Wednesday, December 31, 2008

4 Months Old

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and we pray many blessings on all of you for 2009. We had a great Christmas having family at our house and especially having Ella here with us.

Opening presents with Mimi and Pawpaw

The Cousins, we love Brynn and Meg

Making Christmas cookies with Dee

Ella has been home from the hospital now for about a month and a half. It seems like it has been a lot longer than that because we have been so busy with adjusting to life with her home, going to doctor's appointments, holidays, etc. We are doing well, it is hard but things are good. We realize that we are just in a very hard time of our life right now and it won't last forever. It's still going to be a long road but we are slowly seeing good changes and improvements so we are trying to focus on the positives. We are so thankful for our friends and family who have carried us through all of this and continue to do so. You are a blessing to us! Anyway here is an update on what the Carders have been up to this month.

1. Our sweet Ella is 4 months old! Hard to believe. She is just so sweet and we are so thankful that God has given her to us. This past week Ella has been doing great with her feedings. The other day she finished a whole bottle for three feedings in a row so we didn't have to use the feeding tube those times! Holla! I know, I'm 30 and just said holla, don't worry about it. I like to throw a holla in the conversation every once and awhile but you have to have the right intonation. I have friends who also like to say it but their tone and delivery is all wrong so they have been banned from using the word holla(Ann Reese, I'm looking at you). Anywho, we were so excited because this has never happened before so this is a huge answer to prayer. Since then Ella has been taking a couple of full bottles a day AND not spitting up as much so we are very thankful for that.
Look at that big smile after finishing a whole bottle!

Even though we have seen a big improvement this week, feedings continue to be our biggest struggle so please continue to pray for good feedings. At this point conditions pretty much have to be perfect for her to eat well so it is a challenge. She has to be in this half-asleep state with no distractions to really eat well. So basically you have to go in a room by yourself for 30 minutes to feed her so there is no chattin' with the fam, talking on the phone, watching tv here. We are still putting whatever she doesn't finish from her bottle through her G-button so a lot of the time her feedings can take about an hour. Feeding time is business time so it continues to be quite time consuming and challenging especially when you've got Eva running around trying to mow the dog down with her grocery cart. So let me set this up for you in case you missed it. We've got Ella safely out of harm's way so no one gets tangled in the feeding tube...check, then there's Eva chasing the dog with her grocery cart...check, then there's the dog running around the house trying to get away from Eva...check, then there's Rick and I wanting to poke our eyes out...check. Yep, I think that pretty much covers everybody. Apparently Eva didn't get the memo about not distracting Ella while she is eating.
Move it or lose it Bruiser!

Anyway, we are so thankful for the improvements Ella has made and we will just continue to work hard at it. Thank you for your prayers for good feedings and for patience and perseverance for us, it really has been better. Next week could be a different story so keep praying!

2. We made it through all of our big follow-up appointments with doctors this month so besides seeing Ella's tummy surgeon and pediatrician we won't go back to the others for another year! WOO HOO!!

Ready to go to the doctor! Thanks for the fun boots cousin Julie and aunt Marilyn!

3. Ella has really started "talking" in the past two weeks. She just makes the sweetest noises and squeals. She is still smiling all the time and loves for anyone to give her attention. She is holding her head up really well and we are working on strengthening her tummy muscles and getting her to move that left arm more. She is doing great, we're so proud of her. And did I mention that she weighs 8 lbs. now? We're getting close to doubling her birth weight, Yea!

Just hanging out in the Bumbo seat

Just stuck in the Bumbo seat...brilliant.

4. Eva continues to be a wonderful big sister to Ella. She loves to hug and kiss her, it is precious. She also loves to help change her diapers and burp her. She thinks it's hilarious when Ella spits up, she says "Bubbles, bubbles!" Real cool, but at least it lightens the mood. She loves to share her toys and her goldfish. Yeah, I found a small piece of a chewed up goldfish in Ella's mouth today...amazing.

Ella! Are you in there?

Eva entertaining herself

Eva entertaining Ella

5. I love this 2 year old age. Eva keeps us laughing all the time. She's got some great dance moves these days. My favorite is that she is trying to do the Thriller dance thanks to our Jonah VBS dvd from church. Honestly, I could not be more proud. I was the biggest Michael Jackson fan growing up and still kind of am. Whoa, now simmer down before you rag on me. Let me clarify that I am a fan of old-school MJ, not so much present day MJ. I mean can we all agree that Smooth Criminal is just about one of the coolest songs ever? Who's with me on this? Stand proud MJ fans, stand proud.

One of her many dance moves...The Power Stance

6. Eva has been interested in the potty for awhile now even though we are not actively potty training. Lately she wants to sit on the potty all the time and it seems like everytime we turn around she has taken her diaper off and is ready to go even though she never does anything in it. Well, so we got her a little potty and she loves to sit on it and look through our church pictoral directory to find all the people who took pictures with their dogs. Yes, that's right, with their dogs. It's great. She also got Elmo's Potty Time dvd for christmas which helps. By the way, have you seen this video? Hysterical. I think I'm enjoying it just about as much as Eva. If you enjoy some good bathroom humor(which who doesn't right?) and you need a good laugh then this dvd is for you. The other day it was on and after about 10 minutes I realized Eva wasn't even in the room. It was just Rick and I on the couch going, "Ha! Did you hear that? They just called the poop duty!" Does this give you any indication of our maturity level here? Wow.

7. Our moms are gone now. :( We are surviving, sometimes barely but we are surviving. We have been so blessed by our families and all the help and sacrifices they have made over the past 4 months for us. It is overwhelming what all they have done and continue to do for us. Thank you, Thank you!! Eva and Ella have also developed a very special bond with their Mimi and Dee which is priceless and it has been so fun to watch it develop. We are so blessed to have such amazing families!

8. So because moms are gone, last week I did my own grocery shopping for the first time in 4 months! Have I cooked anything yet? Negative. One step at a time people.

9. We are starting to get out a little more. We went to church as a family for the first time ever the past two weekends. It was wonderful! Other than that, we don't really go anywhere. It is still very difficult with feedings and all so we pretty much just stay at home unless we have to go somewhere or are feeling brave and want to attempt it.

10. This has nothing to do with anything besides the fact that I think it is so weird and funny and I wonder about this place over by our mall every time I pass it. There's a restaurant called CoCo's that advertises that it serves chicken, seafood and donuts. Really? Chicken.Seafood.Donuts. Are there that many people out there who are thinking, "Man, what should I eat for lunch today? What sounds really good is some popcorn shrimp and a bear claw. I wonder if there is a place I can get both?" Seriously? Grrross. Kudos though to Coco's for their stunning combination of menu choices and for staying in business serving chicken, seafood and donuts. Who knew? I guess there really are enough people out there who like that combo. Again, gross.

If you made it through this whole post I am impressed. Can you tell that I have little contact with the outside world? :) Thank you for continuing to pray for us and for everything you all do for us. We continue to be overwhelmed by all the love and support during this trying time for us. Thank you, Thank you!! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update on Scottish Rite

This past Tuesday we had our appointment with Scottish Rite to evaluate Ella's shoulder and it went very well. We were a little stressed about how everything would go and what the day would be like but it was great. Ella did so good and almost finished a whole bottle without a fight while we were there so we didn't even have to mess with the feeding tube! Thank you Lord! She was just flashing her sweet smile at the room full of doctors while they poked around on her as if it was no big deal. She loves being the center of attention. :)

We were very impressed with the team of doctors. They were prepared for us and we could tell they had done their research and knew all about Ella's history. This was an initial visit mainly for them to look at Ella's shoulder and decide if they would even be able to do the surgery there or if we needed to look at other options. They all agreed that they are confident in being able to do the surgery and their goal is to hopefully do the repair in one surgery. No promises were made on that but that is the goal. They do not want to do surgery until she is at least 8-9 months old so that time frame would be May or June. They want her to be bigger and to have had more time to really heal from her other surgeries before we do anything else. So between now and May sometime they want to do another MRI of her shoulder so they can really see what is going on and start putting together a surgery plan. She had an MRI done last month before she left the hospital which provided some good initial info but she was so small that it was hard to really see everything clearly. Once she is bigger and has had more time to develop they will be able to get better pictures and know more about the bone structure, blood flow etc.

They were impressed by the function she has in her left arm even though her range of motion is limited. However, they feel that even with surgery she will never have full range of motion with the left arm and felt like our hopes of her arm having completely normal range is shooting for the moon. While I respect their opinion and know that realisticly she may not have full movement I am still shooting for the moon. I mean we serve a God who created the universe, parted the seas and raised the dead and is still performing miracles today so I have full faith that Ella's arm can be healed completely. That's what He tells us to do in Hebrews 11:1 is to put our faith into action and "be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." So that is our hope, that her arm be completely healed and have full range of motion. I am reminded of His healing power everyday when I look at both my girls and especially Eva. I just think back to the day when we were handed a box of tissues, given a pat on the knee and told I'm sorry but there is a 5 percent chance at most that your baby is going to live. And look at Eva now, she is perfect! God is amazing so again I say shoot for the moon!

So what happens now? We just continue getting Ella to heal, eat better and gain weight. She will have some developmental delays physically like head control, possibly crawling, etc. because of her arm so we are working with Early Childhood Intervention which is a program that helps families with children with physical and mental developmental delays. They will come to our house periodically to help us and Ella work on these things as well as feeding concerns. Down the road she will more than likely need much more therapy than they can offer but right now this will at least help us know what to do to keep her arm and muscles strong and moving until surgery.

Other than that, Ella is doing well. She is getting close to 8 pounds! Yeah, I know she is 3 months old and barely weighs 8 lbs. but it's cool. Feedings are still hit or miss but getting better. Please continue praying for that. Thank you all for your prayers for us and for Ella. We'll keep you updated as we know more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

3 Months Old

First of all, I'm a little embarrassed that the first family picture I have to post is of us in our pajamas and I'm pretty sure I haven't brushed my hair in a day or two. Yikes! But I figure this is a much more accurate picture of how things really are around here so throw us a bone okay? We'll try to get some good Christmas pictures...not in our pj's and I promise to brush my hair!

In more important news, Ella is three months old this week! She is so sweet and just smiles all the time. She is a happy baby which we are so thankful for considering all that she has been through. She is such a little trooper! She is sleeping well and working hard at eating better with the bottle. We are loving having her home with us and we're slowly adjusting to everything. The past two weeks since she's been home have been rough and good at the same time. This week has started out much better so we are hoping that things continue to get a little less crazy around here. We've decided that both our moms can never leave us because we can't survive without their help! :) Our sweet moms have been trading off coming a week at a time to stay with us and help ever since Ella was born in August...yeah,it's December...unbelievable! We have the most amazing and loving parents, they are such a blessing to us.

As for Miss Ella, she is pretty much on house arrest due to it being winter (we're a little germophobic!) and because her feedings are such an ordeal that it is too hard to go anywhere with her at this point. And really our main focus is for her to continue to heal and to eat well so we are just trying to focus on the task at hand. Also, if I can avoid looking like a three-ring circus when in public I will. I mean the other day we went to the doctor and it took all of us, me, Rick and his mom to keep things under control. Eva didn't help matters either by deciding it was a great time to take her shoes off, open and close doors and run down the hall at the office. Really Eva? Not the time for that sister! So, basically we only leave the house to go to Ella's doctor's appointments (without Eva) which we have at least once or twice a week. We have a lot of follow up appointments with different doctors and weigh-ins with her pediatrician that keep us busy. Other than that we are at home working on feedings. Pretty exciting right? :) So even though Ella is home it's not like we really have a normal life with a new baby. It is hard but it is okay, we are very blessed with an amazing little girl who is such a joy. We are so thankful for how far she has come and that she is home and things are headed in the right direction.

There's nothing like Ms. Potato Head earrings to really pull an outfit together!

This week she is doing better with her bottle. Praise God! It is still kind of a battle most times at the beginning of the feeding but then she settles down and does well with it. She is taking more on average which is great but she still is not taking a full bottle so there continues to be inconsistency. We are so thankful for these small steps and it just gives us hope that if we keep trying things will get better. It is still taking an hour or more once she takes the bottle and finishes the rest through her G-button so it is quite the ordeal. I feel like all we do all day is work on feedings so it is very draining emotionally and physically but I know the hard work will pay off. Thank you for your continued prayers for Ella and her feedings, we really are seeing some improvements this week. Keep praying!

We have our appointment next week with Scottish Rite on the 9th so please continue to keep that in your prayers as well. We are so humbled by all the love and support from everyone, we could not do this without it. Please continue to keep our family in your prayers.

Ella finally got to meet her cousins Caden and Emery, we love our cousins!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome Home Ella

All dressed up and ready to go home

Saying bye to Nurse Florence and waiting for Daddy to come pick us up

Daddy putting me in the carseat

Taking everything in on the ride home

After 76 days in the NICU Ella is finally home!! We left the hospital this past Saturday and cried tears of joy the whole way home. It was such an overwhelming feeling to finally be bringing our sweet girl home. We are so thankful to have her and to not have to leave her anymore. She had quite the home coming! Our sweet friends and family lined our driveway with balloons and signs and were cheering as we pulled up to the house. More tears then too. :) They waited out in the wind and cold for over an hour to welcome us home. Amazing! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful support system and we couldn't do this without our friends and family. Thank you to all of you for everything you have done and are doing for us. We love you so much!

It has been so fun having Ella here with us. Eva just adores her already and Ella seems to feel the same about her. Eva loves giving her hugs and kisses and Ella just smiles back at her. It is so sweet! Eva loves to help burp her and give her a passy too. She is such a good big sister. Ella loves the attention and loves being held. We think she got a little spoiled by all the attention she got from her nurses. Thank you NICU nurses for taking care of our girl!

So what is life like at the Carder house? A little crazy but good. There is not a lot of sleeping happening right now so we are very tired. It is a big adjustment for all of us but we know that with time we will get into a routine and things will get a little easier. We are really working hard on Ella's feedings. It is slow going so I feel like all we are doing is feeding. We offer her a bottle every time and whatever she doesn't finish we put through her G-button and because she still doesn't do well with the bottle it is quite an ordeal each time. She has taken several full feedings since she has been home. Yea Ella! Her bottle feedings are still inconsistent but better than what they have been in weeks so we are trying to be thankful for the small steps she is making. However, we still have a ways to go and it is still a struggle for her so please continue to pray that they improve. We are trying to be patient and not get discouraged when she really fights it so please pray for patience and perseverance for us as we work on getting her to eat better.

The other news is that we have an appointment with Scottish Rite on December 9 to evaluate Ella's shoulder. As I mentioned in a previous post the MRI she had at Cook's last week showed that she has an abnormal scapula (shoulder blade) and there appears to be no clavicle (collar bone). There will be more evaluation done on the
9th and hopefully then we will know more. We are so glad to have gotten an appointment so quickly and we're thankful to be getting things moving on this. It will probably still be several months before any kind of surgery but it will be good to have more information. Please continue to pray for this as well as we are anticipating an extensive surgery and recovery.

That is about all the news we have. We are just trying to enjoy our time as a family of four and rest when we can. Thank goodness for grandparents! We would not survive without them. Here are some pictures of Ella leaving the hospital and her home coming. More pictures to come! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. Keep praying, we love you, The Carders

Ella and CC

Ella and Dee

Ella with Mimi and Pawpaw

Home at last

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ella is coming home!!!

Yes, it is true, Ella is coming home this weekend! We are SO excited and can't wait for little Ella to be home and FINALLY meet her big sister Eva. We will spend the night at the hospital Friday night and "room-in" with Ella. She gets to sleep in the room with us and we will take care of her just like we would at home. If all goes well then sometime on Saturday we will be discharged and ready to go home. It is hard to believe that this day is finally here. It's been over 2 months that Ella has been in the hospital so it is definitely time and we are very ready. We are thankful to be at this point.

She is doing very well and has recovered well from her surgery this past Monday. We are learning to use her G-Button for feedings and are continuing to work on feeding with a bottle. She has not been taking a full feeding with the bottle but we are hoping that once she gets home that with time this will improve. Even though she has the G-button there is not that pressure to take a whole bottle but we are really praying that her feedings will improve soon so please keep that in your prayers.

We also got her MRI results back this week. The preliminary results showed that she has an abnormal scapula (shoulder blade) and there appears to be no clavicle (collar bone). Basically this means she will definitely need major reconstructive surgery on her left shoulder. We are beginning the process of talking with doctors and trying to get in to Scottish Rite in Dallas. This news was hard to hear but we are thankful and hopeful for a positive outcome. There are still many unknowns at this point and it is still going to be a long road with more surgeries to come so please continue to keep this in your prayers for Ella as well.

Overall, Ella has come so far and we are very thankful for the amazing progress she has made. She has had the best care and the best nurses and doctors. We love them so much and will miss seeing them but we are overjoyed that we are finally going to get to bring our sweet girl home. We still have a lot to overcome and work on with feedings and her shoulder so please keep praying for Ella and our family. We'll keep you updated on the big homecoming this weekend and hopefully have some fun pictures to post so stayed tuned. Love, The Carders

Monday, November 10, 2008

Update on Ella's Surgery

Spending time with Mommy and Daddy this morning before surgery

Getting ready to go in for surgery

After surgery...what a cutie!

Ella's surgery went very well today. Praise God! Thank you all for your prayers, phone calls, texts, and emails. We felt at peace today and surrounded by so much love from friends and family. We are constantly in awe of how God is carrying us through by using all of you and all you do for us. Thank you!

We are very glad today is behind us, it was a very long day. Ella's surgery was scheduled for 12:30 but it didn't start until close to 2 pm so needless to say things were running behind. They did the MRI after the surgery so things weren't done until around 6pm. We got a quick peek at her when they transported her back to the NICU at Harris and then we weren't able to actually get in to see her until after 8 pm tonight. So it has been a really long day but a good one. Dr. Black, her surgeon said that things went well and he was pleased with everything. Ella did great through it all! Tonight when we finally got to see her she seemed peaceful when she was asleep and when she was awake she was very alert and not fussy at all. We are so thankful for that. Dr. Black had talked about the possibility that he was going to close up her tummy from her omphalocele surgery during this G-button surgery but it has already healed so much on it's own that he just left it alone which is great news. Her tummy has really healed well and it looks so good. Yeah! We don't know anything about the MRI or what they found so hopefully tomorrow we will have more information on all of that. Please keep praying for that because we are anxious about what the news will be and what the road ahead will be like regarding surgeries, etc. for Ella. We'll know something soon!

Tomorrow morning they will start Ella back on her regular feeding schedule so please continue praying for her with her eating. The NG tube in her nose is gone so now whatever she doesn't eat they will put through her G-tube in her tummy. Even though she had to get the G-button we are hoping that she will really just start eating well and we won't have to use it very much. So please keep praying for feedings to improve. The good news is that hopefully if there are no other complications we are just one step closer to coming home. Thank you for your continued prayers and support for our family. I've got to go to bed and get some sleep. :)
We love you, The Carders

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ella's surgery rescheduled

The Carder family is feeling better now and we have been able to return to our regular routine of visiting Ella. Thank you all for your prayers for us.
Ella’s eating habits remain consistently inconsistent. We have scheduled her surgery to have a feeding tube put in on Monday at 12:30 at Cooks. They will also do an MRI on her shoulder either before the surgery or after (while she is still under anesthesia).

Although we are not thrilled about Ella having another surgery, we are at peace that this is what needs to be done. We are praying this surgery will move her closer down the road to recovery and ultimately get her home where she can recover quicker.

In times like this, it is easy to get down and just keep going to the Father with request after request after request. Believe me, we are doing that. However, recently, we have been moved to think about all we have to be thankful for. All of you who are keeping up with us and calling and praying are so special to us. Whether you know it or not, we believe God is using you to hold us up and carry us through.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ella's Surgery Postponed

Plans have changed a bit since the last time we posted. Something that hasn’t changed is Ella’s eating habits. As of today, Ella is still having trouble feeding. Therefore, we have decided it would be best for her and us if she has the G-button surgery. As much as we hate for her to have an additional surgery it is a step in getting her home soon and we can continue working on her feedings from our home field – possibly a little home field advantage will help. However, all of the Carders have been sick all weekend. We only got to go up to the hospital a couple of times all weekend. We went to the doctor today and we both (Eva seems to be getting over it) have a viral infection. We are on medicine to get us back on our feet but have been ordered not to go up to the hospital until our symptoms are gone. We really hate not getting to go up and hold sweet Ella but know it is best for her if we stay at home. In addition to not getting to go up there, we have decided to postpone her surgery. Because we would not be able to be at the hospital during the surgery or after, we did not want to go ahead with it. More than likely, the surgery will be later in the week or early next week. We’ll keep you posted as things are decided.

In the meantime, you can be praying for me and Rick to get better quickly. Also, we have some more time for her to start feeding well – so keep praying this week for her feedings to improve.

That’s all we have for now. Thanks for all your support and prayers.

Friday, October 31, 2008

2 Months Old

Happy Halloween!

It has been one week since we last posted so we wanted to give everyone an update. The ups and downs have continued. Ella will eat good one time and not the next. She has had some good days this week and not as many good nights. However, overall she has made some progress – last week she was eating 30 ML (30 ML = 1 ounce) and this week she has had more feedings in the 45 ML range. This progress is good but she really needs to be eating 60-70 ML per feeding in order to go home without a feeding tube. Therefore, after a lot of discussions and prayer, we have scheduled her feeding tube (G-button) surgery for Tuesday afternoon. We will meet with her doctor on Monday to evaluate everything and we can cancel the surgery if we want to but we needed to get her on the calendar just in case. We don't want her to have to have this surgery and we are still praying that her feedings improve. We beg you to continue praying this as well. However, in case God has other plans than what we are asking, we have gone ahead and scheduled the surgery.

In addition to this surgery, we are going to have an MRI done on her left shoulder. This is probably the first many of you have heard about this additional complication. We didn't know until Ella was born that there was something wrong with her shoulder. You can tell by feeling it that things are not lining up the way they should be. We don't know the extent of it all but she will for sure need major reconstructive surgery to correct it. We have not focused on this or brought it up because it has kind of been on the back burner while we deal with the other stomach defect. However, because Ella will already be under anesthesia for the G-Button surgery, our surgeon is planning on getting the orthopedic team in there to do an MRI so hopefully we’ll know more of what is going on and what the next steps will be. Right now, we are thinking that nothing would be done for another 3-6 months. Hopefully we will have more information and more of a plan after we get the MRI results.

So basically, this is just not a fun time around the Carder household. We are tired and ready for Ella to be home. It has been 2 months today and with the G-Button surgery and shoulder surgery, we don’t really see the load getting much lighter any time soon. Your prayers, comments, phone calls, emails, and texts all mean so much to us. Even though we may not respond, they mean so much and we need them more than ever. We definitely see God’s blessings during this time through our friends, family, church and elders. We had a great week with several elders praying with us and over us and Ella. The peace that we have is truly unimaginable during such crazy times. It can only come from one source – the Holy Spirit of God.

I know a lot of you are praying with your kids. One thing I am learning during this time is that God is God. Sometimes, He answers the prayers the way we ask them and the way we want them as in Eva’s case. Other times, He has other plans to bring good out of not answering them the way we are praying. We worship God, not the outcomes. No matter what the outcome, we worship God. We trust Him. He is real. He knows everything. Read what God says in Job 38 and 39 and Job’s response in 40 (in the Message). Truly we serve a God who doesn’t “need” our advice. He does not owe us anything, in fact, He has given the Carders more good than we deserve. I’m not saying I enjoy what we are going through or that I’m even thankful for it. We’re trying to remain thankful in this circumstance.

Keep praying.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pray for Ella

Rick here. Sometimes in life, what you see is not always what it appears. That is the case with this picture. Although she is smiling and looks great to us, Ella is not doing great. We just love the picture and wanted to post it because we are thankful. We acknowledge that we have so much to be thankful for – Ella is peaceful, content, her wound is healing fine, her doctors and nurses have been excellent and we’re making friends with other parents in the NICU. All these things we are thankful to God for and recognize them as blessings from Him.

However, Ella is not eating well. Several weeks ago, she was doing great and we had our hopes on going home soon. Then, for some reason, she just stopped taking a bottle and she had to go back to being fed by the feeding tube more frequently. Now we are at a place where she is only eating well every once in a while – way too inconsistent for any of us to be comfortable. The doctors are now talking to us about Ella having to go through another surgery to put a feeding tube into her stomach (called a G-buttom). This would allow us to go home – however, we want her to go home without a feeding tube and no surgery. The surgery would have additional complications due to the fact that she has had the omphalocele surgery.

We understand that God is God. He can do whatever He wants and doesn’t even have to explain why. We trust Him. And if He wants her to have another surgery for this G-button, we will submit to that and praise Him for being God. However, we don’t want this to be His will. We are pleading with Him to have Ella get better without the surgery. We are begging Him to open Ella’s mouth and give her the desire, ability and strength to eat full bottles every time.

We are asking all who read this blog (pass this on to anyone who will pray) to join us in praying that Ella start eating well every time. Her feeding times are 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 am and pm. We want so bad for God to be glorified through her eating well. We want there to be no doubt that God changed her eating habits. We want everyone to know that there is a God and He is good. We know that is the case no matter what happens with her eating habits.

It is times like this that I wish I understood God but it is also times like these that I am so thankful I serve a God who is so big, there is nobody who can grasp everything about Him. What a small God we would serve if we understood everything about Him…If His answer was always “Yes” and we never got to see Him bring good out of tough situations. We serve a Huge God!

Thank you for praying for our family. Please continue.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

7 Weeks Old

I love snuggling with Daddy

Sorry Ella but your hair in the back was CRAZY!

Just talking with Mommy

A visit from Uncle Jake last weekend

Snuggle time with Pawpaw

Breakfast is so much more fun when you dress up!

Ella is 7 weeks old today. It is hard to believe that we are closing in on 2 months! Lately it seems like time is creeping by as we wait for Ella to get better and be able to come home with us. This past week has been a rough one for us with the bottle feedings. Last weekend there were a lot of changes made to Ella's feeding plan and nothing was consistent so it kind of set her back this past week. It has been very frustrating and emotionally draining and needless to say many tears have been shed on my part. She has been spitting up a lot this week and only taking half of what was in her bottle during her bottle feedings. She is still getting 2-3 feedings through her tube. I know they have told us that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better so I guess this is just one of those times.

So far this weekend has been much better so we are hoping it will be a better start for this coming week. Please keep praying for her as we keep working on getting her to eat and to hopefully move to all bottle feedings soon. She has come so far and we are so thankful for the progress she has made but there is still a long way to go. Her tummy is continuing to heal well and looks really good. Her surgeon said it will probably be another month or two before it is completely closed but it is looking good. She can come home with it the way it is so that is not keeping us in the hospital, it is her feedings.

We are trying to be patient but it is hard to leave her every day and night, especially this past week when she was having such a hard time. I've been a little more emotional this week and easily worried about what all Ella has to face. In times like this I think it is funny how God speaks to me and I had one of those moments this week. I was putting Eva down for a nap the other day before I went up to the hospital and she got her little Bible to read a story and turned to the story of Jesus calming the storm from Matthew 8. I have heard this story a million times but I felt like that day it was the Lord speaking to me like he did to the disciples saying, "Amy, where is your faith, why are you so afraid?" It was a great reminder that He is mighty to save and will continue to be faithful during this journey with Ella. He certainly has been faithful to us. There have been a lot of hard and scary moments in the past 9+ months and God has been there and delivered us through all of them and I know He will continue to do so.