Wednesday, December 16, 2009

God's Gift to Us This Christmas

It's hard for me to even know where to begin this many thoughts, so many emotions, but the one that overwhelms them all is how grateful we are that our Mighty God truly did a miracle in our family this Christmas...He spared Will's life for the second time this year. In March Will experienced a febrile seizure (triggered by a spike in fever) while we were visiting my family in Florida (if you'd like to read about that first experience, I blogged about it in early May), and two weeks ago he had another one that was equally as serious.

I wish there were a way for me to tell the story without having to re-live the frightening experience...I cry every time my mind wanders back to the images we witnessed, but I want to tell the story so we can give God the glory He is due! So, here I go...

Last Saturday, December 12th, we put Will to bed a little early because he seemed more tired than usual. He had had a slightly runny nose for the last 24 hours or so and played really hard on Saturday, so we figured him being tired was just a combination of those two things. Dave took the late shift with Graham that night because I was quite tired myself. He put Graham down around 11:15p, and crawled in bed around 11:30.

I vaguely remember hearing a noise through Will's monitor, but I was in such a deep sleep, I didn't think much of it. I felt Dave jump out of bed and say he was going to go check on Will. I remember looking at the was 11:43, and seconds later Dave ran into the room and told me to call 911. I was in a fog, thinking to myself, "This can't be happening...please, Lord, not again!" The dispatcher answered immediately and I ran into Will's room. Things played out almost verbatim to the first episode back in March. He had vomited, wasn't breathing, his heart had stopped, and was already blue in color at that point. The dispatcher started walking us through how to perform chest compressions on Will, and thankfully he responded within the first few compressions and started breathing again...very shallow breaths, but we were encouraged that his body responded as quickly as it did, as we didn't know how long he wasn't breathing. The paramedics arrived within 5 minutes and gave Will oxygen. Dave rode with him in the ambulance to Children's Hospital while I stayed at home with Graham until Dave's parents arrived. Dave's mom stayed with Graham, and his dad drove me to the hospital.

When we arrived, they already had Will on a ventilator, as he was still struggling to breathe normally. They took a chest x-ray and discovered that Will had aspirated, so they intubated him and decided it was imperative to run the whole gamut of tests. First was a spinal tap to rule out the possibility of Meningitis. Thankfully the results came back negative, but we still had a long way to go before properly diagnosing what had happened.

Will was in a drug-induced coma for about the first 24 hours, and those were the scariest for Dave and me as there were a lot of unknowns. Of course more than anything, we were thankful our little boy was alive; but due to the fact that we didn't know exactly how long he hadn't been breathing, we were fearful that he might have brain damage. All those "what ifs" began creeping into our minds, and the enemy was attacking me big time. Would Will recognize us when he woke up? Would he be able to run, play and laugh with his friends again? We didn't know.

After two very difficult days and nights in the ICU and numerous tests later (MRI, ECG, EEG, and an EKG), it is believed that Will had a febrile seizure caused by an infection in his lungs - probably viral, as a triple dose of antibiotics seemed to have little effect on his condition. We were thankful that it was as simple as a virus and nothing more. And although the symptoms of his febrile seizure were much more serious than most, we're so thankful that we discovered him when we did, as this situation could have resulted in a very different outcome. The doctors gave him a clean bill of health, and we're encouraged to know that most children grow out of this by the time they're 5 or 6. Since it's already happened twice, we're alerted to the fact that Will is just more prone to spiking fevers, but in comparing the two incidences, we're now more keenly aware of his cues and therefore feel more confident in hopefully preventing another one in the future!

It's times like these when we're reminded of the blessing it is to have family close by. Dave's mom pretty much stayed at our house around the clock for almost a week while we were in the hospital and during our transition back home. Conveniently enough, Dave's dad works at Children's Hospital, so Will got a lot of visits from Grandpa throughout those five days in the hospital :)

In addition to the support we received from our wonderful families, we were equally grateful for our dear friends. Many visited us in the hospital. They prayed with us, cried with us, encouraged us, reminded us of God's promises, laughed with us...rejoiced with us. In so many practical ways they served us...brought us meals, a friend stayed at our house to care for Graham one night when Dave and me were physically and emotionally drained, and Dave's mom took over at the hospital so Dave and I could try to get some sleep; another friend took a late shift at the hospital to watch Will as he slept so Dave could get a couple solid hours of sleep in the parents room while I was at home one night with Graham.

