November 30, 2010

Back to the Doctor

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have our second Level II Ultrasound with the perinatologists at Forsyth Hospital tomorrow.  We'll be having these every four weeks for the rest of the pregnancy, just to monitor things and keep an eye on everything.  We're not expecting any big news tomorrow, but I'm still feeling anxious about it.  The last time we were at this office and met with these doctors we were at our lowest point in this journey.  Although there's no reason to suspect it, I'm just dreading getting some kind of bad news tomorrow.  Please say a prayer that all of the reports tomorrow will be encouraging and positive and that we can continue on the path to a hopeful future for Clara.  We'll update tomorrow, possibly with a new photo or two, and at least a report of how it all went.  We truly appreciate your continued prayers for all three of us.

P.S.  Robert finally got to feel Clara kick last night!  I keep telling him that he can write on this blog too, but since he hasn't yet, I thought I'd share with you all that fun milestone!  She's moving like crazy now, but every time Robert touched me she would freeze, so he was so excited to finally get to feel her move.  :)

November 27, 2010

Daddy Hardy

Dear Clara,

I wish that you could have met your Daddy Hardy.  He’s your great grandfather on your dad’s side and after living an active and vital life for 96 brilliant years, he went to be with his Maker on Wednesday, November 24 at 6:00AM.  We had his funeral and burial today and remembered with joy the incredible man he was while surrounded by many friends and family.  He loved you already and you would have loved him too.  We’ll do our best to pass along his legacy to you, because it is a legacy of pride in all things that truly matter and humility in self. 

Daddy Hardy was Love.  During the service today, Uncle Jim read 1 Corinthians 13, replacing the word “love” with “Daddy Hardy”:  “Daddy Hardy is patient, Daddy Hardy is kind.  Daddy Hardy does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud.  Daddy Hardy does not dishonor others, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs.  Daddy Hardy does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Daddy Hardy always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  There aren’t many people who this could be a truly accurate description of, but it surely does describe your  Daddy Hardy.  He was a selfless man, who loved deeply, passionately and sincerely from the bottom of his heart.  He loved all people and loved them well.  He never had a bad word to say about anyone and even though he repeated himself a lot, he meant what he said with deep genuineness every single time.   He took the commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself very seriously and lived it out in this world better than anyone else I have ever known.   

There were two things that were centrally important to Daddy Hardy: his faith and his family.  Daddy Hardy believed that if you committed yourself to the Lord at an early age, studied his word, and followed his commandments, he would bless you with a loving family.  He set a great example for all of us in that.  He was active and involved in his church and his community as a well-respected leader, not just because of his wisdom and his grace but because of his impeccable character and his big heart.  He served the church well, because he truly cared for people the way Jesus did.  He was also deeply quiet and personal in his faith.  He spent hours every day in solitude, reading God’s word and praying faithfully for many.  We always said the prayers of Daddy Hardy were more powerful than anyone else’s.  When we first realized that his time was coming, we felt a twinge of sadness that he would not be here to continue praying for you through the hard times you have ahead.  Then we realized that he’s just taken a step closer to God and that he will be standing right beside him when you’re born, whispering directly into His ear our deepest pleas for your life and health.  We are praying already that you will someday know Christ and I know there’s nothing Daddy Hardy would want more for you. 

Daddy Hardy is leaving behind 3 sons, 8 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.  You will be thirteen.  Although you won’t have the opportunity to meet him on this earth, he did meet you.  On his last night of life, your dad and I went to the hospital to see him.  Your dad put Daddy Hardy’s hand on my belly and introduced him to you, Clara Mae.  He told Daddy Hardy how much we know he loves you and asked him to watch over you from heaven.  He said a prayer for the both of you before we left and wanted you to know what a special man Daddy Hardy was.  We will do everything we can to honor Daddy Hardy’s memory by raising you with love and grace and by passing on to you the values that Daddy Hardy held so dear.  I know that’s what Daddy Hardy would want for us to do.  It is a lot to live up to, but I promise we’ll do our best to show you the kind of man he was.   


