Monday, September 28, 2009

hurting. angry. scared. alone. frustrated. abandoned.......faithful.

As I type all the title of this post, i feel each and every one of those words...well, ALMOST all those words.  With my entire being. My whole entire body feels the effects of being hurt, angry, scared, alone, frustrated. abandoned.  But i don't necessarily FEEL faithful.  I want to feel faithful. I just don't when i feel all those other things.  I'm begging God to show me the truth in my brokenness.  Today is a hard day.  Again.

I know being pregnant again brings not just the hormonal ride of my life, but add to it the grief and the timing of being less than 2 weeks away from the 1st year anniversary of holding our baby girl as she breathed her last..and i'm just lost in this. 

I also know that I am still responsible for my emotions and my responses to others, whether they get it or not.  I cannot expect the world to stop spinning and just run to my aid as we prepare for that 1 year mark.  But even tho i can't expect it...i want it. I want it so badly.

But while i feel all those things...while i feel so completely alone in this journey...even if its just for a day, an hour, a moment...I KNOW that God is still God. I KNOW that HIS will is perfect.   I don't even know how to pray another way now. I don't want what I want. I recognize that if I can't even figure out if what i'm feeling is rational....then how the heck can i know what is best for me.  I am trusting that all of this emotion is part of a greater good. A witness.  A willingness to be open to life.....again.  A sacrifice in giving up my body again, so that life may grow within me..and asking God to bring me healing as i surrender to His will. 

I pray that even in my pain, you will see the faithfulness of God to me.  Just because He asked me to carry a life i couldn't "keep here," doesn't mean He isn't faithful and merciful and perfect.  Even in the broken babies, God is still so good to us.

Please remember us and remember our Cana and the wedding feast she is celebrating with her bridegroom every moment of eternity....on Oct. 8/9.

John 2:11

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cana Lynn Milbrandt : Her Birthday - Oct. 8, 2008 pt2

Mitch had traveled to NICU with Cana and the team and i stayed in the room for about an hour to recover before they moved me to my room on the mommy floor.  My dad, terri, and my little sister allissa were in the room, and my grandma and my mom stayed too.  After a few, the hospital chaplain came in.  We had requested our parish priest to come to baptize her, but he had too many meetings.  So the chaplain was requested and it was about 5 pm when he came in.  Cana was born at 432pm, i forgot to mention that!  Fr. David Noble was a twin australian priest!  He is adorable!  He had been the TCH chaplain for almost 20 years if i remember correctly.  It was so neat because Cana's godmother - my sister, was IN it made me feel better to hear that accent.  Just a nice touch, Lord.  When i told him our daughter's name, he paused..."you mean, as in the wedding at Cana?"  "yes, father."  "oh, i will never forget that.  What a beautiful name."  He explained that when he did marriage encounter weekends, the saturday night is called "Cana." It's a renewing night for the married couples of those retreats.  I have a whole talk on why we named her Cana, but it goes pretty know i'll save that for another time too.

Fr. asked me if i wanted him to wait to baptize her till i could get there..i said no. I didn't want any time wasted.  He explained that he had actually waited for us to deliver and he was suppose to leave at 4.  So it was approaching 530 and it was time.  He prayed with me, We video'd it.  For diana, my sister in australia.  He left for NICU, to find Mitch and Cana.  The rest of my family left for NICU with him and my mom and grandma stayed with me.  It felt like hours till they got me to my room.  They had to wheel me..but i could's so humbling to be wheeled around.  So after we checked into the room, the nurse there had to release me so I wasn't so patient to get her in there to have the niceties and then get me on my way!  I told my mom if she didn't wheel me any faster, i was going to jump out and wheel myself.  We were a short walkway to NICU.  about 4 minutes.

When we got there, my whole family was at Cana's side.  Along with the priest...even tho it was already 645 and he was overdue to go home.  He stayed for us.  I jumped out of the wheelchair and got to cana's side. I called her name.  She opened her eyes to the sound of my the sound of me saying her name.  (video below)  it's one of my favorite moments with her. That sounds so funny...because i didn't know how limited our moments would be at this moment in time.  I just treasure her looking up at me....

We baptized her and my whole family got to stay in the room/unit.  In NICU, it has to be so sterile, and after this moment, we were only allowed 1 visitor at a looking back, it was so kind of our nurses to allow this.  But i think they knew.

Around 745, we finished her baptism, and we were asked to leave NICU.  They had to start a line in her belly button.  Because she was so tiny (found out then that she was 4 pounds, 16" long), that it was better to keep the umbilical cord long on her belly because the line was better there, than starting her on an iv and poking at her all the time.  This was painless.  But it was a sterile procedure. we all were asked to leave.  We took it as a chance to get momma some food.  I know it seems so strange to want to eat at a time like that...but at the same time, i think human nature longs for something NORMAL because seeing your newly born baby in some sick box is just too horrible to conceive. 

