Monday, December 30, 2013

Welcome Lydia Jean! (a little earlier than expected)

Proverbs 19:21 says "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."  Joel thought that was a fitting verse for today!

So much for that January 15 birthday we were planning on... Lydia Jean Korkki arrived the morning of December 30th at 9:39 weighing in at 6 pounds 8 ounces, and 19 inches long.

When my water broke at 4 am I have to say I wasn't exactly thrilled.  I had just been telling Joel the night before how much we still had to do. I couldn't wait to get through my next few days of work and have 10 days off before our baby's arrival to get everything ready. For those who don't know...we were trying to finish up a renovation of our main bathroom before baby.  Joel was going to spend New Year's Day tiling the bathroom! I had looked over the days we had left and had a plan for how to accomplish what was left, booked my hair appointment, and went to bed feeling at least somewhat in control.  

Then came that lovely 4 am wake up call and I was not at all in control! There may have been some yelling (NO NO NO).  Definitely some tears.  Then some major denial. Joel kept asking when I was going to call the birth center while I was putting away laundry, emptying the dish drain,and.....straightened my hair.  If I just kept busy and ignored this maybe it wasn't happening. All that leaking fluid could be something else, right?  

I already felt like I had to give up so much when we found out about her diagnosis in August.  I didn't want to give up my new plan for how she started life. If she came today, my parents wouldn't be here, she wouldn't have the doctors and surgeons that we had met with previously, and she wouldn't have a January birthday with her cousins which I was really excited about. Couldn't just one thing go according to my plan?

I finally had to remind myself that God wasn't surprised by this.  Just like I knew he wasn't surprised by her diagnosis of spina bifida in August.  That is why I have to trust Him.  I didn't get there right away- there were quite a few tears first- I am human after all....and this morning I was a pregnant human....having contractions I thought I was going to skip! But God knew that my plans weren't going to work out. He had already worked out who would be around to care, comfort, and encourage all 3 of us. 

We are so thankful for all the messages, texts, and prayers sent our way. We know all 3 of us are very loved. We ask for your continued prayers as Lydia is scheduled for surgery to correct her spinal defect, tomorrow, December 31, at approximately 11 am.  

Thanks for standing with us,
Love Joel, Amy, and Lydia

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And her birthday shall be...

Yesterday the hospital scheduled my C-section for January 15th at noon. So mark your calendars because unless my little darling doesn't cooperate and decides to start the party early, my firstborn's birthday will be January 15th!

It seems really weird to know when my daughter's birthday will be. I had always looked forward to the anticipation of wondering when my baby would show up and the growing excitement of finally being able to know if a son or daughter was being added to our family.  But all my plans... along with all my hopes, dreams, and expectations for how my first child would arrive kind of went out the window after that 20 week ultrasound.  You see, I have wanted to be a mom for FOREVER.  Pretty much as soon as I was big enough to tote a baby around on my hip I've been anxiously wondering when that baby on my hip would be mine. I've spent a lot of time contemplating how I wanted things to go when I had my own munchkins. Then in a matter of about 60 seconds my MD managed to disassemble every last part of my plan for my child's birth. Now, I know that children are experts at disrupting plans and this is what I've signed up for from here on out. At that moment though, everything seemed really unfair. I have 9 other pregnant women in my life that are all due in December and January. None of their plans had been so drastically altered. Why me??? How come I have to be the one to be told my baby has a spinal cord defect and will need surgery shortly after birth? 

How am I supposed to respond to this?

Well initially I responded with a lot of tears. I spent the next two nights bawling my eyes out as I kept thinking of things that were not going to happen. Like how my baby wouldn't be handed to me as soon as she was born so I could just stare at her. Pictures that wouldn't be taken of the people coming to hold her on her first day of life. The first moment when everyone else in the room can leave and it would be just the 3 of us for the first time... Then I started in on all the unknowns of my baby's future and cried even harder.  24 hours earlier I would not have considered the statement, "I'm fairly confident your child will walk." an encouragement and now I was clinging to it with everything I had. I definitely could not go on like this. I didn't think I'd make it to her delivery a sane person.

