Saturday, January 30, 2010

cabin fever anyone??

I must admit that I have no pictures from the past couple snow/ice days...

Since they were predicting bad weather earlier in the week I arranged my surgery schedule @ work where we wouldn't have anything on Friday.. (just in case of course - ha) Ben unfortunately did have to work a 12 hr shift in NLR. I was praying it would either be bad enough he couldn't go or nothing @ all. Questioning whether it's safe or not stresses me out!! He ventured off to work Friday early with no problems... coming home @ 7 was a different story. I was a nervous wreck, as was he but he made it!! (there were a lot of prayers going up) I spent all day Friday @ my sisters w/ my mom and the fam... the girls were too funny playing outside!! (You'll have to go to Am's blog to see pics) Amber of course baked something sweet, we played outside, sat by the fire, cuddled with Charlie, ate (a lot) then started the process all over!! Hannah came over later that evening to participate in our madness. Her mom & sis weren't doing anything so they ended up coming over to!! We had an amazing time acting like girls & chatting. By the time we looked up it was 11:30.. we discussed a sleep over?!!

Avery is confused by the snow, she limps around like she's hurt!! She pretty much walks the parameter, does her business then run backs to the door.. which is fine with us because it's freezing outside!! I am ready for green grass, Razorback baseball, grilling out, planting flowers, swimming.... SPRING!!

As for Ben & I these days.... we're doing well, staying busy with work and school!! Ben is now a Junior in nursing school and will graduate in June, yay!! The past 7 months seem to have flown by since he started!! Of course he's @ the top of his class and making his family so proud!! As for my work.. we just moved into a new and much bigger office in the Baptist NLR Springhill hospital. It's super nice & I'm so proud!! Since I'm the only nurse I feel like it's my project to make it run efficiently. I take so much pride in what I do & the patients we have... from the obvious, cosmetic to our wounds we treat/close.

As Weslee's due date approaches we talk about the what ifs.. how big would I be?? (Ben thinks my belly would be huge) betting I would work up until the day I delivered... who would be in the delivery room.. who/what would she look like.... they're not sad conversations, they're honestly fun & proud moments we share!!

Thank you for your continued love & support!! 2010 has already had its ups and downs but we're looking forward to each day we have!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Go Benton Panthers!!

A new Friday night tradition for my sister, nieces, & I is to go to the Panther basketball games. We have some friends from church that play on both the girls & guys teams. We especially go to watch #25, Luke Vance!! My sister babysat both he & his older sister, Olivia when they were younger. When she went off to school I attempted to take over her position. I say attempted because I didn't last very long.. Luke (who was young) gave me the hardest time, I wanted to ring his neck!! Olivia just went along with whatever; until it came time to decide what to eat.. she's so picky!! haha I love these two like they were family, we have a lot of memories together!!


One of the many things my mom, sister, nieces, & I do together is shop... a lot of times we don't have anything particular we have to get we just enjoy going!! (don't talk to our husbands because they'll say otherwise) We went to Conway a few weekends ago (b/c they have a TJ Max & more).. The pictures w/ Megan & the naked ladies was @ Belk. Mom & I were looking @ something, apparently Meg was looking @ something else!! haha she is the funniest kid I've ever met, soo smart!! I wont post any of the comments she made about the naked lady!! Mom & I were laughing so hard we had to walk off, telling Meg to come with us... she decided to bring her new lady friend.. I'm still laughing!! The pictures of Laci are from Burger King today after church. They have these funnel cake sticks w/ icing, holy smokes they're just like the fair!!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying to lose some much needed weight so I just tasted them.. Laci ate almost all of them, leaving most of the icing on her chin!! Have I mentioned how much these two girls mean to me??

It must be rough to be our dog!!

