It seems I've forgotten to mention

...that our financial issues with Jonathan starting his new job have been taken care of. God has truly provided for us!! We were blessed with good friends who helped us out (even 1 couple who helped us out anonymously) and then with the unexpected arrival of the buyout from Jonathan's pension plan at his old job. While we did put in for it the last week of November, we were expecting several weeks before we rec'd that but, thankfully, that wasn't the case.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us both financially and for Timothy. We truly appreciate it and we thank God for the answered prayers regarding both situations. Timothy's pediatrician was pleased this morning with his progress and seems to think the worst is truly behind us. He also encouraged us to keep Timothy's hearing test appointment Wednesday at 2:30. He did not seem to think that the RSV would affect the test results.


Timothy update

We're not out of the woods yet but we are very thankful that Timothy is well enough to be at home. We brought him home around 5 o'clock this evening. His breathing is still erratic (he's still having the apnea episodes where he holds his breath) but his congestion is better. Please continue to pray for his healing, that the RSV will clear up completely and quickly (yes, a more thorough test did indicate that he does have RSV after all), and that his apnea spells will go away and the sooner the better. He goes for a follow-up with his actual pediatrician on Monday (and also has his hearing test on Wednesday). My parents made it safely but my Dad is returning tomorrow in order to be home by Sunday services. My Mom will be flying home on Tuesday the 8th.


Prayers for Timothy

Merry Christmas to all! I wish I could give that greeting with a happy heart but we are in the midst of another set back with Timothy today. He is back in Children's Hospital with a very severe virus (cold/flu like symptoms) and is having apnea (where he stops breathing temporarily) and "brady" symptoms (where his heart rate drops when he's not breathing). So far, he's actually stable even though he's a little worse today than he was yesterday and will probably get a little worse as these viruses usually "peak" around day 5 and we're on day 3. He's also on oxygen but is on the smallest amount they can give him which is good news. It is also good news that this is not RSV, a particularly dangerous virus that is very serious in newborns, especially one born early. We can't bring him home until he's off oxygen for an overnight period or about 8-10 hours. They've tried weaning him off the oxygen several times but it just isn't working yet. We're probably in for a 3-4 day stay, possibly more depending on his oxygen demands. We're praying that he doesn't get worse and that he continues to eat well which is keeping him away from an IV thus far. They also checked his bilirubin/jaundice level and we're very happy to report that his level is completely normal now.

Please be in prayer for my parents who will be traveling from South Carolina tomorrow to help us take care of everything. My Mom was planning on flying in on Saturday for a visit but that's all changed since we need her here now. Also, pray for our other kids as Nathan has already made comments about wanting life to go back to normal (although Christmas presents helped ease that!) and all 4 of them are fighting cold symptoms of some degree. With the exception of John who was actually at the doctor's office with Timothy and has an ear infection, everyone else really seems to be handling the virus pretty well.

Have a Jesus filled Christmas and thanks for praying!


Gingerbread houses

Yesterday, best-friend-extraordinaire, Kisha, brought over all the stuff to make gingerbread houses (or at least a graham cracker version) with the kids. There was sooooo much candy here. Can almost make you sick just thinking about the candy that was here. Pretty neat idea and a very easy project to do. We used orange juice/milk cartons and icing to stick them to cake boards. Then we covered the cartons in graham crackers and decorated with different kinds of candies. Here's the finished products. Nathan's Caleb's Elizabeth's John's and Mine
(minus a few jumbo marshmallows and candy canes thanks to a rugrat of mine)
Lots of fun! Thanks, Kisha!

A new era has dawned

After 3 years, the old couch had to go. (It was used when we got it, by the way.) I don't know -- what do you think? Think it was time?? =) Here's the kids going for a ride as the couch was being moved. Here's the new one still wrapped up in plastic, sitting pretty in the garage. You kinda want to leave it sitting there or at least leave it wrapped in plastic, knowing the abuse 5 children will probably do to it. Anyway, we're glad to have a new couch that's not embarrassing to look at! This is Elizabeth laying on it this morning. She's feeling pretty sick today and has been on the couch all morning. Don't you just hate it when they're sick??


