Sunday, January 31, 2010

We've got a goal...

Josh & I just met with our doctor...he is so compassionate and was very concerned about Josh & I and our family.  After talking about the pros & cons, concerns & considerations...we decided to stay the course for a couple more weeks.  

My womb is the best "incubator" for our little lady, so we want to keep her in there for as long as we can.  For now, we have a goal of making it to 37 weeks.  That would be the week of February 15th.  

Since I have had no symptoms this week, there is no medical necessity that we take her out now. This is good!  The next 2 weeks will provide valuable growth time for the little miss...for her brain to grow (did you know that their little brains are only 2/3 the size of a full grown newborn if they are born before 36 weeks?), for her to put on some "fat" which is what keeps her body temperature regulated when she comes out, and for her to develop her "eating muscles" so that when she is born she will have a better chance to eat on her own! (no feeding tubes is the goal...)

So as many of you have heard me say before, I am a woman who likes goals.  They keep me focused, they bring motivation and they help define my priorities.  And like I said, one of our goals is to keep the little miss inside for 2 more least.  For me, that means obeying the rules, laying low and staying the "bedrest" course.  (honestly, I have never had a goal that included "staying in bed all day"...weird.) :o)

But really, the ultimate goal in this whole situation is that the Lord would be glorified through the events of this pregnancy and birth.  That our doctor & nurses would see something different.  That others would see the goodness of the Lord and the sovereignty of his plans.  That we, as a family, would grow in our understanding of God's grace and his unfailing love in the midst of trial.

Well, can we do it? Can I do it?  


Not without the Lord's sustaining grace to endure.  If I were to be totally honest, I would say that the last couple days have helped me come to a new understanding of the term "cabin fever".  And if it were simply left to me and my selfish, pity-full, narrow-minded self...I wouldn't be able to do it.  Seriously. 

But thankfully, it is not up to me.  And thankfully, the Lord is gracious with His children.  And thankfully, He answers time and time again...granting peace, patience, and grace every day.  I have experienced this first hand.  And I am so grateful.

So how can you pray? (many of you have asked...and have prayed...and it works! And we continue to need it!  So thank you...) 

-Please pray for my husband first and foremost.  The time apart has been very hard on both of us and we are looking forward to just being under the same roof.  We are not made to be "doing life" apart, in separate cities, for months on end.  I must admit...I just do not like it. :o(
-Pray for my children...for Ella & Levi: that they would continue to thrive under the wonderful care of our family & friends.  And for this little one-to-come...that she would grow rapidly and come when she's bigger!
-Pray for the people I come in contact with here at the hospital (my doctor, nurses, coworkers, lab techs, kitchen staff, housekeepers) that they would see the glory of the Lord in our lives and how we endure.  And then, that they would ask questions...and that I would be bold in my answers, taking advantage of the opportunity to share with them the only thing that will truly satisfy: namely, Jesus Christ. For really, that could be the reason I am here.
-And please pray for me...for the strength to endure with joy and a thankful heart.  For productive days, a clear mind and a gracious spirit.  

thankful for a goal...
and a God who is greater,

P.S.  I adjusted my "comments" section, so that you can leave a message even if you don't have a blogger account.  Many of you wished you could comment...well, now you can! Go for it...I love it. :o)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A day in the life...

Well, we are 34 1/2 weeks and counting.  No changes...which is good.  We are still waiting for her to get a little bigger. And while we're waiting, I thought I would explain what a "normal" day has been for me while staying here in the hospital.  (we are on day 18 at this point...yeah, 18)

5:30 or 6 am...the night nurse comes in to put our baby girl "on the monitor".  They strap on blue & pink straps around my belly that track contractions in my uterus and her movements & heart rate. Take my vital signs to make sure my blood pressure is normal as well as my temperature. 

6:40am...I usually drift back to sleep after the monitor comes off.  Baby girl is usually awake for the day! She practices somersaults while mommy tries to get a little more sleep. Emphasis on the word "tries". :o) doctor comes in to check-in and make sure I am doing okay.  Usually just a quick "Are you hanging in there?  Do you need anything?", but it's always nice to know that he hasn't forgot about me!

Oh, and the construction begins around 7 am.  The main "tower" is going up about 40 feet from my, my bed usually shakes and the noise begins.  Welders, cranes, hammering, etc...Levi's dream world.  You get the picture. 