I've been meaning to post some new pictures of Avery for a while now... she's a year and a 1/2, 121 lbs as of a few months ago, & still growing!! It is true what they say about mastiffs, that they're gentle giants. She is the one person (dog) that sleeps more than I do, & that's a lot!! She is now a full time inside dog.. I'm pretty sure she always was, even though that was not our intention. She started off sleeping on a dog bed beside our bed but I insisted (when she was much smaller) that she sleep with us.. Ben told me then that we were creating a monster but I didn't listen... 121 lbs later she still sleeps right in between us!! (yes, we have a king bed) I told Ben the other day I wish there was a camera in our room so we could see how she moves around all night long.. she likes to cuddle, mostly with me @ night so Ben ends up getting pushed practically off the bed!! She loves Laci & Megan, they could do anything to her and she just sits there... You'll see in a few of the pictures Megan (playing w/ an iPhone of course) leaning on her, she does that often. You'll also see Ben w/ his study set up... that's how he & Avery are every night these days!! It's been such a blessing having her since our lives changed forever in October. The morning after we found out about Weslee's condition, I was up @ 5 (not sure if I went to sleep).. I got out of bed & went to the couch so Ben could get some rest... I proceeded to cry, talk to myself, talk to God, pick out a name for our daughter, & cry more. Avery came right up to me and just starred.... melted my heart!! She's more like a human than any other animal I've met. As much as I complain about her shedding & how skiddish she is around strangers, I wouldn't trade her for anything!! Here are some pictures of our girl.....

(we put the green blanket on the couch because that's where she stays 95% of the time, I wash it at least once a week)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Q & A

I appreciate so much the kind words you leave on our blog... I always love to see who and what you commented!! It's amazing how people stumble across our blog or I stumble on theirs, touching!!

To answer some questions...

The cause of anencephaly is disputed. Generally, neural tube defects do not follow direct patterns of heredity. Studies show that a woman who has had one child with a neural tube defect such as anencephaly has about a 3% risk of having another child with a neural tube defect. The specialist we went to said our odds were 1/1000 before Weslee, now that we've had an anencephalic baby our odds went to 1/100. The good news is w/ a huge amount of folic acid along w/ prenatal vitamins our odds go up to 1/700. Again, that's what our specialist said, there are many studies & many opinions on this matter. According to one website... "In the United States, approximately 1 out of 150,000 to 200,000 babies are born with anencephaly each year. Research has suggested that, overall, female babies are more likely to be affected by the disorder."

There is no cure or standard treatment for anencephaly and the prognosis is poor. Most anencephalic babies do not survive birth, accounting for 55% of non-aborted cases.

After meeting with the specialist all of our questions were answered; medically anyways. We were told that whether I delivered her then or @ 40 weeks she would not make it through the actual birth. Of course the doctors know more about the anatomy & physiology of anencephaly. In our case, Weslee was born @ 20 weeks; stillborn.

I was asked if we had time to prepare.... Honestly, even if we had 50 years I don't think one could be prepared. We went into our 20 week appointment anxiously awaiting the sex of our baby. After 3 minutes of pure bliss we were also told she was anencephalic. From the ultrasound room we went straight to the doctors office for him to explain exactly what was going on... of course being a nurse & with modern technology I was sure there was a bone flap or SOMETHING we could do once she arrived... It took Ben looking me in the eyes & telling me the reality of the situation before it actually hit me. The following day we met with the specialist.. Once we left the doctors office I felt like I had to whisper when talking to family & friends.. I didn't want Weslee to hear us talking about her & her future. Of course w/ her degree of anencephally she had no senses... It took the specialist telling me again before I truly understood. Ben & I prayed before going into the appointment that we would leave the specialist with a peace. That prayer was answered, we decided @ that point to cherish the time we had w/ her in my belly & to give thanks to God for allowing us to be her parents; even though we'd never know her on this physical earth. There were definitely times when we cried, cried, & cried more... I don't want to focus on the roller coaster of emotions we went on and continue to ride on a daily basis. Ben & I try to focus on the positives and be thankful!!

