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Baby Girl at 26 weeks...

Yesterday was the long awaited ultrasound at Swedish Medical Center.

The ultrasound technology there was definitely more advanced than any ultrasound I have ever experienced. The increased clarity made many things easily observable even to my untrained eye. Here is a synopsis:

The spot on the heart is still there. The Doctor explained this as a non-specific, or slight marker for Downs Syndrome. The baby doesn't seem to have any other anomalies specific to Downs. However, while he was taking images, he affirmed that the heart function looked normal (Hurray!).

He also pointed out that the bowel was bright, which the genetic counselor called a variant that could be caused by multiple things:
I could have bled more internally than we thought, and the baby could have swallowed it,
I could have contracted a virus that passed onto her,
She could have cystic fibrosis.
Or, it could be what she called a "normal variant" that may be related to some placental issues that were still …

What's Going on Inside?

Last Tuesday was my 20 week ultrasound. There are a couple concerns.

First, there is an echogenic left ventricular intracardiac focus. Second, the head circumference is in the 34th percentile, while the Biparietal Diameter is below the 5th percentile. What does this mean?

First, the EIF thing is a spot of mineralization on the baby's left ventricular chamber. This occurs often enough, and with the absence of other anomalies that would associate with trisomies 13, 18 and 21, can disappear by the third trimester. It doesn't seem to usually cause heart problems with the Baby after birth. Oddly enough, this doesn't stress me out until I say it out loud. 
Second, The BPD is more concerning to me. It IS often associated with those trisomies, yet I have no other risk factors. This is the measurement across the baby's head from temple to temple. This being small is sometimes associated with placental issues, so I have some questions in my mind about that. In one study I read (…

On What to Listen To...

I love music, and I want my children to love music. So what do we do? We listen to music!
For the parent who wants lovely God honoring music as a part of home (and car) life, but can’t sit at the piano singing our favorite worship songs, hymns, and spiritual songs all day, this presents a conundrum.
In our household there are routinely classical or hymn CD’s going. And when I say Hymns, this is the Hymn CD from the Together for the Gospel conference worship, so it is just piano and 3,000 men singing. I like this, and I like that my kids are getting solid hymnody reinforced at home.
We all understand that music is a powerful medium for memorization. We know that there are several music CD’s that teach history, math, geography and science (which is fabulous!), but what is our primary desire for our children?
To know the word of God.  If they know it, we can teach them to understand it. The Holy Spirit can use it in their souls to draw them to Him, and to sanctify them.
The latest mus…

Keep on Truckin'

I am now nineteen weeks along! So thankful for this little life that God is sustaining inside of me. We are slowly getting back into the swing of things, and I am having to calm down about the state of things. I am SO tired.

My midwife says that it will take a little bit of time to regain my stamina after being on bedrest. This last week I was able to go on some walks. I have been mostly making dinner, and have even washed some dishes! School with Gabriel is going...but just at a rustier pace than I would prefer.

In other news, my kids argue about what apologist/pastor to listen to (Gabriel prefers John MacArthur, and Abigail adamantly defends James White), and we are working on being kind to each other. Hannah is able to say a few more words, which are adorable. I love my family, and am so thankful for them.

Please pray that I won't get too overwhelmed and stressed about everything. I love all you Aunties who remember me!

The Catechism: A Defense

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 ESV
This is the deepest cry of my heart. I know that it must be important to you too! I read these words, and inspiration swells like an orchestral piece in my mind. How, today, I will live devotionally so my children will see how I love my Creator and Redeemer, and how I will teach them to as well. Then they rise…and a lovely chaos ensues…all thoughts pertaining to anything other than food, clothing, tidying, breakfast, and the order of the day try to flee. We have different strategies for coping with these distractions.
I am guessing that you have some sort of Bible time routine with your children, or that they attend AWANA or Sun…

A New Place

Emotionally, I have never been here before.

 I have had to sit around, watching everything degenerate,unable to do anything about it. Unable to do anything, actually.

There are several difficult parts about this. The actual physical aspect of it, feeling sick, sitting around.

The emotional aspect. It is hard for me to be such a taker. To actually ask people to bring us meals, or watch my kids, or babysit me! This is really been weird because it wars with my pride on multiple planes.

But the most humbling aspect of all this has been the outpouring (and I mean FLOOD-like), of prayers by the saints on behalf of our Baby. On behalf of me. When I didn't know if I was losing this baby, when I didn't know HOW I should feel about it, so many people called, texted, and emailed reassurances that they are praying for me. This threw me into an awareness of how Godless I can really be. There are so many things I don't pray for as I ought, and I think I am learning that...a bit.

So, whe…

Microscopically Close....

Image
This morning I went to have another ultrasound to see what is going on. The fabulous news is that our baby is growing really well (they even upped my due date two days)! Here is what our sweet little jellybean looks like now, around two and a half inches:

The Lab tech also saw what is called a perigestational hemorrhage that has increased in size over the last six weeks. The increase has only been by a couple millimeters, but the fact that there is blood visible in the same spot (just above my cervix) as six weeks ago concerned the tech. It is even more of a concern to my midwife. I am a little unclear on what this actually is. My understanding is that it is common, but should have healed up by now. Charlotte's concern is that if I bleed, it can cause contractions and possibly cause a more serious abruption to the placenta. While I am not consigned to bedrest, I am still supposed to take it easy for several more weeks....

Up Close and Personal

Like many of you, I had only heard of placental abruption (when the placenta tears away) in the second and third trimesters. When my midwife diagnosed me with this at 10 weeks, I did what all pregnant Mamas do. Opened up my search engine, and called friends who had been pregnant, miscarried, or were "in the know."

Just as a point of information, the placenta is an organ that is created during pregnancy, and acts as a go-between for me and the baby. It provides all the nutrients for the baby for the entire forty weeks, and in a few more weeks will completely take over hormone regulation so I can stop feeling like I have the stomach flu. It is so amazing, that in many cultures, the new mother eats it after birth. Our modern take on this is encapsulation, which I think is gross. Point of clarification: I don't think encapsulation is gross....I think eating it in any way is gross. MOVING on...
Part of this can tear away, causing a significant amount of bleeding, and it will …

Comfort to a Wearied Soul

Persecution distills our devotion to Christ. Reflection upon the current oppression to our brothers and sisters in Syria and other countries gives us a prayerful and content attitude almost immediately. It causes serious pursuit of eternal matters, and appreciation for our “great cloud of witnesses.” Some of these witnesses were persecuted for their beliefs and convictions.
One group is termed “Puritans.” Originally a negative term, these people were cast out of their congregations for not conforming to the Book of Common Prayer issued by the English government in the 17th century. Many of these Godly pastors wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And much of their writing, spurred by a deep commitment to an accurate understanding of Scripture, is very edifying and thoughtful.
With a rediscovery of these men in recent years, it can become overwhelming to determine which puritans to read, and how much coffee one will need to follow the archaic language! Many words (like ‘religion’) they used …

Who Has Time to Count, Anyway?

I love the family that God has given me. I love the challenge of creating domestic bliss out of chaos (Or at least managing the chaos down to a low ebb)whether it be menu planning, curricula planning, or chore planning. I love knowing that these things glorify God according to what He said in Titus 2. There is an eternality about the mundane, and all parents need that reminder sometimes.
There is an enormous heaven focus in our mindset when it comes to training and teaching the children that the Lord has given to us. I know what our goals are, yet in the trenches I am apt to forget. The opportunity to point my child toward a greater understanding of the Savior, and their need for Him is a BLESSED interruption, not just an annoying attempt to derail my schedule. Ginger Plowman reminded me of this in her book Don’t Make Me Count to Three! A Mom’s Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline.
Mrs. Plowman divides her 12 chapter text into three subheadings: Reaching the Heart of Your Child, Bibli…

Sermon for the Young….

Years ago, my father mentioned that Jonathan Edwards wrote a treatise on spiders when he was 17 years old. He pointed out to me that Puritans often studied creation to observe and marvel at the attributes clearly declared. There truly are many things we can perceive and learn from God’s amazing creation, but I never thought of the spider as such until several weeks ago. We have a book containing addresses to young children by J.C Ryle. One evening, while reading through a sermon on Proverbs 30:24-28 I was convicted and encouraged. Ryle was illustrating how the Proverbs instruct us to learn from four animals that are little and wise. Verse 28 historically reads, “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” As I began reading to my kids, I thought, “this will be cute and instructive…” We have spiders outside the front window that we watch build their webs, so I hoped that it would actually make some sense to their little brains. Ryle says, “The spider is a poor lit…

Prayer and Fasting

Last week, our Pastor preached out of Ephesians.

If you feel like being convicted about your prayer life, you can listen here. I did, and was. I think the most important thing that stuck with me was a quote when he pointed out the priority of not being distracted- I will paraphrase, "Who cares if the world falls apart? YOU meet with GOD."

I have been this week, and I am so amazed by the sin in my life. I guess you may have expected me to say something like "everything is fraught with spiritual meaning!" or "I have achieved victory over my short tempered responses to my children" or "I think of others so much more." I actually don't think any of these things are true, but what has become true is that God has convicted me more of the constant allowance I make fore my little sins against the little people I spend all day with.

To be honest, I could involve myself in scandalous sins if I wished, but the Lord has given me the discipline to place …

A Comma is not a Period.

I had one resolution this year. To make it extra easy, I even decided it would only be my focus for the month of January, because if I can do something successfully for a month, then another month won't be hard, right? It worked for menu planning, and breakfast-for-husband making. Of course, the laundry thing still hasn't turned out too well, but dropping some money at Costco to organize the area should take care of any lingering issues in that department. I hope.
No, with this resolution, I determined to break out of years of bad habits and destructive patterns groomed by my family life pre-marriage. To make it easier, I narrowed the scope of this behavioral shift:
I would not interrupt. 
                                                                      My Husband.
Some of this is a communication style (I tell myself). I genuinely feel that by finishing a thought with him (or before he can get to it), I show solidarity with his view on the subject. In reality, this lack of…

Feeling Yellow…

Sometimes an opening sentence will not come to me. It is evening, on the Lord’s Day (and yes, I know they are all His), my Littles are in bed, my Handsome Man is studying for his firefighter test on Wednesday, and my house is tidied. I just finished washing dishes. The last dish to be washed was my yellow bowl. This is what I want to muse about. My yellow bowl. I make all my scones in it, eat all my popcorn from it, and generally look upon it with fondness. It was my Grandmother’s bowl, and I got it from her kitchen after she passed.I have a few things of hers: a brown leather coat, a volume of Shakespeare, and a middle name….which I gave to one of my daughters….maybe I will give the bowl to the other one. Every time I wash this particular bowl, I am flooded with memories. She made delicious peanut butter cookies in this bowl. This very same bowl that I serve others out of is a reminder to me of her selfless love for others. The examples of this are too many to mention.Not only did sh…

Meanderings from the Breakfast Table

My kitchen table is many things, but its most important function is creating a comfortable place for my sweet littles to wax eloquent. Typically, I try not to be one of those moms who talks about their children on every media outlet they can find, but let’s be honest, there are some Great Aunties who eat this stuff for…well, breakfast. Several things this morning. We often listen to Dr. Mohler’s podcast as a general news source in the morning. As a recap of some of the recent executive orders came over, Gabriel was paying more attention to it than I was. Suddenly, he says, “WHAT???, does this mean I won’t get to keep my Cap gun?”Later, sated by several waffles and a sausage, he looked across the table and politely queried, “ Mama, do you want to know what I am going to name my three wives?”Let me tell you, Irish Breakfast is not supposed to go down my bronchial tubes like that, but I coughed it out somewhat safely. I pondered which worldview to sort out first, and decided to clarify t…

The Frivolity of Motherhood….or not.

I admit it. Sometimes I just want to read fluff. The old sort of novel that entertains yet motivates me to serve my family sweetly. Louisa May Alcott writes like this, as does Elizabeth Prentiss (specifically in Aunt Jane’s Hero). These seemingly simplistic works of fiction that extoll what now seem to be considered archaic virtues in women draw me more and more. Since my teenage years I have kept one of these nearby. Recently I was gifted a copy of Mother, by Kathleen Norris. I thought the name was cute and the vintage cover art attractive, so I used it as a decoration for a few months. When Christmas came, I moved around decorations and ended using the book, well, as a book. I read it. In one sitting. I loved it. Really loved it. I will make my daughters read it. Originally released in 1911, this particular edition was restored and published by Vision Forum, which re-inserted some Christian worldview references that had been removed in secular editions. It follows the post high scho…

Quick Check In

Here I am, sitting in a local coffee shop, drinking coffee, writing, calling, organizing, being. My sweet husband is home with my darlings, which allows me this hour and a half break. This week has been great! I have been rising early, seeking my God first, making my household a generally pleasant place to be. We started schooling again this week, so Gabriel and Abigail are loving that, and Hannah is not. She thinks it ridiculous that attention be focused anywhere else.

Tonight I have to fold laundry to keep up on that challenge, make dinner, tidy up before some boys come over to hear the doctrine of God as presented in the scriptures elaborated upon by Nate. Time to Go!

Precursory thoughts on the Nature of Wisdom

Words have meaning. Whew! Glad we got that pithy, not so profound statement out of the way! In actuality, these unobtrusive truths are the ones that my mind flits past. I determine that I understand the concept, have practiced, and mastered it. I come to my daily bible reading schedule, which I have followed for several years (more on that at the end) familiar with the narrative describing to me the great pleasure that Solomon gave God by asking for Wisdom. Actually, his request in 1Kings 3 is for an ‘understanding heart’ or ‘mind’. The Lord was pleased, and gave Solomon “a wise and understanding heart”. Excellent. I know this. I have marveled over the humility of this man. The passage goes on to describe the infamous “Who’s Baby Is It Anyway” episode, revealing that Solomon truly possessed keen discernment about people, their motivations and passions. Later in the book, I noticed some other things that bespoke his practical efficiency. Here is where I learned some new things about w…