8:30am...I usually feel like "getting up" about this time.  I seem to get my "best sleep" between the 7 and 9 am hours. Weird.  (well, that's if the construction isn't too loud...)  That definitely won't be the case once we all get home! :o)

9 am...Breakfast (ummm...current favorites include steel cut oatmeal with blueberries & brown sugar, raisin toast--I never buy it at home!, scones from Great Harvest--usually from Grandma, and the occasional scrambled egg omelet with mushrooms, ham & cheese...not all at once!).  It's really not too bad for hospital food. 

I usually am reading my Bible before and during breakfast.  I love starting the day this way and hope to continue it even after returning home. (It will however, be much earlier in the day!) I am still working on reading the Bible through in a year and hope to finish up before the little lady's gonna be close.

Take my morning meds...and get my assessment (listen to heart, lungs, tummy...check my legs for blood clots & swelling) done by the new nurse for the day.  

10am...Shower! Highlight of my kidding. 

10:20am...Reading time.  I will usually read a little more in my Bible and then dive into whatever I'm working on at the time.  Right now it's Knowing God by Packer, The Doctrines that Divide by Lutzer,  a re-read of Biblical Womanhood in the Home (Becoming God's True Woman) edited by DeMoss and Gospel-Powered Parenting by Farley.  

Then some journaling, prayer time and more reading...

It's usually pretty quiet during the morning hours.  The nurses are busy with other moms & babies and I don't have any "commitments".  I did have a physical therapist come see me today to give me some exercises to my body and muscles don't totally atrophy from the bedrest and lack of exercise! It's definitely not Tae-Boe or even hey, it's something!  I'll probably have really strong finger muscles when this is all said and done.  :o) 

12:30'ish...Lunchtime (hospital menu, show me your best...).  Sometimes, I read a little more while I'm eating. 

1pm...Catch up on "work"...finances, pay bills, work on taxes, kid's schedules, prep plan for returning home, catch up with online classes for my work, etc... Checking email, the City and my blog usually falls into this time slot as well.

2pm...Nurse comes to put me on the monitor again to check on baby girl.  Check vitals again, refill my water jug, etc...

2:40pm...Off the monitors.  I try to work on something "creative" for my little mind!  That means make my kids a card, work on ideas for our next Noble Women event, sketch design ideas for our little basement abode, etc...  

Usually I listen to music or a sermon while I am working.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law introduced me to Pandora online radio (usually Sovereign Grace music or something similar) where you can make your own "station" for free.  Or I'll listen to the Bible online at the ESV website.  You just put in a passage and click on "listen".  Sweet!
Sometimes I listen to the sermon from GCC for the week, or something by Driscoll or Piper

I try to avoid napping as that seems to keep me from going to sleep at night! No good. 

It's usually pretty quiet this time of day, as the nurses are changing shifts. 

5pm...I often catch up on the news, whether it be via Fox news or local.  This keeps me from feeling like life is all about me and this little room.  There is a huge world out there!

6pm...Dinnertime. Wednesday nights are the highlight of the week because they are "date night"!!! Josh brings dinner from somewhere yummy.  We sit and eat and person. It's wonderful.  

The other nights of the week however prove to be a little challenging for food choices.  The hospital food is not bad, mind you.  But after 18 days, my options are a little limited.  Currently cream of potatoe soup is a favorite, or chicken ceasar salad, and maybe the occasional chicken parmigiana. 

7pm...Nurses change shift again.  I'm still in bed. :o)
Josh calls with the kids on skype to have family worship and bedtime.  Sometimes I get to "sit on the shelf" while the kids wrestle with dad or jump on the bed.  They take turns telling me about their day.  Then we read the Bible story for the night and sing together.  Then we pray and Josh tucks them in and I blow kisses.  

7:30pm...the construction zone is quiet.  My night nurse usually pops in to say a quick "hi". She'll be back to check on me and baby a little later.  My eyes are usually a little tired from reading...but my body is not tired at all! 

Sometimes I journal and try to document the day or my latest feelings & prayers.  I may take the time to check some "fun blogs" about decorating, home improvement, craft projects or parenting.  I might use Facebook or the City to keep people up to date on the latest.  I have gotten so many encouraging notes via these two networks.  The Lord is using this little lady to bless many already. :o)

I also might peruse gardening books/magazines in anticipation for the spring or preview movies for my kids that I want to check out first.  Phone calls are fabulous this time of night...Josh tries to call and check in about the day or I'll hear from my family or friends.  

Honestly, this tends to be the longest part of my day.  

9:30 or 10'ish...the night nurse comes back to put the little miss on the monitor.  They do their nighttime assessment and check in to make sure I don't need anything.  It's been fun getting to know all the nurses...and I say "all" because I have been assured that I have met them all! :o) 

10:30pm...nurse says she's done for the night and will try to let me rest.  I think about going to sleep, but am usually not tired.  Soooo....back to reading or journaling to get my mind to relax and my eyes tired enough to close.  

11:30pm...seems like I can't fall asleep before this late hour.  My mind wants to but my body just hasn't burned enough energy! Some nights it's more like midnight or later before my body succumbs to sleep.  

A little tossing, a little turning, up to bathroom once or twice and...

it's 6 am before I know it!

The days do move slow and the afternoons & evenings can start to drag a little...but honestly, I am so thankful for the comfort of the Lord, for the encouragement of friends and family and for the knowledge that this challenge will soon come to an end.  
Again, thank you for your prayers and kind words...this marathon will soon be over!!! And we will all get to meet our new little girl. :o) It will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Updates & little visitors...

So today we are 34 weeks and 2 days! Yeah! At this point, little victories are to be celebrated. 
Talked with my doctor yesterday and here's the latest:

-Baby girl continues to look great every time she is on the monitor...meaning her heart rate is good and she is moving a ton.  In fact, she is the most active baby I've had thus far! (could be exciting when she gets out!)

-Depending on how this week goes, we will be making decisions about when to "go in and get her".  If my symptoms increase, we will probably take her sooner.  My doctor is concerned that since we cannot now pinpoint the reason for my symptoms, we need to weigh the risks of waiting longer to get her out.  He wants to do what is the safest thing for her & I.

-If my symptoms do not increase over the next week, we may talk about leaving her in for another couple weeks?  That would be good because it would allow her eating muscles (mouth, jaw, suck reflex) to mature.  This is very important because if she were to come at 35 weeks, the likelihood for her to have to stay here at the hospital with a feeding tube would be quite high.  This would not be our first choice.

So, those are the ideas on the table.  We would appreciate your prayers over the next week or so as we discuss with our doctor, pray and seek the Lord to help guide each of us in this next step.  Our doctor is and has been fabulous during this whole pregnancy.  We trust him completely and know that he will provide us with all the medical information necessary to make the right decision. 

Thank you all so much for the sweet treats, thoughtful cards & phone calls.  They are the bright spots in my day here at the hospital! And thank you to the many who have blessed my family with meals over the last weeks (& months)...this is a huge blessing for them as they work to carry my load as well as their own.

Speaking of bright spots...the kids came and saw me on Sunday.  They sat, one on each side of me in bed, for two hours.  They did not budge.  We drew pictures, talked with nurses, had snacks, listened to sister's heartbeat and hugged...alot.  It was a wonderful day and something we all needed.  I cannot wait to be back to being their is such a privilege.  Do we all look happy, or what?!?

Will keep you updated as things progress...we've got to get this little lady named! :o) She'll be here before we know it.

thankful, excited, expectant, and full of joy...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

34 weeks tomorrow...

Tomorrow, Monday January 25th, will mark the 34 week mark for this little girl.  Making it to this milestone with her still inside is a wonderful blessing.

"34 weekers" as they're called, typically have good enough lung development to survive outside the womb without help (ventilators, oxygen, etc...).  They also have a greater chance of being "big enough" to survive outside the womb without extensive help (NICU's, machines, fluids, etc...which would equal=transfer to Seattle.) They're biggest challenge is their eating ability.  They usually do not have fully formed muscles in their little jaws & mouths that are capable of nursing effectively.  So they usually stay in the hospital for 2-3 weeks needing tube feedings.

This is not what we would she needs to stay in there until she is 37 weeks.  This would be ideal.  Her lungs would be further developed, her oral muscles should be ready to eat on her own and she would be a healthy size, ready for life on the outside!

Tomorrow I will be talking with my OB about the next phase, the plan, the timeline.  I hope to find out if we will continue this course of me staying here at the hospital until she comes.  If this is the case, then let the countdown begin.  3 weeks to go. 

But I will not get ahead of myself...I will post more after talking with our doctor tomorrow.  In the meantime, we are thankful she is still inside...growing, kicking, and content to stay there!

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully & wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  
My frame was not hidden from yoi, when I was being made in secret, inticately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,  thedays that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand..."  
Psalm 139:13-18

Friday, January 22, 2010

A few morsels...

Here's some tidbits from my reading & life as of late...stuff that's encouraged my heart, deepened my faith or brought a smile to my face:

-"Self-humiliation for Simeon consisted not of belittling the gifts that God had given him or pretending that he was a man of no account, or exaggerating the sins of which he was very conscious.  He went about it by consciously bringing himself into the presence of God, dwelling thoughtfully on his majesty & glory, magnifying the mercy of his forgiveness and the wonder of his love.  These were the things that humbled him--not so much his own sinfulness but God's incredible love."  
spoken of Charles Simeon in the The Roots of Endurance, John Piper, pg. 112

-"But when the goodness & loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."   
Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)

-“Unbelief says: S0me other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us.  Faith says: Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us!  With our feet on the ground, and our head cool, but with our heart ablaze with the love of God, we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey.  God wants to work through you!”
A.W. Tozer, The Counselor (excerpt from Ray Ortland's post)

-"My mommy is soooooo beautiful."  
spoken by Ella Mae McPherson the other day, as she sat daydreaming.  (Thanks for sharing that made this mommy smile.)

-"Thou Great Being who made and rules the world, put Your Spirit in my husband with perfect power and bear His fruits from his life. 
May he be a loving man; a joyful, peaceful man; a patient, kind, good husband. Make his soul and actions abound with faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control, for against such things there is no law. By Christ Jesus crucify his flesh with its passions and desires.
Let him not grow weary in doing good, for in due season he will reap if he does not give up. And may he never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the
world has been crucified to him, and he to the world (Galatians
5 & 6)."  
from Prayers of an Excellent Wife, by Andrew Case (this is what I have been using as a guideline, while I work at praying intentionally for my it free and enjoy.)

-"Wisdom without power would be pathetic, a broken reed; power without wisdom would be merely frightening; but in God boundless wisdom and endless power are united, and the makes him utterly worthy of our fullest trust."
J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pg. 91 

Be encouraged today.
Grow in faith.
Be in awe of Him.
And thank him for his grace.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mornings, mornings...

During this time of bedrest, some positives do exist.
Being a mother of two, 32 weeks pregnant, and usually a go-getter kind of gal...I am forced to be in bed, all day.
That means I have time for reading my Bible...uninterrupted, praying, journaling, blogging, emailing, reading great books that require quiet and contemplative reflection to comprehend,  taking the occasional nap, not being responsible for any meals, showering without little voices in the background, taking phone calls without halting the conversation 4 times to correct one or both of my children, and having a morning routine, etc, etc, etc... This is not normal reality.
For many of you (especially my fellow young mothers), this sounds like a dream vacation. I don't blame you.  It would be fine for a day or two.

But I must tell you truthfully...I would trade all of this in a heartbeat to be back at my mommy-post right this second.  Diapers, schedules, dinner, all sounds heavenly right now.  And soon I will be back at it! And I cannot wait...

I am sure some of you are saying, "Well, of course she has time to read these great resources and talk about these wonderful things...but I just don't.  I have 4 kids, I homeschool them all, I make every meal, I have a part-time job, I clean the house and help at our local church. I make it out of my PJ's by noon...sometimes. Get real Sharon." 

And to that I say..."believe me...I understand".  But as I have been on this "forced leave" from my mother, wife, homemaker and work related roles, I have been looking for resources and setting resolves for when I get to return to these joyous callings.  Especially in regard to the way I start my day...glorious mornings.
One such that I have found was on the cute blog by a friend of my sister-in-law.  She is a busy mom-of-two, married and running her own blog/store.  She provides many resources on healthy living, managing your home and God-centered reading.
In this recent entry, she notes a resource she has used called Maximize your mornings.
It is also written by a young mom.  She offers this free online e-book, complete with workbook & templates, to help other women like herself develop a plan for starting their day productively.

This may not be a problem for you.  But for many young mothers, including myself, the desire to rise before my children, be in the Word, exercise my body and be ready for the day (schedule set, goals in my mind, etc...), are only that--a desire.  They are rarely a reality.

Her e-book provides some simple helpful tips, motivation and tangible ideas to get one out of bed and get moving! I plan to use some of these ideas myself after I return home (and after I recoup from surgery!). And maybe they can be helpful for you...

Know that I am praying for you my friends, as you continue the daily ins & outs of mothering little lives.  It is indeed a challenging & high calling that is non-stop, often thankless, but full of lifelong rewards. I will be joining the ranks again soon, and I pray that I will not forget the things I've learned or the void I've felt without the responsibilities of children, husband & home. 

Be encouraged today dear mothers!
You are shaping little lives for God's kingdom.
Keep up the good work.
And may you have many productive mornings...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things that bring joy...

Today I have been blessed with joy.  
After a difficult weekend, today was full of little things that made me smile.  They may be little things...but they all added up to bring a smile to my face and joy to my hospital room.  

So here's my little list...maybe you'll smile too:

-a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers from my mom & dad...

-reading "The Roots of Endurance" and feeling my faith increase by every page...thank you Holy Spirit for teaching my heart. 

-the berry-cream cheese scone from Great Harvest that I ate for breakfast this morning. Thank you Grandma! 

-letters in the mail that have answered prayers and lifted burdens...

-Crayola markers...yes, I really like markers. 
Actually, these were a gift for my children...ummm, but mommy is borrowing them for now. 

 -the cute new slippers from my friend Erin...thanks, I love 'em

-my little red Bible...small, stylish, and full of promise after promise, applicable to every circumstance, and a lifeline to my Heavenly Father.  

-pictures of my children here on my computer...they make me excited to be back with them and bring good memories of the little blessings that they are.  

Smiling yet? I am. 

with a thankful heart,

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Sunday is a harder day for me.

I miss being in church with my family...worshiping with the wonderful people of GCC...listening to my husband preach the Word...sitting with my children as they sing their little hearts out in praise to God...enjoying fellowship during our shared meal together. 


I have to admit, I told Josh (when he stopped by after church...highlight of my day!) that my weak spirit was considering a "pity party" today.  But thankfully, by the grace of God, I picked up the next book on my reading list and dug in.  

John Piper's "The Roots of Endurance"...appropriate, don't you think?

The Lord has been using it, along with his Word, to encourage my heart today.  It is a great mix of cross-centered teaching on endurance in the faith and the evidences of this endurance in the lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon & William Wilberforce.

I was especially challenged, encouraged and convicted as I read more of the nature of true endurance in the faith, and the lack that I have to "create it" within myself.  Piper says:
"The aim of all endurance is that Christ be seen & savored in the world as our glorious God. Paul makes this plain in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 where he prays for us 'that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good & every work of faith my his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ'...similarly in Philippians 1:11 he prays that we would be 'filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory & praise of God'...this is what we pray for, and this is what we trust in as we take up the biblical command to endure to the end. 
 We trust in the New Covenant promises of sustaining, enabling grace that were obtained for us infallibly & irrevocably by Jesus Christ in his death & resurrection.   Therefore our fight and our race and our endurance is a radically God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-dependent, promise-supported life.  It is not a 'just do it' ethic.  It is not a moral self-improvement program.  It's not a 'Judeo-Christian ethic' shared by a vaguely spiritual culture with a fading biblical memory.  It is a deeply cross-embracing life that knows the Christ of the Bible as the Son of God who was crucified first as our substitute and than as our model of endurance."
This concept has been most encouraging and bolstering to this weak-minded child of God.  I cannot "just do it".  I cannot endure because I "try harder".  I have tried that most of my life.  And I have even tried in these last few weeks and months.  Even today.

And it does not work.  It is only by embracing the cross and relying on his continual grace that I stand a chance to endure.  So I am excitedly reading on to see God-centered endurance on display in the lives of these past saints. 

The latest in our "endurance journey" is that I am back off the monitor and am able to get up to the bathroom again.  I am still required to lay flat (with some incline at meals).  My symptoms have subsided and for that we are truly thankful.  Again, our little lady continues to look good every time they check her on the monitor. 

Thank you Lord for your grace...and the strength to endure.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A new day...

Well, this morning was a new day...and we have been so encouraged by the week of "no symptoms" that I was pretty optimistic that today would be the same. 
Weeeelllll...not quite.
I awoke this morning to more contractions and bleeding.  Not what we were expecting. 
To be safe, I am back on the monitor 24/7 and back to the "flat on your back" bedrest.  No bathroom privileges or showers for now.  However, the important part is that little miss is looking good. 
And although it appears that the threat of placenta previa has passed, I am still having symptoms for unknown reasons.  Combine that with the fact that it is too early for us to meet our little girl and you get the following answer:

Watch, wait, don't move much, and pray.

So that is what I am doing. Especially the prayer part. 

And I will keep you posted on the latest changes, if any. I also want to mention again how much I appreciate all the prayers and wonderful encouragement I have received in this past week. From snacks to phone calls to cute cards to FB messages to homemade cake...(thanks grandma!) I have felt much care and love from so many of you. 

Thank you, thank you. 
with gratitude & a patient heart, 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things to pray about...

