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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Months Old/Quite a Love Story

Quads—Two Months Old

The quads are two months old. It is hard to believe they have been here that long. This summer is still fresh in my mind. I never thought that I would miss the long drive to the hospital, but sometimes I do.

Since we live out in the country, I am used to driving at least one-half hour when I go somewhere. I normally use that time to clear my head, turning my worries into conversations with God. Now that I am home with demanding children (as well as Callie and the quads), I have to create time and space alone. Eric’s room would be a good place to hide, but it makes me sad to go in there. Outside is good, weather permitting. Right now I am at the kitchen table with headphones on. You do what you have to do.

A Love Story (Part I)

When I held Sarah in my arms for the first time, I wondered what God had in store for her. She was so fragile and precious. I knew God had a plan because it was a miracle that we had her in the first place. I had toxemia and was on bed rest for several weeks. I didn’t feel sick; I just had to rest on one side. When I finally went into labor, the doctor told me he wanted to do a C-section. I was disappointed. I felt like a failure. But I had been praying for the doctor and decided to take his advice.

After she was born, he told me that I was very “lucky.” Apparently, there was no way I could have delivered Sarah naturally. Also, the cord was wrapped around her neck several times, so a normal delivery would have killed her. God knew, so He protected her.

Right away, Tom and I began praying specifically for every area of Sarah’s future. Those prayers included the person she would marry. I kept a list for her future spouse in my journal. I prayed for his family, his health, his purity, his salvation, his protection and his location. I even prayed that I would have a part in helping to raise my future grandchildren. I asked God to decide how many there would be. We didn’t know who Sarah’s husband would be or what he would look like, but we knew he was out there somewhere. So we prayed.

A Love Story (Part II)

Hundreds of miles away, a young woman was living in Boston. Her parents had named her Cathy, a fitting name that means “pure.” Sensitive and trusting, she was a pretty wisp of a girl, with long black hair and dark eyes. She was part of the hippy generation, but in the purest sense of the word: a beautiful flower child who was searching for love.

As it sometimes happens, Cathy found herself pregnant at fifteen. Scared and confused, she turned to her parents for help. They took her to get an abortion, a traumatic event that changed the fragile girl forever. She spent the next few years in a blur of bad relationships, becoming pregnant once again. Now that she was older, she took matters into her own hands and gave the child life. The baby was adopted by a loving couple. Still, the decision haunted her. She felt so lost, so alone.

A deep-thinking, complex man with brown curly hair and a contagious smile was the next person in Cathy's life. He was a gifted athlete who had once made the Celtics try-outs. He was packed with personality, strength and potential; he made her smile. He seemed to be the one she was searching for, but he was too good to be true. Tragically, he was addicted to drugs, and he introduced Cathy to the numbing force of heroin.

For years afterward, Cathy lived with her lover and her drugs. Soon she was expecting again. This time she was determined to keep the child, in spite of her addiction. Conceived with love, her sweet baby boy was born in the spring. With brown, curly hair and a contagious smile, he looked like his father. She named him Antonio after his dad, but called him “Tony.” She loved him more than life itself.

Life in the projects was not easy for a child of heroin addicts. Overdoses and ambulances were routine for the little boy, who experienced the unspeakable. Tony was an intelligent child, so he learned how to survive. In the midst of all the drama, however, some things were normal. He developed a close relationship with his grandpa, who made him a devoted Red Sox fan. Like other children his age, he played, he learned, he laughed, he cried, he grew, and he loved.

The plans that Tony's dad had made for their future would not come to pass. One miserable day, the little boy learned that his father had overdosed on heroin and died. Tony and his mother were alone. Tony was only six years old.

Fortunately, Cathy was a survivor. She was stronger than anyone knew. The whole time she had been searching for love, God was watching, keeping, caring. He reached down into the dark places of Boston, surrounded her, and drew her out.

God brought a good man into her life who loved her strong but gentle spirit. He also loved her son. They married. One day they learned that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to make them pure and save them from their sins, so they gave Him their hearts. Everywhere she went, God went before her to shield her way. Now nothing could ever separate Cathy from the love she had been searching for her whole life. No longer bound, Tony’s mother was beautiful and free, both inside and out.

