Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Six

  After nine days in the hospital I was released to go home.  I remember the first night that I was home how weak I felt even trying to walk around the house.  We had some serious stress trying to fill my prescriptions the day I came home.  It turns out that the prescription could not be easily filled, and Matt ran around town going through a big run around with doctors and pharmacies before he was finally able to get the main medicine filled.  We were thankful to have his sister Amanda stay with us over the weekend.  Our children love her, and I do not know what we would have done without her.  She helped a lot with the children and with keeping the laundry going and a multitude of other things.                   
By that Sunday I felt like I wanted to make a quick run to Walmart.  I had been in the hospital for nine days and then sitting around the house over the weekend.  Amanda was able to stay with the children, and I was going to just pick up a few things.  This was a huge mistake as I felt worn out by the time I got to the van.  I also felt every bump of the ride as my incision was still so sore.  Looking back I cannot believe I did that! I think when you have never been knocked down to such a broken state of health sometimes you don't realize how bad things really are.  I thought I was capable of driving and picking up a few items, but I should not have gone.  After picking up a few things I felt incredibly weak.  It was like a physical weakness I was unfamiliar with.  I really just had no idea what critical shape I was in.  All I can say about that trip to Walmart is that it was a terrible mistake.  Hopefully I have learned to judge my limitations through that experience.  
  Starting off the new week our friend Cecily came to stay with the children while Matt went back to work.  Cecily came most of the week because our friends the Allisons sent her to us.  She works for them as their Nanny, and out of love they sent her to us for that week!  That is just one of many ways so many people showed incredible kindness to us through this time.  I spent most of my time in the recliner, and Cecily took great care of me bringing me soup and fluids to drink.  She really stayed on top of me making sure I was staying hydrated and also took excellent care of the children. 

  Over the time that I had been home my Edema (swelling in my feet and legs was worsening).  I had talked to several different doctors about it, and my OB had prescribed Lasics, a diuretic to bring the swelling down, but I continued to worsen.  It got to a horrifying point where I could barely lift my legs or get in and out of the recliner.  My legs felt like they were blown up so tight that they would burst.  They were also becoming very hot and weeping fluid.  It was on Tuesday night, after Matt got home from work,  that I showed him my legs and we decided it was time to call the OB doctor back.  This time she said that she wanted me to go to the ER since the Lasics had not worked.  I could barely get myself out the door and to the car.  I remember telling the children goodbye.  I was hoping for the best and that I would be back later that evening.  We got in touch with our friends the Mazyns, and Dianne came over to watch the children while we went to the ER.

  When we arrived at the ER Matt let me out while he parked the truck.  I could not fit my swollen feet into my flip flops, and so I remember waddling in with my feet hanging off the backs of the flip flops.  The nurse noticed me struggling to walk and asked if I needed to check in.  To our dismay the ER was packed, and we found ourselves packed into a sick room with our brand new baby.  Matt called my OB doctor, and thankfully she pulled some strings and was able to get me called back sooner.  
When I was finally called back to a room a series of tests began.  A doctor came in and told me that he wanted to readmit me.  This is when I realized that the unthinkable was happening.  Matt was going to have to take Ella Ruth back home.   This was the beginning of another nine days without my baby girl. I tried to nurse her again before she left and then they were gone and I was left in the ER.  Eventually I was wheeled to a regular hospital room and thus began another long hospital stay and some of the scariest days of our lives.  To be continued..................

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned; and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Five

  I left off the last post sharing about how Matt had to pick up Ella Ruth and take her home while I stayed in the hospital with the new reality of c-diff.  I remember asking Matt to pull out Ella Ruth's  going home outfit from my duffle bag.  I was sick at heart and becoming increasingly sick in body.  The GI specialist that was sent in did not have a good bedside manner which made things even worse.  I began seeing several different doctors from different fields daily.  It seemed my days and nights were consumed with doctors and nurses constantly rotating in and out.

Matt was a very courageous man to take home a new baby by himself knowing full well that he also had to be daddy to six other people when he returned home.  

God's grace carried Matt through that first night at home with a new infant.  She did remarkably well for a new baby, and Matt was blessed with decent sleep.  Of course he was up in the night but not for long stretches of time.  She went back to sleep after a bottle.  That was God's grace in a huge way.  

The next day Matt was able to visit me in the hospital while friends stayed with our other children.  Because of the love of sweet friends this went on for weeks.  Someone came every day so that Matt could go to the hospital and take care of me.  Many people came multiple times, and our dear friends the Mazyns came on a daily basis.  My sweet friend Dianne Mazyn texted me that if I could not be there to take care of my baby that she wanted to be there in my place.  This kind of devotion from my friend meant so much to me.  Words cannot even express how grateful we feel for all the people that came and went and loved on our children, did laundry, brought meals, helped little ones with school work and cleaned house.  

I remember Matt sending me pictures like this so that I could see Ella Ruth.  I was so happy to see her and yet I missed her so very much.  Those pictures tore at my heart.  

While at the hospital it was such a strength to me to receive pictures from the home front of Ella Ruth and the other children too.  It was also fortifying to me to receive texts of encouragement and Scripture verses to think on.  I remember one friend who would even send verses in the middle of the night when she got up to nurse her baby.  I truly felt support, prayers, and encouragement around the clock.  Those first few nights without Ella Ruth I was dreadfully sick.  Due to caesarean pain and swelling in my legs and feet it was very hard for me to get in and out of bed.  That was not good as c-diff had me running to the bathroom over and over.  I had some of the sweetest nurses who would come as many times as I needed and help me in my utter helplessness. They did it with incredible patience and kindness.  It humbled me to be so helpless and to to have them care for me so attentively.  I have a whole new appreciation for nurses and how they serve those in need.  Truly some of these ladies were angels of mercy to me.  I wish I could see them again and thank them for their hearts of service.  It really made an impact upon me about how I need to serve others in love......even when it is not easy or pleasant.

Well, after a blood transfusion, nine days in the hospital and antibiotics for c-diff I was sent home.  It was so wonderful to see my sweet baby again.  She had not visited me in the hospital due to the risk of her picking up c-diff.  I remember a nurse explaining to me that I should not allow her back into my room.  The nurse told me that if Ella Ruth picked up c-diff she could die.  Because of this risk I had not seen her since Matt took her home.  

During the couple of days I spent at home I tried to nurse Ella Ruth in hopes that my milk would come in.  It was a struggle as I was still so sick but we tried.  I enjoyed holding her and letting her sleep beside me in the pack and play while I slept in the reclining chair.  I could not get in and out of the bed, so I slept in the recliner just as I had done during the last months of my pregnancy.  In fact......I have slept in this recliner during the last months of several pregnancies.  This, however, was a first to be back in the recliner after the birth.


I was brutally weak and still so sick but incredibly happy to be with my family again.  I did not know that my body was nowhere near recovery.  We had not yet seen the worst of all of this, and I should not have been released but at least it gave me a couple of nights with my baby before I would return to the hospital for another nine long days.  

Here I was thinking I was getting better and we were out of the woods but this was not the case.  
"The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD." - Proverbs 16:1

Here is another song from my playlist that comforted me much during this fiery trial:

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Four

  This picture stirs emotion for me, because this is where my long separation from Ella Ruth started.  After the caesarean I was in bad shape, and my doctor was trying to keep me in the hospital as long as insurance would pay for it.  My blood count was really low, and so it was recommended that I have a blood transfusion.  We expected things to improve after the blood transfusion and for Ella Ruth and I to be released to go home soon.  I did not know that this would only be the first of four transfusions.  Several days in I began having violent diarrhea.  My OB doctor came in and listened for stomach sounds.  She did not hear normal sounds and told me we were going to test for c-diff.  I had never heard of this super bug and had no idea of the tumultuous waters ahead.  I likely picked up the bug and it inflamed my colon when I was given so many antibiotics with the caesarean.  ABC News says this about c-diff:

 "It’s the most common infection picked up in hospitals," said ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. "The thing about this infection is you can pick it up and it can cause no problems. Then, you take an antibiotic and it takes over."

