Wednesday, December 30, 2009

While Ed was away, Mum went and bought some knitting wool and patterns for little baby clothes... I know, it's slightly middle-aged, but I am getting pretty desperate for things to fill my time while I lie on my back!

... I have to confess that I am LOVING it!!!

I finished my first little jumper last night... but, due to the fact that I was using the wrong-sized needles for the pattern I was following, it turned out to be a very funny shape - far too wide! Oh well, it has been a learning experience and Mum and Dad have gone off this morning to get me more wool, more patterns AND the correct sized needles! Hopefully my next attempt will be more of a success! This one is probably going to work best as a silly skiing hat for Ed!!!
Ed arrived home on Monday night and I have to say, of all my Christmas and birthday prezzies, seeing him was the absolute BEST present! It is wonderful to have him home, although we continue to grieve and it is obviously tough for him feeling torn with his sister and Dad back in the uk – they would understandably still love to have him around – if only he could be cloned!

Yesterday we had our level 2 ultrasound (a more in depth scan to check the integrity of the organs and development). We were thrilled to hear that ‘baby B’ (the healthy baby who has an intact amniotic sack) looks like a perfectly healthy and normally developing little BOY – yes, it was confirmed yesterday, we are having a BOY!

The other baby is looking more and more bent over and there does not seem to be any sign that amniotic fluid is building up around him. His heart is still beating strongly, but it is very unlikely (unless the Lord works a wonderful miracle!) that he will survive. It is good that he is still alive though, since while he is alive there is no risk that my body will go into labor AND there is no risk to me (apparently if he dies there is a risk to my health, since he is linked into my circulation system)…

So, even though bed rest stinks and we would obviously LOVE to be having a ‘normal’ pregnancy, we came home feeling relieved that we had not received any new bad news…

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Although tinged with sadness because of Jane's death and the fact that Ed and I had to spend the day apart, we both managed to celebrate a surprisingly happy Christmas... Ed had a lovely day with his extended family in Wimbledon and Mum, Dad and I managed to make a day of bed rest feel remarkably Christmasy!
I got out of bed at about 4.15pm and went to recline on one of the sofas in front of the Christmas tree and roaring fire Dad had got ready... we opened our presents while enjoying some smoked salmon and non-alchoholic champagne and then, at about 6.30pm Mum spoiled us all (the bambino's enjoyed it too!) with the most delicious Christmas dinner complete with all the trimmings! And then, to top it all off, Mum and Dad had brought a genuine English Christmas pudding over (smuggled in their luggage!), which we enjoyed with brandy butter and cream! Yum!
For the first time ever, I felt that the size of my stomach adequately reflected how well-fed I was at the end of all the feasting!
Praise God for the joy he gives even in the midst of sadness! Praise God for Jesus who came to die in our place that we might have the hope of heaven - meaning we do not have to grieve like other people do (1 Thessalonians 4:13)!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In amidst all the sadness, we have been amazed at how we still find things to laugh about...

One thing that made us hoot was when Mum and I decided to try and solve an episode of Poirot before Poirot got there himself... as the first character rolled up in his car, I said as a joke "that's a fake beard, keep an eye on him"... and then, low and behold, turns out it WAS a fake beard!!!

On the video there were 3 episodes... Mum and I managed to solve the first 2 convincingly but failed to get our hatrick (although Mum still claims that she had got there!)

Another joy has been watching the pelicans hunting over the waterway that is just opposite my bedroom window - they fly back and forth for a while and then suddenly tuck their wings in and plummet like an arrow into the water to snare the unsuspecting fish below! All very exciting! What is especially fun is that I had NEVER seen pelicans over this particular waterway before I went on bed rest - so I think the Lord is laying on the spectacle just for me each day!

I have to admit that as we read reports of heavy snow and ice back home, Mum, Dad and I are feeling slightly smug as we look out of the window and see uninterrupted sunshine! Make sure you make some snowmen and snow-angels (and a snow Ed?!!! - sorry, private joke from skiing last year!) to make up for the fact that I can't join in the fun!
Since Jane’s untimely death last Wednesday, this week has been filled with plenty of tears and regular Skype calls (Praise God for modern technology which allows us to speak face-to-face even though we’re so far apart!)… it has all felt unreal as we have sought to come to terms with the gaping hole Ed’s Mum will leave… but our heavenly Father has been tangibly with us and we have all felt supernaturally strengthened and given the ability to cope – it is SUCH a comfort to know that Jane is in a much better place and that we will see her again one day!

