April 24, 2011

My Favorites

A few of my favorite things about Anna: the prissy face she makes when she stretches, her long process of stretches, grunts, groans, and faces when awaking from a deep sleep, the way she grabs my finger when she eats, her delicate little features, the fat rolls she is finally starting to get, her newborn cross-eyed look, how she can pick her whole upper body up off my chest and just hang out (oblivious to how she is going to come crashing down in a minute), her perfect doll-like sleeping expression, her loads of personality. Sometimes I even like her wah-wah crying sound, but that gets old quickly...

April 21, 2011

Baby Anna's first few hours

Ben and I got this handheld flip video camera before we had the baby with part of our gift money. We got one that wasn't expensive (so we didn't have to worry about wrecking it and could keep it in the diaper bag) and was small but still good quality. It's been great to capture those quick minute or two clips of Anna. Someday I will compile them all onto a DVD (maybe when I have access to an Apple). Right now they're just on our computer. I just think there's something special about a video that pictures just don't capture!

Note: Please ignore my "just-had-a-baby" look.

April 19, 2011

Anna's nicknames thus far

Annababe, Annabug, Anna Bean, Anna Banana, Banana, Piglet, Chunk, Punkin (a rendition of Pumpkin), and Peanut....

Here's her first dress. She kind of looks like a little big person. Ok this is seriousy too long of a post for me right now. I am sacrificing dinner to write this post I hope you know. I have 0 free minutes right now. I haven't even called one of my best friends yet since the delivery (sorry Steph). :)

April 15, 2011

The Story

Anna made her arrival on March 28, 2011 at 4:33pm. She weighed in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces and was 18.25 inches long. She has the perfect amount of short dark hair, beautiful dark blue eyes (that probably won't remain that color for long), and full pink lips that make the cutest expressions. We love her. Her name Anna means "grace" and "favor", and her middle name Noelle means "day of birth". We named her Anna because we felt God lead us to this name in a special way (perhaps more on this story another time), communicating to us that he would release a lot of grace in our lives through her addition, and that we would need a lot of grace to get through this unique season with some of the odds stacked against us, but that he would provide all we need. We didn't realize just how much more he was communicating to us until later.... Her middle name we mostly picked because we liked the sound, but ironically when you put together the meanings they kind of mean "grace on the day of birth" which is exactly what we were given. After you read our delivery story you will understand why Anna is our little miracle.

The delivery is nothing like I would have anticipated or expected. I expected everything to go rather smoothly and naturally without complications, like our pregnancy. Everything checked out great through the nine months. Anna was on the smaller side, but that wasn't unusual due to Ben and I's small sizes, and we thought she would come out around 6 pounds. When it came to be 4 days after my due date, I started having some minor contractions. We had a doctor's appointment that day, so we went in and our doctor planned to induce me in the following day because he did not want to go past 41 weeks and there had been no real progress. Everything seemed fine at the appointment, except when he asked me how much she was moving I said "less than usual" but I figured that was normal. He told me he wanted me to go to the hospital right then to get induced, to be safe. This was probably the best decision that was made- had we waited we might not have Anna with us today! We went to the hospital and they started the drug on the smallest amount. When they hooked me up to the fetal monitor Anna's heart rate dropped a few times and went back up, but at first it seemed due to my positioning and how I was sitting. Then all of a sudden, a nurse came flying into the room and told me to get on my side. I turned over, and she told me to get in all of these different positions. I could tell she was really concerned. Then she grabbed an oxygen mask and put it on my face and called for help. At this point I knew something was really wrong but was also sort of in shock. I remember several other nurses coming in, and then them transporting me to a bed and practically running it through the hospital. I had the oxygen on my face, and I rememember seeing different people holding doors open as they flew through the hallways, like in a movie. I could tell it was pretty serious at this point but was still in shock.

Anna's heart rated had dropped significanty for 7 minutes and they couldn't get it back up. My doctor ran into the room, completey out of breath, and I remember him saying "What's going on?" (they had called him and he had just arrived from his office down the street). I don't know what all happened next, but I do know they were about to put me under general anesthesia (what they do for an emergency c-section when they don't have time to do a spinal block). This is the worst way to have a baby and the most dangerous. Her heart rate spiked up just at that moment, and they decided they had time to give me a spinal block and prep me for surgery. I remember lots of talking and the doctor briefing the team and then they did the c-section. They had called her pediatrician to be there for the delivery because of the complications, and he looked her over as soon as she came out. I immediately knew there were some problems because they were mumbling a lot over her, and the happy, joy-of-birth atmosphere was completely absent. As I was getting stitched up I kept asking "What's wrong? What's wrong? The OB said he didn't think there would be any brain damage from the heart drop but that's not too reassuring to a mother. Anyway, the whole ordeal was very scary and emotional.

I ended up having a condition called Velamentus Cord Insertion, which means the cord is not coming out of the middle of the placenta like it should be but instead is going into the membranes, which causes the cord to not deliver the proper nutrients (one reason why Anna was born so small). It often results in ruptured membranes and stillbirth. It is a completely random condition. All that said, it is a miracle that it all went down when it did. Anna may not have made it any longer than she did. She is our little miracle.

It turns out Anna had no brain damage or developmental deficiencies from the VCI, but we didn't know that yet at the time. What we did find out is she has abnormalities in both of her left leg bones, completely unrelated to the VCI. She is completely missing her fibula and her tibia is shorter than it should be. As a result, it causes her leg to be bowed and her ankle to be turned in. In old terms, our daughter was considered "crippled". I have to admit I was very discouraged the first day. I let the enemy really get into my mind and I kept pictured Anna as a girl in a wheelchair with a deformed leg having to undergo multiple treatments throughout her life, and a myriad of other potential problems down the road that we don't know about. I didn't know how to handle the news- I never pictured having a first child with a problem like this (or a problem at all!). It just seemed like if that would happen, it surely wouldn't be the first child, right? (things we subconciously assume). The pediatrician was doing all he could to get us an appointment with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon, but cautioned us that Anna's problem of missing a bone is very unusual (he had never even heard of it before) and recommended we pursue only those with specialty in her condition. The thought of surgery on our little daughter was scary, and the thought being responsible for finding what would help her and what would harm her (like an inexperienced surgeon who had not operated on her type of leg) was daunting. I was also discouraged with recovering from a difficult surgery, and not having prepared emotionally for an emergency c-section and all that ensued during the delivery. So it was a tough 24 hours to say the least. But the second day in the hospital God really restored my joy and continues to do so to this day. When I think about Anna, I don't even think about her leg anymore. She is doing so well and is such a happy baby, she brings us so much joy. She is alert, strong, sleeps well and is eating well. She has a ton of personality and she does smile! I swear!

God directed us to Anna's name because we knew "grace" and "favor" would be bestowed upon our family, but little did we know to the extent. I firmly believe that God wants to do all he can for Anna's leg and to give her a long, healthy life where she can run and play and dance for Him like any normal child. We have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday, and part of me fears his assessment and prognosis. But I know that God’s prognosis is always for wholeness. When Ben asked me, “What did we do wrong that she was born without a leg bone?”, God reminded me of John 9:

As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in him."

God knew Anna's leg bone was missing from birth. He knew this when he "saw her unformed body" and "her frame was not hidden from him." I know he wants to be glorified through this.

Our dear friend Janett came to stay today, and one of the first things she said when she saw Anna was, "You know what was on my mind when I thought about Anna's leg?", and then she proceeded to repeat John 9. My spirit was filled with joy. God is perfect and his plans are perfect, and our Anna is perfect.

That's all for now.

April 9, 2011