Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lines of a Story

Having just had a baby, this post was super encouraging and has changed how I view this sticky-out belly, disgusting purple spider veins, and two scars across my lower abdomen:

I am thankful that God used this body of mine to bring two of His children into the world (even if it will never be the same again!).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Let's Go Home

Last Friday, the neonatologist switched Lucy from all tube feedings to one bottle per shift.  However, with her daddy visiting and feeding her, Lucy was a champ and downed every bottle fairly quickly.  Doctors then switched her to bottle "as tolerated" and Lucy basically eliminated the need for her tube feedings within two days.
 It's been so wonderful to watch her grow.  She began with 7 mL of milk and now averages 50 mL from her bottles.  This excellence in bottling is what enables us to go home today!  It's been 38 days of grace; I'm elated at the thought of being reunited with Brian & Aidan.
 My parents came for a visit earlier in the week.  We went to Target - my very first outing since April 30.
 Today's home-going brings lots of goodbyes.  This nurse, Tara, was one of Lucy's primaries and she was absolutely wonderful.  I'll miss her and our daily chats.
This is Lucy's night nurse, Debbie.  She, too, is just excellent.  Because of her expertise and attentive eye, I felt comfortable sleeping through the midnight & 3 am feedings to get some much needed extra sleep.  Thanks, Debbie!

I ventured up to the antepartum unit to say goodbye to my bedrest nurses.  Everyone here at Abbott has been simply amazing - they make a difficult situation endurable.

Yesterday, my sewing favorites and my in-laws swarmed our house.  Brian says it's cleaner than it's ever been.  They even set up the crib, dresser, and picked up the chair for Lucy's room.  That is a true gift; I just can't believe how wonderful my Garner friends have been throughout this ordeal.  And our parents - we couldn't have managed without their help with Aidan and Leo.  So so thankful. 
Here's a quick preview of her room:
 I can't wait to paint, put up Roman Shades & curtains, and purchase things for the walls - Hobby Lobby, here I come!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lucy Update

Lucy Jane is two weeks old today!

A lot has taken place in her first weeks of life:
-She is now receiving all of her nutrition from breastmilk so she no longer needs the IV fluids.
-Her bili levels went down so she is no longer under the lights.
-She is able to regulate her own body temperature; therefore, she graduated to a bassinet.
-She is taking most of her feedings (39 mL) from a bottle.
-Her neonatologist mentioned the word "HOME" today; he's hoping Lucy can be discharged by the weekend, but it all depends on how well she continues to bottle.

We are so thankful; we continue to see the LORD's gracious hand at work in her sweet little life.  She is just so strong; my heart sometimes aches as I watch her fight to drink down the milk from her bottle.  She'll choke and then sound nasally.  It's so easy (and peaceful for her) to have it go in through her tube, but I know it's best for her to drink it - that's what will enable us to go home! Lucy is such a trooper - I am so proud of her.  Doctors normally say preemies go home around 36 weeks.  If Lucy is released this weekend, she will be barely 35 weeks.  A true testament to the hundreds of people we have praying for her!  Thank you!

Today she weights 4 lbs, 8 oz.  

Brian & Aidan were here this weekend.  I can't get over how much Aidan has grown in the last month.  He says such wonderfully hilarious things and is just so grown up!  We had a grand time of riding in the wheelchair, playing in the Sibling Playroom, running in the tunnel to find the "ice cream factory" (aka McDonald's), and cuddling on my bed watching Mickey Mouse Playhouse.  I'm hoping that last Saturday night was the last teary one - maybe this Saturday we will be home together!?

The doctors have also said that it's best to avoid "enclosed public places" with Lucy for the next 2-3 months.  There are so many things to learn about having a preemie - our summer will look dramatically different than I had anticipated.  But God is always faithful and He will continue to carry us even when we are discharged.  And on the upside - Brian's sermons are now recorded so I won't miss the much anticipated Titus series.

Thanks for your continued prayers - we'll keep you updated.

Last, but not least, Happy Birthday to our Leo!  He is two today.  Grammie gave him ice cream and lots of outside playtime.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Welcome Lucy Jane!

Our sweet baby girl, Lucy Jane, arrived early last Monday morning at 1:56 am.  Our hearts are filled to the brim with joy; God has richly blessed us.  We are so in love with our little Lucy!

Last Sunday was the first day since I'd been in the hospital (day #19) that I didn't have any visitors.  That ended up being a very good thing because I was so tired all morning.  After having some weird cramps, I realized I was beginning labor around 2 pm.

I labored and labored, but wasn't sure if it was truly the real thing - the nurses were sporadic and not too quick to say what was going on.  I prayed and prayed, asking God to keep our baby girl inside until she reached 34 weeks, but once the nurse did confirm I was in active labor, I rested in knowing that His timing is best and that He promises to "take care of me" as Aidan and I have learned from his little catechism.

While Brian finished teaching his Sunday night class and raced to get here, my dear sister-in-law, Callie, came to be with me.  She even held my hands through contractions and while they placed the epidural.  It was then she decided that she's never having children. ;)
 Even though the perinatologist wanted me to have a VBAC, I had to give birth in the operating room because the adjoining room would have the team from the NICU waiting for Lucy.
 In this picture, I remember being so afraid of pushing again and not knowing what would happen.  I pushed for 3.5 hours with Aidan and I think, at this moment, the task seemed daunting.
 After 1.5 hours of pushing, I was bleeding and the doctor was worried.  He later confirmed that my previous C-section scar was rupturing and my uterus was too weak to get her out; I was transferred to another bed for a C-section.

And soon our Lucy Jane arrived!

 She weighed 3 lbs, 14 oz.

What a precious view - my baby girl.  She was so so worth all the bed rest and needle pokes.

We were so thankful that she was stable enough to go to the Special Care Nursery at Children's instead of the NICU.

She did receive an IV right away for all of her nutrients. Lucy has been so brave; each morning they prick her foot for blood and almost daily she needs her IV placed elsewhere.  She is such a trooper - I am so proud of her.

Happiest Dad.
Brian has been so amazing throughout this whole ordeal.  He's my favorite thing ever.
 My dad drove down right away - He's been so wonderful and supportive too.
 Andy & Callie have been so great; they live close by so they kept me company many an evening.  They even sacrificed their date-night to play Rumikub with me in the hospital room.  Callie has slept over twice - the time after my C-section she'd wake up every 3 hours to pull me out of bed so I could go pump.  Love you, Cal!

Every 3 hours, Lucy eats through her feeding tube, and I get to snuggle her.
 At first, I fed her a few mL through the dropper.  Thankfully, she comes to breast now and eats for a few minutes.  That is one of her goals to reach before she can leave: breastfeeding.  The other two are regulating her own body temperature and breathing on her own (which she's already accomplished).

Lucy needed to be under phototherapy because her bili levels were too high.  Thankfully, that only lasted a few days, and her levels are now within normal ranges.  Another wonderful piece of news is that Lucy is now eating 24 mL of food at each feeding and completely digesting it so she will no longer need her IV!  This is a huge answer to prayer.  The IV will come out about 8 pm tonight.

Aidan came to meet his baby sister last Tuesday.  I was immensely glad to see my boy. My in-laws have been amazing; Aidan loves to be there and I'm honestly not sure he'll want to come home!

"Daddy, what's wrong with her?" were his first words.  We explained to him that she's perfect, she just needs a little more time to grow.

My aunt, Kathy, & cousin, Missy, went overboard on preemie clothes!  Lucy will be the best dressed child in the SCN.  What adorable clothes - as soon as she gets the IV out, I'm going to dress her. My mom, Callie, and Andy helped me sort through and wash them.

Another awesome piece of news that Lucy received today is that, beginning tomorrow, they're going to wean her off the isolette.  First they'll just lift the top off and then, if she can keep her body temperature at 98, she'll move to a bassinet.  I am just overjoyed at how gracious God has been and how quickly Lucy is being taken off things - first the bili lights yesterday, the IV today, the isolette tomorrow.

This is a picture of the entrance to Lucy's room.  There are three boarding rooms available, and I have been sleeping in one - it's super comfy and quiet.  But when necessary, I will sleep in here with Lucy on the couch.  Yes, that is my wheelchair.  I still need it to get to the cafeteria, but I am feeling better with each day.

This board in Lucy's room shows her weight for today: 3 lbs, 15 oz.  She is now one ounce above her birth weight.