They are having a private family funeral tomorrow and then there is a memorial service planned for the 22nd January…

The scan this morning revealed that our little fighter is STILL alive (to the utter amazement of the entire medical team!), but his heart beat is much weaker and it is very likely that he will not survive much longer (unless the Lord works a miracle!) The healthy baby is still doing well – so no real change (which is a good thing)…

Each week the obstetrician re-affirms the need for continued bed rest, but this morning I thought I’d ask some more probing questions to try and find out how long this is likely to last… it was a hard blow to be told that I will definitely be on strict bed rest until at least week 30 of my pregnancy (I am currently at the start of week 19), and that even if they allow me to get out of bed after this, I am not going to be able to do more than little bits of walking around the house for the entire pregnancy… apparently I just have to try and make sure that gravity exerts as little pressure on my cervix as possible… so I’m going to be laid up for quite some time yet… understandably, this prospect has made me quite tearful, but then I was reminded that God only gives us strength for TODAY – I can trust he’ll keep giving me strength for each new day (as he has done so far) and that he’ll provide for all the things I’m tempted to worry about (e.g. having enough strength to cope with the demands of a newborn, getting the nursery ready, buying baby clothes/a cot etc, how we’ll cope when Ed has to go back to the uk for the memorial service)… it is such a comfort to know that God is working out His good and perfect plan for our lives through all this and that I don’t need to fret!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ed travelled home to the uk on Tuesday and arrived at 10am yesterday morning. He spent some lovely time with his Mum, but only six hours after he arrived, she died. We are so grateful to God that Jane was able to hang on until Ed got there, but obviously it is a huge shock to realize that she has gone and, even though we know that she is now free from pain and suffering and is partying with Jesus (her first love) right now, it is still incredibly painful to have to let her go.

Do please pray for Ed, his sister Emily and their Dad David as well as the rest of the extended family as we all grieve. Please pray for all the practicalities of contacting everyone to let them know and arranging the funeral – a lot of this will fall on Ed’s shoulders.

I am just so sad I can’t be with my man to comfort and help him through this time…

In the light of this, any news about our babies seems trivial, but I know you’d all want to know that the scan today revealed no real change from last week… they can’t believe that our little fighter is still going and so they are referring me to a specialist in San Francisco (it’s unlikely he’ll be able to do anything, he just has more experience with this kind of thing). I am still on bed rest and am likely to be for the next few weeks at least.

My Mum and Dad arrive later today, which will be good.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3: 21-23)

I also read Psalm 91 this morning: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust””

There is a lot going on at the moment that is hard to understand, but we feel His loving shadow over us. We know He is in control.

Many thanks for all your ongoing prayers and support…

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm going MAD! The cause of this sudden loss of sanity, you ask?

...a pesky woodpecker!

Now, most of you will be aware of my love of birds, I encourage them closer to our home using delicious nutty hanging feeders and delight to watch them... but, oh my! Any soft feelings I had towards our feathered friends is quickly evaporating and being replaced by the mantra "die, birdie, die!"

Last Sunday the pecking started and continued throughout last week until Ed noticed a large hole in the wall below our guest room and a pile of sawdust on the ground below it... I phoned the pest control guy "George", who deals with all 'pests' for our housing association... he said he didn't have much experience with woodpeckers, but he'd come and have a look...

George came today and filled up the hole. Job done, I thought... In the fight between man and bird, man had won! BUT this pesky woodpecker was not giving up so easily... oh no! He is remarkably persistent! About half an hour after George had left, the peck, peck, peck, peck (like a little hammer on speed) started again! This hammering has continued throughout the afternoon and, although I can't go outside and look, I am pretty sure there will be a hole in our wall again... in the WAR between man and bird, bird seems to be winning...

Not to be defeated, I searched the Internet for a quick and easy way to get rid of our persistent friend... to my horror, I find that, once a woodpecker has chosen it's desired nesting place, it is a challenging task to get them to change their mind... worse than that, apparently they are a protected species, so if we kill the little sucker, we're likely to face a hefty fine!

This is war... it's ON, little birdie, it is ON! You wanna fight dirty? Well OK then... (I know woodpeckers aren't affected by smack talk, but it's making me feel better!)... this fight might have to get messy, but, in the war between man and bird, man is gonna win this thing, by fair means or foul!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I am now almost 17 weeks pregnant... and while I have been on bed rest, just LOOK what has been growing beneath the duvet!!! Yikes! I got up yesterday evening so I could lie on the sofa in front of the open fire Ed had started (it was just embers by the time we took the photo!) and we just HAD to take a photo! I look properly Keith Cheggers! I guess, over the next few months, I am going to get a LOT bigger!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An update on the bambinos...

We wake up on Wednesday mornings (that day we have our scans) with a sense of dread… what IS going to happen today? Please Lord, give us strength!

BUT yesterday, we were grateful to God since, even though we are not out of the woods yet, we have cause to be cautiously hopeful…

The scan revealed:

• BOTH babies still have beating hearts! (that little fighter is STILL trying to pee his way to survival!)
• The blood clot has GONE! Whooooopppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
• The babies have repositioned themselves, so that it is now clear that the baby whose sack has burst is NOT closest to my cervix – so the risk that I will go into labor is significantly reduced! Hooray!
• The baby who still has an intact sack is growing normally, looking great and still wriggling happily!

Our consultant is amazed that our little fighter is still going… but he is sure that even if he survives to full term, he will not survive very long outside the womb, because his lungs cannot develop without sufficient amniotic fluid… but, dear praying friends and family… this is where FAITH kicks in! Ed and I don’t know what the Lord’s will is, and we are at peace that if this little one is not meant to make it, then he will have a fantastic time playing with Jesus in heaven… BUT we are confident that IF this little one IS meant to make it, then medical probabilities are IRRELEVANT! Our Heavenly Father is the author of LIFE, HE is the one that knits us together and if HE has ordained that this little one is going to make it, then he WILL – AND, if he DOES make it, then ALL the glory will go to God!!!

So, we are at peace if God chooses to take this little one, but we have faith that, even though medical science says that only one outcome is inevitable, we have a God who can work miracles… we don’t know whether He will, but we are absolutely SURE that he CAN!!!

So… PRAY ON!!!

Bed rest continues for the time being… humph!
Throughout Movember (M, for those of you who don't know, stands for 'moustache' and generally provides an excuse for guys to indulge their facial-hair-fantasies!), Ed decided to grow a beard... and, just in case the argument about it being Movember didn't carry, he absolutely insured that I could not protest too loudly by organising sponsorship to raise money for the orphans in Burundi that we support... every year, the team seeks to give these children a Christmas treat by taking them to stay at lake Tanganyika (near the capital, Bujumbura). The cost of the entire trip comes to about $2000... so we were thrilled when we tallied up how much he had managed to raise at the end of the month and found that the total was more than $1100... thank you to all those who sponsored him!

Needless to say, I am back to having a clean-shaven man... bliss!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some comic light relief... the mystery of the cheese-on-toast conundrum...

In order to ease the burden on Ed while I have been on bed rest, we have arranged for various friends from our church to pop in and make me lunch...

I have tried to keep it simple and so have asked for cheese on toast... fairly standard fair? Not a chance!

Apparently, in America, the idea of spreading butter on toast and then slicing cheese and putting that on top of the butter is a very strange concept! I have been handed all sorts of variations - from toast with a slice of butter on one side and a couple of slices of cheese on the other, to a butter and crumbled (literally chunks of cheese just broken off and scattered) cheese mix... all very strange...

Yesterday I asked the friend who had come to help if Americans really didn't eat cheese on toast - she said "cheese with butter - no, not really"... !!!

Today I am feeling very grown-up and daring... Ed is in LA on business for the day (he left at 5.30am - yuck!) and I have decided that I am feeling well enough to get out of bed and make my own breakfast and lunch... after 6 weeks of lying on my back, I can't express the feeling of elation I had when I managed to successfully sort myself out with marmite toast and orange juice this morning... roll on lunch time! I am a woman on a mission!

I am hoping beyond hope that the consultant gives me the all clear to get up and about when we go and see him tomorrow... I'll let you know!