Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A good day

I know people are anxious to know about our day, and I apologize if you are one of the people that called us today that we didn't call back.  We were at St. Vincents until almost 6:00 pm and we were a little pooped, so we thought we'd wait to talk until later.  We had a good day!  Several things we learned today were good news and very encouraging.  Some highlights for now:

1) Our hospital stay looks like it won't be quite as long as we expected.  We are looking at more like one month instead of two months.  Of course, everything is up in the air, because they won't know for sure how Caleb does until he is actually born.  But as of now, his birth won't be as critical or dangerous as we anticipated.  Dr. Abraham, the surgeon, said that he expects Caleb to be fairly stable when he is born.

2) I might not have to have a C-section!  I had one with Jonah and at Henry Co they don't do a VBAC, but the ob/gyns at St. Vincents DO perform VBACs, and Dr. Harry today said that it is a possibility.  We will be talking more about this at later appointments.  This is very exciting for me because my own recovery would be so much quicker.

3) Caleb is a big boy!  The ultrasound tech asked me today if Jonah was a big baby.  I laughed and said no, he was scrawny and asked why she wanted to know.  She said, "Because this baby looks like a big one!"  We were thrilled!  The bigger Caleb is, the stronger his heart and the easier things will go for him.  I know people have prayed specifically for this, so it's exciting to hear my boy's growing big and strong.

4) Here's the big news of the day... after spending time in a consultation with the surgeon and a tour of the wing where Caleb's surgery would be, we had our actual appointment with our pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Abarbarell.  She looked at Caleb's heart and said there's a good chance he will not have to have immediate surgery when he is born.  Needless to say, I think my mouth came open.  She said that the blood flow in his heart is surprisingly strong and sometimes when these babies have good blood flow, surgery can be delayed for several months, which would be HUGE.  Not having to have surgery at 3 days old would be a huge advantage for Caleb and make such a difference for our family.  His hospital stay would be more like 2-3 weeks and he would get to eat without a feeding tube, and be held by his parents, and do all the normal things a newborn does.  We were thrilled when she said this was even a possibility, but again, it's not for sure.  She did say though that at this point she would guess Caleb will not need that immediate surgery.  YAY!!!  He would still need the later surgeries, but it would be SO good if he could just have a normal birth experience and first few months of life.

Now we know more things to pray for!  Please pray that I could have a normal delivery instead of a c-section, and of course PLEASE pray that Caleb's heart would pump blood at such a perfect balance that surgery can be delayed.  The doctors will look at him in another month and see what they think.

Thanks for your prayers today.  We felt them and are going to bed tonight worn out, but at total peace.  Good night for now!

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, to stay!

I woke up this morning on my own, earlier than Daniel and Jonah, and immediately wanted to go to God and spend time with Him.  I got in the shower to help me wake up and I randomly started singing that little Sunday school song, "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart", followed by verse 2 which is, "I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart".  Do you have the tune in your head now?  Well I do today and I can't get it out.  People must be praying for us because that really is how I feel today.  I went to pray and had such a rich time with God, just enjoying His presence and thanking Him for the peace and joy that comes ONLY from Him.  

Today is a big day.  In a few hours we are heading to St. Vincents where we have several meetings and appointments.  I am not in the least bit worried or afraid.  I'm actually excited!  No, there's nothing wonky in my orange juice this morning... I just have a security from Jesus that he is walking around this house with me this morning as I get ready for the day; that he will get in the car with us and go to Indy and sit with us in that hospital room.  It's just one of those days where it feels like if I reached out my hand I might feel his face right beside mine. 

Say a prayer for us, if you would, and lift us up to God as we get ready to go to the doctor.  Of course they will be doing an ultrasound and echocardiogram on baby Caleb to see what his heart looks like.  Whatever they see, I'm going to feel thankful, I just know I will, because I have a rock-solid sense of God's involvement in this situation.  Pray for us, and go ahead and sing that song while you're at it, until you feel that way yourself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A great day

Today is Jonah's second birthday... and we've had such a great weekend.  Daniel's family (Uncle Thomas and Uncle Chris and Aunt Laura) were all here for the weekend and we had a fun little party yesterday.  Jonah has been in heaven, having people around all weekend and new toys to play with.  I've looked forward to it all week, and isn't it great to have something to look forward to? 

