Monday, December 15, 2008
I have been so excited to take my girls to see the Jolly Ole Elf that I haven't been able to get to sleep for 3 nights! I feel so blessed that Finn is here this Christmas that I am just a walking tear factory. Miracles are real and they are available to the lowliest of us. My heart is still full of gratitude.
In San Diego, there is but one of Santa's helpers that is worthy of lap sitting. He has a quaint little house, a real white beard and the loveliest British accent to enjoy as he asks the children what's on their list. Did I mention his blue eyes? (I think I may have a crush on Santa!)
We tried to see Santa on Saturday but got there late and the line was down the mall and around the corner. Oh - and then the rain started. Bag that! So this morning (Monday) I made sure we got out of the house (again, in the pouring rain)and got there at 9:30 to be first in line. Well - we were still first in line at 10:00 because no one in their right mind would have their kids out to Santa in the pouring rain but me!!
Paul got Finnie to smile and Angie just is incapable of taking a bad photo so it went well. Merry Christmas to everyone!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I only have about five minutes before a certain baby realizes that she's not being held!! There is video of Finn eating pie in the scrapbook below in case I forgot to tell anyone. Since we were in the hospital for a week before the holiday, it gave me a lot of time to think back on this past year. I am so thankful for everything that has happened. Both the good things and the bad. I happened to catch a bit of Dr. Laura's show yesterday and she was talking about a new book on Motherhood. The point of her discussion was to cherish every bit of the journey. I think I may have finally figured that out.
Even though Paul still has been unable to find work, the Lord has provided. More importantly, he has provided the sense of peace to my heart that everything is ok. Life is on His time scale, not mine. I heard a Seventh Day Adventist preacher this past week say that "the Lord is in charge of my life, so I don't worry about a thing. He always takes care of me and I never worry." I am almost to that point and it really brings a feeling of love and relief.
I am looking forward to the Christmas season with a new found hope and anticipation. We started doing the advent calender with Angie yesterday. Each day she will find a story or scriptural account of the meaning of Christmas. It's a great time to teach charity and love to our children. On day 12 we will start a 12 Days of Service and hopefully be able to give back to others as they have done to us this past year. (To make it a bit more challenging and fun, I have printed everything out with a size 2 font and she has to use a magnifying glass to read everything)
Finn is doing GREAT on her injections. She smiles and laughs like never before. She is even interacting with her surroundings. Her head strength has increased and her balance is improving. I hope that the effects last, she seems so much more relaxed. She got rid of her cold and then got thrush so we are treating that now. It's been a bit lonely for us in the house all the time but it keeps the germ exposure down! Thank you for always thinking of us and keeping us in your prayers. It truly means a lot. Well - my time is up. I can feel the screams coming... I will get the 10 month pictures added as soon as I have a chance... ENJOY and SAVOR your holidays!!!!
Friday, November 14, 2008
We think that her new medicine caused gastritis which wouldn't allow anything in her stomach - thus all the vomiting. We are still working on getting her to keep clear liquids down, then her medicine by mouth (which is now going into the IV) and then we'll work on milk. Once she can do all of these for 24 hours - she can come home!
You hate to stay in the hospital any longer than necessary cause people tend to catch something else and get even sicker! With her immune system suppressed I am a bit over paranoid!! So I appreciate those who want to visit us - but I would even more appreciate you not - hee hee!! Finn could use your thoughts and prayers however. And once we are home - Paul still needs a job!! Chat later... It's my shift!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Well - I am officially giving shots to my baby. I have been MORE than paranoid about this day and was praying it would never come. But it has and I have had to buck up and get brave! We started Finn on a medication for her seizures called ACTH. ACTH is a steroid hormone. It has to be given by injection twice daily for a week, then goes to once a day, then every other day. ACTH is in addition to her other medications. The hope is that it will knock out her spasms and then we can control her seizures with just one medication in the future. Some children even outgrow seizures altogether after having ACTH.
There are a lot of side effects to the drug(possible high blood pressure, facial weight gain, extreme irritability, lack of sleeping etc.) We really prayed about it and asked that if it was not right to put her on it, that something would prevent us from doing it. The cost of the drug is $28,000.00 a vial - total cost for the treatment could reach about $150,000.00. Our insurance covered it and when Paul was let go from his job, his boss offered to keep us covered with insurance until the end of December. So we took that as our answer.
The home care nurses came out three times to make sure I was doing the injections correctly. Even while I was shaking, I seemed to function. There is so much to remember while doing it - I hope I can keep it up and not hurt my little yummy Finn Finn. She hardly cries when she gets the shot. But she doesn't like being held down and that's when she cries. She has been more cranky and that's supposed to get worse - oh hooray!! Her face is supposed to swell up like Jerry Lewis but they say the crankiness will be more bothersome to us. Since it's a steroid, it keeps her hyped up so it's hard for her to sleep. Which means she will get more overtired each day and then none of us will be getting sleep. (Except for Angie because she can sleep through hurricanes, earthquakes and pretty much anything!) Her appetite is already starting to increase -and we all know she didn't need to put on any weight!
We took the Christmas card pictures last week(not that I ever get them mailed). My friend Cindy found Thanksgiving jammies and so we took pictures in those with her cute turkey clip made by my friend Jolene! I know I'll take more pictures through the season but if Finnie is as miserable as they say she'll be - we might as well have a few good pictures to remember the season!!
I am just grateful for medicine that is available and covered by insurance. It is a blessing that Paul is home right now to help with Finn and Angie. (He may not see it as that, but I do!) The job will come when it is supposed to but right now - we'll concentrate on our medicinal journey! Thanksgiving will be very different for us this year. The lessons we have learned are overwhelming and we are so thankful for so many things.
We are also staying up for all the election results tonight. All we know so far is that we have a new president! Wow - what times we live in. God bless you all.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Angie was so excited to be dressed as her Grandmothers dressed in High School. She kept saying, "I feel like I'm really back in the past." She loved her outfit and was in the best mood. Finnley was happy and smiling. She took a nap before we started the evenings festivities and it kept her just plain adorable!
I found myself with a heart full of gratitude to the Lord and His grace for another holiday with my girls. When Finn was dying, I mourned for all of the upcoming holidays and events that she wouldn't be a part of. I was so sad to think that she would miss the holidays with us. But she's here. Thank the Lord - she's here. Angie gets to share all of these moments with a little sister who just loves her to death. They are so cute together and I can't help but think they have known each other since eternity began. We are so blessed...
Monday, October 20, 2008
They say behind every cloud is a silver lining. I like to imagine that lining is not only silver but full of chunky glitter and sparkle. Something that catches all the light and makes you look forward to whatever is behind that cloud. There is always something good on the other side of life's challenges. It may take awhile for us to discover it sometimes - but it is always there. What we learn from it will help us to grow and become stronger. If we don't learn from it - my experience has been that it will be taught to us over and over until we that lesson in.
A bit of a cloud presented itself this month to our family. I say a 'bit of a cloud' because nothing compares to the cloud(or trial) of almost losing a child. Paul was given a lay off notice at his job and has until the end of the month. One blessing is that his boss is going to carry our insurance until the first of the year. A wonderful blessing because Finn's next treatment will be around $100,000.00 and without insurance or a dead rich relative - treatment just wouldn't happen.
Job prospects are grim right now as we all know but we are hopeful for the change. If there is one thing we have learned this year - God knows us. He knows our family and hears our prayers. I always knew that - but know I KNOW that. I hope all of you know that. We are His children and are individually known to Him. He listens and answers in the way it will serve us the best. We may have a job tomorrow or it may be six months from now. Heck - we may be living with you! But we know that we will be where the Lord wants us and needs us. Not moving is of course our first choice but that glittery lining may be in Texas, Ohio or Bora Bora! I am personally hoping it's in Hawaii but only time will tell. (Can't you just picture that glittery rainbow over Kauai??)
Prayer strengthens us when we are scared and gives us hope when we are feeling alone. We are at peace with the job situation, calm even. So maybe that proves that we have learned a lot these past two years. It usually gets really dark and scary right before everything falls into place and we know where we are headed. It's not dark at all - maybe that means we have a long time yet... Or, that our perspective has changed and our faith has increased in His plan for us. How do people get a long in this world without the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Finnie's seizures have not gone away so we are on to the next phase of treatment. It should start within the next few weeks. I will have to inject her with the medication and that makes me a little nervous to be the one hurting her everyday but it's a necessary evil. She is doing well otherwise and smiling more and more. She LOVES Angie and they are so cute together. Finn just lights up when Angie comes into the room - it's so sweet.
