Friday, March 30, 2012


Good Morning!  Sorry I have been a SUPER slacker this, my, where does the time go?  I remember telling a family friend when I was young all the things I wanted to do in and with my life.  Astounded, he looked at me and simply said, "you are going to need more time in everyday!"  How true that is and I haven't even started on that list! :)

I want to first start off by saying "Thank you"to everyone who came to the Healing Mass Wednesday night.  It means so much to have so many people joining together with us as we jump into this journey of Faith.  We are beyond blessed with the love of so many people--it is very overwhelming.  At the same time, I want to apologize for not fully understanding the schedule of that night--I will know better for the future :)

I find it safe to say that Rod and I both had powerful experiences during the Healing Service.  After Mass, the healing team separated into different parts of the main chapel in the Holy Spirit Center and whoever wanted could go to one of the groups and ask for them to pray over you for the intention you were coming to Christ with.  In typical Maria fashion, I came with a posse. Rod, my parents and sisters knelt around me and placed their hands upon my belly as the healing team prayed for Vivian and her healing.  The man praying said something in his prayer that has really stuck with me, "allow this child to leap for joy as St. John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth's womb upon meeting Christ in Mary's womb".  Why this struck me is Viv dances when she hears the bells at the Consecration, she dances when Rod prays over her and she danced while she was being prayed for.  She already KNOWS CHRIST and His presence.  And He is with her in a special way.  And she leaps when she is in His presence.  So cool.

My resolution from this service is to go every fourth Wednesday until she is born.  I kept reflecting on the woman with the hemorrhage that had the faith that if she only touched Christ's cloak she would be healed.  And amidst a huge crowd, she was healed and Christ felt the power leave Him.  I am that woman, but instead of a hemorrhage, I have a child that I believe Christ's love has touched and will touch.

Rod and I went to Mass this morning.  It felt like we were dating again--we met at St. Gertrude's (which is where we went to Mass this morning) and after we started dating, we would go to Mass everyday.  Usually 7 am at St. Teresa, and neither of us are morning people!  We looked forward to it though--always good to start the day on the right foot!  Today's Gospel is not one I particularly remember, but something struck me today and did in yesterday's Gospel too.  Christ flat out made people mad.  Not because what He did was wrong, but because it was both radical and good.  How many times did "they try to arrest Him" or "pick up stones" to throw at Him and every time Christ "escaped their power" or "faded into the crowd".  I never really pondered this and passed it off yesterday, but here I am thinking about it again.  God protected Christ, even when it seemed He was totally screwed, until it was time, God's time.  Same with us.  God's time is perfect, for the good and the not so good.  God is always here.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Gabriel greets Mary at the Annunciation and says to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God".  What a beautiful tag line for our lives.  God often asks us to do things we don't understand or that we feel too small to accomplish.  The beauty in that is that in saying "yes" we must increase our faith in His love and His strength to work through us. 

I feel like this daily when I think about Viv.  I can't be afraid of what God has given me and I can't let it bear me down.  This line from Gabriel, however, tuned in to the feeling I have of being honored to be asked by God to be Vivian's mom, for some how, some way, I "have found favor with God". 

It is a grace and a gift to be asked to be the mother period, and as we read the Gospel today it reminds us that it is also scary, uncertain and that there is a leap of faith involved when bringing life into this world, and it doesn't stop once the baby is born, it only begins.

I want to encourage all of you to reflect for a few moments at some time today about the "yes" you have made to God at some point in your life and the outcomes of that "yes" or of the multiple "yes"es.  I am absolutely positive there are a wide array of feelings that will accompany those moments, but when all the feelings are sifted through, there is always joy knowing that God has found favor with us for that "yes"

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I just found out today is the celebration of the Annunciation.  This is a BEAUTIFUL quote from St. Augustine:

[Christ's] Mother carried Him in her womb; may we carry Him in our hearts.  The Virgin became pregnant with the incarnation of Christ; may our hearts become pregnant with faith in Chrsit.  She brought forth the Savior; may our souls bring forth salvation and praise.  May our souls be not sterile, but fertile for God.

Dear Vivi

My Precious Baby Vivian,

Daddy and I have been sickies this week :( You have has the hiccups for the first time(s) this week!  How exciting to feel you growing inside me.  I love being the first one to share these moments with you--it is the most unreal feeling--nothing compares to the love I have for you.

 I am humbled each day be the amount of people that you are touching already.  God creates each of us in His image for a specific purpose, and if this is only the beginning of yours, hold on to your socks world!

