Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Final Ascent

Well- today has been uneventful. That is a good thing! Rachael was crampy again in the night, but some of that seems to be status quo. She has been told that if she were dilating the stitch would tear on her cervix and there would be blood. Ack! I know, but this was comforting because in other words-- we'll know if something is changing for the worse.

She seems a little weary the last few days. And she had her first kind of "claustrophobic" moment where she felt stuck and a little desperate the other day. I can't believe she hasn't felt that way more. Laying almost flat in the same room day after day after day would be really hard. She really has been a super star at this!!! Her room has been transformed. Mom says when someone new from the hospital walks in they always comment about how "at home" Rach has made herself. She has home made quilts on the beds, a huge long row of books, shelves full of goodies and snacks, the walls are covered with cards and they have an "essential oil" dispenser so her room always smells beautiful.

Just keep praying she would be filled with peace and comfort.

We can't wait to get to next week! We are on that final ascent to the top of that precipice. Sometimes that last climb is the most exhausting. Keep those prayers coming! Membrane of steel, stitch of God, holy health! (-: Cole prays that out loud. LOL! He has no idea what the details mean- of course, but he knows we are praying that Auntie Ta Ta's baby stays in her tummy.


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Rachael was supposed to meet with the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) yesterday, but they got too busy. So today she got to talk to a doctor from the NICU. It was an encouraging visit. The doctor said-- of course they would be at the delivery even if it happened before 24 weeks and that they would do everything they could for Jimmie if that’s what Rachael and Justin wanted. At this stage Rachael wanted them to know that is indeed what they would want. The doctor said there was a 23 week 3 day old in there right now doing okay. We don’t anticipate any of this, but these are the kinds of discussions Rachael keeps having to endure. The doctor also said that they were a very “hands on” NICU for parents-- that they encouraged the parents to be very involved with the baby’s care. And they are big on what they call “kangaroo care” which is mommy and baby skin to skin contact. This was all very encouraging for Rachael to hear.

The doctor also observed that Rachael had been there for a while and seemed to be steady so that was a good thing. And she repeated what we have now heard many times that after 24 weeks every day is very good for Jimmie’s prognosis. And that the 28 week mark is a very big milestone for an excellent outcome. She also emphasized how subjective these things were and that it ultimately just depended on each individual baby.

Rachael said she was anxious to get through the weekend to Monday when they will give her the first steroid shot for the baby’s lungs. Keep praying hard for Rachael and Jimmie’s health. And for her body and spirit to “Peace Be Still!” Praise God for how far we’ve come and for how far we are going to go!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

23 Weeks And Hanging Tough

Yeah, today Rachael is 23 weeks! She is still hanging tough. She's had a few contractions today. The nurse was not concerned, but Rachael has not really had a measurable clear contraction on the monitor before. So-- I'm thinking maybe her uterus is just getting bigger now and so therefore it is captured by the machine. Because she has had days where she felt crampy and more uncomfortable than she has felt today. Anyway, regardless we don't want any of that! So lets all pray her body would- "peace be still!"

We have read a lot of good things about the herb "cramp bark". This is a very popular (in midwife circles) herb used by midwives to help prevent miscarriage, pre-term labor and uterine irritability. So mom ordered some today to add to our arsenal. Rachael is also using an electrolyte replacement powder in her water called "Vitalyte" (used to be called Gookinade). I'm convinced this saved my pregnancy with Cole. Rachael doesn't hide any of this from the doctors. I think Dr. Ridgeway's assesment of the Vitalyte was -- "that's expensive pee". LOL! Seriously though-- why a man who has spent the better part of his life efforting to save women's pregnancies wouldn't even be a little bit curious or open minded about something that has made such a difference so far with Rachael's cramping -- is a mystery to me. I mean as soon as they took Rachael off the saline drip her cramping escalated. And as soon as she started adding "Vitalyte" to her water things improved.

Anyway-- um, tangent over . . . (-:

I mean no disrespect . . .

