Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What We Are Up To

Thank you for the prayers for my family. They got back safely (hence my reason for not posting - enjoying every moment with them). :)

HOWEVER, we are ALL sick (the girls got sick the day before they got home). It is a bit of a struggle trying to keep up with JJ's new schedule (especially while both he and I are sick), doctor appointments and therapy appointments and care for the girls.

I am trying to make new items for my etsy store in order to offset the cost of the hospital stay. We have been very blessed up until this point to only be in debt to the mortgage. We want to get the hospital bill paid off ASAP so as not to be in debt to it. Keep your eyes on this blog for updates to the store. I have some really neat ideas, just need to find the time to implement them.

I have also learned through this trial with JJ, that I really need to include my children even MORE in what I do all day. They have a few chores, but we should be doing so much MORE together than we are or have been. And I really need to limit my time on the computer.

And because I blog to record my journey of faith for myself and my girls, as well as record cool things I want to remember and be able to find - like the fun craft I know I saw the other day - I will continue to blog daily. BUT, I will not be able to read all the blogs that I used to read. I will miss them! I have picked a small handful that I will continue to read (as time allows) as I have developed close friendships and have also learned SO MUCH from. Creating a post does not take nearly as much time as reading all of the blogs I love! LOL!!

Edited to add: I FOUND THE CRAFT! This site is not Christian, and right now, near Halloween has some stuff that might offend some Christians who do not partake in Halloween, so I am simply putting that warning out here. But just skip over those posts for all the GREAT ideas on there. We are doing this craft later this week! You can also do it for Christmas or any holiday! We have some pretty leaf cutters that we will be using. I also bought some black acrylic paint to do this!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All I Want and Need

This video is so powerful and so relevant to my life right now. I will warn you to watch it before you allow your children to watch it (especially REALLY young children). There is one part that might not be appropriate for them (but then again, maybe I am being over protective of my kids). I will leave that up to you. It is kind of slow in the beginning, but wait for the end. WOW!

HT: Nancy

Edited to add: Lest anyone think I was referring to the desperate act near the end, I am not. I am referring to the feeling of having to fight to get back to God. So many things in my life had been keeping me from Him.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life and Death

Thank you again to all of you who have prayed (and continue to pray). It has been a fun adjustment being home alone with JJ. I miss the noise from my girls. I miss their giggles and just every day talking and sharing.

JJ is doing OK. He did not eat hardly at all on Wednesday, ate just a bit more on Thursday, but not nearly what he should, and so far today he is making up for the past two days! LOL! He is sick (runny nose - greenish yellow) and might have a cold. I too am sick. Migraine (which I usually never have), sore throat, whole body aches... And I found out this morning that AA feels the same. They should be leaving TX soon, so please pray for a safe trip for them, for no one to be sick, and for AA to feel better soon.

When a baby is born, they all come with something. It is called a birth certificate. But I think a more appropriate term is a death certificate. What woman can continue to be focused on her self when she has a new little baby to care for? And the care never stops. For a mom never stops caring.

It amazes me how some people/friends (all here in person, no one over the computer yet) have commented that they could not have gone through what I went through with baby JJ. Staying in the hospital and not getting any fresh air. Being with him every moment. Sleeping in a most uncomfortable chair with him on me. I cannot understand how a mom could NOT do those things. When you become a mom, you learn to die to yourself. We are called to do this anyway, but there is something about giving birth to your own child that speeds up that process. ;)

I stayed in the hospital, being with him every moment, because JJ needed me. I wanted to make sure that he got the right meds at the right time (you would be amazed with how many different nurses you have to care for your child who don't always read or understand what was written about the care of your child - but the mom who stays and hears what the doctors say KNOWS). I cannot tell you how many times I prevented an overdose or the wrong meds or helped prevent another unnecessary blood draw on a baby who has been pricked and poked more times in one month than should ever be needed in a lifetime. And even though the nurses are nice, and there is a play room (only open when there was a volunteer - which is NOT as often as you would think or like when you are STUCK in the hospital), it is still a very scary and stressful environment for a child of ANY age, much less a baby of seventeen months.

I slept in the uncomfy chair because I was thankful for anything to be able to sleep on to be close to JJ. And the reason he slept on me was so I could know the second anything went wrong. If he stopped breathing...if he tried to pull out his feeding tube (which thankfully I caught very quickly - he is a good boy and did NOT try to pull it out ever, BUT he did rub his nose and his finger got caught inside - he was asleep on me when it happened and if I had not caught it, it would have meant pulling that tube and putting in another one along with x-rays to make sure it was in his guy in the right place)...if anything were to go wrong. And the way JJ held on to me, hugging me so close throughout the night, reassured me that I was doing what was right for him - what JJ needed.

And I find it frustrating at how easily I can die to myself for my kids (especially when life and death are involved), but have trouble dying to self for others. Or for the Lord (Lord, why can't I spend more time scrapbooking or reading blogs? I can read Your Word later. - which of course I usually forget to do when I spend so much time scrapping or reading blogs). And yes, sometimes even for the kids when they are all healthy and doing really well (why can't I finish reading this book in peace?). LOL! I am sure we have all been there. Something for the Lord to continue to work on me I guess.

Hello, my name is Paula and I am a work of God in progress.

I hope I have not discouraged anyone from the wonderful blessing of being a mother. But I know that it has really helped me to realize the JOY in dying to self as a mother of my children - how much closer I am knitted to my children and the Lord as a result. Am I tired, yes. Exhausted. Is my body sore, yes. Would I do it all over again, in a heartbeat! (But I hope that I never have to again - healthy children from now on OK Lord?) :D

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Update from Mommy - WE ARE HOME!!!

It is so good to be home! You have such a greater appreciation of everything. Of course the mind races to all the things to do DIFFERENTLY now that the church has come and cleaned your home and you want to keep it that way! :)

JJ went from being 16 pounds at 16 months to 17 months and 19 pounds 10 ounces! WOOHOO! God is so good and so wonderfully amazing! It is only in hindsight that I can look back and see God's hand on baby JJ.

He is doing wonderfully and so happy to be home. Daddy and sisters do not come back until Saturday night. They have been blessed to be able to stay with family. Please pray safe driving for them Friday and Saturday.

I think through this all, the one main thing I am taking away from it is to pray for God's will and God's best for my family. In the hospital, it was so easy to pray for them to take the tube out when he was getting an infection (common when a tube is in for as long as his was in). It was easy to pray for us to be let out to go home TODAY instead of when they want to release him. But maybe JJ needed that tube in for one more day to help him completely stop ruminating. And maybe by being in the hospital one more day we were able to encourage a single mother whose baby was also having feeding issues. Maybe Jesus will touch her heart by a seed we planted because we were in the hospital one more day. :)

I know it is hard to just trust God and pray for His best and His will because more often than not we know that is not our will or what we think is best for us. But after seeing God's miraculous hand on JJ, it is a bit easier, taking it day by day and moment by moment, to pray God's will and God's best and just trust in Him.

Thank you to everyone for ALL their prayers!! And now I am off to enjoy being home with my son! PRAISE BE TO GOD!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Update from Daddy

In drivers education class, the teacher emphasized that most accidents happen within the final stretch of coming home. Anytime I travel back home after a long time away, I find myself so excited with anticipation or so tired from the long journey within that final five mile stretch that I have to remind myself of the risks; There's a greater need to keep alert and ready.

Hebrews 12 and Galatians 5 talks about our journey to Christ in faith being a race. If accidents and carelessness happen so often near the end of the race then it becomes a greater need to pray, seek and listen to God. It's easy to be broken at the beginning of a long and arduous trial, but not so easy when there's a hopeful and near end in sight. We're hopeful and excited, but still exhausted and easily overcome or tripped if we're not careful.

It's hopeful that Paula and JJ may come home this week - possibly even today! But that means we need more prayer. Pray that God's will is orchestrated through these doctors.

We know what we want, but aren't certain of what God wants specifically related to the days ahead and JJ's release. We do know, however, that whatever God's will is - it's ultimately the best for all of us, even when (and most often when) we don't understand it.

New problems have come up which require prayer in addition to the hopeful return home.

JJ has been tolerating a feeding tube through his nose for nearly a month. He's now suffering from nose bleeds there. He's doing well in the hospital, but RSV season is approaching and we fear that if he's there much longer that he will contract that disease. He can't advance as quickly in his therapy at the hospital as he could at home because we have better equipment and accessibility to more equipment at home.

Any parent who has sacrificed and suffered as Paula has understands the needs. On her own she's completely exhausted and drained. Please pray that what has been drained is filled up with the LORD's Spirit.

If what we have endured and learned over this past month doesn't come to a finish that glorifies God then it would have all been in vain.

We need physical and emotional strength to endure, strength of character to overcome, strength in faith to wait on God and love Him more no matter what. We need healing for JJ; a strong appetite and stomach for JJ to keep good amounts of food in his system today and for the years to come, a quick healing from the feeding tube in his nose (and hopefully removal of the tube today). We want Paula and JJ to come home as soon as possible - again, this all depends on God's will and we'd rather subject ourselves to that than to our own desires.

Thanks again and stay tuned. There should be some more news in the next few days ahead.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Update from the Momma

Dear Friends,

I have finally gotten another chance to get home for just a short while (shaving those armpits and all). :D

JJ has amazed all the doctors with his growth. Of course the doctor who diagnosed him knew that once his stomach was bypassed he would grow.

JJ now has speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy and behavior/developmental therapy. WHEW! They are all amazed at how well JJ is doing considering how small he is! They are amazed and GLAD that I taught him sign language (he now has 12 words he can sign and is able to sign complete sentences). He is "cruising" - walking from place to place but still holding onto things. They have a LOT of hope because of all that I had done with him previously at home, that once he gets enough nutrition in his body that he will be walking and RUNNING on his own.

The stay in the hospital though is about to get tough. We have been there so long that JJ is now starting to seem depressed. He is also not sleeping at all during the night, and hardly at all during the day. He toss and turns. No sleep for JJ means no sleep for Momma. I am SO THANKFUL to my friends and church who have brought meals, made phone calls and even visits. JJ and I really perk up during those visits!

It is also about to get tough because they are about to introduce the foods that JJ has been throwing up (which I assumed he might be allergic to) back into his diet. His blood allergy test came back and he is not allergic to as many foods as previously thought. So now, while in the hospital, they are going to be introducing those foods he threw up, but is not allergic to, to figure out WHY he is throwing them up. No Momma likes to see their little baby throw up. PLEASE pray the doctors get a QUICK answer and if it truly is harmful to his body, that they stop. Even though the allergy test said he was not allergic, he may still be intolerant.

This Thursday/Friday they are going to stop doing the feeding tube 24/7 and just do the tube at night. During the day he will be eating and drinking as he would at home. IF HE DOES WELL WITH THAT, then we can come home. PLEASE continue to pray. He needs to do well.

It really is a scary thought to think that all this time (from 4 months on - he is now 17 months) that we could have lost him. He could have died from starvation or from choking on the rumination. I am so thankful to God that he is still with us. I know that God must have a VERY special plan for JJ and am so thankful that we found out about this now rather than later. God is so very VERY good.

Thank you to ALL of you for your prayers. I have read all the comments (though I do not have time to respond personally). Also, if you know the phone number to the house, the message has changed with a way to get in contact with us.

Thank you again for your prayers. And thank to my WONDERFUL DH for keeping you updated and for posting the picture. I am truly blessed beyond measure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Update From DH

Paula and JJ have been doing better. JJ is starting to gain weight at a very good rate (two to three times faster than the minimum that the doctors said they were hoping for).

He has begun mouth feedings to suppliment the tube feeds. Please pray that all food stays down and is digested well. His little body needs to grow in length, weight and head circumference. I'm also praying that his brain and organs stay strong and healthy during the jolted body growth and especially that whatever this is that has turned his system topsy-turvey will be completely and permanently healed.

Paula and JJ are currently scheduled to be released from the hospital in two weeks. Please pray that he does so well with all his feedings that they are able to be released even sooner.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We still have a long road ahead of us even beyond these next two weeks, so please keep praying and keeping in touch. I have another heartfelt thanks to our geographically close friends and church who have really stepped up to help make Paula's long term stay in the hospital more tollerable by bringing her food and company. The picture was graciously provided by the Hanyok family.

God Bless,

Friday, October 5, 2007

Update from Paula

Dear Friends,

I have finally gotten some hope and therefore a chance to get home. JJ is finally starting to gain weight after 3 days of losing. As most of you know, JJ is very tiny. I had no idea just how tiny until by God's grace we ended up in the hospital ER for JJ having difficulty breathing. That remedied itself quickly, but he began losing weight, weight which he did not have to lose. And we almost lost him.

But by God's grace and mercy we have hope. They have tested and done so much to his poor tiny body, but he is a trooper! After trying several things, what is finally working for now is a feeding tube, inserted through his nose and into his intestines, totally by-passing his stomach. He is finally acting somewhat himself again and has actually gained weight. I have not had a chance to read your comments yet, and will be asking my beloved to read them over the phone to me sometime soon. I am mostly home to pay bills, shave my armpits and all that kind of stuff that cannot be done while in the hospital.

Please continue to pray for JJ. He is so frail and tiny right now. He has rumination. We have pinned it down to the stress that occurred during the time we put our house on the market and moved, and there was dissension between beloved's family and him and it seems all that was just too much stress for his little body and he began a destructive and lethal cycle. I just praise the Lord that He has not taken JJ before now and pray that He does not take JJ away from me still.

Thank you again for all your prayers. Things ARE looking good. The tube feeding is helping JJ gain weight and not be able to ruminate. He is smiling like he always does. But it will be a long long journey to recovery for him.

Follup on JJ - can a family ever pray hard enough?

This is Paula's husband again. JJ's condition has gone downhill. Paula needs strength, too. Please pray for her and for JJ.

There seems to be some type of blockage or condition that's keeping his food from being digested in his intestines. No digested food means no nurishment, which is very bad. Please pray that the doctors find whatever it is that's causing this problem, or that God miraculously heals him.

She's been a very diligent and loving mother - never leaving his bedside at the hospital, even though there isn't even a bed for her to sleep on.

As a husband, I feel horribly useless. Even though I'm helping out with the other three darling children, and am frequently on my knees praying, there's so little more that I can do.

I keep being reminded that God knows what's going on and cares, but for the sake of JJ we need a healing/medical miracle and very quickly! Today one of the doctors will do an examination of his digestive track - please pray that she finds where the blockage is taking place and what to do about it.

The sooner JJ begins to heal, the sooner they both get to go home for rest and recuperation.

Many tearful thanks,