Friday, January 30, 2009

Smith Family

Please keep my friend and co-worker's husband in your prayers. Rene is a teacher at my school and I've had both of her children in band. Her husband, John is diabetic and was in a car accident earlier this week (low blood sugar disorientation). Currently, John is at Huntsville Hospital battling internal bleeding and a low-grade fever (possible sign of infection). He is on a ventilator and other support systems to help him get rest over the next few days. This family is near to my heart and needs many prayers right now. The drive to Huntsville is over an hour from our area and they are making this trip daily so pray for traveling grace for Rene and the girls as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random things....

After our appointment on Tuesday, we met a couple for dinner at Logan's, Ken & Aimee. They got in touch with us via email because they have recently been through the loss of their young infant, Kent. We had the best time with them despite the fact that our sad circumstances are what brought us together. They are really a super sweet couple that have leaned on God during what must have been a very difficult time and come out on the other side! Baby always wants the Buffalo Chicken Tenders..... weird. :)

We also found out last night that Jeremy's older brother, Charles (aka -Chuck-a-muck), is coming down tomorrow to visit until Monday. Charles and his wife Melissa live just north of Charlotte, NC and have two awesome kids, Dianna (12) and Alex (1.75). They came down and celebrated Thanksgiving with us in November and now we are going to get to see Charles again!! That's unprecedented for the Stafford's to see each this often!! Charles and Jeremy have a great relationship (if you don't count their arguments about politics or 80's music) and even chose to live together for a few years out in Arizona. We are really happy he is planning to come and visit us this weekend!!

I just feel moved to post a photo of our Dewey-man today. He's the kind of pup that you would like to have at work with you each day. He'll be 8 in August and he has been so sweet over the past few weeks. If he could fold laundry or wash dishes for us, he would!! Dewey's Harem from left to right: Bianca (18 year-old beauty queen), Jack (yes she's a girl. The tail-less wonder), Dot-Dot (3 year-old angel cat), Dewey (pride and joy).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New doc

Yesterday afternoon, Jeremy and I met at Dr. Stutts office and sat in the waiting room for just a few minutes before being taken back for our ultrasound (10th one since October). The office is very beautifully decorated and just feels more like you are at home. The ultrasound technician, Melinda, introduced herself and said that she had been praying for us for weeks!! How awesome is God!! She spent at least 40 minutes (probably longer) showing us everything on the baby and she tried her hardest to find out boy or girl. We have an uncooperative child (just like their dad)! She did see hands and lower leg which were two things we were concerned about. No other ultrasound had been able to see the baby's hands but we got a perfect photo of four little left hand fingers (thumb was tucked inside fist). Still praying to know boy/girl!!! We've placed our bets and Jeremy and I both have thought this baby was a boy from fairly early on. So, we'll see...... See hand picture below.
Notice how grayscale this photo is.... Our entire ultrasound is this difficult to see.
After the ultrasound, we waited briefly for Dr. Stutts to meet with us in an exam room. When he walked in, I felt better. He just had a sweet demeanor and I knew after he began talking that God had sent us to the right doctor. He spent a LONG time with us discussing various situations that we may face, where to deliver, etc... Dr. Stutts also told us the story of his residency days when he was faced with a patient (mother to be) who's baby had Anenchephaly (only a brain stem, no brain) and she was being firm about continuing the pregnancy. Long story short, the mother told Dr. Stutts that God had every capability of miraculously healing her child and if she induced early (i.e. aborted) she would have taken God's chance to perform that miracle away. She also said that she would rather live her life knowing that she had given God the chance to perform a miracle than wondering if He ever would have. Dr. Stutts cried, Jeremy cried, I cried.... For a minute, I thought I was going to have to go hug both Dr. Stutts and Jeremy and tell them "Now, now boys. Everything is going to be okay." :) I love my tenderhearted, sweet, loving husband.

Needless to say, we were elated leaving the office. Granted nothing had changed with our baby (in fact, our baby's growth has been somewhat slower than previous visits), but now we KNOW we have a doctor that cares for our baby and cares for us greatly!!

Thank you to everyone who gave us names of OB's and especially to those who gave Dr. Stutts rave reviews... He deserves them!!! This is the best part.... He used to be a veterinarian!!! Jeremy and I have 7 pets (3 dogs, 4 cats) and are total suckers when it comes to an animal in need. My mom and dad are saying "amen" right now as they read this I'm sure!!! :)

Current prayer requests:
1. Accumulate some fluid so the baby can move to a non breech position for delivery
2. See feet on the next ultrasound appointment
3. See "parts" on the next ultrasound
4. Us to make the right decision about a delivery location and doctor for Birmingham

Permanent prayer requests:
1. Miraculous healing for our baby (we know God can easily make this happen but we also need to plan for what else could happen)
2. Jeremy and I to enjoy our pregnancy and spend this time "parenting" our baby
3. Baby's comfort and GROWTH (even below-average growth will give our baby a better chance of surviving delivery)

Thank you all for your prayers. We love you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


While talking with my parents last night, we discussed the pros/cons of allowing comments on the blog. Of course, we'd love to hear from you and do not want to seem standoffish by requiring commenters to log in their ID (most of you will need to open a Google account to do so. Easy and you use your own email address to register). It's just a way to protect ourselves from random people that may stumble across our blog and would intentionally want to post inappropriate things as "anonymous."

So, if you want to comment on our blog or just be a follower of the blog (sounds a little strange doesn't it), then please register at under Sign In(top right hand corner). The next page will ask you to Create An Account (bottom right hand corner). You will have to verify your email address by checking your email inbox for a message from Google. You can also post a photo of yourself (or your dog, or your cat or whatever) under the profile section once you've registered successfully.

Doctor's appointment today at 3:30pm!!! Nervous, excited, million questions....

Monday, January 26, 2009


Tomorrow, we have our first appointment with our new OB, Dr. Larry Stutts (HKH). He came highly recommended from different people and groups such as Shoals Save-A-Life. We are praying he is the right doctor for us!!

For many days, I did not "feel" pregnant after getting the diagnosis. I just shut down a little and thought that forgetting about the baby would make things easier. Of course, that was short lived (thank you God) because I finally began to feel the baby move (about a week and half ago). I was wondering if I would ever feel the baby or if it was just too cramped for the baby to move much. Well, Baby is movin'!! Lots. So much so that Jeremy could feel the baby dancing Saturday night for the first time!!

If you know me well, I'm a night person. I would prefer to teach at a school that doesn't begin until about 1pm (let me know if ever hear of one of those)! Well, this baby has it's mom's traits because the movin' begins around late afternoon and continues into wee hours. It's things like this that let's me know God wants me to find happiness in my sorrow. Our sad days are not over but our moments of joy are not stripped from us during this time either.

If you've never listened to or heard of Casting Crowns, go to Wal-Mart and buy their CD, Lifesong. Not only are they incredible but their song "Praise you in this storm" is exactly what I'm trying to do each day. Not very successful some days but... I'm trying!

Much Love

Our First Letter to Friends & Family

We sent this email to friends and family the week of January 5, 2009. From it, we've received an overwhelming response of support from family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers. We hope to use this blog to not only give out information but to help us enjoy our time with our precious baby.

Jeremy and I have talked and talked and talked (we're both talkers if you don't know us well) about how we want to live our lives over the next few months. And simply, we want to be Godly parents that are following what God has in store for us and our baby. God has blessed us with the baby we had prayed and wished for for so many years.

Dear Friends,

We just wanted to thank you for your warm wishes and excitement regarding our pregnancy. We waited many years before starting our family and were thrilled to share our news over the past few months.

Just before Christmas break, Johnna's OBGYN mentioned that the amniotic fluid appeared low and that she should return in a few weeks to check it again. At that time, we were informed that this could be due to dehydration. On December 30th, we returned to the doctor to find that there was no fluid present and our doctor referred us to the Maternal/FetalMedicine Clinic (UAB Health Systems). After seeing a doctor within this high-risk group on January 2nd, we learned that our baby has "bilateral renal agenesis" which is the absence of kidneys, ureters and the accompanying arteries. This means that the baby cannot make amniotic fluid(which is the baby's urine) and therefore will not have any fluid to help it's lungs mature or grow for the rest of the pregnancy.

Our doctors expect the baby to go full term (or close to it) but its current lung and kidney problems will not be allow it to live very long (typically only 30 minutes but could be up to a few hours). Although we are devastated now,we know the worst is to come and are trying to prepare ourselves with each passing day. What should be the happiest time of our lives together has now become the saddest. Our doctors said the best thing for us to do is go about our normal routine, and that is what we will do as best we can. We're just trying to take it one day at a time...

Intellectually, we understand what is happening, but for us this is an emotional struggle and test of faith like we'd never thought possible. We will have another ultrasound at UAB on January 16th and will be seen by the UAB physicians and our OBGYN for the remainder of Johnna's pregnancy.

We know many of you are already praying for us and we feel those prayers everyday. If you wish, please pray specifically for the following:
1.That the baby be comfortable and pain-free during pregnancy and delivery (lack of fluid can cause space for the baby to be very compressed)
2.That we have AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE with our baby after delivery
3.That we know what to do regarding medical decisions before and after the birth.

Please feel free to pass along our situation to others we know or don't know (Sunday school prayer list, church prayer list, etc.). Thank you for your friendship and prayers during this very difficult time.

Jeremy & Johnna Stafford

Beginning the Blog

Well, we've had so many requests for updates on our baby's status that we decided a blog would help everyone get the information needed!! I've never done this before so please be patient as we try to get everything up and running!!

We love you and thank you for your support and prayers during this time!! Keep praying for our precious baby!! Wouldn't it be nice if we knew "boy" or "girl" so we could call our "peanut" something other than PEANUT!! :)