Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ultrasound, take 2 update (2/28)

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support.  We believe that God is continuing to move and use Thatcher for His glory and for His kingdom.  We will get into more details of the appointment this afternoon (God certainly left his fingerprints all over this appointment), but first, as proud parents, we wanted to introduce everyone to Thatcher and his new trick:

Thatcher Caleb sucking his thumb!
If you have read other posts, or kept up with our story, you understand that this is something the doctors have said that Thatcher would not be able to do.  That because of the lack of brain tissue, Thatcher will struggle with movement, with sucking, with breathing, ect.  Praise be to God!  This is the second week in a row that we've seen Thatcher sucking his thumb.  It is only by the power of God that Thatcher is doing this as well as remaining as active as ever (continues to surprise doctors...)

Anywho, on to today and today's appointment.  We realize that we asked for prayer for very specific things last night, and we feel that this helps everyone understand Thatcher's story, and helps people to know what to pray for (including us).  Our prayer drastically changed this morning, not because of anything that had happened, but because of a realization.  By our prayers for these specific things alone, we were putting God in a box, we were asking that God do things our way, that He would do exactly this or exactly that, and we know that we serve a God who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!  Why would we try to put Him in a box? why would we limit Him?  Our prayer became much more simple, and much more open this morning as we headed into the appointment.  God, please move, please be present, please move in and through Thatcher, please amaze doctors, please continue to amaze us.  (this is not to say that praying for specific things is wrong, in fact we both feel that it's a good thing, we just felt that our expectations became that God would do exactly what we asked).

So into the doctor's office we went, anxious to see our friend G (our sonographer) and thinking of ways to coax her or sweet talk her into getting the measurements we were so eager to receive.  We signed in, and not 5 minutes later, we were called to the back.  But it wasn't G, so we thought, Ok, maybe this is just an assistant or someone who is bringing us to the room and G will be patiently waiting ready to give us our measurements....  This was not the case, just as we realized that this person was our sonographer for today, and our hearts began to sink as we began to understand that we may not get measurements .... Dr. S (our Sonographer today), spoke up, "I know you".  We both had confused looks and didn't really know how to respond to that, and she continued.... "You go to Crossroads, you both sing on stage".  Whit recovered first and asked, "Well, yes, we do, do you go to Crossroads?".  Turns out she does!  Seriously small world, and certainly a connection that God has orchestrated.  As she turned off the lights she went over what we would be doing, a biophysical profile and measurements would be taken next week.  We saw this as our chance to ask so Whitney very timidly went over our discussion with Dr. J last week, making sure to reiterate he had no problem reading the ultrasound and didn't think doing the measurements a week early was a big deal.  Dr. S explained that there are strict guidelines, and doing measurements could get her into trouble.  So we can not say that she did take measurements, obviously, if she did not take measurements we couldn't tell you that either.  So your guess is as good as ours as to whether she did or did not take measurements.  We don't remember frankly... it was all a blur... but hypothetically speaking if last week Whitney were to casually mention that she would be ecstatic if Thatcher weighed in at 5lbs 4oz at today's appointment, and if measurements were taken and Thatcher weighs around 5lbs 5oz, boy would that be proof that God is in control.  Hypothetically of course, but we know that God is indeed in control.  And that would certainly be God showing that He can do more than we ask.  But you know... back to reality...

The appointment went really well, by the grace of God, Thatcher passed his biophysical profile (BPP) with flying colors again, and much faster this time around.  The BPP is the test that looks at the amniotic fluid, heart rate, practice breathing, and movements.  We feel it is important to stress that this is only by the grace and strength of God alone, as the brain damage is still there, the ventricles were measured at roughly the same size this week, and his head has not grown and is still measuring around 32 weeks.  The underlying issues remain the same, this is why doctors are so amazed; scientifically, Thatcher should not be moving, not be doing these things, or at the very best, struggling immensely to do them.  We can not deny what the MRI showed, and what the ultrasounds show of Thatcher's brain, and we're sure the doctors know what they are talking about... but God is so much bigger than a diagnosis, He is not bound by the MRI, He is not bound by science, or theories, or anything else.  Yet again, God is doing more than we could ever imagine or ask, and it is certainly, and only by the grace and strength of God that Thatcher is moving the way he is, and is progressing the way he is.  May the glory be to God, all the praise, and worship be to Him because He is worthy!

Now for more proud parent pictures!  (thanks Dr. S for taking so many great ones!)

He was telling us to be quiet, but God was showing us that He is in control. (his hands, according to Dr's, should be clinched and turned in at his chest/chin area, essentially immobile)

We just like this one!!  You can see his little tongue...It's so cute!!

This was at the end.  He was tired of the ultrasound and the invasion of his privacy!  It was hysterical (albeit incredible!) to watch him go from a relaxed face to this furrowed brow frustrated look.  We could practically hear him whining as he did it.

