Monday, August 9, 2010

If you don't give a baby a cookie...

...or anything else, she will get very fussy.  I wanted to update about Leah's 24 hour fast sooner, but I just didn't get a chance yet.  We survived!  It was quite an experience that I pray we never have to relive, but Leah did great and was such a trooper.  I was just so proud of her!

The sweet girl had no idea what was about to happen to her.

Where are we going Mommy?

We arrived at the hospital about 8:15 on Monday evening.  It was hard getting out of the house.  Apparently, the 3 big kids did NOT want us to leave!  We got checked in and were walked to our room. The nurse (a couple actaully) and a doctor did a full review of Leah's history with us while she explored the room.  Her favorite thing to do was to crawl under the crib!  She was quite curious!  Finally, around 11:00 a nurse came in to give a very tired Leah an IV in her arm.  That was not what was on Leah's agenda!  She cried very hard for it, but when they were done she was allowed to go to sleep, finally.  I laid her in the crib and she went right to sleep.

You would think that by baby number 4 I wouldn't be so in awe of a sleeping baby, but I am.  I just stood there and stared at my sweet baby.  



I had so many thoughts running through my head as I stood there and watched her sleep.  The first and biggest thought was of how much love I have for this sweet girl.  I mean, really, could I love our 4th baby as much as I have loved the other 3?  I am astonished at how much joy she has added to our family.  And of course, my thoughts were consumed with the last few months with our sweet Leah.  Her health has certainly been on the forefront of our minds and at times heavy on our hearts.  Answers could not come fast enough for us, but in the process of this, we are learning patience and how to wait on the Lord.

It was a long night of being awakened every couple hours for blood sugar pricks.  But in between, we did sleep a little bit.  Unfortunately, we were up by 6:45 AM for good.  Leah was so good.  She barely complained at all about not eating, however, my Mommy heart broke into a million pieces every time she would sign eat and please.  It went against every fiber of my being to not feed my child, especially as I watched her sugar slip and she became very symptomatic.

We did play some...




And she walked the hallways a LOT, waving cutely at every nurse she walked by.  It sure does a moms heart good to hear how cute your baby is about 175 times in one day!  Oh I love that girl!  By 2:00 her sugar was down to 50 and she was very sleepy and shaky.  She fell asleep and I thought for sure when they checked her the next time that she would be below 45, which is where she needed to be for the test to be accurate.  So we kept checking while she slept.












Unfortunately, her sugar never dropped below 50.  She stalled out there, even went up a tad bit, for 4 long hours.  The doctor said that sugar is very unpredictable.  Um, yeah!  He did say that it was good that it didn't drop dangerously low again, but that it was bad because we may not get accurate results.  Talk about frustration!  The whole reason I decided to go through with this test was so that we could finally get some answers, and now they are saying maybe not.  They did go ahead and draw the blood (the 10 viles of it!!!), and I am praying for something.  Again, we wait.  

And finally, Leah was allowed to eat!!!  A full 24 hours after she had eaten the night before.  And she was so happy about it.






And they pumped her veins with sugar...


And finally, we were able to go home!  I think Leah was just as ready as I was!


We were welcomed home by Allie, Emily, Sam and Daddy (and Aunt Kelly!) at 9:30 pm.  I wish I could say that the craziness was over, but when we got home, I checked Leah's sugar levels and she was actually really high.  I put her to bed, assuming that it was because of the glucose they put in her IV, but the next morning she was even higher.  When all of this first started back in April, we were told that it wasn't diabetes, that it was probably some form of hypoglycemia to then maybe thinking it was a metabolic disorder, with the possibility of a brain tumor thrown in there, now back to the possibility of it being diabetes in the early stages.  My head is spinning!  We will see the pediatric endocrinologist in two weeks to talk about all of this and hopefully get some answers.

But for now, we continue to wait and monitor her sugar.  This sweet little fourth baby of ours sure is taking us for a roller coaster ride that we didn't expect.  However the Lord continues to teach us amazing things about Himself and we have been so blessed by so many things and so many people through this process.  God is so good and we continue to place our sweet baby, and her blood sugar, in His hands.  He created her and He knows exactly what is going on in her body, even when we don't understand.  He's just cool like that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A road less traveled

Or one that has never been traveled in our home.  Tonight I will take Leah to Children's at 8:00 to begin her 24 hour fasting challenge.  I am counting down the hours, not out of excitement, and not really even out of fear, but just simply because I can't wait to get on with this.  I am tired of thinking about this test and wondering how she will respond to it and how it will be on me to watch her go through this.  But tonight I can just live it and see it unfold instead of playing out the countless scenarios in my head.  The goal is to fast her for up to 24 hours.  Then, when her sugar drops, they will get this "critical sample" of blood to see what has been causing her sugar to be all over the place.  A problem we didn't even know existed until April 28th.  They want to get this all figured out before flu season hits and she gets sick again, since getting sick could cause her sugar to drop dangerously low again.  So, as much as I don't want to put her through this test, I will do it in hopes that we don't have to ever see her so lethargic and unresponsive again.  And to get an answer.  We have now had 2 pediatricians and 2 pediatric specialists agree that this is the right road to take and I am at peace with the decision...just can't wait for it to be over!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say refoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will gusrd you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   Phil 4:4-7

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mexico

OK, so many of you have said that I need to update my blog about our Mexico trip.  First of all, I didn't know I had so many readers, and second, I really don't even know where to begin!

I wish that I could start this post by saying that I know exactly why God called us to go to Mexico this summer, but I can't.  Instead, I have the most amazing stories about one of the most amazing and hardest weeks in my life.  So I will just start at the beginning, which means this might turn into a really long post!

Our trip started early in the morning on Saturday.  At 3:30 in the morning to be exact!  We left our dark, quiet home in time to arrive at the Dayton airport by 4:30 for take-off at 6:00 AM.  The plane ride out was great.  I was nervous, Emily bounced up and down and couldn't stop talking from excitement as we took off.  Allie was quite nervous too, although I am not sure if it was from riding in a plane or from anticipation of arriving in Mexico.  To be honest, I am not sure if I was nervous of the plane, or the arrival either.  We were finally leaving for Mexico!

We arrived in the Mexico airport around lunchtime, and it was HOT!  We loaded the charter bus, fully equipped with a low-functioning air conditioner and lovely curtains covering the windows.  Apparently, they didn't want all the people wandering the streets of Monterrey to know that we were a bus load of Americans!  We drove about 45 minutes through some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen and finally arrived at the Back 2 Back campus.  We had a short meeting, had a great time with a pool party on campus with a couple of the children's homes, and then had a cookout with the kids.  Emily and I got called into serving dinner, which was so much fun!  Emily passed out napkins to the kids and I passed out "sandia", watermelon!  The kids were so excited about this dinner.  To us, it seemed somewhat meager: hamburgers, nachos with cheese and peppers, and a slice of watermelon; but to them it was paradise!  I was touched by the smiles on these beautiful faces and the gratitude that they showed despite the language barrier.

I had hoped to journal every day, but by the end of Saturday, I was so tired that I couldn't even keep my eyes open.  Here's what I wrote in my journal Sunday evening:

"I wanted so badly to write at the beginning of this day, but time would not allow it.  Now, at 7:00 the day is nearing an end, I am yet again exhausted, and I have so much to say.  Words can not even begin to describe what I have seen over the last 24 hours nor can they describe the huge range of emotions in my heart.  Every part of what I am doing is a huge step out of my comfort zone and another opportunity to rely on the Lord.  From getting onto the airplane, praying for safety in the air, to holding the sweet baby at the Rio.

This place is gorgeous and amazing.  It is far more beautiful than I had imagined and unlike anything I have ever seen.  We are surrounded by palm trees and the most amazing and majestic mountains.  And yet, right in the middle of it all is a poverty and need unlike anything I have ever seen."

The view from campus.

On Sunday we went to one of the Rio communities that Back 2 Back serves.  We brought lunch to serve them and we also got a day to just "play" with them by watching the World Cup soccer game.  After a meeting in the soup kitchen, a mere slab of concrete with a wood roof, we walked through the Rio to invite the residents to come join us for Sunday worship, lunch and the soccer game.  This was by far one of the hardest walks I have ever been on.  To be face to face with that level of poverty was heart-breaking.  The Rio is literally built on the city dump.  The homes are built, by hand, with whatever they can find when the garbage truck comes (which is actually a horse-drawn carriage).  Some of the homes were built out of the side of a hill, using a tree trunk for a wall, a mattress for another wall, and a table or box for the 4th wall.  Most homes had a tarp for a roof.  There was trash everywhere, stray animals were running around and leaving their "stuff" behind.  This was the farthest away, physically, emotionally and mentally, from my quaint suburban home in West Chester.  I wasn't afraid at all.  But my heart broke over the "stuff" I have filled my home with compared to the lack of "stuff" in these homes.  This was all they had.




I was absolutely amazed at the maturity of Allie and Emily.  Emily was the first to talk to me about how she felt walking through the Rio.  She told me that it was breaking her heart and that it was just making her so sad.  She said that it hurt her eyes to look at their houses.  Allie told me how sad she was, but she also told me how to fix the problem.  She asked if we could come next year on a mission trip and build them houses.  Then she changed her mind to building a large apartment building so they could all live in it.  I was so proud of both girls and the way that God spoke to them in the Rio.

But in the middle of the poverty were some of the most beautiful faces!




Once all the kids/parents were up at the soup kitchen and we were playing, I almost forgot what they had come from.  I almost forgot that these kids live in cardboard boxes and sleep on dirt floors.  They were so happy, so content, and always had a smile on their sweet faces.  At one point, I remember sitting on a bench just watching them play, and watching Allie and Emily play with them, and it hit me that they live where we had just walked.  They were normal, happy children, but they live in a very abnormal place.  When we got ready to leave, I saw one boy jump into the arms of Matt and, although I don't know spanish, I heard him say "Take me to your house".  I wanted to cry.  And I wanted to bring all those sweet kids home with me.

On Monday we drove 45 minutes to an orphanage called El Retiro Juvinelle, or simply ERJ as we called it!  When we arrived we were served an authentic Mexican meal...delicious tacos!




The Mexicans use a lot of potatoes in their cooking, it's filling and cheap...and it tastes good!  Even Allie and Emily ate these, but they really loved the rice!

After lunch, we were allowed to go on the ropes course.  ERJ has 11 acres of land, yet only 17 kids.  On this land, they have built a ropes course and have hopes of building cabins and a pool to rent out to different groups and companies to raise money for the home.  It was a great ropes course!  We learned so much about ourselves, about others and about God through doing this.  We also learned so much about perseverance, patience, walking through trials and even success through doing this ropes course.  Who knew you could learn so much on logs and ropes in 108 degree weather?  But, that's all for another post!  :)

When we got done with the course, we headed back up to the palapa where we would meet some of the kids to play.  There were threatning rain clouds and as the rain started to fall, we realized that we weren't going to be able to do some of the painting that they wanted us to do, but instead we were just able to play with some of the kids.  What a blessing!  There was one little girl, named Michelle (hard "ch" shound, not soft), she was 9 years old and there was just something about her eyes that spoke to my soul, and broke my heart.  She seemed so bitter and angry.  Most of the other girls/kids seemed so happy.  They all wore a great big smile and were very touchy, loving hugs and holding hands.  Not Michelle.  She would not even look at me in the eyes.  She would barely talk to me.  I thought about how much I wished I knew spanish so I could talk to her, and was beginning to think that there was no way I would be able to break through.  Then my Emily walked up.  She said "Como te llamas?"  Michelle answered, but in a way that neither one of us could understand (it wasn't until we asked a worker later that we finally figured out her name!).  At one point, Emily said that she wanted her to come play with her, and I told her to just ask her.  Emily, in all of her wonder took Michelle by the hand and simply said, "come".  She looked at her, very skeptical, and went.  As they walked away, Emily tried to hold her hand and Michelle kept pulling it away.  Emily finally gave up on the hand holding, but they continued up the hill.  A bit later, I found them playing under the palapa and Michelle was smiling and laughing!  They were coloring with sidewalk chalk.  They spent the rest of the afternoon playing together...jump roping, bubbles, coloring and tossing a ball.  Neither one of them spoke the other girls language, but the language of play is international.  I was so proud of her for being so outgoing and persistent with her!  It was a joy to watch and to be her Mama!

There were a few other girls who made an impression on my heart.  Odalise is the younger 7 year old sister of Michelle.  She became my buddy!  She loved touching, holding my hand, touching my arm.  She was full of smiles and was just so sweet!  Two other girls, who were sisters too, made an impression, Estrella age 8 and Bolina age 5.  I had met Estrella and Bolina at the pool party on Saturday evening and was so glad to see them again.  Such sweet girls!

Michelle

Odalise

Estrella

Bolina

Oh I wish I could have put all 4 of these girls in my suitcase and brought them home with me!  They brought so much joy into my life in such a short amount of time.

The next day, Tuesday, we went back to ERJ.  It was so nice to be able to go to the same home twice.  I loved seeing the same kids all over again!  Odalise ran right up and gave me a big hug and a big hola!  We did lots of work and lots of painting on Tuesday.  It was nice to be able to have these kids faces in my mind while we were painting their buildings.  And of course, Allie and Emily made me proud again! They worked so hard and didn't once complain about the intense heat.



Scripture, Emily's name, the sweat from Allie and Emily and their hard work will forever be on the walls of ERJ.  And prayfully, we all will be forever in the hearts of Michelle, Odalise, Estrella and Bolina and the other kids at ERJ, and they will sense that we were there to show them the love of Jesus Christ.  I simply can not remember all the names of all the sweet kids we met while we were in Mexico, but their faces will be forever etched in my mind and my heart.  As I am typing this, a commercial for the new movie Eat, Pray, Love is on and Julia Roberts character says "I want to go to a place where I can marvel".  I have been to that place.  It was in Mexico.

Tuesday night was another great night of worship.  I called Brian that evening and was able to cry tears of joy as I told him how proud I was of our girls and how I wished he was there to see it.  That day, Robin, one of the ladies in our group, told me that the highlight of her day was sitting with Allie on the bus for 45 minutes on the way to ERJ.  They talked the entire way.  She told me how mature Allie is and what a blessing she was to her.  I can't say how much my heart swells when someone tells me that my daughter is a blessing to her!  My heart was so filled with joy and humility.  I felt like I had experienced so much already and I couldn't possibly understand how the rest of the week could measure up to the first half of the week.  Tuesday evening was a turning point in the week because at the end of worship, Todd Guckenberger announced that we were just about to be hit by hurricane Alex.  He said worst case scenario is that we would be hit with 5-10 inches of rain, that this would cause flooding and a mess, but we would be ok.  We had no idea what God was about to do!  Tuesday evening was a turning point in the way that we experienced Mexico, but it was simply a different way that God was going to teach me a ton about Himself, about me and about others.  He's just cool like that.

To be continued....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Up the big hill

I loved roller coasters as a kid.  I couldn't wait to go to Kings Island just to ride the big rides.  I remember the anticipation as I would wait in line and the excitement would grow as I went up that first hill.  The bigger the hill, the faster it went, the more times it would go upside down were all indicators of a great ride.

Now that I am an adult, I still love the thrill of a good coaster, but I have to admit feeling a bit different now than I did as a kid.  I remember one hot, steamy summer evening last year after a rain storm.  My sister Kelly was here visiting and a commercial came on the TV for the Diamondback at Kings Island.  One of us got the crazy, hair-brained idea to leave all 4 kids at home with Brian and head to Kings Island for the sole purpose of riding the Diamondback.  We laughed nervously about this idea, but our pride got the best of us and we grabbed our purses, passes and keys.  Secretly, I had hoped that she would come up with a reason that we couldn't go.  Or, I hoped that Brian would say that he would rather us not go.  Little did I know, Kelly was thinking the same thing.  But somehow, we got out of the house and we were on our way to the park.  The whole way there we laughed nervously some more as our palms got sweaty.  I was so nervous that even my fingers and toes were tingling!  We kept saying to each other "Are we really doing this?!" We were both nervous, but neither one of us wanted to be the one to back out.

Once at Kings Island, we made our way through the park.  The air was sticky after the rain and the pavement had hot steam rising up from it.  The park was not crowded, due to the rain that had just come through.  When we arrived at the coaster, we stared, horrified, at the massive hill at the beginning of the ride. What were we thinking?  The line was not long at all, and while we waited we were able to count that it took a mere 40 seconds for the coaster's car to get to the top of the hill and only about 5 seconds for it to reach the bottom.  Within a short 10 minutes, we found ourselves at the end of the line, facing the reality that we were about to get on.

I felt as if my heart might pop out of my chest as we stepped onto the car and sat in our seats.  I was mortified to discover that the only safety device was one small traingular shaped piece of metal that sat over my thighs.  No shoulder harness.  Not even a small seat belt to hold me in place should this thing fail, and no place to hold onto.  As the car started to move, I desperately wanted off!  My nervous laughter had turned to straight fear and there was no stopping this thing now.  We were headed up the big hill.  We went fast, as if the car had a mind of it's own and a determination way greater than mine.  As we neared the top of the hill, I looked out over Kings Island, and as I let go of my fear what I saw was beautiful.  I know I was only at Kings Island, but as I looked out over the park in one of the tallest places around the sight was amazing!  I felt as if I could see forever.  And before I knew it, the car was screaming down the massive hill.  I, however, was not screaming because the force and the speed of going down was enough to force all of the air out of my lungs so that I was not even able to get out a squeek!  The ride was amazing, and the fact that I only had a small metal thing holding me down actually allowed me to feel free...like I was flying through the air.  It was quite exhilarating!  So much so, that I would do it again (and already have)!

This week, I feel as if I am going up the big hill, but in a much different and much bigger way.  The time is flying by so quickly, almost as if it has a mind of it's own and a determination greater than mine.  Before I know it, I will be boarding an airplane with Allie and Emily and some other amazing people to fly to Monterrey, Mexico.  The Lord has called me on an amazing ride.  I have prayed about this for so long, and many others have prayed for us too.  And, honestly, at times I have secretly (and not so secretly to some) prayed that God would close the doors for us to go this summer.  But God's determination is WAY greater than mine and He has allowed every part of it to fall right into place perfectly.  I am so excited for this trip, but I would be lying if I didn't admit the part of me that is nervously laughing about it.  The Lord has given me a peace beyond measure about it and I am excited to serve outside of my comfort zone.

As I near the top of the hill and I let go of my fear, I can not wait to see the beauty that the Lord has in store for me and to feel the thrill of simply following where He has called me to go.

Isn't that, after all, what life is really about?

Friday, May 28, 2010

News and more

Well we finally saw the endocrinologist on Wednesday for Leah's "underlying condition".  For me, it was such a relief to finally be able to talk to a specialist about our sweet girl.  It took 2 weeks for us to be able to get in to see Dr. "S" and leading up to this time was hard on me.  Although Leah felt good and acted pretty much normal, I was losing sleep.  I mean, really, I am not a totally stressed out, over protective mother, but every night I would lay down to sleep only be able to think about going to see this specialist.  This was an appointment that just couldn't get here quick enough.

Dr. S was very good!  She talked very quickly and spoke with a lot of medical words, so it was really hard for me to follow her.  But, the gist of it is that she does believe that there is an underlying condition, and she thinks she knows what it is.  She believes it's a metabolic disorder and although I don't really fully understand the ramifications if she does have this, it seems to me to be something that we would just need to be aware of.  I don't think there is any medication she would take, but we would need to know that Leah can not skip a meal, and if she gets sick, we need to be extra vigilant about giving her lots of food and sugar so she does not end up close to unresponsive again.  I can handle that!  I just need to know what I am facing, and we can handle it.  The hard part about this, is that to actually test for this metabolic disorder, we would need a "critical sample" of her blood, a sample when she is critically ill again.  So, the question becomes, do we wait for it to happen again and see if we can get that sample upon arrival to the hospital, or do we "force" it to happen by admitting Leah to the hospital, put her in a controlled situation where we would fast her for 24 hours to make her sugar go low again and then draw the blood.  On Wednesday, Dr. S ordered some more blood tests and urine sample.  Those results won't be in for a couple weeks (they don't move too fast, do they?!) and once we have those results, we will decide which road to take for this critical sample.  So we continue to wait, but we are on a road.  And, we are learning to trust in the Lord and rely on His peace during this time.  I am amazed at the things that I am able to learn about my Sovereign Lord while in times like this.  I will post about that another time!

But in between doctor visits and worrying about Miss Leah, we have been quite busy!  The end of every school year is so busy and this year has proven to be just as busy!  I will post some of what we've been up to with some pictures this weekend!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eye-opener

Do you ever have a moment where you notice your current reality and it hits you how bad (or good, depending on your situation) things were before?  Well, I have had a few of those times this week.  The first time was on Tuesday.  I had to take Leah back in to Children's to get some blood work done.  We went back into the room, sat in the chair with Leah on my lap, and the tech proceeded to put on the tight blue tourniquet around her little arm and insert a needle into a vein.  This was a familiar sight to me, since this was the same arm (almost the exact same place) as the IV that was set up only 2 weeks earlier when Leah was hospitalized.  I expected her to take this well, since I have been pricking her toe at least 3 times a day to test her blood and she holds up her foot for me when she sees it coming.  She doesn't even cry!  Well, the reaction from Leah with this IV was NOT the same as 2 weeks ago.  The girl screamed!  She arched her back, she fought me and the tech, she tried to pull it out.  She continued to cry for a good 5 minutes after he was done!  For me, this was an eye-opener to how sick she really was just 2 short weeks ago.  When Leah had her IV set up in the ER, she didn't even need to be restrained.  She just laid there on the table, at one point she opened her eyes and let out a small grunt before she realized it wasn't worth the energy and she went back to sleep.  I was thrilled to see her fighting this time, but it re-inforced the fear of how bad she had been.

Another eye-opener for me came on Wednesday afternoon when Leah really started to turn a corner for the good!  She started playing, smiling, "talking" and at one point I even had to pull her hands out of the toilet water!  It was pure joy for me!  I actually called Brian at work and said "Listen to this!" and held the phone out for him to hear Leah being her sweet little self....and shed a few tears over it.  Again, I was thrilled to see her behaving like this, but it was quite an eye-opener to how poorly she had been feeling.

Each day, Leah has been more and more like the sweet little baby girl I know.  She even has some new tricks!  She can point to her nose, her hair, her eyes, and if you ask her where her lips are, she takes her fingers and blows raspberries with them!  She is walking without stumbling and playing and getting into everything like I expect a "normal" 14 month old to do.



But, "normal" still doesn't seem to fit in our vocabulary when describing Leah.  The blood work from Tuesday came back normal.  We are thrilled, but as the pediatrician said, the more we test and get normal results, the more "obscure" the answer is going to be.  She, and every other doctor who has looked at Leah's case, has said that there is an underlying condition.  Hypoglycemia just does not occur in babies for no reason.  So for a reason, we wait.  There are still a couple of tests out there that we are waiting on the results for , and in 2 weeks we will go see an endocrinologist to see if she can shed some light on this.  In the meantime, we watch Leah closely and we have a plan if she gets sick again.  So for now, we wait.  And we live.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leah's Update

Well, after Leah vomited yet again on Saturday night, I spent my Mother's Day in worry for my sweet baby.

I took Leah to the doctor today, and I told the pediatrician that I wasn't going to leave her office until we had a plan of action to figure out what was going on.  I'm sure she loved that!  I do love our doctor, she is wonderful!  I explained all of Leah's symptoms, the low blood sugar and the unexplained random vomiting accompanied with tiredness and lethargy and a bit of clumsiness (except I used a few more words than that!).  Dr. M definitely agreed that there is indeed a problem with Leah, but isn't quite sure what it is.  One of the scariest moments of my life was when she said we should go down to Children's to get a head CT to rule out a brain tumor (something that I had already suspected in my uneducated assessment but would not admit out loud).  She said it was a "reasonable enough possibility that we couldn't not take a look".  So I made the treck down to Children's, waited an hour for the scan, stood there right next to my precious baby while she watched the light show and I furiously prayed, and drove home through rush hour traffic to await the phone call.  All of the sudden, the worries of yesterday were no longer important and my heart and my mind were consumed with my little 21 pound girl.  It was consumed with the "what if's", but it was also consumed with the love of Jesus.  The Lord's arms were gently around me all the way, giving me a peace that only He can give.  After all, He loves little Leah more than I do.  A hard thing to fathom!

The call finally came at 7:34 pm from Dr. M with the good news that the scan was perfectly and beautifully normal!  Praise God!

However, this still leaves us at square one.  Why is Leah's blood sugar all over the place, especially low, and why is she vomiting at random times for the last 2+ weeks?  Why is she lethargic and "just not herself"?  Will we have another episode of her not waking that will send us right back to the ER?  Dr. M told me she is perplexed.  So, we are back to looking for a metabolic disorder of some sort.  Tonight, she will research and tomorrow she will call me to take Leah back to Children's so they can draw some blood for an array of tests.  I am looking forward to an answer.

God is so good, and I know His plan is a good one!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Learning Patience

I have always considered myself a patient person.  In fact, when in second grade, my teacher Mrs. Ross once told me how patient she thought I was.  I didn't think much of it at the time, I was, after all, only in second grade.  But, I am no longer in second grade and over the last 20 some years since Mrs. Ross made that comment to me, I have noticed that I am a relatively patient person.  Until now.  Right now, and for about the last 10 days, I have felt very impatient.  I wasn't going to blog about this, because, well, I don't really know why not.  I have posted about this on facebook, I have talked with many about it, and have even shed a few tears of frustration...and a few tears of fear...about it.  I have researched it, watched closely over it, and have spent much time in prayer over it.  Since I don't keep a journal anymore (four kids and a photography business have kept me from it), it's time for me to just write about and it...and this seems to be the place.

It has consumed me.

It is Leah's health.

Wednesday April 28th started like every other typical day.  I got the girls ready for school like normal.  I heard Leah cry through her monitor, and since I was about to watch the girls get on the bus, I left her there.  I went into her room about 10 minutes later and could tell right away that she wasn't feeling well.  Over 24 hours before this she had thrown up twice and had diarrhea once but Tuesday she had been absolutely fine.  I picked her up and kissed her sweet little forehead like every other Mother who thinks something isn't right. It's that Mother's Thermometer.  However, this time, there was no fever.  I thought it was strange that she didn't have a fever because she looked so pathetic.  As I carried her down stairs, I knew that something just wasn't right with her.  She was very limp, she couldn't even hold her head up on her own.  Leah's sweet blue eyes were glassed over and they kept rolling back into her head as she would drift off to sleep.  This girl has not slept in my arms since she was an infant, and this morning, she couldn't stay awake.  My heart was heavy as I knew that something just wasn't right with my sweet baby.  I ended up taking her to the doctors office (because that's what the nurse said I should do, against my gut feeling that I should just take her to Children's...won't do that again!) where her doctor took one look at her and told me to go straight to Children's.  She did listen to her heart and lungs to make sure she didn't need an ambulance, and decided I could drive her.  She was still asleep and listless.

We arrived at the Children's around 10:00 and the hustle and bustle began.  We had almost immediate and wonderful treatment for our Sleeping Beauty.  It was so scary to see my Leah not wake up.  The nurses did 2 urine caths and set up an IV and the most Leah did was open her eyes and grunt.  The ER doctor was very concerned that Leah would not fight her...she was just so tired.  Blood was drawn and it was determined that her blood sugar levels were very low.  She had a reading of 40, normal is 80-120.  They gave her a bolus of glucose, a slow drip bag of glucose, and then 2 separate bags of sugar water.  Her levels rose nicely, but she was still very sleepy and listless and we were admitted.  Around 4:15 she woke up, drank some juice, and then screamed inconsolably for about 45 minutes.  It wore her out so much that she went back to sleep for about another 2 hours!  She sure does look sweet, though, doesn't she?!


She was awake and happy for about 3 hours that evening, walking the halls and working her charm on all the nurses!  We spent the night, Leah in her comfy crib, and I on the very uncomfy pull out couch!

Thursday morning we were discharged, but with no real answers as to what happened.  This is where my impatience rears it's ugly head.  While we were in the ER and after being admitted, the docs just kept talking about Leah being a medical mystery.  They just couldn't figure out what happened to cause her blood sugar to drop so low, something that should not happen without a reason.  There are a few "ideas" out there right now.  One is that she may have Celiac's Disease, a condition where she basically can not have gluten.  We are waiting on a blood test right now.  The other is that it may be a metabolic disorder, but we can't test for that until she has another "epidsode" so they can draw blood for an accurate test.  So, we wait.

In the meantime, on Thursday evening Leah started throwing up again.  She threw up three times before she went to bed.  Friday morning I saw a friend of mine at preschool who's daughter has diabetes.  She tested Leah's sugar for me and it was down to 60 again.  Boo!  She let me borrow a meter so I could test her throughout the day, and I called the pediatrician again.  She spoke with a metabolic specialist who said that at this time it would not be accurate unless she was acting really sick again like last week.  Her sugar went as low as 43 yesterday and when she woke up from her nap, it was back up to 92!  That silly little girl!  Now, today, she has diarrhea and won't eat much and her sugar is all over the place, mostly low.

Can I just tell you how frustrated I am that I can't do anything about this!?  Can I tell you how frustrated I am that no one can tell me what is wrong with her?  Can I tell you how frustrated I am that I can't prevent this from happening again?  And can I tell you how much I love that little girl and it's scaring me to know that something just isn't quite right with her?  This is the area where God is teaching me patience.  He is reminding me that Leah is His child first.  He knows what is best for her and He knows every detail about her, down to the number of hairs on her head.  He is a good God and His plan is for her and our family is good.

So this is a journey that wasn't in our plans, but we are going where God wants us to go.  Where He leads, I will follow.  And I have a feeling I will be learning patience all the way.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Who would have thought?

When I was pregnant with Leah I had a whole lot of ultrasounds. Towards the end of her pregnancy every time I had one, the tech would comment at how much hair this baby had. I was not surprised at all, since my other 3 kids came out with a whole head of hair. In some ways, though, I was a bit sad. I had always wanted a bald baby! But much to my surprise, when Leah was born, she had very little hair! Most of that hair fell out....and I had my bald baby! I have loved every minute with that bald head, but now that her hair is starting to grow in, I can't wait to start fixing it in little pig tails and put bows in it. About a month ago (yikes....that's how far behind on blogging I am!), Emily decided to get a head start...ha ha, no pun intended! She thought she would see if Leah's hair would fit in pig tails. Who would have thought that it would work!? Here's what we got....



How cute it that?! Amazingly enough, Leah sat perfectly still while Emily tortured her, uh, I mean did it. I can't wait for it to get a bit longer so we can put real pig tails in....although I think it will be a while. Now, a month later, it's getting even longer and lighter. I just love it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Here we go!!!

Well, in a nutshell, here's what God's been doing in our family.

It started back in the fall, when Emily started telling me that when she grows up she wants to work at an orphanage. She said she wants to be a "nice orphanage lady, not a mean one, so the kids will feel loved and I can tell them about Jesus". Then she would clean her room and bring a bag of toys to me asking if we could send them to an orphanage. God was preparing her heart well before this "big thing"was even in motion!

Around the same time, I started thinking about how wonderful it would be to take the girls on mission trips during the summer. I would take Allie one summer, and then Emily the next. As I talked to Brian about this, he agreed and we started thinking about doing this in a few years. But then...I started hearing from God. I wish I could say that I hear God's voice on a regular basis in my life, but I don't. But when I do, it's obvious! The story is much longer and if you would like more detail, ask....I love to share it!

But, in a nutshell....I am taking Allie and Emily this summer to Monterrey, Mexico to serve with our church and Back 2 Back Ministries in an orphanage. We will be there the last week of June, and I simply can not wait! The girls are so excited and even Sam is excited about the part he will play here at home by helping out his Dad and his baby sis. I simply can't wait to see what God has in store for us!

Check back...I will share stories throughout this journey. Thanks for walking it with us!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Habla Espanol?

There's a hint! And, NO, I don't speak Spanish, so tengo mucho trabajo por delante de mí!

I'll tell you the rest tomorrow! Hee Hee!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God is answering...

