Ft Myers for Spring Break

This is the first time in 10 years that Jeremy has been able to join my family for a spring break vacation to Florida. We haven't gone every year, but we have done so most years and Jeremy could never get the time off during medical school and residency (his years of slave labor). We had plenty of good times during the trip, and it was actually quite relaxing (if you can use the words "relaxing" and "family vacation" in the same sentence).

Our first stop was the Clearwater Aquarium where Winter the dolphin lives (she's the dolphin with the prosthetic tail on the movie The Dolphin Tale). This was an interesting detour. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see Winter with her prosthetic - she was just floating around her pool with her stub. We also saw 3 paralyzed sea turtles - their back fins were paralyzed, so all they could do was move their front fins which made them swim aimlessly in circles toward the bottom of the pool. It was like the aquarium for the handicapped. Don't get me wrong - I'm the biggest animal lover I know and I have great respect for these guys for what they do for those poor animals. It just wasn't the most exciting aquarium to visit. :-) It was worth it though because for days the boys talked about seeing Winter, and it brought the movie to life for them.

Next stop was the beach - where we spent the majority of our time during this vacation.

My little surf dudes - check out the muscles on these guys! ;) The boys LOVED boogie boarding in the waves. The surf was calm enough that they could pretty much do it on their own.

Jordan was so freakin' cute about "surfing". We bought them rash guards and he said, "Is this the kind of shirt that real surfers wear?" And, "Do real surfers wrap the string around their arm like this?" He also insisted on carrying his board under his arm like a real surfer. SO funny!!

We also had plenty of pool time, which was especially fun this year because the boys can swim on their own. They've turned into quite the little fish!

Playtime at the water park... I'm pretty sure the boys' favorite part was the ice cream.

Date night - the nice thing about taking a family vacation with Grandma and Grandpa is that Mom and Dad get to have some alone time. :)

Saying good-bye to the Ft. Myers pier. See you next year!

Baby Update

First of all, some belly pics...

 24 weeks - all dressed up

 Jeremy and I got to go to a gala for the opening of a new wing at the hospital. Here's my Sweetie looking sharp in his black tie attire. ;)

28 weeks - belly pic at the beach!

I'm now 31 weeks and everything is still going smoothly, considering. I had another fetal echo a few weeks ago and the cardiologist confirmed that little Amelia's heart defect is indeed Truncus Arteriosus. ...And now a lesson in cardiology - if you don't care, then feel free to take a nap at this time... :-) Amelia has a single blood vessel coming out of the right and left ventricles instead of the normal two vessels, the pulmonary artery and the aorta. In addition, she has a ventricular septal defect (a large hole between her ventricles), resulting in the mixing of oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood. Because Amelia has only a single large vessel, some if this mixed blood goes to the lungs, some to the coronary arteries and the rest goes to the body. Usually too much blood is sent to the lungs. The positive thing is that her heart is strong - it is the vessels and the hole between her ventricles that need repairing. Due to the seriousness of the defect, she'll undergo surgery soon after birth, likely within a few days, and she'll remain in the hospital for 4-6 weeks. The surgery creates two separate arteries. The large vessel that she already has will be kept as the aorta. The pulmonary artery will be created using some other tissue and the branch pulmonary arteries will be sewn into the new artery. Holy cow - isn't it amazing what medicine can do for a teeny little heart?! I'm in awe and so grateful that she is being born at a time when doctors have the knowledge and tools to fix this kind of thing.

Isn't learning more fun with visual aids??

That's about it. Amelia is growing and kicking and killing my ribs, and I'm still running around faster than most people can keep up with me. 9 more weeks!


Never a dull moment

We've certainly been on a roller coaster of emotions for the past two weeks. Two weeks ago at 21 weeks pregnant I had my routine fetal anatomy ultrasound. Without a worry on my mind and everything with this pregnancy seemingly normal so far, you can imagine my surprise when the doctor told us that Amelia has a major heart defect and likely has Down Syndrome. It's still almost painful to revisit that day, but I documented every emotion that I felt so I will never forget the growth that I went through in just a few short days. I share some of those thoughts here as a testimony that no matter how desperate a situation may seem or how heart-broken one might feel, there is infinite healing, comfort, peace and joy to be found through the atonement of Jesus Christ. There were times in the past two weeks when I couldn't understand how I was still standing, but somehow I felt strong and at peace. I told a friend last week that with all the turbulence that I'm experiencing, one would think that I would feel fearful, sad and weak; but I felt the opposite - I felt strong and happy and hopeful. That was strength I knew could only come from the Lord. What an incredible miracle.

