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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mr. El E. Phant

On November 5, 2008, I got a positive pregnancy test. On that same day, Joseph and I upheld a tradition we started back in 2006... We bought the newest edition of our family their very 1st toy! Although we didn't know we were having another son at this point, this little stuffed elephant was the last one left in the store and somehow managed to leap from the shelf into my arms. If that wasn't a sign he was meant for our child, I don't know what is!

Coincidently, Ansley and Eli LOVE elephants! Joseph can make this really realistic elephant sound and the kids squeal with delight every time he does it. Mommy on the other hand CAN NOT make the elephant noise. The kids like us to read them a bedtime story called "Polar bear polar bear what do you hear?". It is a MUST READ every single night before bedtime prayers. Joseph was working with the Marines on a week long deployment a few months ago, so I was left with the task of animal noises! I did all the animal sounds to the kids satisfaction , but when I got to the elephant noise, I honestly sounded (and probably looked) like a dying duck! Ansley gave me a puzzled look and said, "Silly mommy. What does the ELEPHANT say?" I again attempted to make the elephant noise and failed miserably! So miserably in fact, that Ansley put her hand over my mouth and told me that daddy would do it when he got home!

Okay, I'm rambling... back to Wyatt's elephant! I wanted to introduce you to this elephant because you will be seeing Mr. Phant (His full name is Mr. El E. Phant) for years to come. Joseph and I were talking about how depressing family photographs will be when the entire family will not be able to be present for the photograph... I am so scared people will forget about Wyatt just because he won't be able to stay with us long. Our solution is Mr. Phant. Whenever you see a picture of Wyatt's elephant, It will be a subtle reminder that he is still a part of our family. It will be a reminder of the joy he has brought to this world. 

I promise I am not some weird woman who thinks this stuffed elephant can take the place of her son! I just want that stated very plainly out in the open. I merely want to use this elephant (his very first toy) to outwardly symbolize that we will carry Wyatt in our hearts as a family for the rest of our lives.

For now though, Wyatt is still fighting to stay with us! He is such a strong little boy, and I am so proud of him! I still believe God can perform a miracle and heal our son, and I pray for it everyday. Until God reveals what his ultimate plan is for Wyatt, I am letting go, letting God, and trying to prepare for every possible outcome. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A New Perspective

I know I have posted quite a bit these last few days, but I really want to share this time of our lives with you. To the right, you will see a picture of our little Wyatt taken just over my 22 week mark... He has a strikingly handsome resemblance to his big brother, wouldn't you say? 

Having that 4D ultrasound done was the best thing Joseph and I have ever done! I have to be completely honest,... we were both apprehensive about having it done. We had no idea what to expect due to Wyatt's skeletal condition. All the doctor's kept telling us was how deformed he would be, and I guess we went into this believing them. Shame on us! 

As soon as Lisa (our Ultrasound technician) pulled up a picture of Wyatt's face you could feel any of the tension that was in the room completely evaporate. He was perfect! You see, It was only by God's grace that I found someone willing to do a 4D ultrasound on a baby that was "unhealthy". I talked to a number of other people who refused to offer their services before I finally called Lisa. It just so happened that she had just given birth to a baby girl a couple weeks prior, and wanted to give us the opportunity to see our son alive. She admitted she was uncomfortable and scrutinized over her answer to us before she returned our call, but after praying about it, felt she would regret turning us away. Thank you lord, for people of compassion and conviction!

It was such a different feeling to be able to just spend 30 minutes with our son. 30 whole minutes without doctors scrutinizing over measurements and finding new things that added to his prognosis. Precious time where we were able to see him suck on his fingers, get frustrated from a bout with the hiccups, yawn, and even smile! Toward the end of the ultrasound, Wyatt decided he didn't want to entertain company anymore and kept turning away so we couldn't see his little face. Just when we were about to give up, Joseph pulled himself close to my stomach and started talking to Wyatt. Wyatt jerked his little head toward his daddy's voice, and I kid you not, he started dancing! We got some of our best pictures from those last couple of minutes... 

I honestly wasn't sure if I would ever get to see Wyatt alive or not. Well guess what...I already have! I most certainly didn't expect to know he was a right handed thumb sucker, or that he already dances better than his father! Leave it up to God to completely surpass any expectations you might have. With each new "first" I got to witness of Wyatt , I could hear G
od whispering to me, "Don't you see that I am a big God. Don't you see the miracle I have given you".  

