14 October 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund

Jody, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 

Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?

I've had a number of hard things come my way, including the death of my dad when I was twenty-two years old. He died of a heart-attack when he was only 50. It happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that I never had the chance to tell him goodbye.And while that was hard, even more difficult was when I gave birth to my twin babies.

At that time, we'd just moved to Michigan. I was busy unpacking boxes, had a two year old son, and was hugely pregnant. I thought I had two months to finish getting ready for the new babies.
But boy was I mistaken.During a routine doctor's visit at thirty weeks gestation, I discovered I was in labor. I hadn't felt any contractions and my water hadn't broken, but I was well on my way to having the babies. So the doctor ordered an ambulance to take me to the closest hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) so that after the babies were born they could receive the best possible care.

Fortunately that hospital was only thirty minutes from my home. But unfortunately I was going to have to be in the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy. Having a husband with a brand new job, a toddler who needed constant care, and knowing very few people in the community, complicated the situation immensely.
Family rallied to our support. Both Moms offered to come and stay with us during the difficult days ahead.But my twins were determined to enter the world early. And after only a week in the hospital, my labor continued to progress against the best efforts to stop it.

My twin daughters were born NINE weeks early. They weighed 3.0 lbs. each. One of them had to be on a ventilator to help her breathe. And both of them were hooked up to numerous machines in an incubator. When I was finally allowed to hold one of my daughters, I could fit her in my hand.The first time I walked into my new home after being released, I cried of a broken heart. I was so distraught to return home empty-handed and leave my babies at the hospital.

But somehow I managed to survive the month of half-living at the hospital and half at home with my toddler (who wasn't allowed in the NICU). Now my daughters are 13 years old, healthy, and beautiful young ladies.The hardship still haunts me. But I've learned that difficulties come into our lives to help us become more grateful for our blessings.

(Comment from Carrie: I started out my career as a psychologist in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and a clinical assistant professor in a medical school, and worked with the follow up clinic to monitor development. What a blessing that your girls were born only 13 years ago!  Because it has really only been in the past 25 years or so that we've had good success with saving premature babies and them having good outcomes!  But watching those parents, day in and day out, waiting for their babies to come home, was heart breaking. So glad your girls are doing well!)

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
One of the many verses I treasure is "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13 That verse has held me in good stead through many trials.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
Yes, I'm happy to relate that Unending Devotion is available in audio format. The Preacher's Bride is also available on audio.

Unending Devotion
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I live in central Michigan in an area that was once filled with towering white pines and that played a major role in the lumber era. I decided I wanted to explore that era, especially since it happened right in my backyard, so to speak.

During my research for the book, I ran across stories of young women who were abused, exploited, and even enslaved, and was heartbroken by the lesser known evils of an era that is usually quite glamorized.
Unending Devotion is inspired by one of those women, Jennie King. She rode a train into central Michigan in answer to  newspaper ad for a job. She expected to work in a hotel. Instead she found herself enslaved in a brothel. She fled, but was recaptured and beaten. The brave and desperate woman escaped again, wearing only a nightgown, and this time gained help from a local family. The brothel owner tried to get her back again. But the family helped smuggle Jennie out of town and to a safe place.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?

It was my hope in Unending Devotion to bring attention to some of the problems that existed during the lumber era, particularly the issue of white slavery, which is unfortunately still a problem within the United States (and throughout the world) today.
My prayer is that we will never forget the countless women who suffered. Even more than that, it's my hope that we may we rise up, stand tall, and fight against the injustices that still exist today.


Thank you Jody for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!


Jody would love to connect with you! Find her in these places: Website  Blog FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. 

Buy Unending Devotion here: AmazonCBD.com, and B&N

Giveaway this week: Book of your choice by Jody, choice of format.  International winners ebook only.



Guests:  Have you experienced a premature or difficult birth with any of your children?  What got you through it? Did you fear you may lose your child(ren)?  How did God help you?  Did He put people around you to help?


59 comments:

  1. Carrie, thank you for a wonderful interview with Jody. I believe her twins were born right here in Grand Rapids. I worked there for a short time, and a dear friend has worked in the NICU for many years. I love the idea that Unending Devotion is a Michigan fiction. I love reading books based in my area. To answer the above questions, my firstborn was a month early, and we lived about 30 minutes from the hospital at that time. I was so frightened that I was losing her. Fortunately God blessed me with a healthy 5 lb 13 oz daughter with no health issues. Thanks for offering this giveaway. I look forward to reading Jody's books!

