Saturday, September 29, 2012

A "Heart"felt Thanks

Hello everyone. It has been quite a week and my updates have been easier to post to facebook off and on than to get on here and try to post a big update. I have a chance now to sit and try to go through the week. Monday went without a hitch. The c section went as planned and it was an amazing experience to actually hear him cry and scream as they took out. Ava's cord was wrapped around her so we didn't hear her cry at first and it was just an amazing experience to hear. Nick was able to carry him over to me and let me see him and touch him. The only time Noah didn't scream in the OR was when his daddy was holding him. He is such a sweet baby. I was just overwhelmed with love and joy and just seeing my hubby with his boy was an exceptional experience. :) My recovery has been up and down. Sometimes I over do it and then pay for it because I end up hurting real bad. My spinal was a normal ordeal, but my back pain since then has been a little worse than with Ava. I also have just wanted to be up and about to see Noah and be there, so I've walked a bit too much at times and have paid for it later. My pain meds work well and I have been able to keep up with those. We have gotten settled into the Ronald McDonald house and will be staying there the duration of Noah's stay. We are blessed to be there and be cared for there. They are all so nice and it is a comfortable place.

Noah's surgery day was a long long day but we could not be in a better place than Cook Children's for this type of surgery and recovery. The team was solid and informative, the surgeon as I've described him before is a genius and so intimidating with his intelligence, yet personal and nice. :) hehe We want it that way. :) The updated up every hour on the progress and then we were able to give him kisses right out of surgery and on his way to the PICU. He is in the PICU and has one on one care all day and night. He has a lot of drips, (iv nutrition, antibiotics, blood pressure meds, etc)he is on a pacemaker, he is still not sewn up, so he has a patch over his chest where they did the surgery. It is quite the experience to see that. Hopefully his swelling will go down and he will be able to be sewn back up in the next day or so. Please pray his swelling will begin to reside. He should start peeing a lot real soon and it will help. He is such a trooper. So many tubes and monitors on him, but he is just amazing.
thank you to those who have prayed for us, sent us messages, those who have been in town and have come to see us. WOW! We have been OVERWHELMED and we will never actually know just how many people have been praying and keeping up with Noah. We are just humbled as ever.

Praises:
Noah came into the world!!!
my surgery went well
recovery has been good
Noah made it through open heart surgery!!
My milk came in the 3rd day after him being born and it is staying, even increasing. thank you Lord!
We have a "home base" at the Ronald McDonald house
My mom is able to stay longer than we hoped at first. :) so thankful!
my best friend is here right now!!! so needed!
my sissy comes in for a week in October!!!
Nick's job is allowing him to be gone for 2 weeks. praise God. Having him by my side has been essential. marriage is a beautiful thing, especially in times like these. thankful.
we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love, prayers, support, and encouragement. thank you!

requests:
for Noah's swelling to go down
for Noah to be sewn back up and for that procedure to go smoothly.
for him to take his time with the healing but for him to be able to be weened off the pacemaker at his own pace
for him to continue to thrive and for all his other bodily functions to continue to work normally as they have this whole time.
continued milk supply
safety for dad traveling back and forth as he goes home tomorrow and comes back next weekend
for Ava to continue to thrive and do well with all the change (just a note: she has been amazing and has done so well this whole time, it's amazing! She has grown so much and has started saying all sorts of words and numbers, singing, "reading" books, etc)
for my recovery. swelling to go down and for my scar to heal well.
for my heart to stay steady and focused on God's timing and plan for Noah, not my own. :)
I'm homesick. I haven't been home since Sept 8th. feeling it.

 

guess that is the update for now. Thanks for riding this road with us. we are blessed beyond measure by every one's support and love.

blessings
shaina

Sunday, September 23, 2012

well...here it is.