Upon returning home, several friends took shifts to be with me during the days while we transitioned to being back home. As if that weren't enough, we continue to have meals brought to us, and two friends came over this past Saturday to clean our house! Words can't express how grateful we are to have you all in our lives. We're humbled for all the ways in which you served, loved, and prayed for us during this time.

Many of you have asked how we've been sleeping at night, and I'll admit that the first several days were a challenge, as we were waking up constantly to check on Will, but we just continue to pray and trust that the Lord will protect our children as he has so many times already. We see God's hand in so many things...we know that He gave us the ears to hear and respond to the noises we heard through the monitor, and that He orchestrated the timing so that we were in our room when it happened so that we could even hear those noises!

I thought I learned the whole "trust God" issue the first time around, but I'm realizing that as a parent, it's something we'll likely be learning over and over...and over! I believe the Lord gave me this verse when Will had his first seizure, and I'll share it again, as I continue to cling to it, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for YOU ALONE, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8 Although I want to believe there's something I can do as a parent to protect my children, I know that ultimately the Lord is in control...not me. And quite frankly, I'm thankful for that.

God's ways are higher than ours, and even though we don't understand why He has allowed this to happen twice in Will's short little life, "...we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 Pretty sure God's got some big plans for our little man's life :)

I'm praying for the strength to cling to the promises of the God, but I also know that I'll be tempted to fear in the area of our children's protection. As you've probably gathered, we did a lot of praying and pleading before the Lord during this time. At one point when we were uncertain about so many things, Dave said a prayer, and prayed something that really struck me. He said, "Lord, we choose not to fear!" I guess I hadn't ever thought about it that way, but it is a choice.

My grandparents sent us a CD when Graham was born. They sent it weeks before this whole incident, so little did they know how it would minister to my heart as I laid with our little boy in his hospital bed. There were 2 songs in particular that really resonated with me (the first is especially appropriate in the midst of the Christmas season):

- How Deep the Father's Love For Us - Nichole Nordeman
"...I will not boast in anything/No gifts, no power, no wisdom/But I will boast in Jesus Christ/His death and resurrection/Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart/His wounds have paid my ransom."

-Whole World In His Hands - Christy Nockels
"...I fear no evil for You are with me/Strong to deliver, mighty to save. He's got the whole world in His hands//When I walk through the fire I will not be burned. When the waves come crashing around me/Still I know with all my heart/He's got the whole world in His hands..."

We were originally planning to spend Christmas with my family in Destin this year, but due to the circumstances, we weren't feeling a peace about traveling. And although we're disappointed we can't fly our two boys down to Florida to visit Gigi & Papaw for Christmas, our greatest gift is having Will still with us this Christmas! And you bet your boots we'll be rescheduling our trip in the near future ;-) I have a feeling Papaw & Gigi will give Will the biggest squeeze of his life when they finally get to wrap their arms around him :)

Once again, thank you all for your continued prayers and support - we don't know where we'd be without you!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Will's New Room & LOTS of Photos

About a month or so prior to Graham's arrival, we transitioned Will into his new room. We're pretty lucky in the fact that he's a very flexible kid concerning most things, so the transition was practically a non-issue.

My parents made another trip from Florida to Omaha about a week after Graham was born. It was really fun having them here, and was the perfect distraction for Will as he was also adjusting to the newest member of our family. He loved having them around...Will helped my dad put up the ceiling fan in his new room :)

My mom stayed for an extended period of time and that was not only fun, but incredibly helpful! Will loves Gigi & Papaw so much...he cries whenever they leave, and brings them up in conversation constantly. We're looking forward to heading down to Destin to spend Christmas with them this year, so Will's pumped about getting on an airplane to go see them :)

Gigi & Papaw with Graham

Papaw helping Will put together his new train set

Gigi with both boys

I couldn't resist this makes me laugh! Will is giving Graham a sweet hug, and if you look closely you'll notice a little something coming out of Graham's mouth! Classic!

Aunt Kristin with Graham

I love this one because it shows how small he is. I think I forgot how tiny newborns are. Thinking back to how much space Will took up in the crib just a couple months ago it's crazy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A November Birthday for Graham David

We are praising the Lord for yet another healthy baby boy, and I'm reminded once again that every baby is truly a miracle. God is so good! I'm happy to report that this labor & delivery experience was much quicker than my labor with Will. The abbreviated version of the story is that Graham was born approximately one hour upon arriving at the hospital on Saturday, November 7th, weighing in at 7 lbs 13 oz at 6:27 p.m.

