Friday, June 29, 2012

My Angel Girl!

I just got this done this morning.  I didn't know I could become more obsessed with her!  How precious with her little hands under her chin!  I can't wait to squeeze her!

With God...

On Wednesday night my dad went to check out Winton Woods for the walk.  While he was there, he ran into an old patient and his family.  After exchanging the usual, 'hi's and 'how are you?'s the proud Poppy my father is, shared Vivi's story.  Upon hearing it, the man's daughter assured my dad that she would tell her brother who wants to be a minister and ask for his prayers.  The man's wife, reached into her pocket and pulled out a coin.  "I have been carrying this in my pocket for years!" She started, "and I know I need to give it to you".  Passing it to my dad, he saw the golden coin had a cross on one side and on the back, it was inscribed, "With God, all things are Possible".

As we are learning through life, and especially on our journey with Vivian, the Cross makes all things possible.  Christ's love does not know boundaries or limits and not only is He sharing so much love with us, with our families and friends, but He has chosen Vivi to show His love through. 

Our Passion

During the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass,  the priest says at some point, "He entered willingly into His Passion".  Today, this struck me.  Christ was the only person brought to this earth whose death had more meaning than His life.  We are all born to live and create our lives, not to have our death be the climax of our greatness.  What is beautiful about Christ's example in His willingness to embark on His Passion is that we all have a Passion.  Our "passion" is our path to holiness.  Christ's example to willingly follow this is what God desires for us to emulate.  The plan God has prepared for us is a path of Holiness.  This doesn't mean that it is easy, that it will feel good or that we will look forward to it, but it is what will make us great.

Of course, I thought about our journey with Vivian.  This has been the greatest Passion of my life.  The daily struggle of choosing a smile and hope instead of the sadness and tears that sometimes want to take over is tough with grace....I would be so screwed without it! I know in the upcoming weeks, the rubber will be hitting the road and I now I say, "Christ I will go with you!  I trust you and the will you have for us and Vivi".

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Opening my email to find my weekly BabyCenter email has always been exciting.  There is a little blurp that talks about Baby's development and always compares the weight of the baby to a fruit or veggie.  This week, not only is Vivi compared to a honeydew (I know what that is which is unusual for the things that pick out), I open the email to find at the top a banner that read, "35 weeks!  5 to go!"  HOLY COW.  5 weeks?  To  a normal person, 5 weeks is an enternity.  It is a month plus 1 week, a whopping 35 or so days which can translate to 245 hours or 14,700 minutes.  That may seem  like a lengthy amount of time to a normal person.  But to this hormone raging, feet swelling, nesting freak, all that is basically translating to is.....tomorrow.

We have been so blessed to borrow until Vivi is born Blessed John Paul II's scull cap to pray for Vivi with.  This relic is in our possession, I can touch it, smell it, look at it, and it just doesn't add up to me the magnitude of what we have and what graces are available to us during these next few weeks not only for Viv, but for us as well. 

Sunday was the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.  I was reminded multiple times through Mass of all the times we are reminded through Scripture that God has "knit" us together in our mother's womb.  Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."  Another translation of this says 'You formed my innermost parts...'  In the moments I have struggled with what lies ahead for us, especially for Vivian, this passage gives so much comfort to me.  If God is with her, and has been with her since the beginning of her little existance, all of her is perfect.  A masterpiece growing inside of me.  This takes me to a whole other level of thought--if only all the world would see life as this!  There are no mistakes because God's hand is on each of us.  I think how prevelant this is to be happening as a nation we need to take a stand for our rights and to put a stop to the HHS mandate.  No one would walk into an Art Museum and graffitti Picaso or the Mona Lisa, because each are considered masterpieces.  Why are we then saying that killing a child is any different if God says He has "knit us together" in our mother's womb.  Isn't that essentially ruining a masterpiece?

