Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Bridge of the Headless Horseman

Gigi's Journal - April 30, 2011

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

Twenty two weeks 4 days. Yesterday was Brooke's appointment for the echo's. Both girls weigh 1 pound 1 ounce! (Pics soon to come.) The levels on the echos were a little elevated which can be attributed to the procedure last Monday. Since they are elevated on both babies, its not as concerning. Brooke is officially released to return to her OB in Louisville. She will continue to be on bedrest and weekly doctor visits for the duration of the pregnancy.

Ray and I picked up Oliver today and took him to the park. Rebecca, Luke and some of their friends were there. We played football, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and talked. It was simple and it was fun. I watch Oliver and can't remember when he wasn't in our lives. He is such a blessing. I can't wait until Coeur d'Lane and Lennon are in our lives that way!

Gigi's Journal - April 28, 2011 @ 9:50 PM

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. ~Charlie Brown

Today was really a day of reflection. I left Kentucky this morning about 8:00 and started the 12 hour drive home - alone. Two hours into the drive I got a call from Chris. Brooke had a small concern and went to the hospital. Everything is fine and while she was there they went ahead and did the ultrasound that she had scheduled for tomorrow. The echo and consult will still be tomorrow. Hopefully, after tomorrow, she will not have to return to Cincinnati other than to visit Ikea with the girls.

While driving it occurred to me that I have been somewhat sheltered in "my" little world and that there were a lot of things going on in the "bigger" world. It's called life.

By the time I got to Ringgold, Georgia traffic was backed up and going about 10 miles an hour. Ugh! Why here? My first thought was "I need to get home, it's been a long week". I had the radio on and as I got closer realized the news was talking about Ringgold, GA. The town had been ravaged by three tornados. Eight people were dead and it just about destroyed the small town. They referred to I-75 and 151. I looked up and that's the exit I was at. Crawling in traffic. As I got closer I could see the devastation. Guard rails
twisted like crumpled aluminum foil, billboards twisted 90 degrees and a semi tracker trailer turned over with it's contents spilled out on the ground. On my way home I saw five places that were devasted by tornadoes.

In Cincinnati a lovely double rainbow, perhaps a sign of hope for the girls, was displayed in the sky (captured by Chris in this pic.)

It gave me perspective. This last week has been emotional for my family yet yesterday MANY famlies lost so much. We have a lot to be grateful for.

Tomorrow Brooke has her appointments. Praying and hoping for continued good news on Coeur d'Lane and Lennon.

Gigi's Journal - April 27, 2011 @ 3:49 AM

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I took this picture today when Chris and I were out driving around Cincinnati. The rain stopped for a couple of hours and we went to Urban Outfitters to return some shoes and spent more money. Shopping can be therapeutic. Well, it will be for Josh R. and Luke P. - I bought them a little gift.

Chris also humored me by stopping at various buildings and interesting sites of photographic interest to me. These steps remind me of life. You can see the first step clearly but if you look too far ahead it can be deceiving. Almost like the steps become more narrow. They don't. But if you keep looking too far ahead you might believe that. One step at a time.

While we were out today, we both had the same thought about Emerson. The thought was that we would never wonder what Emerson would look like. Lennon is her identical twin! Lennon would always carry a part of Emerson with her. I know that seems silly but sometimes we cling to anything so we don't forget.

My grandmother died 20 years ago this April. The Christmas before she died I went to visit with her. As almost an afterthought she handed me a bottle of Lavender Foaming Bath Bubbles. Not an expensive gift, likely something she purchased from the Dollar Store. The day she died I grabbed the bottle from out of the bathroom, its label worn from the water and 3/4's the contents consumed by my tub. I still have that bottle of used bubble bath. Why??? Maybe I'm borderline hoarder or maybe I'm too sentimental or maybe both. It's my reminder of her. I probably kept it because I was afraid I would forget her. Logically, I could never forget her. Fearfully, I felt I might. The bottle is kept safe and reminds me of the last time I saw her.

Gigi's Journal - April 26, 2011 @ 7:24 AM

Today the sky was blue, and so was I. Sharon Schmidt

Twenty two weeks and one day.
Chris, Sue, Morgan and I got up early to get breakfast and get to the hospital. Brooke slept well last night, thanks to Dr. "Ambien".

Connie, the sonographer, came in to take Brooke to get the ultrasound. As expected, Emerson's heart wasn't beating. As I was reminded today, her spirit and a good friends' recent loss, are playing together on the other side.

Coeur d'Lane and Lennon are doing well. They were so busy in there, moving, sucking on their hands - so sweet. Their heart rates are in a good range and their fluid levels remain in a good range.