 Thank you all for your continued prayers and support, please know that God is using his church (everyone of you) to help carry us through this incredible journey we are on right now.  Please continue to pray boldly and expectantly that God would heal Thatcher, and that He would continue to work in and through Thatcher as it is evident that God has His hand on His child.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ultrasound, take 2

We have an ultrasound tomorrow at 1:30.   In addition to a biophysical profile (special ultrasound where they time/test baby's movement, breathing, heart rate, and my amniotic fluid), we're going to beg to get measurements of his body and his head, including the ventricles.  We were told we should not expect to see any growth in his body and ventricles will be the same size.  PLEASE, please join us in praying that first of all, G, our sonographer, will take measurements,  and that Thatcher has grown.  Also, please pray that Thatcher passes all parts of the biophysical profile, and that he continues to stun the doctors with his abilities.  A sweet friend reminded me today that God's plans are never determined by MRI's!  We will continue to pray boldly and expectantly that God would heal Thatcher.  At every turn He has provided evidence that He is moving and that He has Thatcher in His hand, whether through a text from a friend, or from a phone call, or from Thatcher sucking his thumb last week, we fully believe that God is in control, and that God is moving in and through Thatcher.  Please pray for the appointment tomorrow and please continue to pray for Thatcher's healing.  We know that God can heal Thatcher, and we pray boldly that He will heal Thatcher in accordance to His will.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.  We will try to post an update tomorrow night of what we find out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What we learned with Dr. J... (2/24)

First off, we learned his name is Dr. Gei.  Yeah, I would have never guessed that's how you spell it.  Anywho, we didn't learn much at our appointment yesterday, but there were certainly some positives that we could focus on.  We'll start from the top.  We got down there 15 minutes before our appointment, we figured there would be some paperwork and such to fill out, so we arrived at 3:15 for our 3:30 appointment.   And we waited, and we waited some more, and then we waited a little longer, and then an hour and a half passed and they put us in some chairs in the back to continue waiting.  Then they took Whit's vitals and they closed us up in a room where we waited a little bit more.  We finally saw Dr. Gei at 6:30.  Apparently they had a couple of emergencies that day, and since we've recently been one of those emergencies we decided it wasn't a big deal we had to wait and were just thankful we were not an emergency that day.  We did feel bad for Dr. J (just easier to remember) and his nurses, they were looking pretty rough by the time we saw them.  We were just concerned since it was 6:30 pm and we were the last appointment, he would rush through it so his day could finally be over.

As soon as Dr. J walked into the room we could tell that was not going to be a problem.  He was very sweet, apologetic about the wait, and wanted to make sure we were taken care of and all of our questions were answered before we left.  He asked if Thatcher's movement had slowed down and was surprised when I told him no (they all seem to be taken aback that he still has the ability to move).  Then, he wanted to clarify that we are wanting to do everything we can to provide Thatcher with the highest chance of survival (a question that always rubs the wrong way, but I'll vent about that later) which we passionately responded with yes we are!  We did have one question about his movement.  I have noticed over the past couple of days a rhythmic pulsing that will last from 5 pulses to 20 seconds.  His whole body seems to pulse but it is much faster than if he were to have hiccups.  Dr. J said it sounds as if it might be practice breathing movements based on the speed we were describing, but it could also be seizures.  That was the answer we were fearing, but he asked for us to get a video of an episode so he could see for himself.  I have dropped a lot since last week and I am 50% effaced and soft, Dr. J even felt Thatcher's head.  He was encouraged that my body is doing what it is supposed to and is preparing myself and Thatcher for labor, so yay!  He actually mentioned that he thinks vaginal delivery is definitely a major possibility.  Don't know what we think about that .... the other doctors seem to think Thatcher won't be able to handle labor, Dr. WCS (worst case scenario) said he is more than 90% sure he will be preforming a C - section.  So, once again we have doctors saying opposite things.  I guess the part of Dr. J's opinion that makes me nervous is that he asked if I wanted to be monitored or not.  I was surprised because I know there is the option of continual or intermittent monitoring, but not to monitor the baby at all during a vaginal delivery at a hospital?  When has that ever been an option?  How do they know if the baby is in distress?  I then realized it went along with his "wanting to make sure we're wanting to try and do everything to help Thatcher live" question.  Like I said, more on that later.....  We got all our lab results from our week in the hospital, and everything looks good.  The brain damage is not from any infection which is further evidence that more brain damage is not currently taking place, Thank You Jesus!!! We were told on Tuesday at the ultrasound that measurements are taken every 3 weeks so they won't measure Thatcher's body or head growth, or his ventricles til I'm 39 weeks... YUCK!! We very timidly asked Dr. J if there was any way we could push those measurements up to next week, just so a) we can have another point of data to go by to see growth or lack there of b) so we can get a clear picture of the ventricles so we know the fluid is not increasing since the only "official" measurement of his ventricles was at the hospital.  After explaining why they only do measurements every 3 weeks (babies grow mm at a time and human error can be mm difference) he said if we can get our sonographer to go along with it, he would read it if another dr. had a problem with it.  He then told us he is not expecting a change in Thatcher's growth at all.  He explained that according to the measurements at the hospital, Thatcher's body has continued to grow (although much smaller than the average baby) his head essentially stopped growing since it is 2 weeks behind the rest of his body growth.  His response came as a surprise and left us with more questions than answers.  I guess the one good thing is that he expressed if Thatcher makes it to delivery then survival afterwards isn't as much of a concern as his higher level functions.  Which is a relief to hear another doctor say he's not concerned with survival after birth, but once again makes us question "if they are so concerned with him making it to delivery, then why aren't we scheduling a C-section today when Thatcher is very much still alive?!?"  So like we said in the beginning, we really didn't learn much, we left with more questions than when we walked in, BUT onto the positives .......
  • Thatcher is still surprising doctors with his ability to move! We, of course, are not surprised.  God has His hand on His child's life and it just makes me smile every time I hear surprise in a doctor's voice.  Every time I want to fist bump God as if to say "yup, You remind them who is in charge!".  
  • My body is doing what it is supposed to be doing to prepare for labor, so hopefully we are on track to no induction (my thinking is: the less medications there are to dope up Thatcher and make breathing harder, the better)
  • We have the possibility of a vaginal delivery.  Dr. J said we would monitor during contractions next week to "test" Thatcher's ability to handle labor stress.  If we can do a vaginal delivery safely without Thatcher being in distress then yay!  
  • All the test results came back positive.. or negative.. whichever means good
  • The rhythmic pulsings might not be seizures
  • We have someone to read his measurements if we can get G, our sonographer, to agree to do them.  
Most of all, we know God is still working.  We prayed that this doctor would give us the focus we needed and not try to rush through the appointment.  He was running 3 hours behind and had dealt with multiple emergencies and he absolutely gave us his undivided attention and answered every question we had.  I know I already mentioned it, but I feel it needs to be mentioned again... Dr. J is yet another doctor who is surprised that Thatcher still has the ability to move.  God is working in and through Thatcher's life! 

