Saturday, September 8, 2007

Meet Poppy

This is Poppy’s most recent picture to date. I think she looks so sweet…so much like her big sister did in her 20 week photo! In fact, to my untrained eye, I’d say she looks flawless. This was one of the hardest things for us as we sat through the diagnostic ultrasound where they were searching for all of the abnormalities that could be found. As I lay on that table for nearly two hours, all I kept seeing was a little baby. She would move and kick and suck her thumb, all signs in my mind of a thriving little baby. But the reality is that by the time they had finished, the doctor had come up with a laundry list of problems: 3 times too much liquid on her brain, a hole in her heart, only one kidney, short limbs, and a club foot. All of these things on their own are fixable, but each symptom simply points to the greater problem, which is that each and every cell of her body contains too much information because of the extra 18th chromosome. This is the condition for which there is no cure.

The weird thing about trisomy 18 is that there is no way to predict the severity of her case. All of the problems with her organs are not really indicators of how long she will make it. My doctor reminded me the other day at my appointment that she might not make it to her due date. If she does, she could live any time from a moment, a day, a week, a month, or possibly even a year. Medical science just doesn’t have any accurate way to give us an estimate. Not knowing is certainly one of the biggest challenges; another is being completely powerless to do anything to help her. As her mom, that is so hard to accept! That’s where the day-to-day thing comes into play again. This continues to be my biggest prayer request, that God will give me strength for each day and that that will be enough.

I’ve been talking to a friend, who is also going through this same thing right now, about how life is filled with seasons. There are seasons of joy and sadness, growth and loss. This reminds me so much of the song “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice. As we were coming home from the zoo today it was on the radio and I was reminded that we are definitely in the midst of the season described in the fourth verse:

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

This is how I feel! It is a lonely road sometimes. Thank God, He has provided us with precious people who have experienced similar heartache to help share the burden, but sometimes I still feel so alone in this! However, I was reminded today when I was listening to the song that this verse is followed by:

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

This current season will not be forever. There will be seasons of so much happiness and joy in our future. But for now, we give this season in our lives to Jesus and praise Him for it.


Deb and Alan +5 said...

Dear Angie,
Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture with us. How awesome to see how "He is knitting her together in her mother's womb." You know we can"praise Him because we are so fearfully and wonderfully made His works are wonderful we know that full well." As we think of Poppy and all the imperfections others have seen it is so great to know as you have said that she is not a mistake! God knows exactly what He's doing even if no one else does. Thank you for allowing God to use you and being so open. You may never know until eternity all that God does through this season. You know that you are never alone even though it feels that way sometimes. He cares for you and you can cry out to Him as many times as needed. He never gets weary! Someday, though not in this earthly life, Poppy will be made perfect as we all will who know Jesus. We can't wait to see our baby Christian Taylor who has been with Jesus now for 4 years. What a great celebration it will be! We love you all and are praying for you and are here for whatever you need.
Aunt Deb

Boothe Farley said...

sweet angie-
seeing poppy's sonogram picture is so precious... it looks so much like copeland (i suppose they look similar at this stage, much as newborn babies do). and i know exactly the things you are detailing: that, to you, she is absolutely flawless and perfect. i feel the same when i see our girl in her ultrasound pictures. it is weird that we will meet her in about a week. i am anxious and so ready, at the same time.

i am praying specifically for that baby girl, that the Lord will sustain her life and give you that meeting with her you so long for. i know that at this stage it's easy to get fearful that perhaps you won't make it, but i want you to know that conor and i are standing in the gap for you in regards to this.

your final words - about life being seasonal, and celebrating the fact that this is, in fact, one of pain, but there are triumphs and joys to come - are so encouraging. you and both know there are so many people in this world who are in the midst of heartbreaking trials, and to know that Jesus doesn't intend to leave them there is such a blessing. we just have to take ahold of His hand and trust Him to lead us back into the light, no matter how long that road may take.

we love you and nathan and of course your precious girls...

from our home to yours...

conor, boothe, sellers and copeland

Anonymous said...

God Bless you as your go through this trying time. It is indeed a blessing that God will not leave you in your dispair but will bring you new blessings in the future. I remember seeing Madeline on the sonogram each week and thinking how perfectly she was made. Don't dwell on all the negatives the doctors see, but believe He makes no mistakes and Poppy is already a miracle. I will continue to pray for you and your family.


Dee Dee in NC said...

We had a wonderful little boy who lived almost 3 weeks (Trisomy but not 18; he had Downs). He is with our Lord, and how much better that time could have been if I had had the wisdom you display. I appreciate your attitude of surrender. I need to learn that.
Our little boy was a true blessing, and I am so glad for each moment we had him, before and after his birth. Praying for you.

On a different note, we were blessed many years ago, while living in Germany, to attend a conference in Interlaken, Switzerland, with various Christian speakers. There we sat under the Bible teaching of your grandfather. We were blessed then, and I am blessed again now to "meet" his dear granddaughter and grandson-in-law and see the same heart for Jesus.
I can see God used Him not only in Switzerland but much closer to home. He'd be pleased at how you are purposing to see God's best in this. It can't be easy. Thank you for your honesty.

Dee Dee in NC said...

Or is it grandson and granddaughter-in-law?

Nathan Luce said...

Dee Dee,

Thank you so much for your kind words. You were correct in your original post. Angie is Dr. Roger's granddaughter and I was blessed enough to call him "Papa" by marrying in to the family.

Neighbor Joan said...

Angie and Nathan: I'm sure that you may be familiar with this poem as it is one of the most frequently quoted poems to show God's love. I repeat it here because it comes to my mind repeatedly as I read of your own strong faith.


