Pippy's Journey

Living the dream…and then we smelled smoke.

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. – 1 Peter 1:6-7 (The Message)

First, let me start out by explaining why I’ve started this blog and what fire has to do with everything.  I decided to write down this journey so my friends and family can stay informed and be able to pray for our specific needs.  I also hope and pray that my story will be encouraging to whoever comes across it and that ultimately they see how my relationship with God and the hope and faith I have in Him has helped me make it through yet another “fire.”  Like the verses above say, “Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.”  We are more precious than gold to God and we know (no matter who we are or what we believe) this life is full of struggles.  When you are going through a tough time (your “fire”), IT SUCKS!  But I truly believe when we put our trust in Him, we come out of the fire more pure and He blesses us beyond imagination.  I know, this ain’t my first fire. 

Disclaimer (because unfortunately everything needs one these days):  This blog reflects my choices and my beliefs.  I believe God has given all of us a choice and we are allowed to choose differently than someone else.  So while I don’t judge you for the choices you make, please show me the same respect.

LIVING THE DREAM

Almost a year ago, September 17, 2011, I had the honor of marrying my best friend.  One month later, we closed on our first house. That same day, I was offered a new job as the Administrative Assistant for Children’s and Youth Ministries at our church.  Blessings abounded!  Hooray for more money and less hours and a ton less stress.  A few months later, we adopted our first baby, Zoey.  She’s a black and brown mut and the most adorable fur-baby I’ve ever seen.  Shortly after that, we got a new car.  Hooray for air conditioning and a horn!  And then just weeks later, we got the best news of all…I’m pregnant!  We found out on Timmy’s birthday.  Hooray!  Live it up Honey cause next year’s birthday is gonna look totally different. 

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We had our first doctor appointment July 7, 2012, and when we heard that heartbeat we each shed a tear of joy.  I joked with my friends, “My goal is to be that pregnant woman that all the other pregnant women hate.  You know, the one who’s glowing and has no discomfort and labor is like two seconds long.”  Then I started to regret that joke, especially as one of my dear friends was having terrible morning sickness and I had to tell her (almost daily), “Sorry, no, I feel great.”  I felt bad that I felt so good.  Don’t get me wrong, I had passing moments of nausea, but mostly I was just tired all the time.  Other than the typical miscarriage fears, the first trimester was kind of a breeze.  Thank you God!

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AND THEN WE SMELLED SMOKE

August 6, 2012:  My 12 week appointment.  I went into the office fully prepared, or so I thought.  Tim was working.  I told him he didn’t need to come since they were just going to do a Pap and listen to the heartbeat.  I mean seriously, if you can opt out of witnessing a Pap, do it!  My doctor prepared me for the possibility of not being able to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler and when she couldn’t find it, she sent me for an ultrasound.  Hooray, another picture of the baby!  The tech found the heartbeat with no problems.  Thank you God!  The baby was doing somersaults and swimming all over the place.  Then the tech said, “Okay, I’m just gonna see if the doctor wants to take a look at anything.”  FYI ultrasound techs of the world, we’re not dumb!  We watch TV.  We know doctors don’t just come look at pictures of healthy babies just to ooh and ahh over them.  My stomach sank.

My doctor came back and told me they were seeing a couple of concerns in the baby’s development.  She said there is a herniation in the abdomen and more fluid around the brain than we’d like to see.  She then suggested we take a blood sample for the Harmony test, which checks for chromosomal abnormalities such as Downs syndrome and other Trisomy defects.  I agreed without hesitation.  She also made me high risk and referred me to a specialist.  I immediately went to God.  Please Lord, protect this baby.  Please let them be wrong.  Maybe we just caught the baby in mid-morph.  It’s doing a lot of developing still, maybe we just caught it on a bad day. 

I stopped by Tim’s work and told him what was going on.  I called my work and told them I was taking the day off.  I started calling family.  Timmy got off work early and met me at home.  We spent the rest of the day crying and praying and trying to process. 

August 13, 2012:  Our first appointment with the specialist.  The entire appointment from start to finish was only about 15 minutes.  He showed us the baby on the ultrasound and told us about his concerns.  “I think this is either a trisomy 13 or 18, in which case the baby will die one of these ways.”  Wow doc, way to break it to us gently!  Tim and I sat and listened to him.  We asked a few questions and then were on our way back home.  The whole time the doctor was explaining his concerns, I couldn’t help but think, “That’s interesting, but you’re not in charge.”  I know that God is growing this baby, not me.  I know that He knows exactly what He’s doing.  And the prayers continued and intensified.  Please God, give us a miracle.  Please heal our baby completely.  Please shock the socks off the docs.  Please let the blood work come back negative.

