Tuesday, February 04, 2014

just like that

Just like that time ticked right by and our smallest guy is two months old.

We are still pinching ourselves and praising the Lord that he is healthy.

We have these sweet and constant reminders of what could have been.

Like these tags I put on his blankets in preparation for our NICU stay.
They are little calls to prayer as I use them throughout the day.  I don't want this to get old.  I want to stay in this miracle.  In this place of constant gratitude. Just thankful for everything that the Lord has done in my life, including the gift of this sweet, healthy, chunky baby.

Evan has certainly eased his way right into our family and has us all wondering how we ever lived a moment with out him.  His brothers are completely smitten.  They are almost compulsive in their need to touch, hug, hold or kiss him. It can be a little much at times but is ultimately so sweet.  I have a feeling my two big boys are going to make amazing daddies one day.  They rush to help me change diapers, push the stroller, find the pacifier or grab a blanket. Not surprising considering they are learning from the best.

At two months Evan is tipping the scales at 15 pounds 15 ounces.  He's also stretching out just as quickly at 24 inches already.   That is closer to the size of a 4 or 5 month old.  Way to fast!
He has plenty of smiles and coos but saves most of them for momma, although daddy had him giggling the other day.


At 2 months:
15 lb 15 oz
24 inches
6 mo clothes
squeezing into size 2 diapers 
loves: milk, momma, daddy's football hold, his brothers, tummy time and bath time
dislikes: car seat (when first put in), his constant congestion, getting out of the bath 

Oh handsome boy, we are so very smitten with you!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

evan matthew

evan: young warrior, form of John meaning God has shown favor

Friday, November 29th at 11:08 we welcomed our young warrior, our miracle, our boy who God has surely shown favor into this world.

Evan Matthew, 8 lbs 12 ounces, 21 inches long
I wrote a post right before he was born sharing the good news we had received during our last doctors appointment and sharing that we were ready to see miracles. I had no idea how telling that post would be or how miraculous our little boys birth would prove.

Like most healthy babies do, he came into this world pink and screaming.  He didn't stop screaming.  The whole time they were evaluating him.  He just kept screaming.  I lay there crying, just so thankful for that scream, for the fight he was putting up, for the life in his lungs. They let me see him so briefly before they swept him away to the NICU.

What happened next was beyond anything we could have imagined.  After x-rays, dye tests, ultrasounds, giving him formula to see how his system would react and just five hours after his birth the neonatologist came to my postpartum room to announce that they could find nothing wrong with our boy.  That he was as healthy as they come.  We wept and asked how?  How had we gone through 19 weeks of sonograms, an MRI, seeing half a dozen doctors all telling us the same thing and then this? Healthy? You mean he has a full intestine? And it's functioning?  How is it possible? 

The good news just kept coming. His clubbed foot? Not actually clubbed. They called it positional, meaning he has full range of motion and with a little foot massage and the pressure he will put on it when he starts standing it should easily correct. 

Holding Evan for the first time in the middle of the night in the NICU

We held our breath.  We waited for the but.

The doctors have no explanation. We have heard them say things like "sometimes these things just happen". We have heard "I have no explanation and I never would have expected it.".

In the hospital nurses cried. Nurses and specialist made special trips back to our room to see Evan and say one more time they just couldn't believe it. Doctors questioned our neonatologist making sure he was looking at the right file and had the right kid. Our doctors not involved in delivery have called to express their disbelief and happiness for us. Those are calls I never expected to receive.

We can only call it a miracle. 

We've quickly stopped asking how and just praised the Lord for his healing in our little warrior.  We need no earthly, medical explanation. We are just thankful.

After being prepared for 4-6 weeks in the NICU, almost guaranteed surgery, possible chromosomal abnormalities and so much uncertainty Evan spent one night in the NICU. One night!  By Saturday afternoon they had transfered him to the newborn nursery.  He came home with us Monday.  

Our Celebration Dinner at the hospital

We walked into our house that afternoon, both of our big boys napping, Evan asleep in his car seat, totally unprepared to have a newborn at home and just wept.  Totally overwhelmed.  Our family all together.  Something we didn't know would ever happen and if it did it would certainly be weeks away.  We were thinking it would be a miracle to have him home by Christmas and here he was not one night away from us.

Now almost a week later we are still pinching ourselves and spending a lot of time staring at his sweet face.  I am tearing up over poopy diapers.  Because y'all our kid poops! Normal poop.  No colostomy bag, no tube feed, just poop in a diaper. 

And we are catching up.  We had been so prepared to have him in the NICU for weeks that we had not fully prepared to have him at home.  No diapers purchased. No bassinet assembled. No baby clothes washed. Thankfully after that last reassuring appointment I had Matt get the car seat down from the attic, just in case.

As long as I live I don't know that I will have words to fully express all the feelings, all of the lessons that this pregnancy and birth have taught me.  I pray that this miracle never loses its awe. I have never felt the power of prayer like I have in these past months.  I am already certain that his story has made an impact far greater than we will ever know. 

I am thankful for this sweet testimony. For each and every prayer. For this start to Evan's story because really it has just begun.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

you have...

We are so close to meeting our little guy now and yet I am still struggling to find the words.  The words that are big enough, deep enough, meaningful enough to say thank you.  I've joked that thank you is something you say when you are handed a drink or passed the salt.  But this? How do you say thank you for this? I am struggling to find the thank you big enough to say

you have changed me
you have forever altered my definition of love
you have shown me Jesus
you have covered my family in prayer
you have held
you have fed
you have carried
you have listened
you have texted
you have emailed
you have called
you have sent a card
you have just shown up
you have loved my boys well
you have drawn pictures for our baby
you have strung lights
you have organized closets
you have traced hands
you have gathered
you have given selflessly
you have loved well

You have done all of these things and more, in ways that I have never felt so collectively. It is humbling and overwhelming in the best kind of way.  We have been carried by your out pour, by your love and most certainly by your prayers.

As we prepare to welcome our son tomorrow our emotions continue to rollercoaster, but we know we have this army behind us to rejoice when we are at the top and to weep with us when we are at our lows.  We know our family and our son are being lifted up constantly. 

We know what it looks like to see love being made complete.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:11-12
We are eternally grateful for you. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

are you ready for a miracle?

I have had the Patti LaBelle/ LeAnn Rimes (think Bruce/Evan Almighty versions) in my head all day.

I have been and you all have been praying big things for our family and we started seeing them today!

Today was supposed to be our last doctor appointment day.  First at the perinatal specialist (the baby's doctor) and then on to my ob.  As you know, we had a c-section scheduled for Thursday, so this was it! The appointment at the perinatal doctor started just like any of them a nonstress test and the tech taking a long look at our guy. But when the doctor came in and started telling us what she was seeing that's when it got exciting. 

Y'all, the fluid in his abdomen is almost gone! Literally from last week to this week his fluid build up went from severe to normal. Normal! This greatly decreases the risk of the fluid putting pressure on his other organs.  The doctors aren't saying with absolute certainty why or how it has gone down but that it is a good sign that the intestine he has are most likely working. Huge Praise!

I love that the specialist even sent all of the pictures from today to her partner to get a second opinion because she was not expecting to see the fluid decrease so significantly.  She pulled up pictures of previous weeks to compare side by side while we were in the office and she was just stunned.

So this means we are going to let him keep growing, no eviction notice quite yet! No c-section this week! That is unless I go into labor. The doctors want to monitor me closely so I will have another appointment on Friday and again next Monday.  They still believe, at this point, that a c-section is necessary so I will get a new date from the hospital in the next few days.  The doctors are recommending the 29th or 30th and at that point we will be in our 38th week.

We still have a long way to go and so many more questions about his condition.  I have felt so restrained in my praise and just overall excitement over this news today but tonight I am just ready to abandon that.  This may be a small miracle in the grand scheme of his overall condition but tonight I just want to cry happy tears and give thanks and praise without worry of the future.  To celebrate today for the victory that it is!

So we will keep praying!  We will pray for miracles fully believing that we will see them in our boy.  Praying that his life will bring glory to His name. Praying Lord help my unbelief.  When I doubt your almighty power to save and heal help me to believe. Praying that my body can hold out for another week because man is this painful! We will worship Him and praise Him through it all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying with us! 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

almost time

It has been quite a while since I've posted and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we haven't really had a lot to update on. 

The nut shell is...
Our boy's condition is still exactly the same. 
Yet he is growing perfectly otherwise (estimated at 7lb 15 oz at 34 weeks, that is huge!).
This pregnancy has been hard physically. Really hard.
Matt is my hero.  He has taken over everything. And that's hard too.
We have been overwhelmed with love from our family and friends (so much so that when I try to write about it I can't find adequate words).
We are still filled with hope.
And the answer to the constantly asked question... Nope, he still doesn't have a name.

 My brothers wedding, Oct 19th
So now, after all of these weeks and this high risk pregnancy becoming normal life for us, he is almost here.  We are set to deliver by c-section on Thursday, November 21st at 9 am.  Folks, that is 17 days away! It seems unreal that we are already here.  
Our refrigerator is covered in pictures of his sweet profile.

As his delivery date draws closer and we work tirelessly on the to-do list, reality is starting to set in. We met with one of the neonatal doctors that will be overseeing his care in the NICU yesterday and it was a tough, emotional crash back to Earth.  We will be delivering a very sick baby.  The worst case scenario is still the worst case scenario.  If he doesn't have enough intestine to sustain life or if what he has doesn't work there is nothing that the doctors can do.  That is a reality I hadn't let myself think about in weeks or maybe even months.  On the other hand, the best case scenario remains too. If he has enough working intestine then there are a variety of options the doctors will explore. All of this will be determined in the hours and days after he is born. 

We are still praying for a miracle.  For a baby that is born healthier than we could have ever expected with his diagnosis.  For doctors and nurses to be confused and astounded by the miracle of his progress. For our hearts to find peace in the moment to moment uncertainty.    

