Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Much Needed Update...

I really haven't forsaken this space. We've just been so busy this summer; I haven't had much time to sit down and compose both myself and my thoughts! Due to a series of unexpected events, though, I have some wonderful free time for the next couple of days and hope to spend some time blogging and sharing what God is doing in our lives and hearts.

First, thanks to inspiration from Mrs. Pear's blog, I've added a little ticker on my side bar that shows how many days are left until the newest member of our family arrives. We've had several due dates tossed around, so I used the latest projected date and we'll all be nice and surprised if baby arrives a little earlier!

In June, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my best friend, Sandy, and her husband, Don, in California. They've been married for five years and this is the first time I've been to visit them in their beautiful home and city and state. We had a great time sight-seeing, eating ice cream, walking on the beach, eating ice cream, lounging around the jacuzzi, and-did I mention?-eating ice cream. It was just the recipe for a busy, pregnant, tired and burned out mama! Plus the time we spent catching up was awesome!

(Sandy and Don at the Point Loma Light House)

Shortly after I returned from vacation, we hosted our little friends Henry and Harmony for a few days while their parents escaped south of the border for a much deserved siesta! We played and played and played while they were here. The kids attended a VBS program through the week, caught lightening bugs and told stories in the tent and ate microwaved s'mores at sunset. It was a great time for everyone!

(The kids posing at VBS!)

The week of July 4th, Charlie's brother, Kevin, came to visit for the holiday and to help us celebrate little Ruthie's 5th birthday. We made a trip to the water park as well as several other fun activities. We celebrated Ruthie's birthday with all of our extended family and I was, again, reminded of what a treasure and miracle she really is! (Ruthie blowing out the candles on her blueberry lemon cupcakes!)

After Ruthie's party concluded, my niece, Lilly Marie, stayed with us for a few days. She is 17 months old and an utter delight! My girls had the best time entertaining her and helping me take care of her. It was also a "trial run" with four little ones tearing around the house! It's going to be fun, but very, very busy! (Little Lilly enjoying some water fun in the back yard!)

So, that catches us up to this current week. All was going as planned. Lilly was here with us, having fun, keeping my kids entertained. I was planning to take all four girls to my folks' house in Ohio for a quick visit from Wednesday through Friday. Lilly's parents were eager to have her returned to them and I thought a visit with Grammie was in order as well. We took all four girls out for supper Tuesday evening and in the midst of dinner, I started having contractions. They were strong, long and breath-taking...real, labor contractions. I drank several glasses of water through dinner (silently praying for the ebb and flow of my uterus to halt). When we got home, I tried walking around, sitting, lying down...every trick they teach you to try to get contractions to stop. Nothing worked. I called the OB doctor on call and he ordered me to the hospital to be checked out. I tried arguing my way out of his instructions, rationalizing that we have other children and my niece to take care of etc. etc. He said it wasn't an emergency, but we needed to make arrangements for the girls and get to the hospital.

We called our friends to ask if they might possibly be available to help us if we needed someone to sit with the kids (I was still in denial about needing to have medical attention!). Before I knew what was happening, Ann was in our living room shooing us out the door, insisting that we should go. Charlie put my shoes on me, grabbed a few things we might need and put me in the car. All the way to the hospital, I kept thinking that the contractions were going to dissipate, that we were probably making a mountain out of a mole hill. Forty-five minutes later, I was being admitted to the hospital with pre-term labor and orders that I would indeed be spending at least one night at the hospital.

After some speedy lab work, cultures and an exam, it was determined that I was in the early stages of labor and the culprit was a massive bacterial infection in my urinary tract, bladder, uterus and kidneys. The doctor was in shock that I wasn't in any pain from the infection...I was in shock that I was actually that sick and had no symptoms! They ordered lots of IV antibiotics and fluids and we all crossed our fingers that the meds would take care of the problem in short order.

I labored with contractions all evening and in the wee hours of the morning, it was determined that another course of action was required. I had dilated just enough that the doctor didn't want to take any chances with the baby. He ordered steroids to develop the baby's lungs, more antibiotics and meds to try to get my uterus to stop contracting. The first round of meds didn't do the trick, so they then administered a whopper does of magnesium to my system. A magnesium bolus acts like a "reset" button for your muscles, so the hope was my uterus would respond and stop contracting.

Finally, after a long night and day, and another long night, my body responded well to the various medications, treatments, and more importantly, I believe, the prayers of many, many people. The contractions stopped, the infection began to clear and my body began to slowly mend. The released us from the hospital this afternoon and I am enjoying the undeserved favor God has bestowed on us.

While we were in the hospital, anxious over my health and the health of our baby, another ultrasound was ordered. As a result of that ultrasound, we discovered that we are having boy!!! It was such a blessed surprise for us and I know this little one will be a blessing to us all!

I came home this afternoon to an immaculate house; laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away; dishes washed; beds made; floors swept...what a treat! Thanks to Charlie and our friend Pat for helping with that huge project! Also, the girls were whisked off to my folks' house where they are being well taken care of by my mom and sister-in-law as we speak. Thanks, Mom and Liz, for being so willing to serve us in this way! Finally, thank you to all my sisters in Christ who have come alongside us this week to minister to us in a variety of ways. From cards, to books, to meals, to babysitting, to phone calls and prayers. You all are a beautiful part of the body of Christ!

Thank You, Lord for the many ways You have been before us, behind us, on every side. I praise You for the ways You have been glorified in our weaknesses. Thank You for a believing doctor and nurses and for being able to pray with them. Thank You for the body of Christ who has been ministering so faithfully to us this week. Thank You for making me sit still and showing me that I need to wait on You and Your plans for my life. Thank You for a servant-husband who has been diligently caring for me and the girls selflessly all week. And, thank You for this little boy--I don't know what to do with a boy but trust You will show me the joys of knowing and raising a man! In Jesus' Name, Amen.