Birth Day and Miracle Part 2

(I’ve had this post written for awhile sitting in the draft box.  For some reason, I haven’t felt ready to post it till now.  It takes a long time to process something like this, and I wanted to make sure I was sharing exactly what the Lord wanted me to.  One day, I hope to document the process and emotions after a year like we endured.  I didn’t even realize how much I needed to heal. Thank you to all my friends and family who have given me grace while I have recovered and healed emotionally over the past 9 months. Just because you have a miracle doesn’t always mean you recover immediately from the anxiety of the journey we were on. I know so many people wanted to hear the end of the story so thanks for bearing with me as I processed it.

I started blogging this story for the main purpose to help others.  I wanted to give others hope.  I just didn’t realize how much hope the Lord would use us to spread.  He is such a good Father!)

You can read Part 1 of the story here if you haven’t already or frankly since it’s taken me so long to get this down some of you might need a refresher.

Mike and my nurse sat me up in the bed and helped me navigate my way to the wheelchair attached to all my IVs and cords. The nurse began wheeling me to delivery but stopped to ask for directions since delivering on the main OR is so rare. We stopped again so I could hug my mom and dad. I remember wishing they could just take away my anxiety and fear just like they always did as a kid but knowing TODAY I had to be an adult and face this. Even though, I really felt like that scared little girl who always looked to her Daddy to comfort her.

We turned the corner down the cold white corridor. My teeth were chattering. What were they storing in here? Meat?! I remember turning around making sure Mike was still following us.

“Is everything ok?” the nurse asked.

“My husband. Where is he?”

“He is right here, honey.”

I turned around and saw Mike wave and connected with his eyes. I was so thankful for his strength and prayers I could see him chattering underneath his breath. I knew he was talking to Jesus. But I was scared after the morning events, they were going to pull him aside when I wasn’t looking and not allow him in the OR. So with each turn we made around those hospital corridors, I looked back to make sure he was still there.

I felt like I was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It took forever to get to that room as we passed OR after OR and I saw people being operated on and choked by tubes.  “Would that be me in an hour?” my thoughts were racing.

We finally reached the OR.  They asked Mike to stay outside, and they’d call him in after I had my epidural. The anesthesiologist started telling me stories of her kids, and we began exchanging conversations as my voice just shook. I was thankful for kind, lighthearted conversation but the realization of the next hour ahead of me weighed on me like a ton of bricks. The hour I’d been dreaming and agonizing over for the past 7 months. My precious little girl was coming but I didn’t know what I’d be facing.

I thought many times of the little smiles of Luke and Elle and the sweet prayers they’d pray at night for their sister and mommy. “Oh, please, God! Hear their prayers. Hear our prayers. Hear the prayers of all your children. I plead with you. I trust you. You are good. You are good. You are good.” I muttered those words, “You are good,” under my breath for the next hour.

I remember looking at the clock and it was almost 11. Things were behind. Then I glanced out the door and saw Mike. He was pacing back and forth with his scrubs on and wringing the hat in his hands. He saw me and tried to grin. But nothing moved. The corners of his mouth just couldn’t make it up.  All he could give me was a thumbs up. I’ll never forget the fear I saw in his eyes. I’d never seen that look before. And I hope I never do again.

In the meantime, one of my favorite doctors came in and talked to me. I don’t even remember what we talked about. I was just so thankful he was there to make small talk.

Finally, the needle was in. They laid me down and placed a warm, inflatable plastic collar around my shoulders and neck.

“I’m going to puke! The heat is suffocating me.”

My nerves were so tense by that point that I was so glad the room felt like an ice box. My body was producing enough heat and didn’t need any extra.

She removed it immediately.

Mike came in. He held my hand and said a prayer. And a few minutes later I felt pulling and tugging. It was here.

I quietly sang a few worship songs. Mike and I talked about our little girl. We couldn’t wait to see her!

After a little while, the tugging and pulling got stronger.

“I can see her, Erin!” Then I hear, “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Denny!” Then followed a long, loud squeal. She was here. Thank you Jesus. I told Mike to follow her to the other side of the room.

