Monday, October 17, 2011

it's a.....


Today, Oct 17 at 9:22am God bestowed on our family another sweet miracle! Morgan Faith Schwalbe came into this world screaming loudly, weighing 7lbs 2.6oz and measuring 18 1/2 inches. The c-section delivery was uneventful and all was normal.

We are SO IN LOVE with her! Kennedy is sure to be a wonderful big sister and we know Matthew is watching over her. Thank you for your prayers and support yesterday and for the duration of this pregnancy. They have been such a special gift to us.
Here are some pictures (she looks just like Kennedy did when she was born!)

Ken, Cortney, big brother Matthew Phillip, big sister, Kennedy Grace and 'Lil Bean, aka Morgan Faith

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the 7th inning stretch

oct 16 ~ the last preggo picture of me and 'lil bean.

so here we are just about an hour or so before i go to bed so i can try and get some sleep before 'lil bean's arrival. i am so thankful we made it; especially through this last week.

as my doctor (who will be one of my surgeons tomorrow), said on friday at my last appointment, "it's a delicate balance giving the baby one more week to achieve developed lungs and monitoring you to make sure your uterus doesn't EXPLODE."

yes, he used the word EXPLODE. my eyes POPPED out of my head when he said this. needless to say i was a little nervous this weekend. "rupture" just seems so much nicer of a world...ya know?
nonetheless, the only One who could, the only One "I AM" held all things together this week and provided His devine protection over me and 'lil bean.

we continue to praise Jesus for this miracle we are about to experience tomorrow morning (at 9am). we give thanks that God was able to give us peace to wait it out another week.

please join us in this 7th inning stretch (i have to interject here -- YAY RANGERS!! -- world series bound!!) of prayer for God's protection, provision and health. YAHWEH is the great I AM! He is the giver of all gifts and tomorrow we believe He will bestow on us, another sweet child, another miracle. as we go in and meet our third precious child, your prayers are the greatest gift we could ask for and receive.
thank you sweet friends and all have been such an incredible gift of love, support and prayer in this 9+ month journey. bless you over and over...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

what a difference a day makes

first let me say, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have encouraged me with your sweet thoughts and pearls of wisdom, and most of all your coveted prayers these last 24 hours.

truly, i say, what a difference a day makes. this morning ken and i both went to my doctor's appointment and after the routine non-stress test (i've been getting them the last 6 weeks since i have gestational diabetes this time around), the nurse mentioned that my doctor was delivering a patient and would be over shortly. she also told us that my c/s had been rescheduled. i asked if she knew when and with whom and it was like music to my ears.

i will be delivering on monday oct 17th at 9am. no addtional amnio needed! woo-hoo! and my surgeons would be dr. y and dr. z, both of whom dr. x (my previous dr with kennedy who retired) recommended. both the top surgeons in the practice would be there. i couldn't have asked for a better situation. and their schedules were rearranged to make this happen. this made ken and i feel like they were on top of everything and they were giving us the best option available.

later after my routine non-stress test, my doctor who will not be able to deliver me because she will be out of town and dr. y both came in the room to answer any questions we had and to listen to our concerns. there were tears and even moments where someone was speaking a little louder than normal. but it was a very production discussion and i heard exactly what i needed to hear to obtain peace. dr. y told me that he recently consulted twice with dr. x (my previous dr who retired in june) and pressed him on why he recommended a 36-week delivery. he told us dr. x had backed off of the 36 weeks as long as they did not see any other risk factors with a thinning uterine wall via ultraousnd. in fact, dr. y said "i thought i had told you this when you saw me a few weeks ago?" buddy, you didn't. because if you did, we would not be having this conversation right now!!

hearing this immediately put my heart at ease. honestly it was the only thing that drove me to challenge 15+ doctors and specialists for the last 5 months. i hung onto dr. x telling me i needed to deliver at 36 weeks and wondered why everyone was ignoring this. it drove me a little crazy...ok maybe a lot crazy. but if dr. x was willing to back off that recommendation then i was too.

at that very exact moment, i finally gave up control. it took my daughter waking me up at 4am this morning to break my will but after i got her back to sleep, big surprise i couldn't sleep. it was there in the dark of my living room, that God met me and reminded me that ALL of this is in His control. it always has been, even though i've spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy trying to control it.

the only way i can describe the peace i felt at that exact moment was to tell you that it was same feeling of peace two summers ago when i decided to let go of all the anger i had been carrying around about the death of my son. it was a peace that only God could give me. people could pray it for me; but God had to give it.

ken and i are completely at peace with everything that is going to happen in the next 6 days. we are confident in my doctors but most importantly we know God is in control and will be faithful. my friend candace shared this verse with me this morning:

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (NIV)

we're holding steady that God will protect me and 'lil bean and that our healthy, sweet child will be delivered safely next monday.

if you would also hold steady with us, i would be most grateful. thank you sweet, sweet friends. you all are so amazing and faithful and i'm so thankful to know we have this network of support around us. each of you are just precious, amazing friends and family! God Bless You!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

not the post i thought i would be writing...

