Monday, April 25, 2011


can sometimes be strange. It's almost like they're signs from the future. And I say this for a reason...

About 3 months after delivering my last baby (who is now almost 4 years old), I had a disturbing dream. The only reason I can remember it, is because it was pretty much the last vivid dream I had, that I can actually remember. Half the time, I can't remember even the slightest detail of my dreams. This one was different. This one woke me up out of a sound sleep. Call it strange, if you must. But it is very true.

In my dream, I had found out I was pregnant. I remember very clearly that they said "It's a Girl!" During that same ultrasound, they told me, "Your baby has no skull." And gave me a few pictures of this precious girl.  Well, in my dream, they never used the word "anencephaly".  Not that I would've known the meaning. And at the time, I didn't have internet at home so I couldn't do any searching on this "no skull" condition. Days, weeks, months, and years have passed. I don't give it much thought. But as of lately, it's really been hitting me. Like something was trying to tell me that my next pregnancy wouldn't be "normal".

I remember when I took the first at-home pregnancy test and it came up positive. That dream started running through my head again. But I tried to shrug it off and believe that everything was fine. In this dream of mine, they never told me that "These babies do not survive." So of course all that time I was thinking that if a baby was born with no skull, they'd be able to do something to help them. I guess I was wrong :(

Ever since receiving the news about Sophia's anencephaly, I've been having dreams that I can vividly remember. Dreams that I'm laying up in the hospital, waiting for my turn to go into the OR, not wanting to rush things this time around. The time comes to go into the OR, Sophia (or who I believe is Sophia) is born. Crying and screaming. My first words being, "Is she okay?" Before long, they have her cleaned up and swaddled in a blanket. But she's not wearing a hat. She's got a perfectly shaped head! Bone and all. But as soon as they go to put her in my arms, I wake up. Same part of the dream every night, I wake up. It's rather upsetting.

Is this a way of telling me that she's fine and will survive? Or is this a way of telling me the next baby will be fine? I'm not too sure how to take it. I want to take it as a sign this time around, since I shrugged off the last dream I can remember.

Now, onto other news: Easter has just passed! We had a very long and busy weekend, and we didn't even leave the house! We spent time together as a family, dying eggs. Well let's just say that on Saturday, my kids weren't behaving all that well. I thought I'd be pulling my hair out by the time we started dying the eggs. So, I'm sitting there watching them and my 9 year old son pops out with, "Mom, look!" I glanced at the egg and told him, "That's a nice one buddy! Now put it in the carton." He looked at me as if I was stupid. And said, "Mom, this is Sophia's egg! It has her anencephaly colors on it!" I looked at it for a few minutes, in awe! I wanted to cry right then. Let's just say my stress level went from unbelievably high to zilch! I couldn't believe that with everything going on, and Easter being the next day, that they had actually remembered their baby sister. I had a smile on my face that lasted the entire night.

Sophia's Egg!

My kids never cease to amaze me. I must admit, I've been getting stressed out super easy lately. But, I guess that's to be expected.

Friday afternoon, Angel and I went out to meet the Easter bunny. (Shhh). While we were out, we decided to swing by Wal-Mart. I wanted to pick up some sidewalk chalk for the kids to put with their Easter baskets. But, I forgot. Instead, I walked directly to the baby section, which is an area I've been trying to stay away from ever since February. Angel looked at me, kinda shocked, and asked what I was doing. I said, "Well, Sophia needs an outfit." We haven't bought her any clothes. We wanted to wait until we were told if it was a girl or a boy. And of course the next day we received the devastating news. But I felt like I just HAD to buy her her first outfit. I was searching around for a dress. I could just imagine how beautiful she would look. Well, let's just say, Wal-Mart doesn't have a great selection when it comes to searching for preemie outfits. Eventually, I found a display that had some preemie outfits on it. Lots of Eastery type of outfits. No sense in that though, seeing as how she'll be born after Easter. Until this one outfit caught my eye, and I knew I had to get it for her. Who says babies can't rock skirts?