February 17, 2012
Amelia’s Ultrasound Diagnosis
It feels like days, but it hasn't yet been 24 hours since we got the news. Down Syndrome. Heart defect. I sat silently in the chair at the doctor's office as those words rang through my head. I didn't shed a tear. I suppose out of shock or fear, I just couldn't cry. It wasn't until Jeremy held me in the hallway that I wet his shoulder with tears. I felt such a wave of emotions hit me in that moment - shock, fear, sadness, anger. Grief at the loss of the little girl that I thought I was going to have. It was as if I had been dumped in some surreal, nightmarish world from which I couldn't escape. Special needs and birth defects were so far from my mind as I had pictured my perfectly healthy baby girl countless times in the months prior. I didn't ask for this. I didn't want her. I felt robbed of the fantasies of raising a beautiful daughter - a sweet, perfect girl who would look up to me, confide in me, be my best friend. I wanted to turn back. I wanted to go back to my perfectly flawless existence of me and my boys and the joy of anticipating our new arrival.
Jeremy and I came home and we held each other tightly, not saying much of a word. I retreated to my bedroom and turned to the only place that I felt I could go - my knees. I grabbed my scriptures, praying that I might find answers. They fell open to the Book of Mormon in Mosiah chapter 24. In this chapter, the people were being heavily persecuted and were even threatened with execution should they pray. The persecuted poured out their hearts to God, and "the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

I then questioned my Heavenly Father, "How? How is it possible that this burden can be eased? How can I be made strong enough to bear this? It's just too big and I am weak."I told God that all I had wanted was a normal baby. To my heart He replied, "But I gave you an extraordinary baby." I continued to pray that I could receive the strength that the atonement promises. I pleaded with Him to make everything okay.

I think I cried for eight hours straight that day. Later in the evening I took a steaming hot shower, hoping to wash all the heavy emotion away. I sat in the tub with the water raining down on me, and once again racked my body with sobs. It still hurt. I still didn't know how I could be strong enough to do this. I begged Heavenly Father to visit me with His spirit. To comfort and strengthen me. I promised God that I would submit all of my will to His. I would do my best to bear this challenge with patience. I would do anything He asked of me.

As I lay silently in my bed that night, the pain was still present. I grieved for my little girl. I doubted my own strength. I closed my eyes and turned to God again. A miracle occurred. From my head to my toes, a blanket of peace, hope and comfort engulfed me. I knew with every fiber of my being that my Heavenly Father was aware of me. He felt my sorrow and He knew my need. He didn't take my pain and fear away. He didn't make my baby whole. But, as promised, he eased the burden by making me stronger. In that moment I felt an indescribable peace and strength that I knew could only come from God. I allowed the tears to flow freely and water my pillow. This time they were not only tears of sorrow, but they were also tears of gratitude. I felt thankful that my Heavenly Father had lifted me. I felt peace in the knowledge that He knows me and wants me to be happy. I felt eternally grateful for the little girl with the broken heart growing inside of me.

I cried myself to sleep.

Though thoughts of Amelia continue to constantly loom in the back of my mind, from that day I have felt so happy and content. I've been given such strength and comfort that I didn't think was possible. Day by day I've also grown more in love with this baby girl. I'm so grateful that I get to be her mommy.

We've made some progress since February 16. There is a new test available in which fetal DNA can be extracted from the mother's blood and tested for Down Syndrome with 99% accuracy. I had my blood drawn last week and we received the results yesterday. Amelia does not have Down Syndrome. It's a relief in many ways as there are no longer certain challenges that we will have to face with her, but the news feels somewhat neutral to us as, at this point, we are happy and excited to welcome little Amelia whether she has Down Syndrome or not. The scariest thing is still ever present - her heart defect.

I had a fetal echo done last Tuesday (1.5 hours laying in the ultrasound chair!). The cardiologist has diagnosed her with Truncus Arteriosus, although it's very difficult to determine for sure by fetal ultrasound. There are a couple other conditions that it could be, but all are equally serious. Amelia will undergo major open heart surgery after she is born. The cardiologist is optimistic about the surgery and we know that her size will greatly affect the outcome. We are praying hard that I will be able to carry her through to term. We know that Amelia has a mighty spirit, and we pray that her tiny body can be just as strong. We have bright hope for our baby girl and have faith that everything will be okay. Keep praying for us! :-)


Over half-way done!

Wow, I feel bad that it's come down to this - a single long update every 6 months or so. I'm more than half-way through my pregnancy and I haven't even posted any pictures yet! I'm now making a goal to post more often, if for nothing else than to document all of the crazy things that are going on in my life right now.