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  3. (Sorry, had a typo in my first comment and had to retype it.)
    I just started reading Jody's novel, Unending Devotion. I appreciate how she shows a different side to this period in history.
    And while none of my children were born prematurely, I am twin and my sister and I were born six weeks early.

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  4. Thank you so much for being with us this week, JODY! I have so loved all of your books! I'm very sorry you had to go through that with your girls, but thanks be to the Lord that they are now healthy, happy teenagers! Whew thirteen!...I remember that age with my daughter! lol

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  5. Well, I haven't had any kids yet, and I'm not even married. But my best friend was born 3 months early and was only 2 and a half pounds. She's tiny, but she survived and has absolutely no birth defects. :)

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  6. JODY welcome to OTT-WGH, thank you for sharing your testimony with us. So glad your beautiful daughters are healthy now. God is so good!

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  7. So happy to have you with us this week, JODY! Thank you for sharing your testimony. So glad your babies made it and are beautiful and healthy today! Praise the Lord for that!

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  8. NANCEE, so glad the Lord saved your firstborn's life. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. BETH, thanks for stopping by today. Good to hear that you're enjoying JODY's novel. I also loved that book!

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  10. MARISSA, thanks for commenting. Bless you!

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  11. NANCEE, good to see you here! You should ask your friend if she recalls the name Hedlund (yeah, right, but ya never know.) There were a few babies I worked with who I'd recognize the name even now after over 25 years! Unfortunately, my cousin from Michigan lost her twins during that time frame and I have another friend, a psychologist from MI who lost her twins, also, when they were born too premature. So Jody is blessed she was able to get such excellent treatment and that her girls are doing so well.

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  12. 34 Weeks seems to be a good survival date, BETH, so it is a blessing your mom carried you and your twin to that date. When I was doing NICU research, we were finding 32 weeks gestation to be the "magic" number for having fewer learning issues during the preschool time frame. I don't know what the latest research shows, since we were only then, in the early 1980's beginning to save the truly tiny babies.

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  13. DIANA, TERESA, and MARIAN--God is so good! Sorry they don't have their maternal grandfather and Jody didn't have the support of her father at that time--too young to lose a parent!

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  14. WOW, Jody, what a story!! And, Carrie, what an interview!! I can't even imagine going through what you did, Jody, with your twin daughters!! You are a better woman than me ... and a MUCH younger one too!! ;)

    Carrie, you asked have if anyone feared losing their child(ren) and how did God help us and did He put people around to help? My "fear" of losing a child came at the beginning of the pregnancy, not the end like Jody. I was an infertility patient, but when I finally got pregnant with my daughter, my infertility specialist told me I was going to self-abort because my pregnancy hormone was way too low. So I had my prayer partners pray for me, and when I went in three days later to take another blood test, the doctor said my levels had risen, but not enough to sustain the pregnancy. He then told me again that I would probably self-abort. Had my friends pray AGAIN, then three days later another test. While I was waiting for the doctor to call with results, I was a nervous wreck because he was taking so long to call. One of my friends said, "Oh, Julie, he's probably so confused because the levels are finally perfect, that he doesn't know what to say. Would you believe when he finally called the first words out of his mouth were, "Mrs. Lessman, I'm sorry I didn't get right back to you, but frankly, I was confused over the results. You see, your levels are perfect, and I don't know how they got that way ..." ;)

    Three months later, I started bleeding, and the same doctor said, "Mrs. Lessman, I'm sorry, but I think you are going to self-abort (I'm telling you, this guy had NO faith in this pregancy!!). I went to church that night and had about six people lay hands on me, and the bleeding stopped. Went on to give birth to a very healthy little girl who just graduated from law school in June and passed the bar last month!! So, don't tell me prayer doesn't work ... :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  15. Interesting events being told here. The only one of mine had any difficulty with of my 4 was my last baby, and wasn't like these others. Tho I was afraid of losing her. I carried her way over, and A friend had just lost hers a month are so before after going over, but not as much as me.This fact didn't help me any. I was having labor pains for weeks before she was born. Got shots several times at the docs office of the stuff they give people to start their labor. Each time it made me stop. I was getting to where I could hardly sit or stand, so after the doc telling me to take castor oil and he would see me the next day, and didn't help at all. So, he finally had to put me in the hosp.. and put the meds in my arm for a very long time before it start really hard labor. The doc was afraid my contractions would stop again if they removed the med when going into delivery, so made the nurse leave it in till he had my daughter in his hands. A 9 lb. 4 oz. healthy, chubby little girl. Of course back then they didn't know which sex the baby would be. My sis-in-law had had this same med and wasn't having contractions, and still had a couple of weeks to go, and was in labor within 2 hrs. Guess my parts were wearing out for the job it needed to do. LOL I don't know what the problem was, but GOD answered my prayer. And, my mom was there and I'm sure she was busy praying also. I want to win one of Jody's books. (And by the way the lady who shared my room had a tiny 3 lb. baby boy. Quite a contrast.
    Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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  16. Wow, JULIE!!! What a testimony of faith! God really brought your sweetie girl into this world and I pray that the doctor was able to come to faith in the Lord. Do you know?