Yesterday was emotional as we walked through the range of scenarios again but I find it no coincedence that when I went to practice G's memory verse for the week with him the Lord had a sweet gift in store.

Casting all your care upon Him: for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

So this week, as my anxiety rises and fear tries to invade I get to focus on teaching a four year old just how much God loves us.  So much so that he wants us to cast it ALL upon Him.  And I get to hear G's voice repeat back to me what I so need to hear "Casting all your care upon Him: for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7".

G wanted to take my picture at Home Depot.
His idea of zooming was to instruct me to put my head on my belly.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Carry On

Life has been crazy, chaotic these last few weeks.  We have taken on some renovations to our home (some of which required us to stay at our parents house), celebrated the birth of my best friends baby girl, grieved the loss of my precious grandmother, Matt has been out of town for 8 nights and we've tried to keep up with all of the normal tball practice/games, church, school and doctors appointments. We've had an over heated boy puking in the car, car batteries die, special tests that require I keep urine specimens for 24 hours, blood taken and glucose drinks guzzled.  We've moved the boys into the same room, (kinda) celebrated Matt's birthday and had out of town guest stay with us.

It's been nuts!

In all of this, the doctors appointments have become fairly routine. The biggest new news that we received is that his left foot is turned in. The doctor noted it on the MRI but our perinatalogist was unable to confirm until last week.  Our guy had been breach and was sitting on his feet most of the time, so while they had looked and attempted to measure, the angle was very hard to see.  He has flipped for now and it is easier to see the angle between the foot and shin in his new position.  While the right leg looks to be normal the left is certainly clubbed. On their own, clubbed feet are not necessarily a big deal and can typically be corrected with therapy, orthopedics or surgery.  The concern in our boy is that he now has two abnormalities.  This just makes the doctors more suspicious that their might be a bigger chromosomal abnormality going on here.

BUT as always, we aren't sure!  It could just been a baby with two abnormalities.  Of course, we are hoping and believing this is the case. We hate that he will have one more battle to climb, but I know that the Lord will see us through all of the days ahead just like he has each one behind.

I read something a while back that has stuck with me from NatalieFalls.com. She has an incredible way with words and perspective that is a gift. A friend of hers is going through an uncertain pregnancy and asked for prayers and her response has not left me.

She writes:
"I held my daughter close and I poured out words that have come from the most difficult times in my life. And they are the most precious and sweetest of times in my life. It was a time when I was desperate for Christ to be my comforter. When no human could possibly offer me any comfort, my Savior was reminding me to trust in Him. Not my plans and my direction. But His perfect plan. His good and perfect plan, one that I would have never picked for myself.
As I told my friend I would pray for her, she's been on my mind ever since. And that test has been on my mind. It can tell her a few things about her baby, but it will never tell her all the things God knows about her baby—after all, He is her baby's creator. The one who formed her beating heart. The one who knows every soft and delicate hair on her precious head."

This is certainly not our plan and one that we would have never picked for ourselves.  But it is the Lord's plan for our family and our son. His perfect plan. And she is so right! No matter how many doctors we see or tests they run, they can never know all the things our Creator knows about our boy.  They can't tell us about his spirit, about the glory he will bring the Lord and the joy he will bring to our lives. These tests don't know our baby.  The Lord does.  We, as his family, will be privileged to know much of that ourselves.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.


I pray that our souls.  That your soul. That each of our boy's souls would know His wonderful works so very well.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

doctor, doctor

We had two more doctors appointments this week, but don't have a lot to report. 

I had to change ob's in order to deliver at Medical City and we had out first appointment this week. We are so thankful that she took our case, as it's high risk and it's not common to change doctors at 25 weeks pregnant.  She came into the room on Monday hobbling on crutches, fresh off of emergency knee surgery the previous Friday.  So either she's crazy, a very committed doctor or maybe a little of both.  Either way, we absolutely loved her.  She spent a lot of time catching up on our history and current pregnancy.  She seemed extremely concerned with keeping up with my (and Matt's) physical and mental well being, recommending spending time exercising, reading, going on dates or doing anything to get a deep breath, keep stress low and our marriage strong during this time. Since we hadn't been back to an ob since the original diagnosis (all of our doctors appointments dealt with our son's health and very little with mine) it was interesting to find out that I am at an increased risk for preeclamsia.  So I will be monitoring my weight and blood pressure at home each week and get to do some fun tests to measure the protein in my urine.  We see her again in 4 weeks and then are already bumped to appointments every 2 weeks.       

On Friday, we went to see our perinatal doctor who does the detailed sonograms every 2 weeks at this point, soon to be every week.  She also went over our MRI results in detail with us.  As we found out he does have what they are calling a microcolon.  While we are still taking it as good news, she confirmed that we really don't know how good of news it is.  We probably won't know until he is born if it is something that can actually sustain any kind of function. 

So we keep on, keeping on.  We have a brief break from doctors appointments and then they really ramp up for the remainder of this pregnancy.

We are believing and standing firm in this today...
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19