Blog Archive

Monday, May 30, 2005

Elizabeth Archives - Pregnancy Update

Dear Family and Friends,

After a very emotional week, Sara and I are writing today to enlist your prayers for our pregnancy. Prior to Wednesday’s routine ultrasound, ours was considered a “low risk” pregnancy. Based on what they saw, we’re now being followed by a obstetrician, a peri-natalogist, a pediatric cardiologist, a geneticist, and possibly a pediatric neurologist. With all the doctors’ visits we’re facing in the coming months, we are so grateful to live only a block from their offices!

First, the good news- the ultrasound revealed that we’re having a girl, and already appears to have Sara’s button nose! Unfortunately, it also showed three major “red flags:”

-lymphatic fluid building up under the skin of her neck (called a cystic hygroma)

-a small gap in between the forming halves of her cerebellum (called vermian agenesis)

-a very small, improperly formed aorta (called aortic coarctation)

Together, these problems suggest the possibility of a “chromosomal abnormality,” caused by extra, or missing genetic information. We are undergoing analysis of the amniotic fluid to examine this possibility. If one is found, the chances that she may die prior to delivery become much higher. Regardless of the chromosomal testing outcome, the most serious of these defects seems to be the aortic coarctation. If unchanged from the current state, our daughter will undoubtedly require urgent open-heart surgery in the first hours to weeks after being born. Repeat ultrasounds and an MRI in the months to come will help clarify the risks.

If anyone is interested in the medical nitty-gritty, feel free to poke around the internet. But please don’t share your findings with us; we are working hard enough to take our thoughts captive and to keep our minds from running-away with the “what ifs.”

Psalm 139:14-16 says: "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."

We believe these words to be true despite the roller coaster week we've had. We serve a God who creates all life, sustains all life, and does ALL things well. God is already carrying us gently during this time, sustaining us through the prayers and support of our family and friends. We're asking you to pray as you feel led, but also for several specific things:

* God has begun to knit our little one, and we believe he may not be finished yet.

* Pray that God will heal her heart (the left side and her aorta is too small).

* Pray that the cyst in her cerebellum will not be found upon 2nd ultrasound.

* Pray that God would shrink the fluid collections and cause her lymphatics to work properly.

* Pray for wisdom in communicating this information to my "bosses," as I may have to take extended paternity leave rather than the 2 weeks vacation already scheduled. This will be a BIG burden on my colleagues, and so we need favor with them.

* Pray that both of us would continue to bond with our little one, face our fears with strength, and know God's grace in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Finally, we are also exercising discretion in spreading the news about our daughter’s health problems. Careful timing is required at the hospital and at ALCF where many people know about our pregnancy. Please use this same sensitivity, as neither of us are ready to walk into a throng of well-wishers at work or church.

We are grateful that we have such friends to turn to during times like these.


Matt, Sara and Baby Girl H.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Elizabeth Archives - Pregnancy Update

Dear Ones,

Yesterday, we went for our routine fetal ultrasound after finding out the wonderful news that we're having a baby girl, and were saddened to learn that there are several serious abnormalities with our baby. We had an amniocentesis and an echocardiogram of her heart today in order to get more information. Right now, we don't have many answers, just a lot of questions, fears and run-away thoughts. We'll share more details as more information becomes available. We wanted to let you know early to enlist your prayers for our daughter.

We're pretty emotionally drained right now and very sick of crying, and we'll probably be screening calls for the next little while. Will you pray for us?

We love you,


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Elizabeth Archives - Pregnancy Update

Hi everyone,

Here's a not-so-great-but-it'll-have-to-suffice scan of our first ultrasound pictures! We got a freebie ultrasound from my friend (and nurse) at the First Resort clinic in SF. The baby is 17.5 weeks here, and is about the size of a pickle. :) the images aren't perfectly clear, so I'll to tell you what you're seeing.

In the top left picture (labeled 1) The baby is lying horizontally on it's left side, facing us. Its teeth and nose make up the bright spot in the middle of the picture, and its arm is above that with its hand probably cleaning out its ear. :) the belly is directly to the left of the nose/mouth area.

In the bottom left picture (labeled 2) it's a little sketchy, but again the baby is lying horizontally on its left side, and you can imagine that after the last picture, we moved down the body and now we've got the belly and if the baby's in a tucked position (modestly hiding his or her genitals from view) we're seeing the front of the legs from the knees down.

moving counterclockwise, the bottom right picture (labeled 3) is the clearest shot of the face. Again, the tyke is lying on its left side and facing us, and you can make out the nose and teeth beds (the bright spots in the middle of the screen) and can also see the eye sockets. Again, he/she appears to be touching her ear with her right hand and his/her arm is up near his/her face.

Finally, the upper right picture (labeled 4) shows the brain and in the original picture, you can also see the ventricles and the germinal matrix! (neuro speak for parts of the brain).

We're pretty much thinking he or she is going to be pretty darn cute based on these preliminary photographs...and who can blame us! We'll be getting the official ultrasound from our doctor on the 25th of this month, so hopefully we'll be able to make out more features on what is sure to be a better machine.

Thanks for sharing our joy!


Sara (for all three of us)

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Elizabeth Archives - Pregnancy Update

Hi friends and family,

Just a quick note to say hi and I hope you are all doing well. Everything is going well in our corner of the world. Last month we had two glorious weeks of vacation, and we got to visit family and a few friends in Seattle and Clovis, and Scott's Valley. Unfortunately it had to end, and Matt is back in the thick of things at work, and looking forward to the end of his 2nd year and beginning of his 3rd in a few months. I've picked up 5 weeks of work through First Resort (my former company) and that is providing for a nice little fund for Baby Harms' bedroom nook. I'm really enjoying the chance to speak to the teens again. This next week I'll be at an all girls Catholic school speaking to Juniors. During a class last week, as I was telling "my story" and recounting my first date, one of the girls asked, "How did you get guys to treat you so well??" It's amazing how low the standard has become for how a guy should treat a girl. So I got on my soapbox. :) (after explaining to them what a soap box was and feeling really old) and told them that they didn't have to date any guy that walked by, and instead, could have standards about the type of guys they would date, and set expectations about how they wanted to be treated. You would have thought I was telling them for the first time, that the earth was round. They were completely inspired with that thought. It feels good to feel like some of what I say is sinking in.

As far as the pregnancy goes, things are moving along nicely. This morning, Matt gave me flowers to help me celebrate my first Mother's Day as a mother-to-be, and I have to say, I could get used to this! I think I'm starting to feel the baby move a little, and a few weeks ago we heard the heartbeat...that was amazing. The baby is now 5 1/2 inches long, weighs about 6.5 ounces, and his or her bones are beginning to harden. Our little one also has fingerprints already! Isn't that cool? In a few weeks we'll get an ultrasound, though we think we've decided that we want the gender of our little one to be a surprise. We'll see if we can wait!

Well, we love you guys and appreciate your prayers for us and Baby H in the months ahead. I've attached a picture so you can see that I am finally beginning to look pregnant! I couldn't be happier.

Much love,

PS - did you know that an average of 10, 501 babies are born every day in the US? just a little factoid I picked up in my reading...