Tag archive for "quint prep"

The Pregnancy

Waiting for the Call – Update on Casey, 25-1/2 Weeks

4 Comments 16 December 2008

I get asked every day several times a day how Casey is feeling and my typical answer is that “she’s hanging in there.” Lately though, I’ve had to hesitate before I can say that. It’s becoming more and more difficult for Casey to hang in there as her body just continues to grow and change so rapidly and the babies run out of room in her womb. She has been experiencing near constant Braxton-Hicks contractions and sleep is very difficult to come by these days (thank God for the Ambien she gets to take every other day!). Despite all of this, her spirit does remain strong and she continues to amaze me with her positive attitude!!
We went to see Dr. Berry today and check in on the quints and as usual, all went very well. The babies are all growing as they should be and Casey’s body is doing as well as can be expected. However, Dr. Berry put me on notice that I am officially waiting for the call, probably an anxious one from an anxious wife (and hopefully not a panicked or hysterical wife) telling me that it’s time to go to the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, delivery is not imminent, but a hospital visit is expected soon.
Let me explain. Dr. Berry fully expects that Casey will go into active labor in the next 2-1/2 weeks. We will know this because she will start having serious contractions, she may start bleeding, her water may break, or any of the other normal signs of active labor will appear. The only problem with this is that we are by no means ready for her to deliver. So, when I get the call, I’ll drop whatever it is I’m doing, I’ll head home to pick her up (assuming I’m at work), and we’ll be headed to the hospital for what will hopefully be an extended stay.
Assuming her water hasn’t broken (we really do not want that to happen), we do not expect the visit to the hospital to qualify as an emergency per se, but it will be a very tense time as we wait for the drugs that are administered to stop her labor from progressing to take effect and quiet her body back down. Because it is so critical to get the babies to at least 28 weeks, we will all be tied up in knots until things settle down and labor is stopped. Dr. Berry said that once labor has been stopped, it is typical for the body to relax for about two weeks before it tries to labor again. From that point on, Casey will reside at Seton on 34th until her body decides it will be put on hold no longer and the babies are evicted.
So, the good news is this: we expect that making it to 28 weeks will not be a problem at all. 28 weeks is the second major goal we’ve had (the first coming at 24 weeks) and it means that the babies likelihood of survival is very high and the risk of defects is very low. Week 28 arrives on New Year’s Eve!!
And here is the challenge: we really don’t want the babies born before 32 weeks and the time Casey spends in the hospital will be incredibly difficult for her. Every day that the babies stay in her womb removes three days of time they will have to spend in the NICU. However, the drugs that they will administer to prevent the progression of labor will exact a painful toll on Casey’s short term health. On top of all of that, being away from home will make it much more difficult for Eliot and me to be with Casey to love on her as she is going to need through this incredible battle.

So as I wait for the call, I also ask for you to pray for Casey and the babies and the rest of the people involved with the big event. We are excited, we are anxious, we are a little scared of what lies ahead. No matter how you slice it, this is a tough hill to climb, but we’re not alone in the fight and we are confident of the good life that awaits us when we get to the other side. Please pray for Casey’s body to remain calm and for her spirit to remain strong as we enter the final phase of the pregnancy! Please also pray that we can stay out of the hospital until after Christmas – this has also been one of our major goals!! Thank you all so much for your love and support throughout everything we’ve been through!!

God bless,

Giving Thanks

Ready or Not, Part 2

Comments Off on Ready or Not, Part 2 13 December 2008

A few of our everyday heroes and angels came by today to organize the stuff in the gameroom. They got here around 9:30 and didn’t leave until every last onesie, burp rag, diaper, bouncy seat, and all of those clothes were put in their proper place. They organized, they folded, the labeled, and they did it all with a smile on their hearts! Thank you, guys, for all of your help – my sanity is safe thanks to you…at least for now!


Ready or Not

3 Comments 13 December 2008

Lately, the only time I’ve felt overwhelmed by what is happening in our lives is when I go up to the gameroom. This used to be where Casey and I would work out every morning (something she and I used to do before news of the quints arrived and before school began). Now, it is where all of the baby stuff that we have begun to accumulate has been placed temporarily until everything can be organized and some sort of system can be figured out to handle all “Quint Care Operations.”

I’m not sure what it is about the gameroom that kickstarts my heart into panic mode, but it does it every single time I walk up there. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and being a guy means that I respond to visuals more than anything. The gameroom, more so than Casey’s expanding belly (remember, to this point, I’ve seen her this big before with Eliot’s pregnancy), has become a visual reminder of just how crazy our life is going to be. There are piles and piles of clothes, eight or nine bouncy seats, diapers, diapers, and more diapers, blankets, bedding, bibs, burp rags, more blankets, three pack’n’plays – 90% of all of this stuff has been donated or gifted – and other stuff absolutely necessary (at least that’s what I’m told) to surviving life with five newborns.

It could also be the fact that I’m a “everything has its place and everything should be in its place” kind of guy and these randomly placed piles of stuff simply freaks me out! Actually, I know that’s part of the problem!

