Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas - our Christmas Letter.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
First I want to thank you all for sending us your lovely Christmas cards last year. I love getting all the friends and family updates. And seeing your cute pictures. Last Christmas was a crazy time for us and I was not up to sending cards. To be truthful, we were at the beginning of one of our greatest trials/blessings. Dec. 1st last year marks the day we found out that our unborn son had Edwards Syndrome. The doctors told us this condition is “not compatible with life”. I found it too hard to focus on well wishing greetings when the biggest and obvious trial was the only thing I could see in my life. One year later however, I am now excited to send out well wishing greetings.

The Lord has truly blessed us in our trials. Our son Zeke Ellis Stanger was born March 26th, 2010 at 11:13 p.m. He lived a moment. He lived just long enough to take a breath and blink at his daddy. This moment was an answer to many prayers and many fasts. As you can guess I am NOT a fan of the words “not compatible with life” as I have found that there are many children with this condition (also called trisomy 18) that do survive their birth and actually live for quite some time. We have experienced many miracles with our Zeke. We know that his challenges and disabilities were all a part of the Lord’s plan for him.

Our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His church here on the earth have been deepened through our experiences so far. We know our Savior, that he lives, and he loves us. We are so grateful to have had Zeke Ellis Stanger in our lives. Our lives have been forever changed because of our moment with him.

As for the kids, they are doing great and taking everything in stride. Wesley has just turned 8. He was baptized earlier this month. That was a great occasion, and a special “spiritual payday” for mom and dad. He loves to play basketball and is taking piano lessons. He also had a chance this year to wrestle and really enjoyed it. We got just a peek into the world of wrestling. This is a world which was totally new to us. Lily is 5 and has started kindergarten. She loves school, is learning a lot and loving it. Madi is 3 and spoiled rotten ( in a good way). She loves to sing and dances all around the house with Lily in their pretty dresses.

Kip is still elder’s quorum president, and I’m the secretary in the stake young women’s program. I have to admit that this has been one of my favorite callings. I work with awesome women and get to plan and play at girls camp in the summer. It’s so much fun. This is my third year as PTO president, and I’m definitely learning a lot there. This year because of budget cutbacks our school cut their music program, so a friend, and I have volunteered to teach music once a week in the elementary school. We just had our Christmas concert and all went well, the kids sang and Santa came, yeah!!! Life is full, crazy and definitely an adventure.

May the Lord bless you this Christmas season. Lots of Love from the Stangers. Kip, Leejean, Wesley, Lily, Madi, and Zeke

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A project!! yeah a project!! it's homemade. :)

Two blocks with many messages.   Let me know what you think. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas is in the air!

I love Christmas time!! It's in the air.  People are nicer, Christmas music on the radio, and HO HO HO every where you go.  ok maybe just a giggle or two thinking of how I'm going to try and surprise my husband with a present this year.  What to surprise the kids with.  It's just soo much fun.  Merry Christmas everyone.  lots of love to you all!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Spiritual Paydays

I was sitting in the temple last week and had the opportunity to be sitting by the mother of a youngman going for the first time in preparation to serve a mission.  As we talked just a little about being a mother she mentioned that these times, watching your child make good choices, are paydays for mothers.  Well today I had a mother's payday, and I suspect that my mother and my husband's mother were also experiencing a great payday as we watched my husband baptize and confirm our son.  I felt so happy my body could not contain the immense joy as it spilled over my eyes.  My poor Lily, who has seen me cry too many times to count was worried at first, and told me not to cry.  I promptly let her know that these were tears of joy, as I was able to watch my young son making the choice to follow Jesus Christ, and could also feel the presence of our Angel son, Zeke, there as well.  What a GLORIOUS night.  The spirit was so strong.  I'm so greatful for the Gospel. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remembering December 1st 2009

One year ago today was a crazy day, but it does help me to remember some of the Lord's tender mercies on such a hard day.  We were scheduled for our first routine ultrasound for our pregnancy.  I felt sad and unsettled but did not know why.  I desperately wanted Kip to come to the appointment with me.  But due to work it looked like he wasn't going to be able to make it.  He also had no way of knowing how distraught I was feeling.  Kip was trying to see if he could make it, but called to tell me that he really couldn't do it.  I broke down on the phone and just cried.  My dear husband realizing the terrible state of my emotions was able to put emergency status on my needs and was able to get out of whatever work he was supposed to do.  We made it to the appointment together. 

