This is the blog for Gavin and Carrie Jones and family. We live in Papua New Guinea and are working to see lives transformed by the living Word of God through Bible translation. Gavin is a helicopter pilot. Carrie, who has her degree in Public Health, is the lab supervisor and one of five lab techs at our busy rural clinic. Our son, Isaac, was born in 2004 and our quintuplets, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, and Grace, were born in 2012.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. The you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:3-6

Monday, April 30, 2012

13 Weeks . . . and really sick.

Carrie is now at 13 weeks.  Last week she was feeling quite a bit better and it seemed she was past the worst of the nausea and sickness.  The last few days, though, have been much tougher for her.  Today, actually, was her worst yet as far as nausea, constipation, heartburn, etc.   Will you please pray with us that the Lord would grant her relief from this nausea so that she can eat the voluminous amounts of food she is supposed to eat?  We know He is able and pray He is willing.

We know that so many hundreds of people out there are praying for us already and it's truly amazing and humbling!  Thank you all so much!


13 Weeks and yes, it's a forced smile tonight.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

All well and accounted for!

The five babies are each growing great and at the same rate so far, with perfect heartbeats, praise God! Everything is ship-shape in my body, too, so the doctor actually cancelled next week's appointment. He said, "You are in the upper echelon of women who could carry quints." Not through any merit of my own, obviously, but my height, my BMI, my previous full-term big baby, the fact that it took FOREVER for me to dilate and efface in labor with Isaac, and everything being hunky-dory at the end of the first trimester all combine to really please the perinatologist.

I got both a tummy and pelvic ultrasound this time. Unfortunately, we weren't given any great pictures to accompany this post. The babies are in an inverted pyramid, with three in a row about on the level of my belly-button, and two in a row right beneath them. It was fun to see the five little munchkins move and twist and kick. They are perfectly formed now, with long legs and arms and very well-defined fingers. Obviously, the ultrasound checking for gender and birth defects comes later - they are still too tiny and "undefined" yet. However, we are so grateful that everything the ultrasonographer can see looks completely normal and good!

All glory is God's, and we THANK YOU for your prayers and encouraging emails! I am also very grateful to feel so much better nowadays. Still need lots of sleep but almost no nausea, hooray! So I may someday soon actually get back to answering emails dating all the way back to the middle of March . . .

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Carrie at 12 weeks

We just took this picture today.  She was 12 weeks on Sunday.  

Four realities I am not thrilled about

(Or, to be most grammatically correct: "Four realities about which I am not thrilled")

One, I am supposed to gain 80 pounds minimum. The more the mom gains, the more the babies gain, and the more the babies gain, the longer they tend to stay put (counterintuitive, I know) and the healthier they tend to be. I used to think it would be fun to get one of those movie roles where you had to gain weight (except for the part about losing it again), but I am already sick of eating and am only at 12 weeks! Thank God, the nausea is MUCH abated, so that makes it easier, but in my first pregnancy I ate like a pig and lost 2 pounds by 5 months, so clearly my body isn't great at packing on the pounds until later in the pregnancy, and in this pregnancy I won't have as much of a "later" as I did with my full-term one. So, you could pray, if you are so led, that I will be able and even wanting to eat nearly constantly. That would be a blessing. :) Those of you who know me can hardly believe that eating TOO MUCH is a burden for me - I love food!

Two, when the babies come home from the hospital they are going to need to eat every 2 hours around the clock. As they say in Melanesian Pidgin, "Aiyo!" We have been praying for God to raise up an army of volunteers and are already seeing that prayer being answered, but we could definitely use more help if you feel a burning desire to rock and feed preemies at 2:00 a.m. or any other time of the night or day. :)

[As an aside, many people have been asking my parents and us how they can help, and although we always mention the need for holding and feeding babies, we could also use help with meals, laundry (don't worry, we're using disposables), "diaper drives" at your workplace, church or Bible study, and maybe cleaning, if my sister's full-time job at that point unkindly interferes with her being able to offer her services. ;) I am supposed to nurse and bond with the babies as much as possible, plus of course will be recovering from major abdominal surgery. Which brings me to realities three and four . . . ]

Three, I have been warned by my multiples book and by a mom of quintuplets and another mom of triplets that bonding is VERY difficult and delayed when you have multiples. This is a huge disappointment to me, as my postpartum depression "robbed" me of the joy and mushy feelings of the first six months of Isaac's life, and he was a PRECIOUS, relatively easy, happy, full-term baby! I was really hoping with this baby (when I thought it was just one) to be able to enjoy the early months so much more, in a healthy environment, somewhat experienced, surrounded by friends and family, and on medication to ward off chemical craziness. But with multiples, according to all three of my knowledgeable, experienced sources, it's just a really hard job, and it's all you can do to survive and help the babies thrive. Which is why we have been praying for helpers! I would love to "defy" the authorities and experts and actually be crazy in love with my babies. But if it's going to be survival mode only, at least I'll be forewarned and realize I am normal and that eventually I WILL be crazy in love with each of them. It just may take a year or so. :)

And finally, four (Warning men! You can sign off at this point!): I will have feet and feet of stretch-marked extra skin that will never go back into anything resembling a normal abdomen. So I am already praying for God's provision of a tummy tuck, one way or another. I wish they could just do it on the C-section operating table - I've heard the recovery from a multiples C-section is already brutally painful! :} Obviously, it's not life or death or even important in the grand scheme of things, but I sure would love to have my tummy back eventually. I think Gavin would agree. ;)

A few days ago I was thinking of realities 2 and 3 and feeling sorry for myself, but then a friend who was just diagnosed with cancer called to say she understood my struggle with anxiety and would be praying for me. After that, I read my cousin's blog of letters to her precious little boy who is in Heaven now, the tears flowing down my face the whole time. And the next day I met a man dying of ALS who kept saying in his garbled voice that he would pray for us. WOW. What humbling experiences.

And I said to myself: "So, shut up with your self-pity that your plans didn't work out, Carrie! What ever made you think you were in control in any way in the first place? And this gift of five babies after five-plus years of praying for another baby is just that: a GIFT."

Children are always a blessing from the Lord, and as my cousin's blog reminds me, DON'T TAKE A SINGLE ONE FOR GRANTED. Each one is PRECIOUS and UNIQUE, even if I am getting more than I "wanted" originally. God's plans are WAY better than mine! Which is probably why the first thing that went through my mind on the ultrasound table when we discovered we were having multiple multiples was the verse, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think . . . "*

In His Grip,

* Eph. 3:20 - Can you tell I was raised in AWANA with the old King James version? ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gestation Calculations-- and an amazing video.

Many people have asked us when Carrie is due.  Well, officially, a full-term pregnancy would be on November 3rd.  (for you men [like me a few weeks ago] who may not know, 40 weeks is full-term)  The doctors have said that 29 weeks is a big marker.

Basically, if the babies and Carrie can get to that point, then they will have a much higher chance of survival and good health.  The 25-28 week period is a critical formative time for the babies.  29 weeks will be on August 19, so that's quite milestone for us-- in the doctor's words, "29 weeks is not a home run, but you'll definitely be on third base!"

Since the longest we've heard of any quints lasting in utero is 35 weeks.  Our "chosen due date" is September 23rd, which is 34 weeks.  Maybe we'll set the record for the longest-gestating babies and the highest birth weights! We serve a great God, so why not ask him for a "grand slam?"

If you're wanting to count with us, each Sunday is our week marker and so today Carrie is at 12 weeks.  If you're a guy and are tired of all this gestation talk at this point, you'll still be amazed along with anyone else at this video below about the miracle of baby growth and birth seen through incredible new imaging technology.

Is anyone else thinking of Romans 1:20 after watching that?  Why not just take the next step and attribute it to divinity?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Firm a Foundation

This past weekend when we were up in Virginia visiting the Schanelys, we went to church with them.  As we sang the words of "How firm a foundation", I (Gavin) was just struck by the power and truth of the words.

The first verse rings true personally and is also such an affirmation of our work to aid and speed the Bible translation.

The fifth verse, though, really hits me where I am now-- or at least where I anticipate I will be once the Quints come.  I don't think I'm looking at it as a fiery trial, necessarily, but it will indeed be a challenge and a time for Him my gold to refine and my dross to consume.    

The sixth verse speaks what my prayer is-- that His Spirit working through us will "prove [His] sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love."

Here are the full lyrics.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

by John Rip­pon, 1787; at­trib­ut­ed var­i­ous­ly to John Keene, Kirk­ham, and John Keith

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Today we went with the Schanelys to Luray Caverns. Awe-inspiring and praise-eliciting! I had been a few times as a kid, so it brought back great memories of our family vacations during our furloughs in 1st, 6th, and 10th grade. We're sitting in front of Mirror Lake in this shot. (Thanks for having a good camera, Travis!)

As a huge bonus, today was the least nauseas day yet this pregnancy! Thank you, Lord, for all our blessings: friends, natural beauty, health, our marriage, our families, our precious Isaac, and our equally precious but as yet unknown 5 fig-sized blessings (complete with tiny fingernails!). And thank YOU all who are praying!

Tomorrow our mini-vacation and visit is over. We head back to Waxhaw for Gavin to resume his training as the helicopter will also be returning tomorrow. Isaac is not looking forward to school again on Monday; he's enjoyed Spring Break so much. But he actually loves school, so despite what he thinks now he'll be happy when the time comes to heft the backpack and head out the door. A nice bonus is that Gavin's parents are coming back through for a couple of days, so that will ease the transition back to real life for him. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

From our last email update . . .

Our meeting with the perinatologist in the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic yesterday (the 4th of April) was very encouraging as we found out that each baby has a separate placenta, which greatly reduces their risk. (There are a couple of major reasons that I won't go into because I'd be sure to get it wrong, being no specialist myself). He did discuss quite honestly the risks to my body and health, but I was surprised by how low the rates of common complications actually are. So I left feeling more optimistic than previously. He was blunt about how difficult it will be for my body to physically carry five babies, and the biggest prayer is that the babies stay in long enough to be not just viable but healthy longterm. He said 29 weeks would be the minimum; anything over that would be a huge "win" for all concerned. Two things I have going for me are that Isaac was a big full-term baby, so my organs have already experienced some hard usage, and I didn't develop preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure) during that pregnancy. 

The healthier the babies are, the sooner we can return to PNG, Lord willing!

In His Hands,
Carrie, for all 8 of us

P.S. I love this picture just sent to my parents by the man who took it in Lomalinda, Colombia, 1978(?). I must have been about one-year-old. That's the old Evangel airplane in the background! Maybe one of the quints will look like me; I just hope none act like me - I was a handfull! Of course, my dad could keep me in my place with one hand alone . . . ;)

Mini update on the quints

Taken today in Shenandoah National Park, Stony Man Trail
 (No, Mom, I am nowhere near the edge - it's an optical illusion!)
The perinatologist from the Maternal Fetal Medicine office in Charlotte wants to start checking me weekly in about two weeks to verify the babies are staying put. I would be 13 weeks along at that point. If he sees anything of concern he might do some preventive surgery (bar the EXIT door!) and/or put me on bedrest. I assume those weekly checkups will continue with my perinatologist in Dallas. My first appointment with them is June 13th. Thanks for all your prayers!!

I am definitely feeling less sick and more energetic - hence the above picture. We're in the Shenandoah Valley visiting our good friends from Ukarumpa, the Schanelys, who have since relocated here. After our short hike/walk and light lunch at Skyland Lodge, we headed back to the Schanelys' for a LONG nap . . . well, for me at least. :)

Gavin has this week off as the helicopter is in a different location, so we've made the most of it, as you can see! It's so good to reconnect with Travis and Jennifer and meet their adorable daughters.

Climbing and flying

Gavin's parents are visiting us for a few days and we had a good time at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte.  Aside from the whitewater course there, they also have a bunch of climbing walls, ropes courses, and zip lines.  Gavin's dad treated us to a day there and we all had a great time.  Isaac loved the climbing wall, zip-line, and the free-fall jump especially.  Carrie enjoyed watching Isaac (and the two of us) have a great time with it all, but was pretty worn out with all the walking around.

They were getting ready to do the Olympic trials there for whitewater the next day, so were getting all set up for that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some time in the mountains

We spent the weekend with Gavin's parents and his aunt and uncle where they live in Black Mountain.  It is a beautiful time of year with all the dogwoods and azaleas blooming everywhere.  Isaac really enjoyed our hike up Lookout Mountain. (We could even glimpse Billy Graham's house in the distance.

The blooms are everywhere and gorgeous

Strange wildlife lives in these NC trees!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Fool's!

I (Gavin) was at the Sun 'N Fun Exposition and Fly-in this past week in Lakeland, FL.  I flew the R44 helicopter down with a colleague.  Our organization had a tent set up along with New Tribes Mission, Mission Aviation Fellowship and Liberty University.  We spent the week there telling passersby about the need for Bible translation, overseas missions, and how they can fit in.  The helicopter was there on display and I spent my time telling people about it and showing kids how the controls work.

The guys from Liberty, having heard the news about the Jones "Quints" showed their sense of humor when they added a few passengers and their necessary equipment  to the helicopter before I arrived in the morning.

Five babies in the copilot's seat, five bibs on the
 cyclic control, and five sippy cups in the back seat.

The For Sale sign says "See Liberty University.  Make an offer."

My first question for the guys was why the five dolls were ALL GIRLS?  Apparently that's all the store had at the time. 

When they took off for breakfast, though, we put up a sign at their booth advertising free full ride scholarships to the first five people to sign up.

A quick background about the Jones family

Picnic time up on Lone Tree in PNG, 2011

In order to avoid having to have every post approved, we are going to refer to the organization we work with as "the organization."  If you would like to know who we work for and more background information, please see our other blog  Here's a bit of history on us.

I grew up in Merced, CA. I spent two years in Lomalinda, Colombia, South America with Wycliffe Bible Translators from 1983-1985. I went to Merced High School, graduating in 1995. I then went to LeTourneau University and graduated as an airplane pilot and mechanic in 1999.

Carrie was born in Lomalinda, Colombia and grew up there.  Her parents, Neal and Jane, Peterson, were missionaries there with Wycliffe.  (We were next-door neighbors for 6 months when we were 6 years old!) She returned to the US when she was 16. She moved to Dallas in 1995, where her family still lives. She went to Dallas Baptist University and graduated in 1999 with a Biology degree. She has since gotten her Master's in Epidemiology/Public Health and has done all but her thesis toward her Doctorate in that field. She is serving in several roles here in PNG with her -- HIV/AIDS awareness, Community Health Board with local villages, and, most importantly, loving mother to our son Isaac.

We got married in 1999 and we have one son, Isaac, born in 2004. In 2005, we came over to Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific to serve as a pilot/mechanic and Public Health worker.

We serve in PNG to support Bible translators who are putting the scriptures into the as yet unwritten languages of PNG (still more than 200 languages here do not have a single word of Scripture in their language!) In 2007, God provided for me to fulfill my lifelong dream to be a helicopter pilot and I have had the amazing privilege to serve in PNG flying helicopters.

If you would like to contribute toward our ministry, please go here.

Thank you so much for your prayers, love, and support!

Gavin, Carrie, and Isaac Jones

Ultrasound #3: All's good!

On Tuesday we went in to have another ultrasound after some significant bleeding a few days before.  It was pretty exciting to see all 5 babies there still with strong heartbeats!  One of the first views we had of one of the babies showed him waving his arms and legs.  Incredible, considering they're only the size of a grape right now (nobody's told me what kind or size of grape, though).  I've imbedded just a bit of the sonogram.  Toward the end you can see five black oval-ish areas that are the five baby sacs.  Pretty incredible.

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

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