12/31/1999

We just had our first visit with the geneticist, Dr. Miles. We knew that T18 was not something that we passed to Carleigh, but it was nice to hear an actual geneticist tell us that! She said that T18 happens randomly and there is absolutely nothing we could have done to keep her from getting it. We were worried about our son being a
carrier or that our brothers and sisters could be affected. We are thankful they won't be!!

Now we understand a little more about how the Trisomy happened, as far as the way the cells divided. Dr. Miles was very positive toward us and what we're trying to accomplish with our little miracle - something we appreciate VERY much! She told us Carleigh is an individual and no matter what the statistics say, she is still our baby. We get to make the choices that we want for her and also, it is going to be up to her on how long she is with us.

Dr. Miles said that Carleigh making it through the pregnancy, labor, and delivery shows that she is stronger than many other T18 babies. Most don't even make it through the first few months of the pregnancy!!

Also, we are not classified into the 1 in 1000 chance for Spina Bifida, as Carleigh's is caused by the T18. Spina Bifida can sometimes be prevented by taking Folic Acid. When I found out she had SB, I felt maybe it was my fault because I didn't get enough Folic Acid. It's nice knowing that no matter what I did or didn't do, it did not cause Carleigh's problems.

Now we can just concentrate on helping her grow and letting her know she is VERY loved!!!

12/23/1999

We're back from another visit with the pediatrician. We had a lot to talk about today!!

First of all, we were hoping Carleigh weighs 6 lbs. Well, she couldn't have gotten any closer - 5 lbs. 15 ozs.! We're so proud of her for her weight gain!

We told the pediatrician about Carleigh pulling out the feeding tube. She wasn't upset at all and asked how Carleigh had done without it. She opted to leave the tube out! :o) Not only that, but she said she thinks Carleigh is HUNGRY! (We had told her of our problems with crying 1 hour before feeding time.)

We are supposed to raise milk intake from 32 ccs. to 51 ccs. every 3 hours! If Carleigh can't handle it, we're allowed to cut it in half and feed her more often than 3 hours. I don't forsee any problems, as we've affectionately dubbed her "Piggy
Girl". LOL

Another concern with her is the still open Spina Bifida. The pediatrician told us that she can't give us a referral to get it repaired. She explained that she will not do the referral because she is not going to do something that she believes will
allow Carleigh to die. The surgery is a major surgery as a surgeon has to go in and repair and try to reconnect the nerve endings. With Carleigh's heart problems, the pediatrician feels she would not make it through surgery.

John and I were not willing to leave her back open, until today. We have accepted this well. When you get the choice of having your daughter alive, or risking her life for a surgery, well, we want her with us, hands down, no arguments. She has lived 6 1/2 weeks with open Spina Bifida and has flourished.

My main concern had gone from the back surgery anyway, and is focused more on the fear of hydrocephalus. Carleigh's back has "grown" a protective covering on it. What was once a walnut-sized opening is now a small slit that is about 1/4 inch long. Without that opened all the way up, it has made it possible for her head to collect fluid. We addressed that issue with the doctor too. She said that Carleigh is a possible candidate for a shunt, and she would give a referral for that. She said that Carleigh's bones in her head will compensate to make room for the fluid, but she doesn't want her head getting large and heavy because it would then be hard to care for her. We are going to see a neurosurgeon to determine if a shunt is needed. Carleigh's head has had the same measurement, so for now it's not growing. A shunt would be a future consideration - that is - if her heart can handle the anesthesia. The surgery for the shunt is not as major as closing the back, but she would have to be put under anesthesia for the surgery. That's about all for now. We are proud of our little fighter!

12/22/1999

I'll tell you right now, we have got a "wild child" on our hands! When Carleigh is older, I'm sure she is going to challenge us in every way!!

Last night at 11:45 I was fixing her bottle. John was holding her in the bedroom trying to keep her calm. (When she's hungry she has a real attitude!) John yelled, "ANDREA, COME QUICK!" It was a yell of panic, so I knew we were in trouble. I could hear Carleigh crying, so I knew she was breathing, but I thought maybe she was choking for some reason. I went running into the bedroom and, well, Miss Carleigh decided that she doesn't need her feeding tube anymore! SHE PULLED THE THING OUT!!!

John didn't know what to do. I told him this is Carleigh's big chance to show her doctor that she doesn't need it. We went ahead and gave the bottle to her. She actually drank BETTER without the tube in her mouth!

As of this morning we have been through four feedings without the tube. She has behaved herself and drank every drop that we've given her! I am so proud of her for doing so well. She may be small, but she knows how to fight! In the future though,
I wish she would ask me first. LOL It would have been so nice for her to say, "Mom, Dad, I'm going to pull out my feeding tube now", rather than scaring us to death!! Just one more sign to remind us that she is a normal baby. It will be a great Christmas present if the doctor will leave the tube out. There will be one less "gadget" hanging from our little girl.

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! We have found the best Christmas gift - our little miracle baby - sent straight to us from Heaven. Just watching Carleigh and her brother together is the greatest gift of all!

12/17/1999

I called the doctor today.

I've been concerned about Carleigh's head shape. It's not getting "fatter" but it's getting "taller". I was worried about hydrocephalus, but since her circumference is still in the normal range and she isn't vomiting or acting differently the pediatrician said it was ok.

Paranoid Mom I am, but I don't want anything to happen to my little angel!

12/14/1999

Carleigh is still doing great! She drank 28 ccs. from her bottle two different times!
The only problem is that she's not consistent with it. Until she's consistent, the feeding tube has to stay in.

We are still hoping for the surgery. The earliest it would be is mid-January. No
plans are totally in the works yet. The surgery is going to depend on many things - the biggest being if Carleigh's heart is strong enough to handle anesthesia. Only time will tell...

12/09/1999

I am so proud of my girl! This evening she drank 8 whole ccs. of milk from a bottle!!

Earlier I had given her formula and she only drank 2 ccs. The formula is so thick she has problems, but the milk worked like a charm!! The only problem we had was that she would rather sleep than eat. I had to keep taking the bottle away and burping her to wake her back up! :o) At least we're off to a good start. 8 ccs.... only 24 more to go!!

12/08/1999

Today is Carleigh's "official" one month birthday!! We're celebrating by trying something new!!

Carleigh had her first taste of milk! It was from a bottle - not her tube!! I thought I would experiment with her and see what she could do. I have to be very careful and not let her gag. I don't want her to aspirate the milk back up into her lungs!

She did pretty well for her first time. The bottle is too big for her and she's not too sure about it. She does try to suck, so I think we'll be doing great eventually. I bought her some preemie bottles tonight. They are much smaller and I think they will be just right for her. We're starting out small - just 1 or 2 ccs., but I hope we can eventually have the whole 32 ccs. from the bottle and can get rid of the feeding tube!! :o)

12/07/1999

We've had a great first day without the IV! Carleigh is tolerating her
32 ccs. of milk with no problems. We will stay at 32 ccs. until she gains more
weight. We can't overload her heart with liquids.

