But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forgot to mention . . .

. . . in response to the delightfully frequent "What do you need?" question: Although there are several baby items we still need to borrow/buy/receive (see my last post), obviously medical bills are by far the largest single need (especially as the new insurance year starts) and are not provided for in our monthly support quota. If you feel led to help with the babies' and my doctors' and hospital bills please designate gifts "Gavin and Carrie Jones: Excess Medical" either in the comment box online (see link, right hand side of this page) or on a separate attached note if using snail mail. Otherwise, undesignated medical bill gifts will be recorded as basic living expense gifts and will decrease our eligibility for and amount of supplementary support when the babies come along.

This is a NO PRESSURE P.S. to my last posting. It's only meant for those of you who have asked us specifically what our needs are or are planning and wanting to contribute towards medical bills.

We deeply appreciate everyone's prayer support, encouragement, practical help, and gifts of all kinds! We are tremendously humbled and know that God is the green tree from whom all our blessings and fruit come. (Hosea 14:8b) Thanks for being His vessels.

Love in Christ,
Carrie (for Gavin, too)

I am sooooo tired . . .

(Writing from my dad's computer.)

I keep thinking of our first furlough, when 3 1/2 year-old Isaac woke up sick the day we left Ukarumpa and we had to give him Phernergan to enable him to make it through the flight without tossing his cookies. I could sure tell when the drug began to act as he lay limply in my arms and said, "Mommy, I am sooooo tired." He slept through friends' goodbyes at our airstrip. Oh well.

Now I feel like saying that all the time and lying around limply (which I am supposed to do anyway). How much is the anemia? How much is the fact that my body is heavily taxed by 5 babies? I sleep for 10 hours and wake up feeling like all I want to do is go back to sleep, even when I get out of bed and force myself to make it to the living room where there's usually some activity and a parent to serve me (Gavin is in CA visiting our church, friends and family there - he took Isaac, and both are having a great time. If you think to pray for him this weekend, I'd appreciate it, please, as he's hiking into the back country of Yosemite with his cousin/best friend.).

I even have trouble typing. Weird stuff comes out instead of the word or letter I was intending. I read your emails. I love your comments. I am so encouraged by your prayers. My response is to lie limply but gratefully in the recliner or on the couch or in my bed. Sorry. You'll notice Gavin has been doing almost all the blogging, which is why the last picture said 22 weeks instead of the correct 21 weeks - I'll be 22 weeks tomorrow, hooray! (I celebrate each week at this point. At a certain point I'll celebrate each day.) 

I did want to thank those of you who have been praying for my back pain. It's gotten a ton better, though still acts up in the same place (high right) from time to time. Thanks also to those who have been praying for my appetite as I'm still 10 pounds behind where I'm "supposed" to be as established in my twins, triplets, and quad pregnancy book,(although I look as rotund in every area as a Butterball turkey) and now one of the baby girls has borderline intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). I drink Boost and Ovaltine and ice cream malts to try and fatten her up. Not sure if that helps at all, but it makes me feel like I'm doing SOMETHING. Since the boys are all a bit "ahead" and the other little girl is right on target, I really doubt it's malnutrition that's causing the tiny one to lag behind, especially with all the supplements I'm on. The doctor says her placenta probably just didn't find as good a place to implant as the other babies' did.

Speaking of appetite, we've received two delicious meals this week from women in our Texas home church. That sure helps. My mom is still working full-time many days, so it's a huge relief to her. When we first arrived she'd work all day, come home and cook, and be in the kitchen until 11:00 p.m. cleaning up.

In the evening, when I tend to have more energy after my nap (but I can't nap too long or I will have really restless sleep at night!), I have been slowly sorting through baby clothes. We have received TONS of adorable sleepers, outfits, blankets, etc. for the first year of their lives! Almost all are used but in great condition. I love looking through Isaac's old outfits and imagining the three boys in them come Dec. or so.

