Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Timothy's First Christmas

Since we don't know how many more days we may have with our dear little Timothy, we were so blessed to have him with us on Christmas Day! What a joy it has been to feel him kicking and moving around everyday. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration with Warren's family and a wonderful Christmas Day celebration with my family. We feel so blessed by all of the wonderful gifts we received, but most of all we are so thankful for the gift of spending time with so many of our family members and our dear Timothy David this year! Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

24 Week Baby Bump

Trust in Him at All Times

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
 - Psalm 62:5-8

The Tears That Fall in Public Places

"So many people are afraid to bring up my loss. They don't want to upset me. But my tears are the only way I can release the deep sorrow I feel. I tell people, don't worry about crying in front of me, and don't be afraid that you will make me cry! Your tears tell me that you care, and my tears tell you that you have touched me in a place that is meaningful to me- and I will never forget your willingness to share my grief. It often feels like we are carrying an enormous load of sorrow, and when others shed their tears with me, it is as if they are taking a bucketful of sadness and carrying it for me. It is, perhaps, one of the most meaningful things that anyone can do for me." - Nancy Guthrie

This last week brought with it several firsts. Several firsts that were hard. It was the first time I ran into an old co-worker who didn't know that I was pregnant, the first time I saw my dental hygienist since being pregnant, and the first time I ran into several other unsuspecting people that didn't know our story yet. My heart hurts for them and I feel like it's almost unfair for me to walk around with my growing belly sometimes. When do you ever congratulate someone on being pregnant and ask if they are having a boy or a girl and expect to hear such sad news? I don't know about you, but that has never happened to me. Pregnancy is supposed to be such a joyous time, an exciting time, and everyone is excited for you, congratulates you, and loves to talk about your growing belly. So, when someone says to me, "You're pregnant! Congratulations! How are you feeling?"  I find myself, mostly for their sake, wanting to just be normal. To say, "Thanks! I am due in April. We are having a little boy." But instead I find myself having to struggle to find the right words to say. The words to share the story of our sweet little Timothy and yet not ball my eyes out in the aisle at Target or the checkout line at Kohl's. I think at this point the best plan I have come up with is to avoid all public places for the next 16 weeks. Unfortunately, since that is probably not a logistical plan (even though I am sure Warren would love to do all of our grocery shopping for the next 16 weeks), I have had to come up with a backup plan. Pray. I pray for the right words to say to share the story of Timothy's life. I pray for the peace to share his story without too many tears coming down. I pray for the people who hear his story to know how much I love Timothy and cherish his life. I pray for them to see my faith in God and my complete trust in Him in the midst of my sorrow. I pray for Timothy's story to bring glory to God and to change the lives of these unsuspecting friends, shoppers, and sometimes even strangers.

And for those of you that I run into that do already know our story, please know that it means the most to us when you don't ignore what is going on in our lives in hopes to not upset us or say the wrong thing. Know that if you don't have any lengthy words of wisdom or insight to share that is almost better right now. Just say something and then listen. Give us a big hug and tell us you are praying for us. That is enough. That is enough to tell us that you love us and that you haven't forgotten the journey that we are going through. That is enough for us to know that you are walking with us and that we are not walking alone.

Today I shed tears and I pray for the right words to come. And today I thank those of you, friends and strangers alike, who have cried with us, hugged us, listened to us, prayed for us, written us sweet e-mails, cards, and text messages, and been there for us! We love you all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Aunt Michelle

Michelle got to feel Timothy kicking tonight. She is the first person, other than Warren, to get to feel him moving around. What a fun and special blessing to get to share with her! We love you, Timothy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Timothy's First Thanksgiving - 11/24/2011

Celebrate Each Day

It is funny to me now how most of the time we don't celebrate a baby's first Thanksgiving or first Christmas with us until after they are out of the womb. I find myself questioning that thought process now. Now that the only time I may get to celebrate Christmas with my little one is while he is in my womb. I don't say this to make you sad. I say this to make you think, to challenge you to enjoy each and every moment that you have with your precious little ones, whether they are in the womb or not. I say this so that you will remember to fully enjoy each moment you have with your husband, with your wife, with your son, with your daughter, with your grandson, with your granddaughter because we are not promised tomorrow. Until now, I never fully comprehended how precious and how special each day of life really and truly is. Until this moment I am in, where each day might be the last day I get to share on Earth with my precious little Timothy. We are given each new day as a gift. I pray that I don't let this precious gift go to waste!  So, today I celebrate LIFE! I celebrate being a Mom for the first time and Warren being a Dad for the first time, I celebrate the blessings we received on Timothy's first Thanksgiving, and I look forward to the possibility of celebrating Timothy's first Christmas. Today there is life and joy and peace! We thank our Lord for the blessing of this wonderful day! I pray you will do the same with the ones that you love!

