Monday, July 28, 2008


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

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

I have been thinking about these two passages a lot lately. These past couple of weeks, I have started to wonder where my hope has gone. I tend to be a positive and optimistic person, trying to see the bright side of things and finding the silver lining. Lately, though, it has been hard to see past the muddled mess of what's in front of me... the countless contradictions of who God is and will always be, and the circumstances we're currently facing.

Recently, Spencer and I were talking about how this time last year, we felt like we finally had been given a reprieve of the "hard stuff." We had finished our 2 1/2 year "get out of debt" plan, had moved into a great house into a great neighborhood, had the opportunity to travel overseas for two weeks with family, see my sister get married... life was good. Just a few short months later, though, it all started to come crashing down. We were facing one thing after another... my miscarrige, my mother-in-law's cancer, and now what we're facing with Isaac. Towards the end of the conversation, I got trapped into the thinking of, "Well maybe for us, it's just supposed to always be hard."

The following day, Spencer and I went out to go rent a movie. In the sky was one of the most glorious rainbows I had ever seen. There weren't a lot of trees or buildings obstructing my view, and it just seemed to stretch so high and wide... and the colors were vibrant. I was immediately reminded of Noah, and how God sent him a rainbow after the flood. I just about lost it (which isn't hard for me these days), feeling as if the Lord was just speaking to me saying, "Stacy... I am faithful. Life WILL feel good again... I WILL turn your mourning to laughter and weeping to singing... you CAN trust Me. I have GOOD plans for you." There's a trite little saying that goes something like, "It takes both sun and rain to make a rainbow." I guess we're just in the midst of the thick rains; but God reminded me that day that the sun WILL shine again.

I really wish Isaac could have seen the rainbow, too.

As you continue to pray for us, would you please pray that Spencer and I would hold on to the truths in these scriptures? That God would fill us with joy, and peace, and hope as we continue to trust in His ways, even though we don't understand them and they are extremely painful? And would you pray that God would contiue to use Isaac's life to draw people closer to Him?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today's Ultrasound

We had one of our "routine" ultrasounds today at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine group. The ultrasound tech was sweet, and when we went in, I asked her if she could get some good pictures for us. Here are a few, and I have no idea what that thing sticking out on the first one is...

And the ever famous thumbs up shot again...this time with an open hand.

We didn't get a chance to speak with the doctor because she was called out of the office for an emergency at the hospital, but I was able to later speak with her on the phone. She was able to address many of my questions, and was able to put my mind at ease a bit with regard to Isaac's omphalocele adhereing to the uterine wall. I explained my (unwarrented?) fear of needing an emergency hysterectomy, and she said that she didn't think that the fact that it was adhered would affect my body at all. This definitely came as a relief, though for some reason I still feel a little worried about it.

That's about it... not much else to report, but it was nice to get a chance to see Isaac today. Particularly those 4-D pictures!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


There are two women whose blogs I frequent regularly. Both of these women recently carried babies to term, or close to it, who they knew had a slim chance of survival, barring a miracle. Like me, their doctors may have discussed termination with them numerous times. Like me, their prenatal sheets may have also read "unviable fetus." That phrase bothers me... don't those doctors know that they're talking about my son? My Isaac? That's besides the point, here, though.

Both of these women recently wrote about Moses on their blogs. I admit, I don't usually spend a lot of time in the Old Testament. Particularly in times of trial. If I do, it's usually in Psalms. This past weekend, however, I did read through most of Job. After seeing what they had written, I decided to take a look at these passages about Moses in Exodus... passages I have read before, but haven't revisited in quite a while. Specifically, I was captivated by Exodus 3 and 4.

You may be familiar with the "Sunday School" story of Moses and the burning bush. God appears to Moses and calls to him. I was struck by what I read in chapter 3 verse 6, which says, Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." This might seem ordinary, unless you have a son named Isaac. I was so glad to remember that God isn't just God of the universe, but that He's my God... and He's Isaac's God.

As the passage continues, God tells Moses that He wants him to go to Pharoah and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. This is obviously no small task, and one for which Moses feels very ill-equipped. He makes that clear by the numerous questions he then asks God...

"Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

"Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

"O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

Each time Moses protests, God answers him.

Eventually, Moses just plainly beckons God and says, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

I found that so refreshing. Moses, who is given as an example of one who had great faith... even he felt that God's call was more than he would be able to bear and asked for someone to go in his place.

The path that God has called Spencer and me to feels like more than I can bear. I feel so much like Moses, with so many questions and so many reasons why I am not capable of carrying a cross this heavy.

