The Rest Of The Story – NICU onward

The NICU seemed like an eternity though it was only two weeks.  I have since learned that this is a fairly short stay and for that I am extremely grateful.  This is our fifth baby and it gutted me every time we left and David wasn’t in my arms.  He is supposed to be with me AT ALL TIMES.  When I have a baby my emotions go CRAZY mama bear, and the baby is my drug of choice.  I CANNOT handle even really sharing them to hold.  I realized I might have a problem when I had my third baby.  Our sweet girl Jessie was a few hours [literally, maybe two or three] old when my grandparents, the sweetest in the world [Jessie was named after my grandmother] came to visit.  I DIDN’T WANT TO SHARE!  It was unnerving me.  I had to go through a mantra to stay calm.  In my head – “Sarah.  Stay calm.  You want them here.  You called them.  They are invited.  YOU NAMED THE BABY AFTER HER.  They will leave soon.  You will get the baby back.  Breathe.  Breathe.  You will get the baby back.”  This inner dialogue went on for a while, probably until they left.  I am sure this is not every mom, but fairly common to many mothers.  This is how I am hard wired.  DRUG.  OF.  CHOICE.  GIVE ME THAT BABY!!!!  Mind you, it doesn’t last.  Somewhere around when they learn how to sit up, I begin to calm down.  All this to say, leaving him every day at the hospital was not okay with me.  I was gutted every time.  GUTTED.  Meltdowns happened every day, sometimes several times a day.  It surely doesn’t help that I was postpartum, and I knew that.  That is why the meltdown wasn’t all day every day, I did manage a measure of self control.

During this time I cannot begin to describe how the Lord God Himself buoyed me in every way.  First and foremost Aaron my husband is practically like the magical unicorn of husbands.


He supported me at every possible turn, and went beyond himself as he has since we met.  Since this story is about the birth and not Aaron I will try to rein this in a bit…  Suffice it to say Aaron literally lived to serve [still does].  I’ve never observed a more perfect example of Christ and Ephesians 5:25.  “Ephesians 5:25 New Living Translation 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”  Our NFW campus pastor, Pastor Marcus Brecheen, said it perfectly when talking about his own marriage.  He said he was his wife’s favorite freedom minister.  [A ministry at Gateway, called Freedom Ministry is a process fulfilling Jesus’ mission as described in Luke 4:18-19].  Aaron is my favorite freedom minister, my own personal freedom minister.  I realize this may sound a bit odd, but when God does a work of freedom in your life it is the most precious ever, and such a beautifully perfect position for your spouse.  He was fully 100% present for me.  He helped with taking me back and forth from the NICU, we had lunch dates nearly every day [it is not possible that he just happened to have that time during the work day, he carved it out for me], he was kind, patient, loving, giving, forbearing, supportive, strong, and really every wonderful attribute that could be named.  He remained strongly who he has always been, and these circumstances made him shine all the more.  There might have been some conflict and stress in there somewhere, but I surely cannot remember it

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I am both excited and somewhat terrified in this ^ moment.  He is only a few hours old.

I have mentioned my family and friends, and am deeply touched to be able to say their love, support, and prayers continued during this time.  I know God gave Aaron and I the gift of faith during this time, and we were carried by our loved ones prayers.  I will never take this for granted [I am reminded in my heart every time I pray for the needs of another] and am forever grateful and thankful. Thank you to everyone, I know the bowls in heaven [Revelation 5:8 New Living Translation And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.] were filled to overflowing with your prayers.  We needed every single one, and I thank you.

My parents continued to help in every way possible during David’s NICU stay, so much so that I worried they were wearing themselves out.  They drove me back and forth to the hospital, fed us nearly constantly, held sweet David, endured my craziness [I was all over the emotional map during this time] and never ceased in prayer.  These are the kind of parents that I’m sure every one in the world wishes for, and they are mine.  My Mom is the Proverbs 31 woman, and we, her children really do call her blessed.  My Dad is the reason I was so enabled to find a man like Aaron.  My Dad is a relentlessly humble servant.


