The Birthday Girl’s Story, Part 1

This sweet child turned 3 last week:img_20161006_063201465

She had talked for weeks before about this birthday & her excitement just bubbled over.  She loved to tell people that “I am 2, but I’m turning 3 and I’m getting bigger!”  She answers to Elana, Ellie, Ellie-muffin, sweet pea & baby girl (to name a few).  But this girl…she is feisty, sweet, determined, energetic, her Daddy & big sister are her heroes, and ballet is her new found love.

A little back story first…our oldest, Abigail, was born in November 2008.  July 2009, I got pregnant again, this time with a boy.  New Year’s Eve, at 25 weeks gestation, I went into preterm labor.  The doctors were unable to stop it & our son, Brady, was born.  He lived for less than an hour (I’ll go into more detail when I post about his birthday celebrations).  After his death, we had about 2 1/2 years of not being able to get pregnant.

And now here is Elana’s story:

Her story begins with a change in Kenton’s heart, a desire to have a real relationship with God and not just know about Him, but really know Him.  The Lord answered in an unexpected way and the year 2012 was a year of amazing & beautiful growth for Kenton & myself.  Through out that year we learned the truth that God is good All.the.time.  We saw the importance of giving thanks and praising and we watched how it changed our hearts so beautifully!

On October 7, a group of ladies, led by Bill Johnson, prayed healing & fertility over me.  It was amazing & faith growing for me to experience the love & faith of people that I had never met before, yet they all believed with me that God wanted me to be pregnant and have more babies.

Three months went by…three months of learning and trusting and praising.  I’ll never forget that day in January 2013 when I saw that positive pregnancy test…tears & awe & laughter!  It was so much fun to tell our family & friends…these were people who had walked with us in our journey of grief & pain and knew just how much this pregnancy meant to us.

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At 27 weeks.

My doctor had suspicions that Brady was born early because my cervix was weak.  We agreed to do extra ultrasounds to visually see if anything was going wrong.  We found out at 19 weeks, that I was carrying a girl and everyone was ecstatic!  Abigail especially, was so excited!  As soon as I told her I was pregnant, she had said that the baby was a girl.  She was right & completely thrilled to be having a sister!

At 21 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound and we saw that my cervix was thinning, and it was half as thick as what it should have been.  According to my doctor, a normal cervix should be 5 cm thick and mine was 2.5cm.  I was put on moderate bed rest and told to come in the following week.  That next ultrasound showed that it had thinned even more, now down to 2 cm.  I was sent to the hospital to see if I was contracting.  Thankfully, I wasn’t.  The doctor that was in charge there, called me a “ticking time bomb” and basically said that he is sending me home, but I should prepare myself to have this baby soon.  So I was put on strict bed rest…I could get up to go to the bathroom and shower, but the rest of the time I was to be laying flat.

At this point, we began declaring that I would carry this baby to full term and would even go past my due date of October 5, and have this baby on October 7.  This day would be exactly one year since I had been prayed for.

So for 15 weeks, I lay on the couch and allowed others to care for my family.  And it was amazing!  Our friends from church came around us (literally & figuratively) and helped in so many ways…meals, cleaning, laundry, helping with Abigail, taking me to Doctor visits, prayers, words of encouragement, and just being there.  I’ve been asked the question “Didn’t you go crazy laying on the couch for that long?!”  Surprisingly, no.  I read, prayed and journaled for hours. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s grace was all over me that summer & He was the One who carried me & our family.  It was amazing, hard and beautiful all at the same time.  But even in the middle of it all…when it looked impossible for me to carry this baby to full term, when we could feel the fear from the doctors, when our own fears & doubts threatened to overwhelm us…we could feel God with us, and those God-moments are what carried us through.

img_20130809_184722Celebrating my 30th birthday!

I’ve heard recently that ‘hard is not always bad.’  That describes my pregnancy perfectly!  It was hard, but it was also amazing and it was a time of deep growth for myself personally, and also us as a family.

My cervix kept thinning, I stayed on the couch, and then, finally, I made it to full term, 37 weeks!  The ultrasound technician, my doctor, the nurses…they were all so excited to see me at full term & still carrying this baby!  At this point, since Elana was full term & would do fine if she was born, I was able to come off of bed rest.  It was such a good feeling to be up and getting ready for this miracle baby to be born.

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I was up & driving myself to a doctor appointment!

When I started writing this, I soon realized that I’m going to have to do 2 parts.  Her story is just that big!  So this is the end of Part 1, and I’ll be back soon for Part 2.

–Sherri