The average delivery occurs about 10 weeks after this procedure. We want Coeur d'Lane and Lennon to get big and stay in as long as possible!

We won't have to worry about Emerson now. We focus our attention on the future.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011 @11:02 pm

I do believe that if you haven't learnt about sadness, you can't appreciate happiness. Nana Mouskouri

It's been a long day. We've laughed, we've cried and we've laughed again.

Brooke is staying at the hospital tonight. She started having contractions before noon but they gave her medicine to stop them. It has worked. Her back hurts but she is doing well.

We need to be back at the hospital tomorrow morning by 7:00. They are going to do another ultrasound to check the babies' heartbeats. We are prepared for Emerson to be gone but it's going to be emotional. .

Prayers for Chris and Brooke, for Coeur d'Lane and Lennon,. I'm not sure who all sees this blog but I want to thank you for being there for us.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011

weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Emerson had a 5% share of the placenta, leaving Lennon with 95% of the placenta. They did share a couple of large vessels, which would have caused significant neurological damage, if not death to Lennon, when Emerson passed. After they were separated Emerson's heart rate went down to the 50's and 60's. They don't expect she will be here tomorrow when they check on the baby's again.

I am asking that no one share any of this information on Facebook, please. Do not write on my wall giving any hint to this, please. I want to respect Brooke and Chris. Give them time. While they have two healthy babies right now they are experiencing grief and need space. PLEASE be sensitive.

Don't stop praying for us.

Gigi's journal - April 25, 2011 @ 9:25 am

We just met with the surgeon, Dr. Crombleholme. Brooke did well during the surgery. Will give an update on the outcome in a little bit. Please continue to pray for us.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011 @9:05 am

We were just informed that they started the laser part of the surgery.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011 @8:52 am

They just updated us that the surgery has begun.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011 @ 7:00 AM

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14

They just took Brooke back to the O.R. and Chris is with her. She will have an epidural put in. The longest part of the procedure is for the doctor to map out the vessels. The actual laser process is short. Will update when I know more.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011 @ 6:34 am

The tech is doing the ultrasound now. The babies look good. Heart rates are between 140 and 160. Fluid levels in Coeur d'Lane and Lennon are normal. Emerson's is still low. She's checking placental location and the babies positions. Will check back when I know more.

Gigi's Journal - April 25, 2011

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own. ~Ben Sweetland

Twenty three weeks.

4:08 came early this morning. Thanks to all of you who are praying. I will try to update through the morning, as I can.

It's rainy and dreary morning on this earth in Cincinnati but about a mile above us the sky is clear and the sun is shining. Perspective!

Gigi's Journal - April 24, 2011

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ~ Susan Ertz

We left Louisville after a wonderful Easter dinner with family & friends. Loaded up the van with Chris, Brooke and myself. Kristy, Sue and Morgan in the other vehicle. Rained the entire way and was uneventful until about 15 miles from Cincinnati. We got a flat tire.

We pulled over and Chris & Morgan changed the tire, in the rain. Me, I was on the phone with AAA in the event we needed them ;-). No need for AAA. The guys put the "donut" on the wheel and off we went and hour later. We'll worry about a tire tomorrow.

We have checked into the rooms now and are wondering, at 8:33 PM on Easter Sunday, what's for dinner! There's always Chinese, I guess.

5:00 AM comes early tomorrow morning!

Gigi's Journal - April 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection Sunday! We would appreciate the prayers for safe travel when we drive up to Cincinnati this afternoon. The weather in this part of the country has been crazy! Lots of rain with flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornados.

Gigi's Journal - April 23, 2011

Here are some pictures that were taken of the girls at yesterday's appointment. Twenty one weeks and 4 days.

Gigi's Journal - April 23, 2011

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. – Carl Sagan

Yesterday afternoon Brooke went to Cincinnati to get an ultrasound and
echo for the babies. They were ready to do the surgery to separate Emerson & Lennon as soon as today, if necessary, but Dr. Crombleholme thinks Emerson is stable enough to wait until Monday.

Just when you think it's over, it's not. Dr. Crombleholme reminded us not to assume this is "it" for Emerson. It's possible that the surgery will help her. He wants to give Emerson a chance to live. He wants to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this is Easter weekend. Praying.

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.

Gigi's Journal - April 22, 2011

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

Twenty one weeks, four days. Brooke's ultrasound this morning wasn't the miracle news we had hoped for. It appears little Emerson's heart is enlarged and has fluid around it. Her doctor wants her to go to Cincinnati today and let those doctors rescan and decide if it's okay to wait until Monday for surgery.

I am going to drive up there today. Pray for me :) I'll update later when we have more direction.

