Open Letter to the Ithaca Vineyard

Over the past few weeks we’ve mentioned the strategic planning meetings our church council had been holding over the past several months. One of the areas we are hoping to address going forward is making sure the Vineyard is a place where people feel comfortable sharing things that are going on in their lives. Not that we can always do something about it…other than pray, but we want people who are here to feel like they don’t need to go through difficult times alone.

Some times we don’t share because we are embarrassed…sometimes we think this is nobody’s business…sometimes, we don’t want people feeling obligated to help us. But I think for the vast majority of people who are part of our church, if there is a need, and they can do something about it, they want to be involved.

Now, we could announce that on a Sunday & say, “hey, we want all of you to feel comfortable sharing all of the stuff, good or bad going on in your life.” We all know how that would work.

What we know is that for this to begin happening on a regular basis it needs to be modeled. So here’s my shot at taking the first step in this process:

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As most of you know, my family spends a lot of time with doctors. Growing up, I’d never Hashimoto’s Disease, or Celiac. And while I knew about diabetes, words like ketoacidosis, and A1C were not part of my vocabulary. These are now simply things we live with in our family, and although they can bring a level of stress at times, for the most part everything is manageable (although the reason Liz works part time is because she needs to spend a lot of time each week dealing with our family’s health stuff.)

[side note: one time a few years ago I went to a doctor with a case of hives…& when he saw the size of them, he said something you never want to hear a doctor say about a medical issue: “that’s impressive!”]

Well, last Thursday I learned a new medical term…Vasa Previa. Liz & I went to Elmira on Tuesday for a follow up sonogram since 3 months ago, she was diagnosed with Placenta Previa. Our hope was to have another home birth (Brenna was born @ home…Hannah & Erin in a birthing center), and for that to happen, the placenta needed to have moved. The good news was that it did. The bad news is, not enough. The badder news was there were now blood vessels blocking the baby’s way out.

We were told by the doctor, that while there is a small chance this resolves in the next 5 weeks (15%), if it does not, the plan is to remove the baby prematurely. in 4 weeks, we go back, if the cords are not moved, they will perform an amniocentesis, and if the baby’s lungs are mature enough they will remover her. If not, we will come back the following week for the same procedure.

On the drive back from Elmira we spent sometime looking up web sites about Vasa Previa. Trying to gather our thoughts & process what we had just heard. However, before we had too much time to think about, Brenna caught the stomach bug that is going around. Since she could not keep any food or liquids down, we ended up taking her in to the emergency room at 3 am on Friday. Due to being dehydrated, she was at the point of developing ketoacidosis, so she was hook up to IVs, given some medication and sent home before noon. While she’s still at home sick, she is doing much better.

So, our attention has shifted back again to our soon to be youngest daughter. One of our challenges is that while we have a zillion questions, the doctor who performed the sonogram & will likely deliver daughter #4, is out of the country for 2 weeks & unreachable.

So at this point, we’re doing okay. We are so thankful this was found, because if it is not, and a natural delivery goes forward, there is a high rate of miscarriage. However, we are still trying to process everything, gather all of the information we can, and figure out how best to care for Liz and the baby. Of course thinking we has two more months to prepare, & finding out we have one…that’s the kind of stuff that keeps our lives exciting!

That’s our story. Thanks for taking the time to read this…we appreciate it.

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