Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Time Last Year...

...I left my 6-day old newborn at home with Daddy and sped over to the hospital, where my sister-in-law and brother were having THEIR baby girl!

And today, I am a proud aunt to the prettiest little one-year old lady"bugg" ever!

Less than one week apart in age, Miss M and her cousin are already bosom buddies. We get to spend a few days a week with Miss A, and I LOVE watching the girls play "together".

They are different in size, stature, personality and poise. They are alike in their love of food, the big yellow dog and the rowdy entertaining Drew.

And they do have one other thing in common... both have this family totally wrapped around those darling little fingers!

Happy First Birthday, Miss A!! Your mom and I can't wait to throw you and your cousin some princess tea parties for birthdays to come!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Post-Op Ponderings

Two weeks ago today, my husband and I were sitting in a waiting room as surgeons operated on our son's brain and skull. We envisioned an immediate future of bandages, wounds, and lots of bedside TLC.

One week later, I left my son at his grandma's house with the following stern instructions:
"Be good.
Don't be rowdy.
Don't be loud.
Just sit and watch T.V. and play video games.
Don't run.
Don't pick things up.
Don't climb all over the couch.
Stay Calm.
Do you understand?"

In other words... all of the energy I stored up for being a bedside nurse has been used to calm down my very active, very-much-recovered five year old boy.

It's hard to believe that only 2 weeks after surgery, he can feel so good. He is off of virtually all his pain medicine. I don't know if he's even supposed to be off it, but he is. He's been working on school work and helping with chores around the house.

The past couple of weeks have been momentous for Drew in a lot of ways, but it's also been huge for this mama, too. When I have brief moments of quiet, I feel a bit overwhelmed by what we've been through. Not the surgery so much, but the response from all of you.

This year, we have already learned about just how gracious, caring and prayerful our friends are through my dad's illness. But bringing it even closer to home with Drew's ordeal, we have been absolutely humbled.

I feel the need for a new outlook on my response to others' sufferings. So, here's my list of "What To Do":


Prayer is powerful and effective. I could write a book about how I feel about prayer after this experience, but others have gone before me and penned more eloquent & theologically sound words than I ever could. I do know this... God hears our prayers and answers them. Whether or not it's the answer we're begging for, only He decides. For me, the power of the prayers was more about the relationship and conversation it gave me with God than the outcome that followed. I had no idea that kind of peace was possible as I said goodbye to my child in the halls of a surgical ward. But it was all-encompassing and undeniable.

So, from now on... I've resolved to earnestly pray when I tell someone I will. It's the greatest thing I can do for a friend.

When it's appropriate, I will make myself physically available to GO to others when they're going through a trial. We had several visitors at the hospital (including pastors from my church and my parents church). What a shot in the arm (the good kind, not the "owwee" kind!) for our boy to see our friends and his. It made the hospital more normal, less threatening. It did us all a world of good. We also had friends who came to our house after we got home. We were so grateful for everyone who set aside their schedules and errands and "to-do's" to just spend time visiting with us.

So, from now on... when it's appropriate to do so, I will go. (I realize that sometimes, visitors can be too stressful in certain situations. I pray for the sensitivity to ask before going and respond accordingly.)

And finally, I resolved to SEND something to those who are suffering. This is probably the easiest one to do. Because I'm not really talking about gifts (although we have generous friends who gave Drew some awesome treats!!). During Drew's hospitalization, we also received cards, letters, emails, Facebook comments, blog comments and texts. I realized how easy and meaningful a word of encouragement truly is. I was also astounded by how many people still send cards. With all the modern avenues of communication available, I was blown away to get Get-Well cards in the mail. WOW!

So, I'm going to stock up on cards and stamps. And make sure I keep my "unlimiting texting" plan!

I pray that God will continue to use this experience to teach our family about love, compassion and generosity. We have a lot to learn, and a great example has been set for us to follow.

Thank you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Miss M!

I cannot begin to wrap my brain around where this year has gone.

It's as if I've been duped by some great sleight-of-hand trickery. I've blinked, and "POOF", my baby is gone... and here stands (and walks and runs) a little girl.

Wearing the dresses I held up to my belly last year.
Playing with the dolls and teacups that I just unwrapped at her baby showers.
Outgrowing the shoes I never thought she'd get big enough to wear.
Eating her peas and carrots (and the dog's food when I'm not quick enough to stop her).

I'm walking down memory lane today, scratching my head in bewilderment as I go. Won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Can I Do?

I'm working on a update of our family... sometimes it takes a while when I have something heartfelt that I've been pondering. Such is the case with my latest "Drew" update.

In the meantime, though, I have something infinitely more important to share with you.

A few months ago, a friend of mine started a blog entitled "143 Million Less One" (click HERE). You may remember her story if you've been reading my blog for a little while. She and her husband adopted a little boy from China around the same time Miss M was born last year.

I felt a connection with them from the moment I heard their story. God had placed a passion in their hearts to adopt, and they began a journey of faith. It just so happened that their journey to bring Liam home from China coincided with the impending arrival of Miss M last year - we were preparing for new babies together - it was so exciting!

Now, Nancy writes an earnest, touching and powerful blog highlighting orphans around the world who cling to a hope that their "forever family" is waiting, praying, and preparing to welcome them home, too.

Each time I read her blog, it makes a profound impression and charges me to ask myself some tough questions.

I believe you're up for the challenge, too. Please click HERE and read about another "one" who just found his forever family. I know the Greene family personally and want to help them bring Elijah home however I can. Maybe you can help them too.

So take a peek... and please leave Nancy a comment letting her know you stopped by!

Friday, October 15, 2010

We're Outta There!

