Thursday, August 28, 2008

All things are possible, nevertheless...

After I finished updating this blog yesterday, I received a phone call from Jen-- Samuel was scheduled again for surgery at 1pm. Apparently, the radiologist determined there was a blockage that needed to be removed. So, back to Indianapolis I drove, in time to hold our little boy for about five minutes before he was rushed off to surgery.

At about 4pm, the surgeon came to our room and informed us that his surgery went very well, and that there were no complications. Amazingly, they were able to do the procedure through about a 1 to 2 inch incision. The surgeon estimated that Samuel would be in the NICU for about three weeks, or until he showed all the signs of a healthy newborn i.e., gaining weight, normal digestion/breathing.

Today, he was taken off of the ventilator, as the anesthesia is finally wearing off. And he is beginning to make noises and twitch around again. Hopefully, we'll get to hold him soon and spend some quality time with our "little sir."

Jen is also doing very well. She is now moving around with some slight pain and should be out of the hospital sometime tomorrow. Please continue to pray for their recovery.

Through all of this, God has been showing me some things about myself, as well as about Himself:

1. All things are possible with God-- this was a theme that kept jumping out of the Bible as we were studying this week. On Monday morning, before we left for the hospital, we read through Mark chapters 9 & 10. Mark 9:23 & 10:27 seemed to jump out. We were reminded that with God, and for the one who believes, all things are possible. This gave us both hope that perhaps, God was going to supernaturally intervene and make this all go away. But it didn't go away.

Could God have intervened and outright healed our son? Yes. But that was not His plan.

2. All things are possible with God... according to His will. Over the course of this past week, many prayers went up to the Lord about Samuel and Jen. There were many pleadings to God to heal without surgery. I even cited examples in the Bible, as if I needed to remind God of His words and power to act on our behalf.

Again, could God have intervened and outright healed our son without surgery or doctors? Are all things possible for God? Could this all have been avoided? Yes. Yes. Yes. But no.

It wasn't until after Samuel's surgery and after reading Mark 14 that God gently gave me His perspective. Before he was betrayed, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. And three times he reasoned with God: "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."

Jesus recognized and knew that all things are possible for God. But He also knew what the will of the Father was in advance and ultimately submitted to it; He knew that the Scriptures had to be fulfilled. He expressed His humanity in telling God that He preferred not to face the cross, but He also modeled a right relationship with God; He knew God well enough to know what God could do as well as what God wanted to do and still committed Himself to the Lord.

I was challenged. I know that "all things are possible with God." But I wasn't close enough to Him to know His will and submit to it. Instead, I had insisted, pleaded and reasoned with God to move in a direction I thought could both bring Him glory and make things easier on me.

Anyway, that's what the Lord's been showing me this week-- that ultimately, I need to know Him better, listen more and commit myself to Him-- regardless of personal loss or gain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All things are possible...

Good morning,

My wife asked me to post some details concerning the birth of our son, so here's the facts:

On August 25, 2008 at 12:17pm, Samuel David Henze was born. He was 6 lbs, 12 ozs and 19 inches long. Both mother and child are doing well. Jen should be coming home on Friday, and hopefully, little Samuel will be following shortly thereafter.
As for the rest of the story, I'll leave the telling to Jen. Basically, God is answering prayers and the doctor's are astonished. Samuel's pending surgery has been cancelled, and he is passing obstructions. Continue to pray-- he's not out of the woods yet, but praise the Lord for what he has done!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things Don't Always Go According to Plan...

***Updated to add: Our c-section has been scheduled for 11:00 AM Monday morning. Please pray for a smooth delivery as well as speedy recovery for all.

Well, at least not our own plans. They never stray from the Lord's plans, and I am so grateful He holds the details of the universe in the palm of His hand.