I'm now in my 22nd week and feeling great:

20 weeks

16 weeks

I don't have easy pregnancies (who does? I'm not sure there is such a thing.), but I LOVE being pregnant. I think it's my favorite state of being. I just love watching my tummy grow bigger and feeling her move inside of me. Nothing like it.

Baby Amelia is due June 28th!


So proud of my boys today

Jordan has HSP. It's a really rare immune system reaction that he got in response to a cold he had. It'll last 3-4 weeks, but it has no permanent side effects. Anyway, it gives him little welts all over his body, and where the welts are, his body swells. Occasionally it's really painful and he can't walk. :( He'll be fine, but right now he's so pitiful!

Well, a few minutes ago I was standing in the kitchen talking to my sister. I turned to see my big office chair emerging through the doorway. At first I was annoyed and started to ask, "What the heck...?", but then Matthew's little head peeked around and he said, "I'm sorry, but I was just giving my brother a ride because he can't walk." My heart melted and I got a little teary-eyed at the pure sweetness of the act. My boys are so good to each other. It must be so wonderful to walk through life with a best friend!


Still Alive and Well...

Wow, 3 months since I last posted - that's a new record for me! We have been busy, busy. Here are a few of the things we've been up to since I last posted: a trip to Disney World, 1st soccer season, I quit my job and applied to grad school, half-birthday celebration, Girls Camp, a trip to Hawaii, a girls weekend to Saugatuck, MI, a trip to Holiday World, triathlons, numerous visits to Kings Island, parks, farms, museums, the zoo, the pool, etc., etc...

Disney World - of course I can't post just one or two pictures from D-World (my favorite place on Earth). I'll do a separate post to recap Disney.

My two little soccer cuties - I'm officially a soccer mom (no van, though). The boys loved it. Jordan would go out in the yard for 3 or 4 hours and dribble the ball back and forth. I'm amazed at his dedication and focus (he definitely didn't get the focus from me - I'm more what you would call ADD). Matthew was so funny. The ball would roll right up to him and he'd just stare at it. The funny part is that he thinks he is a soccer MVP. At dinner one night, Jeremy told Jordan that if he keeps practicing like he does then he's going to be really good some day. Then Matthew piped up, "Yeah, like me!" Ha! Don't have to worry about that one's self-esteem.

I hate that the boys' birthday is so close to Christmas. I've decided to give them another special day mid-year by celebrating their 1/2 birthday. I wanted to throw them a party, but when Jeremy looked at me like I was insane, I decided to go the simpler route. We went to the zoo where I treated them to special things like all the rides, face paint, ice cream, etc. After the zoo we went to the store to pick out a present and then we had half-birthday cake with Dad when he got home from work (I made half of a cake). This will definitely be a new tradition. The boys loved it!

Girls Camp - as you can see, I haven't grown up much.

Hawaii - like D-World, I'll need to post separately about this trip because there are too many fabulous details and photos to share. 9 days of relaxing, sunshiny, childless glorious fun.

My mom, Lindsey and I went on a trip to Saugatuck, MI. It's a beautiful little artsy town on Lake Michigan. We had TONS of fun shopping, eating, bike riding and sight-seeing. Also, Oval Beach on Lake Michigan was in Conde Nast Traveler's top 25 beaches of the world. If any of you in the mid-west are looking for a quick weekend trip, then you should consider Saugatuck. It's super cute!

We, along with my parents and Lindsey, visit Holiday World every summer. We love this place!! The boys were so cute when they got to see Santa. Santa was trying to read a story to the kids, but Jordan kept interrupting him with questions and questions (the thing he does best) - "Where are your reindeer?", "How do your reindeer fly?", "Where are your elves?" When Santa finally got through the story, the boys got to sit on his lap. Fun to see the big guy in mid-July! Other than Santa, the boys' favorite part of Holiday World was the water park (of course).

Kings Island

Zoo with the Bergesons

Grandma's house - we had so much fun swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool this summer! One day we found a big frog in the skimmer. Matthew and Jordan thought the frog was hilarious. I couldn't believe how they were carrying the poor thing around like it was a stuffed animal. They let him go in the creek behind my parents' house and I'm sure the poor guy was probably super relieved to get away from them.

Children's Museum with Kinsley

Indiana State Fair with Grandma, Grandpa and Lindsey - we were actually there the night that the Sugarland stage collapsed! We weren't in the Grandstand, but we were across the street in the pig barn, and we heard all the chaos. What an awful tragedy. :( Before that and the storm happened, we did have fun, though. Jordan especially fell in love with all the animals. For days afterward he drew pictures of goats - big goats, small goats, goats with beards, goats with floppy ears, goats with tiny ears and families of goats.

Other random pictures of the fun we've been having: