Friday, March 30, 2012

Where we are (3/30)

Okay.. Well it's been a really rough one and a half days. While trying to regulate Thatcher's seizure meds, his level went too low and he started seizing pretty continuously starting Wednesday night, all day yesterday and last night. During these seizures thatcher will stop breathing altogether which causes even more distress on his body. So last night he got put back on Cpap to try and at least keep pressurized oxygen flowing through him and keep his airways from clamping down. This morning his medicine level was even lower but the Cpap has seemed to help with his breathing a little. He still stops breathing during some of his seizures and his oxygenation level with drop fast, but it doesn't seem to be as frequent. He also got another "loading" dose of phenibarb to try and get the level back up do his seizures won't be as traumatic (no it doesn't stop them but hopefully help the physical manifestation of some of them)after a dose of adivan, another loading dose of keppra and upping his matanience dose of keppra to the maximum allowed for pediatrics. Doctors are now looking at his lung function to see if his aveoli are perhaps collapsing and we should be getting results back from hearing and vision tests to see how aggressive they can/need to be with his seizure meds.
Their thinking is that some of the levels we might think about getting to or other meds we might add have a toxic effect on hearing and seeing abilities so if he doesn't have these abilities then they won't worry about those "warnings". This of course terrifies us! Needless to say there are a lot of overwhelming things going on. We just want Thatcher to breathe, be comfortable, and not seize... He needs rest! Satan is definitely on the attack telling Thatcher, he is weak, allowing us to feel alone, abandoned. But we remember where God has brought us from, we know we are not alone, and we trust in what He is doing. Please continue to beg for God to show His glory in this oppressive place, to lay His healing hands on Thatcher and massage life into his tiny body, to be Thatcher's breath of life!!

Lord, we need you here, we are desparate for your presence!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nasal Cannula, quick update (3/28)

Here we are, the doctors have decided that Thatcher is ready to try a nasal cannula. We are a few hours in right now and God has provided Thatcher with the oxygen he needs, he is doing well, and when he has had brief desats he has been able to pull himself back up. We absolutely attribute this strength to our God. It is only by Gods grace, mercy, strength, lovingkindness, and glory that we are where we are today. Please join us in praising Our God who is able, our God who is our strength, our God who is holding Thatcher and carrying him.

We just wanted to quickly update everyone, thank you so much for praying, God is answering them, and we are so thankful, please continue to pray for healing, as we have a long road ahead us (going to be looking at the seizures again next, more EEGs) and praise the One who has brought us this far. Thank you Lord, you are so good, and you are in control, we trust you, Lord. May You be given all the glory, all the honor, because You deserve it, and You are worth it. We love you Lord, we desire more of You, because it is You who is giving Thatcher strength, it is You performing a healing work in him right now, it is You God and we can not get enough of You, would You become more! Would You increase, and we decrease, we want to see Your glory, Your face, we want to be in Your presence, God! Thank you, Jesus! Be glorified!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The next step... Maybe

Just a quick update to ask for all you prayer warriors to fall on your knees again in petition for our sweet Thatcher Caleb.

The doctors came by yesterday and decided to bring his oxygen level down to 21% (room air oxygen) and the pressure level down to 5% (meaning the Cpap machine isn't creating much pressure to help push the air in and out. They originally set it to 6% because Thatcher's breaths are very shallow and he had/has CO2, carbon dioxide, lingering in his body.) Anyways, he did fairly well with it all day. They only had to push up the oxygen level 2 or 3 times and not to a high level at all. Today when they come around they will decide, based on yesterday, if they feel he is ready to try the nasal cannula (what you think of when someone needs oxygen, just the two little prongs that sit in the nose). If they think he might be able to handle it, they will start him on it today.

Yes, of course, this is exciting, but also scary. Our little boy tires out easily and the nasal cannula provides very little support so it'll be all Thatcher. God has without a doubt been Thatcher's strength on Cpap. There have been a couple of nights it was obvious Thatcher only made it through because God picked him up and carried him when he tired out. The nasal cannula will demand even more respiratory strength, strength that can only come from the Lord.

Also, Thatcher started spitting up/throwing up last night. During his 6 pm feeding he spit up constantly during the last 30 mins of his feeding and forgot to breathe. That was one of the times they had to pump up the oxygen, something they won't be able to do with the nasal cannula.  And I just had to stop typing because he just spit up/stopped breathing again.  He has been doing it consistently during every feeding, but after his 9 pm feeding he has been able to pull his breathing back up for the most part without added oxygen from the CPAP, praise the Lord. 

Then, there is the concern about his inability to dispose of CO2, carbon dioxide.  This is what I am most concerned about.  Thatcher Caleb takes VERY shallow breaths, allowing CO2 to linger in his system.  During his last "levels" taken it was obvious his kidneys were taking over burning up the left over CO2 that his lungs couldn't expel.  This would be fine except there is a threshold in which his kidneys won't be able to keep up.  Symptoms this is happening include high blood pressure (which we started having yesterday), high heart rate (also started yesterday), as well as flushed coloration and muscle tightness.  The doctors at this point have stopped taking levels and have said when his CO2 gets too high, he will show us. 

I do have to say I am amazed at how he is picking his breathing up, until yesterday he would drop fast and the Cpap machine had to be adjusted to help him breathe.  I know God is strengthening him, preparing him for his next step.... I guess we just wait and see if that is the same "next step" the doctors have in mind and in the same timing. 

I think the biggest thing is we are exhausted.. we stayed up til 2 am watching to see how Thatcher would hold his early morning feed.  So exhaustion with new, scary issues and new changes makes for a very uneasy mommy.  We know that God is made strong in our weakness so perhaps we am supposed to be physically, mentally, and emotionally weak today.  Or maybe I worried too much last night now I have allowed Satan to gain a window of opportunity to attack us spiritually and physically.  Either way, I am praying that God is all of our strength today. 

Please join us in prayer today!  Pray that God would be all of our strength, that He would hold us up as the doctors make their rounds and decisions are made.  Pray that whatever happens today is His will and in His timing.  There is no doubt in our hearts that Thatcher's self-extubation was God's will and was absolutely in His timing.  No, we don't necessarily need that kind of drama today, but we are praying that the next step is just as much in His timing and not in ours or the doctors (to be honest, the doctors probably wouldn't have minded trying it yesterday, and after yesterday I don't want to try it til next week!)  Pray that whatever happens, we remain in God's will.  Pray for strength and comfort for Thatcher if they decide to go for the nasal cannula, as I am sure it will tire him out as he adjusts to it.  I received this verse this morning from a dear friend and this is my prayer for today.

     'Your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.'  Isaiah 58:8

Thank you Father, that we can come to you where we are.  Lord, I am weak, tired and full of worry.  Please forgive me that I have allowed my faith to waiver and get caught up in the circumstances.  You are not a God of circumstances and oh we are so thankful for that!! Thank you Jesus, for urging my sweet friend to shower us with Your promises this morning.  Lord you take care of us even when we are not standing firm in our faith... oh we are so unworthy of Your love!  We thank you that you are good and you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!  We humbly come before you and ask you to hold sweet Thatcher in your arms today.  Protect him from the evil one!! Send your cherubim to guard Thatcher's pod.  Allow the doctors to look at him with your compassion and not with clinical eyes. Lord, heal your child! Calm his tummy, expand his lungs, provide him with your supernatural strength!! Lord, awaken him from the inside out, awaken his organs, create brain tissue, allow him to open his eyes!!  Lord, you are the author of Thatcher's story and we trust in what you are doing in and through his life.  Thank you Father we can come to you with our praises and petitions!  YOU ARE GOOD!!!