I'm noticing that she is becoming much more alert. She doesn't sleep as much and loves to just look around. She has a fondness for lights and will just stare at them! She is still enjoying her big brother. As soon as he touches her head she just gets this calm look on her face. He is so proud of her!!

12/06/1999

A sleepless night last night has given us reason to be happy today.

Yesterday we ended up with air in Carleigh's IV line two different times. We believe the cause was the filter in the line. We had people here two different times to get the air out for us. At about midnight Carleigh started doing her usual crying. She always does this, wanting to sleep with Mommy and Daddy - and of course, she always gets what she wants! :o) I noticed that she was crying louder than usual and knew that she had to be in pain. We couldn't figure out what the problem was, but as long as we rocked her, she would calm down a little.

At 2:30 a.m., Carleigh's IV pump alarmed that there was "high pressure". We checked the line to make sure it wasn't pinched and couldn't find anything wrong. I called our Hospice nurse and she found that Carleigh's Picc Line was blocked! She stopped the IV pump (since it couldn't work anyway) and we got to bed about 5:30 a.m. I noticed immediately that Carleigh had calmed down when the pump alarmed. That was her reason for pain!

Anyway, we were back up at 7:30 a.m. to get our appointment with our pediatrician. Now the reason for our happiness... Carleigh's Picc Line was REMOVED!!!! YEAH!!!!!
No more IV! We are increasing her feedings to 32 ccs. Carleigh hasn't gained much weight in the past two weeks, only 3 ounces, which makes her 5 lbs. 8 ozs. The doctor gave us a special recipe in which we can make formula be 24 calories, rather than just 20. So, when she's not receiving milk, we can boost Enfamil up to 24 calories.

We're so happy the IV is gone. Now Miss Carleigh has no painful machines hooked to her. She's still got her oxygen, apnea monitor, and feeding tube. We're hoping the feeding tube will be next to go! :o)

12/03/1999

What a day! Last night Carleigh began IV infusion antibiotics. (Rocephin)

Yesterday morning she surprised me with "diaper yuckies" that had run up into her Spina Bifida lesion. Our problem was that no one in our area would provide IV therapy to a baby.

Our case worker through our insurance arranged for us to live at the Ronald McDonald House for 5 days so Carleigh could receive her medicine. After some fast and furious packing, we arrived at the House. We played "phone tag" most of the day and eventually talked to the nurse who was going to administer the medication. As it turned out, WE are the ones that are administering her medication!! It's such a simple job that she taught us how and we got to come back home. I told John we were turning into qualified nurses! :o)

Carleigh also has had "eye gunkies". She had the problem since birth. In fact, we thought she was unable to open her right eye and it turned out that it was just sealed shut with the "gunkies!" She is now on eye drops (Tobramycin) to clear that up.

Mommy will sure be glad when the "diaper yuckies" and "eye gunkies" are gone!!

11/25/1999

We took Carleigh to the doctor on Tuesday.

She gained 6 ozs. in one week!! The doctor was VERY impressed, as she is right on target. She is now over her birth weight.

Also, we "sneaked" out and got family pictures made at Sears. Grandad had made them of us at the hospital, but wasn't happy with the "wall background". You should have
seen the tears in his eyes when he saw those pictures!!

Thanks, Sears, for accommodating us! (They made us the first appointment of the day and didn't book any others right behind us!)

11/22/1999

Things have really changed today - for the better! I received a phone call and an email concerning Carleigh. I won't say exactly who from, but I will say that there are some very special guardian angels watching out for my little miracle. Our "angels" are in the medical profession and have been following Carleigh's story for MANY months. They told me today that Carleigh's back needs to be fixed. Finally we have someone who has given us a new option!!

We are in process of figuring out where to take her. We will have to meet with many doctors to determine whether she is strong enough to withstand surgery. We also want to talk to a geneticist. Our doctors told us she has full Trisomy, but that was based upon three cells. I learned that 20-100 random cells must be tested to determine if a person has Mosaic Trisomy, which would be much better than full.

We see the pediatrician tomorrow. Hopefully we can fix our little girl's back soon, and the big risk of infection will be gone! :o)

11/20/1999

Wow! Two posts in the same night! Carleigh's friends won't know what to do! :o) I just remembered that I forgot to mention that the APNEA monitor has not gone off
for the past 5 or 6 days! It's quiet during the night too!! We are so happy that since we left the hospital, the APNEA has mysteriously disappeared. We hope it stays
away!

Also, I want to send big Internet hugs to Carleigh's Daddy. I give him hugs at home all the time, but I want the whole world to know how much I appreciate him. He is up EVERY time that Carleigh needs a late night feeding - which happens every 3 hours throughout the night. He could very easily make me do it alone, but he's right there,
supporting me all the way! Love ya John!! :o)
I took Carleigh for an echocardiogram on Thursday. We didn't want to know her "specific" heart problems, but just if they could be treated with medicine
or not.

The doctor said that her heart is off-setting itself now and creating a balance. He said if we give her medicine it will hurt her more than help her. So we have decided with her pediatrician not to give her medicine for her heart. We don't want to mess up the good things we have going now.

Carleigh is staying awake more often now. She is getting VERY spoiled :o) and even has a little "attitude" now and then. She seems to think that Mommy needs to sit up and rock her for an hour after each late night feeding, but Mommy does good to even GET UP, let alone STAY UP!! Mommy's learning to take naps during the day when Carleigh does!

11/16/1999

We had our first well-baby visit to the doctor today.

Carleigh weighs 4 lbs. 14.8 ozs, up from her 4 lbs. 13 ozs. at discharge from the hospital. Her doctor was happy to see she has gained weight, rather than losing it.

The SB lesion is doing ok, no signs of infection. We discussed starting proflactic antibiotics, but her doctor was concerned that Carleigh would become immune to antibiotics if we did that.

We are supposed to raise Carleigh's milk intake to 20 ccs every 3 hours. I told the doctor that she gets a real "attitude" when it's getting close to time to eat. She sucks the feeding tube and cries!

We discussed having a heart check and also seeing a geneticist. Our next appointment is next Tuesday.

11/13/1999

Carleigh is doing great! She is taking 15 ccs of milk every 3 hours through her tube! We have cut her IV to 7.5 ccs. Hopefully we will be off it soon.

Carleigh is now viewing the world through both eyes. She only opened one eye for
the first few days, but is now beginning to look around more. She has been enjoying lots of hugs and kisses from her big brother!

We go to the pediatrician on Monday. I hope she has gained some of her weight back. She weighed 4 lbs. 13 ozs. when we left the hospital, so we'll see. Thanks for your prayers!

11/11/1999

On November 8, 1999, we got up bright and early to prepare for the birth of our daughter. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30. After getting "settled" in, I was hooked up to Pitosin, a drug that induces labor. At that time, it was between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.