Yes, I know that I serve a mighty God. I have railed at him, I have fallen on my face and begged him to heal Wyatt, I've tried making deals with him, and I have railed at him some more. (Can't you just picture God trying to stay calm while he's carrying around this hysterical woman who is screaming at the top of her lungs? Limbs flailing every which way as she throws a full blown temper tantrum? Yup, that would be me!)But you know what, he's never forsaken me. Even in my fits of anger and despair he continues to carry me. It is his strength that sustains me.

I came across a baby book I put together for Ansley a few weeks ago. The front said, "Baby's First Year". I lost it. I slumped into the corner of her closet as I clutched onto her baby book, and sobbed until I couldn't breathe. Every inch of my body was shaking uncontrollably and I felt dizzy from hyperventilating... I started praying to God. I told him he had given me more than I can bear this time. I told him it wasn't fair, and that I wanted a book of first's for Wyatt. I told him that Wyatt was MY son and that I didn't want to give him back. God was getting sandblasted from every angle... And then I felt it. Wyatt kicked me. You might be thinking, "Okay, so what's the big deal, your pregnant. Your SUPPOSED to feel your baby kick." Exactly. It had been WEEKS since I felt Wyatt move. I have to check his heartbeat every morning just to make sure he is still with us. But in the midst of my heart breaking for what seemed the millionth time in the last 10 weeks... with a simple little kick, God reminded me of what a blessing this part of my life is. 

My mind drifted back to the 4D ultrasound and the beautiful pictures we had of our son. I picked myself up off the floor of Ansley's closet and pulled out the pictures from our session. As I shuffled through the stack of photographs, I said,"There's his first smile to mommy and daddy," and "That was the first time we saw him suck his thumb". Only God knows if I will be able to witness more of Wyatt's "First's", but I realized how thankful I should be for what God has given me. Plain and simple, I have been given a beautiful baby boy who I will be able to love forever. God could have chosen not to bless us with Wyatt but we would have missed out on a lifetime of joy and happiness. So I'll take the pain. I'll take the tears. I'll take hurt and wrap a little bow around it... It just makes our time with Wyatt that much more joyful.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let's put faces with names, shall we?

Joseph and Danielle Finchum
Our love for one another has gotten us through some tough trials, and I know that by God's grace and guidance in our lives, we will overcome anything God choses to test us with.

