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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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Isaac is Home!

Mr. Isaac went through the night and morning with no oxygen!!! 

He started out the evening a little on the low side so I wasn't sure he could last.  Oddly enough, he does much better on his stomach than on his back so once he turned over, his O2 saturation went up.  With him holding on and knowing he was in Good Hands, I fell asleep around 11 p.m..  I woke up abruptly at 2 a.m. and immediately looked at the monitor.  He was at 93% (with 90% being the lowest acceptable level).  I then looked at Isaac who was lying flat on his back.  I thought surely he had been put back on oxygen, but he wasn't attached.  I went out to the nurses station and she reported that he had been doing great!  With no desats the remaining morning, the docs were glad to send him on home. 

He wasn't sure what to think about his wagon ride out of the hospital.  All of the poking and prodding he has endured has made him a bit suspicious...  Micah, the big boys, and the girls all came to pick us up.  He was so excited to see everyone!

Thank you for praying for him ~ and for all of us.  RSV still hasn't left our home.  The girls still need a lot of care.  I am so very thankful we are on the way to getting rid of this troublesome virus!   

Saturday, January 26, 2013

At the End of Today

I read this today:

...after the fall, self-reliance became our default mode of operation.  ...In our exile from Eden , we naturally tend toward self-reliance.  Fortunately, God does not leave us there. God wants to free us from ourselves and there's nothing like suffering to show us that we need something bigger than our abilities and our strength and our explanations.  ~Glorious Ruin, Tullian Tchividjian

This has been a trying week, to say the very least.  There have been so many moments I didn't think I had the mental or physical capacity to move an inch, let alone take care of three very sick babies in all sorts of environments and keep up with two big boys from afar.  Circumstances have even been obstacles against us.  Micah and I, in order to take care of everyone, are apart.  And neither of us can leave to help the other.

Isaac had a rough morning. He was taken off oxygen again and during his nap, had another desaturation. He was put back on, only to be taken off again later on in the day when he seemed alright again. He has not been on since. Tonight, we will see what happens.  Micah reported that Eliana threw up her entire morning bottle and was breathing quickly again.  While I was attempting to help Micah over the phone, referring him to their pediatrician, I had three docs, a respiratory therapist, and various nurses in here to see Isaac, all with a different opinion about what was happening and what should be done. Is it from secretions?  Swelling?  Is he just not as well as he seems when he is awake?  Is there an underlying problem?  What should be done and when after he has a desaturation?  It felt like my brain was going to split in half.

Then there is the emotional toil.  Watching babies hurt and breathe too quickly or not keep their oxygen at the desired level is tough for any parent.  I just want to hug my big boys and make sure they are ok.  I want to see my husband for more than a few minutes at a time.  I want Isaac to lie down, fall asleep, and not have his monitor go off over and over.  I want him to be well.  I want the girls to be well.  I want to sleep more than bits at a time so I don't feel so foggy.  I want Micah to get back to all the things outside our immediate family he wants and needs to do.  I want to sleep knowing all my children are resting out of danger of this illness. 

And I spent the majority of the day spinning my wheels trying to figure it all out and make it all happen.  Again.

(I can't.)

So tonight, as I lie down, I pray God saves me from myself through the suffering in and around me.  I think Tullian and scripture (see Genesis 3:7) is right on.  It is my very first inclination to try to make what I want work, but when it doesn't happen, there is (for those who trust Jesus) an inevitable, leaning-in to His will and a remembrance that He is before all things.  The landing is soft, friends.  What I want may not be the best thing for today or tomorrow.  I will ask, though.  I read another piece today that spoke of the depth of overwhelmedness.  The gal quoted from Psalm 130.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
There are encouragements. People who help us be where we cannot, and do things like go and get groceries and extra supplies for my hospital stay. Isaac loves Praise Baby and thanks to another friend, we have a new one for his hospital DVD player.  We have had a ball singing the songs and watching some of the staff faces light up when they come in to a familiar worship song. I am getting precious one-on-one time with my son. He stood up, looked at me sleepily but knowingly, and said Mama tonight.  I gladly lifted him out of his bed and bore his weight in my arms. 

