Oh how I love a birthday. A chance to be surrounded by the people that love you and make you feel special. It is a designated day to celebrate your life and be reminded of all the blessings. This year, I am most thankful for my health and the privilege of being Canaan's mama! I can't wait to see what the future holds!
My heart is so full after spending time with my squad -- the girls that have been there through thick and thin and bring out the best of me every time I see them. This reunion was extra special because three of us have had babies since the last time we were all together. Here is an overhaul of pictures from the special day... and best of all we all vowed to make this an annual tradition!
Our sweet neighbors gave us a gift certificate for a newborn photo shoot with the incredible Jeannie Collins. We are so grateful for her time and talent, and we will always cherish these captured gems.
We scheduled the photo shoot in advance, and since Canaan arrived early, he was almost 1 month old in these pictures... just a few days shy of his first smile.
Here are some of my favorites.
My sweet boy! I wonder if his eyes will stay blue like mine!
Since before we were married, we always loved the name Canaan. At our gender reveal party we found out we were having a boy, but (due to our Trisomy 18 scare) we wanted to wait to name him until we knew he was healthy.
When we got the good news from the amniocentesis results, I felt sure Shane would be ready to make it official, but he was really reluctant. We considered a few other names, but always came back to Canaan. We wrote our top two names on the mirror in our bathroom, and we practiced saying and writing the names over and over again. Shane even threw darts at a dartboard. Ha!
He is always the one to take his time with decisions, weigh all the options, think things through completely -- and this was no different. It is a lot of pressure naming a child, and when you add the (unwarranted) opinions of others in the mix it can cause doubt. but ultimately we decided to go with the name we have loved all along!
Baby’s probably thumb sucking and wiggling his toes
in there! Baby’s kidneys are making urine, and the liver and spleen are doing
their jobs too. And baby’s growing lanugo, a thin, peach-fuzz-like hair, all
over—it’ll help keep the body warm!
Edward’s Syndrome is what she called it, and the rest was
just a blur. I was sitting at my desk at work the Thursday before our Gender
Reveal Shower when the nurse called with results from our Panorama/Natera DNA Panel. The same
test results that revealed to the host of the shower that Baby Clancy was a boy
also revealed to me that he was high risk (1:32) for Trisomy 18, also known as Edward's Syndrome. The test results are 97% accurate, so our hope for a false positive was very slim.
Tri18 include low birth weight, small abnormally shaped head, and birth defects
in organs that are life threatening. Edward’s syndrome has no treatment and is
usually fatal before birth or within the first year of life. I was shocked,
devastated, desperate for a more definitive answer, but even more desperate for
a healthy baby.
“Now remember, it is a screening, not a diagnostic test”,
she said as I sobbed uncontrollably. I locked myself in a conference room with
spotty cell service and frantically called Shane.
Wow! The first trimester has flown by! Here is a little recap.
How I Found Out:
Despite all of my Lyme complications, my period still remained very regular. I didn't think for one second I was pregnant, but when I didn't start my period on time I decided to play it safe and get a cheap pregnancy test from the Dollar Store. I was taking medications for my Lyme that could be harmful during pregnancy, so I figured better safe than sorry! On January 4, I went on my lunch break and bought two cheap tests, and I proceeded to take them in the bathroom stall at work. (Not at all where I imagined finding out I would be a mama!) I totally would have waited on Shane had I thought I was about to receive such exciting news. I took the test, and browsed my phone while waiting for the results. I glance over and saw two lines, and said OH S*#! -- I quickly took the second test and sure enough -- another pair of lines appeared! On the way home from work, I stopped by Publix to get a real pregnancy test, and after a few minutes the word PREGNANT popped up on the screen.
How I Told Shane:
I didn't know how to tell Shane, but I knew I didn't want to frantically call him while he was at work which was my initial reaction. So I waited -- an ETERNITY -- well more like a 6 hours until he got home.
The pained look from my Lyme symptoms no longer stains my
face. Strangers and loved ones alike say I look happier, healthier, and bright.
(Their words… not mine!) They say I have glow about me – little do they know it’s
because of you. I don’t even know you yet, but I can’t wait to meet you, and
hold you and kiss you and THANK YOU!