Please mark your calendars for Saturday July 14 and join us for Vivian's Victory!  I am super excited and so proud of my sister, and incredibly thankful for all the support we are receiving from so many!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Story to Share for Generations

My Aunt Peggy shared with my mom a passage from the Bible that stated that 'we should share these stories for all ages'.  I don't know where it came from, the Old or New Testament, but it has resounded in my heart.  What I am living now, is a continuation of the Gospel.  A modern day parable, that Christ is slowly unraveling, capturing the hearts of so many.  I wanted to take a moment today to share some stories that haven't been shared involving Vivian, and how she is taking the world by storm.

As I am sure everyone who reads this blog knows, there is a walk being organized in Vivian's honor to help offset medical costs as well as living costs while Rod and I are not working.  Clare, my sister who is a junior at Mt. Notre Dame, has a project that each student who goes through the school participates in called a Capstone Project.  On March 8, when we found out the news of Vivian's heart, Clare's first reaction was one that was proactive and full of Hope--Vivian would be her project.  In only a few short weeks, the ball began rolling and is in full swing as we prepare for the exciting event we are calling Vivian's Victory--Vivi's little life already is winning over the hearts of thousands and bringing so many to believe in God's amazing goodness.  For more information on the walk, this is the website 

Clare is also involved with Kenosis, a youth group at Ruah Woods.  Ruah Woods is a center devoted to spreading and promoting the Culture of Life through Theology of the Body.  It is an amazing center that is unique to Cincinnati and is acting as a model for other centers throughout the US.  Because of Clare's faithfulness to her vocation as a young Christian woman, she has been able to make connections with local businesses that support Ruah Woods, who are also going to give donations for the walk.

Once we found out about Vivian's heart and learned more and more about HLHS, all different people started to come out of the woodwork who knew someone whose child had the same diagnosis, or similar experience.  It was overwhelming the numbers, the emails, the messages we received from people that wanted to console us as we began our journey.  I felt like advice they would give, or stories that would be shared all spun around outside of my head.  Not that it wasn't helpful, or that I wasn't grateful for the openness of others to share, but I myself was just becoming accustomed to the reality, learning the verbiage and trying to stay on pace with the doctors.  In the past week, I realized I am ready to ask concrete questions to prepare myself for the upcoming months.  My mom had received an email from someone whose sister's son is 3 and is doing fabulously after all 3 surgeries.  Their story is similar to ours, in the sense that we were both diagnosed at 20 weeks which hasn't been the case for any other person we have spoken with.  Everyone else found out after the baby was born which is a completely different reality from the one we have, are and will be experiencing.

At work today, I had a woman pick-up her daughter's veil.  She asked when the baby is due, and told me I have a real glow.  Not the normal pregnant mom glow, but there was something special about it.  I was taken aback, and flattered and of course this lead to continued questions of when the baby is coming, if its a boy or a girl, how much she loves the name Vivian, where I am delivering, you know the drill.  Usually when I am at work, I don't go into much detail about our situation because when the women who come in are here, it is all about them, and it should be.  But for some reason, I started to share our story.  When I finished, she looked at me smiling and said, "I now understand the glow.  You are living through a challenged faith.  I will be praying for you and Vivian."  What encouragement!  It gets crazier--I just put Vivian's prayer cards in my purse this morning.  No rhyme or reason as to why, but I just had an impulse to do so.  I ran back and grabbed a few to give to her, and she was elated--loved the idea, loved having a picture of Vivian and is going to share them with her prayer group, and send the request through the prayer chain at her church.  God is here!

These are just a few of the amazing God stories Viv is creating by being so perfectly her.  If you have one, I would love to hear it and have record of it.  Our journey, the story we are living, is one of faith that is bringing Glory to God each day.  It is humbling to be a character is such a perfectly constructed web of God's love that hopefully will illuminate and inspire through the generations.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

“Blessed is she that believed that the promises made to her would be fulfilled!”
(Elizabeth to Mary upon the Visitation)