The Lord knowing that we would both need the emotional support of each other made sure that we were there together.  I finally understood why I felt the way I did.  It was His way of making sure that we were both there to hear the news together and be there for each other. 

The doctor was one that I had not met before, so when he was so quiet at first I didn't know if it was his personality or if there was something wrong.  He continued to look at everything for quite a while and still was not saying much.  I was able to see a few things for my self but had no idea exactly what they meant.  The Lord had prepared me for this.  I had a feeling that everything was not going to be exactly perfect some time before this.  But I figured in my head that perhaps I would have a downy (downs syndrome).  But I did not discuss this with anyone.  So I was not surprised by there being something, but I was surprised by what it was.  Also I had for sometime not felt comfortable about praying that our little one would be healthy with no problems or complications.  This I also kept close to my heart and did not speak.  How do you tell someone else that you don't feel like it's right to pray for a healthy baby. 

When the doctor finally did speak he started pointing out things that were "wrong" with our boy.  A boy? yes a boy.  oh we are having a boy.  I knew it.  But our boy was not "perfect".  He had fluid on his brain, a hole in his heart, and his intestines were on the outside of his body (kind of like a big hernia).  Of course they offered termination, which we quickly let them know was NOT an option for us.  Another ultra-sound was set up for the next day with a specialist in Boise.  It was here that we found out more and I had an amniocentesis.  (a whole other story since I'm very needle phobic)  here again the Lord blessed me and helped me through this ordeal.  2 weeks later we received the results of the amnio that confirmed what they all thought all along.  Which to be quite honest felt anti-climactic.  I wanted better news.  Tell me we were wrong, everything is going to be ok, anything, but yep we were right.  Our sweet boy was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 or Edwards Syndrome. 

As we came home and shared our news with those closest to us, we found more instances where the Lord had already put into place those people who would be able to help us with this trial in our lives.  Our doctor was a wonderful religious man who was sensitive to our needs.  I found that my Visiting Teacher from church had also had a little boy with Edwards Syndrome.  One of my aunts had had a little girl with Pa tau's Syndrome, or Trisomy 13. 

Our Journey had begun.  There are many many more miracles given to us as we came to know our little man.  He was exactly as he should be, perfect in his own way, beautiful beyond comparison, our son Zeke Ellis Stanger.  He was born March 26th.  He lived just a moment, long enough to take a breath and blink at his daddy, and change our lives forever. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Day Wesley!!!

Wow, eight years ago today, I was scared to death waiting to embark on the newest, grandest, and hardest adventure of my life.  I was getting ready to give birth for the first time.  I remember knowing without a doubt that I was going to die, and someone else was going to have to raise my baby.  But as you can read I did not die and my fears gave way to incredible joy as I found myself holding a new purplish little monkey-face that I found absolutely beautiful.  Now he's eight and comes up to my shoulders, can wear my shoes & socks.  He's such a good boy and I'm so proud of him.  I would "die" all over again to have him in my life.  Happy birthday to my first baby.  I love you Wesley!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

With so many things to be thankful for it's hard to pick just one.  Of course we all think first of our families, spouses and children, parents and siblings.  My sister said it well today when it came to her turn around the table, she said that she was thankful for the little things, like a kind husband who plugs in her phone for her at night when she forgets.  Her daughter who learns new things, and her baby son who smiles a lot.  It makes me think of all the little things I'm greatful for.  Like a dishwasher to help me with my dishes.  A warm home in the middle of the winter.  Lights that come on with the flip of a switch.  A vehicle that runs and takes me where ever I need to go. 