Sophia's first outfit
I absolutely love it. And for some reason, every time I see the color purple, I start thinking about her. As for the sidewalk chalk, we had to make a later run to Wal-Mart to pick them up. And I'm so happy that I did. As we sat outside today, enjoying the beautiful weather, my kids started drawing the anencephaly awareness ribbons on the sidewalk and added her name below it. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with. Hopefully it doesn't rain tonight and I can go out tomorrow morning and snap a few pictures of them.

I think that's it for updates for now, but not before I add Week 26's pic! Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter!

26 weeks and counting!

Monday, April 18, 2011


is all that seems to keep my mind busy. I know exactly what we're planning for, but it keeps me busy. Of course, I'm planning on the arrival of Sophia (which is about 2 1/2 months away), but I'm also planning a benefit dinner. I've had several people ask me if we were going to hold one, so here we are... making the plans!

So we decided to do a simple dinner, spaghetti! How original, I know. But who doesn't love spaghetti? There will be live entertainment, which has already been covered thanks to a good friend of ours. Baskets to raffle off. Baked goods for sale. Now all we have to do is figure out a place and time. We're aiming for June, which I think gives us plenty of time. And we'll be contacting our church to see if we can use the hall. Which I'm sure will not be a problem!

So right now, we're looking for people to help out. Donating a basket or two, volunteering to help cook/serve the food, bake up some old recipes... nearly anything! We'll also be needing the help of a person or two to design flyers for this event. If you or someone you know would be willing to help us, please click on the "Contact Us" tab and send us an e-mail!

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Why are they going to host a benefit for their daughter if the funeral costs have already been covered?" The answer is simple! We're trying to raise funds to cover the cost of Sophia's headstone. I refuse to bury my baby girl unless she has a headstone shortly after. And truthfully, we're asking for help from everyone who can, because we are a low-income family and were not prepared for something like this to happen. Or you may be saying, "What are they going to do this for if the doctor's turn out to be wrong?" That would be fantastic! An answer to my prayers. And in the case of us being blessed with a miracle, all the funds will be donated to the March of Dimes. Fair enough, I think.

I thought alot about what I would do with the money raised if she were to survive. At first I said, "Well maybe we could use it to buy Sophia clothes and carseat, etc. since we don't have any of that." But then I figured, "No, we'll manage. The best thing to do would be to donate it to the March of Dimes."

So, I'm still looking for some ideas as to what else we can do at the benefit dinner. Like I said, we'll have baskets to raffle off and a bake sale. What else can we do that noone else has? How can we make this event different from all the others? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Now, on another note, I want to apologize to those who follow Sophia's blog closely. I know I haven't been updating as much as I should. But, life has been hectic. Not to mention, I've been in a fair amount of pain for the last 4-5 days. I've got this awful pain in my left rib. And sometimes Sophia likes to double team me. Almost like she knows her mama's rib is hurting. So while the left one is hurting, she'll kick or punch the right rib. Makes me wonder what kind of sense of humor she would have. My guess is, her daddy's!

We're creeping up on Week 26... and I'm late on posting a pic. So here it is!

25 weeks and 3 days!
                             Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave your ideas... I'd love to hear (or should I say read) them!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

6 months!

Or for those of you who like to be more specific, 24 weeks today! I cannot believe we have made it this far already. Sometimes, it feels as if it has taken forever to reach this mark. Other times, it feels as if the time has flown by. Looks like we have another 2 months and 3 weeks to go until delivery. I do not want this pregnancy to end! Sophia has completely changed my life within the last 6 weeks. And she has changed me for the better. I have learned to cherish every minute of my pregnancy, unlike before when I couldn't wait for it to be over. She has taught me how to love deeper. Something I never thought was possible. She has even taught me how to appreciate my body for what it is. After all, this body has given life to 4 children, and will be carrying her until God thinks it's time. Who cares about the extra weight I may put on? Who cares about the massive amounts of stretch marks? I've always called them my battle scars. But now, I don't look at it that way anymore. I look at them as being marks of strength. Marks of life. And marks of motherhood. I wouldn't change anything! Ok, well maybe one little thing. And that would be to keep Sophia here with us forever. I'm sure God will either grant us that, or grant us plenty of time to make memories with her before He calls her home.