Angie is still doing water polo and even plays more in the games now. I don't know what kind of leg strength it must take to tread water for so long! So glad it's her and not me!! She keeps talking about moving to England to master the English accent. (It's her favorite accent) I told her that her dad will go with her - I would rather be some place tropical hearing cabana boy accents... Angie turns 12 in a few weeks so we just got her ears pierced. Her brother and sisters were there to hold her hand it it went rather smoothly. (Took her a half hour to decide to do it but then went off without a hitch!)
So life is going well here at the ranch. A little uncertain but we have wonderful friends that are passing Paul's resume out and sending us job prospects everyday. My silver lining also has a strong band of fuchsia glitter around it and that allows it to catch more light than the common silver lining. It's all in the perspective and what outlook you choose to put out to the universe!! Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and for loving us - faults and all!!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It was so hard to hold Finn as she struggled to catch her breath while her body jumped and shifted from side to side. Her infantile spasms got to the point that they would flip her body over and roll her across the bed. I felt so helpless and there was nothing that I could do. It was nearly impossible to console her and sometimes she would cry for hours at a time. All I wanted to do was make it better or let her know that we were doing all we could to figure out her medication so that the seizures would eventually stop. But how does one communicate that to a 7 month old? I found myself asking the Lord why I couldn't have the seizures instead. Or what I could do for Him to spare her this pain and discomfort. A lot of tears and a lot of prayers, I'm sure the Lord was weary of my asking.
My Neurologist had ordered test after test to figure out why I am at risk for a stroke and the appointments were difficult with a baby who was so sick. I knew that the seizures would be scary for someone babysitting my little Finnie because they didn't know if they were the same or worse or if they should call the doctor. Thank heavens for a sister who lives so close and could come with us to the hospital. Thank heavens for friends who stepped up and held her while she cried and arched in their arms. Their faces showed nothing of worry but that of love and compassion. Their calm demeanor gave me the confidence to leave her, knowing that she would be well taken care of. Thank you...
Now with only one test left for me- that dreaded MRI, my faith is in the doctors to find the cause of the TIA and help to prevent a stroke in my future. At 36, one doesn't think they would be talking about a stroke, unless it was for their aged parent. But reality is- I'm pretty stressed out and I finally have to admit that I may be reaching my emotional limits from time to time. I need to rely more on the Lord because He is the only one that is constantly with me. He is with Finn also and as this last week has passed, I have heard her little coos and squeaks come back. Her neck muscles have started working better and the seizures have finally become undetectable. She is smiling and trying to giggle again. The medication is working!
The Lord is always with us. I feel Him there. He gives me strength even when I feel alone and scared. Looking back over these past few weeks, I am grateful for the tears and opportunity to pray to Him. I am thankful for my blessings, especially that of my children and family. Finnley teaches us all daily and I can't even remember what our family was like without her. It was lacking - I sensed that but didn't know how to change it..
What a blessing she is and such a wonderful gift. I recognize my trials as blessings even though they are not pleasant. We learn who we are through the "refiners fire". We also learn how to relate to people who are MUCH worse off than we are and look for ways to help them. There is change on the horizon for us and more trials daily but there is also a strength we can tap into that a lot of people are missing. I am grateful for this tine of reflection. Now let's get our health on track and move on!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Hello all -
Finn and I made a brief pilgrimage to Utah last month. Angie & Paul stayed home and had a well deserved vacation away me and my chore list. I'm sure they just watched movies the whole time and drank milkshakes! Finnley was able to see two of Paul's sisters and Paul's mother. Grandma Messer hadn't seen Finn yet and it was long overdue! She got some cuddles in and of course we got photos! I think they look a lot alike. We also went to my sister Joanna's cabin a few times and Finnley loved it. She was most content in the mountains.
Finn developed some infantile muscle spasms while we were in Utah. Her whole body rolls to one side and she almost curls up. They startle her and she tends to cry a lot after they happen. I guess they stressed me out so much that I had a TIA (mini stroke) and ended up at the ER for some MRI's and other tests. I will see the neurologist this next week so no worries. I haven't been driving and have been trying to relax. (And we all know how well I can do that - )
We have upped Finnley's medication and will continue to so over the next month to get the spasms under control. This week she has cried about 5-7 hours a day. I don't think she likes the way the medicine makes her feel and the seizures still freak her out. I am deaf in my left ear but I think the right one still works ok. All I can do is hold her and love her until we get this problem solved. There is really nothing that comforts her right now. This is just a hiccup - so with the help of your prayers, it will be done soon.
This last picture was on Labor Day. Angie made a festive cake and Finn looked like she may want to eat it! Angie joined the water polo team a few weeks ago and it's been a blast! Finn and I hang out and watch her swim and we get to be outside the house for a bit! Angie gets better each week and she loves it. She swims laps with her dad to condition and gets to eat Ice Cream with every meal. Yes - I said every meal. (If you saw how hard she works out - she needs all the extra fat and calories she can get!)
Finn turns 7 months this week so come back to see the updated "One month at a Time" slide show. I will get to it as soon as I am not holding this yummy baby all the time! Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes. Finnley continues to teach us and bless us each day! Truly a miracle...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
What a happy day - Sunday, Finnie turned 6 months old. Our hearts are full of gratitude to Heavenly Father and our lives are filled with love. Finnley is doing well and we couldn't be more pleased. Since we started using the oils 2 weeks ago, her smiles have been more frequent and they are the cutest things EVER! Her arms are really loose and her chatting is louder and more pronounced. She even went 4 days in a row without a single seizure. I pray that this success continues and I keep smearing her every few hours. Our friend Mike says the Frankincense smells like camel dung - great description huh? Well, maybe she smells like camel dung occasionally but if it works - I don't care. At least she's dressed cute while she smells like camel dung!
The "One Month at a Time" slide show is updated and I'll add a few more this month. The other treatment option that I mentioned in the last post is still experimental according to our neurologist. He did recommend a study that is recruiting right now, so we are looking into that. Not that we'll try anything - but we'll check it out and pray about it before we dismiss it. We just have to give Finn every chance possible.
We went to the beach for a little picnic on Saturday. It's the first time Finn touched the sand with her feet and she loved it. She just kept digging them into the sand. Angie, of course, found her book more interesting than the waves and buried her head between the pages! It's all I can do to keep her in books - forget about the clothes! She is looking forward to school starting in a few weeks but I'm not. We have had a really good summer with Finn and Angie will be missed during the day. Well, that's all for now! Our thanks to all of you - we love you!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Finnley cut her first tooth on Sunday afternoon. Surprisingly she hasn't been that fussy with whole teething thing. (It will get worse right?) We spent two days trying to get a picture of it and this is as good as we got! When it gets higher the pictures will be better. She has another one on the way so there will be more "toothage" to see next time.
We are still using the oils(along with her medication) and she is smiling a lot more and even giggled twice this past week. Her arms are really loosening up and she just seems happier. Her seizures (knock on wood), have been non-existent the past two days and I am hoping that continues. I found out about a new possibility for treatment tonight while at a church activity, so I am online right now investigating. I'll let you know more when I know more! Thank the Lord for good friends who bring me articles, forward websites & doctors names and are looking out for our baby. We couldn't do this without you! Finn turns 6 months old this month - can you believe it?? Look for the updated slide show next week sometime! We love you all and thanks again for all you do...
Something that has really changed some life perspectives for me - an Oprah show believe it or not. She had Louise Hay on recently. Louise said - "Change your thinking and you change your life." I have been struggling with depression since Finn came. Even with all of the good and the miracles. I have a new journey to pursue. I don't know what it is but I feel I am on that road...
Friday, July 25, 2008
I can hardly believe it has been over five months since this angel came into our home. It's been the longest and yet the fastest five months I've ever lived through! I just updated the "One Month at a Time" slide show and will do so every month so you can keep up on her size and expressions! Paul thinks it's funny I have a "play" button on my belly...