Dr. L came by the bedside this morning and asked that we take the CPAP down one more notch before we try out the nasal cannula. Today we have remained on the CPAP, and Thatcher has done really well even on the lower settings. He has begun to pull himself out of his desats which is a great step, meaning he is not needing additional oxygen to get his oxygen saturation level back up when it drops. We expect to make the switch tomorrow morning after the doctors make their rounds. Please continue to pray. Thank you all. Our God is able!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Self Extubation (3/24)

God is in control, there is no denying this.  God orchestrates every single detail of every single day for His glory.  God answers prayer, there is no denying this.  He hears our prayers, and He loves His children, if we love our children and know how to give good gifts, how much more does God.  His love is perfect and it never fails, His gifts are perfect, they are for His glory and for our good.  This is a story that proved to us just how good God is, how intricately he orchestrates each day, how He hears our prayers and answers, and how He continues to show his presence.

We don't pretend to be good story tellers, but this is certainly a good story, and regardless of how it's told, we hope that you see God glorified through this story.  This all occured Thursday, 3/22.  To start this story, we need to let you know that on Thursday Thatcher's normal 2 doctors (Dr. L and Dr. D) were not making rounds, Dr. L was out of town and it must have been Dr. D's day off, and so we saw Dr. A for the first time.  When he came over we talked briefly about his current treatment and we asked for his opinions on the medication and some of the other questions we have been asking all the doctors and nurses.  We discussed his phenobarb levels, and we discussed his breathing on the ventilator.  He proceeded to let us know that typically a child who has been on the ventilator for this long (12 days of life) and not shown the ability to breath without it most likely will not be able to breath without it ever.  We asked about the depth of Thatcher's breathing, and he said that this was also concerning and another sign that Thatcher would not do well off of the ventilator.  He then went ahead to say that Thatcher will not be able to breath without the ventilator.  In his opinion, he would ultimately fail without the support of the ventilator providing him some breaths each minute.  Dr. A was the third of the three rounding doctors to tell us this.  With that said, our hope is not found in the doctors (and we are so glad!), we appreciate their wisdom and knowledge, and they certainly have a very difficult job, but our hope is in the Lord.  So the day progressed pretty normally from there, it wasn't too concerning that he had said this, as the other two had already said the same thing.  Then around 5:40 pm.  God decided that it was time to take out Thatcher's ventilator tube (ET tube that was in his wind pipe directly to his lungs).  He let Thatcher know and Thatcher taking after his namesake Caleb, listened and followed without fear knowing that God was on his side.  Here is what happened.  Around 5:40 we were moving Thatcher to get his vitals before his 6 o’clock feeding, and he started to gag.  No big deal, he does that a lot, so we suctioned his tube to get any secretions out that may be blocking his airway, and a ton came out, so we thought that all was well, and we went on our way.  Then he stopped breathing, so we suctioned again, and then he turned blue, so we stopped suctioning, and bagged him, he continued to turn blue.  He had turned the color he was when he was born.  It was as if there was no oxygen left in his body.  Every alarm on him was going off, and all of the nurses were tending to him at this time. As they bagged him, they continued to try and suction him, in hopes that there was some blockage in the tube that they could remove and he would start breathing again, and right at that time he started to throw up with such force that it got into the ET tube, they tried to suction it out of the tube, they had to stop bagging him so they didn't push his own vomit into his lungs.  It just kept coming, and at this point probably 2 minutes since the whole thing started, you could feel that the nurses were beginning to get antsy about the situation (the nurses did a phenomenal job, it was just a stressful situation), so they called the doctor quickly and let them know they were doing an emergency extubation.  Immediately after they pulled the tube and it slid out of his windpipe, but they couldn't use the bag as it still had Thatcher's throwup in it, so one of the nurses simply sat the bag near his mouth and cupped his nose and mouth so that the oxygen flowing through would be inhaled by Thatcher, but he was all on his own.  At this point his vitals went back into acceptable levels, he was breathing on his own.  What a miracle.  Soon after, the respiratory team was rushing in with a CPAP machine to put him on.  Finally, after what seemed like hours to us, they got him set up with a CPAP machine.  The CPAP machine is a huge step up from the ventilator, and is what we had been talking about doing as the next step for him, but every doctor we had talked to has told us that he will not be able to handle breathing outside of a ventilator.  The difference between CPAP and a ventilator is that the ventilator actually initiates breaths, the CPAP machine simply provides support for those breaths that Thatcher takes on his own.  We have felt cornered and pressured by the doctors to make decisions that we are not ready to make regarding extubation, and plan B if Thatcher doesn’t handle it, and they have been thrusting their advice of who to consider when making these decisions, and things of that sort, for example our "conference".  As we’ve talked about these types of decisions we have been praying that God would make these decisions for us, that they would be out of our hands, or at least be abundantly clear about what He would have us do.  As extubation was one of those decisions, this was absolutely an answered prayer.  This extubation was out of everyone's hands, this was not planned, this was not foreseen except by God.  God knew the timing He wanted, God knew that Thatcher would be able to handle it, God knew that the nurses would be able to handle the situation.  This emergency extubation, and getting Thatcher onto CPAP, was an answered prayer, and we pray that God is glorified for it.  Looking back even though we are only a few cays out now, it’s incredible to see how God has been preparing us for this, and how He orchestrated every detail.  We had the “dream team” of nurses (Whit called them that when we had walked in).  3 fantastic nurses were on duty that day, Nurse D (Thatcher’s nurse), Nurse P, and Nurse A.  These are three of the many wonderful nurses that we've had the pleasure to meet, yet another thing that God has orchestrated, Thatcher has had phenomenal care by the nurses.  Nathan randomly decided to come into town today and was at the hospital tonight.  Whit has had CPAP on her mind for the past 2 days and was not able to get it out.  Our devotion this morning in Jesus Calling was about being thankful and trusting in Him, and this seems to be the theme for today.  While this was going on, Eric was praying over and over again, “I trust you, breath your life into him, I trust you”; Whit was praying simply “Please God” over and over again, knowing that she needed to pray, yet not able to pray for anything specific and trusting that the Holy Spirit would intercede and trusting that God understood the groaning of her heart.  As this happened right about shift change for the nurses, we had to go to the lobby, so we walked out and let Whit's family know what had just happened and they were talking to Mrs. T who was there to pick up things for her son Isaiah, for us however, it was just to provide encouragement.  She has been in the NICU for 8 months, and she was proclaiming the power of our God, and providing us encouragement to trust in Him, and not to rely on the doctors, but to stand firm on the truth that our God is able, and He is Good, and that He loves His children.  Her strength and her faith were a true testament of what it looks like to rely fully on God.  Her strength and her faith to stand up to the doctors when they were all telling her that her baby would not survive, but she knew that God was telling her otherwise.  She repeated several times that “God is not an ‘indian giver’, he does not give us a miracle just to take it away again”.  She was on her way home to enjoy her son Isaiah this night.  We had also spoken with Dr. A this afternoon about Thatcher’s Phenobarb levels and the possibility of reducing them so he’s not so drowsy when we do take him off the ventilator and he agreed that it couldn’t hurt and has canceled the dose for tomorrow, perfect timing.  God thought of every single detail, and took the decision we didn’t want to make out of our hands, and is providing Thatcher with strength.  Thank you, Lord, for you are good.

