Madison's Birthday:

June 8, 2010

From the Word:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Madison's Room is Ready!

We got Madison's bedding today! A lady from Short Sheets in Crossville made it for us and it's gorgeous! There will probably be some more decorative additions made before Princess Madison arrives but we've got it pretty much set how we want it. All it needs is her in it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

God is Good!

Today was another visit to Vanderbilt to check on Miss Madison's progress. We were beyond thrilled with the news we received today! Madison has almost doubled her weight in 4 weeks and she's currently weighing in at 3 lbs. 2 oz. This was awesome news since drs. have repeatedly expressed
concern over her small weight. There appears to be no more additional brain ventricle dilation which is an answered prayer. We prayed God would just stop the swelling and HE did. Another good piece of news to report- Madison's birthday has been scheduled for June 8th! This is the date barring any further complications or negative changes with her before then. We got to see some good ultrasound views of everything but her face- she's a little stinker! We think she's hiding it because Mommy and Daddy won't be able to stand how beautiful she is if we saw her now. Madison has big, narrow feet (those she gets from Daddy) and a head full of hair. You can see in the picture it looks like blades of grass on the back of her head. We're starting to believe that old wives tale about indigestion and hair growth is true. The top of her (not pictured) is full of hair that stood up in a mow hawk. Looks like Mommy will have to tame that mane with some cute bows and headbands. We are overjoyed with the good report today from Vanderbilt. We know God is going to continue to do amazing things through our little girl. We praise God for her life and for giving her to us! God is so good!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Madison Loves Music!

So, we've been playing music for Madison for her to listen to. There isn't any concrete proof that playing music for a baby in the womb makes him/her smarter but there are definitely some benefits. You can read the excerpt below from Pregnancy Today for more information. Madison's playlist includes some Elvis and Dave Matthews Band as well as some favorite classical pieces. She is very responsive to the music and has even kicked in time to the music a couple of times- no lie.

Prenatal Music Stimulation: is a method that uses stimuli such as sounds (mother's voice and musical ones), movement, pressure, vibrations and light to communicate with a developing baby prior to birth. While in the womb, Baby learns to recognize and respond to different stimuli, which leads to encouragement of physical, mental and sensory development. Stimulation exercises will allow Baby to communicate with you and your spouse/partner through her movement in the womb, establish a relationship between specific stimuli (such as your voices) and, most importantly, help develop her memory.

Our First Baby Shower

On April 8, 2010 we had our first baby shower, a diaper shower, at TTU. Debbie Walker, Dustin's administrative assistant, coordinated the shower and it was super cute. We received so many wonderful gifts from Dustin's co-workers including a huge stash of diapers and wipes for Madison. We were touched by the outpouring of gifts and well wishes from such caring people and we feel blessed to know such generous people who care so much about our little girl. All in all we received 13 cases of diapers and 11 boxes of wipes. Let's see...that should get us through the first month, right? :)

Easter Weekend

For Easter weekend Amanda, Mandy's best friend, came to visit. We had so much fun shopping for Madison and spending time together. Amanda brought Madison lots of goodies and continues to be Madison's #1 spoiler. Madison kicked a lot for Amanda, especially when Amanda read her a new book, Good Night Tennessee.

Registering for Madison

We registered for Madison's gear in February 2010. We had so much fun picking out items for girlfriend! Just can't wait for her to get here!

Girlfriend is Tiny

At our visit with Dr. Bennett on March 17, 2010, we discovered that Madison appears to be a little underweight. She weighed in at 1 lb. 12 oz. and she should be closer to 2 lb. 2 oz. at this point. We tried not to be too concerned but we were so hoping that she was growing like crazy and overcoming some of her problems. She's become way more active, kicking and rolling around, which makes us feel like she is developing and her spinal defect is not affecting her lower limb function. We will continue to believe this and draw comfort from it, despite the doctors telling us it is a reflex action that Madison can't control. Madison's brain ventricles are also beginning to dilate which indicates hydrocephalus will develop. This isn't good news but we know God is still working on her and is in control of her development. If the hydrocephalus becomes a serious concern, Madison will be delivered early so that fluid doesn't put pressure on her brain and cause brain damage. These two concerns will be monitored closely over the last months of the pregnancy. We're praying that when we go back to Vanderbilt on April 15th that Madison has grown tremendously and that the ventricle dilation has stopped.