Dr. Ridgeway is a wonderful doctor and the words "thank you" for what he has done for Rachael would not be adequate. I read somewhere that rescue cerclages fall into to two catagories "very complicated and heroic". It's quite possible what Dr. Ridgeway did for Rachael and Jimmie was heroic.

Keep those prayers coming!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lots Of Stuff

So on the eve of 23 weeks there has been a lot of talk about Jimmie being “viable/non-viable” as we are now entering that awkward phase where it’s a matter of days not weeks to an arbitrary line -- set by man. Rachael is meeting with the NICU tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday she will be receiving steroids for the baby’s lungs. I was a little worked up and weary of this particular conversation this morning, but Rachael has handled it very calmly. She is really amazing me with her strength and grace in this situation. It will be so nice a week from now when this sort of talk is over! I don’t doubt there will be a lot of new discussions related to the NICU etc. . . . but it’ll be wonderful to have the doctors speak about Jimmie in that new context.

People have asked me if I get to visit Rachael a lot. The answer is unfortunately - no. I’ve started averaging like once or twice a week. Dave and I work at different times and I’m not thrilled with bringing the kids up very often. I just don’t want them exposed to hospital germs as we tromp through nor do I want Rachael exposed to whatever little cold or virus they may have. So I really miss Rachael. I’m used to seeing her like 3 or 4 times a week. I talk to her every day -- at least once, but Rach, it’s just not the same at the studio when you are not there. We all miss you! That said-- I hope we get to miss you for a long time yet!!! (-: We pray everyday before class that little Jimmy will be growing in your belly for MANY more weeks!

Also hopefully Jimmie won’t care that I make him share the spotlight for a minute with his cousin. I don’t want to use this blog for McKenna, but I’m getting a lot of questions about her as well. Maybe I’ll make another blog for her. I know a lot of you-- including Rachael and Justin’s church have been praying for her. She is scheduled for a surgical procedure and an exploratory MRI for this Monday, February 2nd. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for her and asking me for updates. I’ll know more after Monday.

My cousin Jennette-- mommy to angel baby Gabriella and to Madeline who is still growing strong in her tummy-- is going to take over updating this blog for me next week as I will be focused on my daughter. And our wonderful advanced students-- Jessica, Ruby, Brittney, Breanna, and Ellie will be completely taking over at the dance studio for me.

We are so grateful for your care and prayers! As always -- hang tough Jimmie! Father God keep Rachael steady and healthy. Keep that stitch and her bag of water strong and her body peaceful. So be it, in Jesus name!



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Perfectionist

So Rachael has worked through a few symptoms and some anxiety today, but thankfully nothing really serious.

The nurse practitioner gave her some insight into Dr. Ridgeway. She said he's known as "the perfectionist" and that anything less than perfect is "not good" to him. Rachael asked if the new doctor taking care of her for February would know all of Dr. Ridgeway's thoughts about her cerclage and her situation. She kind of snickered and said, "oh yes-- he has extensive notes about the surgery. Rachael is being called the "sub-optimal cerclage patient". Other doctors feel a cerclage is a cerclage to the extent that it closes the cervix and keeps bacteria away from the membrane and Rachael's seems to be performing in that way. Everybody agrees that Rachael needs to stay in the hospital on strict bedrest, but I guess some are not as dramatic (as Dr. Ridgeway) about how "touch and go" they feel she is.

However we cannot discount that Dr. Ridegway was the *one* who saw everything and performed the surgery. And frankly-- we don't mind a perfectionist in charge of this situation!

I think we'll miss him in February. (-:

However this conversation did lift Rachael's spirits today a bit.

Just pray that the status quo for Rachael is maintained as we come up on this last week towards viability. I think it's easy to get anxious in a certain way as this huge milestone is now within sight.

Father keep Rachael and Jimmie healthy, the bag of water strong and that stitch in place! Amen! We are so thankful for how far we've come!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Doctors- Bed Side Manners

Rachael had a new doctor come in this morning. I think it was Dr. Finnley (sp?) . Supposedly he's going to be her doctor for February. He said they will give Rachael the first steroid shot right at 24 weeks (Feb. 5th). He also said that they will do an ultrasound Feb. 10th to check on how baby Jimmie is growing. He felt Rachael was doing good, that she's hanging steady right now.