 We think what happened is that all the antibiotics wiped out the good flora in my gut and made me vulnerable for this super bug to take over.  
I was eating dinner when my doctor ordered the test, and the first thing she did was take away all food and drink.  Matt had been able to stay with me around the clock up to this point, but this was the first night when he had to return home to take care of the children.  The plan was for Ella Ruth to stay overnight in the nursery since it was so hard for me to care for her.  At this point I had compounded difficulties from a rough caesarean and this bacterial infection.  
  I was shocked when nurses wheeled Ella Ruth back into my room in the middle of the night.  They informed me that my test for c-diff came back positive, and Ella Ruth could no longer be in the nursery.  Since she had been exposed to me they could not allow her to be around other babies.  I was in a rough situation as she was crying and I could not feed her enough to satisfy her.  My milk had not come in all the way either because I had not fed her consistently or maybe because my own body was in such a weekend state.  I did not know what to do since I really couldn't even take care of myself.  A nurse came in and fed her a bottle which calmed her down.  I think she was just very hungry.

  The next day I talked to Matt.  We decided Ella Ruth needed to go home.  This was hard for me as I never imagined that she would leave without me.  I knew, however, that I could not care for her.  Taking a baby home from the hospital has always been a special tradition for us.  I have always bought a special going home outfit and taken lots of pictures.  We always take family pictures with all the siblings when we get home.  This time Matt had to dress her to go home and take the pictures.  This was hard for me to see them leave and to be left alone.  When you are going through something like this you only see what is before you at the moment, and sometimes it is good that you cannot see what all is ahead.  Had I known the extent of what was to come it would have just been too much.  Truly as Scripture says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. - Matthew 6:33

  My playlist of hymns and sacred music became a close and comforting friend to me as I spent night after night alone in the hospital.  Here is another song that played many times.  

Just hearing this song again is a flashback to being alone and so sick in that hospital bed.  At times I would just cry and pray, and as the song says...."Even in the valley you are faithful."  He is sovereign, He is good, He loves us,  He is faithful, and He is working all for our good and for His glory.  He can be trusted.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Three

After Ella Ruth's eventful birth I spent some time in recovery where I was able to have Ella Ruth placed next to me for a bit.  I don't remember too much about recovery other than the sweetness of knowing my baby was next to me, drifting in and out of sleep and being very comfy under the heated blow up blanket covering me.  The other thing I remember is thinking how handsome my husband was to me.  There he was wearing his scrubs holding our baby and taking such good care of everything.  When I woke up and saw him what I saw was a man full of love and devotion for his family.  His presence was comforting and reassuring after the ordeal I had just been through.

At some point I was taken to a normal postpartum room, and we expected things to stabilize.  I was in for a surprise, however, when I first tried to get up to go to the bathroom.  I was unprepared for the abdominal pain I had from the caesarean.  After having six normal births and one caesarean let me just say I would NEVER sign up for a caesarean.  The recovery was so much harder!  The incision still feels sore sometimes, and I'm over four months out now.  I remember holding on to Matt and trying to walk across the room.  I could barely move due to the terrible tenderness and soreness.  Even trying to adjust myself in bed or sit up was a sizable feat.  I was just simply in so much pain!  I had never had a major surgery and so I was completely taken off guard by this.  Thankfully I had my wonderful husband there helping me every slow step of the way.  

Ella Ruth roomed in with us so I was able to see and hold my baby girl which was wonderful but also painful.  Holding this sweet little bundle hurt as she pressed up against my incision.  I did the best I could and tried to get the nursing going.  