In response to Moses, God tells him that his brother, Aaron, is already on his way. God has gone before Moses and prepared a way for him by sending his brother Aaron.

I know that the same is true for Spencer and I. God has gone before us in this. In some ways, I see that very clearly already. In other ways, I know I have yet to see it unfold, but am hoping to have the eyes and heart to recognize it when I do.

This Friday we have another ultrasound. It was supposed to be next week, but for various reasons I moved it up. Would you please pray that we would be able to enjoy our time "visiting" with Isaac and getting to see him? Those moments can be very bittersweet. Would you please pray that the doctors would find nothing else wrong? At my last ultrasound, there was mention that the omphalocele (the abdominal hernia) may have started to attach itself to my body. The perinatologist didn't seem overly concerned, but since nothing would surprise me at this point, I very much was. Would you please continue to seek God with us an asking Him for a miracle? And lastly, would you please pray that God would continue to strengthen our hearts, help us to not lose hope of one day having a healthy child, and that He would make His perfect peace very real to us?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Full Moon

I am not superstitious. However, I did notice that Friday night there was a full moon, and the way my last two days have been, I start to wonder...

Friday's appointment was good in the sense that my doctor spent a lot of time with us answering questions and and processing things with us. What was frustrating was that I was told that I would most likely need to have a classic c-section. Once you've had a classic c-section, you are no longer a candidate for a regular birth. Additionally, there tends to be the risk of there being more scar tissue because the incision is larger. This is not what I had wanted to hear.

We left a few hours later for our trip to upstate New York to celebrate my father-in-law's 60th birthday. About 4 1/2 hours into the trip, the electrical parts of the car starting acting funny... lights on the dash started blinking, and as they did, the headlines would dim in and out. We pulled of the exit and into a gas station, and turned the car off. Upon trying to restart it, it was dead. So, we're in some rural part of New York, still 2 hours from our destination, getting a tow to a random mechanic at 10:00 at night. Thankfully, Spencer's sisters were able to come pick us up. We were also told that the problem was the battery, and the mechanic was able to fix the car that evening. For a situation that could have been a lot worse, it went as smoothly as it could. I was surprised at how calm both Spencer and I were able to remain!

Today I found out that a close friend of mine is pregnant. So are two other ladies in my department at my new school. It is so hard for me to hear news like this because I don't know how to respond. Of course I am happy, but it hurts my heart that our sweet Isaac isn't going to make it... that a healthy baby isn't our story. It's so hard to not feel so incredibly jealous and so incredibly frustrated... and to be honest, our situation sometimes makes me downright angry. That jealousy is something I am still having a hard time learning how to manage.

Like I said... there was a full moon on Friday. And no, I am still not superstitious... :)

I just feel like it has been one thing after another these last few days, and I am growing a bit weary in being strong. I seriously feel like I am just entrenched in this Job season... and I feel like I have just had enough. I could really use your prayers in figuring out how to manage my jealousy and how to guard my heart against that. Life just feels so heavy right now, and I miss the days where I felt more care-free and joy came so simply. I know that season will return, but walking through the valley can be so hard. Thanks for praying and for your continued encouragement.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Week

Admittedly, this has been a really hard week for me. It definitely started on Sunday morning with my little breakdown at church, and I've really felt about the same since. Someone commented to me recently that this blog seems upbeat and extremely positive, almost as if I don't really have hard days.

The truth is, I do, and I want you to know that. I am heartbroken over this, and I would give anything for this to be different... for Isaac to be a healthy baby, developing and growing just as he should. Here's a little secret... I cry. Often. Daily, in fact. Not for hours, but just a few minutes here or there. Usually it is because of a song I am hearing (why does music always seem to do that to me?), other times it's because of things I start to think about. I was listening to the song Angie sent me that she at Todd wrote for their daughter, Audrey. I would be lieing if I said that there was this one line that really touched me, because truthfully, all of them do. But this one part of the song came to mind recently...

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on.
But there's a greater story written long before me
Because He loves you like this.

That's me some days... barely hanging on. The only reason I am is because I know that God never lets me go, and I can hold to the hope and the truth that He has written Isaac's life into a story greater than the one that I can see. That doesn't make this easy; but it makes it bareable. And in a seemingly hopeless situation, it brings us hope.