As of now, continued prayers for Coeur d'Lane and Lennon's well-being, that Emerson feel the peace of God and the love of her parents, for the doctors to make good decisions and for Brooke & Chris as they walk this out.

<3 Gigi

Gigi's Journal - April 21, 2011

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. ~Author Unknown

Brooke has an appointment for another ultrasound tomorrow. We remain hopeful.

Prayers appreciated!

Gigi's Journal - April 19, 2011

Twenty one weeks and one day. Another trip to Cincinnati, more ultrasounds and echocardiograms. It's a long day.

Coeur d'Lane weighs 15 ounces! Her fluid level is a bit over 8 but still great.

Lennon is just two ounces behind her big sister at 13 ounces. Her fluid level is a little over 5.

Their wombmate, Emerson, still weighs just 5 ounces but despite her tiny frame she continues to remain strong. However, there are subtle signs that her fight may be getting harder.

Dr. Crombleholme met with Brooke and Chris today. It seems more likely this is placental insufficiency. Emerson's echo shows that there is some negative blood flow which can cause problems with Lennon, like a stroke. He wants her to have another ultrasound on Friday. If the ultrasound shows the condition worsening (which he thinks it will) he is recommending coming back to Cincinnati for surgery on Monday.

It's hard to describe how I feel right now. This is certainly not good news for Emerson but somehow there's a peace just knowing a little more about what's going on. No one has given up on Emerson but it's a fight for Lennon now.

Psalm 139:13-18
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 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.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Gigi's Journal - April 15, 2011

Twenty weeks and four days. Brooke has an appointment with Dr. Tabb. He does a 3-D ultrasound but is unable to get Emerson because of her size and position.
The pics are amazing! Lennon has her mouth open and they both have their right hands by their heads! I imagine Emerson is doing the same thing :)

It's not time for a growth scan yet but Emerson is still 5 ounces.

I have read and heard so many stories of miracles. Babies who weren't supposed to make it, people who had no hope and yet hope persisted. I can only have hope for this tiny little girl that the Lord gave us.

Pray for Brooke and Chris, pray for the girls, pray for the family.

‎"All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gigi's Journal - April 11, 2011

Brooke, Chris and Sue (Brooke's mom) drive up to Cincinnati for the next appointment. Dr. Halib does the ultrasound. Heartbeats, A: 163, B: 160, C: 155. Emerson's fluid level is .9 and Lennon's is 5.5. Coeur d'Lane's is a little elevated but it might be transient.

Dr. Halib says that everything appears to be stable but the echo will let them know for sure. She said "small is fine as long as it's not complicated".

Gigi's Journal - April 4, 2011

We arrive at the hospital at 7:25 AM. When we get there Brooke finds out there was a miscommunication and she was scheduled for the MRI at 7:00!
They take her back for the ultrasound first. This wouldn't be so bad except she has to be fasting for three hours before the MRI.

During the ultrasound, they measure the babies. Chris said the sonographer mentioned that they were the most well behaved triplets she has ever scanned and that they should be proud!

Emerson is still 4 ounces, while Coeur d'Lane is 10 ounces and Lennon is 8 ounces. Emerson's fluid level is lower at .6 today but they can still visualize her bladder, which is good. Also, Lennon's fluid level is normal.

While we wait for Brooke and Chris to come back we enjoy IPods and IPads. Shanghai is a hit!

Brooke and Chris make it back and we wait some more.

Finally, they take Brooke back for the MRI. That takes about 3 hours. It takes a long time since the babies are moving a lot.

The sonographer lets us all in the room for the echos. It's good to see the babies again. The ultrasound is quite lengthy and comprehensive. After the echo, we grabbed Brooke something to eat and rush up to the Fetal Care Center (FCC) to meet with the doctors.

They are very nice at the FCC. They put us in a comfy room while we wait for the meeting to begin.

We are all invited into the meeting, Brooke, Chris, and both sets of parents. There are four nurses, one fetal surgeon - Dr. Lim and one MFM - Dr. Habli. They go through the ultrasounds, the MRI and the echo.

At this point, the best they can determine, it is not TTTS. This doesn't mean we can relax as TTTS can happen anytime in the pregnancy. They have confirmed that Emerson has severe IUGR - intrauterine growth restriction. She is in the 2.9% for growth. She's tiny, but so far, all her other findings are normal.

All we can do us have hope and trust that the One who put her there will keep her healthy and whole. Meanwhile, they want Brooke to come back in one week.

Gigi's Journal - April 2, 2011

We leave for Cincinnati this afternoon but before we go we visit First Baptist Church Fairdale. Pastor Josh wants to pray for us, the babies and our trip.

Brooke's appointment is tomorrow at 7:30 AM at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. We'll get up there tonight, get rested and be ready for what is sure to be a long day.

