Nora – 34 Days Old

image

I smile to think of how Nora is fulfilling her mission. She has indeed made the world a better place, simply by being born. I thank God for instilling me with my mission many months even before Nora’s birth. He endowed me with an affection for expressing myself through writing specifically for this purpose — unbeknownst to me!

image

image

image

image

Nora and I spent most of the day in the family room sun bathing and cuddling. I love to see how her periods of cognizance seem to be increasing (which you would never guess from the series of sleepy pictures from today). One of her tear ducts is clogged again. Hopefully that will be cleared up soon. Her poor little eye looks so pathetic!

We did make it out to the mailbox this afternoon. She seemed to enjoy the cool front that was blowing in. As soon as we got back she expressed her displeasure at not having her milkies immediately at her disposal. What was Mommy thinking!!!??? She’s been eating fabulously and has no reservations about letting us know when she’s hungry! I’m excited to see what she weighs in at this week!

Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV)

Nora – 33 Days Old

I read a quote yesterday on a Caring Bridge page for a 5 year old little boy who has been waging a lengthy battle against Leukemia. His amazing mother included a quote which read, “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it was supposed to be.” In our situation, and certainly with theirs, it is easy to let the thoughts of “what should have been” drag us down and ultimately consume us — if we let them. We have the choice to be miserable or to believe positively. It could be argued that positive thinking is much easier said than done, especially in the face of devastating circumstances. But it is through faith and surrender that we come to realize that we aren’t the ones in control. Our idea of “what was supposed to be” often doesn’t acquiesce with God’s grand plan for us. In our willingness to surrender and trust God we will someday discover that God had something better in store for us. It most likely will not be immediately apparent. It could take several many years, or maybe not even in this lifetime. Being privy to this knowledge enables us to stop torturing ourselves and instead enjoy the little moments of happiness in each day as it comes.

Here are some little moments of happiness from my day:

image

image

image

image

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7 NIV)

Nora – 32 Days Old

image

Laid back sippin' on milkies!

image

Busy being sweet and cute!

image

Evening walk with Mommy

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

Nora – 31 Days Old

This wide-eyed little stinker is demanding every bit of Mommy’s attention tonight!

image

I was in the process of writing up a post, but had to put it down for some precious snuggling. Check back tomorrow on this same day’s posting!

(Nora is doing phenomenal!)

===========

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog post:

There were so many instances along the way that God hinted and prepared us for what was to come. Some weren’t always evident in the moment, others were blatantly obvious, yet I attributed them to my overactive imagination or coincidence. Looking back I see now that me and/or my imagination had nothing to do with any of it and coincidences don’t exist. They were subtle and not so subtle glimmers of hope, magnificent illustrations of God’s love and tenderness, poignant reminders of His presence through it all.

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant I had a word stuck in my head. You know how that happens every so often – you keep thinking the same word over and over again, or repeating it out loud until it sounds weird. The word I had stuck in my head was “trisomy”. I had no idea how the word ended up lingering in my mind. I couldn’t remember reading it or hearing it anywhere. In fact, I did not know what it meant and had to look it up. “An abnormality characterized by the presence of an additional chromosome.” That sort of freaked me out, being newly pregnant. I remember my exact thought was, “Wouldn’t THAT be weird if that really happened… But good thing I only have “healthy”, “perfect” babies. Certainly that wouldn’t happen to US!!” There was no way of knowing at that time what was in store for us, but that made me familiar with the term. I knew what the word meant.

Greta’s dream, a little over a week after we received the news of Nora’s diagnosis, “Mommy and Daddy were feeding a baby on the couch, and the baby was a girl.” That gives me literal, physical chills to recall that morning. Perfect timing, God delivering us that beautiful imagery through our little girl. That seemed a little uncanny and really did offer us hope, but part of me still persuaded, “Oh, it was just a dream. Don’t get your hopes up.” No way of knowing then just how prophetic it really truly was!

At the end of January, while we were still in the process of digesting the grim news, we had friends who brought dinner to us. With Mardi Gras season upon us, one of our friends brought a king cake for dessert. For those of you unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the king cake, it is a dangerously delicious cinnamon pastry smothered in icing and yellow, green and purple sugar. Inside of the cake is a little naked baby trinket. Wikipedia explains, “…the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.” The whole evening passed without anyone finding the baby. There was only a little bit of cake left over. I allowed Gavin and Greta each a slice for dessert the next evening. “No one has found the baby yet!” I reminded them, as I indulged in my own slice of deliciousness – the LAST piece. A couple of forkfulls later, I discovered the baby trinket. I quietly and sadly smiled at it in the palm of my hand thinking, “If only I can REALLY have the baby…” (Ask, and you shall receive!). There was no way of knowing then just how privileged we were to become!

image

Several others shared dreams they had about Nora before she was born. One friend dreamt that the baby would be a girl (before we’d found out her gender). The dream was very vivid and foretold that we’d be bringing her home, that she was very strong and very beautiful. (check) (check) (check). Nora appeared in the dream as blonde haired and blue eyed. Obviously her hair is dark now, but does appear to be lightening! Her eyes are indeed blue. The rest of the dream indicated that Nora’s heart was healed, possibly through a surgery. (!!!)

Nora appeared in another friend’s dream as a beautiful baby, and in her aunt’s dream she was a very, very good baby, never fussy! I expected Nora to be beautiful, but if you ever knew Gavin and/or Greta as infants “good” babies don’t exactly run in our family. Gavin and Greta each put us through a tumultuous 8 month crying jag. Lo and behold we actually got a “friendly” baby this time that isn’t intent on driving her parents to the brink of insanity! *wink* She only fusses when she’s hungry or has air in her belly.

