Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pig in a Pink Blanket

For the next week, Robb and I would travel back and forth to see the babies in the NICU. While I was in the hospital, my sister and Robb, had packed and moved our entire house and belongings from Willis to Devers (our temporary residence). We had been told by the NICU Neonatologists that the babies would probably not come home until their due date (June 26th). So, to our surprise, the doctors mentioned that Laci was not too far from being able to come home. Now after all of our traumatic "we just want our babies with us" talk, we were all of a sudden shocked and scared to death. "It is not time for this! we hastily agreed. "The doctors have lost their minds!" we told anyone that would listen. Our minds were programmed for June 26th and this was early May! Reality was setting in. We had 3 new babies. WE had 3 new babies coming home...to our house...possibly very...very...soon. Hmmm... Paper Bag?

A few days later, Laci Brooke Kirkland, came home. She was oh so tiny, tons of hair, dark skin, and she was a contortionist. Yes, she could bend in ways that seemed highly unnatural considering the parents that birthed her. How I was ever a cheerleader I am not sure. I am NOT flexible. Matter of fact, my mom likes to tell the story of the day she almost broke me in two when she tried to pat my feet to my cheeks. I let out a cry and looked at her in horror. At that point, she realized that I didn't bend that way, the way that most babies bend. No, not me. Laci, on the other hand, was awkwardly and painfully able to bend her neck in ways that could have threatened the best contortionists that Vegas had to offer.

And she was a...pig. Well, she sounded like one anyway. I have never heard so much grunting and snorting in my life. As Robb and I layed in bed that night, we listened. Grunt. Squeal. Snort. Stretch. Cry. Repeat. Would we ever sleep again? Is this how normal babies sound? Or is this little piggy one of a kind?

Quirks aside. She was cute and she was all ours. We were so glad to have her home. Our sweet little pig in a pink blanket...

Jessica

Playing in the Rain

Monday, March 30, 2009

One Large Miscalculation

For the first time in 33 weeks, I was not pregnant and I was headed home. It was bittersweet because my babies were not coming with me. It felt wrong, but we had no choice in the matter. Physically, my body was better, but my mind was shot. My tank was on empty and we did not even have the babies in our care yet. How were we going to function? Robb and I did not know what the future held for our family and we struggled under the weight of the pressure we faced. One of the things that plagued our thinking in those early days, besides our babies welfare, was our finances.

Finances. Probably one of the biggest burdens we lugged around with us. Robb's grandparents had alleviated a great portion of this stress for us. The deal was that we could move home for the summer and move into their house until we knew if we were staying for good or going back to Huntsville. They would move out and into their "camp-house" and we would move in until we had a more permanent plan. I welcomed this offer with open arms. I am so grateful for their willingness to sacrifice their home. Who does that? Well, they do! And they did so, for us. Because we had sold our house, in record time, this offer would allow us to use our emergency fund sparingly. And we were going to need to pinch pennies in order to pay our bills! We had never been without two incomes - even when I went to school full-time I always brought home atleast an extra $500 dollars. Now, it was one teacher's salary and the addition of three babies.

Today, I can look back over the last three years and realize that I made one big miscalculation- the generosity of others. I cannot tell you how many times I would make my "list" of bills versus income produced. Each time, the amount we owed in bills was always about $1500 more than what we produced. That $1500 never even included things like Wal-mart trips, medicine, haircuts, etc... This fact scared me to death! How could that be fixed? How in the world were we ever going to bridge that gap on one income? As many times as I made my list, stressed over my list, and prayed over my list I can honestly say that the kindness of others was never factored into my equation. Generosity from friends, families, and even strangers have provided us with all of the following for the last three years:

Diapers that lasted us 1 full year.
Baby wipes that lasted us 1 full year.
Three years worth of lotions, shampoos, and healthcare items.
Thousands in money and giftcards.
Free babysitting and rocking.
Hours of donated time.
A car note paid.
8 months of no rent.
2 years of low rent.
Free meals.
Money for medical bills.
Money just because.
A loan we never had to pay back.
3 years of daily childcare - free to us.

I am sure my list could go on. If it wasn't for the generosity of others, I know we would be living under a bridge and I am not exaggerating. I am so grateful for those who have sacrificed and given to help us live. Throughout the last three years, I have often thought of other families that have no one. No one to help them out much less help them get ahead in life. My heart really goes out to those who have great financial burdens. I know what it is like to worry, to put pen to paper and have no idea how anything is going to turn out good. It is only because we have such a good support system, that we have never wanted for anything. I really feel for people who live daily wondering where their next meal will come from. I hurt for those people that have no family, no friends, and no means to change their situation.

God's provision...just another miracle. No amount of wishing sent our financial obligations away, but God provided. As impossible as it always seemed, He always came through. When you belong to Him, He fights for you. He has shown me that He cares about this area of my life as well. I love the scripture below, it has a special place in my heart. I hope it blesses you today.

"I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends; and his descendants are a blessing" Psalm 37: 25 & 26

Jessica

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Psalm 141: 3

This is a good scripture I am going to try to memorize this week - thought you might want to try with me:

"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips."
Psalm 141:3

Twenty Five Pounds

Bag after bag, the lasics did its' job pulling fluid out of my body. The oxygen mask got to come off as I began to breathe better on my own. Daily, I was wheeled to and fro to have tests on my body. Two such tests would bring me to tears, again, in anticipation of their results. One was a test that would check my lung function along with my fear of being claustrophobic. I cannot remember the name of it, but basically I was put nose to nose with a steel table, a mask was placed over my mouth and nose, and I was told to breathe as deep as I could until the oxygen ran out of the machine. Yeah! Tell me about it! I felt like I was in a coffin suffocating. The catch was, if I panicked and quit trying to breathe through the mask a moment too soon, I had to start over. The second test, was simply an ultrasound of my arms and legs to see if I had any blood clots. The anticipation I experienced during this time was unbearable. I felt better physically, but I kept waiting for the rug to be ripped out from under me like it had been in the past. In the meantime, Robb traveled back and forth from my ICU room to the NICU where the babies were. He brought me pictures and updates of their progress. I was disheartened that I could not participate in their first days on this Earth. But, I had no choice. I needed to get healthy as fast as I could. When my oxygen stats were finally in "normal" range, I graduated from ICU back down to Antepardum - again! I had lost 25 pounds in fluid and was able to begin to participate actively in my babies care. I was grateful to be alive. God had been good to all of us, showing His strength and ability to keep me and my family safe even through grim circumstances.

