Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Good Report!!!!

Anna went to the Cardiologist today for a 3 month post-op checkup and we got a wonderful report. She had an extensive ECHO which showed no residual hole in the heart at all. He couldn't hear the slightest bit of a murmur. He is very pleased with her weight and says she's doing great! It was so nice to hear good news and that we don't have to return for 6 months! Praise the Lord!

Hope you all had a blessed Christmas - we sure did and the girls had the best time. We are off to Charlotte for a couple of days, then I look forward to catching up on the blogs. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baby of the Week!

Well in case you missed it - Anna was featured as the Baby of the Week in Sunday's paper(The Beacon). Our practice does a weekly ad spot featuring a baby delivered by one of their docs. I sent her info in on a whim, and wouldn't you know it, a week and a half later, there she was! I've tried to take a picture of the paper since I don't want to mess with scanning it. The subtitle says "Delivering Miracles Daily" If they only knew what a miracle she was.....

Today was our ultrasound on her "spine dimple" and guess what.....she's perfect! The dimple is only skin deep and doesn't effect the spine at all. Everything "inside" looked normal!! Praise God for this special Christmas present who is by all means perfect in our eyes and I know perfect in His!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Since I know everyone will post about our fabulous Happy Birthday Jesus party - I'm just going to post pictures with a few captions. We had a marvelous time celebrating with friends.
The kids were listening to Mrs. Schrodt read a special story.
These are 2 special buddies!
These will be 2 special buddies!
Cody was working hard at decorating his cookies.
The infamous gingerbread man covered in sprinkles. Those shakers should say, adult supervision required!!!! My fault - I walked away while she shook!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anna's Dedication

On Sunday, December 9, we dedicated Anna to the Lord in our Kinetic service at Atlantic Shores. She was the only baby being dedicated so Pastor Ira asked if my dad, who is a minister, would like to pray the prayer of dedication. It is always special when my dad prays over my girls and he was very thankful to have been asked.

The ceremony was short and sweet, but powerful in meaning. We are dedicated to raising Anna with a knowledge of the Lord and will pray that she will one day soon choose a relationship with Him. We are so thankful for our church family and the love we are surrounded by. I love knowing my girls are growing up surrounded by other moms and dads that love on them and kids that are being raised in the same manner. I don't think I previously mentioned this, but every pastor from Atlantic Shores visited Anna when she was in the hospital. Some of them even came twice. You know when you are leaving and the woman at the front desk says - Oh I know who Anna is - The clergy came and the clergy came to see her-that your church has left an impression. Thank you all for the love you have already lavished on little Anna. She's starting to return it with big smiles and sweet coos. Praise the Lord!

Anna's dress was also worn by Erin on her dedication, as well as me on my dedication, and also my mom on her dedication. I'm so thankful for all of the sentimental things my mom has saved.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

One thing wrapped

Well it is clear at my home there is only one thing wrapped right now - and that is Daddy around Erin's little finger. The power of a little girl's giggles is amazing. We drove through our neighborhood last night on the way home from Sam's to look at Christmas lights. Erin is in awe of this littlest decorations and just loves Christmas lights. We had purchased some outdoor lights back when we lived in an apartment, but hadn't put them up for the last 5 years. But, inspired by the giggles of his little girl, Daddy put them up last night on the porch. He was so excited he went up and got her out of bed so he could show them to her. The picture is of them looking at the lights together for the first time. After her intial "AHHHHH" she said, "Daddy, why didn't you put any on the roof?" She's never afraid to ask for a little more from her Daddy!!!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

This is Getting Old....

No, I'm not talking about blogging, or my face....I'm talking about Doctor's appointments. Poor little Anna, as if she hadn't already been through enough - now they are throwing something else at us. We went for her 4 month checkup on Wednesday and I wasn't able to see our normal Pediatrician since she is out of town. So, I had to explain in 2 minutes Anna's whole situation to a new Dr. I wish they would read the charts before they came in to the room so they'd have a clue what's going on(can you tell I'm still perturbed?) So this Dr. was very incriminating of me(or so I felt). She was worried about Anna's weight, Anna's uvela, Anna's bottom - it felt like she was just trying to find anything wrong that she could. So I was dissappointed because Anna only weighed 11 lbs 8 oz, and I was hoping for at least 12 lbs. Instead of encouraging me with the progress we had made, she suggested adding some formula into her diet - which is fine - but it just makes me feel insufficient.

And the newest worry is a small section at the top of Anna's bottom crack(to put it nicely). It is the area directly below the spine which is soft. The Dr. thinks there is the possibility the spine may not have formed all the way and just the skin is covering the hole. I truly don't think that is the case, and I'm not really worried about it. But the Dr. was throwing around the term Spina Bifida - but wouldn't explain it to me because she didn't want to worry me - as if hearing the words didn't already do that!

So once again, we need prayer. We'll go to CHKD to have this spot ultrasounded on the 17th. I honestly don't think there is a problem, but we have to be sure. Please pray that the ultrasound will show no concern and Anna will stop having to go through all these things. Pray for me too - it is all becoming overwhelming and I truly dread going to the Doctor's office now and I'm just ready for a clean report for Anna! Thank you friends for allowing me to vent a little and share this info with all of you! Lots of Love!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a Weekend!

Well we had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Erin had a special snack at school on Wednesday and got to dress up like an Indian. Then she helped me mash the sweet potatoes for dinner. We enjoyed muffins on Thanksgiving morning while we watched the parade. Then we headed to my Mom's for lunch and then Baba's for dinner. By the end of the day we were stuffed like a turkey. Somehow Joe mustered up the energy to go play basketball. I tried to get some rest since my exercise was going to be shopping on Friday. I was very successful and am almost done, which is good since shopping with a toddler and an infant is no easy task.
On Friday night we had a great time with the Williams and the Jacksons. The kids even got to sit at their own table and Anna kind of joined them in the swing.
On Saturday one of my friends from college was in town and I haven't seen him in 3 years. He and his wife and boys stopped by to play for a little. The boys were so sweet and absolutely adorable. Erin hit it off with them right away - she gets along with boys so well.
Saturday night we watched the Georgia Tech/ Georgia game with the Judds. The kids played so well together and Carter and Anna got to spend some time together. We had a great time even though our team didn't win!

And to top the whole weekend off, we went out to get our Christmas tree last night. So the house is starting it's transformation, all though I'm not an over the top decorator - I just don't have the energy! But, Anna did sleep about 9 straight hours last night - so energy is right around the corner!

What a wonderful family weekend!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A New HOLD on Things....

Today marks 6 weeks since Anna's heart surgery. Some days it seems like just last week, and at other times it feels like it was a year ago. Reaching this 6 week post surgery point means we can pick her up like a normal baby again because her sternum is completely healed. We don't have to worry about "scooping" her up, but can use her underarms. You don't realize how much more natural that feels until you have to stop yourself from doing it. I cheated and started doing it a little last week, and her neck is already getting stronger and she'll be holding that head steady before too long. She is really chunking up too. We go for an appointment on the 28th and I can't wait to see how much she weighs. We have so much to be thankful for this year. Last year, I found out I was pregnant on Thanksgiving Day and we're so blessed to have our healthy little girl here with us this Thanksgiving. God is good!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Weekend in Raleigh

We had a wonderful time in Raleigh visiting with Beth and Anthony. We carpooled down with the Jacksons for a great weekend of fun. The big boys were able to go to the Georgia Tech vs Duke game on Saturday. We took the kids to the mall to play. Overall, the trip went very well. Erin and Cody watched the DVD player the whole way down and back. All of the kids got along great. Erin and Harrison had an especially good time with each other. He even let her be Jesse while he was Woody - that's a pretty big deal! Thanks Beth, Anthony, Harrison and Jackson for opening your home to us so we could have a nice weekend away!

Getting on the road

Story time with Anthony

Cody is watching the big kids color

Woody and Jesse - forever friends

Friday, November 9, 2007

Anna's Latest Tricks

Anna has learned how to roll onto her side, so I'm sure it won't be long until she rolls all the way over. She also loves to talk on her phone as you can see. I have no idea where she gets that from. She is getting ready to take her first road trip in an hour. We are headed to Raleigh with the Jackson's to visit the Williams! Pray for our trip - 2 toddlers and an infant - should be fun!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Playdates for Anna!

Anna has gotten to go on a few playdates this week - well, more like sleepdates. I forgot my camera for the first one, but she hung out with Kayla, the newest addition to our Bible Study class. She is 3 weeks old. Then today, she hung out with Kylee and her friends, Sienna and Sydney. All 4 girls weigh about the same weight and all favor the color pink. It was a fun time talking about eating and sleeping! I enjoy getting to have playdates with babies again, there is so much less conflict resolution!

And by the way,Anna went to the Dr. yesterday and she is up to about 10lbs6oz and slowly being taken off her meds. He said her heart sounded perfect and her healing was textbook. Praise the Lord she is doing so well!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blogging and Coloring!

This is what happens when I'm blogging and Erin is playing with markers. All I can get out of her is something about lipstick. Again, thank the Lord for Crayola washable markers.

Hallelujah Harvest

Here are a few pics from our trip to Hallelujah Harvest!

My Bear and My Cow Utterly Adorable!

Which camera do we look at? Giddy up

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our Little American!

Erin shocked the flip flops off of me the other day. When she emerged from her preschool door she declared that she had been leader for the day and she got to hold the flag. This was a big deal since last time she was leader she didn't get to hold the flag. So on the way home I asked her what they say when they hold the flag. "The Pledge of Aweegiance" of course - and then she proceeded to say it, in her own words! I've posted the video for you all to enjoy. I'm so proud of all she's learning. It makes me think - everything that goes in, will eventually come out!

You gotta love, "liberty and Jesus for all" she's right isn't she? He is for all!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Patches!

We had an exciting couple of days. Since I was finally able to emerge from my home and take Anna out, we headed to the Pumpkin Patch. We started on Saturday at Taylor Farms. We met up with the Judds and the Saunders and the kids had a blast. It was great weather, a little warm, but the farm is mostly in the shade. We practically had the place to ourselves. After the fun, we headed to Golden Corral where Erin ate her fair share of the buffet!

As if this wasn't enough Pumpkin Patch fun, Erin had her field trip to the Hunt Club this morning. Anna stayed with Baba so Erin and I could have a great time just the 2 of us.
It was rather warm, but the kids all had a great time. We got to go on another hayride and pick out another pumpkin. Of course Erin wanted one of the big ones, not a pie one. I got to snap some pics of Erin with her little friend Jameson that I've heard so much about, and yes - she is a girl! I also got to talk to Erin's teacher and get a little scoop on how Erin is at school. It was a great day and we were both pooped by the end of it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Going Home!

Anna was released from the hospital 4 days after having open heart surgery - Is that not amazing? She is recovering well and except for the medicines she has to take, she enjoys most of her days at home. This week she has really discovered her feet and lifts them up to stare at them. She also has been giving out oodles of smiles this week. I don't think we realized how hard things were on her before the surgery. She used so much energy just to breathe and eat that she didn't have much left for smiling and exploring. We are so thankful for her fast recovery and her new found joy!

Moving on Up!

Tuesday evening Anna began to come out of her second sedation and was so alert. I was able to feed her a bottle which was the first food she had actually tasted since Saturday night. She had been on a feeding tube for the past couple of days. We left Tuesday evening to go home again since she had to spend another night in PICU. When we called to check in on her Wednesday morning the nurse said she had been so alert that they ordered her a mobile and she was eating like a little piggie. I remind you, this is the night nurse saying how alert she was! Yes, I am still paying the price for this.
We headed off to Erin's first field trip Wednesday morning and then scooted on to the hospital. We arrived just in time for her big move back to the Step Down Unit 3C where she would do the rest of her recovery. Happy to be nursing again and have a little more privacy, Anna was recooperating so well. She was such a trooper as the nurses came in every 2 hours to check vitals and poke at her. Mommy was exhausted from the constantly interrupted sleep, but knew it would be over soon.
The great news came on Thursday afternoon, Anna was okayed for discharge. We were floored that it all could happen so fast, but we were ready to be at home so we could get back to our normal routine. The first few nights have been an adjustment. Anna got her days and nights mixed up again, but she is quickly returning to her routine. We have been stuck inside this week since they don't want Anna exposed to any sickness. Hopefully next week we can return to getting out a few mornings. I'm looking forward to taking my little Pumpkin Pie to the Pumpkin Patch next week and watching her turn into a round little pumpkin herself. She is so much happier and looks so much healthier.
God has been so gracious throughout this process. If you would have asked me months ago if I could handle my child having open heart surgery, I would have told you not in a million years. I can't explain it, but there is something that happens to you when you are faced with a situation like this. I had a choice, to deny this was happening and crawl into a hole of despair, or to face it with courage and faith that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Knowing that truth and having to actually live it out are two different things. There are times I feel God gives me more than I can handle - and it is more than I can handle - on my own - that's why He steps in and makes Himself so present that the most unbearable situation becomes bearable. Praise be to God who gives us the power through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miracle Tuesday!