After travis was born, all i wanted was a burger and fries.  I'm all about burger and fries it was.  Mitch wheeled me down to the cafe, and we grabbed a bite. It felt weird to eat.  We were waiting for our friends Courtney and Jeremy to come up to meet her.  They were the only one's we wanted that first night.   As we were finishing up, we looked over and saw Fr. David at another table.  He was eating. I felt so badly that we ran into him because he looked so tired, like he just wanted to go home.  But he was happy to see us, came over to sit with us, asked us how we came up with Cana...and prayed over us.  He was wonderful.  As he was praying over us, court and jer walked up.  I love that they came in to find us being prayed over.  Court and J are a strong Catholic couple and it's one of the things that unifies our friendship.  It's how court and i met church..serving together, in LIFETEEN.

Fr. David finally went home.  And we took court and J to meet her.  We couldn't wait to show her off.  They weren't done getting the line started in Cana so we had to wait another 45 minutes outside of NICU.  We enjoyed that time with our friends.  It was so encouraging to have them there with us.  It was around 10 pm when we were able to introduce our daughter to them.  They both got to bless her with some purified, sterile blessed water.

We spent some time kissing on her.  We found out from her night nurse Amanda, that Cana had already had her heart echo and we had to wait until morning for the doctors to look and determine what came next.  But Amanda said "but you can see that she is syndromic, right?"  it seemed a funny thing to say...all we saw was tiny tiny tiny feet, pink cheeks, black hair, and the cutest little crooked ears.  It wasn't until the morning that we heard "trisomy 18" again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cana Lynn Milbrandt : Her Birthday - Oct. 8, 2008.

Even tho we just found out we are expecting again, all i seem to think about is Cana.  I don't say this with any real surprise in my heart. I mean, the last life i carried was her. But it still surprises me, these highs and lows.  I still wonder how much people think about me. I still wonder if I'm walking the road the way God intended me to.  I still know that i know that i know...that i would never trade where she is for my need to hold her.  "Lord, if you were to give me the power for that one word to bring her back, i would not speak it."  (i'm paraphrasing, does that lay it all out for me!)  I am grateful for the gift of faith that God has given me..i've never struggled with knowing the Lord and knowing that I need a savior.  I often forget to thank Him for that gift, tho.  I forget that it IS easier for me than for some.  I need to remember this when I begin to question the journey of others...i need to offer the grace and compassion that God has extended to me.  Lord, help me to grow..and may I always be closer to you today than i was yesterday.

Cana was induced on Wed. Oct, 8th, 2008.  We were told to get to St. Luke's Medical Center in Houston around 530am by the hospital when we "signed up" a few days before.  We were told by the OB that was scheduled to deliver me (i had to have a new dr. for this deliver because of the conditions unknown), that i didn't have to be there till 9.  Well, we are SO not morning people so 9 it was.  More like 915 but whatevs...

We checked in and Anna, my great friend who worked in Texas Children's just a walkway connected to St.Luke's, met us at the check in counter.  She works in the PICU heart unit. We got to the room we would deliver Cana in. I was already 3.5cm dilated and fully effaced.  Same as with travis.  I was already almost 1/2 way there.  Because it had only been 15 months since i'd delivered travis, i could (and still can) remember every single detail (and contraction) of his birth.  But he was almost 9 pounds.   they told me we'd be lucky if cana was close to 5 pounds.

Around 10 am, they started my pitocin.  I remember just eating ice, listening to some old school rap on my mp3 and asking Mitch if he was texting, who he was hearing from, if our priest had called yet, had diana called yet (from australia-my sister was gone for a year doing mission work).

I found out that the OB who was going to deliver cana was NOT going to be delivering her.  I had some "new guy."  Dr. Ivey was great but i had never had a guy doc and wasn't all about sharing my "biz" with some stranger..esp. in this situation. But he was great.  A little....shall we touch with his feminine side, but just lovely.  We talked about our birth plan  - as long as we could go natural, that was what we wanted.  He said as long as Cana's heart didnt' show any distress, we could. But many many babies with heart abnormalities die in the birth canal.  We still felt this was God's mercy and if we could keep me from being cut open so that i could get to NICU fast, that was how it would go down.  Ultimately, we trusted the docs could hear God too and if they said cut, we cut.  But our prayer was to push her on out, God's way.