Let's Face It: A Wise Perspective

I love to study Bible prophecy. Although, I do not understand alot of it, it amazes me and its fulfillment serves as proof of my faith in the one true, living, and active God. I believe that fulfilled prophecies are the biblical trump card to those who might choose not to believe in God's son, Jesus Christ.

This past weekend, my heart was temporarily devastated by a snide remark made by someone close to me. For six years, I have greatly suffered with symptoms produced by Endometriosis. Until recently, did I even know that my illness actually had a name. Along the way, I have missed many celebrations, social gatherings, and even routine trips to places like Wal-Mart, because of my illness. Since my surgery, this past Christmas, I am 90 % better. My symptoms have shifted a bit from debilitating GI symptoms to just good ole pain in my abdomen. I know that many women suffer with horrific abdominal pain, which is one of the classic symptoms of Endo caused by adhesions. Before, my surgery I did not have this - now this new pain comes and goes. As much as I have struggled under the weight of this illness, a remark that greatly trivialized the severity of my suffering stung me down to the core. How could they say that? They have no idea what I have been through? And I have to admit that this little piggy retreated back to her mudhole to wallow for atleast a full 24 hours.

But, then...

A lunch with my mother and a good ole fashion talk about Bible prophecy brought me back to the important things in life. My mom raised me to think about eternity. I am so grateful for her comittment to study and teach us scripture. She reminded me that I can choose to dwell on the little things in life or I can set my mind on eternity. Sometimes, re-focusing our "imaginations" can prove to be quite difficult. I find this task to be one of the hardest things that I do - and it is certainly ongoing in my life. Situations will continually threaten to steal my joy and derail my thinking, but I do get the choice to forgive, forget, and move on. As hard as that might be, I need to give grace just like I am given grace by the Father. And most importantly, I must remember that one day, Christ will return for his bride, the church. I want to be able to say that mentally, physically, and emotionally my life was comitted to His work. I know that having an eternal perspective is the wisest choice for me, even when my flesh wants to bathe in bitterness. So, remembering my promise I found this word to be refreshing tonight:

"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for you shall deal bountifully with me." Psalm 142: 3-7

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let's Face It: Getting Free

Sometimes we become bound. Oftentimes, we blame people and circumstances, when sometimes we are the ones to blame. I know this, because I have lived this offense. It's easy to blame others for discontentment. It's usually those close to us that can love us the hardest and yet their rejection often has the most poisonous sting. I am the first to admit that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Some people see a strong person, but I know better. Sometimes I wallow in my unfulfilled expectations like a pig in his favorite mudhole. I bathe in my discontentment - smear it on my face, talk to the other pigs in the pigpen about it, eat some more slop, and wallow some more. Sometimes it is easier to wallow than to do the work to get free. The thing about wallowing is that day in and day out, the sun still comes up around you - and the mud quits being pleasant. It dries and gets cracked. Until, one day you look in the mirror and you don't see yourself - all you see is the mud. Below is an excerpt from Steven Scott's book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived." In order to do it justice, I thought it would be best if I quoted instead of paraphrased. He says:

"In every relationship we have, we subconsciously build a list of expectations. We expect others to do positive things and to refrain from doing negative things. Whenever anyone fails to meet our expectations--or even worse, do something that is contrary to our expectations --frustration and hurt result. And the longer a person goes without meeting an expectation, the more we fear that that expectation will never be met. These unresolved hurts, frustrations, and fears go on to create the secondary emotion of anger."

Scott goes on to talk about releasing the expectations that we have for people. He talks about how our expectations cause us discontentment - but when we can just let people be themselves - our happiness can be restored. This really touched me. I find myself here alot - discontent with people, how I think they should act, how I think they should treat me, and how I should be included in their lives. And oftentimes, when they don't do what I think they should do - I get hurt. I guess the root is a fear of being unloved. Isn't that what we all want? We want love. We want people to prove it. And when they don't, sometimes we struggle under the weight of that rejection. Sometimes we inflict pain back, sometimes we distance ourselves, and sometimes (like I do often) we wallow. I don't want to be a wallower anymore. I want to be free. So, maybe, if I can just take a step back and let the people in my life be themselves, then they can be free to be who God made them to be and I can be free too.

Jessica

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Paper Bag Anyone?

Around 6am my doctor finally arrived. "I heard you had a bad night?" she said in her usual pragmatic tone. So, I explained that all I wanted was some anti-anxiety medicine to help me relax - I knew the nurse couldn't magically fix my lungs and heart - but she could have helped out. She acknowledged that the nurse was young and should have done her job correctly. BUT, then she proceeded to give me a speech that left me needing a paper bag to breathe in. My doctor was kind, but realistic. She treated high risk women all day, everyday. No patient had an easy case and I know mine was nothing new to her - just new to me. It went something like this:

"Jessica, you are a very sick girl. What did you expect when you signed up for this? When you agreed to have this many children at once, you agreed to all the baggage that comes with that decision. The preterm labor, the complications for your babies, and complications for you - like heart failure. We are going to test you to see if this is a pregnancy-induced complication or if you have a more serious condition called cardiomyopathy that is just now showing up. I am sorry that you had a bad night, but many women do not live as a result of their choice to continue on with high risk pregnancies. We will just have to see how this turns out. I am sorry."

Paper bag please, anyone? So, my doctor had just told me that my decision to not abort my children could and very well may be the reason that I will not see tomorrow. Make that a big paper bag! I had nothing left at that point.

I cried.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Rough Night

There were only three rooms in the Intensive Care Unit at Women's. I was in one of them. I had lived in almost every major wing of the hospital at this point, this was by far the worst wing of them all. I hated what it represented for me and my family. I hated how I felt physically and mentally while I was there. I shuddered at the thought that out of all the people in the hospital, I was one of sickest, therefore was reserved a space. The only bright side, was a very nice oriental nurse that smiled more than anyone I had ever met. She didn't look at me like I was dying. She looked at me like I was alive. I had congestive heart failure - for the second time. My body physically could not pump the amount of fluid that it had produced in order to allow my babies to thrive. The first night in ICU was by far the most miserable night I would have. I was desperate for oxygen. No matter how deep I breathed, I couldn't get any. On top of that, I was suppose to wear an oxygen mask in order to get additional oxygen. But, when I would put the mask on and try to breathe through my nose, I would start to have a panic attack, because I am really claustrophobic. I also really wanted to sleep, but could not. During my entire hospital stay, I rarely slept more than two hours at a time. They had given me Ambiens and other sleep aids, but those made me more wired. With them I couldn't sleep and without them I couldn't sleep. But, like before, how can you tell someone that is dying to "get some rest." It just doesn't work that way.

