One year ago today it was New Year's Eve, 2008, and my life was changed forever...
At 8:41 PM on December 31, 2008, Adalyn Joy Vail made her appearance into this world, and it has been a year like no other. This little girl brings so much joy into my life, and I am thankful every day that God has allowed me to be her mommy!
Happy Birthday to my beautiful little ONE-YEAR-OLD!!
I know it's been over a month since I've posted. I've had a lot on my mind lately but I just haven't been able to put it into words. Nearly every night I plan on sitting down and putting my thoughts down on 'paper', but I just haven't been able to do it. Well here we go: I've been tired, I've been consumed with every day life, I've been joyful, I've been dissapointed, I've been overwhelmed with thankfulness and I've been frustrated with myself for not being the person I so desperately want to be.
Even more than all those random feelings, I think the thought that has captured my heart and mind the most recently is how much I long to have God's heart towards others and how often I fall so very short. So there it is. God is doing something in my heart right now. I'm not sure where He will take me as I pray and learn more about His heart for His people, but I know it will be something God-sized and not something Amy-sized.
As for everyday life, it continues! It snowed here last night and we woke up to a winter wonderland. Rich stepped out onto our porch and scooped up a snowball so Adalyn could experience snow for the first time. At first he just held it out and let her touch it.
It wasn't long before she decided to hold the snowball and then she had to show mommy what she had!
She seemed to enjoy the snow we brought inside, so this afternoon we wrapped her up in her big pink snowsuit, boots, gloves, and hats and took our little marshmallow outside to play in the snow for the first time! Poor thing could not walk in all her gear! Rich set her down and she proceeded to face plant into the snow. It is an understatement to say that she was not pleased. Our snow play time lasted about two more minutes with Rich and I each trying to convince Adalyn that it is FUN to play in the snow, while the poor little thing cried her little heart out. Needless to say, snow play time ended quickly. Perhaps next year......... :)
I've been reminded lately over and over again that God is in the miracle business, so I thought I'd share the story of our little miracle.
When I was pregnant with Adalyn we discovered at our 20 week ultrasound that she only had a two strand umbillical cord. Typically umbilical cords are made of three strands: two arteries and one vein. The vein delivers the nutrient rich blood to the baby, and the arteries return the nutrient depleted blood. Instead of having two arteries and one vein, Adalyn's cord had only one artery and one vein. This means that one artery had to do double time. This occurs in about 1 in 100 babies, so it is not all that rare. Sometimes other organs (specifically the kidneys) that are forming at the same time as the cord may have also formed incorrectly, so the ultrasound technician looked closely at those. Everything else looked great on the ultrasound, so we were simply watched more closely throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
As we neared the end of my pregnancy, we began to discuss the possibility of induction. Rich and I were planning on doing everything as natural as possible, so of course induction was not my first choice. Not only did I want Adalyn to choose when she was ready to come, I had learned about the intensity of petocin induced contractions and did not want to go there.
On Tuesday, December 30th I was four days past my due date and went in to my midwife, Andrea, for my final appointment. We had an ultrasound and learned that Adalyn's growth rate had begun to slow down, which concerned our midwife slightly. Rich had begun to really feel strongly that we needed to induce as well, so after some discussion and prayer, Rich and I decided to schedule the induction for the next morning.
Now, it's important for me to tell you that Rich is most definitely gifted in the area of discernment. If Rich feels strongly that we need to do something, it is a good idea to follow those feelings.
Wednesday morning we got up early, headed to the hospital, and began the induction. Everything was going smoothly (can you really use the word 'smoothly' when talking about labor???) until sometime in the afternoon when Adalyn's heart rate dropped drastically. Suddenly I had my midwife, nurse, and according to Rich, half of the staff of Parkview North in my room. An oxygen mask was thrown on my face and I was quickly turned to my left side, then my right, trying to find a position that would allow Adalyn's heart rate to come back up. All in the middle of an intense petocin induced contraction with no pain medication I might add. Slowly, it began to climb back up.
We were given two options:
Continue labor without the pain medication and if her heart rate drops again we will go in for an emergency C-section in which I would be knocked out and Rich would not be allowed in the room,
go ahead and get the epidural so that if her heart rate drops again, I am already medicated and prepared for a C-Section, giving the doctors more time to get Adalyn out, allowing me to be awake for the experience, and Rich to be in the room with me.