The following day we prayed for Thatcher to remain strong, and that Thatcher would handle CPAP, that God would be his strength.  God provided, as Thatcher handled the new machine wonderfully, and, well, Friday turned out to be more than memorable as we heard Thatcher's voice for the first time on 3/23 at 10:30 pm.  He was stretching and letting air out of his stomach from the CPAP machine and he kind of "Sighed" as he let the air out, but he definitely used his vocal chords, and in case we didn't hear it the first time he did it 2 more times.  Then when we said good night to him, he "coo'd" to us.  His voice is so beautiful, and so strong, it was incredible.  With the breathing tube out, Thatcher has full use of his vocal chords, and he decided to show off a little last night.  Today he made several sighs and coo's and a couple of grunts, and every single one was music to our ears.  The best one, however, was when he got the hiccups, we felt terrible because no one likes the hiccups, but Thatcher was making a little squeak with every one and he sounded like a toy dog.  It was so precious, God is so good!

We have been on CPAP for a little over 2 days now and he is handling it extremely well, his settings are low, and he is breathing on his own.  His breathing is still shallow, but he is breathing enough to provide for his body, and we trust and know now more than ever that God is in control.  Praise the Lord!  Please pray with us that God would provide strength for Thatcher to breath.

Our prayer has been that God would awaken the Holy Spirit that dwells within Thatcher, to breathe with Thatcher, to move in and through Thatcher and by the perfection of the Holy Spirit that Thatcher's body would be healed.  Awaken the Holy Spirit inside of Thatcher, Lord, arouse your spirit, move your Spirit, God.  Move in and through Thatcher, breathe life into him, be his breath, be his strength.  Reveal your glory tonight as you breathe for Thatcher, as you heal Thatcher, as you continue to work.  God fill this place with your presence that it is so thick, that you can taste it, that you can feel it, God surround Thatcher, surround Thatcher Lord, as He breathes, let that breath be filled with your presence, would you fill him up, Lord.  Thank you for today, thank you for today.  You are good, and we praise you Father.  You are in control, he is in Your hands.  God thank you, we trust you.

This was right after the extubation, his first few minutes on the CPAP machine.  Also the first time we were able to fully see those lips!!!

They have to take it off every once in a while to give his head a rest from the head gear.  We love seeing him like this!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Overdue Update, Week 2... (3/24)

We apologize for the delay in the updates, a lot has happened since our last post from Monday about what the doctor's think Thatcher is capable of and all of the tests and such, but before we begin we posted that Satan was on the attack, well, let us tell you that God is certainly on the move and has moved in big ways this week.  Our God is victorious, and our God is able, and our God is so good. 

So where we left off last we were asking for prayer on Monday for several tests and also for a meeting that we were having with all of the doctors.  We will start with the test results.  He was getting another EEG to see if the seizure activity had stopped as his medication levels were (are) pretty high, and nearing the limits of what they would let him get up to.  Unfortunately, the seizure activity is still present.  They have confirmed that he is still having seizure activity, the EEG report apparently looked essentially the same as the one prior, so the increased dose does not appear to have helped.  With that said, Thatcher is not having very many physical symptoms of the seizures, the seizures seem to be essentially happening 'behind the scenes'.  The other tests outside of standard labs and bloodwork were tests of Thatcher's ability to hear and see.  For the hearing test they use some sort of sound stimulation through headphones that were way too big while watching his brain activity.  The idea is that if he hears it there will be some sort of neurological response.  The vision exam was the same idea, they put goggles on him that had LED lights on the inside that flash and they monitor his brain activity.  Honestly, for someone who already has seizure activity, this seems like a really bad test to run.  We didn't know what it was before they did it, unfortunately.  Those test results (both hearing and vision) seem to have been lost, we have not heard any results from these at this time.  We have talked about it, and honestly, these test results won't change anything, it won't change his treatment, and it won't change the way we will love and care for him.  Whether or not he can see or hear is irrelevant as we have a beautiful baby boy with us who we will love with everything that we have, and we pray that God will teach us to love Thatcher as He loves.

Now for the "conference" that we had.  We spoke with the doctors that morning as we do every morning and we talked about what was going to be discussed at this conference and we were assured it was simply going to be a recap of what to expect in the coming week (which has now passed...).  We joked about no bad news and that they had to give us several pieces of positive information about Thatcher and his progress before we really began.  The conference included all of the doctors we have been working with, the nurse practitioner, our nurse for the day, a CAPS representitive, and a social worker.  In all there were 8 of us in there.  We talked briefly about how we thought Thatcher's progress was and we let them know that we were comfortable with the progress he was making, that our expectations were that we would take one step forward and thirteen back, and that our goal was not to just take him home as quickly as possible, but to be patient and get him the best care possible, and to get him home in the best state possible.  We had begun to feel as if they were trying to rush us home, and force us to make decisions sort of preemptively, so we wanted to clarify this.  After that we talked about what to expect in the coming week, and basically what we were told to expect was a calm week where we would continue the treatment we were doing.  Seizure medications, less tests for the rest of the week, and really just wait for test results that we had already done.  Then the meeting took a turn for the worse.  The palliative care representative seemed to think it was imperative to discuss "Plan B".  By this she meant that if the treatments we were doing didn't work very well, "How far will you go to treat your baby?".  Well, obviously we will do anything and everything to give him the best chance possible to succeed at life, so whitney responded with something along the lines of, "We will do everything we can for Thatcher, and as we are not at that stage yet, i don't believe we are ready to answer these types of questions, besides, it has been our prayer that decisions like these would be taken out of our hands, we are not comfortable making that kind of decision so we have prayed that God would make it for us, or make it abundantly clear what we are to do, but at this point, we are not ready to make any decision around that."  So the palliative care representative responds with, "Ok, well, what is that point?  At what point would you be ready to make that decision?  You need to think about what is best for Thatcher, and not be selfish about his care or how far you are willing to go...", obviously at this point, a little frustrated that we are still talking about it, we responded with something along the lines of, "well, we are not there yet, and we will not be making any decisions today.  As we mentioned, we are praying, trusting and believing, that these decisions will be taken out of our hands."  Assuming that this portion of our conversation was over and done with, we then listened to Dr. L begin to discuss some of the Plan B options, and how what "creative" ways she thinks we may be able to take him home.  Then for the first time, she threw out on the table, "Well, we can have him on a home ventilator for the remainder of his short life, however long that will be" (i am paraphrasing, but that was her point).  For the first time a doctor went ahead and said out loud that Thatcher's life will be extremely limited in duration.  Dr. L was extremely emotional as well, and it was very apparent that she cares for Thatcher and also for us.  You could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes that it truly hurt her to say these things out loud.  She even commented on the love she was able to see that we have for Thatcher.  However, at this point, we were obviously emotional that a doctor had at this point limited our son's life to a very short amount of time, and she seemed to be at a loss for what to do, so the "conference" just sort of ended awkwardly, and what was supposed to be a 20 minute quick catch up had turned into an hour and a half talk about how limited our son is, and what we wanted to do about it.  In the end, they all said that Thatcher would never be able to survive off of a ventilator, and they wanted to come up with creative solutions as to how to get him home with us for the short amount of time that he may have.  Not what we had expected, or been told to expect.  Nevertheless, Thatcher wasn't listening, and God certainly isn't limited by what the doctor's say, but more on that later.  Later that night as we were talking about the "conference" this is what Whitney said:

You ask for a timeline, we don’t know, we are fervently praying that God is going to heal our child, and we are not to say what kind of healing that is, it may be that He heals him one morning, it may be that it is a slow progression, or it may be that He may heal him fully and completely by taking him home.  We don’t know what that looks like and we are not asking you to tell us what that looks like, but we are praying fervently every day all day.  Right now, we are being told to wait, “Not Yet”, and we don’t know what we are waiting on, but that is what we are going to do.  When we feel like we are being told something else we will let you know.  We are not just saying that to buy time, we’re saying that because we fully believe in the power of God, and know that He doesn’t work on our timeline or on your timeline; He has His own, and as hard as it is to follow when it doesn’t make sense to us (like right now), we are going to trust and follow where we feel that He is leading us.

Ultimately that is what matters; that we remain in His will with anything and everything.  So whether that means letting our little boy go, or holding firm when we feel pressured, oppression from every side, from every doctor, from every person that we talk to.  But for right now, we are being told to wait.
That was all on Monday, the following day Thatcher had an MRI of his brain stem, Dr. L was concerned that perhaps his brain stem had been damaged as well, because up to this point we had only gotten a clear picture of the cortex, the upper portion of his brain that controls "higher level" skills.  She was thinking that the stem may be damaged as well, and that could be causing his breathing difficulties.  So Thatcher was transported off for his 2nd MRI within 2 weeks of life.  We got the results back later that day and Dr. L stopped by to deliver them herself.  She somberly let us know that Thatcher's brain stem is in tact, that there doesn't appear to be any level of debilitating damage to his brain stem.  Whitney said, "Well, Dr. L, you don't seem to excited about that..."  And Dr. L responded with, "I am glad that there was not damage, but remember how I said that baby's are like onions?  I guess, I'm just running out of layers to peel back, and I can't seem to find the answer yet..."  So we let her know that we are very glad that the MRI came back showing no damage.  To us, this is just more proof that God is in control, the best in the world can't figure Thatcher out, that's because God is beyond our comprehension, we may never find an answer or a reason why this happened, and that's just fine with us, we trust that God is in control as He has proved time and time again.

That was Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday was pretty uneventful, just the normal ups and downs of any given day in the NICU.  Now we're on to Thursday, this started off to be just like any other day, and was as restful as any day in the NICU would be, we had few "Desats" (Where his blood oxygen level drops), and we kept our breathing rate up for the most part.  His heart rate stayed strong and he continued to handle his feedings.  Then around 5:45, as we were prepping for his feeding at 6 pm, things took a huge turn, and drastically changed... We will post separately about this and where we are now as this post is getting extremely long!  But God is at work and is answering prayer, and has Thatcher in His hands.  God is able, and God is in control.  We will be thankful and trust in Him.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayer and support, we truly appreciate it, and we can not say thank you enough.  God is continuing to use the church to teach us, provide encouragement, strength, and to glorify Himself in our lives.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed for or over Thatcher, we believe God is telling us to wait, and we believe God is beginning to reveal what we are waiting on, as He shows His strength, power, grace, might, mercy, and love.  He is answering prayers, and providing His presence and peace.  God is so good, and if He says to wait, we will wait.

Please join us in praising our God who is so much bigger than anything we could ever imagine, a God who is victorious over every enemy, a God who has already won.  Our God, the author of Thatcher's story, who can not be surprised and who will be glorified in all the earth.  God is so good, thank Him for today, thank Him for His mercies, thank Him for who He is.

Lord, we love You, we trust You, and we thank You.  We continue to lift up Thatcher Caleb, Your servant, Your child, our son and our blessing up to you.  We know you can heal him, Lord, and we ask that you would awaken Your Holy Spirit within him, that you would arouse Your Spirit to move in Thatcher's body, that it would move through every part of him, and through Your perfection, and your power, and your grace, that you would heal Thatcher, Lord.  We trust you, we know you are able, and we ask you to heal Thatcher.  May Your name be praised, may You be glorified.  In the powerful and holy name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Kicks!

I know we need to post an update from the meeting we had with the doctors on Monday, and let everyone know where we stand with the doctors, what we feel God is telling us, and what we are learning.  We will, I just wanted to post some pictures of Thatcher's new kicks.  That will probably be a much longer post, and right now, I just wanted everyone to share in something that we really got a 'kick' out of (did you see what I did there?!).

These were hand made by his great grandma, and we love them, and he did too!  Thanks so much!

Guaranteed to make any kid run faster and jump higher

Well, let's just say that he's a better Texan than his daddy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today (3/19)

Please pray fervently today! It's a long day of stressful tests for Thatcher, starting with an EEG at 7 am and we have a conference with our neonatologist and neurologist (conferences is hospital term for bad news meeting). Satan is already on the attack. Please pray for peace and comfort, for strength, clarity and wisdom. Pray for our doctors, the stress they deal with and that they look at Thatcher with compassion, as a miracle from God, not just a puzzle. Especially pray for sweet baby Thatcher Caleb!! Pray that God will breathe His breath of life into His child. That Thatcher will be strong and not overly stimulated during his tests. That he would feel God's breath fill up his lungs and he would have a renewed vigor and drive! That God would wrap his arms around our sweet baby so he feels the Lord's soothing love all around him! Lord, please place your healing hand on our sweet baby boy!

Lord, you are able, you are the Healer!! so we continue to beg for you to heal Thatcher Caleb and will wait upon your promises that you will answer in your perfect timing. Lord, heal him!!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our first week (3/17)

Happy one week birthday baby boy!  I don't think we really know where to start, this week has been such an emotional roller-coaster and extremely tiring physically.  The strain and stress of spending this much time in the hospital is honestly the most tiring experience I can imagine, and we are only one week in.  Here's a recap of where we began and where we are in terms of all the medical stuff.

Where we began.  Thatcher was born much larger than we expected (a wonderful surprise, and answered prayer), he needed a little medical help to get his body going in terms of breathing and everything.  The labor process was very stressful for him, and he needed that help to get back on track.  He was put on a ventilator at very low settings to help him maintain the oxygen levels needed and he was given some fluids through an IV to get him the nutrition he needed immediately.  When we were first able to meet him and spend some time with him, it was apparent that he had a very stiff body (now diagnosed as contractures, basically he won't be able to extend his arms or legs all the way without a surgical procedure), his movements were very jerky, and he was extremely sensitive to the outside world.  Loud noises, and certainly touch would instantly elicite a response that was a little more exaggerated than you would have expected, combined with the jerky motion, it was obvious that there are motor issues.  He also had trouble relaxing it seemed, but once the initial shock or reaction wore off he would relax, sometimes it took pressure to calm him down, just placing our hands firmly on his head and feet and helping feel safe and secure would usually do the trick.  Other times however, the movements/reaction would continue, other times the movements would start randomly and be very rythmic.  Often times we would see his left hand and his eye twitch at the same time for an extended period, these are what we believe are the seizure activity that has been diagnosed at this point.  However, despite all of this, he did open and close his eyes on his own, and he was making grasping efforts and he certainly seemed alert.

