Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eventful

As you know this last month has been quite eventful. Between the first hospital admission, Hurricane Ike, the hospital again, and now finally home, I wanted to keep you updated with what life has looked like in the Stanfield Home.  Here is a brief snapshot of this past month through pictures.  

I am so thankful that through everything the Lord continues to remind me that His ways are perfect.  I am reminded that just as He is the Creator of the world, He is also my Creator... the One who knows me intimately and knows just what I can handle.  
Mama at 26 weeks, the day before being admitted to the hospital
Hanging out at the hospital in our suite!
Deacon & Mama playing at the hospital
Deacon enjoying some yummy Chick-fil-A icecream
Deacon at his friend Allie's house making cookies for me while in the hospital
Papa, Mimi and Deacon visiting Mama and "baby Faith"

Deacon's first week of preschool- 
SUPER excited about his surprise box from Ms. Kim & the girls

"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth."- Genesis 1:1

Friday, September 26, 2008

One Year Later- A Letter

The letter below was written today to my closest friends.  I wrote this for them... to know where we are now and to see how far we have come in a year... to know that their support and love has been one of the greatest gifts of all... and to know that Maddox will always be a precious part of this family.  I decided after some debating that I would post this to share with everyone about this day one year ago.  God has been so faithful and has truly carried us in these trying times.
I have thought about the arrival of this day many times in the past year. I wondered how I would feel, what emotions would be like, and quite honestly how our family would look. Well… here we are. We have arrived “back” at what seems like the beginning of this journey and I wanted to share a little of what I’m feeling.

The devastation that took place in our hearts on this day, one year ago, is something that I will always remember. It’s one of those experiences that, for good or bad, will always remain etched in my mind. I now look back on the days prior to this one, the years prior to this one, and seem to remember life being so good, almost care free. It’s strange how things can simply change in an instant. Hearing those words… remembering what it was like to sit in that room… somehow I knew it was real, that it was my life but I was determined not to let the enormity of it all crush us in those critical moments. Today, just simply seeing this date on my calendar brings all those memories flooding back. I now wonder how I ever thought it was possible to forget just one short year later.

As I recall so many things, like driving home from that life-changing appointment with tears streaming down my face and my almost 2 year-old chatting away in the backseat, I remember feeling it all with such an incredible numbness. It was suddenly my worst nightmare… one I never had even confronted until that time… and I realized that life and death literally hung in the balance. But whose life and whose death? Was it my unborn son’s death or my own…? Could I make it through this? What did life mean? Was it in this life that we would truly get him? Or was it our lives that would have to continue on without this precious baby I was carrying inside? Did life for him mean “eternal life” with Christ?

All of these questions flooded my mind, but they weren't what came to the forefront… Instead those questions were to be answered in two short days when we received the initial results. What genetic condition does Maddox have? What do we do? Where do we find answers? What plans do we make? How are we going to get through this? What does tomorrow hold? How am I even going to make it to tomorrow?

On this day one year ago, my mind and my heart were not just broken, they were shattered. I truly think that for the first time in my life I could have just curled up in my tear-soaked bed and not cared if I ever awoke again. The pain and gravity of it all and confronting our new reality was almost too much to bear.

But guess what? God came and spoke to me that night of Wednesday, September 26th, 2007. He spoke through Dusty in those critical moments in the doctor’s office and just a few hours later that evening He spoke to me through six beautiful friends that quickly came, not knowing what to expect but deciding to be there for whatever news was to come. Our amazing God spoke to me through YOU! Each one of you were there… you were standing in the gap, allowing your hearts to be broken at the thought of what we were facing… at the thought of what we were in the middle of. You were there to listen to me talk, to cry, to tell you that we had no idea what to do. You were there when I was more broken than I ever imagined I could be… and God was there. He was there as He allowed your arms to be the ones to hug me, your hands to hold mine, and your tears to express the pain that somehow He felt too. He was truly there among us that night… I can clearly see it now.

God has used each of you so mightily in our lives in this past year. We continue to be so amazed at the love, time, money, service and silent acts that have been such huge blessings to us. I know that somehow God would have carried us through if each of you weren't here in the middle of this… but I can’t tell you what sort of shape our family would be in if that had been the case. He has given each of you an amazing gift of friendship that would be impossible for me to ever truly express. The way you have cared for us is beyond measure and is beyond what I ever imagined possible. Undoubtedly we have experienced great loss this year, but we have also experienced something ever greater in return: the love, service and prayer that can only come from those who trust in the One True God… the One who has allowed us to walk through this blazing fire without dying from the intensity and heat of it all.

I want each of you to know- Christine, Shelli, Lezlie, Katie, Jennie, Christa- that you mean the WORLD to me. You were here with us one year ago, praying, as I cried about the unknown and what was to come… You were there at the hospital just 8 months ago, praying, as I cried over my precious Maddox that entered the world and quickly left it… You were there at the service four short days later, praying, as we shared the blessing of our second son and said goodbye… You have been there day in and day out, praying, as I have grieved, suffered, cried, and sat silent… You have each been there… praying… and I love you more than you will ever know for that! You have been such a tremendous blessing to us, and surely you will be rewarded eternally for it.

Thank you… I love you girls!
Kenzie

"I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds."- 2 Corinthians 7:4

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Answered Prayers

Just wanted to update about the current happenings right now in the Stanfield House...

Thankfully I was discharged from the hospital on Monday evening and was home in time to see Deacon before he went to bed.  He has done a much better job this time adjusting to all of the changes and I am so thankful for all the prayers for him... God hears them and continues to answer as we seek Him... as you all seek Him on our behalf.

Preschool was obviously something that I was really concerned about this past week.  Again, another tremendously answered prayer... Deacon has done GREAT!  He has really enjoyed going to his school and we are 2 for 2 of no crying.  YAY!  It makes me so happy and thankful that this has been possible.  It is something special that he can do by himself and he says he feels like a "big boy" when he goes.  I know it will help to continue building his confidence in Himself and what he knows about the Lord.  

In regards to lil missy, Faith Clare is doing well.  We repeated the FFT on Tuesday and I found out today that it was again negative.  With those negative results, in addition to the fact that I haven't progressed any more, things are looking good.  I will continue to be on bedrest for several more weeks to ensure that we can get in to the mid-30 weeks.  My goal right now is to make it to November with no more bleeding.  (Please pray for that... if I have any more bleeding I will be back in the hospital until delivery!)  I know Faith Clare is a strong girl and I continue to pray for her health, safety, strength and ability to stay put for a while longer.  

Now that my mom is on her return flight home, we are entering the period of "reality."  Because Dusty still has his regular obligations at work, he is now picking up a lot of the load here at home... which means added stress for everyone.  Thankfully we have been so blessed to have one of our occasional sitters/Deacon's teacher from his former daycare be able to help us out during the week.  I know this will be great for Deacon and she will be able to help us transition into this temporary period for the next month.

Thank you again for continuing to pray for us.  You know... it's interesting because I just watched a movie I had wanted to see for a while and there was a line repeated in the movie several times that said "If it wasn't this... it would be something else."  At first I thought that was so pessimistic but as I have continued to think about it a little bit more, I have realized that it is true.  God doesn't promise us a life without struggle and hardship.  Just because we have accepted Him and realized our need for a Savior, we are still in this sin-filled world with great difficulties on the road.  Each and every one of us are either confronting something right now, are just walking out of something major, or have dealt with heartache in the past.  We all still have many "road blocks" ahead... BUT the beautiful promises of the Lord and our sealed eternities promise us a "forever-future" without struggle and allow us to be able to place all of our hope and faith in the One who created us.     

