Numbers Went Up Without a Transfusion!

Quick update on Nora’s HDN (hemolytic disease of the newborn.)

During Nora’s last appointment with the hematologist we found out she was allowed to go two whole weeks between blood checks, which was wonderful but kind of scary for me. Yesterday they finally checked her blood again to see how her body has been doing trying to make it’s own red blood cells and fighting the anemia. Well, for the first time EVER in her life she was able to get her hematocrit and hemoglobin levels up without a transfusion. That is great news! Two weeks ago her h&h were 31.7 and 11.1 and yesterday they were 33.6 and 11.6. It’s not a huge jump but it’s going up instead of down, FINALLY. They will check her again in two weeks and if it’s still rising, then she is completely over the antibodies and HDN and doesn’t need anymore blood work or transfusions. This is what we’ve been praying and waiting for for so long. I was hoping she would be cleared by Christmas but now it looks like she might be over it by Halloween! Thank you all again for praying for her. She is such a fun, sweet baby and we love having her in our family.

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When the Leaves on the Trees Turn Scarlet

On this day one year ago a little girl was born at 37 weeks and six days. We had been praying for this baby and waiting for her birth for months. She was going to be our rainbow baby, our hope and redemption after the storm. Scarlet Mae. We had stared at her ultrasound pictures and fawned over every detail. On this day one year ago, I woke up like any other day. I worked on Scarlet’s nursery, I pumped milk every three hours for her. The boys rejoiced because the leaves on the trees were finally scarlet and that meant their baby sister was coming soon.

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We went about our day like normal, making sure our phones were close at hand in case “the call” came. I made sure her diaper bag was ready and her clothes were all washed and folded. I published a blog post and planned what to make for dinner. I texted Kailee like usual, just checking in on her and asking if she wanted to get in on the fun and make a prediction about when the baby would arrive. She never texted me back. EVER. She never answered another one of our calls or emails. EVER. Because she was giving birth at that very moment and instead of calling us to share the exciting news, she called two men in California. She had gotten what she wanted from us…emotional and financial support for her, her husband and her two children for almost the whole pregnancy. She discarded us like a used piece of trash. Instead of placing that baby in our arms that day, she placed the baby in the arms of two men who we knew nothing about. We went about our day and we had no idea that the thing we feared the most was happening at that moment. We had no idea we were being betrayed. There was no Scarlet Mae. She became Ava Mae that day.

My journal entries from last fall:

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Kailee is 38 weeks pregnant today. She still has had no prenatal care. I feel frustrated, helpless and antsy. I don’t know if Scarlet is ok, or if Kailee will follow through with her adoption plan. I feel like I’m going crazy waiting and wondering what will happen. I don’t know how to prepare for this. I don’t know what to expect. This is one of the weirdest places of my life.

Oh Lord, please be with Kailee and Scarlet today. Protect Scarlet and keep her alive and healthy. Please let her be OURS. Let us give her a happy childhood and a beautiful life. Please let us teach her about you some day. Please prepare our hearts and minds for what is going to come over the next 2-3 weeks. Also, I feel such a clear prodding of the Holy Spirit to do a miracle in my body. Come, Lord, do a miracle in my body. Show your awesome power through me. Do a miracle in my body.

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Still anxious. Still no word from Kailee. Still fearful and doubtful. I like this prayer by Amy Carmichael-

“My Father, all that has gone cold and lifeless in me…is it just your planned stillness before new life flows? Are the hands I’ve clenched in troubled prayer like tight leaf-buds, about to spread into open-handed praise, because your Spirit comes again? I believe, Father, that the joy of a new season in you is warming me right now…”

Please, Lord ❤

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I am completely overwhelmed with anxiety. Kailee and Peter are not communicating with me, completely ignoring my texts. Tomorrow she will be 39 weeks pregnant. I have no idea what to do. I feel so rejected, tricked, conned…what if this was her plan all along? What if we don’t get our Scarlet? The thought is too heartbreaking to fathom. How can I tell the boys that they’re not getting their baby sister Scarlet?

I can’t.

Oh Lord, PLEASE be gracious to me and come to my aid. Where are you? I don’t understand what is happening or how I should respond. Did I do something wrong? Please open up the lines of communication between us TODAY. Please Lord, DO something. Open your heart to my cry. Let us give this baby a wonderful life. Don’t let this end in another tragedy. Please give us this baby. We already love her so much. We are so ready for blessings instead of heartache. We are so broken. Will you allow us to be destroyed even more? We need you. Our lives are in your hands. You hold our lot. Please be gracious to us and show us your bountiful love. I love you.

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Still waiting, wondering and worrying. This morning I woke up incredibly angry at Kailee. How can she do this to us? Why is she ignoring us day after day? I am beyond frustrated with her and with this whole situation. I just want my Scarlet, in my arms, home and safe. This passage from Amy Carmichael is good for me today-

“Would I merely endure it, praying for the grace not to make too much over my poor circumstances? Or would my soul willingly enter into the iron of this new and difficult experience?…So there could be nothing but peaceful acceptance. And when one accepts, then all that is included in the thing accepted is accepted too- in my case, the helplessness, the limitations, the disappointments of hope deferred, the suffering. My Father, I will say- no matter what shadows of circumstance blow across my way- you are my Father of Lights. Coming down from heaven are good and perfect gifts to me…All the promises of your love and goodness are still…Yes! and Amen!”