While the doctors don't let us get comfortable-- Dr. Ridgeway says, "things can change in a blink of an eye", we feel good about how far she has come. Justin doesn't like it when the doctors remind us of the danger. I feel the same way. It's not like we don't know this already. *sigh* But-- I understand why the doctors are this way. It's their job to state facts, statistics and tell the truth as they see it- objectively and non-emotionally. We can see the value in this.

The very first night this all happened Monday, Jan. 12th. Rachael's doctor checked out the situation and was shocked by what she saw and very upset. She delivered Gracie Anne and I think she just let herself be emotionally taken in. She basically told Rachael and Justin it was over and that she couldn't believe this was happening to them etc... And although the situation *was* extremely serious it obviously was not *over*. It was very traumatic to receive the news in this fashion. She collected herself, consulted with the perinatalogists and came back with the plan. Rachael asked her at that point if she had hope and her doctor quietly said, "yeah-- I do."

I don't blame her doctor for caring so much. It was actually very touching, but we don't have to sort through Dr. Rideway's emotions to find the facts in the situation and that is a good thing.

Starting tomorrow we have 9 more days to viability so we are over halfway up *that* precipice!

Praise God! The doctors don't really take into account prayer (well if they do they don't really say) nor do they know or understand the hands on energy work (TKM) that my mom, Justin and Rachael and others qualified are doing 3 times a day. I understand why they don't take these things into account, but we know they do factor in.

We are so humbled and grateful for your prayers! I know you all will keep them coming!


Sunday, January 25, 2009


Rachael is doing good today. She is however struggling with getting a good nights sleep. So lets pray for her to get good rest at night.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety." Ps. 4:8

As always, thank you for fighting this fight with us!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

So Be It!

Rachael woke up with a back ache and some anxiety this morning, but it cleared up-- for the most part. Doctor Ridgeway said, "everyday--like this-- is a good day."

I've had numerous people say that they are trying to comment on this blog and it's not working. If anybody has any suggestions as to what the problem may be- let me know.

Peace be still, Rachael!

Father God keep that stitch strong, her bag of water strong and her body healthy! Grow baby Jimmie strong and healthy! SO BE IT in Jesus' name!


Edited to add-- Thanks Dave! I think I fixed it so anyone can post comments now. So those of you that have been trying. Try again soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Visiting Auntie

My husband David and Cole and McKenna got to visit Rachael today for the first time. Cole was very happy to see his Auntie Ta Ta --as he calls her. Rachael’s room has a couple shelves full of yummy snacks. (The kids liked that) Her window ledge is full of books and the wall across from her bed has cards and notes from everyone tacked up so she can see them. She has a big window and a view of the sky. Cole didn't want to leave when it was time to go. He patted her belly and we sang our prayer song we made up for Rachael and Jimmie. Thanks Amy (my windy sister)-- you gave me that idea! (-:

She’s still hanging tough! Keep those powerful prayers coming!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Still Climbing

Rachael is 22 weeks today. 2 more weeks to that viability mark. She is very anxious to get past the 23rd week. That is the week Gracie Anne passed away. Pray for Rachael to have her eyes and heart focused “up and out” . . . Pray she is filled with peace. A peace that passes all understanding.

Each day there are worries and struggles. Pray she doesn’t grow weary. That she has strength in Christ Jesus. Praise God that we are a third of the way up this precipice.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pray Without Ceasing

Rachael is doing alright! As far as her condition goes there is nothing new to report. She is just really anxious to get about 2 weeks down the road from here. She is reading a lot. She loves to read. She also requested some books on audio from the library so her hands can be free. She loves to quilt and knit. Justin bought a dvd player so they can watch dvds and the hospital brought her a laptop. It’s pretty awkward for her to type lying almost flat though.