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I kept my eyes on her. I stared. I gazed. Our miracle had been completed.  She was here- full term and healthy!

I was wrestling celebrating the birth of my baby with an overload of happy emotions and the suffocating anxiety about the next few minutes, hours, days, and months that I had been prepared to face. My thoughts were racing….

“She’s here! She looks perfect!”

‘”You could have cancer? Your life could be over.”

“Oh, she is the perfect mix of Luke and Elle.  God, you are so so good.”

“Oh, Jesus, let this mass come out.  What is going on? Why are they chattering? Come on. I just want this part over with.”

“Let me hold my baby.”

My thoughts were interrupted.   All of the sudden I heard, “It’s very vascular.” My heart sunk. That is what we knew we didn’t want – a mass connected to tons of blood flow. The ultrasound and blood work were right. Jesus. Come. Then I saw lots of feet scurrying. I swallowed a lump in my throat. My mouth was dry.

A few seconds later, My doctor pulled down the curtain and exclaimed, “Erin, there is no mass. There is nothing in your uterus. I’ve looked everywhere.”

I said, “Huh? What do you mean?  Did you take it out?”

“No. There is nothing here!  It’s gone! All those prayers, girl! Crazy. Crazy.”

She went back over the curtain. I remember not knowing what to think. Its like my brain couldn’t process what just happened. As I was processing, I hear statements like “Hashtag miracle.” “Miracle on Peachtree street.” “Did the baby eat it?” “When was her last ultrasound?” “Did you look everywhere?”  “Get her pictures!” Doctors, nurses, students were all like us…in utter shock. They were trying to figure it out.

I realize now when I heard “it’s vascular,” they were talking about my ultrasound pictures from 5 days before.  Just five days before that mass was measuring 21 x 13 cm.  That group of doctors thought it looked very vascular that day.  Chemo plans, losing my hair, lymph node removals, a hysterectomy…you name it.  It had been discussed 5 days earlier.

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There it was.  There was NO mass. That weird mass pictured above was gone! (I’ll spare you the picture of the actual placenta outside the uterus.)

It was a surreal experience I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  It took minutes to register.

My spirit was leaping but my mind wasn’t there yet.

I finally gathered myself, and it hit me. Whoa! We just received an INCREDIBLE miracle.

Mike was still on the other side of the room so I finally called to him  and said, “Babe, did you hear? NO mass!”

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“Huh? ” he replied.

“Dr. Davenport said there is no mass!” I exclaimed.

“That’s good, right?!?”

“Yes! There is no mass! Praise the Lord!”

He then couldn’t process this extraordinary miracle.  We were praying for a benign mass that would just fall out but NO MASS?

Shock.  Complete shock.

All these months of looking at a mass that had grown to 21 by 13 centimeters. All the tears. All the prayers. All the anxiety. All the doctors appointments.  The days of sickness. The days of my heart breaking that my children were taking a back seat to me and our baby. Being poked and prodded every week…

But there is no mass! Tears began streaming down my face as I laid there. God had just given us a miracle above and beyond anything we could think of or ask for.

The ring of the OR phone interrupted my thoughts…a few minutes later I heard the nurse call from across the room, “Pathology said the placenta looks so grossly normal that they aren’t going to do a frozen sample.”

I heard one doctor say, “Well, if you don’t believe in God or a higher being then you will now!” Chatter like that was going on all over the room.  I watched people dialing doctors on call explaining to them everything was so normal.  This is just a routine c-section, and we won’t need you.

“Mike, can you flippin’ believe this?”

“Babe, this is just crazy.”

“Text our family. Tell them there is no mass!”

The doctor who was there thinking he was going to get some awesome pictures of a ginormous mass walked over to me. “Well, I’m so happy for ya’ll but I’m a little disappointed. I wanted some great pictures for my next class!” He then proceeded to show me pictures of my placenta telling me how completely normal it looked and he just couldn’t believe this!

I said, “I’ll just trust you.” Nothing about that placenta looked normal to me. Haha!