Cathy's husband adopted Tony and raised him as his own. A job transfer brought the growing family from Boston to Ohio. They moved into a farm house that was down the road from mine. I met Tony and his parents when they attended the homeschool support group that I was leading. I was in awe of their beautiful testimony of God's redeeming love, but I had no idea that I was part of it.

Tony started working for Tom. It became obvious to all of us that he had fallen for Sarah. He called one day for permission to court her. My first instinct was to refuse; Sarah was only sixteen. Before the words could leave my mouth, God cautioned me. “You have prayed for the person Sarah will marry all these years. Now it’s time to trust Me.” I went up to my room and took out my prayer journal, slowly turning to the page about Sarah. I ran my finger down to the place where I had requests for her future husband. Next to the entry I wrote “Tony.”

Tony and Sarah were inseparable all through high school. Tony went away to college in Florida and lasted exactly thirty-six days before he came back home. After that, Sarah and Tony attended the same college here in town. When Tony proposed, Tom told Sarah that she should wait until she graduated to marry. She did. She married one week afterward.

A Love Story (Part III)

Sarah was born to be a mother. When she was little, she took good care of her brother and sister. Naturally, she was eager to have children of her own. After two years, she started to get worried. She and Tony went to the doctor for advice and tests. The news was heartbreaking. Tony’s difficult past had come back to hurt him. Heroin damages unborn children. It especially affects a child’s reproductive organs. There was not much hope.

They followed the doctor’s prescription, and then waited and prayed. One month later, Sarah learned she was expecting a child. The doctor was amazed. Callie was born in the spring and had curly hair, just like her father. She is a beautiful picture of God’s restoring love for His children. How could we ask for more?

When Callie was almost three, Tony wanted to give Callie a brother or a sister. They went back to the doctor. This time, things didn’t work out. Month after disappointing month, the news was the same: no baby. They knew they should be thankful that they had been blessed with one child. It just seemed like their family wasn't complete.

The doctor visits were expensive and uncomfortable. Eventually, Sarah faced the possibility that she was only meant to have one. She surrendered her desires and decided that God knows best. When Tony wanted to try one last time, Sarah agreed. They went back to the doctor and waited.

When it was time, Sarah took the pregnancy test. It was negative. She called me, sounding resigned. “I’m not pregnant. I guess that’s it.” She didn’t need comforting, but I tried to make her feel better anyway. I wanted her to trust God’s plan, even if it wasn’t hers. I reminded her that we had Beach Waterpark passes. It would be a fun summer.

Two days later Sarah woke up feeling incapacitated by nausea. She took another test. This time there was no question--Sarah was pregnant! Before long we learned that the couple who couldn’t have children was expecting not one but FOUR babies. Quadruplets!

The book of Joel says, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.” With each of Sarah's pregnancies, God overcame sin’s destruction. In a sense, the quads have changed Tony's history. In a way we couldn’t foresee or imagine, God created an impossible legacy that restored what drugs had taken away. And if that wasn’t enough, God used a pro-life documentary to encourage people all over the world to pray for the quads. Overnight, God gave Tony a praying Christian family that takes the rest of us generations to acquire.

I often wonder-- if Tony could find his father’s family, what would they think of his story? I imagine that somewhere in Tony’s past, someone was quietly praying for the dark-eyed beauty and her brave little son.

Cathy had a heart for God from the time she was small, but she didn’t know how to find Him. So God came to her. He watched over her and Tony the whole time that we were praying for Sarah’s future husband. God went before Tony to protect him and guide him. All that time, God was loving Cathy and making a way to give her the desires of her heart. She had finally found the purest, most perfect love there is. Now that’s quite a love story.

At The Cross
(Darlene Zschech)

Oh Lord You've searched me
You know my way
Even when I fail You
I know You love me

Your holy presence
Surrounding me
In every season
I know You love me
I know You love me

At the cross I bow my knee
Where Your blood was shed for me
There's no greater love than this
You have overcome the grave
Your glory fills the highest place
What can separate me now

You go before me
You shield my way
Your hand upholds me
I know You love me

At the cross I bow my knee
Where Your blood was shed for me
There's no greater love than this
You have overcome the grave
Your glory fills the highest place
What can separate me now?

You tore the veil
You made a way
When You said that it is done

And when the earth fades
Falls from my eyes
And You stand before me
I know You love me
I know You love me

At the cross I bow my knee
Where your blood was shed for me
There's no greater love than this
You have overcome the grave
Your glory fills the highest place
What can separate me now?