She told me today-- just because she’s holding steady she doesn’t want us to become complacent. I told her, “We are not! We are praying and fighting for you and will continue!” It just encourages me to continue with even more energy because it’s making a difference-- of course!!

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:16-18

It *IS* God’s will that Rachael carry little Jimmie until he can be born healthy and safe.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Status Quo

Nothing new to report with Rachael’s condition which is a good thing at this point! She is finishing up her antibiotics today. Dr, Ridgeway is pretty hopeful now that the infection risk has gone way down. Mom went and got her some probiotics today to start replacing some of the *good* bacteria the antibiotics are sure to have wiped out. This was okayed by the doctor so she feels comfortable taking them.

Justin worked all 24 hours of his first shift yesterday since this whole thing happened. Mom spent the night at the hospital with Rachael and said it was a pretty good night.

There are still little storms and things that cause worry and such, but nothing big. So that seems to be our status quo. If we can stick to this status quo-- that would be good. There has been no more spotting since Wednesday or Thursday-- I believe, which is encouraging. She still feels an ache in her cervix and is crampy at times but all in all-- we have a lot to be thankful for right now! Continue to pray that those two symptoms go away entirely and then we will have a *new* entirely symptom free status quo!

Two people apart from reading this blog have been led to pray along the lines of “Hinds Feet On High Places” . I love that! “The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:19

The most important things right now is that Rachael’s membrane (bag of water) stay strong and not break, that the stitch stays strong and that her body not labor. And keep praying for health for both her and baby Jimmie. I find myself repeating the following prayer all of the time during the day and night, “membrane of steel, stitch of God, Holy health..” (-: It makes me smile to say those words.

I like to pray *for* good things rather than *against* bad things. I know that speaking, visualizing and dwelling on the *positive* is so helpful. Thank you all for “believing” in these positive things for Rachael and Jimmie! We’ve been so encouraged by all of you. We have had so many people express such faith in their prayers- it really inspires us!

You all are so appreciated- the words, “thank you” seem trite.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Keep On Keeping on

So Doctor Ridgeway was back this morning. He doesn't work weekends. He was happy to see Rachael still there. He said, "I'm not going to check your cervix because frankly I don't want to know. We've done all we can and now we just have to keep on keeping on." I'm not sure how I felt about the "I don't want to know" part, but well--- Rachael is fine with that so--okay.

He says that now our next milestone is that 24th week- viability. He also mentioned that if Rachael went really far they would talk about transferring her back to her original doctor. I'm mentioning this because I thought it was positive he even brought that up.

Otherwise there is not much new to report which is a very good thing.

The hospital is going to bring Rachael a laptop today so if you all start leaving more comments hopefully Rachael will be able to receive your words which I'm sure would be fun and encouraging for her!

We continue to be so grateful for you all-- our "prayer warriors".


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Little Victories

So today is the 5th day post surgery and there is no sign of infection. Praise God! This is another hurdle-- overcome. Our prayers for no spotting are working so lets keep it up. This does a lot for Rachael's spirits.

The doctor allowed her to take a shower today-- sitting of course, but that's good.

She still feels achy in her cervix lets pray that goes away completely as well. A nurse told Rachael today that by the time they went to operate on her she was dilated to a 3! We didn't realize that-- so that was hard to hear. Apparently Rachael and Justin made the right decision to go for the surgery as the dilating was not stopping.

So now we start the road towards the 24th week- viability. That is 18 days away.

Keep praying her bag of water stays strong, her stitch holds, that her body stays peaceful. My dad continues to pray that God would knit Rachael's body together even as He is knitting Jimmie's together. And lets thank God for these little victories, which are really big!

Thank you for fighting with us- your prayers are powerful!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hanging In There

So I just talked to Rachael and she’s doing ok. She still has symptoms that could be everything or nothing that really worry her. The nurses say that is not uncommon in this situation and hopefully doesn’t mean catastrophe. Pray that all lower back cramps and spotting would go away completely. She told me she is just feeling really down today. Emotional disturbances in this situation are also to be expected. I’m feeling good because we are on our 4th day post surgery. If we can get to tomorrow with nothing changing that is the next hurdle-- overcome.