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,

"The times when you have only seen one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you."

Copyright 1984 Mary Stevenson.

Melody said...

Dearest Angie and Nathan,

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us. I know that times are going to become even more difficult but continue to rely on our Heavenly Father to lift you up in times of need. Clay and I have both learned that we must praise Him in the storms as well as the good times. If you ever need anything at all, even just someone to talk to don't hesitate to call or e-mail. We love yall and will continue to lift you up in prayer.

Melody and Clay Burchett
Faith Baptist (Moss class)

Emme said...

Dearest Poppy Joy,
We love you. We eagerly look forward to being able to hold you and tell you in person how important you are to our family. We will cherish the time we have with your earthly body but will not begrudge you the moment when you need to fly into Jesus' arms. Your Daddy and Mommy are well prepared for you and are helping the rest of us be ready to receive the blessings you will shower upon us all.
Stay safe, Little One...under the heart of your mother and in the hand of God.
Your loving grandmother,

Anonymous said...


I learned of Trisomy 18 and the fate of "Poppy Joy" several weeks ago at our Wednesday prayer meeting. It was Pastor Dave, your father, who shared with us the situation as it is.
A feeling of great sadness came over me at that time and the tears came quickly after. My tears continue to flow as I pray for Poppy Joy, you, and Nathan. The tears in the beginning were from sadness for both of you. But since I have been visiting this site, reading your thoughts/feelings, and seeing what Great love for the Lord and faith in Him you both have, that my tears of sadness, in some way, turned into tears of joy. Joy because of that love and faith and because of the maturity that you both show. Both of you are a blessing and inspiration to me, and I am sure to all who visit here.
You and Nathan have given me much encouragement and I find myself seeking the Lord more then I ever have before and trusting Him, as you both do, that He will bring us through the storms of life and we will be stronger because of Him and His love.
I will continue to pray for you both. But most importantly, for "Poppy Joy". And I know because of her and what you and Nathan share here at this site, many lives will be changed.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

in His love,
Darlene in Fl

Laurie said...

Dear Poppy Joy (what a precious name you have) As a grandmother myself, I completely agree with what your grandma emme has written here. Your picture is beautiful and perfect in my eyes as I see you. How much more precious and perfect you are to the Lord who has always known you. Your life will bring Joy through this storm and you have the best parents to hold you when you make your arrival. My prayers are for your family to have the strength they need for each day and that the Lord gently catches their cares as they cast every one of them to him. This season is not a mistake, God has known it all along. He is your family's strength and hope. God Bless you sweet girl. I pray for a complete miracle and trust God to know what His plan is. Laurie in Ca.

Rachel said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am still fervently praying for sweet Poppy. Thank you for posting her picture. How precious she is! My prayer is that we all remember that "God is in the miracle business" and that we can rest in the fact that GOD IS ABLE. He is able to use Poppy's life in such extraordinary ways that we cannot even see right now, and He has already begun to do that because of your obedience to Him. It really is a joy to see how God is being glorified through Poppy's life and through your lives. I am so proud of both of you.

Jena Baker said...

Nathan, Angie, and Marianna,

I met you Sunday at church. Thank you so much for sharing Poppy's beautiful picture and your experience. I truly believe that in every situation God is in control. I know that many people will be and have been touched by Poppy's life already. I will continue to pray that more will come to know our Savior through Poppy and your family.

Jena Baker
Faith Baptist

Brandi said...

Dear Angie,

I'm tripping over my own words in trying to say something encouraging and to tell you how moved I am, but everything seems so inadequate.

What I can say is that Poppy's life is already a testimony to me of God's love and faithfulness. She is so precious and perfect in God's eyes. He has a special plan for her and I'm thankful He is letting us be a small part of it by praying for you, Nathan, Marianna and Poppy.

Her little picture is now on my monitor as a reminder to pray for you all. Come to Jesus is ringing in my ears and resonating in my heart...

Brandi Hayes

The O'Donnells said...

angie! it's jennifer harris o'donnell...i found your blog through laurin's and have seen the farley's through whitney akin's...i'm praying for ya'll! i cannot even fathom what you are experiencing but i have seen your faith in your posts and am amazed! thank you for sharing your journey...through poppy joy many will see our savior!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for having this blog and being so transparent during what must be a truly difficult time. I am so excited to know that God has prepared you for this moment and is using you in so many ways - even to strangers on the internet. Poppy Joy has wonderful parents! I am committing to pray for your family and am so encouraged by your faith. She's beautiful, by the way. Our God is amazing!

Sherrie Hopper said...

Poppy is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. We at TRA love you and pray for you daily. You and Nathan are amazing people.

Kim said...

That song was played at the funeral of a dear friend of mine's husband, who died this year of brain cancer at 35. I think that song captures the perfect words to fall on. "To Jesus" is the only place to go.

Praying for you and your sweet family.

alissa4illustration said...

Dear Angie,

I have a sister named Angie. My other sister Terra found out that she is pregnant with a baby boy that has Trisomy 18 yesterday. She is a very rare carrier of Trisomy 18. My Mom is as well.

My Mom's first baby was a Trisomy 18 baby that lived for two weeks.

Terra had a baby that was born in 1997 that only lived 6 hours because he was a Trisomy 18 baby that had a hole in his diaphragm.

Since then Terra has had two healthy boy's. Now another baby with Trisomy 18 will be born in June. I'm scared for her and everyone else involved. Her fish test came back saying that the baby was 95% not going to have Trisomy 18, but her ultrasound showed a club foot and thickening of the neck. Somehow I just knew what we were in for. It's too early to know all the problems he will have.

I'm so glad you are willing to talk about Poppy. Such a pretty name!