Vivi, the during this Lenten season we are so encouraged to see Christ in the Gospels heal.  He not only heals bodies, but most importantly, He heals hearts and souls.  He is healing my heart and soul and Daddy's heart and soul so we will be ready to receive the greatest gift--YOU!  Today Christ was saddened when He heard the words, "Master, the one you love is ill".  He was filled with sorrow when he found even further Lazarus, was dead.  He wept in sorrow, as He has wept with Daddy and I when we found out about your heart, because you are the one we all love.  But, He didn't let this keep Him down, or allow Him to despair.  He knew that even in sorrow God can show His Glory.  When He went to visit Mary and Martha, what happened?  Lazarus rose from the dead!  How amazing!  Regardless of what happens with your precious heart girlfriend, we are in God's Will and His Glory will be shown through your life.  As I reread the Gospel, there is a beautiful moment where Christ talks to His Father.  He says:

"Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me."

I can really feel this prayer from my end as your Mommy and I can imagine you saying this too--Through your life, all will see, know and experience Christ's love and know He has sent You, to share His love with us.

I fall more in love with your sweet spirit everyday.  You bring a joy to my soul I never knew possible.  I praise God for the gift He has honored me with--YOU!

I love you,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle

This mom is far more wise than I am has a beautiful and articulate way of sharing what I have been feeling since March 8.  I think you will love what she has to say.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Fold Healing

Every time Jesus heals in the Gospels, it is in fact two fold.  There is the obvious physical aspect as well as the not so obvious, but more important, spiritual aspect.  Today the Gospel reminds us of that and I can't help but feel that my situation isn't any different.  Viv has caused my heart to need Christ and want Christ like I have never before.  I can already feel a shift in my soul, and although there isn't a physical healing I am in need of, there is always a spiritual healing I am willing to accept.  I feel Christ reaching into my heart and challenging me to become better now, so I am ready to give all of my changed heart to my sweet baby girl.  I just can't get over God's timing--all this happening during LENT!  A changed heart is what I should be searching for, longing for and hoping for but it hurts and isn't always easy to allow to happen. 

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the compassion and love you show us through your actions.  Lord, I am so weak without you.  In you I place my love and my trust.  I believe in your ability to heal physically and spiritually.  I ask you to continue to change my heart, to grant me the grace to hand it over to you and allow you to do your will with it.  I know you hear my prayer and will continue to be my strength and will guide me along this journey as I prepare to bring beautiful Viv into this world. 

Mary, you know my mother's heart, and the desire of that heart to be able to love Viv with everything in me as you loved Christ.  Mary, please pray that I am given the grace to surrender my heart and soul to God's will as you were able to as you watched Christ grow and suffer.

Jesus and Mary continue to hold Viv's heart in your hands.  Continue to allow her to grow safe and strong.  I thank you so much for her fiesty little personality and for being able to have this bond with her.  I believe Jesus if it is your will you will heal her heart and make it new, right and left side with all the right valves in the right places.  Mary, I know you will be with me each step of the way and will show me how to accept Christ's will with all the grace you received God the Father's.

I love you, and praise you in advance for sharing and showing your Glory!

Mother Teresa, pray for us and for Vivian's heart.


Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph Pray for Us!

St. Joseph, St. Joseph, how I am loving you today! As I reflected on the Gospel today about St. Joseph, I couldn't help but see many similarities in Rod and my journey and the journey of Mary and Joseph. I debated writing about this, because I don't know about you, but comparing my family to the Holy Family seems just a tad blasphemous.  But in the past few days I have seen Satan attacking Rod and I, because he can't get to Viv or use Viv to block the miracle that she is.  Needless to say, there have been a few fireworks set off, and not the good kind either.

Since we found out about Viv over a week ago, emotions have been on 10 in the Dunlap Abode. I have been able to feel my feelings, but have been given a grace to move on and say "yes" with immense peace. I feel like Mary saying "yes" to the Gabriel. She knew there were many loose ends that she had to allow her faith to guide her through especially including Joseph. For Joseph, on the other hand, the news that Mary was with-child was a bit of an issue. One that pushed him to quietly call for divorce, which would probably in turn have not turned out in Mary's favor.  However, as we all know, an angel appeared to him in a dream and assured him this was of God and that Jesus would be his son.  There was no need to fear--just barrel through and TRUST.

