She is growing, but slowly. At our appointment last Wednesday she was up to 2 pounds 10 ounces, which puts her in the 18th percentile. A month before she was in the 25th percentile, so her growth is slowing, but not enough for emergency delivery. That's the next step. Each week we are going into the doctor's office for an ultrasound to measure her growth. And at this point it's a call for all hands on deck. If they see that her growth has stopped we deliver.
Joy is seven months along now! She looks great, feels pretty good (accept for the heartburn), and continually feels our girl churning and turning in her womb. If we hadn't been going to the doctor we never would have known there was anything wrong. On the surface all things look and feel normal.
There is one new development that I beg you to pray about. We've been placing a lot of hope and confidence in Mabee's strong heart over the last 3 months, but at the last appointment that hope was challenged. Her heart is strained and fluid is gathering around it. The doctors aren't sure if this is due to the genetic abnormality or if the polycystic right kidney is pushing up and causing problems, but her heart seems to be straining to do its job.
And there is one other issue that I haven't mentioned, but it's been giving Joy great heartache. As we learned many weeks ago, there are two parts of Mabee's brain that are missing. The doctors haven't offered any conjecture as to what difficulties that may cause, but case studies show that people who are missing those parts of the brain often suffer from blindness and/or deafness. Maybe we just haven't prepared ourselves for that yet, but either or both are challenges we aren't ready to deal with. We know there is a high chance of delayed mental development, and we are ready for that, but to add a lack of sight or hearing is just heartbreaking for Joy to think about. Please pray for Mabee's sight and hearing, as well as our preparedness for whatever may come.
A major answered prayer came Monday morning when my boss told me they had decided to make my job full time immediately! Financially, this is a huge blessing. In addition to the costs of preparing for a baby, medical bills are not cheap. We are seeing our specialist every week and our normal doctor every other week. We will also begin consultations with brain and kidney specialists very soon. I don't lay this out for pity, I want to share how God is providing. He is good.
While work, hobbies, friends and yard work help distract me from all of these issues, my eyes were opened this week to a new depth of this struggle that Joy deals with alone. I can put other things on my mind to get away for a little bit, but she can't. Every time Mabee moves Joy is reminded of our struggle. No matter where she is she can't get away from the reminders of worry and stress. It hurts to know she deals with this constantly, and it hurts even more to know she deals with it alone. I thought all of this time that we were dealing with the same emotions, but her struggle is so much more involved. Please be lifting her up to our God.
We are both ready for a conclusion of some kind, but the best case scenario means 8-10 more weeks of waiting and wondering. The longer Mabee safely stays inside of Joy's womb to grow, the greater chance she has to develop the tools she needs to live on the outside.
God gave us a good piece of hope last week during the ultrasound. I didn't even think of it until I was laying awake in bed that night, but during the procedure the ultrasound tech said, "She's practicing breathing." She went on to explain that babies practice flexing their diaphragms in the womb to learn how to breathe, and the tech could see her doing that. My little girl knows how to do that. Her brain knows that's what she needs to know how to do, and she is already working on a fundamental skill she will need "on the outside." I can't wait to see her. But I hope I don't for another 8-10 weeks. I don't think God's done with her yet.