This is Danielle and her mom, my sister. Danielle is my niece, but she's really more like a sister to me. We're actually closer in age than I am to my own sisters. Danielle is a stay-at-home mom like me, and her girls are close in age to my kids. Her oldest daughter is 7 and her younger daughter is about to turn 4. I adore Danielle and her family – no one is more dedicated to her family, no one makes me laugh more. She's a young mother, but she's taught me a thing or two about parenting with joy and purpose.
Danielle and her husband, Cliff thought their family was complete with the two girls. They thought they'd enjoy life for awhile, then maybe adopt in the future. God had other plans for them, though, and early this year Danielle shared that she was expecting. After the initial shock (as in post-vasectomy shock) wore off, they were so excited to learn a baby boy would be joining their family.
On Monday, at 22 weeks pregnant, Danielle thought something might be wrong. Her gut instinct proved true – she was leaking amniotic fluid. And so in the course of just a few hours, Danielle went from being home with her girls, figuring out the final details of her Brownie troop's cookie orders to looking at complete bed rest in the hospital the remainder of the pregnancy.
She'll be 23 weeks on Friday.
At 24 weeks the baby has a fighting chance for survival.
At 33 weeks, her doctors would start entertaining the idea of delivery.
In an ideal situation (if you can call anything about this situation ideal), she's looking at 10+ weeks of complete bed rest, away from home, away from her family. I can't imagine the way this must pull their hearts in so many painful directions – wanting to be home, wanting to tuck your girls in bed and be with your husband – and yet so desperately wanting to do whatever it takes for your unborn child that you already love dearly.
Thankfully, she's surrounded by an incredible support system of friends and family. I don't believe you can ever have too much support, though, especially when the road seems so very long ahead of you. Danielle has more faith and conviction in her little finger than I possess in my entire being, but even the strongest of faiths needs lifted in dark hours.
Can I ask for your help? If prayer is a part of your life, can you lift up Danielle, her family, and this precious baby in your prayers? And if you feel called to help out in other ways, I'd be so thrilled to help match your genorosity with their needs. I know right now their greatest need is help with gas money. Her husband would love to bring the girls to visit every day if possible, and they are not close to the hospital.
If any of you reading know of some good resources for Danielle, or perhaps someone who has been through a similar experience, I know it would help her tremendously.
Lastly, Danielle reads this blog. I would love nothing more than to fill the comment section with kind words for her. She's got a lot of time on her hands these days – let's give her good stuff to think about!
Danielle, you've always been the first to lift others up, to make them feel better. Now we're here to do the same for you.