience. I explained that if Dalton's story could help to inspire but one person to parent their child in a different light, then it would be worth the pain of opening up our hearts for the world to see.

Hope you enjoy! I am attaching the link to the site as well.

Walking back into school after a holiday break is always an exciting time for both me as the teacher and for the students who surround me. 
Today was no different. 
As I waddled into the library I was greeted by lots of hugs and rubs on my pregnant belly. All of the sudden one particularly curious child looked up at me and said: “Is Dalton going to come to school here when he is older?”  
I didn’t want to tell her I didn’t know if my son would even see his first birthday, let alone a kindergarten classroom. 
I have wanted to be the most prepared Mother possible for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I now know that there are no parenting books on how to prepare and deal with a potentially fatal chromosomal disorder.
My son has been diagnosed with severe partial Trisomy 13. His life expectancy and quality of life is unknown. The Doctors can give us no answers except to just “Wait.”
Before we learned of Dalton’s diagnosis, parenting was all about the decorating of the nursery, the stylish clothes, and the most popular stroller brands. It was all about the stuff and not enough about the life. The life we unfortunately learned we could lose so quickly.
What this little boy has taught us already has amazed me. 
What he has taught everyone else has astounded me. 
He has taught people to count their blessings and not to dwell on the things that don’t happen to work out the way you expect them to. We never expected to have to be these parents to Dalton but we are taking each moment that we will be blessed with his presence, and treasuring it.
We may not be able to plan ahead like most parents to what school he will attend, what his first Halloween costume will be, or what his newborn photo session will consist of. One thing we will be able to plan for is the amount of love we will give him will be never ending.
Remembering all of this, I simply looked down at my eager student and told her
 “We hope so.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 29

Baby is the size of: Butternut squash-perfect for Thanksgiving (17 in. 3.4 lbs.)
Symptoms: Hot flashes! Oh my goodness! I didn't think those things were actually possible.
Sleep: Not too hot. Having some pretty weirdo dreams though. Have to switch sides about 4 times during the night. 
Fun moment this past week: The Thanksgiving program at my school. Love watching the kids get up there and say what they are thankful for. I am so thankful for each of them.
Movement: It is crazy how much he moves. It is not at just one time of day- its all day! I love it though. He loves to kick my ribs, this is a new thing for him. The Doctor said his feet are definitely up towards my ribs so it explains all the jabs. What a little soccer player. 
What I am looking forward to this week: This week I am looking forward to being with family for Thanksgiving. I am really looking forward to all the yummy food and thinking about all of the blessings we have been given as a couple. 
Reflections over this past week: I was brought back to reality at a Doctors appointment two days ago. I will start to be checked every 4 days starting in my 32nd week to try and prevent the chance of a stillbirth. I guess I had put it all out of my mind but because chromosomal defect babies are known for this, the Doctor wants to take all precautions. It brought me back in a sense that we have to truly put this all in God's hands and follow his plan, not try to create our own. Also, this week we have been so thankful for the inspiring work Dalton has done. I posted this blog on Facebook so that people could read his story and begin to count their blessings and be inspired by His strength and assurance that it will all be okay. The outpouring of love and support from people we have not spoken to in years was amazing and showed us just how powerful our little boy is. 
Prayer requests: This week we ask for prayers that Dalton's ventricles in his brain stop growing. They are measuring large at this point and the bigger they get the worse the prognosis. We also ask for safe travels for anyone and everyone who is traveling this Thanksgiving. We also pray for all of the prayers for Dalton from all over to be heard by the Lord God. As always I am asking for prayers for my friend Katie and her little girl Hallie, as her induction date gets closer and my friend Kalee for peace in her strong heart. 

My friend Emily sent me this song and it is so what I hope for Dalton, crazy how close a song can hit to home. Thanks again Emily! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


From the day all of this started that seems to be a favored word among all of our doctors and genetic counselors. Unknown, a word that probably would not have phased me in the past because most things that you are not aware of don't seem to affect you as bad. What you don't know, won't hurt you. Maybe its the expectation that Doctors should know everything, that because of all the testing that has been done we should have some answers as to what our sons life will look like and if he will have the chance to have one, but its unknown. Every question we ask, every case study we bring up, we get the same answer repeatedly. Unknown.

I guess being someone who loves to be in control (I became a teacher for a reason:)) this answer doesn't really sit well with me. At the beginning of our pregnancy we decided to forgo any testing at all. When they saw the signs for T13 we wanted to be able to prepare ourselves best for what was going to come our way. Once the testing started I began to want to know everything I could about Trisomy 13 and severe partial. I like to think of my curiosity to suddenly want to know every detail about what Dalton's life could entail as God's way of preparing me the best way he knows how for whatever his will is. I feel like finding out all of this information at his time of birth may have been too much for me to handle, so even with the answer of unknown we are still able to prepare as much as possible emotionally. We have begun to have to accept this answer as the only one we are going to get until he is born.

