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.


  1. Daily, every single time I utter Thatcher's name in prayer, I am reminded of God's words to Jeremiah.
    "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

    Our Creator doesn't make mistakes in His creation. He has so obviously consecrated Thatcher, knowing before he formed him in your womb, Whitney, that sweet Thatcher would be set apart. Your words and your lives, Whitney and Eric, are a testimony to that.

    Our flesh sees in the flesh. We only see a glimpse of the perfection our Father sees in each of his children. In James, Elijah is described as "a man just like us". Thatcher is no different than Elijah! I know you guys see that in his sweet face every day. I read your words and get so excited to see you giving God glory for Thatcher.

    He is worthy of praise!

  2. thatcher is so beautiful and so loved! we are praying for healing and for God to continue to glorify Himself!

    psalms 121:1-2
    i lift my eyes to the hills. from where does my help come? my help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

    sarah and kyle watson

  3. We join you in petitioning our Healer!! So many are standing in the gap for you and when we don't know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf!

  4. You both are amazing parents! We are praying for your little blessing everyday....

    Friends of Ryan and sarah,
    Dustin and sarah Cruse


  6. Matthew 11:28 NIV

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    I, too, have a daughter with brain issues. She has taught me more in 7 months, than I have in the past 20 years. This bible verse has gotten me through more hard times, and difficult diagnosies than anything else. I pray for baby Thatcher, that God may keep his healing hand on everything you go through.

  7. I am praying for you and your sweet baby.

  8. Thatcher is a beautiful MIRACLE of God. Although we do not know HIS purpose in all of the diagnosis, He does and will continue to hold you up in peace and strength.

    Praying for you and Thatcher!

  9. Praying for Thatcher and the entire family. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Your faith God is so inspiring.

  10. We have a mutual friend on facebook and yall's blog was on my newsfeed so I have been keeping up with yall's postings. I am praying for yall and Thatcher. Continue to rely on our Heavenly Father. Through Him all things are possible and He is greater than any machine, test, medicine, anything. He is holding Thatcher in His hands and has full control of this situation. I will continue to pray for all 3 of yall, the doctors, and yalls families.

    And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
    -Matthew 19:26

  11. Johnny and Alice Gunter.March 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    We are praying-not ever stopping for the baby,parents and everyone!!!

  12. Keeping you and your precious Thatcher in my prayers!

  13. I also have a mutual friend of yours on facebook, though I don't know you ... just want to encourage you that there are many who are lifting you and Thatcher up to our Lord without even knowing you, like me. And to remind you, though I'm sure you know it, that Jesus loves us all, but he especially, REALLY loves the kids. Thatcher is so precious to Him.

  14. Thatcher is such a precious child of God and has already spread the Word of God and a Mom & Dad's steadfast Faith to the world! Praying for Thatcher's progress to continue and that God will hold all three of you in His Loving Arms to bring you comfort & peace!

    Thank you so much for sharing pictures of some of your endearing moments with Thatcher! They touched my heart in a huge way and preach better than any sermon!

    PRAISE GOD and be Glorified through Thatcher, Eric, and Whitney

  15. Thatcher, I am blessed by you. I am praying for you. No matter what, you are changing lives everywhere. Love you.

  16. Happy One Week Birthday to Thatcher! What a beautiful baby boy! The whole Melear family is praying for all of you--prayers for comfort, guidance, healing, and mercy.

  17. You, precious ones, are such shining examples for all of us. You are truly being used by God. We continue to lift up baby Thatcher and your family in prayer over and over and over and over and over and over again. We love you so much! Connie and Smokey Mc

  18. What a precious baby boy! I don't know you personally, but I have a friend who posted this on her FB page and I've been following your blog. I can see that God is doing amazing things with Thatcher and thru his and your experience. The song "Call on Jesus" by Nicole C. Mullins came to mind when you talked about the immovable mountains in your post. When you call on Him, "mountains are gonna fall"! God bless your family and continued prayers.

  19. God bless you family - I am throughly amazed at your strength and I pray your baby boy will get the help he needs, he is beatuiful.

  20. Friends with someone who posted your journey on FB- constant prayers for you both and Thatcher. He certainly is a gorgeous little guy- love all that dark hair!!

    Praying that God works miracles in your life and Thatcher's.

  21. Eric and Whitney - our prayers are with you and your sweet Baby Thatcher. He is beautiful and so blessed to have such amazing parents. Blessings and love to you....

    The Robichaux Family

  22. PRAYING and trusting God for Thatcher's complete healing. Be encouraged.

  23. Clapsaddles are still praying for Thatcher and his family. Love and prayers!!

  24. Ronda and Stan TewellMarch 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    We lift you up faithfully, praying for peace and rest for you and your beautiful son.

  25. JESUS, we turn to YOU! (song by Selah)
    Unceasing prayer!

  26. Whitney, you look so much like your dad in that Kangaroo Care picture. Makes me miss Crossroads. Thatcher looks precious. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

  27. Friends of mine posted your story on FB. I am praying for you and especially Thatcher. I know for sure that God can heal because many years ago He healed my son when we thought there was no hope. We do not know God's plans for Thatcher but we can claim that God will walk with ya thru the difficult journey. In Christ, Debbie

  28. All - you are in our daily thoughts and prayers - Keep the Faith!

  29. Praying for you and your miracle. God can do all things and I will pray for strength for you through this time and comfort. Praying for healing for your precious son. Our God is a wonderful and all powerful God. God bless you and your family.

  30. Praying for you and your sweet boy.
    John 16:33 "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

    (Found your site thru wearethatfamily)

  31. Let me remind us that He has already been wherr we are going. He waits for Thatcher and will use your family for Gods glory. Know that you all three are being prayed for by 100s of your family in Christ. The future is not scary when Christ meets you there.

  32. Still praying for complete healing of baby Thatcher. May Gods peace surround you at this time. Amazing heavenly father we pray that Thatcher would be healed completely. God continue to grow his body and brain. Surround him with your mighty and most powerful warrior angels. Let no pain or harm or fear come to him. Let him find rest and peace and healing in your arms. Lord we know you have the power to completely heal him and continue to think you for this amazing child. Amen.

  33. Dear Eric and Whitney, I am praying for endurance and encouragement for you through this trial, and for healing for your amazing precious baby. Thank you for your testimony of faith in our great God and Creator...
    xoxo Anna (New Hampshire)
    ps I found your blog through a blog i regularly follow

  34. Whitney, I am crying out constantly for you, Thatcher, and your husband....Jesus has placed you on my heart continually. I am so thankful for God's great grace and the way he pours it out on his children in the ways that they need it, I know He is doing this for you three. I was praying for you guys a few days ago and really felt like Jesus was just holding and caring for Thatcher even when you couldn't be there...He is loving and delighting in that little man!

  35. Whitney & Eric,
    Y'all are amazing! I love how you've put yourselves out there and allowed us to know the details of all you're walking through. Sharing your burdens so we can pray specifically. The pictures are wonderful. I smile as I look at each and everyone of them. And Eric, good job - Thatcher's hair looks great! :-)

  36. I heard about your sweet boy from Kimber Ozols and my heart just ached for you! You all in my prayers. Read this today and thought of you,

    Jesus didn’t promise us a carefree life. He didn’t come to explain suffering or to remove it. He came to fill it with His presence. And that makes all the difference. When you know Jesus is with you– walking with you every step of the way– it makes the difference between despair and hope.

  37. You are so young to go through this. I am praying for your journey, your hearts and your Thatcher.