Shift change at 7pm that night would bring me a new nurse. She was young, but seemed nice and caring. Robb had been sleeping in the waiting room, because no visitors were allowed to stay in the room with me. My parents had gone home for the night and would be back in the morning. Around 10 pm that night, I started having severe anxiety. I called the nurse. I told her that I couldn't breathe, my O2 stats didn't seem to be any different than earlier, but I felt worse like I was about to not be breathing at all. She told me to calm down. So, I tried. I tried really hard to be calm, but I couldn't breathe - it's hard to relax under such circumstances. About 30 minutes later, I paged her again. She told me to breathe in my mask. I asked if she would bring me a nasal canula instead of the mask, because I felt like I was really suffocating with it over my face. She said she would not. Frustrated, I requested that she please page my doctor and see if she could give me some anti-anxiety medicine. She did, but later came in and said my doctor would be by shortly - no medicine mentioned. Another hour passed, I was nearing a full anxiety attack. I paged her again. This time, I was more adamant - no I was begging her to help me. "Please help me, give me something, I CAN'T breathe!" She went out to call my doctor - same story. I felt so helpless.

She didn't want to page my doctor it seemed. I didn't understand. She was the only person who could help me. All she could say was "quit stressing out Mrs. - the more you stress - the harder it is for you to breathe!" And all I could say to her was "I already cannot breathe - what is stressing me out is that you will not help me!" I begged to be knocked out, sedated, anything to make the anxiety attack stop. Nothing helped. Page after page - she just got agitated with me. I knew it was over - I thought I would certainly die that night. I found my cell phone and made one desperate call to my parents (at 3am). Crying I called my mom and told her that I felt horrible, I was having a really bad anxiety attack, and my nurse was refusing to give me anything. She called the nurses station and asked to speak with the Head nurse over ICU. The other nurse was removed from my room and the new nurse immediately brought me some anti-anxiety medicine. It turned out, that she had only paged my doctor once the entire night. She was afraid Dr. Adam would be "mad at her" for bothering her again. So, each time she had told me that my doctor was "on her way" she had been lying.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's Face It: Relationships

I know that God has called us to be good stewards of the relationships that He has given us in our lives. I know that God wants us to love like He loves. I have some relationships that are easy to cultivate and others that seem to be lifeless- never growing or bearing fruit.

Within my sphere of friends, family, and acquaintances, there are lots of different relational styles. People with different personalities, different desires, different approaches to life, and different opinions. Sometimes these "differences" and I completely clash whether voiced or not. As a business owner, I am learning up close and personal how to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are some customers I have an instant connection with and others that are all business. In my personal life, there are those as well.

I find myself rehearsing, searching, and trying to find reason to some of these relationships that bear no fruit. When do you cut a branch off and quit trying to cultivate it? What does God think about this? What does God's word say about difficult relationships? So, open for discussion. I don't have the answer - but I am willing to start hunting for good, Biblical advice. I thought it might be useful, for you and me, if I started to post scriptures that I find and stories that you pass on to me about your struggles with relationships. So, for those of you who follow daily, when you see the "let's face it" post, it's on relationships. Feel free to pass your stories or solutions on. Also, if you want your comment kept private, just say so and I won't publish it.

Jessica

Waiting to exhale...

Three strikes and it was out...again. "It" being the IV line the nurses kept trying to start in my arm - blowing the line every time. I was getting really agitated watching them fumble with something so simple, while I waited to breathe again. I just needed air and each time they failed to start my IV, I saw missed opportunities to save my life. I was afraid and frustrated. Finally, the line was in and I was wheeled down the hall to wait. Another bag of lasics, like before, was hooked up and began flowing through my body. It was an eerily familiar scene - Robb, me, and my mom waiting, watching, and praying for another miracle. It seemed that we had just watched this episode, five weeks earlier, when I had almost delivered the babies at 26 weeks gestation. That experience, marked forever in my heart, was triumphantly answered with God's divine interevention (my healing and my labor stopping for a full five weeks - no medicine - just miracle).

This time was different for me. When things are ALMOST taken from you, you always harbor that fear that one day you really will lose out. I was there. I had been sick. Made whole. I had been in labor. Then not. I had the potential to give birth to very sick or impaired babies. They were healthy. I was high risk. But, had delivered with minimal complications (up to that point). Now, my body was failing again along with my hope. A few days earlier, I had been confident that the worst was behind me. A few days earlier, I had spoken my promises of health, long life, and protection with boldness. On that day, I was feeble and clinging to those words - wondering where that strong girl with boldness had gone. Add a failing body to that equation and you had me = a mess. I was a mess.

That day marked the beginning of a very long week for me. A week that I would spend wrestling, like never before, with God - His goodness, His faithfulness, His choice to save or not to save, His provision, His sovereignty. I would spend that week waiting for God to show up, praying that He would come through for me, and waiting to exhale (literally). My faith was waivering amidst the flames of refinement. I wanted the happy ending. I wanted the miracle again, but the realist in me hurled the "what if" scenarios at my faith. "What if" God chose not to heal? "What if" God chose not to save this time? "What if" my purpose was to simply give birth to those babies, not raise them as my own? "What if" His good plans to prosper me meant that I would go home to be with Him?

Me + my feeble faith + hardship = a mess.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tales from the Crib: Goin' to Jesus' house

Every Sunday morning we pile into our car and head five minutes up the road to church. I have enjoyed seeing our children evolve. In the beginning, we would drop them at the nursery only to have them scream and plead to go anywhere but where we were leaving them. Heels dug into the carpet and little toddler bodies wrapped around our legs, are just a few memories I have of them in the beginning. Thankfully, it wouldn't be long before they WANTED us to go and leave them in "their room." A separation anxiety milestone. I enjoy their fascination with all things Sunday. They love...

...their "Vicky and Shae-Shae."
...singing Bible songs.
...snack time.
...giving me driving directions on how to get to church.
...showing me their craft projects.
...running in the fenced area behind their classroom after church.
...eating at Ikie's house for lunch.