Certain things are known and that is what we lean on when the sadness of the unknown sets in. It is known that we have a beautiful baby boy growing inside of me, getting stronger everyday . It is known that with every kick, flutter, and flip I feel the greatest sense of fulfillment ever. It is known that he has people praying for him all over this world. It is known that Jonathan and I have never loved anything more in this world. It is known that the Lord has his hands wrapped around Dalton, and that only he knows the exact plan that has been written for our baby.

Psalm 23:4 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 28

Baby is the size of: A small cabbage (17 in. 2.9 lbs)
Symptoms: Backache and frontache...who knew that was possible?
Sleep: It was going good last week, don't know what happened though. Restless mind. Also, I think the stress of moving is starting to worry me. Are we going to get it all done in time?
Fun moment this past week: Being home! Jonathan and I also had maternity pictures done for us at a dock and at the beach. It was a lot of fun to celebrate Dalton all weekend long.
Movement: I think Dalton is preparing for the boxing Olympics. It is the craziest thing to watch how active this little boy is. As I sit here writing this I am watching my stomach wiggle and jiggle all over the place (due to his movement not the fat that has creeped up on me:-). Jonathan and I just sat and watched in amazement the other night at him shifting and rolling around. It is like he is trying to say "Hey Mom, I'm doing okay! See?". I love every second of it.
What I am looking forward to this week: This week I am looking forward to being with Jonathan all alone over the weekend. Even though we are planning on starting our packing, it will be nice to just have time for us. We have more fun when we are together, little work will probably happen but we will have some good laughs no doubt.
Reflections over this past week: This past week has been a mixed bag of emotions. From being so excited to be home with all of our old friends to coming home to a gloomy, stormy Atlanta. It is never easy coming back to Atlanta and I think those feelings were definitely magnified by our situation this time. I think that by getting back into the swing of things with work and starting our packing journey will help keep our minds going. I had a Doctors appointment yesterday and I felt bad because I kind of lost it on a Doctor I had never met before. I burst into tears when he told me he had yet to receive my microarray results from the specialists office. I hate having to relive everything for every single Doctor. He was pretty understanding of my emotions and told me he would take care of everything, and get it in the proper order. Just a small example of these crazy emotions and hormones I am experiencing. Whoops.
Prayer requests: This week we ask for prayers for all of those who are continuing to pray for us. We ask that other requests do not fall by the wayside. We pray for people to continue to have hope, because without that what else do we have? We ask for prayers for a healing hand to be placed over our baby boy and for God's will to be done. I am also asking for prayers for my new friend, Kalee. She lost her sweet angel McKinley Grace to Trisomy 13 at 6 months on November 2nd. We have yet to meet, but are planning on getting together next week. I am asking for prayers for peace in her and her husbands heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bad Day

I feel like I just need to write at this point and get some of my feelings out on the table. Yesterday and today have sucked. There is no better word for it, they have just been crummy days. After I wrote my post yesterday I was feeling pretty low. I knew that there were going to be bad days and good days, but I am not sure that I have allowed myself the pleasure of a bad day yet. I have been pushing forward so hard and fast just to keep my mind off of everything.

When I finished writing yesterday I called my grandfather. I had not spoken to him since we found out the news. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was scared. I was scared to call him because of what the phone call might entail, I have never wanted anything more than to make him proud (obviously this situation is not something to be proud of). As crazy as he is, I love and respect him so much and he was the one person I had yet to speak to. I was angry with myself for waiting for so long, but it came down to the fact that I missed the heck out of him. We made it through the call with minimal tears and I felt relieved and happy to have those regular phone chats scheduled again.

After that I started looking at other Mom's blogs about their Trisomy babies. I guess the reality of it all brought me back to Earth. One blog in particular spoke of a Mom delivering her baby after she had already passed on. She talked about how all she could say to the baby as she was holding her in her arms was "I'm sorry".

All I want to say to Dalton is that,  I'm sorry that I caused this in his little body. I'm sorry that I have been stressed for a lot of my pregnancy. I'm sorry I pretend to be okay with this all. And most importantly, I'm sorry for what is to come. I am trying my hardest to use God's strength to carry me through. I never question if his strength will be enough to help me, but I do question if my strength will be.

I am putting a picture of the autumn leaves because the day we found out Dalton's diagnosis I remember driving home and looking at all the colored leaves (this is a big deal to a Florida girl) and being reminded of God's grace and beauty. Only something this beautiful can come from Him. Anyways, in an effort to brighten my day I am putting this picture up.

