Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hard day......

I didn't feel much like blogging until now. All in all, yesterday was a good day. I am so grateful for the nurse and doctor that we were able to see at Swedish. They were so kind, and loving, and sympathetic. Thankfully it didn't start really snowing until we got to the hospital, so we were able to do what we came there for. It did however take us 3 hours to get home, but so thankful we made it home safely. As we walked into the ultrasound room, i was saying, "all her days were ordained for her before one came to be, all her days were ordained for her before one came to be...." I was so happy to see her heartbeat right off the bat! A strong one again:) I thought, yes i have more time with her. After the ultrasound we met in another room and waited for the Dr. to come in. She was fantastic. Sat down and said right away after looking at the ultrasound pictures that it was bad. Her fluid had increased since our ultrasound last week and she didn't look good. It was so great though to be able to sit down and have her look at the pictures with us and explain to us what we were seeing. It was so hard, but was so good and Brian mentioned several times how thankful he was that we had someone explain what we were looking at. We asked questions, got answers and it just helped us process more. She had concerns for me and my health as well, because i am carrying a baby with so much fluid. So i will need to be watched closely. But again, i trust God with all of that too. It will not do me any good to worry about that. And i must choose to not worry. Shortly after, a lady walked in and asked if i wanted to be part of a research study. i thought, are you kidding me, do you even know what we are going through, what we are here for? Obviously she did, and that is why i was asked to be a part of it. After she explained what the study was, we decided to do it. They were doing a study to see if they could draw blood from a mother with a baby with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, and get the same results as if the mother had had an amniocentesis. I thought, hey i would love to help it be so that women potentially wouldn't have to have amnio's to test for genetic problems. And actually that blood draw hurt more than the amnio did. So there ya have it. Oh yeah and i got a $25 Target gift card so that was fun. The amnio went well. I was told to relax which i did, and the doc said i did beautifully. Mind you i was holding my husband's hand and my eyes were closed, and not looking at the long needle. Then i was done. And we were headed home. Hopefully i will not need to go back there for anything. The results will be here in a few weeks, and we will be able to find out what the problem is and what is causing all the fluid. Not that we can do anything for Esther at this point, but it will help us know more for future pregnancies. I wish it would help Esther. Nothing can be done at this point. The doctor said that it would be a few more months max maybe that her heart would be able to hold on, until it just gave out, medically speaking. I keep saying that, because God could have other plans. But medically speaking she is not well at all. So in the meantime all we can do is just - "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14. I love how the Lord meets us. There were 2 days in particular that i had read my Jesus Calling devotional and read a verse that really hit me that day. Later that same day i got a text from someone with the same verse as encouragement for me. 2 different days and 2 different verses. I love how the Lord does that. This verse was one of them. It is just him affirming to me that he is here. He is walking this painful journey with us, and has not and will not ever leave our side. I am grateful for that because on a day like today it is just hard. I am so sad, and i hurt for my baby girl who is not well. And that is hard, but i am thankful for a God who understands pain and is with us ALWAYS. He doesn't promise us a pain free life, what he promises us is that he will be with us through it all. I guess it isn't until we experience something like this, that we truly see him show up. I know he IS always there, but I think for me, that until i am in a dark time, i am not always looking for him. But I know because i am looking for him everywhere, and i SEE him everywhere. His Word is true - blessed be the name of the Lord.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heading down to Swedish tonight

Tonight we head down to my aunt and uncles in Shoreline to stay the night for our 7 am appointment at Swedish. The scheduler at Swedish said, i'm so sorry i hate to have anyone come in that early. But with the short week due to Thanksgiving it was the only time that worked. So i am grateful they could get us in. The reason for the 7 am ultrasound is to make sure that Esther is alive, before we meet with the doctor for a consultation. When we were there on Tuesday we met with a genetic counselor, but not a doctor. For that reason there were many questions she could not answer for us. I wonder why they wouldn't always have you meet with a doctor? I am guessing maybe because when some parents find out that the "viability doesn't look good" for their baby, then they terminate the pregnancy. Which definitely was laid out on the table as an option. Of course not an option for us. I despise the word viability (for those who haven't lived through hearing that word, it basically means she's not going to live) after hearing it so much on Tuesday. Anyway, then we have an appointment with the doctor who can answer any questions we have. One of the big things that the counselor told us is that it could be a risk for me carrying such a sick baby. My doctor here still doesn't think that is an issue, but we want to ask the doctor at Swedish those questions. We also plan on going to Iowa the day after Thanksgiving to spend another Thanksgiving with Brians family there. The counselor told us to really think about that. So i guess there are just lots of questions that we get to process through. I know God is in control of that all, so i not worrying, they just told us to write down all the questions we have. After we meet with the doctor then i have an amniocentisis scheduled with her. This will tell us more so for the future what our chromosome situation is like, based on what Esther's chromosomes look like.