I Still Believe

Everything that I have read and learned about God my entire life is being tested. Everything I have ever said I believed about God is at stake. In this moment when the suffering and grief are overwhelming, will I still believe in a loving, faithful, and just God or will I run from him in anger? -Julie

"It is one thing to believe that God is faithful and will supply all of your needs-even in the darkest of times. It is another to experience it. In the darkest of days, we've experienced a supernatural strength and peace that could only come from God."- Nancy Guthrie

She says it so well! It is one thing for me to have said I believe that God is faithful and it is completely different for me to have actually lived it. To have felt from the depths of my heart, in the midst of the deepest sorrow I have ever known, that HE IS FAITHFUL.  Instead of running away in anger, I  have found myself running straight towards him. And I have found his arms wide open. I have never felt so loved by him in all of my life!

 I still believe that his ways are higher than my ways. I still believe he will work ALL things together for my good. I still believe that he knit Timothy together in my womb and that he sees and knows everything about him, this is not a surprise. I still believe that he has numbered all of our days, including sweet Timothy, and that he will take Timothy home in his time. I still believe that he is loving and faithful. I still believe that he is my strength, my strong-hold, an ever-present help in times of trouble. I will not walk alone. I still believe that Timothy's short life is not in vein and that it will bring him glory and honor. I still believe that God is the ultimate Healer and that he will heal Timothy's body on Earth or he will make him whole again in Heaven. I still believe in Heaven and that Timothy will soon be there in the presence of our God. I still believe that Timothy will feel no pain and cry no tears, for in heaven there is no more pain and no more tears. I still believe that he loves me dearly, more than I will ever be able to understand or comprehend. I still believe that he has not brought meaningless suffering into my life, and that he has a plan and a purpose for all of this that is good, and pure, and holy. I still believe!

"More Loving & More Faithful Than We've Ever Seen Him Before"

"Job, like Paul, discovered a new place of intimacy with God through his severe suffering. And it is uniquely through suffering that we can find our way to the very heart of God. In fact, there is no other pathway that can take us there.  It is when we are hurting the most that we run to God. We recognize that we are powerless and that he is powerful. We pray and we see him more clearly because we are desperately looking for him. And in our looking for him, we find him to be more loving and more faithful than we've ever seen him before. We discover an intimacy  that we never experienced before, perhaps because we we're looking for him so intently. That is always God's purpose: to use whatever means he sees fit to bring us to a closer relationship with him, to create in us a faith that will give us the strength to keep holding on to hope--not a flimsy wishing or a hope that everything will be fixed in this life but a genuine biblical hope that one day what is unseen will be seen. This faith is confidence in an eternal future in which God sets everything right." - Nancy Guthrie.

Holding On To Hope

The title of this entry is the title of a book that some dear friends sent to us. Our dear friends lost their little boy (a son, a grandson, a nephew) at almost 35 weeks. They experienced much of the same sorrow and the same grief that we are experiencing now, and they have allowed the Lord to use them to love on us during our time of need. They sent us several books, one of which is called "Holding on to Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. I highly recommend this book for anyone that is experiencing suffering or going through an extremely difficult time in their life. The next few entries in my blog will be some of my favorite quotes from her book. These are the  things the Lord has been teaching me from the very beginning of this journey with sweet Timothy and Nancy puts it all into words beautifully.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

