Friday, February 29, 2008


"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice... Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things... And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4,6-9

Our families and the boys watching Miss Priss through the nursery windows.

Baby girl Darley arrived yesterday morning (2/28) at 7:44. The day could not have gone more perfectly! The Lord has given us one blessing after another. Martha's C section went beautifully. So far she has had the delivery and recovery she so longed for after the emergency, chaos and rush of the boys delivery and 3 week NICU stay. She was awake and alert during the C section and Chris was able to join her and share in the arrival of their daughter.

As you may have seen from our previous post, there were a lot of uncertainties heading into our day. We had been followed weekly for high amniotic fluid levels and a probable bowl obstruction in Miss Priss. Prayers were answered and the high fluid levels did not cause preterm labor or complications for our little one. Upon delivery she was taken to the NICU for some abdominal xrays for a better glimpse into the dilated bowel they were seeing on fetal ultrasound. We were able to spend some time as a family with her as Martha was in the recovery room. This was a pleasant surprise as we thought we were not going to get this special time with her. Martha longed to nurse her as she was wide awake and rooting around. We knew we had to wait on the results before feeding her. We were just delighted to get this unexpected time with her. Our families came back to see us and her. We were able to see the boys and share this time with them. They had seen her through the nursery window but did not quite understand what was going on. They just wanted their daddy and did NOT like him behind the glass!

It was precious seeing the boys with her. Parker is just smitten and loves loving on her. "see baby, hold baby, kiss baby"...he even shared his monkey stickers with her:) Peyton so far has not been to keen on baby sister. He just wants his daddy and will occasionally ask for her but will not have anything to do with her. Parker does not like mommy lying in bed, "mommy get up"...he will climb in bed for a good snuggle though:) We showed him my boo boo and big band aid. Now he asks to see my "bandoo" and is quite concerned with all the hospital bracelets on my wrist.

The greatest blessing of all and amazing answer to prayer...once we were moved to our post partum room the pediatrician came by....the bowel and gas patterns of her intestines looked normal!!!!! We could feed her and watch to see how she tolerated her feeds. Making sure she had poops and no large spit ups or vomiting! I could feed my baby:) No pumping this time around:) Normal mommy stuff! Praise God for such good news. She thanked the Dr. with a LARGE poop before he left the room. Never have I been so excited to see poop in my life:) Things were moving through her bowel and getting out! "Unlikely" that there was going to be an intestinal obstruction that would require surgery was his response...we will take that. What a joyous moment in our day. I was waiting for someone to pinch me and awake me from this wonderful dream I was having. I could not have planned the day any better. Finally...a "normal" birth experience and newborn bonding. 2 1/2 years later, God answered my prayers and filled the longings of my heart. Through this whole process I had finally come to terms with my hopes and dreams of a normal birth and bonding process possibly not being a reality for us. I had let go and accepted that He may have other plans for us. Did it take away the pain and disappointment from the boy's delivery? No, there will always be a piece of my heart not mended from that and I have learned to be OK with that. This side of Heaven there will not be a full restoration. I also realized that this current pregnancy was not meant to take the place of or fill the void from my pregnancy and delivery with the boys. Only Jesus can heal that, not another child or pregnancy. All this to say...the day was perfect and beyond my imagination or dreams. He is faithful and full of mercy and grace. I wanted to soak in each and every moment...capture life happening in every minute.

It was wonderful having our families with us. Grand parents and great grand parents alike. Everyone relishing their time with this baby girl we have been praying for. Aside from the huge smiles on mine and Chris' faces, I think Pa Pa (Chris' grandfather) had the biggest grin of them all. This was one proud great grandfather. He has wanted a granddaughter for 29, almost 30 years now. The Lord blessed him with a great grand daughter yesterday. He has been talking about this moment since the day Chris and I got married. Now she has to meet her Uncle Greg (Chris' brother) and Aunt Betsey, cousin Josh and another set of great grand parents Pops and Betty (Martha's grand parents). We feel blessed that our children know and are able to spend quality time with 2 sets of great grand parents. We even went to Hawaii with one set before moving from California. Since the boys were born in California ...and 8 weeks early at that... only Martha's mom was able to see them at birth. What fun we had having our families with us this time around.

She had a fabulous night. Lots of poop:) and only small normal spit ups. We are out of the woods today:) We have a healthy and precious baby girl...still no name:) We are having her birthday party with the boys tomorrow...she will have a name by then. Her billi levels were high today so she is currently "sunbathing" in the nursery...sunglasses and all! This we can do...I will take sunbathing in the nursery over surgery any day of the week. We should be leaving the hospital sometime on Sunday.

We have so much to be thankful for. We are counting each blessing He has given us. You are among them. We have been richly blessed to have you in our lives. Your prayers, support and words of encouragement have blessed us in many ways. We have experienced first hand the body of Christ at work. Words can not fully express our gratitude to you. So many of you have been there for all 3 of our kids and their difficult "growing times" in utero and for their amazing birth stories. We love you and are forever indebted to you. You are forever a part of our children's lives. You have covered each of them in prayer. You have surrounded them with your love. You have made eternal investments in their hearts. For this we are grateful.

Hope you enjoy the pictures below. We have a very slow Internet connection here at the hospital and it is taking forever to get pictures uploaded...we will share more once we get home.

Chris brought the boys back to recovery to see me and the baby. Peyton (on left) is not so sure about this whole baby thing. Parker is offering his sucker:) How many times am I going to walk in the room to find him sharing not so infant friendly things? Whew, look at the chubby face on me:)

I love, love, LOVE this picture of my 3 boys and Miss Priss. Soooo sweet. Parker (on left) is absolutely smitten with her. He was sooo excited to "hold" baby sister:)

Finally, Miss Priss herself. Of course we dressed her properly for her big debut:) Big bow and all. Thanks Kim for accessorising our little girl!

Miss Priss
February 28, 2008
7:44 am
7 # 6 oz
20 inches
lots of dark hair!

Sorry it has taken so long to get this post up. I keep getting interrupted and falling to love all those drugs! My pain management has been so much better this time around. I'm up and moving...just a bit slow. The nursing and right shoulder pain hurt more than my incision!
I'll keep sending out emails until we can post easier on the blog at home. It's hard to upload pics to email so it may be Sunday before we get pics out again.

Please join us as we rejoice in the Lord that she is free of any bowel obstructions and is a healthy full term baby. We also have a few prayer requests over the weekend.

1. Nursing is going MUCH better this time around. I am still having a good bit of pain though. Pray we are able to move past this and my emotions and frustration don't get me down. We have a wonderful lactation consultant working with us. I really, really want to be able to nurse this time around and not have to pump all the feedings. I did this for the boys for 9 months and just can't imagine finding the time to do it again this go round. I told Chris the pain is so intense it makes me burst into tears and if it were not my sweet child seeking is enough to make you want to throw the pain causing item across the room.

2. Her bilirubin levels are up:( They took her back to the nursery this afternoon to put her under her "sunbathing" lights. Pray this will help bring her levels down and she can soon rejoin us. We are still bringing her out to nurse. They will recheck her levels at 6 pm tonight. I hate having to send her away but this is much better than what we were facing. I'll take billi lights and a short nursery stay over surgery and a weeks recovery in the NICU any day. God is good.

3. That God will still continue to work in the lives of those around us as we are able to share her story.

Joyfully in Him,
Chris and Martha

***8 pm update: They rechecked her bili levels at 6pm and they went up instead of down after being under the bili lights:( Still a much brighter situation than we were facing. So she still looks like a pumpkin and is now sunbathing on top of and under bili lights. I'm telling you she is quite the drama queen already. She is doing everything like her brothers already:) We did make the decision for her to stay under the lights tonight and not come to the room to nurse. She was taking 45 min to an hour to nurse and the more time under the lights, the better for her. I am going to pump tonight and she will still get all the liquid gold:) We can even go to the nursery to feed her ourselves. They will recheck her levels at 6 am Saturday and hope to find them coming down. It was hard sending her down the hall...better down the hall than to another hospital like we originally thought. We can do this. At least we will get some good sleep tonight:) We need her to eat good and poop, poop, poop! We are having her birthday/celebration party tomorrow evening. I hope she can attend:) We will save a piece of cake for her:) Chocolate of course. Maybe if we could just name her she would quit acting out! We've got it down to two names. I just can't decide. Thanks again for your prayers***
"The joy of the Lord is your strength"
Nehemiah 8:10

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Faith, Praise and the power of Prayer

Here she is all comfy and cozy in her ocean of fluid as I like to call it. This was taken last Friday February 22 at our last high risk ultrasound appointment. As you can see, she is quite the drama queen. A majority of the weekly profile shots we have are with her hand propped up on her forehead! Oh, baby it to us already.

I think even at this late hour I am in denial that we are welcoming our 3rd child into our family tomorrow morning. It really has not hit me yet that she will be here tomorrow. It definitely has not hit the boys yet...poor little fellas, they don't know what is about to hit them. Maybe come 4 am when we are getting up it will hit me:)

We could not have made it this far without many of you. Your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, emails and many phone calls have brought great joy to us. The Lord has been gracious and provided us with all the support we have needed. He has held us tight and guided us along the way. When we realized our dreams and hopes for this pregnancy and potential outcome were not to be...we were able to lean heavily on His mercy and grace knowing that His will would be done. Only by our faith in Him and His undeniable love for us have we been able to let go of our dreams and hopes and cling to His plan. There has still been hurt and pain but ultimately this season of disappointment in our lives has drawn us closer to Him. It has allowed me to see his love, compassion and body of Christ in ways I might not have been able to. I have learned that my dreams are separate from my faith in God. Just because my dreams do not come true, does not affect my faith in Him.

Not my will but Yours be done. There have been many days this was much easier to say than cling to. I am sure tomorrow a flood of emotions will rock my boat but in the end it will not capsize.

A friend sent me an encouraging email along this journey and it was perfect for us.

"Be Open"
"Everything is possible for him who believes." Mark 9:23

"Be open to the possibilities...that these circumstances hold more than what I see right now.
Be open to the possibilities...of God's promise to grow good things in hard places.
Be open to the possibilities...of discovering new hope.
Be open to the day at a time.

When I look ahead, I have a choice: to fear the future or to stretch my imagination to embrace God's possibilities each morning.

Lord, I don't know what this new year will bring, but You do. Awaken me to Your possibilities, one day at a time."

Chris and I have both drawn so much from this time in our lives. It has brought great change in us as a couple, individually and spiritually. I will have to expand on this more at a later time as it is late and this post is getting long:)

OK, so now some of you are wondering what in the world is going on...aside from us having a baby tomorrow. I have been sending weekly and biweekly updates to many of you but it never made it to the blog. So much for me "linking" to my previous post at this point. Where oh where has my brain gone?

To recap the 2nd half of our pregnancy...

Our 20 week ultrasound looked fabulous and we found out we were having a girl this go round and reconfirmed there was only ONE monkey this time. We had a pretty good idea at 8 weeks or so that it was just one...but we wanted to know for sure:)

I delivered our boys at 32 weeks and we were being cautious as we approached this time period. We were never really sure if my cervix was the problem or if I was just done at 32 weeks since there were 2 monkeys in me and my uterus thought I was at 40 weeks. When we got to 28 weeks this time, we did another internal ultrasound to check my cervix and get a baseline to go on. Everything looked fabulous...nice and closed:) The ultrasound tech asked if I wanted a belly scan so we could see the baby's face and grab a picture or two. Of course! Well this happened to be a blessing in disguise. While she was looking around and trying to get Miss Priss to cooperate, she found something a little off. My amniotic fluid levels were a bit too high. The baby's kidney's, heart and facial features looked fine. Those can all have birth defects that would cause high or low amniotic fluid levels. Her tummy looked fine but her intestinal area was showing a questionable problem. My OB really felt like it was nothing but wanted the high risk docs to check it out and do a level 2 ultrasound for a better look. Insert 2 weeks of waiting here. The LONGEST two weeks of my life! It was over Christmas so we had many things and family to distract us. When we finally went for our appointment we received some not so fun news. Yes, my amniotic fluid levels were up, higher than the previous 2 weeks and the baby did have loops of bowel that were dilated. Meaning they were filled with amniotic fluid that was not getting through. As she swallowed the fluid like normal, it was getting blocked somehow in her intestines. On top of all this, they requested that I be tested to see if I was a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. Many times when they find these types of problems it can point to CF. If I came back a carrier, then they would test Chris. It takes both parents being a carrier to pass the gene along that causes CF. More waiting.

The first two days after this appointment were REALLY tough. Thankfully my mom was in town. She was able to keep the boys for us. This allowed Chris and I to have some time together and I was also able to spend some time with my mom. By the end of the weekend I was in a much better spot. I quickly realized I had to let go...of many things... in order for the Lord to take the wheel and guide me. I was a wreck trying to do it own m own for those 2 days. Thankfully He was patiently waiting on me, His faithfulness never changing as mine did.

Prayers were answered and we found out my test results came back negative. This does not 100% rule out CF but the doctors no longer feel this is an issue. CF can cause life long problems and I hoped and prayed this would not be what we were facing. No, it would not change a thing in how we would love her or guide her...I did not want her to face the challenges that this disease can bring. I have taken care of many CF kids in the hospital and it was something I did not want to face with my child. As a nurse, I have said goodbye to several children with this disease and could not imagine having to do this as a parent.

We saw the high risk docs every week there after. High amniotic fluid levels can cause preterm labor and stress the baby. They wanted to monitor for both of these. Once again, prayers were answered and we have made it to 38 weeks and 5 days without any problems! She passed her tests every week with flying colors:) I think she knew how many ultrasounds we had with the boys and she wanted her baby book to be just as full:)

For the past 10 weeks we have been hoping and praying that everything will be great when she gets here. We will not have any answers until she is born and they can run specific tests on her. The ultrasound can only tell us that her bowel is still dilated (not normal) and my amniotic fluid levels are still high (not normal). This is why I like to say she is swimming in an ocean...maybe we have an Olympic swimmer in the making:) The docs are guessing there is some sort of webbing remaining in place from early on in development. In a fetus the intestines start out as a solid structure and open up into a mine and yours are. They are thinking there are parts that did not fully separate and thus the webbing causing a blockage. This can all be fixed at birth but does require surgery:( We are hoping and praying they will find nothing when they run tests on her tomorrow.

If they find a problem and it is going to require surgery...they will have to transfer her to one of the two children's hospitals here. Both are fabulous and ranked #3 in the country. There are two different campuses and it just depends on which one has an opening in their NICU. This is going to be the hard part for me (aside from my child needing surgery). She will be an hour away from me:( It is a stand alone children's hospital and they therefore do not do adults. The thought of shipping her off breaks my heart.

For those of you still reading're a trooper. We will update tomorrow. I hope to get some pics on here and of course more info on what we find. Not quite sure it has fully hit me yet...the birth and the awaiting diagnosis. Seeing that it is after midnight, we have to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning and I am still typing:) Why start with sleep now:)

Here is a list of prayers we have been sharing with people. We would love to have you join us in prayer and thanksgiving during this time. We have already seen many prayers answered.

1.His glory and goodness will be seen during this time.
2. Pray we will not loose sight of this pregnancy and precious baby girl, that all these tests and findings will not overshadow the joy and hope of her arrival.
3. Pray that I can keep my nursing knowledge to a low roar and not create "what ifs" from my past experiences.
4.Pray for her arrival and the medical teams that will be evaluating her...everything will check out OK and no surgery will be needed
5.Pray that we will not loose sight of God's goodness and graciousness through this... that we may be a light to those around us and to the medical teams caring for us

This is certainly not the plan I would have chosen for our family, this pregnancy or our little girl. My plans are not my own...I all too often do not understand His...maybe never will. I do understand that He is there to carry my burdens and guide me along the way. Am I willing to let Him or do I cling tightly to the journey as I see it? He can strengthen and sustain me...that is just what he has done.

I will leave you with a quote from a quiet time I recently had. It spoke to me in perfect timing.

A Journey with God
Leah DiPascal
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 (NKJ)

"One thing I am learning is that when we ask our Heavenly Father for something, the journey He takes us on while we wait on Him is often times greater than the answered prayer itself. I hope you will let Him carry your burdens today and trust that He knows what is best for you and those you love.

Remember, you were not designed to walk this path alone. He is right by your side to strengthen and sustain you each step of the way.

Dear Lord, help me to trust in You when life doesn’t make any sense. To know that You love me unconditionally and are always there to carry my burdens. Remind me to seek you first when trials and challenges come my way and to recognize Your faithfulness and goodness throughout my journey in life. "

Now I must run off to get some sleep:) ha ha. I think I have to be up in 3 hours...yep, I am in DENIAL that we are having a baby tomorrow the 28th...err today now.

Joyfully in Him,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

$32 a month, it can change the world

I love finding new blogs to read. It's fun to see where my friends have friends. I'm now reading blogs of people I've never met before all the way in Texas, New York and even South Carolina. Many times I feel like I've gotten to know a little bit about them and I've never even spoken to them or met them in person. Usually we have something in common; be it 2 year old sons, a background in medicine or even a simular life story. My husband calls this an addiction...I call it broadening my horizons:) I mean else am I going to meet new people with soon to be 3 kids under 3! Yes, we do get out and about...but many days the computer is my link to the outside world.

Soooo, if you are like me and enjoy "meeting" new people...err finding new blogs. Then join me on one amazing adventure with some friends of ours. They are fellow Georgians, also by way of Southern California. They were our California family and now they live "up the steet" from us in the big city. Already this week my heart has been touched. Tears have been flowing and prayers have been said. They are bringing Uganda, Africa into our home and into our lives via a blog. They, along with several others, are our eyes, ears, hearts and hugs this week. They are traveling with Compassion International as bloggers telling their stories. It has been amazing to see their pictures, hear their stroies and see lives being changed. Compassion is teaming up with these selected bloggers to help brighten the future of many children out there.

What can you cut out every month? 5-7 Starbucks drinks, a night out at the movies, one less trip to "pick up a few things" at the grocery store, the oh so many items at Target? Really, that is all it takes to sponsor a child. $32 a month. This provides them and their family with food and a child with an education. It provides a child with a chance to hear of Jesus' love and a commitment from a family to pray for them and love them from afar.

We sponsor an adorable little girl from Thailand. We have "known" Mai for a few years now and have enjoyed watching her grow. Her family was killed in the tsunami in December of 2004. In her short life she has been through so much. She always writes with excitment and thanksgiving. We hear what she is learning in school, how her sister is doing and the things she does to help out her grandmother. She sends prayer requests and often asks how she can pray for us. We can't wait for the boys to be old enough to write to her too. We often talk about one day traveling on a Compassion trip to Thailand to meet her in person. She is a blessing to us and we have enjoyed every piece of mail we have received. In this day and age of's always fun to get that piece of "snail mail" you have been looking forward to. Nothing can really replace seeing someones' handwritting...a peice of themselves.

Pop on over to see Carlos and Heather and their new friends in Uganda. They both have a wonderful blog that will keep you reading long after they have returned from Uganda. They keep it real and relevant. Never a dull day on Carlos' blog. Yep, I said a day because he has multiple posts a day. He is doing an incredable job of creating community through his blog. His goal: sponsor 100 kids through Compassion via his blog. Well, 300 really. He does have 3,000 visitors a day. It's not all about the numbers either. His heart wants to see these kids connect with a family that will not only support them financially but also commit to pray for them. Both he and Heather have a great outlet to use to help that happen. Their hearts are genuine and they love the Lord. When I think of the definiton of friend...Heather comes to mind. Stop by and say hello. They have some amazing stories to tell. While you are there, check out their adoption story of their son. Pretty amazing. Click on the "our adoption" link at the top of the page on Carlos' blog.
See, isn't it fun finding new friends? You'll love them I promise. Their pictures and stroies from this trip will warm your heart. There are some precious children on thier blogs. We've got lots of love to offer.
A "So Cal" night out in Atlanta. Some friend of ours from California were visiting both of our families during December. We took them out on the town to try and convince them to move here too! Is it working? Us, Carlos and Heather, James and Alyssa

Heather and me

*please excuse any mispellings...agh, spell check is NOT working and I am the world's worst speller. Yes, really. That may even go on my grave stone:)*

Friday, February 01, 2008

She has done it again!

She amazes me, she really does. Twice now she has given us something to treasure and hold dear to our hearts. Something we can share over the years with our children and one day thier children. Something we can share with our friends and families. She has captured life in the moment for us. Captured the boys in their element. We will not have to look back and wonder what life with them was like at this age. She captures it so well. It's not staged or posed (really how could it be with our 2 monkeys). It's life in the moment, the hear and now. It is wonderfully and beautifully done.

Sara shot our maternity shoot yesterday as a gift to us and our little one on the way. I'm not the biggest fan of having my picture taken...but I really enjoyed this and am so thakful to have these picture to share and cherish. The boys did not disapoint...they were wild and rambuncious as usual. Their one track mind was in full glory...their cars and trucks! That is just it, she captured them being them. I don't think we have a picture in the past year and a half without some sort of car or truck. They LOVE thier cars and trucks. I love watching their passion come together. What a fun morning we had. Thank you Sara for capturing our life for us. Thank you that we will have this moment forever. Your talent amazes me. You have a wonderful and beautiful outlook on life and it shows through your kids, your family and your pictures. He has blessed you greatly, thank you for sharing a piece of it with us.

You may remember these pictures from the boys two year old "a day in the life of" shoot from last July. They turned out fabulous.

These new pictures do not disapoint. Take a look:)

If you are anywhere in the Atlanta or surrounding area...give her a call. She is the photographer for you!

A post needs a picture of some here is one of the boys feeding the ducks from last November. picture of them together posing for the camera. I had to go back to November to get one of them in the same shot:) They love feeding the ducks. We often hear them talking to each other about it. Sometime they will come to us and say "Bye Bye, see ya later". As they walk towards the door we ask "where are you going"? Parker's usual response: "I go feed ducks". So funny and so cute. Sadly, the ducks have gone further south for the winter.

Check out Sara's pictures...clearly better than ours:)

*for some reason the "check spelling" function is not working:( I live my life with this button... so please ignore any (the many) spelling errors you find. I am by far the worst speller ever!*