Wyatt Nathaniel Finchum
Our Little Warrior

Wyatt has been such a blessing to this family these last few months. He has taught us more about Love, hope, faith, and trust than most people will learn in a lifetime. We look forward to seeing what else God has in store for Wyatt's life. It is our belief that Wyatt will be impacting lives for many years to come.

~~~~Ansley Joy ~~~~
Our Busy Bundle of Love

Where to even begin with this little ball of energy? First of all, we love her dearly. She keeps everyone around her on their toes because she loves to have fun. Most of the time you see her, she is dressed like a princess and wearing shiny shoes with a purse to compliment... oh, did I mention she carries tools and cars in her purse?

Joseph "Elijah"
Eli our Sweetie Pie
Eli is a Mommy and Daddy's boy through and through! He always has hugs and kisses for us. We don't quite know what to think about having a child who "needs" or "wants" us around, but we are soaking up all the love we can get from this sweet little boy of ours!

Well, there you have it. For those of you who are meeting our family for the first time, we are very pleased to meet you. We appreciate any and all prayers received. If you are reading this post and are going through a similar trial, or any trial for that matter, please email me and I would love to pray for you! God gives us trials to face throughout our lives, and it is up to us to choose how we face them. Trust me, it's a lot easier to face a problem when you have God to carry you.

I guess the first and proper thing to do would be to introduce myself. So hello! My name is Danielle and I am very pleased to be able to share our family's story with you. First of all, I would like to share a little background on how our family came to be where we are today...

I married the love of my life on December 12, 2004, just 3 days after my 18th birthday. We were both living with our grandparents and felt like we were an unnecessary burden to them. We met in church through our families and dated for about 8 months (mostly over the phone and through letters) while Joseph was shuffled here and there by the Marine Corps. Needless to say, our families weren't too thrilled when we "told" them we were getting married. The first question we were asked is if we "had" to get married. The answer is a big NO. We had our very first kiss at the alter when we were pronounced man and wife! And yes, we had a wedding (one thrown together in about a week), but a wedding none the less. Joseph and I loving say that marrying each other "was the best hasty decision we've ever made"!
We had our first child, little miss Ansley Joy, on February 18, 2006. She was a week early and was 8lbs 1oz and 18 3/4 inches long! Joseph was still in Iraq when I had her (I'm guessing she was my going away present) but there is quite a funny story behind her birth. I was finally pushing after 20 hours of labor and my cell phone rings. I about jump off the bed because It was Joseph's ring tone. I answer the phone and our conversation goes as follows:

Me: "Hello?"
Joseph: "Hey honey, what are you doing"
Me: "umm, pushing"
Joseph: "pushing what?"
Me: " your daughter..."
Joseph: "What your having the baby. I'm gonna be..."
Me: Honey, I have to push again, hold on."

Pretty comical now that I look back on it! Joseph wasn't on the phone when I actually had Ansley, but was able to call back after she was born. Ansley was 3 months old when she met her daddy for the first time and it was love at first sight.

Our next child was our first born son, Mr. Joseph Elijah Finchum, but we actually call him Eli. Joseph was the only person in the room for his birth, and Eli made his entrance into the world 2 weeks early (Our 2007 Halloween baby), weighing 8lbs 12ozs and 20 inches long. Ansley wasn't thrilled at all about having a baby brother and refused to have anything to do with him. We would ask her to give baby brother kisses and she would promptly inform us that he was "yucky"!

Joseph and I once again decided it was time to add more love to our family and God chose to answer our prayers just a few short months of trying. We were thrilled to be having another son or daughter! Joseph had his heart set on another boy and I really didn't care what we had, I just wanted another healthy baby (call it woman's intuition)... Something just really made me uneasy about this pregnancy.

I went to my first appointment at 6 weeks and ultrasound confirmed everything was where it should be. My next appointment at 10 weeks, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. My appointment at 14 weeks, again left the doctor with no reason for concern. So why did I insist there was something off? My stomach wasn't getting as big with this pregnancy, but I contributed it to being healthier this pregnancy. I started feeling the baby kick later than I had with my other pregnancies, but only by about 2 weeks... maybe I'll just have a laid back baby?

On February 16, 2009 my husband and our children went to have our eighteen week anatomy ultrasound. Ansley was excited about seeing her baby brother or sister. Joseph was still trying to convince me to find out what we were having, and Eli was just excited about the crackers we had given him. I was exhausted from lack of sleep the night prior to the ultrasound. I have never been scared of having an ultrasound before. Why was I so terrified this time?

The ultrasound technician started the scan, and after what felt like an eternity of her not saying anything, she asked us if we wanted to know the sex of our child. I caved. And I am so happy I did! She told us we were having another son! Wyatt Nathaniel Finchum. You should have seen the look on Joseph's face... his entire face lit up. But why was the technician frowning as she was taking measurements? With a shaky voice at best, I asked her what was wrong with Wyatt. She just told me that, "his legs were extremely short and that a doctor would be in to talk to us in a minute". When the midwife came in to talk to me, she said we were most likely looking at a case of dwarfism, but that they couldn't get a good look at his heart. We were scheduled for a second ultrasound with a perinatal unit on the 18th and left with a whirlwind of questions in the meantime.

Of course Joseph and I were heartbroken, but when it came down to it, we just hoped there wasn't a problem with his heart. Dwarfism or not, Wyatt was still our son and we were completely at peace with the idea of having a child who would face obstacles in life. But that nagging feeling that there was more to this wouldn't leave me alone. I didn't sleep the days prior to our 2nd ultrasound. The entire car ride to the doctors I kept praying for strength. Joseph and I didn't even talk the hour drive to the doctors, instead we bombarded God with pleas to heal our son.

When we finally made it to the doctors, I couldn't stop shaking. The doctor gave me some sheets to warm me, but being cold really wasn't the source of the problem. Joseph held my hand during the ultrasound and I laid there praying. God answered our prayer for Wyatt's heart... it was fine... it was his body that wasn't. The doctor diagnosed him with Thanatophoric dysplasia. A lethal form of dwarfism. He was given a 30% chance of making it to term, and we were told he would die within the first 24 hours of birth. His odds of survival have been reduced every time we go in for another ultrasound, but he is still with us fighting. We unknowingly picked a very appropriate name for our son. We chose Wyatt because it meant "little warrior"...

So this entry will bring you up to date on what is happening in our lives right now. We are living our lives in a balance of expecting the worst and praying for a miracle. We are cherishing every second we get with our son Wyatt. We are learning a whole new meaning to trusting God, because let me tell you, I don't understand what his plan could be in all this... I just ask that you keep our family in your prayers. We need it desperately. Letting go and letting God is much easier said than done, but we are trying.


Since writing this post, our sweet Wyatt has gone on to his eternal home in heaven. He made his way into the world on June 1, 2009 and graced us with his presence here for 2 minutes before leaving his earthly body. We are so proud of our little boy for fighting his way into this world! He weighed 4 pounds 0.6 ounces, and was 12.5 inches long. We miss him dearly, but rejoice in knowing he is in a better place.