Saturday, October 27, 2007

28 Weeks! Huzzah!

Yesterday, we officialy made it to 28 weeks. [Insert raucous cheers here] This is excellent news. At our follow-up appointment this week, Dr. Keisler stressed the vital importance of the next four weeks. We continue to covet prayers.

We had a chance to ask Sydney for an update. This latest ultrasound photo gives a clear indication that, from Syd's vantage point, "It's all good in here, Mommy and Daddy!" So we are trusting that she's comfy and growing and developing just as she needs to:

We will be seeing the obstetric specialist at St. Joseph's hospital each week for an ultrasound and to be on the monitor to gauge the level of contractions. Every other week, we will additionally visit Dr. Keisler. At this point and time, we could completely go full-term, or Syd could be here tomorrow. It's a lesson in waiting ... a lesson in letting go ... a lesson in simply enjoying each day and relying on God's total provision ... some days we really struggle with those lessons. Other days, we feel unstoppable. We suppose that's natural and are already appreciating how this experience is shaping our marriage and our relationship as we prepare for parenting together.

Now to life on the Homefront here at Hospital Camp ...

Many of you have made veiled [okay, less than veiled in most cases] comments related to Gret's ability to lay low ... remain calm and rested ... it's as if we all think Gret can't sit still.

But she can! And she will, especially once this play is over (that's right, for those who didn't know ~ this week was not only Gret and Leon's first week of modified bed rest life, but also tech week for the fall play at Lutheran High, which Gret is directing ...) Many continued thanks to Gret's parents, who jumped in along with Leon and parents of the students to manage all of the "active" details. Gret literally sits in a big comfy chair at rehearsals and (now) at performance and directs. It's been a new way to direct, but maybe she could get used to this!

The good news is that Gret is able to work from home ~ so watch out Youth Ministry Office because with all this time on her hands she has plenty of energy for new ideas, writing projects, updating, planning, etc. It's rather fun, actually! And with co-workers making time to come visit regularly, not as lonely as one might worry!

Leon continues to excel in creating soup-based dinners, yummy snacks and more. The wonderful Immanuel family is taking care of us as well, which is such a blessing. We are so thankful for our Church. And Gret is allowed to prepare small meals and move in a "low key" sort of way. She led Leon through the steps of making her infamous chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon, which was fun and broke up the "supine time" Gret needs to do each day.

Every day that goes by is a good thing. And honestly, it's rather exciting to think that Syd could be here "any time." We know that's true of any pregnancy, but there is something about having the doctor quite literally say, "we just don't know" that is slightly nerve-wracking. Our prayer is simply that whenever Sydney arrives, she is healthy, happy and hale.

We're sure life here at Hospital Camp will get a little dicey ;-) We'll keep you posted. And the door, phone line and Web access is always open to you! We love hearing from friends and family!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Waiting for Our Miracle ..."

Dear Family & Friends:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7

God is so good all the time. We give thanks to Him for his goodness, care and love, which we have felt through the words, actions and prayers from each of you over the last few days. As we wait on God’s plan for our little Sydney Grace’s arrival into the world, we are confident that He has good plans in store for our family.

We want to provide an update about where things “are” with regard to the pregnancy following the “adventures” of the last four days. Much has changed in such a short span, but the important thing is that as of now, Gretchen and Sydney are healthy and safe. Here’s a recap/update:

After what was to be a routine ultrasound this past Thursday, we found ourselves admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital before being transferred to St. Mary’s hospital in St. Louis. It turned out that Gretchen had several complicating indicators that showed her to be experiencing pre-term labor. We spent three days working with the awesome team of specialists at St. Mary’s and were able to slow Gretchen’s contractions, provide medications that would better protect Sydney should she be born early, and learn that Sydney is healthy in the womb. On Saturday afternoon, we were able to learn, through various tests that Gretchen should not be going into labor in the next two weeks. We were released to home care on the condition that Gretchen basically rest and maintain limited home-based activity (with the exception of special approved Doctor’s release for "special" occassions) for the duration of the pregnancy. In this news, we were extremely blessed. Things could have gone much differently. We give thanks for Gret’s response to the medications and the care of the doctors ~ all of which were evidence of God’s provision in this situation.