In these months preparing to become a mom, I feel my heart becoming closer and closer to Mary.   Today, being the feast of her Immaculate Heart, I can't help but think about these words that Elizabeth shared with her at the Visitation.  The past few days have been hard for me as a mom as the reality of my child becomes more and more visible.  These words have brought much needed comfort to my heart this morning!  From the beginning of our journey with Vivian, I have known God is here in each moment.  As Mary "pondered all these things in her heart" throughout her life with Jesus, I find myself this morning doing the same all before I meet my Vivian face to face.  God has been holding our hands since March 8 when our hearts were breaking.  He has been at every doctor's visit, especially one of the first when He consoled me by saying, "I am so sorry you have to go through this...but it is for all to see my Glory!" He has been with us through the people he has sent to us who have expereinced the same thing, with our families and all their support--GOD IS HERE!!

As I take a few minutes to ponder all these things in my heart, there is a great peace and consulation that follows.  If I believe my whole life my soul has been preparing for these moments, the grace is there.  The strength is there, because God is with me.  The miracles of Vivian's life have already begun and touched so many.  The road ahead is uncertain, as was Mary's with Jesus.  The ups, the downs, the smiles and tears are all inevitable and a part of the journey.  However, the great certainity is God is here, always leading us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Labor, Birth and Reality

Why is it that I have talked about people having babies and I have held babies and I have heard people talk about being in labor but I have had no idea about the process? Rod and I began our birthing class last night and I now feel a bit more in control as the "unknown" has revealed itself. As we sat in a room full of first time parents, some further along than us, most a bit behind, the miracle happening inside me became more real. And the feared reality of getting her out became something that I need to embrace, and begin now telling myself "you can do it, you can do it"!

As those of you who read my blog or have talked to me know, I have been really ok with all that we will be facing with Viv. Last night, as I began to be able to imagine what labor will look like , our reality became more real to me. I can feel my usually strong demeanor facing some crackling. Everything I have ever imagined for the birth of my child, of holding her, of people visiting our new family in the hospital being able to pass her around, breastfeeding--these things are all a non-reality. Thinking about this, a saddness wells from the depths of my being. A saddness I think I have pushed out since we first found out about Vivi in March. Although I soaked in so much at the class, I was a little distracted by my feelings. I felt a few times like I was going to cry (not that a pregnant Maria crying is abnormal).

Monday, we visited Children's for the last time before Viv is born, which was a relief! Because the fluid in her stomach and around her heart has not changed, the doctors feel confident that she is good to go for the next 7 weeks. I asked if we could take an impromptu tour of where we would be once she is born after surgery. We had a wonderful child-life specialist lead us through the maze we would be walking for weeks following her birth and recovery. These moments were my hardest moments as a mother-to-be since we found out about Vivi's heart. I couldn't wait for the tour to be over--the whole time I was choking back tears. Getting closer to facing the reality is scary and quite frankly it sucks. This isn't how I ever thought I would become a mom, or how my little treasure would meet me in this world--behind plastic walls and through tubes and IVs. Luckily, Rod and I drove together and once I was in the car, the tears started falling faster and faster on the outside while on the inside the "why God, whys?" played like a broken record.

Of course, in typical Rod fashion, he allowed me to cry on his shoulder. Once I calmed down a little, he just looked into my swollen eyes saying, "Babe, we have to focus on what we can do--bring her into this world, and then trust the right people will be there to do what they know to do to help Viv." Not only did those words comfort my breaking heart, but I realized two amazing things about my husband, our little family and how much God truly loves us and has His hand on us. Rod is so patient, so gentle and so loving. Always. God made Him strong when I was weak--what a wonderful testimony to the sacrament we are living. I saw in Rod's response to my break-down his incredible, unshakable, REAL faith. I am honored, yet again, to be the wife of such an amazing man, but also to be the mother of the child whose father has this response to how she will be entering the world. God is here, in the bittersweet joy of this child.

And how am I today....well, my Baby Girl is active and so alive. I sometimes feel like I already know her. I can't imagine the feeling or reaction when I get to greet her into this world. Our reality is one that only few know. It is not taught in a class, or used to describe a daydream of being a mom. Although I am on a roller coaster, I would stand in line again and again and again to ride it because it is mine.