So, tomorrow is the day. I've been counting the days to get through the last two weeks of being away from home, without hubby, etc. Now, we're at the eve of Noah's birth and I am oddly enough in such a stuper of peace and "ok-ness" I have suddenly been bombarded with facebook posts from everyone and it is the most humbling thing I have ever experienced. Truly, I am speechless at all the support and outpouring of concern and love for our Noah. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Noah will be safe and sound, through all of this, because of this covering that we have, over us, constantly. I have been in a state of peace, healthy anxiety or better word excitement really. I am thankful for the lack of nerves, lack of emotion (in a good way, if you know me haha). Strength has been evident to me today because I didn't have too hard of a time letting Ava go, to stay with mimi and tpaw at the hotel for tonight, so we can actually get some rest before tomorrow and get out of the house and to the hospital on time and with less trouble. ha :)

Tomorrow changes everything. Many of you who have more than 1 child have experienced this feeling. Everything changes. Nothing will be the same. Then add to that the craziness of heart surgery in a few days, a couple week stay in the hospital, back in a few months for surgery #2, a week stay for that, meds, oxygen saturation monitor and baby scale coming home with us, daily check ins from the hospital when we get home, to see how he is doing, etc. him learning to eat at approx week 3 of life, praying and hoping he'll catch on and do well. (that will be a big factor in him getting home)etc etc. All of that doesn't really cloud the excitement of the fact that we will meet our sweet noah tomorrow, regardless of the "extras" that come with him. sometimes I get overwhelmed, which is normal, but I think right now, I just want to meet him. :) one step at a time.

So, for all of you prayer warriors out there, here are some detailed prayer requests:

c-section to go smoothly
Noah to be delivered and get to the NICU easily and with good vitals
(i would LOVE to get to hold him, but it depends on how he is doing)
for Ava to have a smooth day with all the craziness

For now that is all that I will allow my mind and heart focus on. Tomorrow. the first day of the rest of this journey. We'll take it one day at a time. Thank you for walking this road with us, praying for us, keeping up with us. We're truly humbled beyond words by the outpouring of support and love.
wow.
God bless each of you for your selfless acts of prayer and support. The Body of Christ TRULY IS PRICELESS!
be blessed,
shaina

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

moments

Ava is asleep. There are times right now when she's sleeping that I can actually catch my breath, take a minute to myself and soak up a quiet Mary moment, as I like to call it....whether you are thinking of Martha's sister Mary, who chose to sit at the savior's feet or if you're thinking of Mary, Jesus's mother who pondered things in her heart as her son was asleep. You see, we must catch these quiet times, the moments of peace...especially as a mother, I've realized how much I NEED my quiet time with the Lord. I still have days where I end up passing by the whole day until the time that I crawl into bed and have some devotional and journaling....but then there are times when I get to sit, reflect, try to listen to the Lord, thank him for my children, even if I've had rough moments with one little toot of a girl..hehe, thank him for my husband, our home, his job, our family, etc etc. These times are what keep my perspective clear and my heart at peace. There are times, lately even, that I have doubted the peace I have. They say ignorance is bliss and is this peace I have simply ignorance of what is to come? Since I don't know any better, I just don't have a need to worry, etc. But, I know that's not true. If I didn't have a peace from the Lord, I WOULD be worried as ever, anxious, stressed, doubting, etc. I know my nature and I know that how I am handling this is not in my nature. Trust me. I used to worry, talk about every detail to two or three of my closest confidants, try to fix and figure it out, etc. I have my moments, I struggle often, but my overall sense of peace and "ok-ness" is strictly from the Lord. No doubt. This is what they call "peace beyond all understanding". I know it is from the prayers of you all. I feel this peace daily. There are times when Ava and I go round and round with discipline issues etc (as any toddler does) but, add the fact that I'm huge pregnant, tired, sore and have no energy to that mix and it can get frustrating, not to mention I don't have my hubby here to rescue me at 5:15pm. haha So, we'll have an issue but a few minutes later we're laughing and enjoying ourselves. Thank you Lord. There are times when I so desperately miss Nick and then he'll send me a funny text. There will be a moment when I feel lonely and someone will call, like my sister, my paw paw or my gran. I get frustrated with not being at home and then I realize that I have 1 load of laundry for the week and 1 room to keep clean right now (with a few toys, a couple of dishes and some odds and ends in the rest of the house) haha. Not shabby. :) Anyway, there are just times that the quiet is therapeutic, almost overwhelming.

So....
The details at this point are as follows:
Dr appt this Thursday-3:00pm
c-section scheduled for September 24th (this coming Monday) at 10:00am
Texas Health-Harris Methodist Hospital
Noah will be transferred directly to Cook Children's as soon as he's born. (down the hallway basically)
Surgery will be a few days after birth (at this point, if something changes we will update)
My parents, nick's dad and mom and mamaw will be coming in over the weekend and will all be here Monday-sometime later in the week. They will all have the joy of keeping up with Ava. go team. haha

We are continuing to pray for total health for Noah, for a good birth weight, good vitals and functions in all ways so that there are no other problems besides the heart condition he already has. So far that looks good. Praying for the possibility of getting to hold him some the first day or so (all depends on vitals, how he is doing in general, how his initial echo cardiogram goes,etc) this mommy sure would like a good holding session before his surgery because it will be a while after that before I will get to)
pray for all Dr's nurses techs etc. My Dr is Dr. Thomas Howard and he will do my c-section. He has been a sweet Dr so far. I've been so thankful for that. Dr.Allender is the pediatric cardiologist on call on Monday when Noah is born, so he will do his initial check up and echo on his heart, etc. He will also be the cardiologist that sees us in Amarillo when he comes to town for rounds. Dr. Tam is the surgeon who will operate on Noah. He is a nice man, very very knowledgeable and studied under the surgeon who the first procedure is named. (norwood) So we are confident in the Lord, through Dr. Tam and his hands.
Again, thank you for the prayers. The messages, the texts, calls, etc. I am so thankful. I feel them all. I know Nick has been doing well with staying busy on the house, with family, projects etc. Ava and I are hanging in there with finding outings in the day and trying to play in the evenings and watch lots of cartoons and such in bed together before she goes to her bed for the night. :)
We're going to get through this as champs because if God is for us, who can be against us!!

We WILL see the goodness of the Lord, very soon! (i mean each day, but  Monday is going to be extra special) hehe :)

love to all,
shaina

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Final Countdown

I've thought about this week for a long time now. Since May. Since that Friday night that I was curled up in bed crying and asking God why he would choose us for this journey. I've been thinking about this week and all I'm counting down. I absolutely cannot wait to see my hubby. I've missed him terribly and have been reminded of how much he does for me and how much just his presence is needed in my life. daily. I am counting down seeing my parents. I am excited to have them here and near for all of this. They have been pillars for me, consistently, and continue to be so. I am counting down the days until we meet Noah. We actually get to meet him and see him a week from tomorrow. That is a crazy realization for me. I am so excited. I have realized a lot today, so many things, but one of the big things I have realized is that Ava is growing up by leaps and bounds every day. I have also realized just how much of a sponge she is and that has made me ever so aware of my attitude and my words. Wow. I have been convicted of that so much this last week as I get frustrated, annoyed, lonely, sad, miserable, weary of chasing her around, etc etc. There have been a few times where I have let me emotions go and she sees me cry and she pats me sweetly or hugs me tight. She is aware of emotion, attitude, etc. She knows what pushes my buttons and what makes me cave. haha. All that to say, I have realized I have such a huge job to do in teaching my daughter about attitude, patience, the Word, as Titus 2 teaches us women to live the gospel out for our children. Wow. wow. wow. Lord help. I need it! There is a fine line sometimes during disciplining a toddler where patience is short and attitude is evident, in the worst ways. There must be grace given in many ways, but at the same time there are lessons Ava has to be taught. Tiring, but worthwhile. With that, my prayer for myself for this week is to discipline where needed and extend grace and a Godly, loving example to Ava as consistently as my humanness can. :) Even as a toddler, she can learn Godly attributes from me, since we are together, all the time. ha. I am learning every day to let things go that I have been so concerned about. I know it sounds stupid, but I let Ava feed herself mac and cheese at the restaurant today. I know. Why was that a stretch for me? Because it was a slight mess, she was using her hands of course, some got in her hair, etc. BUT, I let it go and realized that she is washable, she was feeding herself like a big girl (has to learn), she enjoyed being independent in that way, it really wasn't that big of a mess, and she ate a good lunch because of it. win for her, win for me. success!
This blog is mainly about Ava because I desperately want to make sure she does not slip through my hands during all of this stuff with Noah. I want to soak her up, love her deeply, teach her lots, hug her neck as much as I can, etc etc before I don't see her for a couple of weeks, before she grows up even more, etc. Even when she is annoying and driving me crazy, she is my poo bear and I couldn't do life without her. She's such a blessing and will be a great big sissy. I'm sure of it!

thank you all for your prayers and love. truly. They're felt daily.
blessings,
shaina

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adjustments 1.1

So, I knew that Ava and I both would need to adjust to life here for the next few weeks and I knew it would take some time and effort out of both of us. I didn't realize just how emotionally draining it would be on me, as a mommy. Not just as a person, being away from home, husband, normalcy, schedule, my own bed, bathroom, familiarity, church family, etc. But, as a mommy, it is SO hard to see your child struggle to "be ok". Ava has done well and today has been our best day yet. Much less fit throwing and whining and more laughing, eating better, nap taking, and general obedience. It has been a blessing to see her flourish in the last day or so as she is realizing that life is different right now and that doesn't mean it is bad. I feel that I've done some of the same growing. I've learned that laughing and letting things go (mainly ava stuff) is ok and that it lightens my load when I let it go, laughing is in general good for all, eating better(healthier for me generally) is always good, naps are our friends, and obedience to my Father is key to this whole thing, even when I don't understand, want to comply or wonder what will come out of any of it. God knows, we just simply have to obey. When we obey, that means we trust that what he has for us is better than what we have for ourselves, even if we don't like it. So, as I've learned these little lessons the last few days, I've been freed from a lot of anxiety and lack of self confidence because I am trying to allow the important things to be important and the not so important things be at the bottom. So what if Ava strings out all of my clothes from my suitcase...I napped for 30 minutes without realizing it and she is not hurt, nothing got broken and she was occupied. haha! That really happened today. :) clothes are easy to put back into a suitcase. Keeping her occupied is not. haha! I've let go of the "what will this do to her" stuff, like if I put her in my bed at 2 am because she is awake and won't go back to bed without screaming etc. She is having to sleep in a pack and play...not my first choice for sure, it is not normal for her and out of these 2 weeks of our life, I don't think a couple of times in bed with me will be hurtful to her health or well being. In fact, we have both needed the snuggles and love of each other many times the last few days. I've held her for naps more these last few days too, mainly because she will take a nap for me, when I hold her, because she is in such a new place and new schedule. I realized that these times are precious, with her being where she wants me to hold her and rock her, she is my only child able for me to hold and rock right now, after the c-section I won't be able to for a little while, etc. God is teaching me to let go of all the things I think are so right, so important and are so by the book and just let things happen as they come. We are in a place in life that we have to be flexible and it is ok to find a new normal right now. That lesson alone has been huge for both myself and in turn, Ava. Thank you Lord, Nick, Mom and the graciousness of our hosts Stacey and Kevin. (such grace has been extended to both ava and I as we have adjusted, thank you!)
So, Ava and I have enjoyed some outings lately....we made it to Jack in the Box (for hubby haha) and walmart. We took a trip to Hobby Lobby and Baskin Robbins and today we went to the mall and Ava had a good time playing on the kid's play area, I found her some shirts, and noah and her both some Cowboys gear. :) I got to eat some chinese food (nick doesn't always go for that, so I eat it mainly when he is gone) haha. Ava and I shared a soft pretzel, we both napped when we got home and then she got to go play at church tonight and I got to play by taking a hot bath, getting our laundry done, picking up our room and having some quiet time. :) Ava and mommy are both happy girls. She is sleeping hard right now and I am going to wrap this up so I can get some sleep. Maybe she'll stay down the whole night. Looks like we might have to make a park run tomorrow since it will be only in the 80's here. (I know you guys in amarillo are getting low 60's) jealous!!!!
If y'all would continue to pray for Ava and her adjustments.
Pray for my dr appt on Friday- regular appt, but just praying that noah is growing big and looking good.
Delivery day is sept 24th still. Praying for a smooth c-section, and a smooth recovery for myself so that I can be all I need to be for Noah.
This is going to sound really weird, but the women who read this and pray can understand....pray for my milk supply to stay constant and enough for noah. I will be pumping and he won't be breastfeeding directly but when he starts eating after he is out of surgery and off of the ventilator, he can have my milk and I would be so blessed to know that I can provide for him for quite awhile. They say, sometimes with stress, mommies of those having surgery and stuff can dry up and not provide enough, so they use milk donors for the babies in order for them to still get breast milk...I would just love to be able to provide milk for Noah for a long time. thanks :)

Oh, so Nick is amazing and has transformed our living room floors from yucky carpet to hardwoods. The laminate flooring under our carpet was horrendous but he has gotten the paint and texture off, re stained and coated the floors and they look great according to the pictures! :) what an awesome hubby!! :) we miss him a lot!
pray for his safety as he flies down, next weekend (22nd).
love to all!
thanks to all!
shaina

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Beginning of the End....errr The Beginning of the rest...

I can't help but think that today marks the first day of the end of this process. This process has come in parts for me and this is the beginning of the end. Ava and I have settled in for the most part at Nick's cousin's home here in North Richland Hills. We are so very very thankful for the opening of their home for us and for the grace and love that is shared in this home. I am thankful. Nick flew back home today and has already begun on home improvement projects that will keep him quite busy the next 2 weeks.
So yesterday was both good and interesting. I won't say bad. The shower was perfect! Such a sweet shower thrown by sweet people and I was able to say bye to some people before we left town. Noah was blessed with some sweet things and we are just overwhelmed with blessings. We planned to leave town around 3 and we were on the road at 3:15ish. Awesome for having had to load the jeep, get ava ready, etc in just over an hour. Well, we got to the outskirts of Amarillo and our tire pressure light came on. We both had thought we might have heard air earlier, but couldn't guarantee it, but low and behold, it was leaking bad. So since we bought the tires at Discount only a couple of weeks ago, we headed there. They had closed at 1:30 that day due to a company function, so plan B. Walmart....we call ahead and there was an hour wait. Well, guess we'll wait. We didn't want to drive any further on it and it had to get fixed. So, we walked around the Grand street walmart and waited from 3:45-5:15. Finally, back on the road. We hustled and made good timing, even stopping as needed and made it to NRH by midnight on the dot. Thank the Lord for his provision and protection.
Ava did amazing the whole trip and even stayed asleep and went down in her pack and play here perfectly and slept all night. She was up early this morning, but she did sooo good!
Today has been a little rough. I have had such peace though, all day. The prayers of all of you are so sweet and precious to me because I know that is why I am so clear minded, level headed and lacking in outbursts of emotion because I have an underlying peace and the Holy Spirit has just enveloped me with his presence. It doesn't mean there hasn't been frustrations today. Ava is in a new house, new place, new routine, lack of routine and schedule, etc and so she is pushing the limits and figuring out what she can get away with and what she can't. I'm exhausted to say the least. I truly do not know how single parents do it. God so intended for children to be raised in a home with a mom and a dad for a reason. Doesn't mean he doesn't provide for and fill in the holes of the homes without one or the other. don't get me wrong in this. It is not a judgment, it is an observation and it has made me appreciate my husband and our amazing partnership in parenting. Truly. I am so thankful for him and all he does for our daughter. And what he will do for our son.

So, I am tired and ready for bed.

I missed all of everyone from FLC this weekend. Hope it was fun and I can't wait to see y'all again in a few weeks.

Looks like that is all of the update that I have for now.
I do have an update on prayer requests if anyone is interested....

Pray for the next 2 weeks for me. We deliver on the 24th and so just 2 more weeks of being pregnant. I am feeling the fatigue and weariness. I have to chase my baby girl around all day and the energy level is lacking right now. I want to be here for her and do as much as I can with her before we have Noah, so please pray for great rest each night, energy for the days and for Ava and I to have a bonding time and a special time together.

For nick as he is by himself for 2 weeks. He has lots going on around the house, work, etc. Just for his safety, rest, etc. We miss him already!

I have a dr appt the 14th at my dr here in ft. worth. just pray for all to still be going well. (don't want to go into labor or anything)

Pray blessings over our sweet family here in north richland hills. They have opened their home and their lives for us to invade for however long we need here and for that we are grateful.

Thanks all!
all for now.
shaina

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ft Worth Eve...

Ugh. This week has been both good and bad. I'm exhausted, sore, uncomfortable and can barely keep up with Ava. Add on to that, trying to pack, clean house, laundry, dr appts here, etc etc and Ava won't take a nap to save either of our lives. :( I'm just ready to not be so loaded with "to do's" and I realllllly wish that Ava stay on some sort of schedule with her naps, even in the midst of the craziness, but I know that isn't happening. She realizes something is wrong and doesn't know how to express that other than being clingy, not wanting to "miss out" by sleeping, she fights it all day and then finally gives up at night. I hate that this is taking a toll on her already, but, maybe we'll be relaxed in ft worth and she won't feel the need to not miss out on anything and cry every time I leave the room. :(
I haven't felt like nor I have a cooked a meal in weeks it seems. I feel bad about not keeping up with some of the domestic things I enjoy doing, but I'm just at that point in pregnancy that I could care less about being a cook. Might as well add to the lack of normalcy in all of this. (truly it is not a big deal, but to a stay at home mom on a budget, it can feel like a fail)
I have only laid out a couple of things on my bed, to pack. I have nothing laid out to pack for Ava, nor do I have any of the extra bags ready such as food for her, etc. I just can't get to doing any of it. I'm not sure if it is lack of energy, procrastinating because I think it will prolong our leaving, etc. I'll have to find a way to get it done somehow.
I suppose I'll be done dumping for now. I just feel the battle increasing inside of me as we prepare to leave. Satan is trying his best to get to me and I refuse to surrender to him. I claim the peace and empowerment I've had through Christ. It's my hope and refuge.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

For my babies...

Bethany Dillon has always been one of my favorite singer/song writers. We are about the same age and she has a little girl a bit older than Ava. She wrote this song and it has just spoken to my heart regarding my little ones so much.
enjoy. :)


Good morning
You and the sun are up before I'm ready
But ready or not, you need me
So here I am

I'm learning that in the long hard days
There is beauty
Do you know my favorite place to see it
It's when I look at you

And though I'm tired now
You're worth every sleepless night
You're worth it all, cause I know...

[CHORUS]
You're the best song I'll ever write
And we're humming and dancing through the years together
You're the best song I'll ever write
And I pray you'll hear Jesus in it when you're older

[VERSE]
I remember when you were just a heartbeat that I heard
and now our eyes meet
Forever is not enough to love you

Ooohhh...

[BRIDGE]
Every prayer for you is like a seed in the ground
Every tear I cry is like rain
And in its due season
I pray a harvest will be found
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus' name
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus' name