....ok so, again, it's been FOREVER since i last posted, but alas, i've been tired throughout this pregnancy while chasing my 18 month old. excuses, excuses.

i thought i would be writing about my thoughts of welcoming 'lil bean into the world tomorrow. instead, we will have to wait at least a week.

today i had an amniocentesis for a lung maturity test. the maternal fetal medicine specialist i see absolutely required it since we were planning a delivery for 37weeks+3days. i was completely terrified to get the amnio and with hands shakin' and sweatin' like it was my first kiss, i held onto my hubby's hand and looked away into his eyes while the MFM walked us through the procedure. he said, "bee sting" and i guess that's when the 4-inch needle went in. i hardly felt it. then he said, "some pressure/cramp" and i might have felt a little one, but seriously not much. after like a minute, he said, "all done."


i was worked up for nothing. i had to be monitored for 45 minutes afterwards to make sure there were no complications and waa-lah, hubby and i left the office while i patted myself on the back for being so brave and we headed out for a celebration breakfast. he suggested denny's...i got my way with eggcellence, a healthy little cafe serving, you guessed it, eggs. :)

the day was great. i got all of the bathroom drawers and hallway closet cleaned out and sorted. kennedy played with juju and took only 1 nap that lasted 1 hour 45 mins (woo-hoo! we're making progess as we started out with an hour when we transitioned to 1 nap a couple of weeks ago.)

after naptime we all got gussied up and decided to head to the naval academy for a maternity photoshoot. yep, the photographer in me, totally forgot to schedule a maternity shoot at the normal 28-32 week timeframe so i put on all black to attempt to cover up my bloatedness. :) at first glance of the pictures, i'll need to do A LOT of photoshop editing!

when we pulled up to our scenic backdrop for perfect pictures, the phone rang.

it was my OB telling me that i could not deliver as planned. "the baby's lungs are just not developed enough."


i asked what the score was. we needed a surfactant to phospholipid (S/P) ratio of 55mg/g or greater.


i was in shock.

less than 40; definitely immature, risk of respiratory distress syndrome and other complications. 40-55, intermediate risk; need further testing to see if delivery is possible; 55+; welcome, baby!

33......really? but the ultrasound tech said friday if she was a bettin' woman, she would bet that i would be having the baby tomorrow. we even watched together on the screen as 'lil bean used his/her diaphram and was breathing!

another OB told me that the MFM would not consider anything before next monday, oct 17. and even then, the normal procedure with a reading of 33mg/g would be to repeat the amnio (on the 17th) and deliver the next day (18th). however, the MFM was going to write a letter to the hospital explaining that he would not require another amnio and that i could deliver at 38 weeks+3 days on oct 17. this was a relief to me as i have a very emotional reason not to deliver on the 18th. it was the day that our best friend, matt, our son's namesake, was killed.

oh yeah, the OB would be out of town starting the 15th and would not be my surgeon for my c-section.

as she was talking, i was half listening because all that kept coming to mind was....

....REALLY GOD??? what the hell??? WHERE are YOU in ALL of THIS???

i asked if i could have 1 of the other 2 surgeons i knew (who were the top ones in the practice) and she said she would have to check. she told me that i would have to be seen in the office tomorrow and Friday; my normal 2x/week monitoring for my non-stress tests (all because i have gestational diabetes). she ended with how sorry she was about our plan being disrupted and then i started once again telling her my fears about going longer than tomorrow.

that's where i need to interject and give you all the back story.

with kennedy, i saw the high-risk doctor in the practice and he made my pregnancy with her seem effortless. i didn't even feel like i was "high risk." he just had a calmness about him. we'll call him dr. x. all the fears we had of going through pregnancy again were put aside because of his character and confidence. by the grace of God, even though i went into labor with kennedy 1 week+1 day before my scheduled c-section, it was dr. x who was on call and delivered (on easter day, no less!). it was him who called ken over to take a picture of the cord knot while kennedy was being cleaned telling us how rare they are (and how dangerous they can be). it was him who while i'm cut wide open said in a calm yet concerned voice to me, "your uterus is very, very thin." i remember asking him what that meant and he said he would be making a repair because it was like "saran wrap."

fast forward to pregnancy with 'lil bean. i booked my first "i'm preggo-let's confirm it" appointment and when asked who i usually saw i told the woman scheduling the appointment i had to see dr. x due to my high-risk history.

