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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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Welcome to This Story, Little Ones

This was the day we first met you
Then to our surprise, two little ones became three
Like we had known you all along, we delighted in learning your names.

This is where Mommy rested
Lying still and sometimes uncollected
And held you so many long, uncertain days.

These are my hands that felt you move
And arms that ached to hold you
To cradle, comfort, and care for you, as I now can. 

This is your Daddy
Who told (and still tells) the world your story
And shows you off with pride and joy.

These are your brothers
Who loved you differently than I expected, more than I imagined
Showing me how I underestimated Love at work in them.

There are more children, once  frozen 
Who now wait for us with Jesus
But while here, taught us that adoption is never easy and called us to more fully cherish you.

These are the songs I sang
Melodies that soothed my soul and gave way to praise, seek, and lament
Lyrics that may still resonate in your little ears.

This is the sunshine that brightens trees and flowers
The smell of spring and song of nature
Their Creator also created you in a far more wonderful way.

These are the Words we rested in
One day I hope they move you to faith
Draw you toward the One who has shown His power in you. 

And these are those who prayed
Fervently they helped us carry you to Jesus
And though you may not know them, they know and love you. 

It is our desire to tell our little ones about everyone who God moved in and in turn demonstrated so much love for our family by praying for them over the past many months.  If you have been one of those people, please leave your name in the comments of this blog or you can simply "like" or comment on Facebook.  I plan to write each name around this poem and frame it for our home.  I hope it is a reminder to us all of the magnitude and span of grace in our story.  If you are on the fence about whether or not to participate, please do!  We want to know your name as part of the story God is writing in our lives.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not Monday...

As you all were reading last night's post, I was at the hospital with Eliana giving her a bath and a feeding.  After the bath, she seemed very tired and seemed disinterested in taking her bottle.  During the feeding, she had three bradycardia episodes.  She (as well as Isabella and Isaac) had more of these a few weeks back but she had stopped.  At this point with coming home in sight, these episodes earn her more days in the hospital.  We have such mixed feelings:  We want her home so badly but want her to be physically ready to be home.   

I just called her day nurse and she has had two more episodes during feedings today.  Please pray that she grows out of these soon.  Thankfully her oxygen levels are still ok.  More than anything, I pray that God will hold her when I cannot.  And if you will, remember me~  my heart is not well torn between where she is now and home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Eliana Update Etc.

Eliana has been off oxygen for over 24 hours!  Her nurse has been determined to get her off and didn't want the lack of stuff taped to her face to play a role.  All during the day, she removed parts of the nasal cannula instead of the whole thing at once.  It was a pretty funny sight seeing Eliana with partial tubing on her face.  The doctor gave me his report this morning and thinks she may come home as early as Monday if she continues to do well over the next two days.  She is also still gaining weight very well.  Last night she was 4 pounds, 2.4 ounces!  Thank you all for praying! 
Eliana looking like a Pop Star with a face mic
If today is a precursor to days to come, I am going to need a lot more coffee, energy, and a full-time personal assistant:)  As I sit here typing with multiple things done/undone, babies to feed, questions floating around my head (When is the next eye exam appointment for the babies?~ There are more appointments this week... when are they???  Where is the calendar???  Where did I put my coffee cup???  I need to get a few things at the store:  I know I wrote a list somewhere???  Did I eat lunch???  Did I brush my teeth today???  Have Andrew and Elijah been fed???  Someone emailed me today... or was that a text... or a facebook message???) I feel tired... but I feel thankful.  It may have taken me 40 minutes from "Let's Go!" to the point of pulling out of the parking lot today just to run a few things to Goodwill... There may be 40 bottles to wash next to the sink in the kitchen...  There may be only a 2.5 hour max sleep stretch in my future but it is all good.  It has never been more fun to feel so scattered:)
Elijah's face says it all:)
Update:  My coffee cup was in the microwave...  where I left it after re-heating it three times.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Special Request for Eliana

First the good news:

Miss Eliana is getting to be such a big girl~  She weighed 4 lbs. 1 oz. tonight!  She can take a bottle in just a few minutes and has a more mature than her age suck, swallow, breathe ability.  She is in the nursery with healthy babies and is looking cuter and cuter in preemie clothes. 

However, she has been unable to come off of oxygen to this point.  Right now she is only on 0.1 liter, which is the smallest amount she can be on without turning it off completely.  Every other day, the doctor is giving her a "room air challenge" where she is taken off and monitored closely.  Yesterday, she only lasted an hour without it before her oxygen level went down and stayed down below normal.  Tomorrow morning she will be tested again.

