Adelyn's story

I'm Kristen Photography

Tomorrow Adelyn will be 2 weeks old. Hard to believe! These 2 weeks have been so wonderful and have brought our family so much joy. What a gift this little one is.

Before Adelyn came, I found myself praying very often about many things pertaining to her arrival. I was very anxious over the labor and delivery and spent most mornings praying about all the details and laying out my requests and desires to the Lord. So, I just wanted to recap the story of her arrival and give glory to God for how good He is and how he answered so many of my requests.

I think I have mentioned before that when I was around 30 weeks pregnant I needed to leave my previous doctor because of some unfortunate circumstances in his life, which forced him to take a leave of absence. I had been with him for a number of years and he delivered both Selah and Alivia. So, it was hard going from a doctor I love, completed trusted and knew would be there for my delivery, to a practice of doctors that I did not know, nor knew who would deliver my baby. But God had everything worked out and I knew I needed to trust Him.

Before long, I began praying about a number of things:

* Of all the doctors who could potentially deliver our baby, there were 2 who became my preference. I began praying that one of these 2 would be on call if I went in labor at night or available during the day.
* We also have a family friend, Peggy Hopkins, who is a labor and delivery nurse at Shady Grove hospital. I prayed that she would be working when I went into labor and could be there with us when I delivered.
* After giving birth 3x naturally, I knew the pain that was ahead. While not being opposed to getting some meds, going natural is most familiar to me and I can often be very affected by medication. So, I wanted to try to get through it again, but more than any other time before, was dreading the pain. So, I prayed that my labor would be short and that I would not even need to think about whether I needed something for the pain. I also prayed that God would minimize the pain.
* I also prayed that the pushing stage would be very short and she would pop out very quickly.
* I have always torn in the past and this makes recovery more challenging. I expected to tear again, but prayed that I would not.
* I prayed that my recovery would be fairly quick, especially with the holidays so close, and that I would be able to get around fairly easily and see family by the time Christmas arrived.

Long list of requests, huh? Well, here is Adelyn's story and testimony to God's faithfulness...

I had a doctor's appointment on December 18. I asked my doctor if he could strip my membranes, which had worked with Selah to put me into labor within the next day. At that appointment I was between 3-4 cm dilated. So, I was hoping labor would come soon. I did pray that labor would hold off long enough for me to deliver the next day, as I did not really know the doctor on call that night. The doctor I had been seeing was off the next day, but the other doctor that I really liked was working and I requested that she be the one to deliver if I went into labor.

Obviously I did not sleep well that night, tossing and turning through many contractions and watching the clock. I got up around 5:30 as I could not sleep any more. I made some tea and sat down for some devos at the kitchen table. I had a few contractions, which came sporatically. I prayed, read some and then emailed my sister that I thought this little baby girl would never come. Since my appointment the previous day I had no signs of labor. She responded back that she didn't have child care worked out for all the kids, even if I did go into labor that day and that there was a huge snow storm coming....great! I sat back down to pray some more through the requests on my heart...appealing that labor would come. I got a few more contractions, but noticed that this time they were getting somewhat regular. I got up to make breakfast and they kept coming. At this point, I knew this was probably it. I rushed through making a pot of oatmeal, getting juice and vitamins laid out for the girls. I got Mckenna up and dressed for school. At this point I emailed my sister that contractions were coming regular. She started scrambling to find sitters for the rest of her kids. I went upstairs and told Dave I didn't think he would be going to work today! We got Mckenna off to school and I texted Kristen S. that contractions were coming regular and we would keep her posted. At this point I went up to take a shower and the contractions tapered off a bit. I got ready and went downstairs, feeling a bit discouraged. Then, all of a sudden I got about 3 very strong ones in a bout 5 minutes. I told Dave we needed to leave soon. I texted Kristen to come over fast and called the doctor's office, who told me to come in to get checked. Kristen arrived and also offered to watch any of my sister's kids as well (she is AH-mazing!). She ended up with my girls, Ty, Larsen, and Wyatt...a handful!

We left for the doctor's office around 9:15am. When I got there, again the contractions had tapered off a bit. The nurse hooked me up to a machined to monitor the contractions. She left and Dave was there with me. All of a sudden the contractions again started coming hard and fast. I told Dave to get the nurse, who came in and then when to get the Dr. Tran. She checked me and I was almost 7cm. Before I knew it, they had a wheelchair and were racing me over to labor and delivery...contractions coming hard. I saw my mom and sister in the waiting room, grateful they both made it in time. They got me back to the room and the first face I saw was Peggy Hopkins, our friend. It was a very welcome surprise. The nurses started an IV, which slowed down the contractions a bit. Dr. Tran came in and said I was just about 8cm. Amazing thing was that it didn't feel like I was 8 cm. The contractions were not that bad. I stood up to move things along and also because it was more comfortable than laying in the bed. I got a couple very hard contractions and said they better call the dr. Next thing I knew I was on the bed and the doctor told me I was just about 10cm and could start pushing. With 3 extremely hard pushes, Adelyn Alivia was born at 11:33am, and I did not tear at all! Amazing! Dr. Tran did a fabulous job delivering Adelyn and I was so grateful she was there.