In my pregnancy with Will I was dilated to 3 cm at my last weekly checkup, went into labor a couple days later, labored for over 36 hours, and hadn't slept for 2 nights. Needless to say I was astonished to learn I had only progressed .5 centimeters at the time we checked into the hospital. At which point, I was exhausted. My midwife encouraged me to get an epidural, and I didn't argue...she hoped it would speed the process along, and that I could catch up on some sleep before I had to start pushing. Thankfully within 4 hours I progressed to 10 cm.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Graham had been posterior leading up to labor; however, he turned anterior about a week prior to delivery and I was SO thankful that I wouldn't have to experience back labor! In contrast to my progression with Will, I was only 1 cm dilated at my last checkup with Graham.

For those of you who are actually interested, here's the more detailed version of how things played out this time around...I woke up around 4 a.m. with contractions and was able to sleep on and off between contractions for about an hour. By 5:15 a.m., they were already strong enough that I couldn't sleep through them, so I decided to jump in the shower and get ready for the day. I was excited that the time had finally arrived. Dave woke up not too long after that when he heard me in the bathroom. I encouraged him to go back to sleep, as it could be a while yet before we would need to head to the hospital.

We called Dave's mom around 10 that morning and asked her to head to our house and be ready to hang out with Will for the next few days ;-) My contractions were still pretty mild at that point, and it was a gorgeous day, so we all headed outside to rake leaves...we got the whole yard done :) The contractions got more intense by 1:30 p, and by 3-ish they were very intense. I called my midwife at 4:30 p, and she suggested we head to the hospital. We arrived around 5, they got me all set up and checked me at 5:20...I was already 6 cm dilated, so I was ecstatic!

Part of me really wanted to try natural childbirth this time around, but I also didn't want to be one of those women who gets stuck at 7 or 8 cm for hours. Not a single bone in my body wanted a repeat of my first experience being incredibly sleep-deprived before motherhood officially begins. I went back-and-forth for about 20 minutes before giving into the epidural once again...Dave kept asking me why I would ever choose to experience that pain. haha. So, I finally caved and got the epidural at 6 p.m. The ironic part; however, is that as the anesthesiologist was administering the epidural, my labor & delivery nurse looked into my eyes and kept saying to me, "don't push, don't push!" I looked at her and said, "Why are you telling me not to push? Am I ready to go?!" She hadn't even checked me since I was first checked at 5:20, but she said, "I've done this long enough to know...I can see it in your eyes that you're a 10." My midwife hadn't arrived at the hospital yet, so they really didn't want me to push. I held off, and thankfully she arrived soon after, but even with the epidural, I could feel the strong contractions, so they had to up the dosage. I couldn't believe I went from 6 cm-10 cm within 30 minutes!

I'm thankful that God is in the details. Once I started pushing, I was happy to have the drugs. Graham had turned himself posterior at some point during the labor process, so my midwife had to turn him a couple times, and it was pretty uncomfortable even through the epidural. We did have a scary moment when Graham first entered the world. When his head came out, my midwife quickly noticed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times. I was able to get him out very quickly and my midwife immediately cut the cord and the nurses started working on him. When he came out blue and unresponsive, I was scared. You feel so helpless laying there just watching them work on your baby! I am so grateful that when we don't have words, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. I just kept saying, "Jesus" over and over. Dave knelt next to my bed and prayed with me. It felt like an eternity (although Dave said it only lasted about 30 seconds), but we were so relieved when we heard his beautiful, perfect, healthy cry!

I hadn't thought about it at the time, but my mother-in-law made a good observation after the fact...she said that it was probably the best decision I could have made to get the epidural because I had to get Graham out as quickly as possible. We didn't know about the situation with the umbilical cord until the very end, but it's possible that I could've resisted pushing due to the intensity of the contractions. Thanks to drugs I was able to get Graham out quickly.

Thank you to all of our friends and family who were committed to praying for Graham & me throughout my pregnancy and delivery. We're so grateful for all of you!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Knowing that Will is a bit on the cautious side when it comes to experiencing new things, I kinda figured it would take some convincing to get him to climb into his Superman costume. Okay, so he didn't climb into it, we had to put it on him while he tried to convince us otherwise, "no, no, no, no!" For a week or so leading up to Halloween, I put the cape on myself and proceeded to fly around the house showing him how cool his costume really was (don't you wish you could've been a fly on the wall?). I even read him several books with characters he likes who were dressed up as superheros, and he still wasn't convinced.

Some good friends of ours own a local coffee shop here in town. On Friday night they hosted a Halloween bash at their store with live music, yummy food, and everyone came dressed in their creative attire (except for me - I came dressed as a pregnant lady). I thought that Will might be a bit braver for Dave, so I let him dress Will in his costume for the first time. I think Will felt a little silly wearing it, but once he got to the coffee shop and saw everyone else all dressed up, he felt pretty darn cool. He was dancing to the music and having a lot of fun with the other kids.

Superman carbo-loading

The following day was Halloween, and once again, he wasn't stoked about getting back into his costume. Before I got him to put it on, I let him hand out candy when other kids came to our door, and he thought that was really fun. After a while I asked him if he wanted to dress up and walk around the neighborhood with the rest of kids. At first he said, no, but when I told him the goal was to get lots of candy, well, he quickly warmed up to the idea. Thankfully we lucked out with great weather that night and once he got out there he did not want to go home! I figured he'd be bored after a handful of houses, but every time I asked him if he wanted to go home, he would say, "one more house!" As a parent, it's so fun experiencing these things through your child's eyes. It makes me feel like a kid all over again.

I tried to capture Superman changing out of his costume, and it turned out rather ghost-like. I figured it was appropriate for the occasion :)

On a separate note, still no news on the baby front. The challenge is that they gave me a "window" for my due date...somewhere between today and November 11th (the discrepancy came when the ultrasound showed that I was further along than their charts). All along I felt I was closer to the beginning of that window, but since the little guy is posterior, that seems to be delaying the process. I go in for another check-up on Thursday, so it'll be interesting to see what they say. Of course I would prefer not to be induced, but I'm curious to see how long they'll allow me to go knowing I have this "window" looming. I know he'll be here soon regardless, so I'm not overly anxious at this point. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So much for the free 8x10...they certainly know how to get you with these promotions. I guess the important thing is that we got some good professional photos out of the deal - and a free sitting fee. We wound up purchasing a photo package which allowed us to choose 6 photos in their digital format so we can do with them as we wish, but we had to forgo the free 8x10 in order to get the "special price."

I still can't get over how much Will was goofing off for the photographer...oh if he would only cooperate with me behind the lens!!

I'm happy with how they turned out, though. My mom bought him the cute outfit while she was in town, and my mother-in-law took Will to get his hair cut a few days prior to the shoot, so it wouldn't look like he was sporting a mullet. Thanks to both of my wonderful moms :)

Will loved this's practically a replica of the one we have in our family room that we refer to as "Daddy's chair." Will loves sitting in it at home with Dave, so as evidence by the expression on his face, he was pretty excited to sit in one his size.

this expression cracks me up...looks like he's about to get into some mischief.

And here's the innocent, "I didn't do it" look.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Final Road Trip

Last weekend our little family of 3 drove five hours south to Wichita, Kansas to visit Dave's sister, Kristin. We've been wanting to make another trip down there for a while, and figured we should do it sooner, rather than later, as the next few months could be a tad more challenging with two kiddos. We did a ton of traveling with Will when he was an infant, but I have a feeling it won't be as easy with two li'l ones. The last time we made the trek was back in February, so we were well-overdue.

We always have so much fun while we're there, and just spend a lot of time relaxing - this trip was no exception. We arrived around 10p on Friday evening, and all slept in on Saturday, which was fabulous. I don't know about everyone else, but it seems that when we're out of town, we actually allow ourselves to sleep in a bit on the weekends. I guess it's because when you're at home there's always things to be done, but when you're not, getting those things done isn't even an option, so might as well relax, right?! Even Will slept in until 9, which is pretty much unheard of! Seems he always sleeps more on the road too...wonder why that is?

Meteorologists had predicted a chance of flurries in Omaha for the weekend, but not once did I hear any probability for accumulation. When we woke up on Saturday morning, we got a call from my mother-in-law telling us that Omaha had already gotten 4-5" of snow, and that it was still coming down! We couldn't get over that - I can't remember ever having snow before Halloween - not to mention snow that actually accumulated! I was hoping Will would be able to see it when we got home on Sunday, but by the time we made it back, the snow had already melted. Since we had such a mild summer, I'm bracing myself for a long, cold winter so I better watch what I ask for...not real thrilled about the cold weather right now.