I realized that the command Jesus gives to the storm-- “Peace Be Still!”. Can not only apply to Rachael’s spirit but also her body. If her body is “still” no labor or dilation is happening. So -- Rachael’s body-- “Peace Be Still in Jesus’ name!!!!”

Rachael has also asked that she receive no visitors or phone calls at this time. That has been a common query. Holding it together takes a lot of concentration and she needs to not be overwhelmed. However she would love to receive books, dvds, prayers, encouraging words in cards, flowers etc… if people want to send them to the hospital. She is at Overland Park Regional Hospital 10500 Quivira Road; Overland Park, Kansas 66215. Rachael and Justin Gravitt room #3406 (Perinatal Unit).

Keep fighting with us to climb this mountain! We are so grateful for your love and prayers!


Friday, January 16, 2009

The Precipice Injury

So no news is good news. After the morning visit with the Doctor there is really nothing new to say. They didn’t check her cervix and it sounds like they don’t plan to this weekend unless there is good reason to.

I’m hoping today is better than yesterday. The best way to describe the “downs” is like I said in the last blog-- storms of fear and despair that blow in. They are triggered by things such as a little bleeding or pain of some sort. Those symptoms could be everything or nothing. By my estimation Rachael had 3 such storms yesterday. It’s utterly exhausting in every way. There is just nothing easy about this. And storms blow in at night as well. Although last night my mom said was the best yet.

Anyway I was up early this morning praying and God brought the story of “Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard- to my mind. Rachael and I wrote and choreographed a ballet based on that book which our students performed beautifully a couple years ago. I realized that Rachael and those of us who are very close to her are Much Afraid and her/our companions are “Sorrow” and “Suffering” and that she/we are standing at the Precipice Injury and that Craven Fear keeps attacking her/us. The precipice seems absolutely impossible to climb, but in the story Much Afraid calls out to the Shepherd and he brings a cordial for Much Afraid to drink called the “Spirit of Grace and Comfort” . . . She drinks it and Sorrow and Suffering tie their bodies to hers with ropes and help her up the Precipice. When she slips they catch her and when she needs to-- she drinks the cordial of Grace and Comfort. In the end of the story Much Afraid makes it to the High Places and the Shepherd gives her a new name “Grace and Glory” and her companions- “Sorrow” and Suffering” have new names- “Joy” and “Peace”.

The Precipice *right now* represents these 3 weeks to viability. 3 weeks until the NICU will really be able to fight for Jimmie’s life. 3 weeks literally seems like an impossible eternity, but I feel like when we get there -- there will be a bit of a break through for Rachael and Justin’s spirits. I also believe we can go far past 24 weeks! So keep praying for that. We can climb this mountain! The Shepherd is with us and is offering us his Grace and Comfort. Please keep praying we and especially Rachael and Justin can receive it!!

And keep praying her bag of water stays strong, that there is no infection and that stitch holds!

This is a battle-- thank you for being our warriors!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Peace be still!"

This mornings evaluation by Doctor Ridgeway went well. He did a trans-vaginal ultrasound to get a better look at her cervix. He reiterated that he was not going to say that it looked good. He was not ever happy with how it looked after the surgery, but good in this case was if it looked the same as he left it. And that was what he reported. He said it looks the same so that is *good*. He also took out her catheter and is allowing her to get up to go to the bathroom. He said the plan now is to get to Sunday. That is the 5th day after the surgery . He said 30% of people have there bag of water break the 3rd or 4th day following the surgery due to infection. So pray hard for Rachael’s bag to stay strong and that no infection takes hold.

Justin asked the doctor this morning if he thought Rachael would make it to viability- to the 24th week when little Jimmie has a chance and the doctor just raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” We can stand in the belief that she will and that she’ll go far beyond 24 weeks!! Keep believing and praying for this!!!

