Wednesday, February 20, 2013

And, She's Home!

Today was the big day!! After only 23 days in the NICU, my little peanut got to come home. Considering the initial estimate from the doctors was a 5-7 week stay, three weeks seems like nothing! That is not to say that it was an easy three weeks, but by God's grace, provision and strength, and some truly wonderful people supporting and encouraging us along the way, we made it through.

And now she's home.

And she's so unbelievably perfect!  I would have been 36 weeks pregnant today, which is still incredibly early for her to be going home, but ever since week one, she has refused to believe that she was an early and tiny as she actually was.  All the nurses would joke, "She must not know how young she is, because she's acting like a full term baby!"

She is coming home weighing four pounds and twelve ounces, about the same size that her sister was when she came home! (Although she did not have a NICU stay).  Thankfully, because she is so strong and healthy, she is not coming home with any medical equipment or medications.  Just milk and vitamins!

She is already very much loved, and is blessed with three wonderful siblings who will no doubt spoil and dote on her everyday.  At least until she gets old enough to talk back or steal their toys ;)

Thank you for your prayers and love.  I am so completely in awe that my daughter is sleeping soundly in the next room.  God has truly blessed our family!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Her Birth Story

Although a surprise early birth was not in our plans, I rest in the unfailing truth that it was always in God's plan, and that His hand was divinely orchestrating every detail. 

I had every reason to be confident that this baby would be a healthy, full term baby.  I waited a "normal" amount of time before getting pregnant again.  I took my vitamins and drank water.  Every test and measurement for everything was normal: weight, blood pressure, glucose, baby, etc.  I was checked and measured almost weekly by the doctor and was cleared by the high-risk specialist.  There were no problems, no complications, no concerns. 

And yet, on Sunday, January 27th, I began to have contractions.  I changed positions, walked around, laid down, anything to try and make them go away, but it was no use.  They were coming and they were starting to get painful.  These were clearly not braxton hicks pains, and so we headed to the hospital.  Even though I knew it was still too early, I was surprisingly calm.  I told my husband that I was in labor, and we may very well be having the baby that night.  You see, with every other pregnancy I just did not feel contractions at all until I was very far along.  Way too far along to try and stop things.  This has led to very fast and dramatic births.  I was trying to prepare for this, as I feared I may be too far along by the time we got to the hospital.

This was not the case, however.  By God's grace, I was only 2.5 centimeters when we arrived, and I began to hope that maybe we could get the medicine in me in time and stop whatever was going on.  So that is exactly what my doctor tried to do.  Slowly, we began to see the contractions get further and further apart.  By Monday morning they had almost disappeared completely.

And so, I spent all day Monday drugged up in bed, so nauseous I could not sit up or even roll over.  I was not allowed to eat, so I did my best to sleep and remind myself that if this worked, it meant more time for the baby to grow and develop.

Unfortunately, early Monday evening, I began to feel contractions again.  I could tell they were starting to pick up and I began to suspect that labor was going to continue regardless of the medication.  I tried to tell the nurse about the change, but she didn't seem concerned.  I don't think she really understood what I was trying to tell her, which could be completely my fault considering the medicine I was on!    

About an hour later, alone in my room and feeling miserable, I felt something that I feared was my water breaking, so I once again called the nurse.  To my (and her) shock, I was covered in blood.  Everyone immediately set out to determine the cause and see if there was an infection or a placental abruption (very dangerous for me and the baby).  As my doctor did tests and watched my symptoms, one thing became clear: we had to deliver the baby.  And so, still unsure if we were dealing with a placental abruption or not, we began to prep for delivery and (if necessary) an emergency c-section. 

Thankfully, as labor progressed, it became clear that there was not a placental abruption, and at 10:21 p.m. on January 28th, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter.  Even though we did not want to deliver her so early, it was the easiest and calmest delivery by far!  And she came out breathing and crying and healthy, so we were incredibly relieved.