Daddy Hardy on his 90th Birthday

November 25, 2010


Like so many of you, we’ve taken time today between bites of green bean casserole and gravy soaked turkey to pause and remember all the many blessings we have to be thankful for.  We are so thankful for our families who love and support us unconditionally and will do anything in the world for us.  We are thankful for amazing friends who love us just like family and who provide us with lots of laughter but are also willing to let us cry when we need to.  We are thankful for our warm and safe home and the comfort it provides.  We are thankful for jobs that we enjoy and the income that they provide.  We are thankful for our health.  We are so very thankful for our marriage and recognize that the love we share is very special and not something to take for granted. 

This Thanksgiving we are also grateful for other some new things.  We are so thankful for Clara Mae Hardy.  We are thankful for her life and the joy that it has already brought us.  We are thankful that by God’s perfect design we have the opportunity to take part in Creation in such a meaningful and personal way.  We are thankful for modern medicine and especially for the medical community we live in as we will rely so heavily on their care in the months to come.  We are very, very thankful to the large family of Christ who has surrounded us in the past month with prayers and love and affirmation.  It has been a powerful demonstration of how God intends His family to carry one another and we feel so blessed and humbled by each of your expressions of love and concern for us.  You cannot know how thankful we are for your prayers. 

Today we celebrated these few blessings and many, many more with a gathering of the Hardy family in Oxford, GA.  This year when we circled up to count off before the blessing there were a total of 99 people holding hands and joining hearts together.  It is a beautiful, tangible expression of family and love that I’m not sure many families get to experience.  I’ve written before about how special this Hardy family is to me and how fortunate I feel to have joined them.  Clara will be among the children in years to come to run around this yard playing chase, toss a football, and eat the turkey cookies before lunch is served.  What an amazing family she will be joining.  Here are some images of a very thankful Thanksgiving:

A beautiful Fall day of feasting and frolicking

Every chair filled with a warm body and a plate full of food

Tackle football

A bite or two of pie

Daddy Bob and Robert rocking away with full bellies
Me, Robert and Baby Niece Eleanor

November 21, 2010

Baby Girl Gets A Name

I know that there are now many of you out there reading this blog who don’t really know us very well, or at all, but are still faithfully praying for us and for Baby Girl.  It is truly humbling for us to see the number of hits on this blog each day and to know that they represent prayers and love from far and wide.  For those of you who do know us and were at our wedding a couple of years ago, you may remember the beautiful sermon preached by my brother.  It was all about names and how significant they are.

I’ve thought about that a lot in the last few months.  Robert and I actually had a name picked out for a girl even before we knew that Baby Hardy was a girl, but after learning more about her condition and all that we will face ahead of us, I wondered if it was still the “right” name for her.  We spent a lot of time looking at name meanings and trying to decide how to capture in a name all that she is, all that we hope for her to be, and all that she means to us already. 

As a teacher, it’s even harder to settle on a name.  I’ve taught a lot of children (some I loved, some not so much) and it seems that for any name of a former student there were strong associations that I just couldn’t shake.  Plus, I found myself creating additional rules that may or may not have been ridiculous: cannot be shortened to a nickname (been there, done that, makes life hard), must be called by her first name (Thanks, Mom and Dad for breaking that one too…), cannot have more than 6 letters, must be easy to pronounce and spell, etc. etc. etc.  We thought about Irish names since that’s where this child was conceived.  We also wanted to consider family names and history.  We didn’t want a name that was too trendy or popular, but also didn’t want a name that no one would be able to recognize.  Robert and I are both drawn to more traditional, old fashioned names too.  Whew.  This is a big task – naming your child.

We did not originally plan to announce the baby’s name until after birth.  Since we were finding out the gender in advance, we thought it would be fun to still have some surprises up our sleeve to announce at the time of birth.  But now we know that we’ll have enough surprises then without the mystery of her name added in.  And even though we both believe that God hears your prayers for her just fine without you speaking her name, we did think it would be powerful for you to be able to begin now praying for her by name.  We hope that knowing her name now will give you another sense of connection to her so that you will remain faithful in your prayers for her future. 