Guess I should update and let you know that we're home!


Yesterday morning, the doctors burst into the room (they always burst into a room... that must be one of the classes required for med students) around 7am. Lights were turned on, flashlights poking around Drew's head and neck. We listened as they spoke in quick fragmented sentences to eachother and tried to pick up a word we understood here and there.

A few seconds later, they were done with their analysis and turned to me smiling.

"He looks great. We'll send you home today. He'll recover much more quickly there!"

And just like that, they were gone.

A few minutes later, one of the "team" members who'd just been part of the flurry of excitement, returned to me with a prescription for pain meds.

"So, you think we'll be out of here by dinnertime?" I asked.
"Oh no... your discharge papers are done. You'll be out of here before lunch."

And sure enough, we loaded our boy into the car around 11am and were home by lunchtime.

It's been a whirlwind since then, and a lot more stressful for mama. It's very hard to keep a 5 yr old inactive. The doctor was right... his improvement moved into the fast lane once we got home.

So, we started setting the timer on the microwave and banishing him to the couch or his room for 10 minute increments, trying desperately to get him to slow down!

Which is why I have been so bad about posting an update. This kid is keeping me very busy. And I'm so very grateful!!!

We are home!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Our Way "Up!"

It's the wee hours of the morning, and I can't sleep. I think I'm about to witness an amazing sunrise as a reward for my insomnia - the view out our hospital window cannot be beat. From where I sit, I can see the water just beyond the city's downtown buildings. And at the edge of the bay, there's a little airport that's busy with small planes and helicopters. Drew's going to love that in a day or so.

The boy is doing really well. I am amazed at how comfortable he seems. Each time the nurse asks about his pain (they use the smiley face chart... I'm sure you're familiar), he points to the little guy right next to the smiling one. "Just a little bit" is the only amount of pain he's reporting. Now, they have him hooked up to the best medicine in the world, but hey - it's working!!

I'm pleased to report that Drew is finally wearing pants again. "Phineas & Ferb" pajama bottoms if you must know. He's very proud of them, and I'm glad he feels a bit less exposed these days.

It's very quiet in his room, and he slept soundly from 9pm last night until about 2 o'clock this morning. With a good five hour nap, though, he woke us both up so we could "watch some movies!"

I curled up in his bed with him and we watched "UP". I had never seen it before, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. After the movie was over, I convinced him to go back to sleep... but for some inexplicable reason, I'm still "UP".

But that's ok. The still, dark quiet of this room has been a great place for some reflection this morning. And most of my thoughts are steeped in gratitude. Gratitude to God for being so good to us. Gratitude that He loves Andrew even more than I do. Gratitude for my amazing family and friends. Gratitude that we are floating somewhere in the middle of the covering of God's protection and the safety net of your prayers and love.

So, thanks for keeping us "UP!"

I'm off to either catch a sunrise or a little shut eye.

(I put these on my Facebook page yesterday, but in case you didn't see them, I wanted to include them here as well):

When we arrived, Drew was very upset and anxious...

Then, the nurse gave him something called "Happy Juice". Ahh... much better!

During the procedure, his daddy and I killed time by checking emails and responding to the sweetest messages of love and prayers.

Post-op and in his room

Less than 2 hours after surgery, he manages to play a quick video game on the t.v. mounted on his wall. Very cool!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surgery Day

Update #2 - Around 1:00 p.m., we were finally able to see Drew. He looked so sweet - his color was good and he wasn't very swollen - both warmed this mama's heart. I think he'll have some more swelling in the days to come, but we're grateful for this moment. Great news came when we were informed we wouldn't have to spend the first 24 hours in ICU like the original schedule had ordered. We were admitted straight to "our room" for the remainder of our stay. Now, as of 7:15 p.m., we are comfortably settled and he has been sleeping on and off the majority of the afternoon. He even played a video game for about 5 minutes. The blessings keep coming!! (7:15 p.m.)

Update #1 - The surgery is over and he's doing well. Still waiting to see our boy. Surgeon had to do more work than expected, but we are praising God for the surgeon's steady hands and wise decisions. He believes Drew will have a full recovery. Will update again soon! (12:33 p.m.)

We are sitting in the hospital waiting area while the neurosurgeon is performing Drew's surgery.

I hope to update this post throughout the day with stories I don't want to forget.

You know, memorable things, like the fact that my 5 year old told 3 consecutive pastors (who came to visit and pray before we went into surgery) that, underneath the blankets and gown, he had no pants or underwear on.

Apparently, this was the most pressing issue on his mind. Gotta love that little boy!

Our first update was good. As of 10:45 a.m., he's still in surgery.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prayer Requests

We are gearing up this week for Drew's impending brain surgery. We originally thought he'd be in surgery on Monday, Oct. 11th, but we just received a call that it'll take place on Tuesday the 12th. We thank you in advance for your prayers over our family. We are at peace, and the boy is o.k. with it, too. (Not to say I won't be asking for the largest possible dosage of Valium for this kid on the day of his procedure...).

In the meantime, I would also like to ask you to pray for my dad and mom. As you may know, my dad's been fighting a disease called Amyloidosis this year. He was diagnosed in December of 2009, received a bone marrow transplant in February of this year, and has been going through a pretty tough chemo regimen for a few months.

At this point in the battle, his body is fatigued and weak. The visits to the hospital are growing more frequent.

Through it all, we have relied as a family on the all-sufficient knowledge that God is good and that He is in control. And your prayers really help us to rest in God's perfect plan for our family.

I plan to write a bit more about Drew's surgical plan as we get a little closer to next week.

Until then, thank you for praying for us! How can I pray for you???