Gigi's Journal - March 31, 2011

This morning I got a Facebook message from my friend Janice. Her daily Bible verse popped up her phone:

I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the LORD

in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the LORD.

-psalm 27:13-14

Gigi's Journal - March 30, 2011

Eighteen weeks and two days! Tia (Rebecca) and I drove up for this appointment. This is the first time that Tia has seen the girls. Today's ultrasound is the fetal anatomy scan and follow up on Emerson. All the babies are formed perfect in every way!

Coeur d'Lane weighs 8 ounces and Lennon weighs 7 ounces. Both their measurements are great, including their amniotic fluid levels.

Emerson weighs 4 ounces and her fluid level is low at 1.63. Dr. Tabb is concerned about something called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Basically, it would mean that the twins (Emerson and Lennon) who share a placenta would have vessels that are also shared. Thereby giving one twin too much blood, fluid and nutrients (recipient) and the other would get too little blood, fluid and nutrients (donor). It's very concerning if the babies have this condition and, up until 1986, 80% to 90% of twins who had TTTS died.

There is another condition where the placenta isn't equally shared. One twin gets plenty but not too much and the other gets only a small portion of the placenta. Neither problem is good. We pray for the babies, we want them to stay strong and grow big!

There is a specialist in Cincinnati that Dr. Tabb wants Brooke to see. He will call and let us know when the appointment will be. It should be within the next several days. Now we wait.

Gigi's Journal - March 25, 2011

Seventeen weeks and four days.

Coeur d'Lane waving!

Emerson's beautiful profile! She has a good fluid level of 2.0 cm. Anything lower would be a concern.

Lennon's adorable profile!

Gigi's Journal - March 18, 2011

Sixteen weeks and four days and we have names!

Baby A is now known as Coeur d'Lane. There is a town in Idaho named after an Indian tribe called Coeur d'Alene. It's French for "heart
of an awl". Baby A's name is a homage to Rose Wilder Lane,
journalist and one of the founding mothers of the America Libertarian movement. Hence, the spelling - Coeur d'Lane. Now, simply defined, it means - "heart of a narrow way". Coeur d'Lane weighs 5 oz, is 4.5 inches long and her heart beat is 154 today.

Baby B is now known as Emerson. Named after philosopher, poet and champion of individualism, Ralph
Waldo Emerson. Emerson simply translated m
eans Emery's son. The root meaning is home strength, bravery, vigor, power, work of God. Emerson weighs 3 oz, is 4.5 inches long and her heart beat is 162.

Baby C is now known as Lennon. Named after English muscian and member of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the twentieth century. The meani
ng of the name is Dear One. Lennon weigh
s 5 ounces, is 4.5 inches long and her heart beat is 154.

Due to Emerson's weight being a little behind her sister's, Dr. Tabb wants to see B next week.

Gigi's Journal - March 4, 2011

14 weeks 4 days. The babies have grown so much in just two weeks. Baby A weighs a whopping 4 ounces while the twins weigh 3 ounces each. They are about 3.5 inches long and are about the size of a lemon. Their heart rates are: A: 137, B: 142, C: 135.

Today's ultrasound was pretty special. We found out they are all three GIRLS!!! Oh, the fun!

Gigi's Journal - February 16, 2011

Twelve weeks and 2 days. Ray and I drove back up to KY so I could see the babies again! Each baby is about 2.5 inches long and their heart beats are between 150 and 170! They are getting so big.

Gigi's Journal - February 4, 2011

Ten weeks and 5 days. Today B&C met Dr. Tabb. He is the doctor that came highly recommended to them.

The babies are about the size of a small strawberry and are each technically known as a fetus. Their hearts are beating strong and they continue to grow.

Gigi's Journal - January 20, 2011

Eight weeks and three days. It's cold and snowing outside. We carefully make our way to the UofL Maternal Fetal Medicine facility.

We wait for the sonographer to come in. We are placed in the room with the best ultrasound machine.

There they are. All three babies growing wonderfully. All three measure about 1.5 cm from crown to rump. Their hearts beat between 159 and 172 per minute.


GiGi's Journal - January 7, 2011

Today was a true test of faith. Brooke was scheduled for an ultrasound to confirm vability. Chris, Brooke's mom Sue and I went to the appointment with Brooke. It's one of those days you never forget.


Six percent chance of triplets. Wow!

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

Elizabeth Stone

GiGi's Journal - December 21, 2010

December 21, 2010 was a day that the S and S families had been waiting on for many years. It was the day our oldest son, Chris and his wife, Brooke found out they were going to have a baby! After years of waiting, it was finally a reality. Little did we know it would be the beginning of a journey of faith, hope and love.