Thursday, August 27, 2009

May again?

I want to start this entry by sharing that i have learned and healed so much with the help and prayers and new friendships of those blogs listed to the right. Many of them are mommies of loss and/or mommies of trisomy 18 babies. It was by the unknown encouragement of some friends who took me into their play date group of boys all around the same age, and the fun they seemed to have with their blogs that got me on here, and then God took it to a whole other level when i was able to connect and share with moms and families who knew the grief journey too well. I have been reminded of the community of faith, that i am not alone, and that we are all in this together, no matter if we never meet on this earth. You have all helped me to "build my muscles", "rehab" this heart that is learning to beat again, and "doggie paddled" along side me as we swim back to shore. I preface this entry because before this week, even when a mommy of loss announced she was pregnant, i struggled. I WANTED so desperately to just celebrate. i felt SO behind.

Today, it is with great joy and a TINY bit of "what if" that i share with you all that we are expecting again! We are very early on (may-ish) but if Cana has taught us anything, it's that Life is to be celebrated from day 1. I will not live this pregnancy in fear...i will treasure the gift that God has again worked His miracle, allows US..a taste of glory as He shows me how to lay down my life so another may live. I feel grateful that we have been able to conceive 3 babies..with no trouble with infertility..i don't want this to be "in your face" for those who do struggle with infertility, longing for more babies. I just want those mommies to know that this heart knows how blessed we are.

I know that it's early..and believe me...we know anything can happen. But we also have shown ourselves that we can trust. And no matter what, i'm a mom of 3 now.

thank you for celebrating with us. Please pray for us as we journey down this new path.

I will still be posting the last of Cana's days with us. Her grave marker will be in soon. I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cana Lynn Milbrandt : From 26 weeks to 32 weeks

After the last appt (the heart echo and first diagnosis), we had just the regular appts, even tho always with ultrasounds. That was such a beautiful part of my pregnancy and time with Cana. I got to see her so much as she lived in my belly. As August 08 passed and Sept 08 rolled in, we were faced with some pretty big battles. My church asked me to not participate in serving the youth. I felt abandoned, forgotten about, crushed. Where was the community i had served alongside? Did we not join the "right" ministry, in order to have their help as we faced our darkest days? We felt like we were on some island where they'd pass us by every sunday to offer their "we're praying for you" and their pitiful looks, and then once we were out of sight, we were out of their thoughts. It may not be what was truth, but it was, without a doubt, how we FELT. Oh how satan tried to remind us of his hardwork to break our spirits.

Then a friend, a dear dear friend and really, a woman i admired for years, who reached out to me during our pregnancy more than anyone else, Maria...wrote to ask if she could email those who helped her family during their journey of grief after losing their #3 daughter, Moriah. She wanted to offer financial help and started sending her family of 6's own tithe and wow..God just blew us away with their faithfulness to Him and their hands and feet of Christ to us. She would send us cards almost every day, words of encouragement and hope! I pray she always knows what her friendship means to me.

During this time, another friend, in connection with Maria, started a facebook group called "prayers for cana lynn" and i would see "my" teens join the group, offering encouragement to us. It was quite beautiful to see the teens i'd served reach out to us! On Sept. 11th, I wrote an email to maria this night/morning i was really struggling to stay "afloat" and shared this, in regards to the struggle with being asked to not serve in youth ministry:

"Its caused me to question and doubt every good thing i THOUGHT i did in the name of the Lord. I wonder...i heart. My hearts intention. Was it for MY glory? Was i so controlling that the ministry is better without me? That the teens are better without me. Even as i sit here and type that...i can look over and SEE how many of "my" teens signed up for the group on facebook for Cana. It's one teen in particular who will write me often and bring me cupcakes in july on my birthday, and say she is praying for me. Then there is the teen who went to college and thanked God for me bringing TOTB to stmarthas. I see how many of them have girded up in that truth before they left for the world of "college" or as i like to call it "the world who waits to devour them." I am sweetly broken on their behalf right now..because it was FOR THEM that i can sit here now and feel this way..knowing i did let God use me..even just for the one life."

That was Sept 11, and on Sept. 12, Hurricane IKE hit galveston/houston. Sept. 12 was supposed to be our 2nd echo to confirm the first and to plan better for our remaining time with Cana. It was LAUGHABLE because of the lesson of learning to wait on the Lord was something we talked about and laughed about struggling with. This time of waiting was so completely OUT OF OUR HANDS..there was absolutely NOTHING we COULD do..but wait on Him. It just so happened we were to wait on Him through a hurricane and WITHOUT power for the next 8 days....

A few days after the hurricane, when power came back up slowly around town, they rescheduled our echo and another high end ultrasound. It was during this appt that my specialist reiterated that he was pretty certain it was NOT Trisomy 13, 18, or Turner Syndrome. Then, at the echo, another doctor...Dr. Altman (my maiden name, btw) confirmed the results and said that it was about 90% inoperable. Then we were told we needed to take the NICU tour and possibly meet the neonatologist. We walked into NICU and i remember squeezing mitch's hand so tight. It felt like the room was spinning, i tried not to make eye contact with the parents there with their babies. Those tiny babies, all hooked up to machines, some alone in their NICU unit, alone and so tiny in those tiny boxes, alone. all alone. I was starting to lose my breath, i don't remember anything the nurse who toured us said. Not a word. It's almost dream like to remember it. I hated it. I remember that. Just a month later, we would be sitting there, in NICU B-38, with our Cana.

When we came home, still without power, two teens and the new youth minister had cleaned up our yard, and our neighbors yard. Marco and Jonathon and Elizabeth worked all day to pick up all the debris the storm had dropped in our front and back yard. We have about 15 tall pines and about 50% of those limbs and needles were all over the place. They may never know the impact of that small act of love.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back Home Safely

just a pic to share that we made it back from our mini safely.

thank you for praying for us. Fun pics and stories to share later in the week. and then it's back to Cana's story. As i go thru the dates, i realize i am exactly one year from the dates in the story now. It's an honor to share her with you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Galveston Mini Vacay...

Just a quick prayer request...

please pray first for our trip to galveston for a mini. We are meeting Mitch's Oregon fam at a friend's beach house and it's over the canals on the bay side of galveston. The house, that is. The deck is above water. It's over water....i keep repeating this in my mind because i'm FREAKING out about having the water so close and the pending fear of losing our one living child in some horrific accident.

I know this is morbid, and i haven't gotten to this part in Cana's story yet, but when you lose a child, when they die in your arms, it becomes very easy to picture losing another. It's dark. It's not where i want to be. but it's very real to us right now at this part of the journey.

Travis is 2 years, 2 months. He is independant and stubborn. And he's SUPER tall for his age. (39") so he can reach and open doors like a stealth. We have been drilling into his head that he does NOT open doors, or run away. (he doesn't WALK ANYWHERE! he RUNS!).

I'm just afraid. Please pray for travis to miraculously just GET IT. And for our hearts to be cautious but free of anxiety. And with hope.

thank you for being with us this long.