I came to to the hospital already dilated to 2. When my doctor came in at 10:00, I had already moved to 3. I was happy this labor was progressing faster than my labor with her brother!

I was at 3 for a few hours. During this time, the neonatologist came in and told me about what was going to happen with my daughter. I was not at all happy with this conversation and am not going to ruin my daughter's beautiful birth story by telling about it here. I will just say I was very upset and called my Mom. She told me that she would come be with John and me if we wanted her to. We finally decided that she and Dad would bring our Blake to the hospital when Dad got off work at 2:30.

It took awhile before I was feeling contractions, but when I finally did feel them, they were pretty powerful. I refused Stadol at first, thinking that I could handle the contractions awhile longer. By the time I decided I wanted Stadol, the contractions were coming very close together and were very strong. I didn't panic because I knew I was only dilated to three.

John had been watching the contraction monitor and nothing was happening. He couldn't understand why I was in so much pain when there were no contractions on the monitor. He called the nurses for Stadol and it took FOUR calls to finally get it to me! Within minutes of the shot of Stadol, my water broke!!! The nurse checked for dilation and I was to five.

During this time, Mom arrived at the hospital. She, Dad, and my in-laws had a meeting and decided that I needed her with me. I was happy to see her! The nurse left the room saying she would get me my epidural. Mom could tell that I was close to delivery and ran out the door to get the nurses.

After that a flood of medical people came into my room. They checked to see where I was dilated to and were shocked to find that Carleigh was RIGHT THERE!! There was no time for the epidural. In fact, they had to think of creative ways to keep me from delivering. My doctor was in surgery, the on call doctor was in surgery, and another doctor was on the way.

After what seemed like forever, Dr. Campbell appeared. I was so happy to see her! In just three pushes, I delivered the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen.

John and I were immediately worried because she was not crying. I started yelling, "Carleigh! Carleigh!" Dr. Campbell told me that she wasn't supposed to be crying that in fact, Carleigh was biting her finger! I wasn't sure if I should believe her or not, so I kept calling for my Carleigh.

Dr. Campbell passed her to the neonatologist and his assistants and they started working on her. I could hear them suctioning her mouth and finally, my sweet baby cried! It was music to my ears!!

We knew that Carleigh would have special needs, even before she was born. She did make it through the delivery without going into distress, but had to have blow-by oxygen in order to breathe. Before they wheeled my precious baby off to the NICU, they brought her to me in an incubator-looking contraption that was filled with oxygen. They opened a little window and I touched my miracle baby for the first time.

Carleigh Lauryn Grace is the light of my life. My family is complete - I have a son AND a daughter.

I was TOLD that I would never hold my daughter...
I was TOLD she could be stillborn...
I was TOLD to terminate my pregnancy...

I CHOSE to believe in miracles and in GOD.

Thank you, Dr. Campbell for taking the time to deliver my baby. And most of all, thank you, GOD, for choosing to give ME a miracle!
We are finally home! Actually, we got home tonight around 7:30 p.m. It has taken me forever to get on the Internet. I am so busy being Mommy to TWO kids!! :o) It is very overwhelming, but I love it!! I will work as much as possible on Carleigh's site. I have to find times when both kids are sleeping!!

We are currently giving Carleigh tube feedings every 3 hours. So far she has been
tolerating them well. We will gradually do larger feedings soon. Keep checking this book for daily updates on Carleigh -- there will be new things appearing on her site
too! :o) Thanks for all your prayers -- we truly do have a miracle!!!
Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 11 - 1:55 P.M. cst ======= Carleigh had her first feeding of milk through a tube in her mouth at Noon and will have her next feeding at 3:00 before they can start home. They need to watch her for a while after eating to make sure she is ok. She is also to have an Echocardiogram before starting home, so it will still be a while.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 11 - 8:25 A.M. CST ========= I'm on the phone with Andrea as I write this. Carleigh had a pretty good night, she did have a few APNEA attacks. John & Andrea think she was just testing their endurance & showing them who was boss. They took care of her on their own, and the nurses only checked her vitals (which is the way it was supposed
to be). They are still coming home sometime today.

11/10/1999

Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 10 - 11:20 P.M. CST ========= Just got home from the hospital. Carleigh, Mommy, Daddy and Blake are spending the night in the Care By Parenting Room. Christmas Pictures are made (hopefully they will be good, Grandad made them) Carleigh is having fewer APNEA attacks and the plan is still for them to all come home tomorrow. It will probably sometime afternoon.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov 10 1:35 P.M. CST ---------- I'm having problems with the Dreambook, thus all the multiple entries. Maybe before long Andrea will be able to take over and fix all my messups.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov 10 -- 1:15 P.M. CST ------- Just talked to Andrea, Carleigh is still doing ok. The doctors are putting an IV Pick Line in now. It will be able to stay in longer than a
regular IV and Carleigh will be coming HOME tomorrow. So if all goes as planned she will get to be home with her family. She had pictures made today in clothes and the
Christmas pictures will be tonight.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 10 - 8:45 A.M. CST ------ Just talked to Andrea and Carleigh had a GOOD night, only 2 APNEA attacks. One she corrected herself and the nurse stimulated her to get her
going on the other one. Still planning to move to a Care By Parenting room sometime this afternoon. Also we plan to make Christmas Pictures tonight.

11/09/1999

Name: Grandad

Nov. 9 - 10:50 P.M. CST ----- Talked to Daddy at 9:30 and Carleigh is doing fine. Hasn't had an APNEA attack for quite some time. They are looking foreward to moving to
the other room tomorrow so the whole family can be together. I'm working tomorrow so I will update ASAP. Thanks for the continued prayers and support for Carleigh and her family.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 9 -- 5:20 P.M. CST ------- Carleigh is about the same, still has the APNEA attacks, but didn't have many today. She has a nasal cannula with 200cc of oxygen, which is less than yesterday. Tomorrow they plan to move her to a Care By Parenting Room (still in the hospital and close to, but not in ICU) Andrea, John, Carleigh and Blake can all stay together. Not like being at home , but at least all can be together.
Posted by: Grandad

Nov. 9 - 8:30 A.M. -- Carleigh made it through the night, but she did have several APNEA attacks where she quit breathing. Each time they were able to get her to breath
again. She is not on a ventilator, only oxygen. Gram and I will be going back to see her soon and I will update later today or tonight when we get home. She's really a
beautiful little girl.

11/08/1999

Posted by: Grandad

Monday Nov. 8 -- 11:30 P.M. CST Carleigh arrived at 2:28 P.M. she weighed 5# 3 oz. and was 18 1/2" long. She does have spina bifida and also Trisomy 18. The doctors tell us we may have her for a few hours or maybe a few days, they really don't know just how long she will be with us. They are not going to do surgery to correct the spina bifida as they say she might not survive the surgery, instead they will do everything possible to keep her comfortable. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and please continue to remember Carleigh, Andrea, John and Blake in your prayers. Gram and I will try to keep you posted until Andrea is able to take over.
Posted by: Grandad

The time is 1:00 P.M. CST Carleigh has still not arrived. Grams is on the way to the
hospital to be with Andrea and John. I will update as soon as possible, but I will be going to the hospital also around 2:30. PLEASE KEEP CARLEIGH, ANDREA & JOHN IN YOUR PRAYERS.

11/06/1999

I thought I had better update and say that Carleigh hasn't come early... yet. I am on pins and needles wondering if I will go into labor before Monday. It's a strange feeling sitting around just "waiting" for your water to break. You're afraid to go too far from home, ESPECIALLY in the opposite direction of the hospital -- but then as soon as you stay home, nothing happens!

I forgot to mention that when I went to the doctor on Thursday I showed her my feet. They are VERY swollen. Most of me is VERY swollen! I told Deb that it's a good thing they are delivering on Monday because I would probably explode from all my water build up! LOL Anyway, back to the feet... I have what is called "Class 2 Pit Edema". I'm not sure on the spelling, but what it means is that if you push on my skin it leaves a pit! It reminds me of the divots that are left on a golf green after the golf ball hits. Once the "pit" is there, it takes it awhile to fill back up. I am guessing that's where the "Class 2" comes in. It doesn't really hurt -- it looks worse than it feels. Even sitting with my feet propped up usually doesn't help. At least I know that my feet will be "normal" again someday. I won't feel like a moose forever! :o)

Carleigh is doing just fine. Moving around... having a great time...

Please note: Carleigh will be in the NICU after she is born. We don't know how many days she will be there, but Mommy is staying with her till she comes home! Since I am the only one who does her webpage, it may be awhile until the next update. :o)

Carleigh's Daddy just had a wonderful idea! I have placed special "Dreambook" links on each page of Carleigh's site. Please pay close attention to Carleigh's Dreambook, because Daddy, Grams, or Grandad will be posting updates until Carleigh and I are out of the hospital! This way our Internet friends can keep track of our progress and I don't have to teach everyone how to make a web page!!

11/04/1999

Well, today is the due date, and Carleigh's still in the tummy. I went to the doctor today. Carleigh's heartbeat is 154 and I'm dilated to 2! I never made it to two with Blake until they hooked me up to the Pitosin. She was sleeping (I think!) until she was rudely awakened by the doppler! LOL Now she has been moving like crazy ever since! I think she is taking after her Mommy -- NOT A MORNING PERSON! :o) Since she is taking her time about arriving into this world, the doctor has decided to "roust" her out of there. Carleigh's birthday is going to be Monday, November 8, 1999. I kind of like knowing, so I can be prepared, but I'm not looking forward to inducing. It took such a long time with Blake and I don't want Carleigh to have to endure that. So Monday is the day, unless, of course, she comes this weekend. So to all of our family, friends, and new-found Internet family and friends, send lots of extra
prayers our way. Our little miracle is about to arrive!

11/01/1999

Posted by: Daddy

Well it is about 6am and we are getting ready to go to the hospital. Andrea didn't get much sleep last night between being nervous and having cramps. (I was just nervous) We
ask for your continued prayers for Carleigh. We know that it is in God's hands and he well do what is his will, but he does create miracles Carleigh is one of them.

10/29/1999

We've been to the doctor again and there is NOTHING new! I was sure I had dilated more, with the cramps I have in the middle of the night - but I guess not! Carleigh's heartbeat was 154 and we forgot to ask what my stomach measurement is. She has dropped REALLY low. We can tell because my stretch marks that are high on my stomach are not stretched tight anymore! I asked my doctor how far she would let me go over my due date. I know going very far over is not a good idea. She said if I didn't go into labor by my appointment next Thursday (which is also my due date!) she would check into the schedule for the next week. So I guess it's another week of waiting and wondering. I am not worried because I know she is just having more time to grow, but it makes me nervous wondering if my water will break, if I will have contractions, or how the whole process will start. I guess I'll just wait and see -
and during that time I'll enjoy all the little kicks that she has been sharing with me and I'll also spend more time at home enjoying my little guy.

10/27/1999

Yes, we're STILL home! This child has a mind of her own!!! :o) Not that I'm complaining, because every day she stays put is another day to gain weight. I would love for her to be nice and "chunky" when she is born! :o) My friend, Deb, has been saying that she feels Thursday (tomorrow) is the day. Another friend, Jean Ann, wants it to be Friday, because that's her birthday! We'll see if either of them are right! Carleigh has still been really active. I think she is enjoying being home with her brother. If he lays beside me she gets SO excited! I know she can hear his voice and all of his jungle animal sounds. Sometimes I think he is so loud that he scares her! :o) I'll be back with an update after the doctor visit on Friday -- unless of course, she decides to arrive by then! Blake has a Halloween parade to be in on Saturday. Maybe she is going to let him have his fun before she makes her grand
entrance into this world!

10/24/1999

We're still home! I think that Carleigh knows I have a lot to do, so she is waiting for me. It is very ironic that when I had to quit work to go on bedrest with Blake we were changing between the third and fourth quarters at school and I had grade cards to do. Well, now, we are changing between the first and second quarters, and once again, I have grade cards to do!!

I had a nice "private" shower on Saturday given by my fellow third grade teachers. They got some adorable clothes for Carleigh, a Baby's First Christmas ornament, a kit to make her handprints, and even got ME an outfit to sleep in!! They are so great and have been treating me like I am a member of each of their families. My mom ("Grams") went to the shower with me. She and "Grandad" got Carleigh some clothes too. They also got her a pink shawl/afghan and a snow baby ornament.

I always said I would never "pink" my daughter to death and when I open the door to her closet I can't help but laugh! PINK EVERYWHERE!! I honestly can't wait to see her in all that pink! Blake has learned so much since we found out about Carleigh. He's learned a lot of new words, especially "Carleigh", and of course, he definitely knows the color "pink"!! :o)

10/22/1999

Well, the next time I write I may have a baby in my arms! :o) Little Miss Carleigh has decided that she just may not want to wait till November to arrive in this world! We are already seeing signs of her pending arrival. We called the doctor today and she said to call if I started bleeding or go to the hospital immediately if my water breaks. If things go like they did with Blake, my water will break in 2 days! So now the emotions really kick in. I am excited that she is almost here, but worried about how it will be "getting" her here, and then what will happen after she is here. I guess only time will tell and now is the time that we are talking to God the loudest. I know He will listen...

10/20/1999

We're back from the doctor...again!! They couldn't get me in on Friday, so we went today. There was lots of new news today!! First of all, Carleigh's heartbeat was 152 - back to our good old "comfortable" spot! My doctor measured my stomach at 34, which I don't really think it got smaller, it's just the difference in people measuring. I'm not worrying about the measurement anymore. Why worry?? :o) And now the big one... I'm dilated to between 1 and 2!! This is a scary concept for me because we want Carleigh to wait until her due date. With Blake, I dilated to one and stopped. I was at one for a whole month with him. But I've passed that one mark, so I'm kind of nervous!! Anyway, Carleigh's bag is packed for the hospital. The punkin seat is going into the van IMMEDIATELY and we're going to be ready for anything. The doctor asked how Blake was delivered in relation to his due date and she told me not to expect this baby for another two weeks. I hope that is true... that way we'll make it all the way to the due date! Next appointment... October 29!!