The situation with this sort of bed rest is that absolutely nothing can be taken for granted. All of your normal bodily functions are affected and this whole thing is like walking a tightrope. So we decided we are going to spare you all the gory details and struggles that she is going through daily, just suffice it to say pray for everything to function well. Because everything affects everything.

Now a common question I have been getting is, “How *is* Rachael doing?” I’m assuming people mean “how are her spirits?” Or- “how is she emotionally?” I don’t really know how to answer that question. Though it is a valid/good question. I guess the best way to put it would be-- she has “ups and downs”. Although the “ups” are hardly “ups” at this point in time. A scripture she has been leaning heavily on is “Peace be still!” Mark 4:39. Jesus commands the storm to still with those words. And sometimes it does feel as if a storm of fear or anxiety crashes in. She had me write “Peace be still” on her marker board on the wall so she could look up and see the words. Pray that she is filled with peace. And given the circumstances it would definitely have to be a supernatural peace from God. Sometimes it is impossible for her to control her physiological responses to her emotions whether it’s relief or fear-- her body starts to shake and she wants to sob, neither of those things are great right now. She needs to stay *still* and *calm*. She prays and asks us to pray out loud a lot. We took communion before her surgery. Justin and Rachael’s pastor Brother David has been a huge comfort and support. It is evident that God is with her and for that we are thankful. Obviously-- this is extremely traumatic-- so please pray for Rachael and Justin and little Jimmie that their hearts and minds are filled with God’s light and love. His perfect love casts out fear.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ups and Downs

So last night was a very difficult night. Rach was very crampy-- probably from the surgery. But at this stage we do not want cramps at all. The doctors are on high alert for signs of contractions. She is monitored by machines, but at this stage her uterus is still so small contractions are not always picked up on the monitors. So they have told Rachael she is the best judge of what is happening. That makes for a situation where every cramp and ache has to be noted and analyzed by Rachael and the doctors.

Again my mom stayed all night long with her hands on Rachael praying and doing TKM holds and sequences. Certain things that she would do seemed to take the edge off the cramps.

Justin hasn’t really left Rachael’s side either. I know he’s going to take off at least one more shift from work. As most of you know he is an Independence firefighter and thankfully the fire department is very supportive and accommodating in this situation.

This morning Doctor Ridgeway (The Perinatologist who performed the surgery) did an ultrasound and was positive about how things looked. He said so far everything had stayed where he put it and her fluid levels were good and the baby who has been feet down had turned head down which is a *good* thing. He had been kicking Rachael’s cervix which the Doctor and Rachael were not so happy with. Mom was thrilled about this because she had done a sequence in the night that is supposed to help turn a baby head down!! The doctor even talked to Rachael about the possibility of taking her catheter out so she could get up to use the restroom. We’ll see . . .

Keep praying against infection and contractions. Pray that her bag of water and that stitch stay strong!


The Situation

Dear Everyone,

I am creating this blog so that you all can check it and receive daily updates about Rachael and her baby. The outpouring of care, prayers and support has been astounding and we are so blessed by you all. However, logistically the amount of text messages and phone calls we have been receiving are impossible to keep up with and respond to. We ask that you spread the word about this blog as a form of communication. You can leave "comments" with words of prayer and support. Hopefully Rachael and Justin will be able to check this blog and receive your words!

After what happened with Rachael and Justin's daughter Gracie Anne, we were so relieved and thrilled after her ultrasound last Tuesday, Jan 6th. Everything looked perfect and healthy with Rachael and her baby boy.

Unfortunately and shockingly that sense of well being was short-lived. Monday morning (Jan. 12th) she started experiencing spotting and cramping. Later that afternoon it was discovered that she was dilated to approximately 1.5 cm. After being sent home with a follow up appointment in the morning Rachael decided she needed to go to the hospital. While at the hospital Monday evening it was discovered the situation was extremely dire. She was dilated to 1.7 and the membrane (the sack of water that holds the baby) was bulging out of the opening of her cervix. She was stabilized through the night by lying on her back in a bed that tilted her so that her head was below her hips. she was put on drugs and antibiotics and our family stayed and did TKM (hands on energy work) and prayed literally all night long.