Here is where we are now.  After countless tests, exams, evaluations, blood samples, and loading doses of drugs we are a week in, and we are exhausted, and that absolutely includes Thatcher.  Let's start with the breathing, as we've asked specifically for prayer in this area.  He was initially put on the ventilator at the lowest settings, and they actually wanted to try to get him off the ventilator as soon as possible, they turned it off overnight, and unfortunatly Thatcher was unable to keep up the breathing overnight, he did very well for several hours, but by the morning was requiring the support of the ventilator for most breaths.  When they put him back on the ventilator, they put him on 20 breaths per minute (a much higher rate than before), and he struggled to breath over the ventilator (breath on his own, in addition to the 20 breaths that are pumped for him).  They have slowly brought the ventilator back down, and as of today they are at 10 breaths per minute.  His breathing is again rhythmic at most times, but still appears to be shallow.  Please continue to pray for Thatcher's breathing.  Outside of the breathing, the original focus of the doctors was to get his seizures under control.  We did an MRI and an ultrasound and both confirmed what had been diagnosed previously.  That Thatcher had an excesive amount of brain atrophy (destruction estentially, missing brain tissue).  The space that this created was then filled in with fluid.  This MRI and the doctor who read it to us (Dr. K) determined that Thatcher's brain is what they would expect to see in a 26 week old baby in utero.  She also said that she does not expect for his brain to develop or grow any more, and that the state he is in, is essentially going to be the state he will continue to be in.  Needless to say, that was a tough conversation to have.  Shortly thereafter they decided to pursue (pretty aggressively) stopping the seizures.  They put Thatcher on Phenobarbital (Phenobarb, if you want to sound like a doctor).  This is a strong medication that is certainly a depressant to the entire body.  Almost immediately the progress we had seen in Thatcher disappeared.  He has only opened his eyes one time since the medication began, he stopped urinating on his own, his resting heart rate dropped, his blood pressure has become more sporadic, and he is almost entirely unresponsive.  We can't pretend to be doctors, but we don't like this medication... They have run several EEG's and upped this medication and even added a second seizure medication (Keppra), and still they are detecting seizure activity.  It is starting to seem that controlling the seizures through medication may not be an entirely plausible option.  However, we will choose to believe, and know it to be true that God can stop the seizures, that God can heal Thatcher's brain, and that is the miracle that we are praying for.  Most recently our neonatologist (Dr. L, you will be hearing more about her, I'm sure) presented a train of thought to us that is both disconcerting and encouraging for us as parents.  Her thought is this:  The body is smart, and protects it's most vital organs by directing blood and oxygen from other organs before allowing damage to the brain, heart, and lungs.  Because this damage appears to be coorelated with some event in which oxygen was cut off to Thatcher's body, she believes that there is probably more damage to other organs.  That basically the body allowed the other organs to be damaged first, and then the brain last.  This is obviously disconcerting to us because that just opened up so many doors for further complications and diagnosis, and doctors, and surgeries, and medications, and seemingly immovable mountains for Thatcher to have to overcome.  The encouraging thing about this is that Dr. L is the first doctor to take this approach and really look at the wholistic picture of what we are dealing with.  We feel that Dr. L has taken a personal interest in our little man, and seems to be invested personally in his care, and we very much appreciate that.  As much as we are terrified to learn what else is going on, we continue to hold to the truth that God is in control.

Now that you are caught up on the medical side of things, we would like to share a little bit about our journey, and what we are learning through all of this.  Something that has remained aparent through this entire journey is that God's mercies are definitely new every morning, and we are so thankful for this.  Each day has brought it's own challenges and questions, fears and anxieties, and every day God has shown himself to be in control, and shown us that He is still with us.  Whether it be a tiny reflex, or Thatcher's first poop (seriously, we were so excited about it)!  God has continued to use His word, His church, His servant Thatcher, and small "miracles" to show up and remind us that He is in control.  Every single day there has been some mercy, something that was undeniably God that we can hold onto.

Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

This has been an incredibly hard passage to follow, to not fear while our whole world has changed?  To see our child essentially lifeless, bound to a bed?  Doctor after doctor presenting mountain after mountain to overcome?  It sure feels like the mountains are slipping in the sea, and that the oceans are roaring and foaming.  Everything seems so tumultuous, where is the peace? How are we supposed to just cease striving, to stop worrying about our son?  God has brought us to a place where we have no choice but to rely on Him.  He is our hope and our joy as there is no hope or joy outside of Him, He is our strength and our refuge at this time as we have no strength left without Him, and we have nowhere to turn but toward Him.  We don't believe our prayer for healing has gone unanswered, we know that God has heard our prayers, and the prayers of His church from around the world, God is simply saying "Not Yet".  It is our job at this time to rely on God, it is our job to fiercely love Thatcher, to continue to read him the story of Caleb every night, to spend as much time with him and to encourage him, and let him hear our voices, and let him know how much we love him.  It is our job to fight for him against all odds, the good news is we have a God who is bigger than the odds, who is able to overcome any obstacle.

New rule, no sadness at Thatcher's bedside.  So, Uncle Nate brought knock, knock jokes for us.  (Stephanie also had a great one, sorry we didn't snag a picture of that!)

Skin on Skin ("Kangaroo Care").  First time to hold him like this, so amazing.

Thatcher's digs in the NICU pod

Whitney was surprised to come in from dinner to Thatcher getting a bath, she was able to help.  This was one of God's mercies.

Making his hair look good

Done making his hair look good

Enjoying some time with Daddy and Uncle Nate

Holding on tight to Mommy's finger

The army of doctors and nurses as they make their rounds.

Loving on Thatcher, trying to calm him down.

Snuggles for Mommy, more "Kangaroo Care" (this is our favorite thing to do..)

Please continue to lift Thatcher up in prayer, pray for healing, praise Him for His mercies and grace; Praise Him because He is worthy of praise.  We have several tests coming up this weekend and early next week, as we mentioned Dr. L wants to get a holistic picture of Thatcher's current state, please pray for these tests, and for our conference we will have with Dr. L on Monday.  Please pray for positive results, and pray that God would be glorified through these tests/results and in this meeting.  Please pray for the meeting on Monday, as we have come to really not like these meetings as they usually mean bad news.  We will continue to proclaim that our God is Able, He has proven that over and over again, so we say this again.  We know that God can heal Thatcher, and we are praying that He will heal Thatcher.  Now to Him be the glory forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quick update (3/13)

Here is a quick/brief update of where we stand and what the next steps are for Thatcher. (updating on my phone, sorry for typos or other weird grammatical errors!) They have confirmed seizure activity, he struggled last night when they took him off the ventilator, and he is very tight, he holds his muscles almost constantly in a flexed state. His breathing is still shallow but has maintained a structured breathing pattern since yesterday (except when he becomes apptic (stops breathing). They introduced a stronger seizure medication today so he is resting the rest of the evening as his body begins to adjust to the new medication. The side effect of this is that it is a sedative, so he has been out of it most of the day. Now that Thatchers vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing pattern, oxygen levels, etc.) are stable they will be focusing on getting his seizures under control. This is basically a trial and error process where they will test different levels of medication while he does an EEG exam to determine if it is helping suppress the seizures.