Rather than going out for breakfast like we typically do in Wichita, we opted for a lazy morning at Kristin's apartment - we made pancakes and bacon - mmmm! After that we ran around town a bit, and then Dave offered to stay back at the apartment while Will napped so Kris and I could go shopping - yay :) We continued our trend of being lazy, and ordered pizza for dinner, built a fire in her fireplace, and watched multiple episodes of The was a great Saturday ;-) Thanks for such a fun weekend, Kris!!!

Aunt Kristin is the coolest!!

Can you hear Will saying, "CHEESE!"?

Kristin purchased some fun toys to keep at her place for when our boys come to visit...Will LOVED this tool bench!

And uh, no, I promise we don't have him dressed in leggings...they are his pj bottoms ;-)

Before we headed home on Sunday, we met up with our friends Demarick & Beth for lunch. They moved from Omaha to Orlando, FL a little over a year ago, but had been staying in Kansas with Demarick's family, so they drove out to Wichita to meet us. It was great to see them and their 2 little girls.

A lot of people were discouraging me from taking the trip, as they thought it was a tad risky being so close to my due date, but I'm glad we were able to work it in - and even more glad that I didn't go into labor while there! I'm almost into my 38th week, and had my weekly appointment this morning...found out that the baby has turned himself into a posterior position. My midwife thinks this is why I haven't made much progress (I'm only 1.5 cm dilated). I'm praying that I can get him to turn, because I would prefer not to experience back labor OR a c-section. Any prayers prayed on my behalf would be greatly appreciated :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Am I Wearing?

It's not every day I dress Will in threads like these, but I thought he looked pretty darn cute ;-) While my mom was in town a couple weeks ago, we purchased some clothes from Janie & Jack, and they were running a promotion...spend "X" amount and receive a free sitting and 8x10 portrait with a local professional photographer. I hate to admit that this was the first professional shot we had done for Will.

I like to make excuses and say that the reason we haven't is because I like to dabble in a little creative photography myself; however, it hasn't been entirely successful because Will simply refuses to so much as look my direction when I try to snap a photo. I was thrilled (yet somewhat irritated at the same time) to see Will hamming it up for the photographer yesterday. He was really putting on a show for her. Apparently she's more interesting than I am. We'll be able to view the proofs in a little over a week and hopefully I'll have some good ones to post.

The photoshoot took place at the Janie & Jack store at an outdoor mall, and the landscape was looking so festive - pumpkin displays everywhere. We've had a busy fall so far, and since we'll be out of town again this weekend and Graham is due in the next few weeks, I'm not sure we'll make it to the pumpkin patch this year (sorry little buddy). I had my camera in-tow, so I tried yet again to get some decent photos, but as you probably guessed, he proved to be stubborn and wouldn't look my direction. Ah well...better luck next year, kid.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fun with Gigi

Thanks to my dad's willingness to be a bachelor, my mom has been here 2 separate times within the last 2 months. The first was timed very well, as she stayed with us during the transition into our new home, and was here for two weeks. She came yet again for almost two weeks and went home this past Saturday. Dave had been traveling a lot for work, so I "begged" her to stay with Will and me. We fit in a lot of fun, but also got some things accomplished around the house. This was especially nice for me as I'm now officially in full nesting mode :)

Lunch with Gigi & Grammy

I realized that once again, I'm way behind on this blog. I figured I better get back on the blogging streak before li'l Graham shows up, lest I'll have even more to update. Hard to believe he could be here anytime within the next month. Everyone's been asking me if I'm excited...excited, yes; ready, hmmm not sure how to answer that. Of course I'm excited and ready to meet him, but I'm a bit apprehensive about experiencing the whole infant stage again. For the most part Will is pretty easy these days, and more independent as time goes on. I'll be honest - I appreciate my sleep, and those first few months I feel like a zombie most of the time. Hopefully Graham will be more laid-back than Will was as an infant. Based on how much more active Graham's been in the womb, though, I'm not holding my breath!

We were able to squeeze in a visit to the zoo while my mom was in town. Will had been several other times before, but didn't show much interest until this last time. I think it helped that it wasn't insanely hot and overcrowded, but I was impressed with how well he did. We were there for 4 hours and he did not want to leave!

Watching the silly monkeys.


He especially enjoyed the petting zoo :)