Then he said, “and good call on that bikini incision. I wouldn’t have let you do that!” (That’s right, Dr.! I wanted to say “Told you so.” But I used self-control.)

Our friends and family started texting back.

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It took a few moments for it to register with them the incredible miracle we had all just witnessed.

The nurses brought Charis to Mike. He held her while I kissed her face, and we talked for the next hour while they put me back together.

“Babe, I thought marrying you was the greatest moment of my life and the birth of our other two babies. But this is now,” I said. “I love you all so much but don’t be offended this moment tops everything.” He agreed.

Over the next few days, we had nurse after nurse and doctor after doctor come in our room and tell us how much our miracle changed their life. I was humbled-so humbled. God gave us a miracle that touched so many people. It made this journey all worth it.

One thing was for sure. I’d never be the same. Never.

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(There is audio somewhere of the doctor talking to my family telling her what a miracle just occurred. I hope to find that and post it.)

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Charis Joy

I will finish the Miracle Completion/Birth Day story soon!  Its so hard to put that day into words….nearly impossible.

But I’ve noticed I’ve had a lot of page views lately with questions on how we are doing now so I wanted to share this picture….

DSC_1326 Charis is almost 9 months old (wow!) we are both healthy and strong!  She truly is a reminder to me everyday of God’s incredible power and joy.  I literally think about Him every time I see her.  Ok.  Maybe not when she is screaming or demanding food! But seriously, she reflects Him to me almost every.single.minute.of.the.day.

I also thought I’d share my husband’s facebook post on her birthday so you guys will have a quick summary since it has taken me so long to write that post:

Hey everyone, this is Mike. Quick update: we are praising God and rejoicing today and are absolutely thrilled to announce that Charis Joy was born this morning beautiful and healthy at 11:26! 7 lbs 6 oz and absolutely gorgeous! And the really cool part is that there was NO MASS AT ALL. There was nothing at all irregular with the placenta. One of the doctors has actually dubbed this “the miracle on peachtree street”. So not only was there nothing malignant inside Erin, there was no mass whatsoever. Doctors and nurses have been giving glory to God. So not only did God heal Charis and Erin but he gave us all a grand finale that everyone who witnessed will remember for the rest of their lives! How awesome is that? We are reminded today of the verse we have been standing on: to be confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. This miracle has come to completion in the most dramatic and extraordinary way that can only point back to God and his healing power. Thanks to everyone for taking this 9 month journey with us! your prayers and words of encouragement have meant the world to our family and we could not have done this alone. I’m sure Erin will have more to tell and will update her blog soon. We love you all!

Yea…about that blog….(Thanks for your patience with me!)

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Birth Day and Miracle Completion (Part 1)

(In my last post I alluded to our appointment with the oncologist being a really tough appointment.  I was in tears all Friday afternoon and most of the evening after that appointment.  Topics of placental cancer, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, lymph node removal,  losing my hair, having a vertical incision so they could access the “cancer” better, etc. were all discussed. I chose not to cover the details of that appointment in my last post because I needed to focus on what Jesus had done for us throughout the past 9 months and not the opinions of doctors.  But I wanted to share that now to preface the crazy amount of doctors involved in our case on birth day.)

I didn’t sleep much the night before birth day.  I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl, and I’ll admit, I spent a lot of time praying because I was anxious about what the next day would hold.  But I was confident the Lord was fighting for me and He was going to work ALL things together for our good.  That’s what I told Him at 13 weeks pregnant when I was first diagnosed with a partial molar pregnancy.

I remember going to kiss my sweet kids goodbye that morning and that’s when Satan started attacking me with thoughts of you might never see your kids outside of a hospital again, this could be the beginning of your end-just like your mom, in fact, your kids are almost the same age as you and your brother when your mom was diagnosed with cancer and died 9 months later.  His attacks were strong that morning.  I tearfully found a quiet place and told the Lord, I trusted him and knew he was going to provide a miracle for me and my family today.  I began to quote all the scripture the Lord had given me throughout the pregnancy and just sang a song of worship to him-one of my favorites, “Oh, Lord you’re beautiful. Your face is all I see….”  Thankfully, Elle interrupted me and in her squeaky, high-pitched voice said, “Today, is the day my baby sister is coming!  I’m so excited!!!”  “Yes, today will be a joyful day!  We will meet Baby Charis!”  Quickly my focus was back on the joyful day it was as we welcomed new life into our family!

