My Daughter Gave Birth to Quadruplets!

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalms 112:1-2

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Special Prayer for Baby Girl C/Now It's 28 Weeks?

The doctors are very pleased with Sarah's progress. The babies are a good size and seem to be healthy and active. They are concerned that Sarah is adjusting to her hospital stay. They don't want her to be upset or stressed.

They keep lowering their expectations for her delivery date. We first heard 34 weeks. Then it was 33 weeks. Then we were told 32 weeks. Yesterday, the doctor said she is confident that Sarah can make it to 28 weeks. She explained that Sarah is just not tall enough to make room for those babies to keep growing. Sarah is so uncomfortable now; it is hard to imagine the babies getting even bigger.

Many women with multiples have to have a procedure called a cerclage, where the uterus opening is sewn shut to help prevent perterm labor. Fortunately, the doctors have decided that Sarah does not need this procedure. What a relief! She was not looking forward to that experience at all.

The twice a day, twenty minute monitoring sessions per baby have grown to one hour for Baby C. She keeps having decelerations in her heart rate, so the nurses are following protocol by keeping an eye on her. They suspect that she is playing with the umbilical cord, laying on it or twisting around it. Whatever she is doing, she is able to move around to her heart rate up again.
For now, they are just watching. They did tell Sarah to be prepared with a "plan," however. If the heart rate deceleration becomes a problem, they said that Sarah and Tony will have to decide whether to deliver all of the babies early, or let Baby C's condition deteriorate and continue to carry the other three. We are praying for Baby C and her siblings. God knows what we need and how to provide it.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Friday, June 25, 2010

Transverse Girls/Prayer Support

The nurses put Sarah on a medicine for her stomach. Apparently, Baby C got tired of her sister having all the room in the Penthouse Suite, so she decided to join her. Both girls are transverse, or sideways, which is funny because Sarah was a transverse baby, too!

When the nurses attempt to monitor the heartbeats with a Dopler, shy Baby D immediately moves up into Sarah's lungs. Active Baby C is now mimicking her sister, so Sarah's pulse rate has been up. The nurses have all kinds of tricks to get the girls out of the lungs-standing, walking, changing positions, etc.

One of the local spas sends a couple of nail technicians to the hospital on Fridays to do free manicures and pedicures. I talked Sarah into the manicure. It is amazing how pretty nails can boost a girl's spirits! The nail tech was very encouraging. She is putting Sarah on two prayer chains at two Catholic churches in the area. We need all the prayer we can get right now.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Playmates for Callie/Sticking Together

The private room is fantastic! Callie can visit more now.

My sister came in for the afternoon with all four kids, so Callie had playmates. It was good to watch her having so much fun. She spent the morning on her mommy's bed sitting as close as she could get. They are so sweet together. My sister took Callie to Kings Island when she left.

One of our friends at church said, "What better family could this happen to?" She is probably right. We stick together and help each other. We need each other more than ever these days.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Callie Names the Babies/ Time to Move

Devon took Callie for the day. They have lots of fun in the sun. Devon said, "Callie, how many babies does Mommy have?"

Callie said, "Four."

Devon said, "What should we name them?"

Callie thought a minute and said, "A!"

The nurse came in today and said, "Time to move to a private room." She has no idea of the wonderful magnitude of those words! God is amazing. He loves, He cares, He hears, and He moves.

Since every other bed is occupied, she gets the best room on the floor. What a miracle! Two walls are all windows. There is a small refrigerator. There is a table, four chairs, a private sink, a private bathroom, and a fold out chair bed for Tony! Hooray!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jumping Jacks Monitoring/ No Coincidences

Pastor Dave came early while the babies were being checked. Sarah has to have all four babies on heart monitors for 20 minutes twice a day, and herself once. The babies are small yet, so it is very difficult for the nurses to find them.  The nurses all come in and practically do jumping jacks on her stomach to find/move them into a monitoring position. They all laugh because the babies are so active. We are in big trouble!  Sarah's belly is stretched tight "like a beach ball," so monitoring is  painful and hard to watch. She has contractions the whole time.  

The nurse told us that we missed the flu ban by a couple of weeks. Otherwise, no one under 14--including Callie--would have been allowed to visit. God is always watching out for us, and we are thankful for the small reminders. There are no coincidences when we live for God.    

Monday, June 21, 2010

Full Baby Sonograms/Poster Child for Adoption

Sarah had full baby sonograms today. They took about 2 hours total. All is well. A is 1.7 ounces, B is 1.8, C is 1.8, and D is 1.9.