You tore the veil
You made a way
When You said that it is done

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Visit to the Eye Doctor/ Learning to Trust

Great-Grandma Stella has no problem holding her grand babies. I can't wait to watch her trick for feeding and changing all four. Maybe I'll learn something!

Great-Grandpa Bob is happy to hold just one at a time.

With oxygen going in the house, we had to go outside for Devon's birthday candles.

When (and if) the babies are occupied, it is "Mommy Time" for Callie.

Jackson went back to the eye doctor. Jackson hates the eye drops and the procedure to check his eyes. The whole thing is very uncomfortable. After the last visit, his eyes stayed dilated for two days! His eyes are maturing, but aren't there yet. The doctor is hopeful that he will do well, as long as he doesn't get sick. If he does, his progress will likely regress.

Samantha has to be seen next. She is at risk for ROP (Retaniopathy of Prematurity) because of the oxygen and being septic.

We heard good news yesterday! Samantha is approved for the monthly RSV shots through the entire cold/flu season. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the #1 cause of hospitalization in babies under a year of age in the U.S. The reason the shots must be repeated monthly is that they are not vaccinations. They are medication that reduces the severity of RSV. If preemies do get RSV, the shots should help them just get cold symptoms that full-term babies get instead of winding back up in the hospital with life-threatening respiratory distress. The shots are terribly expensive. We are hoping that insurance will follow the NICU's recommendation and cover the other three babies as well. So far, they are only approved through January. Please pray that they will be approved.

Lack of sleep and demanding babies has lulled us into a mind-numbing routine, so we forget how dangerous the common cold can be to preemies. We are trying to follow the doctors' advice, but it is difficult. There are so many decisions that have to be made daily. For example, Callie is not supposed to be around groups of children in order to avoid exposure to illness, but she LOVES going to church. She has had to miss several birthday parties, which she also loves. I keep telling myself that we are all making sacrifices, but it is hard to know what is best. I have a hard time balancing faith and action. I know God is in control, but I also know that I have to discern His plan for me each day.

Years ago, I learned an interesting lesson about faith, and I learned it from--of all things--a dog. I was in a weekly Bible study with a friend who had a beautiful female boxer named Whitney. Since my friend and her husband worked long hours, Whitney spent her days in a cage. When she came out of her cage in the evening, she had energy to burn. In spite of that energy, every week that I sat at the table for the study, Whitney would come sit beside me and put her head in my lap. Apparently, we had a connection. I was raised with a boxer, so I am partial to the breed. For some reason, Whitney was partial to me.

Sadly, my friend was getting a divorce and moving. She asked me to take Whitney. I didn't want another dog, but I couldn't say no. Whitney joined our family. She was a typical boxer--spirited, protective, loyal, energetic, strong and smart. She could catch a football mid-air and play keep-away. If someone ran from her, she would take him out at the knees in a hilarious Boxer tackle.

She loved being turned loose on our mini-farm. She would chase the horses, antagonize the goats and run as if her life depended on it. We hated leaving the house because Whitney would find a way to break out. Tom had to replace several windows after she crashed through them to escape. She didn't run away. She would just wait at the end of our gravel driveway for us to come home. She would chew on the windows sills, scratch the doors, and bite the doorknobs. Even ropes and chains couldn't hold her. She would break them like they were made of string. After life in a cage, this dog wanted to be free.

After much trial and error, we thought we had finally secured the house. We left for church, and returned to find her sitting in the driveway. We couldn't figure out how she was escaping. It was a mystery that our neighbor finally solved. One day, he stopped by in his pick up truck and said, "That's quite a dog you got there. Never seen one that can do what she does."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Jump off the roof. Seen her do it twice."

It was true. Whitney was going behind my bed, pushing out the window air conditioner, climbing out on the roof of our front porch, and jumping off. Incredible.

As a teacher, I am somewhat partial to my difficult students. I assume it is due to the amount of attention those students require. The same is true of my dogs. Whitney required lots of attention so she became my constant companion. I loved her.

One day we left for a family birthday. We returned late that night, expecting to find Whitney waiting by the driveway. She wasn't. We went inside and saw the answering machine blinking. The message was from our vet. Whitney had been hit by a car in front of our house. The speed limit was 55 mph.

I returned the call right away, even though it was 11:00 pm. Things were bad. He said, "Whitney's head is swollen to the size of a watermelon. Her eyes are completely dilated and she is sneezing bones out of her nose. She had a huge seizure, fell off the examination table and has been unresponsive ever since. I'm sorry, but she's brain dead."

I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the door frame. "Why?" I wondered. "Why did I bring her home in the first place? Why couldn't this have happened months ago, before we became so attached?" My kids were anxiously watching my face, waiting for me to get off the phone to hear what had happened.

"Are you going to put her down?" I managed to ask.

"I don't think that's necessary. I'll save you the money." He was a farm vet, and he didn't mince words. "She isn't in any pain; she won't last through the night. Just call in the morning, and we'll decide what to do with her body."

I hung up the phone and delivered the bad news. Devon immediately burst into tears and ran over to Whitney's quilt, hugging the worn football. I sat down on the couch next to her, defeated.

After a few minutes, Devon sat up straight and asked a very interesting question. "Mom, why can't we ask God to heal Whitney?"

I looked at Tom. He shook his head and said, "You can handle this one." Devon was staring at me.

Stumbling over my words, I tried to explain. "Well, we can ask, Honey, but you need to prepare yourself. The Whitney we know is already dead."

Angry now, Devon cried and pleaded with me. "But Mom, you always say that God can do anything! You said that we are supposed to ask Him to help us and that He can move mountains. Why can't we ask God to heal Whitney?"

I took a deep breath and sank into the couch. It was bad enough that I would have to bury my dog in the morning, but now I would also have to explain difficult spiritual areas to my children that I barely understood myself.

It was late. I was so tired. "Okay," I relented. "Let's ask Him to heal Whitney."

We prayed together as a family, a simple prayer asking God to heal Whitney. Devon smiled, wiped her eyes and went to bed. So did I, but I didn't sleep. I was dreading that phone call in the morning.

As soon as my alarm went off, I called the vet. "Should we come now to get her body?" I asked.

Sounding puzzled, he answered, "Well, I'm not sure why, but Whitney is still alive. Let's just give it a few more hours before we put her down. Nothing has changed since last night."

"Okay," I replied. Then I asked, "Can I come see her for a few minutes?"

He reluctantly agreed. "It's not pretty," he warned.

I grabbed Whitney's quilt and my keys, threw the dog blanket in the back seat of my car, and drove to the vet. I'm not sure why I went. I guess I just didn't want her to die alone in a vet's cage. Maybe I wanted her to know that we loved her. I regreted that I hadn't kept her safe.

The receptionist looked up at me with sad eyes and took me to the back of the building. It was a pole barn that contained large shower-like stalls. Whitney was about four stalls down. She was unconscious and sprawled awkwardly on a rubber woven mat on the cold floor. Her head was swollen to twice its normal size. There was blood and brain fluid running from her nose and mouth that made a long trail to a nearby drain in the floor. "I'm so sorry," murmured the receptionist, patting my arm. Her footsteps echoed loudly as she walked away. She closed the door and left me alone with Whitney.

Slowly, I sank down on the floor and carefully covered Whitney with her quilt. There was no response. I leaned my head back against the wall and closed my eyes. That's when I realized I wasn't alone in the building after all. God was speaking to me. He said, "Ask me to heal her."

Angry now, I opened my eyes and blinked back tears. I didn't want to ask God to heal this dog.

To be honest, every time I thought about asking God to heal anyone, I felt cold. My dad had been sick since I was sixteen. He had suffered terribly. In spite of my fervent prayers, God had not healed him. As a matter of fact, Dad kept getting worse, living with pain that would have broken most men. Dad never complained. He just kept serving God and encouraging me to do the same.

"I am NOT going to ask You to heal a stupid animal when I have been begging You for years to heal my dad!" I whispered as I rubbed my sleeve across my nose.

Patiently, He said it again. "Ask me to heal her."

I exhaled deeply. I knew better than to keep arguing. I am a first-born, after all. I placed my hand gently on Whitney's back and clenched my teeth. "Please. Heal her," I asked. The instant I spoke, I felt something melting inside of me, just like a large block of ice under a heater. There had been something cold inside of me, and I hadn't even realized it was there. But God did.

Whitney hadn't moved a muscle. I wasn't even sure that she was breathing. Emotionally spent, I stood up, walked out, and drove home.

Early the next morning, the phone rang. It was the vet. "You might want to come see this," he said. Tom and I jumped in the car and rushed over. We couldn't believe what we saw. Whitney was sitting up in her stall. The vet said, "She's blind and deaf and her face is crushed, but she's alive. I don't get it." I told him about Devon's prayer. He said, "All I know is that this is a miracle."

While the vet was talking to Tom, I was watching Whitney. Each time Tom spoke, she jerked her head around trying to find his voice. She could hear, and she recognized his voice.

Every day after that, Whitney got a little better. Even her sight returned. After a week, we brought her home. The kids were so excited. "Whitney!" exclaimed Devon when she saw her. She ran over and hugged the dog for a long time. "See Mom? I told you God could heal her."

Whitney kept improving until we had our horse-chasing, runner-tackling Whitney back. She went on to live a normal lifespan. The accident left her with teeth that were crooked from her swollen head. I think it was a reminder so I would never forget what God had done. He not only healed a brain-dead dog, but He also healed a long-dead place in my heart.

God had a lesson for me to learn: He could have healed my dad in a heartbeat--just like He healed Whitney--if it were part of His plan. But it wasn't. His plan for my dad was different and greater than anything I could imagine. I just needed to trust Him.

My dad also went on to live a normal lifespan. After living his life as a hero of the faith, he died on February 26, 2008. Devon and Eric sang this song at his funeral:

I Will Lift My Eyes by Bebo Norman

God My God, I cry out
Your beloved needs you now
God be near, calm my fear
And take my doubt
Your kindness is what pulls me up,
Your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes to the maker of the mountains
I can't climb
I will lift my eyes
to the calmer, of the oceans
raging wild
I will lift my eyes
to the healer, of the hurt
I hold inside

I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to you

God my God let mercy sing
her melody over me
God right here all I bring is all of me
Your kindness is what pulls me up,
your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes
to the maker, of the mountains
I can't climb
I will lift my eyes
to calmer, of the oceans
raging wild
I will lift my eyes
to the healer, of the hurt
I hold inside

cause you are
and you were
and you will be forever
The lover I need to save me
Cause you fashioned the earth
and Hold it together
God so hold me now

I will lift my eyes
to the maker, of the mountains
I can't climb
I will lift my eyes
to calmer, of the oceans
raging wild
I will lift my eyes
to the healer, of the hurt
I hold inside

God My God, I cry out
your beloved needs you now

Thanks for praying.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Three Peas in a Pod/A Letter

Three Peas in a Pod--A, B, & C--They all prefer sleeping on their left sides, but we have to keep turning them so they won't get flat heads. They are stubborn! Landon is so strong he just flips back the way he started.

We have found that a nursing pillow works well to give these three "tummy time." It is shaped like a "C," so it snuggles them well. We have to watch them the whole time that they are on their bellies to make sure they don't smother. Samantha can stay on her tummy all of the time since she is on a monitor. The doctor said that by the time she is off the oxygen,she will be strong enough to turn away from the pillow.

We are trying to get them off the hospital pacifiers. We want to switch to ones that are more readily available, color coded and dentist friendly. It isn't working. They LOVE the vanilla-scented "boo-boos."

Samantha had another doctor visit. The neonatologist was pleased that she is doing better now that we turned up the oxygen. She gained weight, which is encouraging. We are having a problem with her nasal cannula. When Samantha pulls it out, the tape comes with it, leaving her skin raw. She is a very determined little girl! Tom has been helping me with her at night. She is very content when Papaw feeds her. She is so tiny in his big arms. Precious!

Samantha prefers to sleep in the nursing pillow. It must make her feel warm and secure to have the "arms" around her at night.

We have to switch and fill her oxygen tanks every day. It is a major, time-consuming production! The spare tank doesn't have water attached, so her nose gets very dry while we are filling the big tank. She gets frustrated when her nose is stuffy. There is not much we can do, other than use saline drops called Little Noses. If she gets too congested, we have to take her to the emergency room.

When (and if) the babies are occupied, it is "Mommy Time" for Callie.

Sarah had her six-week check up with the obstetrician. He was very pleased with her progress. She has lost all but 15 pounds of her pregnancy weight. I guess she was all baby. The doctor said that Sarah is one of the best multiples moms he has ever had. He was pleased that she was so easy-going, she put up with a lot, and she didn't complain in spite of difficult circumstances. She is also welcome to come back to their practice if she ever has another child, although he said he would probably refer her for a psych evaluation if she does. He said, "I don't have many heroes, but you are one of them."

At the end of the visit, the OB said that he is going to write a letter to the first doctor to inform him that Sarah delivered four babies, and that they are all healthy.

Thanks for praying.

"Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

Monday, October 11, 2010

40 Weeks Today/ Life is Good

We had a visit to the neonatiologist. It was quite a production, but we pulled it off.

Landon (A)is 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 1/4". He is the longest of the four.

Jackson (B)is 5 lbs. 12 oz. and 18 3/4". He is no longer the smallest quad. He has passed up Samantha!

Isabella (C)is 6 lbs. 15 oz. and 19". She still weighs the most.

Samantha (D)is the tiny one now. She is 5 lbs. 10 oz. and 18 1/2 ".

Almost Ready to Go

Transporting Samantha

Sarah in the Warner Brothers van that Tony's parents bought for them. Hooray! They all fit!

Callie was excited to go back to Good Sam. "I love the hospital!" she said. I guess it feels like home after being there all summer. She knows all the nurses.

She seemed so small before the quads were born. Callie is growing up very quickly.

We decided to put the girls in one stroller and the boys in another. It was easier than carrying the car seats.

The boys

The visit was crazy with so many babies. We took up two examination rooms. I was in one and Sarah was in another. My mom sat outside and fed whoever was crying. Callie ran back and forth between the two rooms. The doctor, nurses, and occupational therapists were very helpful and patient. They know the quads since they took care of them in the NICU. They are the best!

Samantha's oxygen was turned up to prevent her desats. I hope it works. We noticed right away that her color is better and she eats more. The doctor said it might be a few months before we can wean her off the oxygen.

Guess who was discharged from the regular neonatologist visits? Our little rock star, of course! Jackson doesn't have to come back until his gestational age of 6 months, or April. The other three are still coming in regularly.

Jackson does have eye appointments every two weeks. He is at risk for retiniopathy of prematurity due to his birth weight, as is Samantha due to the oxygen. Please pray for Jackson's and Samantha's eyes.

Since we were on the same floor, we stopped by Sarah's home for the summer on our way out: Special Care Obstetrics. The nurses wanted to finally meet the babies they took care of for so long. We sure do miss everyone!

The babies are 40 Weeks today! This is the actual due date of the quads. I was looking back at some of my first posts to this blog. I was so worried and shocked. These 40 weeks have been some of the hardest I have ever been through, but God took care of us. We have experienced so many emotional extremes, and it is not over yet.

When I think back to the time when Sarah could first feel the babies move, I remember how she could tell what each child was like almost from the beginning. She was right. They are exactly like she said they would be.

Landon (A) is very laid back. Nothing seems to bother him. He is last to be fed because he is so patient. He is more alert and aware than the others. He has big eyes that stare at me intently when I feed him, as if he is trying to figure me out. If and when he does cry, we know something is up.

Jackson (B)is not easy going or patient. We have decided that he doesn't mind being a quad as long as he is the center of attention. He cries loudly until someone picks him up, and then a miracle happens--instant silence. He is small but his lungs are BIG. He likes to watch football with his dad or papaw.

Isabella (C) is the most high maintenance. She has a high-pitched, ear-piercing wail that sounds like some kind of injured animal. She also demands immediate attention in a different way. She holds her breath until she turns blue. She also projectile vomits, so we MOVE when she cries, and fast. It is a toss up about who is the loudest between Jackson and Isabella. They usually cry together, so the volume is incredible. On the other hand, Isabella is sweet and cuddly, especially when she gets her way.

Samantha (D) is more laid back than Jackson and Isabella, but is not as patient as Landon. The jury is still out on Sammy Jo, because she is not wireless like her siblings. If she cries, she desats (either oxygen level is down or heart rate is up, or both), so we have to keep her happy day and night. She is the smallest and is very frail. Her cry is lower and more pitiful than Isabella's. She knows what she wants. She, along with all of her equipment, sleeps in our bedroom. When she is ready for bed, she fusses until we caravan her and her machines up the stairs and into bed.

Callie is having a time of transition. Her little world has changed. She is good about helping with the babies: getting diapers, getting wipes, getting bottles, getting burp cloths. It's a good thing she loves to help.

My life has changed, too. Right now I am holding a baby with my left arm, swinging another baby with my right foot, and typing with one finger. It's not easy. I measure my days by three-hour feedings, and I long ago lost track of how many diapers I've changed. The crying doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, but not going to work bothers me more.

John Stott says, "It is a mistake to be in a hurry or to grow impatient with God. It took him about 2,000 years to fulfil his promise to Abraham in the birth of Christ. It took him 80 years to prepare Moses for his life work. It takes him about 25 years to make a mature human being. So then, if we have to make a decision by a certain deadline, we must make it. But if not, and the way forward is uncertain, it is wiser to wait. I think God says to us what he said to Joseph and Mary when sending them into Egypt with the child Jesus: 'Stay there until I tell you.' In my experience more mistakes are made by precipitate action than by procrastination."

I have been too busy for too long, and I know it. God has arranged for me to slow down for awhile, if you can call this slowing down. I am right where I need to be. On the bright side, I did put on make up today. Life is good.

Thanks for praying.

"Let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts."
Colossians 3:15

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Samantha-A Full-Time Job/The Desires of My Heart

We thought we had it all figured out with three of the quads home. It was easier than we thought. We even had a workable schedule that we could live with. Then Samantha came home.

Her oxygen requirements make her a full-time job. Fortunately, Samantha is easy-going, like Landon. She doesn’t fuss or demand attention. She does, however, rip out her nasal cannula every five seconds. Without it, her oxygen levels drop and the alarms go off. We have to keep track of her heart rate. We have to make sure her oxygen tanks are full, hydrated and correctly attached. We have to keep her oxygen sensor in the right place and move it each day so her skin won't get irritated. Although we are glad she is home, Samantha is a lot of work. Basically, we just moved her little NICU cubicle home. The oxygen guy came to set things up, and now we do the nursing.

At night, Sarah takes three babies. I get Samantha. Neither one of us gets more than an hour or two of sleep at a time. I am not a napper, but lately, I could fall asleep anytime, anywhere. There are some advantages to no sleep. First, it doesn’t really matter when I go to bed, since I don’t sleep long anyway. My bedtime is fluid. Second, closing my eyes for five minutes while I hold a baby gives me enough energy to keep going for hours. If only I could get five of hours of sleep at one time, I would be invincible!

My mom is a work horse. She cooks, cleans, babysits and does windows. Sometimes I just stare at her energizer-bunny ways and wonder how she managed to be born caffeinated.

The quads are oblivious to our sleep-deprivation. They sleep all day and wake up at night. They do better if we put them together. Two per swing works out comfortably.

Baby B--Jackson and Baby D--Samantha

The doctor suggested that we put them in the middle of things during the day to correct their day/night mix up. She said the noise would keep them awake during the day. As you can see, it is working quite well. :) We need night vision in order to see their eyes open.

Baby A--Landon and Baby C--Isabella

Tom surprised me with roses! They are so beautiful. He has been a big help since the quads came-- doing the grocery shopping, entertaining Callie and holding babies. He cheers me on when the alarms go off all through the night, thanks very much.

When Tom and I got married, I never dreamed that one day we would be the grandparents of quadruplets. I had no idea what the future would hold. I knew it wouldn't always be easy, but I did know without a doubt that Tom was right for me.

My parents and grandparents gave me a precious gift when I was born. They began praying that I would marry the right person and that God would be with my future husband. It made sense to me. God has a plan for my life. His plan is best. He must have someone picked out for me to fulfill that plan. So I purposed to marry only if I had the blessing of my parents.

I decided to be proactive. I told the Lord that I wanted to have some input. I tore a piece of paper out of my notebook and made a list of ten items that I wanted in my future husband. It looked like this:

What I Want in a Husband:
1. Someone who loves God. (I wanted to marry a Christian.)
2. Someone who loves kids. (I wanted someone who enjoyed working with kids and spending time with our children.)
3. Someone who loves music. (I always had a thing for musicians.)
4. Someone who loves my family. (My family is very important to me.)
5. Someone who has a sense of humor. (I love to laugh.)
6. Someone who is strong. (So he could help me rearrange the
7. Someone who is generous. (So we could help others.)
8. Someone who is tall. (So I could wear high heels.)
9. Someone who is stronger willed than I am. (I come from a line of strong women. We need boundaries or we will take over the world!)
10. Someone with brown hair and blue eyes. (I explained to God that this request was totally optional because it was almost ridiculous to be so picky. If a guy has the first nine, then I shouldn't care what he looks like. But I asked anyway.)

I folded my list in half, stuck it in my Bible, and went on with my life.

Time passed. Believe it or not, I had a couple of marriage offers. But I was waiting for someone. I wasn't sure who he was or where he lived, but I knew he was meant for me.

My junior year of college, I transferred to Miami University and was busy with classes. One cold, snowy night as I was walking to the library, I saw a young man coming toward me. He was broad shouldered and ruggedly handsome. He reminded me of someone I had gone to elementary school with. My heart skipped a beat when the Lord spoke to my heart: "That is the man you are going to marry.” Was I losing my mind? I had heard that too much studying can make a person go crazy. I decided not to tell anyone and forget about it.

My brothers and sisters came up for the weekend, and we all went to the Christian Coffee House. When we walked in, I stared in disbelief when I realized that the guy running the sound board was the same person I was trying to forget. My brother noticed my interest, walked right up to the guy, and blurted, "I think my sister likes you." WOW. Can brothers be any more annoying? I was mortified.

During a break in the music, the good-looking/broad-shouldered/I think we went to elementary school together/I'm hearing voices about you/running the sound guy CAME RIGHT OVER TO ME! He introduced himself. It was the boy from elementary school and he remembered me. He said, "Hi! Your brother told me your were here. Your name is Sondra, right? What’s your major?"

Embarrassed, I replied, "Education."

He smiled and said, "Hey, I am in the Big Brother/Sister Program, and it would look good on your resume if you got involved. If you want to give me your number, I will call you to tell you more about it." So I gave him my number and we left.

One week later, Tom called me. We talked for hours, but he never once mentioned the Big Brother/Sister Program.
We were rarely apart from that day on. I called my parents to tell them that I was falling for a boy at school. My mom said, "That’s funny! Your dad and I have been praying and we feel like he is the one that God has for you."

When Tom asked me to marry him, I remembered The List. I went home and pulled it out of my Bible, curious how Tom would measure up to my childish requests. It was almost unbelievable.

1. He loved God and was raised in the same faith.
2. He loved kids. His younger sister accompanied us everywhere.
3. He loved music. He played piano and sang in church.
4. He loved my family and spent a lot of time at my house.
5. He had great a sense of humor and kept me smiling.
6. He was strong! If I annoyed him, he would pick me up, move me to the other side of the room, and leave me there.
7. He was generous, more so than anyone I had ever met.
8. He was 6'3" tall, a basketball player, and a good one!
9. He was definitely stronger willed than I. (Why on earth did I put that on the list?)

Now, all of these items were pretty incredible, if you ask me. It was as if the list had floated up to Heaven and God used it to create a custom-made man. But the first nine things were not what really "wowed" me. It was number 10 that brought tears to my eyes.

You see, Tom has a full head of brown hair. But that’s not all. He has the most gorgeous blue eyes I have ever seen. He won a contest with those eyes. They are what is called "broken blue," an unusual color that looks like broken blue glass.

After all these years, I am still humbled by the fact that the Creator of the Universe took the time to hear and answer my prayers. God not only honored my practical requests, but He gave me the desires of my heart--just because I asked.

We married the week after I graduated.

Thanks for praying, and if you think of it, please pray for the spouses of Callie and the quadruplets. I can’t wait to see what God does next.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doctor Visit/Too Tired to Write

The great-grandmas helped us at the doctor. It was quite a production!

Quad A- Landon weighs 6 lbs. now. He is in the first percentile.

Quad B- Jackson weighs 5 lbs. He is in the zero percentile.

Quad C- Isabella is 6 lbs. She is in the zero percentile.

Quad D- Samantha weighs 5 lbs. She is in the zero percentile.

The doctor was impressed with their weight gain. We feed them every 3 hours. He called Jackson "Peanut," and said that babies this size never survived when he first began his practice.

We have three doctor appointments this week. Please pray that all will go well.

Too tired to write any more (Yawn). Time to feed the babies again.

Thanks for praying!

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Psalm 74:25