Thank you thank you thank YOU for all the cards, calls, texts, visits, etc.  This whole ordeal has been so humbling, and I have truly seen the body of Christ surround us.  God's complete faithfulness has been incredible - I feel blessed beyond words and my heart overflows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Moms of Boys

A blogger friend recommended
 and, since ordering it from Amazon, I've been reflecting a lot lately on how to raise Aidan - particularly the aspects in which he needs to be parented differently than his little sister.  I am very excited to begin reading this book.  Unfortunately, it was delivered two days ago to the shipping dock at Children's Hospital and hasn't quite gotten to me yet.  So today, while I not-so-patiently waited for my package, I found this podcast at Desiring God: A Mother's Role in Raising Boys.  Piper gives

Six Roles for Mother's of Boys

1. Teach the whole counsel of God 
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching (Prov. 1:8).
Paul reminds Timothy of the essential role his grandmother and mother played in his faith (I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well (II Timothy 1:5)), and encourages him to continue on in the faith he has learned and firmly believed (3:14)
2. Expect obedience 
We must require our sons to recognize our authority over them as instituted by God.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ephesians 6:1).
And as a side-note: I absolutely LOVE that this is the only commandment that comes with a promise. What is promised to the children who obey?  That is may go well with you and that you may live long in the land (6:3).

3. Model strong womanhood
...imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit...
...submitting to their own husbands... good... not fear anything that is frightening...
(I Peter 3) 
A godly woman is strong and laughs at time to come; her trust in God enables her to laugh in the face of uncertain times (Proverbs 31). 
I am currently reading Mary Kassian's book Girls Gone Wise and it contains 20 points of contrast between a Girl Gone Wild & a Girl Gone Wise.  It is the BEST book - it truly paints a picture of a beautiful, strong, and Godly woman.  I highly recommend it.

4. Honor the leadership and protective instincts of your husband
Our sons should see a strong woman deferring to the Godly leadership of a strong man.  Piper mentioned how his mom was omni-competent when his dad was away - she could do anything.  When his dad came home, Mom beamed with joy that he could now be the one to lead prayer at the table, say that it was time for church, etc. Piper marveled that she could be everything in Dad's absence and loving his leadership when he was home. 

5. Point your son to strong manhood
Show your son what strong manhood looks like using Scripture, media, books, etc.  
Strong men are protective, initiative-taking, courageous, and strong.
I am so so thankful that Aidan just has to look at his daddy to know what a strong man is!

6. Expect strong manhood from your sons 
Give him responsibilities early on.  Insist on politeness toward his mom and sister (for example: hold the door).  Show him how to treat girls in a respectful and attentive way.

Piper ends by saying, "This brings something unique to the sexual wholeness for sons."  Sexual wholeness is essential, especially in light of the growing acceptance of being gay.  I wasn't too proud to be a Minnesotan yesterday when the gay marriage amendment was signed into law.

Hopefully my lost Amazon package comes soon, and I will blog about what I learn in it about nurturing boys.  Today is day #15 of bedrest; I'm HALFWAY!  June 1 is still the "go" date if all continues to go well.  Thanks for your continued prayers!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

David Mathis from Desiring God wrote this amazing article in honor of Mother's Day:

What a high and important calling it is to be a mother.  Bedrest has given me much time to pray and reflect on my nearly three years as a mom, and I pray that God will allow me to be even a fraction of the mom that Charles Spurgeon had.  I love the excerpts about her from the above article:

I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. . . .

Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.

Wow - a high and holy calling, indeed!  Happy Mother's Day!
 I love being mama to these two.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bed Rest Update #1

Today is Day #9 of bedrest at Abbott, and Baby Girl is now 30 weeks and 5 days in utero.  
I am so thankful to the LORD for His continued graciousness and mercy: Baby Girl is healthy and still inside; I've had no contractions; and I have not (yet) developed an infection.  Pray that nothing changes until she's delivered on (or after) June 1.

The outpouring of love and prayers from our families, church family, and friends has been simply incredible.  Sometimes tears just run down my cheeks because I am overwhelmed at their kindness and thoughtfulness.  From beautiful bouquets of flowers, visitors from Garner (2 hours away), and a dear sister-in-law who stayed for a girl's night to a sweet lady at church shoving gas money in Brian's pocket, friends doing my laundry & ironing Brian's shirts, and Mary keeping Leo for 9 days, I am humbled beyond measure.

And I simply cannot believe how well I am doing emotionally.  I thought being in this hospital room for 5 weeks (I am allotted one 30 minute wheelchair ride per day) would be incredibly difficult, but God is ever-present and constantly good.  I rest in His Sovereignty and am so thankful that He loves our family and is working all things for our good.  I am at peace. Truly He has supplied "every need of [mine] according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19).

