Monday, January 27, 2014

Everything is Connected

Everything is Connected

Did you know that every organ in your body is connected to the brain via nerves and many of these nerves arise from the spinal cord? If you are subluxated, these organs may not be receiving adequate communication from the brain and disease and disorder may follow

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome back

It seems that writing has taken a back seat to life since this is my first post in almost a full 6 months! Life is certainly warmer now that it's July but it's also much brighter...and not just from the sunshine. Our mini Cooper's road no longer seems so bumpy, and he isn't quite so mini these days either. Our little fighter boy is a whopping 15lbs and the happiest baby boy you'll ever meet. Not a day passes that I don't shake my head in disbelief that this is the same boy I met attached to so many tubes, wires, and beeping monitors. Now he's lively and overflowing with joy. He's always (well, almost always) smiling and giggling. He's rolling and squirming his way around rooms and doing an amazing job of sitting up on his own as well. He's come so far and I couldn't be more proud!

                                                                      Our sassy girl

                                                                          Floor time

He knows his momma and longs to be in my arms. He is the polar opposite of his sister who wanted nothing to do with being held or snuggled. He's perfectly content riding on my hip or snuggling up in my arms all the live long day (and night). I work hard to make sure he's getting time away from me as well but it's not as easy as it sounds...he's just so sqeezeable! He stares at his daddy with such love too! He lights up when Neil gets home from work and just looks at him with a HUGE smile until he's acknowledged, then he BURSTS into giggles! He adores his sister and is constantly watching her and trying to keep up as she flutters from toy to toy and all around the house. He is always aware of her and the look in his eyes when she plays with him melts me. His eyes are just screaming "YOU ARE AMAZING BIG SISTER, PLAY WITH ME!" I just stare in wonder and amazement most of the time at the deep loving bond these two tiny people already have. God certainly knows what he's doing and this deep untouchable love of family is such a display of the almighty to me. I just think about it and find myself overwhelmed. I feel like seeing my children play or spending joyful times together as a family are little slices of heaven. It just doesn't get better than those moments.

There are challenging moments as well...shocking I know! Who would have guessed that having 2 children under the age of 3, just 20 months apart would come with challenges?! There are days when the 2 year old is truly 2 in every way...and a girl to boot so some mornings I really have my work cut out for me. Some mornings no clothing seems to be right, hair brushing is torcherous, and teeth brushing is like wrestling an angry alligator; but we make it through. Sometimes little Cooper decides that being out of mommy's arms is just the worst thing in the entire world, and heaven forbid he can't see mom for a few minutes. Those are the times I try to remember that the peaceful moments are coming and these moments are fleeting. There will be a time when I will miss the chaos of these little beasts I call children on rough mornings. I will long for my son needing me at his side. I will ache for my daughter to be so oblivious to her appearance and so unaffected by the pressures of this world. I will hold tight to the madness while it's mine...with lots of prayers to carry us through!

Prayers have taken us so far and I have never felt closer to God than I do now...and I pray (again) that I continue to grow closer every day. Now that the darkness of Cooper's bumpy road is behind us (not that there aren't plenty of bumps ahead, because I'm sure there are) I can say I'm thankful for it. It was the worst thing I've gone through thus far in life, and it in NO WAY was easy but I'm still thankful. The darkness brought light and my weakness brought God's strength and then strength of so many that held us up. The aches of this mom's heart were similar to the pains of child birth...the hurt was so deep and so painful that at times it felt as if it couldn't be right...something MUST be wrong, I shouldn't do going through this...but long behold the result of that pain (just like in labor) was new life! Not only the new life of Cooper but new life in my soul. God renewed me and restored me. He carried me into a new life as a new woman and I'm ever grateful. I hate to admit it but I struggle so deeply with letting go of control (not a shock to anyone that knows me) and this experience forced me to do just that. I let go and I learned that my faith is stronger than I ever thought. And that faith has become even stronger because through this I have learned that my faith is well placed. God will always provide! Not always the way we want...the answer isn't always yes...but the good news in that is that HIS plan is even better than ours. I can tell you that if God would have said "Tracie you're going to have a son that isn't moving, isn't breathing, isn't responding, and is bleeding interally. Then you'll sit by his side while he rests in seclusion and fights of his life." I would have said, "NOPE! I'll take a healthy baby please. No problems, no challenges, I can't handle that. Thank you!" I hated the road He had me walk (with Him by my side, and carrying me at times) but I look back on it with an overflowing, thankful heart. I'm so happy I didn't get to decide. I'm so happy I am the person He changed me into through that valley. And none of that would have happened if I got my way. So, THANK YOU GOD FOR KNOWING BETTER THAN ME!
 Our boy being loved on by Aunt JamieSqueezes and drooly kisses for Aunt Amie