I hope I've answered your questions well.. I pray that by sharing Weslee's story I can help others going through difficult times like these, but most importantly show my faith & best case scenario bring others to Christ!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

the BIG question

I've received so many wonderful comments about Weslee since posting the latest pictures!! One of the ones I've heard through the grapevine is, "she looks so real.." I guess I never thought people would think anything other than she would look real?? Anencephaly is so rare that not many people know what to expect.. I was one of those people who googled it the day after we found out. I told Ben the pictures of the other babies looked like tree frogs. (I can say that because I've had an anencephalic baby) Weslee did not look like those pictures... like I said in the last post, she was perfect in every way other than the back of her head. She looked like a perfect baby, just a tiny version... I'm still in awe of how a 20 week gestation baby looks; how Weslee looked!!

Lately I've been asked quite a bit, "are you going to try again, when are you going to have another baby, etc." The answer to that is..... medically I have to wait a certain period of time. Once that time is up we will let nature take its course. We've learned that it's out of our hands and whatever happens happens... we're @ peace with that!!

If you have any specific questions about our situation, how we're dealing, what the future holds, how Avery's doing : ) please feel free to ask.... I am one that likes to ask lot's of questions, my mom calls it nosey, I call it observant!! Obviously, I love talking about our daughter and am proud to share her story!!

I was inspired by your comments and chose a few more pictures to share with you all... the first one is a poem the nurses had with her box of clothes, beanie baby, blankets, & jewelry. The second is the hat she wore after she was born. You can see the size difference in my sisters hand and the actual hat. The final picture is one of my favorites. Weslee was created in love, she has her mommy & daddy's wedding rings on her legs. Look @ those toes, aren't they sweet!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We're so proud!!

Ben and I will cherish the few hours we got to spend with Weslee's physical body the day she was born... Our immediate family was there to be able to hold and see God's creation with us!! I've been wanting to share some pictures we have from that bitter sweet day.. Ben is a very protective daddy and has had a hard time letting me... Weslee was 20 weeks gestation when she arrived.. she weighed 6.4 oz and was 8" long... she was perfect in every way other than being anencephalic. (a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect - resulting in the absence a major portion of the brain, skull, or scalp) The doctors have no reason why this occurs... we've read hundreds and hundreds of articles, research papers, textbooks, etc. and still have no answers. In some ways that makes it easier, knowing it wasn't something specific we did.. The major connection between all research was the vitamin folic acid. What's ironic is that I had been taking prenatal vitamins (which has the recommended dosage of folic acid in them) for years before meeting Ben. We studied neural tube defects in nursing school and it horrified me. Therefore, I started taking them @ that point. My biggest dream has always been to be a mom and all that goes with it!! I am fascinated with pregnant bellies and was loving watching mine grow!!
They immediately put a hat on her when she was born but being a nurse and her mommy I immediately took it off to examine all 6.4oz of her!!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from her birthday....
I loved seeing her 10 fingers and toes, so tiny yet so real!!
Holding our daughter for the first time
+Weslee+Faith+025.jpg"> Ben was in aww, such a special moment
"Can you believe she's ours, God chose us to be her mommy and daddy!!"
How proud we are!!

more reminders..

Ben is working 12 hours today so I've had the day to myself... well, Avery (our English Mastiff) has given me company. We've watched a lot of TV, done laundry, took a nap on the couch, went to sonic of course, & finally took a shower. I got on facebook this afternoon & noticed a friend of mine who's due the same time Weslee was. She had put up her baby shower pictures, which were precious!! It's another reminder of what I wont get to do for our daughter. I enjoyed looking @ the pictures and didn't think much of it @ the time... for some reason, the past hour I can't get Weslee off my mind. Of course I'm being selfish and always dreamed of my very own baby shower!! I have to remind myself that one day that will be me in the pictures... Knowing that right now I should be planning Weslee's many baby showers is hard to stomach. Ben was telling me the other night how he thinks about where we would be in this pregnancy. I've got such a great support system in a husband, family, & friends. It never fails that someone tells me they're still thinking about us.. I can't say enough how much that means!! I ask that you please continue to pray for us in the coming months as Weslee's due date approaches. I have to remind myself not to be sad.... Weslee is in a far better place than we are where there are no tears, no sadness; pure BLISS!! How I long to hold her again, kiss her sweet face, watch her daddy examine every square inch of her body, and be together as a family!! As much as my heart breaks that she's not here with us, I am so proud to be her mommy and tell her story!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

friendly reminder.....