On Friday we have a "routine" prenatal appointment with my OB. I have a lot of questions for her regarding my c-section and follow-up testing and evaluation. I also hope that we will be able to discuss the radiologist's findings from our visit to Children's on June 17. I have a few more questions about that which I am hoping to have answered. These appointments tend to be very uneventful, so I am not too sure about what to ask you to pray for. Please pray that my mind would be put at ease by her responses, because I am petrified of a c-section even though I haven't had the energy to even begin to worry about that. Would you please also continue to pray for God to intervene and heal Isaac? And lastly, would you please pray for ongoing comfort and peace for Spencer and I as we continue to navigate these deep and unknown waters?

Thank you for continuing to walk this road and bear this burden with us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Normal

Over the last few days I have had the opportunity to meet up with several friends, some of whom I see pretty regularly, and others I haven't seen in a while. I love being able to touch base and talk about life.

Obviously, during these conversations, Isaac came up a lot. I love the questions that I am asked by people because it not only shows that you care, but also helps me to reflect. One conclusion I have come to this past week is that Spencer and I are learning to adjust to what I call our "new normal."

This "new normal" is all about figuring out how to do life well in the meantime... figuring out how to have joy in our days, while still staying connected to the reality of what we're facing. It's a delicate balance, and one that is constantly shifting. There are mornings where I can wake up and feel great, go for a walk with Spencer, make a nice breakfast before church, and then fall apart at the words of a seemingly upbeat worship song in church.

That's what happened yesterday. I was really looking forward to going to church, but for some reason, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord," one of my favorite songs we sing, just brought me to hysterical tears. I managed to hold it together through "Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering. Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name. I fell apart at "You give and take away, You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.

I realized that I have been having a hard time that the Lord would give us a son, only to take him away soon thereafter. I often don't understand why God would do that, when the desire to have children is an honorable and holy one.

And so this is our "new normal." Allowing those moments to happen, but knowing that God is near to us in the midst of them. Allowing ourselves to find joy in the midst of heartache, and being glad to rest there even for just a little bit. Figuring out how to do life well in the meantime.

Thank you for continuing to pray with us and for us, and for your continued encouragement.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


No real updates to share. My next doctor's appointment isn't until Friday, July 18. So for today, just a few reflections.

I have been overwhelmed by the e-mails and comments I have received from you, and
I wanted to share a couple of thoughts in response to the kind and encouraging words you all have left for me. First, in the ten years that I was as a Young Life leader, we frequently reflected on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 in leadership meetings, or at camp. This verse reads, We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

In some ways it has been very theraputic for me to share this aspect of my life with you. Moreso, however, it is my hope that when you stop and linger here, you are able to see a greater glimpse of our Father... not because I have written eloquently (or not!), but because His presence is real. And so I hope that in some small way, this blog is a testament to 1 Thessalonians 2:8... that what you find here is not only my life, but the gospel of God.

Another thought I wanted to share stemmed from an e-mail I received from a dear friend who shared with me some encouragement from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31... Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.

I know that in some ways it may seem "foolish" to continue a pregnancy with a poor prognosis and the likelihood of a very grim outcome. Logic would say, why bother? This, though, isn't God's wisdom. God is bigger than all of this. I truly believe that at any time He could intervene and restore Isaac's health, just like He did for Abraham when he provided the ram in the thicket, when He healed the leper, when He made the lame man walk, and when He healed the bleeding woman. That's His choice and His perogative... not mine. All of Isaac's days have already been ordained, and I know that my job is simply to love him fully while he is with us.

You see, as I wrote in my letter to sweet Isaac this morning, he is already having an impact. His life matters... it has significance, both in the present, and eternally. To intervene with that would be foolish. Rather, I have the joy of getting to feel his little kicks and wiggles, and getting to see my son's life impact the lives of others. As a mother, there is no greater gift. I am so proud of him.

Lastly, many of you have commented on how you've been inspired by my faith. This is the part where verse 31 comes in... Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. My faith can only be as genuine as to the degree that God is real, and that He is who He says He is. So I would encourage you, that if you've somehow been inspired by what you've read here, then be compelled to get to know Him more.

I also wanted to say that in no way is every day an easy day. In fact, most days are hard. It's hard to feel "normal." It's hard to see other young moms with their little ones at the pool, receive comments from strangers asking if this is my first baby, and every time I feel Isaac move and kick to know that unless God changes things, I will be asked to give him back. It's hard to love your baby so much, and know that you're going to have to give him away. So please don't think that there isn't grief and there isn't pain; there is. It's deep, and it's real. I would never want my faith to come across as a facade that masks any of that. Rather, God meets me in the midst of it. He provides just enough grace for each day... each moment, and shows me His peace. He has graciously allowed Isaac's story to impact the lives of others, and for that He is good.

