Biblical Recorder:Church and community help with Edwards' quadruplets
October 30 2003 by Jane Paige , Special to the Recorder

Biblical Recorder:Church and community help with Edwards' quadruplets

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | Baptist LifeFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Jane Paige

Special to the Recorder

For seven years, Melanie and Drew Edwards longed for the day when strollers and cribs would fill their home.Now four decorated cribs are testament to the power of prayer and to the devotion of an extended family so large the couple needs a calendar to keep track of who's coming when to do what.With some help from modern medicine and continual prayers, Melanie and Drew welcomed four little ones - two boys and two girls - into their family last March. Fellow members of Macedonia Baptist Church in Raleigh and people from other churches have also become part of the Edwards' household. Caring for four little ones is a big job."It is overwhelming to think about everything the people at the church have done for us," Melanie said. "They have been a tremendous amount of help. We don't know how we would have done it all without them."Church members prayed for the couple from the beginning of their long medical journey to becoming parents. The couple has been active members of the church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir and preparing the newsletter. When the news came that the couple was expecting quadruplets, church members jumped into action. Word soon spread throughout the community, drawing help from members of neighboring Macedonia United Methodist Church and area civic clubs."We have a congregation that does its best to live out our faith day-to-day," said Stephen Barker, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church with 430 members. "It has been a multigenerational task that has combined the work and prayers of a great many people."Special care for the couple started long before the babies were born. Since it was a high-risk pregnancy, Melanie spent 10 weeks on bed rest. Throughout the pregnancy, the couple's support group continued to grow. Church members donated their babies' cribs and made the green plaid valances that decorate the nursery windows. Others prepared food for the couple at least twice a week.Soon church members realized that the couple's one-story brick home was not going to be large enough for a family of six. A group from the Baptist and Methodist churches, led by Harvey Montague, a Raleigh builder and developer, built a 500-square-foot addition to the Edwards' home.The Swift Creek Exchange Club sold hundreds of plates of barbecue to pay for the heating and air unit for the addition. Two churches and Melanie's co-workers threw showers. Melanie is supervisor of the graphics department at the Raleigh-based office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Drew is a firefighter with the Raleigh Fire Department.The assistance continued when the babies were born March 17 at Duke Hospital, three months premature. Conner weighed the most at 2 pounds, 6 ounces. He and his sisters, Emma and Elizabeth, had typical preemie issues such as urinary infections and breathing troubles. Collin, however, had a gastrointestinal disease and needed surgery.Throughout it all, church members have been there to rock babies, change diapers, cook meals and clean the house. Conner came home in May, soon followed by Emma and Elizabeth. Collin finally came home in early September, but still requires regular visits to Duke Hospital."We knew there would be a lot of ways to help after the babies came home," said Jean Sidlo, chairwoman of Women on Mission at the church. "This is a wonderful opportunity to put our faith into action."More than 30 families from Macedonia Baptist have helped Melanie, Drew and their babies, she estimates.Members of the church and community regularly come to help at the home. A calendar near the refrigerator shows the names of the people scheduled to arrive. A mother and daughter come every Friday afternoon, and other members have regular hours each day to help. Some just rock and feed the babies, others cook and clean. A notebook with pages for each baby keeps track of the times for bottle-feeding. When the babies first came home from the hospital, volunteers provided round-the-clock care for the young family.Drew, who took a federal medical leave from the fire department, stays home with the babies while Melanie works. He now coordinates the calendar and schedule of church and community volunteers. Any morning or afternoon will find at least two church members helping with bottles or diapers."We have been really blessed with people to help us," said Drew. "We just have to make one phone call and people show up to help like ants at a picnic."| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Jane Paige , Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments




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