I will register soon at Target.com and Babysrus.com (whenever my sooooooo tiredness subsides enough to enable me to concentrate) as many have been asking "what do you need?" And please be assured, used is just fine with us! Borrowing would definitely be a blessing.

I'm rambling. It's because I am soooooo tired. (Ha, ha - what's my excuse normally?)

Love you all - please consider this my personal email response to your lovely cards and messages.
Carrie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dead computer!

On Monday our computer decided to go to a better place. It was a good one for the past 4 1/2 years, but I guess it's time to let it go. It's totally dead, but fortunately completely backed up, so the loss is only the hardware. We are thankful for family who are allowing us to use their machines until we have a replacement!

That said, we might be a bit more delayed in responding to emails than before since we're not as directly connected as we were. It's pretty amazing how much we rely on computers and the files on them these days, isn't it?

Correction: Carrie at 21 weeks

Gavin was a bit off on his weeks. I was just 21 weeks in this photo. :)

This picture was taken before our latest Dr. Appointment. Isaac's expressions are kind of representative of how we've been feeling sometimes when we think about different aspects of our future. For the most part, I think our "expressions" are a bit more relaxed and at peace, but every once in a while . . . .

Our appointment was good overall. The babies all are doing well. The girl who had the minor kidney problem is measuring smaller (better) and only just above the size where the doctors become slightly concerned, so we praise the Lord for that!

The other girl, though, is significantly smaller than her siblings, but there was no evidence of her being in distress or having other problems. From what we've read online, low iron levels can hinder growth of the babies some as well as cause some other symptoms that Carrie is experiencing.

We are thankful, though, that Carrie is getting an iron infusion this morning, which will allow her body's stores to be replenished quickly, since the other forms of iron she has been taking have had no effect. We pray that will help with Carrie's energy level and appetite as well as the babies' growth and health.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Home: On official bedrest

After a largely sleepless night for Carrie, we are home again. The contractions slowed down and were never strong enough to cause much concern. After seeing her this morning, though, the doctor is putting her officially on bed-rest. We are home now and grateful to be here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A trip to the hospital . . .

Carrie has been having more and longer contractions this afternoon. A call to our doctor has sent us to the emergency room just to check up and monitor things. No one was in the waiting room so she was zipped right up. The doctor on call and the nurses have been great and things look fine at this point. They are calling them Braxton-Hicks contractions and she's on an IV to get some more fluids in her. I suspect she'll be here for the night, but we don't know for sure, of course. We appreciate your prayers!

 

 

A good week for Isaac.

Isaac has had a great, busy week! Our church here had its Vacation Bible School in the mornings and Isaac had a great time learning about God's greatness and power-- that His understanding is infinite! He spent four of the afternoons this week with a good friend, Peter, playing at his house and going to swimming lessons. He's loving the swimming. We were able to top off the week yesterday afternoon by going to Hawaiian Falls, a waterpark nearby. We got discounted tickets from VBS and our church group had the park to ourselves for 2 hours later on at night. Isaac and I had a great time and he was worn out, getting to bed at around 11 last night. Fortunately, he made up for it by sleeping in until 10:30 this morning.

When we were at the water park, Isaac asked me, "Dad, why do you want to do everything with me?" I have been realizing increasingly more the last few weeks how little time I have left with Isaac as my only child. I am trying to take advantage of these times together and cherish them before the frenzy of the quints hits. I just told him, "Isey, I only have you for a few more months as my only son and I want to spend as much time as I can with you. Does that bother you?" He replied, "No, I was just asking."


Add caption
 

Striking the bathing beauty (or hunk, in this case) pose

I truly hope that Isaac will not feel that our love for him is less when our lives are consumed with caring for five new babies. We've talked through this a bit with him, but when reality hits, I think it's going to be pretty hard for him to be playing sixth fiddle. We will need to make it a priority to spend quality times with him alone after the siblings arrive.

I really think we all don't truly have much of a real picture what we are in for. I would say we are going into it all pretty well prepared -- and more than well cared-for, but there are so many unknowns, that we can only plan so much. At a certain point planning becomes futile and more work, since we don't know the facts of our situation yet.

We've been blessed by having our baby room start to fill up over the last few days with donations from several people. It's sure making things seem real as I see all the baby paraphernalia. How do you know when enough is enough? With one? With FIVE? I remember being continually amazed how much "stuff" Isaac needed (I guess I should say, we needed for Isaac) when he was a baby. That is now increased by 5 in some areas, but fortunately not all. We're going to be going through the stuff and using a spreadsheet our manager/coordinator, Stacey Walter, has made for us to find out what we have and what we are lacking. That's a big help for me, especially. Now, where to put the stuff, since we won't need it all at once . . . .

Isaac's favorite Stateside treat: Pizza at Costco!
 

 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

20 Weeks!

Yep, Carrie's at 20 weeks today!  Halfway through a normal pregnancy, but how far are we?  Again, we're praying for 14 more weeks to bring us to September 30th.  The 29 week mark, which is the point at which the babies are quite viable, is August 19th.  Carrie's still getting around a bit on her feet without problems.  We had her in a wheelchair today when we went to church.  It was great to see everyone here at our Texas home church again!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

A selfish prayer request

Hi again everyone,

There are stacks of emails from lots of you special people that I wanted to reply to now that we are settled in my parents' home, but I'm dealing with near-constant back and side pain which makes it difficult to sit up for any extended period of time. I am struggling with some anxiety related to the pain, mostly borne from thoughts like, "How BAD is this going to get?" - especially when I'm not yet 20 weeks along, and we really want to keep those babies in there until 34 weeks, God willing! The Lord keeps reminding me to take it day by day and not borrow trouble from tomorrow. Would you please pray for peace and joy for me during this time of waiting (and if God is willing, for the pain to ease)?

Contractions keep me off my feet for most of the day already, so I'm having to remind myself "I am not an invalid; I am doing an important job that happens to be hard on my body." I hope and pray that helps in warding off depression. :} God's promises in His Word are more precious to me at times like these!

Oh, one last thing: my appetite is still not what I'd like it to be. I'm having trouble eating foods I used to love, so it's usually more a matter of forcing myself to eat than truly enjoying what's before me (big exception: Mom and Dad's marinated steaks on the grill!). So if anyone feels led to pray that I'd start really craving and enjoying food, that would be a blessing. :)

Love to you all,
Carrie

P.S. We'll send a 20-week picture on Sunday. We were traveling this past Sunday, hence no photo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good appointment-- and a sonogram surprise.

Today was our first appointment with the perinatologist who will be delivering our litter/herd.  It started with a quick sonogram and we were surprised to see one of the boys kicking back and truly enjoying his time in there!



He already knows how to make do in a tight situation.  What a great drink choice, too!

We were very happy and impressed with how prepared and professional they were regarding our "situation."  the doctor said this will be her fourth set of quintuplets to deliver-- about every 5 years, so we consider ourselves to be in good hands.

All the babies are still doing well.  The one girl still has the kidney issue, but this doctor, like our other doctors, was not concerned about it at all and reassured us that we do not need to worry about it.

She went over some of what we can expect when the babies are delivered.  Herself and one or two other doctors, an anesthesiologist, one neonatal team for each baby, etc.  It's going to be quite a production, pun intended.  We left feeling very assured that we are in good hands and will be well looked after.

Monday, June 11, 2012

We made it!

Thanks to all for covering us in prayer!  It was a good trip that went quicker than we anticipated.  After a slower start on the first day and a bit of a scare with all the contractions that Carrie had, we've had two good, smooth days with no issues.  Carrie rested well on the way and is now in bed here at the Peterson home.  Her parents, Neal and Jane, have been gracious enough to not only allow us to live at their home for months to come, but have even given up their own master bedroom for the seven of us (Quints, Carrie, and me)!  Isaac has his own room as well.  We are blessed and well taken care of.

Leaving Little Rock

We got all the way to Little Rock, AR last night after a very good day of travel.  Carrie got good rest in the car and had almost no contractions all day, so we praise the Lord for that.  It was sure beautiful driving through the Smoky Mountains and western Tennessee.  We had a good night's sleep and are heading off on what we hope to be the last leg of our trip shortly.  We have all been enjoying Focus on the Family's "Father Gilbert Mysteries" while we drive.  Good stuff.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Great night

Carrie had a wonderful, long night of sleep last night! I have declared (with her agreement) that we need to act as if she is on bed rest, so we will try to act accordingly. We're hitting the road in a few minutes.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sleeping in Sevierville, TN

We got a later start than planned (but not much later than expected).  It was great to see my aunt and uncle and cousin in Black Mountain for lunch before we stopped in Sevierville (a couple hours further down the road) for our luggage.

It was good to see Lois and Pat shortly at the hospital where I loaded our luggage.  Pat is doing well and recovering nicely.

Carrie was having quite a few contractions today during the drive and while doing any walking.  There are a combination of things that have added to the contractions-- lack of sleep, dehydration, full bladder, walking.  All of these were factors today.  We'll try to minimize that tomorrow.  It didn't help that we were stuck in a traffic jam for almost an hour with no exits and a full bladder.  The things we don't have control over . . .

Good night.


Friday, June 8, 2012

On our way to Texas!

We are done here at JAARS and are heading to Texas.  The car's mostly packed and riding low.  I guess this will be the last time that I pack the car for a road trip for a family of just three.  Things are going to get interesting next time . . . .

Our van doesn't have a roof rack on it, so I improvised a few attach points to put a roof luggage bag on, which will allow us to get all the stuff in.  We've been given lots of baby clothes, diapers, and accessories since the quint news, so we have quite a bit more than we came with.  That's not a complaint-- I actually take it as a challenge to see how much free space I can still leave in the car.

Isaac is ready to go! 


Our plan is to take it nice and easy on the trip over.  We are thinking we'll take three days to make it.  We have to make a small detour through Sevierville, Tennessee.  Two long-time translators, Pat Brien and Lois Vincent, took a bunch of our stuff with them, planning to go to Texas for a wedding and to see family.  Unfortunately, Pat ended up having emergency surgery in Tennessee due to a twisted bowel.  She is fine and recovering well (I spoke with her this morning), but will be in the hospital for about 5 days.  We'll stop through there and pick up our things (I think it will all fit) and head on our way.

The nice thing about the detour is that we get to see my (Gavin) relatives, the VanBrocklins, for lunch, since they're on our way.

We sure appreciate your prayers as we head out.  It doesn't take much for Carrie's back and belly to be pretty sore, but hopefully the slow pace and frequent stops will help her.  She should be able to recline fully and even lie on her side, so that should be a help.

As for Isaac, he's doing just fine.  Oral surgery yesterday-- today acting like nothing happened.  Praise the Lord!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

2 teeth just got pulled!


Isaac had the joy of his first dental visit of his life today. He did great! He had an extra tooth way up in his gums, so Dr. Dane Kovach had to pull his baby tooth and his extra one out to make way for the adult tooth. Not fun but it's done. Thanks so much, Dane, for noticing it on Sunday and doing it at such short notice! The picture is after walking out of the office.  He's enjoying all the ice cream . . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

. . . and 3 pictures

High-five for a great report!

Baby Boy C (he provided the best profile for the camera, but all were adorable)

Family picture! Don't ask me what everything is, but you can at least see the respective sacs, labeled for the baby inside. Looks like a soccer ball!

MANY praises, one prayer

Hi all,

We are once again overwhelmed and humbled by your many emails and personal and phone assurances of prayer. THANK YOU. If this update seems late, we have a good excuse: Believe it or not, that appointment took 4 hours! Whew! And then lots of time in rush-hour traffic, plus good friends had us for supper (thanks, N&L!), and we had to get Isaac to bed. 

We are VERY grateful to report that no major issues of any sort were spotted with any of the babies. No markers for chromosomal abnormalities, heart/brain/cord defects, or anything at all wrong with their leg/arm anatomy - all have ten finger, ten toes, no clubbing, etc. All are still measuring right on or slightly ahead for gestational age (8 and 9 ounces), with perfect heartbeats. We are praising and thanking God! And again, thank YOU for praying!

There is, however, one issue for prayer with one of the babies: One of the girls has a potential problem with her kidneys not emptying properly (they looked a lot more noticeable than the other babies' on the ultrasound). The doctor originally said it looks like it could be "pyelectasis," but the extent of the swollen-ness of the kidneys is verging on possible "hydronephrosis." However, he said even if it was his baby he wouldn't lose any sleep over it. It's the single most "discovered"anomalous finding on fetal ultrasound, often doesn't end up being an issue at all, and even if it is, only 20% of cases require surgery, and then not usually until the baby is a few months old. She should be able to thrive until that point just fine, perhaps needing prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection of the kidneys. Of course, in extreme cases surgery would be required earlier rather than later (if kidney function is compromised), and has even been done in utero, although is of dubious benefit at that point. 

So the prayer of course is that this is NOT an genuine medical issue with our little girl, merely a slightly aberrant finding that disappears or at least does not appear to worsen on subsequent ultrasounds and can be ruled out completely at birth. We pray that God would resolve this even now with His mighty yet tender Physician's hand, if there is indeed anything that needs to be resolved, and that our little girl will continue to thrive in utero as well as once she is born, always safely in His grip. 

Speaking of grip, we also heartily thank God that my anatomy still has a tight grip on all these babies. The doctor said he wouldn't have believed I'd be doing this well sat 18 weeks, and that I couldn't look better internally (the c. is around 5 cm long and completely closed - superior to most women carrying only one baby!). He didn't use the word "miraculous," but we know the prayers of hundreds of God's righteous saints are powerful and effective in this as in everything else affecting these babies from conception onward! All glory to Him, with many thanks again to those who have stood with us, near and far, and bathed us in prayer. 

By the way, who sent me this shirt? I love it! I got lots of comments on it today, needless to say. :) Isaac got a huge kick of out of it, too. Thank you!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Last ultrasound in N.C. - prayer, please!

This is the big one, happening tomorrow: the 18 week scan that looks for any sort of abnormality at all on all 5 babies. We've been warned it will take over 2 hours given the number of kiddos in there! The ultra-sonographer will check for a 3-vessel umbilical cord, the chambers of the heart, any cysts in the brain, Down's Syndrome (trisomy 21), other trisomies, and more. 

We don't have happy memories of this scan with Isaac. They thought he had only a 2-vessel cord, they couldn't image the heart well enough to declare it well-formed, and he had a cyst on his brain. A big one. So then they started talking about the trisomies, including 13, 18 and 21, like it was pretty definite he had one of them. That's the weekend he was named Isaac, because we truly felt like we were putting him on the altar, laying him before God, willing to give him back if the Lord required it of us (trisomies 13 and 18 are always fatal, as I understand it), but praying He would give Isaac back to us! The high-powered, better resolution ultrasound 3 days later verified his cord and heart were perfect, and his cyst was a benign type that almost always resolved on its own by 28 weeks. (Aside: The cyst was bigger than ever at 28 weeks, causing the doctor serious concern, but we asked for two weeks more, sent out a prayer request, had literally hundreds of people praying, and it was GONE by 30 weeks. Not smaller. Gone. The doctor said he couldn't explain it; that they don't just disappear after being so big so late in the pregnancy. What a great chance we had to testify to the power of God and the prayers of His people!)

Anyway, we deeply appreciate prayers for this scan. It starts tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1:00 and we will try to post as soon as we get home.

This scan will also check to see if the frequent contractions I've been having are in any way affecting "the front door's" strength, width and integrity. We pray it's still locked and barred as in all previous ultrasounds, praise God. Especially as we look towards a 3 day car trip back to TX. My amazing Gavin has devised an arrangement to enable me to lie down with my feet up, even in the front seat. (I love him.)

A praise we've been late in mentioning is that our ultrasound on Wednesday went great! All five babies squirming, head-butting, or finger-sucking away, with perfect heartbeats, praise God. Every time I see them I fall more deeply in love with them. :) They've moved around as they've grown and now take up my whole stomach - a boy and girl on top (left and right), another boy and girl in the middle, and a boy at the bottom, smack under my belly-button. It's so cute to feel kicks and squirms going on in all quadrants!

Thank you all for your prayers - we cannot thank you enough. To God be all the glory!

In His loving grip,
Carrie, for us all
Baby sucking fingers; after this was taken he moved his little fist up to the left side of his face. It was cute, albeit blurry. That's another baby's head butting into the picture on the left.
The dark cord-like thing is the sac membrane, the ultrasonographer told us.
The babies are about the length of a bell pepper, so babycenter.com tells us. :)




Sunday, June 3, 2012

Carrie at 18 Weeks

Sorry to any of you who are frustrated that we failed to put up a 17 week picture of Carrie. I was gone over the weekend and Carrie was busy enough with Isaac and other things that no picture was taken. Here she and the quints are now in all their glory at 18 weeks. 






















She continues to be doing pretty well. Yesterday we did overdo it a bit and she was having some minor contractions. The doctor is not concerned as long as they don't last 45 seconds or so. At this point they're less than half that and only when she's been a bit too active. Isaac and I are going to have to be extra vigilant that she doesn't overdo it. I guess "overdo" will continue to be redefined daily as she gets larger and larger, so we'd appreciate wisdom in that area. We want to keep these buns in the oven as long as possible!

A trip to Jersey

I (Gavin) had a good trip up to New Jersey last week for the Missions At the Airport (MATA) at America's Keswick.  I didn't know anything about it before I went but did wonder why it was called "America's" Keswick.  This unique place is a Christian addiction and abuse recovery program modeled after the one in Keswick, England.

Many years ago, a man broken by addiction humbled himself and accepted Christ as his Savior.  From that point on, he was free from his addiction and he started what is now called the Colony of Mercy at America's Keswick.  It is a 120 day program that helps men out of their addictions and bondage as they meet Christ and are immersed in His Word.  

It was a pleasure to meet many of these men of "the Colony" over the weekend and hear their testimonies.  Many of them are still broken, having lost their families and friends and so much more due to their poor choices.  It was humbling for me, though, to see their zeal for the Lord and His transformational power in and through them.  
The helicopter stayed here during the evening-- a wonderful setting at a really transformational place.

I and the other pilots had the pleasure of giving the men from the Colony of Mercy free rides in the helicopter.  It was a blessing to see the smiles on their faces, since many of them had never been off the ground before.  

In addition to flying these men, we also gave rides to a few hundred others over the Memorial Day weekend who drove by.  We were flying out of a field right next to a busy highway, so lots of people saw the signs and stopped by for rides.  We then were given the opportunity to share with these people about Christ, missions, mission aviation, and Bible translation and how they might even become involved.  Only the Lord knows what may come of the contacts we made that weekend.   

Many children come to these events and are so excited to get to ride a helicopter.  Some of them really light up when they hear about how they might be able to serve the Lord in ways they've never heard of before and that is really fun to see!

Thanks for your prayers for safety for  for Isaac and Carrie at home.  They did well while I was gone, but Carrie and I both realize that will need to be the last time, since she really needs to minimize her activity-- which is quite hard when being a single mom.

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

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