The next on the list of angelic souls that carried us through this time are all the NICU nurses at Harris Methodist Southwest.  All were loved and we even left with some new friends.  None are above another to the best of my knowledge, but for us, we adored Juli who was one of his day nurses and Rhonda who was almost always his night nurse.  I am completely convinced the nurses in the NICU are angels on earth.  This matters to me because as I had those daily meltdowns while having to leave my David I needed to know what kind of person was watching over him.  These women are paid, granted, but no amount of money can produce the loving behavior I witnessed from them.  They did their job tirelessly, strongly, consistently, and lovingly.  You know, it can’t be the easiest job when you have stressed parents watching your every move day in and day out.  But they have help, because my God has a heart for the defenseless.

Psalm 121 New Living Translation

I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord,who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

One day as I was leaving and having a particularly hard time the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that David was not alone.  Not only did he have the best medical care with his nurses, but that he was surrounded by his own guardian angels ministering to him day and night.  My heart instantly wondered about the other sweet babies and He whispered the same about them.  The Lord is near to the broken hearted and easily touched by the feelings of our infirmities.  He understands.  He ever lives to make intercession for us.

As I kangaroo held and rocked David IMG_1824

during the precious hours that I got to be there, two songs kept my spirit bolstered.  They were my theme songs during this entire journey.  They are Sun and Shield by Gateway Worship and Faithful God by Zach Neese.  I kept my ipod or phone with me and played these over and over and over and over, and sang or hummed them if I was without.  Faithful God you hold my life secure, all my days are yours….  These lyrics make me feel held and loved.  They carried me.  Sun and Shield grounds me in who He is, the lyrics literally speak of it. You are my sun and shield, beyond what I can feel, I put my trust in who You are.   In my weak moments I did that a million times over.  Over and over I put my trust in who He is.  It was a minute by minute walk frequently.  From moment to moment I had extreme highs and extreme lows at times.  I would know we were having great success and not much later I would feel like nothing would ever change and we would be there forever.  I imagine that many NICU journeys feel like this, even more so for babies with much greater challenges.

While we were there our sweet church reached out to us.  Pastor Jon Paul Dennis from Gateway Relational Care and visited me in the NICU.  That experience was so precious, even more so because he drove from Grand Prarie.  We were also sent a beautiful bouquet from their baby registry, part of their relational care department.

WP_20130907_005 A close up, so pretty!

During this time I had a scary personal postpartum episode in the evening.  Without t.m.i., I will just say it put me into a total panic attack and I almost had Aaron take me to the E.R.  I looked it up on the internet and called the Labor & Delivery nurses and they confirmed that I was okay.  Aaron helped talk with me and pray and I began to calm down.  A few days later I found out that God had laid us on Pastor Steve Melson’s heart.  He was praying for us during that time!  Our heavenly Father is so very loving and kind.

Meanwhile, David was making steady and sure progress.  I was constantly reassured by the nurses and doctors as they watched him grow and progress.  They patiently explained the process to me with as much detail and care that could be expressed.  One nurse in particular loved on me.  Very near the beginning of our NICU journey she opened up and shared her faith in God with us.  I was so touched because I wanted David to have the best care possible and feared that if I was open about my faith it might somehow reflect negatively on him and his care level.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I should have known that since my thought pattern was fear based, but live and learn.  Juli was open about her love for the Lord and her love for our David, and that just broke my heart wide open for the entire rest of our time in the NICU.  God is so loving and kind, and showed Himself again that way through David’s nurse Juli.  He had Rhonda nearly every single night, and the care that she showed toward him and toward us will never be forgotten.  She also loves the Lord. I really feel like I should stop being surprised when the Lord shows how deeply He cares for us, but having Rhonda looking after David at night blessed my heart so deeply.  I will never forget.  All of David’s nurses were truly wonderful.

DSCN0407 Nurse Juli

We are so blessed that David’s stay was so short by NICU standards.  He had no health issues and only needed time to grow and mature.  His job in life was to learn to breathe and eat on his own.  As he graduated from one stage to the next my heart soared.  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself the day we came in and he was in a baby bassinet like any other normal baby!