The kids in their Christmas colors





and Timothy

Some new pics

First off, I was trying to post this pic of the family on the top here as our header. I messed that up so Jonathan will have to fix it. In the meantime, here it is: We were originally going to post this picture with the title "Our baby's so bright, he glows" but we got a little distracted with the hospital thing. Still pretty funny, don't you think? Wish you could have seen it with his gown down -- it really did look like he glowed! Here's one with Timothy in one of my favorite shirts. Saw it at Target and wanted to buy it but didn't and got it as a shower gift from the Prince family. Thank you, Prince's! Also, while thanking, we've gotten a lot of great meals from our church friends. We feel very blessed! A special shout out to Sarah from the kids for the cute cookies! Thanks, Rolston family!


Good report

Timothy's jaundice level is down within the normal range. He is off the light blanket and they will not be doing any more blood tests. He is scheduled for his hearing evaluation on 1/2/08. Please continue to pray.


Timothy update

He's home. Jaundice is down to a decent level but they have us keeping him on the light blanket at home until his level is down to normal. He'll have a blood draw today at 12:30 to see where we're at. He did really well in the hospital and has doubled the amount he was eating from 1 oz to 2 since we got home which, of course, is great. They did a repeat hearing test in the hospital and while the results showed that there was some response in both ears, it was not considered a passing result. Again and again we have been told that this is probably just fluid and will go away in the coming days/weeks and that we shouldn't worry. I haven't scheduled the appt yet but they will be doing a more in depth hearing test soon that will tell us if there is any hearing loss, how much (a percentage) in each ear (if any), and whether or not it's related to fluid.

It's good to be home with my kids. I think all the adrenaline pumping through my system since Thursday is starting to wear out a little. I still feel pretty good but feeling run down today. Otherwise, recovery seems to be going okay.


Praise report for Bauer family/Update on Timothy

Candace's blood pressure is all cured!! =) Seriously -- she was doing very well but I guess she felt a little left out and decided to have a baby! Justin was welcomed into the world this morning around 3 weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. Congratulations to the Bauer family!

Timothy and I are home. It's been a very rough couple of days, mentally/emotionally more than physically. I'm feeling okay -- a little "worse" (for lack of a better word) than after my other deliveries but they say it gets harder after having a few. And I'm by no means laid up -- I feel pretty good, just not great, not like I'm used to feeling after a delivery. Timothy is suffering from some issues from being early. He has a kind of tremors (NOT seizures and certainly not serious) from being premature. They'll go away as he gets older. He also has a few bruises and seeing as how he didn't have a "traumatic" birth, the doctors got a little panicky (sp?) over that and ran tests which was extremely nerve-wracking. One test isn't completely done yet but the others are all normal which is a good sign and our pediatrician fully expects the bruises to go away by the time he sees him again next week. Because he's bruised and we're not sure why, they did not circumcise him in the hospital so we'll have to have that done as an outpatient. Our pediatrician said we had to wait until the bruises were completely gone and all tests were back. Then, our car seat "failed" a test (they test preemies to make sure they fit in their car seats without breathing issues) because it's too old so we ended up having to get a new one from the hospital. His bilirubin level is high today. That's what they check for in the blood that tells them whether or not a baby is getting jaundice. We're waiting on the home nurse to stop by and give us a special blanket to keep him in to help with that and he'll have to have several blood tests over the next few days to monitor him progress. We're also anxiously awaiting an appointment with an audiologist. They believe Timothy has a fluid build up in his ears (common for preemies, they say) because he failed his hearing test. No guarantees that fluid is all that it is but they kept telling me to not worry about it, that these things happen and usually work themselves out. Combine all that with a lack of sleep (hate those hospital beds!) and emotionally, I'm feeling pretty spent. Oh, and Jonathan's great-aunt Patty passed away on Friday. After the home nurse leaves, we're going to go visit with some family from Indiana who we rarely get to see that are here for the funeral. Still, we have a lot to be thankful for -- we made it farther with Timothy than we did with John, Timothy was not too small and not too big so I was able to deliver without any complications, and we made it to the hospital! I was seriously terrified of not making it to the hospital in time so I'm very thankful for that!! And, Timothy came the day in between the 2 snows!! Wednesday was certainly worse than yesterday so we're thankful he came on Thursday! Nice timing, huh? =)

Many thanks to all who have been praying for us and we ask you to continue as we go through these next couple of weeks adjusting and having more tests ran. Hopefully, we'll have all good news by Christmas!


Timothy Pictures

Here he is. Who does he look like? Please leave a comment.

How can a hand start so small.
Proud mom

Grandma and Caleb take a closer look. I hope they let us keep him!? Or will he be voted off the island. Stay tuned
Papaw Fred
Big brother Nathan likes holding his little brother.

One very excited Caleb.
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Timothy Paul Stevens

Timothy Paul Stevens was born at 12/6/2007 at 10:50 am. He was 7 lb 5 oz and 19.5 in long. Karen and Timothy are doing great. I will get you all a picture soon. Can you believe I forgot the digital camera. OY!

Many thanks to good friend Kisha and my parents for helping with child care.



Prayers for Candace

Our good friend, Candace, who's pregnant and due very soon is on bedrest due to high blood pressure. She has an 18-month-old son who she delivered at home and was planning on delivering this baby at home as well. If her BP doesn't go down and stay down, she'll have to deliver in the hospital. Pray for Candace, that her BP will come down to keep her well and keep her pregnant until the appointed time, and for all her "helpers" -- her husband, Matt, her Mom, and her Grandmother. Candace and her husband and her Mom and StepDad have been very good friends of ours for many years. They are truly a blessing to the Stevens' family!!



Our "unique" child. Everything about John seems to break the mold. Elizabeth was only 4 months old when we found out we were pregnant with John. Quite the shock to think that 2 of your kids are only going to be 13 months apart. John's due date was scheduled for 6-25-05. But, if you know us very well, you know he got into a big hurry. It was a Thursday morning and I was preparing to drop Nathan, Caleb, & Elizabeth off at a friend's house and go in for the first of my twice a week non-stress tests (a test commonly run on diabetic mommies that monitors the baby's movement and heartbeat for about 20 minutes but that also monitors to see if there's any "uterine activity"). I was watching the Today show before waking up the kids when they made a comment about it being Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and I saw the date at the bottom of the screen -- 5/5/05 -- and I thought how clever of a birthday that would be but moaned that I wasn't that lukcy. I had been in a lot of pain (the same left-side/rib cage pain I've had with this pregnancy although constant and much, much worse) so I was already saying that I didn't know how I was going to make it through 8 more weeks (7 weeks, 3 days to be exact). So I get the kids off to Kisha's and get to the clinic about 9, if I remember correctly. As they were hooking me up to the monitor, I realized I had a contraction but didn't think anything of it 'cause contractions are common at that point of pregnancy. However, once that contraction started, I spent the next 30 minutes or so with contractions every 5 minutes on the monitor. The doctor was very upset when he discovered that I was already dilated to 4. They immediately sent me upstairs to the triage unit. They started pumping me full of fluids (dehydration can cause contractions), antibiotics (certain infections have been known to cause preterm labor and I hadn't yet had a Group B Strep Test that they commonly do around 37 weeks so the antibiotics were "just in case"), magnesium sulfate which is a drug used to treat preterm labor (and high blood pressure) that works by relaxing the muscles (i.e. the uterus), and stadol which is a pain killer they were hoping would calm me down and allow me to rest to help stop the contractions. They also gave me an injection of betamethasone (which I've had with Timothy already) that helps mature the babies lungs. It was supposed to be the 1st of 2 doses, 24 hours apart. This was slightly before noon. The contractions slowed down but never stopped. By 1, I had passed the 5 cm. Even with the mag sulfate on as high as they can give it to you (it can cause your lungs to "relax" which can cause you to stop breathing), by 5 or so, I was already at 6-7 cm. We moved to a labor and delivery room to see what would happen when they stopped the meds. That was a little before 6 and our 6 lb, 3 oz "preemie" arrived a little over an hour later. It was crazy. We knew even the 1 dose of betamethasone worked because we were actually able to hold John for a few minutes as he was breathing okay on his own. About midnight, we finally got to meet with the neonatal doctor who told us that John was having trouble breathing so they had put him on CPAP which is prongs in the nose that blows air into the nose to keep the lungs inflated. He was weaned off of that before I was discharged from the hospital (the only time I stayed the full 2 days!) but had developed jaundice so was under the bilirubin lights. He was under those for a few days and then would have been fine to have come home if he hadn't been so lazy! He wasn't very interested in nursing or eating from a bottle and was on a feeding tube. It took several days before he got with the program and we brought him him exactly 2 weeks after he was born, 1 day after Elizabeth's first birthday! John kept breaking the rules after we got him home -- he was a VERY light sleeper and wouldn't sleep very well in our room so he spent the first few months of his life in either the swing (should have taken out stock in those D batteries!) or in the bouncy in the living room. He was also the first Stevens child to not sleep through the night very early. The other 3 slept through the night at 5-6 weeks old -- I forget how old John was but he was several months old. He's a very "sensitive" child (lest I use the "cry baby" term), very easy to offend. He's also clingy to me & Jonathan which the others weren't. There are times when we like that but then there are other times....He was also the only one we had to break from a pacifier. Nathan & Elizabeth would take them but were not stuck on them and Caleb definatley preferred one but we kept loosing them so he was "broke" fairly easy. But, John is the closest we've come (so far) to a redhead. It was a lot more red when he was born. He's also a very "polite" child -- very quick to say "thank you" for a drink or dinner or whatever. Isnt' it funny -- our kids have come in a "pattern". Nathan -- burnette (although born blonde), didn't care for the pacifier; Caleb -- blond, had to have the pacifier; Elizabeth -- burnette (almost black at birth), didn't care for the pacifier; John -- red now blond and had to have the pacifier. So, if the pattern continues, we're "due" a burnette who doesn't like the paci (although I'm still hoping for a redhead). Guess we'll have to wait and see! Here's John in pictures! My Mom's camera takes such good pictures, he almost doesn't look like the same child in this picture. And finally -- meet my super hero!!! =)

We interupt your regularly scheduled program....

...for these prayer requests.

First, we found out Thursday and yesterday that the way Jonathan starts his new job on Monday, we're going to have to do without 1 paycheck in December. Meaning instead of 2, we're only going to get 1 full check and not until 12/21. We are going to get a partial check on 12/7 for the 4 unused vacation days that Jonathan didn't take at his former job. All our bills will be covered but everything else (gas, groceries, what little Christmas shopping we needed to finish) is a big question. (I'm trying not to panic....Jonathan's doing a much better job than I am!) We know our needs will be met but I struggle with trusting and letting go in that.

On to something cute but serious....Something is going on with Nathan. In all sincerity, we believe the Holy Spirit is working on his heart. He's been "confessing" to an awful lot lately. It's been rough around here with the last few weeks of pregnancy and we do wonder if he's also trying to get our attention (or suffering from cabin fever -- the rains we had the other day flooded our yard so they couldn't play outside and by the time it dried up, it got too cold for them to be outside; not to mention that I'm certainly gone a lot with dr's appointments and they pretty much only get out and about for church). He's also reached a point now where he's pretty capable of getting around the computer pretty good (yikes!) and has been grounded off and on lately either from his Nintendo DS (for leaving it outside one day) and/or from the computer -- first, he had gone to a website (Cartoon Network) without permission and tried to "register" to play with his new email address (AND his Dad's which, thankfully, he had typed wrong). That was his first confession which led to him being grounded from the computer. Then, Thursday, he kept pacing the floor telling us his tummy hurt and the next thing you know, he's spilling the beans. He had gotten on the computer after we had told him not to. We had several "confessions" that night and really, as any parent would be, we're actually quite proud of him for coming forward. Otherwise, we seriously might have never known. Part of his punishment was an extension of his grounding from the computer. Then, yesterday, he came to us right before dinner and started all over again -- this time he said he had gotten on the computer and that he just couldn't help himself 'cause he had seen an ad for a Playhouse Disney website he wanted to go to (we've since then put a password protection on both the laptop and the PC). Jonathan began talking to him and explaining that even though we're grown-ups and Christians, we still struggle with temptation. (Nathan then said that he had another confession -- he had been doing things to Caleb, like taking his toys, just to annoy him because he thought it was fun! How sweet is that?!?) Nathan said something about having tried to ask Jesus into his heart but he just didn't know how. Jonathan assured him he would help him pray but Nathan said he needed some time to think about it. While brushing teeth last night before bed, Nathan came up to me with a note and on it that said "There's something I want to talk to you about. Ask me about it on Monday." and then on the back (it was on an index card), he had written "It's what we talked about at dinner. Do you know what I'm talking about?" I got so cracked up at the "ask me about it on Monday" comment -- too funny! While it's cute, we're serious when we ask you to pray for Nathan and for Jonathan & I in the next couple of days.

On a much lighter note, I had a great time at the baby shower our church family threw for me on Thursday night. Many, many thanks to all who were there! Nathan says we might not have to buy baby wipes for the next year! =) I'll post more about that (with some "beautiful" hand drawn pictures!) and publish our post on John soon! Have a great weekend, ya'll!