I don't remember what was said last night or even that was last night that we posted, the days run together here, but they confirmed the brain attrophe and have said that he will not progress beyond basic functions of breathing blinking heart beating and the like. We know God is in control, however, an He is not limited by our "technology" or our imaging techniques or our diagnosis. Thatcher was supposed to be 5 lbs te day before he was born, he was born 6 lbs 1.5 oz of all beauty/handsome child of God. Each day there has been something that we believe is God saying "I'm here, I'm in control, I love Thatcher and am holding him in My hands". Yesterday was the hardest day and night so far, but God allowed us to hold Thatcher for the first time, God also opened Thatchers eyes most of the morning so we were able to talk to him and look into his beautiful face. Thatcher even reached for Eric's face which was the most amazing thing. We have been able to hange bis dirty diapers, and take his temperature, weve had the blessing of interacting with our son and to help him even with those little things. We have seen today that Thatcher has the ability to breath deeply; when he gets secretions and gunk around his breathing tube he coughs and uses his lungs to a much greater capacity, we know that his lungs are fully formed and they are clear from the X-ray they performed several days ago, so we just pray that he will recognize the need to breath deeply and that God would fill his lungs with praise.

We have been touched by all of the comments messages emails and the like, and God is contuing to use the church to provide us with encouragement and to speak to us and teach us, so thank you church for praying on behalf of Thatcher. Our hope is in the Lord, and we will wait on the Lord, and we will trust in the Lord. Thank you lord for continuing to provide us with encouragement and evidence of your presence, we know that You are in control, we trust that You continue to hold Thatcher in your hands. God we pray that you would give Thatcher the desire to breath deeply, and with purpose. We praise you that you have shown us that his body has the ability, and we trust that you will provide the nudge and your presence would drive him to breath with praise. Lord, would you heal his brain, would you remove whatever hindrance ther is in his brain that has caused it to stop growing, we know that you are unhindered, and we know that you can heal Thatcher, God, we beg you to heal your servant and child, our son Thatcher. Please fill that NICU room with your presence, allow each of the babies to feel your presence and allow each of their stories to be stories that glorify You. Would you wrap Thatcher up in your arms and hold him tight when we are not with him. God we love you, we thank you, and we need you. May you be glorified through Thatcher. It is in the powerful name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Breath of Life (3/13)

I know we haven't posted since Thatcher was born, and we will I promise! We're trying to get situated to the NICU and the emotional roller coaster it is.

But prayer warriors, we need you now more than ever before. PLEASE beseech God on Thatcher's behalf. Please, beg the Creator and Perfecter of life for the ability to breathe for our sweet baby boy! He's trDying so hard but he just gets tired out. He needs strong, deep, consistent breaths. He is beautiful and such an amazing blessing. Please join us as we continually beg our Heavenly Father for His healing hand to be on Thatcher especially for him to take strong, purposeful breaths!!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Meet Thatcher Caleb!

We are running off of about 2 hours sleep and we have a long week ahead of us with tests and everything, but we wanted to thank you all so much for your prayers, the delivery was beautiful, and Thatcher is perfect.

Please join us in praising our God who proved yet again that He is in control, and that doctors can only do so much, but He is limitless, He is not hindered by our doubts, our fears, or anything at all.  Thatcher was supposed to weigh 5lbs 3oz, and Thatcher weighed in at 6lbs 1.5 oz.  With a full head of dark hair.  Thank you, Lord that you are in control, we will continue to pray for your child and servant Thatcher Caleb, our son, Lord.  Please continue to breathe life into him, let His lungs fill with purpose to praise you, let His heart beat to know You.  Thank you, Lord.  We praise you.

Please continue to pray for Thatcher even though he is improving quickly there are certainly many hurdles ahead and a long day today. We will do our best to get back here and update with specifics.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We are getting close...

Eric and Whitney have asked me to give a quick update. They feel that each of you have played a vital role in their journey. They want to again thank you for your constant support and prayers, and they are definitely being felt. It is 10:23 pm and Whitney is currently dilated to a 9. The doctor will come in to check her again around 10:30 pm to see where we stand. It is looking like Thatcher will be making his grand arrival hopefully by midnight! Whitney and Thatcher are both doing very well.
Whitney's Big Sister (aka Thatcher's proud Aunt)

Friday, March 9, 2012

We are in the hospital (3/9)

Well, when we said that today was going to be a big day, we didn't think it was going to be this big... Not sure where to start so let's just dive right in.

We got to our appointment in time to sit in the waiting room for a good 20 minutes or so, and we were called back by an unfamiliar woman who led us to the ultrasound room.  She then sat at the computer and another unfamiliar face came in and began to prepare for the ultrasound.  Taking instruction from the first lady, she began the ultrasound.  Well, anyways, the whole time we just felt uneasy about the ultrasound, they seemed to question things, and it just felt like they were hiding something from us the whole time.  To make a long story short, Thatcher passed his BPP (Yay for continual movement!), so he continues to do well, but his measurements came out today at 5lbs 3oz (keeping in mind that last week's measurements were purely hypothetical) this means that he only gained around 9 oz. in 3 weeks, the growth was slower than what the doctor's would have liked to have seen.  So when we spoke with Dr. R (our delivering doctor) she wanted to see if Whitney had progressed at all, and when she checked, Whitney had not progressed much further and she basically told us that she would like to induce labor, so we were sent over here to labor and delivery.  Tonight we are basically just waiting, but they will induce labor tomorrow.  They are going to keep a close eye on Thatcher tonight and tomorrow to see how he is handling labor and contractions, and will be taking the induction slow, meaning they are going to use small amounts of the drug at a time so as to not overwhelm Thatcher, just to give a gentle nudge.  At this point, we expect labor to last most of the day tomorrow, but we can't wait to meet God's servant and our son in a few short hours!

So that's the short story... here's where we are.  Needless to say this came as a shock to us, and certainly was unforeseen by us, but we had prayed before our appointment that the doctor's would catch anything that needs to be caught, and we certainly trust that God is in control.  This absolutely is God's timing, so we are thankful that He is in control, and continues to show us that.  We actually got here just in time to run into some of the nurses we had met in our first stay, and one of them actually stopped by and gave us a gift (she is leaving to go out of town tomorrow, and we got here just as her shift was ending...God's timing at work).  She gave us a cross and Thatcher's first bible.  She wrote in it from "A nurse who is praying for you".  We can see that God has orchestrated these relationships and His timing is perfect.

Please pray, please pray, please continue to pray, please start to pray, please lift up Thatcher in prayer to a God who is able, to our Creator, to our Savior, to our Healer, to our Lord, to a God who taught us to love, to a God who is love, to our King.  Please pray, fervently, humbly, honestly, boldly, expectantly, and thankfully for God to have His hand continuously on Thatcher.  Please pray that Thatcher's heart is strong, that there are no decelerations especially due to the induction drugs (pitocin).  Please pray that Thatcher's lungs be healthy and strong, that he takes deep purposeful breaths, that he will praise God with everything in those lungs.  Please pray for the swelling in his brain, they found that his 4th ventricle is now swollen, up to this point, that was the only ventricle that was not swollen, please continue to pray for healing of his brain.  Please pray for a smooth delivery, for no more complications, for no more drama.  We know God is in control, we trust that He is working, and we love that He is using Thatcher, and we praise Him.  We will praise Him tonight, we will praise Him tomorrow.  Please join us in praising our God, please join us in praying to our God who is able to heal Thatcher now, completely, fully, absolutely.

Please know, this is not a sad time, we are not mourning, we are certainly anxious, but we have seen that God is in control, and we believe that He will give us strength, and He will continue to use the church, and His word to speak to us, and calm our fears, to continue to prove that He is with us.  He is our joy, and He is our peace. We can't wait to meet Thatcher.  We can't wait to hold him, and to kiss his little big lips!  We can't wait to see the perfect child that God has wonderfully knit together.  Please pray, and please praise, our God is worthy of all of our worship.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

39 Week Appointment & Ultrasound

Tomorrow is the big day!  Well, not the big, big day... but the day we've been "patiently" waiting on all week.  Tomorrow afternoon we have an ultrasound (biophysical profile and growth measurements), and a doctor's appointment.  So like I said, tomorrow is a big day!  We will get another glimpse at our perfect little blessing, hopefully he'll be sucking his thumb again, or amazing us in some other way, we will get official measurements, so we are hoping that we get a similar weight this week of around 5lbs. 5oz.  We would obviously love to see some growth, but with the human error and the fact that its only been a week, it's possible that we won't see any growth this week on the ultrasound (which is why they usually wait 2-3 weeks between measurements).  We are also looking forward to seeing how Whitney is progressing, she has continued to contract all week, however they are irregular but they do seem to be at least slightly more frequent.

We pray to see God move, we pray that He will show Himself, we pray that God will show up in His glory!  We can't wait to praise Him for what He is going to do tomorrow, and to see what He has been up to this past week with Thatcher.  But regardless of what the Ultrasound shows, and regardless of what the doctor's say, we will praise Him, because He is God.  We will praise Him because He is able, because He is good, and perfect, and worthy of our praise, because He keeps His promises, because He is faithful, because we have seen Him move in our lives, because we have seen Him move in and through Thatcher, simply because He loves us, and has wrapped us up in His arms, and has strengthened us, and has been our peace and our joy.  We will praise Him, because we believe that He is still moving, and is still using Thatcher, and has a plan for him that we can't even begin to imagine yet.  We will praise God, tonight, tomorrow, and every day after that we are blessed with.  I was talking to a buddy of mine and I was telling him how my prayers for Thatcher have progressed through this journey, how they started out being simply for absolute complete healing for Thatcher immediately, then they became absolute complete healing for Thatcher on God's time-line, as if my desire had changed of when I wanted or expected Thatcher to be healed, and my prayer has come back to absolute complete healing for Thatcher immediately, that is my heart's desire, that is our desire and our wish.  But, however God answers that prayer, we will praise Him.  My buddy reminded me again of Shadrach Meshach and Abed-nego (Daniel 3:8 - 4:3), how they declared that God would deliver them from the fire, but they proclaimed that even if He did not, they would not bow down to another god.  That is our example, we declare that God will heal Thatcher, completely, absolutely, and will display His sovereignty at Thatcher's birth, that He will heal Thatcher now, before he is born; yet if He does not heal Thatcher before he is born, we will praise God.

Please pray with renewed vigor, with renewed conviction, or passion, with a strengthened faith, please pray that God will heal Thatcher completely and absolutely right now, please pray that God would show up tomorrow at the appointment, that God would be glorified through Thatcher and through our words and actions at the appointment.  Please continue to glorify the Holy One, our Father in Heaven, Our God!  He is so good!  Our God Reigns, Hallelujah!!  Amen!

39 weeks! (3/7)

There's no update, so don't get too excited.  I just couldn't let today pass without some sort of recognition.


Baby, today, you are 39 weeks and on this special day your daddy and I have SOO much to be thankful for!

I felt this prayer from "Expecting" a pregnancy devotional was perfect for us, so I thought it's only fitting that I share it with all of you.
"Father, thank you that my baby's organs are now all completely developed and ready to function perfectly outside the comforts of his mama's body.  I will never know how You did it - and on such a tight schedule!  Ingenious!  You crafted everything so beautifully, and Your timing is perfect.  Thank you!
I pray for the health of my baby.  Will You bring him safely into this world?  I pray that his heart is beating strongly, his lungs working correctly, his digestive system functioning smoothly. 
And God, will You continue to protect him as he grows?  You fashioned him from the beginning, and You, our great Physician, can heal him from any sickness or disease.  You created us and know exactly how to fix us.  I praise You for that, Lord!
I stand in awe of You, my Creator God.  
In Jesus' name, Amen."
We have so much to be thankful for!
  • From the very beginning of all this craziness, every single doctor has said all the rest of Thatcher's organs look good!  We are thankful they are developed and ready to work on their own.
  • We have made it to 39 weeks!!! Thatcher is still moving and grooving, and he's still in my tummy (the doctors haven't felt there has been any signs of distress or any reason to get him out)!  
  • Every time this week when Eric and I have felt tired, or alone God has used encouraging words from friends, worship songs, and His word to continually fill us with His peace and to remind us He is walking alongside of us on this path He has set before us. He is so gracious to lift us up when we begin to grow weary! 
  • This amazing blessing of a child will be here any day! Ahh, I can't wait to kiss his little lips, and his precious fingers, and tiny toes! 
So what have we done to commemorate this special day?

 Well, I spent the day in the kitchen making meals to freeze so we have things to eat after Thatcher comes home and I will have no interest in the kitchen.  Thatcher spent the day dancing and stretching and had a couple of hiccups.  I think he's gotten pretty bored in there and has now resorted to amusing himself with messing with me with contractions.  Today, they ranged anywhere from 7 - 40 mins apart!  I'll be interested at my appointment on Friday if I have progressed at all, or if my body is as confused as I am and has stopped progressing altogether.

On a side note, I wanted to share two songs that God used to minister to me today.

The first song, "Forever Reign", is like so many others I have listened to the past couple of weeks.  Songs that have been around for a while, songs that I have gotten used to, or sadly to admit, bored of.  But now when I hear them, there's this whole new conviction, I can hear God's Word pouring out through the music and lyrics!

The next song, "The Greatness of Our God", is a song I heard for the first time tonight, but the words, they are exactly what we have been praying for ourselves as we continue on this journey.  Needless to say, it is my new anthem :)

That's about it for today.  Like I said, no "update" just wanted to tell baby Thatcher, happy 39 weeks, we're almost there!
But on Friday, we will have a biophysical profile (fancy ultrasound where the dr. looks for specific things) and real measurements will be taken! (although I'm not expecting much a difference from our hypothetical measurements that may or may have been taken last week.  Not because I believe Thatcher has stopped growing but because growth can't usually be detected on an ultrasound from one week to the next, that is why there is usually a 2-3 week window between measurements) After the ultrasound, we have a doctor's appointment.  So Friday afternoon will be quite eventful after a pretty slow week! 

Lord, we continue to humbly to come before you, our Heavenly Father and boldly ask for healing for sweet Thatcher's little brain.  As we get closer to his due date, Lord, we pray for a safe delivery; that his little heart will beat with strength, and his little lungs will take in air with purpose.  God, You have already used Thatcher in a way we could have never imagined.  We thank you and ask that You continue to do so! It is so humbling to watch how others connect with Thatcher and his story and he's not even here yet.  Lord, I can't wait til he gets here to see how you continue to use him!

Friday, March 2, 2012

We get to meet Dr. R, Update (3/2)

Hi friends, this will be a pretty quick post.  First of all thank you all for your continued prayers, seriously, we can not thank you enough, we believe in the power of prayer, and we believe that God hears our prayers, and the fact that there are thousands of people lifting up Thatcher in prayer is truly humbling, and incredible.

