willa's story

willa's story... i wrote this on her third birthday (9.22.10)

tonight {last night now}, on the eve of your third birthday, i laid on your floor with you and told you your story...

daddy and i had hoped and prayed for a baby for a long time.  we waited much longer then we ever thought we would have to.  but God had a plan.  and after three and a half years of battling infertility we learned we were pregnant with you!  i will never forget the day that i found out that our prayers had been answered.  the phone rang and i was expecting this call to tell me whether or not our treatment had worked.  in the weeks before i had prayed to God to please give me some sort of a sign if i were pregnant or not.  we always had a thing with the number 23...  daddy and i were married on the 23rd, daddy's birthday is the 23rd. all of the numbers added together in the address on our wedding invite equaled the number 23, we sat in row 23 on airplanes, we always had golf cart #23, and so on... it just seemed this number always popped up.  so while i was praying to God to please give me a sign~  i thought what if the due date would be the 23rd...i just smiled, and laughed out loud as it felt like the Lord said to me "gosh, you just can't be patient can you"...  so i ran upstairs plugged in the dates, and up came the expected due date... september 23rd.  and i knew, i knew at that moment that i was pregnant.  tears streamed down my face and i ran downstairs jumping up and down proclaiming this to your daddy.  and he laughed and then said i was crazy.  (humph).

it was time to go into the doctor for the test.  the test i had gotten so many times, and so many times been told "i'm sorry".  we went in, it was a saturday morning and the nurse said to me right away well, do you feel different? and i said no.  and she said.. oh.. with a grimace...  i asked if i was supposed to??  and she said, well yes.  it sort of crushed my high spirits...  so, we went to get a bagel and waited, and waited for the blood test to come back.  they said they would call in a few hours.  then the phone rang.  and it was auntie rita on the other line.   {she helped us so much in this whole process, as she is a nurse at our doctors}  she said "well, i think september 23rd sounds like a really great day"...  and i said "WHAT"???  am i pregnant???  and she said "YES"!!  "Yes, you are"!!  i couldn't help but jump up and down and celebrate!!  well, daddy and nanny were in the driveway not knowing that i was getting the news right then...  but when they saw me jump up and down... they knew.  they knew that all of our hopes and dreams were coming real!  i ran to them and hugged and screamed and cried.  oh, your daddy cried willa.  his lips quivered and he had tears streaming down his face!  we were beyond thrilled.  we were ecstatic!!! 

everything was pretty smooth after that...  my numbers raised as they should have, i had very little sickness, everything was going along as it should... and then came my 20 week anatomy appointment.  the big ultrasound where they look at everything.  i went into the appointment just so excited to find out whether you were a boy or girl...  they took all sorts of measurements and showed us all your organs working away.  then she revealed that we were having a girl.  a girl.  i was shocked.  i couldn't believe it!!  i wouldn't even let myself believe you could be a girl!!  oh, i was so excited!!!  and then came more measurements, and more, and more {all of which we thought were normal}.  and then the phone rang.  all we heard the tech say was "uh huh, uh huh, uh ok.  uh huh, yes, ok....."  we really thought nothing of it, we didn't know any better.  and then more measurements.  and then the tech said.  that was the head doctor from royal oak beaumont on the line and she wants you to go over there for some further measurements of her chin area.  and that was it.  she could tell us nothing else. that's how she left it.  all i could think was does she have a chin?  what's the problem?  what did you see?  why all the measurements?  is something missing?  what's wrong?..... so we drove.  we drove fast to the other hospital.  i sat in the passenger seat with my arms raised in the air.  praying and pleading to God to let you be ok.  i prayed like i'd never prayed before. not caring a single bit that other drivers would see me with my arms up and my head lifted to the sky as i cried out to the Lord.  because in that instant nothing else mattered.  nothing.  we took no phone calls and we called no one.  we just wanted to get to that hospital.  we finally were there where we were greeted by a couple doctors and were taken to the special room with the 4d ultrasound machine.  and of course we waited again.  they took all sorts of more measurements and again told us nothing.  nothing.  no information or thoughts what so ever.  when the doctor was done he told us he would call us later with the results of the measurements.  what? call us later?  that was the longest 4 hours of my life.  finally, he called.  his conclusion was that all of the measurements seemed to be in the range of normal and that your chin was slightly pushed back and that we would take more measurements in about a month.  we were relieved to say the least.  and we went on celebrating... celebrating this beautiful healthy baby girl that was growing in mommy.

and then we went back.  back for more measurements.  they took all the measurements of your chin area and then seemed to be taking some "extra" of the rest of you and your organs.  huh, i started to think...  and wonder...  pretty soon the tech said, i'll be right back...  and then in walked a doctor.  dr. lee the same doctor we had dealt with before.  and i knew.  something was wrong.  he said, the chin area looks fine, but....  the baby is measuring small.  ok, i thought what does that mean??  he said, well we'll just keep an eye on her.  we'll do another ultrasound in three weeks.  and we waited another three weeks...