Although there were many positives, we have to admit we had to have a "come to Jesus meeting".  After we got home, Eric was really struggling with the possibility of seizures currently happening, and I couldn't reconcile the confidence in Thatcher's survival with his head not growing.  We finally had to stop and just declare out loud that God has written out Thatcher's story and NOTHING we find out comes as a surprise to Him.  If we are going to claim we trust God with Thatcher's life then we need to do just that, trust Him in all situations, and with any news!!  We are so blessed to have a Father who promises He holds each of our lives in His hand, nothing is a mistake, and nothing is too big for Him.  These concerns are not for us to wrestle with, but for us to hand over to our Heavenly Father.  He has created Thatcher in His image which makes our child perfect! Thank you, Father for your steadfast promises and for not giving up on us when we begin to struggle.  You are so merciful and we are so undeserving!

Just to mention quickly, today has been a great day!  It is the first "in between" day that has been good.  In between days: days that are in between doctors appointments or other commitments.  Days when we have nothing to do other than be left alone with our thoughts.  Yes they are good days to sit in the solitude of God's love, but they are also days Satan loves to attack and feed on our fears.  On Wednesday, a really bad in between day, our morning devotion mentioned Jesus being tempted for 40 days.  Wednesday night, it really hit me and I was left in awe of what Jesus went through during those 40 days.  I am left alone and succumb to a puddle of defeat and tears after Satan just whispers in my ear for a couple of hours.  Jesus was left alone with Satan for 40 straight days, and Satan was doing a lot more than just whispering.  Oh what a sweet savior we have.  He endured so much on our behalf!  ... Anyways, today was good!  No breakdowns, no feelings of abandonment, full of God's peace and lots of kicks and stretches from Thatcher :) oh, and no rhythmic pulsing episodes!  Like we have mentioned before, we have to take life one day at a time right now and simply be thankful for each day. (something we will definitely keep up, not be caught up in what tomorrow holds, but simply be thankful for today) God filled today with rest and rejuvenation, He is so merciful! Thank you Lord for today and the calmness you surrounded us with!  ... sorry, I guess that wasn't a quick side note, not like any of you are surprised. 

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world. 
                           - John 16:33

Thank you all for continuing to walk with and encourage us.  This is going to be a long journey and God is using you all to help sustain us each day.  We beg you to continue to pray boldly and expectantly for Thatcher's healing.  We need your prayers now more than ever before! 

Psalm 42

This blog is a way for us to share Thatcher's story, but it is also a place for us to be real and raw with God. So this following post is not an update on Thatcher, but it is a part of our journey, so it needs to be shared.

