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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Week 34/Worth Celebrating


The Quads are 34 Weeks! Sarah is very sore and tired, but is glad to be home.

Landon (A) is off the lights and off c-pap. He gets oxygen through a nasal cannula. His feedings have increased to 27 ml, which is almost an ounce! He is back up to his birth weight. After he eats, he sleeps so soundly that he forgets to breathe. Alarms go off when that happens. Landon pulled out his pick line. We are hoping that he continues to tolerate his tube feeds so a new pick line won't be necessary. He is in baby clothes and is maintaining his body temperature. Sarah got to hold him and see his face for the first time today. He studied his mother's face very intently. It was precious to watch. Sarah thinks he looks like a bigger version of Jackson

Rock Star Jackson (B) is taking a bottle once a day. He only gets about a teaspoon or so with added fat. He gets worn out very quickly. He has been in clothes for days and does not require any help breathing. the doctors think he is a character. He just hangs out and wonders what all the fuss is about.

Isabella (C) (or Izzy, as Tom calls her) is off the oscillator and on c-pap. She was weighed for the first time since birth and is 5 lbs. They are taking out one of her umbilical lines and have started tube feedings. She gets about a teaspoon at a time. If she tolerates the feedings, she won't need a pick line. She should be off the antibiotics soon. She is no longer sedated.

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Samantha (D) is still very sick. She is sedated. She was finally able to be put on the oscillator- the respirator they use on the sickest babies. They are still concerned about her liver, kidneys, and heart. She had a very wet diaper, which is a good sign. Tests revealed that she has a hole in her heart that is often found in preemies. Hers is bigger than most. We are praying that it will close on its on. Samantha's hemoglobin was very low so she needed a blood transfusion. She needed a shot to help urine output. Her blood pressure is low and they don't like where it is, but the transfusion helped. She is very yellow and is back under lights. Her potassium levels are low. After rounds, the doctor said, "Don't get me wrong; Samantha is very sick and is still giving us a run for our money, but she is stable. We are pleased that she is making progress. " She is holding her own.

Last night was wonderfully uneventful, which is definitely worth celebrating. Thanks for praying!

Hope in difficult time is not based on positive thinking, wishful thinking, or natural optimism. It is a certainty based on the truths that God is in complete control of our universe and He loves us (Purpose Driven Life).

Your trust can be in God who raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. Now your faith and hope can rest in Him alone.
1 Peter 1:21

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baby D- Samantha Update/Sarah Came Home!

This morning we thought we were going to lose Samantha. The resident came in to tell Sarah that Samantha is septic and the sickest baby in the NICU right now. The doctors decided to try one more time to get an IV pick line, but if unsuccessful, they would have to transfer her to Children's for a surgical pick line. They don't want to transfer her because it is dangerous to move a baby so ill. When Sarah began to cry, the resident cried with her.

Meanwhile, Tom and I prayed for Samantha. Then we asked our family, our friends, our church, and everyone else to pray.

One of my concerns has been that Sarah is not able to hold three of her babies, so they don't have her to comfort them after the painful procedures. I started thinking about how hard it must be for a tiny little baby to be alone in a plastic warmer with nothing to look forward to but needle pricks. "Maybe she'll just give up," I thought.

As usual, when Satan tries too hard to scare me, I realize who is behind my fear. That's when I get angry. I started praying harder, asking God to hold Samantha and let her know that she is loved. God doesn't need Sarah to hold Samantha right now. HE's got it covered.

All the way to the hospital, I had my own tearful talk with the Lord. My private requests included the following:

-That God would spare Samantha and let her parents raise her to serve Christ
-That He would make the veins pop up in a miraculous way so the medical team involved would have no doubt that there is one true God in Heaven who knows and cares and hears and heals
-That He would send the best nurse qualified to do the procedure
-That no matter what happens, we will be a testimony of the love of God for His people
-That Satan would be bound and unable to touch Samantha or the people caring for her
-That the doctor who pressured Sarah and Tony to abort their babies would have no cause to feel justified that he did so
-That angels would stand behind the pick line nurse and guide her hands
-That Samantha would feel the presence of the Almighty God, and would not be in pain or afraid
-That Sarah and Tony would experience God on a whole new level

When we got to the NICU, the best-of-the-best for pick lines was scrubbing in for the procedure. She gave Samantha a sedative and painkiller so she wouldn't suffer. We waited outside while she began, hoping and praying that it would work this time. I don't remember how long it took, but it seemed like forever. Sarah waited in her wheelchair holding Jackson.

Finally, the nurse said over the intercom, " I got it. Did you hear me? I Got It! " Then she asked us to put our hands together and pray that it was in the right place. We prayed quietly while they wheeled in the X-ray machine, took the pictures, and rushed them off to be developed.

Since phones are not allowed in the NICU, I left to text Tom and everyone else with an update. Tom gathered the employees and led them in prayer for Samantha. I thought about God's timing. The nurse that did the pick line was also in the delivery room. She accompanied the girls to the NICU and so did I. We had a long time to talk and get acquainted. I told her Sarah and Tony's story, and let her know that people all around the world were praying for her and the babies. She was grateful. Now, she was the one helping Samantha. I was glad she was the one they called.

The resident came around the corner and said, "It's perfect!" We cried and thanked God. Then we thanked the pick line nurse. She said, "Don't thank me. It had to be God. I wouldn't have gotten it otherwise. She doesn't have any veins."

The resident told us that a couple of veins had "popped up." She had tears in her eyes when she told us the good news. She calls the baby "Sammy Jo." My darling little namesake is not out of the woods yet, but now they can help her. She will get the fluids, antibiotics, nourishment and rest that she needs.

While Devon was praying for Samantha, God gave her this Scripture:

"Let everyone in all the world men women and children fear the Lord and stand in awe of Him. For when He but spoke, the world began! It appeared at His command! And with a breath He can scatter the plans of all the nations who oppose Him, but His own plan stands forever. His intentions are the same for every generation. The best equipped army cannot save a king for great strength is not enough to save anyone. A war horse is a poor risk for winning victories. It is strong but it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear Him, who rely upon His steadfast love. He will keep them from death even in times of famine ! We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only He can help us; He protects us like a shield. No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting Him. We trust His holy name. Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone."

Last night, I was reading in the Psalms. The verse I read carried me through today:

The Lord nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.
Psalms 41:3

Sarah got to come home today. She took her first breath of summer air after 10 weeks in Special Care Obstetrics. She said that leaving her babies in the NICU was one of the hardest things she has ever done. But she did it. She slowly got in the car and we drove away.

Thanks to all of you who are praying. You are God's gift to us.

Please Pray

Please pray for Samantha (Baby D). Unless the Lord intervenes, we are afraid we will lose her. She is extremely ill.

Thank you.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

29,999 Diapers to Go/Seeing Us Through

I changed my first quad diaper today. Only 29,999 to go!

Baby Updates:

Quad A--Landon is still on the respirator from the Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). He was given surfactant to help his lungs do their job. Today, they were able to turn down the oxygen level somewhat. If he starts breathing more on his own, they will continue to wean him. He is tolerating milk in his feeding tube. The nurses are using donor breast milk and premie formula. Landon is also under photo therapy lights because he is jaundiced. Jaundice occurs when there is a build-up of bilirubin, which is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. As bilirubin begins to build up, the baby's skin and whites of the baby's eyes to appear yellow. The most common cause of newborn jaundice is an immature liver. Landon is not responding to lights as they had hoped, so he is being placed on a photo therapy blanket that will increase the effectiveness of the lights.

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Quad B--Jackson is been nicknamed the "Rock Star" of the NICU because he is doing so well, yet is so little. He is the resident's favorite. He weighed in at 2 lbs. 14 ozs. today. His only issue is the jaundice. He has been maintaining his own body temperature and is tolerating formula through his feeding tube. He is the only quad that Sarah can hold.

Baby C--Isabella is a very sick little girl. She is sedated and on an oscillator that is a step up from the respirators that her brother and sister are on. She received two doses of surfactant, but did not respond well to either dose. She is having some other issues with her blood PH levels and they can't figure out what is causing her to be so sick. They believe she has an infection of some kind, so she is on three different antibiotics. She is unable to be fed, but is on IV's for nourishment. She is too sick to be fed or held.

Baby D--Samantha is the most critical. More often than not, she has a large number of people in her room trying to get her stable. They suspect she has an infection, as well, so she is on four antibiotics. She is on a respirator and also received two doses of surfactant. The nurse had a hard time put in an IV pick line, which stays put for a long period of time and saves the baby from constant needle sticks. Samantha went downhill afterwards. I quit counting at 10 holes in her little arm. At her lowest point, she was oozing blood from the holes in her arm and from her mouth. She was given a transfusion and platelets to help her blood coagulate. She is on the lights for jaundice. Today, they tell us she is holding her own. They hope she will not go downhill again, but are making no promises. She is too sick to be fed or held.

Delivery Day:

Sarah was so tempted to deliver last Monday due to the torn ligament in her belly and the non-stop contractions. The ligament ripped away from one hip bone and was causing her so much pain. Her doctor talked her into waiting until Friday to give the babies a few more days to grow. In the meantime, we prayed that God would choose the birth date for the quads.On Wednesday, Sarah was in full-blown labor. The doctors scheduled a C-section and started gathering eighteen-plus medical team for the surgery. Then, Landon (Baby A) decided he was ready to see the world. Sarah's water broke and turned the surgery into an emergency.

Tony scrubbed in while the anesthesiologist hurried to get Sarah numb for the operation. I waited in recovery to accompany the babies to the NICU. The extended family members waited in a room that the Special Care Nurses opened especially for us. We are a large group of loving, laughing, loud, colorful, eccentric, unusual, comical and sometimes obnoxious people, so we tend to put on a show wherever we go. I am just sorry that I don't have that waiting room on film.

Once the surgery began, everything went very quickly. The doctors taped Sarah's belly to a bar above to hold it up and went to work. They were surprised when three of the babies practically jumped out! The only one they had to search for was Baby D. Quads A & B were born at 4:26. Quad C was born at 4:27. Quad D was born at 4:28. I understand that it was disturbing to watch, but doctors had to move quickly and get those babies out. She has a rather large incision that was stitched instead of stapled due to doctor's preference. Babies A, B, and D were wrapped up, put in an isolette together and rushed to the NICU. I went with them. They are beautiful! I didn't get to see Baby C at first because she was having help breathing. When I did see her, she was very blue. The doctor was amazed when she performed the surgery. There had been much concern that Sarah would require a hysterectomy, but she found that Sarah's uterus is a "uterus of steel." It did its job and sprang right back.The doctor said that it didn't even look like it had held multiples. Unfortunately, she was unable to attach the ligament that tore from the hip bone. It is just too thin. Sarah will have to tough it out and let it heal itself.

It has been hard on Sarah being on the Mom & Baby Floor without her babies. She hears the babies crying all around her, but she is alone in her room. It will be even harder to leave them when she is discharged from the hospital. However, she knows that they are where they need to be and is so thankful to have them in one of the top NICU's in the world. She is very thankful that God chose their birthday, especially since three of them are struggling to survive. That regret would have been hard to live with.

We are thankful for the prayer support from people all over the US and the world. God is using His people to literally hold us up with prayers, emails, cards and facebook. I can FEEL it! Sometimes, I am so tired and emotionally spent while driving home from the hospital that I am not sure I can make it. Without fail, God provides a boost just when I need it. I don't know where we would be otherwise. We have a long road ahead of us, but God and His wonderful people will see us through.

Respiratory Distress/ What We Know

Quad A/Landon with Aunt Devon

Quads A, C, and D are in respiratory distress and in much need of prayer. They are all 3 on ventilators. Baby C is sedated and stable for now. Baby D is very sick. They aren't sure what is wrong with her in addition to the RDS, but suspect infection. It has been very hard to watch what these tiny ones have gone through the last 24 hours.

Baby B is still hanging out. He is doing great.

Sarah has a ligament that tore away from the bone due to the weight of her pregnant belly. The doctor was not able to reattach it because it was too thin, so Sarah will have to wait for it to heal. She is very sore.

What We Know:

Satan has been trying to get rid of these children from the beginning, and God has been there every step of the way.
Although the babies are in good hands, God is ultimately in control.
If we could see the unseen, we would see angels in the room standing watch.
Three babies are critical, yet we choose to hope.
Our lives can be a testimony to the power of God through this experience.

Please pray for us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quads Are Here/All is Well

The babies have arrived. Sarah did well and did not require a hysterectomy. Babies A and C are on oxygen. Little Baby B is the strongest so far. Here are the stats:

Quad A- 4:26 PM
17 1/2 inches
4 lbs. 4 oz
Apgar: 9.9

Quad B- 4:26 PM
16 1/4 inches
3 lbs. 2.4 ozs.
Apgar: 8.9

Quad C - 4:27 PM
18 inches
4 lbs. 9 ozs.
Apgar: 6.8

Quad D- 4:28 PM
17 1/2"
3 lbs. 11.2 ozs.
Apgar: 8.9

Thanks to all of you for praying. God is taking care of us. Please pray especially for Baby C. She is struggling and may need to be intubated.

Emergency C- Section Today/Please Pray

Sent: Aug 25, 2010 12:06 PM
Subject: Sarah is having an emergency c-section at 2:30. Baby D has an issue. Please pray.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Week 33 & The Old College Try/So We Wait

Week 33! It won't be long now.

These last few days have undoubtedly been the hardest for Sarah. She tore a ligament while trying to turn over. The pain was excruciating. She cried for hours and was unable to get up to go to the bathroom. Finally, a nurse helped her to maneuver enough to get out of bed. The doctors kept checking the ligament, concerned that it might have separated from the bone. They think it is just torn, but said it will be at least a couple of months before it feels better. Just add that to the surgery-bedrest-recovery list. They finally gave her a morphine-type drug to give her some pain relief. This latest development helped her decide to schedule the surgery soon. She is at the end of her pain tolerance. Contractions with a torn ligament are no good for anybody.

FYI--The male doctors are wanting her to give it the old college try and go to 34 weeks. The female doctors (and nurses) think she has gone far enough and should deliver now. Why is that???

We are so worried about Sarah that it is getting hard to decide who we are most worried about: mother or babies. I was telling a friend that it feels like a sick version of one of those values clarification games we played in college classes. "If you were on a sinking boat and there was only one life raft, who would you pick to survive?" I am praying for God's wisdom, direction, timing, and peace while trying to keep my own thinking out of it. With God, there are always more possibilities than there are in the hypothetical situations we create.

Yesterday was a day of adjustment--trying to look forward while wanting to look back. My son Eric went away to college.

When we loaded Eric's belongings, I had to resist the urge to chain myself to his trunk and refuse to move. What I really wanted to do was lock myself in his room and cry. Instead, I put on a brave face and actually helped him move away.

On the way, we stopped at Sarah and Tony's house to pick up something of Eric's. We had Callie with us. I wondered how this brave little girl would react when she saw her house for the first time after all these months. She was so excited at first! She ran up to the front door and tried to open it. When she realized it was locked, she cried hysterically for her mommy and daddy to let her in. It was heartbreaking. That was when I decided that I didn't like this day.

I know that Callie will love her brothers and sisters, and will be fine when her mom comes home. But I also know that she will never go back to that life she knew as the center of attention with Mommy and Daddy at her beck and call. With quads coming, those days are gone forever.

We hit the road loaded with boxes and bags. After hours of driving, we found Eric's dorm and reversed the process by unloading and unpacking. His room is on the third floor, of course, so we got a workout. Callie immediately commandeered his bed for a trampoline, undaunted by the presence of Eric's roommate.

Whenever I want a day to last forever, it goes at warp speed. After a late dinner at the local pizza place, we prepared to go. Tom gave Eric some last minute encouragements and instructions. Callie wanted Eric to get in the truck with us, but when he didn't, she was quiet. Either she didn't understand that we were leaving him there, or she is getting used to goodbyes.

It was time. My 6'4" son gave me a big bear hug. I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist and closed my eyes so he wouldn't see my tears. For just a moment, time went backwards and he was my little boy again.

"Mommy, I want to be with you and Daddy forever."

Looking down into my five-year-old's deep brown eyes, I said, "Honey, I want to be with you, too, but someday a very smart girl is going to grab hold of you and never let you go."

With a shy half-smile, he asked, "Will you ever leave me?"

"Not if I can help it," I promised. My little boy smiled contentedly and snuggled closer. Although I didn't realize it at the time, it was a moment to cherish

"Mom?" Eric pushed back and saw the tears on my face, laughed, and held me even tighter. Slowly, I let go of my only son and climbed into the truck. As we drove off, I watched Eric walk away in the darkness. I left him in spite of my long-ago promise.

As we pulled onto the highway, I wondered why the milestones of our lives often bring so much pain. It doesn't make sense.

It is hard to explain, but I do have peace about Eric's decision to go away. It is a beginning--a new stage in his life. But it's also the end of something precious. I have a feeling that Eric will be very different the next time I see him.

Tom reached over and grabbed my hand. "Sondra, this is a good day. He's going to be fine! You should be proud. You did a great job with our kids. We should have had a few more." He turned on the radio and headed for home.

One day, everything will make sense when we stand in the presence of our perfect Saviour. I long for that day, and I pray that all of my friends and family will be there with me. So we wait.

One day eyes that are blind will see You clearly
And one day all who deny will finally believe
One day hearts made of stone will break in pieces
And one day chains once unbroken will fall down at Your feet
So we wait for that one day come quickly

We want to see Your Glory
Every knee falls down before Thee
Every tongue offers You praise
With every hand raised
Singing Glory
To You and unto You only
We'll sing Glory to Your name

One day voices that lie will all be silent
One day all that's divided will be whole again
One day death will retreat and wave it's white flag
One day love will defeat the strongest enemy
So we wait for that one day come quickly

We know not the day or the hour
Or the moments in between
But we know the end of the story
When we'll see Your Glory
Every knee falls down before Thee
Every tongue offers You praise
With every hand raised
Singing Glory
To You and unto You only
We'll sing Glory to Your name

Glory by Nicole Nordeman

Friday, August 20, 2010

One Day at a Time/ Our Legacy

Sarah made it another day, so she is now 32 and 4/7!

We finally visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The charge nurse had asked Sarah to wait since their last three visitors went into labor the next day. The NICU is a quiet, warm, dark place. The atmosphere is very different from Special Care Obstetrics. Unbelievably tiny babies are everywhere, hooked up to all kinds of monitors. The ones who can't maintain their temperatures are in enclosed clear isolettes where they stay until their bodies regulate themselves. We saw triplets that were born at 32 weeks. The two biggest ones required help to breathe, while the smallest one pound baby didn't need any help. We were fascinated to learn that the smallest babies tend to do the best in the NICU because they are used to fighting for nourishment in the womb. How does a baby "fight" for food before its born? It seems to be universal that the struggle makes us stronger.

The nursery is full right now. There is room called a pod that they set up for the quads, but it had to used for other infants. Please pray that we can keep the babies together when the time comes.

As we were leaving, the NICU nurse encouraged Sarah to stay pregnant as long as possible. "Each day makes a huge difference in their development," she stated. "They grow much faster inside than out." We also learned that the nurses subtract one week from their gestation for each additional baby, so quads born at 32 weeks would be treated as 29-week-olds.

Sarah' s primary doctor went over options. He is very pleased that she made it to 32 weeks. The babies have a 20% chance that their lungs will work properly if born now. However, if they are born at 34 weeks, the number goes up to 50%. He also said that most women with small babies deliver at this point because they are afraid of losing their babies. Sarah has entered a gray area. Going either way is okay with him. He thinks the babies look good. He would like for Sarah to keep going, but won't blame her if she chooses to deliver. If the babies look stressed at any time, he will order an emergency C-section.

Multiples mature quicker in the uterus than their singleton counterparts. Amazing! The downside of that rapid growth is that the placentas age quickly. The doctors think that Baby B and D's placentas are starting to weaken, resulting in their lack of growth.

Sarah and Tony discussed the pros and cons.Tony said, "We have been facing scary statistics the whole time, and God has gotten us this far." They prayed and decided to take one day at a time.

Sarah is having contractions all night, so she gets little rest. Baby Boy A is parked on her sciatic nerve; she can hardly use her left leg. Callie has a developed a good imitation of Mommy trying to walk to the bathroom. Sarah has to stop halfway and rest in a chair.

The doctors used their final option in the bag of tricks. They upped her Procardia, in spite of Sarah's low blood pressure. From now on, she will have to live with the contractions. She is not dilated at all--another miracle--so the contractions are more painful than productive.

Sarah has been here so long that her large chart binder filled up completely and they had to start a new one. I looked at the four inches of paperwork and realized that it represents a season in our lives.

This worrisome journey is starting to wear on all of us. Tom is concerned about his little girl. He dreamed that Sarah didn't make it through surgery, that Tony decided to join her in Heaven, that I went crazy, that Eric went away to school, and that Devon was too busy to help. So in Tom's nightmare, he was alone with a crazy wife, four screaming babies and a toddler. Then Sarah dreamed that we were all out of town when she went into labor, and the only person she could reach to go into the delivery room was her Uncle Jon. Maybe it's a good thing that we don't get much time to sleep.

I admit that the stress is starting to get to me, too. I am exhausted and she hasn't even had the babies yet! This has been a risky business from the beginning. I don't doubt that God is with us. I just wonder sometimes what He will ask us to go through.

I was thinking about the night before Sarah got married. I cried that night because I knew she would never live with us again. Ever.

Once again, my worry was wasted. Sarah, Tony and Callie will stay with us until they get a handle on caring for quads. Sarah's coming home again with more to love.

Tom wrote Sarah a letter when she got married. He said I could share it:


I am sitting at the computer in the middle of the night trying to figure out where all the time has gone. I am not really sure I'm old enough to have a daughter who is getting married in three days. I want to know when I got old. What day did this happen?

I have lately been remembering things that I had forgotten. I remember books, games, songs and how easy it was for me to make you laugh. I remember when I was your hero and I could solve any problem or confront any evil. “They are killing babies again?.......Well ,somebody should tell my dad.” I remember how you would cry for me when I left for work and how excited you became when I got home. You probably don't realize this, but you helped me get through some tough times.

I am not sure what I'm supposed to do now. I have spent the last 22 years watching your back. I was diligent in trying to keep evil influences out of you life. I worried, "Is she happy? Does she have friends?" I can't remember you ever needing or wanting anything that I didn’t get for you. I always had your best interest at heart. I have never hurt you or frightened you or let you down. I have always defended you and when you called I always came. I was never far away. You never came home to find me gone, and you never will. I was your leader and defender. If someone wanted to get to you, they had to come through me.

Now I have to turn that job over to someone else. I am not entirely comfortable with this new arrangement. I hope he knows that he owes me. I am giving him a young woman who is pure both emotionally and physically. This is a rare feat in this day and you are a precious gift. Don't ever let yourself forget this and if he makes you feel any less than who you are, then you let me know and I will gently remind him.

He also owes your Heavenly Father , who picked him up off the ash heap, saved him and set him among princes and kings. I have no doubt that the hand of God was on you and on him and that He kept you for each other. God snatched Tony out of difficult circumstances and picked him for you. This was part of God's plan to answer the prayers of your parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

You and Tony have been taken down the path less traveled and have been given a great Godly heritage. The courage, vision, sacrifice, and boldness of your mother and others has made you who you are. You and Tony must never forget who you are and what your purpose is. You are the children of a king and with this birthright come many responsibilities. You must live by the full counsel of God and in all that you do bring glory to God. Follow Jesus and do not sway to the right or to the left. I have made this mistake and I have paid dearly in ways you cannot imagine. Defend the Gospel, stand against sin and in the midst of battle do not lose heart but hold to your sword and fight on. “Do not let the book of this law depart from your mouth, mediate on it day and night so that you will be careful to do all that is written it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go. “

You and Tony will have some tough times . You will get through them. I trust you. I know that your faith is strong and your character is solid. You have been blessed and you have a place. You are part of a large family with a history for leadership and ministry. You have been trained and equipped. You are a minister of the Gospel. Just be who you are and do what you do.

I am so grateful for all that God has given me. I am amazed by Sondra. She is an incredible mother and a faithful, Godly woman. I see so much of her in you. You have given me more than I gave you. All my children--Sarah, Devon, and Eric (and Isaac)--have been the most fun I have ever had.

Raising a daughter has been a wonderful adventure and in many ways you saved me. You saved me from myself and from giving into my sinful nature. You brought our families together. You were born The Princess and you have been in fact, The Princess. I have made some mistakes and I have been far from a perfect father, but you should know that you have been loved. From the word "go'" you have been loved. You were born out of love and raised on the very foundation of all that word means. You have made your mother and me very happy. We are proud to claim you as our legacy.


"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 32/Learning to Listen

Week 32! She made it!

Sarah had her long sonograms and biophysical profiles today. There were feet everywhere, which is convenient because they poke feet to wake the babies.

Quad A: BPP--10
Heart Rate--133
Weight--4 lbs.
Cord Flow--Good
His head is tucked under everyone and hard to find.

Quad B: BPP--10
Heart Rate--133
Cord Flow--Good
He has not gained weight from two weeks ago. He is belly to belly with D.

Quad C: BPP--10
Heart Rate--135
Cord Flow--Good
The sonographer has decided that C rules the roost. She is always kicking
and poking everyone. They all react except A, who is not bothered by her.
She has hair!

Quad D: BPP--10
Heart Rate--138
Cord Flow--Good
Baby D has had a personality change. Instead of holding her
position, she slipped back on top of Baby B and she is not happy
about sharing her space. She has only gained one ounce in 2 weeks.

Sarah's belly is too big to stand normally on the scale, so she has to stand backwards. She only gained 2 lbs. this week. There is no room in her stomach for food anymore.

Since the sonogram showed that Baby B did not gain any weight in the last two weeks and Baby D only gained one ounce, the doctor came in to give Sarah her options:

1) She can schedule her delivery for this Thursday.
Pros: The delivery would be planned, and she would
avoid the risk of further pregnancy complications.
Cons: The babies would be in the NICU longer. They don't suck until 34
weeks, so they would be on feeding tubes.

2) She can take one day at a time and try to make it to 34 weeks.
Pros: The babies would have longer to mature and would spend less time
in the NICU.
Cons: She would have a greater risk of an emergency delivery, less chance of her
support system making it to the hospital, and more chance of a

The doctors discussed Sarah's test results and believe there is a good chance that the weights are inaccurate because the BPP's are excellent. However, there is a chance that things are starting to deteriorate. When they do, they will go downhill quickly. The doctors are split down the middle about whether Sarah should deliver now or try to wait it out. On the other hand, they are in agreement that making it to Week 35 is out of the question now. They are extremely pleased with her progress. Most of their triplet moms deliver at 34 weeks, so Sarah is doing well. But she has a decision to make.

My son asked me recently why God allows so many options to present themselves when He wants us to choose only one. That's a good question. Maybe God wants us to pursue Him so closely that the right path becomes obvious. Or maybe He just wants us to learn to listen.

Please pray that Sarah and Tony will make the right decision.

"God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That's why we have this Scripture text:

   No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
   Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
   What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you've seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions." I Corinthians 2

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Goodyear Blimp/God Hears and Answers

The Goodyear Blimp just flew by Sarah's hospital window. She did not appreciate it.

The Quads had their biophysical profiles and all received 10's. In this photo, Baby C and Baby B are looking toward the camera.

Tomorrow is a HUGE milestone. Week 32 has been the target date to avoid a high brain-bleed risk, which is the main concern right now. Sarah has officially stayed pregnant longer than the majority of quad moms. God has heard and answered our prayers!

 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."

Matthew 6:30-33

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hooray for 31 Weeks/ In Memory of Tim

Hooray for 31 Weeks!

Sarah's primary doctor came to say, "You're making us look good!" He said that the babies are a great weight, and are what quads usually weigh when they are weeks further. He also added, "We're going to be talking about you for a long time."

She is doing very well--no high blood pressure, no diabetes, and no preclampsia--so he wants her to hang in there. He would feel a lot better if they made it to 34 weeks. He is not worried about delivering the babies themselves. The whole thing should take about an hour. He will try to give each one his or her minute birthday, if possible. He will also try to avoid a blood transfusion. What he is mainly concerned about at this point is the ability of her overstretched uterus to contract. If it doesn't contract and Sarah starts hemorrhaging, he will perform an emergency hysterectomy. He said he will have medicines on hand to help, and will hope for the best outcome. Please pray that Sarah will not have complications and require the additional surgery.

Later, the nurse commented that she didn't want to scare her with typical quad mom conditions, but considering everything, Sarah is doing incredibly well. I told the nurse about Sarah's around-the-world prayer support, and that God was answering those prayers. The nurse added, "That's fantastic! Sarah is very fortunate."

Biophysicals were stressful today because the cord blood flow was checked on each baby. The sonographer measures the cord tension or blood flow from the placenta to the baby. Preferable scores are 3 or below. Quad A was 2.3, Quad B was 2.7, Quad C was 2. 8, but Quad D was 3.2. The technician was concerned enough to put Sarah in her wheelchair and look up the results in her reference materials. She came back with the report saying it was probably okay. Apparently, the flow score is like a blood pressure reading. It can change each minute. Everyone got 8's on the actual biophysicals. The sonographer said, "I have NO idea how they did it, but B and C have traded places, fluid sacs and all!" I guess it's a toss up now about who comes out first.

Sarah and Tony have some names tentatively chosen. It wasn't easy to come up with eight names. I read out hundreds of names and their meanings until Sarah came up with a list of first names that she liked. Then it was time for the second names. Those were easier. She and Tony finally agreed on the following LONG list of names:

Quad A--Landon (Gentle Strength) Anthony (Praiseworthy)
Quad B--Jackson (Gracious Gift of God) Thomas (Twin)
Quad C--Sarah (Princess) Isabella (Oath of God)
Quad D--Samantha (God Hears) Jo (May God Multiply)

I like the names, but I have a feeling that we will be calling them by their letters.

Recently, my cousin mentioned my tendency to turn everything into ministry. She is right. There's a reason.

When I was young, I rode the bus with a young man named Tim. We went to elementary and middle school together, sometimes in the same classes. Tim was older than I was because he had repeated a grade. He was reserved, and his eyes had a far-away look in them. I wondered what he had been through that made him so thoughtful.

Tim's house was not far from mine. It was an old, large house that was well-worn. There was a huge tree that was suitable for climbing in the front yard. Every day, the bus would stop on the busy street to let Tim out in front of his house. When he walked into the yard, the front door would burst open and a number of children would run out to meet him. Tim would drop his books and pick up a child or two. Laughing, the rest would jump around him. As the bus drove off, I would turn around in my seat to watch the regular reunion. I later heard that Tim was a father figure to his siblings. I admired him for that. We became friends.

When it was time for high school, I went to a private school and sadly left my friends behind. I often wondered about Tim, especially when I would drive by his house. We were growing up and moving on, and I had regrets. During all those years of bus ride conversations, I had never told Tim about the most important part of my life: my relationship with God.

One hot summer evening, I went to the fair with family and friends. It was so much fun--the animals, the cotton candy, and the carnival rides. We headed down the hill to ride when I saw a familiar face in the crowd. It was Tim! I was so glad to see him; he had been much on my mind lately. My group went over to talk to his group. Tim and I were the only acquaintances, so everyone else was silent while we caught up. He asked about school and my job. I asked about his family.

While Tim was filling me in, I felt God quietly speaking to me. "Invite Tim to church this Sunday." I laughed a little too loudly at what Tim was saying, and quickly asked about his car. I was stalling while I argued with God. "I can't ask him to church in front of all of these people!" I thought. "He will be embarrassed. I will be mortified."

I felt God speaking to me again, patiently repeating His directive. "Invite Tim to church this Sunday." Tim had a puzzled look on his face; he seemed to sense that I was distracted. He started backing up, telling me again how good it was to catch up. Relieved, I said my goodbyes. I promised myself I would call Tim privately to invite him to church when we didn't have an audience.

Our groups went in opposite directions. I stayed late at the fair, but did not enjoy the rest of my evening. I was feeling guilty.

I had to work the next day, and then babysat. I was so busy that I forgot to call Tim. I didn't feel so guilty anymore, anyway. That Sunday, I remember sitting in the pew at church, purposing to call him soon. But I didn't.

One day, I was standing in the kitchen when the phone rang. I answered. It was a friend who said quietly, "Sondra-did you hear about Tim?"

"Tim? What about him?" I replied while crunching a carrot stick." I saw him not too long ago."

She was silent for a few seconds. I put down my carrot. "What happened?" I asked.

"He's dead. He drowned in the lake."

I don't remember much else about that day. I wanted to run away as far as I could, hoping to escape the horror of what had happened. Tim was gone. I hadn't even asked him about his relationship with God. It was too late, and the reason I had kept quiet sickened me. I had been too embarrassed to ask a friend to come to church.

My grandma used to say, "Regret makes a miserable bedfellow." It's true. In the weeks that followed, I kept driving by Tim's house, full of misery and regret. I never saw the kids playing outside again.

Eventually, the house stood empty. It was torn down to make way for a business. To this day, every time I drive by I think of Tim. I will never forget him, nor will I ever stop regretting my selfish choice to remain quiet.

My cousin was right when she said that I turn whatever I do into ministry. If God gives me an opportunity, I try to point people to Christ. I do it in memory of Tim.

"It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work."

I Corinthians 3:7-8

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Bottom of the Bag of Tricks/ I Can Only Wonder

Uncle Eric is making sure Callie stays entertained while Mommy is in the hospital. One thing is consistent with carny kids: they have no fear of heavy machinery.

Some of the doctors think Sarah will not make it past 32 weeks, but they are still hopeful. They upped her dosage of Procardia and finally got the contractions stopped. They took her off the magnesium. It took about 6 hours for Sarah to feel human. They will try their best to keep Sarah off the magnesium, but she is to be prepared to go back on. They must be getting to the bottom of their bag-of-stop-labor tricks.

At 32 weeks, Sarah goes off the contraction-stopping medicine Sulindac because it can interfere with the babies' hearts. She has finished the antibiotic IV and switched to a preventive oral dose for the remainder of her pregnancy, thanks to Quad A making a bed out of her bladder. :)

One of the group doctors smiled and said, "I have to admit, Sarah, you are the biggest patient that I have right now." He could only say that to a Super Twin Mom and live to tell about it. Admittedly, Sarah is having trouble turning over in bed. Her belly is in the way of everything! She gets worn out by the evening and declares she is going to crawl after the doctor to beg him to deliver her. By morning, she is her cheerful self again.

The babies got 10's on their bios except for Baby B, who got an 8. We are pleased, because they are sluggish from the magnesium.

Monitoring is getting harder all of the time; quads hate the straps. The sonograms are comical with the major sibling wrestling matches going on in there. Quiet Baby D is even getting in on the act since her brother is invading her penthouse space.

My life remains interesting and exhausting. I have adjusted to having a demanding three-year-old around the clock. We actually have somewhat of a routine. I am learning to appreciate cartoons again. I LOVE the writers who have mercy and sneak in adult humor: Go Phineas and Ferb!

My husband and I are enjoying our time together. I forget how much I miss him during basketball season. Whenever we can, we take Callie to the park for ice cream and sprinkles.

I really should help Devon get her classroom set up and help Debi with her lesson plans. Eric could use some help getting ready for school. I have to clean out my office at church. Meanwhile, my house is a wreck since we run all the time, but what else is new? Then just to spite me, my dog had puppies--eleven to be exact, seven surviving. Yeah, just what we need: more babies!

In spite of all the craziness, I am amazed at God's hand on my life. He is always at work.

Awhile back, Tom and I decided to use our savings to help a family member out of a serious financial crisis. It was the one we were planning to use for college expenses for the kids. That may sound a little extreme, unless you know my husband. He is the most generous person I have ever met. Afterward, I felt God speak to my heart. He assured me, "I will take care of college." It was an interesting message that I tucked away and soon forgot. We started working and saving again. Life was busy.

Meanwhile, my kids got older. Before I knew it, Sarah graduated from high school. We tried to figure out college options for her, but Tom and I were at odds. He was adamant that she stay close to home. I was adamant that she go to Christian college. (Okay, I admit I am one of those fanatics who hates to pay someone to teach my kids wrong ideas.) When we could not agree on any school, we knew God had another option that we couldn't see. So we prayed and kept looking.

One day, my sister-in-law suggested that we consider a local Christian college that her pastor attended. When I walked in, I saw that my high school principal was part of the faculty. I knew that he would only affiliate himself with a school that was biblically sound. Then we found out that a bus driver and assistant coach for the basketball team were needed. Tom could do both. One more position was open: English Composition. In the end, Tom was driving and coaching, I was teaching, and Sarah's tuition was covered.

Devon started college at fourteen. She graduated with two degrees (with honors) in the time she would have earned one. Eric played basketball and started working toward his degree. Everything was going along smoothly.

Quietly, four little lives changed everything. Tom and I have made some drastic decisions to cut back on time commitments in order to help. We have prayed for direction for Eric since school starts soon. It is late to be transferring.

This week, we learned that Eric has been accepted into two Christian schools--one Division II NCAA-- with athletic scholarships to both. It looks like all we have to cover are his books, if that. God took care of it, just like He promised.

Sometimes I wonder why people claim to find the Christian life boring. God has surprises around every corner. I am rarely comfortable, but always amazed at His work in my life. I can't wait to see what's next. I can only wonder.

"Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."

Psalm 27:13,14

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bad Night/Visit from a Rabbi

Last night was a bad night for contractions. We were expecting some due to the steroid shots, but not like this. They started around one in the morning and went every two to four minutes all night. The Procardia didn't work. The Brethaline shot didn't work. Sadly, they brought in the dreaded magnesium drip. Sarah had a bullet of magnesium which puts the drug into her bloodstream very quickly. Then it is turned down to a slow but steady drip. The side affects include nausea and dizziness. It can also affect her kidneys. In addition, Sarah is so hot that her eyes feel like they are burning. I put a fan on her and turned it up full blast to help. She is miserable.

The doctor is hoping to get her a few more weeks along. However, she said that these contractions are not all from steroids. The resident thinks Sarah's uterus is done due to over 12 pounds of babies. The nurses think it won't be long now. Bottom line: she might be on the drip for awhile. I just keep praying for God's timing.

The chaplain stopped in for a visit. She is a student at Hebrew Union College studying to be a rabbi. We had a good talk about God at work in our lives, God's presence at birth and death, similar experiences while visiting Israel, and the power of prayer. I told her that Sarah's stay in the hospital has allowed us to share our faith with so many people. The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) will do the same, should we have to go there.

She prayed a beautiful prayer of blessing over Sarah and the babies. She asked me to pray, too, in spite of our differing beliefs. I prayed a prayer of blessing and protection over her and her family, asking God to give her such wonderful experiences with Him that she will never doubt His love and existence. I also asked Him to give her opportunities to minister to those who need it in the hospital. We felt God's presence in the room. She hugged me when she left. Please pray for her to come to the full knowledge of God's salvation through the gift of His only Son, our Messiah.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Over 12 Pounds of Baby/The End in Sight

Some of the nurses have become our friends. It will be hard to say goodbye when the time comes.

Last night was scary. Sarah had contractions every three minutes for several hours. She was given a shot of Brethine to stop labor. It is actually an asthma medicine which relaxes smooth muscle--both in the bronchial tree and in the uterus. She is already on regular doses of Procardia, a heart medicine, which also helps relax smooth muscle in the uterus.

Of all the drugs used, the first line of defense in preterm labor is the magnesium sulfate that Sarah was on when first admitted. Given by IV, it has an excellent safety margin, its levels can be checked with a blood test to avert toxicity, and it's been around for generations. Unfortunately, it makes patients feel miserable.

Apparently, Baby A is using Sarah's bladder for a bed, which has caused an infection that won't go away. Infections can cause labor, so the doctor ordered IV antibiotics for four days. Next, he ordered another round of steroids to speed lung and brain development. The steroid shot hurts and makes Sarah have contractions, but it is a miracle drug for unborn babies.

Finally, the contractions stopped. I wheeled her down for a full sonogram on all the babies. Quad A is so low in the pelvic area that his head is impossible to measure. No wonder she is having so much discomfort! She is also having some trouble with her left leg. It is weak and hard to maneuver. Please pray that she doesn't fall.

Here is the Bio-Physical Profile Report:

Quad A:

Fluid around baby-good
Practicing breathing-good
Heart rate--128
Monitoring results--good
BPP--10 out of 10
Weight--3 lbs. 8 oz.

Quad B:

Fluid around baby-good
Practicing breathing-good
Heart rate--160
Monitoring results--good
BPP--10 out of 10
Weight--2 lbs. 14 oz.
Position--Breech Oblique

Quad C:

Fluid around baby-good
Practicing breathing-good
Heart rate--146
Monitoring results--good
BPP--10 out of 10
Weight--3 lbs. 2 oz.

Quad D:

Fluid around baby-good
Practicing breathing-good
Heart rate--158
Monitoring results--good
BPP--10 out of 10
Weight--3 lbs. 4 oz.

That puts the baby weight alone at over 12 pounds, not counting placenta and amniotic fluid. There is a 17% discordance between the biggest baby and the smallest. They like it to be less than 20%, so all is well!

At this point, the doctor is still hoping to get her to 35 weeks. They will make every attempt to stop contractions for the next 2 weeks.

From 32 to 34 weeks, she stops taking one of her anti-contraction medicines because it hinders the closing of the soft spots in the skulls. If she goes into labor during those 2 weeks, it depends on the doctor on call whether he will stop labor or not.

After 34 weeks, when she goes into labor they will deliver her by C-section.

I had an unintended compliment today from one of the nurses. All this time, she thought I was Sarah's sister. I am not sure how much Sarah appreciates it, but I am happy. :) I thanked the nurse, but she replied, "Don't thank me! Go home and thank your mother for the good genes!" She is right. My mom is certainly forever young.

So many people have come and gone since Sarah has been here. Many have heartbreaking stories to tell. Sometimes I wish I could go into each room to offer encouragement. Instead, I pray for them all. There are also so many kind nurses and employees who go out of their way to serve and heal. I pray that God will bless them for all of their care.

God's plans are so much more involved that I could ever imagine. Even though it seems as if we have taken an unexpected detour from our well-planned lives, God isn't wasting our time. So we try to let everyone know how God is working in amazing ways. As each day passes and the end of this alternate route is in sight, I pray that others will see the biggest miracle--the transforming power of Jesus.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 30 Already?/The Last Tadpole

Today is another milestone--Week 30 already! I can hardly believe she has made it this far, especially when I see all of the people around us who have come and gone. Many have delivered their babies far too early. The nurses especially appreciate the milestones that Sarah reaches. Some of the pregnant ones are so affected by the work they do that they won't let anyone give them baby showers until they pass week 28. They have seen too much heartbreak. They are so cheerful and encouraging. They help us forget how precarious a high-risk pregnancy can be.

The routine has a way of making me think that this time in my life will last forever. The drive to the hospital, fixing Callie's hair in pigtails, helping Sarah put on her socks, having conversations with the nurses, confiding my daily stresses to Tom--all of these things make up my life right now. Any way you look at it, it is almost over. I have the strangest feeling that I am going miss this time.

Tom was going through some papers and found something I wrote a few years ago to encourage fellow homeschoolers, which is another time in my life that I miss. He thought some of you might enjoy it:

The Last Tadpole

Just yesterday, it seems, I was kneeling by the pond catching slippery tadpoles for my daughter to raise for a science experiment. Today, I am frantically trying to find the right dress to wear to her wedding. I can't believe it's over, my homeschooling journey.

We started this experiment when Sarah turned six. Teaching my children soon became a way of life, my identity. The daily monotony of routine made me assume that lesson planning would last forever, yet the days were racing by. Now Sarah will soon complete her student teaching and her degree in Elementary Education. One week later, she is getting married and leaving home. My homeschooling ministry with her is finished.

Incredibly enough, I don't have any regrets. I tried to think of just one to make my story more credible, but I can't. There have been only rewards.

What have I learned?

1. The hardest part of homeschooling is discipline: not for the children, but for me. Teaching at home requires self-discipline to make the children mind, to teach them every day, to juggle other responsibilities, and to keep on track spiritually. My biggest battle has always been with me.

2. The best curriculum is the one that works for me right now. Anything will work as long as I do the work, every day. Cost, color, and popularity are not important factors. What works this year may not work next year. Everything changes, usually just when I get comfortable.

3. Giving God the first part of the day is the key to getting more accomplished. Reading what God has to say helps me get in the right frame of mind to face the day's challenges. Talking to God helps me to trust His plan. Prayer puts a protective cover on the day's events. When I put God first in my school subjects, He multiplies my efforts, producing amazing results. When I don't put Him first, I don't accomplish much--especially nothing that will matter for eternity.

4. Interruptions should be welcomed as divine appointments from God. My children have learned more from the unexpected events than they have from the planned activities. God is always working, so I need to be flexible. I need to expect the unexpected.

5. I am the best teacher for my children, even if I am not the only one. There are many others with gifts and talents that I don't have, but those people are not the best teachers for my family, regardless of their degrees. God knew what my children needed, and He also knew that I was the one to best prepare them for their future life and ministries.

6. Satan hates homeschooling. He hates the process. He hates the results. He hates the investment. He hates the relationships. He especially hates the spiritual benefits. Satan is always trying to distract and discourage me, so I have to remember the fact that discouragement is his greatest weapon. I pray daily for God to encourage me, then I look everywhere for the smallest encouraging things. I write them down. I share them. I remember why I am doing what I am doing, and that God is at work.

7. God honors my sacrifice. He knows that I gave up sewing, crafting, working, friends, shopping, skiing, reading, relaxing, manicures, mall walking, gardening, and "me" time to homeschool. He is rewarding my service to Him every day, in many ways. Some are small, like a parking space close to the door of the grocery. Some are bigger, like a good score on the SAT's in a subject we struggled with all year. Others are immeasurable, like the fact that my children serve the Lord and honor Him, and encourage others to do the same.

8. Homeschooling offers no guarantees. While it offers rewarding opportunities to make lasting impressions on my children, they are still free-will agents. They will make their own choices and their own mistakes. They will still experience teenage angst.

9. Homeschooling is not for everyone. Many people have made the wrong assumption that because I have been so active in the homeschooling movement, I insist that everyone should teach their children at home. That is not true. I have always believed that each one of us should find God's plan for her life and follow it. His way for me is always best but rarely the same as your journey. And yes, there were plenty of days that I enviously watched my neighbors put their kids on the school bus. I am a school teacher by profession, so I know that there are many advantages to traditional school that are hard, if not impossible, to replicate at home. Bottom line: Find out what God wants you do with your life and do it. No apologies necessary.

10. Homeschooling does not last forever. It just feels like it will. There will be a last struggle with vowel sounds, a last request for Math help, a last tadpole. Remember to cherish the monotony. You will treasure the memory someday.

The Bible is true. We reap what we sow. I have eternity ahead to do all those other "things" that I have given up. Right now I have a wedding to prepare. Regrets? None. Well, maybe just one. It would be nice to hold Sarah's little hand while we catch one more tadpole, and to teach her for just one more day.

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." Ephesians 6:7