They love Sundays and everything that day represents. Today, as we drove to church, Laci cheerfully stated that "We goin' to Jesus house mommy!" Proud of her, I agreed with her "Yes, Laci we are going to Jesus house - I am so proud you remembered that we go to Jesus house on Sundays." Laci's reply was "Yes, mommy, we go to Jesus house. Jesus loves you mommy and Jesus loves Laci too!"

My heart smiled.

They love all things Sunday and that comment certainly made mine. Little by little, they are learning about Jesus. Not only do they enjoy their time at church, but they are LEARNING! Little minds, BIG thoughts. I cannot wait to watch them grow to be who God made them to be. And hopefully one day, they will grow up to teach their children about all things "Sunday."

Did I not just...

"Did I not just give birth?" I asked myself as I looked in the mirror for the first time in several days. I knew I wasn't a picture of perfection when I had been wheeled into delivery, but the last time I looked in a mirror THIS was not what I saw. I was puffy to say the least. It had been about 16 hours since I had delivered the babies. My instructions were to get up, go to the restroom, and try to walk a few times up and down the hall. Easy enough, right?

As I hobbled to the restroom I stopped at the mirror to brush my teeth. To my surprise, I looked like I had gained another 20 pounds. How could this be? Why do I look like I have gained and not lost? My mother and I discussed my appearance and things did not add up. I knew I should have lost approximately 15 pounds during surgery (simply by removing babies, placentas, etc.) I had a little over 10 pounds of baby in me total and I knew they weren't there anymore. So, we ventured down the hall to find a scale. The scale revealed that, not only had I not lost weight, I had gained 11 pounds instead! We paged a nurse and told her that something was wrong. Her response was that "Some women have a tendency to gain fluid after deliver - nothing to be concerned about." Okay, nothing to worry about.

My mom held onto my arm as we ventured back into the hallway for more walking. I was free! For the first time in four months, I could walk! Matter of fact, I was TOLD to walk and emotionally it felt really good to be me again. But, a few steps down the hall, a feeling of panic settled over my body. Heaviness. I knew this old foe of heaviness all too well. I kept walking, willing it to go away, and hopefully be my imagination. It did not. A few more steps and I was gasping for air. I could not breathe....again. Panic and tears filled me as I begged my mother to go get me help. We slowly went back to the room and paged the nurse. "My daughter is having trouble breathing, could you please send someone quickly!"

Five minutes passed...no one came.
We paged again.
Ten minutes passed...no one came.

I was feeling really weak and the little breath I had felt like it would cease at any moment. Realizing that no one was listening, my mom (bless her) ran down the hall and physically brought a doctor to my room. I felt like someone was standing on my shoulders smothering me...again. Finally, a team of nurses rushed to my side. They checked my oxygen level and I was much worse off than the first time I was sick. "I can't do this again!" I cried to the nurse. Begging, pleading, for anyone to help me. One round of congestive heart failure - fine. Two rounds was too much for me to handle mentally and certainly physically. I had too much to lose this time around. I had three new babies that needed me. I wanted to live for them. "Please don't let me die and leave them with no mother!" Please God. Please hear me again. "You give breath and life to all things-please hear me just one more time!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sweet and Surreal

I had come full circle and was back to the Antepardum wing of the hospital. Postpardum was full, so I had to go where there was space. I really wanted to go see my babies who were on another floor in the NICU. It was so weird. I had just given birth to three babies and yet I couldn't hold them. Couldn't see them at the moment. Every mother dreams of the first time they get to hold their newborn baby, fulfillment of that dream would have to wait a little longer. Each of them was tucked away in their little pod - their artificial wombs. They were in good hands. The NICU at Texas Woman's Hospital is excellent and would continue to take wonderful care of our children.

Late that night I would finally get my wish - a wheelchair ride to the NICU to see my babies. Lots of tubes, so tiny, but such precious miracles. They were 9 weeks early and yet they looked like grandparents. :) They didn't have enough fat on them to fill out their skin, but they were still cute to me. I got to touch them through a hole in the incubator and a nurse even pulled Laci out and let me take a quick picture with her. She fit in the palm of my hand. When I look back at that picture, I am taken back to that night. Sweet and surreal.

ABC

Time flies


We have all come a very long way since the babies birth. My how time flies!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

3.8 - 3.2 - 3.4

Babies A, B, and C finally lost their letters and got their long awaited names. Baby A became Laci Brooke. Laci weighed 3.8 lbs and proved her strength from the start. Laci never needed oxygen and was scooting across her incubator from the very start. Her little face was really bruised, but that was the only minor problem. Baby B was named Seth Brandon. Brandon is Robb's middle name. When we saw how active "Baby B" was in the womb, we had decided that he acted like his daddy (always on the go), which is why Baby B ended up with Robb's middle name. We were right on target; Seth is definitely like his daddy. His activity outside the womb is a carbon copy of his activity inside the womb. Seth did end up needing a CPAP to help him breathe, but, all in all, he was healthy. They also started giving him caffeine to keep him stimulated (he needed his caffeine like his daddy does). Leyton was perfectly proportional. Robb and I both had a hand in naming him. Robb picked his first name and I picked his middle name - Leyton Carter. Leyton weighed 3.4 lbs. Leyton also needed assistance breathing and got a CPAP as well. All in all, they were alive and healthy. There were no complications, they were just tiny. Sweet, tiny miracles and they were ours. Even though I only got to see them briefly, before they were wisked away to the NICU, seeing them alive and healthy was worth every struggle up to that point.

I, however, was struggling again. I lost double the amount of blood that is considered normal during a c-section. I had been battling anemia for several months for which I had been taking iron pills. The C-section and blood loss had left my Hemoglobin at a 7 (12 - 16 is a normal range for women). I remember watching them take each baby out and whisk them away to the NICU. I remember Robb following the babies out (as we had planned). The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery and asking for water. I felt like I had been run over and I was really thirsty. I asked the nurse for some water and she said no. What? No water? Can't a girl that just had triplets get some service? What I didn't know was that they were waiting for me to wake up to sign a waiver so I could get a blood tranfusion. No water for me. My doctor eventually came by and explained what was about to happen and of course I agreed (although I was so drowsy and half asleep I had no idea what I was even agreeing to). Needless to say, I signed and got a much needed blood transfusion. It was going to be a long week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finally

The lady in the room next to me was the wife of a Neonatologist. She, at 46, was also pregnant with triplets. We had the same doctor. She was several weeks further along in her pregnancy than I was which weighed heavily on my mind for a few reasons. One, rumor had it that she couldn't breathe. Nurses talk - even though they were not really suppose to tell me the details of her pregnancy, I knew enough. She was 34 weeks pregnant - WOW- for triplets that is INSANE! That meant that the "we induce women pregnant with triplets around 33 weeks (if you can make it there) theory" was not true. This also concerned me. Now, don't get me wrong - I didn't want my children to be born too early. On the other hand, I was miserable and mentally I was on the 33 weeks or less plan - the thought of anymore time in my bed was horrifying. More horrifying were the other tidbits floating into my room: "we heard Dr. Adam say she might make her go to 38 weeks!" and "she requested oxygen because her stomach is so big she is struggling for air" and "she is carrying 15 POUNDS OF BABY!" Oh my. We lived separated by a wall, but I kept her in my prayers. At that point, I could not fathom (especially at the rate I was gaining weight) getting to 34 weeks. I was not even 31 weeks yet. But, as God would have it, I wouldn't have to.

At 30 weeks and 6 days - my water broke. Again, my doctor was out of town. My contractions had been really painful at this point for 48 hours. Finally, the contractions had gotten the best of Laci's protective sack. It was time. And after all the stress and drama, I was at peace. The doctors felt confident that the babies would be healthy. They had received a bonus 5 weeks in the womb since the last time I had almost delivered at 26 weeks. Those 5 weeks would make all the difference for them. I was ready to meet them. I was ready to stop imagining what they would look like and see for myself. So long bedrest! So long Labor and Delivery ICU! So long room service and 60 degree hospital rooms! So long scales! And last but not least, so long potty chair - may I never have to use you again!

Hello babies A, B, and C! We are so glad you are finally here!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The final stretch

It was the last leg of a very long race. In high school, I ran track. Mile relay and 400 m dash - I was not a long distance runner, but, one fateful trackmeet my coach so graciously signed me up for the 800 m dash. What's one more lap, right? Wrong! He told me to run it basically like I would the 400 m dash only to "save a little" for the second lap. Uh huh...you get the picture. Through the first lap I was in the front of the pack, but by the final 200 yards of the race, the monkey was on my back. Numb legs. Burning lungs. Full body ache. I finished 2nd to last out of 8 girls. Never again!

At this point in my pregnancy, the monkey was on my back. Or in this case I suppose my "front" would be more appropriate. I was HUGE and gaining weight (abnormally) by the day. Each day they would wheel in my friend the "scale" and I would waddle on. The scale and I had a love/hate relationship. I loved it because it was my one excuse to get out of bed and walk to the far end of my room. I hated it because every morning for the last week of my pregnancy I had gained 3-5 pounds a day. Each day, I would ask the nurse weighing me in "Is that normal that I am gaining that much weight from day to day?" They would say "Oh honey, you're having triplets and it is probably just fluid - it will go away." Hmmm... I wasn't so convinced, but again I gave them the benefit of the doubt. After all, I was no nurse I was just held captive by nurses. :)

At this point in my pregnancy, I was tired of visitors. I, for the first time in my life, didn't want to see anybody. I had had a steady flow of visitors from the time I checked into the hospital. But, that last week, I was in LABOR! My contractions had sped up tremendously and this time they hurt. I do not think that people that stopped in even noticed that I was really uncomfortable. They were strong enough to take my breath away at times and I was not into what had become a PDL - public display of labor. I had too much on my mind to have a decent conversation with anyone. Well meaning people wanted to talk about normal things and I just couldn't do that. My mind was filled to the brim with questions and concerns? Why was I gaining so much weight each day? Is my heart having trouble again? Are my babies going to be born healthy? I cannot take another day laying on my back! I hate, hate, hate, using a POTTY CHAIR!

Oh yes, how could I forget...at this point in my pregnancy, I was FORCED to use a potty chair. Yes, folks I used one and it was as demeaning in real life as you can probably imagine. The chair in itself was not so bad. It's the "chair etiquette" that made using the chair so difficult. See, healthcare professionals are use to things like potty chairs, bed pans, bed baths, and things of this genre. Regular ole' 24 year olds used to using the restroom in the privacy of their home are not. And might I add, that the bathroom in my room was only about 20 feet from the edge of my bed. That was TOO FAR and they had cut me off. I was no longer allowed those 20 steps of freedom. It was the potty chair for me. It was bad enough to have to use one in the first place, but the offense came when people came in the room to discuss my healthcare while I was ON the chair. No boundaries. Nurses, doctors, cleaning ladies - yeah they all busted in ALL the time. While you would expect them to say "oh excuse me I will come back" - they never did. Apparently, "chair etiquette" is not taught in medical school.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Along the Way

Along the way, I made some friends - all nurses of course. They knew, probably more than anybody, what I was going through. I was no rare case to them. This was their job. But, they treated me like I was an old friend! To pass the time, they gave me wheelchair rides, brought me magazines, snuck me icecream, answered my questions, listened to my concerns, and most importantly, measured my stomach! When you let someone measure your belly with a tape measure - you naturally become close. It's the rule. So, to my dear Labor and Delivery ICU nurses at The Woman's Hospital of Texas - a HUGE thank you! You made my days brighter and I really appreciate all you did for me.

Along the way, I made notecards (what did you expect - it was BEDREST). :) I needed more scriptures. I felt so inequipped in my faith to support the amount of prayer I knew we needed. I needed to pray God's word - not just random "help me Jesus" prayers that often come out in times of panic. I was determined to be specific. So, I made notecards. Scriptures on fear. Scriptures on hope. Scriptures on life. Scriptures on peace. I felt like having these in my arsenal could truly be life or death for me and my family. And when I got worried, I pulled them out, and spoke them outloud. Why is this important? As I put in a previous post, God does not lie. So, one of our best allies against hardship is praying His promises back to Him. He already knows what He said, but things happen in the spiritual realm when we proclaim those truths out loud.

Along the way, I had alot of people praying for me. The prayer warriors were on top of their game. One perk to living in a small town is that people often know what is going on in your life before you do! In this instance, it would help me tremendously. I am blessed with a very strong, Christian family. They were praying. Their churches were praying. Their friends in other counties and states were praying. I was on prayer lists in multiple churches. I am so thankful for these believers who united to lift us up in prayer - some didn't even know who I was - but they were STILL praying. To those people - THANK YOU. We are about to celebrate the triplets 3rd birthday! I am so grateful that we are ALL alive and healthy to celebrate them and what God has done for our family. It may sound sappy to some, but I don't care. They are miracles and they are here because you helped lift them up to God.