Finnley's physical therapy and infant teaching are going great! She makes progress every week and works hard at coordinating her body each day. Amy is helping us work on rolling over and getting all of her bits to move in harmony. You have no idea what it takes to do such a simple movement. I get tired just watching her try! Wendy is helping us work on neck movement and grasping for objects. Finn seems to love Wendy's voice and follows books much better when Wendy reads them to her. We are so grateful for these two teachers - we couldn't do this without them!
Angie & I are enjoying summer vacation. She reads most of the time - can't get her away from those books!! (Not that I am complaining!) We are working on crafts for Christmas and some new clothes for school. We enjoyed some perfectly ripened peaches and strawberries the other day from a farmer's fruit stand on the side of the road. I mention that because it falls in the category of "stopping to smell the roses" once in awhile. We get so caught up in the daily routine and problems in our lives, we forget that God has given us so much. That juicy peach reminded me of that. We have so much to be grateful for and we should always focus on that instead of all the yucky stuff in our lives. Remember to thank the Lord daily for His gifts.
The doctor wants to increase Finnley's current medication and add another one to stop the Myclonic seizures. I am trying another method first. I started her on essential oils and even though it has only been a few days, her smile is coming more frequently and her language is louder. Finn still enjoys her nightly massage and now we have added lavender oil to calm us BOTH down from a long day! Her seizures were less today so I am praying that continues. She is a different baby without all the medication!
The downer part of our summer is that our Mexico trip had to be cancelled. The doctor wouldn't let Finn travel out of the country because of her seizures and the possible lack of good medical care. We tried to rearrange it so that Paul could go down for at least a week but the tickets had doubled in price since we purchased 6 months ago and it would have cost way to much to make all of the changes. It has really crushed all of us - especially my wonderful older brother who planned every detail of the trip! Hopefully next year we can re-plan and take that trip. Thank you Jon for all that you did - I hope I can make this up to you someday!
We appreciate your continued prayers and support on Finnley's behalf. A miracle that we all get to share in is rare. Not a day goes by that I don't feel that in my heart.
We love you!!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Hello to all of you! Finnley is doing well despite a few recent setbacks. It has taken me a few weeks to come to terms with them and to be okay with talking to people about them. So I apologize if you are reading about them before I talk to you personally about them. I also hesitate to call them setbacks because Finnley seems to overcome everything negative that is said about her condition - she doesn't like being told she can't do something!
While her head is growing and her soft spots are still there, it is in the 3rd percentile and typically should be growing at a faster rate. The doctors have not given me any explanation for this or for what could happen if it doesn't grow at a faster pace. It's the "just wait and see" answer we seem to get each time and it's driving me CRAZY. I honestly think that she is such a mystery to them, they just don't know and they don't want to give me false hope.
About a month ago, Finnie's arm began to jerk a bit here and there when she was waking up. They got a bit more regular so I took her into the neurologist. He said they are Myclonic seizures and that they prescribe anti-convulsants for them to make them stop. These are the least intrusive kind of seizures and he said if you have to have seizures, these are the kind that you want. (I guess he thought that would be good news to me...)The medicine she is on has slowed them down but hey are not fully gone. The seizures don't hurt and don't even seem to bug her but we need to stop them. I am looking for alternative methods to getting rid of them as opposed to high powered drugs that could slow her learning and physical movements down.
We also took her back to the eye doctor for her lazy eye which we are patching for 1 hour a day for the next three months. The eye patches are made for little girls and feature pink flowers, musical notes and even pink camouflage! She is not a big fan of her new patches but tolerates the hour each day. The eye doctor also diagnosed her with possible cortical visual impairment. It's a condition that her brain isn't registering what her eyes are seeing. She said it looks like she is seeing well some of the time and then other times - probably not much at all. The doctor did say that she can grow out of it and that her eyes are structurally healthy and that there are no eye issues. It's just the communication from brain to eye that needs to improve or she will have poor vision. There is nothing medically that can be done for this so we need to go back to the "prayer works" method!
On a happier note - Finn is doing wonderfully in physical therapy each week! Our therapist comes to the house and sees steady improvement week after week. Finnley is getting more neck and head control and sitting up really well. She is grasping for toys and still loves her musical ones. We also have an infant educator that comes to our home on Wednesdays. She taught me how to do infant massage with Finn and we practice every night. Finnley is getting more used to it and looks like she enjoys herself. (Paul is very put off that HE isn't getting a backrub every night as well!) Sorry - I can only take care of one baby at a time... hee hee
We are so appreciative of your continued prayers and support. This little girl has taught us how to truly love and we are thankful everyday for her being in our home. We love you all and will keep the updates coming!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Hello everyone -
We spent the morning of the 4th at the Del Mar fair. It was a beautiful day and Finnie did great! Angie brought some friends and they did it all! We even left the fair WITHOUT eating one deep fried anything!! (I was tempted to try the deep fried Oreos but the line was just too long!) Looking back - it was probably a blessing in disguise!! We were able to see the fireworks from our backyard so we didn't have to fight any crowds. Finnley liked the lights in the sky and even our new dog didn't seem bothered by them.
Here are some pictures of Angie & Finn in their 4th of July outfits. We love you and will give you another update soon!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
After years of trying to have a baby and experiencing the loss of six pregnancies, we had given up on having a family. A battery of tests and even genetic counseling didn't show why my pregnancies only lasted a few weeks.
Our last miscarriage took place on December 24th, 2001 - we had already sent out little countdown clocks to our families to open on Christmas morning. Now Paul was stuck with the phone call - yet again - that we had lost the baby. I went into a depression that seemed hopeless and never ending. I resolved that there would be no children in our future and I was setting my sites on more tangible things that wouldn't hurt my heart so much. The Christmas tree remained up, the presents under it still wrapped and waiting - a holiday not celebrated. These items became a symbol of, "why us?" What did we do to deserve such loss and so much pain? All we wanted was a child to love. How could God be so cruel as to allow such a deep desire to go unmet?
And then - the first miracle came into our lives. In March of 2002, we received a call from our Bishop that changed everything. "We have been working with a mother who is in crisis and the county has taken away her kids. There's a little five year old girl at the Polinsky Center that we feel needs to be in your home. Our Bishopric has prayed over it and we all feel that she belongs with the Messers." Paul immediately said yes and the Bishop asked that he discuss it with me first and call him back. He said, "Paul, you still have your Christmas tree up and it's March. I think Care needs to feel okay about this before you say yes to bringing this little girl home." Well we did discuss it - in about 2 minutes and the feeling was overwhelming that this little girl was to be our first child. Angie was in our home the next evening with her shy little smile, ferocious appetite and long blond hair. It was a long road but three years later, Angie was finally adopted and we officially became a family.
We moved and got a dog. Isn't that what families do? We always wanted more children but the timing was off on the adoption prospects and private adoptions were so expensive. We looked into Mexican adoptions with a neighbor helping us but that didn't feel right either. We knew the feeling we had when Angie was presented to us and we hadn't felt that with any avenue we had explored over the past 5 years. We almost waited for God to bring the next child into our lives. I pictured it in my mind like the Queen waiting in the Nile for Moses to float to her in a basket. I checked my porch weekly but the river hadn't risen enough to carry me a baby. So then - we got another dog. Angie was now ten years old and we had been married almost 15 years. Our spring chicken days were nearing the end - if they hadn't already ended!!
My girlfriends and I went to breakfast one morning in March of 2007. As we were sitting there, one mentioned she had a cousin with red hair that was about to have a baby and she was considering adoption. She didn't know why it hadn't occurred to her sooner but maybe we should look into adopting this baby. (I mention the red hair because my husband is a red head and she knew that I had always wanted a red-headed baby with blue eyes like Paul.) She said that the baby was to be born in a few weeks and what would it be like to bring home a new baby next month? My heart jumped into my throat and the feelings overwhelmed me. I began to cry and couldn't get home fast enough to call Paul. We didn't want to get our hopes up but then why did these feelings come so strong when a baby was mentioned? In April, the young girl ended up keeping her baby. While disappointing, the feelings didn't leave. I mentioned to my sister that something was about to change everything. I had heard people reference the "winds of change," and Paul and I could both feel them whipping up the dust in the stable and constant life we had created for our family. Paul and I held our breath and waited.
Somehow- we became pregnant in May and the little baby held on. Finnley Kate was on her way.