10/15/1999

We have just returned from another victorious trip to the doctor. We learned something interesting today. They have me as 37 weeks instead of 36, which would be right, since November 4, my original due date, is 3 weeks away. My stomach measurement was 35, which I wondered about because it didn't match my 37 weeks. The Nurse Practitioner told me that Carleigh had dropped and that would account for the smaller number. She has dropped WAY LOW, but she's not coming anytime in the near future. We were happy to know she's head down, but that I'm not dilated. We want her to stay in there as long as possible. :o) Her heart rate was 150. I was glad to see it back up in that 150-160 range. That 140 two weeks ago was almost too much for me!! We went shopping afterward and FINALLY found her dress for our family Christmas pictures. I have been looking for the perfect burgandy dress for months now. It will probably be too big, but I know she will look adorable! She and her daddy are wearing burgandy and Blake and I are wearing navy. A perfect family picture for our perfect family of four!

9/29/1999

We're back from another trip to the doctor. My stomach growth is right where it should be - 34 for week 34! I got kind of scared when Lauren told us her heart rate. It was 140. Lauren said not to worry because it's in the normal range, and when I think about Blake's heart rate, it was everywhere between 142 and 180. But with the "possible" heart defect hovering over our heads, it scared me knowing her heart rate wasn't in that 152-160 range as it has always been. Optimistic Mommy isn't going to worry though. Carleigh keeps kicking me to remind me she is ok. We are sad that our favorite nurse, Lauren, won't be there to see us anymore. Actually, she is moving to the perinatologist's office. We promised we would visit her there. I think it would be very nice to take our perfect little girl to see our favorite nurse and the doctor who gives us nice ultrasound pictures! :o) My next appointment is Friday, October 15.

9/25/1999

Carleigh is still doing great, but this has not been a week for good news. I found out yesterday that my Godfather has cancer. It was a very unexpected thing, although I guess cancer is always unexpected.

Then tonight I get online hoping to hear from a new friend about her baby. Melissa found Carleigh's site and emailed me because her own Erin has Trisomy 18. When we first met, Erin was about 4-5 weeks old, and doing well. In my email tonight though, sweet Erin had gotten sick all of a sudden and passed away on September 20. She was eight weeks old. Not exactly something I wanted to hear, but I am glad Melissa told me about it. She told me never to delay anything. She said make a list and check it off fast because you never know what tomorrow will bring. That is true anyway, whether or not you have a Trisomy baby. And even though you know that it can happen, you still aren't prepared when that day will come. Melissa, I know you will be reading this soon. We are thinking about you lots! Keep in touch!

9/19/1999

On Friday, we visited the pediatrician. It was our prenatal visit to let her know what is happening with us and that we want her to be Carleigh's doctor. It was SO NICE finally visiting a doctor that was positive and on our side! Our pediatrician knows the seriousness of our daughter's condition, but she did not ever "harp" on the negative. She promised us that she will do everything that is necessary to help Carleigh. She also told us not ever to give up hope because we won't know exactly what we are dealing with until Carleigh is born. For the first time since all of this started, I walked out of a doctor's office with a smile on my face, rather than with tears in my eyes. Thanks, Dr. Floyd! :o)

9/15/1999

We're back from the ultrasound. We didn't see exactly what we were hoping to see - hence the beautiful ultrasound picture and "Please be patient... God isn't finished with me yet" at the front gate.

We saw the Spina Bifida again. We were hoping it had "vanished", but it hadn't. We saw the sack on her back and can see that it is in the lumbar-sacral area. The perinatologist thinks 7 vertebrae are involved. (The original thought was 6.) We saw her brain, and though he didn't specifically say so, we believe that she does have hydrocephalus. Both feet appear to be clubbed, but this is the least thing to worry about. All of this information is what we already knew. We wanted him to look for more "defects". We were so excited to see her little hands open. I even was yelling "WOO-HOO!! Something good!!" (I think all the medical people involved got tickled at that one.)

They didn't find any of the other defects I had mentioned before... then came the scary part... the heart. During our ultrasound in July, her heart was too small to see. For this ultrasound, her heart was too big to see. He said there is a "possible" defect, but with the shadows from her rib cage, he cannot be sure. He said that 90% of Trisomy 18 babies do have heart defects. He will put it on my chart and that will alert the doctors to do a test once she is born. So, being the optimist I am, I choose to believe her heart is ok. Why worry about a problem when there might not even be one there? She is a bit shy of 3 pounds right now. The peri said that if my original due date (Nov. 4) was right, she is running 2 weeks behind on growth, which is right for the Trisomy 18. But, if the ultrasound due date (Nov. 15) is right, I believe she is on target. I guess we will have to wait and see how much she weighs when she is born.

So how do I feel about this? I am very happy that they didn't find more "markers". When they tell you that your baby won't live, what worse can they tell you? I went in expecting the worst and hoping for the best. I still believe in miracles. I have a beautiful profile picture of my little girl and she is just as beautiful as my little boy. As John said, "God is finished with her hands - she can open and close them." So, Everyone, please keep praying, and please be patient... God isn't finished with her yet!

9/13/1999

We've been to the doctor for week 32! Carleigh's heartbeat was a beautiful 154, still in her normal range. My stomach measurement was 32. A 32 measurement for 32 weeks - perfect!! :o) I asked the doctor for an ultrasound. I know my jaw must have dropped to the floor because she didn't say "no", she didn't argue, she didn't downtalk my idea, or anything! She said, "Ok, let Lauren call the perinatologist and set up an appointment." I am scheduled for an ultrasound at 1:00 THIS Wednesday! I am going to have to change it though, to better accommodate our schedules, but I will update for sure after the ultrasound... Good or bad... we're praying for GOOD!!!

9/11/1999

John and I have been talking and have decided to make some changes. We feel these changes will help Carleigh. We originally didn't want any more testing, because the doctors can't do anything, so why find out everything and worry about it? Well, now that we are within 9 weeks (yes, NINE weeks) of her arrival, we feel it's necessary to know about all of those things, so that we can prepare for her arrival. I go to the doctor on Monday. I am going to request another ultrasound. I want to know how much my baby weighs to compare her size to Blake's at this gestational age (Trisomy babies should be much smaller than what he was), I want to check her Spina Bifida and her head shape, and I want the doctors to look for Trisomy 18 "markers" - which would be defects that I have mentioned before, such as in Susanna's case.

