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, August 31, 2013

Explanation and pictures

I tried to post the post that just posted (say that 10 times fast!) earlier today but just now see that it never actually posted.

Seth IS home, asleep and well. David is screaming, but that's another matter. :}

Here are some of the pictures, in reverse time order, with better quality resolution. (These are for you, Aunt Shirley!)

Happy back home with baby sister Gracie (whose eyes are turning green!), still eating his cookie.

Prednisone makes chocolate chip cookies that much more enjoyable!

He got a LOT of attention in the halls. People couldn't resist him. Can you blame them?!

Yesterday

Many praises and a prayer

Seth is standing in front of me babbling and yelling and playing with the various items in his wooden wagon which we just used to take a tour of the hospital and, on doctor's, go down and get Seth some lunch. Given his lack of interest in food, I thought, "Yeah, right," when she asked us to feed him, but then felt like a miracle unfolded before my eyes as Seth fed himself solid food for several minutes with absolutely no encouragement or pushing from me! I even got a video! He also tried to pig up my drink, wanting it back before I could take a good sip. Wow!!! And he's also off oxygen, so can go home as soon as he's taken a nap without dipping below 90% oxygen saturation. So that's the request, please. We'd really like to be done here. :)

Love. Carrie

Eating his chocolate chip cookie 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Look who's home!!!

And eating more of his cookie, no less! (That's Gracie in front of him.) He's crawling around with his cookie right now. So cute! Marcie and Will are napping, David is playing in the Fisher Price garden. Thanks for praying us home!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Feisty, fit and nearly free(?)

Forgive this very late update. I started updating this morning with the wonderful news that Seth was off oxygen, but then his CPT shook some junk in his chest loose which clogged up some portions of his lungs again (or "shifting adelectisis") and actually ended him back up on more oxygen than yesterday! However, the doctor suspected it would be short-lived, that the medications and his immune system would continue to clear him out, and that he'd wean back down again quickly, Sure enough, praise God, he's back down to 1/10th of a liter and doing great. They will try to take him off overnight. I pray he does well enough to come home tomorrow!

He's still on the prednisone, and BOY, can we tell! He is WILD and WOOLY, crazy, loud, aggressive, easily frustrated, determined to get into everything, "talking" constantly, waving and saying bye-bye to the medical staff (including a version of the Royal or pageant wave), and utterly personable and hilarious! It's such fun to see him like this. He's super exhausted from having so much interrupted sleep, plus he's getting stir-crazy from being stuck in this room, so he's also ultra-grumpy, which isn't as much fun. Poor Sam is spending the night with him again. My dear mother took a shift last night. 

David and Will, thank God, are all better today, so I think things are looking up! I was surprised by how exhausted and discouraged I was yesterday in the late afternoon/evening, but Jehovah Jireh provided help via friends and family at the hospital and at home, not to mention Thera taking Will and David overnight. I was a bit concerned they would feel too insecure (David screamed and scrambled into my arms the second he saw me a couple of days ago.), but it turned out to be exactly what they needed. They had a great time exploring a new place and playing with new toys and slept soundly all night (which is more than Marcie did at home - I should have farmed her out instead, ha, ha!). Even better, the night away made the boys LESS clingy rather than more! They were so happy to get out and away for a bit.

I'm really glad I kept the girls together because they love talking and laughing when they are going to sleep and then when they wake up in the morning. They are so happy in there together! They also love hanging together around the house. Last night I gave Gracie half a cookie, then set her down on the other side of the kitchen baby gate from Marcie, who was whining to be let into the kitchen too. I knew Grace would distract her. Sure enough, I was able to walk away and keep doing my own thing at the sink/stove, all the while hearing the girls talk and squeal and giggle. When I walked back over, the cookie had made it to the other side of the gate into Marcie's hand, and both girls were happily covered with chocolate while the floor was covered with crumbs. :) Marcie gave me her huge smile in triumph, and Grace seemed very happy to have shared with her. It's so cute watching them crawl side by side as they "fight" over an object, passing it back and forth. Darling little sisters! 

Today Will took a small toy from David, and David took it back, and Will was so frustrated he grabbed David's onesie and pulled him over! That's the closest thing to real retaliation I've seen yet. Alas, our children are not exempt from The Fall either. :} We sure pray frequently for their salvation, that they will recognize their need for a Savior at a young age, Lord willing, and accept Him and follow Him all the days of their lives and dwell in His house for ever (23rd Psalm). I pray goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their lives, not just the Lord's goodness and mercy TO them but also flowing THROUGH them to others. I love the idea of each of our children spreading His goodness and mercy, leaving much blessing in their wake each day, week, month, year, for as long as they are here on earth. I think their little lives have already been used in that way; no matter they are unaware of it. I know Justin, Emily and Per's lives have spread His goodness and mercy very broadly indeed.

Love and thanks,
Carrie

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday afternoon

Both the viral panels came back negative and Seth's belly seems to be softer and more comfortable for him today, thank God (and thank you for praying). His belly X-ray also came back clear - a relief! However, the repeat chest X-ray shows there are some areas of collapsed, inflamed lung tissue, so the CPT (chest-thumping therapy) will be continued, as will the nebulizer treatments. The three days of steroids has been increased to five days. The pneumonia infection area i his right lower lung appears to be shrinking, so that's an answer to prayer.

Seth is perkier and more like himself each day, but the steroids are making him pretty cantankerous. The lack of sleep (due to blood draw and X-ray between midnight and one a.m.) is no doubt contributing to his irritability. 

Speaking of irritability, the very nice pulmonologist was unhappy about (1) Seth not being put on the pulmonary floor, and (2) the hospital not contacting him until yesterday, letting him know his patient was here. Oops. 

The next step he wants to try to get Seth off of oxygen is mucolytics (mucus-dissolving drugs). Unlike the hospital pediatrician, he doesn't want to send Seth home on any oxygen if at all possible, which is probably just as well since David and Will both have fevers again today. They seem to be getting one virus after another! I don't really want Seth around them, as much as we'd REALLY like to be done with juggling hospital and home. Again, thank God for all the help we're getting; I'd hate to leave Seth here alone! 

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The latest and not-so-greatest

Seth has lower right abdominal pain (is very resistant to any pressure and cries on examination) so they are going to run a virus panel, a tummy panel, and perhaps a whooping cough test looking for other potential confounding infections Seth may have in addition to the pneumonia. The pulmonologist also wants another chest X-ray to be sure the pneumonia is indeed going away. In the doctor's words, they're "a little concerned" that his need for oxygen isn't going down, but also said that's not terribly uncommon for babies with his
lung issues. It's great to see him so happy and lively, but perplexing to see how much his tummy hurts him when they press on it. The left side is fine, it's the right that is painful.

Thanks again for caring and praying!
Carrie

Still waiting for doctor

I was going to hold off posting until the doctors did their rounds, but there are so many patients today it may be quite a while yet. The word from the nurse is that he'll be getting systemic steroids to try and speed the lung healing, and he's also receiving bacteria (how funny that sounds!) to go to work in his gut in an attempt to stop or at least slow down the diarrhea. He's vomited a couple times today, but not nearly as often as yesterday. His breathing looks better today, but he's still on the same amount of oxygen. As I type, he's receiving chest physiotherapy (CPT), which means someone is thumping rhythmically on his chest. It really helps him cough up the junk in his chest! The [surprisingly forceful!] thumping loosens it. He really loved his CPT and almost fell asleep. :)
(See below.)

But after CPT ended, he was raring to go! He loves pulling up on his crib.
He also loves looking out the window.


Clearly, he looks and feels and acts a lot better, despite still needing oxygen and having a junky chest infection.

Thanks for praying! I couldn't do this without all the help and support we're receiving at home. What an enormous blessing!

Love,
Carrie

Monday, August 26, 2013

Update Monday morning

Seth is finally conked out for his morning nap after lots of interruptions for medications and examinations. The big bandage-looking thing on his right hand is his IV through which he is still receiving his Rocefin antibiotic and Zofran (anti-nausea). He continues to have vomiting and diarrhea, poor little guy. The doctor noted that his lungs sound surprisingly clear, but he is still working too hard to breathe (muscles retracting under his rib cage) and is still not getting enough oxygen if he's not on 0.2 or 0.3 liters of flow per minute (much lower than the 1.5-2.0 liters he required before!). We'll definitely be here another night at least, and they also want to see that he is willing to eat/drink before they let him go home.

Thanks for praying! Please add Isaac to your prayers as he came down with the sore throat and stuffy nose last night. The babies at home are still battling the cold they've had for over a week now, but since the average cold lasts two weeks I guess that's to be expected. Gavin was fighting a sore throat/cough when he left for PNG last night. Thanks for praying for him, too. We got a very encouraging report on Seth before heading to the airport, thank God. He certainly seems to be getting over the pneumonia and becoming his normal self again. He even loves the Johnny-Jump-Up hanging in the bathroom doorway!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Higher quality pictures; update on Seth

I am so enjoying sitting here at my kitchen table while my little people play in the living room. Will tackling Marcie so he can look at and touch the bright decorations on her onesie, David walking between items and climbing the sofa, David and Grace laughing at each other and following each other around, all the kids smiling at each other. What a fun age this is!

Samantha, God bless her richly, stayed the night with Seth, now that he's back to much more like his normal, happy self. I was very glad to be with him when he was so miserable Friday night and yesterday morning. However, as we all know, the hospital is not a very restful place. They didn't finish admitting him until 3 a.m., then he woke up coughing and crying at 4:30 and 7:30, plus struggled with coughing fits throughout that time. Poor baby! My heart really goes out to those who are in the hospital for extended stays and with much, much more difficult diagnoses, treatments and prognoses, in particular those for whom we prayed/are praying. What stamina and grace is required!

Seth was vomiting quite a bit this morning, so they just gave him some anti-nausea meds via his IV. Please pray he feels better soon, poor kid. We're headed up there in a few minutes (when our wonderful 2nd helper arrives); meanwhile Sam is trying to get him to go back to sleep as he's acting exhausted still.

Seth will be in the hospital until he can be off of oxygen for 24 hours. Given that he's still on a liter of oxygen per minute, that will be at least a couple more days. He's still on IV antibiotics, but will be switched over to oral antibiotics when he's able to go home.

We're so grateful for medical help and the extra help we're getting at home, too, especially as Gavin leaves for PNG this afternoon. Thanks for all your prayers and practical help to us in so many ways.

Gratefully in Christ,
Carrie

The kids discovered Gavin at his desk yesterday. They've been moving around playing in a group - so cute!
David, as usual, was first in "line," Gracie is in the polka-dots, Will is in the drool-soaked green shirt, and Marcie is the little light green cutie. 


Hooray! It's Daddy!

Hooray! It's Daddy's stuff! (Marcie getting into the magazines)
Poor, pathetic Seth when we were still in the ER (with Samantha)

Seth on Friday night, falling asleep after finally getting settled into the hospital.

Woo-hoo! Seth yesterday, playing in his crib. He is crawling now, as we've mentioned in passing. :)


A better quality version of Seth with Frances - he loved her hospital badge!



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another pic

He's having to pull up with only one hand since the other has the IV in it. :)

Seth is better, praise God!!

Last night (above) and tonight (below), with his former NICU nurse and friend, Frances.

God is clearly working through the antibiotics and all these wonderful prayers we've been receiving. To paraphrase a report from Sam this afternoon (after I woke up from a 4-hour nap!!!!): "Seth is SO cute, crawling all around in his crib, trying to crawl up the sides and crawl out, and playing peek-a-boo."