As I have continued to be so thankful for your prayers for our family, I would ask that you lift another beautiful family up to the Lord tonight and in the days ahead.  I have become personal friends with this family and they have instilled so much hope in SO many families for sweet babies diagnosed with genetic disorders.  Please visit Connie's blog at http://www.malmalrose.blogspot.com that chronicles her daughter Mallorie and many of the things that they have faced.  Mallorie had a cleft-lip surgery this morning and seems to be doing well.  This is hopefully her last cleft surgery and we are praying for a quick recovery without complications and with minimal pain.  Mallorie is now a thriving 19 month old.

Thank you for being so generous with your prayers and so faithful in your prayer life!  We are eternally grateful.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."- John 16:33


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Life-restored

I can't believe that it's already been 8 months since my precious Maddox arrived to briefly grace our lives with his presence.  Eight months seems like an eternity ago... an eternity since I saw his beautiful face, held his sweet little hands, kissed his tiny feet, and marveled at the love that we felt for him.  I remember until getting my epidural a few hours before delivery how he continued to move and kick, as though he was reminding me that he indeed was alive and ready to be cradled by his mama.  I remember looking down after delivery and asking if he was alive... I remember Dr. Rowe saying he wasn't sure... I remember my sweet husband walking back to me a few minutes later with Maddox all swaddled up, saying that he had a faint heartrate... I remember knowing he was already gone.  I didn't need to ask questions.  I knew he was already gazing upon the countenance of our Lord and Savior.

Just as the tears fell then... they return now as I think about all that these past 8 months have brought.  Undeniable peace, uncommon assurance, indisputable love, never-ending tears, overwhelming sadness, inexplicable fear, triumphant victories, unspeakable joy and true, God-supplied comfort.  The Lord has allowed us to walk through something I would have never imagined we could emerge from... and yet, here we are on the other side, living, breathing, laughing, loving, and praising Him.  Experiences of this magnitude can only come from Him- the One to lay those choices of how we will respond at our feet and allow us to decide for ourselves.

In these last 8 months we have been a part of God's story... and we have marveled at how He works.  As He allowed such heartbreak and sorrow to penetrate our lives in the beginning of this year, He has also brought about such joy and hope to help heal and restore us.  The joy of expectant new life has somehow given us a semblance of "life-restored."  Our precious Faith Clare perfectly communicates what our beautiful Maddox Donald allowed us to experience firsthand- Clear Trust in the Lord... true faith in the only God who could foresee all of this and still allow for it to work together for our good. 

Today, on this 8-month birthday of our second son, I rejoice knowing that my Maddox is with the Father in Heaven.  I praise God for giving us the strength, the conviction, the understanding, the knowledge, the peace and the pure love to be able to see this through without losing faith in Him who brought this tiny miracle into our lives.  I celebrate today knowing that the 23rd was his day... a special date that is today, 8 months later, shared with his Papa for who he was named.  (Happy birthday Dad... Papa Don!)

Today I remember January 23rd with joy, with tears, with love and with continued trust that God will see us through each challenge we face.  Today is a good day because "This IS the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it."- Psalm 118:24

**We are home now and trying to stay very low key! More details tomorrow... Thank you for the continued prayers for all of us!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Still Here

Just wanted to update quickly and let you know that I am still here... in the hospital.  I was hoping that because everything seemed to calm down on Thursday evening that I would be able to go home on Friday, but my doctor is sweet and just wants to make sure there isn't something that they are missing.  She definitely knows how important it is for us to go home with a healthy baby girl!

I have had 2 ultrasounds since being here and although they don't see any obvious reason for the bleeding, the thought now is that there is a small tear on the back side of my placenta that they aren't seeing.  If that is the case, the occasional bleeding would be from there.  Thankfully my body seems to know what to do when the supposed tear opens and it clots quickly, but it is a scary prospect that it could happen again or get worse... especially when we aren't certain that is the cause.  

I have remained on the Procardia since I arrived and have somehow managed to stay off of the magnesium, although my contractions do continue (but without any predictable pattern, except for at night).  Tomorrow they plan to do another FFT to see if anything has changed from a few weeks ago.  We're hoping it will be negative again and that I will be able to go home tomorrow without much problem.  The goal is to remain low-key and as the on-call doctor said "status quo".  

I have thought several times about updating before now, but I feel like I have really zoned out this time being in the hospital.  My days have all pretty much blended together and I don't know that I'm being very productive; doing a little email, watching a little TV, playing a few games and reading my Bible here and there.  I really could be more efficient but somehow I don't feel up for much right now. 

My parents did come up here last night with Dusty and Deacon, although I wasn't sure that's what I wanted.  I was concerned about Deacon coming up again because he has returned to his emotional self (like he was last time I was here and for several days after), but last evening was great!  Thank you so much for praying for him!!  We had a great time while he was here. For almost 3 hours we played Candy Land, Thomas games on the computer, ball with Daddy and Papa, and he even got to go see "baby Faith" when they did my ultrasound.  He left in a great mood and I was really happy.  Again, thank you so much for praying!

I would ask that you continue to pray for him as he starts preschool for the first time tomorrow morning.  Honestly, I had really gotten over the fact that I wouldn't be able to take him this semester and it was okay, but now that I'm back in the hospital, I won't even get to see him leave for his first day or be home when he returns.  I am really bummed!

Besides being here, we are doing pretty well and getting some logistical things figured out for the next several weeks.  Thankfully my parents and mother-in-law have been here and been tremendous help since they have each arrived.  I am so grateful for all the people that have helped us out and all those that continue offering to help our family!  Things are really coming together and I know that God is using so many to provide for us in this crazy time.

Thank you for loving on us and praying for our family!  We are SO extremely grateful!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."- Romans 8:28 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back again...

YEAHHHH! This is my first post since getting the blog back and I'm SO excited and thankful to be able to update again.

I was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday the 10th, just in time to be home for Hurricane Ike.  We did all we knew how to do to prepare- my mom and Dusty getting the essentials- and then braced for some pretty bad wind and rain during the night.  We told Deacon we were having a little "camp out" on the floor in our room and he went to sleep without problem.  During the night we awoke several times to some pretty scary wind gusts, a few power surges, and driving rain.  However, when daylight broke and we were able to look outside, it was mostly wind damage that was noticeable.

We were one of the few families we know of that never lost power for a significant amount of time.  Many thousands are still without power, water or sewer in Houston, so we are so extremely grateful for God's provision for us this past week.  The weather here has been much cooler than normal so that is another huge blessing for all of those experiencing power outages in this usually unbearable heat.  We did lose internet service until late last night, which is why I haven't been able to email or update since the blog has been restored... Now, however, I have limitless internet due to my new Mac laptop and... yep, being back in the hospital.

My appointment on Tuesday was good and things still looked quiet so there was no exam.  I finally did my one hour glucose test, which I instinctively knew I wasn't going to pass, and went home.  Yesterday after some questionable symptoms, I went back to the doctor to be checked out.  I was able to go home without incident and without any major changes.  Then this morning, right after I woke up, I had a significant amount of bleeding.  I had several moments of panic as I called the doctor's office and told them we were again on our way.  They directed me straight to the hospital and I am now back in the same room I camped out in a week ago.  

Faith Clare still looks perfectly sweet and feisty and her heartbeat is strong.  After an ultrasound about an hour ago and starting an IV, we are waiting to see what the plan is.  They didn't see any noticeable reason for the bleeding, but contractions have been pretty steady so they are thinking about putting me back on the magnesium sulfate. UGH!  

