Friday, September 29, 2006


James 1:2-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

The word trial usually has a negative connotation, doesn't it? Well, finally I have a trial that seems positive:-). At my appt today my doctor was pleased enough with my recent blood pressures, etc that he approved a "trial" of very light activity. I was so relieved, I teared up. It's almost hard to imagine eating dinner at the table again or sitting on the porch watching TJ ride his bike. I've been such a hermit for 8 weeks, it's almost scary to enter the world again.

Ok, so let's be realistic...very light activity isn't a trip to the mall or walk around our neighborhood, and it's certainly not entering the world again, but I'll take what I can get. And, even better-if all goes well with this trial and no new reasons to resume strict bedrest arise at the Indy appt, my doctor also said we could resume care for Jakey again. A HUGE praise! So, I'll get back to you on that.

So, what was on tap for my first afternoon after almost 8 weeks of strict bedrest??? Well, I was so exhausted by my outing, I took a long nap. How's that for light activity?:-) Pathetic, I know. I did come downstairs after the nap and straighten up just a few things in the kitchen-and then took my blood pressure and it stunk! Hopefully, it was a fluke and will settle back down as TJ and I take it easy this evening with a couple movies we rented.

Up next, the appt in Indy Tuesday where a repeat ultrasound will be done and hopefully more results from the amnio will be available. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Amnio news

Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The genetic counselor called...mixed news is causing me mixed emotions and more questions. And, I am feeling weary. The chromosomal study came back all completely normal, which is of course, GREAT news! The study for the skeletal dysplasias will likely take another week or more. Yeah, more waiting! After asking more questions about the skeletal dysplasias study, the are really only looking for 3 different types (out of hundreds), none of the 3 does Owen have typical findings of anyway, so I don't feel like I'm waiting on anything except another problem to be ruled out.

The plan now is to watch his growth and head shape. We may need to have a geneticist (sp?) present for an ultrasound to help in diagnosing, if he is diagnosable at all. Or, Owen may just have a growth problem and we will have to wait until he is born to see how we can best care for him. The problem with this theory for me is that the blood flow to him and placenta functions were confirmed as being adequate.

I feel like I know less than when we started, but am very relieved that there are no chromosomal abnormalties-that really is huge! Everyone has dreams of a healthy, normal child~I struggle with not knowing if Owen will have that chance, even though I know God is in control of it ALL.

The genetic counselor again brought up issues of us needing to discuss delivering in Indy depending on further findings. All of these thoughts and uncertainties are wearing on me. I don't want to deliver with another doctor, another hospital, and nurses I don't know:-(

At this point, aside from waiting to confirm he doesn't have the 3 common dysplasias, we will be monitored (as we have been) with repeated ultrasounds and frequent check-ups. And while not knowing is way better than having horrible news, it doesn't make waiting that much easier.

Please keep praying for Owen's health and growth. Pray also that I'd be able to continue resting in the Lord while I wait these remaining 10 weeks (assuming I make it to 37 weeks).

I also wanted to share that today is Jacob's official 3rd birthday. He called this am and it was very sad to hear him say how he wants to come back to his new house (which is his way of saying he wants to be here). It's hard on my mom too, to hear him sad and whiny while she tries so hard to keep him happy with them. Please think of this situation in you prayers also. It's heart wrenching to me, but I praise God that he (Jacob) has had 3 wonderful years with us to bless our lives!

The next updates won't come until after the Friday appt unless I have something earth shattering to share, and even then, it probably won't be very exciting:-) Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

27 weeks today

Ecclesiastes 7:14

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

This is a timely verse for me...My "times" right now I wouldn't define as good, nor bad~but I do need to remember that both good and bad times the Lord has made. He's planned them for me. In fact, He designed them specifically for my life. So many people look to God during bad times but seldom give Him credit nor praise for the abundance of "good" times we bask in. By the way, I'm guilty of this too...but I hope to be more grateful and praise filled in the good times in my future.

Speaking of good times...Wahoo!!! I've OFFICIALLY entered the 3rd trimester! I had my doubts 7 weeks ago when all these complications started (and so did my doctor). So a HUGE praise to God for getting me to this point. I'm healthy, my blood pressure is staying well controlled and I have a precious baby moving about inside of me-none of which we thought there was a good chance of 7 weeks ago.

Ah, for the bad times...ok, so not really bad times-but definatley perserverance building times. Yes, I'm still waiting to hear about the amnio results. It's day 8 of the 7-10 day wait...ugh.

What's next? Aside from waiting for these reults, Friday we'll see my OB for my routine appt~oh, an outting-such adventure for me!

