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Charlotte, pregnancy

Back to the intuition thing…

Last night was rough. Throwing up, itching, crying, and the feeling that something was NOT right.

So, this morning I called my OB and went ahead and scheduled some more blood tests and an ultrasound for today.

Because, you know, mothers have an intuition about these things.

Turns out my levels were so high that they don’t think it’s worth it to wait…and I agree. I feel total peace about it and that it is the right thing to do. We are praying about her lungs being developed but based on what they saw today, that was essentially irrelevant because the risk of her being inside was higher.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO….

Miss Charlotte will be making her debut at 10 P.M. TONIGHT!!!!!! ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I’m not sure what emotion to feel and really am still in shock, but please, please pray for the whole thing to be uneventful as far as complications. I can’t wait to get this girl in my arms.

I promise to keep you all updated (I have a couple friends who will be with me who I am sure will be more than happy to do the “play-by-play :)”

Wow. Quite a day.

Love to you all,
Ang

Charlotte, pregnancy

Intuition

I apologize for the fact that there is going to be a lot going on in this post that you don’t have background for. It’s going to seem a little out of the blue, but the truth is I just haven’t wanted to take you all on a roller-coaster ride unless I felt like there was good reason. You have shown me how much you care about my family and have earnestly prayed for us in the past and I don’t want to insert drama where it’s unnecessary.

The past several weeks have been a NIGHTMARE. I have been complaining to my OB about a myriad of bizarre things that are happening to me, and the bottom line is that my intuition (Mr. Holy Spirit…) has been urging me to keep investigating this stuff and now I understand why. I have had the most insane, frustrating, tortuous itching for several weeks. I have tried every trick in the book and nothing works. You know when you just know that something else is going on? Well, that’s how I felt. I went to the hospital one night for several of the symptoms and they sent me home, unable to find anything of consequence. I had numerous tests done and this week, two of them (related to my liver) came back abnormally. They re-tested a few days later and it was still high.

I also had an ultrasound a few days ago that showed a slight (not concerning and very common) issue with Charlotte’s kidney. Let’s just say that when you are having an ultrasound to measure fetal movement and the tech keeps telling you how great everything looks, only to zoom in on the kidneys for no reason and start taking a million measurements will kind of freak someone out. And it doesn’t help much that when your husband asks why she is looking at the kidneys, she becomes very stoic and tells you she can’t discuss it and that my doctor will explain. I know they aren’t supposed to say anything, and it wasn’t her fault, but I just started bawling on the table and had to wait for her to do a million more measurements, all the while thinking it was what Audrey had.

It was not.

It is something that has to do with a little fluid being backed up in her kidney and there is absolutely no concern about it. In fact, it looked better today and there is every reason to believe it will remedy itself.

Well, a few weeks ago I started googling and everything I found pointed to this condition called ICP. I asked them to do a test, and although they didn’t do it in the first round, they did agree to in the second round because they were looking for something to explain the liver issue.

I had another ultrasound today and Charlotte looks great. For those of you who are counting, I was 35 weeks on Saturday. They are estimating her to be 6 pounds already and the woman who did the scan has been doing it for 15 years and said she got fantastic measurements and believes it to be right on.

So, all good.

But then I saw my OB (I happen to really, really like her and she has been fantastic and empathetic during this whole ordeal) and she told me they knew why I was itching, and had received the bile test results that I pushed for. Well, guess what?

They aren’t normal.

If you are a nurse, or in the medical field, you’ll know the punchline to this story. There is an increased risk of stillbirth and a host of other things that are not really good things. I’m not freaking out but it is a little alarming being told you need to monitor the baby’s movement and call if it feels like it has slowed down.

Because of the risks associated with this particular issue, they have made the decision to deliver Charlotte as soon as her lungs are mature. As it stands, I am having an amnio on Friday and if all is well, will have my c-section on Saturday (5/22).