Paul and I were both terrified to find out we were pregnant. Excited but terrified. What if we lost this one too? Our biggest fear was for Angie. Paul and I knew how to grieve for the loss of a baby - but she hadn't ever gone through that. We didn't want her to. While we should have been over the moon with excitement - we were filled with anxious fears. We told NOBODY.
I went to the perinatoligist specialist as soon as I confirmed the pregnancy. I knew I would be high risk because of the other miscarriages but I needed her to tell me that she could save this baby. The first ultrasound was done that same day and the little heartbeat brought me to tears. This was really happening. My doctor began to run tests to see if she could isolate the cause of the past pregnancy losses. I continued to hold my breath. I pleaded with the Lord daily to let this baby be alright. I talked to my belly, hoping he or she would hear and know how much we wanted he or she to be in our family. I think I even walked carefully, afraid that I would somehow jar the baby lose or something. I was a nervous wreck and poor Paul had to hear about it everyday.
A few weeks later, I returned to the doctor. The new ultrasound still showed a strong heartbeat the baby was on target for growth. I cried again. The doctor then told me that she had most likely found the cause of the miscarriages. It was a folic acid deficiency and she put me a "super dose" to help preserve the pregnancy. She said that we were pretty much out the woods already and asked what I had been eating in order to keep the folic acid levels so high without knowing that would keep the pregnancy. (Remember how I said the Lord has His hand in all things - you may not see it or understand it - but it is always there?)
In August of 2006, I came down with a strange rash that covered my face, head and chest. It was a red and pimple like rash and nothing got rid of it. I saw doctor after doctor - even the dermatologists couldn't get rid of it or find the cause. It was miserable! I thought I had tried everything until one day - I went to get my eyebrows waxed.
It was a new girl, in a part of town far from my house but she was a daughter of a friend and so I wanted to support her in her new job. When she came in, she looked at my face and said, "Do you have a wheat allergy?" It caught me off guard and I said, "Not that I know of." She went on to explain that the rash looked like my body wasn't processing something correctly and she recommended that I go off wheat, gluten and dairy for a month and see if the rash would go away. "Well - what is there to eat if I go off all of that?", I said. And she told me to drink "green smoothies" that were made from all different kinds of colored vegetables with a little fruit for a sweet flavor. She said I wouldn't even miss the other foods and it would cleanse my body from whatever it was reacting to. OK - now you are saying - why would anyone listen to a gal giving out medical advice who was trained in shaping eyebrows and giving facials? I can't explain it other than I had a confirmation inside that I should follow her advice. I did, and within 2 days the itching stopped and within a week the rash was all but gone. I ate this way for almost two months (became pregnant sometime during this phase) and only stopped because the sight of vegetables was making me nauseous and I just couldn't gag down those shakes anymore(that nauseousness was the morning sickness but I didn't know it yet). I was later tested for the allergies she mentioned by my doctor and found I was not allergic to any of those things. However, the shakes gave me the folic acid I needed to keep that baby in place. So, I thank God for the rash because it put in place the chain of events that led to my little Finnley. Everything happens for a reason...
I saw the doctor every few weeks and every ultrasound was better than the last. Finally at five months, she told me that I really was out of the danger stage and I could tell people I was pregnant. We custom ordered a t-shirt for Angie that said, "I'm finally going to be a big sister! Coming in Feb. of 2008. I'm just as shocked as you!" When we showed it to Angie, she looked at it and then looked again. She said, "Are we adopting a kid?" It stunned her when I said I was pregnant and I am pretty sure scared the heck out of her but she hugged me and we both cried. We then took a picture of her in the shirt and Angie emailed it to everyone we knew to tell them the good news. It was fun to let her share the news and the support started to come in by phone and email.
This baby was so loved even before she arrived. Our families had waited just as long as we had and gone through our losses each and every time. We all held our breath and prayed that this baby would be staying with us.
I was determined to let the sex of the baby to be a surprise but at the 18 week appointment - I changed my mind! I am just too much of a planner and worrier not to have the right clothes etc. for this little baby. It was a girl!! The name picking can finally take place. We poured over the baby name books. I checked every Internet site in the world but nothing stuck. The only thing I knew for sure is that I wanted her named after quite possibly, the sweetest woman I have every met. Her name is Frieda and she is attends my church. Frieda is Polynesian and has a heart larger and more generous than anyone I know. She is the most genuine soul I have ever come across and someone truly to live up too. Oh - and did I mention that she can cook? (But we can talk about that later!!) So we needed a name that began with "F". And one day, I woke up with the name Finnley. It was as spelled out in my mind as it would be on paper. It was vivid in my heart as well and I knew it was the right name. I quickly looked it up to make sure the meaning wasn't something weird like, "One who stares," or "An Irish Goddess who sacrificed animals." Instead I found the meaning and origin to state, Finnley - a "Fair-haired hero." Of Irish/Scottish origin." A name that comes from my Irish/Scottish heritage on my mother's side and would come to describe my little girl to all who know of her. Frieda is also a hero of sorts to many people and that's how Finnley became Finnley Kate.
My friend Cindy called it my control issues and OCD tendencies - yeah - she's right and everything was in place, and every detail attended to by the time she arrived. Extra food in the freezer, nursery organized, pictures on the wall, crib bedding sewn, thank you cards from the showers filled out and mailed. We were ready- but not really.
We had trained in Hypno-birthing with a wonderful coach named France who later became my Douala. We decided to give birth at the birth center downtown and I started seeing the midwives. I was also under the care of the perinatologist that oversees the births at the center because of my miscarriage history. Dr. Blake was wonderful and he gave me the best words ever at one of my visits. I was worried about having a 'ginormous' baby and knowing that I was doing this natural, without any painkillers - I expressed my fears. He said,"You'll have no problems. This baby is going to be about seven and half to eight pounds and she is going to just slide right out!" "Slide" being the key word and somehow it made me feel like I could really do this.
I really wanted to give birth in the water. Finnley had been resting on my sciatic nerve for over a month and I could barely walk. I knew that the hot water would give relief and allow me to concentrate better on my breathing. I really wanted Finnley to be born on Valentines Day and did everything in my power to make that happen - even acupuncture. It started the labor and I was SO excited. But Finnley had other plans. Labor pains only lasted 9 hours and then stopped altogether. I then hoped that she would wait until leap year since it was only two weeks away and about 6 days past my original due date. But no - that didn't work for her either.
At 3:45 am on the morning of Feburary 24th, my water broke. I was filled with excitement as we prepared to go to the birthing center. Hypno-birthing had really prepared us and I felt calm and looked forward to this crowning event we had anticipated for so long. I had tested positive for GBS so I needed to get antibiotics by IV every 4 hours until I delivered the baby. I got my first dose and then came back home to enjoy my labor. It wasn't painful and we carried on as usual, finishing up a few last minute cleaning items in between the surges. Finnley was going to be home today! I was so excited. We went back again for another dose and then came back home. I took some Castor oil and that really got things going. By 4:00pm, we left to have the baby at the center.
My friend Cindy met the three of us at the birth center and our Douala arrived a bit later. It was a very comfortable setting and we had the whole top floor to ourselves. I moved into the tub about 7:00 pm. The hot water took all of the pain away and I wasn't about to get out of that tub. I began to push around 8:30 and was monitored by Doppler for the heartbeat regularity. Finnley was doing great but I was getting really tired. The room seemed very crowded all of a sudden with a husband, child, a nurse, two nurse midwives, my Douala, & best friend. While I was in the tub between surges, I had a feeling that something was wrong. It was a fleeting premonition and I assumed that maybe the baby had become infected with the strep (GBS). I said to the crowd in the room, "She's not helping anymore, I am doing all the work." And they assured me that it was my job to push the baby out not Finnley's to find her way out. I guess I just didn't have the words for it at the time to make them understand my feelings. A line from one of the Hypno-birthing affirmation series came back to my mind - "I am prepared to meet whatever turn my birthing takes." I relaxed and knew whatever it was, Finnley and I could get through it. In hindsight, I feel I was being prepared for what was about to take place.