I couldn't sleep. I've felt distant from the peace and presence of God today, and I know that Whit posted to pray for me as I was feeling particularly weak. Your prayers are very much appreciated and they were answered as I felt a constant tugging on my heart from God pretty much all day to just get into the Bible, but I allowed myself to be occupied, there were apparently more important things for me to do than get to know my creator and to draw near to Him. I guess i didnt know where to start, so as we got into bed, i told Whit exactly that. I said, "whit, i want to read about God's promises, i want to read about God's character, i just want to read about something encouraging, i dont know what exactly i need, i just want to read and i dont know where to start." So being the amazing wife she is, she pointed me to psalm 40 as it really spoke to her these past few days and has helped her when she felt distant from God's peace. So thats where i started. I felt encouraged immediately and kept reading. Then I hit psalm 42:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (v.2)

God, I've tasted your goodness, I've felt your presence, I need your strength, God be near, just wrap me in your arms tonight, tell me stories of old, tell me about how you took Moses and taught him to lead a nation, tell me about how you healed the sick, tell me about the disciples, tell me what they were like, tell me stories I've never heard before of your lovingkindness, God I thirst for you! I desire your presence! Just be near...

My tears have been my food day and night. (v.3).

I've cried more tears than ever before, and it feels that I just wait for the next breakdown, the next tough question, maybe its my turn to be the strong one, maybe its my turn to breakdown, but this cycle hasn't stopped...

These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. (v.4)

It feels like an eternity ago when I was confident in leading worship, praising you was so easy when there was nothing going on, when things were good, I felt connected, I felt like a part of the church praising You. It's hard to feel connected, no one understands, no one can...

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. (v.5)

But God, my hope is in You, and your love never fails. Lord, speak to my soul, remind me, remind every part of me that You are my hope...

O my God, my soul is in despair within me; therefore I remember You... (v.6).

Let me remember that you are using Thatcher to reach the world, remind me that Thatcher is already defying doctors and let me remember his precious hand covering his beautiful face as we watched him suck his thumb. Remind me that You are working and that you have provided evidence of that at every turn

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All of Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. (v.7)

Remind me that I feel your presence when I worship you, that when I draw near to You, You are there, You rain down your presence, and I'm flooded with your warmth, your physical warmth and love overwhelms me. That is what I long for.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life. (v.8)

Let my heart praise you day and night, Lord for You are with me...

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. (v.11)

Regardless of my circumstance or situation, I know that You are in control. Even when I doubt, when I breakdown and question everything, even then, You are in control. You are sovereign, and You will draw me back, and my soul will praise You yet! God, I know that you can heal Thatcher, I am praying and believing that You will heal Thatcher in accordance to your will, whatever that looks like.

Thank you for your Word, thank you that You are alive and You are using the church to minister to me, thank you that the Word is alive and that You speak through Your Word. I pray for rest, and I pray for protection and strength tonight and tomorrow for Whit and I. To You be all the glory, for You are worthy of all praise and honor.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apppointment with Dr. J (2/23)

We have a doctor's appointment today at 3:15 (the one that was supposed to be tomorrow, then got canceled, then pushed to next friday, now rescheduled for today with a different doctor).  Don't really know what all we'll be doing since we already went over the ultrasound (other than the typical quick heart rate monitor and check for dilation).  These appointments at my "regular" obgyn always feel rushed.  Please pray that God will have His hand over this appointment, that the doctor will give us his focus, we will know what questions to ask, and if something needs to be discovered let the doctor see it.  Pray that we will remain fixed upon our Creator and Perfecter so that this new Dr. J will see Christ in us. Most of all please continue to pray for healing!!

Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.  
           - Matthew 18:19

Aside from the dr's appointment, Eric is asking for prayer for himself.  He woke up this morning just feeling down and not at peace with God or with anything that's going on.  Please join us in praying that God covers him in His peace and provides my hubby with His strength!
(We laughed last week and said God has us on a seesaw.  Whenever one person begins to feel defeated the other one is right there ready to pick up the pace for the both of us and continue on in this race.  Well, it seems God is still using us the same way this week.  Y'all, yesterday I was in full breakdown mode and Eric was right there to hold me and  encourage me to cling onto Jesus and today he needs a little support.  Let's be that support/encouragement he needs!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

Hi Friends,

This morning I woke up in conflict.  I believe our words up to this point may have erred on the side of disrespect in regards to the doctor we have named "worst case scenario" doctor.  The meaning behind that name is not to be demeaning, it is what he told us he brings.  He explained last Wednesday it is his job to bring the "worst case scenario" and if it turns out not to be true then we are all excited and in the end, and no one is let down.  We are called to respect the men and women of knowledge God allows to cross our paths.  This particular doctor is one of the top in his field across the nation.  We are very blessed we have such highly regarded doctors working with us (sometimes we have to remind ourselves of this simply because of our difference of opinions in appropriate bedside manner).  We do not know him personally or where his faith may lie.  I think Eric and I have become weary of him simply because we agreed that last week, whenever he left our hospital room we were left feeling tired and defeated.  We now feel there is a reason this is the doctor we deal with most regularly and we are not in a position to judge him or anybody else. We have prayed that it would be God's words that fill these pages and not our own.  We know our God's words would not have painted a sinister picture.   We apologize and ask for your forgiveness if our words have allowed you to feel negatively towards this man. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The first ultrasound since... (2/21)