As soon as we got the news and found out everything that was going on with our little boy, we decided to drive to College Station to be with our family. Not only was this last week the week of Thanksgiving, but this was also the week my parents had scheduled to move from their big house to a smaller rent house. Despite the craziness of everything going on, we were so blessed by our week in College Station. I cried many tears, received a lot of hugs and so many sweet prayers, ate a lot of wonderful food (including a Thanksgiving feast cooked by my mother-in-law, Nan, and her husband, Jim, who were kind enough to invite my mom and dad to come along too), packed several boxes, went on runs in the 75 degree weather, unpacked several boxes, played Settlers of Catan, watched the Aggies loose another game, spent precious time hanging out with my sweet husband, and spent a lot of time praying and reading through Psalms. It was a one of the hardest weeks of my life and one of the saddest, but the Lord surrounded me with family and friends and brought moments of peace and joy in the midst of my sorrow. Warren, Mom, Dad, Michelle, John David, Nan, and Jim thanks for loving me and helping to carry me through this last week. I love you all so very much! I am truly blessed!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Beginning of our Journey with Timothy & Trisomy 13

November 18th, 2011, will forever be a day that changed our lives.  It was the day that we were just supposed to find out if our little 19 week old baby was a boy or a girl. It was the day that we had been anticipating with excitement and joy for almost 19 weeks.
The technician began the sonogram and then after a few minutes left the room to “look at some numbers” and then come back. Ten minutes or so later, my doctor entered the room, and began to share the news about our little boy that will forever change the course of our lives, or at least what we thought the course of our lives was going to be.  She shared with us that from what they could tell our baby had several things wrong with him. They saw some major developmental issues with the brain, the heart, the stomach, and several other physical features of our baby.  At that point, we began to weep and pray, but we still couldn’t quite yet grasp the magnitude of the situation.  By God’s grace, we were able to walk down the hall and immediately see a specialist to get some more answers and a better look at what was going on.  After a very long sonogram the specialist confirmed what the technician and my doctor had seen.  Our little boy has several major developmental abnormalities, including parts of the brain that are underdeveloped and parts of the brain that seem to be missing altogether, a heart with only two chambers (instead of the normal four), a stomach that is not completely formed in one area, and several other issues with our baby’s facial development, eyes, and hands.  At this point, we just wept. We held each other and we wept. Nothing could have ever prepared us for the situation that we were now facing. Nothing.
They were able to test the amniotic fluid surrounding our baby and discover that these problems have been caused by a condition called Trisomy 13, also called Patau Syndrome. Trisomy 13 is a genetic disorder in which a person has three copies of genetic material from chromosome 13, instead of the usual two copies. This syndrome causes multiple abnormalities to the baby and is considered “incompatible with life”.
So, where do we go from here? We know that from the world's perspective our baby is badly broken and is “incompatible with life”, but we know that from our Heavenly Father’s perspective that though our baby’s body may be badly broken, our baby’s soul is not broken. We know that our baby has life right now, even if only for a short time. He has a strong heartbeat and I can feel his movements in my tummy every day, even Warren has been able to feel them a few times now. So, though the outlook for our baby’s future on this Earth may not be good, we have decided to carry him until the Lord decides to take him home. We want to be the best parents we can be and enjoy each moment while he is with us today. The best way we can do that is to carry him, to love him, to pray for him, and to trust his precious life to our God: our God who knit this little boy together in my womb just the way that he is, our God that loves this little boy more than we will ever be able to love him, our God that is good, our God that is loving, our God that is faithful, our God that works all things together for good to those who love Him.  We will lean not on our own understanding, because we cannot understand. But we can trust.  We will continue to walk with our God each day and we will trust. We will trust Him with this precious life in me and we will know that we will not be walking alone. 
Our doctor says there is a good chance that our little boy will not make it to full term, but there is a slim chance that he might. So, we have no way of knowing how many more days he will be with us. It could be a week, a month, or all the way until he is due in April. We believe in a God that can perform miracles, a God that can heal. We don’t doubt for a second that God could heal our little boy completely if that is in His will and a part of His plan for our lives. So, we will pray for our little boy, we will have faith in our God and lean on Him, and we will lean on each of you as you walk through this with us.
We have already been so blessed by each one of your prayers, e-mails, and text messages. We cannot do this alone and we are so thankful for each one of you. Please continue to pray for us, love on us, and encourage us. We are going to need your love, prayers, and support as we face the journey ahead of us.
We have named our little boy Timothy David. Timothy means honoring God and David means beloved. We know that Timothy’s short life is going to bring honor to God and he is dearly loved by us and all of you.

We Love You All,
Julie & Warren