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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmastime and Another Graduation (of sorts)

It was such a blessing to be home at Christmas. It was a different year for me particularly, participating from bed rest. We have had family visiting. Both Micah's and my parents and my siblings have spent time with us. The boys have had a great time with family and thoroughly enjoyed all the extra love and attention. On top of that, it has even been mild enough outside for Andrew to learn to ride his new bike! As for the babies, it is official! We have been discharged from the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati Children's Hospital! Since fetal laser surgery isn't offered past 26 weeks gestation (a milestone we reach Friday) and since the babies are still doing well despite small changes with regard to TTTS, we are going to be watched by our home doctor from now on. We said goodbye yesterday and made sure we got pictures of every doctor, nurse, and staff person that has been caring for us and our babies. We are so thankful for each of their God-given abilities. I can't wait to show their faces to Isaac, Eliana, and Isabella.

From this point on, weighing risks vs. benefits changes from considering surgery to considering delivering the babies. There may come a day when the risks of them staying in-utero could harm them more than the risks of prematurity. Our goal now is to keep them in as long as possible. God has been so merciful to keep the TTTS from progressing and we pray He continues. We also pray that my body holds together! I have now visited the hospital twice to stop labor. This past visit, they were able to get all the babies heart rates up on the observation screen at the same time. With a belly full of monitors, Micah and I still stare in awe~ as if bystanders, watching something complete foreign and amazing happen. Then contractions and medication kicks in and I remember quickly that I am not just watching:)

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Chronicles contain the phrase spoken by Yahweh Himself, then repeated by Moses, Joshua, David, and Hezekiah ~be strong and courageous~ as an exhortation to His people in different contexts to give them reason to not fear and trust Him. In providing for them, in fighting for them, in bringing about His own will for them, God proves His ways are sure. Those whom He loves can put their confidence, not in their own abilities, might, or understanding, but in Him. I say all of this because this is our experience on behalf of these babies. God has proven to us that they are His and He is fighting for them, and we have only to be silent (Ex 14:14).

The path is still unclear. There are moments when I anticipate the day when our doc says, "Today is the day". With all the trials, suffering, hopefulness, peace, turmoil, joy, and uncertainty of the past many weeks contextualized by where we are today, how can we not proceed as exhorted above? After all, the strength and courage comes from and rests upon God and is then perfected in us by Christ. God has continually proven that no matter the outcome, we all belong to Him and nothing can stop His plan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Update Along With Merry Christmas

I am thankful to report that there was no change from yesterday. The doctor felt it was safe to send us home for Christmas! No hospital bed rest for now! We continue to pray through each day, one day at a time. Our next appointment is next Tuesday, the 27th, in Cincinnati.

Instead of Christmas cards this year we want to send this cyber-greeting:

May we all find our hearts bent toward celebrating God's perfect and priceless gift, Jesus Christ. We pray you each experience the eternal hope of being found in Him.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More to Pray About

So sorry it has taken me a while to update! I have been a little more quiet lately... learning to boast in my weaknesses (2 Corinthians). These past couple of weeks have been trying. I have found myself comparing all that I lack to all that I have in Christ. All I can say is that the gargantuan difference between this gal and her Savior is astounding.

Last week, our appointment in Cincinnati went well. There was a slight change in Isabella's and Eliana's heart scores but still not enough for intervention. We had an especially great visit with one of our Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctors. He walked into the room and the first words out of his mouth were, "You puzzle me...". "In a good way or in a bad way?" I asked. He went on to say that our progress is wonderful and "this should have gotten much worse by now." Of course, we aren't puzzled at all~ just thankful that God has been so kind. We were scheduled again to return in two weeks from that day and told to follow up in Louisville in the between time.

Enter my very least favorite thing about winter... the stomach viruses that spread like wildfire through every social occasion. Elijah and I shared a bite of baked apples when he and Andrew returned home from church Wednesday night. Later on, he got very sick. Immediately, Micah took him to the couch and stayed beside him all night~ away from me so I wouldn't get it. But I knew, the damage was already done. By six that evening, I was sick. By ten, I was on the phone with the doctor on call trying to handle the threat of dehydration. By 11:30 p.m., I was in the hospital despite my best attempts to stay hydrated and with contractions brought on by the dehydration. After 15 hours of fluids and some pretty strong meds to stop the contractions, I was back at home.

Yesterday, we all spent the majority of the day at home. It was the first day we had all together without something major going on. We finished up some Christmas preparations (see picture below) and enjoyed each other's company.

Today, Micah and I went to the doctor in Louisville for our weekly check. Overall, the babies looked good. However, this mama's body is struggling to hold on to all of them. It's funny, our perinatologist warned us about all of this the first time we met him. He said that at about 23 weeks, things can start changing. Today, I am 24 weeks, 3 days. At this point, my cervix is shortening and funneling. I go back tomorrow and if it is any worse, I go into the hospital until the babies are born.

My mother-in-law sent me this from a larger devotion by Roy Lessin last week and it is so fitting:

I will not forget you. (Isaiah 49:15)
God will not have a memory loss, lose interest in you, lose track of you, or lose sight of you. He will not be thinking about you one moment and forget about you the next. He will not lose track of you. He will not lead you somewhere and then forget where you are. He will always be paying attention, and He will never be oblivious to your needs or situation.

[I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)
God will never say to you, “I’m sorry, I would like to help you, but I can’t.” You will never hear Him say, “I’m sorry, I would like to help you, but this is not a good time for me.” You will never hear Him say, “I’m sorry, I would like to help you, but you’ll have to wait your turn.”

At a time when I feel exhausted in every way and I feel like I have prayed the same prayers over and over, this is the God I need. This is my Loving Father.

Before I go prepare for what may come tomorrow, I would like you to see what I like to call, "Views from Bed Rest":
Sweet boy watching TV in the next room

Andrew beating Mommy at Battleship

Making a Gingerbread House

Coloring, Coloring, and More Coloring

My Cuddle Buddy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Divine Mercy

Over the past two weeks, God has shown mercy to us all. One week ago, we went for our fifth visit to Cincinnati. Isabella's heart showed even further improvement and she climbed up the staging ladder from a 3c four weeks ago, to a 3b two weeks ago, and then to a 3a last week. The other issues involved with TTTS in Eliana had not progressed further. After watching those things trending in a "going to get worse and worse" direction and knowing historically where TTTS usually leads, that was amazing news.

Yesterday, the babies were evaluated here in Louisville. They were measured well for the first time in four weeks. Isaac weighed approximately 1 lb., 4 oz., Isabella, 1 lb., 2 oz., and Eliana, 13 oz. The things we always look for in assessing TTTS in Eliana (a visible bladder, amniotic fluid level, and normal doppler) again showed no further progression. We met with our in-town Perinatologist for the first time since he sent us to Cincinnati. He was quite pleased with how things are going. He admitted that four weeks ago, he had not been optimistic. HE even used the word "amazed" and communicated the same sentiment as expressed to him by the staff in Cincinnati! He was quick to remind us that we have a long way to go, but I am so very thankful for today.




Elijah demonstrating what Isabella is doing in her picture:)

When I left today's appointment, I was once again humbled at the way God is answering our prayers. I have heard two stories this week of parents who, as I type, are grieving the losses of their babies from TTTS. As I remember them, I feel more and more gratitude for each day God gives us with our babies~ and with each other. And even though I am undeserving, God in His goodness is merciful to sinners. There is no greater miracle!