Along the way, I developed tremendous respect for Robb. It's not that it wasn't there before, but my love and admiration for him increased immensely. We had lived apart for the first part of my bedrest so that I could have hands on help while he was coaching his baseball team. Once I went into the hospital, he moved (literally lived) at the hospital with me. They moved him (okay wheeled him) in a bed and he spent every night there with me. His bed was hard as a rock. My room (no kidding) was 60 degrees (and if it could have gone lower it would have). I was a walking (I mean laying) incubator! And he had to live in the igloo! Every night, he ventured outside the hospital to go get me some REAL food (as the hospital menu had become absolutely disgusting)! We had gone through alot. We had cried together and rejoiced together. But, most importantly we had done it all as a couple. Some men, might have said this drama was too tough to deal with and hit the road. Again, he was faithful to me. Despite tough, life changing, circumstances he was there - for better or for worse.


Jessica

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I write...

I decided to start this blog for several reasons. As my profile mentions, I want people to see that God really does care about every thought, feeling, circumstance, joy, and sadness each of you reading this have or are facing today. Life has wounded me in a lot of ways. I am not going to the trouble of recounting these hurts to talk about me (even though the story is obviously about my family and personal life).

I am telling it for you. Because lost within ALL those details lies a piece of the struggles all humans face; grief, fear, triumph, healing, sickness, loss, doubt, joy, and all all the muddled feelings that accompany our life circumstances.

I am telling it for my children- so they can hear my heart. After all, even those closest to me, do not know the private thoughts of my heart. I want my kids to know all of me, not the "me" that people think they know. I often label and mislabel others by how I think they feel and perceive the world. I am sure I have been mislabeled as well. Laci, Seth, and Leyton: This is for you. I lived it and you lived it with me (although you'll never have any knowledge of what you went through). You are miracles and I am proud to be your mommy.

I am telling it for my own processing. God's sovereignty is something I cannot put to paper - I don't even try because it is so much higher above my feeble mind that I just won't. When I was in the hospital, I heard about a woman on my floor who had AIDS. She was pregnant and sadly both her and her baby passed away a few weeks before I delivered. People checking in and checking out of the hospital - some left with sweet bundles wrapped in pink and blue. Others came in pregnant and left in grief and sadness. Why God? Why them? Why me? Why not me? Why? Why? Why? I can't answer that for myself and I cannot touch that "why" in your life. I cannot give answers to all the why's through this blog, but hopefully, you can find some encouragement and peace despite the "why" in your life.

I am telling my story for those who don't believe in anything I say. I stumbled across a blog the other day written by an Atheist. Again, another "why?" Why can he not see what I see? Christianity is personal to me. It's personal for me because through thick and thin, Jesus has been there for me. He has proved Himself to me. He didn't have to prove it, but He keeps doing it. For me to keep silent about these stories of divine intervention in my "details" would be tragic. So, because He's shown me so plainly that He cares about every miniscule detail - I will keep on writing these very long detailed stories. Thanks for following. I hope you see that God loves you and will meet you wherever you are today.

Jessica

Coasting on the Rollercoaster

For the moment, we were on level ground. My heart was better. My lungs were free of fluid. Things were looking up. My contractions had returned, but they were sporadic and nothing of concern to my doctor. Finally, this out of control rollercoaster was on a level path. Physically and emotionally we had experienced exhilirating heights and devastating lows. Now, we were coasting and waiting for the finish line. The babies were growing and the colors of their personality began to show. Leyton resided in the upper portion of my uterus and never ventured from his spot. He laid horizontally. Now that I know him, I can just see him smiling with his hands behind his head, waiting to meet his mommy and daddy. If he could have talked he would have said, "I'm being good" as he tells us each night. Each time the nurses would come in to monitor their heartbeats, I could point exactly to the spot they could find Leyton. He never budged.

Seth and Laci were much harder to keep tabs on. In the beginning, Laci lived on my left side and Seth lived on my right side. They were in a very comfortable triangle. After all of my trauma, I guess Seth decided he needed some comforting and moved over on top of Laci. No more perfect triangle. They were BOTH on my left now (how there was room for that I don't know). I even tried to talk someone into moving back over where there was space to wiggle, but neither of them was having it. They were having too much fun playing. Their heartbeats would beat practically in sync at times. Seth was constantly on the move (probably poking Laci and provoking her). He ALWAYS had the hiccups, which could be heard through the heartbeat monitors. Laci was probably telling Seth what to do (and he probably ignored her instruction as he does when they play now). Two peas in a pod - even though there was a third pea in there too!

Today, their play habits are exactly the same as they were then. Leyton prefers to play alone. Laci and Seth are all over each other. We joke that Leyton didn't even know he was a triplet until their 2nd birthday (he was too busy conversing with the adults around him). Seth and Laci have acted like a pair of twins. They love hard, play hard, and fight hard. Just like on this inside.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Miracles

miracle
–noun

1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.

3. a wonder; marvel.

Call it what you will, but in my book, it was nothing short of a miracle. The hand of God intervening in the small, yet important, details of my life. A cry answered. A prayer heard.

I was alive.
I was not having contractions.
I woke up still very pregnant- my babies still able to grow and thrive inside of me.

The bag of lasics was helping my organs to get rid of the excess fluid. The pressure in my chest was slowly residing. Over the next week, I would get stronger. Sweet, miraculous healing.

The most amazing of all, I was not having contractions. They had stopped. For the moment, they had completely stopped. I had been on medicine controlling their intensity and frequency since December. At the height of their intensity, I was having contractions two minutes apart (a seemingly irreversible situation). Because of my allergic reactions, I was not able to be given any medicine to stop this process called childbirth. The doctor came by and let me know that the birth of my children, because of their inability to intervene medicinally, could happen at any moment. For now, all was calm. More waiting.