Nehemiah 8:10
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Showered with Blessings

I will be completely honest here. I really struggled with the idea of having a baby shower or not. Was I putting too much hope on the situation? After talking about it with Jonathan we decided that because of our decision to press on and enjoy every second of the pregnancy we were going to move forward with the event. I was so happy with our decision. The well wishes and prayers that were placed upon us were so inspirational. We saw friends and family we had not seen for months. It truly was the perfect weekend.

We had flown home to Florida on Thursday night and were greeted by my Mom, Dad, sister and sneaky little brother who decided to surprise us at home from FSU. It was so late at night but we had to see what my Dad had been working on in the backyard. We went out to find the whole yard transformed into an oasis and a beautiful trellis he had built with a sign above it, Dalton Craig Lane. A beautiful tribute to our little guy. Friday, we bopped around town and saw old friends, new babies (Hi Kyla!) and co workers. We ended our evening with dinner and congregating by the fire outside for conversation and cocktails- mocktails for me (It was so cold! At least 70 degrees! Definitely sweater and hot cocoa weather- no joke we had blankets and everything.).

Saturday was shower day! I was very excited and praying that I could keep my emotions in check with everything going on. I started my day by doing something I usually would do when I lived at home. I drove down the street to my best friend Kristyn's house and we sat in our pjs and ate leftovers in her fridge from the night before. Being away from her during this tumultuous time has been so hard for us both. This mornings conversation was different than all the others we had engaged in over the years. We spoke of God and how he had changed us both during this time. She told me how proud she was of the person I had been molded into and that I was an inspiration to her. I don't know if she will ever know how much that meant to me, coming from someone who I admire and love so deeply.

At 2 o'clock on Saturday my sister and I drove to the shower at my Aunt Ellen's beautiful house. She and my Mom had decorated the whole thing and it was the perfect balance of class and fun! From a watermelon carved cradle to an awesome diaper cake- I was blown away at what these two party planners had accomplished! It was beautiful! Guests started arriving and Dalton was loving every second of it. Like I said before, he is quite the mover and today was no different. He must have been super excited because his Honey (Jonathan's mom) and Mama (Jonathan's grandmother) traveled from North Carolina and Bradenton to celebrate him- lucky boy! Most everyone that was there knew about our situation, so putting their minds at ease that Jonathan and I are using our faith as our strength was reassuring to them. The amount of ministry that was done at this shower was truly amazing. Being able to speak so open and freely about how God has blessed us and how our hope is never failing, was very comforting. We got some great gifts to welcome our little boy and I was able to hold it together for most of the day. Quite an accomplishment if I may say so myself. It was a wonderful celebration of Dalton and we could not have asked for a better shower. It was everything I had ever dreamed of.

All in all, it was a weekend both Jonathan and I needed. It was nice to get out of Atlanta and back to the familiarity of Jupiter. There is a certain peace that comes over us every time we are home. Life was so much easier when we lived there while we were dating. It was fun, carefree, and simple. It has been so interesting to see how much our lives have changed just in the last year and half since we left. We may not live in Jupiter anymore but it will always have a piece of our hearts. God has written our stories and though we may not have ever expected to end up in Atlanta, the people we have become may not have transpired had we stayed. But who knows- there is always retirement!

Aunt Ellen and I- check out the watermelon cradle!

Mama, Honey, Me, Dalton, and Gigi

Dalton's diaper cake that Gigi made him. AMAZING!

I'm so blessed to have these girls in my life.

Working on a quilt square for Dalton's sea creature blanket.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 27

Well considering this is my first update ever, it better be a good one! My friend Katie over at The Little Green Family does a pregnancy update every week and I think it is just adorable. She is expecting a little girl, Hallie in December with full Trisomy 13, she is such an inspiration to Jonathan and I. I hope she doesn't mind I borrowed some of her update questions to get everyone up to speed.

Here it goes:

Baby is the size of: A head of cauliflower (16 in. 2.5 lbs)
Symptoms: Backache, tingling in my legs
Sleep: Ha! This is God's way of preparing me for when Dalton gets here. We did implement a no technology policy (phones, TV, computers) from 9 pm on in bed and drinking a cup of tea is really starting to help me sleep more soundly during the night. Still waking up 2-3 times for bathroom breaks. Usually at 1 am. and 3:30 am.
Fun moment this past week: (I love this question)- Picking out fabric with Donna and Steve (Jonathan's parents) for Dalton's bedding. Also, my niece Lyla's first birthday party. Love her!
Movement: This child is a mover and a shaker. At any given time during the day he will be shaking around in there. Especially when I settle down for the night. He gravitates towards my right side which is so funny to watch, I will have a HUGE bump on my right and flat tummy on my left.
What I am looking forward to this week: Tomorrow Jonathan and I are flying home to Florida for my shower!! Yay! We could not be more excited to be heading home. I get to see my best friend Kristyn, we have not seen each other in 9 months (the longest we have ever gone, but we still manage to speak everyday). Also, we are getting our maternity pictures done to commemorate this joyous occasion in our lives.
Reflections over this past week: Like I said in my first post, the news of Dalton's condition was more cushioned this time around because of our new found strength in our faith. For Jonathan and I to make the decision to move forward and make the best out of our situation has been pretty helpful for us. We are planning on bringing our baby home (hence the bedding for his room), and regardless if that is God's will or not we will be prepared for our son. We met with a pastor at our church to talk about everything and I came to this amazing epiphany. I explained to her that this experience has left me the highest I have ever been, yet the lowest I have ever been. It is so interesting to see God's hand in all of this. Having comfort in knowing that we do not control the situation has left us with such ease to allow this pregnancy to move forth in such a positive light, but at the same time the downs we experience are overwhelming as well. I think letting go of that control has been the hardest part. Also, the reality of what could actually happen is what brings us back to earth.
Prayer requests: This week we are asking for prayers of healing over baby Dalton (obviously we want a miracle). Also, we are asking for prayers of peace over Jonathan and my heart so that we can fully place our anxieties in God's hand and let his will be done. We would also like prayers for both of our parents, we know that this is not something that any of us expected. They have been so strong and supportive for us and we pray that they find peace in our situation as well. I want them to know how much we appreciate them allowing us to handle our situation as a family on our own with their loving arms wrapped around us in support. We feel them near, even though we are miles apart.

23 weeks. Obviously much larger now. More pics next week from FL shower.
Lyla getting a super excited about her presents.

The fabric we picked for Dalton's bedding. Love our little sailor!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Life Unexpected- Our Story

I have been told by several people that writing can be therapeutic and knowing that this could be the last documentation of a pregnancy that I get, I figured I better get started.

What a whirlwind. That's really the only word I can find to describe these past 7 weeks of our life. A rollercoaster of emotions that is constantly hitting different ebbs and flows. When we were told at our 20 week appointment that our little boy had Trisomy13 (T13), we were devastated and faced with a decision that took a lot of prayer and soul searching. We laid everything before God and determined that the best thing for our family was to go forth with the pregnancy and get as many possible hours with our son as possible. Hoping for a miracle we prayed that the amniocentisis results would come back negative, we needed a miracle. Getting the phone call that Dalton did not have T13 was possibly the greatest moment of my life, thus far. Our baby was going to live.

At that moment though, something changed within Jonathan and I for the better. We had placed all our anxiety and worry in God's hands and truly given it all to him. We had no where else to turn, for Jonathan and I to be so broken, we were incapable of leaning on one another. We had to lean on the Lord. From that point on, prayer became a daily routine, and not just say your blessing at dinner prayer, I am talking having a real conversation with God. Our dependence was no longer on one another for everything, but on the Father. To the Doctors urging we continued on with the testing to find out if any chromosomal disorders were evident.

For four weeks, we were under the impression that the only 'problem' we would have, was that he had 6 fingers and 6 toes. Minor, in comparison to what we thought he could have. At 24 weeks I got a phone call from one of the many genetic counselors we had met with. Dalton's in depth chromosome tests were back, and they were not good. The counselor told me that Dalton had severe partial Trisomy 13. His life expectancy is unknown and if he does survive past the first years, profound mental retardation is certain. Back on that rollercoaster. Down we fell again, but this time the fall seemed to be more cushioned.

He has a plan. Our baby is an angel and no matter how long we have him we are going to love him to the moon and back. The 'mourning' period for this true diagnosis seems so much shorter and easier than before and I truly believe that the fact that our faith has grown so much has caused this revelation. We vowed to continue to enjoy this pregnancy and all the good and bad that comes with it. I will most likely never be pregnant again because of the genetic disorder that I have and what it will cause to any of my future children. There are plenty of babies out there that need loving parents. So, we will have our big family we always dreamed of, no matter how they come to us. God is continuing to do work in our hearts and we know that he has big plans for us all, including Dalton. We just can't wait to meet our little man and love on him as much as possible.

I am including Dalton's two most recent ultrasounds. The nice thing about seeing a perinatologist is that you get all the cool 4D pictures, so we know exactly what our little babe is going to look like, which is very cool. Enjoy!

                                                                 24 weeks
    I may be a little bias, but this is the sweetest thing ever. He is dreaming!
27 weeks. Hands always up by his nose!