After she was born, we discovered that the placenta was insufficient and no longer functioning properly.  The doctor showed me how it was completely worn out and beginning to calcify, and described it as more of a 41 week placenta than 32 weeks.  Because of this, it is likely that our baby girl was not getting the nourishment that she needed, and so, for her good, my body went into labor.  Although it was not ideal to deliver early, it was actually the best decision for her.  We also discovered that it had begun to separate and tear, but thankfully had not led to a complete placental abruption.

It is so clear that God's hand was in every moment of my labor and her birth, that I am still in awe and praise Him everyday for His kindness to us.  The fact that I was able to get to the hospital as early as I did, the bleeding that led us to deliver and stop trying to delay the inevitable, and yet preventing a complete abruption that could have been fatal for me or the baby, as well as knowing that her early birth was actually for her good, remind me that He protected me and our baby throughout.

It is still difficult spending everyday in the NICU.  It is still difficult coming home and trying to explain to my four year old that her baby sister is still in the hospital.  And it is still difficult seeing families happily leaving the hospital with their newborn babies while I head home, yet again, without mine.       

But I am able to endure and persevere, because of His great love for me and His loving, sovereign control of all things.  And because I have been so unbelievably and richly blessed.

And one day soon, sweet girl, you will be home with your family, where you belong. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


....our newest addition!

It has certainly been awhile since I contributed to the blogging world, (quite intentionally, as many other areas of my life took priority), but I believe now is a great time to start writing and sharing again!

On Monday, January 28th, we welcomed our third, precious daughter into the world.  She is beautiful and perfect, but was born almost 8 weeks early, so we are once again waiting to bring a baby home as she spends her days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

But praise God, she is strong and healthy (just very tiny) and showed no signs of respiratory distress, so she is not even on oxygen.  This is a HUGE praise and a huge step toward bringing her home.

It has been an incredibly long week juggling three toddlers at home and trying to spend as much time at the hospital as possible, as well as pumping around the clock for her, but the Lord is sustaining me and giving me strength when I need it, patience when I feel I have none, and the energy to make it through another day.

Plus, we have a truly remarkable church family who has not only lifted us up in prayer, but organized childcare, brought us meals, snacks for the hospital, etc.  We could not have made it through this first week of chaos and uncertainty without them.

Today is day six for our little peanut, and there are still many more NICU days ahead, but I know God's love and provision will carry us through and she will be home before we know it.  Thank you for your love and prayers!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Better Late Than Never

Well, so much for keeping up with my blog during the lazy days of summer, huh?  I'm not really sure what happened to July, seems like I just looked up one day and it was over!  Then, because school starts crazy early here, it was back to the grind before we knew what hit us.

And yet, while we were greatly enjoying our fun summer days, I have to say, this time of year I am always ready for the heat to move on, and cool refreshing fall weather to set in, and for us to get back into a routine.  So that's exactly what we've been doing.  I am teaching part time this year, so the kids and I are up, fed, dressed and out the door at 8 am.  I drop them off at pre-school and then I head upstairs to teach.  I am only teaching two classes (and they are all seniors), so it is really a fantastic schedule.  I am done at 10:45, wrap things up, get ready for the next day and then go back downstairs to pick up my sweet babies.

And believe me, although they aren't there long, they LOVE going to pre-school!  And I love that they get time with friends, have a routine that they can count on, and are learning SO much.  Including scripture.  First thing Wednesday morning, they go to chapel, where they sing songs and then a speaker teaches something about the Bible.  Then they go back to class and do a craft related to the lesson and discuss it more.  And then we discuss it at home!  They also have music class, Spanish class, visits to the library, and everyday get to go outside for recess.

So all in all, I'd say it's been a successful few weeks!  Now, I know we're a little past the "first day of school" photos, considering we have been back at school for, oh, three weeks now, but better late than never, right??

So here they are, all ready for the BIG day!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fun In The Sun!

I am loving this summer weather!  After being in Texas and New Mexico for so long, with 100+ degree days being the norm, upper 80s feels great!  I mean, it's still stinkin' hot, but it's actually really nice under the shade of a large tree.  There was no such thing as trees or shade at our house in Texas or New Mexico, so for three long months, we didn't even think about going outside.

Here, however, we go outside almost every single day.  Plus, it is hot enough to go to the pool or play with water guns and feel incredibly refreshed!  :)

So here are a few things we've been enjoying so far this summer...

I hope you are enjoying summer as much as we are!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Been Quite a Year!

Although the last ten months have been some of the hardest of my life, and although a full time teaching job was not at all what I had once envisioned,  I can honestly say that I am completely thankful for it, that I would not change a moment, and that I learned innumerable lessons along the way.  Today, I just want to share a few of those lessons with you.

God's grace really is sufficient.

In the midst of complete and utter chaos, God carried me.  I began the school year one week before school started, with virtually no supplies or direction.  I had nothing.  No lesson plans, no materials, and for awhile, no computer or copier!  And to top it off, for some reason the school did not have a teacher edition for one of our textbooks.  So I had literally the exact same thing as my students.  It was a struggle to stay on top of it all.  I constantly felt like I was only a few days ahead of the students,  and then had to come home and take care of three screaming toddlers who were trying to get used to the fact that Mommy was not at home with them any more.

But slowly (very slowly), I learned to stop trying to do it all and to focus on the things that mattered.  I did the best with the time and resources that I had, and relied on God for the rest.  And He carried me.  And revealed Himself to me over and over again.  And I think, for the first time in my life, I am beginning to understand Paul's explanation of true contentment in Christ (Philippians 4:10-13).  And for this, I am eternally grateful.

You cannot show God's love and forgiveness if you are never around people.   

Yes, when I am home, I can show God's love and mercy and forgiveness to my children and husband, but I should be doing that anyway, right?  Being out in the "real world," with cranky, moody and sometimes difficult teenagers (whom I love dearly!) forced me to put my faith into practice each and everyday.  I was constantly challenged to exhibit the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control) because, like it or not, they were watching me!

If I am constantly preaching the gospel of Christ to them, and sharing scripture, and learning together what it means to be a Christian, and yet I behave in an utterly un-Christlike manner day after day, what does that say about my faith?  What kind of hypocrite does that make me?  And more than not wanting to be hypocritical, I did not want to give a bad name to my Savior and His power to change lives.  Not that I lived out my faith perfectly, (or even close to perfect, really), but it was at least in the forefront of my consciousness everyday.  And I am grateful to God and my students for the ways that I have grown in my faith this year as a result.

I relearned the value of hard work.

Obviously, being home with three small children is hard work.  But I think, over time, because of the lack of deadlines and external requirements that school or work will put on you, I had become lazy.  Because there was nothing pressing, things always seemed to get put off until tomorrow.

But I quickly learned that juggling a full time job with being a full time mom required hard work and discipline.  Because I was so busy, things could not simply get put off until later.  When I was at work, I had to get ALL my work done, because I couldn't (and wouldn't) do it at home.  When I was at home, I had to clean up, wash dishes, put away laundry, etc. because I was gone all day at work.  I learned to be disciplined with my time and to plan ahead as much as possible.  Eventually, I realized just how much I could get done before 8 am!

And I realized that there was a peace and joy that I experienced when I was disciplined and hard working because I was doing it for God.  Anything that is hard or challenging will become a drudgery if I work at it with the wrong heart attitude or the wrong motivations.  But if I realize that everything I am doing can be a way to glorify God and show my thankfulness and devotion to Christ, I have a whole new passion and willingness to get the work done!  As Paul states in Colossians,
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ."  
I have been incredibly blessed this year and had so many valuable experiences.  But I am also looking forward to a fun, yet productive summer with my babies!