This morning began the way every day should (I must admit it’s not always the case) with quiet solitude with the Lord.  During this prayer/devotion time, I felt like I should/wanted to read my pregnancy devotional.  You see, I have this book for weekly devotions to go along with baby’s development.  I never read ahead and since I’m not 37 weeks till tomorrow, I technically shouldn’t be reading it until tomorrow. Anyways, I saw it, felt like I should go ahead and read it, so I did.  It was all about “anticipation/fingers” (each provides something that is growing along with an emotion).   Here is the prayer that goes along with 37 wks: “anticipation/fingers”

Father, thank you for my baby’s ten little fingers and ten tiny toes.  I can’t believe he can grasp already.  I know one thing: he already has me wrapped around one of his miniature fingers!
God, I can’t wait for my baby to touch me with his hands, to curl his fingers around one of mine.  What an unspeakable blessing!
Will you help him as he grows to always grasp tightly the important things in life?  I want him to know that life isn’t about money and possessions or success and awards.  I want him to hold tightly to God and family, to loving and serving others, to making a difference in his world that will last into eternity. 
I want him to look forward to each new day with excitement and anticipation.  I hope he wakes up wondering, “What does God have in store for me today?”
As long as my child holds tight to you, his can be a life of unparalleled adventure.

Reading the first part obviously brought a sad reminder that Thatcher may never be able to grasp onto my fingers.  We have been told if he lives he will not have much movement ability at all, including his ability to use his hands.  Of course, that is something I’ve dreamt about this whole pregnancy, finally getting to feel his tiny fingers wrap themselves around one of mine.  Eric and I have discussed this many times since last week, all these hopes and dreams we have had may have to change, and that’s okay, our child is still perfect, he is made in the image of Christ.  Regardless of what happens after delivery our love will not change!  Reading through the rest of the prayer helped me move away from my old dreams and go back to what is important.  That Thatcher holds tightly onto our Heavenly Father and values each day.  Waking up with anticipation to see how God is going to use that day.  These are the things I need to be focused on and praying for, not the possible prospect of what might not happen!  The following prayer time was sweet getting to pray these things for my child and for myself.  It seems to be how God is moving in our lives currently, we pray for our sweet baby and then God turns around and reveals the same things in our own lives.  Even more humbling about this/my prayer is that God is already using him to make a difference for the Kingdom!

The rest of the morning was quite chaotic. From a call from my school looking for missing information, to a switch in the Ultrasound appointment, to my doctor’s appointment on Friday getting canceled, pushed till next Friday, then finally rescheduled for this Thursday, it was quite the opposite of the peaceful morning we had hoped for.  At the same time, we already began to feel God at work in the midst of the chaos.  In the end, my doctor’s appointment was moved to an earlier date.  and although we found out our “worst case scenario” doctor was in charge of ultrasounds today I knew there was a reason he needed to be there.  Whether we needed his expertise or he needed to see God working in some way, I was confident, not weary that he was going to be the doctor we interacted with today (which is not the normal feeling, Eric has commented every time this particular doctor leaves after a consult that he feels defeated).    The ultrasound appointment started with us finding out we would not be taking measurements of Thatcher’s body, or of his head, which was both surprising and honestly a bummer to us.  This ultrasound was a regular biophysical profile (bpp), where they would check for amniotic fluid, heart rate, movements, and breathing movements.  In each in bpp Thatcher has 30 minutes to complete each category.  As soon as she turned on the ultrasound machine there was a picture of Thatcher’s stomach and arms.  His arms were curled in tight and his little hands were clenched.  This was a punch in the gut simply because it was exactly what the doctors predicted (I guess I just wasn’t expecting to see the results of his brain atrophy so quickly).  As soon as I caught my breath again I remembered that regardless of what we find on this ultrasound or regardless of what we don’t find, God is still God and no circumstance will change that, nor do I love my child any less, he is perfect just the was he is!  As the ultrasound continued his heart rate was 134, just as consistent and strong as it has been for the past couple of months, my amniotic fluid was 17.87, a good median number.  He passed both parts of movement!! He kicked/punched 3 times (he really moved a lot more, they just needed to document 3), and he stretched out, what they call a tone movement.  And finally, he passed his breathing movement!  Since there was time left, I asked if we could get a rough measurement of the ventricles to see if the swelling has gone up or down or stayed the same.  Genevieve, our wonderful sonographer (ultrasound tech) the same one who was at the hospital, agreed and got some quick measurements for us.  The right ventricle measured around 10.2 mm of fluid, and the left 11 mm of fluid, right around the same measurements as last week.  This just confirmed what they speculated last week, the fluid is due to atrophy in Thatcher’s brain and not due to some sort of blockage.  Genevieve then decided she wanted to get some good pictures of Thatcher’s face for us.  As she moved the Doppler down (up rather) to his face we were blown away by what we saw.   Thatcher had his left hand flat on his face with his thumb in his mouth!!! Mind you, this is the child we were told last week that any movement he has now is solely reflexive, and his arm movement will be very stiff and uncontrolled and will have no ability to move his hands.  This same child had his fingers relaxed flat against his face and he was sucking on his thumb!!!! (sucking, yet another thing he “won’t” be able to do)  Genevieve attempted to get a 3D picture of this, but as she changed it to 3D he grasped his tiny fingers into a fist and showed us what you would normally think of as a sucking hand!! Once again she kept on trying to get a good picture (he is smashed up against my placenta so every 3D picture looks distorted) and Thatcher moved his arm back down to his chest and pointed up with his pointer finger!! Yeah, nice “reflexive” movements….  It was incredibly humbling to see my sweet baby boy defying doctors!   Why was God allowing us to see this?  It’s not like we were being rewarded for praying so many times on the way down to the appointment, or because we used the name of God so many times yesterday.  God was/is working with Thatcher’s abilities but He didn’t need to show us what He is doing.  We are so undeserving of any affirmation that God is healing our son, but oh what an amazing gift to see those tiny fingers move, and see him suck!  Regardless of if his fingers are clenched in the next ultrasound or when he is born, God revealed He hears our prayers and is working in and through His child, Thatcher Caleb!!  I fully believe this little show was less for our benefit as it was for our “worst case scenario” doctor.  This is the doctor that told us Thatcher may not live to birth, or perhaps only a few moments, or months but with no quality of life.  Today, he came in and said “Baby actually looks pretty good today” and went through how Thatcher passed his bpp and he mentioned how Thatcher sucked his thumb.  Mind you, the brain damage is still there so all of our prognoses are still very possible.  BUT a) The doctor called Thatcher a “baby”, last week he was a “fetus” b) he acknowledged our child was moving with the tiniest hint of surprise in his voice c) he acknowledged Thatcher was sucking his thumb, something exactly a week before he declared would never happen. All I wanted to do in that moment was yell out  “God is in control and He is proving you wrong!” but I figured God was clearly showing this doctor something and really didn’t need my “in your face” words. 