Don't have much else to report so I'll try something new and sign off without going on and on about the same ole, same ole:-)

Hope to update you more soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Homecoming and birthday smiles

Jacob's visit

Hebrews 12:11

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

We enjoyed having Jacob home with us this weekend. It was a weekend with many ups and downs for me personally, but I think Jacob had a wonderful birthday and am extremely grateful to my mom (Rebecca), Stepdad Andy, and brother Zach for bringing him back down here to us and making a very special birthday ensue for Jacob. They have been an enormous blessing as they've cared for Jacob all these weeks while I've been on bedrest.

It was very neat when he got here. Though it was late and he was sleepy, he embraced both Tim and I with big hugs and kisses and cuddles. He then went about exploring and very cutely began smelling everything in the house. He would say "the couch smells good, the chair smells good" and so on and so forth. It made me realize how much he likes the smells of home. He also honed in on a huge gift pile as we had all the gifts arranged in an area (gifts from his other grandparents Debbie and Walter and others as well). He quickly picked up a small gift and said "this looks interesting" handful of words two year old came home a chatty 3 year old.

I found myself (early on when he was first back) enjoying his sweetness and finding pure joy just watching him and listening to him. I even was thinking how we, as parents, just really need to enjoy these little blessings and serve them. I was contemplating how great a mom I could be from now on....then my little angel started being "himself" again, the honeymoon was over and my thoughts of the angelic son and my would be perfect parenting went out the window!

Discipline...they need so much of it (as do we)!!! I found myself constantly wanting to or needing to correct him for everything from not speaking kindly, not being grateful, OBEDIENCE, etc. It's not stuff we can ignore nor let up on. If we don't, we won't experience (nor will they) the second part of the verse above-the peaceful fruit of righteousness. I know this means "the good stuff"'s painful to experience correction but joyful to live at peace and do what's right. How would our children ever learn this principle if we didn't teach it to them?

I can't believe I forgot how tiring it is to parent a 3 yr old. And it's loud. And it's messy. And I'm lying here cooking another one so I can do it all over AGAIN! :-) But, with all this, there is still true joy along the journey. Like hearing those glorious 4 little words "I love you mommy".

All is otherwise well. Jacob and the grandparents start their travels back this afternoon. Jacob will continue staying with my mom until we feel we can care for him again as consistently as she is (which would pretty much require me being off bedrest, which I'm not). Please pray for their safety and his doing well while he's away from us (and vise versa). It was heart breaking as he left saying he wanted to stay at his new house. Having him visit made me realize I miss him a lot! But, he's best off there and God is gracious to've provided such a nurturing and supportive environment for him during this short season of life.

Tomorrow (Monday) is 7 days since the amnio so, it's possible we may get some news. 7-10 days is what they told us for maybe:-) Please continue to pray that our Sovereign God would be glorified through the results (or lack thereof) and we would continue to trust in Him.

Lastly, selfishy, I ask for prayer for myself. I have concern (dread actually) that the days will grow longer now with not much to look "forward" to in the near future. I can already feel the lump in my throat thinking of things not so positive. I was focusing on this visit from Jacob and now without anything like that to keep me joyful, I will really have to pull it together and think on what's right and true all the more. So, anyway please pray I keep positive and joyful while waiting on the results and continuing with bedrest. Regardless of the results, I likely have 2 1/2 more months of bedrest (I can't believe I've done it for 7 weeks already).

Hope to update you more soon! I'll also have Tim try to upload some pictures from the weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

News already?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I've finally taken the plunge...I'm going to blog and let you all into my mind-scary, I know. My goal is to pass along updates as I'm given info instead of the mass e-mails so frequently. So now, you can log on anytime and check for new news. I have 2 disclaimers though. I've never mastered the art of saying as few of words as necessary to get a point across. Second, I think faster than I type so typos and grammer issues will abound. If you were looking for a gramatical work of art each post, you'll be dissapointed:-). I think of my posts as more conversational.

To update today: I received a call from the genetic counselor. She already had news to share. I was quite shocked but am very happy to report that Owen has none of the trisomies they wanted to rule out (like Down's etc) and has just one X and one Y chromosome which of course confirms he's a boy, but also let's us know he doesn't have extra sex chromosomes or a deletion of any either.

I feel ok today after the amnio but am suprised at how much I ache. But I'm fine and feel blessed to have this little guy swimming all around reminding me why I lay here.

TJ went to school today because his strep test came back negative, and he stayed afebrile through the night and didn't have much of a sore throat this morning. He's a trooper.

Jacob called this morning-he was so animated to tell me all about decorating with Grama for Halloween. He's so excited to come home this weekend for his birthday. He's also stayed free of accidents with potty training-thank you Grama Becca!