Our goal is to keep Sydney in the womb as long as possible (“Cook, Baby, cook!”). The doctor’s at St. Mary’s told us that at 27 weeks (where we currently are), they would give Sydney a “good” chance for survival, but obviously each week that passes improves those numbers and certainly reduces the complications that would accompany such a premature birth. Our goal is to make it at least to 34 weeks, which would allow us a safe delivery at St. Joseph’s here in St. Charles.

So, Leon is now “in charge” of Gretchen’s at-home rest (Gretchen calls it Nazi Hospital Camp), and of course as you all can probably assume, keeping Gret resting and content with limited activity will be something of a challenge (prayers please ;-) Gretchen will be able to maintain her work from home, but is eager for visitors and phone calls! Leon is looking forward to learning to be something of a manly Martha Stewart in the kitchen and has already started collecting recipes. Bailey is assisting Leon by following Gret everywhere and glaring at her if it seems she is too long on her feet.

In all of this, God continues to reveal His care and lasting provision in our lives. We are so thankful for the support and love you have shown to us, and we ask you to continue praying for Sydney as we progress through these next weeks. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us ~ we are thankful for your loving connection in our lives.

With Joy-filled anticipation of all that is to come ~

Leon, Gretchen & Sydney

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

So ~ Exactly How BIG is big?

FIRST: We have a NEW Niece! Rhylah Sabrine ... Click here to see her!

We had a prenatal visit today ~ we are at 26 weeks and counting and things are going very, very well. Some of you know that after our appointment 4-weeks ago, I was a little nervous about my doctor's comment that "Oh, you are having a big baby ..."

She left us with the promise that we would talk more about that in the coming weeks.

Well. Here we are.

This appointment, she exclaimed (and I mean exclaimed), "Whew, we really are talking about a big baby!" Now ... I am a tall woman. Leon's no shrimp. So, we weren't anticipating some 6 pound little thing (I haven't been buying clothes in the newborn size, that's for sure.) But when I've only gained 19 pounds ... I didn't necessarily expect gynormous ... well, apparently the baby weight is all Sydney! Dad attributes it to the large, Staude roundhead.

(Family types know of what I speak ... Friend types - ever notice how large and round my Dad's head is? Take a gander! It's pretty cool. Now imagine giving birth to it ... wait ... that's just plain weird. Sorry! Just imagine a baby with a big round head ... wait ... that's weird to ... oh forget it! It's past dinner time and I am too hungry to be composing logical thoughts.)

Moving on ...

Dr. Kiesler is amazing! And she knows her stuff so she is sending us for a second ultrasound (which secretly thrilled us to pieces ... the other night we were talking about how we wish we could see our little girl once more and now we get to!) and then we will be discussing options ... due dates, etc.

THAT all being said. Many of you have been asking to see Syd ... er, my bump. So, given that today was such a fun day (and I do mean that! It was fun to learn more ...), we decided to truck out to the backyard and take a few snapshots of that exciting bump that is only going to get bigger and bigger and ... oh dear. Getting nervous again!

We took Bailey with us. He has been a little weird with Sydney stuff around the house. I, for one, am convinced he can hear her heartbeat. You know, how collie's can hear a human heartbeat under 3 feet of snow? Well. A Golden has to be able to hear a baby under a few inches of belly! And he definitely knows something special is up with the nursery. In fact, whenever we are in there talking and dreaming, he runs for his favorite stuffed cat and comes barreling into the room demanding some love of his own. We love our Bubba.

So here are some photos ... first is a photo that expresses how I feel about having my bump photographed! Just teasing!!

When we get those new ultrasound photos we will be sure to post those as well. Leon is already striking poses that he thinks Sydney will be adopting since she is going to be so much more "gestationally mature" (Leon is learning all the phrases) compared with 18 weeks. It really will be fun to see.

AND we'll let you all know if that January 19 due date changes! Maybe we'll have a Christmas baby after all ... and wouldn't THAT be a wonderful gift.

Oh! For those of you wondering where Leon is ... he didn't want to be photographed. His hair was a mess. Good grief ;-) Bump? Hair? Hmmmm.