My husband finally pulled me out of the water to get the baby delivered. I was more than resistant and did not want to get out of the tub. However, as soon as I stood up - I knew it was time. Finnley was born 3 minutes later at 10:22pm, Feburary 24th, 2008.She was placed immediately on my chest and we all started to cry. She was a bit blue but got her pink color in a minute or two and looked great. 10 fingers, 10 toes and a little lamb like cry - which she still has today. I had her on my chest and tummy for over an hour while they took care of me and did whatever it is nurses do after someone has a baby. We were all in a nirvana like state. Cindy was busy snapping pictures and the love in that room was overwhelming. She was 8 lbs. 4oz and had the cutest back fat and plump little lips. She looked just like her father and had thick, black curly hair. Finnley was beautiful. We passed her around and everyone got to hold this precious little angel that we had waited so long for. She was a miracle.
The nurse began to notice her lips going blue here and there and then a little gasp for air and the color would come back to them. I noticed that her eyes would focus for a second and then swim from side to side and up and down. I just assumed that she was really tired from the labor. She jerked a little here and there but I didn't think anything of it either. When we tried to get her to nurse she wouldn't latch on and basically just lay there. Once again - I thought she was just tired but the midwives knew better. Early in the morning - one of them had already called Children's Hospital for a transport but they hadn't told me yet. They tested her blood sugar and it was very low so they gave her some glucose and it barely went up. It was then that they told us to get ready to go to Children's just to have things checked out. We thought it may be the strep infection so we weren't too worried. The midwives were very good at keeping me calm because if I had really known their worries I would have lost it. The transport team arrived and she stopped breathing while they were putting her in the incubator. The got her breathing again with a bag and I don't know why I was so calm about it. I was exhausted is the only explanation I have.
My husband and I followed the ambulance down and Cindy took Angie home. We waited in the waiting room for over an hour while the doctors checked her out. It was about 5:00 am when the doctor came out. He said that they weren't sure what was going on with Finnley but that they had to put her on a ventilator to keep her breathing. They were running blood tests etc. and putting in the pic lines to get medicine to her. He said that seizures were pretty severe and that they would need to sedate her as soon as possible. I fainted as the doctor was taking us back and they had to get a wheel chair for me. I am sure it was from loss blood during delivery and being completely exhausted. We hadn't slept since 3:45 the previous morning. By the time we went back, she was hooked up to more tubes than I thought were possible for such a little baby. She was in a comatose state and the ventilator was taped in place. All we could do was cry. I couldn't talk to her to tell her it would be OK because all of a sudden I didn't know if it would be. The thought of leaving her there and not taking her home was more than I could bear but it was going to be a reality. The doctors told us to go home and get some sleep because this was going to be an ordeal that we need strength for. Paul was very strong for us both and was able to talk to Finnley and let her know that we would be back soon. We kissed her hands as we left and we sobbed and prayed fervently the rest of the way home.
We weren't allowed back until 11:00 am. The doctors didn't know much more than they did earlier. They were waiting for the labs to come back and were monitoring her seizures but that was about it. Only parents were allowed into the NICU but Paul asked if he could bring another member of our church to give Finnley a blessing. The chaplain gave permission and they returned later to give her a blessing. I remained at home fielding phone calls and letting people know what was going on. Prayer was a constant thing and my prayers had never been so intense and direct. All three phones rang constantly and I must have told the story 200 times. I couldn't turn them off because the hospital may be the one calling so it was really hard.
Paul and Chris(our friend) returned to the hospital that afternoon(Monday the 25th of February) and gave her a blessing. I asked Paul what was said and he told me that Finnley was blessed that the doctors would find out what was wrong, that she would make a full recovery and live and long and healthy life. I was reassured because I have faith in the Savior and in His ability to heal the sick. I thanked Him in prayer and asked for direction. In my mind I saw Finnley coming home within a week and that she would be all better. But, I still cried. To know she was laying there all alone with just nurses to see to her- about killed me. I went back to the hospital that night with Paul and cried some more. I was still unable to talk to her and they didn't want us to touch her because it would set off the seizures. I was angry with myself for letting everyone hold her when she was born. I didn't get enough of her and I wanted her in my arms more than I had ever wanted anything in my life. Of course looking back - I wanted everyone to see what a blessing she was and experience the joy that I was feeling with my new baby - I wanted them to hold and love her. But right then - looking at my baby, not able to touch her because of her tubes and sickness - I was angry. We returned home, cried and prayed some more.
The next day(Tuesday), I was still very sore and trying to recover in between the phones calls, visits to the NICU and friends coming by. I asked Chris and our other friend Mike if they could come give Paul & I blessings. Paul was coming down with a terrible cold and wouldn't be able to visit Finnie if he was sick. I was unable to sit by her incubator and needed that healing to be stepped up with a little 'celestial' help. I could not even sit in the chair while Chris gave me the blessing. Instead, I was turned around and kneeling on it. As Chris gave me the blessing he blessed me with mental strength so that I would be able to handle what was about to take place. Blessed me again with mental strength to be there for my family and for Finnley. He must have said mental strength about 10 times in that blessing with no mention about my physical needs or help with that. I was confused as I made my way back to lay on the couch (because I still couldn't sit) and wondered why it was just my mental well being that was being addressed by the Lord. On Wednesday evening, I found out why.
Wednesday was a blurr. As I looked at my little girl, so tiny and helpless- I noticed the woman by the next incubator holding her preemie baby. I began to cry uncontrolably and Jane, the NICU nurse for the afternoon, put her arms around me. "I just want to hold her," I said. "Why can't I just hold my baby? I didn't get enough time with her the night she was born and I just want to hold her!." Jane explained that some of the tubes have to be kept at certain levels and that the pic line in her belly went into an artery and if it was moved they would have to reset it again etc. I knew all that but it didn't help. I ached for that baby. Jane left and came back a few minutes later. She looked at me and said, "Do you want to hold your baby?" She had found someone to help her unhook and rehook all of Finnley's tubes so that I could have some time with her. I cried and cried until they put her in my arms. It took over ten minutes to make it all happen but I swore I would not move a muscle to keep all of the tubes in place. I sat there for two solid hours, in place, without moving- smelling, kissing and cuddling with my baby. Paul was so kind to let me have that time - I knew he wanted to hold her as well. Jane took our picture and it's the only time I looked up. Paul was surprised that I was even able to sit down for that length on time - but I didn't feel anything but Finnley in my arms. Jane earned her spot in heaven as far as I am concerned. All the nurses in the NICU took the best care of our little one and we can never repay them for what they did. Brandi, Finnley's head nurse, let me hold her and even kangaroo with her the rest of the week. It got me through.
On Wednesday night, Paul went alone to the hospital. My sister had flown in to take care of me and give me a chance to recover. Joanna saved me! I will be eternally grateful. It was getting really late and Joanna went to my other sister's home for the night. Paul didn't come home after visiting hours but wouldn't pick up his phone. I wasn't too concerned since we had to turn our phones off at the hospital. When he came through the door, I could see that he had been crying. He said that we needed to talk. He sat next to me on the couch and said, "The doctors say that our little girl isn't going to make it." "Ok, I said. And why do they think that?" Paul said, "I just told you that our baby wasn't going to make it and you said ok?" I explained (very calmly) that we had a priesthood blessing and it said that she would make a full recovery. I am not worried about it." Paul then explained that they did a CAT scan that afternoon and that the brain stem was highly developed but that the cererbal cortex was non-exisitant. They said that the brain was just grey matter and that she was brain dead at this point and only being kept alive by the machines. He also said that the head of radiolgy stayed after his shift once he saw the scan in order to inform the doctor of the NICU that the scan looked like the brain of someone who had been dead over a week. I have to admit that the news was shocking to hear but I remained calm and steady in my belief that she was going to be ok. Paul cried as he explained more of what the doctors had told him and that he agonized over telling me. He had made two phone calls before coming home to friends and family to ask how he was going to tell me the news. We held each other the rest of the night and prayed. We prayed as we had never prayed before and felt the peace of the Lord in our home. I was blessed with mental strength that night and for the rest of the week and in the upcoming months. The next day, I sent out this email with these pictures.
Our family was blessed with a beautiful little girl last Sunday night but she was very sick with infection. Finnley Kate was given a wonderful blessing that promised her doctors would find the answers, she would make a full recovery and live a long healthy life.