WP_20130904_011  SOOOOOOOOO EXCITING!!!!!

Little David really disliked his nose tube and ripped it out on a very regular basis.  Finally when the time was almost right they left it out to see if he could “fly.”

WP_20130908_11_58_51_Pro “Flying!!!”

This means breathe on his own!  AND HE DID!!!!!!!!!  What a glorious day.  We knew once he could eat on his own and regulate his breathing and temperature for 24 hours without alarms and pass the carseat test we were home free!  Exactly on the two week mark he passed all of his tests and so we then got to have our overnight stay.  For anyone who’s ever had the special privilege of this unique form of torture, I tip my hat to you.  What could possibly be more fun than staying in an awful [and I truly mean that, the floor with a mattress on it would have been better] full size hospital bed with no blankets, and no fitted sheets?  The mattress is just wrapped in flat sheets and then you have a flat sheet to cover yourself with.  The room is fairly cold as all hospitals are, and because he is graduating from the NICU you have the fun of waking every two hours, by alarm if necessary, and changing a diaper and feeding him.  This is actually not the hard part.  The hard part was also waking up enough to document it on a written chart AND call it in to the NICU night nurse.  EVERY.  TWO.  HOURS.  I also learned they call you if you are even a few minutes late.  We survived it, and being as it was the last high hurdle before going home in the morning, it was almost a celebratory type torture night.  It was a bit weird that we left with him all tucked in the car seat.  I am so used to leaving the day after giving birth, and getting the privilege of riding in a wheel chair [even though they are almost always scary rickety] while holding my sweet sweet newborn.

IMG_1862 Aaron carried him out in the carseat

while I hobbled along behind [still recovering, only two weeks postpartum] and the nurse walked with us helping us out.  Either way, I celebrated on the inside! We are going home AND our son IS COMING WITH US!!!!!!!!!!!  We are finally leaving the right way!!!!!!!!!!!!  God is good.

WP_20130910_011 Our son is home! OUR SON IS HOME!!!!!!

DSCN0409 Admiring the new kid

For anyone who has had a preemie, you are all too aware that the journey is not over when you take the baby home.  We are extremely blessed that David’s struggle was never with health, as is the case with a huge percentage of preemies.  It has taken him nearly a year and a half to sleep through the night with about a million obstacles we have overcome little by little by little.  I can finally say with confidence that we are on the ‘other’ side of the sleep journey now.  He still wakes frequently and has restless nights, but that is a far far FAR cry from nursing every two hours like a newborn, which he was doing until a few months ago.  When we brought him home, he slept on either my chest or Aaron’s for several months.  I realize this is medically inadvisable, but I’m betting if we could peek inside many homes we would see how survival frequently takes precedence over many issues.  We have watched David grow and thrive and to this day he is a determined and hilarious little fellow.  We are richly blessed.


Find kid #5…


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Part III of our baby number V story

**Please note, there is medical grossness in my story.  Do not read if that bothers you.**.

At the point of my water breaking Aaron told me not to look down.  It fascinates me that I didn’t.  I just knew I shouldn’t.  Normally I would have looked down as soon as the words left his mouth, almost as instinctually as one would breathe or blink.  My brain is just hardwired that way.  Such was God’s protection on us.  He is able to keep us from falling!  He is mighty to save!  I am telling you, as sure as I am of my name, I know I would have lost it if I had looked down.  I knew that my each and every action that day mattered.  I was clinging as tightly to my Heavenly Father as I knew how. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

We knew it was time to book it to the hospital.  We flew out the door so fast, and it was God’s divine provision that Aaron’s giant flip flops were by the door.  I shoved them on my feet and kept walking [shuffling/limping] to the car.  As in any labor, the drive was quite painful.  It’s just that everything is different two months before you are due.  Especially when every baby I have had has been about 2 weeks [or so] late.  My brain just went tilt.  And you think thoughts like, “Oh.  So this is why we didn’t have any peace about a last minute family vacation before the baby came…”  And, “What on earth…”  And, “Crap this hurts.”  And, “I wonder why Aaron told me not to look down?  It was only my water breaking after all…”  Most notable was the pervasive peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  His peace was present the entire day, and palpable from the moment Aaron told me not to look down.  All the while, I am riding along with a giant towel between my legs and another giant towel wrapped around like a skirt.  From head to toe, I am wearing a t-shirt and bra, two towels, and man’s flip flops.  Never in my life.

