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