Some have asked how to pray specifically, and i would say tomorrows ultrasound, consultation, and amnio would be the specific prayer requests. There are risks with amnios, (and no, the needle does not go into her, just the fluid) but again, i am trusting God with all of that. I am not going to take the responsibility on myself. Of course we are praying for a miraculous healing, if that is what would bring glory to God!

This is really cool: One of my friends looked at the last ultrasound picture we posted of the profile of Esther's face, and said that above and to the right, looked like a silhouette of Jesus' face! I saw it too, and it brings me so much comfort. One of the questions i have had is, is she in any pain? I am hoping and praying she is not in pain. After i saw that, i am comforted to know that Jesus is right there with her! Like he is with all of us. :)

Thanks again for keeping us in your prayers and for your steadfastness. Isaiah 26:3 is one of my favorites that got me through a dark time earlier in my life. It says -"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Verse 4 goes on to say "Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal."

It is all we can do:) Monica

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Anyone else in Washington cold today? It is beautiful but so cold. My honey is out working in this today and i hope he is not freezing. That's kind of a silly thing to say, because i am sure he is.....

I am thankful for another day. I wanted to share a poem my Aunt MaryAnn wrote the day after we found out about our little Esther. She is a gifted writer. It is so beautiful and expresses perfectly where my heart is at. When i read it the day after we found out the news, i bawled, i couldn't even read it through my tears. Yesterday i read it for the first time with dry eyes, so there ya go:) I am so thankful.


Lord, we need a miracle in this place.

Not for our own want or private gain.

But that all around us, man will see your face.

And know that it was You who moved your hand.

Lord, frail we stand before You, knowing not

The mystery and outcome this trial holds.

We grasp secure the promises You've taught

Applying them as days ahead unfold.

You are the mighty Lord of all there is.

Of vastless sky the universe beyond.

Each tiny cell you've given life within,

And somehow hold it all in Your great hand.

We recognize it's You and You alone

Who grants us life and takes it as You will.

You do not err, Your righteousness is shone

In all You do and are, we see You still.

Lord, there are throngs of those who need to see

Who live in pain brought on by sin's desire.

Who've lost all hope that ever there could be

A rescuer to lift them from this mire.

Lord, now I ask that through this You would prove

It is your hand that moves in strength and grace,

Leading, gently to your arms of love.

Lord, we need a miracle in this place.

~by MaryAnn King

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meet Esther Jade!

Isn't she beautiful?! I also think she has big feet like her dad:) But what do i know. Oh yeah and during the ultrasound we decided she has the Roosendaal nose. Sorry peanut! Auntie Al was calling her peanut, so im really glad we gave her a name. hehe -But peanut is real cute:)

I read today in Romans 5 some amazing words. It helps explain a particular way that i have felt over this past week. I wasn't sure how to explain it, because i thought people would think im crazy, so i haven't shared it with anyone really. But I found my answer today! I have felt this sense of excitement. Excitement for what God CAN do, what he will do, and how he is going to use this in our lives and everyone's life who is connected to Esther is some way. Even just through reading this blog. I told my parents and Brian that the other day as we drove to Swedish, and i said, is this weird? My mom said, no its not weird, but i still haven't shared that. Romans 5: 1-5 - "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

I have read these verses many times before, but honestly have never really suffered much in my life. I don't think there is any way to understand this verse, understand HOPE, unless i have suffered. I get it now. The excitement i feel when i think about the Lord, and what he is going to do is HOPE! It's not because i know what the outcome will be, but my hope is in Jesus and WHO HE IS. He will not disappoint, hope does not disappoint, he can't disappoint because of who he is. He promises he will be with us no matter what. He will never leave us or forsake us! That's a promise. God is who he says he is, and so i trust what he says to me. Whether the outcome is what i deeply desire, or even if it is not, i KNOW that his grace is sufficient to get us through, he is with me. I cry every day, my heart is sad, and yet it is encouraged and HOPEFUL. That is the excitement i feel. it is not because of circumstances, but because of the One who i put my hope in! If i focus on my circumstances i get discouraged, but as my amazing cousin Carissa said, when my eyes are on Jesus where they should be, i am doing well. Amen! May we all keep our eyes on Jesus today, and trust that he will get us through whatever is before us. He has gone ahead of us, He knows what is ahead and LOVES US more than we can comprehend!