Wile we were waiting to go in, I offered my chair to a pregnant lady with two boys. She said, "No thanks. I'm on bed rest, so I stand whenever I can!". Then she noticed that Tony and I were waiting with Sarah. She said, "You are so fortunate to have family to help you. My family lives in Indiana. I am supposed to be in the hospital, but I have no one to watch my boys." I told her we would pray for her, so please add her to your list. She has made it to 27 weeks so far. Once again, God is sending little reminders about how blessed we are!

The magnesium makes Sarah very weak, dizzy, and loopy. It can cause her to retain water, so we have to measure everything that goes in and everything that comes out. However, it stops contractions! She keeps hitting her leg on a bar on the bed when she gets in and out, and didn't realize it. She has the most horrible bruise! She cried off and on all day. She wants to go home. She misses Callie.

Sarah says she is going to be the new poster child for adoption. At least she still has her sense of humor. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The doctor came in to let us know the good news and the bad news.

The Good News: They've been expecting Sarah. She has been at home much longer than most triplet moms, so she is doing very well. Her uterus is stretched to infinity and beyond, so she will have contractions. She will need juggled medications to stop them. It is also good that she will be 24 weeks on Monday. That means that the doctors will work harder to save the babies if they come now. Week 24 is the Magic Line of Viability.

The Bad News: Sarah has to stay at the hospital until the quads are born! She is so upset and so am I! I want my baby (and her babies) home.

They moved her tonight to the high risk wing for patients who have to stay awhile. The medicine they have her on makes her hot and feel drugged. The floor is almost full, so they put her in a semi-private room. It is very cramped. We are praying for no roommate, and for a private room to come available. The room is very small, and no overnight visitors are allowed in semi-private rooms. The bathroom, sink, shower chair and window are shared. In today's germ-conscious world, sharing a bathroom is worrisome! Sarah is so sick and uncomfortable and scared. She keeps crying, which breaks my heart. The nurses are trying to keep the other bed open, so Tony is staying with her again tonight. He won't get much sleep in a straight back chair!

On the bright side, one of the nurses was telling us about the church plant she is involved with. It sounds exciting! The nurses are all so nice, but it is especially comforting to have a fellow follower of Christ. She is praying for the babies. God keeps sending little doses of
encouragement just when we need them the most.

Dear Lord, please be with her. Comfort her. Let her know that she is never alone. Help poor little Callie. She is missing her mommy.

Hospital Stay/So Now We Wait

Friday was heartbeat/ sonogram day. The technician detected all 4 heartbeats. There was a change in cervical length--5.8 down to 4.5. That was disconcerting, but still above the shortest they like it to be--2.5. Appointments are difficult. They involve getting presentable, walking to the car, riding in the car, riding in the wheelchair, sitting in the waiting room, and lying on an exam table--all of which are uncomfortable due to the weight of the babies. Then we do it all over again to get Sarah home.

Sarah usually feels bad for a day or two after an appointment. This time she not only felt bad, but started having contractions that wouldn't go away. Callie had been sick with a virus all week, running a 104 temperature. We thought that Sarah was getting sick,too. After hearing the details, the doctor wanted Sarah in the hospital. So on Saturday morning, we repeated the whole "trip to the doctor" experience of the day before. This time, however, I had to leave Sarah there.

Her contractions were 5 minutes apart. Oral medication was not working, so they gave her steroid shots to speed lung development of the babies. The nurse explained that being almost 24 weeks is an advantage, because the doctors will work harder to save the babies. Apparently, 24 weeks is a line for viability. She is 24 weeks on Monday.

Next, they gave her magnesium through an IV. The nurse monitored her for the 30 minutes it took for the initial magnesium bullet of the medication to get in her system. It made her very hot and nauseated. The nurse searched for a fan, but could not find one anywhere. So I
stood and fanned her for a long time; then Tony took over. An orderly walked by and saw us fanning. She scoured the hospital and returned with a fan. Since the heat index was 99, she said she had to fight for it. It's funny how a small act of kindness like that can make me want to cry, but it did. I know that God sent her our way at just the right time when the door was accidentally left ajar. It seems as if He wants to
remind us that He's at the hospital, too. We've had the fan ever since.