However, the doctors have not been able to find out what's wrong and have not given much hope of her recovery. They are in fact, kind of tossing up their hands and preparing us for the worst. I can understand their medical point of view and that they are frustrated. But here's my point of view.
We believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ. We believe in miracles that happen today as well in the times of Christ. We believe in the Power of the Priesthood and Finnley was given a promise from the Lord. We believe that faith can move mountains, heal the sick, give sight to the blind and fill up empty fishing nets. I am not giving up on my baby and they can't either. They basically said it would take a miracle. Then that is what has to happen.
The Bishop asked me last night what kind of spirit Finnley is. After pondering that for a few moments, I would like to share what I shared with him. Finnley Kate is a gentle soul. She is calm and loving and very patient. She is a soft touched leader like her dad and she is a peacemaker. She brings a warm sense of love and belonging with her - she is so sweet. I want all of you to come to know her as I have over the past nine months. She is needed in our home and in the world. I have already seen miracles take place as a result of her sacrifice to go thru this physical test. She has changed our lives forever and I feel she has so much more to accomplish.
Finnley Kate needs your prayers and your faith. We are praying for her recovery and are praying that her doctors are led to the answers that will see that she gets there. We are starting a fast on Saturday night thru fast Sunday and invite you to fast and pray with us. Never have we needed you and your fervent prayers more than now. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the hope that it brings. If it is His will, please help me bring my baby home. Please feel welcome to send this to any family and friends you have - the more faith the better - and ANY faith is ok. Jesus Christ extends to all of us.
We have the names of the doctors if you would like to pray for them by name - (they won't know what hit them) - Dr. Evans, Dr. Katheria & Dr. Nespeca.
We love you all and will get updates to you as soon as we can.
Sincere thanks and love - Care, Paul, Angie and Finnley Kate Messer
With that email- the prayers and faith of everyone we knew began to reach heaven. Many more whom we do not know also began to pray for our baby - we thank you. We began to get emails form different churches around the country who added her name to their prayer roles. Her name went into temples around the world and people that weren't even sure there was a God, prayed for our little girl. We felt each and every prayer. They got us through each hour.
On Thursday, it began to hit me - the questions and doubts of "Why me? and What if she does die or is brain dead? What will be do with that? How will be survive that? How will Angie deal with losing her little sister? After all this time and all those miscarriages, why would God let this happen to us?" My heart went back to my conversation with my Bishop. I am grateful for that conversation because it put me back in touch with God's plan for all of us. And once again, I felt your prayers and the peace came.
Paul's brother-in-law Allen, who is a doctor, drove in from out of state to help us meet with the doctors. We are so grateful he came. Friday brought with it a mortality reality check that opened my soul to the most severe pain and sorrow I have ever felt. We had to meet with the doctors and decide when we would take Finnley off of life support.
They explained that they really had no explanation for what exactly happened to Finnley. The strep infection had been taken care of but that was secondary. Paul and Allen looked at the brain scan with the doctors and went over the test results. The doctors finally diagosed her with Encephalopathy. Basically- permanent brain injury that can't be explained. They assumed that her cord was kinked sometime during labor and delivery and that it just cut off circulation to the brain. They said if she survived for awhile, her hands would never come out of the fist position, she wouldn't suck well, her seizures would get worse, her eyes would swim and she probably wouldn't see and then her hearing would go last, if it wasn't going already. They said that the whole part of her brain that held emotion and learning just wasn't there. The doctors wanted to remove life support that day but it was just to soon. We knew that we wanted to take her home but they weren't even sure if she would make the car ride to get there. They said it was possible that she could last a few days because her brain stem was highly advanced but that they couldn't guarantee anything. We decided to wait until Monday and bring her home with Hospice support.
As we left the hospital, Allen explained the diagnois and agreed with it. My heart wouldn't fully grasp it. I was still holding on to the Lord saving my baby. I had prayed harder than I had ever done, I had made deals with the Lord. I am sure any parent would in this circumstance. I had faith but then I looked at these doctors who had medical evidence that there was nothing there. I just couldn't accept it. Paul seemed to accept it and he was very patient with my denial. That night we met with a church leader, President Winter, that we were close with.
When we got to his office, I broke down. All of the doubts in the Lord and His plan came back with a vengence. "Why would He take my baby?" We had a blessing that said full recovery. I don't understand. I have the faith that she will be healed but the doctors are saying one to three days! What do I do with that? I feel so alone - why would He do this?" He let me cry, or maybe wailing would be a more accurate term for what took place that night. The sorrow was just too much.
He then began to talk about the Atonement of Christ. He reminded me that Christ had suffered all things for me. That He felt my pain - literlally in the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ hung on the cross and died for all of us that we might live again with God. Finnley would be with me again. He asked how I had been able to get through any of the past week if Lord had left me. I knew the answer - I ONLY got through the week because the Lord was with me. But I wanted my baby with me now - not later. And he said, "If the Savior needs your little Finnley, she'll be with Him. Wouldn't you want this precious little girl to be with the Savior if she couldn't remain with you?" Of course I did. If staying here with me meant that Finnley may suffer in a body that didn't function or be in pain every day during her mortal life - what mother wouldn't want her to baby in the arms of the Savior? "But the blessing? It was a healing blessing right?" He asked me what feeling came with the blessing - not the words of the blessing but what did I feel inside when I heard what the blessing said. I thought a minute, cried and regained my ability to speak. "Peace." I felt peace and knew that everything was going to be okay. The Savior let me know that Finnley was going to be okay."
Then the Spirit testified to my soul with a powerful feeling that ran through my whole body. Finnley would be okay because this is all part of God's plan. Whether it's here or in the next life that she resides in - Finnley will be okay and we will be able to handle it whatever God has in store for us. Then the real peace came. I knew that I was sealed to my baby because of the covenants we had made in the temple and that she was ours forever. If God needs her now, then I will be with her soon and it will be okay. I knew that I would miss her and really need my friends and family to see me through this time but I felt the Lord and knew He would be there as well. Pres. Winter said a prayer with us and we returned home - hopeful and stronger.
The next few days were almost sureal. We felt like we had been going through this for months but it hadn't even been a week. We made plans for a funeral and where we would bury her. I knew that I wanted bagpipes and Amazing Grace to be played and that she would be buried at the feet of her Great-grandmother in Paul's hometown. We ordered her Blessing dress but knew that we would use it as a burial dress. This was all done very calmly and privatly and we felt the peace of the Lord. It truly was His call but we were still hoping for a miracle.
But that Sunday - everybody prayed. Prayers were joined from all over the world on behalf of this little baby. We fasted and prayed for a miracle- you fasted and prayed for a miracle. It was a blessed Sunday. So peaceful and sweet. We spent the day with Finnley. Holding her and loving her and letting her know what was happening on her behalf. What a wonderful life she had led in just a week. She had people on their knees who hadn't been God for a long time. Finnley had people who didn't even know God praying and hoping for a miracle. Finnley had changed my life and recommited me as a follower of Christ. I wanted to live a perfect life to get back to my wonderful baby and the Savior. This experience changed me from the inside. Thank you Finnley and thank you God.
We went home and changed clothes and gathered some family & friends. We returned to the hospital to give Finnley a name and a blessing. Her blessing dress had not arrived and a friend had brought over several white dresses that I could chose from to bless her in. It was a lovely afternoon but tore at my heart to think that tomorrow I may have to say goodbye. Bittersweet is the only way to describe the day.
The next morning was filled with anticipation and fear of the unknown. Hospice nurses had briefed us on what could happen and had stocked our fridge full of medications to keep her comfortable. The oxygen tanks were delivered and the house was prepared for any medical needs that Finnley may have. My friend Cindy flew in her daughter who takes our family photos. Brittany and Cindy set our house up for a photo shoot so that once we came home, we would have some family photos with Finnie. My other friend Jenn, brought over a gal to take hand impressions of my girls so that we would have keepsakes of our little ones. Food, phone calls, emails and prayers flooded our lives during this time. Even people to walk our dogs showed up. It was truly overwhelming and we will forever be grateful for the love and support. Everyone agreed to make their visits short and the rest of the day would be just us - with our baby. I asked the Lord for 24 hours to say my goodbyes. Just a day and then she could be yours. Although I would understand if He needed her sooner. God's will is peaceful.