When we got in the car, I looked down and saw the pregnancy devotional I read earlier and brought with me.  Once again God provided a little reminder that He is always with us.  This devotional about fingers that I read a day early, reminding me I may never see my child use his.  God allowed me to see my sweet baby boy use his fingers, grasping and relaxing them.  Why in the world did He choose to bless us in such a way today, or allow us to be apart of Him defying doctors, I will never know.  All I know is that the same thing I said yesterday, I will say today and will say tomorrow, “God is sovereign and He is in control of Thatcher’s story, no one else!” 

     Thank you Father for hearing our prayers and allowing us to see how You are moving.  We are so undeserving of Your grace and Your goodness.  Thank you for today and the many mercies you have poured down on us.  Thank you for pressing it upon people’s hearts to pray for your child, Thatcher.  Thank you for using him to remind a doctor today that You are the Great Physician.  I pray that we will remain thankful for each day and the mercies and challenges it brings.  Lord, we know more than ever that You are the ultimate Healer and we boldly come to you and ask for Your healing hand to be placed on sweet Thatcher’s head and you perform such a miracle so no doctor can deny You or Your sovereign power!
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

The end of the hospital stay... (2/16)

Thursday 2/16
Thursday began much more quickly than the first few days had. A different pediatric neurologist stopped by our room even before he began his rounds to let us know he was going to look at the images of Thatcher’s head and that he would be back by in a few hours to discuss what he determines from them, and he stuck to his word. He came back in and we dove right in to another diagnosis and possible prognosis for Thatcher. This time we were given some “cautious optimism” as the doctor put it. He provided for us an entirely objective look at Thatcher’s scans, he purposefully had no history, and focused on the brain scans only, so as to be as objective as possible about his diagnosis. He let us know that both he and the neuro-radiologist who looked at the scans with him, believed that it could possibly be Aqueductal-Stenosis, which is a treatable condition. The prognosis to go with it is essentially what the world would consider a normal life and normal life expectancy. The thing that you have to know about this consult is that we weren’t even supposed to meet with this doctor. God had put it in motion that we would several days earlier. Our friend, Brittney, was in the room when the news was initially broken, recommended him as a great neurologist, and then she was able to let him know of our story, so he went out of his way to meet with us. God certainly is in control here. The meeting was quickly followed by another consult with a maternal fetal medicine surgeon (the one who broke the news to us on Tuesday night). He immediately shot down the idea of Aqueductal-Stenosis and took it off the table of possible diagnosis. He let us know that we would be meeting with a neo-natologist (fancy word for a high-risk pediatrician) later that day, broke the news to us that Thatcher would almost certainly be delivered via C-section, and that we could expect to be discharged that afternoon. The neo-natologist came in a few hours later with a lady from the CAPS (chronic and palliative care team) to go over what to expect during the actual birthing process as well as possible measures of intervention and care for Thatcher. It was both a good and very tough meeting. We were able to discuss and talk about how we will fight for Thatcher no matter what that looks like, we want him to have the best chance possible, and we will do anything and everything possible for him when he is born, but at the same time we had to look at the other side of the coin and discuss decisions that no parent should ever have to make for their newborn child. Such as resuscitation, ventilation, ect. They helped us develop a birth plan and were on their way. Needless to say the day was pretty up and down, and with a day like that, after spending a week in the hospital and having more possibilities then answers you would expect to get frustrated (trust us, when we begin to focus on it, we get pretty frustrated). But it just made us chuckle, that yes these doctors are very knowledgeable and we are thankful for their wisdom and professional opinions; they really have no clue what to expect. It was just yet another reminder that God is in control, and only He knows Thatcher’s story, and He will write it however He sees fit. In between meetings with doctors God orchestrated different encounters to keep us focused on Him, and to let us know that He was with us and in control. From our nurse walking in declaring that she is a Christian and that she sees miracles in the hospital everyday to the many encouraging