I have asked for special prayers for Rod since we found out.  He has been like St. Joseph, not as easily accepting of the news as I have been.  And in all honesty, this has been really hard for me.  I am impatient, and my impatience has lead me to get really frustrated with Rod for not being able to get the "barrel through it" stage as fast as I have.  In the past week, I have really hurt him in things that I have said, all because I couldn't accept God's timing in Rod.  Well today was a moment of great grace for me in this variable of our equation.  As I contemplated St. Joseph, I felt that I was able to see a bit of Rod's heart.  He is at the "divorce" stage, not able to fully come to peace with the reality of Viv's heart. He is so good and wants to get to the "after the dream" stage, and accept it, but it's just taking some time.  And in this time, I don't need to do anything but love him unconditionally, and surrender his heart to Christ as I have already surrendered Viv's.  I felt a great wave of hope flood my heart because I know he will get there.  He already is a wonderful dad and an awesome husband...I have been kinda a mean and not so awesome wife, not holding him up during this leg of his journey as I should be. With that in mind, it is in fact my heart that needs to be changed so we can continue this journey as a family striving for holiness.


Good Morning!  Nathan, my little computer wizard let me know how to control the comments.  Now anyone should be able to comment thanks to his genius :)

Thanks Natey-Boy :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"All For My Glory"

Before I get started with a a post that I hope can sum up the past few days, I have received word that there is some frustration with commenting.  It is under my impression that you need an account with blogspot to comment on the is super easy to sign up and there aren't any strings attached with annoying emails, etc.  If anyone else has any insight, please let me know so I can spread the word :)

I am sorry it has been a few days.  They have been busy, long days and believe it or not I was no where near a computer.  Crazy how technology is so prevalent in our world, but at times hard to access.

Let me back-up to Friday.  Rod and I had our first visit at Children's Friday morning.  I was so excited for the visit--I am at the point in this journey where I just want to barrel through HLHS. I am not sad, I just needed my questions answered to feel empowered.  This visit, was exactly that.  We arrived to Children's at 8:30 and thought we would be there for 2 hours.  Well, in typical Viv fashion, the ultrasound lasted 2 hours while she hid herself from the nurse.  I can't help but giggle, as the nurse was prodding my belly to get her to move, Viv yawns and waves her hand as if to say, "leave me alone people!  I am trying to rest here."  Oh boy, oh boy we are going to have our hands full! 

The doctor finally came in to talk with us about the findings of the ultrasound.  She was WONDERFUL!  So patient with Rod and I and our interrupting outbursts of questions, thoughts, etc.  Of course, Viv has a rare form of HLHS.  While we were thinking the left side of her heart was too small, turns out it doesn't exist.  Her heart is separated into the Atrium (top) and Ventricle (bottom) but there is no deference of Right or Left.  Basically, Viv's heart is a blob. There is no aortic valve, her heart is working thanks to her Pulmonary Artery and Me :)  In these moments, God was there (not that we are surprised, right?)  The entire time the doctor was explaining what we were facing, I felt immense peace over me and couldn't help but chuckle.  ( I think the doctor thought I was crazy, wouldn't be the first time I guess).  I was comprehending everything she was saying, but at the same time I had a voice inside me saying, "I am sorry you have to go through this, but it is the only way they all will see my glory" I kept hearing it over and over and over, and that voice brought me peace.  I also kept thinking about the first Mass reading for Friday. It was from Hosea, and it struck me, and may you to in thinking of Viv's heart defect, it said, 'I will heal their defection, says the Lord'   In that office, I know God was there sharing with me our mission as a family.  We are honored to share with the world God's love in a special way through Viv, and the miracle she is going to be, and she already is.

Some of the questions answered allowed Rod and I to breathe a bit.  Viv won't be whisked away from us right after she is born--we will be able to see her and I will be able to hold her, which made me feel better.  She will be tested before the first surgery to make sure there is reason for the surgery (I have hope this is when and where a miracle could take place) and she will be able to breastfeed after the surgery as long as she gains weight.  Seems like a normal baby :)  Whew!  what a relief for us!

Today at Mass the Gospel was the optional Gospel to use when RCIA participants are present. It comes from John 9, and is one we are all familiar with.  It is the Gospel in which Christ heals a man blind from birth by smearing mud on his eyeballs.  It once again allowed me to pray the prayer every person in the New Testament prays when asking Christ to be healed and we say it in Mass before we receive Christ in the Eucharist, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed".  Christ has the power to create in Viv a new heart, to turn her blob (a beautiful and perfect blob I might add) into a full functioning healthy heart if He wills it and it will be to His greater Glory.  The healing in today's Gospel, as in most the Gospel healings, it is twofold, not just physical, but spiritual as well.  This experience is opening my heart to Christ in a way that I am so thankful for.  I can understand why the saints say there is Joy in suffering--in suffering we can't help but be so close to Christ in His Glory on the cross which gives us Hope for life eternal.

 I was flipping through my planner today, and happened to stop on Sunday February 19 when Christ told me at Mass, "I choose you, I love you, I sustain you".  It was touching that day to receive that love note from Him and today realized it was a pep talk for this time.  Realizing that today was just another reminder that God is here, and is going to be all through this journey!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Paul tells us in Romans 5 to rejoice always in our suffering.  In this past week, I have been blown away by the love and prayers we have received from so many people.  I love hearing "Viv Stories" and realizing that God has this child on a mission to bring more love to the world.  It is an incredible honor to think that I have been chosen to be her mom.  I can't help but think about Mary's yes at the Annunciation.  There were so many questions, but she stepped out in faith and said "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word".  What courage and outstanding faith!  I have been thinking about that a lot in the past couple of days--and although I am not bringing the Savior of the World to earth, I see that God has given me the grace to accept His will as Mary accepted.  It is not always easy, but in the moments where the rubber meets the road is when faith is truly tested.  I felt Christ share with me yesterday that this grace is a fruit of years of personal prayer that I prayed I would ALWAYS be in God's Will.  As I strayed from time to time, He always brought me back and has been preparing me for this moment in my journey. 

Tomorrow we go to Children's Hospital to meet with the Cardiologists to pick their brains about what is going to be happening  in the next 20 weeks and the weeks after Viv's birth.  This is crazy, but I am so excited to get these questions answered.  For me, this is no longer a challenge I hate, or I am sad about, but a challenge I am rejoicing in, celebrating the love of God as we take each step greeting each new day.

Everyday Viv is allowing her personality to shine through and I have a funny little story about her :)
Yesterday I was blessed to go to Mass twice.  After receiving the Eucharist, I felt her moving around like crazy, and then settle a few moments after.  She did it again last night when I went to Mass, and again when Rod prayed over my her as he does every night.  I dubbed "The Jesus Dance"--she is already rejoicing in the splendor of the Glory of God!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Psalm 139:13

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb."

I received an email today with this psalm quoted in it.  I felt as though it has summed up my day.  Viv is being knit together as a unique pattern all her own created by our Almighty God.  Not broken, not defected but PERFECT and DILBERATE.

This is a grace received from all the love and prayers.  I would go so far to say a Miracle.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Boast in HOPE of the Glory of God

I want to apologize right off the bat for the length of this post!

Of course it is Sunday, I have had a very powerful day with insights about this journey we have begun.  I will start at the beginning, a very good place to start :)

I woke up this morning in a bit of a fog.  Viv is so active and seems to move with my every movement at night so sleeping is not always as rejuvenating as it should be.  As I started moving, my mind went back in time to when I was a missionary in Atlanta.  One morning I had a very powerful prayer experience that I often have pondered through the years wondering exactly what it meant.  During this reflection, I met Christ in a stadium full of people.  He looked at me, and without saying a word, I knew He wanted my heart.  Not like, oh Christ wants my heart to love Him, blah, blah, blah, He PHYSICALLY wanted my heart.  I knew this would be a painful process and I looked at Him and said, "No way.  You can't have it.  It is going to hurt so bad--I don't want that pain."  Still silent, He reached into my chest and grabbed out my heart. "OUCH!" I yelled back at Him.  But He still didn't respond.  He simply raised my heart similar to the priest raising the host at the Consecration, and started breaking it, passing it to the people sitting in the stadium.  With each tear and pass, I felt a slight twinge, but knew I had no control.  After my heart was gone from His hands and passed among the people in the stadium, baskets filled with the left overs of my heart were sitting at my feet.  At this moment, Christ looked at me and said, "I will always give you what you need.  They all needed YOU."

This morning, this experience made some sense to me.  The journey Rod and I are on with Viv, is part of vocation.  God is using me, using him, using Viv for all these people.  I don't understand it all in this moment, but I know at some point my heart being ripped out of my chest for those around me will make sense.