We watched anxiously as they took the tubes out of her little body. The ventilator came out and she was breathing fine on her own. Brandi was removing all of the tape residue off of her face and arms while I cried and held onto Paul. I dressed her in pink polka dots and wrapped her in a sock monkey quilt and we said goodbye to the most wonderful group of nurses in the world! It was a long, tearful ride home but she WAS coming home!
Close friends and family were there once we arrived and I actually gave them all a brief turn at holding her. The same friend who brought over the blessing dresses had also brought over bags and bags of other dresses to choose from for this special photo shoot. I have amazing people in my life. Finnley still had a lot of medication in her system so she was very sleepy through all of this. Brittany took the most amazing photos of our family and they now cover our walls. We got our hand impressions and then everybody left. It was our family time.
We held Finnley and cried. We rocked her, smelled her, kissed her and squeezed her. I prayed that the Lord would never let me forget what it felt like to hold her in my arms and what she smelled like. We let her meet the dogs that she had heard bark from inside of the womb for 9 months. We played with her hair and wondered if her eyes would have been blue or brown. It was the longest and shortest day of our lives. Time is so precious.
Paul and I didn't sleep that night. We were so afraid of her not breathing or needing something that I just held her and Paul stroked her face. Paul wouldn't take her from me. He wanted me to have her for every bit of time God gave us with her. That was a huge sacrifice for him and I knew it. I tried to share but he wouldn't have it. I love him for that. Although our hearts were breaking we were joyful and full of peace. The hardest thoughts were on how her life would end. Would it be peaceful or painful and would we be able to comfort her. Time was slipping by and my twenty four hours was almost up.
The next morning came and Angie and I took turns holding her. The Hospice nurses came and Finnley seemed to be fine so they left. And then - that afternoon, she acted like she wanted to eat. She began rooting and whimpering. We called the nurses and they said it wouldn't hurt her, just give her a little formula. I called my friend Julie who runs a day care and she ran some over with some bottles. Finnley sucked it right down like a pro. (She may look like her dad but she gets her appitite from me!) Finn ate every two hours on the dot and began to be more alert. The seizure medications began to wear off as well and her eyes would open one at a time like Popeye. She still slept a lot but seemed content and happy. As night approached I thanked the Lord for giving me more than the twenty four hours I had requested with Finnley and every extra minute I was thankful even more to Him and His Grace on our behalf. We didn't sleep again that night and she was still with us in the morning.
Over the next few days we had the same routine. We would wake up, gather as a family, pray and thank the Lord for the extra time, cuddle and feed our baby. The hospice nurses would come in the early afternoon, check her out, see how we were doing and tell us to call if we needed them. We just loved on our baby and spent time as a family. We tried to keep everyone informed as to what was going on but I didn't want to put her down for second. Our friends were, and still are, amazing. Meeting our needs before we could even express them. We can never repay such kindness but will forever try to do so. Here is the next email I sent out.
Dear everyone -Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, love, caring, fasting & understanding. We feel the strength from all of you and it has been helping each day. Finnie is 11 days old and still with us. Each hour is a blessing and she is adorable.
The doctors found what was the cause of her condition. Sometime during labor or delivery her cord was kinked or she was kneeling on it and it deprived the front of her brain of oxygen. The main part of her brain that controls her body functions (heart, lungs, liver etc.) is highly advanced like a newborn. The front half of the brain that is the thinking, feeling, learning part is just dead cells. You would never know it to look at her and since she is eating and has such a sweet spirit about her - she seems perfectly normal.
We are loving her and letting the Lord guide us each day. She may be here awhile or leave today. We are at peace with whatever takes place and cherish every moment. It is still in the Lord's hands and only He knows the plan for her miraculous little life.
On Monday - our family photographer came to our home and took some photos. Here are a few that she has emailed me until the CD comes. We love you all and appreciate your emails of love. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and know that we love you.Love - The Messers
|Make a Smilebox scrapbook|
The love and support continued to pour in. Meals were taken care of, bills were paid by unknown do-gooders and even baby formula was mailed to our house. The Hospice nurse, Liz and I became good friends and her visits dropped down to once a week because Finnie was doing so well. It was truly amazing and we were all witnessing a miracle.Hospice is something you never aspire to use in your lifetime - but thank the Lord that Hospice is available. We have never met a more caring group of people. They were there for every question, every worry and for any medical need we could have possibly had for our baby. They helped with our insurance and really took the pressure off the extreme finances that we were facing. Liz listened to me cry and walked with me through all of the emotions that come with a dying baby. She is truly a gift from God and the work that she does touches people's lives. I'll never forget what she did for me and Finnley during this time.
I started to venture out a bit during this time. Finnley HATED the carseat and would scream as loud as she could the entire car ride. It was terrible. But once you got her out of the car you could calm her down quite easily. I began to think that there WAS some emotion left in that brain of hers. She was just plain ticked off and didn't like being restrained. I am the same way.
I really should let the singer, Josh Groban, know how grateful I am for his music. His music is inspirational and his voice is something from heaven. It was through his Christmas album that I began to really believe that a miracle was taking place with my baby. While I was pregnant, I must have listened to his new "Noel" CD at least 10,000 times in the car. I cranked it up like it was AC/DC and sang right along with him. (Poor Josh!) But it was my music of choice and was very soothing to me even after Christmas. One day, while Finnley was screaming her head off in the carseat - I put the Noel CD in and turned it up. Within seconds, Finnley completely shut up. It was so abrupt, it caught me off guard. I thought she had gotten so upset that she'd had an anurism or stopped breathing all of a sudden. I pulled the car off the freeway and jumped into the backseat. Her eyes were wide open and she was turing her head towards the music. She was content and calm. Now I knew for sure that she could hear and that music could calm and soothe her. If she was brain dead, how could that happen? If all the emotion parts of her brain were gone - how could this be possible? I got her out of the carseat, held her and cried. I knew there was something going on inside that head. It was like she wanted me to know that she hadn't left yet and didn't want me to give up on her. She rested her head on my shoulder and we were just peaceful. We finished the whole CD and then went home. Thank you Josh for doing what you do! Your music touched our family more than you'll ever know. Someday - I plan on taking my girls to one of your concerts. Finnley's already a fan!
Our next email -
Dear Friends & Family -Our little miracle baby is still here and oh so sweet! She has gained 1.5 pounds over the last few weeks and NEVER skips a meal. (Wonder where she got that from??) She smiled on Easter in her new dress and we actually caught it on the camera. She is tracking with her eyes now and likes the mirrors around the house just like Angie! She loved the flowers on Grandma's shirt and is facinated by her crib mobile. I am trying to put her down occasionally and wash a bottle or two but other than that - I fear I am creating a monster that wants to be held all the time. Oh well - I'll live with it. It's hard to believe that she is just not perfect - cause in my eyes, she is! We are so grateful and humbled for this time.
Your continued prayers are felt and we appreciate all that have done for us over the past 5 weeks. The Lord has truly blessed us with peace and wonderful friends and family. Not to mention a wonderful addition to our family. Everyday with her is a reminder that God is good and that His grace is here for us all. The power of prayer is real and the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. Sometimes we may feel like it's too much but what comfort He will give if we just ask. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts and we will update you as
things change. Love - Care, Paul, Angie & Finnie
At this point, I knew in my heart that Finnley was not dying. Not yet anyway. I was afraid to say it outloud for fear that they would cart me off to Bellvue and fit me with a straight jacket. They would surely just think I was a crazy mother in denial right? Well maybe I was but Finnley was acting just like a normal newborn. Well, a newborn on Hospice care. I finally got up the courage to talk to the Hospice nurse about seeing a pediatrician for a second look at my baby. She agreed since all her visits were more like well baby visits and Finnley was on no medicine whatsoever. They reccomended a wonderful Dr. and we made an appointment. Here is the result.
Dear Family & Friends -All of your prayers are paying off and we are so grateful! We are happy to have some good news for all of you. We are still in shock but very hopeful and optimistic for the future of our little girl.
Last week we saw our new pediatrician that specializes in neurological injured babies. I went into the appointment hesitant because I see Finnie improving daily and getting stronger and the doctors have never had anything positive to say about her condition. The doctor did a newborn workup and took her measurements. She said - and I quote,"This baby is not dying. She has a better chance of dying by getting hit by a bus." She couldn't explain it but things have changed with Finnley. (Of course I can explain why things have changed - prayer and fasting by 10,000 people!)
