Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Surgery Moved to TODAY

Since Saturday, we have been waiting for Dr. Renard, the pediatric surgeon, to come by and schedule the Nissen fundoplication surgery for Titus. We didn't expect him to show up on Sunday, but either Becky or I have spent a lot of time at the hospital the last two days waiting for him. The good news is that we have one of the best pediatric surgeons around - the bad news is, when your the best, your in a lot of demand.

Last night, I left the hospital at 7pm during shift change. I was 1/2 way home when the pediatrician called to let me know that Dr. Renard was on the floor doing a procedure on another patient and would be stopping by Titus room in the next 10-15 minutes. I u-turned and broke all land-speed records to get back to the hospital in time. Dr. Renard had already placed Titus on his surgery schedule (thankfully) and we learned this morning that surgery was scheduled for Thursday at 3pm.

But as we know, people pray, God hears, and mountains move. This morning, Dr. Renard called and told his staff to move everything on Thursday to TODAY. So, Titus will have his nissen surgery in just a few hours.

Titus is breathing over the vent (which is good - it's turned down very low), his blood gasses are good, and his lungs are clear. After surgery, they will observe and then extubate him off the vent (hopefully in the next 24 hours). We do not have a timeframe of when he will be able to come home, but it should be soon as long as he remains healthy.

As I stated previously, the last 2 weeks have been hard. Yesterday, I broke down in tears every time I was driving away from the hospital. As I sobbed in my car and cried out to God, I truly again felt so alone, so despondent, so broken. I hate seeing my son lying there in a bed, with so many tubes and wires that I can't hold him, and there's nothing that I can do to make it better.

And today, hearing this news, I have hope again, I have joy, I feel like we are back on the path. God is good, and as someone told me (or wrote in a poem, or cross-stitched in a pillow or put in a country-western song), "you can't appreciate the morning light if you haven't been through the dark of night."

Psalm 30:5 "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

Please pray for the following:
  • Titus will have a successful surgery and quick recovery
  • Dr. Renard and his staff as they perform the surgery
  • Titus breathing will remain strong and his body will be clear from all infections
  • Becky and I for rest, good health for Aidan, Noah, Tucker, & Cade

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Here is the latest news on Titus. We are still in the PICU at Medical City Children's Hospital (day 13 in the hospital). His RSV is clearing up and although the Respiratory Therapists still comes by every 3 hours for treatment, they are suctioning very little out of his lungs.

On Saturday, they decided to extubate Titus from the ventilator. They had been turning down the number of breaths the ventilator was giving Titus and he had picked up his breathing and all signs looked good to extubate (or pull the tube out). I showed up early Saturday morning to be there. They had reduced his sedation and he was fully alert and awake. It was so good to see him alert and looking around. He was also cranky - not liking the tube down his throat at all. After they pulled the tube out, he was still cranky, but breathing good. I got to hold him for about 30 minutes. This was the first time in 10 days I had gotten to hold him and although he was fussing most of that time, it was absolutely heaven to have my boy back in my arms. After Titus had been off the vent for an hour, they tested his blood gases, and unfortunately, his Carbon Dioxide count was still high - meaning he wasn't breathing deep enough to expel the CO2 from his system. To keep him from getting more distressed, the decided to immediately intubate him again. So, I kissed my son and laid him back into the arms of the nurse so they could prepare him for intubation and the ventilator.

The ENT doctor who did the intubation came out to discuss Titus' condition after they put him on the vent. Dr. Trone, the ENT, use a lighted fluoroscope during the intubation to examine his vocal box and esophagos. Both were extremely swollen due to reflux, which is why his breathing was not strong enough off the vent to expel the CO2. They have been giving Titus prevocet for the reflux, but that only deals with the acidity of the reflux and not the issue of reflux itself. Upon discussions with Dr. Trone and Dr. Genecov, the cranio-facial surgeon, the best course of action is for Titus to have a nissen fundoplucation surgery (sounds much worse than it is). This is very common with babies, especially those with a g-tube installed. This laproscopic surgery will prevent the reflux, therefore reduce the swelling, and allow Titus to get off the vent. The only other option is a tracheotomy, which we want to avoid. We have not talked with Dr. Renard, the pediatric surgeon, who will perform the surgery, but are praying that it is scheduled as soon as they can. From all indications, we are looking at 1-2 more weeks in the hospital.

So, Titus is back on the vent, sedated some (but not as heavily as before), resting, and now waiting for his 3rd surgery in 3 months.