We were devastated on October 25th when we found out that Kailee had tricked us and lied to us; when we had to tell the boys AGAIN that their little sister would not be coming home; when we had to clear out her nursery and pack away all the baby girl clothes. It seemed incomprehensible that this had happened after losing three babies the year before. We felt betrayed by God, forgotten and mocked and hopeless.

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Well, the thing we feared so deeply has come to pass. On October 25th Josh came upon an adoption page on Facebook and there he found pictures of “Scarlet”, already born and already adopted by two gay guys named Adam and Gary. They named her Ava Mae, even using the middle name I picked out in honor of my Mama-E. How cruel. We have no more money and very little hope left to try again. We are so sad and discouraged. This is the first time I’ve been able to bring myself to sit down and meet with God. I am still a bit numb and in disbelief at what has happened. I’m sitting in her empty nursery right now, thank goodness we never had time to set up the crib. All those beautiful, precious baby girl clothes, packed away again, unused, collecting dust. My heart just aches.

Lord, I don’t understand how you could allow this. How much heartache do you think we can take? We are so broken. We are so tired of loss and grief. Please heal us and bless us with a third child we can keep. Help me trust you again. I want to drink you in and be filled up with YOU. Take away my bitterness, guilt, anger and hurt and help me to forgive Kailee and Peter.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Lord, what do you want from me? Why do you allow all of this suffering in my life? Please don’t take my boys or Josh next.

I was at one of the lowest points of my life. We had no idea that the very next year our own baby would be born at exactly 37 weeks and six days. Instead of waiting for the call, we would be the ones calling our family and spreading the news that our miracle girl had been born healthy.

Today I am not celebrating my daughter’s first birthday and it’s ok. In fact, I’m thankful that I’m not throwing a first birthday party and that I get to celebrate the three month old miracle in my arms instead. I’m rejoicing in God’s faithfulness and I see now that He didn’t betray me on this day one year ago. He was getting ready to redeem our pain and loss in the best way ever.

When we found out we would not be adopting Scarlet I was tempted to give up on God. I doubted everything I had ever heard Him tell me. The events of our life did not seem to match up with the promises He had made me. But I decided to cling harder to Him instead of giving up on Him. When you feel like everything is spiraling out of control and God has turned His back on you, give Him one more chance. When it feels like He has abandoned you and your world is nothing but heartache, CHOOSE to trust Him. I know I have said this many times but I will say it again because it seems to have become the theme of my life… step out of your comfort zone and into His plan for your life, even when it seems absolutely ridiculous because that’s when He will reveal Himself to you. He can use even the deepest loss and sharpest pain to create something beautiful. I’m so glad I chose to give Him one more chance.

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The leaves on the trees are turning scarlet again and last year when we lost “Scarlet” I thought the changing colors would always be a bitter reminder of the pain and failure we felt. But this year it feels like redemption is blooming on those trees. When I see the colors of fall all around I see God’s goodness and I thank Him for all that He has done in this past year. When I prayed and begged Him to give us our daughter last fall HE DID. Nora was conceived when the leaves turned scarlet and the boys’ little sister did arrive, just in a totally different way than I was expecting. And His way was better.FullSizeRender-44

Goodbye Antibodies

This week has been another big milestone in this long journey of ours, and it has been a good one. Nora’s weekly blood work finally started looking better this week. Her hematocrit and hemoglobin still went down, but just barely. I think last week they were 33 and 12 and this week they were 31 and 11. She still isn’t close to transfusion level. We were so excited to see that her retic shot up this week, which shows us that her body is finally making red blood cells like it should be. When she had her first couple IUTs in the second trimester, her body stopped making blood. Finally, six months later, she is now making blood on her own!! The most wonderful news though, was when her hematologist told us that when he ran a titer test to see how strong the antibodies were in her system it came back NEGATIVE! For the first time ever, Nora no longer has my anti-kell antibodies in her body trying to destroy her blood. What a relief. I almost cried when they told me because I felt like she had finally beat the antibodies and was FREE. It still feels so unreal and amazing. Thank you, Lord, for answering our many prayers and for saving Nora’s life.

Nora now gets to go two whole weeks before her next blood check. I am so happy that I don’t have to drive the hour to Birmingham next week and watch them stick her with a needle. The doctor said as long as the next two blood results look good, she doesn’t have to have any more transfusions. EVER.

Thank you all for praying for us and sticking with us over the past year. I can’t believe we are almost done forever with the anemia and the appointments and especially the fear of losing our daughter.

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On the long, weekly drive to the hospital. She’s becoming a very good little traveler.

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                                              Celebrating NO MORE ANTIBODIES!