I limp into the E.R. entrance, the only open doors at this time.  We arrived around 7:30pm-ish, I think.  After we check in an orderly gave me the ride of my life in a scary [sounds and moves like it will fall into a bajillion pieces any second] wheelchair up to the labor and delivery floor.  All the while I am still fairly embarrassed about my wardrobe ‘choices.’  We get upstairs to L&D finally, and they give me a room, stat.  Apparently two month early labor with water breakage and lots of blood will do that.  It will get you a room in a hospital that had none 15 minutes prior.  I am so thankful to live in a place where you can get the medical attention you need when you need it.  I am so thankful they prepare for situations like mine.  This makes me think of all the staff.  That makes me teary-eyed again.  They are the most wonderful people in the world. [*With the minor exception of middle of the night nurse who wanted to tourniquet my arm off for a blood sample.  I had a half-dollar sized bruise for approximately six weeks postpartum.  Whatever.  I’ll find her later.  Just kidding.  Maybe.*]

And so the questions start.  For anyone who hasn’t had a hospital birth yet, this can be likened to the running of the bulls.  I have never done that, but it is the visual that pops into my head.  Whether you have pre-registered [we had] or not, they will steamroller you with a million bajillion questions.  I know this because I have done it both ways.  I will never for the life of me understand how this can take priority over such things as checking the baby’s progress, pain meds, etc.  But it does.  So, a tip of the hat to all the litigious folks that have made this the world we live in.  My nurse tried, bless her.  She stepped out several times hollering for the sonogram machine so they could check and see what was happening while simultaneously administering what felt like the inquisition.  Eventually the doctor on call that night, a wonderful woman named Dr. Mcelroy [pronounced Mac-El-Roy] stepped in.  She was quickly brought up to speed, asked a few questions of her own, and then said we needed to do an emergency c-section.  All four of my other children were vaginal births, but I had learned that I loved the epidural.  I knew there would be no c-section without that.  Because they had one of those baby heart monitors strapped to my abdomen from the moment I was put in the bed and I knew baby David was fine, I no longer cared about anything but pain meds.

Sweet Dr. Mcelroy knows she needs to check me before immediately wheeling me into surgery.  She does.  Then she declared it time to push.  WHAT!!?!?!?  I asked as nicely as I can several different times several different ways about the drugs.  No dice.  Time to push.  Now.  She said it so nicely I thought I could persuade her.  Nope.  My brain is stunned. Stunned.  STUNNED!  Push a baby out without an epidural!?!?  I had done that once before and decided it wasn’t for me.  How was this happening???  Somewhere during the inquisition my window for meds must have closed.  Well, onward and upward.  I pushed David out [my She-Ra moment, google this babies of the 90’s], all four pounds twelve ounces of him.  Again, God provides. JEHOVAHJIREH. “The Lord our provider”  God provided for me everything I needed, and everything David needed.  David needed out, asap, and I had the ability to do that.  EVERYTHING added up for David’s needs also, including our arrival and subsequent inquisition.  NICU babies have enough of an uphill battle, the less drugs involved for them the better.  Our little David is a fighter.  Two weeks to the day he graduated from the NICU.  For a 34 week gestational baby that is wonderful.

Again God provides.  The only thing [besides drugs] that I cared about during all this was baby David.  Was he okay?  Would he continue to be okay?  After baby David was caught by Dr. Mcelroy he cried immediately.  This kept my heart stayed in the peace, no exaggeration that day, the peace that passes all understanding.  Truly, without the gift of faith God gave us, this was a terrifying experience.  I had never been through this and had NO idea how it was going to go from here, but I just “knew” when he cried that it was going to be okay.  This part of the story goes on a steep learning curve for us about the NICU and all things preemie.  So again, I’ll step back and tell the story behind the story.

Remember all those faithful pray-ers?  My parents, mother-in-law, siblings, and friends were bearing us up in prayer this entire time.  My mom and dad came racing over to the house the moment Aaron called [his first phone call after getting me limping to the car].  I’m so thankful that they live about five minutes away.  They arrived to help with anything.  They settled the kids and took care of the mess.  I’m told that Kathryn had blocked my other children from going into my room and kept a really cool head.  I will be forever grateful for that.  I’m also told that my room looked like a murder scene.  I cannot even put words to how I would have felt if it was my daughter being rushed to the hospital and this scene in the bedroom was why.  My mom took on the role of a servant and cleaned.  My Aunt Miriam had been called by this point and was in touch with Mom.  Mom had already taken all the bedding and the children and gone back to her house and said something to the effect of thinking the mattress and carpet were ruined permanently but maybe Miriam could give it a shot.  I kid you not, when Aaron and I arrived home [the next day or so???] the room looked liked nothing had ever happened, other than the giant shop fan blowing on the carpet.  What a beautiful example of family, love, and service.  The bed was beautifully made and clean, as was the carpet.  My mom was certain that there was no saving that mattress, and yet there it was.  Perfectly clean.  Not anything anywhere, not even on the carpet.  Mind.  Blown.  This is a long way from the grisly description of ‘murder scene.’

My family did all of this and they were praying, as were my siblings, friends, and more family.  I’m not sure I even know the depth of people who carried us in prayer during that day and the following two weeks.  I know for a fact it was all of my close family, several of my friends and several of my mom’s friends.  People say that prayer changes things and that prayer matters, and now David and I am on the list of people who are a living testament of that truth.  Several family members showered us again with gifts for baby David, seeing as how he was too tiny [4 pounds and 12 ounces] for his clothes at home.  My sister-in-law Sally went on a shopping spree and gave us so many outfits that they were practically his wardrobe during that time.

IMG_1837 WP_20130902_001 WP_20130903_018

I cannot even tell you how this melts my heart again and again, every time I remember.  This is the body of Christ being the body of Christ, doing unto the least of these.  Aaron and I are in no position to dole out rewards or favors, they poured love upon us in heaps anyway.  The least of these.  Matthew 25:40 – “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’  I’m no one to deserve that, and we could have limped along without it.  God saw fit to show us His love again and again through the precious gifts and acts of love and service and prayer.  My sister made sure his birth was celebrated.  That memory is making me cry right now while I’m typing.  She made sure it was like a joyful party and that we celebrated his entrance instead of just sitting in shock. [*cry break*]  She showed up with joyfulness, balloons, a gift [more tiny clothes!!!],

WP_20130906_004 WP_20130908_11_58_51_Pro

and several other things.  But it was the act of kindness that still impacts me to this day, fresh like it just happened.  My mom was either feeding us, carting me back and forth between the hospital and home [also Dad did this], caring for our children, making things for David [a welcome home cake],


or buying him more tiny little clothes.  He came home in a precious outfit and blanket set from her


and I will love it forever.  This about sums up the first day or two.  I’ll write about two week long NICU journey next.

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Happy one year old birthday sweet baby David!

David 1st

What a journey!  I was reminded the other day by a sweet friend that I never did write the rest of the story.  I finally made our family photo album from last year and that was my own personal elephant in the room.  I didn’t really want to revisit those memories.  For the bulk of the last year it was just easier to stow it away and not deal with it.  I made the album about a month ago and it was challenging and cathartic for me.

Below is the beginning [aka, part 2 of my writing] of our/my story with baby David.  There are bits that are unsettling, please only read on if you are okay with that.  We know that everyone has a story, and this is ours.  However it makes anyone feel, I hope that it is for the good.

August 26th started early that morning with contractions which I thought were pretty odd for Braxton Hicks.  I’d heard there was the possibility of them actually hurting but had previously only experienced ones that were very uncomfortable.  Sometime around 5am-ish I noticed them.  Around 7am-ish I could no longer sleep through them and by 9am-ish we were in my Ob-gyn’s office.  He had us tracking the timing for about an hour to look for increase in frequency and/or pain.  But they stayed random.  He offered for us to go to the hospital so they could administer an iv that would help stop the labor but we didn’t have insurance.  So instead he gave us a prescription for the same drug and really detailed instructions on how to monitor the drug intake, etc.  We went home and I took the drugs immediately.  And by immediately I mean SEVERAL LONG HOURS LATER when the scrip was finally filled.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  It is such a blessed thing that we cannot hurt others with our thoughts.  Those unfortunate pharmacists would have had a bad day.  Eventually the medicine kicks in, but barely.  Our detailed descriptions included keeping track of my heart rate and using that as a barometer of how much medicine my body was able to tolerate.  So that was freaky and weird.  We kept ‘layering’ the meds as long as my heart rate stayed in the ‘not pounding’ range.  Aaron did his level best to keep the situation safe and accurately monitored but I could tell he was very uncomfortable with it all.  Aaron was/is my rock.  That day he was steady and solid in the face of dire circumstances.  He trusted in the Lord and did not lean to his own understanding.  At one point I HAD to get in the bath.  I say HAD because the pain was such that I was starting to lose my ability to focus, breathe, and stay calm.  The hot [as I could stand it/deemed safe] bath did wonders.  When pain like that eases up your emotions, brain, body, your EVERYTHING gets a much needed break.  It’s like treading water for what seems like forever and then getting to lay down for a bit.  My brain only thought, “Ahhhhhhh….”  Did the pain stop?  No.  Was it back into a place where I could cope, YES!  In and out several times.  At one point while I was in I asked Aaron, “What is the Lord telling you about this?”  He said, “That it will be okay.”  See, we had been praying throughout the day [some prayers more reverent than others, lol] and asking everyone to pray because the labor was so painful and intense.  Labor is supposed to be that way, but not TWO MONTHS before you are due!!!!  My spirit bore witness to what Aaron said and I took that as my word from the Lord for this situation, regardless.  Labor continued on, several phone calls were made to our Doctor, and he advised to stay at home unless anything on a certain ‘go to the hospital NOW’ criteria list were made.  So we stayed home.  I repeatedly told Aaron the situation was NOT improving the contractions were MUCH more intense, etc etc.  See, we know God is faithful.  And we “knew” the labor needed to stop, so that is what we were looking for.  Sweet, faithful Aaron called the hospital for me yet again.  Yet again they affirmed the Doctor’s advice and said there were no beds available anyway.  Unless I was for sure in labor [still in doubt at this point because of our steadfast hope] or in case of anything happening that was on that emergency list, I was to stay home.  In the middle of yet another version of that same discussion, where Aaron was doing a beyond amazing job of calming me and reassuring me, things changed abruptly.  A state of emergency happened.  My water broke, and that plus blood went everywhere, definitely on the emergency list.  Time to go.

Since we already know that it is a full year later and our miracle baby is gorgeous and healthy I am going to pause the story to tell the real story.  The story above is merely a description of what happened.  The story for me really begins when we went to Kairos at our church, Gateway.  It was our first opportunity to go, stress free, and alone.  Believe me this is much BIGGER than it sounds.  We had been trying to go for a year and had even registered several times and had to email the day before to cancel.  God is so big.  God is so good.  He is El Roi, the God who sees.  I’m getting choked up writing this part.  He sees.  He sees.  I cannot overstate that, loved one.  He sees.  We went to Kairos the first weekend of August.  I have no words big enough, fancy enough, or descriptive enough.  I went that first day with only a few hours of sleep [oh, the joys of the last trimester] but decided that NOTHING was going to keep me from laying it all, open and raw, for my Creator, my King, my Father.  He ministered to me about things I would have NEVER guessed.  Never.  And Aaron too.  I came that weekend without realizing that I felt like road kill, in every possible area.  I left feeling brand new, shiny, clean, whole, loved, held, seen.  I’m telling you words cannot ever be adequate.  God met me and ministered to all of my hearts desires, and then ministered to so many more that I would have never guessed in a million years.  He is always Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,.  Believe me, this is relevant to the story.  God sees.  He knew WHAT we needed, and WHEN we needed it.  We laid it bare before Him.  He met us.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the entire story would have been different without all the setup and all the timing.  The entire day of labor with David was faith filled, and I mean the kind of faith where you can feel it, you can actually feel the strength of it, not the striving for it.  Our Father gave us the gift of faith for this entire story before, during, and after its unfolding.  We were wrapped safely in Him.  The prayers of so many many saints buoyed us and gave us further and continued strength.  I kid you not, we felt it.  The list of people praying for us is so long, my heart melts when I think on that.  Our friends and family were so faithful to us in that time, that day, and all the many many days to follow that felt like an eternity to us.  Specific ones reached out and shared Scripture that became like a banner to me.  I carry and wave that banner in my heart still.  The picture in the collage in the top right corner is a product of one of those Scriptures.

And thus endeth part II.  🙂  It is my goal to finish this story now that I have really started it.  I’m hoping to finish all the parts in the next week or two.  Have a great day!  You are loved!

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What I see…. -part 1


I love this boy.  Many times when I watch him while he sleeps or is nursing, I see the faces of others.  I see my Mom, coming in while I was in labor dangerously early to save the day.  I see my Aunt Miriam who came quickly with serious help in time of great need.  There is a long line of faces that come to me in these quiet, reflective times.  My family swept into help in extreme ways, and my Heavenly Father poured out on us the entire time, protecting us, loving on us, and providing for us.  My heart is already in my throat again as memories come into my brain, one upon the other.  I have been wanting to blog about it for awhile, and life is settling down, so now is the time while it is still fresh.  I’m still working out in my mind exactly what to say and what is simply “tmi” so it seems easier to write this in installments.  For now, I’ll stop with this short intro, and this picture below that will always mean everything to me.

Psalm 22.10

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Feeling blah… needing a good workout… found one!


So, I’m really excited about this workout!  Who doesn’t have ten minutes right?  Especially when pregnant, that may be all my body has to give.   I have noticed though that if I do nothing I am full of aches and pains by the end of the journey, so once I’m able I really really try to force myself to do SOMETHING.  So, I’m thinking in 10 minute increments, this is do-able.  Plus BONUS, the lady leading the exercise is great, and huge pregnant!  Yay!  I also just ordered a kettlebell prenatal workout dvd along with my first kettlebell.  *feeling nervous*  I’ll write about that after I try it out.  Yesterday was my first try with the 10 minute solutions, and I think it is great!  Plus, these are workouts you could do after baby comes to gently get your body back into shape.  I really detest how weak I feel after giving birth.  I don’t mean directly after, I mean in the next month or two.  I do plan on resting and recouping, don’t worry, I just hate that feeling of inability.  So, I’m looking forward to these dvds being do-able solutions!

side note: the bonus workout on this prenatal 10 minute solutions seems to be done by an insane woman.  It is not likely that I will every try it.  I think she’s on crack maybe. 😉

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Medieval Fun!


I remember now why I don’t like loading photos onto the blog and why Facebook is so superior.  This blog is on a constant and regular basis unable to load photos without errors or just simply taking eons of time.  While I have several really great photos from this party, as a busy pregnant mom this is all I can bear to use for the blog.  The kids had such a fun time of feasting and playing at my mother-in-laws house this past Sunday.  Most folks were dressed up and we all had a ball.  Caleb is so serious here because it was part of his “character.”  Haha.  Too cute.

It was so neat, there was a stone backdrop on the house, medieval music, treasure [which Madelyn LOVED], tons of food, and fun activities for the kids.  Caleb was thrilled to be allowed to use his archery set all day long and was probably the most he has gotten to play with it since receiving it for Christmas [our backyard is the size of a postage stamp, or so it seems].  At one point there was a quest for the kids to go on and solve riddles, one of which involved what looked like a really awesome paper mache dragon.  WAY cool.  All in all, we had huge amounts of fun, waaaayyyy too much food, and a great time with the kids.

**EDIT** I’ve had some rest and a snack and it is another day… I must load some more pictures of this amazing party!!!!


The girls and the treasure!


Gorgeous potted decorations… though I question whether any flower arrangements were this pretty back then  😉


A dashing young knight poses heroically in front of ye questing map


Oh my.  He is just melt your heart precious with that smile!


So, I may be biased, but I think this archer is the handsomest 😉


And now, their fierce side!


This child was gathering [read: hoarding] the treasure as fast as she could put it all on and carry it away

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Potty training


Well, so far so good.  Madelyn seems to enjoy potty training and caught on within one day.  We have had several accidents but the really great news was that she didn’t like being wet.  One of my kids didn’t care and it took FOREVER to potty train that one.  The most recent times she had an accident she was able to finish in the potty.  Hooray!!!!  That is MAJOR!  This is the potty we have and she really loves it.  The only down side is that she gets up in the morning [before us] [not hard to do] and goes potty in it and then brings it to us…. ick….  lets just say that doesn’t always turn out for the best.  Anyway, this is definitely the perk of having an independent child [not the same as strong willed, though those traits can and do often run together], they love growing up and doing it themselves!!

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It’s a BOY!!!!

It’s a BOY!


So naturally… there was a Gymboree sale…


That’s normal, right????  IT’S A BOY!!!!!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!

I have the best mother in the whole world!


She is bold, strong, powerful, determined, up to any challenge, embodies integrity, loving, giving, kind, beautiful, wise, smart, athletic, fun, and so much more!  I am so thankful for her [and of course my dad] because with having them as parents I feel that I get to stand on the shoulders of giants.  They have given me every advantage and continue to do so.  I was able to coach soccer this season because Mom helped me by watching Madelyn during soccer practice [no small feat!], and that is just one example of many.  She is a pray-er.  If that was the only thing I said about her, it would be enough.  The more life goes on, the more I recognize that having someone in your corner, faithfully praying, your whole life long is worth more than all the riches in this life.  What a beautiful support she is to my Dad and what a sweet relationship they have by sowing intentionally into one another.  I love watching them growing in love and grace continually as time goes on.  Each year with Mom is better than the last because each year she grows in the Lord, always desiring to know Him more.  What a shining beacon for me!  What an example to ALWAYS grow in God, to ALWAYS be in pursuit of Him!  Mom has never waited around for someone to do it for her, in all things including her walk with God, she is a determined pursuer.  She has built strength into this family and imparted it successfully into the next generation, and is now working on the generation after that.  She has a regular Bible study with my children, patiently teaching and coaching them in the ways of the Lord.

Proverbs 31:28 – esv

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

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One week left!!!!!

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I am so excited, and Kathryn is too!  Aaron is convinced we are having a girl and my mom is convinced we are having a boy.  What do you think?  It is hilarious how the discussion digress’ when the children ask Aaron how he “knows.”  He will say any number of weird explanations.  I am so excited that the month of May is here.  May is always good to me, first my birthday then Mother’s Day!  And bonus this year, our sonogram!  Soccer will be over soon, and it has been a blast, but I’m glad to see it go.  This pregnant momma is tired.  I keep thinking I need to get on the ‘ol treadmill…. and most of the time I lie down until the urge passes.  😉  Seriously though, I don’t want to turn all blobular by the end of this pregnancy but I am so tired and mostly want junk food.  Yes.  I am very much aware that those two things are a self perpetuation cycle.  However, I’m going to play the pregnant, home schooling, mom-of-five card….  and so I will continue the daily search for motivation.  Usually once it strikes I stay on top of things.  I think it’s challenging because I know we have some home repairs to do and thinking of BOTH of those things wears me out.  I am thinking my blessedly empty calendar month of June is really going to help out in this area.  I just over committed in this season and it is about to gloriously come to an end.  Whew!  It’s really hard not to over commit when everything you are doing is either super awesome or super valuable or both!!!!!  My life is completely wonderful, don’t get me wrong, there was/is just a LOT going on when you consider being a mom and home schooling is enough to keep permanently busy.

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