Andrew and Elijah have been very patient with bed-resting mommy. I was thankful that my parents and two of my three siblings came for Thanksgiving. My mom and sis cooked our meal and my dad and brother decorated our home for Christmas. The boys loved helping with the tree and I was glad they got to do something "normal" (whatever that is:)). Thank you for reading and keeping up with us. We feel carried along both by our Good Shepherd and by His people who offer us prayers and encouragement.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's Update

We got great news today. All the babies looked healthy and had normal findings on ultrasound AND Isabella's echo cardiogram showed improvement! She was moved from stage 3c to 3b. Isaac and Isabella are approximately 13 ounces and Eliana is around 9. We are so very thankful. The doctor felt like we can go a whole week until we recheck them. Last Friday, Micah and I both prayed separately and without each others' knowledge that God would amaze us. Today, we are amazed~ that a syndrome that is known for detrimental progression can actually regress! We have many weeks to go, but for today we press on, continuing bed rest and heart medication, celebrating each day with our babies, and giving glory to God for His mercy on us all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Not long ago, I re-read the book A Praying Life for a ladies book club at my church. I had first read parts of the book while traveling all over the country with Micah's job. That was definitely a trying time for our family and I remember easily identifying with the themes Paul Miller expounds in his book. This time around, circumstances allow me to more deeply feel his words... particularly these ideas: 1) Suffering teaches me to pray, 2) I can approach the glorious throne of grace boldly, but messy~ as a child, 3) "God wants us to come to Him, empty-handed, weary, and heavy-laden." ~completely helpless. Then there is balancing praying "Thy will be done" yet in expectation of God to grant my requests. Sometimes I lay awake at night and wander through all that I am thinking, feeling, and desiring regarding the persons moving around inside of me. I am sure if my prayers were a painting, they would more resemble a Vincent Van Gogh abstract with random stokes and movement than a clear, still life (a nice bowl of unblemished fruit comes to mind). I love that as I pray here and there, engaged and exhausted, Jesus always lives to intercede for me. He is constantly fixing my ramblings and~ to follow the art analogy~ making a HD, photographic quality still life from my sparsely applied, impressionistic words.

Last Monday, we spent another day at the Fetal Care Center. At the end of the visit, we got the news that Isabella's heart was showing further cardiomyopathy. Thankfully, there were no physical changes to her heart such as enlarging or thickening, but there was indeed more stress shown in her test results. Eliana still~by God's protective hand~ had adequate fluid levels and a visible bladder. Their Doppler findings were normal. All that said, the doctor told us that if we were only considering the two girls, given the cardiac changes, we would intervene immediately. But, of course Isaac is involved. Having triplets changes decision making with TTTS. Weighing the risks and benefits, we decided with the team to continue to watch them all very closely until it is clear the benefits outweigh the risks. As a mother of sick babies, weighing and balancing risks vs. benefits feels like choosing one child or two children over the other(s). Of course the intention is to do best for all our little ones. There is just not an easy way out. And yes, it breaks my heart.

However, we arrived back again for a follow up on Friday and there was absolutely no change in any of the babies. Micah and I were so thankful God sustained them and there was no more deterioration. So we are holding firm to our plan to watch very closely with bi-weekly visits and intervene with surgery when absolutely necessary or we reach the 26 week mark when the babies could "feasibly" be delivered and therefore cured of the TTTS. They do not do surgery past that point.

We are getting very close with the staff at the clinic and testing facilities. Our Sonographer Gena, just to name one, is the same gal each visit and she is so kind. She remembers our babies names and spends a lot of time laughing at them as they bounce around the screen while she tries to gather each LVOT, PV, AV, MV, etc, etc, etc measurement. I have no idea what all those things are and how you find them in babies from 7 to 10 ounces in size, but she does. Each visit with the docs reaffirms their dedication to us and our babies as well. This past visit, I shared with the surgeon that so many people are praying for our babies- and for him. He smiled and said "That is great. I need that." So, friends, continue to pray. It is times like these that we have no other choice but to seek the Creator.

Specifically, keep praying for healing. From what we know today, pray that Isabella's heart doesn't show any more deterioration. Pray that Eliana continues to have enough fluid and grows well. Pray that through all of this with the girls, God continues to sustain Isaac. We thank God every time we get to come home and put off more risky intervention knowing that overall, the situation is stable enough for that to happen. Pray for all the people we interact with, particularly the doctors who are using their expertise to care for us all. Pray for Micah and I as we travel back and forth and for the boys as they are with different care-givers. They have been loved on through this by so many and for that, we are grateful. May all our prayers combine and reach the Father's ears through Jesus in a beautiful picture of the value and preciousness of life and in an ever increasing dependence upon Him.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Day at a Time

First of all, we have been prayed for so much~ not just over the past few days, but in our whole adoption process. God has heard and continues to hear and we are so humbled at those who are walking with us.

After a 1.5 hour MRI, 3 hour ultrasound, and another 1 hour fetal echo cardiogram for each baby, we did sit down with the team at the Fetal Care Center in Cincinnati yesterday. First of all, I want to say that this experience has been amazing. We had the ability to watch our babies for hours. Isaac loves to kick and punch and wave. He is growing very well and likes to try to get in all the pictures of his sisters. It is almost like he knows what the docs want to see at any given moment and tries to hide that particular body part from them as long as he can:) Eliana can move from one side of my belly to the other in just a few minutes, trying to avoid pictures:) Isabella likes to straighten her legs out as far as they can go. There were times when she and Eliana would lay chest to chest and you could see their beating hearts in a single image. We watched them count their fingers and toes, measure bones in their bodies, multiple parts of their brains and bellies, isolate their tiny veins, arteries, and heart valves, and do studies on their blood flow, etc. They are~we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And the way God has gifted us to be able to see these kinds of things and get to know our babies even now is so very gracious of Him.

The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Doctor did another quick scan of the babies to show us what exactly he wanted to talk with us about and then gave his recommendations. Instead of just one ~this is what it is and this is what we do~ answer, he gave us several things to weigh. First of all, the girls do indeed have TTTS. He commended our doctor here in Louisville for sending us to Cincinnati so quickly because the girls are in the beginning stages. There is a significant size difference in the girls as well as in their amniotic fluid levels but those things alone do not show enough of a discrepancy to warrant a full diagnosis in and of themselves. However, in Isabella (known as the recipient twin), there is some mild thickening in her heart and some hypertension. Cardiac changes in any of the babies are a big concern. Although the doctor feels that surgery is more than likely inevitable, there are a couple of reasons to wait a bit. First of all, our sweet Isaac is guarding the entry point of where they would need to go in to sever the blood vessels between the girls. It would be a big risk to him to go in at this point. Also, I have a history of preterm labor and most women deliver within 70 days after the surgery. I am 19 weeks this week, so waiting is ideal since the girls are still in the early stages.

In order to treat the hypertension in Isabella and alleviate some stress on her heart, I am taking blood pressure medication. Since TTTS can move quickly, they are repeating the ultrasound and fetal echo on Monday.

Throughout this pregnancy, I have found myself realizing that indeed I need Thee every hour. God has been teaching me to pray "Give us this day our daily bread" and to be thankful for each moment instead of taking this day for granted and trying to see way down the road. I think this is where we are left today~ in conscious dependence on God for each breath, each step forward, and only one day at a time. The truth is, this is where we all live every day. The consciousness part is a gift.

However, I do not and will not do this perfectly and I do not have to. During the MRI, the gal told me in the beginning it would take around an hour to complete. Micah was allowed in the room with me but because of the loudness of the machine, we wouldn't be able to talk. I was disappointed that he couldn't even read to me, as he and I are both reading a new book together. She brought out a box of DVDs for me to choose from so I could watch a movie on goggles while in the machine. I looked through the box and just didn't feel that watching Hannah Montana, Transformers, or some romantic comedy would feel appropriate. The gal then offered some music and headphones. I thought those would help drown out the machine and give me a nice backdrop to be still and pray for the babies. Isaiah 40:11 has been a verse I have meditated on during tough days and wanted so much to have a moment to remember how Jesus carries me in His arms while I lay in this noisy tube. Little did I know, the "soft" station she chose filled my ears with songs such as George Michael's Father Figure, Katy Perry's Hot N Cold, and Elton John's Bennie and the Jets just to name a few. The "spiritualness" just wasn't happening... on my part anyway:) But Jesus loving me and interceding for me never ceased. This is not up to me or about me. It is about what He has done and continues to do. I am fully and completely dependent on Him and He is able.

It is in acknowledging that dependence that I ask you to persevere with us in praying. Jesus could fix this immediately with one word. Ask for Him to do it, but then acknowledging what is true for us today, pray that the medication would treat Isabella's heart condition and that the girls would continue to grow (especially Eliana) without more complications from the TTTS. Pray that Isaac continues to grow well. For Micah, the boys, and me, pray that we trust God with each day. Please pray for the staff at the Fetal Care Center who are closely watching and caring for our babies. They call our children by their names and we truly feel their expertise and desire to see our babies born healthy. God has gone before us and continues to go.

***For those of you who would like more information regarding TTTS or the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, follow this link.

Friday, November 04, 2011

He Goes Before




We got to see our little ones today. I listened to a song by Out of the Grey before I went into the doctor's office called Brave. It reminded me that before Micah and I even walked into the Ultrasound room, God would be there. He was waiting~ and had been there all along. As we arrived, settled in, and watched the monitor, I once again thought, He has gone before us. We saw our three kicking, sqiggling, punching little babies. Seeing their little hands and feet made me smile. Then, when the US Tech panned down to Eliana and did confirm that her amniotic fluid level is quite decreased and that she is still significantly smaller, I really needed that truth. As I cried throught the rest of the US, seeing each one of them thriving yet unaware of the danger ahead, I had to believe that truth.

So what we had prayed for~ that God would keep our twins from TTTS~ He has answered differently than we had wanted. It seems at this point, they do have Stage 1. Our doc immediately called the Fetal Care Center in Cincinnati and by this afternoon, we were scehduled to have several tests this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. The nurse with whom I spoke was very kind and compassionate and assured me that by Wednesday afternoon, we will have their recommendations for caring for our babies. There aren't many things they can do to treat TTTS, but one farily effective, cutting-edge treatment is Fetal Laser Surgery. If the specialists recommend this for us, we would go ahead with it on Thursday.

As you can imagine, we are extremely needy right now. I am going to be following the example of those parents in Luke 15, bringing my babies to Jesus that He might touch them. I ask that you do the same on their behalf. TTTS is a scary disease, but I know that Jesus is able to heal them. He may choose to use the doctors in Cincinnati~ so please pray for each of them. We also desire prayer for the boys as they are with different care-givers. For Micah and myself, I ask that each one of you hold God to His word; that His power is made perfect in our weakness. Even though this road is scary, He continues to go before and will carry us though whatever lies ahead.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog Award

My blog friend, Ashley at Expecting Miracles, nominated me for a blog award! After carrying 8 babies to Jesus in embryo adoption, Ashley and her husband have welcomed into their family a super-cute baby girl through domestic adoption. I have enjoyed reading the story God is writing through her life.

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. From my limited understanding, it is simply a way to acknowledge blogs from which I have benefited and wish to share. I really appreciate Ashley for giving me such a kind acknowledgement and allowing me to share it with my blogging friends! Soli Deo Gloria!

Part of receiving the award is to pass it on so that others can feel the love! I am passing it along to the following bloggers:

1) Aaron and Jennifer, who I met on the internet through a family member who, through embryo adoption, have twins, their son and daughter, Abel and Belle. They also have babies awaiting them with Jesus.

2) My friend Jaime at For A Little While. I love the pieces of herself and her family that she shares with honesty and humor on her blog.

3) An old (not in age:)), high-school friend Anna at AM Squared, who blogs about her family, their ~newly built-looks like it's been there forever~ home, recipes, gardening, and other things. She recently won awards at the SC state fair for some of her baked goods. Congratulations, Anna!

4) I was privileged to meet my next blog award recipient, Janet and her blog Life in Focus, when she and I taught VBS together before she and her family moved to Florida. She does beautiful photography and I am always inspired by what she captures through her lens. She has another blog that is exceptional called Frugal and Focused as well, but it exceeded the 200 follower limit! It is worth mentioning anyway~

5) Finally, Heidi at O Taste and See that the Lord is Good, a gal whose husband serves our country with resolve and sacrifice. I met Heidi when her family was stationed at Fort Knox, south of Louisville. Her heart is clearly seen through her words and poetry bent on loving her Lord and serving her family.

Now for those of you who have received the Liebster Award from me, there are a few RULES for you to follow:

You must do the following:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 3-5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet – other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Update

All I can say is, Praise God!

Micah's procedure yesterday showed no signs of a need for surgical intervention to deal with his hernias. Praise God! The most uncomfortable part of the whole day for him was removing the tape from his IV site! I kind of took advantage of the poor guy~ and his humorous short-term memory loss post anesthesia. Telling him the same information over and over and over (adding a few "he won't remember this in a minute" embellishments) and over was pretty funny! After a full afternoon's rest, he was up and back at work this morning.

I also heard from my doc. He spoke with the Fetal Care Center in Cincinnati, OH and they did not give our twin a TTTS diagnosis. Again I say, Praise God! I did learn that even though Eliana is a bit smaller than Isabella, they both have equal amounts of amniotic fluid given their sizes. One of the first signs of TTTS is an inadequate amount of fluid and if this does develop, we will be referred on for more testing. As of right now both girls are growing as God is intending them to grow each in their own, unique way. They will be checking them again in a couple of weeks. Please continue to pray for each of our babies.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prayers and Praise

The conversations and situations that led up to this point are so clear in my mind.

A long time ago, I had heard the name Eliana and its meaning; God answered or God responded. A few years ago, Micah brought home a pair of the cutest, brown Mary Janes that had been left in the Chick-fil-A lost-and-found for months and months. Of course we had no girls at the time, but I held on to them and wondered if we would ever have an Eliana to fill them. I am good at sharing things we don't need or use, but for some reason, these shoes have stayed with me along with the name.

In the week that followed our big news~ that God has given us triplets~ Micah reminded me of a girl name, Isabella, that he and I had talked about even before Andrew was born. From the minute he said it, it seemed to be a no brainer. I hadn't imagined that God might give us two girls and I loved the names together~ especially for twins.

The funny thing is, we haven't had the most successful collaboration when discussing boy names. We would have very spirited conversations over Micah's choices (he really likes unique names from deceased past-Presidents and Theologians) and my lack of any suggestions. The week I found out I was expecting, I read a devotion about Sarah and Isaac. When we found out about the three babies, we like Sarah, did a lot of laughing. Micah's mother immediately suggested Isaac right from the beginning. It made perfect sense. If there was a boy that needed a name, that one would fit.

Beyond these, we had no other names. I bought a book of 10,000 baby names but it was no help at all. Of couse, if the Lord had differently for us, we could have adjusted. But I wondered if He had provided us the names of our children even before we knew their genders.

So yesterday, Micah and I went to our appointment. I looked at Micah as he dropped me off at the office door and said, "Let's go see if these babies are who we think they are!" At this point, you may think I am crazy. That's ok. There are many days I feel completely crazy! Through this whole process, I have been impressed over and over to trust God's care and sovereignty. I have spoken out for frozen lives whose days are numbered even before they are a thought in human existence. I firmly believe that God just doesn't create people but souls that show His providence throughout history. Psalm 139:16 says, Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. We are all not here together by chance, friends. When I have thought about names, it has been more about learning who these individuals already are rather than who they will become.

So there we are, in the ultrasound room, watching the screen. Baby A is first; the singleton. Everything looks good... and clearly, it's a boy! "There's Isaac!" I said to Micah. "What if they are all boys?!?" He replied. I knew that the twins would be the same gender so another boy would guarantee all boys. "Five boys!" I exclaimed. The ultrasound tech laughed and said she was then scared to look at the other two babies:) Baby B was the most difficult to see, so she moved to Baby C. It seemed like it took a while to find the right angle and check all the important stuff. Then, it was clear. The UT grabbed my arm. "It's a girl!" she said with a smile. For the next few minutes I tried to focus on the screen with teary eyes. Baby B confirmed it. There they were; Eliana and Isabella.

Three little baby heads (from left to right, Isabella, Eliana, and Isaac)

Then things got a little hairy. Eliana is at the back~ behind the other babies~ and was difficult to measure accurately. After much maneuvering, she did measure quite a bit smaller than Isabella. It took a while to visualize everything necessary to make a clear assessment of how she is doing. Her heart rate is good, but there is concern over her growth. Isabella and Isaac are very similar in size and are right on track. It wasn't until we saw our doctor that our concern for our twin girls grew a bit. There is a condition in Monochorionic, Diamniotic Twins (like ours) as well as other identical twins calls Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome~ or TTTS. Our girls are showing some early signs that could be attributed to this disease. Thankfully, upon our first visit with our Perinatologist, he assured us that while though there are only a few specialists in the country that treat TTTS, we live just over an hour from one of them. He is going to call first thing next week and give them all our babies information and see if they have insight on the best way to follow them.

So here are the ways we need you to pray:
~First, please join us in praising God for Eliana, Isabella, and Isaac. They are precious, overwhelmingly generous gifts.
~Second, pray for Isaac; that he may continue to grow strong and healthy.
~Third, pray for our girls; that TTTS would not be their diagnosis and that their growth issues would resolve. Also pray for wisdom as the specialists watch and care for them.
~Next, Micah found out this past week that he has two hernias that may need surgical intervention. We pray these can be dealt with quickly and effectively.
~Lastly, continue to pray for me. So far, my body has responded as well as it can to carrying three babies. We pray everyday that God provides all I need to physically nurture for them.

How are Andrew and Elijah handling all of this? Well, they just keep on being little boys. They are excited about their siblings (although Andrew wanted ALL girls!!! but he said "two will work!") and are responding with patience and understanding to our crazy family circumstances right now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Surviving Sickness, Stacking Stones

At this moment, the house is completely, abnormally quiet. The past week has been trying to say the least. Micah suddenly came down with pneumonia and the babies and I survived some sort of stomach virus. It is a miracle that neither of the boys ever got sick and for that I am astounded and grateful. After being on lock down for a while, they are spending an afternoon with friends of ours and having a ball, I am sure. I thought I might at least share our newest picture of the babies with you all while I had the opportunity. This is a group shot with our twins on the left and the third on the right. You may have to be an ultrasound tech to really see them, but getting a group shot is difficult!I had heard from the beginning of this pregnancy that I would have a lot of ultrasounds and let me assure you, this is true. There are so many things to be conscious of and really no way to check on each baby without one. I have never been more thankful for modern technology! I am learning that with this kind of pregnancy, even the things the books say are not normal at all can be~ and thankfully have been~ very normal. Two weeks ago, an ultrasound showed that all babies were doing well, but our little baby B's growth was falling a bit behind the other two. Yesterday's ultrasound did show that he or she is catching back up. One of the most interesting things to learn from the images are each baby's position. I have been feeling movements for a bit but wasn't sure who was who. Now, I can differentiate each one. Truly amazing. I can't wait to see what their bending, stretching 6 arms and 6 legs feel like and I have a hunch that will be sooner than later!

We are truly in the "getting ready" phase of preparing for these babies to come live with us. We are not guaranteed many more weeks of having that freedom given the fact that eventual bed rest will more than likely be the best way to care for them. I have been cleaning out; which is something I love to do. It is a freeing feeling knowing I am getting rid of something I do not use that may serve someone else as the very thing they need. I am also enjoying as many normal days with Andrew and Elijah that I can. We are plugging along with school and taking advantage of the wonderful weather outside. It was one year ago that we began this adoption journey and I cannot help but feel that a pillar of stones would be appropriate to mark the things the Lord has done; both in me and the lives of the other 14 members of the Childs family. Remembering the past has always been one of the most compelling ways for me to look into the future. It wasn't my idea, though (see Deut. 4:9). I pray even if a physical pillar doesn't materialize, I will sense its presence in my soul as a testimony to the marvelous works of the Lord.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Visible and Invisible

After an almost three hour doctor visit yesterday, we are on the road of preparing for the arrival of these babies! I have never had such a detailed and exhaustive visit with any group of professional medical personnel in my life. We spent a while with a nurse~ going over every physical issue imaginable and making sure I was on the right track health wise and choices wise. Then we had loads of lab work followed by a sit-down, exam, and yet another sit-down with our doctor~ a Perinatologist with over 20 years experience with high-risk pregnancies. To boot, he did his fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!). Everything seems to be right on track, for triplets that is, so far. Micah especially "clicked" with the doctor and loved his drive and excitement over wanting to give me the best care possible. We go back in four weeks for another ultrasound and to find out the gender of each of our babies.

There are many things to watch for and wonder about during a triplet pregnancy. There are more things in my medical history that cause some reason for extra caution. I left the doctor's office feeling great about the care we are receiving but overwhelmed at all that lies ahead. I was thankful the doc addressed questions in the "what if..." category and gave me clear answers to the most pressing questions. Answers are always comforting to the planners of the world (I think I may be Chairman of that Board:)). Our major concern is that these babies not be born too early. There is a window of time they could be born and survive but have numerous and substantial problems. We are having to plan ahead already about what to do in case of bed rest and possible hospitalization if that is what these babies need. We are going to need a lot of extra hands over the next several months. We know between all the doctors and nurses, lab and ultrasound techs, receptionists and support staff we will see between now and the first days after these babies are born, as well as family and friends, there will be a lot of hands guiding us on this journey.

