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!