    Prayer does work! I wouldn't have anything without it! I will share my scary high risk pregnancy story tomorrow when hubby and son won't see me crying. Or maybe I should put it up at end of week I think.

    Thanks, JULIE!

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  17. Thanks for this great interview CARRIE!

    JODY, thanks for sharing! The proof of where you are now and your two beautiful daughters are testimony itself of how God has blessed you! Your are right in saying we wouldn't be grateful for our blessings if we didn't have hardships. Nor be able to encourage others. Oh and I absolutely LOVED 'The Doctor's Lady' and can't wait to catch up with your other books including your new one Unending Devotion!

    JULIE what an inspiring story and it just shows who's in charge, right?! :)

    When I was pregnant with my second child, Kelly, I went into early labour at 30 wks. I was in there for 2 weeks when the Dr. came and said I'd have to stay in a couple weeks longer! I was missing being with my 3yr old Rachel and was anxious about the dr's concern. I gathered myself and went to pray in a toilet cubicle (for privacy) and prayed she would NOT be born early! I then clearly heard the Holy Spirt, almost shout the words it seemed lol, as it was so clear and distinct, that she would NOT be born early!!
    She was born 2 weeks late! Love God's sense of humour!

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  18. Amazing NOELA! God certainly has a sense of humour!! :)

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  19. I had to have a c-section with my first child because after 24 hours of labor, she was still not facing the right way, though she was headed in the right direction. Thankfully, that was the extent of the difficulty and all went well.
    I'm glad Jody's twins are doing well now.
    Julie's story is a wonderful testimony to the power of prayer and how important it is for us to pray for one another.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  20. Hi Everyone!!

    Thank you for the very warm welcome, Carrie, Marian, Diana, and Teresa! You guys are wonderful and I just love being back on your blog!

    And thank you to those who've shared their difficult birthing situations, Nancee, Julie, Maxie, Noela and Pam! It's so wonderful to see how God worked in each of your situations and to hear that you've all been so richly blessed! Thank you for sharing!

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  21. MAXIE, Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. When we go through those hard times it really gets us thinking about how God has blessed us with our kids. I bet you were so relieved to have your healthy baby girl and take her home! Birthing is a tough business, ain't it?

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  22. PAM, so true! Prayers make all the difference. We need to always remember that. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Great interview, Jody, I enjoyed getting to know you better. I went into labor with my son at 35 weeks gestation, and he came fast--my husband came home from work at 11 PM, just as I was going into labor. I tried to relax in warm bath, but we were driving to the hospital by midnight, and my son was born at 2 AM, weighing just under 6 pounds. His cord was wrapped around his neck, so as I remember how fast that labor was, I almost want to believe that God caused the fast labor so that the cord wouldn't harm him as he continued to put on weight. It was pretty scary though. :-)

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  24. Thank you for inviting Jody here to share her story. It was quite an interview! Her books have such substance and Unending Devotion sounds so intriguing. It is wonderful that she is drawing attention to the issue of white slavery, past and present.

    I was a high risk pregnancy each time for many reasons and had already experienced a few miscarriages. One risk was my RH factor. My great aunt lost many pregnancies due to that in a day when they didn't compensate with RhoGam. I also had severe endometriosis and had had many surgeries. It was really a miracle for me to get pregnant each time (my sons were born 13 months apart). I was 13 days late with each of them, but they were born right on time! My first labor was 37 hours and the second 33 hours. I have an extra vertebrae so the first time the epidural went in the incorrect location and aptly numbed my legs which was of little help! During the second birth, his heart rate was low so off we went to the operating room, but a normal birth brought forth my son after all.So, yes, fear for losing my babies during the pregnancy and childbirth. But God is so good and I have two handsome young men today, and will soon be a grandmother!

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  25. GWENDOLYN thank you for sharing your miracle story, that's very scary but Praise the Lord He was looking out for you and your Son.

