So for those who have been following our pregnancy via the blog, my apologies for not getting something online sooner than this.
Nathaniel Franklin Ridenhour was born to two very exhausted, thankful parents on October 20, 2010 at 10:42 a.m. weighing in at 6lbs14oz, and measuring 20in long.
We are blown away by how God has answered prayer. We are humbled by the love that our family and friends has shown us, and are thoroughly convinced that God has some amazing things in store for our son. Sorry for the long media blackout. Newparent-ness.
Man, we are blessed.
Though it may be fuzzy, you are looking at the face of Baby Ridenhour.
Miraculous. Baby is still in Momma, and everyone is doing alright. Whose face does he have?
Monday was a significant day.
Monday marked the 112th day of bedrest for Jen in our first pregnancy.
Monday marked the 70th day of hospitalization for Jen.
Monday signaled the beginning of Week 34 in the pregnancy; a miracle upon miracles that no one thought we would get to.
Monday. Monday Jen got to come home.
Monday got me thinking about a lot of things. Like how quickly time passes and how laboriously slow time labors. From hurry up to wait, from being comfortable and oblivious to “stretched as a pat of butter scraped thinly across a piece of toast”.
Monday made me think of how much my world has changed in the last four years. How my isolated world of self became a world for two, and is being opened wide now to accomodate three.
It made me grateful for a lot of things. The gift of faith. I could not even begin to muster or conjure up enough will power to get through where we have been so far, and where this all may end up. No amount of positive thinking or hopeful wishing could have sustained. It was faith. And that faith was a gift of God.
I continue to be grateful to my family and my church (my dysfunctional extended family). For prayers, and love, and support.
I think, though, that I am most grateful that for the last two nights, my wife and my unborn son slept next to me in the bed.
This home is not a home without my wife there. And soon, it will not be the same home without my son.
Thanks for the continued prayers. The journey continues, and we will make weekly trips to Augusta until delivery.
Love to you all. David & Jen
(Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from my sweet wife, Jen. I continue to be encouraged and amazed by this woman, and hope that you will find this piece informative, encouraging, and uplifting. She will be able to see (and hopefully respond) to some of the comments posted here.)
Week 33 Update: Ponderings, Plans, and Prayer Requests.
Fall will be here in two days and it’s looking like God will answer our prayers for a fall
baby! It was still spring when I started bed rest on June 8th. I still can’t believe that I have completely missed the entire summer even though it was nothing but hot outside! No pool, no beach, no traveling, no garden, no getting to all the many plans I had for the summer to nest and prepare for baby. God had other plans. He asked me to give up all my plans and desires for the life of my unborn child. I know that God has been and is using this time to teach me things I would not have learned otherwise. Patience is probably the number one lesson here for obvious reasons. Tied with that is constantly being reminded that I am not in control of anything, never have and never will be no matter how much I try. I must constantly surrender my will and this baby’s life to God which is a daily struggle. Among other things, I am also learning humility, graciousness, gratitude, and the power of the faithful prayers of God’s people. Even though this has been the most difficult and uncomfortable time of my life so far, I am grateful that God has chosen this journey for me so that I can be refined and molded to become more like Christ.
God has also given me opportunities to live out I Peter 3:15 “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” Many of the nurses, doctors and other hospital workers constantly comment on my positive attitude, patience and how I’ve handled things so well compared to other patients who go crazy and get very crabby after just a few days. I cannot take any credit for this. I know I have bad attitudes and impatience all the time. It is humbling to hear these comments and I try to tell people every chance I get, that it has nothing to do with me but it is only because of Christ in me that I can smile and have hope.
So the plan is to go home next Monday when I hit 34 weeks as long as baby and I are behaving. I am so excited to get to go home for a few weeks! I miss my hubby, my pets, my bed and being able to step outside into the sunshine and get some fresh air. Of course I am a little nervous about being far from the hospital. I will still need to be off my feet most of the time, but I will have a little more freedom to get up and move around more.
We will travel to Augusta once or twice a week for ultrasounds and monitoring. If something doesn’t look right I will be admitted again. We have decided it would be best to deliver here since the doctors and nurses here all know me and are aware of my high risk conditions. I will return to Augusta at 37 weeks to have the stitch removed (sometime during the week of Oct 18th). I might go into labor right away or I might not if there is a lot of scar tissue from the cerclage. After talking to the Dr, there is a good chance that they might induce me at that point or keep me in the hospital till I deliver because of my unique situation. Generally, they send people home the day of removal if they don’t go into labor after a few hours. The plan is for a normal delivery, but they are always prepared for a c-section if necessary. I told them that I don’t plan on leaving the hospital at that point if the baby is still inside of me! Of course these plans could all change as I can still go into labor anytime.
- Continue to pray for health and safety of me and the baby.
- Pray for safe travels as we go back and forth to Augusta.
- Pray for David as he continues to balance work and time with me. Things at church will only be getting busier as we get closer to the holidays.
- Pray that I do not go into labor at home and that I will not be discharged from the hospital after the stitch comes out.
- Pray that the amniotic fluid level will fall into a normal range before delivery and that my frequent contractions might let up a bit.
- We have also been having more trouble controlling my gestational diabetes as the baby and placenta keeps growing. My placenta is a little larger than normal anyway because of the chorioangioma. The hormones produced by the placenta cause the pancreas to have a hard time keeping up with insulin demands. My oral meds have been increased twice and make me drowsy. I still get crazy sugar levels at times even though I am following their diet which seems to consist of lots of foods that spike your sugar like fruit juice, white bread, rice, potatoes and desserts. It’s so confusing. Being sedentary doesn’t help things either. Pray that I will be able to keep my sugars in control, especially when I go home and that I won’t need insulin shots.
- Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they make decisions regarding my care.
Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy update and for rejoicing with us that God has brought us safely to this point in the pregnancy! He has certainly exceeded our expectations! We so appreciate all your prayers, visits, calls, cards and encouragement as we have journeyed through this trying time.
I am so grateful for the faithful prayers of God’s people. Miraculously, we have gotten to week 32 (the mere utterance sends chills down my spine as I think about the fact that NO ONE thought we would be here). It is amazing to witness that God chose to answer his people in this way. And I am humbled. Here is a snapshot of some of Jen’s thoughts:
32 weeks! What a milestone and an answer to prayer! We are getting closer to the point where we might be able to take baby home when he’s born! 2 weeks till I go home! Stitch should come out at 37 weeks and he just might stay put till then.
There might be a much different end to this than we first thought. That is a miracle in and of itself. I hope to think (and thus, write) more about this in the future, but I wanted to take an initial crack at the most looming question of all (which, truth be told, I still don’t fully understand).
Why. Why? Why this, why us, why now?
Beyond the short answer (why not us, why not this, why not now), I find great encouragement from C. H. Spurgeon, in his devotional Faith Checkbook:
The yoke of affliction, disappointment, and excessive labor is by no means to be sought for; but when the Lord lays it on us in our youth, it frequently develops a character which glorifies God and blesses the church. Come, my soul, bow thy neck; take up they cross. It was good for thee when young; it will not harm thee now. For Jesus sake, shoulder it carefully.
So, would you pray this for Jen and I as we continue to wrestle, both with the uncertainty of the future and the reality of the present… that the answer to this question of why might be, for both of us, for Jesus’ sake and for his kingdom, that He would develop in us a character which glorifies himself and blesses the church?
We love you all. Thank you so much for your continued prayers with us.