Sunday, May 22, 2016

And another year has passed...

It's hard to believe that I've allowed another year to pass in between entries...hey, at least I'm consistent?

We have had yet another busy year, but this time, it was a good busy.

In July 2014, Brandon enrolled at South College to study Surgical Technology. Before he explained it to me, I didn't realize this existed. A Surgical Technologist is essentially the surgeons assistant in the operating room. He sets up all the sterile instruments that might be needed (which can number in the hundreds), sets up the sterile field, passes instruments into the hands of the surgeon, positions limbs as needed, and assists the surgeon in general. Very impressive, to me at least!

If you remember, I was pregnant that July and went on to deliver Zion on the 21st of that month. This crisis came right as Brandon was starting his college career. It was quite a struggle. But, I'm so proud, he pushed through, and went on to make the Dean's list each and every semester and, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!, graduated with honors in December of 2015. I married a very smart man.

Next was to pass the big certification exam so that he could start applying for jobs. It took lots and lots of preparation, but he was able to pass and receive his certification in March.

Now the job hunt is on and it is proving more difficult than we expected. But we know that God has a plan and that He will direct Brandon to the right place at the right time. It gets discouraging but I try my best to encourage him. Meanwhile, we are thankful that he still is working as a nursing assistant at Mission.

In other exciting news, as most of you know, we found out that we are expecting again in early March! A year and a half seems like such a long time ago, that everything with this pregnancy seems new and unfamiliar. Some things with this pregnancy are and will be new and unfamiliar, however, because of my past pregnancies.

We never knew for sure what exactly caused the preterm birth of our twins, Lucas and Charlotte, at 21 weeks. Whether it was the stress from the major surgery I had or if my cervix had already begun to weaken and caused me to go into labor. But we did have a sure diagnosis with Zions birth--Cervical insufficiency or Incompetent Cervix. This is where the Cervix, the opening of the womb or uterus, weakens and dilates wtihout labor or contractions. It silently and painlessly opens, and if gone unnoticed, will eventually lead to contractions and delivery of the baby. But Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! there is a highly successful treatment for this, and it is called a Cervical Cerclage. With this treatment, a strong suture is placed in and around the Cervix and pulled tight, like a purse string, to reinforce the otherwise weakened Cervix. It is a lot more common than people realize and in fact my mom had one towards the middle of her pregnancy with my brother. And he will be 21 this year and is amazing!

So, we knew, after the loss of Zion and the diagnosis of Cervical Insufficiency, that this was the route my (wonderful) Doctor would recommend. And we were so thankful to know of this option!

Once I found out we were expecting, I made the exciting call to my Doctor to make my first OB appointment, which usually doesn't take place until at least 8 weeks. So then started the long wait, 5 long weeks, before I could get the confirmation that all was well with our little peanut.

And when the wait was finally over, there was our little sweet pea, in the right spot, and the right size, with a right strong heartbeat. "Praise God" were the first words out of my mouth and Brandons.

At this point, I was referred to a specialist to consult about and schedule the Cerclage. That took place on May 5th. I was nervous about meeting this Doctor, but was so pleased. He was really caring and informative and calming. He scheduled the Cerclage for the following week, May 11th.

I was anxious about going back into the hospital after all I'd already been through, but this was different. It was a good reason to be in the hospital! Went in that morning with Brandon a little before 9. His mom and my mom met us there. They told us there had been a couple of emergency c-sections and so my time had been pushed back. It ended up being 3 hours later, and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since the night before! Finally, it was time. They came and took some blood and put in an iv. Next thing I know, they're walking me into the operating room. They sat me on the table and proceeded to do the spinal block. Unpleasant, but not as bad as I expected. A minute later I could feel my legs going numb and they positioned me on the table. I was awake for the whole thing. 20 minutes later, they were finished and wheeled me to the recovery room.

The Doctor came by a little while later and he told us that it was a success and everything went really well.  All I had to do then was wait for my legs to wake up enough that I could walk and go to the bathroom. That was somewhat agonizing because it took 4 hours, but I was so glad to get to leave.

The next few days I took it easy. I was a bit sore and tired. Since then I've been able to go back to work and really don't feel any different.

A few days ago I went for my follow-up. The Doctor checked the suture and gave me a peek at the baby and said everything looked great and baby isn't going anywhere. I sighed a big sigh of relief.

Next, at 16 weeks, I will begin getting weekly progesterone shots, which are supposed to keep the Cervix from dilating and prevent preterm labor. I will get those until 36 weeks, I think. Then, Lord-willing, the Cerclage will be clipped at 37 weeks and I will go into labor some time after that.

Phew! Such a long road, but so worth it! In a way, I feel as though we've been expecting this baby since 2013, the first time I got pregnant, because we have yet to bring home a baby. Before I knew for sure I was pregnant this time, our Pastor shared a message from 1 Samuel 1, and in that message I believe God promised me we would finally be bringing home a child, and 3 days later, I got a positive on the home pregnancy test.

I still have daily doubts and struggles with fear, I still sometimes feel like God won't hear my prayers, but I also remember that He is good, our babies are in His hands, including the one in my belly, and that I can lay my doubts and fears at His feet and trust in His promise.

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