I ask for mercy on us all, then I repent for my lack of trust and desire to be self-reliant, and rest in the finished work of Jesus on my behalf.  Like Isaac, I look sleepily into the eyes of my Father and cry, Abba. 
You can read the above mentioned piece in its entirety here.     

Friday, January 25, 2013

Making Progress

It was a blessing yesterday for our nurses to pull together and put us all in one room for the afternoon and evening. Micah and I had spent the night prior and morning on different floors of the hospital without good communication. If there is anything we have learned about having three babies, it is the importance of being a team. He is my team, humanly speaking. I really needed him for encouragement yesterday and God provided.

After a restful, non-alarming monitors, night for the girls, both of them are going home.  They decided they didn't need any more oxygen and each took off their respective nasal cannulas at different times yesterday.  We are very thankful they have done so well!

Isaac has to stay a while longer.  He is still requiring oxygen during sleep.  It is normal for our respiration to slow and even oxygenation to decrease during periods of rest, but his is still decreasing more than it should.  He is his normal, cute, smiley, wild-man self during awake time and doesn't require any additional support.  He loves to stand and jump up and down in his hospital crib:)  He is taking bottles well.  Even so, he just needs a little more time. 

So... this is today.  Please continue to pray for all of us~ especially Isaac.  I also believe Andrew isn't feeling well this morning.  We pray God will meet all our children's needs as human hands love and care for each one of them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Attack of RSV

Micah was able to travel to Minneapolis this past weekend to be a part of the installation service for our friend Jason who has accepted the position of Pastor of Preaching and Vision for Bethlehem Baptist Church.  I was so glad he could attend.  While he was on his way to the airport, Isaac began running a fever and having respiratory issues.  The girls had colds as well but Isaac's history tells us he can have a bit more trouble sometimes.  I took him to the doctor who said the illness would just have to run its course so I continued to nurse him as well as the girls throughout the weekend. He (as in they... because they share everything) was confirmed to have a virus and we went back home.

By the time Micah arrived home on Monday morning, Isaac was much worse.  After being evaluated at the ER, he was admitted to Kosair Children's Hospital with a diagnosis of RSV.

After being here two days, we truly believe the worst has passed.  They are unable to treat RSV with medication but can treat the symptoms.  He receives deep suction (ick---poor guy) and IV fluids.  He is also on oxygen.

Our prayer requests are the following:

 *That Isaac can come off oxygen completely.  So far, the attempts to remove him have been unsuccessful.  If he is weaned too quickly and his body isn't strong enough and unaffected enough by the illness to kick in, he can move backward in his progress.  At the same time, he needs to be able to support himself.

  *That he will begin eating and drinking. He has only had a minimal amount of food and very little fluids orally while here at the hospital.  I did realize today that he preferred his own bottles from home.  He is already doing some better with something more familiar.

  *That the girls would continue to tough it out at home well.  They are dealing with the virus much better than our Isaac boy thus far.

  *For Andrew and Elijah as they are in the middle of all this mess of sickness and uncertainty.  Although, having exhausted parents does have its perks.  Two evenings ago, Micah told the boys they could all watch a movie together on the couch.  Micah fell asleep and awoke at 2 a.m. only to find Andrew on his 3rd movie!!! Crazy boy.

  *For Micah and for me.  I did have a bought of sickness while staying at the hospital with Isaac but thankfully, it was short-lived. He and I are trying to trade places, with him primarily at home and me at the hospital.

  *For caregivers that stay with the four at home while he and I travel back and forth. We are so thankful for Ms. Janet, Benjamin, Kala, and Ms. Wendy for exposing themselves to sickness for the sake of helping us out. They have gone above and beyond.  We pray they stay well.   

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby Race Day

On your mark, get set, and.... GO!
Isabella is in the lead with Isaac to a slow start...  Eliana isn't sure she wants to participate...
Isabella pulls ahead!
Isabella sees Isaac coming up behind...  Eliana seems to be going backward...
Oh my!  He heads around the outside!
Isabella's resolves to maintain her lead...
Isaac sees an opening!!!
The coast is clear for a big finish...
... and he swiftly leaves them in the dust.
Isabella declares herself the winner!
Realizing Eliana is stuck, Isabella goes back to coax her to catch up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Travels?

