A Week of Pleurodesis 

It’s been almost a week since Tony’s pleurodesis. About a week that he’s been in the hospital, though it has felt much longer than that. The procedure he had combined a lung biopsy with a pleurodesis. Don’t know what a pleurodesis is? As I’ve come to understand it, it’s where they pull fluid off the lung and insert talc into the lining between the lung and the wall of the chest cavity. The talc is highly irritating and causes scar tissue to form, adhering the lung to the chest wall. We were told this is painful. We were not prepared for just how painful it was. The first 3 days were very difficult because of the pain, but Tony has endured them. He is feeling better, and has been in good spirits overall. 

Visits from Caroline will help lighten any mood.


We are now playing the chest tube drain game. Once Tony’s chest tube is no longer draining fluid, they will pull it, watch him for a day, and if all goes well, then send him home. We are happy with the care he has gotten, but are ready to have him back home. Caroline especially misses having her daddy at home, though she thinks the hospital is a pretty great place to visit (if nothing else, for the endless supply of gloves).


In the meantime, our community has worked to meet all of our needs. With 2 infants, a toddler, a working mom, and Tony in the hospital, we are a needy bunch. Our people continue to make us dinner, hold babies, feed them during the night, give massages, work on our house, sit with us, entertain Caroline, run errands, and pray continuously. We feel so loved. Thank you so much. We feel we can do this with your help.

Don’t stop praying.

27 weeks

Today marks 4 weeks that I’ve been on bed rest. FOUR weeks. I can’t believe it’s been that long already, and yet I am so thankful these 4 “wow-this-baby-would-be-such-a-premie-if-they-were-born-now” weeks are over.

We’ve had some bumps in the road, including an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago that showed further progression towards labor and afforded me a night’s stay in the hospital. However, I’m now back at home, back to my routine, and checking in with my OB every week.

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I wish all days could be like this: 70 degrees and a visit from Suzie & nephew Hayden.

At my last appointment, my doctor told me she wanted to keep monitoring me, but there’s nothing she can do for me until I go into labor. The world of medicine cannot do anything more to prevent preterm labor. I’ve been looking to the Lord to sustain me daily through this pregnancy, and now I realize He is the only one who can do it. He is able. He is faithful. Our prayers matter–and I believe they are being answered! We’re at 27 weeks!

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  -Romans 12:12

A Time to Rest

Right as we were trying to get pregnant last Fall, Tony was diagnosed with cancer. Miraculously we found ourselves pregnant right before Tony started chemotherapy. We felt hugely blessed, and excited, but also knew it was a long road- especially when Tony would be going through chemo treatments during most or all of it.

Since my OB was unable to find a reason for our sudden loss of Elizabeth last summer, she told me to proceed with this pregnancy as usual. She scheduled a few extra ultrasounds for me, just to check me and the baby and make sure everything was still on track and looking good. I didn’t mind. The extra views of the baby were nice, and it was a good reassurance that all was going well.

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A great picture at 17 weeks.

The ultrasounds at 17 and 20 weeks went well. We got great reports (and no, we don’t know gender). Then I went in for an ultrasound last week, and they found something. I have cervical insufficiency, which increases the risk of preterm labor. Suddenly we found ourselves being admitted to the labor & delivery floor at the hospital again, this time in the room right next door to where we had delivered Elizabeth just 9 months before. My OB monitored me for a few days in the hospital, doing a repeat ultrasound and consulting with several maternal-fetal medicine physicians.

Those days in the hospital were terrifying. I had felt normal going in for my ultrasound and was rudely awakened to the idea that something is terribly wrong. Not only was it taking us back to our experience with Elizabeth, but it was also reminiscent of Tony’s cancer diagnosis- where you go in for a scan and are told that suddenly everything is not as you thought it would be. Your world stops.

Praise the Lord, He got us through those days in the hospital. I had some long conversations with several physicians, and have been sent home to “take it easy” with bed rest and a prescription for a medication that should help delay the onset of labor.

I’m at 24 weeks, which is right around the starting point for the earliest viability. I have heard reports of women remaining on bed rest to full term, and am praying that I will be a part of that group. Regardless, the next few months will be long, and ones where we are praying to get through each day, and celebrating each new day as it comes.

Thankfully, we have gotten nothing but great reports about the baby’s health. At our 20 week ultrasound the baby was even measuring a bit big. We are praying that this child continues to develop well and put on weight (who doesn’t love a fat baby!?). Also, this baby seems to be quite active -squirming and kicking me regularly, which are good reminders of the miracle in our midst.

New Year

As we entered into 2014, we didn’t make any resolutions for the New Year. It seemed a bit ridiculous, since our daily lives are currently dictated by what our bodies can handle. Ideas of losing weight & eating right are overtaken by hopes for a hearty appetite & energy to do daily activities.

Instead, we decided to pick a Psalm that would usher us into the New Year. We had heard about this from a couple that has done this for years–each year, picking a Psalm that reflected where they were and what they thought they would need for the year. They would memorize it so that they could return to it throughout the year.

Obviously we don’t know what this year will bring. The last 12 months have not gone as we had planned. Every time our plan doesn’t line up with God’s will, we’re tempted to believe things about God that aren’t true.  I’ve heard it said that fear is believing that God is not bigger than our present circumstances. The simplicity of that statement has been helpful as we find ourselves daily in a tension between moments of fear and seeing God’s faithfulness.

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We chose Psalm 86 for this year. The first 12 verses especially, describe the tension between the needs of our present situation and the greatness & faithfulness of God.         It’s what we need as we enter this new year.

Elizabeth Anne

The past 3 days have brought some of the most difficult trials of our lives, and yet have brought us closer to God and each other in only a way that suffering and strife can.

We have been on a new journey towards parenthood. We became pregnant before we ever expected it, and now that we had reached the half-way mark, we were very excited about having a child. Then late on Wednesday night, that all seemed to come into question. I suddenly had some leaking, and during our 20 week ultrasound the next morning learned that there was little amniotic fluid remaining around the baby. This was a serious problem, because unless it re-filled, the baby would not continue to develop. My OB sent us for some tests, and confirmed that there was a tear in the amniotic membrane. There was a slight chance it would heal and the fluid would replenish, but the more likely scenario would be that I would go into labor. It was a waiting game– a time at the hospital filled with prayers, phone calls and a few visits from friends. We tried to avoid letting our minds work through scenarios of 20 weeks of bed rest or a pre-term delivery. It was clear to us, that we had no control in the situation– no ability to tell my body our preferred outcome.

Late Thursday evening, I started having contractions, and it was clear that the unfortunate, but likely, outcome was indeed starting. I was in labor. The contractions quickly intensified, and though they were painful, I didn’t have any other signs of labor, and so the medical staff gave me some morphine & Ambien to encouraged me sleep. I naively thought I could attempt sleeping, but as soon as the pain lead to vomiting, I knew there would be no rest.

I have been told that the women in my family generally have short labors, and that seemed to be true for me, as just 3 hours after my first contraction, I started delivering my baby and knew it was time we should call the nurse in. By the time she arrived, our baby had as well.

When our child was born, her heart was still beating, but she lacked the lung function to live more than a few minutes after birth. We named her Elizabeth Anne & were able to spend some good time with her, mourning that we would never be able to know our daughter. Though only 12 ounces, our baby girl was pretty well developed, which made us realize just what had been taken from us.

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The path to healing before us seems long and difficult, but not impossible. We are absolutely blessed by the prayers and caring words of the friends and family in our lives. Above all, we feel God has not abandoned us in this, and find comfort in our Heavenly Father.

” This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'”                -Lamentations 3:21-24

Adventures in Babysitting


At the end of February, our friends Stacy & Alex went on a vacation to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Tony & I volunteered to watch their children for the week. Luke (7), Baylie (5) and Emerson (2) are great kids, and we know them well, so that made the prospect of becoming temporary parents easier. However, it was still quite an experience!

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Our week started out with a “snow day” when an ice storm hit Indy. We were jumping in the deep end, and quickly had to learn how to keep everyone alive & happy. Here are some of the things we learned:

1. When stuck at home, build a fort. We let the kids keep it up for 5 days!

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2. Play games. Lots of games. Battles of Farkel, Jungle Speed, and Monopoly were regular parts of our week.  Even some of our other friends from training school came over for a game night!

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3. Get out and do something. Our excursions ranged from Lowes & the Library…

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…to climbing to the top of the Monument downtown.
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4. Sometimes nothing’s better than sitting down with a good book  (and what’s better than reading about “Insects in Action!” before going to bed!?)

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5. Feed them whatever they want! It’s only a week, and that doesn’t give us too much time to buy their affection.

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In the end, we made it through the week, and had a great time!

Remembering Grandpa Frey

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Opening a bacon wallet at our white elephant exchange. Christmas 2012.

 My grandfather died last weekend.

My beloved Grandpa Frey.

He was 96 years old, but still his death was a bit of a shock to me. I saw him just a few weeks earlier, and though he was weaker than normal, getting over bronchitis, he still enjoyed Christmas dinner, opening gifts, and of course, telling a story or two.

Grandpa had been a chaplain in WWII and a pastor to several congregations. Though I didn’t directly know him in these roles, it shaped the person I knew– someone who strove for peace and social justice in this world.

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Dad & Grandpa – 95th birthday. 9-2011.

Over the years, as I have become more interested in issues of social justice, I have loved hearing his perspective, as someone who  saw concentration camps and was a pastor during the Civil Rights movement. These conversations were enjoyable, and he would often mix comedy with wisdom. He always seemed to know what to say, and when to end with a quick “well, I think we’ve solved the world’s problems…for now at least”.

A duet with Aaron – September 2007

 I spent an afternoon recently looking through pictures I have of him. They speak rather well to the images I have in my mind, of the kind, quiet soul he was, always happy to see me and tell me a story. He is one of the only nanogenarians I know who enjoyed their days, and he told me a few years ago that he “never knew growing old would be so fun!”. Indeed, Grandpa did seem to have fun in his life, and continued through into his last years. He took up playing the clarinet, joining the community band after a 70 year break from when he had played in high school. SEVENTY years. I can’t imagine picking up a talent after that long of a break– but Grandpa enjoyed it, and played with the band for 6 years.

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One of the things I loved most about my Grandpa was that he was a great letter writer. His script could be difficult to decipher, but he was loyal with it, and I would enjoy a letter from him every few months. They would range from words of encouragement, to telling me about a good book he had read, or sharing a funny story. I just received my final letter in the mail two weeks ago.

In a similar fashion, he started writing his life story in journals when he turned 91. This was originally my brother & sister-in-law’s idea, and it was brilliant, because Grandpa kept this up, filling 5 journals with stories from his life. These journals were only turned over to my family upon Grandpa’s death– a bittersweet moment. As I’m saddened by the loss of my Grandpa Frey, I am excited to read and learn more about who he was. Surely his legacy will live on.