Of course I still don't know what the future holds for myself or my family. I don't know if Cooper will have long term issues due to all of this, but I do know that whatever is brought out way God will carry us through. As of now Cooper is doing amazing. His development is looking perfect and his growth is moving along nicely. For now there are no worries and I'm going to revel in that. So at the moment I'm living in the bliss of health and happiness and will use this blog as a little journal to my kids about who they are and what they're like each month. If any other news/challenges come our way that I think would be important to share I'll make sure to post them. For now goodbye to medical updates and hello to joyous silly God filled posts! Blessings and love to you all for following!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas baby?

December 23rd. A day that I've thought of with joy and excitement since the moment I saw that faith pink plus sign on the pregnancy test. I knew there was no guarantee of Cooper making his arrival on his actual due date--after all Ellie came a week late--but as any expecting mother knows, you associate your first peek at your precious baby with that very exciting estimated due date, and I was no different. I thought of being big and jolly during the Christmas season, thoroughly delighting in sweets and holiday fare without a worry about my figure or fitting into my clothes (praise God for stretch bands and maternity pants). I day dreamed about going into labor on Christmas Eve and all the hubbub that would ensue. I worried and tried to over plan our holiday season knowing full well that travel wouldn't be advised so late in pregnancy. All that planning, dreaming, and wishing was washed away in an instant in October..."Your baby hasn't moved." The words echoed in my head and heart and still do to this day. God was directing me and His words literally saved my baby boy's life. He spoke truth as He always does. Along with the truth of Cooper being in trouble He also spoke much truth into my heart through the past 10 weeks. The truth is that planning and worry does nothing, God has us. Each morning I would wake up and worry about my boy yet I had no control over what was going to happen next. God was holding us in His hands and I find peace in that now. There are days when I still struggle to let go, to loose my grip on my future and my family but God is oh so patient with me. Cooper has come so far and God has changed my heart through this journey as well. It wasn't an easy change that's for sure!

In the beginning I wasn't only overwhelmed with Cooper's health issues and prematurity but I was also bitter and angry about missing out on 10 more weeks of pregnancy. Ten more weeks of having my baby all to myself without the trials and pressures of this world impeding on us. Ten more weeks of a round belly and sleepless nights. Yes that sounds very silly to be upset about missing but trust me, when it's gone you miss it. I remember those last 10 weeks of pregnancy with Ellie vividly and just how long they truly seemed but believe me when I say they seem even longer when your baby is outside of your body. The past 10 weeks have seemed like an eternity. I look back and wonder who those people are. Who was that woman that looks like me? How did she get through all of it and make it out alive when her heart felt as if it were breaking everyday? I'm shocked back to reality when it sinks in that it was really me. Well, a shell of myself anyways. God was carrying me through each moment with grace, love, and strength and without him I wouldn't have made it to his very special date...December 23rd.

When the dream of this date evaporated on October 19th with the traumatic birth of our son our world was flipped upside down and I've been waiting for it to right itself ever since. I'm beginning to realize right-side up will never again be our reality. Just when I decide Cooper is like all other newborns something comes up. He sleeps a whole day through, he refuses to eat, he develops a cold (which requires MUCH more attention than usual), or he has what seems to be a seizure. I'm starting to let go of right-side up and "normal." This is our world now and it's a beautiful one in so many ways. Cooper is the most special and amazing little boy and I'm honored to be his mommy no matter what his future looks like. We may have a long road ahead of us or possibly just a few more hurdles then smooth sailing, only time will tell. All I know for certain is that God has changed us and we can put faith in His love and care.