God continues to minister to us even after Nora’s birth. The goose on the roof, the rainbows, the nurse sent in at just the perfect minute, the strangers who approach us to let us know we’re in their prayers, my husband’s reassuring kisses, the multitude of people bringing us meals, the nurses and others volunteering their nights to allow us much needed sleep, and all of the sweet, encouraging cards, notes and letters. Whether you realize it or not, you are acting as God’s hands and feet. Thank you for being receptive to that gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit. You are tangible evidence of a compassionate, gracious, loving God.

image
image
image
image

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 26-27)

Nora – ONE MONTH OLD!!!!!

A month old. Wow. Thank you, God for your generosity in allowing us to love on on this perfect little life for as long as You have. We pray for many, many more days, weeks, months, and years with Nora.

image

image

image

image

We have an appointment with the cardiologist on the 25th for another echo and EKG. They are going to take another look at her tiny heart to revisit the possibility of her previous blue spells being heart related (which is currently the best guess).

The ASDs and VSD are something that Nora could potentially grow out of. Please join us in that specific prayer for complete healing of her sweet little heart. That surgery would not be needed!

Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me. (Psalm 30:2 NIV)

Nora – 29 Days Old

Nora had another outing today. She got “shown and told” at Gavin and Greta’s school. I had my Mom along with me to help me and we pulled it off without a glitch! (Of course I stayed away from the bleachers this time…) The kids did not know we were coming, as it was kind of a last minute decision. They were excited to see us there and so proud to show off their little sister!¬† I was so tickled by all of the teachers that came streaming out of their classrooms as they saw Nora’s stroller roll past! It was so cute that everyone knew who she was right away. I’m sorry for those of you who missed Nora! We were on limited time with the smaller oxygen tank. When I first found out I was pregnant one of the things I imagined was how cool it will be to bring the new baby up to the kids’ classrooms for “show and tell”. After the T18 diagnosis, that was something I mourned. I needlessly grieved that¬†purported “missed opportunity”. And then there we were TODAY!!!! That was so wonderful to be able to do that! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of our visit to the school. I was too preoccupied with the O2¬† tank and making sure Nora was cozy and comfortable. But I do have some sweet pictures from throughout the day!

image

Loving this morning's bath time!

image

Just like in Mommy's belly!

image

Nora was awake LOTS today, but for some reason I only got pictures of her when she was sleeping!

image

Everyone comments on how tiny Nora is in person. The pictures definitely make her look bigger! These are a pair of American Girl doll shoes - to put her in perspective!

Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord , have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10 NIV)

Nora – FOUR WEEKS OLD!!

Nora is FOUR WEEKS OLD today!!! She got dressed up in her little party outfit to celebrate the day, with a pretty pink bow on top!

image

image

Prior to that she had her beloved sun bath.

This evening while Gavin was at baseball practice with Daddy and Greta was away at dance class, Mommy and Nora went for a longer walk past the mailboxes and down a neighboring side street. It was a beautiful evening and so nice to get out of the house!

These days seem to be going by so fast. I try so hard to savor each precious moment with this little angel. I whisper sweet things in her ears, thanking her for staying here with us, telling her how much I love her and wondering how I ever lived without her.

image

image

image

image

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Nora – 27 Days Old

Mommy and Daddy love to snuggle with this sweet cuddle bug. She absorbs the love like a little sponge. Soak it up, sweet girl!

image

image

Nora is such a part of our family. It feels like she’s always been here. It’s so hard to imagine there was a time that we were so fearful that we’d never get to experience any of this. A couple of days ago she received her Social Security card in the mail. I cried and laughed thanks and praise. She’s OFFICIAL!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, GOD!!! I hope someday she gets to scrawl her rudimentary little signature across it that she will laugh at in years to come.

Nora missed her morning sun bathing opportunity on account of the loitering cloud coverage. However, the afternoon sun paid a visit through the skylight, providing a perfectly-sized sun spot for the little Miss in the middle of the living room floor. She was able to reschedule her appointment after all!

image

image

image

I will give thanks to you, Lord , with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1 NIV)

Nora – 26 Days Old

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today was absolutely beautiful¬†despite the dreary weather. Nora had her official second outing to Nana and Papa’s house for Mother’s Day brunch. She also embarked on her first ferry ride, as the trip involves crossing the Ohio River. Nora fared well on the 20 minute drive and was content to sleep most of the time at Nana and Papa’s.

image

The precious cargo has safely arrived


image

Nora with Mommy and Nana - 3 Generations


image
image
image

The day wouldn’t have been complete without a visit from some GEESE! I love the symbolism of the goose that was mentioned in a comment in yesterday’s post. (Thank you, Marty!)

God has blessed me with a beautiful baby girl in addition to the three others I gave life to. He has blessed me with unique albeit¬†trying circumstances in addition to an affection for writing. This blog initially started out as a way to keep my family and close friends in the loop as to what was going on. It saved me from feeling like I had to respond to an extent of emails, voicemails, and texts. It gradually¬†evolved into something therapeutic–a way to clear my head and process my emotions. I didn’t really care who was “watching”. Now from there it has taken on a whole new vocation. There are more visitors to this site than I ever imagined. Because of the beautiful ways that Nora’s story has touched so many thousands of lives I will continue to be open and “real” just as I have been all along. God gives each of us talents. How we use them is up to us. I can’t think of a better way to use mine than to glorify the One who gave them to me.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength¬†God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.¬†(1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV)

image

Goodnight!