Goodbye to Gabs

I couldn’t bring myself to write this until today, but I wanted to document our sweet girl we lost to Lyme’s August 11th.  When we came back from Sylvania and walked in the door she couldn’t even get up to greet us, just wagged her tail laying on the rug.  We knew she needed to be put down soon but the kids were in IL so I went to retrieve them while P made her as comfortable as possible the next couple of days.  When we got back the boys decided they wanted to go with to the vet and Jeremiah held her until she breathed her last.  He did so good and so did Jon.  They were brave and we are so proud of them for being with her as she was there for us through all the ups and downs.


Last hugs before we left for the vet.  Gabs was in a good mood (lots of morphine) but had to be carried everywhere.


Lots of tears especially for me and J1 that morning.  Jon and dad cried at the vet and then after they got back we all sat on the couch talking about the memories.  The kids even laughed a few times thinking about all the times she rolled in dead things and dad got so mad having to wash her because she stunk.



We were all WORN OUT from emotional exhaustion by the end of the day.  Went out for some dinner after the baseball game and somebody got pretty cuddly.  The kiddos are doing much better now and it is getting easier to talk about her.  We’ve had a lot of good conversations about death too.  We all feel blessed to have had such a great dog for 12 years and her protection and tenderness toward the kids was unmatched.  As Jeremiah said yesterday, “There isn’t a better dog than Gabs, mom.”  I agree.

a bump in the road

It’s the one you get after the 20 week ultrasound.  Sometimes a nurse will call to say…everything looks great!  But when the doctor calls with a “call me back,” that’s never good.  We got that call this Friday and learned that our little girl most likely has a clubfoot.  The ultrasound tech couldn’t get a good picture of her right foot so we were scheduled to go to the big hospital in these parts (about 50 min south) to meet with a fetal maternal specialist and get a more in depth ultrasound this week.

That ultrasound happened this past Tuesday and again they confirmed her right foot was clubbed.  For those that don’t know, it means the foot is turned like a J inward toward the other foot.  See below…


You are looking at the right foot from the back.  So you see the back of the calf and the heel.  It definitely is turned inward.


This one was in my last post.  Did you notice anything funny?  You are looking at her left leg which is normal.  But you can see the bottom of her right foot facing the camera.  It shouldn’t be turned in like that.

The good news from this second ultrasound was that this is what is called “isolated unilateral clubfoot”.  That means there is nothing else wrong and it is only the 1 foot affected.  That is a huge relief because there are a number of other “scary” diagnosis that can go along with clubfoot.  We are grateful that she is otherwise developing perfectly!

More good news….clubfoot is completely correctable with a series of castings right after the baby is born.  They do normally have to wear a brace and special shoes for a few months following the castings as well.  Depending on the severity, she may have to wear a brace on her leg at nighttime until she is 3 or 4.  Also clubfoot does not affect walking, running, jumping or any other motor skill.  Actually I learned last week that Mia Hamm and Kristi Yamaguchi were both born with clubfoot!!  How amazing is that?!

At first I had a big cryfest when the doctor called and told me the diagnosis.  It sounded so scary and overwhelming.  But as we’ve processed and learned a lot and also found out nothing else is wrong, it is actually relieving.  It is doable.  When we sat down with the fetal maternal specialist (read: doctor used to giving really sad sad news to parents), she was actually smiling and saying..”I don’t get to say this much, but there is nothing to worry about!  This is fixable and everything else looks perfect!”  It was cute that she was so excited for us.  She even told us “congratulations”…it gave us some perspective on how grateful we should be in this circumstance.  And it is nothing that in 5 or 10 years we won’t just call a bump in the road.

ultrasound pics!

We had 2 ultrasounds this time around.  1 at 20 weeks and another at 21 weeks (I’ll explain in my next post.)  But would you believe we got over 400 pics of this little girl?!!  She moves around A LOT for her pictures too.  Both tech’s used the term “uncooperative”!!!  Uh oh!

This one is so funny and cute.  It looks like she is blowing bubbles in there.  She yawned and sucked her thumb multiple times during this ultrasound.


This next one is of acrobatic baby!  I asked…uh, is that kinda weird looking and the tech seemed unfazed.  She said babies can be in some really crazy positions in the womb and they are fine! It looks like she is crossing her legs here.


This is the pic Jeremiah saw when he read the gender to us.  I have no idea what I’m looking at in this pic, so no worries if you’re as confused as I am.  The tech did say she was 99% sure and got 4 good pics to ensure it was a girl!  She also told us she never says she’s 100% sure on anything!


Left leg and some toes :)


Legs crossed at the ankle.


We got some 4D too, but they are just creepy looking!  I have never liked the 4D at this stage and at our last ultrasound the tech told us that they really don’t get normal looking until the 3rd trimester because that’s when they get some fat on them.  Right now they are still pretty skinny I guess.



More on Catherine Jane

This pregnancy has been different in so many ways, and interestingly enough, it is has been different for Patrick too.  He has felt really bonded to her throughout this pregnancy, partly because he chose the name (with my approval!).  It is interesting to see how each pregnancy is different just as each child is different.  We expect the same old thing, yet why wouldn’t there be differences since each one is uniquely formed and knit together by our Creator?!

We have always loved the name Jane.  We considered it for a first name, but wanted to stick with our CJS initials since we had done that with the boys (JSS).  Jane means the same as Jon = graciously given by God.  Catherine has a few different meanings but the most common are pure and clear.  For me, the phrase “God graciously gives clarity” is very meaningful for a number of reasons.  It is so neat to see how God could plant a name in Patrick’s mind and the meaning of it makes perfect sense to me!

As for me, I am also feeling that bond growing.  I already am excited to meet her!  Last time around, although I was excited to meet our first girl, Charlie Jo, I also had some anxiety about going from 2 to 3.  This time around, because we’ve already had a #4 with our foster son, going from 3 to 4 seems like old news.  So as long as all goes well with our foster sons reunification, I would be happy if she surprised us and unlike anyone else, came EARLY!