Cooper has some hurdles in front of him and we're exploring some possible complications/symptoms. The first is his continued elevation in direct bilirubin counts. Cooper underwent a HIDA scan a few weeks back to rule out a pretty serious complication. Thankfully that scan came back normal and we avoided one issue. Now we're just waiting for those numbers to drop and if they don't fall on their own we will then begin a search for a possible metabolic complication. Along with the jaundice we're now consulting a Neurologist because it seems that Cooper may be having seizures. I don't know for sure if that's what is happening but I do know that what I'm seeing doesn't seem natural and has led me to believe he may be seizing. Neil and I are the only ones that have seen it so we don't have any "medical" confirmation but my mommy instincts are screaming. I was able to catch a small episode of it on video the other day so hopefully that will help get to the bottom of things. We have an EEG scheduled for December 27th, prayers for clear and conclusive results are much appreciated.

Despite those issues Cooper is doing amazing. He's such a strong boy! He came down with an upper respiratory virus last week and we feared it may knock him out a bit and cause some lung issues but he fought right through it and is back to being healthy! What an amazing little man we have been blessed with!

We may not have gotten the Christmas baby I envisioned but December 23rd is here and we have our boy in our arms...that's all that matters! Praise God!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let the adventures begin

Well we're finally home! I guess I shouldn't say finally given that we were discharged 4 weeks before we expected to be. None-the-less 6 weeks in the NICU feels like an eternity and therefore prompts the "finally."

The first 6 weeks of Cooper's life was quite a journey and as that comes to an end a new adventure is beginning. I had such grand illusions of what our new world under one roof would be like. Christmas memories, snuggled up pj time for entire days, and cozy family nights. Boy have I gotten a rude awakening! Don't get me wrong, our new "new normal"is full of joy, smiles, and laughter, but it's also full of concern, confusion, panic, sleeplessness, and oh so many doctor's appointments!

I knew I'd be a bit of a nervous wreck without all those monitors telling me with certainty that our boy was breathing and functioning optimally, but I didn't expect to be so absolutely overwhelmed with worry and fear. I do my best to "worry about nothing and pray about everything," but I'm only human and every day is a struggle. Just eating without staring at him is a challenge. I would say that he spends about 95% of his day in mine or daddy's arms. It is delightful to be the one in charge of our son. The one's that set his schedule and decide when he eats. It's wonderful to choose on our own how much food to offer him eat each feeding instead of waiting for a doctor to tell us his "plan" for the day. But with those responsibilities and freedoms comes LOTS of questioning and fear. "Are we feeding him enough?" "Is he too lethargic?" "Does his poop look funny?" "Is his tummy soft?" "Does he look extra yellow today? So many worries come with a newborn in general, but with our little guy that's due date is still 3 weeks away those worries seem to be consuming me at times. I remember being a wreck when we brought Ellie home...I believe I woke her up every few minutes in fear she wasn't breathing...this is even worse. This time around I barely allow Cooper to sleep anywhere but in my arms in fear that I'll drift off and miss a spell that he can't get out of. Having him against my body makes me feel as if he's safe. I know in reality if something is going to happen it will but with his tiny body resting in my hands I feel comfort. I'm working very hard to let my worry and fear go and I'd say I'm doing a fine job for the most part. I know I'll put him in his bed more often as time passes and my anxiety subsides, but for now I will rest as peacefully as possible for as many hours as my heart will allow with my sweet boy wrapped in my embrace.

Besides the lack of sleep and worry, we're also faced with the challenge of keeping Cooper as healthy as possible which has led to endless doctors appointments. I knew we had quite a bit of follow-up when we left the hospital but I had no idea just how much there would be! We were aware that we had an eye appointment in 2 weeks, a cardio follow up in 3 months, and the routine pediatric follow ups that come with all newborns. Not so bad right? Well, the day after we got home we received a phone call from the NICU saying we needed to get into our pediatrician as soon as possible for a blood draw to check Cooper's bilirubin which was still high upon discharge. No big deal I thought. We made an appointment for that Monday and were met with the news that we had to also set up home health care which will allow a nurse to come to our home twice a week. They then did a bili test I had never seen before in which she didn't have to poke Coop but instead used an instrument on his forehead that gave a reading of 6.6, not bad at all. We headed home just to receive another phone call saying we needed to come back the next day for a poke since they needed different information. Oh boy. So the next day we headed back to the doctor...which freaks me out because of all the germs lingering there this time of year. But what has to be done has to be done I guess. Coop's little foot got yet another poke and we headed home. The results were back very quickly with a result of 11.9...not so good. We were told we then needed an appointment with a GI. After facing that fact we got yet another phone call informing us that the last bilirubin test wasn't sufficient information either and Cooper needed to come in YET AGAIN! That night I was getting a bit frustrated but reminded myself that he was here and seemingly healthy so there was no reason to be upset. Then came our first scare. Cooper became quite lethargic and had lots of trouble eating through the night. He looked stressed out and oh so tired. Instead of waiting a few days to go back for his foot poke we were instructed to head in right away. We made our 3rd appearance at the peds office to find out the same news we're so used to hearing, "We'll have to wait and see." Cooper was appearing a bit strained in his breathing and quite sleepy and yellow.

I was knocked right off of cloud nine and shoved back into my dark pit of worry. I knew we'd have challenges upon bringing Cooper home but I didn't realize how hard they would be. I was lured into a false sense of security upon leaving the if being discharged meant all was well. In my head I knew better but my heart took over once I had both of my precious babies together with mommy and daddy. I knew it wasn't over and that we have a long road ahead of us but for some reason I was so consumed with getting out of the hospital that I was blinded to those hurdles. Those blinders are gone and those hurdles are all too real. We'll jump each one as they come and get through it just fine. The joy and happiness is still there but at times it's veiled by fear of the unknown. But don't fret...Cooper perked up after a while and began eating again and very well I might add. We've even up'd his feeds. He's now eating about 60ml (about 2oz) every 3 hours!

Apart from dealing with Cooper's issues we also have our darling Ellie bug to attend to and boy has that job become more difficult. She is amazingly brilliant and so loving but lately I find myself asking, "Where did our sweet girl go and who is this terror in our house?!" She seems to love her brother and be very concerned for him when he fusses but she has become such a challenge. Not sleeping, screaming and whining all the time, throwing toys out of anger, and hitting mommy and daddy when we don't give in to her fits. What in the world has happened?! Our poor girl had her world rocked when her everyday 24 hour playmate was yanked away for hours at the hospital with her new brother which she didn't even get to meet for 6 weeks. After all that we then bring home this tiny little boy that consumes so much time, attention, and energy; and although mommy and daddy are both HERE they aren't actually HERE. We can't focus on her in the same manner that we used to and the tone of her world has changed. I feel so incredibly guilty that she is going through so much that she doesn't understand, but I'm also beyond appalled by her actions and very frustrated with her behavior. It is so difficult to find a balance between discipline and understanding. I want her to know her feelings are valid and that she's allowed to be upset but to also know that making bad choices because of those feeling is not acceptable. It's so hard to convey just how much I love her but dislike her naughty behavior. Oh the joys of parenthood!

Parenthood is full of challenges but also overwhelmingly filled with joy, therefore becoming a mom will always be my most amazing accomplishment. Giving birth to Ellie changed my soul in a way that is indescribable and I'm so grateful for that! Becoming a mom of 2 with the birth of Cooper has done the same. I was expecting to feel a bit different once he arrived but I had no idea just how much I would change. Granted it's likely more of a change due to the circumstances, but none-the-less it's a HUGE change that I simply wasn't ready for! I feel as if I'm a new person and I'm not sure how to navigate these new waters. I still can't exactly explain the change or what has happened but there has been a shift in my heart and it's going to take some time to sort it all out. Right now I'm so consumed with each moment that digging into my emotions and feelings isn't a priority...we'll get there. For now I pray for peace and for strength. I pray that my husband be filled with patience with me because I'm even confused by my actions and feelings...he must be overwhelmed! Bless his heart! Again we have a "new normal" to learn and we're doing it without even realizing it. Like most things in life these moments have passed by in the blink of an eye and it's hard to grab a hold of those fleeting memories to really soak them. We're so wrapped up in the "to do's" that we don't even realize that we're adjusting to something so challenging and drastic. It's so surreal when I think on it. Just last night I found myself staring at my loving husband and tiny miracle baby snoozing next to me on the couch and couldn't help becoming overwhelmed by it all. I just kept thinking of the first time I met Neil...the handsome, goofy, loud, and funny stranger I happened to stand next to at a this the same man?! We have come so far and faced so much. I'm so thankful for that meeting and for those memories. Everything between Neil and I has been so fast that it's a blur and taking the time to stop and really feel every moment we've lived together was so moving. I was captivated by the sight of this man that once was a stranger now snuggling our son, the creation God blessed us with; to care for together no matter what challenges that brings. I was overcome with feelings of blessedness. What a blessing to have this man as my husband. What a blessing to have our boy here and healing. What a blessed life God has given me. Whatever is to come we will get through it together with our God leading the way.

For now it's day by day and our days are looking quite full! Today we have a visit from the home health care nurse at 2:30. Tomorrow we have a ped appointment for another poke on our mini Coop followed by our chiropractor appointments in the afternoon (the only doctor appointment I actually look forward to). Tuesday is a visit from the early access nurse. Wednesday is the GI appointment along with another visit from the home nurse. Then Thursday I have my post delivery appointment. Busy busy! Thankfully nana and papa will be arriving in a few days to help out. Not sure how I'd get through without the help.

As of our boy heading home! All 4lbs 15oz of him strapped into his carseat and ready to roll! Boy was his sister excited! Mommy and daddy were pretty thrilled too!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Today is Thanksgiving and typically I approach the holiday more focused on my stomach than my heart but this year is quite different. This year I'm flooded with thankfulness and my heart is shouting out songs of praise. This year brought many challenges, the toughest I've ever faced, and those challenges have brought triumph and a humbled and grateful presence to my soul. I started this Thanksgiving with hopes of bringing our Cooper home to celebrate the holiday with us under one roof, but quickly learned that today is not the day our boy will make his journey home. My heart sank a bit then I realized just because it's not today doesn't mean it's not tomorrow! As I reveled in that realization I was comforted by the words our nurse Dawn spoke on her way into our room..."Looks like tomorrow is the day!" TOMORROW! Sweet, sweet tomorrow! How appropriate that Dawn was the one to speak those lovely words. The words that brought the "dawning" of a new day, a new light, and a new hope...all beginning TOMORROW!

My emotions overflowed, just as I knew they would. I held onto my boy that almost wasn't and began my prayers of thanksgiving that my boy IS! He IS here. He IS breathing! He IS mine to keep for take HOME! The thankfulness flooded my heart and shook my body with tears of joy. My mind began to wander down the road we just traveled and the tears flowed more freely. God carried us through so much and blessed us with miracle after miracle, answered prayer after answered prayer and here we are still standing by his grace. I allowed my mind to carry me through each incident, each trial, and each painful memory that these past weeks has brought to our reality. I allowed my soul to linger on the thankfulness for each one. Each obstacle representing yet another opportunity to praise the Lord. I was living my prayer of Thanksgiving to God. I had no words only lingering memories and tears. I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak the words I couldn't utter. Thank you dear Lord for all that you've done!

Not only am I thankful for Cooper's health but I'm also thankful for the impact his story has had on those around us. I know our boy is special and he was created for a unique and beautiful purpose and that purpose is already shining. All the support, kind words, food, hugs, prayers, gifts, care, and kindness we have received through this journey brings me to my knees. We are so humbled by the outpouring of love that we can't say thank you enough. We could feel the support and prayers surrounding us and carrying us through the dark times and we can see the light and joy now in the praising and healing times. We are beyond blessed to see Cooper's story affecting and touching so many and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing it with others and sharing in it with us.

I have oh so many thank yous to send and give that Cooper may be 5 before I get around to them all, but here are a few specific ones that are lingering on my heart right now.

Thank you to Dr. Johnson for being on-call and telling me to go straight to the hospital when I wasn't feeling my baby moving. He explained that typically he would advise a mother-to-be to relax, lay on her side and wait, but he heard something in my voice that made him do otherwise. I thank you for that doctor, and know that God worked through your direction.

Thank you to the triage nurses for your no-non-sense care and information. It would have been easy to sugar coat the situation but you offered advice and direct information to prepare us for what lay ahead.

To the ultrasound techs that handed me tissues when the tears began to flow at the sight of my limp and sick baby. Thank you for your kindness and promise of prayers for our situation.

Thank you to my dear mother. Your devotion, support, and love carried you out the door and down 5 hours of highway to our family's side at 1am without question. I can't thank you enough for that. You have never failed to be by my side and I know you never will. You are the rock I can always count on and your fierce love for me always comes through. I love you oh so much and always ALWAYS will!

To the many nameless faces I met on the way to and in surgery; your patient and loving words of encouragement, and soothing hugs brought as much comfort as possible as I shook with fear and confusion over what was happening.

To Dr. Gabel, thank you for getting my boy out in time. Thank you for knowing something was wrong and making the correct call to save his life. Thank you for comforting me through the stress and intensity of an emergency c-section. Thank you for allowing me to be afraid and being patient with that fear.

To the recovery nurses that first delivered the news that I was a mommy of a little boy, THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about my new son. Thank you for easing my pain and filling me in on what little you could.

Thank you to Dr. Murphy, Cooper's first Neonatologist. and the entire neonatal team at Mercy. Thank you for stabilizing my son and jumping into action upon his birth. Thank you for caring for him as his symptoms changed, worsened, then improved. Thank you for your knowledge and wisdom.

To the nurses in the NICU, thank you just doesn't cut it. You have cared for my boy when I couldn't. You have taken me and my family under your wings and supported us through this challenge. I am humbled by all that you do and am in awe of your ability to do these things day in and day out for countless families.

I have a few nurses I'd like to thank specifically...Stephanie, you will always be my no-non-sense stabilizer. Your unshakable demeanor always gave me something to cling to, thank you for that. Kim, you were by my boy's side in the toughest of times and I can't thank you enough for fiercely fighting on his behalf. You bring such an air of protection and love with you as you work and I'm grateful for that. Melissa, where to have become a part of our family through these past few weeks and when I see your face I feel relief. You know our boy and he knows you. His eyes open when he hears you and I can tell he takes just as much comfort in your presence as I do. Thank you for being with him in his first minutes and for providing the most loving care I could imagine throughout his time in the NICU. You are so very special and your spirit shines light into the darkest of places. We love you and hope to see you outside of these hospital walls.

I have deeply appreciated every one of my friends through this journey. Your support has meant the world to me in ways I can't put into words. Thank you for every kind word, laugh, tear, and prayer. You are all a blessing in so many ways and this situation has just made me realize that I have the best friends in the whole world!

To our neighbor and friend Melissa for asking a simple, God-led question which has led to an eye-opening journey. It feels as if we're viewing medicine and health with new eyes and we're so grateful for that vision.

Thank you to Dr. Scott who has went above and beyond to educated, support, and bring healing and health to our family. Your kind heart and outright generosity is noticed and deeply appreciated. It's pretty astounding to see the strides both Cooper and Ellie have made since you turned their power on through your healing hands. The fact that Cooper was needing assistance to have bowel movements just a day before you got your hands on him and is now no longer needing assistance in, well...just about anything, speaks for itself. Our boy is healing the way God created him to, and your touch is allowing that!

To my dad, thank you for picking me up (literally) and giving me the strength to walk the path before me. Your gruff exterior has never been much of a front to me for I always saw the soft gentle love behind your eyes, but this situation brought that love to the forefront and I've never been prouder to be your daughter. You were there when I needed you and for that I will forever be grateful. You are so loved by me and our family. Thank you dad for holding me when I cried and telling me I could do this. Also for working so hard to keep up with our Ellie girl...she's a handful.

To Dan and Roxanne, thank you for loving and caring for our Ellie as well. She is so blessed to have grandparents that adore her and take on the challenge of keeping up with her! Your ability to be here on weekends and offer food, help, love, and support will forever be remembered and we are tremendously grateful. Cooper and Ellie are blessed to have such a loving grandpa, and gran. Love you guys.

Thank you to our entire church family. I have to say that I've never been more proud of my church home. You are truly the body of Christ and we could feel your hands lifting us up out of this darkness. Not one day passed without a visit from someone to pray with us or offer an ear to this overwhelmed mother. Every visit brought peace and joy, thank you.

Thank you to my siblings and their families. The long distances you traveled just to sit in a hospital, cook, clean, and babysit, are so greatly appreciated. You came simply to offer your shoulders to lean on and I can tell you those arms were just the crutch I needed to get through this. I think it's no coincidence that Cooper began his upswing after your visit. I am so proud to be your sister. I love you all more than I can explain. Thank you for being there when I needed you most!

To my sweet Ellie girl. Thank you for sacrificing time with mommy and daddy so your brother could feel our love. Thank you for adapting so well to the new schedule (if you can call it that) and accepting your new role as big sister to a sick baby. You have been such a bright shining spot through this darkness! God created you for something so very special and I can just see your purpose behind your eyes. You are one amazing little girl that will set this world on fire. I'm so proud to be your mommy and am honored to have your love.

Finally, to my dear husband...the one person that can understand my pain through this trial. You are my rock, my love, my friend, and my partner, I wouldn't have made it a single day without you. When we got married I was so deeply in love with you and I had no idea how much that love could grow. Today as I look back at the challenges we have faced I've never felt more strongly for you. It looks like we certainly picked the perfect song for our first dance 3 years ago at our wedding.

I adore you in every way and am so blessed to call you husband. I always knew you were kind, loving, generous, and selfless but going through Cooper's birth and struggles has given me new eyes to see you with and you astound me! You have picked me up. You have taken the steps when I couldn't, and you have carried this family through the flames. The night I arrived at the hospital God told me I was about to walk through a dark valley and I agreed to it knowing you'd be right by my side. You bring me peace and comfort in the middle of so much pain, for that I'm forever grateful. God has refined us through the flames and we are bright, shiny, and new! I am so happy to be yours for all the years to come!

***I wrote all the above yesterday morning and my hopes were so high I could almost feel my body lift off the ground, then came a rush of disappointment when Cooper struggled through a few feedings. After fighting for my boy to stay awake and keep sucking at his bottle his nurse informed me that she didn't think today should be the day any longer. She explained that if he was struggling to eat now it may get worse at home and then we worry about him dehydrating and us having to return to the hospital. I agreed with her that if he's not ready he's simply not ready but I couldn't stop the tears. I am well aware that he'll be coming home one day soon but for some reason the thought of it not being today after I had allowed that thought to sink into my heart just broke me. I spent the next hour or so holding my mini Cooper and crying until it was time for us to leave and join our dear and beloved friends for Thanksgiving.

The Mitchells opened their home, hearts, and family to us this year for the holiday and we are beyond grateful! They are the most kind, loving, and generous people I know and we are blessed beyond measure by them over and over again. How loved you are my friends! Thank you yet again for welcoming us into your arms and sharing a special time, we had so much fun! It was wonderful to have a break to smile, laugh, eat, drink, and be merry!

So may be the day and it may not. Time will tell and I promise you a big picture of Cooper in his car seat will grace this page soon enough. Love and blessings to you all, we'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So close...

Today is one of those sad and dreaded days in which I'm unable to see my sweet Cooper until after Neil gets home from work. The hours always tick by slowly and the only thing keeping me sane inside the walls of our home is my lovely daughter Ellie. She is such a bright light in this dark time. She is the glue that holds me together. Most of the time when I'm finally at home I want to fall apart but she keeps me going. I'm so thankful for that sweet, spunky girl. This morning she said, "Coopie come home mommy!?" I'm still not quite sure if it was a statement or a question but either way it melted my heart. She know so much yet so little. I told her he'd come home someday and that we could call his nurse and check on him. She didn't love that answer but didn't put up much of a fight so I dialed the phone. I was met by a familiar voice and name and I breathed a sigh of relief. Helen had our boy today and she knew him. She is so kind and sweet to him and I'm thankful that on a day in which I have to be absent from his side that his nurse knows him and that I know her. She began the conversation by telling me that he's doing great, she then informed me that he had eaten all of his feedings from bottles since 9pm last night!!!!! AMAZING! She also told me that the doctor gave the go ahead for Coopie to eat a set amount through the day instead of at each feeding allowing him to have a little wiggle room during each feeding. That basically means that he will most likely not be in need of gavage feedings any longer! Granted he's young and may get too tired to eat at all in the next few hours so he may need to gavage but if he keeps this up we may get home in just a few days! If he can take all his feedings from bottles and not spell for 48 hours we're looking at discharge!!!!!! We're on hour 17 right now and he's due to eat at 3pm...keep your fingers crossed! I just can't believe this is so close. I can't explain the emotions just yet (I'm sure a longer blog post will be following this one up when I have time) but I will say that the Lord is good ...OH SO GOOD!