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  26. CARLA I have to Praise the Lord with you that you were able to have your sons. It made me cringe to think your epidural only numbed your legs, that's not much help! Glad they got it right the second time! Congrats on being a grandmother. :)

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  27. WOW JULIE what an a wonderful story, it goes to show that God is in control of every situation and He loves to prove himself to us and others, as in your Doctor. I hope this showed him that THERE IS POWER IN PRAYER! :)

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  28. Tremendous testimonies of God's goodness and hand on our children!

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  29. Hey, Carrie, I have no idea, but I can tell you one thing ... it wasn't from lack of my telling him!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  30. ANNE, I pray God carried you through this weekend. I know it had to have been difficult. I imagine you remembered a lot about Amy's birth and her life. What a fortunate girl to have you for a mom!

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  31. JULIE, God gives us free will. I pray that doctor's heart was softened. I was a big egghead scoffer myself. But God put people all around me to soften me up so He could deal with me! And here I am now--His own!

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  32. I already own Jody's latest book, and recently reviewed it on my blog and in our local homeschool newsletter, but I wanted to stop over and join the discussion!
    I have not had any twins or super early babies, but my sister's twin died early on in the pregnancy and then she was born 6 weeks early. When she was an adult, her second baby was only 3 months old, when she found out she was pregnant. Not only pregnant, but pregnant with identical triplets. It was hard as we knew the odds were against us of any of them surviving. (Identical triplets, naturally conceived are very rare, and are high risk). She had a surgery while pregnant to help with the twin-to twin transfusion, and things were going well, the doctor felt like they were out of the woods and just had to get a little bigger, when at 25 weeks, my sister gave birth to 2 stillborn babies, and a little tiny girl that we were told should not have been able to do what she did. Ellina was only 1 lb. 4 oz., but as feisty as any baby. She did things that we were told she would never do....and now is a tiny little, healthy 2 year old.
    It is hard, as I don't know why Ellina was spared, while her two sisters were not. I think it was the worst feeling in the world, holding a little baby in your arms that will never cry or move. But I know that Ellina should not really have survived either. Medical science cannot prove why the babies died, but I know they taught me a lot.

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  33. I'm not married, and don't have any children, but I am always amazed at the technology today that can keep even the smallest little ones alive. A friends sister had triplets earlier this summer and I think they were all under 3 lbs, but are now all at home and doing well!

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  34. MARTHA, I have Holy Ghost bumps from that testimony about Elina! I can't wait to see what God will do with her life! So sorry to hear about her little sisters dying, though--so tragic. I can imagine it will make her a much more empathetic person. I see you have a blog about childbirth. If you come back will you please leave your addy. I think I might post it!

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  35. So much of Jody's store is mine. We were new in the ministry, newly pregnant (after fertility), husband laid off from his other job but amazingly happy! Just home from kids church camp & found out I had pre-eclampsia with quickly turned into toxemia. 3 months early so they sent me by ambulance to Tulsa to stay for the duration. Funny thing - new ambulance personel trying to take my blood pressure & couldn't, driver had to stop & ask for directions to the hospital, arrived & fire trucks everywhere..he told me it was a bomb threat & then laughed, he was joking! Umm...high blood pressure here.. I only made it 5 weeks before delivery as I started into seizures, no time for the shot to develope Sarah's lungs & no time to wait for my shot to numb me - we won't go into that...Sarah Beth weighed 1# 9oz, 26 years ago. She lived 7 months but never graduated from the one room. I made her itty bitty dresses with velcro on the side to get around the tubes. Put them on for pictures. When she had a treach, I had to make plunging necklines. The dr's asked why we seemed to handle things so well...our faith in God. They had us talk to other couples who were not coping well. On the day Sarah died, our son Matthew was born, though we didn't know it until we adopted him a year and a half later. We & so many others learned so much through her about fearing the Lord, prayer, accepting blessings from others. My husband's former employer called after the funeral to give me a job. Not long after they asked about our bills - the oil company paid the nearly 1 million dollars off at one time. Once some ladies asked if they could drop me off at the hospital to visit Sarah while they went to the airport. In the car they prayed & encouraged me, years later I read this lady's name & it was Beth Moore's Sunday School teacher, who had spoken at a retreat. So many wonderful stories came from our sadness. Years later I was in Africa on a mission trip & one of the team members proclaims - I know who you are - we prayed for your daughter, 25 years before.

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  36. I also gave birth to twin babies - boys - who were taken by c-section at 37 weeks and they weighed in at 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 6 lbs. 14.5 oz. I thank God that they were both healthy and strong and that we were able to take them home with us right away. Jody, thank you for sharing your story. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult those days, weeks and months were for you. My difficulty came when the boys were about 6 months old and I dealt with some very difficult emotions and stress from the care of my infants and my two older girls when my husband was very busy at work. I thank God that He brought us through and that my boys are now 2 1/2 years old. We learn so much from trials and difficulties - but the greatest lesson we learn is that our God is faithful.