The other thing it could be is that the piles of stuff are a clear reminder of just how much life is going to change, and more to the point, how much of our old life Casey and I are going to have to give up in order to embrace this new life. Seeing all of this stuff piled all over my weights, crowding out my space is just too much for me to handle at the moment without having to talk myself down for a few moments.

We never planned on having a big family and we never would have written this script for ourselves so seeing the baby making operation begin to exert its will on our home is a not so subtle reminder of the force it will exert on every aspect of our lives. To be sure, there is a lot to be excited about and we are thankful for this amazing time in our lives, but also to be sure, we have had our share of “why?, how?, and are you kidding me?” moments as this journey has progressed.

Thursday night we had our Bible study group over for dinner and after dinner was over, they helped us rearrange some furniture in preparation for the babies. What I wasn’t prepared to do was clear my weights out of the gameroom, but they just started grabbing everything and moving it to the garage. To say the least, I was a bit pouty while this was happening and I’m not so sure I’m not still pouty.

It’s so strange how little things like that can hit so hard sometimes, but it did. I guess my reaction to all of this is a strong indication that I’m not quite ready for what’s coming, but can you ever truly be ready for five babies at one time?? No, I don’t think you can, but that’s life, right? The lessons learned the best are sometimes the lessons that force themselves on you when you least expect it.

But here’s the deal, we have a lot coming our way and there will certainly be some heartache that accompanies this change, but how can we be anything but grateful and humbled by it all? How many have lost loved ones in the blink of an eye or had to stand helplessly as their house burns to the ground in the middle of night or found out that their baby has a disability that will be with them throughout life? The list could go on forever of all of the calamities and heartaches that strike in an instant, without warning, without mercy and turn people’s lives upside down forever. How on earth do you deal with something like that? I won’t even attempt to get into the “why?, how?, and are you kidding me?” of that…

Not only are we not dealing with calamity or heartache, we have five precious little lives coming into our world, but we’ve had a chance to prepare (as best we can at least). We’ve had a chance to say a prayer (actually, lots of prayers) to ask for guidance, to seek acceptance, and to get the help we need in coming to grips with everything – something a lot of people don’t have the luxury of doing when their life is rapidly unraveling. We’ve had the incredible experience of watching family, friends, and strangers rally around us in support, prayer, and love not only for us, but also for five lives unborn. And amidst all of the preparation and the worry and the how of it all, we’ve had the joy of dreaming of what amazing gifts are being prepared for us by our Father in Heaven.

So, yeah, I get overwhelmed and we worry and sometimes we complain a little bit. But at the end of the day, it all comes back around and we remember just how good we’ve got it…and just how good it’s going to be. As for my weight room, it’s a thing of the past as are many other parts of what I used to call normal life. But as for today, excited anticipation (and the occasional hyperventlation) is here to stay. And our future, well, ready or not here it comes!!
God bless,


Uplifting? Check!

1 Comment 06 December 2008

Casey just told me this little tidbit from a friend today and I had to share. This is the cool kind of thing we get to experience several times a week…

One of Casey’s mom’s good friends came from Denton today to our baby shower. She drove four hours to get here, stayed for an hour or so, then drove four hours home…totally awesome, but not the reason for this blog.

This is why I write tonight – she told Casey that she prays for the babies every day and that one time while she was praying, she felt an overwhelming sense that she should “pick one.” So she did – she picked Lila Addison as her “one”. And from that day forward, she has said her prayer for the babies and then she says a prayer specifically for Lila. How cool is that? Little girl isn’t even born yet and she already has a prayer warrior assigned to her…VERY COOL!!

This is exactly what I mean when I say the response and the love that we have gotten from everyone has been so uplifting! It gives us such an incredible sense of the power at work in these babies’ lives when we have these encounters! Thank you, Jan, for the love that you’ve shown our family, the quints, and especially little Lila Addison!!

God Bless,

Giving Thanks

Everyday Heroes and Angels

4 Comments 05 December 2008

One of the most rewarding, exciting, and often times entertaining aspects of the adventure we are on has been the response we’ve gotten from people when they find out we’re having quints. From family and good friends to casual acquaintances and complete strangers, the reactions are as varied as the life experiences that foster them and they always provide Casey and I with something to talk about at the end of the day.

Once the initial shock wears off, the obligatory “wows!” and “oh my gods!!” have been exclaimed, and the inevitable question has been asked, “Have you seen that show, ‘John and Kate Plus Eight’?,” a person’s heart really shines through and that’s when you get to the good stuff. We get a lot of pep talks, “you know, God only gives a person what he can handle.” We get a lot of compliments, “if anyone can handle this, it’s you two.” And truthfully we get a lot of dumbfounded, blank stares. The best part of it all is that you never know what you’re going to get from the person, even if it’s a good friend or family member! All of these little reactions and everyday encounters have been incredibly uplifting and have served our hearts well!

The one reaction that has taken some getting used to, but is the most rewarding of all is the reaction of those who immediately roll up their sleeves and go to work and that is what this blog is really about. There is a small group of folks who mobilized and started the planning process the instant they heard the news. As Casey and I were dealing with the initial tidal wave of emotions and trying to make just a tiny bit of sense of it all, they were meeting, strategizing, appointing tasks, praying, rallying volunteers, praying some more, and loving on us every step of the way. As things have progressed, other sleeve-roller-uppers have jumped in the ring with the initial group and have truly become our everyday heroes and angels.