Wow! I feel like these last few weeks, even months, has been an emotional rollarcoaster! I have a huge desire in my heart and it seemed like it was something that would be fulfilled way in the future. A few weeks ago at church, our pastor preached on the Holy Spirit and the power that is available to us if we realize it's there and ask for it. The next bold step on our connect card was to pray to ask God to do something BIG. Even as I checked it...I thought "Yeah, but this is too big". Silly me! God has proven me wrong. He has opened door after door and we are about to embark on a crazy adventure!

Wanna know what it is??? I bet you do! Stay tuned...I will tell you soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My baby girl is one!

It is so hard to believe. This last year really has been the fastest year EVER! It feels like it was just yesterday that I was pregnant and so ready to get this baby out of me! But now, here she is, and it's been a year. Leah is such a sweet heart. She has come into our family and has just been the perfect addition. I am quite certain that this next year will go just as fast, maybe even faster. I know that I will enjoy every little minute with these kids, because this time is so short.

Here's a few things we have noticed about Leah over the last year:
* She is so content! And so happy.
* She loves to play peekaboo.
* She loves to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider and can even do the hand motions (sort of!) with me.
* She loves to watch her Praise Baby DVD, and she listens to the CD as she goes to sleep.
* She is an awesome sleeper! Two 2 hour naps a day and about 11 hours at night.
* She won't walk yet. She has taken some steps on her own, but she knows she moves much faster on her hands and knees. She's smart like that.
* Leah loves food! She eats just about anything, but she is still allergic to milk, so we have to watch closely what she puts in her mouth.
* Leah loves her toys. It's fun watching her play with them.
* She copies what we are doing...everything from closing our eyes, to laughing, to fake crying. She just loves to be a part of the conversation and will laugh on cue with the rest of us!
* She has the cutest little scrunched up face/nose grin! It always makes us laugh!
* She likes to jump in her jumparoo.
* She will crawl over to someone who is upset, just to see if she can help.
* She loves to dance to music, especially to the Webkinz song, Hug a Pug!
* She tries to sign "I love you", and waves anytime someone is leaving or she is going to go to bed.
* She says about 6 different signs, "milk", "all done", "eat", "thank you", "more", and a couple others.
* Leah points to things, and when she does it looks like she is making an "L". We can't decide if she is "signing" Leah, or if she is just calling us a Loser!! :)
* She says "mama", "dada", "no" (yes, we are in trouble!), and has just started saying "dat?" which I think means "what's that?". She also will hold the phone to her ear and say something that sounds a whole lot like "hello".
* She loves to ride on her Mickey Mouse rocking horse and dances while the music plays on it.
* Her hair is growing in nicely, and it's pretty light! I can't wait until we can get pigtails (although, Emily already put pigtails...it was quite a site!)
* She weighs 20 lbs 4 oz (our biggest girl at age one!), 35 % and is 29 in long, 50%.

Here's a couple of my favorite pictures from her one year shoot.






I believe that this next year is going to be just as exciting as the last. It has been so much fun watching the big kids interact with Leah and now that she is so much more social...the best is yet to come! I am one blessed Mama!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunshine

Well, it might have been gloomy and snowy out again this morning, but I had a little bit of sunshine brighten my day! Little Miss A came in to play with me today, and what fun we had!!! I mean, seriously, couldn't you just eat her up? Her mom and I laughed so hard while we played and this little 6 month old enjoyed all the attention.


And we ended our play date with a little dress-up together....
Seriously, could she be any cuter?!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When it rains, it pours....

...or you get 2 feet of snow! I, like many others, love a good snow storm. Don't get me wrong, right now...I can't wait for the spring! I long for a 60 degree day with SUN to just play outside! But, I digress...I do love the snow. So, when in early February we got a few inches of snow, I was excited! Then a few days later, yet another snow storm with another few inches of snow! Then, again, another few days later and another snow storm! This snow storm came last Monday and brought another 7 or 8 inches of snow. On a regular day, I would have been thrilled. But this day, it just added to the stress. Brain woke up that morning feeling a little sick to his stomach. He went to work anyway, but was home by 9:30...this is NOT like him at all! He was so sick and in so much pain. So, late in the morning, we decided to head to the emergency room. It was decided that he had appendicitis and was in surgery by 2:30 to have it removed! What a shock! He is doing much better, after spending 24 hours in the hospital, and we are so grateful to our friends and family for the support, prayers and help over the last week. And to top it off, our furnace went out at the same time! Unbelievable! But, God provided so much for us, including protection. I love it that even in such a hard time, there is still a peace that passes all understanding. God is so good!

But, here are a few pictures of the kids in the snow. We have loved it!










So, with another inch of snow coming today....I am ready for the sun and the spring!