If Carleigh has a heart defect, I want to know it so I can find her a good doctor. We want to give her the best start possible. I know another ultrasound is probably not going to be full of roses. John and I are prepared for the worst. We still believe in miracles and know that God will do what is best and we also know that the doctors might not tell us what we want to hear. It's something we need to know though. We heard another song that is our situation totally. I'll have the words up as soon as I get them. :o) I'll update again on Monday after I see the doctor.

8/30/1999

Well, we've made it to the third trimester. I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and often wondered if I would ever make it this far. The third trimester is bringing me both happiness and fear. I am happy that I have Carleigh kicking me each day. Happy to be spending precious time with her. The scary part is wondering what is happening to her right now. I know that Spina Bifida does the most damage to a baby in the third trimester. I don't even want to think about what the Trisomy 18 is doing to her. Things are becoming a little more realistic for me now. I think of the bad things and the good things. I know that I need to be prepared for the bad things, but it's hard to believe anything is bad when she is acting normal now.

On a good note... I went to the doctor today. Little Miss Carleigh still has that steady 152 heartbeat. I was so relieved when Lauren found her heartbeat right from the start. I knew she was ok because she had been moving today, but there is always that element of fear. My weight gain and measurements are good also, so it appears to be a "normal" pregnancy. (I guess as normal as you can get with Trisomy 18!) Also, I did have a blood test today. Nothing to do with Carleigh, just me. I became anemic while pregnant with Blake. Since we aren't having tests, I fear being anemic and not knowing it, then going into labor with Carleigh. I want me to be as healthy as possible, so I can devote all my time to my little girl.

8/19/1999

It's been a busy few weeks. I've been planning for school and today was the first day. Carleigh has been doing just fine. She is constantly kicking and moving around. She moved today, even though I was on my feet a lot! That really surprised me, as our son didn't move if I was on my feet all day.

Last night was wild. We were startled awake by the phone at 1 a.m. A major part of the business district of our town had caught fire. The call was to let us know that John's place of employment was one of the ones burning. We immediately panicked, got out of bed, got dressed, and went to check it out. Thankfully, the pharmacy WASN'T on fire and John still has a job. But 8 other people lost their businesses. It was a really sad time.

8/08/1999

Life in a small town... One amazing thing about living in a small town is the sense of family. Everyone knows everyone and you have a real support system when times are hard.

Now the bad part... (you knew that was coming) THE RUMORS!!! I heard a good one today! "You know, it's so sad that this is happening to John and Andrea. The saddest part is that every baby they have after this one will be the same way. You knew that Blake being born healthy was a miracle, didn't you?"

HOLD IT!!!! Let me get a few things straight. I know that all of you believers know the truth. All of you have been to this site and know the facts. But here goes! (I'm in an uproar, can't you tell?!) First of all, any baby that we have after Carleigh will not have Trisomy. It is a random thing and any other woman has just as much chance of having a Trisomy baby as I do.

Second of all, ANY child who is born healthy, I consider to be a miracle. I mean, look what you start with. That little group of cells goes through dramatic changes to become a little baby. Lots of things could happen along the way. Blake did not have Trisomy because he was not the 1 in 8000 who got it. This is not something that John and I pass to our children, so no, all our "future" children are NOT destined to have Trisomy. Blake is a miracle to us. He is the son we always wanted. Carleigh is a miracle too. She is the daughter we always wanted. The miracle that we are praying for Carleigh is for the diagnosis by the doctors to be wrong. For her to not have complications that will take her life. For her to share her life with us...

John and I hit the ROOF when we heard this RUMOR. I just wanted to set the record straight...

8/05/1999

A Precious Moments Friend of mine from Wyoming made a special page on her site for Carleigh. She has never met us, but wanted to do something special. That something special has turned into something very popular because in less than 48 hours there have been over 200 visitors to Carleigh's prayer page! Be sure to click on the link at Carleigh's Corner where the Precious Moments baby is. Thanks, Missy!! You brightened our day!!!

8/02/1999

My magical girl came through for me with a nice steady 156! It was so funny because she was "running" from the Doppler! Then when the nurse would find her, she would kick and it would make a loud THUMP and the nurse would lose count! I just laughed and laughed. I thought it was pretty good for a kid who they think isn't going to live!

Lauren didn't have us today, so that was a downer. I got to talk to her after the visit though, and she was pleased that Carleigh was a nice 156!

I asked my doctor if there was any chance the amnio could be wrong. She just said, "It's not wrong." They tested 3 cells and all three had the characteristics of Trisomy. I just wonder... What if they would have tested 10? Or a different 3? I hope that I have that one sweet day when I can look at my doctor and say, "Remember on August 2....?"

I know she probably thinks I'm crazy. John said that was ok, though, because if we needed to be put in an institution for being crazy, then they would have to institutionalize a bunch of people with us! We appreciate all of you who believe with us. We appreciate all your support. I know I don't talk much about the "bad" things in here. I can accept the bad things, ONLY if they happen. Why worry now? I feel that my sweet girl wouldn't have made it with me this far if I were not so optimistic. Each day she is with us is a miracle, and we are looking forward to the day when she is born and we can keep achieving miracles day after day, week after week, and on and on forever! :o)

7/30/1999

Things have been the same. Carleigh just moving around like crazy! (Just as I expect her to!) :o) I figured I should get a new entry in here since we have so many people following our story, but there just isn't much new to tell. Since we are not having any more tests, we aren't going to find out any news. I consider her moving every day news though. Each day we make it is a day longer than what the doctors believe. I am getting more and more confidence each day. Many people who know me can't believe I have been so positive about all this. What else can I do? It's so much better for my health to be positive. It is better for Carleigh's health too. She can tell when I am upset and she gets upset too. When that happens, she won't move - which freaks me out even more!

Carleigh and I have a special bond already. She greets me with a kick each day, no particular time, but usually in the morning. I tell her "Good Morning, Carleigh," and "Thanks for letting Mommy know you're ok." I had two weeks less morning sickness with Carleigh than I did with her brother. (18 weeks instead of 20) The amazing thing is that I feel great EVERY day now. If I didn't know better, I would say this is the most normal pregnancy I've had. I go to the doctor again on Monday. We'll get to listen to her heartbeat again. That magical sound... I can't wait!

7/20/1999

More time has passed and we love this little girl inside of me more and more each day. She has been a little angel, moving numerous times each day, letting us know that she is still with us. I find myself crying at times, wondering what is really going to happen, but then my belief in miracles seems to get me under control. I try not to think of the "bad stuff" and just concentrate on the good things that are happening.

I visited a website for a Trisomy 18 baby. It was a very sad story because the baby only lived 9 weeks and 2 days, but I learned something there. Something that gives me more hope for Carleigh. The little girl is Susanna. Her mom said that in utero, the doctors found by ultrasound that Susanna had choroid plexus cysts, nuchal thickening, a 2 vessel cord, clenched hands, and rockerbottom feet.