They diagnosed him with strep pneumonia, but clearly have him on the right antibiotic, thank God. Seth just seems SO much better in his breathing, although his cough still sounds really bad and he's still needing oxygen (even on his 1-liter flow he's de-satting into the high 80's). So please continue praying!! 

Love and gratitude, especially for the extra help we're getting at home right now!
Carrie


Friday, August 23, 2013

Late night update on Seth.

It looks like Seth  has bacterial pneumonia.  He is being started on a strong antibiotic and they are admitting him until he is no longer needing oxygen.

This is terrible timing for us (not that any time would be good), because I am leaving on Sunday for a 2 1/2 week trip to Papua New Guinea to move out of our current house into a new, bigger one.  It's a long story, but the bottom line is we need to vacate the house for the next use, but the newer house will likely get some renters (unlike our current one), thus saving us money in the long run until we get back.  The tickets are non-refundable.

With Seth in the hospital for what may be an extended stay, we need some extra help around the house while I am gone.  If any of you are nearby and able to help, please let us know!

With thanks and prayers,

Gavin

Seth at the ER

Though he seemed to be feeling a bit better yesterday, today Seth has been having a hard time keeping any food or medicines in his stomach.  He also has a pretty high fever as well as low oxygen saturation.  Carrie and Sam have taken him to the ER at Children's where at this point they have put him on an IV and anti-nausea medications.  We are thankful for the quick response from the medical staff who jumped right to caring for him!  I'll update you as I am able.  As always, thank you for your prayers for the little guy.  He was pretty calm and tired when he left and I couldn't get him to smile.  When Seth doesn't smile back at you, there's probably something wrong.

Gavin

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Please pray for Seth, again

We were really hoping these days were behind us, but as I type (and I need to make this quick as it's well after midnight) Seth is hooked up to 1/2 liter flow/minute of oxygen, a pulse oximeter/monitor, and of course his feeding tube. He is so uncomfortable, but he needs all of these tubes because he has a bad respiratory tract infection. It's just been a "cold" for the rest of us, but for the first time we are really seeing the effect of his compromised lungs on his health. He has been so healthy up until now, since he left the hospital, praise God! This is the first month any of our kids have needed antibiotics; in Seth's case broad-spectrum antibiotics. He also has an ear infection.

Please pray he can sleep despite the tubes (we really had to tape the cannula onto him well as he immediately went nearly crazy dislodging it!) and that the Lord will clear out his breathing passages. The inhalers aren't helping.

I keep thinking of the babies in the villages in Papua New Guinea who are hours from the closest clinic or aid post, and I thank God that we are here. My heart goes out to the suffering little tots and their concerned parents, both there and around the world, which reminds me to pray for them and also plead, "Come soon, Lord Jesus!" Only when He makes all things new in the New Heavens and on the New Earth will sickness and suffering and sorrow and exhaustion and frustration and discouragement (my current struggles) be done away with eternally. I repeatedly have to cling to His promise in 2 Peter 3 that His "slowness" in coming is because of His patience with us, desiring repentance rather than destruction and death.

Love and gratitude, especially that "this is NOT all there is!"
Carrie

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sickness update

Thank God Seth is feeling much better than he was when I took this picture. Thanks for praying for us! I still have a runny nose, but my sore throat is much better, and the kids have also mostly taken a turn for the better. Four of the five are now on antibiotics and Seth is on eye drops in addition to systemic antibiotics. Lots of yogurt on the menu around here nowadays!

I am SO glad Gavin and Isaac get home Tuesday. Samantha and other volunteers and my parents have been amazing, though. May the Lord richly bless them! I don't know how I would possibly cope during sick, fussy times like this otherwise. Miserably, no doubt. I daresay I would look as pathetic as Seth, only much less cute . . .


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sickness . . .