Our friend shared a story with me yesterday that has made an impact on my heart.  She is a scientist and works in a lab with many people from many walks of life.  When she received the news about Vivian, another colleague could see she was upset.  After explaining the situation to her colleague, her colleague looked at her and said without hesitation, "Well of course the baby should be aborted.  Might as well stop the suffering now."  When I heard this, I was mortified.  Why would I kill my child? So she has a heart defect-not a death threat.  It hurt my heart to hear this easy response from someone.  It really opened my eyes to the need for love in our world more than ever before.  It hurts to think that killing my baby would be the answer to this.  I just see it as a challenge--one that is going to strengthen our family.

I always take my Word Among Us to Mass.  I am SO ADD, that if I can't follow along with the readings, who knows what is happening.  The one thing that gets my goat is when the readings read at Mass aren't the ones in my WAU.  Its then you have to shuffle through the missal if there is one in the pew, if not then you start thinking 'I knew I should have gotten one before I walked in' and then before you know it's the Consecration and the priest is giving you the final blessing.  Well, God showed me today.  It was the day when this very thing happened.  However, God gave me a special verse that sums up Rod and my heart for during this journey.  It comes from St. Paul's letter to the Romans.  In Romans 5:2, Paul says, "we boast in the hope if the GLORY OF GOD!"  Yes my friends, we do boast in the hope of the Glory of God!  This verse is my new tag line--this is how my heart feels.  Viv already is a Glory story, and will continue to share this Glory with us as her life unfolds.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


"Let me Recklessly Love You, even if I bleed", Matt Hammitt, 'All of Me'

Dear Viv,

It's been 2 days since we were told about HLHS and your little heart.  Initially, my heart was broken.  How could your heart be broken?  Why is your heart to little?  But as they say, time heals things.  The grace God has given me is, you are not broken.  You are perfect. You are a masterpiece--perfectly woven together to bless the world and serve our God. You are already beginning the mission God has created you for.  You already are a miracle, you are my miracle.  God has opened my heart to love you, a love that is indescribable.  You have all of me, all of my heart.  Every breath I take, I share with you.  This time we share, I will never regret, and there is a side of me that never wants it to end. 

Kelly sent me the link for this song.  It is one I have loved for a long time but haven't really understood.  But I now see it in a different light--Matt's son has HLHS too--the song is about the feelings he and his wife have had through their journey with their son Bowen.  His heart is my heart for you!  I am not enough, I can't fix you, but I can love you.  I can love you like I have never loved before.  A love that is fearless and strong and full of faith.  RECKLESS love.  There are no boundaries to the love I have for you, or the love I will always strive to give you.

I keep thinking about Mary accompanying Christ to the Cross--she couldn't save Him, and she watched Him be wrongly accused and abused-- He said 'yes' to God's will for you, for me, for all of us.  And Mary, said 'yes' to God's will for her to accompany Him to the end.  Baby girl, I am saying 'yes' to the will God is honoring me with, as you are saying 'yes' to the will He is blessing you with.  I, like Mary, will never leave your side, I will never stop praying for you, I will never stop loving you and I will ALWAYS be willing to give you all of me.

I love you,

Coincidence? No, God Incident!

As we are trying to recap from the past few days, there are still little miracles that have happened since we received Viv's news.  One in particular, I would like to share before I start sharing more about feelings I and Rod are having.

March 8, is one as I am sure you can picture is one date I will never forget.  As I cried in the car on the phone to my mom, one of her first responses was "who is the patron saint of heart disease?  We have to find out and pray!  Maybe it 's a girl and you can name the baby that."  While on the phone, she immediately Googled who this saint may be.  "St. John of God" she said, to which I replied, "who is that?" She promised to find out and let me know later. 

After I felt emotionally spent and tears could no longer produce in my eyes, I flipped to March 8 and you will never guess who the quote was from, St. John of God!  He said, "When you feel depressed, reflect on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and His precious wounds, and you will experience great consolation".  What insight and how appropriate for me at that moment.  Earlier in the day I wrote and email and this is a paragraph about how I felt--

'Although these have been a few bittersweet days, I feel honored that God has entrusted us with such a beautiful daughter, especially with her heart defect. During this time of Lent it is always beautiful to have some suffering to unite ourselves to Christ as He embarks on His Passion and Death--what a gift that we found this out during this season!  As we encounter the miracle of the Resurrection at Easter, I have the same hope in my heart that she will be a miracle baby and bring to the world and our hearts so much joy.  She already is ornery as all get out and we can already tell she has incredible spunk :)  We are in for a ride!'

