Friday, February 24, 2012

What we learned with Dr. J... (2/24)

First off, we learned his name is Dr. Gei.  Yeah, I would have never guessed that's how you spell it.  Anywho, we didn't learn much at our appointment yesterday, but there were certainly some positives that we could focus on.  We'll start from the top.  We got down there 15 minutes before our appointment, we figured there would be some paperwork and such to fill out, so we arrived at 3:15 for our 3:30 appointment.   And we waited, and we waited some more, and then we waited a little longer, and then an hour and a half passed and they put us in some chairs in the back to continue waiting.  Then they took Whit's vitals and they closed us up in a room where we waited a little bit more.  We finally saw Dr. Gei at 6:30.  Apparently they had a couple of emergencies that day, and since we've recently been one of those emergencies we decided it wasn't a big deal we had to wait and were just thankful we were not an emergency that day.  We did feel bad for Dr. J (just easier to remember) and his nurses, they were looking pretty rough by the time we saw them.  We were just concerned since it was 6:30 pm and we were the last appointment, he would rush through it so his day could finally be over.

As soon as Dr. J walked into the room we could tell that was not going to be a problem.  He was very sweet, apologetic about the wait, and wanted to make sure we were taken care of and all of our questions were answered before we left.  He asked if Thatcher's movement had slowed down and was surprised when I told him no (they all seem to be taken aback that he still has the ability to move).  Then, he wanted to clarify that we are wanting to do everything we can to provide Thatcher with the highest chance of survival (a question that always rubs the wrong way, but I'll vent about that later) which we passionately responded with yes we are!  We did have one question about his movement.  I have noticed over the past couple of days a rhythmic pulsing that will last from 5 pulses to 20 seconds.  His whole body seems to pulse but it is much faster than if he were to have hiccups.  Dr. J said it sounds as if it might be practice breathing movements based on the speed we were describing, but it could also be seizures.  That was the answer we were fearing, but he asked for us to get a video of an episode so he could see for himself.  I have dropped a lot since last week and I am 50% effaced and soft, Dr. J even felt Thatcher's head.  He was encouraged that my body is doing what it is supposed to and is preparing myself and Thatcher for labor, so yay!  He actually mentioned that he thinks vaginal delivery is definitely a major possibility.  Don't know what we think about that .... the other doctors seem to think Thatcher won't be able to handle labor, Dr. WCS (worst case scenario) said he is more than 90% sure he will be preforming a C - section.  So, once again we have doctors saying opposite things.  I guess the part of Dr. J's opinion that makes me nervous is that he asked if I wanted to be monitored or not.  I was surprised because I know there is the option of continual or intermittent monitoring, but not to monitor the baby at all during a vaginal delivery at a hospital?  When has that ever been an option?  How do they know if the baby is in distress?  I then realized it went along with his "wanting to make sure we're wanting to try and do everything to help Thatcher live" question.  Like I said, more on that later.....  We got all our lab results from our week in the hospital, and everything looks good.  The brain damage is not from any infection which is further evidence that more brain damage is not currently taking place, Thank You Jesus!!! We were told on Tuesday at the ultrasound that measurements are taken every 3 weeks so they won't measure Thatcher's body or head growth, or his ventricles til I'm 39 weeks... YUCK!! We very timidly asked Dr. J if there was any way we could push those measurements up to next week, just so a) we can have another point of data to go by to see growth or lack there of b) so we can get a clear picture of the ventricles so we know the fluid is not increasing since the only "official" measurement of his ventricles was at the hospital.  After explaining why they only do measurements every 3 weeks (babies grow mm at a time and human error can be mm difference) he said if we can get our sonographer to go along with it, he would read it if another dr. had a problem with it.  He then told us he is not expecting a change in Thatcher's growth at all.  He explained that according to the measurements at the hospital, Thatcher's body has continued to grow (although much smaller than the average baby) his head essentially stopped growing since it is 2 weeks behind the rest of his body growth.  His response came as a surprise and left us with more questions than answers.  I guess the one good thing is that he expressed if Thatcher makes it to delivery then survival afterwards isn't as much of a concern as his higher level functions.  Which is a relief to hear another doctor say he's not concerned with survival after birth, but once again makes us question "if they are so concerned with him making it to delivery, then why aren't we scheduling a C-section today when Thatcher is very much still alive?!?"  So like we said in the beginning, we really didn't learn much, we left with more questions than when we walked in, BUT onto the positives .......
  • Thatcher is still surprising doctors with his ability to move! We, of course, are not surprised.  God has His hand on His child's life and it just makes me smile every time I hear surprise in a doctor's voice.  Every time I want to fist bump God as if to say "yup, You remind them who is in charge!".  
  • My body is doing what it is supposed to be doing to prepare for labor, so hopefully we are on track to no induction (my thinking is: the less medications there are to dope up Thatcher and make breathing harder, the better)
  • We have the possibility of a vaginal delivery.  Dr. J said we would monitor during contractions next week to "test" Thatcher's ability to handle labor stress.  If we can do a vaginal delivery safely without Thatcher being in distress then yay!  
  • All the test results came back positive.. or negative.. whichever means good
  • The rhythmic pulsings might not be seizures
  • We have someone to read his measurements if we can get G, our sonographer, to agree to do them.  
Most of all, we know God is still working.  We prayed that this doctor would give us the focus we needed and not try to rush through the appointment.  He was running 3 hours behind and had dealt with multiple emergencies and he absolutely gave us his undivided attention and answered every question we had.  I know I already mentioned it, but I feel it needs to be mentioned again... Dr. J is yet another doctor who is surprised that Thatcher still has the ability to move.  God is working in and through Thatcher's life! 