My incision was very painful as it was a hefty surgery.  The reason Ella Ruth did not stay head down once turned through the version is because I had a fibroid in my uterus.  This fibroid had been there in my last several pregnancies and did not cause a problem.  This time was different.  Ella Ruth could not get past it and thus a caesarean was necessary.  Thankfully my doctor was able to cut the fibroid out during the caesarean which meant I was cut vertically internally and horizontally on my stomach. My doctor did a great job sewing me up and the scar is minimal but I could definitely feel it.  It was way more than your average caesarean.  

I knew it would be a difficult caesarean recovery, but I thought we were past the worst of the upheaval and looked forward to having the rest of our children meet their new sister.  It was a sweet time when the other six children came the next day.  I was so proud of them as they were very sweet and calm.  I think Daddy had prepared them on how they should behave calmly around Mama and their new baby sister.  They were really sweet and we enjoyed a precious family time.  When they left I thought I would see them again in a day or two.  What I did not know is that everything was about to change and I would not see them for many days to come.  

"Behold children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" Psalm 127:3-5

  I love this picture, because these seven lives are a huge part of my heartbeat.  I just wish my husband was in there too because he is another huge part of my heartbeat.  Ever since I was a little girl my desire has been to grow up and be a Mama.  I was a baby doll kind of little girl.  I loved my dolls and treated them as real children.  As a young girl I envisioned myself growing up and mothering many babies.  The Lord has graciously granted that desire of my heart after He first granted me the desire of my heart in giving me Matt as the love of my life.  When I consider what I have been given in Matt and our children I feel like a very rich woman.

Pregnancy has been a real struggle for me and has gotten harder as I have grown older.  I have struggled with very painful pregnancies, but even though I have spent years of my life suffering through difficult pregnancies I would not change anything.  I am eternally grateful to be the Mama to these seven blessings.

I will close off this post with a song that I had playing while in the hospital and also during my recovery at home.  Because Christ Jesus has saved me I know that I am never alone.  During my hospital stay I spent many nights alone, but my Lord was there with me.  I am so thankful that I am His and He is mine.  Enjoy "Alone Yet Not Alone" sung by Joni Eareckson Tada.    

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Two

Last Sunday morning we sang "How Firm A Foundation" in church.  I was reminded of what a firm foundation I have in knowing Christ my Lord.  Here are some of the lyrics:

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

In looking back at Ella Ruth's birth I am humbled by the grace of God that was all-sufficient in our trial.  The story of her birth followed by my critical health crisis has created more history with my Lord.  I will forever look back and remember how He was with us, how He answered so many prayers, and how He was my great physician.  Though we never want to go through trials, our faith is often greatly strengthened through them as we see Him do what we cannot do for ourselves.  

  This picture was taken the night before we went to the hospital for Ella Ruth's version/induction.  When we took this picture I was unaware just how much my life would be forever changed by the events starting the next morning.  

So to pick up where we left off last time, after we decided the caesarean was needed I was quickly wheeled to the operating room.  I remember the abrupt change of atmosphere and all the medical staff that suddenly appeared.  I was freezing and shaking uncontrollably.  I remember a man asking me if I could feel as he pushed a needle on my skin.  I still was not fully numb, and I told him yes I could feel it.  He asked if it was like a stick or like pressure.  When I told him it was like a stick he said that I could have a spinal tap or that they could put me to sleep.  I was already so cold, nervous and shaky that I told them that I wanted to go to sleep.  I did not realize it at the time but that meant that Matt would not be allowed in the room.  He had to wait in the hall in his scrubs.  I remember looking around and being scared and just how freezing cold I was.  This was not a peaceful moment; I was in unfamiliar territory and things were happening fast.  Matt had his own fears and emotions waiting in the hall.  His wife was being cut open, and he couldn't see as his baby was delivered.  He said there were a lot of people going in and out of the operating room, and it was difficult to be in the hall not knowing what was happening.  After being put to sleep my next memory is of a precious bundle of sweetness being placed by my face.  