Around 330, dr. Ivey came in and said that he was going to break my water at 4.  I was only at 6.5 or 7 and really needed to progress.  Like clockwork, at 4, he broke it.  And water was EVERYWHERE!  Mitch jumped back, dr. ivey shouted to "get another one"..meaning that pad that is supposed to soak up....the nurse was scrambling,,i was apologizing.  I felt like i was peeing all over the place.  And as it all gushed out, i felt Cana kick me harder than ever!  Maybe it was a punch but i felt her just kind of go "what the?????!"  Dr. Ivey looks at me very sternly and says, "i'm just going to pull up a chair and do some work over here.  She is going to be here fast. "  I kind of laughed.  He was dead serious. He pulled up a chair, did some paper work...and within 20 seconds, the contractions started. I mean..i hadn't felt hardly a thing all day,..then all of a sudden, it all came flooding back to me.  Oh, yes..i REMEMBER THIS!  Craaaap!

I didnt' drop any f-bombs.  I only dropped one with travis.  :)  I was listening to Matt Maher on my mp3 player.  Your grace is enough.  As it is in Heaven.  I rejoice.
I just focused on those words...i rejoice. i rejoice. i rejoice in you. in you. in you.  I rejoice in you.

I have found that i absolutely love remembering every detail of cana's birthday and birth story. I also know that i love laughing about the little things that are completely embarassing but totally worth sharing.  See, i delivered travis in what my nurse sarah called "knee chest" position.  Don't let that fool you..i call it "ass up." I delivered travis on my hands and knees. It was awesome and i don't remember hardly any pain in that..but it was humiliating!  With Cana, i had the standard...feet in stirrups.  And i remember thinking "i don't know how to do this..." but it was actually fine.  Except for this part.....
My dr. told me to focus on my which i replied "DUH!!!"  But i hadn't been doing a very good job....and he just reminded me not to push yet.  Then mitch decided to repeat that every 5 seconds!  I told him i wasn't and as soon as the words escaped my lips, i said "oh God..i have to push RIGHT NOW."  Mitch shouted "DON'T" and dr. Ivey turned around, saw my face, and checked and said "GO!"  and i did. I pushed once...and farted.  Then, instead of just laughing or just letting it flee from my mind, not me..I decided the BEST thing to do would be to ANNOUNCE to everyone in the room (just the 2 nurses, mitch, my dr. and the nicu team) that i had indeed ...just farted.  My dr. said "GO!" and a push later, she came flying out.  The dr. had to tell me to stop pushing.

She wasn't breathing.  The plan was that i would get to hold her first.  But because she wasn't breathing on her own, they held her tiny purple body up to show me, and then snatched her to the nicu team and out the door.

Mitch and i cried. I said "i can't believe she's already out of me.  I can't believe it was so easy. I'm all done already."  Dr. Ivey sewed my one stitch, and I told Mitch i was fine, to go out to the hallway to see her and see what is happening.  It was about 20 seconds since i delivered her. I needed him to be with her.  They wheeled her in in a tiny box, hooked up to tubes and i reached in and held her hand and said hello to my cana.  She was so tiny! I couldn't really see her face.  But she knew i was there. I told her i'd see her in a few moments.  It was 2.5 hours later when i finally got to her side in NICU.

Just before they took her, mitch handed me the camera.  He told me he took video of her. 

she is just so perfect. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Blog Open for Biz!

is open for business!  Took me a little while to figure out what i wanted to do as far as a site, but i think that's where i'll park it for a bit.  I have paypal set up so any orders emailed will receive a paypal email for payment so you aren't wondering how some stranger is going to take your money.

I have asked God to take this where His will's more about a hobby that we can pay bills with rather than my desire to be on the cover of TIME magazine.  It's more about God giving me something to find purpose in again, after stepping down from youth ministry for the first time in 10 years.

I am going to get back to my Cana's story this week.  I have lots to share.  And we are in countdown mode...less than a month to go till her sweet 1st birthday....and resurrection day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crochet Away

About a month ago, my amazing Grandma Mary (Lola) taught me how to crochet. Apparently, after years of watching her, God used my hands in such a way that I took to it very quickly. I have found that crocheting is therapy for my heart and soul. It has allowed my mind to focus so intently on the hook, yarn, pattern..that God can then work on my heart and the things i struggle with. It's also so fun to see how they turn out and pray for the little one's who will one day wear them. I don't know how far i'll take this, but we are enjoying it so far. If you are local, one of the baby consignment shops is selling them for me...i call it a 'market test' to see how they will do. At the very least, we'll make a bit to pay for christmas.

They are selling for $15. Or 2 for $25.

or if you bring me 4 orders (just tell them to reference you), i'll give you 1 free!