Gavin here.  I spoke to Carrie last night and she said that all the quints are sick with fevers and runny noses.  A combination of bacterial and viral infections, apparently.  She also is sick with a sore throat.  It's hard for me to hear the hard time they are having there right now and not be there to help out.  Please pray for them, especially that they might get some good rest.   Please also pray for Carrie's brother-in-law, who was at the ER last night in misery and the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong.   Thank you!

Friday, August 16, 2013

P.S.

I was just talking about how much Gracie loves her blankie. Proof: She wanted to crawl elsewhere, but she wanted her blankie with her, so she stuck it in her teeth and crawled with it trailing between her legs. Adorable!

Quick video of stroller ride

The weather has been delightful and completely abnormal for Texas in August! We are spending a lot of time on the porch and can resume the much-loved walks in the big stroller.



In other news, the kids just get cuter and cuter! No surprise there, I guess. Gracie loves giggling while rubbing her face in her fluffy polka-dotted blankie (from Aunt Fay) or while playing peek-a-boo with the blankie. Isaac never cared about his blankets, but these kids love having a soft fuzzy one to lay their heads on. I can't blame them! They also love burying their faces in the comfy giant stuffed puppy, "Philbert." They try to climb all over him and laugh at each other and at their own antics.

David has learned to play peek-a-boo by himself, holding the blanket instead of us having to put it over him. The others will pull the blanket off, but they still want us to put it on them. When Sam threw the blanket in front of Gracie instead of over her head, Gracie looked at Sam like, "You did it wrong!"

While we were in Arkansas, I had David in the tub, and Marcie had just gotten out of the tub but wanted to stay in the bathroom. The shower curtain was partly drawn, and when Marcie pulled herself up on the tub edge and found she could peek around the curtain at her brother (who was playing with the faucet) she burst into peals of belly laughter. David thought that was hilarious so laughed right back at her. They just kept going and going, playing their own game of peak-a-boo. Marcie would peek around, they'd laugh hysterically - so much so it sounded like they were sobbing! - and they'd start all over again. I wished I could have grabbed a camera just then!

When Will wants to watch Baby Einstein (a nightly wind-down routine, also a help for Seth's food therapy), he looks at the TV, looks at us, and makes a questioning grunt/yell. They sure can communicate while not having any words yet! We are trying to teach them please in sign-language at the table so they'll stop screaming for their turn. :}

Seth was laughing and babbling and turning himself in circles again last night just before bed. He can also get into and out of a crawling position on his own in order to reach toys, but he doesn't crawl at all yet. His arms seem too weak. He sure loves to stand and walk with us, though!

Today Seth was in his exersaucer, and Marcie was standing at it too, and they both started dancing when they activated the song it plays.  SO CUTE! Marcie kept bouncing on her chubby legs to the music, and Seth did a little head-bobbing in sync. Gracie bobs her whole body when she "dances," as does David. I hate to admit it, but I don't remember what Will does when he hears the music - except bounce up and down even faster if it's The William Tell Overture and he's in his Jumparoo! Will is 22 pounds now. What a hunk of a "nine-month-old."

Please pray for Seth. He is miserable with a sinus and eye infection and has been put on antibiotics just like David. Please pray no one else gets it, too! Most of all "Mom" and Aunt Samantha, because Gavin is away. He and Isaac are having a WONDERFUL time with our friends from PNG, the Weavers, in Lancaster County, PA this weekend while Gavin flies the helicopter for a Missions at the Airport program there. I'm jealous that Isaac got to fly up there in the helicopter with him! I love helicopter flights so much. What an amazing opportunity for our big boy, and what a good chance this is for Gavin to share the need for mission aviation and Bible translation around the world.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Other vacation pictures



 The deck was great for the kids, but clearly Marcie was over it just then. That's Seth and Grace to her left.

At sunset their little shadows on the deck were so cute!


Dog and baby-washing time! Will is crawling away from the spray, Seth is seated and Gracie is standing up.
Seth and Grace watching Aunt Courtney and Uncle Kenneth wash the dogs.

Seth

Grace

Uh-oh! Look what David found! (Outlets - we blocked them off.)

Gracie (right) still makes this funny face! 

Sunset was gorgeous!

Marcie is crazy about dogs! She kept squealing and laughing when we found this little Yorkie at the park.

David loves riding on Aunt Samantha's shoulders!

My beautiful mom at Mammoth Springs hydroelectric dam.

On the way home again

David started taking steps a couple of weeks ago, and during our trip he started taking up to five at a time. He also stands for prolonged periods without any support. He's so cautious, though, I don't know how long he'll wait before he really and truly starts walking. I remember someone telling me once their baby started walking at 9 months and I thought it was crazy-early, but here David's doing the same thing. The others are nowhere close, but they are doing their own special, delightful things in God's perfect timing. Thankfully eating and drinking is something Seth is getting better and better at! The Burger King milkshake was a huge hit. In fact, the quints were a huge hit at both Burger King and Chik-fil-a on the way home. At least one or two people thought we were "sister wives" with our respective babies. They just could not wrap their heads around the notion of quintuplets in Arkadelphia: "Are they all twins?" "Are they all from the same family" "Are they two sets of twins?" "Are they triplets and twins?" "Do you all live close together?" It was really endearing and fun to answer the questions and let people look into our fenced-off area literally crawling with babies. We used chairs to corral them (the babies, not the questioning, interested people). ;)

A huge praise is how amazingly well the babies did on the trip! Lynée was a Godsend, truly, playing with and feeding them and letting me sleep after a rough night with David, who had an earache. We ended up stopping at a Primacare on the way home so he could get a prescription for antibiotics. This is the first time we've had to have any of our babies on antibiotics; amazing!

Two Graces! This sweet girl was in Chik-fil-a and was excited to hear Gracie's got the same name as her!

Lynée being abundantly helpful when both Will and Grace needed to eat. David is feeding himself off to the left. Seth is sitting between Grace and Will, and that's the top of Marcie's head on the right. She was asleep.

Gavin and Sam in the front (Sam gets carsick). I got to ride in the back with my big boy, Isaac.
Lynée is holding the computer so the babies can watch Baby Einstein.

Sweet Gracie, Seth and sleeping Will

At long last

Plenty o' pictures for your enjoyment (I hope):

David going after Marcie's cake (whatever  another one has is the best, each one thinks. Seth also tested Marcie's.)
Lovely: This photo caught Seth's gag reflex. He at least tried the cake! And David reached his goal. 

I couldn't decide which of these two cake pictures of Gracie were cuter, so I'm including both.


David is excited! (That's Seth off to the the right, sitting with Samantha.)

Will: "What's this? What am I supposed to do with it?"
Marcie is trying to climb onto my lap in the meantime.

Seth and Sam, with Gracie in the background

Marcie's turn. In case you were wondering, each package contained clothes. :)
 The kids liked the wrapping and tissue paper the best, as do all one-year-olds!





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I really am going to post birthday pictures!!!

Sorry, crazy busy, Gavin gone again on a helicopter mission trip, still unpacking from our Ozarks trip. :} Check later today (Thursday) - hopefully something will be up by then!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Friday, August 9, 2013

More pictures

Sweet Seth and Gracie. He was so gentle while patting her. They love each other.


Doesn't Seth look like Jim Craig from the movie "Man from Snowy River" in Gavin's Aussie hat?
I love how he's holding onto the little rings like they're his reigns.

In their birthday onesies watching Baby Einstein (so we could get a decent picture of the fussy ones).
Thanks to Lynn for the onesies and the table!

This is a picture of a small part of the view from the back deck where we're staying in the Ozarks.
Marcie is asleep in the back of the stroller following a walk with her daddy.
We love "Paradise Nest"; thanks to Noel and Pam Horneck! It's so peaceful and beautiful here. The mists in the morning and the sunsets in the evening are mesmerizing over the wooded hills. www.paradisenest.net

Seth

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

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

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