Sharing life with Josephine

WOW – the past few months have been a whirlwind and the love for Josephine across the world is growing as fast as she is. All things considering, Bill and I are doing ok. Some days are harder than others but all in all, once the shock subsided and since we had our first meeting at New York Presbyterian, everything has been as good as it could be, considering the circumstances.

As a little girl, she would no doubt be loving this attention. I said to Bill as we walked in the door the other night, I already know her temperament. She is cheeky! SO cheeky and I know, if we were able to see her grow up, she’d be the kind of girl to look straight at us with her big eyes, wearing a little dress with ankle socks that had lace around the edges and say “I’m sorryyyyyyy!” and get away with whatever she had done. Kind of like her mummy. ;) At the moment, she is moving a lot. The moment I lay on my left side, she kicks. Almost without fail. If I try to lay on my back she starts up again. She loves it when I sleep on my right side so now, that is what I do, even though it means I cannot spend a long time facing Bill to chat with him. Now, almost every day between 3 and 3.30pm she begins to play for about an hour, before settling in and getting cozy for the commute home. Once we have had dinner she starts playing again for another couple of hours and tumbles and turns and then is quiet through the night unless I lay in a position she doesn’t like. Cold Milo sends her bananas without fail! Every movement and flutter is like a huge milestone for us. We couldn’t imagine life without these experiences!

We have done some amazing things with Joey so far as we have tried to made her the central part of so much that we have done. We just mention her anytime we are doing something special beyond our every day life, so that we are acknowledging that she is also sharing this moment with us.

Just as a start she has –

- Been to her first State Fair (GO MINNESOTA!)
- Walked along the Mississippi River.
- Visited Mall of America.
- Took a little drive into Wisconsin.
- Went to Saratoga Springs and Albany.
- Eaten at a place that was seen on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (the JUCY LUCY BURGER!!!)
- Spent the morning with me while I became American.
- Stayed up all night to watch Collingwood thrash Essendon.
- Visited one of my favorite shops – the Cross Eyed Owl in Kinderhook! Here we are with our niece Emily –

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Family photo in Wisconsin –

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She really is experiencing her mummy and daddy’s love of travel. I also recently went back to Melbourne for a whirlwind visit.

While I was there she got to ‘watch’ the Grand Final and put up with the Cleary’s all yelling at the TV and at the umpiring. As well as the footy, she flew over Sydney Harbor, ate party pies, dim sims, crumpets, fish and chips and loved mum’s toasted sandwiches and drank lots of Solo Lemon and Schweppes Raspberry.

She took her first trip on a Melbourne tram, got delayed by Metro trains and hung out at the State Library.

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Ding! Ding!

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Best meal on earth -

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She got to meet Shannyn and Ken, Nadine, Kayla and James, Ev, Mark, Harlan and Uncle Bruce. She got to spend lots of time with her Uncle Matthew and Leah and Holly and mum and dad spoiled us like CRAZY. As well as this she also had LOTS of visitors. We surprised Nana, Michael at Kays and Chris’ and Jayne and Lorraine – who all had no idea that I was visiting.

She also went to her first Diesel gig and for a drive on City Link. I got Maccas Drive Thru at 11.30pm so she could get an idea of what her mummy used to do all the time before Josephine became Josephine.

Mum and I went to Northland and Joey experienced a Wendy’s hot dog and milkshake outside Woolworths. She got to see bogans hanging out in the food court and we even went to Priceline for old-times sake.

Joey made me buy some boxes of these ;)

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… and all of this to bring back to New York –

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We also got a 4D ultrasound done in Melbourne – across from the MCG on Grand Final Day!! Even though it was very early for a 4D, we saw something amazing. She looks like BILL and she sucks her thumb JUST LIKE BILL DID!!!

Proof –

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Prayerfully, all of our Queen of All Saints family are praying for her and for us. We have the FCJ’s in Australia praying for her, family praying for her and strangers praying for her – all over the world. When I pray for Josephine, amongst other things I pray that she is comfortable and cozy, that she knows we love her and that she knows how much we can’t wait to give her kisses and hugs.

Medically, everything is chugging along nicely. We have found out that everything else in her development is progressing like normal and it looks like she has no other medical issues aside from the ancencephaly. That was almost hard to hear. For me, it was almost like if there was other things wrong it would seem almost easier to deal with. But knowing that a certain part of growth that happened so early in her life, has caused all of this and is going to take her away from us. Her fate was sealed at around 24-25 days after conception and I can look back on those two days where I was getting up, getting on the subway, going to work and going home – not realizing what was even happening to her. The only other ‘medical’ thing that is affecting me is that from about week 14, I have had to deal with constant gagging. :( It is exhausting and embarrassing and is still happening. Sea Bands have been a great help and have got me through the past few weeks as I was desperate to try anything. Despite my bump growing bigger and now being six and a half months along, I still haven’t put on any weight but neither my doctor or myself are concerned as I have plenty to go around!

Another thing is, we are also starting to plan her funeral. As Bill said to Father Joe, I am a liturgy nut – so obviously, I want the most beautiful Mass for her. I’ve read some people say they haven’t wanted to look into funerals beforehand but for me it is part of knowing that I have things done and I don’t want to forget anything or leave things to be rushed. That gives me peace of mind and gets me through all of this. I want her funeral to be a celebration of her time that we have got to know her in me. Her first flutter while I was standing in the kitchen was like her first steps for us. Her going bananas after the cold glass of milo was like her first big temper tantrum. These are the little bits of Josephine that we celebrate and make memories out of. She really is already part of our family!

See Josephine grow –

At 9 weeks –

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At 19 weeks when we found out she was going to be a little girl and we got a first glimpse of her long legs and huge feet!

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At 22 weeks – all happy and smiling for us!

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  • Monica

    You are always in my thoughts Jenelle. You are an amazing woman and have an equally amazing man beside you xxx

  • poppy abbas

    prays to you jenelle thinking of you and your baby josephine god bless her and your family stay strong darlimou best wishes from and old freind poppy xxx

  • amycrookes

    Thank you for the update, your little girl sounds a little bit cheeky. I just love the pic of her sucking her thumb. Thinking of you all constantly, appreciate and admire your honesty and strength. But sending strength and love your way

  • Deke A. Were

    Having not spoken to you for many many years, i hope that my message now helps you in some small way…..

    The shear thought of one of my kids having this condition makes me sick. I can not imagine how i would handle this. I do know for sure that if any person could handle this, you can. The Jenelle that l knew from Thornbury Football Club and Reservior Secondary District College, could handle anything. If you survived the northern suburbs of Melbourne, tram route 86 via Collingwood on a Saturday night, northland shopping centre and preston east high (RDSC) in the early 90′s, my friends and me, you can handle ANYTHING!!

    We are breed tuff in Melbourne, especially us ‘Pies’ fans…. When i have my moments of missing my mum, i use the good memories to get me through the tuff times. It does help to remember the good times. This will be the same with your daughter…… You need to remember the good times and celebrate them.

    All of my family is sending their best thoughts to you and Bill and your families at this time……..

    Deke.

  • Lesley Sullivan

    Hello! This is Mariangela’s Mom and Dad writing to you from Beirut Lebanon where we came for a meeting. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. We feel like we have met you and are coming to know your sweet Josephine. We are the better for this and for the love she has called forth from her Mom and Dad. Today we are moving up into the mountains of North Lebanon, to one of the groves of ancient cedars ” beloved of God.” We will pray for Josephine and for you both in that holy place, that she be cozy – she already is so loved. Lesley and Larry Sullivan

  • Rich Nelson

    you are in my prayers, all of you. I admire the choices you are making