Love In Christ~ Mo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is best for us? I was thinking today that if God gave us everything we thought we wanted, what a mess we would make of our life . We don't know what lies ahead for us. God does. When we trust in him and his plan we know that it will be good, even though it is painful and hard and not something we would ever ask for. But God sees beyond, what lies ahead, and knows what we need and how we are going to get there. And i trust him because i KNOW he loves me so much. I know he doesn't want to harm me, but he loves me so much that he wont leave me in the same place. One of my favorite verses of all time is Ephesians 3: 14-20. Paul's prayer for the church in Ephesus. He talks about the love of Christ. God first spoke this to my heart after coming back from my first trip to Haiti in 2002. I was so overwhelmed when i got back, thinking about the amazing people in Haiti and how God's love for them was the same as his love for me, and read those verses, and they jumped off the page at me! Well not literally, like they hit me in the face, but like the words became highlighted just for me. If you've experienced that, then you are probably smiling to yourself right now. Anyway, (I will paraphrase from my New Living Translation) Paul talks about how deep and wide and high is the love of Christ - this is my favorite part - and I pray you will experience the love of Christ - "THOUGH IT IS SO GREAT YOU WILL NEVER FULLY understand it." WOW! So much love, that humanly we will not comprehend it here on earth. I can't fathom love like that, and yet that is the love God has for me, and for you, and for my sweet baby Esther Jade. And i pray that for her now, however long God gives her life on earth, or in my womb, that she will know the huge great love of Christ - and he holds her even now! And if she meets him before i do, then she is so lucky. So it would be our loss for a time; but her gain, until we meet again in heaven with our Maker. I started to feel fearful yesterday - not knowing if God is going to take her, and if he did, when would it be? How would i know? I was comforted by a specific verse in Psalm 139 - (which i read to Esther and me, every night) that says- vs.16 - "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." That brought me peace. I can do nothing. God knew before he created her, how many days she will live, and i take comfort in that. I think sometimes i try to manipulate things, or take things into my own hands as if it is my responsibility? I am so much better when i release it to God, surrender and let him be in control. And another thing - how do any of us know how many days we are here on earth for? How do i know i will be here tomorrow or in 5 min? We don't know and that verse speaks the same truth to all of us. God knows our days on earth, so i am to be no more worried about Esther's days than my own. So i choose to not worry.
Ephesians 3:14-20 ends with an amazing verse, and my moms favorite which says" Now to him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. " We praise him not because he will heal Esther here on earth, but we praise him because he is ABLE. He has the power too if he chooses. Either way she will be healed, whether here on earth or ultimately in Heaven.

Yesterday was a sad day, today was a better day. God is always good! I am thankful for all of the support and for my mom, who spends every day with me.
Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our journey

I started this blog a few months back when i endend up leaving Young Life staff. I had a feeling that i would have something to blog about but then months went by and there really wasn't anything to write about. Nov. 11 everything changed. We went in for our 20 week appointment and found out some sad news about our baby. I am looking forward to sharing our journey with all of you. Who pray so faithfully, stand by us, and trust in our Sovereign God. I know He is in complete control and i trust him. I tell him that numerous times a day. Thanks for your prayers!

Esther Jade Zylstra

Hi everyone~

First of all we want to thank you so much for all your thoughts, prayers, hugs and words of encouragement you have given to us!! We are truly feeling held up by the power of Jesus because you have been praying constantly for us and our precious baby girl and the rest of our family!! Please keep them coming! Yesterday i can say that i felt strong, i felt lifted up and i even told our genetic counselor that was why we were so calm. :) After she commended us for our calmness. I thought, honey, you have no idea. So i told her why we were so calm. Not because we were being so strong, but because we trust in the Lord and have a gajillion people praying for us back home. She looked at me kind of blankly. That is always interesting. As one of my friends said, We are standing with you holding up your arms, as Aaron and Hur did with Moses in the bible. I thought of that many times yesterday as i went throughout the day so thankful for the strength of Jesus that we have available to us when we call on him and depend on him. I don't know what i would do if i did not have Jesus Christ in my life. He is everything and is where all hope comes from. I am so grateful for that.

I had my hour long ultrasound at Swedish Hospital yesterday and it confirmed what we heard last week from my Dr. here in Bellingham, Dr. Cook. To put it simply she has LOTS of extra fluid in her little body; her neck, scalp, head, in and around her heart, she has a big tummy and chest area. ( I loved looking at her on the ultrasound and seeing her move and wave, her little hands and feet - she looked perfect to me!) Anyway, the genetic counselor said, "All this fluid suggests eventual cardiac failure". Basically her little heart will not be able to withstand the pressure of all the fluid and it will stop. So humanly speaking she is not expected to make it out of the womb. But i am putting hope in Jesus that she could be healed if he so chooses to. He has the power to do anything!

Brian and i named her today.......Her name is Esther, which means "STAR" and her middle name is Jade which means "PRECIOUS ONE". So now you can pray by name for Esther Jade Zylstra's life!

I have another appt for an ultrasound and consultation with a specialist next Mon morning at 7 am back at Swedish.......we covet your continued prayers! We are so thankful for each one of you standing with us in prayer. I can feel it!

You are so appreciated~ Love Mo & Brian