Baby Update

Baby Houston at 20 weeks
Last week during our regular baby appointment, we heard a rather obvious heart arrhythmia. This, I must admit, caused me to fear for my baby even though the OB assured me that usually these kinds of things are nothing. He wanted us to get a fetal echo just in case though. Yesterday, we went in and had the special ultra sound of our precious little one's heart. It was quite startling to actually watch his or her little heart beating at such an abnormal rate. I had a hard time watching, but I know that this is just something that our loving savior has allowed. When the u/s tech left the room, tears flowed and my sweet husband comforted me and prayed for our baby. Then we sat and talked about Anna and what we've gone through with God's grace. I commented that after that we could get through anything together! I know that this child is God's alone and He holds it in His hands. He is the one forming this little person inside of me and His plans are perfect. We met with the doctor and were quite relieved with the report she gave us. Again, we were assured that this baby's heart looks perfectly formed, no abnormalities or defects. The arrhythmia is probably just from mommy's hormones and will more than likely go away after birth. On rare occasions it does not go away, and even rarer, the arrhythmia actually changes to a fast heart beat. We are scheduled for another echo next month, and our OB will take special care in monitoring the heart over the next 7 - 9 weeks until birth. After baby is here, then our family doctor will continue to monitor the heart until we are sure the arrhythmia is completely gone.  Ultimately, I pray this child's heart will completely belong to God.....that this child will grow to learn of the loving savior that created him/her and trust Him for salvation. I pray this child will be used to bring honor and glory to Christ!!!

A Great Read For Pastor's Wives!

My husband and I just finished a wonderful and, I must add, very profitable time together reading! I always enjoy time spent together, him reading to me as I sit back and relax, or as I fold a bit of laundry. Today I did a bit of both, ending with listening to the last chapter as I prepared our dinner. I must say that this book is a must read for pastor's wives! It is filled with practical and very convicting advice from someone who has been there for more than thirty years and is still standing strong beside her husband/pastor. She has been his completer, and has raised up children to the honor and glory of the Lord, while at the same time, ministering to countless souls as God has brought them to her. I appreciate her candidness in sharing what our priority should be while encouraging us to be stretched a bit allowing God to grow us. I must say that, after almost sixteen years as a pastor's wife, many of her stories hit home and blessed me tremendously! They not only encouraged me that others have been down the same path, but also showed me areas that I know I need to improve on, as well as reinforcing my thinking on where my priority stands......being a godly Christian, a wife to my husband, and a mother to my children.

I would like to encourage fellow pastor's wives to get a hold of a copy of this book and read it! Enjoy it, learn from it, be encouraged by it!

Seasons Of Change

Goodbye to nurse Monica and PA Natalie
 I sit here at the computer in my pajamas, hardly able to talk as my body has succumbed to the cold that I had thought I'd escaped. I sit at the computer only because I have been a terrible blogger as of late as life has been, as my children have called it, EXCRUCIATINGLY busy. I love the adjective they have used as it truly defines what we have been living these past few weeks since my last post! I'll share much of the details in posts yet to come....yes, I will post more frequently!

 As I type, I look out my window and am reminded that summer is quickly fading into the beautiful colors of autumn. The season is changing. While on the outside the season is going from summer to fall, I look at my family and see a different set of seasons. We have passed through a rather long winter season and are now entering spring. Our winter season started with Anna's diagnosis of leukemia, continued with medications that caused her to be crippled with pain, and we trudged through with the expectant bone marrow transplant and life in Seattle. The unknowns were hard to live with when our daughter's life was at stake. December brought more coldness as I, feeling that familiar feeling, took a pregnancy test to discover that the positive line that showed up would turn to the heartbreak of a miscarriage just days later. This was particularly hard as I questioned God's timing in all of this, looking at the possibility of losing my daughter while at the same time experiencing the loss of this tiny life. My faith was never shaken in this, but I still had to ask why. Then, as time wore on, the impending transplant was delayed and we were once again asked to completely trust in God's timing of everything.  The war within raged. In March, we once again discovered that we were expecting and I got very sick. I was thrilled with the thought of another baby, but I do admit that I was feeling a bit cautious and wondered if this child would make it. I also wondered how I would do juggling between the hospital, home, and being sick and extremely fatigued.

But winter makes way for spring....I can look back and see the beauty that winter brought with each trial, and at the same time, look at the now and see the tiny buds of spring bursting forth. I look at Anna, who now has new cells that are growing from the depths of her bones, and see the hope of a bright future within her. Even the hair on her head is starting to flourish! We look at her gorgeous head and get excited as the fuzz that is there is getting thicker and longer. We have been released from the care in Seattle and are now having weekly visits to Tacoma with a soon change to less frequent, and yes, we are home! It seems crazy to think that in one month it will have been a whole year since Anna's diagnosis!! And yet, here we are, on the other side! And what a journey it has been! Then, as I look down at my ever growing belly, I am reminded that in two months, we will welcome another Houston into our home. The joy of new life is here, though we are ever needing to remember that a frost could still sweep over the new buds of life. Anna is not totally out of the woods. She still has a remnant of cancer and, though it is our hope that her next bone marrow aspirate will prove it to be gone, we know that the possibility is still there that it could remain. If that is the case, we will discuss our treatment options. We do not dwell on the what ifs as a pessimist would, but rather try to be optimistic with a reality thought in check.

Saying goodbye to Dr. Woolfrey

Having breakfast at the boat house
 While preparing our Bremerton house to be ready for our family's return, the children stayed at the beloved boat house of dear friends. This gave them a fun place to be that was out of the way of wet paint and slightly unorganized chaos.

We all gathered, Anna included, on the 31st of August to celebrate Selah Joy's second birthday. We ate our dinner outside as our dining room was impossible to eat in. Daddy bought a DQ ice cream cake and Selah was happy to be the center of attention! All day she had gone around singing, "Happy birthday to me!" It is always fun to watch the excitement of a little person when the day is made special just for them! She enjoyed her new back pack, complete with a box of strawberry flavored tic tacs, as well as a new outfit and princess flip flops!

I have had many ask me how things are going with baby. So I'll give a quick update. The baby is doing very well as far as we can tell. Everything seems to be growing and looking healthy. Baby is very active. I, however, am not doing as well as I have in past pregnancies. This has been a difficult time physically for me. I have never been so sick before. I don't share this as a complaint, but rather as a matter of fact. The Lord's grace has been sufficient through it all. I started out with extreme sickness, it subsided a bit but never totally, and has come back full force this last couple of months, increasing day by day. While I don't mind seeing the numbers on the scale go down (what woman does?) I know this is not a good time or way to be losing! I did end up spending Friday the 13th in the hospital as I was extremely dehydrated from being so sick. Food does not agree with me and usually decides to not stay with me for long. I am on anti nausea medicine to help relieve the symptoms, however, I can't seem to keep those down for long either. I look forward to November with the thought of a precious bundle of baby in my arms....and not being sick!! I do thank you all for your love and prayers that have been bestowed upon the Houston family! God has been good to us through each season. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We are overjoyed to be home and are looking forward to being settled once again. Until next time......not too long from now......may God bless thee and keep thee and make his face to shine upon thee and give you peace!