It seems that the time is drawing close for our son to be born. At this week's appointment, the doctor noted that he has more fluid in his abdomen. This is beginning to form an unsafe pattern and the end result could be a baby with ruptured intestines and severe complications. The doctor performed an amniocentesis to check the maturity of the baby's lungs. The results came back today, and although his lungs are borderline fully mature, all the doctors involved with this pregnancy agree that it is in his best interest to deliver him next week. The extra few days will most likely give his lungs the time they need to further develop and will also ensure that the entire team of medical personnel we will need will be on hand to help all of us. Unfortunately, the baby will be delivered via c-section--something I really didn't want. But, I am trusting the Lord that this, too, is part of His plan and that this will ultimately bring Him glory.

We are making plans to enjoy these last few days with our girls. They will have the opportunity to meet their little brother and visit with me after he is born, but will then be whisked off for spoiling at grandma's house. Depending on the recovery process for the baby, they could be gone for a few weeks. Even typing those words brings tears to my eyes. The hardest part of all of this has been choosing to put the welfare of one child over all the others. Choosing to be separated from those dearest to you in order to care for another one who simply needs more. Again, though, we are trusting that this, too, will bring glory to God and is all part of His glorious plan of redemption.

It will be quiet here until after our son is born. I want to spend my time with my family and preparing my heart for the joy of meeting and knowing our son. My sweet husband will post photos and details of the birth late next week. If you feel led, please keep our family in your prayers and know that those prayers don't just change us, they will change you, too.

Blessings to you all!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Praying for the World Unreached

I've added a link on my side bar--a connection to the Joshua Project which is sponsored by the U.S. Center for World Mission. You can access their site by clicking on the picture. Daily, you can pray for people groups living in areas of the world that are largely unreached by the gospel of Jesus Christ. More than 40% of the world population is yet unreached by the transforming power of the Gospel. 40% friends. That's a lot of emptiness, suffering, darkness, hopelessness. Join me in praying for these hurting, dying peoples...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Baby Henze Update--Week 34

Yesterday, we had a "regular" appointment (I hesitate to label them 'regular' because they are so different from our previous pregnancies) with my OB specialist as well as a consultation with the surgeon who will perform any necessary procedures on our son. At each visit, they do an ultrasound to check out baby boy's abdomen and the level of amniotic fluid around him. If either one increases or decreases, they make a note of it. Until yesterday, the levels and measurements had remained the same. Unfortunately, the size of the blockage in the baby's intestine has increased to about 3 cm. Apparently, that's on the large side. My OB said he would consult with his partner and the surgeon later in the day to determine whether we should be concerned at this point. The good news was that the amniotic fluid level is just perfect and my health is fine as well.

After our regular appointment, we met with the surgeon. Many of the doctors have spoken in ways that are a bit beyond my comprehension. This doctor was different and I appreciated his humility and willingness to field any and all questions we might have. He said that although we won't know what we are getting into until the baby is born, he understood that we might think of things closer to the birth that would require another meeting or phone call. That was reassuring to me. At the end of our conversation, he said that he and his staff feel it is the greatest honor or their lives to be entrusted with our most precious possession--our child. Well, that put this hormonal woman over the edge emotionally and I couldn't keep a few tears from escaping. It is good to know that he understands how hard it is for us to trust another person with our child's care.

Yesterday was the first time the reality of our situation started to really sink in. We can't really plan anything since we don't know what we are getting into. The entire situation is completely out of our control, and that's a hard reality for me. I like being able to have a say in what is happening and express my own personal opinions. But, this isn't about me. It's about our son and what is best for him. I think it's just hard to accept that being in my arms and our home won't be the best thing for him right away. In fact, many of the instinctive things that I selfishly want to have a say in, are things that would actually bring him harm. It's a tough thing to fight that mothering instinct and let someone else make decisions for our baby.

This week, if you feel led to pray, please pray that God would give me peace that He is in ultimate control, though I don't see all that He is working out on our behalf. Also, continue to pray for our son's healing and recovery. Please pray that the details of our life would be sorted out for the days and weeks we will need to care for a sick baby and three active, energetic girls. Lastly, please pray for protection against thoughts that are not healthy and comments from others, though well-intentioned, that are insensitive and discouraging. Oh, and again, that the Lord would be glorified in this all...even in my doubt and fear!