In the morning she was transferred by ambulance to Overland Park Regional Hospital and her care was taken over by the Perinatologists there. After an evaluation Rachel and Justin had a hard decision to make.

1. Wait and just let nature take it's course so to speak. Stay in the hospital on bed rest and antibiotics and hope that no more dilation occurs.

2. A surgical procedure called a "cerclage" where the cervix is stitched shut.

The dangers with the first option were presented as:

1. The longer the membrane is exposed to the vaginal canal there is a greater risk for infection which could cause the membrane to rupture (her water to break) and infection would threaten the babies life as well as Rachael’s.

2. Generally when this condition presents the way it has for Rachael at the gestation of 20 weeks if left alone it doesn't usually stabilize. What they are calling "Incompetent Cervix" progresses quickly and does not end favorably.

The dangers with the second option were presented as:

1. There was an immediate risk of rupturing the membrane (bag of water) during the surgery. That would be catastrophic at this point. The chances of this happening were stated at 50/50.

2. There would be a risk of infection that could rupture the bag 3 to 4 days after the surgery.

3. Rachael would have to go under local anesthesia. This is not recommended while pregnant and the baby would be at risk exposed to the anesthesia.

The doctor said there was not a right decision and that he has seen good and bad outcomes almost equally in both scenarios. And that it was completely Rachael and Justin's decision. He said there may be a very slight lean in favorable outcomes towards the "emergency cerclage" procedure, but definitely not enough for him to recommend it over the other.

After much prayer Rachel and Justin elected to allow the doctor to perform an emergency cerclage.The doctor's report afterwards was this:

1. Good news- the bag of waters did not break.
2. Bad news- the situation was worse than he had originally thought. The cervix *was* stitched shut, but the doctor was unable to recreate the cervix in the way that he had hoped. His words were, "This was not optimal!"

So instead of the scenario that after 4 days with no ruptured membranes/infection. She could go home on bed rest and have a lot of hope of going close to term-- now according to the doctor it is touch and go. He can only hope that the stitch holds and supports her growing baby. She will not be leaving the hospital.

The next few days will be crucial. If the membrane is going to rupture from infection, the doctor feels it would be within the next few days. So come Sunday we can be thankful that no infection took hold.

Our goal at the moment is to make it to the 24 week mark, where the baby is then considered viable. He has a fighting chance after 24 weeks. Anytime before that would almost certainly be tragic.

At 24 weeks they will start giving Rachael steroid shots to help the babies lungs develop at a faster rate. The doctor has not given us odds. We don't want to hear them. He has made it clear that this whole scenario is very grim, but not without hope.

We want everyone to stand strong with us in prayer BELIEVING in a miracle in this situation. We know the power of prayer and we need your prayers desperately. Contact anyone you know who will pray and direct them to this blog for updates.

I hope that this will detail a beautiful journey and that Rachael will be in the hospital growing that baby against the odds for many many more weeks. She will be 21 weeks tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15th.

Rachael and Justin have named him James Douglas (a family name on both sides)and are calling him Jimmie. He continues to look great. He is active and healthy.

We have asked--of course--"why is this happening?" The doctors don't ever usually really know for sure, but it could be that an infection caused this to happen or that her cervix was damaged during her induction when she had Gracie Anne. The latter is what I feel is the case. She had a drug called cytotec inserted in her cervix during that induction and while most women that have that done do ok-- there are definitely risks and side effects. To me that makes the most sense in this situation.

It has been stated that in future pregnancies one with this history would have a cerclage put in easily and with relatively little risk at 14 weeks and have great odds at going to term.

We cannot thank you enough for your prayers for Rachael, Justin and little Jimmie!

Thank you!


P.S. For anyone new reading this to start from the beginning, just scroll down and click "newer post" to read the next one and that will take you through all of the posts in the order they were published.