emails, phone calls, texts, facebook posts, and messages. We even realized that God was using this situation to answer a prayer that Eric has had this entire pregnancy. Eric has prayed that God would be alive in our home, that he would have stories to share with Thatcher to illustrate that our God is not just a character spoken about in the bible but that He is alive and well and working in and around our lives and the lives of others. Well, we have heard so many stories of God’s grace, healing power, His dominion and might, and we are currently witnessing the body of Christ move in a way that we’ve never seen before. God is certainly alive, and He is doing big things. Whitney’s dad was sent a message from a friend in Qatar who was approached by a friend of hers who wanted to share the story of a young couple living in the Woodlands and their sweet baby boy. This woman does not know us, and our friend has no idea how she found out about Thatcher’s story, but this is just another example of how God is using Thatcher to reach people across the globe.
We continue to be humbled by the support of the body of Christ, by your prayers and your faith that God is truly sovereign. We will continue to pray knowing that He can and believing that He will heal Thatcher, in accordance to His will. We simply ask that you join us in this prayer.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

The day with the neurologists... (2/15)

Wednesday 2/15
The majority of today was a waiting game. This morning we met with the maternal fetal medicine surgeon (the same doctor who brought us the MRI results last night) to make sure we understood what information was given last night and to answer any questions we had. There weren't any new developments, or a change to his prognosis. The positives out of the meeting were he admitted it's his job to give us a worst case scenario picture, and Thatcher not making it to delivery or only living a few hours is our worst case scenario. Also, he agreed with us that Thatcher's movements and his "breathing practice" were good signs of some basic functions. This afternoon we met with the pediatric neurologist who essentially had the same diagnosis, major atrophy to Thatcher's gray and white brain tissue resulting in hydrocephalus exvacuo (enlarged ventricles) but a much improved prognosis. She couldn't give us a life expectancy, put a cap as to how long he might live. She did say he will be in an infantile state for the duration of his life. He will struggle with mental retardation, seizures, movement ability and control, ability to chew, to go the restroom, to sit, to walk among many other challenges. BUT that's not what today was about, the things Thatcher won't be able to do. Today was full of peace, of a renewal of our spirits, revelations of God's goodness, and full of evidence of God's miracles both big and small. We have prayed from the beginning of this pregnancy that God would use Thatcher in a big way to bring glory to His name. Today, God used Thatcher to bring people together from all over the US to The Netherlands, Africa, China, Greece, and Australia to look to Him in prayer. A baby who they've told us will not develop past infancy has done more for the Kingdom of God before he is even born than his two parents have ever done! Praise God! We are more convinced than ever that He is using our child to bring glory to His name and will continue to do so in a big way. We are continuing to trust in Him, our Creator and Perfecter of life. We know He can heal and we believe He will heal His child, our sweet baby Thatcher. Thank you all for your prayers, stories of healing, and encouraging words. We are so humbled and blessed by the out-pouring of love from our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We only ask that you continue to go to God with expectancy of Him healing sweet Thatcher in accordance to His will.

The first day in the hospital... (2/14)

Tuesday 2/14
We got the results from the MRI this evening, the doctors have basically given up on Thatcher, they said that the MRI revealed that there is significant atrophy to Thatcher's brain in both the upper and lower parts, they do not know how long he will live once he comes and they don't know that he will even make it to delivery. They have told us to enjoy what time we have with him and prepare as best we can... We have not given up. We know Thatcher is God's child, he is still here and he is still alive and we will continue to pray boldly for healing fully knowing that God is bigger than anything, any ailment or disease or sickness. Thatcher is still kicking and we rejoice in every move that he makes, we will fiercely love this child no matter what God's will is for him. Thank you so much for your prayers and support this far, please continue to pray for healing.We love you all and are so humbled by your prayers. Facebook and text messages are fine but please allow us some time to wrap our minds around all of this and take it all in.