I can't thank you enough for continuing to walk this road with us, for praying for us, and for your words of encouragement. They continue to be a source of strength.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meeting with Neonatologist

I feel almost like I need to start a "layman's terms" medical dictionary to define all of these doctors and various medical terms. Hopefully you've been able to keep up.

Yesterday we met with the director of neonatology at Shady Grove Hospital. She also happens to be a geneticist, so her insights were particularly helpful. The consultation went well, and she was able to ease my mind with things like the fact that Shady Grove has all private rooms, they do mark the rooms of patients who have suffered an infant loss, they can put a little outfit on Isaac, etc. What was a bit frustrating was that she hadn't been faxed my file from the perinatologist, which happened to include all of the reports from Children's. So, it was a little more difficult to discuss the medical side of things, but we managed. She has requested that Spencer and I make an appoinment in September to meet with her, the head NICU nurse, a social worker from the hospital, and a few other key folks to review our birth plan and to talk things through. I will have had at least one more ultrasound before then, so there will be even more updated information to discuss.

I have very mixed feelings about going shopping for Isaac's outfit. Usually that would be a "going home" outfit... and in our reality, it still is... just a different home than we have been hoping for. I am also on a mission to find the softest, snuggliest blue blanket out there... maybe one made of chenille. I know it will be bittersweet looking for these things, but I hope to enjoy it as much as possible, like any expectant mother would.

I wish there were more to update you on, but at this point there isn't really any new news. We deeply appreciate your continued prayers, encouragement, and for loving us like Jesus.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Love Them Like Jesus

Many of you have asked me lately what you can do for Spencer and I, if there's anything we need, and things along those lines. I want you to know that we genuinely apprecaite your care and concern.

Yesterday while taking a break between all of the 4th of July festivities, Spence and I plopped outselves in front of the t.v. I, naturally, fell asleep, and woke about a little while later to Spencer watching a Casting Crowns concert on some gospel music channel (which I didn't even know existed!).

The song that was on was "Love Them Like Jesus." The second verse in particular just overwhelmed me (for obvious reasons when you read it), but overall I thought the song was a great answer to the question of, "What can we do for you?"

To be honest, I don't know. Some days I just need to be distracted and other days I need a listening ear and the space to vent and to just "be." But I thought that the message of this song was a good answer to that question that so many you have graciously and generously asked...

Love Them Like Jesus

The love of her life is drifting away
They're losing the fight for another day
The life that she's known is falling apart
A fatherless home, a child's broken heart

You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You trying to make - sense of it all
She's desperate for hope, darkness clouding her view
She's looking to you

Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus

The gifts lie in wait, in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to gray
As the little one slips away

You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You're trying to make sense of it all
They're desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They're looking to you

Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus

Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands
He cares for them just as He cares for you

So love them like Jesus, love them like Jesus
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Love them like Jesus

On Monday we meet with the head neonatologist at Shady Grove Hospital. I can already tell you that I have a lot of anxiety about this appointment because no expectant mother (or father)should have to make decisions about life support, resuscitation, and other end-of-life issues for their newborn (or at this point, unborn) child. I feel so inadequate (among other things) to be doing this.

Would you please continue to pray for wisdom for Spencer and I? Would you please pray that God would give us peace with our decisions and would guard our hearts from any sort of guilt regarding the decisions we make? And of course, would you please continue to pray for a miracle for our sweet baby Isaac? I truly believe, that even in the eleventh hour, God could change all of this if it is His plan. If it's not, then I know He will continue to be close to us and give us His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you for walking this road with us. We appreciate you more than you could know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today's Ultrasound

My heart just melted today when sweet Isaac gave us a thumbs up during today's ultrasound. His poor little body has so many things that are not right, and sometimes I really worry about whether or not he's in pain and can't stand it that I can't do anything for him. His little thumbs up was almost as if to say, "I'm okay in here, Mommy!" It was just the sweetest thing, and I am so thankful that the nice ultrasound tech was able to capture this shot for us.

Today's visit didn't hold any suprises. We knew what we would be hearing, really, although in the back of our minds know that at any second God could change all of this. We had a nice talk with Dr. Gallagher who very gently delivered to us the same news that we heard at Children's two weeks ago, and patiently answered my many questions. In a way, it was good to go today because during our visits with the doctors at Children's I felt like my head was just spinning. Today I had a bit more clarity.

Here are a few more shots. The first is one of Isaac waving, and the other a frontal view of his face.

Thank you to the many of you who have continued to pray for me, Spencer, and sweet Isaac and who have left words of encouragement for us either here or through e-mail. They have been a source of strength for us through this journey, and I want you to know how much we appreciate it.