Thursday, September 24

Spotlight for the week . . .

. . . Austin! I'm sure at some point along Austin's journey he has been weary. I'm sure that while in the NICU on the vent, 5 different monitors, the feeding tube, and IV's that he was exhausted. Austin came home hooked up to oxygen and his apnea monitor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and started having physical and other therapies that pushed him to the limits you know he wanted to just be left alone to rest. However, something inside of him prevailed through everything. He just turned 10 months old (adjusted age is 6.5 months), and he is developing normally as he should be. His EI said today, at his biweekly appointment, that this is not at all what they expect from a preemie born as early as Austin. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11. Only God knew and does know what the plan is for Austin. Only He knew that Austin would live and have a life full of smiles and laughter. Austin smiles and laughs so easily especially at his older brother, Bradley, and it’s absolute music to our ears. Only God knew that Austin would develop just as a baby who has had no medical setbacks does. Austin's EI said she has never experienced this in her line of work. How awesome is that? I'm certain, while Austin laid in the isolette for all of those months that God was urging him to try harder. It was God that said, "Austin, you must breathe on your own, so they can wean you from the vent." Austin surely thought that he was too worn out to breath on his own, but God did it. I wonder if Austin heard God saying things like this verse: "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" Isaiah 40:28-31. I think he did. Something brought him to where he is today, and what else would do that besides our Heavenly Father? Austin had his 9 month well check last week. His pediatrician has pretty much thrown his adjusted age out the window as far as she is concerned. He has made it on his actual age growth chart and is in the 3rd percentile for his height and weight and almost the 50th for his head. His head is so much bigger, because his brain took all the nutrients from his body while he was in the NICU so it could grow as it should. He is eating as he should, and he even did well on the developmental questionnaire for a 9 month old! We couldn't believe it. His pediatrician said he is doing as well as some of her full-term 9 month olds! How great is our God???!!!!

I hope that every person that reads this can trust in Him fully when they're going through a trial. I pray that God will remind you of Austin, and that you may use him as an inspiration. That baby boy was born 16 weeks too early at only 1lb 7 oz and 12.5 inches long. He is about 17lbs and 27 inches know! He is wearing 12 month clothes and eating 2-3 meals a day of solids. If we don't give him something to eat while we're eating, at the table, then he fusses! Every doctor, nurse, therapist, and etc that meets Austin just doesn't believe that he was born at 24 weeks. And, I just wanted to share this and rejoice with everyone about God's work in our living miracle.  May you each be blessed by this entry. Amen.


Friday, September 18

Acts 14:17

"Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." 

It's raining here today, and the weather forecasters are saying it will continue through the weekend. The rain comforts me as I grow older, especially after the triplet's pregnancy. I believe it's because I feel God is washing away my worries and grief as I watch him wash the earth. In Matthew 6:34 He said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." God reassures us that worry and anxiety is not a characteristic that a follower of Christ should exhibit. And, I'm being reassured of that so much with this pregnancy. Chris and I've felt God tell us to be silent and still so much throughout this 1st trimester. When I was told that I should go on hormone support, when I was 1st pregnant, I felt God saying 'No, I brought you this far and you will trust in me". We felt led with our prior pregnancies to use the God given medical technology to allow us to have children as we felt him saying I gave you this, use it, I'll make it easy, just lean on me and I'll carry you through this trial. Now, God has used this pregnancy to prove over and over how he CAN make huge miracles happen. We've been so thankful to see what it's like being given a child with no medical intervention and wow what a miracle! This pregnancy hasn't been all easy, in the beginning it didn't seem like things were developing as they should. However, we decided to be patient and trust in His plan to give us a child. Eventually, after many ultrasounds and blood work we saw that little blessing with its beating heart. Then, due to the damage to my cervix from the previous 2 pregnancies we were told something should be done to help prevent another extremely premature delivery. So, after much prayer we felt God telling us to choose the procedure that was least complicated. Yesterday I had my cerclage, and it went well. The hardest part of the day was entering Labor and Delivery at Richland. Chris and I have what seems to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as that is where I spent 3 weeks in the hospital before and after the triplet's birth. There were good and bad memories on that unit, and everything came back to us as we walked through the double doors. The smells, sounds, and sights almost overwhelmed us. However, God provided yet again and calmed our fears with an awesome medical staff. We were treated wonderfully, and it was very comforting to see familiar faces. I experienced more pain than I had anticipated, with the cerclage, as my last one wasn't as involved as this one. I also experienced what seemed to be some contractions while in recovery. However, everything calmed down and I was sent home late yesterday afternoon. God was so good, and my nausea subsided for the day which was awesome especially since I wasn't allowed to eat for almost 15 hours. Normally, with this pregnancy, my fasting would have resulted in my being sick. I'm to take it easy for one week, but can resume taking care of the boys on my own on Monday. And, my doctor said I can go to Bradley's 1st soccer game this Sunday! Yay! Also, through this surgery God showed my doctor that I absolutely can't deliver this baby normally and must have a c-section. He said there is way too much scaring in the cervical and birth canal area, and to avoid my losing too much blood we should definitely opt for a c-section. I think that explains where my recent bleeding was coming from too. I was only given a spinal during the procedure and had to remain fully awake to avoid any problems with the baby. I had an awesome nurse anesthetist that continually asked if I was alright and when he realized that I wasn't completely numb quickly gave me some pain medication. So, all in all it was a good day. I go back to the doctor in one week to have an ultrasound that will check my cervical length. Oh, and they did an ultrasound before and after the surgery to check on the baby. It looked good, moving lots with a fast heartbeat in the upper 160's to 170's.

Along with God teaching us not to worry, and "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7, he has given us another trial to lean on Him. We got a call from the genetic counselor earlier this week in regards to the 1st trimester screening. The blood work, 2 different blood tests, came back elevated. It is purely a screening, it isn't a definite saying that the baby will or will not have one of these genetic abnormalities. It screened for Trisomy 13 and 18 which results in a child having many severe abnormalities, and they generally don't make it to birth and if so pass away soon afterwards. It also screened for Down's which is where our baby shows an increased risk. So, now we just have to wait and see the outcome. We're confident in God's plan and His will. Whatever His plan, he'll give us strength and grace to persevere through any trials. The hymn, Amazing Grace, comes to mind and the first few verses reminds me that God will carry us when we are weary as He always has.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Wednesday, September 9

Planet Mom

I had my 1st MOPS  (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting of the year yesterday.  I attend at St. Andrews Baptist and am blessed with a wonderful group of women.  They are amazing and we always have great discussions and time with God.  This year it's about living on Planet Mom as that is what all of our lives are centered around.  Most of us are stay at home moms, so we are with our kids 24-7.  We have great topics this year, everything from Planet God to Planet Body.  Yesterday, we were asked to say what planet we're currently living on.  I said I was living on Planet take it one thing at a time and make the most of each day.  That is where we are in our life right now, not knowing what God has in store for us but making the most of each moment.  And, I must add that I love living on Planet Mom.  It's hard, but it's the most rewarding chapter in my life. 
So, update on the kids. I'll start with the youngest this time.  I have to make sure they all get their "claim to fame" and time in the limelight.:-) I must say that it's so amazing the amount of love that I have for each of our children.  To think that you can love each one as much as the other is amazing! Baby "Daisy" is doing well.  We had our 1st trimester screening yesterday; it included meeting with a genetic counselor, bloodwork, and an ultrasound.  We'll get the results from the bloodwork early next wek.  The counselor said she didn't see any reason to be concerned, and the ultrasound looked good.  It's amazing how much ultrasound technology has improved since I was pregnant with Bradley 4 years ago.  We saw things, yesterday, that I didn't se with Bradley until 20 weeks.  They even did a brief 3D ultrasound.  Of course, it's too early to tell the sex of the baby.  The baby reminded us of Lexi with it's movements.  It was moving constantly and dancing a lot.  I'm having my cerclage placed next Thurday, the 17th.. 

Baby Wicker Profile
11 weeks 1 day
Baby Wicker's Heartbeat
(in the low 170's; very active baby)
Austin is doing well.  He is sitting unassisted for long periods now (and can even correct himself if he begins to fall) and even standing some, on his own, if he has a good grip on something.  When on his stomach, he is trying to pull his legs up underneath his body to get on his hand and knees.  His EI and PT had to make new goals for him today when we met with the EI.  He has met all of the goals and more since the last time they did a plan of action.  So, his new goals include getting to and from sitting on his own from lying down, crawling, pulling to standing, and cruising. They gave him 6 months to reach these goals, but said he may reach them faster than that since he is doing so well.  If so, they will rewrite his plan then.  He is approximately 16.5lbs and 27-28 inches.  He legs have gotten especially chubby lately; it's precious.  Austin enjoys eating his baby foods and seems to prefer vegetables.  He is eating solids twice a day; breakfast and supper.  We continue to give him 5 bottles a day to get in the amount of milk he needs.  I think I've finally gotten him on a schedule and most days he is taking 2 decent naps.  He does really well with the morning nap, but sometimes wakes up and fusses during his afternoon nap.  Austin is a great baby and sleeps through the night most nights; he is usually happy and smiling. 
Big Boy!
Look at that sweet face. . .
I can multitask with the best of them; playing with my toy and watching big brother play soccer.
Last, but not least, Bradley has been busy!  He started preschool this week and did so well.  He has only been 1 day so far, but is excited about going back.  The teachers said there were no tears!  Bradley was excited about playing with all the toys and his new friends that he met at orientation.  He didn't tell me much when I picked him up except that he had cheese crackers and cookies for snack.  And, he told me about a few toys that he enjoyed.  Tonight was his first soccer practice.  They practiced for almost an hour and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  Chris has volunteered to help coach as the head coach has no help.  We don't know how Chris' schedule will work with it, but he is going to try to be there as much as possible.  I know Bradley enjoyed having his Daddy on the field.  They did different drills and some scrimaging.  It was precious seeing those 3 and some 4 year olds running around.  They really impressed me as they all seemed to get the point of the game.  Bradley can't wait to go to practice next week.  His 1st game is September 20th, but we still don't know the time yet.  We're hoping for 1:30, so it won't interfere with naptime.  We don't want him passing out on the field.
Ready for his 1st day of school
Wearing his name tag and getting ready to go in the classroom
On his way to soccer practice
Aren't those little Umbro shorts precious?
We've thoroughly enjoyed Chris being on vacation.  I can't believe he has to go back to work tomorrow!  We've spent a lot of family time together, and it has been great! Now to end this long post with a short story.  Today Chris corrected Bradley about something and Bradley got very quiet.  Then he said, "Daddy you hurt my feelings, and I don't apprecitate it."  It cracked us up!  ha ha :-)

Tuesday, September 1

The boys

Bradley starts preschool, next week, at our church. Plus, he is going to play soccer this fall. He is thrilled about soccer. We have bought his cleats, shin guards, and started practicing some in the evenings in the backyard. We’re meeting the team and coach tonight just to get introduced and get uniforms. Then we have preschool orientation, for the parents, later this week. Friday the preschool will host Open House for the children. He seems to be a little more open to the idea of school now as I’ve tried to tell him all the wonderful positives about school. He is most receptive to the idea of making new friends.

Austin has been doing well. His E.I continues to be pleased with his progress. He is able to sit, unassisted, for quite a while if he concentrates. She is going to be surprised to discover, next week, that he can also stand without assistance if able to hold onto something for a few minutes! His favorite activity is still his exersaucer, but we continue to limit him to two 10 minute sessions a day. He often cries and fusses when we take him out of it. He had his 1st appointment, yesterday, with the pediatric ophthalmologist. We’re very thankful for another awesome blessing from God that his eyes look good. He has no lasting effects from his ROP (Retina of Prematurity). He is slightly far-sided, but this is expected in a baby of Austin’s adjusted age (5.5 months). The doctor said usually if he doesn’t have any problems now that he isn’t going to develop any from ROP. Now, this isn’t to say that he won’t develop genetic issues with his vision. Chris and I are both near-sided, mine falls into the legally blind category. So, it’s is very likely that all of our children will require corrective lenses at some point. We’ll “take that” and be so grateful as it’s easily corrected.

Chris has a vacation coming up this weekend; we’re ecstatic. We had originally planned to go on a short vacation, hoping that Austin would be allowed to travel. However, now I’m not able to travel due to the pregnancy. So, we’re just going to enjoy some family time together at home. I’ll have the first trimester screening ultrasound while he is off, and he’ll also be able to join us on Bradley’s first day of preschool. We’re praying for a preview of some gorgeous Autumn weather as we’re both especially looking forward to fall.