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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