Our doctors have not mentioned these things in Carleigh! In fact, Carleigh showed us on every ultrasound that she CAN open and close her hands! Maybe I'm grasping at straws, who knows? Only time will tell. We look for signs every day. I told John that anything can be a sign, depending on how we look at it. We found a penny on the ground a couple weeks ago. It was "heads up". I picked it up to look at the date - 1999 - the year our baby will arrive. No big deal for most people, but to us, it's Carleigh's Lucky Penny.

We had also been looking for a pink hat for her to wear home from the hospital since she's due in November and our Novembers can be chilly. John and I searched and searched with no luck. It wasn't long till Mom came home with that pink hat that we had been looking so hard for. It was mixed in with all white hats, the only pink one in the whole store. Mom almost didn't buy it, but she said that something wouldn't let her leave the store without it. So now we have it, the whole "coming home" ensemble: a pink and white Peter Rabbit outfit, pink socks, soft pink and white tennis shoes, and finally, the pink hat. Now all we need is our very much loved Carleigh to wear it. She will be beautiful, I just know it!

7/10/1999

Well, it's been three days... Three wonderful days. Each day has been an issue. Will she move? Is she ok? My beautiful Carleigh has made me very happy. She has been very active and has let me know that she's still holding on. She is still the most important member of "the team". Each day that I spend with my daughter blossoming in my tummy is more wonderful than the next. Each day gets me one day closer to finally meeting her, holding her, and whispering how much I love her.

7/09/1999

Carleigh is "jammin" today. I hooked up the headset, put Linda Rondstadt's "Dedicated to the One I Love" cd in the cd player, and let Carleigh listen. I really think she can hear the music. She was very calm. Before long, she started kicking me. I looked and the cd had finished. As soon as John pressed "play" again, she was calm. I've heard that music makes babies grow. I know it will work for us!

7/07/1999

Well, the bomb has been dropped! My OB doctor told us that our daughter has Trisomy 18, which means she has three of chromosome 18, rather than two. The doctor told us that is incompatible with life. She painted us a dismal picture of our daughter's life. She will most likely be stillborn. It is possible that she will be born live and live a few hours, days, months, or maybe even a year. Or we could defy the odds and her live longer. (There is a 90% chance that she will die before age 1.)

We have discussed it with each other and our families. It is a unanimous decision to treat this as a normal pregnancy. No more specialists, no more tests, just us and Carleigh - fighting for a miracle. We decided that any time with her, no matter how long or short, is better than none at all. I know this may sound a bit selfish on our part, but John and I would never be able to live with ourselves if we terminated this pregnancy. Living with "what might have been" would kill us.

7/06/1999

I heard from the perinatologist at about 6:30 p.m. He told me there is a chromosome abnormality with the baby. We see my OB doctor tomorrow to find out more, but I know that this means no fetal surgery for us.

6/25/1999

Wow, so much has happened since I last wrote!

First of all, we found out about a fairly new fetal surgery. The purpose of it is to give babies with sb a chance to have fewer problems.

The surgery is performed in Nashville, TN, so on Tuesday, (June 22) I called Nashville to see what was up.

The first thing they asked was if I had had an amnio! YIKES! I had been trying to avoid one of those!

Anyway, after I got off the phone with Nashville, I started calling my long line of doctors to try to set up the amnio. After all, I want to do what's best for my baby!

After much "phone-tag" throughout the week, my amnio was scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, June 25.

I had a whole 16 hours to psych myself up for it! Let me tell you, I was a wreck! I figured it would hurt REALLY bad, that I would start contractions, bleeding, or amniotic fluid leakage. (That is possible, you know!)

They calmed me down really well, at first. They let me see my sweet baby girl. I was so happy to see her again, because each time I see her, it reassures me that she is ok.

We saw some great things that day. Or at least they were great to me.

They measured the ventricles in her brain to check for hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is where fluid stores in her head and squishes her brain. Normal is 10 or less. We were VERY happy to see 8!! NO hydrocephalus!! :o)

I had never felt her kick yet. She must not like ultrasounds because she kicked the machine so well that even I felt it! Wow! The first kick!! (Since then she has been moving like a little "wild woman" too!)

And lastly, she always looked like she was sitting on her bottom with her legs out straight. I was afraid the spina bifida had already affected her legs and that she couldn't move them. During the ultrasound, we saw her curl them up and touch her bent knees to her belly. I think she did that especially for me. She wants me to know she will be fine.

After they got me really calm and happy, they dropped the bomb... it was time for the amnio! My heart started pounding!!

They used the ultrasound to monitor the whole time. I didn't want my Little Punkin to get stuck. I wouldn't look at the needle, but I knew it was big. John was watching the ultrasound like a hawk, making sure our Little Punkin was ok.

The actual amnio took about 5 minutes. It wasn't as bad as I had originally expected. I won't say it was painless, although, knowing you have a needle in your stomach contributes to pain!

Little Punkin behaved herself the entire time! We were so proud of her.

I went home after it was finished. I was directed to watch for those contractions, bleeding, or leaking. I also couldn't lift Blake for 24 hours.

All the bad things I expected to happen didn't. Little Punkin and I are just fine. She is still kicking and I'm still carrying her. In fact, we are all fine. I can lift Blake now and John is just happy that part of our lives is over and that the baby and I are ok.

We will get the results in about 2 weeks. Then it's on to other things.

This baby is taking us on an amazing journey. Sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's not, but we are with her for the duration.

We can't wait till the day that our Little Punkin is here to play with her big brother. It will be so much fun!

6/14/1999

Today we met with the perinatologist. He didn't have good news for us at all. He told us our baby has spina bifida and club feet. There are six vertebrae that are affected in our baby's back.

I don't think John and I have ever cried as hard as we did today.

We really don't know what to expect with this disease. He told us that the club feet can be corrected, but what about the spina bifida?

We have calmed down about it considerably, but we really want some answers. We asked tons of questions - most of which the doctor couldn't answer.

We were very happy (and surprised) that he didn't mention termination. We told the nurse on Thursday that WAS NOT an option. We are going to accept whatever happens.

Now we are being referred to a neonatologist. I thought that these were people that I would never have to see. I was supposed to have healthy babies. Blake was a healthy baby.

We are still holding on to the faith that God will protect this baby. Maybe some miracle will happen and the baby's problem will be corrected before delivery.

In our moment of sadness, one star came shining through. The ultrasound technician was looking at the baby and said, "She's standing on her head right now."

Wow! The little girl we have been wanting. Now our family will be complete!

Little Punkin, we love you! Your big brother loves you too!

6/10/1999

We had our ultrasound today. What we thought was going to be a happy day turned out to be just the opposite.

The ultrasound went fine. We saw our Precious Little Punkin up close and personal. What a sweetie!

John had to go back to work, so he drove the hour and a half drive home. During that hour and a half, I heard the worst news of my life.

The doctor told me that there were some concerns with the ultrasound. She told me that the baby's head was shaped like a lemon - I guess, opposed to the "usual" shape - whatever that is.