We watched the snowstorm from our window the next day. It was wonderful! And by Sunday, the roads were cleared and we were able to come home. Christmas was wonderful and although, it's all foggy in my mind, we were able to enjoy the time with our families. I have had a few bumps in the road during recovery, but overall, God has been very kind, helping me through it all.

Nights have been hard, as usual with a newborn. Adelyn doesn't sleep too well yet, and I often don't get more than an hour of sleep at a time, and sometimes no naps during the day, but it's fine! I am so enjoying this little one and know all too well, that this season with her is short and I want to soak it in, even during the tired, long days.

God has been so faithful over this past year, and these past few weeks. Having Adelyn has brought back so many memories of last year, some very hard, others giving testimony to how faithful God is. The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me. I will often sit in our living room holding little Addie and tears will flow, sometimes because I miss Alivia so much it hurts and other times because I am filled with joy and just so amazed at this precious new gift. Because of all that we have walked through this past year, I know God is faithful and will carry us through all the waves of trial and joy that life inevitably will bring...and Adelyn's story is just further testimony to that.


A special gift

Our dear friend, Kristen Snyder, took care of Mckenna and Selah from the moment we left for the hospital till we got home. She has served our family in countless ways this past year...and we just LOVE her! For those who do not know her, she is an amazing, gifted photographer. When we got home from the hospital, she was ready, camera in hand and starting snapping away. Next thing I know she was sitting in our living room, with my laptop, her camera, my camera, and our video camera. We were busy with the girls, I was feeding the baby, and there was much activity going on. So, I didn't realize what Kristen was up to, till she showed me the following masterpiece. In all of but an hour, she threw this together. I teared up when I saw it and will treasure this always.

Kristen, you are amazing! Thank you seems so inadequate for all you have done for us. Thank you for have no idea how much this means to have.

Miss Adelyn Alivia Castro Comes Home from Heather Castro on Vimeo.


Welcome Home, Adelyn!

We arrived home yesterday from the hospital. It's so good to be home with our newest little baby girl. What an incredible gift she is. The past few days have been filled with many emotions. I cried when she came out as could not believe the Lord had blessed me with this precious gift...and I cried when I brought her home and looked at our wall of pictures, remembering Alivia. I spent most of yesterday just sitting around taking in the precious sights of Mckenna and Selah enjoying their precious little sister. And when they were not holding her, I could not put her down. All I want to do is just hold her, cuddle and kiss her. I am probably enjoying her more than any other baby, as I have a profound awareness of the gift of life that this little one is.

There is so much more to say and share, stories to tell, but I'll close with these pictures (thank you, Kristen) and promise to post more later...





Adelyn Alivia Castro

6.9 pounds
19.5 inches
11:33am, Friday morning
4.5 hrs of labor!!

More details to come...




O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes in the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalm 30:2-5, 11-12



I think this is it...getting ready to head out soon to the doctor's office to get checked.


Baby update

Back to the doctors I went today for (hopefully) my last check up. I am now between 3-4 cm dilated and he said the head is so very low. Not sure I can get much farther along than this and not be in full blown labor. So, hoping that it's soon....very soon!


39 weeks...

and 2 days! I went to my doctor's appointment last Thursday to find out I'm almost 3 cm dilated, 60% effaced and baby girl is in position -1. I had to have a friend who is a nurse explain all that to me...I understand the dilation, but it was helpful to understand everything else. Basically, she is ready and it could be any day now (any minute!). We're just waiting around!

I'm feeling so much better now too! Last week I had a cold, but kept going down hill and finally went to my primary care doctor on Friday. I had both a sinus infection, upper respiratory infection and fluid in both ears. Needless to say, he put me on an antibiotic right away and within a day I was feeling so much better. I was starting to think I was going to cough myself into labor.

I am praying for a quick labor, but not too quick... I want to make it to the hospital, unlike some friends I know lately or my sister who barely made it. However hoping she does comes fast!

Stay tuned for more updates...


Happy Birthday, Dave!

I'm a day late, I know. It was actually yesterday. But wanted to honor my wonderful husband nonetheless.

We had a very low key day yesterday, which was so nice. Everyone slept in and we woke up and showered Daddy with cards and a few gifts. After that we had a leisurely breakfast of good 'ole oatmeal with blueberries (actually Selah's favorite...she convinced Dave that's what he wanted to have, saying it will make him big and strong :).

One of Dave's gifts was a Wii game. He recently purchased a used Wii set off of a friend and has already enjoyed playing with the girls. So, they spent some time downstairs playing.

Later in the morning, my mom came and brought Dave a gift and then picked Mckenna up for her "birthday date with Nani." Every grandkid gets a special date with Nani around the time of their birthday. She takes them to a toy store, lets them pick out a gift and then they get to go and spend the night at her house. So, for the rest of the day it was just Selah, Dave and I. Actually, Dave ended up going to a wedding midday. His sister's best friend, Crystal Williams, got married and he was able to be there for it.

