Monday, November 28, 2011

short and sweet.

I'm tired.  Jason went home to go back to work, but I have a few more days before I can leave, while waiting on the interstate paperwork.  So three year old, new born, and someone else's house has me feeling pretty busy.  I thought I would update a little that Shilo is out of the hospital (obviously), cord free, eating well, and sleeping pretty much anytime she's not eating.
And Abigail is in LOVE with her little sister.  I can't even put into words how sweet and wonderful she is being.  She is showing not one ounce of jealousy.  She is helping take care of her however she can, and most of all she loves holding her, singing to her (mostly made up songs about adoption), and giving her butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses, regular kisses, and squeezes.  My heart feels blessed to overflowing watching my two girls together.
*someone* likes being a big sister

You probably won't hear from me again until after I am home and have some nighttime help from Jason.

Loving that Abigail has a baby sister,

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Everywhere we have turned people have been saying, oh you must be so bummed to be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital.  It must be really hard.
Well, ummmm, it's not.  We had people who shared their meal with us today, and I am thankful for that.  But in all honestly sitting in the hospital room with the sweet gift God has bestowed upon us makes it a little hard to feel anything less than thankful.  Yes, we missed the time with family we had been planning.  Jason missed going hunting with his dad and brother, which he had been looking forward to for quite some time.  But as much as Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and loved ones, it's also about being thankful.

So for today I am thankful that we have two daughters.  I am thankful that Abigail got to join us today and meet her sister.  And I am thankful for a woman who selflessly chose life, and adoption for Shilo.  Turkey and mashed potatoes are great things.  But being a family of four makes today, and every other day of the past week and a half, worth giving thanks for.
Their first meeting.
Giving thanks,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

She's mine.

As I sat holding her, and staring she just seemed so familiar.  Her little face feels like it's always been in my heart.  I have known her for so long, yet I just met her.  Adoption is amazing like that.  I believe that I could have picked her out without anyone telling me who she was.
Our adoptions have both been very different.  With Abigail I got to know her form before she was born.  I saw her through ultrasound.  I felt her kick by putting my hand on her tummy mommy's belly.  The moment she was born I was in love with her. 
Shilo was much different.  We didn't even know how much she as going to weigh when we met her.  We had never seen her tummy mommy, and therefore had no idea even what color her skin would be.  It took us a little longer to fall in love the way we did with Abigail.  But from the first moment I saw her she felt familiar, like someone I had always known.
I have heard people say that they don't know if they could love a child that wasn't theirs.  The thing is, as soon as we met our daughters there was something there.  Some heart connection that was ordained by God when he chose these sweet girls to be ours. 

So thankful that we have been chosen to be two sweet little girl's parents,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Refelctions from Holland.

I have been thinking about the poem 'Welcome to Holland' quite a bit here lately.  I have been recalling my feelings of bewilderment, fear, and pain when we landed in Holland the first time around.  Today, we were given our packet from the hospital on having a child who has Down syndrome, and is a heart patient.  The poem was in the packet of stuff for new parents.  It made me smile this time.
You see Holland was super scary when we landed there unexpectedly.  You spend time screaming at God and letting Him know that your ticket was not for this place.  Eventually you start to settle in.  You may not always be excited you are in Holland, but you start to meet other parents, other children, and you begin to enjoy this close knit family you make in Holland.  You start to recognize milestones not as one less thing you have to do, but the biggest accomplishment of your child's life, up until that point.
But this time we chose Holland.  We bought our boarding pass and happily flew in that direction.  We knew where we would be landing, and we couldn't be happier to be here.  We have made a whole new set of friends here this time around.  And it feels different.  Less scary.  More pleasant.
People wonder why we chose here this time.  They think we might be a few french fries short in our Happy Meal.  Honestly, our first trip to Holland taught us to love deep and passionately because tomorrow is not guaranteed.  It taught us that children singing loudly in the store, not matching, and jumping on the bed are not grounds for discipline.  But, more than anything, it has taught us to laugh.  Turn on the music, turn it up, and dance.  Sit for thirty minutes, and just watch your child pretending.  Make cupcakes together, and get flour everywhere.  Just do things that you enjoy.
Yes, we chose to stay in Holland.  It isn't so bad here.  Since being here our lives have been greatly enhanced and filled with more joy than we ever experienced.  I think that this is best summed up by a favorite quote of mine:

"I don't think the worst thing that could happen to me is having a child with special needs. I think the worst thing would be to raise a child who is cruel to people with special needs."

~ Matthew Mickelson Butman

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moving forward. Only forward.

I guess day five was the day everything caught up.  I spent yesterday NOT holding Shilo in hopes that her oxygen could be turned down enough to do oral feeds.  So last night I finally tried picking her up, at which point she desated and had to be turned back up.  Then I skyped with Jason and Abigail, and from that point on I spent the night crying.
I felt like my baby didn't like me.  I was missing my oldest daughter.  I was alone, tired, and just wanted to feel like something was going right.  I went back to the Ronald McDonald house for the night and got a good night of sleep.
I arrived this morning feeling a little better, and saw my favorite nurse was on today.  I have been okay with all of the nurses thus far, but Kathleen has by far been my favorite.  During rounds we found out we were going to continue to try to take off oxygen, get her chest tube out, and move to the PCU (progressive care unit).  Shilo was upset after they took out the tube, and I was actually able to hold her and calm her down.
So as of tonight, we are off of our oxygen and beginning to take oral feeds.  She still desats some if she gets moved around a lot, but we are still have a MUCH better day.
So things feel like they are progressing well.  Jason will be back tomorrow.  He also got hit with the life just went crazy stuff yesterday so we are looking forward to being able to support each other and be together again.  However we are still feeling pretty sad that Abigail won't be here with us.  I mean it would make things much more chaotic if she was, but we like her, and think she would really like the RM house and some of the fun stuff at the children's hospital.

So I guess that's our update.  We are moving forward and hoping to be up and out of this place soon.  It's been an overall good experience, but home would be even better. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the emotions of the last few days.

Shilo is currently sleeping, Jason is back home to get some work done and hang out with our daughter, and I am choosing not to hold sweet one right now because she tends to desat when she gets I'll wait until they do vitals again and then comfort her instead of being the one who causes it.
Anyway, I thought I would share a little more of the personal and emotions side of things here.
First of all, I wasn't sure what to expect when we got here.  There are so many stigmas that go with children with Down syndrome that I was ready to defend our choice to knowingly adopt Shilo.  But that hasn't been the case at all.  While I have had lots of saintly comments, 'wow two children with special needs, y'all are just amazing' I think it's good to clear up right away that we aren't amazing or saintly.  We wanted to be parents.  And without Abigail and Shilo we wouldn't be.  As far as special needs go: raise your hand if you have a biological child with special needs.  Now raise your hand if you got some sort of choice about it during pregnancy.  Right.  Nobody else gets to choose.  So why should I be able to say, 'yes, I'll take a Caucasian baby, brown hair, green eyes, and perfectly healthy please?' 
I also believe that If I'm going to be willing to step up with my beliefs about being pro-life then I should also step up to the plate of helping those Mama's who choose life.  For some that might mean coming alongside single parents.  For some it might mean stepping up and taking in those kiddos who's parents loved them enough to choose life and make certain that they had a great one by placing them for adoption.  I can't write passionate post about not aborting children with Down syndrome and then hope everything just works out in the end for whomever ends up in that situation. 
'If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?'  These verses are from James 2:16.  We are called to have the works that back up our faith.  If I say, go have your baby with Down syndrome, and enjoy your life, but am not there to help out in some way I am a liar.  Well wishes do nothing to help in the midst of the situation.

All that was to bring us to the first doctor conversation I had in the NICU at University of Kentucky hospital.  It will forever be etched in my heart as a moment that God ordained with great joy.
Jason and I arrived here on Tuesday at around 1 in the afternoon.  We sat next to Shilo (who still didn't have a name at that point) and stared and rubbed and kissed and sang.  After about an hour a doctor pulled us aside so he could give us all of the going-ons with our little girl.  He went through what all she had going on medically and then with the biggest smile said, ' She has Down syndrome. We know that. But she will be great. She is great. Where I am from [India] we don't have this sort of care for these children. She will do just fine.'  It went on, but the conversation about her actual diagnoses was all positives of why her life will be great and how many opportunities she will still have in life if we don't limit her.  I still tear up thinking about it.

Every interaction we have had with nurses here has included a story about a friend, a niece, a cousin, somebody they know that has Down syndrome who is just this awesome joyful person whom they have strong affectionate feeling towards.  Not one person has questioned the logic of what we are doing.  Not one person has mentioned that she should have been disposed of while in the womb. 

We are so grateful for our Shilo and the joy she will bring to our family.  We believe ALL children are a blessing from the Lord.

Enjoying our children with different chromosomes than most,

P.S.  While I'm not going to make any sort of public push for assistance, we have had lots of people wanting to know how they could help.  So I added our paypal info at the side as well as the charity that we would love for people to donate to. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shilo update.

I hit that spot yesterday where I was tired enough that when I hit the bed last night I slept hard.  So although I'm still tired today, I don't feel like I could drop quite so much.  As a result I think I can write a semi-coherent post about our sweet Shilo.
The going ons of the past few days have been crazy fast, but we are settling into life in the PICU for the moment.  Shilo had her heart surgery yesterday morning.  She is a four pound rock star.  That girl didn't miss a beat.  The surgery went much faster than the doctors anticipated, was 'straightforward' as far as a coarctation repair goes, and recovery has gone smoothly.  We are a little over twenty four hours out, and she has needed only tylenol for pain.  She is on some oxygen (she still has an AVcanal that will need fixed down the road which could be the cause for this), and lasix (also likely from AV defect) to keep the fluid of her heart and lungs.  She has started taking some food by an ND tube, and will get to try oral once the speech therapist is here to evaluate eating.
We are finally getting to hold her for the first time today.  We are in LOVE with this little girly.  She seems so calm and laid back with a feisty spirit that is helping her recover quickly from heart surgery at six days old.  So really as far as medically, things here couldn't be going much better than what they are.
Shilo with her matching bow and binky.
Outside of the medical stuff, we could use some prayer for all the adoption mumbo jumbo.  While nothing is going 'wrong' per se, there are a few things that just aren't going at this point.  And of course, we greatly miss our little girly who is hanging out with grandma and grandpa back home.  We can't wait to see Abigail, and for the two of them to meet.  We are hoping that maybe we can skype with her in the hospital room so that she gets a better idea of what miss Shilo is like.  She is going to be such a great big sister, and we can't wait for her to get started on loving on her sister.

So there you have it for now.  I have some great hospital stories that I may share sometime soon, but for now I'm going to get back to sitting her enjoying Shilo.

Enjoying our second daughter,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Well, I had every intent of writing a book review.  That will not be happening.  Instead I will share a whirlwind of life changes.
About three weeks ago we finished our home study.  Abigail had the stomach flu, twice after that, I had it once, and Jason and I spent last weekend on the couch with food poisoning.  Monday around noon we found out we had been chosen by a birth mom due November 25.  Monday around four we got a phone call that birth mom had given birth on Friday (11/11). 
Tuesday morning we arrived at the hospital to meet our BEAUTIFUL little girl.  Without further ado,

Shilo Jendaya. 4lbs15oz 18-1/2" long.

 She will be having surgery tomorrow morning to repair a coartation of the aorta.  Or....her aorta is too small and they are going to fix that.  It will be a closed heart surgery.  I will *try* to update when I get the chance, but I would love if you would all be praying for our sweet Shilo.

Celebrating changes,

Monday, November 14, 2011


All right.  This is going to be a quick one.  I will probably post a little more later this week, but our lives are sort of a whilrwind of activity at the moment.
Anyway,  my Papal is home.  He still doesn't have great vision (it's double unless he's wearing an eye patch) and his left side is still a little less than his right.  So please keep praying for him.  He seems to be in good spirits, but like I said if he ends up stuck in his house it will be very hard on him.
Secondly, Abigail is much better (hooray!).  By some crazy and ridiculous fluke she got the stomach flu twice in a two week period.  Stinky.  Jason and I both ended up with food poisoning over the weekend (it was his birthday too...poor guy) and so I'm trying to recover our house because it was nearly hoarder looking bad.  Probably not really, but I can't handle the kind of mess we had. :)

So I have a book to review in the next few days, and another blog post in my mind that I need to sit down and write, but for now, my house won't clean itself.

Thanks for you prayers!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sign me up for some prayer.

I have a couple of request that I would like to make of you, my faithful blog followers.

First of all, this is a picture of my Papal.  He will be 86 on Thursday.  He is, by far, one of the greatest men alive.  His wife, my grandmother, passed away twelve years ago from cancer.  He was by her side every step of the way, caring for her, cooking, learning to do laundry, and so many other things.  His heart was broken when she went to be with Jesus.  The things that keep him going are living close to family, being able to drive and do things for himself, as well as the fact that he still works five and a half days a week.  Pretty amazing man, huh.
On Sunday evening he had a stroke.  It doesn't appear to be a severe one.  However, his vision is double, and his left side is week.  He is in the hospital still, and will be on his birthday.  I know that he is looking forward to the day that he gets to be reunited with his wife.  I also know, that people don't live forever.  However, it will be devastating to him to not be able to drive, work, and live independently while he is still hanging out here on Earth.  So would you pray that his vision would be restored quickly, as well as the complete use of his left side!

And secondly, I have a sick little girl.  Again.  I am trying not to be crazy Momma, but my head seems to be moving to those scary places.  So here's the run down.  Two weeks ago yesterday, Abigail woke up with a stomach virus.  She was vomiting all day, and had a low grade fever.  The next day, no vomiting or fever, but she was tired (pretty normal stomach bug progression).  The third and fourth day she was back to eating and acting normal, with some weird intermittent vomiting.  Went to the doctor.  Said likely flared up either GERD or Masto stuff wait it out.  She had no more vomiting, but some *other* tummy troubles from Thursday until Tuesday of last week.  We have been a week of normal.  This morning we woke up to vomiting and low grade fever again.  Perhaps she caught the stomach virus a second time.  I'm trying to live there.  But when your kid's body is programmed to grow tumors, weird symptoms take your head to scary places.  So would you pray that if something more is going on it would be obvious.  And if not, that she would kick this thing once and for all so we can get back to normal here.  

Thanks all.  I'll try to update you on both things in the next few days!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Borrowing a baby.

There is a family at our church with a little guy, C, who is about three and a half months old.  I often snuggle him on Sunday mornings until he falls asleep on me.  Every Sunday I joke that I'm going to take him home with me.  Today,  they told me if I really wanted to (temporarily) I could.  They are a very large family (8-9 kiddos) who were more than happy for a little break.  And we were more than happy for some baby snuggles.
Like most parents preparing for their second child, I have some worries.  I wonder how a new baby will affect Abigail.  Well, little C gave me a very small glimpse into it, and made me long for the day when we can bring home a new little brother or sister for her.
Abigail  happily held him for as long as she could.  She read to him from some library books, brought him toys, and gave him his paci.  If he started to fuss at all she would gently pat him and kiss him while saying, 'It's okay baby.  What's wrong?  What you need baby?'  My heart just melted.  She didn't show one ounce of jealousy towards him.
We did eventually take him home.  We decided it was time when she crawled up next to him on the couch and said, 'You going to be my bwoder.  We going to adopt you.'  Whoops.  I guess she was a little confused.  We explained he already had a family who loved him and would miss him.  But little C helped to wash away those fears I had of what it would be like with a second kiddo.
We believe in being prescriptive, so we have spoken over Abigail, again and againm that she is going to be a great big sister, and how good she will be at helping take care of the new baby when they come.  But seriously, she is going to be a great big sister, and she will be so good at helping take care of the new baby when they come!

Abigail holding baby C.

She even shared her submarine with him, which she puts away anytime she hears other kids are coming over.  It's one of her 'special toys' that she doesn't want to get broken.  At bedtime tonight she prayed for baby C, and that she would get to be a big sister and hold that baby and help take care of them!

Praying that a baby comes to stay soon,