I'm greatful for a husband that respects me and never puts me down.  For kids that want to be good (deep down) ;-).  They are still kids afterall.  What are you greatful for?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Losing it one day at a time!

This time I'm not talking about my sanity, but my fat.  YEAH!! I've lost a whopping 30 pounds in 40 days.  I did the hcg diet.  I'm now onto phase 3 which is maintenance.  I still have some restrictions but not as much as I had for the past 6 weeks.  This has been great for me. 

Before starting the hcg I'd had another miscarriage and my hormones were way wacked.  I felt totally crazy, and not in the fun way.  But I started the hcg and immediately felt better.  No more crazies.  :-)  Through the 6 weeks my hormones have balanced out.  I've been off the hcg for 1.5 days now and am still feeling good.  It's also supposed to help reset my out of wack metabolism.  This I am way excited about. 

Besides fighting a slight cold, I feel better than I have in years, ok maybe even 8 years.  It's nice to feel like you want to live and can do things other than just for survival.  After 6 weeks of maintenance I can do another round of hcg if needed.  We'll see when I get there.  I started out at,.... ok I'm going to tell my weight here... but I think I'm ok with that....215 lbs.  and am now 187 lbs.  I'd still like to lose another 30 pounds, but at this time I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I will get there.  Life is Good.  Pictures to come later. ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life goes on. :)

Life is good. I'm greatful for all that I have. I've been doing a special diet and have finally been able to lose some weight. So far I've lost 28 pounds, and I'm finally feeling better. Better than I have for a long time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's been six and a half months.

wow, what to say. Somedays I feel great. Others I just want to scream at everyone who walks past me and sees me with no baby, and has no idea what happened, that "I just had a baby dang-it" It seems like just yesterday sometimes. It still really hurts, and I miss him. Other people's babies are growing up all around me. Mine is too, he's growing spiritually, we just can't see his growth right now, can't mark it on the wall, or ooooh and ahhh over all his progress. I know that someday I'll be able to raise him and touch him and hold him. This does bring great comfort. But it doesn't take away the pain of not having him now. I'll be patient. I have to. But it doesn't just go away. I'm greatful for the memories I do have, and the moments I feel close to him. I'm greatful for all the blessings my Father in Heaven has given me. I know He cares.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zeke Quilts

Here are the quilts we made for Zeke for the kids to remember him by. I realized that I hadn't posted them yet.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Just thought I'd list a few things that I'm greatful for. Things that help me get over the crazies.

1. The temple-- I can feel such peace and love when I got there. It feels like coming home after you've been gone for some time. Once after missing a few weeks, when I was able to go again I almost cried just walking into the building, the feeling was so familiar and needed. Since Zeke passed I've been able to go almost every week. Which leads me to another "thing" I'm greatful for.

2. Friends who watch my kids so that I can go to the temple so often. Friends that I can call when I feel so crazy. Friends that I know will come at the drop of a hat, the minute they know I need help. And of course my sisters are included in my list of friends that I can count on. And friends that evne though they are far away, still love and pray for me. Friends that when you see them again, even 18 years later, are still as close as when we parted.

3. Kids. Even though they can contribute to my crazy emotions, they also still love me and depend on me even after my meltdowns. I love them. Sometimes we take turns having meltdowns. But that's normal, right? he he.

4. My sweet husband, who is so special to me that he gets his own category. I love him. There are not words to say what he does for me.

well, kids need to eat, and that means I must go to fix something. :) So i'll think somemore on this subject and perhaps that will help me through this day. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

ahhhhh! the crazies! three months.