Trust me when I say, you saved my life. My perspective will
never be quite the same. Sweet child of mine, you have been a part of me for
just under 8 weeks. You are merely the size of a blueberry but your impact has
been nothing shy of profound. You see, before you came along, I was sick. Very
sick. I was jaded and felt so betrayed by my own body. It was attacking itself
and refusing to heal. I was withering away – I had lost over 20 pounds and the
pain – oh the pain I suffered was excruciatingly torturous. And then suddenly,
after 18 months of unceasing, unimaginable pain and distress, I felt -- better
– for no apparent reason. I was shocked. I thought it was a fluke at first, a
much needed break perhaps. I waited on pins and needles in anticipation of the
shooting, stabbing pain to return and radiate throughout my body … but it didn’t. The days of relief turned into
weeks --- I thought maybe a recent fever I spiked had triggered my immune
system and flushed out the bacteria. Or perhaps the warmer weather gave my joints
just enough relief for the inflammation to subside. Or maybe the strict
anti-inflammatory diet in conjunction with the nerve pain medicine and the
steroids was finally doing the trick. I knew it was by the grace of God that I felt
healed, but I still wanted some sort of tangible explanation.
The proof came in the form of two red lines on a Dollar
Tree pregnancy test. Make that three cheap pregnancy tests and then the word “PREGNANT”
plastered on the side of not one but two of the "expensive tests". I just kept
taking tests because I could. not. believe. it! We had been praying for a miracle for quite some time -- but we had no idea it would be you! I was only a day late, but decided
to take a test anyway since I was on so much medication that could be harmful
to a little baby like you.
The pregnancy hormones are keeping my Lyme symptoms at bay – the same
hormones that make me a little grouchy and tired and nauseous – the ones that are working to provide for and
create you -- they are also giving me relief! What a freakin’ miracle. You, my love, ARE a miracle!
At first, we called you our “maybe baby” because we
seriously couldn't believe it! Now, your daddy calls you “Sprout” while we
toss around baby names. We should find out the gender in just over a month or
so, and we will pick your real name then.
We heard your heartbeat for this first time last week, and
it was incredible. You were just a little blurry blob on the screen, but your
heartbeat was a strong 150 BPM. We have started sharing this wonderful news
with our closest family and friends, but we can’t wait to shout it from the
rooftops and blast it all over social media! You are so loved already, and
together we will have a pretty awesome life! I’ll teach you what I know, and
you’ll help me learn what I don’t. I seriously can’t wait to meet you!
The new IDS wasn't helpful at all, but they rarely are down here in the South -- at least in my experience. There are so many misconceptions surrounding Lyme disease -- it has been difficult to find someone who knows enough to actually be helpful and also has the bandwidth to accept new patients -- and don't even get me started on insurance. I will admit, this doctor's appointment wasn't nearly as devastating as those in the past, because this was my first appointment that I was symptom free. Oh -- I am still on cloud 9 relishing in every pain-free second! It is one thing to hear a specialist with 30+ years' experience tell you there is nothing he can do when you aren't currently suffering -- it is something completely different when they tell you that and you are suffering from 5-7 severe symptoms a day and have already received the only treatment available.
This disease can be ugly -- it is scary and overwhelming and devastating -- but it has shown me so much beauty. Beauty in others -- like complete strangers that held the door open for me when I didn't have the strength, or the countless number of people that helped me stand up when I couldn't bare the pain on my own. Our support system is filled with the most loyal and loving friends, family and coworkers. My family has been so incredibly supportive, and my husband is hands down sent by the grace of God.
God may not have placed the perfect health care professional in my life (just yet!) -- but he gave me a best friend years ago that later became my husband and vowed to love me in sickness & in health -- and boy did he deliver!
My sweet Shane is the man my parents always prayed I would find -- one that loves me for all of me. He took care of me for daysweeks months on end without ever complaining or making me feel ashamed. It was as if he didn't even consider any other option. He avidly researched my symptoms, numerous diseases, supplements and treatments for countless hours. Lifting me in and out of his truck, driving me to a ridiculous number of appointments, carrying me up the stairs, sleeping hand-in-hand with me on the couch when I couldn't muster the strength to even be carried up the stairs, willingly sacrificing sleep, money, social life, work, free-time, himself --- sacrificing EVERYTHING for me. He is the most pure and loving man -- kind and loyal to a fault, and I am forever grateful for his love and dedication!
PS -- He is going to hate me for writing all of this.
Happy New Year! Recently, I have had a random streak of symptom-free days, and I wanted to do a quick post to share this incredible news! I am currently on my 8th day symptom free (knock on wood!) I am so grateful! I have been eating much cleaner recently, but otherwise I have made no other changes. It has been over 2 years since I had more than 3 days symptom-free, so I am just as shocked as the next person, but I will take it! 2017 is off to a great start! Thank you for all the prayers and support.
My next appointment with my new IDS is at the end of January. I will keep you posted. (No pun intended!) :)