I am relieved to have answers to this nagging feeling, but of course, based on my history, Satan would love to prey on my anxieties. I have tried to be really cautious sharing info because I am not a doctor and I felt like my assumptions could have been misleading. As a general rule, I don’t like to do posts where I’m just pouting about something that is “uncomfortable.” Especially when there are people all around me who have lost their houses and are in complete crisis trying to get on their feet. It just feels a little weird. But after today, knowing what the cause is and what the risks are (they are low, for the record…) I would really love to ask for your prayer about this. I want to be wise about how it’s handled and make sure Charlotte is in good shape before she arrives, but I am also keenly aware that shortly it will be safe to say she will probably be better outside of me than inside.

So, that’s the gist, friends. And also, kudos to my editor Jennifer. I was supposed to have a big book signing out of town this weekend and she had a catch in her spirit about it weeks ago and cancelled it :)

I will also need to go in Thursday for another ultrasound to check Charlotte’s movement, and I will keep you all posted on how it goes. Every time I have typed Charlotte’s name into this post I have started with “Aud…” and then caught myself. It is a strange and difficult place to feel some of the same helplessness I did with her, and honestly I have really struggled emotionally during these weeks as I have had to come face to face with some of the hurt I had filed away.

I’m pretty sure I am rambling, so I’ll stop :) I’m going to take an oatmeal bath for the 400th consecutive time and pray that it brings a little relief. They have put me on medicine to help with this (I can’t remember the name, it starts with an “A” I think?) so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

He is Who He was before today.

I am reminding myself over and over that the truth is still the truth. It isn’t somewhere I haven’t been with Him already, and we’ll get through.

In the meantime, could you pray for me and this sweet girl?

I’m crying because I know you will and I am so grateful for all of you…

Love to you all,
Angie

P.S. I just saw a comment that Blogher had put up ads for Sex in the City on my blog today, as they apparently did on other bloggers sites. I have opted out of ads like this, and I apologize when they come up. I have never seen an episode of that show but based on the previews, I’m thinking it doesn’t look like something I would approve on here. I would have contacted them and let them know but it isn’t there anymore so maybe they took it down for me :) Please do not hesitate to share that kind of info with me, as it is difficult to keep up with. Go ahead and shoot me an email or a tweet and let me know so I can notify them. They have always been very respectful of my choices in the past and I really believe it was an accident, so hopefully they can keep it family-friendly from now on…

Charlotte, pregnancy

Little Miss Charlotte

Well folks, we’ve got a busy little bee here. This baby girl is a mover, a shaker, and an energy-sucker.

We are so in love with her.  It has been such a neat experience to see the girls at an age where they can really understand and want to protect her (and me). They hardly let me bend over to clean anything up off the floor because they don’t want me to have to be “bendy” when she’s in there. You know, she might get squeezed or something. :)  Kate has taken to talking to my belly but it’s in the same voice she uses to call the dog. It is equal parts endearing and alarming. It’s more like a gutteral growl with some expression of love woven in somehow. This isn’t making sense. I’ll try to film it so you can feel like you’re in the chaos of the life that is “The Smith Family :))” Todd and I spend nights on the couch waiting for her to move. I think she’s already a fan of his lullabies…:)

I had a doctor’s appt today and it was good and little bad. I’m going to share so you can pray with me…you all are so great about that.

My doctor got called back for an emergency at the hospital right as I checked in so I asked if someone else could check me. Really, I didn’t even need to be examined but I just had that feeling and thought it would be best to ask. They were really sweet and grabbed another doctor. She told me that everything was fine with my cervix as far as she could tell…remember, that was the issue with the twins?

So that was a relief. I told her I have been in a crazy amount of pain (I’m not going to throw a pity party here, but this has DEFINITELY been my most physically difficult pregnancy so far). I felt like something might not be right…it turns out that Charlotte is really, really, (really) low down, so I’ve just got a lot of pressure and it’s pretty much torture. I won’t go on (it’s not the end of the world), but I’m just so stinking uncomfortable and feel like I am of no use to anyone in this shape. You all know enough about me to know I love being involved, digging in with the kids, just BEING PRESENT. And this has put a kink in my attempts at normalcy.  She didn’t put me on bedrest, but she did tell me to buy a support band to help (have you ever had one? did it help you?) and I’m testing it out. I think the main thing (in my limited understanding) is that because she is low, she is putting pressure on a cervix which has been known to rebel at the least optimal times. Would you please pray that things will go smoothly, and that this isn’t the beginning of the issues I had with the girls? Thank you.