When I found out I was pregnant one of the first things I did was sign up for What to Expect When You're Expecting e-mails... they send you weekly updates w/ what your baby is up to that week. Of course I unsubscribed to those e-mails as soon as I delivered Weslee. During my surgery yesterday morning (I work for a plastic surgeon) I heard my phone ding that I had a new e-mail... I was not ready for what I was about to open. For some reason I had been sent a "32 week reminder." It's hard to stomach that this week I would be 32 weeks pregnant with our baby girl, 32 weeks!!!! We would be preparing for the final days until she arrived..... so many things go through my mind, all the what ifs........ As much as my heart breaks for what we will never have on this physical earth I am blessed beyond belief @ what her 20 weeks in my belly meant to me & my family. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her, seeing her long legs, her daddy's nose, & my family loving on her. She has brought so much goodness out of this tragic situation, for that I am forever grateful!!

Wes is off to Atlanta

Tomorrow, my brother Wesley is headed back to Atlanta to start his 2010 baseball season. Although we hate to see him go, we are excited for him & the many possibilities he has coming his way!! We are already planning many road trips to see him & shop!! Tonight we all went over to my sister's, made chili, watched the Texas/Alabama game, & enjoyed the fellowship.

Here is Laci & Megan "wrestling" as Megan calls it Wes & Hannah
Charlie trying to stay out of the line of fire
Laci & Nonny w/ Laci's gingerbread book & picture she made to match
Charlie & I by the fire, where I stay the majority of the time!!
Nonny & Charlie
Megan wearing Auntie's hat & Laci's High School Musical jacket
As soon as Hannah walked in the door Laci had her write down her name & phone number in her diary we got her for Christmas. Little does Hannah know, Laci will memorize it & call her when she swipes her moms phone!!
Poppy & big bird
Ben & his nieces
Poppy & little bird
Meg & Benny
a girl after her auntie's heart!! We both love our sonic cokes w/ crushed ice!!
Laci & Nonny preparing chili, Laci loves to help out in the kitchen!!
Amber & I in our hats... Amber's showing off her new gloves too!! She likes them because she can stay warm & still answer her iPhone @ the same time...
Ben - Megan - Wes - Hannah - Laci
Uncle Wes, Auntie, & Meg fred
Wes suggested Megan throw a chair on Laci when they were "wrestling" She took him seriously!!
Wes & Hannah
I absolutely love being a middle child & having an older sister & younger brother!! We are all best friends & I wouldn't have it any other way...
Good luck uncle Wes, we can't wait to come see you soon!!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

random memories

We've got to know Hannah & her family over the past few months.. we're blessed for that!! Hannah has become quite the puzzle master & plans to start nursing school next year which I am thrilled about!!

Megan & Hannahquinn (Megan always calls her by her whole name - one word) Laci, Hannah, & Charlie
Laci & Siba (Olivia) - on the side of my blog I've got Olivia's blog which is all of her art work, go check it out, it's very creative!!
While we were in the living room playing w/ Charlie we looked up @ the bar & noticed Megan's crack starring back @ us!!
Mom & Amber @ Mimi's, our staple lunch stop when we go shopping in LR!!
I am looking forward to 2010 and all the new memories it will bring!!


A few days after Christmas Amber & Brad went to Dallas to celebrate their anniversary. On their way home they went through Fort Worth to pick up Charlie, a King Charles Cavalier. He is by far the sweetest, most calm yet playful puppy I've ever met.

While they were there they also purchased these big "bags" for Brads new PlayStation room. They're by far the biggest bing bags I've ever seen!! Megan & Laci on one bag & Ben and Charlie on the other..
Amber & her new best friend, Charlie
Laci is Charlie's mom and loves being responsible for him!!
What he does best...
Nonny & Charlie
being playful
I'm pretty sure he was sick of me trying to get his attention for pictures!!
What a great way to start out the year, a new innocent puppy!!