For the next 5 weeks, the only medicine that was keeping those babies in was prayer. Prayer in itself is a miracle to me - a true gift for those who know Jesus as their personal Lord. What an amazing thing! The prayers of the saints entering the throne room of heaven and those answers physically manifesting on the Earth (and specifically in my hospital room). My faith grew by leaps and bounds that day. God did hear me. His promises were still true. He did care about the details in my life and He was proving Himself faithful to me (even through my doubt).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Awake

I was awake. The morphine should have knocked me out, but more powerful than the morphine was my fear of not waking up. Solution: fight the urge to close your eyes. The traffic in my room had calmed as they waited for me to go to sleep. I refused to go this way. I had decided that if I was going to die - I was going to die awake, not lulled to sleep by the morphine. NOPE. Not going to sleep. After several hours of checking in on me, my nurse finally realized sleep wasn't going to happen. So, they sent a team of Neonatologists in to give us another "speech." I was tired of speeches. I was tired in general. At that point, it seemed like I had been pregnant for a lifetime and it had only been 26 weeks. And yet at the same time, it couldn't end yet.

Our babies were all around 2 pounds. If born on that day, we faced a laundry list of risks and developmental delays: Blindness, intestinal infections, spinal problems, lung issues, heart problems, feeding issues, and a host of unknown problems. The odds of them living at all were greatly stacked against them.

I struggled with God's promise to me - the promise to give me children. I thought back to His reassurance and questioned His plan. Did His word not say "a good plan to prosper me"? Did He not say he'd give me "the desires of my heart"? Did He not say he would "heal the brokenhearted and bind up my wounds"? Did He not promise to "send His angels charge concerning me?" YES! He promised me ALL that and GOD DOES NOT LIE!

We held on to these promises and tried not to think about the "what ifs." I didn't have the strength anymore to think on those "what ifs." I was too tired and the morphine was getting the best of my willpower. Eventually, I closed my eyes and gave into my body's cry for rest. We would wait and hopefully the babies would stay put as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Early Days

2 months old

Monday, March 9, 2009

We needed a miracle...

I was on my way to a new wing of the hospital- Labor and Delivery ICU. I had oxygen on my face along with a few tears. My mom was frantically following along trying to get Robb on the phone. Several nurses were flitting about the room hooking things up and wheeling machinery around and into place. One nurse checked my oxygen level while another began to administer the first of many bags of Lasics to help rid my body of excess fluid. And then we watched the monitor....

O2 level - 65%, 75%, 55%...

I couldn't stop watching it. For the time being, that machine seemed to hold the keys to life and death (atleast it was a reflection of that for me). I'd look away and ask my mom to look and tell me what my percentage was - like that changed anything. I was still in denial to some degree, but I was about to be confronted with the real truth. And the truth would really hurt.

Robb arrived about a 1/2 hour later - he made record time as you can imagine. The head nurse came in and explained the situation. Her speech went something like this:

Mrs. Kirkland, your heart is unable to pump the amount of fluid circulating in your body. Because of this, your lungs have started to fill with fluid. We are trying to remove that fluid with the lasics. Do you understand that much? (nodding yes) It looks as if we will have to deliver your babies tonight in order to preserve your life. Do you understand what that means for your children? (nodding no) We are going to bring in the Neonatal team to explain what you should expect at 26 1/2 weeks gestation. For now, we need you to relax, so we are going to give you Morphine to help stop your contractions, to calm you so you can breathe more easily, and we will have to just wait for further instructions. Do you understand everything I have just told you (nodding and crying by now).

I had two very important questions:

1) When you give me the morphine, am I going to wake up and still be pregnant?
2) When you give the morphine, am I going to wake up at all?

The nurse looked at me with sad eyes and said, "I can't answer that." She proceeded to tell me to "have a moment" with my mom and husband.

HAVE A MOMENT?!?!?!

I could read between the lines. I was dying. My babies could be dying too. And I had all of 5 minutes to say goodbye to my husband and mom. I couldn't talk. Robb grabbed my arm and we just looked at each other. Through tears, I barely was able to say I love you to him. And like many people facing death, I began to plead my case before the Lord. I knew I would be with Jesus, but I wasn't ready to die.

The morphine was administered and I was in a state of shock. The three of us waited in silence and prayed for a miracle.

Tales from the Crib: The Bible

Despite my fear of them ripping apart the pages, I let my triplets play with a little red Bible that I have. It is an adult Bible, but it is small and they are fascinated with it. No pictures, just black and white words. They carry it around, flip through it, and have even slept with it from time to time.

Although, I haven't gotten to this part of the story on my blog, I had a first the other day. For the first time, I took my children (all three) to a baseball game by myself. Probably not so unusual for "normal" moms, but very unusual for me. I have been very sick (daily) with Endometriosis since I had them in April '06. What started as sporadic illness and discomfort, spiraled completely out of control after I had the babies. In October of this year, I FINALLY, got a real diagnosis for all my symptoms: Endometriosis. Common illness: Commonly misdiagnosed. A laparoscopic procedure, a hysterectomy, hernia repair, and a few months later - I am slowly becoming "normal." Physically I am 90% better. Thinking like a "healed" person is going to take a little more time I think.

So, pulling out of the driveway going to the game, I told the babies "Mommy gets to take you to daddy's baseball game today! Mommy is not sick anymore, God made mommy feel better." Of course they all chimed in, "mommy's tummy doesn't hurt anymore" and "mommy Bible feel better." In their own way, they understood Bible = God = feel better.

This morning, Seth brought me the little red Bible. He said, "I want to read it." So, trying to encourage him, I said "Did you learn about God and Jesus in your Bible yesterday at church?" He said "NOOOO!" "You didn't? Well what did you learn about in the Bible?" "Learned that Bible made mommy's bobo feel better."

If Seth only knew, how true his statement really was! In so many ways, I am alive only through God's healing work in my life; physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why Me?

A few hours had passed since the Benadryl. I was relieved that my throat hadn't closed up, but still felt funny. The mag-sulfate, which was keeping me from going into labor, had been off for about three hours. The terbutaline pump, however, was also out because of my reaction. So, for the first time since December, my body was not receiving any medication to stop contractions. The doctor on call had coined me as "toxic" and said it was too risky to administer any more drugs to stop labor. The outlook was not good:

I was 26 weeks pregnant.
My doctor was out of town.
I was still alone.
And I STILL couldn't breathe.

I had paged my nurse four times at this point complaining about not being able to breathe. Each time, she listened to my chest and said "You're clear!" I didn't believe her anymore. I could hear myself wheezing and I felt like I was smothering. I was desperate and about to ask for a new nurse if she didn't help me this time around.

I paged her again.

