20 Week Update And When Things Don't Always Go As Planned

This is one of those posts I've been sitting on for a few weeks now. I'm having a hard time hitting publish but I also know those are the moments we grow and challenge ourselves. It's not always easy to put it out there instead of keeping it within my own little bubble. There's something about hitting publish that makes it become more of a reality. As I sit here with my eyes filled with tears, I've already erased what I've typed out twice. I'm not sure what direction I want this post to go in, or how it will actually turn out, but I'm just going to roll with it and open up my heart. 

You see, I think often times as bloggers we get misunderstood. Many people I've talked with who aren't apart of the blogging community only think we're in it to make money, get invited to events, or brag about how fun our families are. While that might be the case for some, there are also those moments, those real life moments, when some of us let our guard down and get back to just connecting with people. 

This isn't going to be a typical bump update about what I'm craving (because I've actually never had a craving with any of my pregnancies), or how I'm sleeping (does anyone really care?). That's not to put those posts down, I read them, and enjoy them, but that's just not where I'm at right now. 

Let me back up a bit, there has been a lot going on with this pregnancy that I haven't shared about yet. Coming off of a loss it hasn't been the easiest for us. We knew that our family didn't feel complete and prayed hard for another child. I was so thankful we were able to get pregnant again, and relatively quick. Those first few weeks things were going fine and I was thankful to have some of those typical pregnancy symptoms. Fast forward to a few weeks in and my heart sank. After calling my doctor frantic and going in right away for a visit, I learned that I had a hematoma in my uterus. Some sort of bleeding during the first trimester affects about 25% of pregnancies, but a subchorionic hematoma only affects about 3%. Basically I spotted all throughout my first trimester and some days were really scary and worse than others. Of course I let my mind wander and many times thought the worst. I was monitored weekly and even out of work for sometime, but thankfully every time we went in for an ultrasound the baby was bouncing around as if nothing was going on. The goal and prayer was that this would resolve itself before the second trimester or it could bring on some major problems. I cannot express how thankful I am that it all worked out and that it did resolve itself. I'm not going to lie, those first few weeks were rough, and I was so scared. It felt like during a time that we should have been celebrating and happy, I was instead terrified to even go to the bathroom. I prayed so hard, I shed a lot of tears, but with each appointment and week that passed I had more and more hope. There was always some sort of little sign that would give me peace in that moment that all would be ok.

We did decide to get some early genetic testing done and also found out the sex of our baby. You can read more about our gender reveal here. While the boys reactions weren't exactly what we expected, we were just so happy to hear we had a healthy baby. It did hit me hard when the boys asked me several times why there wasn't a baby girl in my belly after they seemed to be so convinced they were getting a sister. I would just try to explain to them that maybe one day they would get the chance to be a daddy to an amazing little girl and that their little brother will be so amazing. It was also hard for me when some reactions from others were just like, oh yay another boy, or well at least you already have everything you need. And yes, while we do have most of what we need, I felt really bad deep down that baby boy didn't seem more celebrated. I think the boys also reacted the way they did because I'm sure as much as everyone would have loved to see a baby girl, people put things in their little heads by asking them over and over again if they wanted a baby sister. I know I'm pregnant and emotional, and people mean well, but these comments can have a bigger effect on things than people realize. People would even say to me, oh well you know, it takes a special woman to be a boy mom. I didn't know whether to take that as a compliment or to go off on them. I even had my moments of questioning and wondering if God sees me as this woman fit to raise a tribe of testosterone and what that actually means about me. But regardless, this isn't even the point, this little boy is meant to be apart of our family and we can't wait to love on him. 

Now with all of that behind us, everything seemed to be going as planned. I started feeling some movement which is always a big relief, and eventually was feeling those sweet kicks. We went in for our big ultrasound and even I could kind of tell something was up. I remember making a comment about his profile and why his nose looked different. The main doctor came in after what felt like the longest ultrasound ever, and wanted to take some 3D images to confirm his suspicions. I'm sorry, what did you just say, suspicions? I asked him if they were good or bad and he said that everything would be ok. We then learned that baby boy has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Of course my heart sank because you never want to hear that your child is anything less than perfect. I was aware of what it was and immediately asked questions about how this happened. We learned that it happens between weeks 6 and 7 during development when the lip area doesn't fuse together properly. It's multi-factorial meaning it could be genetic, hereditary, or also environmental. We learned that he would need surgery and that there would be several doctors with us during the delivery to evaluate him after. We learned that it's a fairly common situation but you see it more prevalent in other countries because those little ones usually don't have surgery or get the treatment they need until much later on. In the US, most cases are taken care of within the first year so it's not as obvious. While we are so thankful this isn't a life threatening situation, it was still hard to take everything in. It felt like my mind was spinning a mile a minute.

The next few days were really rough on me and my heart just broke for him. I tried to remind myself to be thankful we have a fixable problem and that internally he's ok. I still have to prepare myself that he will look different and if it's really only cosmetic (which is what we are praying for) then we will get through this. I had my few moments of crying it out, then my let's deal with this attitude kicked in and how we can get him to where he needs to be. We met with the Chief of the Neonatal Unit at our hospital and he was amazing. He was one of those guys that after you talked to him you almost felt like you knew him for years. He took his time with us and made us feel so welcome. Even though this situation may seem minor to some in comparison to others, he never made us feel that we were less than worth anyone's time. I even had my moments of feeling guilty for feeling bad because at least we have a fixable problem. Walking through the neonatal ICU (which we are praying he never has to visit) really put things in perspective. Those tiny babies are in there fighting for their lives. The Doctor and both Eric were amazing and reassured me that if I didn't feel bad about this situation I probably wouldn't be human.

I told a few friends about what was going on, and several of them who don't even know each other and all on different occasions, told me that if any parents had to go through this it made sense that it was Eric and I. In all honesty, I wanted to say to each of them, what in the heck is that supposed to mean? But after they all followed up by saying almost the exact same thing, I knew there had to be more behind it. They explained that they know our faith is strong, that Eric and I are such a good support system to each other, and that we are a family that can handle this. As much as it seemed like such an odd comment at the time, I also felt a wave of peace come over me. It was one of those moments that was God's way of reminding me that He is with us every step of the way and we will get through this. We believe He has big plans for this little guy's life and we know His hand will be upon him. I've since had moments of reassurance from small gestures such as friends stopping and praying for us, receiving a card in the mail at just the right time, and one of my sweet blogging friends who knew nothing about this situation reached out wanting to make something special for baby boy. It really is amazing how small acts of kindness can carry a person through their moments of struggle and doubt.

I share this not to look for sympathy, but to ask for your prayers and support through this time as we find out more about what we can expect. We will be meeting with surgeons to find out an approximate time frame for surgery (which I'm under the impression won't happen until around 6 months or so) and if it could be just one surgery or if it will need to be multiple. Unfortunately a lot of our questions won't be answered until he's actually here. I ask that you pray for me in my moments of weakness, for strength, for guidance, and that I will be the best mother I can be to my boys. For A and little nugget, that this will be a teachable moment for them to always show love and kindness even when others around us may look different. It can feel like such a catch 22 sometimes and such a faith struggle (if that's even a thing). Of course we are also praying and hoping for a medical miracle but at the same time I need to mentally prepare myself for what we could be faced with.

I also share this in case it might speak to or help someone else going through a tough time. Sometimes you never really know what's going on with someone until you put it out there. Pregnancy is such a beautiful gift and a great blessing, but it can also be an incredibly trying and scary time. As much as I know that we aren't supposed to be fearful, we are also human and perfectly imperfect. It makes me realize even more that even though my baby boy may have a physical deformity, he is still created perfect in every way and will be so loved. 

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