I don't really want to go into it all....don't even think I can as I've had very little sleep. For a variety of different reasons, I'm stuck, so to speak. Not only is Caleb now sick (although it doesn't seem stomach related but a fever so I have no idea what he has and whether or not he'll pass it along!) but my short list of possible sitters for when/if I go into labor is down to zero for at least today and tomorrow, maybe even longer. Illness is the main problem -- strep throat, another with a mysterious fever, 1 kid with a weird rash, and my niece/nephew sick with what Elizabeth, John, and Timothy have/had (and we haven't even seen them so it certainly didn't come from us!), and job situations have left all my sitters with their hands tied and I'm basically left praying I don't go into labor today or tomorrow 'cause I have no where to take my kids! In fact, not only burdened with illnesses but also with a dear friend about to die from cancer, one of my usual sitters has said to take her off the list until after March 7th. My mother-in-law falls into the "job situation" category where she absolutely cannot miss for the next few days and my mom is 12 hours away, not nearly enough time to get her here once labor begins (and I must go to the hospital as soon as I think labor is beginning 'cause my group B strep test was positive and I'll need antibiotics during labor). If my Mom COULD get here today or tomorrow, "just in case", then that would mean time off from work and whatever time she spends here before Lydia comes means less time here after Lydia comes home and I need her more after Lydia comes home than I do before she gets here. I don't do well at all with situations like this, ones that are completely out of my control -- just ask my husband or the poor women who suffered through 3 years of college with me as roommates. So please, PLEASE pray that this little girl stays put until Monday and that my kids will all be well by Sunday so I don't have that to worry with.



Still possibility I could go into labor before then....also possibility that the results won't be favorable for delivery. If they are, however, induction will be done immediately and hopefully, we'd have a baby by end of day Monday! I'm in a ton of pain in my side and it's now lasting all day long. Only relief comes through laying horizontal which isn't exactly condusive to being a mom of 5! As for the kids....
Nathan shows no sign of coming down with anything as of now....
Caleb is starting with a fever just this morning (which no one else has had) and is complaining of an upset stomach....
Elizabeth has been just peachy since Saturday after her 2 days of sickness....
John was sick again yesterday with diarrhea and 1 more instance of vomitting but seems okay today....
Timothy has been okay from the vomitting standpoint since Saturday but has diarrhea-type symptoms today....
Jonathan and I are currently free from signs of illness.
Please pray for pain relief for me and that the kids all get better before labor begins or is induced! And, on a good note, baby Hannah got to go home yesterday!!!! Thank the Lord!



First of all, name correction! Her middle name will be spelled Ryleigh, not Riley. Second, she's doing much better. Kevin and Heather have both got to feed her and she's been downgraded from CPAP machine to just oxygen. As far as I know, still no indication as to what her infection was or could have been but I'm assuming things must be better in that dept. I hear she has a little hair and it is reddish or so. They're 2nd daughter, Olivia, has red hair. Anyway, here's a picture before all the NICU intervention....


34 week ultrasound pictures

First up is her foot (the blob at the top of the screen). Her pinky toe is facing us.
Next is a profile although not the best picture in the world. I point out her nose in the 2nd one to see if that helps. It's hard to get a shot of a baby's face when it's buried way down below! :)
Last but not least -- at this is what I was referring to as "interesting". I've NEVER seen this before on an ultrasound! Those little white lines that the arrow is pointing at is HAIR. The ultrasound tech said she has a head full of it and it may or may not be curly. (Being in a fluid filled sac, it'll be hard to tell if it's curly until she comes out).


Strange day

We ended up back in labor & delivery last night with more contractions -- pretty bad ones this time. :( Cervix still the same, though, so a dose of terbutaline to stop the contractions and then we were sent home. Was told at L&D that I could skip today's appointments so I called this morning to tell them I wasn't coming and needed to reschedule my ultrasound for Friday. They called back and said I couldn't have an ultrasound on Friday 'cause there would be no doctor there (?didn't I used to always go on Fridays and always see a dr?). Back and forth I went -- should I go or should I postpone until next Tuesday? On one hand, I'm tired and Candace is feeling bad and probably tired from being at my house until after 12:30 this morning....on the other hand, this was supposed to be a big moment, decided where to go from here as far as the rest of the pregnancy goes and the not knowing for another week really would get to me 'cause I'm anal that way. So, I decided that since is was JUST an ultrasound, I'd take Nathan, John, and Timothy to Candace and go to the ultrasound but take Caleb & Elizabeth (my rowdy ones today) with me. It'd be quick, right? WRONG -- dead wrong! It might have worked that way if some sweet little girl didn't weigh in at 8 -- yes, EIGHT -- pounds! Oh no -- "you must stay and see the dr!" (I'll post some ultrasound pics soon -- they were interesting!) Kids had been good up to that point but then we were stuck in a room and left for over 30 minutes. I finally pulled the "wasn't planning on being here this long/sitter needs me" excuse out of my hat to get some attention. (Wonderful nurse rescued my wiggly kids and my plummeting sugar with some graham crackers and apple juice!) FINALLY saw the dr and this is what they said -- we're going to stop my weekly progesterone injections immediately in the hopes that I might go into labor on my own sometime in the next 2 weeks. The main issue with a baby at 34 weeks is lung maturity (well, and for a "normal" baby, they'd be worried about him/her being too small, too, but that's definitely not the case here!). But, I've had steroid injections 3 weeks ago so she's got a boost ahead of most 34-week babies and she might just be okay or need little intervention if she's born in the next 2 weeks. IF she stays put for these 2 weeks, then on March 3rd (36 weeks), they'll do an amniocentesis (you know, the needle in the belly to draw out amniotic fluid test). Why? Just to be sure her lungs are mature. That test will be performed in triage in the hospital and afterwards, I'll be monitored for about 1-2 hours to wait on the results and to make sure the amnio itself doesn't put me into labor, which is a possibility. IF the results are good, then we'll be transfered to a labor & delivery room and the show will begin! (meaning an induction of labor) IF, however, the results aren't good, then they'll let me go to about the 10th (37 weeks) and then induce. So, that's the baby news. I'm really struggling with the pain in my left side, evenings are really bad. I'm really having a hard time "hanging on" even though I know that's the best thing for her. But, that's the plan for now. Hang on, though -- you never know when things are going to change. Non-stress tests scheduled for Friday, next Tuesday, and next Friday with a "final" OB appointment for next Tuesday.

Okay, moving on....CONGRATULATIONS are in order! My brother and his wife welcomed their 3rd daughter around 3 this afternoon. Hannah Riley weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 inches long. Waiting for an update, though, as she was having a few breathing difficulties from being just a little early (her due date was 3/14).

Lastly....while a new life was coming into the world, one was going out. Jonathan's great-aunt Doris passed away just a few moments ago. We have no word yet, of course, on any kind of arrangements. Jonathan left to go sit with his grandmother for a few minutes until his parents can get there. Doris lived in Portsmouth, only moving up here to be cared for after the cancer diagnosis. So services will take place down there. Obviously that's too far for me to be traveling, especially if I'm not going to be getting my progesterone injection tomorrow. So, we're assuming at this point that Jonathan will be going down either by himself or with Nathan and/or Caleb. I don't even want to think about going into labor while he's gone......We'll keep you posted.



We're still here and I'm still pregnant! Been without internet for a few days so was unable to post any updates although there really isn't much to report. Non-stress tests this week went well from Lydia's perspective. Both days this week, was having fairly regular contractions on the monitors. Monday, they convinced me to go upstairs for longer monitoring. Little did I know that "longer" meant the rest of the day. Put through the same torturous tests AGAIN (and then they didn't even send them off to the lab for results!) but alas, my cervix was still VERY high --thus the extreme pain -- very thick, and barely dilated or open. Thursday, when the contractions started again (it must be that room or chair?!?!) and they again wanted to send me upstairs, I politely declined. I did, however, let a dr check my cervix and while things were much less painful (meaning perhaps that Lydia has dropped or at least that my cervix is not so high -- or meaning absolutely nothing), I was still thick and barely open. Not feeling well at this particular moment but that's been my usual for these past few nights. I suffered from this "muscle fatigue" in my left side when I was pregnant with John although it only bothered me a couple of nights with Timothy. Well, it's back and as bad as it was with John. Please pray for rest from this pain and grace to get through the coming weeks without hurting anyone! Other than that, we're anxious to see what the ultrasound shows on Tuesday and what the drs think about how long this pregnancy might continue. Sounds like my cervix is in for the long haul (ugh!). Just a few more days (like 14 or so), yes, but 5 full weeks? I hate to say but I don't know if I can go that long with my side hurting like this every night. It's really starting to interfere with life!

Enough about me.....please pray for baby Leah. She was born in mid-January to friends of ours and is in the hospital with RSV, pneumonia, and a urinary tract infection. Please pray for her healing and her parents and big brother as they go through these difficult days ahead. Been there, done that, and wouldn't wish it on anyone! What they're going through makes Timothy's RSV battle seem like a cake walk. My heart is broken for them.



The Stevens Clan is in need of a bigger vehicle. We'll outgrow our 7-passenger minivan with the addition of Lydia. We're in the market for a used 8 -12 passenger van. We'd like to spend less than $5000. We don't have a particular make and model in mind. In fact, 8-passenger vans are hard to find, other than in newer models and we can't afford a new(er) one. If you know of anyone who has a van that might meet our needs, please email me (sing2praisehim@hotmail.com). And if you don't, we'd appreciate your prayers as we begin our search!



Doesn't it just break your heart?

He's so sick! :(

Snow pictures

Continuing the effort to make the blog look more alive....snow pictures!
Elizabeth throwing snow at the door while Timothy looks on from inside. One more year, buddy! One more year!
The view from inside as Timothy watched her playing in the snow.
Elizabeth was the one who hung out by the camera the most, as if you couldn't tell!

How 'bout some pictures?

All these posts of just text makes the blog look boring. Or maybe that's just me?!?! Regardless, I thought I'd share some pictures with you.

Some "fun" pictures.
Just call him Moses!
Our monkeys jumping on our bed (does that girl have hair or what?!?!)


Movie night!

The Stevens family is self-quarantined tonight. As you know, John was diagnosed with strep on Monday. He's back to his normal self, mostly. Still not much of an appetite and is coughing a lot but other than that, typical John. Timothy was diagnosed with strep today. Please say a prayer for him. It bothers me that he's not eating. I know that's to be expected with him being sick but he's just starting to look so very, very weak. We went ahead and gave him his 2nd dose of antibiotics for the day even though he didn't get his first one until 3 this afternoon. Hopefully he'll be feeling better by tomorrow. Elizabeth is very congested, coughing, and running a low-grade fever, exactly how both boys started. So, we'll see how she feels in the morning. Think I have any chance at all of getting our pediatrician to call in antibiotics for her if she's sick tomorrow morning? This body of mine is tired! I wasn't feeling well at all this afternoon so my poor husband had to come take Timothy to the doctor. I couldn't ask him to do that again tomorrow and I certainly don't want to expose Candace and her boys to this so I'll be stuck dragging them all in to the drs office tomorrow if she does have to go in. And Timothy's still so miserable! So.....what to do? Can't say for sure what we'll do in the morning but we took the opportunity we had at hand tonight and popped in a movie! And I have to say "Journey to the Center of the Earth" hit the spot! (Talking about the 08 remake here, not the original which we have seen.) Great, clean, exciting movie but not too scary for the little ones. We highly recommend it!

And a note -- with all the sickies and the fact that my NST looked good on Tuesday (not to mention I go back on Monday), I'm going to call tomorrow and cancel my NST for Friday preemptively. Don't want anyone to be expecting an update! Oh, and did I mention that Jonathan feels like his throat is a little sore?!?! We'd really appreciate your prayers!



John is down with strep throat, although much improved after only 1 day of antibiotics. Timothy, poor dear, hasn't ate anything all day long and is running a low-grade fever. Guess he must be next?!? He is, thankfully, drinking his milk (yes, I know, milk is the wrong thing to give when they're sick but he won't drink juice; will try plain water next, though).

Drs appointment today interesting. First time going through the diabetic clinic. Basically, this is our plan of attack. If I go into labor in the next few weeks (say before March 3rd), they'd do everything they could to try and stop the labor. After March 3rd (36 weeks), they will not try and intervene unless it's caught very, very early (like I'm less than 3 cm dilated). After March 10th, they won't try to stop it at all. As far as her size is concerned, an ultrasound has been scheduled for 2/17. We'll see what her weight is and go from there. If she's VERY large, then around March 3rd, they'll perform an amniocentesis to see what her lung function is. If her lungs appear mature, they will induce because of her size. Depending on how mature they are, if they are uncomfortable with inducing at 36 weeks, then it will depend on how mature her lungs are/aren't. They may say, at that point, 1 more week or 2 more weeks, depending on the results. Regardless, if I'm still pregnant mid-March, we will make plans to be induced as close to March 24th as possible, 39 weeks. They do not want me going past 39 weeks as there is an increased chance of stillbirth with diabetic mothers (lovely though, heh?). They were still unsympathetic to my contractions :( but I think I'm dealing with them okay. I'm trying SO hard not to complain, and not to let them, cabin-fevered children, lack of sleep, and my raging hormones make me into a monster. So, please, feel free to tell me I'm being a jerk or a whiny baby and once I forgive you (ha!), I'm sure I'll thank you! :) I think that's about it. They did not check my cervix so I have no numbers to obsess over! Anyway, this week, I have another non-stress test on Friday; next weeks' NST's are on Monday and Thursday; then the week of the 15th, my ultrasound/OB appt/NST is on the 17th and jsut a NST on the 20th (what a way to spend a birthday, right?).

An update of sorts, with my tubal -- I did sign the papers today and, thankfully, there's an "out" on the consent form that say as long as my signature is at least 72 hours old on the paper, if I go into unexpected labor before the 30 days are up, they will be able to go ahead with the tubal. However, they informed me today that sometimes a "woman of my size" is difficult to do this surgery on immediately after delivery. So....if they were for any reason to be uncomfortable with attempting the surgery immediately after delivery, then I'd have a few choices, based on my insurance. If my insurance stays in effect long enough after delivery (after Timothy, my insurance coverage lasted 3 full months after he was delivered), then after my post-partum check-up, they could schedule to do the surgery as an outpatient. If my insurance either runs out or won't approve the tubal after my post-partum period, then there is another, cheaper permanent solution called "Essure" (google that, if you want) they can do in the office. There really isn't anything we can do, other than pray that God has His way in this. He will lead us into the right answer, I'm sure of it!

And in case you were paying attention to our sidebar "stuff" and were wondering what happened....I think I may have already reported that Caleb and Timothy's drs appointment originally scheduled for 1/9 were postponed indefinitely. If not, now you know! :) Timothy did see the ENT last Friday but, with the drama going on with the baby, we're postponing his next bronchoscopy until after Lydia is here.



At home today with a sick John and no, I'm not in labor. Just thinking about it. And thinking about it, I decided I would post here some specific prayers I'm praying, hoping my blogger friends will join me.

1 -- First and foremost, my concern is for Lydia. Specifically, my prayers are that she comes as healthy as possible. It would be wonderful if we could avoid the NICU! [For perspective, John was born at 32 weeks (I'll be 32 weeks on Tuesday), weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces, and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. Really not bad at all -- quite good, in fact, considering the rule of thumb with premature babies is that they typically go home during the 2 weeks or so prior to what was their due date. I recognize fully our blessings with John's birth! Still, that was a very difficult 2 weeks and I only had 3 children living at home at that time. Timothy, born at 35 weeks, weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces, went home with me, needing no NICU intervention.] The second part of Lydia's health that I'm concerned about is this -- clearly she is suffering the effects of a diabetic pregnancy, that's what's causing her to measure big. My fear is that in the next few days or weeks, my overly stretched, overly tired uterus will think we have a full-term baby already and labor will begin. If that doesn't happen -- and we don't want it to -- then my fear becomes that she'll get too big and 1 of 2 things will happen. Either I'll go into labor and she'll get stuck in the birth canal, prompting an emergency c-section, and/or she'll reach so large on the ultrasound that the doctor will go striaght to a c-section and not allow me the chance to deliver. A vaginal delivery is my pick, hands down. I've never had a c/s and I don't want one now! My kids need me and having to recover from major surgery not only means more time in the hospital but more down time once I'm home. My mom plans on being here for the 1st week after Lydia's born but that won't amount to much if I end up with a c/s. Okay, enough about that.

2 -- It's winter and apparently, a bad one for Central Ohio. May sound silly but I really am praying that the weather clears up soon. Regarldess, I'm praying bad weather won't keep me from getting to the hospital in time. A roadside delivery does NOT sound like fun to me.

3 -- And I've already blogged on this before. With all the contractions/pain in general I've been experiencing, I am praying for the wisdom to know when to head to the hospital and when to not. (An induction date and/or going into labor while at the drs office would be wonderful, in my opinion!)

4 -- Planning on having my tubes tied after Lydia is born. I was told at the beginning that I would sign the consent form around 28 weeks. Well, that hasn't happened yet and I was informed this past week that the consent form must be on file for 30 days. It would really be better if they could do the surgery while I was in the hospital delivering so now I'm praying that Lydia waits until March 3rd to arrive as I am planning on signing on Tuesday. That accomplishes 2 tings -- 1, I'll only need 1 hospitilization and 2, I'll be 36 weeks on March 3rd and that's a great time to have a baby! (I can still have the surgery done afterwards -- it would just mean an outpatient procedure after my 6-week recovery period is up but that would mean 2 visits to the hospital.)

That's basically it -- sure, I could mention other "little" things like I'm praying I make it in time for an epidural or that I might get a redhead this time but clearly those are not one of my priorities. And an FYI, Tuesday I begin bi-weekly appointments, every Tuesday and every Friday.