This year I've been reading a daily devotional book entitled, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. One of the days she had written about thankfulness. The very first line was, "Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity."  I sat and thought about that concept for a long time. Over the years I've memorized Bible verses about being thankful - there are a lot of them! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  Excuse me??? Thankful was about the last thing in the world I felt like being when we got the news about our baby having a problem. I've always been quick to give thanks in the good times, but I can't say I've been great at doing it when things weren't how I wanted them to be. God would understand, right? Surely He doesn't expect me to have a grateful heart when life is crummy and hard. 

Or does He?

I've been working on trying out this concept when I start to feel anxious about my daughter. Instead of focusing on all that isn't as I want it to be, I'm trying to dwell on all that I have to be thankful for in the midst of this circumstance. I am so thankful that I live in a country where medical technology is available to me. Because of this we were able to find out about our daughter's spina bifida before she arrived and be proactive about a treatment plan. I'm thankful for the doctors we have met along this journey - for their expertise and compassion as they prepare us for what is ahead. I'm thankful for amazing co-workers who constantly ask how my baby girl is and genuinely care about her progress. I'm thankful for my friends and family who immediately jumped in to support Joel and me. Cards, emails, and phone calls to say they were thinking of us and praying for us have truly made me grateful. Let me tell you - going through something difficult lets you see how much you are really loved. Definitely something to be thankful for! My husband is also the source of many things to be thankful for- that could be it's own post! Most of all I am thankful to have a relationship with a God who is always with me and loves me regardless of my attitude at the moment. I have definitely felt Him walking through this with me.

As I take the time to ponder all that is GOOD in this circumstance - I become less anxious and have more hope. I'm gaining a greater understanding for why God wants us to be thankful in all circumstances. He isn't being cruel. He wants what's best for us. This life is going to be full of things that don't go as we envision and cause our hearts to hurt. If we don't have a way to deal with that... well, life is going to be long and miserable. However meeting difficult circumstances head on with thankfulness changes our perspective. God knows that when we are thankful no matter what, we are on the road to having joy no matter what. God also knows this isn't intuitive to us, it is a learned behavior that takes practice! Hence why there are so many verses reminding us to be thankful!

I definitely don't have this thankful thing down completely. I'm sure this journey will give me more opportunities to keep working on it!

Thank you all for being on the journey with us.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Six Weeks To Go

We are about six weeks away from meeting our little girl! While I am excited for her arrival date, her fast approaching arrival also causes some anxiety. For those who don't know yet, we found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our baby has spina bifida. Spina bifida is a congenital disorder where some of the vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed so they remain un-fused and open. The spinal cord can actually protrude out of the back and is surrounded by a fluid filled sac. The opening in the back is usually closed surgically by a pediatric neurosurgeon within 24-48 hours of birth. Soooo... as we get closer to meeting our daughter, we are also getting closer to sending our newborn off to surgery right after we meet her. Needless to say this wasn't exactly my dream for how to kick off my adventure in motherhood. In the days following the diagnosis, as I tried not to sink into the mire of "why me", I kept thinking about this verse.
Isaiah 55:8-9“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Many years ago my parents were fighting the "why" questions as I had been diagnosed with leukemia. They could only see what was right in front of them- their little girl was sick and could possibly die. Instead of letting the "what ifs" of my uncertain future crush them, they entrusted me to God and waited to see how He would work in all of this.

Obviously I'm still here! There were some tough years, but God healed me and allowed me to make it to this day were I'm about to be a mother. Being sick was just part of living in this broken world, but God took that and wove it into the fabric of my life to make the person I am today. Now Joel and I are the parents that have to refuse to let all the "what ifs" of our daughter's future overwhelm us. We have to entrust her little life to God and believe that He can take what seems so terrible now and use it in her life - and ours - in ways beyond what we could imagine from where we stand now.

We are encouraged that the spinal defect is as far down the spine as possible, which will hopefully mean a better outcome. She will have to be delivered by C-section at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. We don't have the exact date yet, but we'll post it when we do.

As you think of it, please be praying for our little girl. We have been praying for a miracle for her spine. Pray for Joel and I too as we learn to trust God with our baby.

Thank you so much!