Matt was able to bring Ella Ruth to meet me while I was in recovery.  I had some kind of blow up heating blankets on me, and I can recall going in and out of sleep for some time.  I do remember, however, the sweetness of realizing my baby was beside me.  That is how I met her.  With my other births the babies were put into my arms following delivery while I savored the first moments of new life.  This time I don't even know how long it had been when I was able to first feel Ella Ruth next to me.   Unbeknownst to me this would be just the start of so many things being different with the birth and recovery of baby number seven.  

At this point Matt and I were ready to move forward and enjoy our new blessing, but we had no idea of the crisis that was just around the corner.

To be continued...........

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part One

As I shared in my last post I have a desire to share our testimony about the birth of our daughter Ella Ruth and my health crisis following her birth.  I want to share the incredible greatness of our Lord through this journey.  I know most of our friends and family shared our journey on Facebook, but I want to share in more detail about the emotions I have had and the special ways the Lord has carried us through this deep valley.  I find myself so grateful for my renewed health and sometimes just saying, "Thank you, Lord" when I remember just how pathetically helpless I was.  I am still processing everything that happened.  In fact it is hard for me to even believe everything that happened.  I feel like writing about it will help me as well as be a written history for future generations to read.
  To start with we went into the hospital early on the morning of August 27, 2015 for a scheduled version and induction.  We knew our Ella Ruth was transverse, and we were very hopeful that she could be turned manually through a version.

That morning I was given an epidural which never worked properly.  It did help numb some of the pain but not like my previous epidurals.  I kept commenting that I was far from being completely numb, and so I was given more and more medicine throughout the morning.  My doctor and her assistant brought in an ultrasound machine and manually maneuvered my belly until Ella Ruth was head down.  I was induced and thought we would likely have a normal birth.  According to God's plan that is not how it played out.......Ella Ruth went back into a transverse position, and my doctor recommended a caesarean.  She said we had a window of time where things were not yet dangerous, but if we delayed things could become risky.  I was scared as I had never had a caesarean.  All of my previous six births went smoothly, and I never really imagined that I would ever need a caesarean until I was informed that Ella Ruth was transverse and it was a possibility.  Now that Matt and I were faced with this decision it felt surreal and scary.  I still was not fully numb from the epidural, but I was quickly asked to remove all jewelry and was wheeled to the operating room.  The situation had become very stressful and things began happening very fast.  To be continued...............................

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recently I have had an itch to blow the dust off of my old blog.  The problem is that my last post was over two years ago and so much has changed since then.  The biggest change is that we have had two more children, and the second biggest change is that we moved to a fourteen acre farm over two years ago.  Since our life looks so different now I thought about starting a new blog, but my heart is still attached to Training Hearts at I am just going to pick up where I left off.  :)  
  I was pregnant with Nathaniel last time I wrote on this blog, so let me introduce my precious, sweet, funny little man.  He is very enthusiastic about life and makes us laugh!  Meet Nathaniel Matthew:

Right after Nathaniel was born we moved to our farm.  Here are a few pictures of us moving in and praying in our living room thanking the Lord for our new home.  

This big news for 2015 was the birth of our fifth daughter.  Meet sweet Ella Ruth:

I believe one reason I have had a renewed desire to write on this blog is because so much happened in our lives over the past year surrounding the birth of Ella Ruth.  I became very sick after her birth and spent nearly three weeks in the hospital separated from her for most of that time.  Even after going home the road to recovery has been long and hard.  I am still processing all that has happened and want to write about it so that I record the faithfulness of the Lord and do not forget so many of the details of what surrounded this season of our lives.  In a way this blog is a sort of journal for me, and I want my children to one day be able to read these accounts of God's incredible faithfulness.  I hope it will be an encouragement to any readers who visit this site as well.  
  I just looked at recent activity on this blog and was surprised to see that people are still visiting here even though I have not published anything in over two years.  My desire is to proclaim the goodness of the Lord I serve and to encourage others with the things He is teaching me.  So Lord willing I will be writing here in days to come and sharing how the Lord has sustained us in recent months.  
To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Has Done!