Okay, enough stalling. Baby Girl Hardy’s name is:

Clara  Mae  Hardy

Clara means bright and clear.  Mae is a derivative of Mary which has been a long time family name on my side of the family.  Mae is also a family name on Robert’s side.  It can mean beloved, wished for child, and of course is also associated with the month of the year – May (the month of Maia, the Greek mythological goddess of spring growth).  We are hopeful that next May might be a time of great growth for Clara (especially those lungs!) and that it will be a bright time in the life of our family.    We will call her Clara (although I expect that living in the South, that double name may get added on quite a bit too…).  Of course, we are already aware of how appropriate her last name will be for her.  I hope she is a hardy girl! 

Mostly, I just think it’s a beautiful name.  I love the way it sounds when we say it and can’t wait to whisper it into her ear. 

A good name is more desirable than great riches”  Proverbs 22:1 
I hope that we have chosen a good name for you, Clara. 

November 17, 2010

The New Normal

I won't be able to write every day of the next four months, but will try to update at least weekly to let you know what we're thinking and feeling and remind you of the things we're diligently praying for in hopes that you will join us on your knees in persistent petition. 

This was our first true week back to living our normal lives.  I went back to school for the first time last Friday and so this is my first five day week after nearly two weeks out for tests and appointments and meetings and processing.  It's been good, so good, in very many ways to return to school.  I work with a wonderfully supportive group of educators who have cared well for me during a difficult time.  I love my work - even on days when I don't have enough energy to do it the way I would like to - teaching fills me up like nothing else can.  And as my mother keeps reminding me, I'm sure grateful for the health benefits I've got right now that are going to pay for all those tests from the past couple of weeks! 

I was terribly worried about what to tell my children, or how.  I was afraid of scaring them or making them worried.  I should have known that I needed not worry:

Mrs. Hardy: Boys and girls, I've missed you very much while I was gone and I'm glad to be back at school.  I have been at lots of doctors' appointments because they wanted to take a closer look at the baby and make sure she's doing okay.  Turns out she's going to have to have surgery after she's born.
Student 1: When I was five years old, I had surgery on my neck because my Great Dane bit me.
Student 2: One time I got stitches right here because I fell off my bike.
Student 3: Can I get some water?

Yeah, they're fine. 

I'm not.  Well, not totally.  It's strange to re-enter a world that's still moving at the same pace and in the same direction and going after the same things when you've had something happen in your own life that has so drastically altered your reality.  Things that once seemed very important have no meaning to me at all right now.  And things that used to have no meaning at all to me suddenly seem terribly important.

For example, when something at school got "sprung" on us teachers like so often seems to happen, the rest of the teachers on my team were furious.  Indignant.  Self-righteous.  WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!  But me?  It just didn't seem to matter.  So what if we have one more little project we have to find time to squeeze in.  That's not a big deal.  We'll do it.

Or last night, we had a PTO meeting (Picture 150 kids in construction paper costumes on the gym floor singing African songs and doing African dances.  Yep, that kind of PTO program.).   I looked out into the audience full of parents watching their kids perform and immediately spotted nearly a dozen small babies.  Some of them didn't seem to be even a month old.  And I was overcome with sadness that these babies were at a PTO meeting with their families at one month, moving on with life, joining the rest of the world.  When our baby is one month old, we'll likely still be in the NICU, catching naps when we can and eating hospital food because it's the closest thing and doesn't require that I leave her side for very long.  Those other families haven't done anything wrong and I'm not angry at them for their ability to be out in the world and moving on.  It just makes me a little sad.

So, right now seems to be about finding the "new normal."  How do I get back into the swing of my life and continue doing all the little things that each day brings and not be overwhelmed with emotion at the sound of a Brenner Children's Hospital ad on the radio or baffled by how much "everyone else" is frustrated with things around them that don't seem very important to me right now?  How do I reconcile "real normal" with my "new normal"? 