We met Dr. R today!  Well, we actually had met her one other time very briefly during our hospital stay, but she was in and out of our room within 5 minutes early one morning, so that doesn't really count.  Either way, whether we met her for the first time today, or the second, we really liked her and feel comfortable with her as our doctor going forward from here on out.  The appointment today was pretty brief, but she was very responsive to our questions and was patient with us in explaining everything, so we really appreciated that.  Here is what we learned today:

Delivery Plan:  We have nailed it down as best as we can at this point.  We discussed this in pretty good detail, so we are comfortable with it, at least as comfortable as you can be this close to the due date...  We have confirmed we will expect a normal delivery, and we have confirmed yet again that it is our intent to do everything possible to give Thatcher the best chance possible during delivery and following. (still don't understand why this is even a question...).  She wants to wait till Whitney goes into labor naturally then have us take the hour trek down to the hospital and we will set up for a normal delivery while watching how Thatcher reacts very closely.  Since he had "beautiful accelerations" (her words) when we were in the hospital 2 weeks ago, she's fairly confident he will handle a normal delivery.  Whitney is planning on going natural, and feels even more passionate about this than before.  One of the "possibilities" is Thatcher will have difficulties breathing and Whitney doesn't want to chance him being affected by any sort of medications during delivery making it even more of a struggle for him to breathe or stabilize his own body.  Dr. R was very understanding of our reasons and said she was there to support us in every delivery decision we made (which was awesome and made us feel like we could trust her even more)  At the same time, the first sign of distress we see we will head straight for a c-section.  The whole point is to get Thatcher here as safely as possible, so if that means c-section, we won't even think twice about it.  There will be no induction date unless we go beyond March 14th, his due date, so we are looking at March 28th as the latest possible induction date if he doesn't come sooner on his own.... come on baby!

Non-Stress Test: We did not do a non-stress test, Dr. R seems comfortable with how Thatcher is progressing based on the last two BPP's (bio-physical profiles), and how much he is moving, so she did not feel that it was necessary to do this test.  A plus from today, Whitney felt as if her water might be leaking so Dr. R did a very quick scan (ultrasound) and we got to see Thatcher breathing, and moving again today, wahoo!  Oh and Whitney's amniotic fluid number was fine, so they aren't concerned.

We prayed for answers and clarity for the next couple of weeks, and we got just that!  We prayed the meeting with Dr. R would be positive, and it was.  We prayed that God would be present and we would be allowed opportunities to shine God's love and we felt there were, from not getting frustrated when we had to wait 20 minutes to check out because the couple in front of us couldn't get things figured out, to not blaming the doctor when she couldn't answer our neurological questions with more than speculation and the all too familiar "we won't know till he gets here".  We definitely felt God in our appointment and Dr. R was able to physically see (with the scan) that Thatcher is doing things he is not supposed to be able to do!  Today was yet another physical reminder that God is present with us and He is in control.

The only outcome from today that was unexpected was Thatcher's ultrasound for next week was moved from Tuesday to Friday.  The nurse tried to do the same thing this week, but Dr. WCS put a stop to it saying ultrasounds need to stay on Tuesdays so we can have a consistent 7 days between them and have more accurate readings.  Today, Dr. R said Thatcher has looked awesome on his 2 BPPs (ultrasounds) and looked great today so adding 3 more days before his next bpp won't be a problem at all.  This should comfort us because they would only lengthen the amount of time between two BPPs if the baby looks good, but it makes us nervous.  First, it's not what we agreed upon when we figured out our "plan" for the remaining weeks until delivery and that means we have a week straight of "in between days" for Satan to prey upon us.  Yes, we are trying to focus on being thankful for today, and not worry about tomorrow, but it is does bring out this ominous feeling for this next week and all the extra time we will have just to sit in silence with our own thoughts.  However, it also provides more time to rely on God, more time to get into His word, more time to pray, more time for Him to show us who He is until we get another glimpse of Thatcher at our next BPP.  Our prayer for ourselves is that our focus will remain on God, and that God will provide wisdom in the coming days and weeks as there will most likely be decisions that need to be made quickly, we just pray that we remain in His will.  We are beyond thankful and humbled for the daily miracles that God is providing for us on this journey, and how God is using Thatcher already.  We pray for healing for Thatcher, as we serve a God who is able, and we pray for God to be glorified through Thatcher.  We pray that Thatcher would have a courageous spirit like that of Caleb, we pray that he would have a servant's heart, that he would seek to put others before himself.  We pray that he would pursue an intimate relationship with God the Father, and that he would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's presence and gentle nudges and be obedient.  We simply pray that Thatcher would know God, and God would continue to shine through him.

We know we have a long road ahead of us, but we find peace in the promise that as long as we are seeking God, He will fight for us.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." - Exodus 14:14

(Well, so much for a short post...)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We get to meet Dr. R

So we have another appointment tomorrow at 1:45 pm. This time it's with Dr. R, the doctor whose care I was transferred to originally.  Nothing like meeting the obstetrician who will deliver your child when your 38 1/2 weeks pregnant :) Anyways, we are excited to finally meet our actual doctor. We're praying we can nail down a delivery plan. Up to now we have heard I will have a c-section from one doctor, and another said a vaginal delivery will be fine, and it's sort of unknown if there will be an induction date so they can monitor thatcher's response to labor or if I am supposed to come in as labor progresses on its own. Since Thatcher's due date is 1 1/2 weeks away, we really need to get a delivery plan set so we are all on the same page. We might also do a non-stress test to see how Thatcher is responding to his own movements and my contractions so we can have a little indicator as to how he might react during actual labor. Soo, if it seems we're mentioning a bunch of possible things that might happen tomorrow, it's true.  After leaving our appointment last Thursday with more questions, we're praying we actually get things accomplished/figured out this week.  We do have a few lingering questions about Thatcher's neurological state that we hope to get answered tomorrow as well.

More than trying to figure out the logistics of everything tomorrow, we are praying that God will make Himself evident during our appointment.  Over the past 2 weeks we have met with more medical staff than I would have ever imagined. In each meeting, God has made Himself known. Tomorrow is just another opportunity for God to move. We are praying that as we meet Dr. R we radiate our Heavenly Father's love and He will make Himself evident in that small examination room. 

We are praying that God would provide wisdom to the doctor, that if there is something that needs to be discovered or discussed, it won't go unnoticed.  And we continue to pray for Thatcher's healing, knowing that God can, praying and believing that He will.  

God we are so humbled that we have the blessing of communicating with You, the God of all creation.  We have the opportunity to approach you at any time, and we pray that we wouldn't take that lightly.  We are so thankful that You hear us, that through Jesus we can approach You in prayer.  You are a mighty God, you are worthy of our worship.  It is with a heart of praise that we pray for Thatcher's healing.  Please, Lord, heal Your child in accordance to your will.  You raised Lazarus from the dead, we know you can heal Thatcher, you performed miracles then, and you still perform them today, please heal our son, your child and servant.  We pray that tomorrow would be a good appointment, that we would have a better understanding of what the next few weeks will look like.  Please give the doctors wisdom, allow no stone to go unturned, and no detail to go unnoticed.  We know you don't miss a thing, and we trust that You are in control.  We love you, Lord.

Pray with faith, pray with praise, pray honestly, pray often. We are so blessed that you all are prayer warriors for our sweet child.  We are humbled by your constant encouragement.  You are all as much apart of Thatcher's story as we are, and so we thank you!