Monthly Archives: November 2007

Thanks Giving

The only truly American holiday, and I have much to be thankful for and many to whom I want to publicly express my thanks.  There is obviously much that has happened in the last year of our life.  We bought our pastureland last December and we bought our home in March.  God has graciously led us out of the desert and into His bounty.  But most recently and most on my mind of late is the tremendous outpouring of blessings we have experienced in relation to the birth of Abigail Ruth.

I am thankful to God for his calling us to continue to grow our family.  In the past we acted selfishly and decided we didn’t want more children because we wanted to be able to enjoy a measure of prosperity and get the kids out of our home.  Incidentally, I am not saying that all folks who don’t want more children are being selfish; I am merely accusing myself of being selfish in my motives.

I am thankful to God for allowing and orchestrating all the following thanks that, in coordination, led to our blessing.  In addition to the thanks I am about to express, I don’t doubt that there are many more that I should be thanking, but I have neglected to thank them either out of ignorance or forgetfulness.

I am thankful to Dr. Cary L. Leverett in New Braunfels, TX, whom we visited last October for a vasectomy reversal.  He was a caring professional who, through God’s richness, has returned to us the ability to make babies.

I am thankful to the midwives in Arizona who would have legally assisted us in our childbirth if we had stayed in Arizona just a few months more.

I am thankful to our midwife and her assistant here in Nebraska for their competent care.  I know that they are disappointed that the homebirth didn’t happen, but they did precisely what we wanted them to do.  They assessed the situation and gave professional and competent advice, which we followed.  They were very caring and we would not have wanted to labor with another team.

I am thankful to our wonderful neighbors to the South once again, for their continuous unflagging support.  Mother and oldest daughter came to our house during the labor and mother stayed with Gina while oldest daughter stayed with Caleb and kept him occupied.  When we realized we would have to transfer to a hospital, they unhesitatingly undertook the task of watching our children for us.

I am thankful to my two older, dear children, Caleb & Meagan, for their support throughout the pregnancy.  I am especially thankful to Meagan for her desire to be there throughout all stages of the birth.  Of course, she is just six, and she had some trouble staying awake, as evidenced by the following photograph of her during the labor process.  My greatest disappointment is that she was not able to accompany us to the hospital to be present for Abigail’s birth.  She is precious.


I am thankful to Dr. Brian Finley and the entire team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for their exceptional care for Gina during her hospital stay.  Dr. Finley was a caring professional who shed his own tears when he told us that our only option was an emergency caesarian section.  His care for us throughout was filled with sympathy and he allowed us to leave the hospital on Thursday evening, even though ‘normally’ a mother would not have left until Saturday morning.  We did not want to continue to recover in the hospital.  We wanted recovery to occur at home, where Gina could be cared for in a comfortable environment with the whole family around her.

I am thankful to Gina’s Uncle Rick & Aunt Mary for watching our children during our second night away from home.

I am thankful to Gina’s dad, Dale, for his awesome support throughout our hospital stay in shuttling the kids around and taking care of our every need.

I am thankful to Dale (again), Carol, Kelli, Terry, Tate, Kaia, and Eliot for visiting Gina & Abby in the hospital.  It was a sacrifice for them that demonstrated their love for us.

I am thankful to Rod & Caleb for giving Abby her first dollar.

I am thankful to our neighbors (again) and Kelli (again) for providing meals and assistance in caring for Gina after we returned home.

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Garage Construction, part 4


Above is an old picture, from November 15, but it shows us putting up the roofing felt.  The roofing felt is done, all of the sheathing has been put on the walls, and I have rolled out most of the wrap that will help insulate the garage.  I also have started applying the shingles, and hope to continue with shingling tomorrow.  It has been cold and windy, but I would still like to get some rudimentary covering over the garage before Winter really strikes.  This was my October project.  And Gina’s new kitchen cabinets come on Friday.

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Baby Pictures


Here she is:  the new princess in our house!  She is just so beautiful and wonderful!


The obligatory pic of baby sleeping on Daddy’s chest.


Grandpa and his third grandchild!


Abby and her older brother Caleb


My two daughters


And, of course, the most important picture of them all — my beautiful recovering wife and her baby


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The Story of Abby’s Arrival

Cliff Notes Version: Abigail Ruth was born by emergency C-section at 5:31 a.m. on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 in Omaha, Nebraska. She weighed in at 9 lbs, 6.6 ozs (4269 grams) and was 21.5 inches long. She and Mama are both doing well and were discharged from the hospital about 39 hours later.

Abridged: Tuesday afternoon, the midwife came over to check on Gina to determine whether it would be okay to finally break Gina’s water.  Everything seemed okay, so Gina’s water was broker at 4:54 pm.  It was at this point that the midwife recognized that Gina had polyhydramnios, a condition involving too much amniotic fluid.  When Gina’s water was initially broken, over 2-1/2 pounds of amniotic fluid came out.  Several more pounds would follow over the course of the labor.

Throughout the evening, Gina labored, but the labor was not all that intense.  The midwife and her assistant were constantly telling Gina that she wasn’t hurting enough.  However, Gina continued to progress in dilation and effacement.  As evening turned to night, the midwife recognized what felt like Abby’s elbow was presenting first.  The midwife talked to us about what an elbow-first presentation might mean.  She did not want to attempt to move the elbow because she was afraid that the arm might be holding back the umbilical cord, and the midwife definitely didn’t want the cord slipping down first.

By the time Gina reached full dilation and effacement and should have been ready to push, the midwife could not locate Abby’s head.  Not a good sign.  It was at this point, about 1:00 am, that the possibility of transferring to the hospital was first discussed.  We talked about going to the hospital in Syracuse (only 30 minutes away), but we felt like all they would do was immediately perform a C-section, without any discussion of alternatives.  So we decided to drive to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (90 minutes away), to have an ultrasound performed and see if there was any alternative to a C-section.  The midwife was unable to determine where Abby’s head was, and she obviously had no clue where the umbilical cord was.  She didn’t want to attempt any maneuvering without verifying these things, and for that we needed an ultrasound machine.

We hastily packed, called a doctor we had met with in September, and quickly left the house slightly before 2:00 am, leaving our two children with our beloved and gracious neighbors.  Gina’s labor had largely subsided by now and the drive to Omaha was uneventful, except for the one large buck deer standing in the road.  We got to the hospital around 3:30 a.m., Gina was admitted, and the ultrasound machine was hooked up.  Dr. Finley came and performed the ultrasound.  Abby’s presentation had gone from bad to impossible.  She was laying with her spine across her exit.  Dr. Finley told us there was nothing that could be done that would ensure the safety of mother and baby;  we had just one option:  caesarian section.

Dr. Finley was very understanding about our situation.  We had obviously labored a long time at home, intending to give birth at home.  We were already very emotional about being hooked up to so many monitors.  We never intended to deliver in a hospital, much less have a c-section birth.  We talked with our midwife and there really were no options, so we authorized the c-section … and cried.

Gina was prepped for surgery and I was able to sit in the surgery with her.  Abby was delivered at 5:31 a.m. and whisked off to the neonatal specialists in the next room.  I left Gina shortly and went in to watch them care for Abby.  Abby’s assessment scores weren’t that great.  I remember Caleb’s scores had been 9 & 10 (out of 10).  Abby scored 6 & 8.  We were told that much of this was because she had not been through the experience of a vaginal delivery, which tends to wring out the baby and prepare them for a life of breathing air.  When I got there, they were still administering oxygen and she was still quite purple.  But she did pink up a bit shortly thereafter.

The next day-and-a-half were spent in the hospital recovering.  Abby had no medical concerns, so it was really just Abby & I waiting around for Gina to be ready to come home.  Gina was initially very weak and slightly anemic, so her recovery has been rough.  We were able to beg our way out of the hospital 39 hours after the c-section so she could continue her recovery at home.  She did receive an infusion of blood while she was in the hospital, something I am now ambiguous about.  Had you asked me before I would have said there were no issues, but if you ask me now, I would have to respond after thinking about it some more.

Dr. Finley allowed us to leave the hospital Thursday evening and we were home on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 p.m.

Pictures will be published shortly!  She is so cute you won’t believe it.

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Water Broke

Need I say more?  Gina’s water broke at 4:54.  Here comes Abby!

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Garage Construction, part 3

Still no baby.

Garage construction has been creeping along. I don’t think I realized how proportionately small the work to put up the skeleton of the garage was, compared to the actual completing of the job. It took far longer than I expected to get the garage sheeted. And I thought rolling out the roofing felt would fly by, but it also took longer than one day (I can only work about 3-4 hours in a day due to work). I am now, though, to the point of nailing on shingles and I see that there is a possibility of snow on Wednesday. Looks like I won’t be beating the weather.


Above is a photo from our day of putting up the trusses, taken by my neighbor, Robert Becker, the photographer for the Lincoln newspaper.


Another photo of putting up trusses by the same famous photographer.

With abundant help from Hannah & Lizzie, Caleb & Meagan, and Terry, we have completed 90% of the sheeting on the garage, have attached the fascia and rake, have attached the drip edges and have rolled out the felt paper on the roof. Tonight I nearly completed the first three rows of shingles. Following is a picture of the front of the garage from about a week ago:


And a photo of Terry, Daniel, & I discussing attaching the fascia:


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Okay, Maybe not

The day started so promising, with regular contractions.  But as the day wore on, not much/no progress was made, and the process has pretty much tapered off now.  No regular contractions.  We are a bit tired and are looking forward to hopefully getting some rest and maybe starting the process again tomorrow.

Sorry for the false alarm.

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Looks Like Today

That’s right folks.  For those tens of people who visit my blog daily, it looks like today, November 17, 2007, will be Abigail Ruth’s birthday!  I have been up since 2:30 and we are getting ready.  We have started filling the pool and are waiting for baby Abigail to arrive.  Stay posted for more news and pictures!

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Still Waiting for a Baby

I think I must lack patience, because as I look back over the last year or so, I realize that I have talked alot about waiting.  Waiting for the purchase of our house, waiting for the adoption, waiting to get out of the Air Force, waiting still for our baby Abby, waiting now to get into the Air Force Reserve.  We never thought we would be two days from the due date and still waiting for our baby.  Both of our earlier babies were born in hospitals and Gina was induced early (6 days early for Caleb & 2 weeks early for Meagan).  Last Saturday, the midwife told us that the head was engaged and that she didn’t expect us to make it to the next appointment without calling her.  On Monday morning, Gina woke up with some contractions, but they went away eventually.  She has had nearly constant Braxton-Hicks (sp?) contractions.

The last two days I have made some good progress on the garage, which is a much larger project than I had realized.  I have finished sheathing the walls and yesterday, with the help of Hannah & Lizzie, we nearly finished sheathing the roof.  I plan to finish sheathing the roof this morning and possibly getting the gable-end supports up this morning.  On Saturday morning, I will want to tack on the fascia and rake boards, tack on the fascia drip edge, roll out the roofing felt (I’ll need staples that fit my staple gun), and tack on the rake drip edge.

The problem with this plan is I was thinking of changing from a turbine vent to a ridgeline vent.  I would need to spend some time in Lincoln in order to accomplish this, and I don’t know when I plan on making it to Lincoln.  Maybe I could just install a vent in the gable end, underneath the overhang, something louvered.  That should provide adequate ventilation without creating all the issues of cutting through the roof and helping my roof to leak.

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Updates about nothing in particular

I really don’t have anything to write about tonight, but I have time on the computer, so I might as well write something.  I am finishing up my training in the prison this week — next week I will be on my own.  I really like my new shift — I work 2pm to 10pm.  Every day feels like a day off until about 1:15, when I leave to go to work.  The days off feel even more like days off!  The only thing we are having trouble with is me returning from work at 10:30 each night.  That really infringes on my ability to get up at 4:30 each morning.

Gina is very pregnant and very ready to give birth.  The due date is still nine days away and we think we have everything ready for our very first home birth.  We even have a pool set up in our dining room!  We can’t wait!

Work continues on the garage.  15 out of 16 trusses are up and I have started putting sheathing on the roof.  I was helped out this evening for about an hour by my neighbors, Jacob & Elizabeth, and I anticipate that Jacob & Daniel will make it by tomorrow.  I hope to get the roof close to finished tomorrow, which will require putting up the last truss, putting up another 24 sheets of 4×8 sheathing, and putting up the four ladders for the gable-end overhangs that Terry & I put together last weekend.  I am always overambitious.  The next step, I think, will be to roll out the roofing felt(?) and then start shingling, which is likely something I will work on alone.  I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.

The chickens are doing quite well and are growing very big.  We picked up more straw bales for them and I hope to buy some fencing to create a temporary run for them.  They are eating about 80 pounds per week of feed, which is costing quite a bit, so I want to find another source of chicken feed.  We hooked them up on a thermostatically controlled outlet, so their heating lamps will now only kick on when the temperature drops below 35°, and will turn off when the temperature gets back up over 45°.  The chickens are now 5-and-a-half weeks old.

Still no new job offers and no new ideas or thoughts or discussions about starting a Bible fellowship here.  I have been grappling with the thought of whether God is calling us to have a home-based Bible fellowship, perhaps meeting in the new garage with a wood-burning stove for heat.  I also have been struggling with the meaning of my new job and whether it is what God has called me to or if there are just valuable lessons for me to learn there.

God Bless.

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