Rhonda and Jason

Rhonda and Jason
Our Wedding Day

Friday, March 23, 2012

Esther is coming April 12th... we think

Esther at 36 wks sticking out her tongue and keeping her hands close to her face!!!
 Jason and I got some much needed time off to venture down to Seattle once again.  We were able to have a few days off together before our appointment in Seattle.  Once waking from my graveyard shift in detention with only a few hours of sleep, we headed to North Bend to see some friends of Jason's.  We got to spend the night in a mother-in-law suite overlooking the river.  The next day we hoped to do a short hike, but saw that it was raining and way to cold to venture out there.  We opted for eating a late breakfast and watching TV while being cozy inside.  I laid down in bed for almost two hours just because I could.  I can't remember a time in my life I was able to feel okay about doing this or even allowed myself to do this.
That afternoon, we left to go to Seattle to stay with other friends near Children's Hospital.  Once again, we were blessed by others presence, prayer and hospitality in our life.  We woke up early Wednesday morning and met with another one of Jason's friend for coffee.  She also lives close to children's hospital.  Both families are going to help us in bringing food from time to time that we are storing in there freezers.   Thank you ahead of time!!! This means the world to us!!!
Our meetings Wednesday at UW medicine went great.  Our ultra sound lady was nice enough to give us 3d pictures of Esther even though they weren't supposed to.  I have included a picture in this post of her.  The picture was hard to capture because she is moving all over the place.  My amniotic fluid levels were perfect and they did not find anything they were concerned about besides what we already know.  That means that we will most likely have her on time.  This is another miracle along the way being that a lot of these CDH babies come early because they have a harder time digesting the fluid due to there stomach being in there chest.

We met with another doctor that gave us our induction date being April 11th.  Basically, Jason and I will go in on the 11th for one last non stress test and they will admit us into the UW medical hospital that evening.  They will place some gel on my cervix to start softening it up.  By the next day after a night of sleep, (yeah right!!! I don't sleep under any stress or nerves) we will begin the next process of induction to get Esther out naturally.  As soon as she is born we will get a brief second with her and she will be whisked away into a room next door to begin placing her on a ventilator, iv and multiple other tubes and devices to help her breath, live and monitor.  A few hours later, I will say goodbye to Jason and Esther as they are transported to Children's Hospital in an ambulance a few blocks away.  As soon as I am cleared to leave the hospital, I will join them in the NICU.

Lastly, we met with a nurse from UW medicine.  She was going over basic questions with us and whether or not I am prepared to have our little girl.  She asked how we were coping with all of this.  Jason and I said, "great, because we have faith that this is the Lord's will in our life no matter what the outcome is."  She got a huge smile and asked if we were Christians.  We said, "of course we are.  We love him with all our heart."  She got so excited to tell us she was too.  She went on saying "I know God picked you two to have this special girl.  It takes special parents to take this on."  Tears started flowing down my face.  I think she thought she had hurt me feelings by saying that - but all I could say was- "I know.  I know and trust that he is so redeeming in everything.  That he has never let us down.  That no matter what happens- this is for his Glory."  She was so encouraging.  We left UW medicine with the biggest smile on our faces.  I love how the Lord sticks people in our path to remind us along the way that we are doing the right thing and that he is proud of us.

Jason and I are still hoping to bring our full size trailer (Winnebago) to Children's hospital to stay in while we wait for 2-3 months for Esther to get well enough to take her home.  At this point there is one spot open in the parking lot and it is first come first serve basis once Esther is admitted to Children's.  While she is in the NICU, we can stay in sleeper rooms that are in the NICU.  If we need to, we can stay at the Ronald McDonald house for $25 a night.  At this point we think Jason will be able to take about 4 weeks off (2 with sick/vacation, 2 with medical disability).  After that, he will use 2 weeks of FMLA (unpaid leave).   After he has gone 2 weeks unpaid, people from the hospital can donate their sick and vacation time allowing him to stay with me and Esther at the hospital and helping with some of the financial difficulties we may have living on one income.