I was thinking this morning, going over all the information we received in my head, that as believers in a Sovereign God, there is no possible "what if..." that is out of His plan; no surprises or twists of fate. Knowing myself as I do, having a heavenly perspective beyond my earthly view is a must for times like these. My desire and prayer in an attempt to walk by faith and not by sight through this season is to feel God's Invisible Hand even more so than I feel all the visible ones supporting me over the next months. And thankfully, even when my faith is small and I get bogged down looking at the mountain ahead, God's Hand is not diminished. He being the object of faith bears the weight. And even more intimately, His hands and arms are carrying us along (Isaiah 40:11), close to His heart. I can't imagine a better place to rest in the course of uncertainty.

Overall, these days, I feel so very blessed. God did not have to give us these precious gifts. They are above and beyond what I have ever imagined for our family~ speaking of all those in heaven and on earth. And I know we will never experience anything like what we collectively as a family are experiencing now. It is a unique and exciting time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


This past Friday, Micah and I had our very last appointment with our Reproductive Endocrinologist staff. After three surgeries and three embryo transfers, it was bittersweet to walk in and out of the office for one final hurrah. What grace, though. Arriving as a new patient six years ago, I could have never imagined the kinds of visits that have now succeeded the first. God has used each person there to write His story in our lives.

The very good news~ we did "graduate" to a high-risk OB. It's funny, I thought all my deepest fears in adopting embryos were realized in losing the precious children entrusted to us. I am learning every day that the opportunities to trust the Lord with the lives of our triplets are equally daunting. Taking care of myself as the one carrying these babies is also challenging. It is so easy to get caught up in worry. I ended up desperately writing out truths to keep my thoughts grounded. It is so easy to lose focus and I knew I needed some reminders to bring my mind back to the sphere of truth that governs all things eternally as I deal with daily circumstances. Overall, though, my heart is filled with thankfulness and complete astonishment at what the Lord has done. At this past appointment, we did see each baby again~ hearts beating, arms and legs budding, all around an inch long. The larger they get on the screen, the more of a presence they command. It makes us more and more curious to know what they will look like. I am sure that whatever their appearance, they will remind me clearly of my Father, as do all who bear His image. I am starting to find contemplating the logistics of taking care of three babies as a welcomed challenge; putting my organization skills to the test. I did make my first purchase~ a used triple stroller (yay for craigslist!). I figure if we ever want to leave the house, this is a must! We have started compiling a list of names for these three. Coming up with six names will be quite a challenge! Elijah has tried to make it easier for us, suggesting items he sees in the pantry. "Can of Green Beans" and "Fudge Round" top his list:) Andrew has tried to make suggestions but just finds himself cracking up at Elijah's contributions.

As seasons change, our season changes. Last fall, we started this journey. What a year it has been.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Growing Babies

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

It has already been another week and we are exceeding thankful for our three healthy, growing babies! We saw all our little ones today and watched their little hearts beat away. Micah and I both feel such gratefulness to God for sustaining the lives of our little ones. It is still surreal listening to our Nurse Practioner use phrases like "head count" and "group shot" during our ultrasound. It is difficult to get them all in the same picture! There has not been a couple expecting triplets at our clinic in 4-5 years. This makes us quite the spectacle every time we come into the office. It really is a testimony to the mindset behind this particular Reproductive Endocrinologist that there haven't been more. We know of other clinics that transfer more embryos, end up with more multiple pregnancies, and in many cases, selectively abort down to the "desired number" of babies. It is a comfort to know there are clinics that strive to be more contentious in a field where life can be so easily drastically under-valued. We know it is not perfect, but definitely more honoring to those made in the image of God.

God has given us such peace over the last week~ as the initial shock has worn off and reality settles in. While I still feel anxious at times, the Lord is honoring my requests to increase my faith and belief in His love for us all. We have felt a gamut of emotions while entrusting our children with us and those ahead of us to God's capable arms. In this whole process, I have found myself whether rejoicing or grieving in the place of "Lord, I have nothing and need everything". It has been a good place to live and a good place to remain. I imagine I am going to feel it even more over the coming months. The nausea x3 is overwhelming, but every time I feel sick I am reminded that the sources are three, rapidly changing and developing persons that are increasingly precious to me. One bit of extra physical comfort though- after 37 consecutive days of PIO injections, I no longer have to have shots!!! Woo hoo!!!

Andrew and Elijah are really doing well. We start school this week. This year, we have joined a co-op where they will each take four classes one day a week. This will be a great opportunity for them to be taught by others and make some new friends. Did I mention that one of the classes they will be taking is Karate? The other day, Elijah decided to karate chop the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom. It immediately broke to his utter delight. I, being the responsible mother that I am, made sure I gave him the "we take care of the things God gives us" speech. He looked at me with understanding in his eyes and solemnly apologized. Then, he looked up at me, smiled slowly, and said "but it was still pretty cool, wasn't it, Mommy?!?" I have to admit, it was pretty cool! Andrew has really grown up lately. He is starting to resemble a young man. He loves responsibility and feeling grown-up and is really good at taking care of Anakin. We are so blessed. It has been a sweet time for me with the two of them. I spend a lot more time on the couch which gives opportunity for more board games, Wii, and the stuff they love to do.

Keep praying for us all. And thank you to all those who have offered encouragement. I hold all these things very close to my heart.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A BIG Surprise

God’s story writing is incredible…

The waiting time between our first appointment and first Ultrasound has been filled with much anticipation as all has seemed to be going well in the “I am very pregnant with all of the great symptoms” department. My favorite parts of this wait have been hearing Elijah quote Psalm 23 to the babies and receiving contentious care by Micah and Andrew extending to the babies as well.

This past week we went to NC for Micah to preach at an “opportunity for revival” service and spend some time with family. We had the privilege of meeting our new niece and nephew~ the soon to be adopted children of Micah’s brother and his wife. They are precious and we are so glad to welcome them into our family! It was a sweet time with everyone; rejoicing in the news of our pregnancy and time ~for me especially~ to hear from my husband about the glorious gospel from Romans 4-6 during the services. The boys sang Your Great Name together at one of the services and the words spoke straight to my heart.

On our last day, I wasn’t feeling so well and seemed to be having some pregnancy complications. Even though the van was completely packed, we decided instead of getting on the road, we needed to have things assessed. Long story short, we ended up at the ER for multiple tests. All tests were normal, praise God! This little detour did provide us with a huge bit of news, however… We saw TWINS! It was a surreal moment watching the Ultrasound gal measure and count the heartbeats of our two babies, growing strong. We felt reassured and humbled at more days with both our little ones.

God blessed us with safety on our ride home. Saturday evening I was having an even more scary pregnancy complication and called my Nurse Practioner in tears. I spent all day Sunday resting, praying, and truthfully, unable to speak. I confess my fearfulness over the past couple of days. It was partially a sinful fear and partially the feeling a mother desiring to protect her children. God heard all of my cries, petitions, and confessions of my lack of understanding and faith for hours. Micah was a precious husband and took care of the house, boys, dog, unpacking from our trip, getting meals, etc. so I could relax. This morning, I called my doctor's office per the NP to see if I could go in earlier since I was not scheduled until 4:00. Thankfully, they told us to come right away. Micah and I arrived and went in to the room. Honestly, I was prepared for bad news but praying for good. Nothing could have prepared me for the news we did receive, though. Not only did our babies have strong heartbeats, but in the first sac, she found two babies! Yes folks, we are having TRIPLETS~ two identical twins and one fraternal sibling. Apparently one baby was hiding during our ultrasound last week. They all are measuring well for this stage. Micah and I have been walking around in shock since then~ amazed at what the Lord has done. The boys were very excited to hear the news~ but a little concerned that they will have to give up their play room. Micah kindly warned them that we all will pretty much be giving up the whole house for these 3!