Mike and I drove to Emory.  I posted a little Facebook message determined to be positive but I looked at Mike and said, “Babe, I’m trying to be positive and walk in faith.  I see this post I just posted, and I don’t feel like the woman of faith I’m conveying here.  I’m terrified.  Do you think I’m being two-faced and not showing people the true thoughts going through my mind and heart?”  He told me he thought that was what faith was-believing the Lord will and can do miracles even when you don’t feel it.  Then he prayed for me, the doctors, and Charis.  We turned on worship music and held each other’s hands the rest of the way to the hospital. I could tell for the first time in the 9 months, he was just as terrified as me but he was still choosing to trust.

Mike and I walked into the pre-op room and the nurse handed me my gown and gave me instructions.  Then she grabbed Mike’s and my hands and closed her eyes.  I could tell she was trying to sense whether she should pray or not.  So Mike and I just began saying, “Jesus.”  She led us in prayer and my spirit was so encouraged that the Lord had sent this sweet nurse to care for me and ease my anxiety. The day was off to a good start.

I changed into my gown, and the nurse came in to start my IV.  They put in two larger-sized needles into each hand so I could have one for fluids and one for a blood transfusion-should I need it.

Then the entourage of doctors started coming in the door to introduce themselves: oncologist, pelvic specialist, urologist, 2 OBGYNs, maternal fetal specialist, and 3 anesthesiologists plus their students and fellows and a slew of nurses.  I think my parents, brother, and our best friends-Jason and Jessica got a taste of the last 9 months. The tension and anxiety was high as everyone was realizing all these doctors were prepared for catastrophe.

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I had my worship play list playing in the background, and my dad read scripture, prayed, and sang worship songs to help bring our focus back on Jesus and all he had done the past 9 months.

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Of course, these two provided some comic relief.

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I had two battles I had to face that morning.  The first was the oncologist came in and told us they had decided to operate on the main OR floor, and not on Labor and Delivery.  They had moved all the baby equipment down there but they thought it’d be safer since they’d be closer to resources if they need them.  Fine with me. But because they were operating on the main OR floor no one was allowed in but the patient and doctors and nurses.  That meant Mike couldn’t be there. Ummmm…not fine with me!  We both looked at each other shocked and explained to the doctor that this was the first we had heard of this and the plan had always been for him to be there.  I, of course, started crying explaining to them he has been with me to almost every doctor’s appointment throughout the course of this dramatic pregnancy, and he had to be there.  He was not going to miss the birth of  our child.  She left the room, and returned a few minutes and told us again, she was sorry but he couldn’t be in there.  I just remember saying, “Someone is going to have to bend some rules.  This is ridiculous.  My husband will be there for the birth of our child.”

My parent’s came into the room then, and I explained what was going on.  So we all just started praying.  Then my angel, Dr. Martinuzzi who was the first OBGYN I saw at Emory, came in the door to say hello and ask how everything was going.  I told him I was frustrated because surgery was being talked about being moved to noon (it was originally scheduled for 10:30) but most of all, they said Mike wasn’t allowed in the OR now.  He said, “Which would you like me to take care of first?” “Having my husband there! I don’t care if I have to wait till 3 pm-as long as he can be there.” Someone in the room started praying for favor to allow Mike in that room.  I think it was Mike or my dad.  Then a few minutes later, Dr. Martinuzzi walked in the door and said, “Done.  I got him in!”

Then my OBGYN and surgeon of the morning, Dr. Davenport, walked in the door.  She explained the surgery and preparation then asked if I had any questions.  I told her the oncologist had discussed my option of having a vertical incision but we had decided to start with a horizontal.  She told me they all decided it was best to have a vertical incision.  I asked her why.  She said if the mass is adhered to uterine wall it will be easier to do a hysterectomy and then access your lymph nodes in case this has spread.  I told her I didn’t want to go into this surgery doing something based on worst case scenario.  I told her I really felt like everything was going be ok.  I said, “I know this mass will just come out. But what are the risks just in case it doesn’t?” She explained I’d have slightly longer recovery because of 2 incisions and more blood loss.  I told her I thought that was a risk I was willing to take but wanted to talk to my family.  I explained to my family, I didn’t want to have an incision from the top of my belly button all the way down because I knew the Lord was taking care of me and didn’t want to make a huge decision like this based on the worst case scenario.  I asked them their opinion.  My best friend, Jess, said I think what you are saying is you are making this decision based on faith and not on vanity.  I think you are making the right decision based on trusting in the Lord.  She was right.  I knew the Lord was going to complete the miracle he had started so I didn’t want to make a very drastic decision like that based on the most negative outcome I had been presented with.

Then one of the oncologists came in to argue with me about the vertical incision.  She came in twice and was calling the head oncologist giving me his opinion.  They weren’t going to let me go with the horizontal incision so my dad just started praying.  It wasn’t a minute later she walked through the door with a completely different attitude and agreed to a horizontal incision.

I thought of that story in Nehemiah how God turned the heart of the king.  God was turning the hearts of the kings in my life that day, my doctors.  I really saw the power of prayer working in a mighty way and was so humbled and thankful.

But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how the Lord was going to answer all the prayers of his people exceedingly above and beyond anything I could think or imagine in just an hour or so…..(to be continued)

 

 

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Last Post till Charis is Here!

I have had a lot of people asking how my 3 appointments went on Friday.  Two of them were fine but 1 was tough.

We met with the oncologist for the first time.  Let’s just say he could have been named Negative Ned….seriously.  He presented many “what-ifs” we haven’t even explored.  The “c-word” came up at least 30 more times than I would have liked.  I realize its his job to present all possibilities to us but I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy to listen to.

I’m not going to go into detail about the appointment. Right now, I’m going to focus on my family and having another beautiful baby but most of all, keep my eyes on truth-Jesus and his promises.  If we have to, we will cross that bridge if we ever come to it.  But I’m not going to let one doctor’s opinion rule my thoughts and spirit.

I’ve found throughout this journey EVERY doctor has a completely different opinion.  I’ve seen 2 Maternal Fetal specialists, 7 doctors, 3 nurse practitioners, and 8 different ultrasound techs throughout my pregnancy.  None of them felt the need to present to me the options this oncologists did.  I was referred to the oncologist by the maternal fetal specialist on the basis “just-in-case,” and he is the most skilled gyn surgeon in the business should we need him.  So my appointment with him on Friday was very unexpected. But because most doctors haven’t felt the need to explore the options he did, I feel comfortable just focusing on those things that I know are TRUE, LOVELY, AND PURE.

The truth is the Lord gave us a great miracle.  He saved my little girl’s life and has protected her throughout these past 9 months.  Dr.’s can’t figure out miracles.  The oncologist even came back into the room after our appointment and said, “Sorry, it took me so long.  I went through my book about 2 inches thick and couldn’t figure out how to code you.”

I’m delivering Wednesday at 10:30 now so please be in prayer for several things:

  • This “mass” will just come right out.  That it isn’t connected to my uterus and has no root system.
  • My uterus will contract correctly. I won’t have a need for a hysterectomy.
  • The “mass” will be benign when it is tested in the OR. We have a pathologist who will test a frozen sample immediately in the OR.
  • Mike and I may have to make some quick life-altering decisions in the OR after Charis is born.  Please pray for supernatural wisdom.
  • Charis is such a miracle that she has made it through all this!! All the doctors can’t believe it still.  Please continue to pray for her safety.
  • Luke and Elle will be protected.  I really feel like the kids are happy and this hasn’t affected them too much-except strengthened their faith.  But please continue to pray for my children.  My mother’s heart breaks for them sometimes because I hope this hasn’t affected them.
  • Mike-this man is my rock.  I will cry if I start explaining how blessed I am to have him, and the actions he does to make me feel safe, strong, and at peace. Pray for strength and peace for him.
  • That I will keep my focus on Jesus.  Period.

Okay, so that’s more than several things….sorry!  I just wanted to give specifics to be in prayer for.

The Lord really speaks to me through worship music and these are 3 songs I’m continually listening to right now.  My best friend just sent me this one today, and it’s going on my playlist for the hospital:

Another friend sent me this one that ministered to her while her son was the NICU:

This song as been my anthem since the beginning of this journey:

Next time I update this blog, it will be with a picture of my beautiful girl!  🙂 Thank you for your prayers, friends!!

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With Great Miracles come Great Responsibility

I saw one of Emory’s maternal fetal specialists on Friday.  It was quite a different appointment from my appointment with Emory’s OBGYN.  This doctor was very, very cautious.  The preparer in me appreciates that but the “I’m going to have a baby in 2 weeks and don’t need lots of extra stress” me does not.  This doctor was not giving any room for this to NOT be partial molar pregnancy.  I agree.  It was at the beginning but it was healed!  Nothing lines up with a partial molar pregnancy anymore except the way the mass looks on the ultrasound.  As Mike and I talked for almost 30-40 minutes with this specialist doctor, we were not convincing her otherwise that this was not a partial molar anymore.  I got very emotional when she ordered a lung scan stating, “let’s make sure this hasn’t spread to your lungs.”  She left the room to try to get in touch with her gyn oncologist.  I was fine having a lung scan 5 months ago, 4 months ago even 2 months ago.  But 2 weeks away from my scheduled c-section was so unnerving.  She left the room, and I tearfully told Mike, “Mike, I cannot handle the stress of waiting for a lung scan.  I know it will come back all clear but my mom died of lung cancer at 35.  We are 2 weeks away.  2 weeks!  Can’t I just have the baby and then deal with this?”

I explained this in a less emotional manner to the specialist when she came back in the room that I’d prefer to wait to have a lung scan till after I had the baby since we were so close, and we had already waited so long. Plus no other dr. I’ve seen through the course of my care found it necessary.  She said she’d consult the oncologist.  Thankfully, he just ordered more blood work at this appointment.  But who knows what will happen next week?  I’m supposed to meet with all the doctors next week-the surgeon, the oncologist, and the specialist.

After 2 long hours, we left that appointment.  I felt stressed.  Defeated.  Unnerved.  Very Anxious again.  Thankfully, I have a rock of a husband who encouraged me and told me to not take one doctor’s opinion so to heart.  He said, “You know what this convinced me of? That we truly got a miracle.”

He is right.  Sometimes doubt creeps in that this could be a misdiagnosis at the beginning and just some weird thing.  But that appointment convinced us even more that we received a true bonafide miracle.

Our church aired a snippet of our testimony today.  Our family watched from home because I’ve been really weak from an upset stomach since yesterday evening.  I watched that testimony (well, the parts that I could.  I cannot stand seeing myself on camera.) and began reflecting on the past 9 months.  I’ve spent most of the day reflecting and just thinking about all the events and how everything has transpired as I’ve recovered on the couch.

Friday, we got in the car to leave our appointment, and I looked at Mike and said, “Get me off this roller coaster ride.  I’m done!”  I’ve felt like that all weekend.

But today, I felt the Lord say, “With Great Miracles come Great Responsibility.”  I thought of Moses who the Lord used to lead his people out of Egypt.  God performed great miracles through him.  But was it easy?  Quite the opposite.  The Israelites grumbled, complained, and even told Moses they wanted to be slaves again.  I thought of Jesus who performed many miracles when he walked this earth.  But people doubted him, continually questioned him, ridiculed him, and ultimately, crucified him. I couldn’t think of one miracle in the Bible that didn’t come with great responsibility or wasn’t a hard journey.

I thought of my other doctors who were acknowledging I had received a miracle.  Well, maybe, God wants the same for this new set of doctors? Maybe he wants to convince them that He is still work and science and medicine are not the ultimate authority.  He is.

Yes, it might not be easy for Mike and I and our family and friends riding this roller coaster with us. But God didn’t call us to live a life of easy.  He called us to live a life as a light.  I’ve prayed from the beginning that our story would be a City on a Hill that would lead people to Jesus.  Has this journey been easy?  Absolutely not.  It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve walked. Just because we got a miracle doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road.

But God gave us a great miracle and I have the responsibility to be a light no matter where the miracle journey takes us.  Right now, he is calling us to be a light at Emory.  I pray we can walk worthy of that call.

**Please pray for strength and peace for us and wisdom for my new set of doctors. Everything has changed again so we are in holding mode.  We should know more tomorrow.  Please begin to pray for delivery, that the doctors will see Jesus lives and still heals!  Also, for mine and Charis’s protection during delivery.  There are lots of scenarios being tossed up the air.  I’m just praying the Lord will be glorified no matter what.

You can also watch our testimony all week airing every 2 hours from 8am – 10 pm at icampus.churchatchapelhill.com, or it will be archived under April 27 and the series “Jesus Is” after this week. The testimony starts about 30-40 minutes into the broadcast right at the start of the pastor’s sermon.

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Appointment Update

Relaxed.  I just finished reading the new Better Homes and Gardens and drinking my favorite pregnancy beverage-seltzer with a splash of cranberry juice and a lime.  Yesterday’s appointment was a little unnerving for me.  I didn’t sleep last night.  In fact, I got up 3 am and started doing laundry and packing mine and Charis’s bags-just in case.   It made me anxious, though I was thankful I was being transferred to triage care.  However, today’s appointment was quite different.  In the words of Olef, “All good things. All good things.” (We have seen Frozen a few times in this house.) So I’m finally able to just sit back and relax this afternoon.

The doctor today definitely agreed that I needed to be there for triage care “just in case” since my case is 1 in a million.  But he didn’t act concerned at all.  He went through all my records and met with us for quite a bit but really feels like this is nothing.  He said, the blood flow to the mass was now almost nonexistent (more miracles-praise the Lord! and maybe this is why it appeared to be shrinking at the last 2 appointments.). He was very, very positive.  I asked him what he thought my chances were of having to have a hysterectomy and his response, “1 in and 100.”  I’m pretty sure I told him I loved him after that.

They are definitely preparing for unknowns.  I’ll have a blood cycling team, 2-3 surgeons plus residents and fellows since this is a teaching hospital, and they will have a urologists, gyn oncologists, blood bank, and pelvic specialists on call just in case.  But the doctor really thinks my chances are very, very low to have use any of these resources.

And Charis, is still doing peachy.  Cute as ever!  Just so excited to hold her in my arms!

I will be delivering at Emory Midtown now on May 9th instead of the 8th.  That means Yeah Burger and Flying Biscuit deliveries to hospital!!

Thank you for the continued prayers.  I can feel them.  Mike and I pray Philipians 1:6 practically everyday, “being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on till the day of completion.”  We can’t wait to see our miracle completed and hold Charis Joy!

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Charis Joy

We are big believers in strong names with meanings.  We prayed over and have carefully chosen each one of our children’s names. Both of our kids have very significant meanings to us. So we knew this little girl, who had defied all odds and had been prayed for for months, had to have a strong name.  We thought about Miracle.  Destiny.  Chosen One.  Only kidding.   

Since I last updated the blog, we’ve announced our little girl’s name-Charis Joy.  It’s pronounced just like Charis in Charisma or Karis.  Mike and I had been leaning towards another name but neither one of us thought it felt right. My dad sent me an email the day after we received our miracle:

“Last night in my hotel room before we all went out for dinner, I was alone and rejoicing for the wonderful news we got yesterday.  Then I felt a strong impression about the baby’s name which I was not thinking about, nor had I been thinking about this at all.  This was completely out of the blue.  I feel like the Lord gave me the baby’s name but I strongly hesitate to say because this is your choice and you should hear from God about that.”

The Lord gave him an awesome word for her and much of the word was about “grace.” I asked my dad if he felt like her name should be grace, and he said yes. 

Mike and I love that name.  That’s why it’s our first daughter’s middle name. Haha! 🙂  So we thanked the Lord for a beautiful word for her but thought there was another name out there for her.

A few weeks after we received our miracle, our pastor did a sermon on Charis.  He said, Grace is “charis”-a gift; an enablement to do something beyond your own ability.” Mike looked over at me and said, “Maybe that is our daughter’s name.” I said,”Huh?” “Charis.” “Omg.  I love it!”  I immediately got on google and researched the name Charis.  It did mean “grace.” I definitely thought I had been walking a road that I couldn’t walk alone without Jesus. This was not a road I could walk with my own ability.   I had said from the day I heard we had received a great miracle, “I’m so underserving of this grace God has shown us.” I even blogged something along those  lines. 

Later that week, I was praying early one morning-especially for my little girl particularly.  I felt impressed to do a word study on the word “charis:

    1. that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech good will, loving-kindness, favour
    2. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
    3. what is due to grace
    4. a gift of grace
    5. benefit, bounty
    6. thanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward

 

All these words were what I felt like this child was from the beginning-a reward, favor, a joy.  I always felt so impressed to thank the Lord for the grace he had shown us in protecting her and choosing us to walk this miracle.  Then I saw the words, “exerting holy influence upon souls, and turning them to Christ.”  This was so much of the word my dad had received-that she would be a light and walk in grace!

I shared with Mike what I had found, and both agreed it was the perfect name for her.  It took us awhile to get used to it but in the last month we’ve felt confident that was her name. 

We chose Joy for her middle name.  Something we never thought we choose, but this little girl has brought us so much joy and made us rejoice more than we ever have.  She has been the conduit of a miracle.  She has made us see a true miracle first hand.  We were told by multiple doctors, specialists, and ultra-sound techs that she would not make it.  But God has used her to bring hope to us and to many others.  For that, we are so joyful!

Denny is her last name.  Well, I thought about Hardegree (my maiden name) because “I am woman.” Haha!  Only kidding.  This child is so blessed to carry on her Daddy’s name.  He is the greatest man.  He exemplifies all fruits of the spirits, and he is meek.  I can truly say, he is greater person in our home when no one sees than what everyone else sees outside.  

We are on the 5 week countdown to hold our little Charis Joy….we can’t wait!

Overall, things are going great!  She was struggling with gaining weight and my fluid levels were low.  I’ve been put on moderate bed rest, told to drink 32 oz of juice a day, no more cardio exercise, and increase my protein intake.  Those things have seemed to work.  She had gained 2 lbs. in a month since I had been doing these things and my fluid levels were in the normal range today.  We are so encouraged!

The one big prayer request I have is there has been discussion of having to have hysterectomy.  Monday at my appointment (I go twice a week now) the doctor made it seem inevitable.   But my specialist and doctor I’ve been seeing very often since the beginning and now see once a week, told me today that he felt like that there was only a 1 in 5 chance.  I will be honest, I’ve always wanted 4 kids but after the struggle to get pregnant and the drama of this pregnancy, Mike and I have felt more than confident that we were done.  So that hasn’t been the hard to pill to swallow.  It’s just the side effects of a partial hysterectomy.  The doctors have told me I won’t experience any side effects with a partial hysterectomy.  But from a lot of reading and talking with a few friends who have had a partial hysterectomy at a young age…I just don’t think that information is completely true. Most of my friends have had side effects-some stronger than others.  Obviously, we want what is best for my health longterm but I also don’t want to remove my uterus for the sake of removing it because it’d be easier.  We have a lot of things to process, think, and pray about.  We are meeting with my head surgeon in a couple of weeks-I have 3.  Just please pray for wisdom for him and us.  Most of all, I just want complete peace that decision we make will be best long term for my family and I.  Obviously, we aren’t going to be able to make a final decision till we get in there the day of the delivery but at least, we can go in there with a semi-firm Plan A, B, and C.

Thank you all for your continued encouragement and prayers.  Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a text, call, or message from a friend or family member just asking how I am.  I’m so thankful for all the wonderful people I’m surrounded by.  

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