"well, he's retiring in june."


i was completely sad but resolved to see him until he flew the coop.

my very FIRST appointment with him when i was 9 weeks pregnant, he told me (and documented in my chart) that i needed to deliver at 36 weeks because of the thin uterine segment and window present at kennedy's delivery. he also said that since he would be retiring i would need to see the MFM specialist occasionally during the pregnancy.

my last appointment with him was around 20 weeks. i asked him who should deliver me and he gave me two names (the top 2 surgeons in the practice). i asked him about a third doctor and he said it was fine for me to see her but that one of those two doctors should do my surgery.

i started seeing the OB i wanted to with plans to somehow have one of the two he recommended deliver me. at the same time i saw the MFM at 20 weeks and it didn't really go that well. he first told me he wouldn't consider anything before 39 weeks.

but the documention...the recommendation....from dr x???

i ran into the objection of delivering at 36 weeks with every. single. doctor, specialist, nurse, dog, and cat around here. i even went to the director of the MFM department at johns hopkins (can you get a more knowledgable opinion from such a stellar hospital?) and the overall consensus was not a day before 37 weeks. (in fact the hopkins MFM said nothing sooner than 39 weeks!)

we pressed every button and challenged every person in every way we could. the bottom line is that no one was listening to the recommendation of the only man who was elbow-deep in my uterus at delivery.

finally i stopped fighting them all and just accepted the 37 week+3 days delivery. i had a scheduled c-section for oct 11 with the doctor who i very much liked and the assistant surgeon, one of the top ones in the practice that dr. x had recommended. i couldn't have planned it better.

and so, that's where we are. now you all know the back story.

when i hung up with my OB today i teared up a little but then said to ken and my mom, ok, let's do the pictures and deal with this later. total, classic, denial.


we piled out of the car and i'm pretty sure we never got a shot of kennedy ever looking at the camera. we got a lot of her crying and whining though. a perfect maternity session all-around. :) after about 45 minutes i gave up and suggested we drive over to the park.

when we got there, my sister called because she received my text about not delivering as planned. i answered and never should have. she said something that probably shouldn't have upset me the way it did and all of my frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, and fear dumped ALL.OVER.HER.

i'm ashamed to admit that as of writing this post, i've yet to apologize to her.

so by now, you've figured out that i'm a planner. and i can tell you that my type-A-EXTREME- planning-self pretty much wishes this verse was left out of the bible:

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV

my mom had loosely quoted this verse to me earlier when we were both stressing about not delivering tomorrow. in writing this post, i couldn't remember the exact verse so i opened up to see if i could find the verse by keyword search.

ya'll....FOR REAL...the next thing...REALLY happened!!!

i opened the webpage and FRONT AND CENTER was the verse of the day:

Verse of the Day

Listen to the Verse of the DaySubscribe to the Verse of the Day
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV

ok God, i've spent the last 7 hours stressing, worrying, panicking, freaking out, etc and you give me this? THIS????

of course!

i've made these plans of exactly how 'lil bean would come into the world. along with my OB, i have made the plans. and although i don't understand all of the reasons right now, i relinquish control. God has the plan. HIS plan has a SPECIFIC purpose. it's just not the plan i thought was best. this plan, with all of it's ambiguity right now, completely scares me.

but if you truly give up and give it over to God, what is left to do or say, except...amen?

a few things have given me comfort tonight:

1) my mom recalling this verse about our plans v. God's plans.
2) God deciding it needed to be the verse of the day on ummm...yeah, that was pretty cool.
3) my husband pointing out that as much as we like him, maybe, just maybe, dr. x was wrong. we've consulted 20+ doctors/specialists on this and none have agreed with him
4) a friend from high school reminding me on facebook that God has held me in His hands through so much in the last few years and He will continue to hold me this next week too.

please continue to pray for me and my family, but mostly for the health of our sweet 'lil bean.

we put so much stock into dr. x's recommendation because a) he was there, elbow deep, like i said before, and b) he made us feel so confident and secure in our pregnancy with kennedy. if i could just hear him say, "maybe i was wrong about 36 weeks; it's ok to wait a little longer. i don't think your uterus will rupture," i could sleep restfully at night! please pray i don't turn stalker, somehow find his home address, and show up on his doorstep to ask him this. i don't really want to go to jail before i deliver 'lil bean.

obviously i'm kidding about the last part. sort of.