Later in the evening, the 3 of us went out to Golf Galaxy. Dave has had a gift card to this store for about 2 years and had yet to use it. He had a great time talking with a salesman, trying out different golf clubs and ultimately purchasing a new "used" set. It was fun to watch - he was like a little kid in a candy store! And he commented that it was the highlight of his day. So glad he got to do that. Afterwards, we went and grabbed some dinner at La Madeleine's.

Tonight we had dinner with our neighbor's, the Reynolds, and celebrated once again with a cake and candles and sang to Dave (a birthday is not complete without cake and candles!).

So that, in a nutshell, was Dave's birthday weekend. It was a treat to have his birthday fall on a weekend so we could spend it with him!

Dave, it is such an honor and privilege for me to be your wife. This past year has, in so many ways, been a test of your faith and leadership of your family. You have born the challenges well and I have seen you grow leaps and bounds. In my struggles, you have come alongside me and gently loved and cared for me. You have preferred my interests above your own and served me in countless ways. You continue to be a strong pillar for me to lean on when I'm weak and a shoulder to cry on when I'm grieving and sad. I cannot imagine having walked through this past year without you by my side. As to being a father, you excel. I love listening to you talk to our girls, play with them and take time to instruct them in God's ways. How they love their Daddy... and I love you more today than ever! Happy Birthday!


Almost 39 weeks....

and waiting! As of today actually 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant! This week has been a much needed relaxing one. I am actually very content right now and comfortable to wait another week until meeting our next little girl. I am fighting a bad cold and would like to get over this before going into labor. In fact, for the first time ever I am really not looking forward to labor, recovery, etc. I just don't feel ready and physically up for it. BUT what I am looking forward to is holding this precious little one and kissing her sweet face. And trying to focus on that instead.

All in all, I have been so grateful for this week, which has been so low key for me. I can't remember the last time my days were not filled to the brim and my to-do list overflowing with more than I could do. This week has definitely been a gift from the Lord. There is always more to do, but I am grateful for all the Lord has enabled me to do this fall to get ready for this little one to come.

I go in today for a doctor's appointment, so will see how things are progressing. As of last week, it looks like we will be having another peanut...she was showing up to be only about 5 1/2 lbs so far.

The below picture was taken the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Kelly was not too thrilled about it, but I made her pose with me...wanted to capture our big bellies one more time together. Glad I did...the next day, Kelly delivered! So, glad we have it. Kel is on the left and I'm on the right.


Life and death, sorrow and rejoicing

My posts seem to be a combination of events and updates lately, as life continues to be extremely full...the fullest that I can ever remember in my life. The past few weeks have, once again, been filled with many varied emotions. Right before Thanksgiving the Plunneckes lost Mark's father to a brief battle with Leukemia. It has been a challenging few months for them and they have again fought for faith amidst death and suffering. We have grieved with them and the day we got word that he passed was an emotional one for me. This life is hard and the Lord has continued to teach me, through the continued various trials, where our real home is and hope lies.

Right after this, Thanksgiving came. We hosted 2 Thanksgiving dinners here in our home. One for Dave's family on Thanksgiving day and one for my family the Saturday after. Then on Sunday we got our Christmas trees! Monday my dad and step-mom left. That afternoon, Kelly went into a very quick labor and delivered their 4th son after about 2 hours of labor.

Wyatt Haddon Plunnecke was born at 4:49pm and weighed in at 7 lbs, 2 oz. I never made it to the hospital in time, but arrived just after his arrival. He's another cutie and reminds me a little of Ty. So, this week we, once again, got to have some of the Ploon kids stay with us as they eagerly awaited to meet their new little brother, which they did today. I was able to get my old, dying computer up and running with just enough time to post these pictures. It should be crashing again any moment, so I'm hurrying :). But here is sweet Wyatt...

Today is also my big girl's birthday! We celebrated Mckenna's life of 6 years today. I can't believe she is 6!!! It seems like just yesterday I was writing a post for her 5 year birthday. I dropped June off at a friend's and took Ty and Selah to get a dozen Krispy Kreme's to take Mckenna's kindergarten class. We sang to her and the class honored her. It was a sweet time. I wanted to make some cupcakes, but wisely decided that there was just no time in the schedule this week for that...the class didn't seem the mind donuts instead :). Mckenna's request for dinner was mac 'n cheese, so to the store we went this afternoon to get that. This evening was just our family and we had a great time together, eating dinner, opening presents and then decorating our Christmas tree...that has been sitting in it's stand since Sunday. The house is currently a mix match of fall and Christmas decor. We'll see if we can manage to get it looking a little more like Christmas around here before our baby girl decides to show up.

Mckenna, how I love you, sweet one! You continue to bring so much joy to my heart and have been a constant source of encouragement and comfort this past year. Thanks for all the hugs, kisses and reminders of God's love and comfort, amidst life's continued waves of trials. I love the way you remember our little Alivia and have such a solid faith of heaven and her safe residence with our Savior. Happy Birthday, big girl!


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