so we went in for the next ultrasound, and the next... and then it happened.  it happened again.  i noticed the tech was taking lots of "extra" measurements again.  and i started to get a lump in my throat, and a upset stomach, and i felt flushed.  and she said it again {in fact i think it was the same tech}.  i'll be right back... and in walk dr. lee....  for you guessed it... more measurements.  no, no, no i thought.... not again.  and he said it.  "well, the measurements have stayed the same with the size, but..... the baby's heart is enlarged and there is fluid around the heart.  and this is serious.  and that they wanted to see us back in three days and that we would devise a plan from there.  a plan i thought?  what in the world do you mean a plan??

then they moved us into the room. the room where they give consultations.  they said the phone would ring soon and that it would be my ob.  explaining some things.  i looked around the room, there were lots of kleenex boxes... which was good for me.  your daddy looked scared.  we were scared.  the phone rang.  it was doctor t.  he explained what was happening.  he said to come to his office and that we would talk.  oh and he said before he hung up... "sarah, this is serious."

when we met with dr.t he said that i would most likely deliver early and at either childrens hospital in detroit or at u of m.  and that they would do surgery from there.  what is happening?  what is going on?  Lord, help me understand this i prayed.
you can't imagine what we were going through in that moment.  and in the moments to follow.  in the three days we had to wait to go back to see dr. lee at beaumont and look at your heart again.  i prayed so hard, so so hard.... for three straight days.  i remember sitting in your rocker in your room rocking and praying with my arms raised to the Lord.  and many, many, many others prayed for you.  please Lord, please fix my baby's heart.  i prayed that it would go back to normal size and that the fluid would go away.  for three straight days.  

it was finally time.  time to go back.  we went in and they began this process all over again, we knew this routine oh so well.  and in walked dr. lee...  he began his long (what seemed like forever) process of measurements....  finally, he spoke.  (it was always dead silence in there).  he said this is unexplainable... but the heart has gone back down to normal size.  there is still fluid and we are going to watch it closely, but we are expecting it to all get absorbed over time in utero and we will do more testing after the baby is born.  unexplainable huh?  well, i can explain that one.  GOD.  our awesome God.  He healed you.  and He healed you fast.  it was unbelievable... we went from delivering early at a different hospital, with different doctors, going straight to heart surgery, to this.  wow, what an emotional roller coaster we were on.

over the next several weeks, months, they watched you.  they watched you like a hawk.  i was there, at that same place every two weeks.  where they watched your heart, your size, and well... everything else of course.  and every time i held my breath, waiting for a doctor to walk in and deliver more awful news... but everything was ok from there.  no more developments besides your itty bitty size...  

so, i had in my head that you would be born on september 23rd, of course.  on friday september 21st your uncle steve was in town and daddy, grandpa, uncle steve and i all went out to dinner.  i sat there and thought hmmm...  what's that?  i felt something kinda funny.  i didn't say anything (anyway they're boys, it would be hard for them to understand).  i quietly went to the bathroom and checked.  hmm. it was nothing i guess.  i came back and grandpa asked me if everything was ok?  i said yep, and we went on with our night.  we came back to our house and after one too many margarita's daddy and uncle steve hit the couches.  (surprise, surprise).  i went upstairs and thought hmm.  there's that weird thing again.  i called jennie (cause she's a p.a.  who had just had finn and her water had broke too.  she said, ah... dude your water broke.  you need to go to the hospital.  i was like huh, really?  i don't know...  (it was a slow leak).  so i called dr. chu and she said well, you should go in and check.  so i went downstairs to inform your father (who knew nothing at this point) of the news. he (and uncle steve) flew off the couch, no really, flew.  he was like what, huh, what, really???  let's go, let's go he said... i said no, rush...  i'm not even sure.  and all the way to the hospital i was sure it would be a false alarm and they would send us home.  

at the hospital they did the test to see if my water broke and the first one came back negative.... (now remember nothing was easy with you)!!  so they did another test just to be sure... and it came back positive!  that's when they informed me that i was staying~ and having a baby.  i was hardly dilated and they told me to get some sleep that it was going to be awhile.  sleep?  yeah right.  the anticipation of you finally coming into this world was too much.  i didn't sleep a wink.  dawn came with not much change.  so they started pitocin to get things going...  and we waited, and waited and walked and bounced... and... not much change.  there was a shift change and in walked the most amazing nurse.  i will never forget her.  she put me in all sorts of crazy positions, and i finally went from a 3 to a 6.  that was great, but i stayed there FOREVER.  in fact, there was no change for so long (almost 24 hours) that they started talking c-section.  dr. t came in and said "well, we have to assume that you must be a failure to progress."  he said that he'd leave it up to us at this point because there was no emergency and the baby is not in any danger, but we were coming up on 24 hours that my water had broke and after that we would have no choice.  as they prepared the c-section consent forms and papers.  i asked to be left alone for 20 mins to make a final decision.  and i prayed.  i prayed to have His will be done.  that if a c-section was the best choice then we would have peace with that.  but that if i were to have this baby girl naturally, that i would progress.  all of a sudden i felt different.  i felt something.  in walked nurse chris and i said just that... i feel something.  some kinda pressure...  so she checked and she looked up with tears in her eyes and said YOU ARE A 9 and 1/2!!!!  what did you do while i was gone she asked?  i said "I PRAYED".  she looked at me and said well, why didn't you do that earlier??  :)  oh how i loved nurse chris.

it was time.  time for you to come.  the lights came down, the tools came out, the baby warmer was on and all the necessary staff was in the room.  it was time.  it was the 22nd.  it was 9pm.  they said this is gonna be awhile.  i pushed and pushed and worked so hard to get you out.  it was nearing 10:30.  the doc said do you want to wait till the 23rd? :)  (knowing the story)...  and i said nope.  the 22nd is a great birthday!  and it's her own.

and you were born on september 22nd, 2007 at 10:30pm.

i was a little nervous, you know that "they" would come again.  that something would be wrong.  but when i could see you and hear you, i knew you were ok.  i couldn't stop staring at you, and holding you, and loving on you.  you were finally here.  i had a child.  i had a daughter.  i had you.  i had this instant, unbelievable, unexplainable, love for you.  a love that is so, so deep. 

and three years later... life hasn't been the same since.  you have changed our lives for the better.  i am better with you in my life.  you are sweet, smart, fun, happy, loving, funny, full of life, you are beautiful, you have such a big heart, and you are my heart.  you inspire me, you make me smile, you make me laugh, you are everything i ever could have imagined in a daughter, but more.  

and of course, the scares didn't stop there.  because i've come to find out that this is your way.  it's God's way really.  and He is teaching us things through you.  this i know for sure.

we had the follow up appointments with the pediatric cardiologists for awhile the first was when you were only 3 days old.  and each time we went little things (nothing to be alarmed about, or so they said)... weren't quite right... but by about the fifth time everything had resolved itself!  praise God!  we were released, done with the cardiologist.  i cried.  i cried so hard in that doctors office.  your heart was healthy, and we were done.  done with this part.

at about three months we went in for one of your well visits and we had LOTS...  more than the average bear, cause... well, they had to watch you like a hawk... remember??
as dr. c was examining you she looked at me and said (and i'll never forget)  "are one of her legs bigger then the other"?  i looked at her with a blank stare.  like what?  what did you just say to me?  please take that back.  take it back now.  what the heck are you talking about anyway?  she's my baby and of course i would know if one of her legs was bigger (or smaller).  duh.  and i walked over looked at her legs.  and said yep.  that's what it looks like.  her legs are different sizes.  one is longer and bigger around then the other.  and not only that but the foot was a different size too.  how could i not have noticed this.  was i too wrapped up in baby love to notice?  and what now?  what in the world does this mean?  she immediately talked geneticist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon... 

so we went, we went to all these doctors and appointments, and heard all their thoughts on whether they thought you have hemihyperplasia or hemihypertophy??  i was sad, confused, angry that you had to go through all this.  dr. c (pediatrician) thought for sure you had russell silver syndrome.  she was excited she found this...  excited.  excited huh?  excited to tell me my baby had some sort of genetic syndrome?  well, i wasn't excited to hear her guess.  and a guess it was.  we went to see the geneticist and he informed us she did not have russell silver sydrome. i was relieved. they did a basic genetic work up and everything came back normal.  but he informed us that if it is indeed hemihypertrophy which was his guess but we may never actually know.  that you have a risk of a side effect called wilms tumor which is a very fast growing tumor in the kidneys.  because of this risk we have to take you to ultrasounds of the abdomen and blood work every three months till your eight years old, every six months after that, and every year after that.  (i'm so sorry baby).  what is this?  what's the cause?  what did this mean for your future?  we went on to the neurologist where at 5 months old the put you under to do a mri.  and everything came back in the range of normal.  we went on to the ortho doctor...  he said we would fix your legs through surgery at 10 years old, where they will either stretch the little leg with pins and some crazy apparatus over the course of a year.  or they will stunt the growth in the larger.  this is a decision we don't have to think about for a long while. {and i pray every day of course that God would heal your legs on His own}. from there it was on to therapy where you were treated for tortacolis (which was no biggie, but another thing) and helped with your low muscle tone and legs....  dr. c would like us to do more extensive genetic testing~ micro analysis where they look at each individual chromosome.  but the geneticist said this was up to daddy and i and that, no matter the outcome, it would not change your course of treatment.  so we're waiting.  waiting and thinking on that one.  waiting and praying on that one.

i get sad sometimes.  at dance class i cried today.  i cried cause i don't know if my little ballerina will ever be able to get up on both toes.  i cry because i don't know what the future holds.  but you know what?  you are amazing, and strong, and i believe you can overcome all of this and be who ever you want to be.  i believe that you can do anything you want to do.  and we'll be here to cheer you on, to be your biggest support, your biggest fans!

you have taught me more in three plus years more than you'll ever know.

you are God's awesome plan.

i love you willa.  i love you so so much.

it's now the wee hours of the morning... today's your birthday and we celebrate you.  you and all you've already overcome in your little life.  

happy birthday willamina grace!
sweet, sweet baby girl.
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