The story of Olivia Hope

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our little bunny

We found this little bunny last week in our backyard. Actually Winnie, our playful golden retriever, found her. I say playful because that is exactly what Winnie did, she played with it. Unfortunately Win's idea of playing was carrying the poor little thing around in her mouth, rolling on it and even tossing it up in the air all resulting in injuring it. I didn't know what was going on until I heard loud squeaking coming from down in the yard. I saw Winnie playing and I thought she had a toy down there until I saw something moving in the grass. Of course I ran down there as fast as I could and rescued the little cutie but not before Winnie did some major damage to it. I couldn't really punish her, she had no clue and was really not trying to hurt it, she was just having fun.
I couldn't tell at first that it was hurt. I knew it was old enough to be out of the nest so I brought it up on the porch to show Gwen. After awhile it tried to walk away and I could see that it was hurt. For some reason all I could think about was Olivia. I noticed swelling in the bunny's abdomen I knew that it was really hurt and would probably die. I didn't know what to do so I put it in a cozy box that I made up and left it alone for awhile to see what would happen.
The more time that went by the more I thought about Olivia and I really needed to do anything I could for this little helpless bunny. Even if nothing could be done I had to make the best effort.
I did some research and after awhile found a wildlife rehabilitation center in the area so Gwen and I packed up and took our little patient to the "bunny hospital"! What an amazing place! It was a full house with volunteers all over feeding squirrels, bunnies and all sorts of small critters. Outside were big cages with owls, hawks, vultures and some other large birds that were being cared for. Gwen loved it!
The women behind the counter told us it didn't look good for "Olivia bunny". She thought maybe a lower intestine puncture. (Nice job, Winnie...) I was just so happy to have found someone who would do their best even if nothing could be done.
I don't know why I thought about Olivia. Even now I think it's kinda silly. I just know that God loved that bunny and He loved my daughter even more.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

God is still good

There is a twist to the story that I haven't shared yet. The week Olivia was alive we met with the genetics team to discuss what the lab found as far as her official diagnosis was concerned. Like you know they confirmed that she had Trisomy 13 but, in the doctor's exact words, there was a twist to the story. Olivia had a translocation. The non-doctory way to tell you what that means is that basically instead of a normal third 13th chromosome she had a 13/14th combination (I think). I'm still fuzzy to what exactly it is but in my understanding (again, I THINK) is that a part of a 14th broke off and had something to do with buddying up with that third 13th causing what they call a translocation. I need to do more research on it. Anyway you can imagine my blood running cold as I'm sitting there, after just having to have the what to do/what not to do discussion about treating my daughter, and hearing the doctor say that this translocation could be brand new in Olivia or it could mean that one of us has a balanced 13/14 which means we are healthy but would make this hereditary and raise our chances of another Trisomy 13 baby. It also means that it could affect our siblings and their chances of going through the same thing. I was, AGAIN, completely devastated. Dr. Z suggested that we both have blood work done and we agreed since the new responsibility to our families was added to the equation.
I'll pause here and tell you that our blood work came back normal! However, I didn't find this out until yesterday. I have been living the last several weeks, actually months, in fear of what I thought I knew. I thought for sure they would find one of us to be carrying it. I just knew it. I've been praying about it, crying about it and half sick over the fact that I could, and in my mind already did, have a greater chance of going through this again. Being hereditary would only mean that instead of a one percent chance of recurrence I would have a five percent chance. Not big but still way too high for my taste! And I read later it would also mean that I would have a twenty percent chance of spontaneous miscarriage. Having already had one miscarriage several years ago I was sure it was connected. This was my life now, so I thought.
We hadn't heard back and I dwelled on whether or not I should call and find out. Did I want to know? I finally bit the bullet, picked up the phone and sat there feeling like I was going to puke until I heard the genetics counselor say the labs were normal. I bawled, but I'm sure she is used to that! She said that with a translocation the chances are actually smaller than the normal one percent that everyone has. "The chance of it happening the first time or again is as close to zero as we can get without actually saying zero", her words! Of course I'm delighted but I find this to be very sobering. So I basically had almost a zero percent chance of this happening? I really feel like God was saying to me "I chose YOU. This was 100% my plan for you." There are so many emotions that come with knowing that. I also feel like I can really allow myself to heal now. I don't have to live in fear and this chapter is closing. I can breathe and move forward.
I'm still doing ok. I have good and bad days. Today was a good day. Yesterday was a great day after hearing that news until Satan attacked and I found myself driving to the cemetery in the dark, kneeling on the mud and crying crying crying until I couldn't cry anymore. Funny how he got me real good right after that phone call that left me feeling very happy and comforted. He's a real stinker like that.
I want Olivia and everything reminds me of her. I miss her so much and I know I will always feel this way. I know it will get better but this will always be part of my life. SHE will always be part of our lives.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And life goes on....?

I've thought so many times that I need to update the blog. Even now as I'm doing it I'm sitting here having no clue what to write. It's been over a week now since Olivia's memorial service. It was lovely. We couldn't have asked for a better turn out of friends, family, or a better display of celebrating Olivia's life and acknowledging God's hand in this whole situation. For those of you that weren't able to make it our pastor opened up the service and my dad preached the sermon which, if I do say so myself, was incredible. It was a great and yet horrible day all at the same time. We had a wonderful slide show made by Kevin which I hope to be able to share with you soon and Andy finished it all up by playing Amazing Grace on his cello at the graveside service which I hope to share that with you soon as well.
But time moves on doesn't it? The flowers are dying. Life still happens. There are diapers to change, bills to pay, errands to run and all sorts of things to get back to. I would say I'm managing all of that well but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think about Olivia every second of every day. Everything around me reminds me somehow of her. Even this weather which helps me deal with my sadness but also takes me right back to last summer when I was pregnant with her and makes me sad all at the same time. I can't really explain it. I miss her more than I can express. We didn't care that she had deformities or that she was mentally handicap. To us she was beautiful and perfect and we loved her with every fiber of our being. It's not fair!!
I do feel like before I close that I need to say thanks. Thanks to you all. Thanks to everyone in our churches for prayers, meals, and other forms of support. Thanks to all of our family for walking along side us through this and for all of our friends who have done the same. I can't possibly name everyone and some of you I don't even know. THANK YOU. We have never felt for one second that we didn't have an amazing support system. I know we would not have gotten through without you all and I know that God has used you in this crazy journey to minister to us.
Please keep praying. These days are dark.