Although there were many positives, we have to admit we had to have a "come to Jesus meeting".  After we got home, Eric was really struggling with the possibility of seizures currently happening, and I couldn't reconcile the confidence in Thatcher's survival with his head not growing.  We finally had to stop and just declare out loud that God has written out Thatcher's story and NOTHING we find out comes as a surprise to Him.  If we are going to claim we trust God with Thatcher's life then we need to do just that, trust Him in all situations, and with any news!!  We are so blessed to have a Father who promises He holds each of our lives in His hand, nothing is a mistake, and nothing is too big for Him.  These concerns are not for us to wrestle with, but for us to hand over to our Heavenly Father.  He has created Thatcher in His image which makes our child perfect! Thank you, Father for your steadfast promises and for not giving up on us when we begin to struggle.  You are so merciful and we are so undeserving!

Just to mention quickly, today has been a great day!  It is the first "in between" day that has been good.  In between days: days that are in between doctors appointments or other commitments.  Days when we have nothing to do other than be left alone with our thoughts.  Yes they are good days to sit in the solitude of God's love, but they are also days Satan loves to attack and feed on our fears.  On Wednesday, a really bad in between day, our morning devotion mentioned Jesus being tempted for 40 days.  Wednesday night, it really hit me and I was left in awe of what Jesus went through during those 40 days.  I am left alone and succumb to a puddle of defeat and tears after Satan just whispers in my ear for a couple of hours.  Jesus was left alone with Satan for 40 straight days, and Satan was doing a lot more than just whispering.  Oh what a sweet savior we have.  He endured so much on our behalf!  ... Anyways, today was good!  No breakdowns, no feelings of abandonment, full of God's peace and lots of kicks and stretches from Thatcher :) oh, and no rhythmic pulsing episodes!  Like we have mentioned before, we have to take life one day at a time right now and simply be thankful for each day. (something we will definitely keep up, not be caught up in what tomorrow holds, but simply be thankful for today) God filled today with rest and rejuvenation, He is so merciful! Thank you Lord for today and the calmness you surrounded us with!  ... sorry, I guess that wasn't a quick side note, not like any of you are surprised. 

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world. 
                           - John 16:33

Thank you all for continuing to walk with and encourage us.  This is going to be a long journey and God is using you all to help sustain us each day.  We beg you to continue to pray boldly and expectantly for Thatcher's healing.  We need your prayers now more than ever before! 


  1. Praying for your family everyday!! :)
    -Ashley Nolan

  2. I'm glad you guys had a good day today. I'm praying that you have many more of those enveloped in peace as you meet each new day. Praying for the miracle boy too!! :)

  3. Hi don't know me but I know of you through mutual friends. Y'all have been in my prayers...just wanted to say I'm obviously not a Dr. but when I was pregnant with my second boy he would have these weird spasms that you described. My dr couldn't explain them but after Wes was born we saw that it was his hands...he would kind of shake them (almost like if you're stretching really big and your hands involuntarily shake). It turned out to be nothing of concern so I'm praying for no seizures for Thatcher! I hope y'all have many more good days and I will keep you in my prayers!

  4. Continuing to pray for God's mercy and grace to be a living testimony to many during this time. God has plans to show the world only what HE can do. Bless you and know you are ministering to me and many others. Thank you for your boldness to share where your strength comes from. To God be the GLORY!

  5. Hello Eric and Whitney, you don't know me but I know Whitney's parents from our Metro III conferences. I love your parents and have rejoiced in God allowing me to know them! I wanted you to know your faith, honesty and openess have been a blessing!! My son, born a preemie, is now 11 and his life has turned out very differently than we ever thought it would. He has Tourette's Syndrome, and although it is not even comparable to what you are going through, the emotions are the same. God has been dealing with me lately about my faith in His care, plans, and intention for my son! If you can have such faith in your circumstances certainly I can must have faith in our awesome, faithful God! Thanks for allowing God to speak through your faith, fears, disappointments and strength! I am praying and will continue to pray for you! Praising our loving Father!! Love in Christ, Ronna Simon

  6. Clapsaddle prayers are surrounding your family too!!

  7. I'm not sure I understand why they are willing to risk a vaginal delivery. We were taught if there is any chance a baby will be in distress, that the doctor's do cesareans. That's very strange. In any event, if you have questions, the best thing you can do is call the doctor. It is very important that your questions get answered, and doctor's aren't always excellent in giving patients time to process their questions. Then again, sometime we don't think of things until we get home and repeat what was said to someone else. When you start connecting the dots and the dots don't make sense, it is natural to have questions. Call and ask. If he can't talk to you, his nurse can possible answer questions for you too. It is important that you understand why he wants to take this route, what he feels the benefits are, whether he feels the benefits outweigh the complications of a surgical procedure.

    My thoughts are with both of you. I really hope you call and get some questions answered.

    1. May the number of good days far exceed the number of not-so-good days. Continue to rest in the Father's arms...your journey in faith is a testimony to us all! Blessings and hugs!

  8. I have never witnessed such faith and openness in a young couple going through the valley you and Eric are in. You, two, are such a wonderful Blessing and Inspiration to all those who know and love you! We are praying continually for Thatcher for God's miraculous Hand of Healing to touch his precious little body! Love and prayers, Barbara & Hucky Purpera

  9. I am Barbara Purpera's sister in Huntsville, TX. My church, Calvary Baptist, is joining me in praying for you all. Our awesome God knows the plans He has for Thatcher. He has already blessed all of us through your sweet family. I pray for you to have the comfort and assurance that only comes through Jesus, God's precious Son. Love, T.J. Townsend

  10. Hi guys-my name is Lauren (Pauls) Ahrens and I am a friend of Emily Colburn's. Eric-I met you a few time at youth group events though Sarah. I have been so moved by your story. This morning I came across a passage in the devotional (A Place at the Table by Chris Seay) I am reading and felt compelled to share it with you-it is from Matthew 15:29: "Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute ad many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well and the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." Praying that Thatcher would be healed and God would be praised. My 15-month old daughter recently had surgery to remove an extra finger and toe. It was a very scary time for us but I took great comfort in this verse from Phillipians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus". Praying peace for you and Whitney. My husband and I were amazed by the love and care we received from our church family during this time. I know it was on a much smaller scale then what you are currently dealing with but I found this passage from Ann Vockamp's 1000 gifts to be very true: "..the losses that puncture our world, our owns emptiness might actually become places to see-to see through to God-that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight may actually become the thing, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond to Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.

  11. Prayers to God each day and night as you walk with our Lord through this journey.. Your faith is so strong and so is Thatcher, Prayers and love for your family.

    Bryan & Susie Brezik

  12. Whitney and Eric,
    Bill and I were Young Life leaders when you were in high school here. Anders our son, is 17 and an incredible blessing to us. When we did a sonogram I believe at 21 weeks we were told Anders would either die at birth, be severely handicapped or possibly be normal....the last was the least likely they said. His brain ventricles were 10 times the size of a normal babies and they still are abnormal. When he was born he had several other physical issues but all were repairable with surgery (he had 6 surgeries his first year of life) but he had a-genesis of the corpus colosseum which they thought would mean he very likely would never develop. He is truly a miracle and we look back despite the darkness of the days when we received the news we are thankful for how it caused us to hold on the Jesus in a way we hadn't before. We also look at life so much differently now because of our experience. I am praying for you as we were so thankful to be carried by the prayers of others through that time. Anders is training to go to work crew for YL this summer and asked me what verse he should memorize. I pulled from the closet the poster we had in the hospital when he was born, "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 Keep waiting on Him with hope....He is good! I know you are surrounded by many who love you but if you would ever want to talk I would love to share more. Becky Williams is in a Bible study with me so our group will be praying for sweet Thatcher. In His love, Heidi