Many of you have asked how you can help.  Here are some ways you can help in the next couple of weeks before we take off for Seattle.  Since we plan on staying in the trailer (pray that we can), we will be able to store lots of snack and food items for the long haul.  You can help by dropping off or sending these various items to our house.  Also, even after we have left, you can drop them off to us at the hospital or even give them to my parents or friends that are visiting and they can bring them to us.  Let me know if you need the address of Jason and I's house or my parents house.  Here are some helpful ideas:

1) gas cards for driving back and forth to Seattle.
2) Visa cards for food/personal needs during our stay
3) Gift cards for QFC, Safeway or other local grocery stores near by U Village.  Look up restaurants near by U village.  You can even send us a gift card to that restaurant so Jason and I can have some time away if one of our parents is there to be with Esther.
4) Providing a snack item for our stay that we can store in our trailer. This will allow us to save money and stay close to our girl and not have to leave as often to get food. Here are a number of things Jason and I enjoy getting when we go to Costco for example: beef jerky, protein powder, nuts, healthy bars, wheat thins, crackers, healthy chips, dried fruit, coffee beans, cereal, bread, jam, peanut butter, sweet and salty bars, etc
5) providing dinner meals for us at the hospital.  We are getting meal train set up and will be sending out that email for those that are interested.  Hospital food gets old fast.
6) send mixed cds (for not only Esther but for us to enjoy too), magazines, articles, funny episodes on DVD, music, stories, books, encouraging sermons , movies, etc. (anything that will keep our mind off of what we are doing in the moment)
6) Spiritual support – having pastors, strong friends of faith come and pray with us.. having friends that can pray over us when we don't have the strength. There may be times when we are angry or scared and that doesn’t mean our faith is any less strong.
7) Send texts, facebook msg's, phone calls, emails, letters and scripture.  We may not be able to respond, but we will hear and read all of it.  
8) Lastly, pray for God's will.  For the strength, peace and comfort. For rest.  For wisdom in medical decisions that can be life or death decisions for Esther.  Pray for no ECMO machines. Pray for the other 3 moms that will be having CDH babies at the same time.  Pray that Jason and I can be used for God's glory and be an encouragement to others along the way.

Thank you everyone in advance for how big your hearts are.  We hope we did not leave anything out.  In the meantime, we will continue blogging when we can.  Jason and I will most likely set up a caring bridge site if that is easier to follow.

Lastly, here is a picture of a painting I did for Esther's room right above her crib.  Our theme in the room is owls!!!  I can't wait for her to be in it!!!


  1. Hi, Rhonda & Jason ~

    I'm following all your blogs here and praying for you and for Esther. I'm encouraged that God is already getting glory through you guys - and that he will continue to. Not because you're 'rising above' all the real emotions and struggle of this challenge, but because you still LOVE and KNOW him and talk about him right in the depths of it.

    Praying for continued health for you and Esther until she's born, for a safe delivery, and for God to do all sorts of cool things in your hearts and all around you in the coming months.

    Love ~

    Kelli (Yordy) Nuesser (Jenny B's friend from Laos)

  2. She is beautiful...love the 3D picture. Love the room so fitting to both Jason and your personality. Ia m excited for you both and I know that you have the faith and the strength to get through this long road...you have already come so far...your all in my prayers.

  3. Ah, I thought you looked familiar!! Small world :) I'm glad you are putting a list out there of things that people can do to help. In our experience we found that so many people wanted to help, they just didn't quite know how, so this is wonderful. I also see you will be getting to meet some of our UW NICU nurses for a little bit, they are also wonderful! I'm thankful you have so much support because this will probably be a long road. Although we don't know your exact situation, we know what it's like to have a sick baby in the hospital. We will definitely keep you in our prayers and continue to follow our journey!! p.s. I'm sure they have a social worker at Children's that would be a good resource for you...ours helped us figure out what was available to us for housing, gas, etc.

  4. Praying for you guys! Put us on the meal train email list. nicolelbarr@gmail.com. We are only 20 minutes away!

  5. It would be just about impossible for me to be any farther from Seattle, but you know I will be thinking of you!! So many prayers for y'all and your sweet Esther.

  6. Praying for Esther and your family!! It won't be long and she will be here. She is so cute in the ultrasound picture!

    Tracy, Ian's mom from CHERUBS