As most of you who will be reading this know, we've had one of those years that has been so busy and cram-packed full of noteworthy events, that it's miraculous that we're still standing. For those of you who don't know, let me give you a brief update to bring you up to speed. This will be rather bare-bones, so if any of you have questions, please feel free to ask. I like to answer questions, especially when they relate to my family.
On July 7th, 2010, Terry and I took the plunge and moved from Canoga Park, California to his hometown of San Luis Obispo, California. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, San Luis Obispo (known to locals as just "San Luis," or SLO) is located on the quiet, picturesque central coast of California and in my humble opinion, is the state's best kept little secret. We are located about 7 miles from the ocean, surrounded by rolling hills that are covered by some of the state's finest vineyards. Terry was lucky enough to grow up here, and we feel very blessed to be able to relocate to one of the state's most desirable areas during one of the Nation's most uncertain economic times.
|Mel, exhibiting her exceptional cuteness|
After talking and praying about moving out of the Los Angeles area for close to 5 years, and FINALLY feeling like God was giving us the green light, it was still difficult to actually pull the trigger. Giving up two stable jobs was an enormous test of faith. Terry left a nearly ten year career in Hollywood--where he was quite successful, to begin a career as a plumber. His family has owned and run Smee's Plumbing since the 1950's and has developed a faithful clientele and a sterling reputation for good honest work. I left behind a 2 year stint at California State University, Northridge's Admissions & Records office to open a children's retail store with my sister-in-law. We sell natural, eco-friendly children's products ranging from cloth diapers to wooden toys, and just about everything in between. We assumed that the biggest adjustment in moving to SLO would be the change in our careers. We were so wrong.
The month of August brought about change on an even grander scale. The 12 pregnancy tests that I took all told me the same thing: we were finally going to be parents! The doctors quickly confirmed what my multitude of positive pregnancy tests had said, and told me that our baby was due April 18th, 2011. We were thrilled and terrified, humbly grateful to God for this incredible blessing, and tearing our hair out in worry, wondering what on Earth we had gotten ourselves into. After over a year of trying to get pregnant, we had assumed it just wasn't meant to be. But the Lord saw fit to bless us with a child, and He also saw fit to give me the world's best, easiest pregnancy! I experienced no morning sickness and very few of the usual complaints that one might expect when pregnant. We found out in December, after what felt like YEARS of waiting, that our baby was a boy. Terry was rather pleased with himself, and walked around with a grin for quite a few days. A boy to carry on the Spaulding name! Hooray!
|Baby Spaulding, 14 weeks|
The baby, or "Hawkeye" as he was fondly nicknamed by his Aunt Ariana, was growing and developing right on schedule. I went in for ultrasounds more frequently than the average pregnant woman due to my thyroid condition. This didn't bother me one bit, because it meant getting to see my little guy and hear his heart beating strongly. All was going as it should have been until we went in at 29 weeks gestation. The doctors were concerned that it seemed the baby's growth had tapered off a bit, and my amniotic fluid was measuring on the low side of normal. They had me make a follow-up appointment for three weeks down the road, just to be on the safe side. My OB didn't seem overly concerned, nor did the ultrasound doctors. But I appreciated their desire to stay on top of things to ensure that both the baby and I remained healthy.
On February 23rd when we returned for our 32 week ultrasound, we knew something had gone wrong when the usually lighthearted, joke-cracking ultrasound doctor was silent. Our little guy hadn't grown at all in the three weeks since I had been there--a period during which babies are generally growing a half pound per week. In addition, my amniotic fluid was virtually non-existent. Baby Spaulding was in distress, but thank the Lord, his vitals were strong. They told me go directly to the hospital and admit myself so that the labor and delivery staff could closely monitor our boy for 2 days, with the intention of delivering him via c-section on Friday, February 25th. 8 weeks early. EIGHT weeks early. 2 months before his due date. We were so scared.
We had no idea what this meant for his health, or frankly, if a baby could even survive being 2 months early. We cried out to God to protect our boy and to spare his life. The doctors told us to expect a 2lb baby with the possibility of lung immaturity and breathing problems. I wept to the Lord and claimed Ephesians 3:20-21 over him: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen." Exceedingly. Abundantly. Those are some lofty promises! How often we forget to ask big things of God because we fail to see His superb power! So I asked it. I asked that our baby would be bigger than the doctors told us he would be. I asked that he would come out with healthy lungs and no breathing issues. I prayed that he would be wildly healthy despite our current expectations.
I love when the Lord answers prayers so clearly. I love when God's people band together in prayer to lift up the hurting and broken. Terry and I were so scared for the life and health of our little boy. But despite that fear, we could feel the peace that God was pouring over us. His calming presence was undeniable, and we were able to relax, knowing that our baby was right where he needed to be and that I was also in good hands.
Jackson Noah Spaulding was born at 10:30am on February 25th, weighing 3lbs, 5oz and measuring 15 and 3/4 inches long. He came out pink and screaming, and despite his small size, Terry and I were both THRILLED that the Lord had heard our heart's cries and had given us exceedingly, abundantly above what we had been expecting.
|Just a few hours old|
Jackson spent 5 weeks at Sierra Vista's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but was healthy and strong throughout his stay. He just needed to grow, and to be monitored for the commonly occurring issues that preemies tend to experience (i.e. apnea, low blood oxygen levels, lung immaturity, and acid reflux to name a few). And for the record, Jackson never experienced any of these issues! Praise God for His goodness and His favor!
We got to bring Jackson home on March 31st, which was 2 and 1/2 week before his due date. The Neonatologists will always tell parents to expect their babies to stay in the NICU until their due date. You can imagine our elation when we were told that he was ready to go home early!
So a lot has happened. A lot has changed. I feel like I've truly become an adult since moving to San Luis Obispo, and that life has never been more frightening or exciting. We miss our L.A. friends and family, but we know that moving here was the best thing we've done for ourselves as a couple. God has already shown us in so many ways that we made the right choice.
Thanks to all who have been praying for us, especially since Jackson's birth. Words are truly inadequate in expressing how grateful we are for your love and support. Your overwhelming outpouring of love, kind words and prayers has been so encouraging.
I'm hoping to post regularly so as to avoid monstrous entries like this one. :) I promise to be more succinct in future posts. Have a lovely day, everyone!