Do you know what it feels like to have a friend call to tell you that several folks got together the night before to plan your life and to organize a team to meet all of your current and future needs? Have you ever been cc’d on 30 or 40 emails that go around in a day between all of the people involved in putting together a care calendar for you to ensure that meals and other basic necessities are provided for you? Have you ever been the focus of an organized, focused contribution campaign? Have you ever had complete strangers cook a meal for you? Have you ever had people from across the nation send you baby clothes? Have you ever been told that you are the subject of a prayer meeting that reaches across the globe?

Well, Casey and I can answer “yes” to all of the above and let me just tell you that it is an amazing and amazingly humbling experience. Though I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to this sort of treatment, it has helped to realize that we actually have a responsibility to allow these folks to help out. The need is absolutely there, but even when it’s been there in the past, human nature tells us to kindly pass on these offers and get through it on our own. The enormity of this situation has forced us to accept the help and at the same time has forced us to learn that denying the offer of help is denying God’s ability to work in your life.

Sadly, I’ve done very little volunteer work in my life, but the few times I have I learned about a little known twist of reality that I wish everyone could experience for themselves. Our God designed our hearts in such a way that the volunteer, the giver, the one bringing help to the needy is equally if not more blessed than the one receiving the love. It’s the craziest thing – it turns out that the old saying that it’s better to give than receive is true!

I know they won’t necessarily like this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of these everyday heroes and angels by name so here goes: Dean and Emily Yeck – the driving force, publicists, contributions coordinators, moral supporters, reality checkers, whip crackers, baby namers, calorie coaches, and the list goes on…; Rick Landwehr – best webmaster in the universe; Wendi Landwehr – project manager extraordinaire who has helped organize the effort, has also cooked a lot of meals and helped out with Eliot and has provided lots of reality laughter along the way; Mark and Payton Merriman – gooooood cookin’ and lots of love for Eliot; Dusten and Tricia Harrison – more gooooood cookin’, principal agents of Salon Jones, and chauffer to the stars (the stars being Casey and the quints, of course!), Laurie Garrant – moral supporter, good laugh giver, and food calendar organizer.

I could go on for days listing all of the other folks who have chipped in to bring us meals, take care of Eliot, donate clothes and other stuff, do our dishes, bring Casey vanilla decaf lattes and gossip magazines, and on and on and on! And every ounce of effort by these folks has been done with a smile…you can literally feel the love pouring out of them!! I don’t know how we’ll ever repay a fraction of the attention we have received, but please know that we would not be where we are today without all of the helping hands and shining hearts of our everyday heroes and angels to carry us through. For this we are eternally grateful!!!!

The Pregnancy

The Light is Getting Brighter

1 Comment 02 December 2008

We had a great appointment today with our perinatologist, Dr. Berry. We went in for a regular check up and sonogram and by all accounts, things are going very well. All of the babies checked in with normal length and weight and heart rate measurements and Dr. Berry was very happy to hear Casey’s report on how she has been feeling since the hospital stay. Here are some quick stats for you:

– The babies were between the 37th and 75th percentiles in size as compared with normal singleton pregnancies.

– The heart rates were between 126 and 167 bpm which is well within the normal range (one of the babies was sleeping which explains the 126).

– Big Bad Jack is still anchoring the crew weighing in at 1 pound, 14 ounces which puts him in the 75th percentile.

– Three of the girls weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces (37th percentile) while the fourth weighed in at 1 pound, 8 ounces.

Beyond the great news with how the babies are developing, Dr. Berry gave us great confidence that we are nearing the end of the tunnel and the light is getting much brighter! At 23 weeks and 4 days, he said that if Casey were to go into labor at this point he would definitely be able to administer active care to prevent the delivery from happening. What a huge relief after feeling so helpless when we had to go to the hospital just a couple of weeks ago when they told us nothing could be done if she went into labor!

He also felt very confident that Casey will be able to make at least two more weeks, but probably more than that and if she were to go into labor, he felt that he could “keep her pregnant for at least three more weeks”. Putting those two estimates (2 weeks plus 3 weeks) together brings us beyond our first major goal of 28 weeks!! To say the least, we are thrilled with this news!

We talked in more detail about the resuscitation efforts that may be necessary if the babies are born way too early, but the general feeling is that the horrible decisions that would have to be made in this event will not have to be made after all. As long as life progresses as predicted above, this will definitely be the case. Casey and I have committed this to prayer and feel strongly that we will not have to face these decisions!

We have been having a great time with this unique blessing so far, thanks in very large part to the many helping hands around us, but there has also been quite a bit of worry and anxiety to go along with the fun. While we have maintained our faith that all is in God’s hands, it has sometimes been easier to believe than others. We still have quite a way to go, but today’s appointment has allowed us to breathe a little easier as the light at the end of the tunnel keeps getting brighter and brighter! Thank you so much to all of you who have joined us in praying these five little miracles into the world…please keep the prayers coming!!

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