We finally had our prenatal echo appointment yesterday. I believe that went rather well. Sophia didn't really want to cooperate, she was just so active. But from what the doctor seen, he said there is no heart defect visible! What a relief! But, I'm scheduled to go back in for another echo, just so he can rule out any major defects. The only thing he was able to spot was like a small calcium deposit on her heart. Which he said really isn't anything to worry about. That it could happen in a "normal" pregnancy just as well. But that if there was more then 1, it would lead them to believe that the baby has a chromosome problem. But there's only one, so no need to worry. After about an hour, the doctor decided to give up trying. Either Sophia wouldn't stop moving or there was a shadow going over the area he was trying to look at. I was relieved though. I was starting to feel uncomfortable.

Moved to another room... time for another ultrasound! I couldn't wait. I love seeing Sophia. Especially when she's active. Scan started: kicking of the legs begins. What a wonderful feeling and a great thing to watch. They were only supposed to check Sophia's fingers and the placenta. But they took a bit of a detour, and we got to see all of Sophia. Based on just her belly and thighs, she's weighing in at 1 pound 2 ounces. Her heartbeat was still strong... 157! She's her momma's little fighter. I was hoping to receive lots of pictures yesterday, but Sophia decided she wanted to face my back. I took this as her way of saying, "I've had enough for one day, Mom. These people are bothering me!" Which I wouldn't doubt. But with a little magic from the wonderful ultrasound tech, we were able to get a shot of her face... and how beautiful it is!

                                     Is it just me or does it look like she's smiling?

                                                  My fighter fists!

Sometimes I find myself dreaming at night. Dreams where Sophia is born alive and well. No anencephaly. No heart defect. No possibility of Iniencephaly. And a set of lungs that would make a soprano jealous! And for some reason, I call these dreams "nightmares". I know I shouldn't. But they scare me. Only because the doctors tell me there is no chance of survival. But in these dreams, she's surviving. And thriving. It just doesn't make much sense to me. Is it a form of denial? Maybe. Is it a sign that maybe things will change? Lord, I hope so!

But until then, I will just enjoy these precious moments that I have with her. Sophia, thank you so much for being who you are. We love you so much... and nothing will ever change that!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Did we really have to?

I believe that yesterday was one of the hardest days for us. We had a meeting with the funeral director and it seemed to go rather well. But I remember thinking to myself all morning, "Do we really have to do this?". It felt as if I had given up all hope. Angel met with him the first time, I just couldn't bring myself to go. But yesterday, I had no other choice. Some decisions had to be made, and we had to do it together. He showed us a layout of one of the cemetaries. I'm pretty sure this is the cemetary we'll be dealing with. He's waiting on a call back from the priest so see about cost and such. Not that it really matters, because our daughter means more to us then any amount of money. He also showed us a picture of a casket he thought we would like. Once I seen the picture, I knew that it would be "the one" for her. Just looking at the picture, I wanted to cry. But I knew I had to keep myself strong. After all, all these plans could be dropped at the snap of a finger if things turn out different for Sophia. So he said he was going to put the order in and it should arrive within 1-2 weeks. He wrote down the information we gave him for her future obituary. I think that was the hardest! As I sat there listening to the director, I remember talking to Sophia inside, just asking her to give me some kind of sign that she's okay. And... nothing! He went on to show us the different types of prayer cards we could choose from. I looked through them but I didn't see any that I thought was right for her. Angel picked out several that he liked. But we told him we'd think it over and let him know. He gave us a sheet of paper with different prayers on it, to be put on the back of the prayer card. There is about 3 that I really liked, but 1 that stood out in front of the rest. Let me share that with you:

Do not stand by my gave and weep...
I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am a diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning hush,
I am the swift upflinging rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star shine at night.
Do not stand by my grace and cry...
I am not there.
I did not die.
I live with the Risen Lord.