Yesterday, I sat in my favorite, comfy chair by the fireplace with coffee and realized I had a "What just happened?" look on my face for a good while.

Rumor has it, the flu and stomach virus is rampant this year.  Since our family cannot live in a bubble, I knew the chances for sickness with five touching-everything-and-putting-their-hands-in-the-mouth little people were great.  Because Isaac has some lingering respiratory problems, the babies all got flu shots. They have only had two illnesses their whole little lives but those proved to be problematic given Isaac's (and sometimes the girls') tendency to wheeze.  And whatever one gets, they all get.  The passy-thievery around here is just ridiculous.  What didn't happen was everyone else getting flu shots. 

First, Elijah was sick three weeks ago.  After a large amount of disinfectant spray and a greater amount of Divine mercy, the ick of it was not passed to anyone else.  Andrew did run a fever the day following but that was all.  Last weekend after a couple of grocery excursions, I came down with it... whatever it actually was.  We had a trip planned to see family in NC a little more than 24 hours from the onset of this thing and I only had scratched the surface of getting the packing done.  After about a day, though, I was up and at 'em.  Micah and I threw everything we had (or at least it felt like everything) into Rubbermaid Bins and more stuff in the back and on top of the truck and we headed on down the road with the blessing of those on the other end of the highway.  Usually illness puts the brakes on trips pretty quickly but my sister was visiting from California and opportunities for my entire family to be together are scarce.
So glad to see these guys!
Thankfully, we arrived safely.  First thing Tuesday, my siblings and I accompanied one of my sisters to see her wedding dress.  She is engaged to be married next year and in addition to showing off her dress, she wanted us to see the bridesmaids' choices.  While in the shop, I got a call from Micah who stayed behind with all the kiddos.  Andrew had it.  Two days later, Micah had it.  The majority of the week, we kept a quarantine open and tried to take safe opportunities to visit with family.  Unfortunately with my precious, newborn niece in the mix, we didn't get to the majority of Micah's family see at all.  The last two days we sandwiched in several visits.  One of those visits was with friends who are will be serving in a long-term missions opportunity in London, England.  It was so encouraging and obvious to us that God has shown them grace and peace as they pack up everything and move across the world.  Goodbyes are hard, but it helps when in eternal reality, they are always see you laters.
Happy, Healthy Babies at Mimi's House
One of the biggest ventures from our trip was the purchase of a new vehicle.  I don't know how it didn't dawn on me before...  I am not sure I had ever seen (in person) triplets before ours.  I just assumed there were multitudes of makes of vans and strollers to accommodate three babies and, in our case, two big boys.  Well, I can now say with confidence, there aren't.  We had a Yukon XL but it didn't seat all our children with their appropriate car seats.  I have watched for months my big boys climb, roll, duck, and scoot trying to get to their seats every time we get in and out of the truck.  During the last snow, there was a day when the back was full of the enormous stroller plus groceries and the big boys had to get in and out of the car with wet shoes over the babies in the second row.  That was the last straw. 

We are now the proud owners of a 12 passenger van.  We met a family friend who gave us a wonderful deal.  It is not the sleekest thing on the road but it sure is practical.  It is also stark white.  Micah and I like to joke about painting something clever on the side like "Childs Plumbing ~ We Charge Triple".  Function is definitely more valuable than form for us.  God has again provided and we are thankful.  It was such a blessing to see Andrew and Elijah get in and out with ease and have room in the back for checking on babies and changing diapers on the road. 

Thankfully, we were all well enough to celebrate Andrew's 9th birthday this past Saturday.  This boy is such a joy.  I love that he still loves to hear about the day he was born.  Even through the sickness, he got to go to Chuck E Cheese with family, eat mediocre pizza, and play video games until he earned enough tickets (with help with Uncle Matt and his basketball skillz) for Sweet Tarts, a Pop Rocket, a mini magic trick, and a large Laffy Taffy.  It was a blast!