I feel so crazy inside sometimes. i'm sure it's still grieving stuff, but I just don't know. I understand the plan that our Heavenly Father had for us. And I've been blessed with amazing spiritual experiences. I know where Zeke is and why and what he's doing there. But the mortal part of me, wait that's all of me, he he, still hurts sometimes. I'm so greatful for this experience, and all that we have learned and gotten from it. I just wish my head and body didn't feel so crazy.

I feel like I'm forgetting something all the time. You know the feeling you get when you're packing for a trip and you think you may have forgotten something, but you just can't think of what it is. I just can't seem to keep my head on straight. I'm emotional and close to tears a lot of the time. I feel fat and ugly, and stupid with my words. Things just don't come out of my mouth right. I think perhaps I should not talk so much until I can reinstall my brain to mouth filter. Of course of lot of these feelings could just be postpartum. The problem is cuz I don't have the baby to care for I guess I just think that I shouldn't have to deal with all that other stuff. But it's still there. I just have to keep reminding myself that even though I don't physically have a baby here, that I did have a baby three months ago and it does take time for everything to heal. oh well. Life is still GOOD and this too shall pass.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meeting Zeke

I definately know that there is a God for I have felt the presence of His precious spirits testifying of Him and the plan that He has for us.

Zeke first checked in with me the day after Madi was born. I knew that there was another spirit waiting to come to our family. This feeling lingered with me for about a month and then he left me alone for a little over a year. I knew that we had a little boy waiting. I got pregnant in Deember of 08. The week before Christmas we miscarried. Two months later I found myself prego again. Then in April 08 we miscarried. It sound crazy but we really weren't trying. I was trying to let my body heal first, but found myself prego again in June. In July we miscarried again. Now let me assure you that our methods of prevention have worked for 7 years, but not this year. :) Zeke really wanted to come. At first I thought we were miscarrying because the first three fetusus must not have been viable. But now after having been through this experience and having had many spiritual impressions I've come to understand Zeke's calling and purpose in this life better. I now believe that he was waiting for the body that would allow him to fullfill his mission. This body was not a perfect body as to the worlds standards, but it was a body with Trisomy 18 that was perfect for what he needed to accomplish.

In Aug I found that I was again pregnant. During all of these pregnancies I could feel Zeke checking in with me. Sometimes he would follow us around for a bit. But usually he would check in for just a moment, just long enough to let me know that he was there. I got the feeling that his personality was much like his dad's; kind and gentle, generous, but doesn't like to bother others.

I was in my 20th week of pregnancy when we went in for a routine ultra sound. This was December 1, 2009. When I look back I realize that I was not shocked that something was wrong, but I was shocked by the severity of it. I'd had some impressions before this time that things may not be completely normal. So I was thinking that I might have a baby with downs, but I never shared these thoughts with anyone. As we dealt with the news that our sweet baby boy was going to have many problems and may not live very long if at all, we recieved much support. It was also during this time that I started to feel him move just once in a while, more like once or twice a day. I also noticed that as I could feel him move he was not checking in anymore on the outside. This is when I realized that his spirit was nolonger visiting us but constantly with us in his body inside of me. :)

Zeke was breach for almost all of my pregnancy. I started to feel very anxious that he was going to be born breach. I prayed very hard and talked to him to get him to turn head down. I knew this would be hard for him because he didn't move a lot and when he did his movements were small. But Zeke is an obedient child. When we went in for our last ultra sound in April, he was head down. He must have moved inch by inch very slowly because I did not feel him do it, except looking back I can remember feeling him on the sides of my belly, but I did not know at the time that's what was happening.

However, it was God's plan that he be born breach. So about a week before he was born he again inched his way back to being breach. Again I had no idea this was happening at the time. I was as surprised as the doctors to find him breach in delivery.

Zeke was born March 26th 2010 at 11:13 pm. He lived a moment, blinked at his dad, and then went back to his heavenly home. He did all that he could, which wasn't easy, to stay alive for as long as he could. He fulfilled his mission.

We are so greatful for the opportunity of having Zeke in our family and blessing our lives. we are so thankful to have met him.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Our Grand Adventure

Wow, what an adventure we are having. Our sweet baby boy, Zeke Ellis Stanger, was born almost 2 weeks ago on March 26th at 11:13 pm. My doctor said he lived a minute. He lived a moment just long enough to blink at his daddy. His face was beautiful. He had blue eyes just like the rest of us. His lips were beautiful and very red just like Lily's. His hair was golden just like Madison's and his hands were big like his big brother Wesley and his dad.

We've had so many little and big miracles to help us along the way. Zeke is one special spirit. I can still feel him hanging around with us. I'm so glad that we are a forever family, and I know that we will be able to see Zeke again, we'll be able to raise him in the millenium. I can't wait until I can put my arms around him again.

There is so much to say about our adventure that it'll have to be done in several posts. For now I feel much like an olympic gold medalist must feel like when they have to go back to the real world after such a great experience. I feel like I have done something really great and been a part of something marvelous, and now or soon have to go back to the real world. but I have hung my "medals"/pictures on the wall and hope to be able to remember every moment of our grand adventure.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The tooth fairy

So we must be the last stop on the toothfairies list. Cuz the last two times she's come to our house she's been late. My son is an early riser and has gotten up before the toothfairy has been there. Last night he decided to put his tooth on his desk instead of under his pillow. I told him that should be fine. I totalled planned on having the toothfairy come before I went to sleep, but um...forgot. My son came in to my room this morning and said, "Mom I guess you have to put your tooth under the pillow," huh? "the tooth fairy didn't come. So I put it under my pillow, maybe she'll come while I'm at school." ooooooooooooh, I said as the lights in my head finally came on.

Anyway, He went back and checked again after telling his sister that the toothfairy hadn't come. I happened to be in his sister's room, when he came running in saying, "she did come!!!" Yeah, toothfairy. She even paid him for his last tooth that he lost down the drain. I told him she must have been very busy last night. hm.... maybe she won't be so late next time. he he he.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some Dreams do come true :)

So I had another ultrasound a couple weeks ago, and there was some good news. His head is now down, YEAHH!!!! I've been so worried about delivering breach. Cuz it could be harder for Zeke. It's funny though because he doesn't make any big movements so he either moved inch by inch, which is possible or ....

About a week before my scan I dreamed that he flipped head down. In my dream I could feel him moving and so I took my hands and pushed on my belly to push his head down and in my dream I felt him go fllloppp. Head down. So i'm not sure what really happened, but I think it's fun to think that my dream was really real. Now if I could just have labor in my sleep. he he!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quilting Fun for remembering Zeke

A friend of mine got a bunch of cute bacy print material from one of her friends and she invited me over to make a blanket for Zeke. We decided to make three blankets one for each of my older kids to remember Zeke by. We're going to have his name with a message. "Zeke Ellis Stanger Loves You." Emroidered on each quilt. It was so fun making them. We got two tops made yesterday, and the third started. I'm going to finish the third top and my friend is going to get the other two ready for tieing. So we'll get one more day of playing out of it.

My plan is to take the quilts with us to the hospital and after Zeke is born, hopefully while he's still alive, but if not we'll still take the pictures. One picture of him wrapped in each quilt with each of my other kids holding him. Then After he's gone they will still have that quilt and the picture to remeber him by.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

million dollar idea

So we met with a funeral director so that we can have everything planned ahead and not have to worry about anything at the time it happens. They'll take care of everything we've talked about. Anyway they showed us a booklet of funeral programs, with pretty pictures on the outside. The small programs that you see at funerals. Well, we were looking at them and there were a couple we kind of liked but not totally. Then I thought I'd really like one of those Greg Olsen pictures the one with Christ holding a small boys hand and walking with him. So I went to Crowley's book store to see if they have any funeral stationary with those pictures.

And here's the million dollar idea. They don't and the owner didn't know of any Greg Olsen pics. on funeral stuff. Anyway, so he's going to call the company and see if they can get it. Wow, if they don't we thought that would open up a whole new market for the Greg Olsen co. I think when people see those options in the booklet they would get picked all the time. So great idea, we couldn't believe that no one else had ever asked for them. Too bad we can't make money on the idea. LOL. oh well, someone will.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I have a funny sense of Humor, I know, some might even say weird.

Ok, so we've been meeting with the cemetary and funeral home, so that everything is taken careof ahead of time and we won't have to worry about it when the time comes. So that's not the funny part. But it was when we were talking to the lady at the cemetary. She was telling us that the cost of spaces depends on where you want to be in the park. I thought ok, and then she took us out on the tour. I just had to laugh. There is a creek that runs through the cemetary park. The spaces on the "water-front property" are more expensive then the other spaces. I just think it's funny. I think when i'm dead I won't care whether i'm on water-front property or not. It's just like regular real-estate. I don't know why, it just strikes my funny bone.

We're planning on getting two spaces one for me and one for Kip and then they'll put Zeke in what they call the marker row so we won't have to purchase a seperate space for him. So we're probably going to get a big marker and have all of our names put on it now instead of later then later they'll just have to put our last date. So we were talking about it and i just blurted out. Hey Kip we can come and visit our-selves. That seems kind of funny too. oh well, maybe you're thinking my sense of humor is weird. well, maybe it is. My family always told me I was weird, in a good way though. He he.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hello Zeke Ellis Stanger - via ultra-sound :)

Side profile with his mouth open. :)

Cute little face. Don't worry the dark side on the side of his face is just the result of the scanner. He has a beautiful head. We love you Zeke!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So here's the update on our situation. We had an amniocentisis done and the diagnosis is Trisomy 18. This means that the 18th Chromosome has three strands instead of 2. For example Trisomy 21 is Downs Syndrome. Trisomy 18 is also called Edwards Syndrome. The picture below shows some of the charactaristics of Edwards Syndrome. If you want more info. you can google Trisomy 18 and go to the Trisomy 18 foundation page, or go to http://www.soft.uk.org/ they also have info on it.

Some t-18 babies have no other structural symptions, but then some have all of the symptoms. They don't know why this happens. They say that 50% of of t-18 babies are still born. of those born alive 10% might live past their first birthday. The average life expectancy is 10 days. Out little guy has almost all the symptoms. Perhaps more. he has:(for those who may be squimish you can skip the next paragraph.)

He has fluid on the brain. Some of his brain has developed but is under pressure from the fluid, and some parts have not developed. His heart has a big hole in the the ventricular wall and fluid in his abdomen which they say is indicitive of heart failure. But he does have a good heart beat right now. His intestines and possibly liver are on the outside of his abdomen. He has lots of problems and curves in his back. He does have the rocker bottom feet. And it looks like his hands might be attached at the elbows. It's possible he could have a cleft palat but we haven't seen this for sure yet, and his esophogus might not connect to his stomach. We have an ultra sound on the 20th of this month. So we'll hopefully be able to check on these last two symptoms.

Anyway, for now he is alive and well. I can usually feel him moving at least once a day. Sometimes two-three times. After we do a zone therapy session for him I can feel him move a lot more like 6-7 times in a day for a couple days. This is nice. And makes me feel like I'm actually able to help him in some way. I've also found a great group of other t-18 moms on face book. They are in all stages of the journey, Some are like me prego with a t-18 child others, are taking care of their t-18 children. It's encouraging to see these kids living. And others are dealing with the loss of their child. It's nice to be able to communicate with them and know that I am not alone.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Life is good. We're taking it one day at a time. I still have good days and some sad, but definately more good than bad. I didn't get Christmas card out this year, but please know that you are loved. And maybe well get something out later.

Love you all, thanks for your prayers, your love and support!!!