As I have stated before, these past weeks have been hard. We've come to know every piece of equipment, the settings, what is "in the range" and "outside of the range", every medicine, and every beep/warning signal that goes off. We have gotten to know a whole new set of doctors and nurses and will always be grateful to them for the incredible care they provide our son. We so appreciate the staff who gently talks to Titus, pats him on the head, comforts him when we aren't there. They all know he cannot hear, and yet they all tell us how he responds to them talking to him. So, for us, we so appreciate when they talk to him and tell him what they are doing. It sounds so simple, but it means the world to us that they treat him like the little person that he is (even when he is so heavily sedated).

This week has been very hard on me personally. But as I was driving down to the hospital, I realized that nothing, NOTHING changes my love for Titus. And, this thought came to me. The Bible tells me that God the Father has adopted me as a son, and views me as perfect, without spot or blemish, because I've been washed in blood shed on the cross for my sins. I have always had a difficult time understanding how a father can view a son perfectly, when I know (as the son) how incredibly sinful I am.

And, then I realized, I view Titus as perfect. Yes, he has issues. Yes, he has lifelong challenges. Yes, he has physical deformities. And, I'm sure when he gets older, he will do things that test my patience (just like Aidan, Noah, Tucker & Cade do). Even though I can sit here and list (and spell) all the medical conditions, and I feel like I constantly reciting them to every new doctor/therapist/nurse that comes along, it doesnt matter. Titus is perfect in my eyes. He was perfectly made, he's perfectly my son. So, I'll take Psalm 139:14 and add my view: "I praise you because Titus is fearfully and wonderfully made". And, I now have some inkling of an idea how God can continue to love me and view me as sinless.
Please pray for these things this week:
  • Titus nissen surgery to be scheduled quickly
  • Dr. Renard who will perform the surgery
  • Titus to be free from RSV and any other infection (especially pneumonia). He doesn't have it, but they are constantly watching him for it.
  • The swelling in his voice box, epiglottis, and esophagus to go down and return to normal.
  • Titus breathing and heart-rate to remain strong.
  • Becky and I for continued strength and rest. We are tired, but we persevere.
  • Aidan's 11th birthday was last Friday - and he is such a joy and help to us. If you see him, please wish him a belated Happy Birthday and lift him up in prayer as he continues to grow in wisdom and stature.
  • Continued good health for Aidan, Noah, Tucker, & Cade - we need them healthy too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Trip to Sydney

In November, 2003, Becky and I went to Sydney, Australia for an incredible trip of a lifetime. I had work to do there and after numerous trips to Europe that Fall (leaving Becky alone with the boys), she was ready for a week away. So, we made our plans and used my frequent flier miles for Becky's ticket. The only problem was - due to availability of flights, she flew to Sydney 3 days after me. And, since I used my miles for Becky's ticket, I didn't have enough to upgrade to business class as I usually did, so I flew in coach.

If you have ever flown to Sydney, you know how long a flight it can be from Los Angeles (18+ hours). My flight left several hours late at 3am instead of 1am, and I was already exhausted since I was keeping myself awake until I got on the plane. As I settled into my middle seat in coach over the wing of the 747, I took my Tylenol PM and got comfortable - until take-off. You see, these old 747s are huge - and experience a lot of wing vibration during take-off - a little piece of information that the pilot didn't share with us prior to take off. So, as we lifted off, and the wings begin to VIOLENTLY shake, rattle and roll, the adrenaline rushed through my body since I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the wings were coming off the plane and we were doomed for the Pacific ocean. (Now, having flown internationally numerous times, these things generally don't bother me - I landed at Gatwick once during gale force winds.) But this violent wing vibration scared the living daylights out of me even though it only lasted for 10-15 seconds. Needless to say, the Tylenol PM I had just taken had no effect over the adrenaline - and I was awake for hours after that. And there I sat, exhausted, bored, cramped, for hours and hours in the dark. When you fly to Sydney, they close all the shades since there's nothing to look at but water and sky the entire trip (and that can also freak you out). I tried to watch movies, but since I had just gotten back from 2 trips to Europe the month before, it was all the same movies on the flight. (I think I watched 'My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding' 5 times on those trips). The pilot gave very few updates and I thought the plane trip would never end. But, it did - and Becky and I had an incredible time in Sydney - one of the most beautiful cities in the world with the friendliest people. (BTW, ask Becky about Bondi Beach sometime).

Titus has now been in the PICU for one very, very, long week. But, he has shown great improvement over the last 2 days. They are in the process of weaning him off of the ventilator and he is taking good breaths in between the breaths that the vent provides him. They anticipate extubated him tomorrow, but a lot will depend on how he does today. He looks good - they gave him a bath yesterday and his hair was sticking straight up. His dark hair is falling out a bit and is coming in much lighter. He still has a lot of hair, but not near as much as a month ago. He is still sedated, but opened his eyes a few times yesterday. We have not been able to hold him in the past week, nor touch him without gloves on. That's been one of the hardest parts about this past week - to stand there next to his bed, and not to be able to hold him. They are also beginning the process of weaning him off the heavy sedation. Dr. Genecov has also been by several times to check his jaw. It looks good and we no longer need to turn the screws. Titus will have surgery in 8 weeks to remove the device. I'll send out pics soon to show you the incredible difference this has made.

Becky and I have talked how this week in the PICU was like the flight to Sydney - alone, long, dark, quiet, exhausting, few updates, turbulence. But just like the flight, there was an end - with a glorious time afterwards. Titus still has several more days in the hospital, but we are beginning to see the end in sight. These have been long days, with some scary episodes and I'm reminded that waiting is sometimes part of God's plan. Abraham and Sarah waiting for years for Isaac to be born, Joseph lingered in jail, Moses spent 40 years as a shepherd after being a prince before he became a leader again, David waited for years before he able to claim the throne. Over and over in the Bible, there are numerous examples of men and women who waited. And, as we stated before, there will be a lot of waiting over the next few years for Titus. The verse I read this morning reminded me again that Becky and I are not forgotten - Titus is not forgotten - my family is not forgotten. We wait, as hard as it is, as limiting as it can be, we wait because God has a plan.

Lamentations 3:23-25
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

Please pray for these things:
  • Titus strength will return - his breathing will continue to grow stronger today
    Taking Titus off the vent and sedation - this is a delicate dance and we pray that Titus will pick up his breathing
  • His lungs will continue to clear all the secretions and be clear/fully inflated
  • Our Medicaid application has been submitted - and we pray for approval. This will help in the long term (and short term).
  • Continued rest and peace for Becky and I and the boys - Becky commented last night how rested she has been over the last few days and she knows it's because of the prayers being lifted up.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Still in the PICU - I Surrender All

Titus is still in the PICU at Medical City Children's Hospital. He is on a ventilator that is breathing for him and is sedated. Last night, they changed the sedation to a steady drip instead of every 3 hours. Yesterday, they had started the process to wean him off the vent, but during the night, they had to turn the oxygen levels back up. They assure us this is all part of the process with babies sick with RSV. The respiratory therapists continue to provide treatment every 3 hours and suction out all the secretions. They are getting less and less out, which is good. But, Titus has been fighting with them every time he gets a treatment. They have noticed, that even though sedated, his body would resist, fight back, and shut down when they were trying to work on - so, to make him rest, and to allow the staff to do their job, they have increased his sedation. In one way, my boy is strong and fighter (They all comment on that) and on the other hand, he looks absolutely pitiful fully sedated. He currently has two IVs - one his left arm and one in his left foot. He also has an arterial in his right wrist allowing them to draw blood for lab work easily. They are feeding him through a line in his nose instead of his g-tube - but that's mainly because they have him prone on his stomache right now. They still have his arms tied down. And, as mentioned, he is intubated with the breathing tube. The doctors and nurses continue to assure us that he is showing signs of improvement and everything he is experiencing is completely normal for as sick as he is and has been. They continue to assure us that he will have several days of ebbs and flows on his way to getting better.

The last few days have been the most difficult and darkest for Becky and I. We hurt to see our baby this way. We hurt to see our baby in pain. We hurt to stand by his side and be so helpless. I don't know that I have ever felt so completely helpless in my life. As I was losing it the other day, the hymn that kept coming in my head was "I Surrender All". I must admit, it's much easier to sing it than to live it. I know I have to surrender Titus up to the Lord - at any cost. But, I have to admit, I cried out to the Lord that I can't do it. I cried out I want more than just 8 days at home with my son. Becky and I held each other yesterday and sobbed over how hard it is to surrender Titus up to the will of God.

In Titus nursery, we have Psalm 4:8 written on the wall above his crib. "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." When we choose that verse, we never knew how the entire psalm would describe our journey. This weekend has been more of a Psalm 4:1 weekend of crying out to the Lord and today has been more of Psalm 4:4 "search your hearts and be silent". And, I know there will come the day when I will claim Psalm 4:7 "You have filled my heart with greater joy". And, I know there will come a day, when I lay Titus back down in his crib to sleep in peace.
Psalm 4
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame ? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?

Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him.

In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.

Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.

Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

So, although my heart is heavy-laden and burdened and I struggle to surrender all. I surrender - white flag and all - I surrender all to Jesus, all to him I freely (that's the hard part - freely) give.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ponder Your Feet

As I mentioned in the first email, Titus has RSV and they told us the first 72 hours were the worst. Yesterday he progressively got more and more congested and his breathing became more and more labored while in his room on the pediatric ward. He was really retracting in his chest with his breathing. The excellent nurses and respiratory therapists (RT) took action and Titus was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). This is a much better place for him to be. Much like the NICU, Titus has the full attention of 1 nurse and RT and the pediatrician constantly checking in on the hall.

Immediately upon arriving at the PICU, 1 doctor and 3 nurses/RT began working on him. The decision was made to sedate him and put him on a ventilator to breathe for him. They also started an IV to give him fluids and medicine. We stepped out of the room while they performed these procedures. When we came back in, Titus was at rest - sedated, but we could tell he was resting. The plan was to keep him sedated for the next day, so we made the decision to go home and get a good night's rest. The boys were staying elsewhere, so Becky and I went to eat, then went home, watched Project Runway, and went to bed with Quita between us. We both got a great night's sleep.

Titus had a rough night even though he was sedated. They continued to suction him out through the night. When we arrived this morning, they also had his little arms restrained. Apparently, he's been trying to duke it out with the nurses, so this keeps his hands out of all the tubes for right now. Honestly and frankly, it broke my heart to see him like this. When he was in the NICU, he wasn't sick - we were mainly waiting on the surgeries and flight plan on what to do - he did had 2 infections but with antibiotics he was alert and responsive. But now, seeing him so sick, lying their sedated and non-responsive - well, it breaks my heart. I keep telling myself, the first 72 hours are the worse and we are halfway through it.

They are trying to determine if he is fighting any other infection. His temps today are low - around 96 degrees - whereas last night, they were hovering between 99.2 to 99.4. The blood work all falls within normal ranges, but his temp is a concern. They are moving him to a warming bed to help get it back up. They are feeding him slowly and keeping him hydrated through an IV. He did weigh 8lb 3oz when we checked in the other day - so he's been steadily gaining weight.

On days like today, when it's cold and dreary outside (Dallas got a cold front last night - it's below 30 degrees today - and I know all my midwest friends are laughing at that comment, but trust me, it's COLD), it's a struggle to be positive. I just want to hang my head and cry (and I have). And that allows my mind to drift to worst-case scenarios. As I was having one of my pity parties in the car this morning, I remembered a quote I told my Bible Fellowship Group last Sunday while teaching. Dear friends of ours (Mike and Jody Krogstad), had shared this with us as a parenting principle, and even though I have worked on it with my kids, today was the day that I needed to work on it myself. It's really a deep concept, but one that's so easy to practice. Here it is:

Ponder your feet!

Isn't that awesome! and deep! and theological! Think about it - ponder your feet. Ponder is such an old-fashioned word. It means "to weigh in mind with thoroughness and care". We have used this with our kids to teach them to focus on something other than what might be blatantly in front of them (like an inappropriate billboard, or commercial on tv) but it also goes deeper than that. If I am pondering my feet, then I am shutting out everything else around me to look at the path directly in front of me. I'm not looking at my destination, I'm not looking at all the "detours" to the left and right, I'm not being distracted from where I need to go. . . I am carefully looking at my next step. I put my blinders on and only focus on the task at hand that God has called me to. And when you pair that with Psalm 119:95-105, it all comes together.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. . . Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. . . I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
I know Satan would love to have a hey-day with me (and Becky and the boys) by putting doubt, disbelief, and fear in my life. But today, I am gonna ponder my feet and realize the path that I am on is illuminated each step of the way by the word of God. Only He knows the destination and the full journey for Titus. I trust in HIM.

Please pray specifically for these things:
  • Titus will remain rested and strong while on the ventilator
  • Titus temperature will raise back up to normal and his body be clear of any infection
  • Continued rest for Becky and I
  • Titus pediatrician - Dr. Chimelli - and the incredible staff of nurses/RT's on the PICU (many of the same RT's were with us in the NICU - and it provides some comfort already knowing them)

Last of all, each of you is such a blessing to Becky and I. Your prayers sustain us, Your phone calls/emails/letters encourage us, Your love is felt.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back in the Hospital

Titus has been home for the last 8 days and has been doing great. It's been great to have him home.

We have started a series of doctor's appointments and follow-ups with the various doctors. Today, Titus spent about 4 hours as they reviewed the status of his jaw. His jaw looks awesome - and we will continue to turn the screws for one more week and then stop, allowing the bone to buildup and fill in. Dr. Genecov is pleased with the progress and how much his jaw has pushed out. It truly is amazing and I will have to send out before and after pictures for you to see.

But today, when Becky returned home, she was noticing how tired he was and his little cough that he had this morning was starting to sound worse. While feeding, his breathing got worse and he turned gray. Becky called 911 and the paramedics were there instantly. Prior to coming home, Becky and a friend visited the local fire station to inform them of Titus since they would be the responders in the event of a call to 911. As only God would foresee, the team that responded tonight was the team that Becky had visited with several days ago. TItus pinked up upon giving him oxygen, but after conferring with the doctors, it was decided to take him back to the ER at Medical City. Upon arrival, they immediately tested him for RSV (a nasty respiratory virus that's common this time of years for infants) and he tested positive. Titus was given Syngesis, a vaccine for RSV, several weeks ago, but as they told us, the vaccine does not prevent the virus, but hopefully will make the case and symptoms less severe. Since the first 72 hours of RSV are the worse, they checked Titus into the Pediatrics ward at Medical City Children's Hospital. This is the same hospital we were at previously. They are giving him nebullizer treatments every 3 hours and suctioning him as needed while they have him hooked up to the monitors. As the hours progressed, we could tell he was feeling more and more puny, and we realized that we got him to the hospital just in time as it looks like he is just now really coming down with the virus. I came home to be with the boys tonight and just checked with Becky before going to bed. They are trying to determine whether or not to take him to the Pediatric ICU (PICU) or leave him there. One of the issues with RSV is that breathing becomes difficult for the infants - so they just stop. If they are going to put him on a CPAC breathing machine, he will need to be in the PICU.

Please pray specifically for these items:
  • The next 72 hours are the roughest for Titus - pray that the vaccine he received will keep the symptoms light. Pray for TItus breathing, his strength, and his rest.
  • The RSV virus last for 3 weeks - this does not mean he has to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks, but we know it's going to be awhile before he's back to his old self - but we pray for complete healing in God's timing.
  • Strength for Becky and I as we again make the trips back and forth to the hospital
  • Comfort for Aidan, Noah, Tucker and Cade as they get shuttled around a bit over the next few days
  • Praise for his jaw as it has improved his breathing dramatically. If he had gotten RSV any sooner or prior to surgery, he would be struggling so much more. Pray that the bone will begin to form and harden.
  • The team of doctors/nurses overseeing his care. Since we are in the Pediatric ward now, it's a whole new set of nurses and doctors that we will be working with.

As I told my parents tonight when I got home - this is just part of the journey for Titus. We know there are going to be events like this for him and today was just one of those things that's going to happen. I was so proud of Becky and the boys (and my parents) for their response as they called 911 and the paramedics arrived. Everyone was calm - which is how I want my boys to learn to handle emergencies - with a calm heart, urgency in action, and a call to prayer. I'm so reminded of 2 Cor 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Fixing our eyes on what is unseen,

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Titus is HOME

After 54 days in the NICU, Titus was released to come home Monday, Jan 7. I had a full day scheduled on Monday with a training session after lunch I had to lead in Ennis (60 miles south of Dallas). So, as soon as the session was over, I drove back quickly to the hospital to pickup Becky and Titus and take them home to the boys. As we were driving up north central expressway in the new HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles) lane during 5:00pm rush hour, I just knew we would get home in record time since we were flying by all the other cars stuck in traffic. Nevertheless, our quick lane slowed to a halt due to a stalled car in the HOV lane. Now, if you live in Dallas and you've driven by the new HOV lane on Central, you know that once you get on, you can't get off. The lane is blocked off with stakes. But, as we found out yesterday, they are rubber stakes that are very flexible when you drive over them to get out of the lane (as directed by the police). I'm sure by now you are asking where is this going.

But, as we slowed down to a halt and were sitting there waiting our turn to drive over the stakes, it made me reflect that this is how life goes. One day, you are barreling along, and the next, you have crawled to a halt due to circumstances out of your control. And, you can choose to be upset, choose to sit there, or choose to go with the flow - waiting to see the direction the authorities want you to go. We know over the next year, that Titus will face multiple challenges. And many will be "traffic delays" where we may not know the direction for awhile, but we will have to sit there and wait on the direction when the time is right. So, again, I will need to learn to "wait". Psalm 27:13-14 comes to mind: 'I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

Once we arrived home, we had 4 ecstatic brothers who could not wait to love on Titus. Noah got to hold him first and wanted to tell him a story (he told him about the gingerbread man - not sure why that story was the ONE). Tucker was next, but quickly lost interest. Cade wasn't too sure about holding him, but would rather stand next to someone else holding Titus and then lean his head on Titus' head. Aidan just wanted to hold him and stare at him. Aidan and Noah just can't take their eyes or hands off of him. Later that evening, I found Noah next to his bed singing Amazing Grace - it was so sweet.

As Becky and I sat down for dinner, she looked at me and said "This almost feels like normal". It was a fleeting moment, but one we know that will come again and again as we settle into our "new normal". Titus has had a good nights, only waking a few minutes before he was to be fed and then going back to sleep. (I had joked the NICU nurses that since they had done an excellent job of putting him on a 3 hour schedule, I would pay extra if they would also work on getting him to sleep through the night - I guess they did!) I did have to return to work on Tuesday, so Becky handled the full day with all the boys, homeschooling Aidan and Noah, keeping Tucker and Cade in-line, and taking care of Titus. She truly is amazing and an incredible wife and mother. There is no one else I would want to take this journey with.

We look forward into settling into our "new normal" and being an “at home” family of 7 (wow - that's a big number). There is great comfort in knowing all my boys are sleeping under one roof.

I've said before, but I'll reiterate - Thank you again for all the prayers, emails/cards, support, food, baby-sitting, dog-sitting, house-cleaning, hand-holding, car-pooling. We have been provided for in so many ways by the incredible family of God.
BTW, in the pic, the boys are (from left to right) Aidan, Cade, Titus, Noah, and Tucker. And Quita, (say Chiquita with out the Chi) just had to be in the picture with all the boys.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's a Happy New Year!

Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU for all the prayers this past week. Titus is doing great now that the anti-biotics have kicked in. We are on day 4 of a 7 day treatment and Titus is back to his old self - alert and happy. Right now they anticipate maybe next Tues/Wednesday before he can go home (but I will believe it when I place him in his crib at home).

They have also prepared us that infection is very common after this type of surgery and to be prepared for another infection in the next 10 weeks before they take the jaw device out. Just knowing that helps us to be better prepared (of course, it would have helped to have known that a few weeks ago - but I must have missed that detail in the 5-page medical release I signed for surgery). We also talked with friends of ours who had the same surgery with their daughter (same surgeon) and they experienced the same things.

I will say though, last Monday was probably one of the worst days we had gone through besides the days after he was born. It was just devastating to see him all hooked up and lifeless after he had made so much progress. Here it was, New Year's Eve, a time of celebration and I was full of pity and doubt. I sat at Little Caesars Pizza at 4pm waiting for my sausage pizza to be ready, puddled in a chair, doubting if my son would ever come home. But I came back to the statement I have shared with many of you before - "How big is your Faith - How BIG is your God!" And, again, I had to leave my son in God's hands.

Just so you know how God answers your prayers, let me share this with you. Titus has "curvy" veins (non-technical/non-medical term - but it's what the nurses have called it). Because of this, they generally have a difficult time putting an IV into him. We've seen them stick him more than 30 times trying to get an IV started (not an easy thing to watch over and over). And, once they get an IV into him, the vein has always collapsed after 1 day. When I asked you to pray for his IV this past Monday, God specifically answered that prayer for our little boy. They had no problems this time and the vein has not collapsed after 4 days. The nurses are amazed, but I know the reason why - our God is a God of details. And no prayer is too small for Him.

We are so thankful for the prayers that have kept us going. His breathing has improved dramatically and you can see how much his jaw has moved in the last 2 weeks. We are able to hold him again on our visits and do all the same things with him that we were doing before the infection. He's up to 7lbs, 4 oz. and was 7 weeks old yesterday. The nurses also comment on how well he communicates. He fusses/cries when he wants something and as soon as he gets their attention, he stops. He knows exactly what he is doing!

Blessings to all and Happy New Year!