This is a very precarious time for our babies so we need continued prayers. There are more chances for complications with multiples (it is shocking to even type that word!) and we will be monitored very closely. With every week that goes by, the chances of our babies surviving goes up. This has indeed been an overwhelming, exciting time and we thank you all for continuing to share in it with us. You have to just all promise that you won’t look at us strangely, even if we might begin to resemble one of those crazy families you might see on TLC!

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Two Week Wait is Over!

It is with great joy that I can report that as of today, one or both of our little ones are growing! After 5 home pregnancy tests, 1 test at our clinic followed by 1 positive blood test (Beta Hcg 1311!!!), I think I am finally convinced:) It is so gracious of God to allow us more days with this/these little one(s). It is very humbling to think that embryos, frozen in a lab just a couple of weeks ago have been given life here on this earth.

Please pray~ that all continues to go well and that Jesus, Who holds all things together by the word of His power would sustain and grow them. We will go back in two weeks for an ultrasound to see if one or both babies are with us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Final Transfer Day

We are happy to report that it has been a peaceful day to receive our little ones. When we arrived at the hospital, we learned that our little one from '04 had not survived the thawing process. Sadly but hopefully, we await the day when we see our, now 8, children who now reside with Jesus in eternity. Our other two little ones, frozen in '08, were described as "beautiful" and "couldn't be better" by the Embryologist. She said their grade would most certainly be an "A".

Our Little Ones

After the Transfer~Holding Them~Glad They are No Longer Frozen!

Smiling Daddy

After two acupuncture appointments (one before and one after the transfer) and a good many hours of bed rest we pray they are growing and developing. All the calls, messages, and prayers have increased our faith and we know they have reached the ears of our Lord. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Eternality and Infinitude

Just to get you all up to speed, the boys finished the school year heralded with great accomplishment and sighs of relief that summer had definitely begun.After the End-Of-School Celebration, Micah's parents visited and we celebrated even more as my birthday and my dear Elijah's happen back to back.As soon as our company left, things got interesting for a short while. What do a laboring chiuaua, a large dog of unknown breed blinded by optic nerve inflammation, a beagle with a propensity to eat non-food items, and our Anakin, nauseous and dehydrated in need of fluids have in common? The Doggy ER! Which was where I spent this past Tuesday night. New to my resume, I have now nursed a puppy back to health after a canine stomach virus. He is already back to his toddler- chewing on everything (we allow him to, of course), bouncing, flipping, eating, drinking and the not so pleasant result of eating and drinking- self.
We are also moving closer to our transfer date. You know, if you have been following us through embryo adoption, that this is the point in the process when I get pretty reflective, gearing up for the uphill climb ahead. My past experience forces me to accept my neediness these days and how completely limited I am. Broadly speaking, I have a finite amount of energy for each day. There is, I must confess, an end to my patience, tolerance, comfort, longsuffering, ability to cope~ the list could go on and on. There are times I feel emotionally and spiritually deficit especially after pressing into our joys and losses. There are days that having a clear logical thought takes some cognitive gymnastics. As a human being, even the very life inside my cells fade a little more each day. And on top of my personal limited-ness, time is ticking away. Each earthly trial and blessing has a beginning and an end. Then there are "lasts". There will come a time when I will have spent the last day with my children at home or curling up with my husband on the couch to watch a movie (hopefully not in my foreseeable future). This is our last transfer and our last opportunity to care for frozen ones. And somehow, God calls me with all my limitations to adopt and care for embryos! It is a humbling thought. My lot is clear (and so is yours, friends). I NEED everything~ life and breath and everything else. And I need to draw from something- someOne inhuman that doesn't share my limitations. Given our present situation, this is all the more real.

My Father, in stark contrast, doesn't share in my humanity. He is Immortal, Invisible, Eternal and has Infinite Characteristics supplying all the things I need according to His wisdom (1 Tim. 1:17). Compared to infinite, my needs are very small~ even when they feel so overwhelming. He transcends space and time and offers a future hope that is beyond my comprehension. Jesus, however, shares my humanity, and is able to personally sympathize in my weaknesses (Heb. 4:15) and feels my needs as I feel them yet without sin. In Him, I lack nothing. These ponderings aren't a result of my own spiritual gathering but what God is using to entice me to move forward each day. The Spirit moves in me, reminding me to ask for the measures of grace suited for each day and He in His response, is able. Even on the days when I fail to ask, He still moves in me.

Will I be a vessel of life for our little ones or their casket? Sounds like a pretty melodramatic question but is true to my need. I have been prepared for and have experience being either one to the lives of the unborn. And both are beautiful. He hasn't given me the grace to accept His answer just yet. Grace for today is enough. God is always greater.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Our Elijah is 5!

E ~ energetic, excited, and eager to do almost anything
L ~ loving and affectionate
I ~ immaginative; especially when it comes to explaining the way he sees
life and expressing his feelings
J ~ joyful; with a smile that is infectious
A ~ always ready to break out a dance/kung fu move
H ~ humbling gift from God

Happy 5th Birthday Elijah!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shirt Giveway!!!

We have one(1) Black, Tree-T, Show Hope Shirt up for grabs!!! All that is required: please comment below and share something you have learned or been encouraged to do or think about regarding embryo adoption. If you can't think of anything, I will accept anything about adoption in general. Those of you who supported us through purchasing a shirt will have your entry counted twice, if you choose to participate. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, June 22 at noon. All entries will be complied and I will choose the T-Shirt recipient through a random drawing. The winner will be announced on June 22 at 2:00 p.m.. That person then has 24 hours to contact me through comments with mailing information or another winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adding, Again

Well, it is mid-June. Our clinic suggested we call them to see if any families had relinquished their rights to their own embryos and made them available for adoption at this time. Honestly, I was very pessimistic. As I previously stated, the clinic had many embryos that had been abandoned and through letters from the staff, had been encouraged to choose to allow them to be given to other families or take responsibility for them themselves. Knowing they could choose to have them destroyed as another option, Micah and I had been praying they would choose life for their little ones but were not sure many would respond that way.

Over the last couple of months, I have enjoyed the healing time. I have been reading a lot~ particularly in the Psalms, adding in C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed and I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. Valley of Vision continues to be a source of weighty truth. It hasn't been the most cheery of book line-ups but indeed a help in pressing in to the call we have been given. Since our little ones now with Jesus don't share Micah's and my DNA, I see their faces in every culturally diverse place I go. I love the smiles of children, especially my own~ shadowing the faces of those sharing eternity with the Son. There has been one question driving my relentless searching and grieving; can I echo Job in saying "Though He slay me (and may slay again), I will hope in Him?" Can I test this one more time? With adoring fear and supernatural fortitude, my answer is, I am His. Please don't hear that as a boasting in my ability to hold myself in His hand, but rather a testimony of His saving grace. Now, the abundance of infinite strength to move forward at all is found only in the One who calls and supplies all our need according to the riches of Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:9).

So today, we met our third and final group of embryos. My initial call had revealed that the clinic had families respond to their letters and they asked that Micah and I come in as soon as possible. I was, at first, shocked and terrified. Then, remembering what I had asked~ that God move in these families' hearts to choose life for their little ones~ I felt humbled by His answer. As I stepped into the clinic I had so desired to run from a few months ago, the Lord again brought Micah and I into His hope. We sat down and were handed choices for our children, once again. There were two families with five remaining embryos. We chose two from one family that had been in storage since 2008. Then there was one remaining embryo from a family frozen back in 2004. I asked our Nurse Practioner if we could please add this one and she did finally agree. Andrew and Elijah now have a sibling conceived in Andrew's birth year that will be younger than the both of them if God has that child to come and live with us:) It is amazing to us how after all this time, God has provided for these babies. It was such a tangible reminder that God never forgets or abandons. He is always working and willing on our behalf. I just pray one day I can share this precious truth with these children! Speaking of the little one frozen for 7 years, we were a bit concerned since the adopting family pays back storage fees, but our clinic staff was so kind and just added the one from 2004 into the mix of the others. Again, we are provided for.

So here we are, hearts bent on loving these frozen ones no matter the cost. We are beginning medication in about a week and if all goes as planned, they will be transferred on July 20. We know that God's plans for them will not be hindered.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Soccer and Seven-Year-Olds

Run, smile, laugh, jump,
Eight players in a bunch.

Hustle, move, quick-step,
Sweat, deep-breath, water break.

Remembering which way to aim,
The other way, again.

Kick, hit, kick, miss,
Out of bounds, out of bounds again.

Throw in, dodge, gain control,
Sixteen feet, dancing around a ball.

High-five, gather, look around,
Encouraging Coach, smiling crowd.

Andrew scores, very first time,
Scores again, misses, then a third.

Jumps, skips, yells in delight,
The happiest boy I have ever seen.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whose the Boss?

I specifically told myself I wouldn't let this happen~ Since last year, I vowed that if we got a dog, he would not be an Alpha Male. I did not want to worry about what happened last year happening again. What dog has God provided us? An Alpha Male.

First, it was new children. A friend of mine brought her kiddos by to see the puppy... the cute, sweet puppy. Anakin began growling, then snapping at the oldest girl. Then later in the day, he decided to do the same with Elijah.

So how did I react to my aggressive 4.6 lb. puppy when he chose to act this way? I crumbled. Immediately I remembered the dog attack and let him have his way with me, too. I had no idea what to do. You have to understand that I am not a dog person. I have had one dog in my life that I was only able to keep for a while. I think she just had a docile, sweet nature. I had been reading for days about how to raise a healthy, happy, obedient puppy but apparently Anakin hadn't read the same books. It reminded me of when Andrew came into the world and I was shocked that he didn't understand a eat-awake-sleep schedule!

After an evening of regrouping (i.e. Micah lovingly sending me to have some grown-up time out of the situation), I concluded that I have to be what dog trainers call the pack leader. This is a new hat for me and one I realized I needed to put on quickly. It was also clear that Micah and I had to encourage the boys to show dominance to Anakin after we establish a clear hierarchical structure for the little guy. So how did we do it? From my reading, I remembered a suggestion: I picked up my fuzzy pup, looked deep into his eyes, and growled. As a mom, you end up in situations that one could never imagine and I have to say this now is near the top of my experiential list! Anakin went limp and from then on, things have been better. Micah, being a natural-born male (thank goodness:)) was already on the top of the chain of command.

After gaining control of Anakin, Micah and I sat the boys down and told them, "If we are going to keep this dog, you have to show him that you both are the boss." They made it clear they wanted to keep him thus the people training began. After just a few minutes, Elijah and Andrew were petting Anakin and even forcing him onto his back and rubbing his belly. I made it perfectly clear when he began to growl just how inappropriate that was (a can of pennies and a guttural "NO!" are pretty effective tools:)) and thankfully, it has stuck so far. The discipline is effective and so is the praise. I have heard "That's a good boy!" come out of my mouth in the most ridiculous sounding voice too many times to count. I don't know who has the better reaction~ Anakin or Micah as he laughs and rolls his eyes at me. After a few days, the boys are getting more and more confident handling Anakin. Now, he just wants to play with them all the time! After just one more beginning-to-growl-which-I-immediately-handled incident, he has done really well! We have him signed up for obedience classes in a few weeks as well, so we hope this will give us an even better handle on him. He seems to be a really intelligent dog and young enough that we can establish some healthy habits in him. He already obeys "come", "sit", and "drop it" and has heard "no bite" enough that I think he could almost say it himself:) All in all, we are all growing together. I think this is going to be really good for our family; especially for Andrew and Elijah.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Well, today our family grew yet a bit more! Anakin Skywalker Hooper Childs joined us! It was quite a drive to pick him up so we all had a few hours of eager anticipation. The moment we met him lived up to the excitement. We first met his parents, who were equally if not more excited than we were. Andrew was a little freaked out at this point, but then Anakin came through the door. He was mild mannered, cuddly, and immediately appreciated all the attention he was getting. The trip home was uneventful except for everyone catering to Anakin's every need, want, or possible desire. It seemed perfectly natural for him to hang out with us in the van. We quickly realized we had the wrong size collar (He is really really small!) so we had to run by PetSmart. The sales lady quickly dashed all our hopes that we are ready for a dog (oh well:)) but we did leave with some hope knowing his new collar/harness will definitely fit! As he settles in, Elijah says, "I love him and all the things we can do with him!" and Andrew, "He's nice and calm!" For me, I am happy to report: no accidents YET. My super-manly husband loves him, too. I guess we're all suckers for our cute little puppy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Newest Addition

When we were in the midst of moving all over the country, Elijah began asking for a dog. Not Andrew, I might add. Then last year, July 4th to be exact, after Elijah was attacked by a small dog, I was sure that was going to change his request. I was wrong.

Micah and I decided to answer Elijah with "When we get settled down in one place and if God blesses us with a Chick-fil-a, we will talk about it." Elijah's translation, "When Daddy gets a Chick-fil-a, we are getting a dog!!!"

So you can imagine the conversations over the past couple of months. Elijah will say things like, "Mommy, when it's my buwfday, you don't have to get me a boy cake; just a dog bone cake for my dog" and "I just can't wait to feel my dog's fuzzy fuw!" and then close his eyes and smile as he imagined what that might be like.

Then Andrew, the terrified-of-dogs-big-brother, joined in, "I know I am afraid of dogs, but Elijah really wants one. And I would be good with that. Let's all surprise him!" He would then proceed to plan just how the surprise would go down.

Then the name suggestions started pouring in. These were some of the choices:

General Grievious
Captain America
Sweet Potato

Now let me assure you, we see many things in life as growing experiences:) Micah and I have been talking about whether or not this was even an option and were prepared to break the news if it just wasn't going to work. Being very logically minded, we did come up with a list of pros and cons. We live in an apartment right now, and that was a huge concern. We learned through lots and lots of research that there are dogs who don't mind apartments and who love being closer to families. After back and forth, back and forth, we decided to take the plunge. Maybe we are crazy, but it seems as good a time as any to welcome a little pup into our home. We have all had to endure so much loss over the last few months, it will be nice to have a new life running around. I am also convinced that the experience of raising a puppy will be educational for us all; especially the boys. Then, we found "him". After looking for very specific breeds would fit best our family, we found a group of pups a couple of hours away. We were sent pictures of his parents and I quickly realized they resemble dogs my grandparents had and loved when I was young. Immediately, I was sold.