Of course we covet your prayers and are SO THANKFUL for everyone checking in on us again.  Deacon had a really hard time last time I came home (very emotional!) and only wanted me to do things for him, which I of course couldn't do.  The last three days have been great and he was really adjusting to me being at home and being limited.  When my mom brought me to the office appointment yesterday, which is just a few floors above where I was admitted when in the hospital, he asked why I was going back to the hospital.  I told him I was just going to the doctor to make sure everything was fine with my body.  He said "but you aren't going to stay right?  You are coming home?"  Now that I am back, we haven't yet told him anything except that I'm seeing the doctor.  Thankfully my dad arrived in town this morning so my mom has some help and Deacon will stay busy with Mimi & Papa.  I just ask that you pray for him as we continue on this roller coaster... 

I will update soon with any news.  Hopefully we'll discover that this is "nothing" to be concerned over and I will be able to go home and lay low for several more weeks.  

Thank you again for praying for our family and all of the families that have been affected by Hurricane Ike.  God is good... through ALL of our storms!

"Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31

Monday, September 15, 2008

Update from Kenzie

As soon as Kenzie found out that her blog had been restored she was eager to post an update for all of you who have been praying for her. On behalf of Kenzie:

Thank you for the hundreds of prayers. Somehow Google was able to restore the blog. Thanks for continuing to check in. We are doing well. I came home on Wednesday - just in time for the storm. I am still having occasional contractions and will go to my scheduled doctors appointment tomorrow.

Please continue to pray for all those effected by Ike. We thankfully did not experience power loss and had minimal debris in our yard. We do not currently have internet service. As soon as we do, I will give a personal update.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lucky Tuesday?

Just an update... Things have been good today and I hope to be going home sometime tomorrow. Will it be a lucky Tuesday?? Earlier this morning my doctor discontinued the magnesium sulfate and the IV altogether and switched me to Procardia. Thankfully it has been working pretty well and I have only experienced increased contractions when I reach the 6 hour redose period.

As you likely expected, when I do get home I will have fairly strict bedrest orders for several weeks until we get farther along. I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends and family that have the ability to step in and help us in this great time of need while Faith grows.

We found out today that Deacon will be able to start preschool, which helps tremendously during the week, and although my mommy-heart is sad because I won't get to take him, it will be some special bonding time for him and Daddy this fall! There are still many logistical issues that need to be figured out, but undoubtedly this is much better than me living at the hospital with a tiny one in the NICU.

We know this is difficult, but God is so good and I know He will give me the strength and patience to walk this daily, trusting in the plans for our family and all He still has for us to learn. Thank you for your love and encouragement as we make our way down this unforseen road! God continues to ask us to trust Him in the BIG and the small and we simply desire to respond in obedience.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."- Romans 8:38-39

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Negative

We just received the test results from the FFT done this morning and they were negative... very good news as the contractions have mostly subsided today! I'm still on the magnesium sulfate and they just moved my IV site to a new location to prevent infection. Hopefully we'll get some good news tomorrow morning when I see my own doctor and she'll discharge me sometime Tuesday to be on bedrest at home.

Many of you have mentioned the steroid shots for Faith Clare's lungs and I wanted you to know that I received both shots, one Wednesday night and the other Thursday night. She continues to do well and seems to be as active as ever, which obviously makes us really happy. I know she's a fighter and is going to be a tough little girl, giving us a run for our money sometime soon!

Deacon is doing great with Dusty's mom and is enjoying the undivided attention... something I can worry about "altering" at a later date. Dusty has done a great job juggling work, time with me and time with Deacon so I'm especially grateful for him and his constant support. Again, we are so thankful for all of the support and the prayers for peace, comfort, reassurance and protection! We know the Lord hears each and every one and we feel very confident in His plan for all of this.

"I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds."- 2 Corinthians 7:4

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Results...

are not in... The sample didn't make it in one piece and the results were tainted; soooo, we will be repeating it tomorrow. As many of you who have been in a similar situation have commented, it is probably a good reminder not to place too much weight on the FFT, or any test for that matter. We know that God is totally in control and He knows the exact plan for us and Faith Clare's arrival.