We arrived Tuesday morning at the hospital excited to find our little girl awake and looking around. We had gone home Monday night to get a decent night's sleep since she was in the PICU and I would have had to sleep on a bed in a room the size of my closet. Actually, we both could have slept there - they had bunk beds! So we opted for our own bed at home. Upon arriving home Monday night we called to check in on Anna and they were still concerned about her heart rate being so high. She was now peeking around 220bpm. They asked us to call back at 9:00 for another update after they had given her some medicine. At 9:00 her heart rate had dropped to a perfect 130bpm. Phew...we could get some rest and feel confident she was okay.

So we woke up Tuesday morning and called in and her rate was about 150bpm which was manageable they said they were getting ready to take all her tubes out. We arrived at the hospital and the doctor quickly came over. "She looks great, she's profusing well, her color is good, her rate is good, only one minor glitch - we can't get her stomach tube out." We didn't quite know how big of a deal that was until he said we're going to have to go in and surgically remove it. Okay Lord, another surgery, more anesthesia, another breathing tube - we really don't want to go through this again, but if it has to be done, then it has to be done.

The surgeon came by to explain the problem to us, "Apparently I either accidentaly caught a stitch in the tube, or it is stuck on something else." He apologized immensely and Joe was very gracious with him explaining we were so grateful for what he had done, that this was just a minor set back. So we prepped for surgery, again. Got the prayer chains going and asking people to pray that the tube would fall out before they had to go in and remove it.

We wheeled her down the long hallway, again. I was hoping they would give it one more try, one more little yank before going to the extreme measure of surgery, but that wasn't the plan. We went to the waiting room to wait for the hour and a half/two hours to slowly tick by. Imagine our shock when after 45 minutes the surgeon walked in and declared, "It came out, It just came out!" We immediately responded with Praise the Lord, and the surgeon responded, "He is an Awesome God!" How exciting it was to hear the good news, but also to have the surgeon share in our belief that it was only God that could have caused the tube to fall out.

The miracle we had prayed for all along was for Anna's heart to be healed. When it wasn't, we accepted it and knew God would bring her through the surgery. How awesome God is to have given us an unexpected miracle, one we couldn't possibly have seen coming weeks ago. He answered our prayers in the immediate need of them. He showed us and all those praying for Anna that He is still in the business of making miracles. He gives us just what we need, when we need it. Thank the Lord for our Miracle Tuesday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

One week ago....

I was nursing Anna this morning, just thankful to be holding her in my arms. One week ago at that time I was kissing her forehead and sending her off with nurses I had met just moments before. She simply looked up at Joe and I, and her grandparents as if to say, "what's the big deal?" not a clue of what was about to transpire. I was so thankful she was so peaceful and content, not screaming, I think that would have made it harder to let her little hand go.

Our journey had begun about 5 days before this. I had taken Anna to her 2 month checkup at her Pediatrician on Wednesday morning. I had complained because this appt. should have been a week and a half prior, but the Dr. didn't have anything until Anna was almost 10 weeks old. God knew what He was doing, Anna's condition didn't really make itself evident until the few days leading up to this appt. Our Pediatrician was very concerned and wanted to get us into the cardiologist immediately. That afternoon, we spent 4 hours at the hospital getting all kinds of tests done. We were sent home with an aggressive feeding schedule to try to prolong surgery for another couple of weeks. Those 2 days at home were treacherous and I truly felt she was getting worse. I made the call to the Dr. on Friday afternoon and he agreed with everything I was describing that it was best for Anna to be in the hospital and have surgery sooner than later.

Friday night was the worst night poor little Anna has ever experienced. Poking and prodding until 3:00 in the morning. Over the next 2 days she rarely experienced uniterrupted sleep and began to flinch everytime someone would touch her. I can't even count the number of times I told her I was sorry and I would take the pain for her in a heartbeat. We are so thankful she won't remember this pain.

It's hard to describe, but Joe and I both felt relieved that we were at the hospital and it had come time to do the surgery. Knowing it would be in her future, we both agreed we would rather have it done and behind us so that she could experience life to its fullest. To us, Monday morning was the beginning of a new life for Anna. The adrenaline that kept us both going was similar to the adrenaline you feel right after your child comes into the world. We felt excited for her, and not an ounce of worry. It amazes me that we could feel this way, and again, I know that it was because of the prayers being lifted up for us all.

So this Monday morning, one week later, I held in my arms a precious little angel, who I now like to call Pumpkin Pie, and I praised God for bringing her to this place in her life and allowing her to breathe deeply, eat sufficiently and grow appropriately. What an amazing God we serve - look what He can do in a week's time!
(written on Monday, October 15, 2007)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where do I begin?

So I've been catching up on blogs this evening, because I truly did miss being in the know this week. Luckily, a lot of you hadn't done any new posts, so I didn't have too much to catch up on. I've also been sitting here debating where to pick up on my own blog. Do I blog about the surgery, what I've learned, what we've been through this week, what the future holds, or do I let it simply pass by, because truthfully, thinking about it all is overwhelming.

Then, I get to Sue's blog and read the post about the front steps, and suddenly the tears that I have held back for a week begin to pour. I don't know where to begin, and I probably will just post for the next few days as things come to memory or the Lord leads me to share.

I think it is only fitting that I start with giving the Lord, our Maker and our Healer, 100% of the glory that He deserves. We prayed from the moment we found out about Anna's heart defect that He would heal her - knowing full well that He had that capability. And as the weeks progressed and her prognosis stayed the same, I cried out again and again, begging for Him to do just that. But, that was not His ultimate plan. He planned for this surgery and to allow the surgeons, whom He gifted and prepared for this moment, to do their work and mend our little Anna's heart. We haven't fully learned all that we are going to from this experience, but we've seen glimpses of His plan in the works.

One such lesson I personally have learned is the power of prayer. I know with no uncertainty that on Monday morning half of the Hampton Roads area was praying for Baby Anna. What a testimony to her life to know that so many people were praying for her and coming together all over the city to lift her up. Whether on their front porch, the treadmill, the office desk or inside the waiting room, the prayers of many were being lifted up - for MY little girl - how overwhelming that thought is. I know that without this prayer, Joe and I would not have made it through this situation the way that we did. I also know that most of you must have been praying for peace for me - because I had a peace that passes all understanding. It was an unexplainable peace and I could feel the prayers lifting me up.

I want to personally thank each person that lifted us up on Monday and every other day of the week, but I know that is impossible to do. I hope each of you know that your prayers were answered and the Lord has done a mighty work. Thank you for your friendship and support throughout this week.

I'm going to close for now, but I will continue to recap last week throughout this week. I want to do it to give testimony to the things God has done, and to have it as a journal for Anna to read one day to show her how her testimony began and what the Lord did for her on this her 10th week of life!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Geoffrey

You may be thinking, "Who's Geoffrey?" Only the biggest, most lovable giraffe you've ever seen, at least for Erin that is. Saturday was Geoffrey's birthday, so Toys 'R' Us threw him a party and we went. There were a few activities for the kids and then they got to march around the store in a birthday parade and play musical instruments. Erin got a kick out of it and a big giraffe hug which absolutely made her day! The only part she didn't understand was why there wasn't any birthday cake?

Tummy Time

Anna enjoying tummy time with Daddy and Erin.....
Anna over tummy time....Time elapsed 1 minute 30 seconds!
We'll have to work on this tummy time thing, she's not too fond of it yet!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Afternoon on the Beach

Joe had a late meeting yesterday afternoon at the oceanfront so we girls decided to tag along and play in the sand. Much to our surprise, they have added a play apparatus at 10th street, so Erin got to play like she was at the park, but on the sand. She loved it and it kept her quite entertained. Anna decided it was all too much for her and found a nice little resting place. The picture is taken from the ground up, she is nuzzled under Joe's arm. As we were getting in the car to leave Anna looked up at Erin and reached out her hand, so Erin reached out her hand and held Anna's. They kept the pose long enough for me to snap a quick pic. Anna is really starting to notice Erin and give her smiles. It melts my heart!