Blog Archive

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ultrasound Results...

Today's visit was a mixed bag.

The good news is, the baby, measuring at 15 weeks and 3 days, is growing perfectly. So at this point, even though he or she appeared to be a bit squished on the ultrasound, we don't have any worries about the bambino's growth. The placenta is looking well and is mostly out of the way of the clot, so that's good too. The clot itself hasn't grown and so is considered stable. However, the clot remains quite large, and because of it's position, still poses a bleeding risk. As a result, there are 4 more weeks of bed-rest on the horizon...We're of course grateful that the baby seems safe and well and at the same time frustrated that the darn clot won't just disappear! But we're oh so looking forward to Grandma Harms' arrival on Tuesday afternoon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Blessed...

A number of years ago, I read an article in Discipleship Journal in which the author said something to the effect that for most of us, it's much easier to give than to receive. We don't particularly like "needing" and we're apt to turn down offers for help...because quite simply, we're prideful.

A few years later, I arrived at a friend's home as she was making pancakes for her kiddos and her 5 year old offered me one. I had eaten breakfast earlier, but didn't feel like turning her down, so I accepted and my friend said, "Oh Good! We love it when people accept our food!" Her comment stayed with me as I realized, I too like it when people accept my offers for food, help, a favor or anything honestly...I really like it!

Then in 2007, we left our support system in SF and arrived in St. Louis, pregnant (me), with a tube-fed, non-walking toddler and three months later we were in the hospital. I knew two women, had the chance to attend a bible study & a MOPs group one time and suddenly we were in need and these gals stepped in...and the receiving began.

Over these last 3 1/2 years here's a sample list of how generous people have been:
  • My mom's dear friend's sister (got that?) came to our home while I was on bed rest to feed and care for Elizabeth
  • An Infectious Disease Fellow (and fellow member of the Hospital Auxiliary) who I'd never met showed up to clean my house and bring me groceries...twice.
  • Friends and colleagues of Matt's who barely knew me threw us a baby shower for Ruby
  • Friends of friends (who we didn't know) gave us food, baby gifts, a deep freezer & ordered a stork to sit on our lawn to announce Ruby's arrival
  • So many people gave money to help us cover medical bills, meals and special therapies.
  • Family & friends (many who are fellow mommies with crazy lives of their own) have flown in to help and encourage us.
  • People have babysat, cooked, cleaned, and run errands for us, not to mention the countless prayers, emails, phone calls and letters we've received.

Fast-forward 4 years, and here we are again, in the midst of what feels like one crisis after another. Once again we're on the receiving end. In fact, Last week, a colleague of Matt's cooked this incredible three-course meal for us, complete with wine, sparkling water and Valentine's themed plates and napkins!

And while I still cringe at times when someone I don't know well brings me groceries and sees me at my worst, I am also becoming aware of something else as I hear yet another person say, "Thank you so much for letting us help you guys." I'm beginning to realize that I can't have real relationship with people if I don't need them. As long as I'm the one helping, and I'm the one "ministering" or doing the favors, our relationship is unbalanced and ultimately, my pride stays intact. But when I allow someone to see and meet my needs, I truly believe it is a gift for both of us...a healthy dose of humility...and a step toward true community.

What would it look like to make an effort this week to be the recipient of someone elses kindness? For me, I know, it I know that sounds weird, and maybe no one will stop by and offer you a meal, but maybe someone will hold the door, and you can graciously accept rather than waving them ahead. Possibly, someone will offer to let you go ahead of them in line, or help you to your car with your groceries or to pay for your coffee, and rather than refusing, you can simply say, "That is so kind. Thank you".

Maybe what they're offering is not something you desperately need and it would feel awkward to accept. Or on the contrary someone may want to give you something that touches on a real, perhaps embarrassing need...and to accept will take real courage, and real humility. Either way, perhaps it would be good for them AND for could build community...cultivate gratitude...stir up generosity...and that would be good for all of us.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Which to do first? Where to start? How to start? Oh....and be on bed-rest...with 3 kids...sigh. I can't say that the last 2 weeks has been easy. On one hand, I don't know a mom out there who wouldn't love a week or two to put life on hold and do nothing...but "forced stopping"...6 feet away from where my life is happening and my children are growing and needing is actually pretty mentally exhausting. I'm so thankful that this rest has been effective. The baby appears to be safe and healthy, my nausea reminds me that things are "still happening" in there, and so good.

But mentally, It's been a battle to try to let go of all the things I can't do, and give myself permission to do what feels like a whole lot of nothing. I have a running list of "shoulds" in my head....mentally prepare for baby #4, dig into scripture and have some all day time with the Lord, delve into some homeschooling materials and sort out my direction for the fall...but in the end, I also just want to escape and not think about anything...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

At every moment I wonder how I'm to provide for everything my kids need, my family needs...while feeling completely unable to do anything and make any progress. Then I'm reminded that it is not up to me to provide...I am a receiver and HE is the provider... Ann says it beautifully.

"What if we believed in the deep places, the darkest recesses, that He always provided — and not just barely, but abundantly?

Wouldn't we always be at peace — no matter what?"

That is part of what this is about for me. I thought I'd come to the end (or at least near it) of feeling like I was responsible for sustaining our crazy life...maintaining our crazy schedule...nourishing each of our uniquely wonderful girls...and then God allows me to discover it more see that once again, I can't. I'm not enough. But He is. 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

We don't have a plan for how this will go if I'm on bed rest more than a few weeks. But I'm seeing God provide daily...meals, phone calls, caregivers, encouraging emails, a friend to do laundry, sweep my floor, get our groceries...there's no "master schedule", but instead, you call, offer, extend yourselves and each day I see how God provides. And this is teaching my heart of His goodness and His faithfulness and something more is sinking into 

"…There's a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means. I don't…. [I]t's accepting there are things we simply don't understand. But He does. And I see. At least a bit more.

When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose. When we are despairing, we can choose to live as Israelites gathering manna. For forty long years, God's people daily eat manna—a substance whose name literally means "What is it?"

Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning.

More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don't comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable.

They eat the mystery.

They eat the mystery."

~ One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

So much of our life right now feels mysterious. Rather than run from it, or trying to organize it or make sense of it...I'm choosing to take it in...and allow God to fill me up.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two weeks to go...

We're still hanging in there over here! After two weeks on bedrest, I'm going a little stir crazy, but thankfully, until this weekend hadn't had any further concerning symptoms.  I was actually beginning to wonder if the extreme rest was still necessary. I was delighted to get a visit from my dear friend Ashlee and though I still tried to adhere to my bedrest, I was up and around a bit more.  Unfortunately that was enough to cause my symptoms to return so I'm back to my strict bedrest and eager to see what's going on with our peanut at our ultrasound on Friday.

All in all, the girls are doing well. I've been stuck without much web access while our laptop was misbehaving, but now I've got access again so I'll post some updates on the girls (as well as some pictures) on our blog over the next few days. Thank you again for your emails and your encouraging phone calls and texts. We'll have 1 more week of back-up care from Matt's work, then Matt's mom will come for a week, then my mom will come for 10 days...

Please continue to pray for strength for Matt as he carries the heaviest load right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prayers for our Pregnancy

Despite our best efforts, life for us just refuses to get mundane!

Last Thursday, two days after (Elizabeth's) discharge, due to some pretty scary symptoms I was having, we got an ultrasound and discovered that our little peanut is alive and growing and kicking, but is sharing his or her space with a massive subchorionic hemorrhage. So I went onto immediate bed-rest. A follow up ultrasound yesterday revealed the clot had stabilized, but I'm not out of the danger zone yet, so I'm on 2 more weeks of bed-rest, at the end of which we'll take another look. There's not a clear prognosis but many possible complications which I won't list here. But the result is, lots of monitoring and waiting and seeing (and lots of praying while we're at it!)

A few pieces of good news:
~Elizabeth is doing well, is stable at home on her antibiotics. She's started preschool again and has returned to her baseline for energy and appetite.
~We qualify for a limited number of days of "back-up Care" service through Matt's work, so we've arranged for a caregiver for the girls everyday this week. We're still figuring out the plan for the next two weeks.
~Matt is amazing! He's working at work (when he can get away from our crazy life at home!) and working at home doing all the housework, laundry, meal clean up, and bedtime routines.
~Thanks to friends, we've got groceries in the fridge, and we've had a homemade meal every evening this week...

The bottom line is, we are not sure what all is going on here, but we know God has a path through this for us...and we'd so appreciate your prayers.

PS - I've included a few pics of the peanut from yesterday's ultrasound. The top one is his or her little legs, but to the right that big gray area outside the amniotic sac is the hemorrhage. The bottom pic is a little wave of his or her hand. "Hi Everyone! Thanks for praying!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


At some point you'd think we'd learn that anything can happen at any time when it comes to "the plan." That was certainly true this week:

On Monday we learned that Elizabeth's strep pneumo infection in her blood was resistant to the antibiotic that she'd been taking for 3 days. So they swapped her to Vancomiacin (which the bug was sensitive to) and we hoped the clock would start ticking with negative cultures. The girls came to visit, Ruby kept Elizabeth company and Hannah took an hour long nap in the shower of Elizabeth's bathroom.

What we didn't realize, was that the swap in antibiotics got them talking about a new possibility of an oral antibiotic that has been developed in the past 5 years that is almost as effective as an IV antibiotic. The Infectious Disease team felt comfortable sending her home after 48 hours of negative cultures.

THEN at about 36 hours, Elizabeth lost her IV, so I asked the team to consider an earlier discharge rather than sticking her for just one more dose of IV antibiotics. And based on our history, Matt's expertise, and our proximity to the hospital, they agreed we could go home! As soon as Elizabeth got wind of the new plan, she stripped off her hospital gown and said, "I'm ready to go home". Then she grabbed all her toys and blankets from her bed, threw them in the waiting wagon and climbed in the wheelchair, ready to go!

As all this was happening, St. Louis was experiencing a really bad ice storm, and everything everywhere was closing to allow people to get home before things got dangerous. So Matt was able to cancel his clinics and move his patients to next week...for weather reasons and not "sick daughter" reasons. And that allowed him to be home on Tuesday when I got home with Elizabeth so we could all get adjusted again.

Once again, God took good care of us this week. More friends brought meals, more circumstances "just worked out"...So we're home, tired, but happy.
Thank you for your prayers, your emails, your encouragement...all of it.
We are amazed to be surrounded by such support.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And then we were HOME!

More details later, but we're home, all 5 under one blessed roof. THANK you so much for all your thoughts and prayers an emails.
I'll email out the crazy turn of events later once we're a bit more settled, but just didn't want you to think about us being trapped in the hospital with the crazy ice and snow outside one minute longer than necessary.

Coming home after Snow-mageddon

Our laptop network card has crashed, leaving the updating duties to whomever happens to be at home...Today, that's me, Matt.  Elizabeth is doing well and after a few more days of intravenous antibiotics, will likely come home.  She could have been home as early as tomorrow, but the pending ice and snow storm will likely close our pharmacy and temporarily make the roads from hospital to home to treacherous to drive.  Pray that Elizabeth's IV will last through the whole admission, that Sara will get some much needed rest in the hospital, and that poor Hannah and Ruby will survive Mr. Mom!