Thank You, Father, that I can come to You boldly and lay this all at Your feet. Thank You for knowing all, seeing all, being all. I trust in You. Amen

Monday, August 11, 2008

Homeschooling--Week 1

Don't worry. I don't plan to continue posting weekly updates about what we're doing in school all year long. Nor do I plan to start titling each and every post "Subject--Week X." My creative juices aren't flowing all that well right now. I'm hot and pregnant and craving chocolate... and did I mention hot?

As I mentioned before, we started school a bit early this year. Some homeschoolers are the super-creative, relaxed, go-with-the-flow, easy-natured sort. They can come up with creative unit studies and "real-life" studies that complement the unique personalities of each of their children. I am not one of those home schoolers. I need a plan. I need a calendar. I need lists of things to do and a place to put a neat little check mark once we've accomplished the list. I need a schedule and a table and a three ring binder to keep all my notes and what not. I have to know what we are doing before we start doing it and I need to have a goal.

Last year, we tried downloading worksheets and curriculum off the internet. That suited my husband perfectly, but since he was only doing school once in awhile, it wasn't the right plan for us. I felt nervous, not knowing if we were covering the basics thoroughly or challenging our bright kindergartener enough. We are first generation home schoolers so we had no experience to draw upon. Late in Spring, we decided to order kindergarten and first grade curriculum from Covenant Home Curriculum. It's a classical based program that we felt best fit our needs and would help us accomplish the Lord's will for our school. Best of all, it comes with a pre-printed calendar to help me organize and plan each week (including space for a nice, neat check mark!)

I spent most of last weekend familiarizing myself with the materials we would be covering this first month. I then printed off some easy worksheets to keep my two-year-old-who-thinks-she-is-seven occupied while we work on school. Suddenly, Monday afternoon was upon us and we launched our new school year.

Overall, the first week went well. The materials for first grade are intensive...35 words for her first spelling test (which she aced!) and several pages of math, grammar, penmanship and Bible work each week. I was worn out trying to keep it all organized, but I think now that I understand the system, things will begin to get easier. The first two days it took us four hours to get all our work done. But, with some adjustments and streamlining, we have already cut the work load down to two hours...much more reasonable, I think! This leaves us plenty of time to work in the other things we want to do along with the established curriculum: library time, cooking with Mom, P.E. with Dad, computer time, art projects, and piano practice. This week, we will be working to integrate a regular P.E. time in the late afternoon (bike safety this week and next) as well as figuring out a good time to practice piano each day. One thing I am already learning is how important it is to maintain good boundaries. While it's true that we can flexible with our schedule, it's still important to protect our school time as much as possible. I am also learning that things don't always go according to plan, but it's still good to have a plan from which to work. My blog friend, Judy, summed it up well in this post: I am one tool, not the Carpenter.

So, that was our first week of school for the year. I am so grateful for the freedom to be able to home school and the protection of the Holy Spirit as we seek God's will for us in this area.

Thank You, Lord, for being with us as we start our school year. Thank You for the confidence I have in You as we walk in Your Spirit and will. Give us strength and wisdom and especially bless our girls as they grow in their knowledge of You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

You Know The Pregnancy Hormones Have Taken Over When...

...watching the under dog win during the Olympics makes you cry. I mean "I-need-to-blow-my-nose" kind of crying.
...scrubbing the kitchen sink with three kinds of cleaners and four scrubbers doesn't make your sink "smell clean enough." bump your head on a kitchen cabinet and want to throw a two-year-old style temper tantrum.
...your husband lovingly suggests that perhaps a different, less form-fitting outfit would be appropriate for the day and you disappear into the bathroom for 20 minutes to have a good, old-fashioned cry.
...same husband tries to make you feel better by offering to take you clothes shopping, albeit at a store known to sell clothing only for plus sizes (he didn't realize it wasn't a maternity clothing store), and you bite his head off for calling you "fat."
...when you realize the need to apologize for losing your temper with your husband, it involves a lot of weeping and Kleenex and general mayhem.

My poor husband. I think he must be considering moving into the garage for the remainder of this pregnancy! I can't say I blame him. Sometimes, I think I should move into the garage for the next month, so I can avoid these little emotional roller coasters. Then again, I'd probably end up crying about how beautiful the air compressor is or blame the table saw for my bad hair day.

Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful husband who keeps loving me through the daily ups and downs of being pregnant. Thank You for the miracle of this child. Help me to be in better control of my emotions and forgive me for the many times I've been completely out of control lately. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Baby Henze Update--Week 33

Now that we are having weekly appointments, it seems like we receive new or changing information more often. This week, we met with one of the OB specialists--or "oven mechanic" as he called himself--as well as a pediatric cardiologist and the neonatologist who will be caring for our son after he is born. (Did you get all those "ists?") It was a long morning and I was so grateful Charlie could be with me to help me listen to all that was being discussed.

My OB was pleased with how well the baby is progressing and how well I am doing. The baby doesn't seem to be suffering any abdominal swelling at this point, which is a good sign. All my numbers etc. were also good. My contractions are manageable with rest, so that is a relief. Every week we inch closer to my due date makes things safer and safer for this little guy.

The cardiologist did a very thorough ultrasound exam of the baby's heart and concluded that he has zero detectable problems. Another great piece of news as this contributes to the theory that the baby only has a problem in the bowel area.

We had a tour of the NICU. That part of our day was emotional for me. I didn't expect to be so affected by the environment we were in, but it was overwhelming to think that our son would be calling this part of the world "home" for a matter of days or weeks or even months. Although it is a bright, cheery place, it's also filled with monitors, warmers, IV stands, ventilators, and very sick babies. It became real to me that we would need this place. But, I don't want to need it...

We also met with the neonatologist who covered the basics of staffing for the NICU as well as possible things we might be encountering once our baby is born. That, also, was overwhelming. Even though he tried to be comforting and reassuring, there really is no comfort in the thought that your newborn is going to have to a number of procedures performed on matter how minor they may be. One good piece of news is that unless the baby is born with respiratory issues or is unresponsive, we will be able to spend time with him in the delivery room for awhile before he is taken to the NICU for assessment. In my mind, I was imagining giving birth and not even being able to hold my baby as they whisked him out of the room!

At this point, two schools of thought exist concerning the baby's condition. First, there is the thought that he has what is called an atrisia (uh-tree-shah) in his large intestine. Basically, this is a blockage. Treatment for the blockage would involve removing that section of intestine and either re-attaching the intestine (if the section is small) or routing his intestine to a colostomy bag until the intestine can grow enough to be stretched for re-attachment. The second theory is that the baby simply has a duplication, or an extra section of small intestine that has attached itself to the regularly functioning intestine and is filled with fluid. Treatment for this would involve removing the duplicate piece and wouldn't affect his normal digestion and elimination. Obviously, besides praying for complete and total healing, we would rather be dealing with a duplication. It is less involved and the healing time would be significantly less, barring any complications or infections after surgery. Either way, he will need to remain in the NICU until he has healed significantly. Next week, we will meet with his surgeon to discuss in detail both treatment procedures as well as other issues. Really, the surgeon may not know exactly what we are dealing with until he is actually performing surgery. Not what a "need-to-know-details" mama wants to hear! But, the Lord knows and I know the Lord. So, when He wants to impart that information to me, He will. And I can live with that.

So, that's where we are this week. If you are led to pray, please pray along the following lines:
For complete and total healing of this baby boy.
For freedom of fear as we draw closer to his birth. That we could rest in the total peace that comes from knowing our God is faithful and always works for our ultimate good. Always.
For the details concerning the care of our girls during the baby's birth, surgery and recovery be worked out in advance.
For peace in our home in the midst of what could be stressful and tumultuous.

Thanks for praying for our family. The Lord bless you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays--Amended

Ahem...I think I need to amend my previous post by adding ten things about today that are not, in fact, driving me crazy, but are simply wonderful. It read sort of complaining and the Word instructs us not to complain...

10. It's 8:15 PM and all three girls are tucked into bed for the night!
9. At swim lessons today, Ruthie went under water several times and Emma learned to free-style swim!
8. The girls have almost mastered their first Bible verse for Memory Madness--even Olivia.
7. Friends brought us a frozen, homemade dinner for later this week--who doesn't love a night off from kitchen duty?!
6. Charlie cleaned up the kitchen and took charge of the girls for awhile tonight to give me a breather...what a guy!
5. We have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year...dozens each day and more than enough to share with neighbors and friends.
4. We had ice cream and oreos for dessert tonight. Hey, my husband knows how to take care of me!
3. The kids got to visit with their bestest buds this evening and burn off some extra energy...hence #10.
2. Emma wrote her first story today!
1. Although I woke up tired and crabby, and things didn't go according to logic or plan all day, and I didn't feel super--the Lord was with me, just like He promises in His Word...before me, behind me, in each and every moment.

Top Ten Tuesdays--Things That Are Driving Me Crazy Today!

Thanks to Ann for making Top Ten Tuesdays...

10. I can't see my feet anymore...putting on socks is a major undertaking!
9. My kids have no volume control today...we're stuck on "louder than loud."
8. This little guy is determined to break dance all over my bladder morning, noon and night.
7. The aforementioned break dancing has resulted in over 20 trips to the bathroom in the last 24 hours.
6. The dogs got caught in the thunderstorm this morning and STINK like only wet dogs can.
5. "Someone" in our house likes to snore.
4. I can't find my reading glasses.
3. Suddenly my internal temperature gauge has sky-rocketed, so while I'm sweating, I'm freezing my family to death.
2. I seem to be craving some weird food groups...lemonade (which gives me heartburn), Mexican food (major heartburn), chocolate anything, salty pretzels, and pie...any kind of pie. So healthy...
1. I've dropped things, tripped over imaginary hazards, slammed my fingers in drawers, bumped my head, and just become generally klutzy.

Father, thank you that You never go "crazy" or have bad days. Thank You for understanding and for just being with me in this nutty day. Help me stay focused on You and not on the things that are happening around me. Thanks for loving me...In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, August 4, 2008

First Day of School-2008

As I've mentioned before, we home school. One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that you have the freedom to arrange your school calendar to fit your own family's needs. This year, with a new baby coming in mid-September, we opted to begin our school year the first full week of August. This will (hopefully!) give us about six weeks to get our school year rolling and then enough cushion that we can still finish our curriculum by the end of May.

For us, the deciding factor in choosing to home school (other than pure obedience to God's calling for our family) is the opportunity to pour the Word of God into their little hearts and heads. Children are sponges and they soak up whatever they are exposed to. We began to get excited thinking about all the ways we could share the love of Christ with them and encourage them in the Lord! One tool we are implementing this year is called "Memory Madness." It's really a program designed to be used in a church setting, but we have been able to tweak it to fit our family's needs. The basic premise is that children are given a "mission" which consists of ten scripture verses, grouped topically. Each week, they are assigned a verse or verses for memory work. They are then quizzed over the verses until they are able to recite all ten verses from memory. Once they have completed their "mission," they receive a prize of some sort. Our prizes will take the form of special activities, books, games, puzzles etc. A great side-benefit is that Charlie and I will be learning the scripture right along with the kids! Also, each scripture is a basic, fundamental truth or promise from the Word, so there are lots of opportunities for application as we learn.


Growing up, my mom always took a picture of us on the front porch the first day of school. While our kids aren't rushing off to catch the bus, I still like the idea of a "first-day-of-school" photo opportunity! Seems like just yesterday they were babies and school was a long way off...they are growing up so fast!