Well, it is Friday and the little lady is still inside. I have also been free of symptoms since Monday. For this we are truly thankful! We will probably have another ultrasound next Monday, to see how everything is looking.  But we will see!  Monday is a long way away... :o)

During these past few days, there has obviously been much to occupy the mind and prayer time.  Although there are many things beyond our little scenario...things that provide worldview perspective on my little hospital room here in Wenatchee.  Two things in particular have been the focus of my prayers:

1. My heart, along with the rest of the world, breaks with the pictures, stories and widespread devastation in Haiti.  I have found myself weeping for the souls of the many there who have experienced loss in ways I will probably never know.  And for those who do no know Jesus...the circumstances must be twice as frightening.  I feel quite helpless to do much from my bed here.  But pray is something I can do.  And that is not in vain. 

2. I have also had many thoughts regarding this upcoming week...Sanctity of Human Life week.  Sanctity of Human Life day was established in 2003 by President George W. Bush, as a way to increase people's awareness of the loss of life caused by abortion in this nation.  It allows a day when hundreds of supporters of human life can join in prayer and activities to raise money and support for those who would desire life for all unborn children.  

Although I cannot go and work at our local clinic, I have been able to do some tangible "helping" by stuffing baby bottles with flyers that will go out to area churches this weekend.  They are to be filled with donations to help our local clinic Life Choices for Women, which serves the women in our community who are trying to make decisions regarding "unwanted pregnancies".  I have been praying as I was filling these little bottles, for the generous hearts of the people as well as the many women who will receive counsel & services there. Many of you know this issue is close to my heart, so the emphasis of this week has only increased my prayers for these women.  And it has been even more meaningful to be doing this in the hospital...on the maternity ward...32 weeks pregnant with a little life happily kicking inside. 

And so, there has been much to occupy my mind this week.  Both these prayer concerns make "bedrest in a hospital" seem pretty posh.  

Thank you Lord for perspective...thank you for your wisdom...and thank you for the Holy Spirit and the privilege of prayer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hanging out with J.I. Packer...

Good morning...

This morning I am looking out the window in my hospital room... (Soooo thankful that I have a window! And yes, this is the actual window...). I am on the monitor and the little lady is a whir of activity. It always brings a smile to my face when I hear & feel her jumping around inside. 

She continues to stay in there...good for her. And my symptoms have pretty much subsided.  I have an occasional contraction, but nothing strong or consistent.  And because my symptoms have stabilized, I got to take a shower!!!

Talked with our doctor this morning again, and the plan remains the same. Watch & wait.  Wait & watch.  Don't do much.  Lay low.  And stay here in the hospital.  

So, while I have been "hanging out" over the last 2 days, I have been reading Packer's "Knowing God" again.  I had put it down when all this started and am happy to be back at it.  I had read a portion of chapter 2 the day before I came in to the hospital...and it proved to be a timely reminder that a wonderful part of knowing God is the "being known" by him.  It has been a comforting thought in these days.

"What matters supremely, therefore, is not...the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it-the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands.  I am never out of his mind.  All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me.  I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me.  He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment therefore, when his care falters.  This is momentous knowledge.  There is unspeakable comfort-the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not inervates-in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good."

And so, I am comforted to know that I am known by him and that his care never falters.  I will be doing more reading today...more thinking...more laying low and resting.  

But it is all under the watchful eye of my heavenly Father, so my heart is at peace.

 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5&6 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another note from the hospital...

Well, here we are again...back at the hospital.  This little lady seems to want to have a story to tell when she finally arrives.  I told Josh that his girls are sure starting their little lives with a bang!

For those of you who do not know, the last 36 hours have proved to be quite a roller-coaster for our little family.  (haven't you been on a roller-coaster, you might ask?) Well, thankfully, it is one orchestrated by our Lord, so the ride is not dangerous or uncharted.

I awoke yesterday (Sunday) with symptoms again (it has been almost 6 weeks without) and pretty intense back pain, which can sometimes be labor pains.  Came into the hospital and was met with a new diagnosis from an ultrasound.  Something very rare & serious called Vasa Previa.  Our placenta previa diagnosis was in the past now, as it looked from the ultrasound that the placenta was completely out of the way.  Instead with the vasa previa, there were vessels from the placenta (both baby's vessels & mine intermixed) that were over the opening of the cervix.

This is incredibly dangerous and highly fragile for the baby.  (If the vessel rupture, the baby's chance of life is very slim.) I was put on immediate and strict bedrest here at the hospital (can't get up to go to the bathroom, can't shower, can't raise my head, etc...).  I was put on 24 hr/day monitors for her and I, as well as our nurse in here checking my symptoms every 30 minutes.  They put me on steroids to help our little baby's lungs to develop more, in case she had to come early.
And they started giving me magnesium sulfate, which acts as a muscle relaxant, to slow the contractions of my uterus (a big muscle).  This was to keep me from going into labor & rupturing those vessels.  The side effects of this drug are a real bummer (think of all the muscles you have in your body relaxing all at the same time! Heart, lungs, legs, eyes, along with a serious continuous hot flash...yikes!) I was definitely not feeling myself once the drug was infusing.

However, my uterus "relaxed" (along with the rest of my body!) and we were able to buy some time.  This morning, a radiologist who specializes in these sorts of diagnoses wanted to take another look at the "vasa previa".  So our doctor was in the process of discussing it with him, when my symptoms started up again.

The c-section team was assembled again, in case they needed to go into emergent surgery to get our little lady out.  They were pretty positive that the bleeding was from her vessels and therefore we had to go in and get her.  However, during all this, the extra ultrasound was ordered to take one more look at the vasa previa.

The special radiologist, the tech, our OB doctor, Josh & I sat there and watched the ultrasound...all of them said, "It looks clear...the cervix looks clear...there's nothing in the way".  "Is that what you see?" "Do you concur?" "I don't see any vessels in the way!"

We couldn't believe our eyes.  Yesterday, they had seen the vessels quite clearly...there, precariously in the way.  And now, they aren't there.  Miracle? Well, let's just say I wouldn't be surprised. :o) The prayers of the saints were very specific toward this end!

So the surgery plan was halted...and we were back to bedrest.  Our baby girl has continued to "look great" in her monitoring.  Her heart rate & activity are all right on track for a little lady of only 32 weeks.  And for now, she is staying put...growing, getting hiccups, rolling around, and getting bigger & stronger.

And trying to rival her big sister in the area of birth stories & God's provision. :o)

So, the latest is this...I am back to bedrest. Completely. No bathroom privileges or showers for now.  Laying down in the bed and sort of "reclining" to eat is the activity of the day.  I am off the yucky medicine (magnesium) and am able to eat & drink.  And I am going to be finishing the duration of this pregnancy in this hospital.  

Of course, as the last 36 hrs have proved...things can change quickly.  But we are still confident these changes are not unknown or unseen by the Lord. And so we are going moment by moment. Day to day seemed a little too far out. :o)

And miraculously I have been flooded by another wave of His peace in the last couple days.  Peace that really goes beyond understanding or explanation.
And I can only thank my Heavenly Father for it.

In order to keep you in the know on God's latest in our little girl's story, I will be using this blog for any new status changes with either her or I.  I will definitely update it frequently these next few weeks & months. (If you'd like, you can subscribe via feed or's over to the left.)

The Lord has been so faithful! And we want to again tell each of you, thank you for your prayers, gifts, kind words & deeds. We are overwhelmed almost daily by the care each of you show toward our family.
We ask for continued prayer for our daughter and her health, for me, for Josh & the kids, for our in-laws who continue to help with our children...for our doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, radiologists, anesthesiologists, lab techs and so many more that we will be coming in contact with over these next days & weeks here at the hospital.  We pray that they may see that Christ is better than all things...even in the midst of all this.  

Good night & blessings,
(for our McPherson Five)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reading, reading, reading...

These days of bedrest and the inability to care for my husband & children have been difficult days.  For almost 6 weeks now, we have been in this schedule. 
Me in Wenatchee, the kids and my husband in Leavenworth. 
Our wonderful family stepping in to care for my children around the clock. 
Seeing the kids 2 days/week. 
Seeing my husband sometimes only one day/week.

It is giving me such an appreciation and renewed love for being the manager of our home. 
For being the mother of our children.  The supporter for my husband. 
The food-maker, discipline-enforcer, puzzle-helper, fort-creator, peace-keeper, silly-dancer, heart-monitor, attitude-changer, and husband-lover.
All of this and so much more. 
I miss it all so very much.

But in an attempt to stay focused on what I CAN do during this time, Josh & I have created a syllabus of "stuff" that I am trying to complete during this time.  We are looking at about another 8 weeks of the aforementioned schedule.  And we have decided to look at it as a season that I will not experience ever again and one that I must take full advantage of.  I am without much responsibility (except to care for our little baby girl in my womb) and am required (by my doctor) to be in Wenatchee, away from my family & home.

This offers something I have not had in a while...time to read.

So here is the "syllabus" that Josh & I have worked on.  It may get a little tweaking, but for now I am excited to work on it daily...hoping to redeem this very unique time.  I post it to encourage others and for you to see the list and then pray for me as I endeavor to savor each of these titles!

I will post updates every once in a while to say I have finished a book. And let you know what I thought.  For now, let's start with the list. (not listed here is my continuation of our church's daily Bible reading plan for the year...I am not quite done from 2009, but am keeping at it.  And loving it!)

1. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, Piper (Done...Dec. 22nd!)

2. The Hidden Smile of God, Piper (need to order...)

3. Filling up the Afflictions of Christ, Piper (need to order...)

4. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, Piper/Taylor (all lectures are online at DG)

5. What’s the Difference, Piper (Done...Dec. 23rd!)

6. Gospel-powered Parenting, Farley

7. The Pleasures of God, Piper (Chapters 1-5, 8, Epilogue & Appendix)

8. Biblical Womanhood in the Home, Demoss (Done Jan. 5! Second time I've read this one...)
(reprinted as Becoming God's True Woman)

9. Knowing God, Packer

10. The Doctrines that Divide, Lutzer (Chapters 9-13)

11. The Ministry of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson

12. The Big Picture, Roberts (need to order)

Other reads include:

The Well-Trained Mind: A guide to classical eduction at home, Bauer & Wise (just borrowed it...need to order my own!)

Prayers of an Excellent Wife, Case (which I mentioned I wanted in my stocking...hint, hint, hint!)

From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying life from the inside out, Twigg

We've also included sermons to listen to and scriptures to memorize and meditate on. 
Whew...I have got some work to do. :o) 
But it is good and I pray that my time would be sweet as I seek the Lord in his Word and the words of His saints.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The latest on the little lady...

So I said I would update on our doctor's appt....Aaaaannd...

(first of all, my husband beat me to it!)

To put it simply: he was encouraged. And so were we.

In fact, he was so pleased with the ultrasound (which showed that the placenta is moving even further out of the way!), that he said I could "increase my activity" a little bit. Now, don't get me wrong. That does not mean I can run a marathon.  In fact, it is still glorified bedrest with the occasional chance to get off the couch to fix a bowl of cereal. But hey, that's an improvement!

The big change is that I can sit up for some meals now.  Yes!  I still have to recline back on my "couch domain" though, lying down for the rest of the time.  Bummer. (note & interpretation: still no childcare, no housework, no being on my feet for longer than minutes, etc...that will continue until this little lady arrives.)

His next bit of good news was that if things go well (meaning: my symptoms don't worsen with this new "increased activity"...and I use that term loosely), then he would think about, maybe, possibly letting me finish my pregnancy & bedrest back in Leavenworth with my family. 

Glory be! Josh & I could not believe it!

We do have to wait & see how everything goes over these next couple weeks. But we are still so thankful for this good news.  It is encouraging and gives a wonderful boost to our souls.

In the meantime...the Lord continues to overwhelm us with His provisions through His people and it reminds us that His ways are far beyond ours.  

One particularly generous gift was given to us last week. The day it arrived was one of the hardest I have had to date, during this journey.  As Josh placed the gift in my lap, I immediately started to cry.  Almost sob.  

The gift was so perfect. So timely. So unbelievable. 
It lifted a burden I hadn't known was so heavy.

I felt so unworthy. So humbled. 
For there was nothing I could do to repay the gift. 
There was nothing I had done to deserve it. 

My husband quietly said, "Doesn't that remind you of the debt He paid?"

And I cried all the more. 
As I thought of my Savior's gift of sacrifice and pain. 
To be the atonement for my sins.  
To pay the debt of death that I could never pay. 
And there was nothing I had done to deserve it. 
And nothing I can give to repay it. 

I can only give Him my life, my affection, my praise, my gratitude, my heart, my husband, my health, my children, my mouth, my mind, my all.

And yet, it does not seem enough. 
It isn't enough. 

And that is grace. 
His matchless grace. 
A gift so incomprehensible, that you weep at the thought of it.

And so, I weep, with joy.

and with a thankful heart,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Updates tomorrow...

Tomorrow I have my 31 week appointment and another ultrasound to look at little missy-moo. I am not really expecting any change in the news or any surprises, but I am anxious for the appointment nonetheless.  

Not anxious in a fretful or worried way, just anxious in an excited way.  

-Excited that I am already 31 weeks.

-Excited that there was good news last there might be this time.  

-Excited that I get to take a ride in the truck...with my husband. 

-Excited that this little lady has stayed inside where she belongs.

-Excited for the Vanilla Roiboos Latte from Starbucks that my husband will get me after the appointment. (with his Christmas gift card...hint, hint, hint Love?)

-Excited to see the next chapter in God's story through this little girl in our lives. 

So I will post an update tomorrow. We would appreciate your prayers as we embrace the anxious excitement. :o)