I have been semi-comfortable today as I fluctuate between a higher dose of magnesium and chest tightness and a lower dose and more frequent contractions. They continue to evaluate our options and we'll see what this evening holds. Last night we had a few scary moments of frequent, hard contractions so we're praying those don't reoccur.

I can't even begin to express how thankful we are for all the prayers, calls, texts, posts for prayer, and the beautiful comments of encouragement, scripture and love! Thank you for lifting our family to the Lord and bringing our names before Him. As you know we have been in "unforeseen" situations before... ones that we never expected... but our Father has faithfully and steadily carried us through. We trust fully that He will again fulfill His promises.

"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."- Romans 8:24-25

The Latest

I'm finally here and have a little access to the blog right now. Thank you SO MUCH for all of your prayers for our family. Faith Clare seems to be doing well with a steady heartbeat and she is moving quite a bit, aside from when I'm having regular contractions.

They have moved my magnesium sulfate levels up and down several times trying to find the right balance of effectiveness and the least amount of nausea. Right now I'm at a level that is causing me some difficulty breathing and they are thinking about changing the medication altogether soon. Thankfully the doctors and nurses have been wonderful and they've all been really informative.

Right now I would ask you to PLEASE be praying that the test they just ran will be negative. It's called a fetal fibronectin test. It basically checks the cervical cells and lining and will give an indication as to if they expect Faith to arrive in the next 2-3 weeks. If it is negative, there is virtually no chance she will come in that time frame, but if it's positive, there is a 20% or higher that she will. Today we are thinking negative! : ) Hopefully we'll have some initial results in about 3 hours.

Right now we aren't sure how long we'll be in the hospital. My doctor isn't on call this weekend so when I talked to her yesterday she said I will at least be here through Monday. Please continue praying that my body will stay calm and give Faith Clare more time to grow. Also, pray for logistical stuff for our family, Deacon's understanding of what is going on, and for all the extra burden this places on Dusty. We are so blessed by your prayers, love, friendship & service!

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."- Romans 4:20


Friday, September 5, 2008

Immediate prayer

Kenzie's contractions have picked up quite a bit from yesterday and she is asking for everyone to be praying that they completely stop. The medicine is not doing it's job anymore. Please be on your knees right now for this family.

Yet he did not waver thru unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. Romans 4:20

Kenzie & Dusty are praying this verse for them right now and have asked that everyone would as well.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another update on Kenzie & baby Faith

Kenzie's condition is continuing to improve. She is still at the hospital but her contractions have slowed down significantly. When she arrived she was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and now she has one an hour. They have lowered her dosage of medication which has made her feel much better. She is set to go home on Saturday if everything continues to look good.

Continue to pray that the contractions stop and that she can go home as soon as possible. Thank you for your faithful prayers for this amazing and inspiring family.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update on Kenzie & Faith Clare

Kenzie went in to see her doctor today because of some symptoms she was experiencing. Upon examination, she found out that she was dilated and was admitted to the hospital for preterm labor at 26 weeks. The doctors have begun to treat Kenzie with magnesium sulfate and will continue to do so for at least 48 hours. They will be in the hospital as long as necessary to postpone Faith Clare's arrival and ensure she continues to grow in her mommy's womb.

Please lift up our sweet friends and their family to our awesome God who controls all things.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Picture of August

August has been filled with many hot days, restful afternoons, trips to the pool, and playing around the house. As Faith Clare continues to grow (as does my tummy), I have realized how big my "little" boy is getting! Deacon is growing so fast, talking so much, and constantly entertaining us. August has definitely been filled with trying times, hearbreaking times, and tearful times... but it has also overflowed with joy, peace, friends, laughter and lots of love! Each day I am so thankful for what all three of my children and my precious husband have brought to my life~ the joy, the excitement, the heartache, the fear, the pain, the prayer, the trust, the faith, and the overwhelming love. Here are some pictures to celebrate our August!








"... Love one another deeply, from the heart."- 1 Peter 1:22

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