As long as her head keeps growing at it's current pace, we should be fine. This doctor also saw the initial scan and agreed with the diagnosis the doctors had given us 7 weeks ago. She said that she would have given that same diagnosis to me. But now - she has upgraded the diagnosis to "brain injury" and the 'brain dead' one is not longer applicable. It was music to our ears but has taken us several days to grab a hold of the news and really believe it. We are waiting to do another scan because they would have to put her under with an IV and we will wait until she is older.
We are now in the process of checking all of Finnley's functions to see where she is and if everything works or has deficiencies. We already had her eyes checked by a specialist this past Friday and they are PERFECT! Finn can see and there is no structural or nerve damage. We will see the ear specialist this Friday and then next month the neurologist. We will also see the Occupational therapist and Physical therapist for evaluations to make sure that she is moving properly for her age. So please keep us in those prayers - they are powerful and we would like more good news in the weeks to come.
It is truly a miracle to be almost 8 weeks out when we were given 1 to 3 days for Finnley to be with us. We know in our hearts that is through the prayer and faith of all of you that Finnley is improving and living her sweet little life. There are not words to express our gratitude to our Lord and to all of you. If it be God's will that she continues to improve we are accepting of that. If it's not, we are still accepting and feel blessed to have been part of the miracle we call Finnie bug.
We love all of you- - and are here if YOU need us! - God bless you - The Messer Family
After 9 weeks, we offically were released from Hospice care. We wanted to do it sooner but Hospice insisted that they make sure our needs were going to be met by other resources before they left us high and dry. Not many paitents "graduate" from Hospice unless they are on their way to heaven! I have really missed Liz coming to visit! She was more than a nurse to us. Finnie was always doing so well - Liz & I got a lot of time just to talk and cry. When Finnie turned two months old, my brother-in-law Tod, took some pictures in her blessing/burial gown. We also did a few others just for fun. Here they are with our next email.
Hello everyone -I should just break down an open a blogspot for Finnley huh? Then I could update you more. She just gets stronger everyday! She is 2 & 1/2 months old today and SMILED THIS WEEK!! We are so grateful to the Lord for allowing her to remain with us. Everyday and every moment spent with her is cherished and is appreciated. We are starting to get into a routine and venture out even though she HATES the carseat and screams the whole time she's in it. She had her immunizations 2 weeks ago and we see the neurologist at the end of May. (Won't he be surprised!) She passed her hearing test - so eyes and ears are normal for a newborn as well. We are amazed at her health and know it is due to everyones faith and prayers. The Lord has a plan for all of us - it takes it's twists and turns but it is always for our growth. Our acceptance of His will see us through anything we may face. Thank you all so much! There is no way to repay...
Here is a picture of her "tummy time" and she gets stronger by the day. Her other picture is one that my wonderful brother-in-law took on her 2 month date in her blessing dress, but it wasn't here in time to bless her in so it then became her burial dress and thankfully - we didn't have to use it for that! I will post some more photos as I can - my program is acting up right now. We love you all and hope to keep sending good news!!
Love - The Messers
We continue to receive emails from friends about how Finnley has touched someone in one way or another. I know that she has saved two different pregancies from being terminated and I pray for those babies and their familes each week. What a blessing these little lives are and I hope they continue to do the good they are meant to do.
Paul has wonderful co-workers who kept me on task when they hadn't gotten any updates on Finnie. I am grateful they pesterd me(with love) so I can look back on the right order in how things have progressed. Here are the rest of the updates.
Dear Everybody -Thank you for your continued faith and prayers! By the will of God and His loving compassion for my family, Finnie is thriving and was here to help celebrate Mother's Day! It truly was the best Mother's Day ever. Both of my girls in spring green dresses ready for church - on time - no less!! (That's pretty tricky nowadays) We continue to be in awe of her and how she has blessed so many lives. She is the yummiest, & sweetest tempered little baby and Angie loves to fuss over her. I am so grateful for both of them and have to express my gratitude to the Lord for blessing and enriching my life with these angels.
Finnie smiled a real smile on April 30th! She has a dimple on her left cheek and smiles best after she has a full belly. (Hmmm, where does she get that from??) We can't tell you all how much we love that you have shared in our little miracle baby and hope you'll continue to do so. We see the neurologist at the end of the month and will let you know how that turns out. Best wishes to you all - Love, the Messers
Hello all -I am sorry this update comes so late. I am having a hard time getting to my email because I don't want to miss a second of this baby! She continues to change daily and only gets cuter! Thank goodness she has her dads calm personality and never makes much of a fuss (as long as she has your undivided attention that is!). Angie is getting quite good at feeding and even shares in the diapering. She loves to pick out the clothes and can cuddle her to sleep. I can get a little housework done after school now and sometimes even a hot dinner!
Last Tuesday we saw the same doctor who gave Finnie a few hours to live. He said he took a double take when he saw us on his schedule for the day and reviewed her chart. He said the word amazing about 50 times during the visit. Finnley had just eaten and was fat & happy. While doing the exam - all he could say was, "This is amazing." He was so surprised that she could follow his face and track stuff. She responded to his voice and was just the perfect little baby. He wants her to start phys. therapy and then see her back in 3 months - so we start that next week. He said that we have to wait and see if there are any developmental delays because she's just to young to know right now. We are not worried at all because we understand the miracle behind this little girl.
He said he just didn't have an explanation for this - I jumped right in with, "Prayers doctor - you have no idea how many earnest and sincere prayers went up for this baby. That's how Finnley is explained." He said, "I gotta find out what church you guys go to because this is amazing!." I told him that one church couldn't take credit for this one - every religion had a part of this miracle. But it's the same God for all of us and to Him we are so grateful. The visit couldn't have gone better and Finn continues to amaze us as well.
We thank you for your continued prayers and concern. Finnley is doing great and the Lord is with her each day as she grows stronger and gains more pudge! Here are her latest photos. The yummy red and green outfit is from my friend Ali - she has wonderful taste!
We love you - and keep YOU in our prayers!! Love- Care & Paul
Dear everyone -
Once again we are here to say thank you! Paul had both his girls to celebrate Father's Day this year. They had a brief nap and I caught a picture which promptly woke Finn up! He also had a steak which really made his day!
Finnley had two different evaluations last week from two different physical therapists. (different agencies - I have to have my second opinions ya know!) Both said she is on target for her age and we are going to work with both of them just to make sure nothing creeps in that I won't catch. She has begun to reach for toys and still loves the ones that light up and make sounds. She loves her hands and they are in her mouth most of the time now. Her legs are kicking constantly - she's finally gonna work off some of those calories!
The biggest milestone since our last update is that - she slept in her crib all night. This is not a milestone for Finnley - it is MY milestone. It about killed me to let her sleep out of my arms. I got NO sleep and layed on her floor all night checking on her everytime I heard a sound. It was ridiculous and I need to get over it! But- I am working on letting her go for a few hours at a time. She's content - it's me who has the problem!
Angie & I are looking forward to summer with Finn. It will be a lot easier to venture out with such a great helper! Angie is becoming quite the expert on her little sister. Anyone have any ideas on how to get Angie or her dad to do dirty diaper duty?? Seems I am the only expert on that subject!
We thank you for your continued prayers on Finnie's behalf. We still have a long way to go this year to make sure that brain is doing the right thing. The Lord blesses us each day with her sweet presence and there is nothing more precious. Miracles do take place and we have pictures to prove it!! Praise to the Lord for His sweet and tender mercy for all of us.
Love you - The Messer Family
PS - I will be getting to that blog now that I have Angie to hold Finn here and there!
Now the blog is created and everyone can visit as often as they would like. I will do my best to post recent pictures and keep you updated as we go along. Finnley is truly a miracle. A modern day miracle. Proof that God still hears and answers our prayers. It may not always be how we want them to be answered but they are answered in the way that is best for us and our progression in this life. And if God does decide to take Finnley sometime in the future - it's okay. We'll be with her again and are so grateful to have had this time with her.
We can never repay all those who have prayed, fasted and helped us during this time. You are continuing to do so and we are so thankful for you. We love you all and pray that the Lord bleses your lives like you have blessed ours.