We of course went to church this morning and it was a special day.  There was a special time of prayer for us and baby Caleb during the service; and not only that, but our pastor asked Daniel to speak about what we're going through because it just so happened that the sermon was from Phillipians 4:4-7, which (fittingly) talks about having joy and thankfulness in ALL circumstances.  So Daniel got to share a little bit about how we are choosing to cope with our life right now, and I was so proud of him I could've burst.  I have to say, I am so blessed in the spouse department.  Daniel has such strong character and such a sincere love for God, and he inspired me today talking about how even though he is experiencing painful times, he is not despairing or fearing the future.  He really sets an example to me of being thankful at all times.  After he talked a little, pastor Jerry invited anyone that wanted to come up, to come lay hands on us and pray for Caleb.  We prayed for healing and we prayed for God to bring glory to Himself through our circumstances.  It was very meaningful to me and I felt a tangible difference in my spirit with all those people surrounding us and praying.  I am 100% confident that God is going to do miracles because of Caleb's condition.  I wouldn't be surprised if He healed him completely, and I also wouldn't be surprised if He allowed Caleb's heart to stay the same in order for some other kind of miracle to happen, like us getting to share about Jesus with other families in the hospital.  Wouldn't it be amazing if God uses us to show how good and loving He is, and how He can give hope and peace in the darkest moments of our life?  I am praying for God to show up and show His power in whatever way brings Him the most recognition.  And I can't wait to see how He answers that prayer!  Thank you to all the people praying for us.  And please, pray for healing for Caleb.  We go back to St. Vincents for our next appointment in 2 days, on Tuesday.  I am praying that the doctor will sit there dumbfounded, unable to explain why Caleb's little heart looks perfectly normal.  But I also have total peace that whatever the outcome of Tuesday's appointment, there will be miracles.  I expect it!  I'm expecting God to show up and show us how very real He is!  What a great story to be a part of!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our other son...

I have spent the last four days straight with Daniel and Jonah on our first, and possibly only vacation just the three of us.  In light of what we've learned about how crazy our life will be once Caleb arrives in a few months, Daniel and I thought we should take Jonah and get away to spend some time making memories with our little guy.  I'm so glad we decided to do this.  We just got home this evening from Brown County state park (or "Brownie Park" as Jonah called it) and the three of us had a blast together.  A highlight:  Jonah rode a "horsie" for the first time.  We paid 2 bucks to let him ride a pony named Macaroni around a track and when Jonah returned, he insisted on going again.  And again.  It was great.  The cool thing was they just let parents lead the pony around the track, so Daniel and Cowboy Jonah got to go all by themselves.  Here is proof of this adventure:

I was pretty proud of Jonah, watching him go around the track and thinking about how he is truly not a baby anymore.  In fact, his second birthday is next Sunday.  I've actually been thinking about Jonah a lot lately, and spending more time than usual praying for him.  It's really difficult for me to think about how big of an adjustment he will have when Caleb is born.  Even now, as I write about it, I can't help myself from crying.  Not only will he have the typical transition of not being the center of attention anymore, but his mommy and daddy will be gone for weeks, and he will be passed around between family and friends while we pretty much live at the hospital for all of February and March.  I know kids are super resilient, but it breaks my heart to think about how he won't understand why Mommy and Daddy are gone.  Then, when we finally do all come home, his new baby brother will require a lot of attention.  I just wonder if Jonah will ever feel like our "other" son.  Of course he can't consciously reason on that level at age 2, but will he ever feel like that?  I pray that he won't.  I pray for Jonah to be the kind of boy that is full of compassion and grace for his little brother.  I pray that he will grow up to be the kind of person that notices those who are hurting, who cares about the ones on the sidelines; the kind of person who has a humble sensitivity towards the people around him.  I have prayed these kinds of things fervently for my oldest son in recent weeks.  And I'm not really worried about him feeling left out, because I know there is a lot of grace from God on my family.  God cares about Jonah as much as He cares about Caleb.  I like the fact that I have been inspired lately to help make my family as strong as we can be, and creating time for each other is the biggest part of that.  Thank you Jesus for this vacation.  Thank you for the blessing of time together, and riding horsies at Brownie Park, and wrestling and laughing and finding acorns to put in our pockets.  Thank you that our love for each other is going to grow stronger than we could possibly imagine through the hard times ahead.  Help me to appreciate Daniel and Jonah and Caleb and help me to have a thankful attitude, even when I am tired or frustrated or stressed.  I pray for the families around me, for the families of the people reading this blog.  Lord, help us to give our families more attention, more of our energy and time.  Help us to be ridiculously loving and patient with each other and to create an atmosphere of joy and peace in our homes.  You make life good, Jesus.  Thank you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Soliciting prayer... hope I'm not wearing you out yet

Daniel and I have thrown around the idea of buying a bigger house for the last few months.  We've gone back and forth and thought we'd landed on just staying where we are, in our (tiny but lovely) 2-bedroom home.  The thing is, we're really content here with our 900 square feet and it's so cheap that our monthly budget is a breeze.  However, in light of the knowledge that we're about to have TWO little boys running around, we decided to put our house up for sale and see what happens.  This took a lot of thought for us; ever since we moved back from Africa, we always think of the fact that most people in the world have a lot more children in a lot less space than we have.  We try to be purposely careful with keeping our life and our possessions as simple as possible.  We have a peace about trying to move though, and we're excited to see how God leads us and where we land.

Would you do me a favor?  Would you say a prayer specifically about us selling our house?  We only have a couple months and then we'll have to take it off the market for a while when Caleb is born and we're in the hospital for a couple months.  Our hope is that God would provide quickly and we could move before the baby comes.  With the market the way it is, this would be a miracle in itself!  I appreciate, more than I could tell you, the prayers and encouragement people are pouring out to us.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  You're shaping the way God is moving in our lives.