Yes, I miss my Brian and Aidan like crazy.  I grieved all the things that I had planned to do with Aidan in May & June as I wanted to cherish every last moment with him as an only child.  I still daily grieve the loss of my everyday with both them.  And I grieve for Brian.  It's infinitely more difficult to take on the role of Mom in addition to the roles of Dad and Pastor than it is to just lie here on bedrest.  Please keep praying for him like crazy - that God would provide for all his needs, that things would go smoothly (last night the TIDE was on top of the washer and it fell off during the spin cycle, crashing to the floor and spilling TIDE everywhere - what a time suck to have to clean that up), and that he would prioritize his time well.  For Aidan, please pray that God would protect his emotions, meet all of his needs, and be drawing him closer to Jesus.  May God do great things in our hearts during this trial.  And how many people get to come out of a difficult trial with a brand new baby girl?  We are so so blessed.

My sweet friend, Sarah, sent me this song.  It's words are so rich and so TRUE!
Meredith Andrews: Not for a Moment

Thursday, April 25, 2013


My sweet, gracious husband encouraged me to go back to California to visit my best friends, get a large dose of Vitamin D, and stick my toes in the ocean before I become "Mama" to Baby #2.  I am so thankful for this wonderful babymoon he gave me!

I had prayed so much about the trip in the months leading up to it because, in so many ways, I feel like my heart is still there.  I miss the sun.  I miss the smell of flowers and the beauty.  I miss all the things that SoCal has to offer.  I miss the deep friendships I'd formed.  I miss my school.  My heart still aches and tears well up in my eyes if I spend too much time thinking about my old life there.  So I got on the airplane last Monday with complete excitement and yet trepidation...would I be able to get back on the plane in six days with dry eyes and a desire to go back home?

Thankfully, God was super gracious to me.  I had an absolutely glorious time; everything went just perfectly.  And that is so rare for a vacation!  I just loved my time with my friends and traipsing around my old stomping grounds.  And, yet, despite how incredibly wonderful the trip was, I was ready to come home - I realized that "home" isn't a location, but "home" is where Brian is.  I missed him so much.

 I flew into LAX and stayed in La Mirada with the Brittons for a few days.  It was so much fun to meet their daughter, play with Isaiah, and hang out at Huntington Beach.
 Isaiah reminds me so much of Aidan - he is just hilarious and curious about everything.

 Austin received a call to the pastorate at an OPC church in La Mirada last fall.  I'm jealous that he gets to study and prepare for Bible studies and sermons at the beach.
 This is their adorable home.

 Thanks, Brittons, for an absolutely wonderful time!  I miss you already.

Then I drove down to Murrieta to stay with the Gallaghers.  They were very sweet to let their door swing open so many times as I visited a number of friends in Escondido throughout my time at their house.  I was able to visit my old school and see my students - most of them are taller than me.  I went to a weightlifting competition, a softball game, Del Mar beach, Coronado Island and, of course, I had to drive by our old apartments and the seminary.  It was bittersweet.

 Gallies and I went to the lake to walk and feed the ducks on Saturday morning.  It was over 85 degrees!  So beautiful.

 Gallies have two boys - Sean and Logan.  They are so sweet and well-behaved.  Sean is three weeks older than Aidan so it was fun to play with him and identify all the similarities.  Gallies are flying out this summer for a few days, and I can't wait for Aidan and Sean to play together.

On Saturday night, Kgal and I spent the night on Coronado.  We played at the beach, walked around taking pamphlets of all the homes for sale (none under $1.7 million), and ate at an Irish pub.  We were thankful to Ryan for being Super-Dad so we could have a girl's night.

The next morning we strolled along the harbor; the sun hadn't quite yet burned off the mist.

Like the Brittons, Gallies are blessed with a beautiful home.  It was so fun to hang out in the backyard and eat meals at the outdoor table.  It'd been 7 months since I'd felt warm air on my face. 

 I was so blessed by the hospitality and fellowship of the Brittons and Gallaghers.  It was a true joy to be a part of their families.  I love how strong and God-glorifying their marriages are - their love for one another is evident.  I love how they parent - the Gospel is definitely at the center as they seek to draw their children to Christ (I took home so many great ideas!).  I was so thankful for the late-night chats and ways in which they encouraged me.  I was welcomed with open arms and fed extremely well.  So blessed beyond belief to call these two families dear friends.

Before I flew out of San Diego, I drove along the harbor to take a few last-minute pictures.  Below is the Midway and it always reminds me of my grandpas because they fought in WWII too.

This picture is for Aidan because he loves tugboats.

Bye San Diego!  Thanks for the perfect weather and all the fun!