I don't know the answer, but I'm grateful for the time and space to figure it out because I think that's probably part of the puzzle.  I'm grateful for friends and family who will let me confess to them that babies at PTO meeting made me sad or that I can't care about someone else's "CRISIS" the way that I would like to because to me it just seems trivial.  I'm thankful for God's grace that covers all of my imperfections along with Baby Girl's diaphragmatic hernia.  I rest in the knowledge that we serve a God who knows my old normal and knows my new normal and will carry me between them in whatever shape I'm in. 


Things we're praying for:
1) That God will heal Baby Girl and make her whole.  We recognize that He has the power to do this in a time and way that is miraculous and surprising to everyone or that He may heal her through many months in the NICU with doctors and nurses working hard to help her hang on.  We'd prefer the former, but we'll take the latter.  We're just praying that she be made whole and be able to come home to join our family here.
2) That her pulmonary hypertension will respond to the medications that are offered her.  We're praying right now that she never has to go on ECMO and that her stay in the hospital will be as brief as possible.
3) That we will have the strength and courage to face whatever is ahead of us and that we will remain faithful in believing that God wants her to live and flourish here with us.  

There's more.... we pray a lot of prayers these days.  But those are a few things that we're really praying hard for right now and we ask that you will join us.  God hears the prayers of many. 

November 11, 2010


As a deacon in our church, one of the things I signed up to do was take communion and serve it to members who are home-bound and cannot join us for worship at Knollwood any more.  I was supposed to go visit Dewey and Virginia Hobbs several weeks ago for World Communion Sunday, but had not found a good time to do it, and then all this happened.  My mom and I finally went to go see them today.  We shared the story of our last two weeks with these dear, dear people and they listened with compassion and understanding that comes from having lived 85 years and seen and experienced their own share of heartache and pain.  Dewey is an ordained minister himself and has faithfully served many many people in his years of ministry and service.  It seemed backwards for me to the be one serving him communion.  So, when it came time for us to take The Lord's Supper, he's the one who blessed the broken body of Christ and the blood shed for us before the four of us shared in an intimate communion together.   They're both wise enough to not have had any platitudes or empty promises to give us.  Instead, before we left Dewey simply prayed this prayer, "May God hold you in the hollow of His hand." 

What a beautiful image, not just for us but for all of God's children.   And Baby Girl Hardy.

November 10, 2010

Adjusted Expectations

Today we geared up for another round of doctor's visits.  While we will continue to have more frequent visits with doctors in the coming months, this should be the last of this initial flurry of meetings, consultations and tests.  Today we saw the pediatric cardiologist.  As I have mentioned, the real issue with the diaphragmatic hernia is a lung/breathing/pulmonary hypertension issue.  Since the heart is an important piece of all that, they wanted to check and see if the heart looks okay and is functioning correctly at this time (apparently with CDH there are often heart issues and complications as well since it gets shifted and smooshed in the process).  The pediatric cardiologist will be another part of the team (along with neonatalogists and pediatric surgeons) who are caring for Baby Girl once she joins us.  

The good news is - we got good news today!  They did a full fetal echocardiogram and it looks like everything about the heart at this time has formed correctly and is functioning well!  We thank you for your specific prayers about this issue; it was truly a great relief to get good news at a doctor's visit.  The stronger Baby Girl's heart is, the better it will be able to pump oxygenated blood through the body and to and from the lungs.  (I'm sure that was not completely anatomically correct, but cut me some slack.  I'm just an elementary school teacher).  We'll go back in eight weeks for another look, but for now, everything about her heart looks healthy and strong!

We had another realization today about how our expectations for doctor's visits have changed in the last two weeks.  In our young lives and pretty healthy experiences thus far, we've always gone to the doctor with an expectation that everything will be totally fine (except maybe a sore arm from a tetanus shot.).  We started this pregnancy that way too.  Doctor's visits were something to look forward to - a chance to hear the baby's heartbeat, maybe even see an ultrasound, and be told that everything is going just fine.   Don't forget to take your vitamins.  Our experiences of the last few weeks have probably changed how we enter exam rooms forever.  Today we were a little anxious, slightly concerned, hopeful, but reserved.  We've started preparing ourselves for bad news instead of expecting good news.  While this is probably not ideal, it sure made getting good news so so sweet. 

The doctor (another very kind and intelligent man; we've been so blessed with doctors!) began by telling us all the things that sometimes go wrong with the heart in cases of CDH.  Robert and I were holding our breaths for minutes before he finally uttered the words, "I don't see any of that going on with your baby."  Whew.  What a relief.

A lot of the processing for us the last week has been about adjusting expectations in general.  We're not going to have a picture-perfect baby.  We won't be going home with her days after delivery.  Another doctor told us today that we're likely have difficulty getting to transfer to breast feeding and that we may not be able to do that.  We're grateful that even though this medical knowledge about our baby has changed the second half of our pregnancy, we do have this time to adjust our expectations, change the images in our heads (some we didn't even know were there!) and begin to prepare for what our reality will be.  When she comes, we won't feel any disappointment and hopefully not any anger.  We'll know that it's a long and hard road ahead, but at least that's what we'll be expecting. 

November 9, 2010

The Surgeon's Report

Yesterday we met with Dr. John Petty, one of the three pediatric surgeons at Brenner Children's Hopsital (Baptist Hopital) where Baby Girl Hardy will be transferred after delivery and stabilization.  First of all, let me say how wonderful all the doctors that we have worked with are.  We have been truly impressed by not only the professionalism and knowledge of these doctors, but their overwhelming care and concern for us as people and as parents.  We are so very very grateful that we live where we do and that we are receiving and will continue to receive such a high standard of care.  Dr. Petty, much like Dr. O'Shea on Friday, spent over an hour talking with us about Baby Girl's condition and explaining to us the things that we can expect after she's born.  Much of what he said we had heard before, but it was great to hear it confirmed by another doctor.  We feel like we are being so well prepared for the struggles and trials that we will all face together as a family once she joins us.  Here are some bullet points from our conversation with him.  We share these specifics so that you can better understand where we are, but also so that you will know ways to pray specifically for Baby Girl's health in the months ahead. 
  • The ability to predict now (at 20 weeks of pregnancy) how Baby Girl will do once she's born is very poor.  There are some studies with indicators and ratios and markers, but the bottom line is until she starts trying to breathe air and we can see how she does with that, we will not know exactly where we fall on the very wide spectrum of CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia).
  • The problem with her condition is not so much the mechanical, physical issue of the diaphragm hole and the misplaced organs (although that will certainly have to be addressed).  The problem is pulmonary hypertension (blood pressure in lungs).  We are praying that her pulmonary hypertension after birth is not severe and that she will be able to receive the treatments that are available to her and respond favorably to them.
  • Doctors' thinking about CDH has changed in the last 15 years.  It is now not so much about fixing the hole immediately as it is about stabilizing the baby, seeing how she responds to treatments for pulmonary hypertension and then repairing the hernia.
  • A "last resort" treatments for infants with pulmonary hypertension is ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).   Brenner's is one of the few places in the state that does ECMO so they see a lot (relatively) of CDH cases, approximately ten a year.  His rough estimate of the CDH cases at Brenner's is that about 3-4 of those 10 go on ECMO and about half of those babies will survive.  Therefore, Brenner's overall survival rate for CDH is around 70-80% (these are rough estimates, not necessarily statistically accurate numbers.)  The national survival rate for CDH is between 50-65%.
  • The range of stay in the NICU (or PICU if ECMO is required) is anywhere from one month to seven or eight months.  
  • The surgery is done one of two ways.  If there is enough diaphragmatic muscle, they will try to close the hole by stitching muscle to muscle.  If not, they will "patch" the hole which may require additional surgery down the road as the baby (and her diaphragm) grows.  The incision is below her ribs.  They hope to be able to do the surgery within a week after she is born, although that may be a little longer if she ends up having to go on ECMO.
  • We looked at the MRI films again.  The surgeon said that her right lung looked "normal".  While the radiologist noted that there was no left lung present, Dr. Petty also said that he thought there probably was a little bit on the left side as well.  While this is certainly good news (and we will continue to pray that she is able to develop as much healthy lung tissue as possible), he also said that the size of the lung was not necessarily an indicator of how successful the baby would be.  The greatest indicator is the pulmonary hypertension (which we won't know the details of until she is born and begins breathing air.)
This is a lot of information for us to process and consider as we look ahead to Baby Girl's birth and preparing for her to have the best chance possible at life.  We were especially grateful for some of Dr. Petty's closing remarks.  He encouraged us to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy, to be grateful for the gift of a child that we have been given, and to celebrate her coming into the world.  "Paint the nursery, and have fun getting ready for her," he said.  He echoed the many other doctors who have assured us that we have done nothing wrong to cause this condition and that as long as she is in my womb she remains safe and healthy, breathing through the placenta.  We are looking at the months ahead as a chance to adjust our expectations of her first few weeks and months of life and to grow more and more excited about her joining us and being a part of our family.  We know that we have changed our perspective on becoming parents and on what really matters in the last couple of weeks.  As hard as it is to receive difficult news like we have received, we are grateful for the opportunity to prepare and pray for her healthy growth.  The generation before us would never have even known that this was ahead of them.  We'll have the best doctors on standby and ready to respond and hundreds of you out there, praying for her success as well.   That's a pretty good report.   

November 7, 2010


As we have grappled with sadness and confusion this week we have also found many, many blessings and small miracles in this difficult time.  I know that it is God's grace that allows us to find any positive things during dark times.  As I've mentioned before one of the greatest of these has been the love, support and prayers poured out on us by both friends and strangers.  Another is our parents.

This was a time when we felt especially blessed to live near my parents.  When we left our appointment on Tuesday with the worst news of the week we drove straight to their house and fell into their arms.  Throughout the week, as we learned more information or had last minute appointments scheduled they dropped anything they were doing at the last minute to join us, listen to us, and stand by our side.  My mom brought us dinner (which I ate three or four bites of before promptly throwing up), but her presence and intentions nourished us more than the food itself.  They were every bit as heartbroken as we were - or more - but stayed strong for us throughout the week.

Robert's parents live in Georgia, but after work on Friday they drove four hours to see us, hug us, and be near us.  His mom cooked for us all day on Saturday and filled our freezer with meals for the weeks to come.  They were only here 24 hours, but in that time they were able to comfort us and restore us like only parents can.  I am so very thankful for my in-laws.

We are beginning to understand what parents' love for their child is like.  As much as we already love Baby Girl Hardy and yearn for only good things for her, our parents somehow love us even more.  They've had nearly thirty years to practice it.  We are so fortunate to have good examples of marriage and of parenting in our parents and are grateful for the close, positive and healthy adult relationships we cherish with them now.  Just as this week has brought Robert and me closer together it has also strengthened our bonds with our parents.  This is one of those small little blessings.

Baby Girl Hardy is going to be so lucky to have these four grandparents doting on her and loving her like only grandparents can.  And we are daily counting them among our many blessings.

Big Daddy, Mama K, Sweet Mama, and Daddy Bob

November 6, 2010

The Crib

We ordered the crib for Baby Hardy's room before our first 18 week ultrasound on October 28. It arrived on Monday before our 2nd ultrasound when we first received the scary news about Baby Hardy's future. It sat in the box all week while we just stared at it, unsure of its future or our baby's.

Today we opened the box and put the crib together.

It was a more significant experience and ritual than putting a crib together should have been, but to us it represents so much.

It is a tangible sign of the hope that we have for Baby Girl coming home and sleeping here. It represents our belief that she will be here, alive and healthy and able to make this her home. It is a reminder to us to pray for her each day between now and then and trust in God's ability to create her wholly and provide for her needs as well as ours. It is a bold statement that we intend for her to join us here on earth.

With each screw that Robert added or piece that was put together it felt to me almost like we were putting her together, physically creating a space that will be just for her.

Baby Girl, we're getting ready for you.

This is the fabric and these are the colors that will brighten your room the way that you will brighten our lives.

We're not done getting this nursery ready, we're not done preparing our hearts for you, we're not done praying for you. But we're beginning all these things and we'll continue until you have safely made your home right here.

We love you.

November 5, 2010

Second Chances

You have prayed. God has listened. We have been blessed.

On Tuesday we thought that our Baby Girl had almost no chance of living. It sounded like it was likely that she had a fatal chromosomal disorder and that even if she didn't, that her herniated diaphragm was severe enough that surgery wouldn't help. We spent two and half days in the depths of despair, mourning and grieving and trying to make sense of the incomprehensible. We have had more tests and talked to more specialists than we could have imagined. We have heard words and phrases that we wish we'd never had to hear. We have asked questions that are heartbreaking and had conversations that we would wish on no one. And through it all we have pleaded with God and begged for mercy. Our friends and family across the country have extended love and support and prayers when we couldn't find the words ourselves. There are countless strangers who have added us to their prayer lists and hurt and grieved with us, without even knowing us.

Today we received several pieces of good news. The results of our amniocentesis came back and confirmed that Baby Girl's chromosomes are normal. Robert and I were sitting together in the nursery when we got the news and both burst into tears - the first tears of joy we've cried in many many days of tears. The chromosomal syndromes that we were anticipating would have meant a clear death sentence for her, and this was the first window of light and hope that we had heard. We then met with a neonatologist to discuss the details of her diaphragmatic hernia. This is still a very severe and potentially life-threatening condition. However, he also had encouraging news for us. The MRI yesterday revealed two pieces of good news: the liver and spleen are not in her chest cavity (although all of the stomach and much of the bowel are) and her right lung showed "a surprisingly significant amount of lung tissue." The left lung has no significant lung tissue because of the herniation. However, given this information, we know that Baby Girl Hardy has a new chance at life.

Her delivery will not be picture-perfect. She will be intubated and ventilated immediately and stabilized at Forsyth Hospital's NICU before being transferred to Baptist Hospital for surgery. There are many complications that can arise, but we are prayerful for the best case scenario - surgery to repair the diaphragm followed by several weeks of hospitalized recovery. We are adjusting our expectations of our first few months of her life, but giddy with excitement about the fact that we can now imagine her life here with us.

There are more details, of course, but that's the big picture. We stand in awe of this answered prayer for miracles and will take one day at a time from here. We are experiencing relief and thankfulness while recognizing that we still stand in serious need of more prayer. We share this with you so that you may rejoice alongside us and be encouraged by your answered prayers, but also so that you will not stop praying. We have 20 more weeks until delivery and are begging that you pray for her every day between now and then. We will list more specifics here as the weeks go by and ask for specific prayers for many of the details. If you subscribe to an RSS feed, we ask that you add our blog to that, or if you would like for us to add you to an email list to remind you to pray (and give specifics to pray for) we would be glad to do that as well. If you have prayer lists at your church or among your communities we ask you to please add us to them. We recognize that the news we have heard today is not by accident or chance and that we must remain prostrate before our Lord for further miracles in her life.

Today we feel that, more than anything, we have been given a second chance. Baby Girl has been given an opportunity to experience life and we have been given a chance to stand as a testament to the powerful work of a loving and merciful God. Thank you again so deeply for your prayers and your love. They have sustained us and will continue to do so.

We bought these flowers for Baby Girl tonight and put them in her nursery as a reminder to us of the life ahead of her.

November 4, 2010


I know that you are all wondering what the update is and what is going on with us. Honestly, we don't have much of one. We've cried more tears, experienced deeper sadness and grief and grappled with more difficult questions the past few days than ever before in our lives. We have clung to each other with desperation and fear and our young marriage has been tested and found to be stronger than even we could have imagined. We have been surrounded and affirmed by friends and community far and wide and have savored each word of the emails, voice messages, text messages and more that have been sent our way. Your love for us is humbling and empowering and we are so very grateful for it.

We have had several more tests this week in an attempt to gather information and are awaiting results from those. Our doctors, especially Kerri Scherer - both friend and OBGYN, have moved mountains to get us in to see the right people in the right time. We've asked a million questions and have tried our best to sort through the answers amidst our emotional fog and grief.

We cling to hope, although we recognize that it takes on many forms and we continue to pray for miracles, even as we experience small ones each hour of every day now. Even in the midst of such a crisis we are able to count our many blessings and the ways that our God is caring for us and providing for us. Our lives have been forever changed this week and we will never see the world through the same lens again.

I wanted to post tonight to say thank you to all of you who have shared your many expressions of love and concern. Each one of them has touched us and moved us - more than you can even imagine. I have heard that many of you are checking the blog, waiting for an update. Right now we're just waiting too. We'll share more as this all unfolds before us. In the meantime, keep praying for us, encouraging us and supporting us and know that we are deeply grateful.

November 2, 2010

Pray for Miracles

Today's news was bad. In fact, it was about as bad as we could have expected for today.

The baby does have a severe diaphragmatic hernia. It appeared from today's ultrasound that it is so severe that the entire stomach is in her chest cavity, leaving no room for her lungs to develop. The misplaced stomach has also displaced her heart, which is another concern.

The doctors also saw two other indicators or markers that lead them to believe that there is a good chance that the herniated diaphragm is not isolated but part of a greater chromosomal syndrome or disorder. Two such disorders that are a possibility are trisomy 13 and trisomy 18; these are both fatal.

Regardless, it seems from today's results that our baby's chances of life are slim. Even if we find it is not a chromosomal disorder she still may not survive the hernia because of its severity and the lungs' inability to develop properly.

We are reeling from the news. It's hard to believe how much we already love her and how much our hearts are breaking.

We know we serve a God who is loving and just. We do not understand what is happening or why right now, but we cannot lose faith and hope. We ask you to join us in praying for a miracle. A miracle is what we need. We also ask for your love and support and comfort as we grieve and cope and try to figure out how to react and respond to all of this news. She needs a miracle for a chance at life and we need a miracle to find peace in such hard times.

We will have an MRI next week to determine more precisely the extent of the hernia. We are also scheduling an echo-cardiogram to have a closer look at the baby's heart and its function. We will likely have an amniocentesis further into the pregnancy to learn details of any chromosomal disorder that may be present. We will also meet with a genetic counselor.

We will update more as we learn more and as we continue processing all of these emotions. We are not answering many phone calls and may not return your emails, but please know how meaningful they are to us. We are deeply grateful for your many varied expressions of love, support, and shared sadness to us. Your encouragement and your prayers, not only for Baby but for us, are what is carrying us right now.

Pray for miracles. Big and small. We are.

November 1, 2010

Prayers for Baby Girl

Just a reminder (in case anyone is out there reading this blog) that tomorrow we have our appointment with the perinatologist who will do a very careful ultrasound to determine more about the health and status of Baby Girl Hardy. There is still a small possibility that what was detected last Thursday was nothing and that she will get a completely clear bill of health. This is our fervent prayer. It is likely that she does have a herniated diaphragm. If this is the case, the doctors should be able to tell us more about it (size, location, severity, etc.) to help us understand better what is ahead of us and her. Our appointment is at 2:45 and we truly appreciate your prayers tomorrow for her wholeness. We will post again on this blog tomorrow with another update.

We are doing okay and are grateful to the many of you who send words of encouragement, love, compassion and your thoughts and prayers. Robert is the rock of this family right now and I grow more deeply in love with him each day for the many ways he is supporting and caring for me right now. I am emotional. Some of it is pregnancy and some of it is those motherly instincts that can't seem to turn off the worry for my child. It was difficult to go back to school today and try to be normal when I feel so far from it. In many ways, I felt separated today - like part of me was just watching the other me teaching and wondering what in the world I was doing during such a crisis. However, I'm grateful for this job not only for the many ways it rewards me and teaches me each day, but for the distraction that it is from my own thoughts.

Thanks again for your love and support and please pray for us tomorrow.

Much love,
The Hardys
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...