Never before has Spring seemed so lovely.  I feel keenly aware of the growth around me, the birth if you will, of green grass, budding flowers and colorful fresh produce.  In our area of the country, we know that Spring brings with it the threat of harsh and severe weather.  Spring feels a lot like my life right now.  My belly seems to swell and grow by the minute as Audrey wiggles and dances around.  It is truly a beautiful thing, sometimes I just stop what I am doing to watch her…to feel her…to memorize her.  Sometimes the storm of the situation casts an ugly shadow on these beautiful moments.  But, have you ever been through a storm only to witness a gorgeous sunset afterward?  I continue to trust that the other side of all of this will look like a stunning watercolor sky.

The past week has been full of perfectly normal moments that make up our wonderful life.  Work for Chris and I, school for Cooper, soccer games, meals with friends, grilling on the back patio, chores around the house, and many many more.  One day, I called my mom in a broken moment.  I remember when I was pregnant with Cooper, I had intense bursts of nesting energy.  Well, I’m there.  I have been feeling this “need” to nest…all thanks to pregnancy hormones I am certain.  At this point in pregnancy, most parents are busy putting together cribs, washing the tiniest of baby clothes and thinking about which car seat to install.  We aren’t doing those things, we are living simply, not making many plans and waiting.  Chris and I are both planners at heart and this feeling of being unprepared is quite a hurdle to overcome.

While today it feels less Spring-like outside, we decided to do some landscaping over the weekend when the weather was sunny and warm.  When I say we, I mean Chris planted wonderful begonias throughout our front beds and laid fresh cedar mulch.  Mmm, can’t you just smell the cedar?  Chris could be a landscape expert in another life.  Besides bringing him Gatorade and picking up trash along the way, my only contribution to our outdoor life is one pot.  A perfectly orange pot with a fun yellow tomato cage housing a single starter tomato plant.  Chris’ mom grows tomatoes each year and I can never get enough, neither can Cooper – a delightful burst of juicy flavor in each bite.  She has inspired me to give it a try.  I am starting small and we’ll see how it goes.  The reason I go in to all of this is because during our trip to TLC to purchase our plants, we had a memorable conversation with Cooper.

At one point when we were near the trees, and I didn’t think Cooper was listening, I said to Chris, “I’ve been thinking…if Audrey were to die, maybe we could plant a tree for her.”  Chris thought it sounded like a good idea but in the middle of saying so, a little voice perked up and said, “Did you say die?”

Yikes.  Neither of us said a word.  I jumped in, trying to avoid it and change the subject.

That didn’t work, again he asked “No, mama, did you say die?”

Let’s rewind a bit.  Since learning about Audrey’s health over 3 months ago, we have been honest and told Cooper that she is sick, we have prayed for Audrey with Cooper.  We just have never talked about the possibility of her “dying” specifically, never said that word.  I wasn’t thinking when I said it in front of him.  I immediately regretted it.  But Chris felt like it was an opportunity to talk about it, about the possibility.  I agreed and we did.  We had a simple conversation with him about the fact that she is still sick – her heart and her brain don’t work right, and she is very small and not growing enough.  He didn’t have any strong reaction one way or another.  He listened, soaked it all in.  He said, “If her brain doesn’t work, she can’t walk…” We said that was possible.  He went on to say, “Well, if she can’t walk then she will fall down and break her head.”  Simple words from a smart little guy.  Cooper…our first baby.  I’ve thought so much over the past few months how to help prepare him for what is to come, but that’s impossible.  We don’t know what is coming, we don’t know how to prepare ourselves…let alone our son.  We ended the conversation talking about how much we love her and that no matter what, he is her wonderful and only big brother.

Fast forward to today, I had my appointment with Dr. Stanley and Chris was able to be there with me thankfully.  Audrey is 32 weeks and 2 days big in my belly today.  Similar to last week, there are no changes with her brain or heart.  She didn’t grow much in the past week unfortunately, only up 2oz.  By now, most babies gain about 1/2 pound per week and weigh an average of 3lbs. 12oz., our little fighter weighs 2lbs. 11oz. today.

She has flipped to a frank breech position, which isn’t surprising because I have really seen some significant dance moves across my belly the past couple of days.  Also, my amniotic fluid measured quite high today, an 11…!  But, apparently due to her position, there was a good size pocket of fluid near the bottom of the uterus that may have skewed the measurement.

Dr. Stanley forgot to schedule the delivery with the hospital, so we’re not sure on the exact date but hope to know this week.  He said in the next few weeks we’ll be meeting with a neonatologist.  This is a physician who is specifically trained to handle newborn babies with complex and high-risk situations.  The point of the meeting will be to discuss what we do know about Audrey, possible situations or decisions that we may be faced with and overall to allow the doctor to become familiar with Audrey’s situation prior to delivery.

Dr. Stanley said he wishes so much he had a crystal ball and could tell us how to prepare and what to expect.  His best advice was simply to “think positive but be prepared for the worst.”

No picture of our gal today, she was just too curled up to get any images.

My next appointment is next Tuesday at 9:30am.  We’ll continue doing weekly biophysical profiles and he is adding a Non-Stress Test from now on to monitor the baby’s heart rate and movement.

Love and hugs to each of you.  As April comes to a close, I hope May flowers beautify the world that surrounds you.



2 thoughts on “Growth

  1. Dearest Rachel ,Chris and Cooper. Such beautiful and heartfelt words to describe the agonizing realism of your situation! Daily thoughts and prayers for all of you and special blessings to Audrey and little Cooper. I’ve been concentrating solely on you and Chris and this made me realize the big affect this situation will also have on little man Cooper. Stay strong and believe in Gods plan!

  2. Dear Chris, Rachel, and Cooper~
    Our prayers continue constant as your journey continues. Your courage and grace are ever present in your words and actions. The way you are able to carry on and live each day to the fullest are just awe inspiring. Audrey Claire is a miracle, and God loves her and each of you. May he continue to surround you with his love and may your faith remain ever constant. Our arms are wrapped lovingly around you from afar~ Love, Aunt Cynthia & Scottie

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