Our request is this:

Please pray that she is able to maintain her oxygen level without assistance and without an increase in her respirations. 

There have been goals set for her coming home and she has accomplished most them.  She is now in a big girl crib (maintaining her body temperature), taking all feedings well by mouth, and gaining weight every day.  She has also stopped having as many episodes where her heart rate drops and then she self-recovers.  Overall, she is a healthy, beautiful, growing baby.  Getting her off oxygen is the last goal.  If she isn't able to come off by the time she is 37 weeks, there is a possibility that she will come home with oxygen assistance.  I have mixed feelings about this~  On one hand, I can rest assured that she will have what she needs.  She will also come home with a monitor to track her levels.  While the monitor can give some peace of mind, it can also cause unnecessary anxiety.  On the other hand, I so desire for her little body to be strong enough without assistance.  I know this is another opportunity for me to trust God with Eliana and seek His help of her behalf.  He has taken such special, kind care of her~ I know He is able to do the same in this area. 

So please pray with us for her and again, we know God will hear.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Two More At Home

I remember being told that the NICU journey is a long one... until the very end.  Then, all of the sudden, babies will be ready to be discharged.  This was the case for Isabella.  Last weekend, she decided she wanted her feeding tube out and proceeded to remove it herself.  She has done this before, but this time, her nurses decided to begin giving her all bottles.  Needless to say, she had no problem taking all her feedings by mouth!  Since she also has been able to hold her body temperature, gain weight every day for several days, and grow out of her episodes (dropping her oxygen or heart rate with need of stimulation to regain normal levels), the doctors decided to send her home.  Tuesday, we had her in the van, heading for home.  She acted so natural on the ride and has adapted to life at our home very easily. 
Yesterday, we were so thankful that Isaac had also reached his get out of the NICU milestones and came home also!  He is now over 5 pounds.  I laid Isabella next to him when we brought him inside and she spent a few minutes showing him the ropes.  I don't think he was interested at the time, though:)  Thankfully, both babies are used to some noise (the NICU and CCN were sometimes like  Grand Central Station!) so they are getting along with their big brothers well. 

And last but certainly not least, 3 pound, 9 oz. Eliana heard a rumor that her siblings were leaving her and decided to take all her bottles by mouth.  Wednesday, I saw her sweet face for the first time without any tubes or tape.  By the afternoon, though, she was having trouble maintaining her oxygen levels again and needed to be put back on oxygen.  Really, she is just getting a flow of room air to help her lungs stay open.  She is already doing much better.  We will be thankful when she is big enough to maintain her body temperature and come out of her isolette.  It was so difficult leaving her at the hospital when we left with Isaac.  The overflow of emotions was overwhelming~ seeing my other babies' cribs empty in the back of the CCN and Eliana left there alone.  We pray she is able to come home soon and be with us.  It just isn't the same at home without her.

We have had peaceful first days with Isabella and Isaac.  Micah and I have seen a huge change in Andrew and Elijah.  They are so glad to feel more a part of the babies lives.  They are both so sweet to them~  And I have enjoyed watching them study the babies and speak sweetly to them.

As if that isn't enough going on in our lives, Micah and I celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary also on Wednesday.  When we married in 1998, we were 18 and 19 years old.  I wonder what we would have thought had we been told what God had in store for our lives 14 years down the road.  I couldn't imagine walking this road without him. 

Memory is powerful~  Micah recently played an album for me to listen to in the kitchen and immediately, a thought came to mind.  I can easily recall standing in our bathroom at Mallard Crossing and singing I Expect Great Things by Christine Dente days after our first embryo transfer well over a year ago.  I also remember days struggling to sing the words~ not necessarily disbelieving them, but feeling upside down in sadness~ when our adoption path was pain.  As I watch my babies sleep today and think of Eliana resting peacefully, sit next to my boys here on the couch, and kiss my husband hello, I can't help but actively feel faith increase.  Then on a complete literal, humorous note, I thought about the second verse in particular and the gift of our Isabella Joy.  Who knew our "Joy" unseen?  And there is more joy to be found.  God has been so good to us~  And we do not deserve His great goodness.  When it is so evident, we cannot move or breathe without testifying to its truth. 

I expect great things of God
For God He is so great
He can do what we cannot
I expect great things of God

I hope for joy unseen
And hope wont disappoint
Faith is sure of what will be
So I hope for joy unseen

I wait for glory days
When every voice will praise
The name above amazing love
So I wait for glory
I hope for joy
I expect great things of God
Voyage, Christine Dente
inspired by Valley of Vision:  A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions