A Joyful Update


As many of you have noticed (and messaged!) I’ve not written in several months. There a few reasons I’ve been absent. First, and foremost, I’ve been consumed with everyday life and haven’t had time to shower, no less write. Secondly, my domain hosting company let my domain name lapse and it took 80 days to get it corrected! But that’s a minor hiccup compared to the rest of our school year. I’d love to share an update with you today.

If you read my last post, Joy Delayed, you know that at the end of January, days after our youngest turned 4, we got some shocking news and learned we’d be adding to our little family. That shock has taken months to soften, I still have days that I feel her wiggle in my body, and am surprised that we are having another baby. I’m not sure it’ll feel real until she’s actually here.

So let’s go back to March, about a month after my last post. We opted to do some genetic testing so that we could be prepared for whatever God had planned for this little one. My age, of course, being a factor, I am higher risk for some genetic abnormalities. We were relieved to learn that our little bird was negative for all they tested for. We were thrilled to learn that we were having another little girl as well. Well, everyone but Collin, but he came around.

We started collecting girlie things. I’m a cloth diaper momma so I was able to start adding pinks and purples and flowers to our cloth stash and that made me happy. Some sweet friends started buying pretty little pink things to fill her drawers and closet with… everything was coming together. We were accepting the fact that our family was expanding and that another sweet little girl would be in our near future.

Then the 20 week sonogram came. I know most of you are assuming we saw boy parts, but no, she’s still very much a little girl. What we did see were 2 little cysts in her brain. I half-way expected it, as Olivia had one around the same time. It dissipated by the third trimester scan and wasn’t in a part of the brain that would harm her in any way.   Still, I shed a few quiet tears as the tech (a friend who had done the anatomy scans of all of my babies) finished the scan. One of the things I knew to watch for was for her hands to be open. I saw her point her finger once, but most of the scan, her hands remained in clinched fists. Babies with trisomy disorders are unable to open their hands. I was worried but tired to be as calm as I could.

Afterwards, she told me she was moving me from the PA’s schedule to the Doctor’s schedule that day. That both comforted and scared me. I was thankful to talk to the doctor who had delivered all three of my others, I trust him. I was also nervous as to why it was important for us to talk to him, rather than his assistant.

We went in the room and we waited.

After a bit, my doctor came in. He told us that he wasn’t concerned about the cysts at all. They seemed to be something that happens with John and I make a girl. They are transient in the second trimester and harmless in most cases. They are, however, a soft marker for all of those genetic abnormalities we had already been tested for.

The second thing he told us about was that there was a problem with her umbilical cord. She, or I, I’m actually not sure which of us has the issue… but the umbilical cord is missing an artery. It’s a condition called Single Artery Umbilical cord and in most cases, it’s harmless. However, it too is a soft marker for those genetic abnormalities.

We asked a few questions, but not really everything we should have, and my doctor explained that starting at 34 weeks, the baby would undergo non stress tests each week. I’ll sit with a monitor on for 20 minutes and it’ll measure her heart rate. When she moves or I contract, they expect her heart to behave a certain way. If in the 20 minutes, her heart responds properly two times, she passes. If it does not, she fails and I’ll be induced. He also wanted us to see the Maternal Fetal Specialist to rule out any of the Trisomy disorders. Although we have already tested negative for all of the Trisomy disorders, it’s unnerving to have to be rechecked as those early screenings are not 100% accurate all the time.

I called MFM that day and they graciously gave me an appointment for the very next morning. I imagine they see lots of worried mommas and are just the best kind of doctors because they understand that in most cases, waiting is not an option. We went in the next morning for a high resolution anatomy scan. We were checking a couple of things closer. The umbilical cord develops at the same time as the baby’s heart and kidneys, so when there is a defect in one, they have to look closely at the others as well.

I prayed. Over and over again. Open hands, perfect heart, healthy baby. It became almost like a little chant I was saying in my head while we waited in the office, over and over and over.

Open hands. Perfect heart. Healthy baby.

Please, God.

The nurse called me back and my nerves were shaky. The moment she started the scan, this was what we saw.

That’s a little hand, fully open.

I cried. I explained why I was crying. She already knew.

So the scan continued with some much needed relief for me. Her heart is structurally perfect. Her kidneys are beautiful and functioning exactly as they should. The cysts were still there, but were not a concern. After the scan, the doctor came in and explained in very clinical terms what our odds were. Our little girl has a 1-400, or a 0.25% chance of having a genetic disorder.  That means there is a 99.75% chance that she’s just fine. She gave me numbers and statistics that I honestly couldn’t follow. After her explanation we asked, do you think she’s ok? Her reply was perfect.

“I think you have a perfectly healthy baby girl who just happens to be a drama queen”

We smiled, we prayed and thanked God.

There are still a few hurdles to cross. We have a fetal echocardiogram scheduled for next week to be sure that her heart is functioning properly. She will also need a growth study around 32 weeks to ensure she’s growing properly.  I don’t want her to come too soon and have to spend time in the NICU as our hospital doesn’t have one and she would need to be transferred. The concern with SUA at this point, is low birth weight. With our history of 10+ pound babies, I don’t anticipate birth weight being an issue. I am hoping to get to 36-37 weeks to have the best chance of her staying with me in the hospital and going home with us in 48 hours. If you’re a praying momma, I’d ask you to pray the same.

So now that the medical drama is explained, let’s talk about her name, shall we?

We wanted something unique but if you were around for naming Olivia, you know that we have a difficult time with girl names. We are just on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as our taste goes. We poured over every single name that has ever been given to a baby girl and only one or two stood out to us. The first one we axed because it was more of a gender neutral name. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but Olivia has a very, very feminine name and we wanted this little girl to have something similar in style.

We settled on Everly. It’s not classic name, but it does have a classic, almost Victorian feel to it to me. I love that it follows the same pattern as Olivia, beginning with a vowel and having the “v” sound in the middle.

Her middle name is where our family motto came into play. For years, we have told the kids “you bring me joy” every single day. And they say it to us. We wanted them to always know, good days and bad, they are the joy of our life. The motto is on our school room wall, so that they are reminded every single day. I had a hard time with finding joy in this pregnancy. A very, very hard time. So we chose Joy to be her middle name. A reminder for all of us, that God gives us our joy. It’s not always what we plan or expect.

Everly Joy Herrell will be joining our family, sometime between the end of August and the end of September. We pray that she is healthy and perfect in every way.

So that’s our update. That’s a bit of what the past 6 months has been for us. Thanks for reading <3


With Love,




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