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  37. PATTY--so glad your friend's triplets are doing well! Praise God! Three lbs. is a pretty good weight for triplets, considering.

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  38. Oh, wow, Melody, that is so touching. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Sarah. And to imagine your son was born shortly thereafter--more Holy Ghost bumps today! God really put his earthly angels around you and used you to minister to others. That was just after the time frame during which I was working in NICU in SC. It was an amazing testimony to watch the parents with faith as I struggled to come to my own faith in Christ. God bless you, Melody!

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  39. Hi again, Everyone!! Your stories are so touching! Thank each one of you for sharing your hearts. I've been blessed reading how God has been at work in each of your lives! :-)

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  40. My babies were not born prematurely so I don't have a story to share -- but I would like to be included in the giveaway! :)

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  41. Wow, Gabrielle, you were blessed an spared. I cannot imagine twin two year old boys, though. Need to do extra prayers for you! How old are the older two siblings I wonder? Many blessings and thanks for sharing.

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  42. I am reading Unending Devotion now. I would love to win another Jody book. :)
    My babies were quickly born, but I lost my son when he was 6 weeks short of 12 years old in a car accident that my husband was killed in also.
    godblessamerica.jan(at)gmail(dot)com

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  43. Here is my doula blog! http://laborpainzsupport.blogspot.com/
    Ellina should really not be here either, and I just can't wait to see what God has for her! Here is the blog my sister used to chronicle her journey and there is some pictures. http://mishaelsbabies.blogspot.com
    Jan, my heart is breaking for you. Losing your husband and your son in an accident...

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  44. God gave me 3 beautiful babies and I will always be thankful for them! I would love to win one of Carrie's books! makeighleekyleigh @ yahoo dot com

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  45. JAN, I am so sorry for you losses. This happened in Germany I believe you said. I am so grateful you have your daughter and grandkids to bless you.

    What do you think about Unending Devotion? I was trying to listen to Unending Devotion on CD-MP3. I had never had one before and wasn't sure what that meant. Unfortunately it does NOT play on my regular CD player. It will go on my computer but any disruption on the computer and I have trouble getting the CD to play again.

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  46. MARTHA, Thanks so much for those links! Can't wait to see what happens in this young lady's life!

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  47. My first and only pregnancy was easy. I never thought that I would never be able to get pregnant again though, so it has been hard wanting more children but knowing it must not be in God's plan. My baby is now 13 and is a true miracle.

    luvsherfam @ gmail dot com

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  48. What a blessing, Susan! Our daughter was 13 when our son was born!

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  49. What a wonderful and touching interview Carrie and Jody. And so many other amazing stories about bringing our children into this world. I went through a very difficult miscarriage after ten years of wanting children. God very graciously gave me a son one year and two days after losing my first baby. Thanks for sharing.

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  50. JANET, despite what we have overcome in loss of children and difficulties in childbirth, God has helped us to channel that into our love for the children He left with us. Thanks for coming by and so glad He gave you your boys!

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  51. Since I have read Unending Devotion, I would love to read The Preachers Bride. And thank you ladies for the wonderful and interesting interview to let us know a bit more about you Jody and your books!
    Blessings....Joy
    ibjoy1953[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  52. My youngest sister was born premature --I think they had to do an emergency c-section because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her the wrong way. While she is still on the petite side, she's healthy and active all these years later. Ms. Pagels is right about how far the medical technology has come these days!

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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  53. JOY!!! Good to see you here! We always love hearing authors' testimonies, too!

    JEN, Haven't seen you around in a while! Good to see you here. Was that Kristi who was born like that? That must have been so scary for your mom!

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  54. One of my grandson's was premature. It was such a blessing that he lived, and is now a healthy 11-year-old.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  55. Praise God for that, Kay. Thanks for sharing this blessing!

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  56. Jody, what a miracle your daughters are. I almost lost my son during delivery last year. The doctor said it was a miracle that we both survived. Thank you for sharing.
    Amy C
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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  57. AMY, I am so grateful you survived--how frightening! Wow,I didn't realize you'd gone through that last year when the baby came. Glad you are both okay!

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  58. How scary! I don't have any children. shopgirl152nykiki@yahoo.com

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  59. Per Random.org, MELODY is the winner this week of a Jody Hedlund book! Congrats, MELODY!!!

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