This time I got a different result. I told her that I had tried to lay on my left side, my right side, my back, I sat up, I layed down, and I even stood up beside my bed to relieve any crowding of my lungs. AND I STILL CAN'T BREATHE! One last time, she brought her stethoscope over and listened to my chest. In her broken accent, she looked at me and said "Honey, your lungs are filling up with fluid! I must page your doctor right now!"

I was beginning to lose it.

She left my room for about five minutes and came back in with a look of panic. About this time, my mom had finally arrived. My mom came in as they were wheeling me out. Seeing that they were rushing me out of the room, she asked the nurse if I was in labor and why they were moving me so quickly? The nurse looked at her and said "Mom, we have to take the babies now if we are going to keep your daughter alive. And we have to go now!"

Alive?

The word pierced through every fiber of my body. Was it that bad? I went from a little pre-term labor to fighting for my life? Panic. Sadness. And even more heaviness. I remember saying this to God:

"So, this is how it's going to be? I am going to be one of those moms that die in childbirth and never get to see my babies alive? THIS is how it is going to end? My children, that YOU gave me, are going to have to have THIS story as their own? All this work to get them here and I will never know what it feels like to hold a child and call it my own? Why me?"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Breath and Life to All Things

So it was time to make the trade. The nurse switched off the Mag-Sulfate drip and inserted the terbutaline pump back into my leg. We chatted for a minute about my journey up to that point and she gave me my instructions for discharge (if I were to get to go home). As we wrapped up our conversation, I noticed that my body was changing colors. From my knees down, it looked like I had been dipped in hot wax - I was beaming with what appeared to be an instant burn. My thighs were still pasty white (as usual). My stomach (large and in charge) was also beaming red, as was my face and part of my arms (also from the elbow down). Was this related to my terbutaline pump? The nurse wasn't sure. I started to feel really cold and weak. But, my skin was on fire! And I was alone. My mom happened to be on her way, but wouldn't be there for a few more hours. And I still couldn't breathe. Concerned about the combination of the two symptoms, I told this new nurse about my unrestful night. She hurredly proceeded to page my nurse and doctor. I was having an allergic reaction to the Mag-Sulfate.

They rushed some benadryl to my room and told me if I felt like my throat was closing up to page them. GREAT! As you can probably imagine, I felt like my throat was closing up already. Panic was setting in. And heaviness. I know that heaviness all too well. Trust. I have to trust God. So, I said my scripture over and over again.

"You give breath and life to all things." Acts 17:25
"You give breath and life to all things." Acts 17:25
"Lord you promised to give breath and life to all things."
"Please. Please. Please give breath and life to me."
"I need you Great Physician."
"Breathe. Believe. Breathe."

And I waited for intervention. For the ability to take a deep breath. For divine healing. I couldn't see what was going on inside of my body, but God could. And for the first time in my life, I felt totally helpless. And it was only the beginning of what would become the longest day of my life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cold. Coughing. Contracting.

I had been there three days and I was not feeling well. The night before had been weird. I just felt funny. Cold. Coughing. Contracting...all night long. I was in the ante-pardum wing of the hospital so my nurses had been sparse that night. And in addition to my discomfort, I couldn't breathe. Note to self: Next time you gain 70 lbs and have triplets...lungs could be a bit restricted. I HAD successfully met the weight requirements so graciously bestowed upon me by my doctor. So, when I couldn't breathe laying on my back, my left side, or my right side, I thought of three possibilities: 1) All the green bean casserole I had eaten was finally having its' revenge and restricting my lungs. 2) I was having an anxiety attack or 3) I was getting sick - some kind of "the hospital is freezing at night" cold. So, I told my nurse that I felt like I couldn't breathe and she came to listen to my chest. "Your clear," she said with confidence. So, as most people do, I gave my nurse a vote of confidence, despite the raspy noise I could audibly hear every time I exhaled.

That day, was a big day. It was time for my Mag-Sulfate drip to be turned off and my Terbutaline pump to be restarted. I might be going home if it all worked out as planned. So, despite being winded, I was glad to be going home. Besides, after only three days the "room service" had turned out to be not so hot. I missed my Pooh tray. I missed Robb. I missed my mom, my sister, and my dad. I missed my fluffy King size bed and I needed some air (literally).

Monday, March 2, 2009

A New Home

I had a new home, the Woman's Hospital of Texas, and my new surroundings were refreshing. After I checked in, they started me on a Mag drip and my contractions slowed back to what was considered normal. So, I was feeling pretty good. I got new surroundings, new faces to see, and I knew that I was on the home stretch of this journey. Plus, all the worry about my water breaking so far from the hospital was not a problem anymore (I was already there)! Things were looking up and I was glad to have the traffic in and out of my room. I had grown pretty lonely in my fluffy, King size bed back at my mom's house. Although, I had company after five everyday, I was not use to such isolation. It was hard for me, but I learned alot about myself and about God during that time.

So, I settled in to my new bed which had cool controls and buttons. It was a nifty little thing. I didn't even have to keep up with a remote control. In my saavy hospital bed, the remote was built in and could never be lost. The phone was attached and I would be using it ALOT. I could sit up and lay back without even struggling into position - just hit the button and the bed would do that for me. There was no Pooh tray, but there was room service. Real room service with an entire menu of new entrees to experience. Over the course of the next six weeks, I would get wheel chair rides and all the ice cream my heart desired. Pizza delivery was only a phone call away taboot!

But, not everything would be so sweet as those first few days. The excitement would wear off quickly and soon turn to paralyzing fear and uncertainty for us. Life as we knew it was about to unravel.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

SOLD: The first of MANY miracles

The For Sale By Owner signs stayed up about two weeks. One day, a realtor came by and dropped off her card. We liked her. And although we were afraid of taking a hit financially by hiring one, we realized we needed this to be quick and painless. Two months later, our house was sold. Not only did it sell in record time, but we actually made $7,000 dollars profit. We had been convinced that we would be upside down and sick at our looming financial crisis. Miracle #1. I know. Oh ye of little faith, right? This was HUGE for me spiritually. One thing checked off on my list of "God how are you going to work this out?" questions. And they say to "pray without ceasing" and I truly had been lifting this situation up to God over and over and over and over and over again. Such a speedy response, simply reinforced to me that God did care about those details. He didn't just care about the big things like having babies, he had everything under control. And He had heard my cry (and cry I had many days and nights). I finally located my mustard seeds and clung to them - I was going to need them.

"I cry to you O Lord. I say "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me." Psalm 142: 5-7