That is the prayer that stands out to me most. But there are a few that seem to fit this situation. In time, we'll have the perfect prayer picked out. It's just nice to know that this funeral director thinks the same way I have been for the last 6 weeks. Miracles do happen! Who is to say that Sophia won't be a miracle? Who is to say that Sophia will not defy all the odds and pull through? Who is to say the doctors aren't wrong? Only time will tell.

Our meeting lasted about 45 minutes, and then it was time to leave. I couldn't wait to make it back outside! I needed to breathe. I needed to feel the warmth of the sun. And of course, I needed the fresh air. Once we made it outside, I felt like I was going to break. I felt the stinging in my eyes. I felt the lump in my throat that I just couldn't swallow down. Within about 30 seconds of being outside, Sophia started moving around like you wouldn't believe. Almost as if she was protesting. Just laying inside my womb, taking in everything that was being said throughout the meeting. And now that we were done, it was her turn to speak. And boy, did she ever.

Everything after that just seems like a blur. I know we walked home together. But my mind was somewhere else. I didn't have much to say on the way home. Unless Javier (our 3 year old son), got my attention. When we finally made it home, I just sat down and covered my eyes. I knew the time was coming. I knew I was going to break. So I covered my eyes, and let the stinging of my tears set in. Before long, Angel was standing over me, and leaned over me to give me a hug. This was something I had needed all morning. And just that one hug seemed to make all the tears fade away. By then, I was feeling rather tired and weak. I laid on the couch with Angel and we watched our son play his video game. About an hour later, we got up from the couch and went on with our day.

It has been a struggle for me to keep moving on each day, nearing D-day. But I keep telling myself that I have to keep pushing on, I have 4 other children who need me. And one (Sophia) who is depending on me. I know this journey is only going to get harder and harder. But I have to somehow learn how to make the best of it. Sophia Grace, you have changed my life FOREVER! I love you baby girl... more then anything in this world!

Friday, April 1, 2011

23 weeks and a day!

I was meaning to pop in yesterday with an update, but life has been rather hectic lately. My sister delivering her twins on Sunday night, my father being admitted into the hospital Monday morning, talking to his doctors and setting up my own appointments, I kinda lost track of everything else. We had quite a scare there with my father. The first hospital he was at claimed he had 5 blockages in his heart. Not 1, but 5! I was beyond stressed and upset. I kept telling myself that, "I can't afford to lose my father AND my daughter within months of each other." So, they sent him to another hospital (a better one) and did a heart cath on him this morning. Turns out there are NO blockages! I'm finally able to breathe a bit easier now. And as long as his heart rate stays down tonight, he'll be able to come home tomorrow. I thank God for this every chance I get. And I also thank all my friends and family for praying for him. This just goes to show you that prayers really do get answered! And I find myself sitting here hoping that all the prayers work for Sophia. There are hundreds of people praying for her right now. Please God, answer these prayers!

As titled, we've finally reached 23 weeks (and a day). And what a 23 weeks this has been. Moments of pure joy, many moments of sadness, and moments of anger (mainly for me). I still can't seem to grasp the fact that this is happening to me. To my family. And above all, to my precious baby girl. Like I've said many times before, it all seems so unfair. I know there is a lesson to be learned from this experience. Is this God's way of wanting to get me to love more deeply? Is this His way of teaching me just how much it hurts to lose a loved one? I have so many questions running through my head. Some I'm sure will never have an answer. Sophia is just so active now, almost as if she's dancing around inside me! My oldest daughter, Mercedes, asked her Daddy today, "Does Mommy always smile like that when she feels Sophia kick?" And he answered that with, "Yes she does. Now if only she would let me feel her move!" I happen to find it kind of funny. Once I feel Sophia move, I tell Angel (her daddy), and he'll rush over in hopes of feeling her move. But once he lays his hand on my belly, she stops moving. After a few minutes, he'll walk away and she'll start moving again. It almost seems as if Sophia and Daddy are playing some sort of hide-and-seek game. Everything just feels so normal that I can't accept the fact of what is ahead.

We finally had the chance to meet with our priest this past Wednesday. We talked quite a bit about what is going on with Sophia and our plans for her after delivery. After a little while, he reminded me how I asked him to send out a prayer request in our church. I almost forgot about that! And he said he did just that. And ever since then, he's been receiving several calls from other members of our church asking how we're doing. I couldn't believe it. I always wanted Sophia to make an impact on everyone's lives the way she has in ours.  And it seems like she is! After telling us that, he said that members of our church have also donated money to go towards Sophia's funeral costs. I wanted to start bawling right then, but told myself I have to stay strong and listen to what he had to say. He told us we didn't have to worry about any of those costs, because they are all handling it. What a blessing that has been! One less thing to worry about. And now we can focus on our family and the time we have left to spend with Sophia. We've been trying so hard to raise money to be able to pay for these things. But now it's like we don't have to. But, we've decided to continue making the ribbons and keychains to raise money to put towards Sophia's headstone (in case that isn't covered), a few outfits for her to wear in her pictures by NILMDTS, a small donation to the wonderful photographer that will be capturing many memories for us, and whatever is left we plan to donate to the March of Dimes at our walk in the fall. I'd also like to do something extra special to keep Sophia's memory alive forever. I've read how Baby Rachel's mother is putting together the plans to build a playground, Rachel's Playground! I've also read how some mother's start a garden. I'd love to be able to do that, but I have no yard. So I'm sitting back trying to think of something new. Something noone else has ever done before. The possibilities are endless!

In the beginning, we had decided to have Sophia cremated (even though I'm highly against cremation), and for very selfish reasons. So I could always keep her here with me. I knew this was against my religion, but I figured I could do it anyway. Until Angel started having frights of something happening to her ashes. And our priest made several good points. What if our house caught fire and we lost everything? What if they got knocked over and one of my other kids tried to clean it up and throw away Sophia's ashes? How could I ever live with myself if these things happened? So, we've decided against cremation. And she will be buried. Our priest is looking around at different cemeteries for us. One less thing for us to do. This man is beyond helpful! I couldn't ask for a better priest. We had never planned on staying in this small town for the rest of our lives, after all we are a young family. But, it looks like we'll be sticking around until we are old and gray. I refuse to leave my baby girl here all alone. We also thought we were just going to hold a small service for Sophia, just family and closest friends. But we changed our minds there too. Sophia is known by many people. And many people have offered their help. So, anyone who would like to attend is more then welcome to do so. She has affected their lives as well, so why count them out?

After all this was said and done, our priest anointed me. God, how I hope this worked! I remember leaving his office feeling much better then I had been since receiving Sophia's fatal diagnosis. When we got home, I sat here joking around with Angel and he kinda gave me the look like "What is wrong with her? She hasn't been like this in awhile." Before long, I got this weird feeling in my right side (where Sophia seems to lay at the most). I can't even begin to describe the feeling. It wasn't exactly a pain. Just something I can't describe, a feeling that was a little uncomfortable. I remember thinking, "God, are you working your magic now???" And within minutes I was overwhelmed with fatigue. So I decided to lay down for a "cat-nap". Let's just say that cat-nap lasted several hours! I still find myself wondering if God was up to something at that moment. I guess I can only hope and pray that He was.

We've got lots of appointments coming up. Early morning appointments too, which I hate. But atleast during those appointments I'll be able to see Sophia again. And that is what I look forward to the most. I never want this to end. Can't I just carry you forever and never have to let you go?