So....what did we choose? Even though I really didn't want that medicine, I have to admit that epidural felt pretty nice. :)
Labor continued for another hour or two (with no more scares), I pushed for 41 minutes and Adalyn was born, beautiful, healthy, and bright pink!
After Adalyn was born our midwife discovered something else about Adalyn's cord that we had not known throughout the pregnancy. Normally, the cord inserts into the middle of the placenta, but this was not the case for Adalyn. She had what is called a velamentous cord insertion, where the umbilical cord inserts on the edge of the placenta, meaning that the vessels are exposed and could easily rupture. If this would have happened, chances of Adalyn being born alive would have been very slim. This condition apparently can often lead to miscarriage or even death during labor. If I had been allowed to go into labor naturally and my water broke at home, the pressure of my water breaking could have possibly caused a rupture, allowing both Adalyn and I to bleed out, but that didn't happen. Instead, Adalyn was born inexplainably healthy and strong. Our midwife kept saying over and over that she was a miracle baby. And it's true.
A woman I know recently announced that after struggling with infertility, she and her husband were expecting their first child. A few short weeks later, they discovered that their child has several health conditions that could lead to an 80-90% mortality rate. Tearfully, I told their story to my mom who was reminded of a blog she read, Bring the Rain. I sat down this evening to read the story of Audrey Caroline, who at 19 weeks gestation was diagnosed with several health problems, most of them stemming from a lack of amniotic fluid. Doctors told her parents that outside of a miracle of God, this child could not survive outside the womb, and would most likely be stillborn. I won't dive into more of the story, but I urge you to check out the blog if you are interested. The mother, Angie, was the author of the blog, and I am amazed at her strength, vulnerability, and reliance on Jesus.
This story moved me in several ways:
1. I am determined to pray continuously for the woman I know and her baby, for healing, and that God will be faithful and give them strength, whether he chooses to heal the baby on this side of Heaven or not.
2. I realized how thankful I am for the healthy, beautiful little girl sleeping in the next room, and that I do not tell God often enough how thankful I am for her. After reading this story and wiping away my tears, I went into her room, stood over her crib, and just thanked God for Adalyn. It is very fitting that her middle name is Joy because it is the perfect word to describe her. She is an absolute joy, and she finds so much joy in the smallest things, like playing hide and seek with daddy, dancing with mommy, and giving kisses to everyone she loves. She is truly a miracle in so many ways. Thanks again, God. :)
3. Lastly, I pray that if (or perhaps when) God asks me to go through a valley, whatever it may be, that I will handle it with the grace and dependence on Him that Angie had, rejoicing and praising Him that He is the same God, yesterday, today, and forever. I am reminded of our series at church about Kind David, after his sin with Bathsheba. After the child they conceived died, David got up from his fasting, cleaned himself, and went on to PRAISE GOD.
I'll leave you with a few pictures of the munchkin I am utterly thankful for tonight, maybe a bit of her innocent JOY can rub off on us all!
This past weekend was a busy one! My sister, Kristi, turned 28 on Thursday and came to visit over the weekend. Kristi lives in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois and is a Young Adult Librarian at the Normal Public Library. Kristi is great at what she does. She's always loved reading and now she is helping teens and pre-teens love reading as well. She's also a great sister, and a wonderful Aunt! Happy Birthday, Kristi!
Adalyn and her Aunt Kristi
Enjoying being outside... her favorite place to be!
Wow. Yesterday, my baby was a crawler. Today, she is a walking machine.
Adalyn began taking a few of very wobbly steps a little over a week ago. Then almost immediately she started teething again and showed no interest in advancing her walking skills. She actually showed little interest in doing much other than hugging mommy and staying very close to me at all times.
She must have started feeling much better today because she suddenly decided she was ready to venture out on her own and take several steps, even purposely letting go of us so she could keep walking. Sometimes she gets too excited, goes too quickly, and falls flat on her face, but our tough little cookie doesn't let that stop her... she's so excited to be WALKING! I have a feeling those last five pounds I just can't seem to get rid of are going to dissappear as I start chasing her all over the place! Congratulations to my little walker!