Great Visit at Vandy

On February 24, 2010 we traveled once again to Vanderbilt to meet with Dr. Bennet, our new OB for the remainder of the pregnancy. We also got to meet Dr. Tulipan, the neurosurgeon who will perform surgery on Madison when she is born. There is no doubt that God has placed these amazing doctors in our lives to care for our little girl- there simply is not a better group of medical professionals than these doctors and we completely trust them and their ability to care for Madison. Dr. Tulipan was able to answer a lot of questions about Madison's prognosis which helped us find some peace about the whole situation. Madison will likely experience some lower limb weakness and bladder dysfunction as a result of this birth defect. She may have some coordination and balance problems but therapy can help her develop control over her muscles. Doctors do believe that she will develop hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) although she shows no sign of it at this point. We continue to pray that God performs a miracle in Madison and heal her but we are so excited that she is growing and we will love her no matter what challenges she may or may not have.

Madison's First Visit to Vanderbilt

Madison is going to be a special baby who requires special care from now until she's born. We saw Dr. Bennett from Vanderbilt for the first time on February 12, 2010. At this visit Dr. Bennett confirmed Madison does has spina bifida but the dr. felt the spinal lesion is very low on her spine- which is a good thing. Such a lesion will mean Madison will need surgery to close her spine within hours of her birth. We still don't know everything about this defect but we were encouraged by Dr. Bennett's report and Madison will continue to be monitored closely throughout her development to check for any other abnormalities. But praise the Lord that Madison's heart, stomach, kidneys, and feet are all in great shape at this point- these organs are sometimes negatively affected by spina bifida. Check out the link for the Spina Bifida Association (at the top of the page) to learn more about this birth defect.

Our First Visit with a Specialist

We saw a high risk OB specialist on January 21, 2010 and it was not a good visit. The dr. painted a very dark picture of what Madison's defects could be but had no conclusive diagnosis to report because she could not see a defect on Madison's spine. However the dr. believed that a defect would show up on future ultrasounds as Madison gets bigger. No specifics on the brain abnormality can be given until we meet with a neurosurgeon. We are devastated that Madison is not healthy. But God is still knitting her together and she is fearfully and wonderfully made, regardless of any reports doctors give us. We believe we will be walking down a long road full of appointments, tests, and uncertainty for the rest of the pregnancy. We need God to give us peace.

A Scary Report from the Dr.

The same day we learned we were having a girl, Dr. Gernt told us she believed Madison has a spinal column defect. We were paralyzed with fear and sadness to learn our little girl may have some serious abnormalities. Dr. Gernt said the ultrasound revealed a lemon-shaped head and an abnormal cerebellum shape (it's part of the brain). These defects are typically indicators of spina bifida. More ultrasounds must be performed to rule out or confirm a spina bifida diagnosis. We are scared for what this means for Madison but we will continue to pray that God continues to perfectly form her.

It's a girl!

We learned that Baby Rawls was a girl on January 15, 2010. We just KNEW it was a girl! Her name will be Madison Grace Rawls, a name we picked years ago while sitting in a Waffle House in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We wrote the name on a napkin that we still have. Madison was not afraid to show us she was a girl- sure hope she develops some modesty before she gets older!

Our Little Washing Machine

We were able to hear Baby Rawls' heartbeat for the first time on December 18, 2009. It was the most amazing sound we'd ever heard- sounded like a washing machine. We both cried tears of joy! The baby's heart was beating at 165 beats per minute. You know they say fast heartbeats indicate the baby is a girl...we'll see!

Our First Look at Baby Rawls

We had out first prenatal visit on November 16, 2009 after finding out we were pregnant. Dr. Gernt wasn't able to find the heartbeat with the Doppler instrument, which made us panic, but she had us get an ultrasound so we could see the heartbeat instead. We got our first look at our little miracle! The heartbeat was beating strong and the baby looked like a little peanut.