Monday, January 24, 2011

Ava Belle and Reese Elizabeth McNeil

Zack and Hilary McNeil are some of our closest friends in Kansas. They really are more like family than friends. They are our next door neighbors, and have been a huge blessing in our lives. They have loved Payton so much the last 2 years and have really been a gift. They are strong believers that attend a wonderful local church that isn't ICCC, which is nice because Steve isn't their pastor, just their friend, but we share the same priorities.

They are amazing people, that have such a heart for kiddos.  They did not have an easy journey in getting pregnant, but after a long time of trying, praying, and assistance, they were able to conceive and were blessed with twins! I can remember Hil showing me the ultrasound and I took a double-take trying to make sure I was seeing things correctly. They wanted to be surprised in the gender, thinking these might be the only children they have.

Hilary was having a healthy pregnancy, she is one of the healthiest people I know. No complications, just the normal pregnancy symptoms of fatigue and nausea.  Long story short, she delivered 2 beautiful girls on December 20th. The problem is, the girls were only 26 weeks.

It has been a roller-coaster for the McNeil family the last month. The girls celebrated their 1 month birthday this past week and are continuing to fight and persevere. They will be in the NICU until at least their due date (end of March) if not later. Zack and Hil are two of the most positive people, who trust the Lord with all of their life, even when things get difficult.

I share their story to ask for prayer for them. You can follow their story on their caring bridge website

Steve and I visited them recently, we had visited one other time when they were about a week old, they have grown (both have gained about 1 pound which is a lot when you are born under 2 pounds).  They are amazing little fighters who are already developing a personality. We are so excited for them to come home in a few months and to watch them grow. They are only 4 days younger than Colton, so he might have his choice in ladies. Zack did say that he trusts his girls around the Southards boy which is a compliment because he is a tough one :)

Reese "kangarooing" with her mommy.

Reese "kangarooing"

Ava has been on medicine that is making her retain fluids right now, so she is a little swollen

It is amazing how they are so small, yet have the same exact features as full-term babies

Thank you for your prayers as they have a long road still ahead.

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