The day it all began (2/13)

Monday 2/13
Hi friends, there's a lot to share so I thought a note would work best. We went to my Whit's obgyn this morning for Thatcher's 36 wk visit, and 3rd trimester ultrasound. On the ultrasound he measured a little small at 4.11 lbs so her doctor decided to do a non-stress test to make sure his heart rate was good and was reacting normal with movements. Thatcher failed that test, so we were sent to the hospital to try again and to get a biophysical profile (an ultrasound where they test his amniotic fluid, his movement, his lung/diaphragm movement, and placenta.) He failed the nst again and on the bpp the radiologist found swelling in both ventricles of Thatchers brain caused by an old brain bleed that had gone unnoticed. We were sent downtown for further testing and for an MRI to see what brain damage were looking at. Since arriving downtown Thatcher has PASSED a non-stress test, weighed in at 5.4 lbs and has more fluid around him! So MRI has been postponed and another bpp has been scheduled for 8 am tomorrow. They claim the drs in the woodlands may have misread the original nsts and the bpp and they are reassured with the way thatcher is responding. We know these positive results are the outcome of God's healing power from our friends and family praying on our behalf! We are now asking all of you to join us in boldly asking God to completely heal Thatcher and stump the specialists who are coming to do an ultrasound at 8am tomorrow! Thank you for praying with us for our sweet baby Thatcher!!!

From the top...

Just in case you can't tell... from left to right we have:
Eric, Whitney, Thatcher Caleb
Thatcher has been a precious miracle baby from the very start.  We set out on the long road to starting a family in March of 2010, just nine months after we got married.  Eric and I have always loved children and have dreamt about the prospects of starting our own family long before we were even married (dating for 7 years, 4 of those long distance, allows for plenty of time for dreaming).  I have PCOS, polysystic ovarian syndrome, so we were aware our road to a family might be longer than others.  After 8 months of me not ovulating we decided we’d see what options my doctor could suggest.  We tried the more natural route of metformin to which my body did not respond to so we began clomid.  In April of 2011, we experienced the joy of what it feels like to see 2 lines on a pregnancy test! God had answered our prayers; we were going to have a baby!!! You see, at the time I felt entitled to a good pregnancy.  We walked with my sister during a miscarriage a year before, so logically I thought “OK God, we’ve gone through a trial with pregnancy in our family, so I know you will make sure my pregnancy will be smooth sailing”.  I prayed all the time about our baby and was so thankful that God had decided to bless us in such a way.  But because I felt that little bit of entitlement, looking back I now know I was focused and living for my circumstance and not simply seeking the face of God.  The next couple of weeks were ridden with fear and anxiety because pregnancy levels were not rising like they were supposed to.  We lost our precious angel baby in early May of 2011 when he was only 5 ½ wks old in my womb.  Yes, our world was turned upside down and I have never felt more alone or desperate in my life.  Just two weeks after my miscarriage I felt this nudge to get back into the word, but I was scared.  I had never been in a trial that made me question God’s spoken word and I knew of some verses that I couldn’t reconcile with, Romans 8:28 in particular.  I was already in such a vulnerable position, if I began questioning God’s word who knows what road that would have led me down. Luckily, God doesn’t give up on His children and the Holy Spirit would not leave me alone.  Once I had gotten back into The Word I realized I had stepped outside of God’s protection.  Somewhere along the line I began relying on myself and my abilities instead of God, Jehovah Jireh, my provider!  Although I would have preferred the lesson to come in a different form, God used our miscarriage to draw me back to Him.  For the first time in my life I was experiencing the peace written about in Philippians, the Peace of God that surpasses all understanding.  It was this peace that God showered down on me the entire summer of 2011.  I was able to be thankful for the day that I was in and not think about the next day.  I was able to worship freely regardless of my circumstances that day.  It was during this time that we found out that God has blessed us with another pregnancy; we were pregnant with our sweet baby Thatcher!!  I knew there was nothing I could do to change what the outcome would be with this pregnancy, God already had Thatcher’s story written down.  I used each day of the early part of his pregnancy to be thankful for that day, one more day with our precious baby, and nothing more.  Don’t let me fool you, Satan has attacked and distracted us almost on a daily basis, but by the grace of God we have continued to run after God and seek His presence.  Throughout this pregnancy we have had three continual prayers for our son.  The first prayer goes along with his name.  We chose the name Thatcher Caleb for a reason. Thatcher, well, we just liked it and thought it was unique.  We chose Caleb from the Caleb that is written about in Numbers.  We have prayed our Caleb will be like his namesake and will courageously stand firm on the promises of God regardless of what the opposition looks like.  We have prayed that this is God’s child, not ours, may He use Thatcher to bring glory to His name and use us to be godly stewards in his life as we raise him in accordance to God’s holy word.   The third prayer came mostly from Eric. He wants to be able to share stories with Thatcher about a God who is very much alive and moving in our communities today.  He has prayed that God would somehow allow him to gather stories from people about how God has moved in their lives in a big way.   I think that about catches us up (in a very reader’s digest sort of way) to this past week.