Based on what she saw (and knew about me), she told me that under no circumstances should I travel with Compassion to El Salvador (DARN.), so I had to back out of the trip. I so wanted to be a part of it but she made it very clear to me that this was not the best idea…I think it is the right choice but I really am down about it. I will keep you all posted as Selah will still be on the trip and I’m sure will keep us all in the loop on what the Lord is up to over there.

So, I know this is a quick and random post, but I so covet your prayers during this time. They would like me to have another ultrasound later this week and instead of waiting 5 weeks for my regular check-up, they want me back in 2 instead. I think they just want to keep an eye on things, and I don’t feel like there’s any reason to worry (so don’t you worry either!) but I really wanted to share everything with you all…my friends on the other side of the computer.

I love that I get to live life with so many wonderful women as we journey together.

In the comments, please continue to post prayer requests. I check them frequently and would love to know what I can be praying for on your behalf. I will announce the Lisa Leonard winners tomorrow when I have caught my breath a little…for now I need to catch up on the Olympics :)

Much love from me and the itty-bitty,
Ang

Charlotte, pregnancy

Breathing Deeply…

Yesterday was a great day, and I am so proud to announce that we are going to have another baby GIRL!!!!!!! We plan to name her Charlotte (still debating middle names but because of the lack of, umm, sons, we may use James. That’s Todd’s first name and we were going to use it as a first name if we had a boy). It was hilarious as Todd looked at the ultrasound and said, “I think I see something right there! Is that a boy?” while we all shook our heads. He got this huge smile on his face we all just burst out laughing.

I was really concerned yesterday before we went in and I spent the morning in prayer, Bible on lap, asking the Lord for favor with this pregnancy. I also got schooled in both Crazy 8’s and War thanks to my eldest daughter but I’m not dwelling on it. She may have cheated. I’m sticking to that theory.

Audra came with us to the appointment and had her hand on my head while the technician scooted around my stomach. I always thought of these appointments as an opportunity to find out the gender and never really worried about the rest of it, but not anymore. She said at one point, “Here’s the bladder, here’s the kidneys, the heart…4 chambers. Here’s the…” and I breathed in that moment like I never have before. At this point, there is nothing that concerns them and we have every reason to believe that Charlotte is healthy.

Those words are heavy with relief, and this morning I am thanking the Lord for what we saw. It’s a roller coaster in a sense, though, because the freshness of Audrey’s diagnosis is still present. January 7th was the day she was diagnosed so it just feels like it’s all around.  I miss her a lot, and like a lot of other women who have been where I am, this doesn’t replace those emotions. It is joyful, wonderful, amazing, and we are praising the Lord, but Audrey is still Audrey. I think there is a fear (I have heard this from so many women) that she will be forgotten. I know that isn’t true but as a mommy I feel like I want all of my daughters to be known. One of the most amazing parts of writing (whether a blog or a book) is that you all have made me feel like you love my Audrey. I don’t think there is a way in this life to thank you for your compassion, prayers, and support as we have walked this road.

I was reading Job yesterday and reflecting on the thought that the Lord gives and takes away. We never know which it will be, so we pray to be steadfast with our prayer and worship in either case.

We are on our knees thanking Him for our 5th little girl. May she bring Him honor all of her days, no matter how many they may be.

Without further ado, please meet our sweet Charlotte…

Isn’t she precious?!?!? I am a little farther along than they thought (I have been trying to convince them of that…finally I was like, “Here’s the deal. My husband travels quite a bit. You’re gonna have to take my word for it, but I can pretty much pinpoint it for you…:)). Yesterday they took the measurements and sure enough, moved my due date to June 19th, so I am 16 1/2-17 weeks now.  And this little pumpkin is a MOVER!!!! Todd has already felt her kicking, which is hilarious. She may give Kate a run for her money…:)

My prayers are with all of you in this New Year-may we all feel the joy of salvation in a fresh, deep way as we seek to make Him famous with our lives.

Love to you all, and more gratitude than I can express…
Angie