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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Over a million!!??

I (Gavin) was amazed to see that a few days ago our blog passed the 1 million hits mark!  I never imagined that there would be any reason for this many people to be interested in our lives.  God's pretty creative and has quite a sense of humor.  I sure wasn't laughing about a year ago when we found out about the quints.  We were both frustrated, angry, scared . . . .

A lot of water has gone under this bridge since then.  What an amazing change our family has seen.  Our prayer is that these 1 million hits and counting will be a web-portal-view of God's love, care, and wisdom.  May Christ be seen on these virtual pages.  He only can have the credit for working joy and goodness in our lives, for bringing these beautiful babies into the world, for building such an incredible team of prayer warriors and helpers to allow us to raise these children.

As we hear about the recent anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I am reminded of one of our first doctor visits after finding out about the quints.  The doctor strongly recommended that we "selectively reduce" the pregnancy.  It sounds so scientific and "acceptable" when framed in politically correct terms like that.  We immediately said, "No.  That is not an option."  When queried as to why, Carrie's quick response was, "Because it's murder."  That stopped the doctor in his tracks and he quickly changed the subject.

What if we had "selectively reduced?"  Would we have picked Will, David, Marcie, Seth, or Grace?  It's a horrible thought, I know, but that was still the reality we faced that day.  They weren't named yet or fully formed, but they were no less our children then than they were now.

When I think that over five million babies have been slaughtered in these past 40 years in the name of convenience, I am brokenhearted that we as a nation can be so callous.  We so often allow pride and self to come before personal responsibility and love for others.

Again, for me what it boils down to is a reminder to pray for our nation, our legislators, our leaders, the individuals facing these decisions, etc.  Only the Spirit of God can truly change the hearts of the people.  



Wow, I started off this post simply to comment about the number of blog views.  My mind wandered a bit.  (It must be those three cups of coffee.)

Now for the gratuitous baby pictures:

Grace, Will, Marcie 
Seth, David, Grace, Will, Marcie

News story video

The news story from Saturday never was posted on the internet, so I took a video of it on playing on the TV so I could post it.  The quality isn't the best, but it works.  This was on CBS' Channel 11 in Dallas/Ft. Worth on January 26, 2013.

video

Update Monday night, January 29th

Thank you to everyone who wrote such sweet comments! I wish I could write you ALL back! I read all the comments. I don't always, admittedly, but I sure did for this last post. I knew those pictures were going to be a hit. :o)

Today the weather was wild and wacky, and so were the kids, but Seth is indeed thriving! He seems SO happy to be here, so at peace, and so interested in his new little world. He loves the hustle and bustle of everyone around him and is interested in the other babies. I had him outside for the first time today, and he discovered breeze. He seemed to love it and fell asleep for quite a while. The other babies joined us out there with Deb and Donna. It was 76 degrees!

We are having ongoing issues with Seth's vomiting (again, retching and profuse, but not truly projectile) and definitely need continued prayers for that. We have him on the anti-reflux formula which seemed to help a lot at first, but I'm not sure it's doing much now. We are taking him for his first doctor's appointment tomorrow, which I'm glad about as we'll be able to get a professional opinion of what we should do to help him. It's frustrating because all the good developmental activities - sitting up, drinking from the bottle, tummy time - seem to exacerbate the problem!

The gal who came today to give us further training on his g-PEG had no idea that we had quintuplets. She came in and saw one baby (Marcie?) being held by Robin our volunteer and asked if that was Seth and if Robin was me. Then she started looking around and saw more and more babies. I guess her reaction was pretty fun. :)

Speaking of the quints: Will is now a chilled-out version of his former "five-alarm" self. Gracie totally has him beat for screaming/crying power and volume. Her lung capacity and vocal cords are astounding! And she doesn't mind telling you if she is bothered, hungry, tired, whatever. I LOVE how tiny she still is! She's gaining weight really well and has big ol' rolls on her thighs, but she's just so petite! I feel like I get to keep my babies as babies longer because of Gracie. Will, meanwhile, has muscular thighs and loves to stand up or bounce for minutes on end in someone's lap. David is just nuts about his Johnny Jump-Up and continues to be happy and smiley and relational. Marcie is busy taking in the world around her with her beautiful blue eyes (which may actually remain blue, as may Seth's!). She squeaks and screams like a tropical bird when she has a need, but otherwise is probably the easiest of all the babies. Seth's big blue eyes and long lashes melt my heart. He's been giving out more and more smiles as the days go by and "talks" too. He's a very easy baby, too, but when he does get upset (too hot, woken up, needs his diaper changed) boy howdy, he cries harder than any baby I've ever seen! He turns purple and stops breathing, he's crying so hard. And there's nothing we can do, really, to shorten his period of upset-ness. He's just MAD. The nurse practitioner warned us that his angry cries would set off the apnea ("not breathing for 20 seconds") alarm!

Guess I'd better close. I was only able to write for this long because the babies took a long evening nap following a VERY wakeful day! :)

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Seth's main nurse saying goodbye. We love you, Kendall!

First bath at home. He loved it! This gives you a good picture of his g-PEG.
I fuzzed out his key parts down below :)

David and Will are enjoying their mini airplane kit from LeTourneau University, Gavin's Alma Mater
Thanks, LetU (and Auntie Karen for wrapping the planes)!

One small child . . . looking very angelic! Guess who it is? The swaddles have "wings" that happened to be "unfurled" in this picture. (Editor:  Of course, we know that real angels don't have wings, so she looks more like a "winged being") Strange not to see other babies around, isn't it?




Monday, January 28, 2013

The Valley of Blessing!

Remember the post from way back in September Jones' Clips: Gavin and Carrie Jones' Blog: Midnight devotional, when Seth was so sick we didn't know what to do besides pray? I found great comfort from 2 Chronicles 20, when several allied kingdoms marched out against God's people, completely overwhelming and terrifying them. Their king said, 
"We are powerless . . . We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." 

The Lord's response was:
Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged . . . , for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

It goes on to say: 
21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!”22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.


And then, the reason for the title of this post: 
 26 On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.
 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.


We are happily at peace as a family of 8, blessed by rest provided by God via our wonderful helpers! We are overflowing with gratitude. I've had trouble falling asleep at night, I am SO happy and thankful knowing all of us are under one roof finally.  We are certainly praising the Lord for His faithful love and for the battle He has won - and not only the battle for Seth's earthly life, but also the ultimate battle over sin and eternal death when Jesus rose from the dead. We deeply appreciate those of you who are praying with us that each of our babies will accept the sacrifice He made to take away their sin, allowing them to come to God as His children. We're blessed beyond words by the fact that we can boldly approach the throne of grace as we have many, many times over the past year. Thank you "family members" for joining us there - we've certainly found abundant help in our time of need! 

To God be the glory!
Carrie for us all

Seth is smiling, although it looks a little goofy. Will's shirt says "Daddy's Big Guy" and
Seth's says "Mommy's Big Guy," and David is our very dapper smaller guy.


United at last! Clockwise from bottom: Grace, Seth, Marcie, David, Will

In birth order, counter-clockwise starting from 9 o'clock:
Will, David, Marcie, Seth, Gracie.



Gracie looks like she's saying "Get off of me!" with a laugh.
David clearly thinks it's funny, too. 




Saturday, January 26, 2013

"I'm loving them all the time."

How hilarious was that editing/ending?! If you weren't in on the rest of the interview it sounds like I'm correcting/one-upping Gavin, but I was clarifying that I ENJOY them all the time, even when it's hard. We laughed so hard we cried while watching the end of the interview. :)

Will post the link when it posts on CBS 11's website.

It's been a busy but sweet night so far, and Seth seems to love being here with us!

Did I mention I'm loving them all the time? ;)
Carrie


SETH IS HOME!!!!

Praise God, we are at home with all five quintuplets!  It was a long afternoon at the hospital, but we got all the training on the equipment, did all the paperwork and waiting, running to and from the car, pharmacy, etc., but now we are home!  Seth is doing pretty well.  I (Gavin) am a bit overwhelmed with all the new stuff we have to do for Seth.  It really isn't tons, but will just take some time to figure out and schedule and get into a rhythm.

Believe us, pictures WILL follow, but I just wanted to get this out before the news tonight.  A crew from CBS 11 in Dallas/FT. Worth filmed Seth in the hospital and him coming home and it will be on tonight at 10 on channel 11.

We are incredibly grateful to all of you who have prayed for us and especially for Seth to bring him to this point.  All glory to God for saving his life and allowing him to rejoin his siblings!

Much more to follow. . . .


Just waiting around :)

Seth coming home TODAY!

Lord willing, they will be discharging Seth in a couple of hours. We are getting our last bits of teaching and the car seat test done and all the loose ends tied up. He'll be coming home with 4 machines(!): apnea and heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, feeding pump, and oxygen concentrator. In addition, he's also on 7 medications: 5 through his feeding tube and two inhaled, all at least twice a day. I'm oddly excited about letting my "inner nurse" out in caring for Seth, largely because I won't be pulled in as many directions now that our NICU days - all 170 of them! - will be over. We certainly pray there will be no cause for re-admittance.

We should be leaving at 5:30 or 6 and be on the news tonight at 10:00. We will post the link; it will be Channel 11 (Fort Worth) again, and this time I'll try not to giggle hysterically while quoting Philippians 4:13. ;)

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Finally posting an update!

This is SO delayed; some computer issues, lots of back-and-forth about Seth, running around figuring stuff out, etc. I know you all understand. :)

To answer the big question: no, he's not home yet. His vomiting (think deep, retching, projectile, profuse) got worse and worse, and he wasn't gaining weight, so they needed to figure out a feeding solution before sending him home, of course. We've tried the reflux formula the babies at home are on, but I haven't been able to get ahold of anyone this morning to find out how it's gone overnight. Right now the target homecoming date is Sunday.

On a happier note, he's been really happy, even with all the vomiting going on. He was telling me a lot last night and gave me a big grin. SO cute!

Babies at home are all thriving. I will update as soon as we know anything and I can get to a computer.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Isaac!

Will dressed up to "escort" his sisters to Isaac's party in their formal evening-wear. Gracie is on the left, Marcie on the right. (And no, we didn't really go anywhere. We had pizza and ice cream at home, and the babies promptly spat up all over their nice clothes.)

I just have to point out how the girls' arms are linked with Will's,
and Marcie looks like she's leaning on her knight in shining armor. ;)

David crashing the party!

Alas, there was only one "tux" at Dilliards, a 3-6 month size fitting only Will and Seth (who had to send his regrets for the evening's festivities). David just looks bigger than Will in this picture because he's so much closer to the camera. Thank you, Whitney and Lynette, for the outfits! What fun to play dress-up! What fun to celebrate Big Brother Isaac's nine delightful years of life!

Huge answers to prayer!

Hi all!

Thanks so much for praying and for the sweet, encouraging comments and emails sharing good advice and personal experiences. Truly, we appreciate each one! There was something to be gained from every one. 


Everything got worked out astonishingly fast today, thanks to Seth's very low birth weight qualifying him for special assistance, and also thanks to the hard work of the social work and transitional care folks at the hospital.  Clearly God was answering prayers before I even knew our needs.

Everything seems to be coming into place for his discharge late tomorrow or Friday. The 56 hours of home care in addition to all the PT, OT and speech therapy the medical staff recommended had us wondering "How needy is this precious little guy?!? What are we in for?!?" The crying and large projectile vomiting spell last night also didn't help allay our concerns, needless to say. Thank God, today both Gavin and I were able to make it to the hospital in time for rounds and talk to the doctor and therapist face-to-face. They reassured us that while he has significant reflux, there are different feeding options to consider (including thickening formula with rice cereal) and left it to us to make those decisions in consultation with our pediatrician. They really don't want to change his diet so close to discharge, so he is coming home on enriched breast milk. We appreciate prayer for wisdom and guidance regarding his diet. He had another projectile vomit while I was trying to nurse him this evening as well as one good ol' spit-up right down my shirt earlier in the afternoon. :) Welcome to motherhood! 

The real icing on the cake today was how smiley, talkative and giggly Seth was while we were there. He was SO happy and interactive! We've never seen him like this. It was balm to our concerned parent hearts; clearly this child is not suffering. Plus, the occupational therapist showed us that he is achieving all the developmental milestones expected for a baby his adjusted age (nearly 3 months). [Adjusted age is the months since the babies' due date, which was November 3rd; "real age" counts from their birth date. Once they reach 2 years it won't matter much anymore.]
No more masks!! Mommy-kisses


Another blessing today, not to be undervalued, was/is the home babies' contentedness today and this evening. We had a really fun day and night: plenty of "aunties," a walk, baths, the Johnny-Jump-Up, a new swing, and lots of babbling and smiling. Clearly people are praying for us all! :) 

Marcie and David

David


Walk time! Gracie in back, Marcie Jane in front, Will in front of Marcie (off camera). All were sleepy.
The basket at the back is for Seth's oxygen tank. :) It was in the 70's today!

Clearly our babies are well loved and cared for!
Will was napping, but Marcie is on the left, David is facing the camera, and Gracie is having her" tummy time."











Seth's homecoming complications?

Hi everyone,

I am struggling with some discouragement over the disappointing and complicating news that our health insurance for Seth has maxed out, perhaps throwing a bit of a wrench in the work to get him home Thursday or Friday. I am so indescribably grateful I can know God is sovereign and only ever works everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Thank you to all who are praying us through this. I can hardly wait to get him home!

Another sobering fact is that before they knew we were maxed out on our insurance for Seth the hospital was attempting to secure 56 hours per week of professional nursing care at home for the foreseeable future. His needs are just too great for us to deal with on our own, especially on the weekends and in the evenings when help is more sparse and babies are more needy. :} He will also need regular home visits from the occupational, physical and speech therapists (due to developmental delays secondary to prolonged hospitalization and to help him overcome his oral aversion and learn to eat by mouth; he's back to almost all tube feedings only following the surgery), as well as durable medical equipment provision and maintenance. Whew! But our Father has provided so richly in the past, and we know He knows our needs before we can even think to name them. (Matthew 6:8)

Tonight when I was visiting he cried almost the whole time, then vomited profusely. It was a hard evening. I kept remembering, though, that we begged for his life and have been given that, so these hard times are really a blessing since he's here with us to go through them together. We cannot praise and thank God enough for sparing our little boy.

In the meantime, to those of you who feel led to pray for patience and protection: Gavin and I could really use it. There are times each evening we definitely fail, and "you always hurt the ones you love," in my case my wonderful stressed-out husband. I also am needing to scale back in some other areas.

Thursday, Lord willing, we will have things figured out with the financial department of the hospital and can room in with Seth to get teaching on all his equipment and special needs. Then, please God, he can come home! As I carried his car seat through the halls of the NICU this evening I was reminded again of the miracle God has done for us.

To Him be the glory forever and ever, in our lives, in Seth's, and in all of creation,
Carrie

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pictures from the last couple of days

Yes, I'm up late - just finished nursing and pumping while perusing pictures. :}
Thanks for the darling matching outfits, Wanda!
Grace on left, Marcie on right:



A pensive moment (this was before they started laughing, so it's out of order)

Silly Grandpadad put Will in his activity seat without unswaddling him!
Will didn't seem to mind. :)
A started elephant-capped David

Today after church: Gracie's little hissy-fit makes me grin. Thanks for babysitting
so Gavin and I could go to church together, Katrina (and Mom, yet again)!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Update on Seth; Sunday night Jan. 20

Thanks to all who have continued praying for our little guy. He is doing fine, recovering well, but still refluxing a lot, including some projectile vomiting. We've pushed very hard for them to switch him to the anti-reflux formula the others are on. This negative experience with food can't be helpful for his oral aversion.

We still hope to get him home mid-week; we'll update as soon as we know anything. I can hardly wait!!!

Our lovely Sunday afternoon volunteers took the babies on a walk this lovely Sunday afternoon. The weather was perfect and the babies got a lot of admiration. Too bad I missed it, but I sure needed and enjoyed my nap! :)

I have lots of pictures and videos to post when I get a chance, so I'll leave you with this darling Gracie montage! She is SO talkative and interactive!

Love and gratitude for all the prayers and gifts of every kind, including your time, energy and service!
Carrie

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seth already back on cannula in his room

Praise God, he was extubated immediately! He will be sleeping the rest of the day. He looks great and HUGE! :)

Please continue praying, especially that he won't be in pain.

Thanks! Thank you, Lord!
Carrie and Gavin

Seth is in surgery now: 1 pm

Just letting you all know that Seth just went into surgery a few minutes ago. They are having to intubate him and it him under general anaesthetic for the procedure. Thank you so much for yor prayers for our big little guy!

Gavin

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A few more . . .

They only lasted about half the short walk before falling asleep (Marcie, David, Will)

David

Gracie
Marcie


Will

First official stroller ride!

Without Seth, but with my dear friend Katrina from North Carolina and Lynee from Duncanville. Lots of fun! No real staring or questions, though. It was actually kind of disappointing. Maybe they think we are a daycare? :) It was a beautiful, crisp day. 

Will is the lion, David is the elephant, Marcie is the monkey, and Gracie is the giraffe (Get it? - the shortest one!)

Feeling silly

Will and David (Thanks Aunt Courtney and Uncle Kenneth for the hats!)



Note the space for Seth. Katrina pushed most of the way so I could walk alongside and admire my babies. :)

Gracie and David were cracking for Katrina when we got back home

Surgery moved to tomorrow

Hi all,

Seth needs to have some lab work done before they can proceed with surgery, so it's currently "on" for tomorrow. Gavin will go up tonight to sign the consent forms when he visits with Seth.

Meanwhile, Seth has had a happy day; he seems happy the vast majority of the time now. We are so eager to get him home! The others are thriving. I keep waiting for them all to be awake at the same time when it's reasonably warm out so I can take them on a stroller ride. Today is a beautiful day, but of course 3 of the 4 are sleeping. :}

Love and thanks for all your prayers - especially for Seth to remain infection free and have a great surgical outcome and get home soon, Lord willing!
Carrie

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Random photos from the past few days

Will is always glad for a cozy lap and snuggling arms, in this case Lynette's
Big brother Isaac (who turns 9 next Thursday!) feeding Will.
David fell asleep sitting up next to Marcie
I just pulled this off our camera; the other version was from Mary Beth's phone.
Marcie Jane, Will, David, Grace. The babies' facial expressions and Isaac's goofiness make me smile.



Seth's surgery approved!

They will do it tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday. The anesthesiologist did an assessment today and said he looks well enough to plan to proceed, barring a sudden significant cold or infection. Please pray he remains infection-free so he can get his g-PEG and come home!! :) Thank you!

He really holds our gaze for a long time


With "Grandpa-Dad"
No, his jowls and pudge are not due to medications/steroids. It's just fat: 12 lb 14 oz.


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

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

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