One last note. I just wanted to share my sincere appreciation for all the Love, prayers, meals, cards, calls, etc that have been poured out to us. God has been so good and so faithful to provide and I pray He mightily blesses each of you for your generosity. It's near unimaginable how He's orchestrated everything to come together for us. I give all the praise and glory to Him for the peace He's given me~I really would not be able to get through this time without my saving Faith in Him. I'll end on that note.

Thanks for checking out the blog, I'll post again soon!

26 week update

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Here us the update from my appt today September 19th~Hope this is not too many details~

Again, not such good news. It was a whirlwind of began with an Ultra Sound confirming that the baby is very small. Specifically, they noted that while his head is properly sized for my dates, it does have a slightly abnormal shape, and his arms, legs, and abdomen measure about 3 weeks small. AN amniocentisis was recommended and we had to speak with a genetic counselor that explained what they could and couldn't look for/find with the amnio. We decided to proceed with it (it took 2 minutes) and were sent home with the following definate pieces of information:
-My amniotic fluid volume is normal.
-The blood flow to the baby and the placenta are normal.
-The major trisomies like down's syndrome, etc were not obvious on the ultrasound but only the amnio can 100% rule these things out.
-The baby has no apparent heart, lung, or brain abnormalities-in other words except for the short limbs and head shape, nothing is obvious for a diagnosis nor are the skeletal findings.

I asked the doctor what she thought they would find if she had to guess and she said likely a skeletal dysplasia or chromosome issue but she couldn't be very sure. A skeletal dysplasia would be a type of dwarfisim of which there are over 100 types. Some are lethal-the most common ones are not.

We must now wait 7-10 days for the amnio results and we will be called by the genetic counselor everytime a test result arrives (the first will likely rule out the trisomies). We will return to her office in 2 weeks to check on the baby's growth again. (Tuesday Oct 3rd). I think that's it.

Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray-specifically that I would have no problems recovering from the amnio, that in waiting I don't grow impatient or irrational with concern, that we would continue to trust in the Lord-He created this baby and loves him-He will take care of all are needs and will not give us more than we can handle, and of course that little Owen would continue to grow and the results would show the best news possible, quickly.
Oh yes, and that my blood pressure would stay under control.
Lastly, TJ came home from school yesterday with fever and was still with fever this am. We had to take him with us to Indy, but he was very good. Now home, I've noticed his throat is very swollen (and sore) and looks to be strep (we've pleaded with his MD to just call in an antibiotic since it isn't practical to get him in for an appt-still waiting on this news***Update-Dr. Ho made a house call a is running a rapid strep test-what a Saint!). Please pray that he would recover quickly and none of us would come down with his symptoms.
Jacob (my almost 3 yr old) will be coming home this weekend for his birthday and then will go back to Wisconsin again with my mom. Please pray their travels are safe (about 6 hours) and he will do well seeing us for the first time in 6 weeks and again that no one gets sick.

We appreciate your continued prayers and support!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How it all got started

Our story:

Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. We are the Valiant Family, comprised of Tim & Renay and our precious boys TJ, Jacob, and hopefully soon to be Owen (due 12-26-06). We started this blog simply to keep in contact in a simple fashion with family and friends both local and far. This pregnancy with carrying little Owen has been full of trials to say the least. It starts back in April when a positive test got us quite excited about the prospect of a new little one but soon was cause for concern when no baby was found via ultrasound. In fact, my doctor thought the pregnancy was ectopic and instructed us to cancel our cruise we'd earned through The Pampered Chef. Desparate for wisdom, we prayed, and asked my MD for an HCG test~ which resulted in an extremely low number. So, we took a leap of Faith and drove our 20 hour trip to Florida to board our 4 day cruise. I was no stranger to pregnancy complications as a previous miscarraige and then infertility with both boys had prepared me for anything-so I thought. So, once on our cruise, I felt well with the exception of a bit of nausea. The Lord really worked it all out and blessed us with a wonderful "honeymoon" since we'd never been on one. Back home, we went right in for a 2nd HCG test and ultrasound where this time the HCG did as it should and multiplied and the ultrasound showed a small sac-no heart beat though...You may be wondering-did you not have any idea how far along you were? That's correct! With infertility and irregular periods, it makes it difficult to keep track. This particular instance was complicated by an LMP of 2-5-06 yet a guesstimate of conception around the end of March. I actually had the positve test on April 16th and then 2 days later got that first news of the probability of problems-mostly because my doctor thought I could easily be 8 weeks along. An ultrasound on May 9th confirmed a heartbeat and we were elated-especially because I had such all day sickness and no appetite and was dropping weight (no worries, I have some to loose:-). Our due date was given via this early ultrasound as December 26th~which is supposed to be extremely accurate. Other than the usual early pregnancy stuff and our move into our new home in July, all was great. Then around the middle of July, I woke up in the middle of the night with severe pain. I guessed it could be my gallbladder, though I'd never had any issues like it before. After a while of wondering and hurting, the pain subsided and I went on thinking maybe I was just so tired that I overreacted. About a week later, again-middle of the night, lots of pain...this time I didn't shrug it off and called my MD in the am. They were able to get me right in for both my baby and gallbladder ultrasounds. I was 18 weeks at this point. The baby looked great-confirmed as another boy and my gallbladder looked bad. I was referred to a surgeon by the end of the week and was encouraged to learn that while I needed surgery, it could wait. Whew, who wants surgery while pregnant? Ahhhh...smooth sailing-time to get the house put together after the move-screeeechhhhhh...The brakes were put on that idea Sunday August 6th. It was during our Sunday evening church service that pain started in. My first non-middle of the night attack? Yep, it just got worse and worse over the next 4 hours and I finally had Tim rush me to the hospital. Pregnancy gestation=19 weeks 5 days. Medicine controlled the pain, but my blood pressure loomed seriously high even under good pain control and in a rested state. Finally, after 3 nights in the hospital (no current gall bladder concerns), and my blood pressure still registering dangerously high (180/110-my norm around 100/60 with no previous blood pressure issues ever) I was started on blood pressure medicine and a 2nd surgeon was consulted to explore removing my gall bladder. This surgeon thought it a reasonable decision...and we proceeded with laproscopic surgery Thursday August 10th. I stayed in the hospital thru Sunday the 13th when I was released on complete sidelying bedrest. Did I mention we have children-uh, a 2 yr old to be specific, a handful of a 2 yr old actually. So off to my mom's in Wisconsin Jacob went while TJ geared up for 1st grade that same week. The weeks of bedrest go by, and at 21 weeks an ultrasound shows about a 20 week size baby (the 18 week showed around a 17 week baby) and then the dreaded "stop us dead in our 'I guess bedrest alone wasn't so bad' tracks" 25 week ultrasound just this past Thursday September 14th came. I was actually 25 weeks and 2 days. It was the 3rd technician we'd had at this point and the measuring seemed to take forever. I was watching the screen and seeing head size around 25 weeks, then abdomen around 23 weeks and then femur and short leg bones around 22 weeks. "Don't worry I thought to myself as I lay there sickeningly silent. Tim asked me twice if I were ok. I was quiet and said "yea". Being that the tech wasn't so talkative nor friendly I was concerned. Our appt with the doctor was to follow with a short drive across town and I prayed the whole way. I can't remember what I prayed-but I PRAYED! At the appt we already had some humor planned for our doctor with a small gift of the easy button-ya know, the one from Staples? When you push it, it says "that was easy"...he got a kick out of it. I forgot to mention that the Monday before the Tuesday when I turned 25 weeks I went to the hospital overnight for contractions and had to stay for 10 hours or so while they worked to slow things down. So, at our appt, our point in the easy button, was to tell our doctor that we wanted things to be easier so he should press it more often for us. It was light hearted and fun and helped ease the news that followed...we'd need to see a specialist for the baby since his measurements came out to just the 7th%...shocking! This baby that I feel move inside of me-that I can watch move inside of me through his strong kicks and rolls is dangerously small??? Not proportionately small either...and not with low amniotic fluid which one would usually see with a baby this small. I was crushed. Waiting for the appt to be scheduled in Indy seemed like an eternity (a grand 2 hours)-I spent the time e-mailing asking for prayer and calling some for prayer as well. Just after telling the news to my dear friend Kara and hanging up, the phone rung with the appt day and time. Thank God! Only 4 days to wait and wonder...we'd see the perinatalogist Tuesday the 19th, the day I turn 26 weeks. That brings us to the current point of wondering and waiting. I've looked up everything I can on the net and gotten nothing encouraging from that info so I've stopped searching and have just done what I should've done to begin with-TRUST. I am trusting in God. He made this baby. He's blessed me with being able to feel both tiny and big movements the baby makes...He's given us 2 healthy children to riase for Him. He loves this baby more than anyone on Earth ever could and He doesn't make mistakes. The whole situation that has come about has given us so many ways to bring Glory to MANY people are praying for us and for Owen's health. God may choose to bless us with a healthy baby, a sick baby, or memories of a time of great growth and glory that we've been able to give to Him through Owen's short life so far. None of us know, but we can pray~and we must wait. Hopefully answers on Tuesday will yield a miracle and great joy for us. Regardless, in our weakness, He is strong and I'd rather bring glory to Him through my pain than be joyful without my Saviour. Thanks for reading our story of how this all started...hopefully, Lord Willing-weeks of updates will ensue and we can praise God together on this journey. ~Renay