The nurses are fascinated by the quadruplets. One nurse stated that it was unheard of to conceive quads on the medication that Sarah was taking. She repeated the "one in a million" statistic. She said that the egg must have split. Another nurse was in awe of Sarah's ability to show them where each baby is located and who is moving. The whole experience is so hard to comprehend.

Today is Sunday. The doctor said that she will be here through Monday at least, but probably for the remainder of her pregnancy. One nurse
said maybe she could leave after a week. I don't think anyone knows for sure. Sarah was very upset by the news and desperately wants to go home. She is worried about Callie, who keeps asking for her mama. I keep reminding myself that God picked out the day these babies are supposed to arrive. I am trying to rest in that fact, but I have to admit that I didn't sleep much last night.

Right now, am waiting with Sarah for the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) people to arrive. They are going to prepare us--as best they can--for the birth of four premature infants. Please pray that their preparations are premature, and that Sarah is right where she needs to be, whether here or at home. In the meantime, we wait.

"Since ancient times
no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those
who wait for him."

Isaiah 64:4

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Shot Heard Round the World/Getting Out of the Boat

I went for a much-needed haircut this week. My hairstylist was joking that the highlights he had put in Sarah's hair a while back had contributed to her ability to conceive four children. I told him that the quad announcement was the "shot heard 'round the world," and that I had decided to quit my job to help. He paused with his comb midair and replied, " Sondra, sometimes you have to get out of the boat."

My sister, grandmother and I spent some time in Israel, walking where Jesus walked. The presence of God was everywhere. I remember standing on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, remembering what had happened there. Jesus had taken a little boy's lunch--five loaves and two fishes--and miraculously fed 5,000 hungry followers on that grassy hillside. Later, the disciples had gotten in a boat and headed across the water. Sometime in the night--probably near morning, the waves kicked up and were tossing the disciples around. Suddenly, they saw someone walking toward them on the water which frightened them more than the storm ever could. It was Jesus. He said, "Don't be afraid. It is I."

Peter said, "If it's really you, Lord, tell me to walk out to you on the water."

Jesus replied, "Come." In the middle of that terrifying storm, Peter got out of the boat.

Right now, we are making many decisions and changes. Life is not too comfortable. We don't know what will happen or where this journey will take us. However, there are some things we do know.

We know that all life is a miracle and ordained of God.

We know that Sarah and Tony made the right decision to keep their four babies that difficult day in the doctor's office.

We know that although this is a surprise to us, it is not a surprise to God.

We know that He will be with us all the way through, watching over us and making a way.

Yes, there is a "storm" right now. It's a big one. But Jesus is here. He's walking toward us on the water, holding out His hand. It's time to get out of the boat.

"When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered."Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Matthew 14:13-32

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Documentary On TV/Please Pray

The pro-life documentary is finished and is airing on TBN. It is also available at the web site: or on YouTube. Sarah makes it look easy, but it was very hard for her to sit so long for the filming. I am so proud of her and Tony. Please pray that people will say no to abortion/selective reduction after watching, and that lives will be changed.

Thanks for praying!

Friday, June 11, 2010

22 Weeks/Back to The Beginning

Sarah is 22 weeks now. The sonogram revealed all four hearts beating away. The babies are getting so cute. Quad D remains quiet and private, while Quad C is always moving. Her head was moving and her mouth was opening and closing--already talking, I guess. Quad A is not shy at all. He stretches out for the world to see. Quad B is somewhat a mystery because of his location, but he appears to be active. It may be that he just reacts to being kicked by Quad C, the active one. I am surprised at the strength of their kicks on the outside! I can't imagine what it feels like on the inside.

The nurse made a comment that Sarah's cervix length is excellent--almost 6 cm-- and unheard of with multiples. They prefer at least 2.5 cm. We know that God is answering prayer and are so thankful for everyone who is remembering us.

On the other hand, the growing babies are posing new difficulties. Sarah has trouble standing up straight from the weight. Her ligaments in her back and pelvic area are being pushed beyond what they are able to tolerate. We are looking into a suspender-type belly harness. Please pray that it will help.

While going through some boxes, I found a journal that I kept when Tom and I had been married about a year. It contained a letter to Sarah that was written before she was born. It was fun to remember all of those crazy mixed feelings that come with pregnancy. Here is what I wrote:

(To my beautiful daughter, Sarah, in hopes that you will read this someday and realize that I was young and frightened once, too. I do everything out of boundless love for you. I never knew that I could love so much until I saw your new and perfect little face. You looked up at me with complete trust. Now I understand more about God's love for me. It is so wonderful!)

We're pregnant!

I wanted to let you know about your beginning, so I guess I should start when we found out your were coming. It was a beautiful day in May, and your dad and I were in Gatlinburg to celebrate our first anniversary. It was early in the morning, the sun was shining, and we could hear the creek rushing down the mountain outside our cabin. I took an early home pregnancy test. Then we looked together to check the result. Positive! We climbed back into bed and smiled at each other. I felt kind of shy and embarrassed and excited at the same time. I was afraid, too. I feel like a kid myself, and I'm going to be a mother! I must admit that I cried a little while from all of the mixed emotions (and the hormones), but Tom held me and assured me that everything would be fine. We went into town. He surprised me with a little two-inch doll. We figured it was about your size. So cute!

The vacation flew by. It was time to go home. I went back to teaching and Tom went back to work. We told our families the good news. They were very excited. Tom went to the store and came home with $25 worth of baby stuff for you, which was a fortune for us back then. He bought toys, bibs, booties (blue), pacifiers, books (I told him it would be awhile before you can read), and washcloths. He kept smiling and talking about you.

I, on the other hand, was thinking about how frightened I was, how I would give up teaching, and how everything--from now on--would be different. I was having mixed emotions again. There was no turning back!

I made an appointment at the doctor's office. They gave me a blood test and said they would let me know. Around 4:00 that afternoon I got a call. The doctor said the test was negative, that I was NOT pregnant. I couldn't believe it. I looked at all the baby stuff that Tom had collected and started to cry and cry and CRY! Suddenly I realized how much I really wanted you. So I started praying and begging God to let there be some mistake, that I was really pregnant.

Tom came home from work very tired. I told him the news. He just looked at me. We held each other for a very long time, and were quiet.

I called my long-time family doctor the next day, and he told me to go to a nearby lab for a more sophisticated test. My principal let me leave school early, so I rushed to the lab and got there at 3:30. The nice older gentleman who owned the lab told me that it would take two hours for the test, but the lab closes at 5:00, so I was too late. I must have looked completely pitiful when he told me, because he offered to administer the test, stay late, and wait for the results. I thanked him profusely, took the test, and rushed home to wait for the results. I prayed by the phone, and jumped up when it rang at 4:30. I answered, wondering why were they calling so early. "I'm sorry about the mix-up, honey," said the lab owner's wife, "but you are VERY pregnant! We had the results fifteen minutes ago!" I hung up the phone and thanked the Lord, crying again! I sat by the door and waited for Tom to get home. I could not wait to tell him the good news.

And that was the beginning of you.

Love, Mom

I should write another letter to her while she goes through this difficult pregnancy. If I do, I will tell her to never forget that God is in charge of this pregancy. I will aslo include this passage of Scripture that I love so much:

"Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! "
(Psalm 127)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Things are Changing/Things are Good

For me, this week brought big changes.

Ever since we found out about the quads, Tom and I have been praying for God's direction. Although the whole multiple experience is full of the unexpected, there are some things we know. We know that Sarah and Tony will need lots of help. We know she will have major surgery after being on months of bed rest. We know that there will be four premature newborns who need care around the clock. Also, we know that Tony will need to work whenever and wherever possible to meet the financial burden. Since no other workable solution has presented itself, I have decided to resign my full-time teaching position in order to help. It is hard to do. The ministry results of teaching children to follow Christ are immeasurable until eternity, and the paycheck is nice, too. However, the fact remains that it is the right choice. It is the only choice.

While weekly appointments are routine, I am always nervous. Thankfully, the week 21 sonogram went well. The technician was able to locate all four heartbeats, the fluid around the babies looks good, and the test results for premature labor were "amazing!"

In the meantime, Sarah seems to be growing right before our eyes. She is very uncomfortable and struggles to find a way to rest. The weight of the babies must be pressing on nerves and arteries, because she is very light-headed and nauseated. The only liquids that she can drink are apple juice, ice water, and an occasional caffeine-free coke. Milk, ice cream or yogurt all make her ill.

My mom went to lunch this week with a Bible Study friend from the past who is in ministry. This friend visited a couple of churches recently--Methodist and Catholic--that are both praying for someone who is expecting quadruplets. Mom asked a few questions and discovered that it is our Sarah! I am so grateful for the way God's people everywhere are taking the time to pray for my daughter. It makes this nerve-wracking journey much more bearable and definitely more exciting. I love watching God at work.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10