Our family and friends and church family have been amazingly supportive!  We’ve had so many people encouraging us and praying for us and this precious baby.  Our hope has been high and our confidence in God’s abilities has never wavered.  Now, our confidence in His plan for us, that’s a different story.  We have no idea what He’s planning for us!  But we do know

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, WE HAVE FLAMES

August 21, 2012:  The blood results are in.  Positive.  Trisomy 13 with holoprosencephaly and an omphalocele.  This means our precious baby will not be “compatible with life.”  Oh dear God, please help us through this.  Let me just say, I believe 100% without a doubt in my mind that God can still miraculously heal this baby.  However, at this point, I don’t think that is part of His plan for us.  I think we are headed down a different road.  So let’s start with a few definitions, shall we.

  • Trisomy 13: The presence of three copies of chromosome 13, rather than the normal two.
  • Omphalocele: A congenital hernia in which a portion of the fetal abdominal contents, covered by a membrane sac, protrudes into the base of the umbilical cord.  (Basically, baby’s insides are in a sac on the outside.  If this were our only concern, this could be fixed with a simple surgery.)
  • Holoprosencephaly: Failure of the forebrain to divide into hemispheres or lobes causing insufficient development of facial characteristics.  (Basically, baby is missing the piece that connects the two halves of brain and the skull has more fluid than brain tissue.)

Our sweet baby has the omphalocele and the holoprosencephaly which have been caused by the trisomy 13 defect.  Trisomy 13 is a rare disorder, only effecting about 1 in 16,000.  Our doctor has explained there is no way we caused this and there is no way to cure it.  Unfortunately, it’s just something that happens sometimes and this time it’s happening to us.  She also told us there is a less than 1% chance of this occurring in future pregnancies.  (Hooray for a piece of positive information!)

August 23, 2012:  “What can we expect” meeting.  We met with the doctor and she explained the above to both Timmy and I.  We have already told her that termination of the pregnancy is not an option for us.  We are going to continue on this road and let things happen naturally.  Some of you may say, “What?  Are you crazy?  Why suffer any longer?”  Well, my conscience and my beliefs will not allow me the peace of mind of stopping this baby’s heartbeat.  This baby has a strong and healthy heartbeat!  I think it’s important for people to know, however, just because termination is not an option for us does not mean that it isn’t appealing.  (“What?  You monster!”)  The above hypothetical questions make sense.  Why suffer any longer?  Here’s how I see this for me.  If I terminate this pregnancy, my pain today will end, but I know I would feel guilty for the rest of my life.  If I wait for God’s timing, yes, my pain now is drawn out longer, but when my sweet baby leaves my body and passes away, I will have peace knowing it died naturally.  Also, as long as this baby lives, we will pray for its healing because we know our God is capable of miracles!

IT’S GONNA GET HOT

Tim and I are in for a bumpy ride.  There is no way this journey won’t be painful.  There is no easy way out.  There is no avoiding the situation.  We have to face this.  But our hope is in the Lord.  We don’t know what His plan is or why this is happening to us.  But we do know that He is going to help get us through it and we know He is going to bless us through it.  Since the moment I realized I was pregnant, I’ve prayed God would use me and this baby for His glory.  Maybe this is how He’s going to do it.  Maybe our story is going to help someone else who is suffering.  Maybe they are going through the exact same thing.  Maybe their fire doesn’t even begin to compare with ours.  Each fire you go through, makes you stronger for the next one, and we can be sure that this life will have fires.  It doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe, how you live, how you love, or what planet you’re from.  The bottom line is that no matter what you’re going through, whether your fire is just a spark or a full on national emergency, your attitude will determine how you get through it. But I can promise (yes, promise) that when you’re faith is in the Lord, He will see you through it and you will be blessed beyond imagination.  Like I said, this ain’t my first fire.  Stay tuned.  I’ll share that story too. 

In the meantime…please keep the prayers coming.

22 thoughts on “Living the dream…and then we smelled smoke.

  1. Beautiful and perfect, obviously led by God! Keep writing, you have good points that so many should here and it will also give you an outlet for all those swirling thoughts and emotions.

  2. Prov. 23:15-16 “My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”
    In this case, my daughter. It’not fun, desirable or even at times tollerable but God will see you through and you will have “joy in the morning”.

    1. Every day I ask God to use me for his purposes. And every day I ask myself what will I do if he does? Am I prepared? Would I have the courage to go through the fire? I see in you the courage that can only come from God. I will pray for your family and your child each and every day and that His will be done. Thank you for your testimony and I pray that He will use it and be glorified through it. With love to you and Timmy

  3. Jessica,
    I will be praying continually for you and Tim! You have such a beautiful and amazing heart! Will be praying for God’s continual peace to be poured out on you.

  4. Jessica you are an inspiration to many who have or are going through this. You are also a true women of God. We don’t know his plan but I am sure it will be grand. My prayers are with you and that wonderful family of yours. Stay strong my dear….

  5. As i read through this i can not help but cry, i can not help but feel my problems and my struggles are so minimal compared to the trial you and Timmy are experiencing. But I have to admit that reading this has made me feel inspired, courageous, hopeful, and above all BLESSED! Blessed because You believe, Blessed because you trust and have faith, Blessed because he allowed you beautiful people to come into my life and forever change it. All things come together for the good of those that love him! He is the King of all Kings and his miracles and wonders never cease. He is going to shock the socks of those doctors by turning it all around and giving you both a healthy and beautiful baby. My friend had a complete hysterectomy and was told she would never be able to have any kids, her son is almost one years old .. SO keep on praying -as we will be praying for his will to be done.
    We Love you Both

  6. My eyes were brimming with tears of all sorts of emotions, I hurt for you guys and am so encouraged and blessed by your raw real emotions COUPLED with your deep faith in our God who is good no matter what. Praying daily for you three!

  7. Jessica,

    I am praying for you and yours. Let me know if you or Timmy need anything at all. I really hope you guys do prove the doctors wrong with a miracle baby.

  8. “Life is very interesting Jessica. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” Continue your life journey with God and he will get you through it all.

    I love you and Tim very much and wil continue to pray for all three of you!

  9. This is such an inspiring story,you guys have continued to keep your eyes on Christ through the “smoke and fire” that’s amazing! Definitely an inspiration to many,especially for the ProLife movement. Thank you for sharing your story,I will keep you and your family in my prayers. God bless you! Praise you Jesus……..

  10. Jessica, my heart is full of compassion for you and Tim and your families! I pray for peace through this fire–your beautiful faith is well-placed! Love you and praying for you.

  11. Jessica, you’re in our thoughts and prayers. As much as it hurts to hear what you’re going through, I’m glad you are so open with your struggle. Not only does it let all of us know what to pray for, I think it will be a help to others who are going through similar circumstances. You are very brave, and I pray that God will give you both strength, courage, peace, and wisdom throughout all of this.

  12. I will keep you, Tim and baby in my prayers. Kudos to your amazing attitude about this major life challenge. I’d hope to be as positive and strong as you. That is inspirational.

  13. Jessica, I can’t even imagine the heartache you are going through. I am praying for you and your family!
    The way you are handling this is breath taking! Keep yourself perfectly positioned! Hold on tight to His promises….God’s got this! Jeremiah 29:11

    I love you old friend! I am a phone call away if you ever want to talk!

  14. My heart, my thoughts, my prayers are with you and Tim and will continue! It is so hard to take a hold of why hard life moments happen to the most sweetest people! Know God is in control! We had quite an experience with our last baby…I was sent in to the genetic specialists around 18 weeks…They sent me in for down syndrome but didn’t rule out other disorders…I was so unbelievably worried and fears set in uncontrollably! They screened my blood for viruses, and those results came back positive for Cytomegolovirus (CMV). They started preparing me for the worst…That my baby boy may not make it! I wanted them to shoot straight,,,but man that information sent my brain into a whirlwind of craziness! And Googling just set my fears in extreme mode! I made it to 28 weeks and they did another ultrasound and found fluid around his abdomen, heart, and brain! While I was pregnant the tiny little things that weren’t my exact focus (with my other two that is) become my every prayer and goal to reach…and…one by one Gods blessings started shining through!! My little guy pushed through to 39 weeks…When he was born they confirmed that he had contracted CMV. He went through so many tests! But they showed no signs of damage from the virus!

    I know not all stories turn out like mine! And I know that my story may be a much more simple walk compared to the one you and Tim are going through! I do know this…(because I can be the most fearful, pessimistic, negative person), if it wasn’t for God listening to all of those Prayer Warriors, and taking a hold of me, I wouldn’t have seen all of the blessings that were there from the beginning. I KNOW GOD has AMAZING things stored up for you and tim. He is in control! He will give you strength! And wisdom! And in your walk I know He will give you understanding, love, and peace! I love you guys and will be praying for you every day!!!

  15. My heart breaks for you. Losing a child is the most painful thing a person can ever go through. We lost our 24 year old son 13 years ago and the pain is indiscribable. My heart felt like it had literaly been shattered into a million pieces. I miss him every single day of my life. I have worn an angel on my heart every day since he died as my way to honor his life. While I will always have a piece of my heart missing, I have learned to live my life again. God has been amazing in his care and his love for me. No matter how deep my pain and great my need, He has always given me who and what I needed and He continues every day of my life. He is truly by my side always.
    I’m so thankful that you trust in His word. It may be hard and many times you will feel like you just can’t go on, but trust me He will be there giving you everything you need. I have seen Him work in so many ways to bring about His will and His will is always right. My prayer is that His will is for your child to be born strong and healthy.
    He has given me a truly compasionate heart and I have been able to help others who are facing the same challenges that I faced. I can’t make their pain go away, but I truly understand it. And I have tried to pass along some of what I’ve learned through my journey of loss. You will be able to help many others through your experience. I know that right now you wish it would just be a bad dream and I pray your baby will be born healthy and perfect. I will keep you and your precious child in my prayers. God has worked many wonders and I pray that His will for you will be a healthy child.
    May God bless you all.

  16. I’m so inspired by your faith in God! Keep up the good work. This is the second post of yours that I’ve read and the tears are falling yet again. I’ll be praying for you and Tim and Little Legan. God’s plan isn’t always our plan, but His plan is always perfect. Miss you old friend!

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