How amazing!  It was like this saint knew my heart!  Well, of course, it becomes more amazing.  My mom calls me.  Her message, "You won't believe it!  Today is the FEAST DAY of St. John of God!  Viv's heart is in good hands".

About St. John of God

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Journey Begins

The past 48 hours has been the most intense emotional roller coaster ride of my life.

We knew our lives changed the moment I peed on a stick November 23 and received a blue + sign in return, but I don't think anything could have prepped us for this.

March 7. I was counting down to this day from the first visit to the doctor about the baby. It was the day we would receive our ultrasound and find out if we were having a boy or a girl. The moment the image of the baby's face flashed on the screen, I was in love in a whole new way. I could see everything about this miracle--the jawline, the spine, the eye sockets, nose, fingers and toes--and it all was perfect. The nurse struggled to find "the parts" because this baby is a FIRECRACKER! Oh my, the baby was all over, flipping and whaling its arms and legs all around, but finally we saw. "It's a girl" she said nonchalantly and continued rolling over my belly for the next image. Rod's face was priceless at this moment, "What?!?" he stammered shocked that the baby wasn't the boy he was expecting. I don't remember any emotion or thought except "she is so beautiful, so precious!" I, surely like every other mother seeing her child for the first time, doesn't want the moments lying there to end. We continued into an examination room and my doctor walked in more somber that usual. "We are concerned about your baby's heart. The nurse can't get a good picture of all four chambers". I went numb--how could this be? My baby is totally healthy, totally perfect little ball of energy--NO WAY could she have any little thing wrong with her. We left with a bittersweet halo anxious for the next day for a more in-depth ultrasound.

March 8. 8:30 we arrived at the hospital hopeful that the pictures from the day before were a product of the baby's spunk. Again, she was full of life, her little heartbeat was strong and everything about her was perfect. She put on another show, and our hearts grew more in love with her. As the doctor turned off the screen and handed us a strip of pictures she said, "Your baby has a cognitive heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome." My heart sank. I felt like I just had the wind knocked out of me--how could this be? is this really happening? Can this be really happening? With tears in my eyes and slipping down my face, I looked back at the doctor as she tried to explain to Rod and me what was happening and what our next steps were. We would have to go to Children's Hospital to have a heart echo. They will answer all the questions, blah,blah,blah. What other question is there than why is this happening? What will make it go away? Needless to say, we were happy to leave that room and allow the diagnosis to sink in.

Rod and I got in the car and wept. I never have known what sorrow is, but in that moment, I knew I had my first glimpse of the depth of emotional pain that comes from sorrowing. I was helpless. I couldn't give my daughter my heart, I couldn't reach into my womb and pump her heart up. There is no power food that is going to help her, there is no exercise I could do to better place her to grow there was nothing I could do. I called my mom and sobbed. Through her tears on the other end she chanted, "she's gonna make it Re. She's gonna make it! She is our miracle baby!" I knew those words to be true in my heart, and knowing someone was in our corner made the reality of the situation appear--she wasn't dead. She wasn't deformed. Her brain is on target. She was ornery as all get out and had a spunk you can't infuse into someone. Her little heart is, well, too little. But she is still my precious, beautiful, wonderful blessing. Her heart can be fixed, and her life can't be replicated. She is perfect. Perfectly mine.

The rest of the day seemed like an eternity as we called family and friends all wondering how the visit went. Every time we got on the phone with someone is was like tearing off a band-aid. It hurt. It stung. I went through every emotion imaginable, I was jealous of all the moms I know having healthy babies, I was annoyed that mine was chosen for this defect that effects only 4 out of every 10,000 births. But as the day lingered on and the tears began to dry up, I felt a peace. A peace that I know only God can give. I was laying in bed SOBBING, shaking, gasping for air and it hit me--GOD IS HERE. God is here in this moment. God is here in this child. God is here in these emotions. God is going to guide us through this journey. God has chosen our daughter, who we then named Vivian, God has chosen Rod and I, God has chosen our family to learn, live and love through this.

With this peace I sent out an email requesting prayers, and the response was breathtaking. We received emails and texts and calls and posts from friends and family of the prayers and love they had for us. At that moment, I realized Viv already had captured the hearts of all these people, and that her life is a joy and a blessing to the world already.

Last night before I put the day to rest, I received a text from a friend. It said, "I looked up the meaning of the name Vivian and it means 'alive'". Indeed it does. And alive, she very well is.