She told me there was reason to be concerned and that she had gotten me an appointment to visit a perinatologist who would be able to diagnose what was wrong. But I would have to wait till NEXT FRIDAY!!

I could feel myself screaming inside! Why does there have to be something wrong with my baby? We were going to be such a happy family!

I immediately got on the phone to tell John. He loaded up his mom and my mom in the van and they came up to get me. The Moms took Blake back home and John and I went to see the doctor again.

To make a long story short, we begged them to move the appointment sooner. We went to the perinatologist's office immediately and had another ultrasound. Since the perinatologist wasn't there, we won't know the results until Monday.

So now we find ourselves hoping and praying for a miracle. Praying the doctors are wrong and that our baby is ok. Praying that if that's not possible - then let our baby live and have minimal complications.

I have cried and cried about this.

I've imagined every possible bad thing. We know that this is not something that we can make better alone. We have faith that God is going to help us with this and have put a guardian angel on Punkin's page.

We ARE going to be a happy family - no matter what!!

If anyone has experienced a similar situation or is currently experiencing one with their unborn child having a "lemon-shaped head" please e-mail us at mysmallmiracle@yahoo.com. We feel so helpless right now, not knowing what to expect.

While I was on the pay phone a very nice lady whom I had never seen before approached me. I don't know her name or where she was from. She told me that she didn't know my name or what was wrong, but she felt really sorry for me and that I had touched her heart.She said a prayer for Punkin and me right then and there. Then she was gone. As I was leaving the building, I saw her circling the parking lot in her car making sure I left safely.

Some people think she was my guardian angel - maybe she was.

If she is out there somewhere reading this, she will know me, because I was the one outside the Women's Clinic on June 10, 1999. I just want to tell her thank you.

5/15/1999

This pregnancy definitely has had its ups and downs. Just when I thought I was getting better and had cut down to 2 Vistarils, I started feeling sick again and had to take more! But then today it's almost noon and I haven't taken even one! I guess Little Punkin has good days and bad days just like I do. I believe this is the month that I may start feeling the little one doing flips. I can hardly wait!! That was such a neat feeling when I was pregnant with Blake!!

5/05/1999

Well, I'm back from the doctor and everything is progressing fine. The doctor was happy to know that I haven't spotted again. Little Punkin is fine too. He or she sat pretty still so I could hear the heartbeat. It was 148 today. I think I'll believe it's a boy, until they tell me otherwise. I'll find out the truth on June 10, if Little Punkin will allow. I have my ultrasound at 8:30 a.m. I'm NOT looking forward to drinking all that water!!!

4/29/1999

Well, life is getting a little bit better. I have slowly begun cutting back on the Vistaril. I am hoping by the time our vacation comes at the end of May that I'm off completely!! I've noticed that I'm not as tired as I was before. I actually have had some computer time!! I'm looking forward to my doctor visit on May 5. Tomorrow marks the beginning of Week 13, which is the beginning of the second trimester.

4/14/1999

The worst day of this pregnancy BY FAR has just happened! I woke up this morning only to find that I was spotting. I freaked!! John called the doctor, who of course, wasn't at work yet. They told him they would page her and she should call within 20 minutes. We went through this 3 times and for the first time in my life, I saw every single minute tick away for an hour's time. It was not fun. I imagined every possible bad thing that I could imagine. Then I'd look at the picture of our son hanging on our bedroom wall and try to picture a little baby in the picture with him. I'd try to concentrate on good thoughts, but the bad ones kept coming back. Finally Lauren called me. She told me not to worry and to let her know if it stopped or if it continued. So I spent the day laying around trying not to worry. I finally called back at noon and begged for an appointment to hear the heartbeat. There was no way I could wait till May 5 after this had happened. So a little after 3:30, John and I heard the precious little beat of our Little Punkin's heart. It was a nice, strong 152, and I've been on a cloud ever since. There has been no more spotting and we are thankful that Little Punkin is going to be just fine!

4/12/1999

My allergies have really been acting up. John called the doctor because my ears were hurting, nose stopped up, etc. I went on Amoxycillin to cure any infection that was in there. I also can now take 4 Vistaril every 6 hours, since I still feel sick ALL the time.

4/07/1999

Finally! The first doctor's appointment! We were hoping to hear the baby's heartbeat, but they figured me as 9, almost 10 weeks, and the baby is still too small. My doctor tried, but it was just too quiet. So, we had a "regular" first visit, complete with all my favorite things... pap smear, drawing blood, and a urine sample. OH JOY! I am still staying on the Vistaril. It seems to be working pretty well. The next doctor's appointment is on May 5. I'm sure I'll be here to type again before then! :)

3/29/1999

Ok, so I'm not exactly a new woman... John called for a refill on my prescription. He told Lauren that I had been using my medication early and asked if it was ok. Of course she said, "NO!" She said that meant it wasn't working. So now I'm on a new medication called Vistaril. It's pills, which is much better than the suppositories I was on. I have learned very quickly that you don't let the time on the medicine run out! INSTANT SICK!! This is not the most wonderful time in my life by any means, but as soon as I hold "Punkin" in my arms for the first time, I'll know it was all worth it!

3/22/1999

Today was not a good day in the wonderful world of pregnancy. I woke up feeling sick. After I took a shower, I went to lay down. I just knew I could "shake" this sick thing! WRONG! I was miserable all day! After throwing up at home and at work both, I decided ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I called the doctor and asked for Phenergan. (Ok, I begged!) Luckily Lauren remembered my days of being pregnant with Blake and called in a prescription for me! I just know I'll be a new woman!

3/18/1999

The sickness begins! I have felt awful most of the week. Tonight was the night I "lost my cookies" (so to speak). I can honestly say that I have never in my life thrown up and laughed at the same time. With a 21-month-old, I can't do anything without an audience. So there I sat in the bathroom floor with Blake right beside me. When he saw me lean over toward the toilet, he was fascinated. He leaned over the toilet and coughed and gagged a couple of times. I couldn't help laughing! He repeated his little imitation of me numerous times. I am so glad that I already have a little one in my life to entertain me. I wish that I felt like running and chasing him like I used to. He's adjusting well though. He still likes for me to read to him, so I know everything is going to be ok.

3/04/1999

John gave the card to his parents. They are very happy too! This will be their fourth grandchild.
I bought two cards with a baby on the front of each. I put a little thank you from Blake to his grandparents for taking such good care of him. Inside I put "I know you will love my little brother or sister as much as you love me!" My parents were both happy. This will be their second grandchild. John's parents will find out tomorrow!

3/03/1999

We decided not to take another test. The fact that I have been "crashing" at 8 p.m. pretty much gives it away. I haven't felt this tired since I was pregnant with Blake! I called the doctor's office today and my first appointment is on April 7. Now to tell the grandparents to be...

2/27/1999

I took a home pregnancy test. One of the lines was really dark, but the other was really faint. We are going to wait a week or so and then probably take another test. We are very, very excited! I'll keep you updated on the details. :)