Anakin Skywalker Hooper Childs will join us next Wednesday. He is a Cairn Terrier (like Toto from the Wizard of Oz). We are very excited! I will post pictures of him as soon as I can!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How We Proceed/A Prayer for More Frozen Ones

Clearly, accomplishment in life cannot be measured in terms of years alone. It often happens that those that die young have accomplished more than others who live to old age. Even infants, who sometimes have been with their parents only a few days, or even hours, may leave profound influences that change the entire course of the life of the family. And undoubtedly, from the Divine viewpoint, the specific purpose for which they were sent into the world was accomplished. It is our right neither to take life prematurely, nor to insist on its extension beyond the mark that God has set for it.
Loraine Boettner

Back in October, Micah and I talked through this season of our lives adopting embryos. We talked about the possible outcomes and variables. We even listed our primary goal and expectations. We took our knowledge, research, and understanding and added much prayer and anticipation. From these, we formed a plan concluding that three embryo transfers seemed feasible and gave concrete reasons for that decision. The past two months we have added struggle, suffering, and much emotion to our conglomeration of information and in turn, questioned that decision. God has already grown our family and we, by His grace, have accomplished what we desired to do; show honor, dignity, and respect to the lives of frozen, bearers of the image of God. There are no more embryos with our "names on them" at our clinic. We have cared for all the little ones God has placed in our family arms thus far. The process has been a joyfully excruciating one. Our initial conversation aside, the end of this season seemed near.

But then I wondered, if the Lord allows me more years on this earth, would I one day have any regrets? There are certainly very good reasons to regroup and move on walking down a new path of adoption (which was in our original plan as well). I have been forced to ask myself, what then are our reasons for changing paths now? The one and only reason I have is simply because it has been so hard. Loving little ones and letting them go, as I have stated before, wasn't the path I would have chosen for myself. Working for/against me is the fact that all those God calls, He also equips. In His equipping of me for this task, He made me with more than a fair amount of stubbornness that doesn't permit my one reason much validity. Instead, Micah and I have both concluded that finishing well and not having any regrets later is the best choice. I have been so glad we both came to the same decision seperately, yet in unison. It seems that God has created us to do this work, and we desire to see it through to the end. Our family has uniquely learned to love embryos and sympathize with the plight of those dealing with infertility. Even though he wasn't describing embryos, Mr. Boettner's quote describes our little ones and their impact on our lives. This impact pushes us forward and makes us completely and totally up for one last embryo adoption. Long term, we aren't sure what our role will be in continuing to be a voice for the voiceless, but I am sure this flame will not burn out in us during our lifetime.

We recently sat down with the Nurse Practitioner to talk about a third transfer. The news she gave us was interesting, wonderful, and enlightening all at the same time. In the clinic where we have adopted all our little ones, there are as of now, no more "available" embryos for adoption. That entire manila folder-full has been cared for. What glorious news! It was also good to hear her re-affirm her desire that all embryos created within their office be given a chance at life. However, there are a number of families that have abandoned their embryos and not provided for their adoption. If you have been following my blog long, you may remember an article I posted describing the problem IVF patients face when they have "left-over" embryos. It can be an agonizing decision, especially if they go into IVF without considering all possible outcomes ahead of time. Some families make sure they give a chance at life to all their little ones. Others, like the parents of our children, do give up their rights and allow their remaining embryos to be adopted. There are some, who will donate them for research thus destroying them or simply choose for them to be discarded in some way. The NP has been urging these families to give up their rights and allow the staff to place them with other families. Our family has joined her in this urging, just in a different way. We are specifically praying for the families of our particular clinic to be burdened with their choice and either take responsibility for their own embryos and give them a chance at life, or allow another family to do so. We ask you to join us in our prayers. Micah and I will be calling the clinic in mid-June to see if there are embryos that have been released. We plan to give it just a few months. If God has more little ones for us, we are ready and joyfully willing to care for them to the best of our ability and to the glory of God our Father. If not, we feel at peace in this end as well.

Our clinic is no different than many others (if not all) across the US. Let me say aloud that we understand and sympathize with couples facing infertility and secondary infertility. We are just praying that we may honor our Creator God with our choices when it comes to human life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter and Other Things

One sign that our Andrew is growing up is that he seems to be losing teeth at an astounding rate! He now has two tooth-size holes in his sweet smile. I love to hear him read any words with the "s" and "sh" sounds aloud in school. So far, I have been the tooth-puller. My strategy- to make sure the tooth is good and ready to come out and tell Andrew, "I am going to have this thing out in 10 seconds. Okay- start counting!" Usually, it is out by 3. With four teeth down and several more to go, he is forming quite a relationship with the tooth fairy. About 10 minutes after he lays down for bed the night of her visit he yells to Micah and me, "I'm about asleep! You can go ahead and come in with the tooth money!" There is no fooling Andrew when it comes to things as serious as money for his piggy bank. There have been a number of thunderstorms lately... and days and days of rain. We live in a second-story apartment and we recently had a Tornado Warning that seemed pretty serious. Since we do not have a good place to wait out a storm, Micah suggested at 11:30 p.m. to head over the the apartment clubhouse and wait it out in the basement. There are a series of rooms there and we thought for sure we would find safety- or at least a more safe place than our bedroom closet. Micah and I quickly put together a "wait out the storm" bag and loaded the kids in the van since the clubhouse is several buildings over. Andrew woke up immediately and wanted to make sure he knew the plan. Elijah, however, more resembled Jesus in the boat with the disciples in his approach to facing the weather conditions. We got over to the clubhouse, unloaded everything and everyone still sleeping (Elijah) and hurried through the rain into the basement. The only thing I can say is- windows and glass everywhere. Not only are there floor to ceiling windows in every room (office, exercise room, Pilate's studio, etc.) but there are also floor to ceiling windows that separate each room from the interior hallway. One entry way side of the building was two-stories of glass and another side is a rec-room that used to be a glass-enclosed indoor pool. We might have well gone to a kitchen store and stood in the knife section. By this time, the storm was too close to load back up and head back to our better equipped, second-story tornado shelter. Thankfully, Andrew and I did scope out a furnace room without panes and panes and more panes of glass! After following the WHAS11 live news feed on the Internet for an hour including multiple viewings of the same commercial for "Craig and Landreth Cars" and having the electricity flicker a few times, all was well and we headed home. We were so thankful to be protected despite our circumstances. We will have a better plan next time!

Today, we celebrated Resurrection Day with our church family. The boys sported some new big-boy clothes. I have some handsome boys, if I do say so myself! Elijah was so kind to take this picture of Mommy and Daddy~ and just in case you're wondering, we didn't coordinate our Easter clothing; it just happened to work out that way:) Our church decorated the sanctuary with hydrangeas this year. We placed one in honor of our little ones and celebrated the hope we have through Christ who now stands victorious over sin and death~ Micah and I have some new news on the embryo adoption front to share as well as more specific ways for you all to be informed about how to pray for these particular orphans ~ so stay tuned!