Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hi everyone!
We hope that each of you had a fantastic Christmas. We sure did. We are so thankful for our new gift and absolutely enjoyed every moment of his first Christmas. We mostly video- taped but did get some pretty good shots that I know you will enjoy. Today (12/30) we went back to the hospital for Carson's first Ct scan. This was ordered by his neurosurgeon as a follow-up check for Hydrocephalus, and this being his first Ct scan was just a good view of how things are looking.... And the results!! Fantastic. Dr. told us that he doesn't anticipate Carson needing a shunt. His scan results were wonderful. He also was pleased by how well his back is healing and removed the "not on back" restrictions. Praise the Lord!!!! Now on with some pics of Carson's first Christmas. Love you all! and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

                                                     A bragging moment for Carson's
                                                            Great Grandma Hardy


I blame the egg-nog
Mommy's gifts


WOW! what can we say other than God's gifts are definitely the best. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just for fun

                Twas just a while before Christmas and all through our house....
Not a creature was stirring

Till we brought out the mouse...

The stockings weren't hung on the chimney with care

Cause what kind of goofball would put a baby there.
The children weren't nestled all snug in their beds...

although very sleepy we went tree shopping instead
Later out of the crib there arose such a clatter 

Mom went into look and see what was the matter..

Away to the crib she would fly like a flash
 And saw it was me working on my pass

So very smart I am, you see
A Longhorns fan I always will be.
Oh back to the story that we had

Here's me hanging out with my dad.
Christmas is soon and I'm being so sweet

just smiling away in my Boppy seat

                                                 Never oh never would I ever fight

(he-he) Merry Christmas to all and to all a good- night. 

Can you tell that we're having fun??? What a joy and blessing it is to have Carson with us this Christmas. What a great time to just think about all the gifts that the Lord has given to us.
May you all have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Carson's Overdue Update

Ok, ok you can call off the hounds.  Another Carson update is upon us.  Last Sunday we had the joy of bringing Carson before the church for dedication.  This does not involve a baptism of any kind and does nothing to provide our boy with salvation, but it is a special moment that we take to demonstrate that as parents we will allow the Lord to work in our son's life as He see's fit and that we will do our best to bring him up in His nurture and admonition.  We are so thankful for Carson and the blessing that he is and are very happy to present him back to the Lord for whatever will that He has for his life.

The Monday following, we took Carson back down to the hospital that he knows so well for another visit to the neurosurgeon.  We figured we would have another long day full of scans and prodding, but we were surprised to have the neurosurgeon just give Carson a quick looking over and basic head measurements.  He said that Carson is recovering well and looking very good!  Our next appointment with him was set as a ct-scan a month from now.  What a blessing to not have to be back for weekly visits so far.

We did have more business down at the hospital the following Thursday though as Carson had his first spina bifida clinic appointment.  We were headed down for the appointment when Carson was introduced to another first instead, his first car wreck.  I guess it was too early to let him drive, but we are all doing great as none of us received any injury.  The crash was very minor as we were already moving along slowly when a sudden stop proved that the car in front of us had better brakes than we did.  His car went pretty much unscathed, but our car will be in the shop for awhile.  It will be at least 16 years before I let ol' Toonces behind the wheel again though.  Seriously, we are very thankful for the Lord's protective hand upon our lives as things could have been much worse in any number of ways.  Spina bifida clinic will have to wait another week as we had to reschedule everything.

Thank you for your love and prayers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving for Carson

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I can't think of a better holiday to stop and enjoy this newest addition to our family that we are so thankful for.  Washington proclaimed the original Thanksgiving so well,
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection."

How blessed every one of us truly is.  Everything that we have, every provision afforded us, every next breath that we take all come from His mighty hand.  There isn't a blessing we have that we can point at as being derived from another source.  Love, truth, goodness, and the world itself would be undefined if not for His wisdom, power, and authority.  Thank you Lord for loving the unlovely.  Praise you Lord for blessing the unworthy.  Thank you for your hand upon our boy each and every day that you grant him life.  Thank you for your hand upon all of us.

Carson's first thanksgiving was a happy one.  He is healthy and enjoying his week reprieve from the hospital.  We have an appointment to return Monday for another scan and visit with the neurologists as well as next Thursday for his first visit to spina bifida clinic.  Mom is doing so well as she is waking up faithfully through the night and keeping him on his schedule to eat every 3-4 hours.  Dad, not so much, as Mom is too kind and lets him sleep through the cries.  I try to keep up and help out where I can, but I am truly thankful for such a wonderful wife.

Thank you all again for your continued support and prayers for us.  They are such a blessing and comfort.  Thank you Lord for your watch and care for us!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 13 for Carson

Day 13, Home at last!  Praise God!  It is so nice to be home.  Thank you's go out to everyone at Hollywood Presbyterian, LA Children's, and the Ronald McDonald House for treating us so well.  We were truly well looked after in each stage of the process and we are very thankful for it.

Today was busy getting the final releases and we ended up leaving the hospital right at 5pm.  Hello, LA rush hour.  All is great though, this trip is complete as we finally have our new addition in the car with us.  Despite the slow traffic at the outset, things cleared up and we were able to get home at a decent hour.  Much to our surprise, the welcome sight of our house was even grander as it had been decorated for our arrival.  Thank you Leflers!

We were able to spend a few moments showing him off again.  We are so happy to have our boy home finally.  He did a great job on the trip, sleeping pretty much the entire way.  

Tomorrow night will be our mid-week service as we are having it a day early on Thanksgiving week.  We look forward to seeing you all there!
Now Mom and I prepare for the reality of an infant.  We are so happy to have him with us, even though it means that we are the ones who will be waking up in the middle of the night to care for his needs.  We're ecstatic now, but things like 3am feedings should do a good job of curbing that enthusiasm.

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers for Carson and our family.  We look forward to seeing you soon.  God bless you all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 12 for Carson

What a wonderful and mighty God we serve!  Day 12 is the start of Thanksgiving week, and as we pause to reflect, we realize that the trials we have are but a droplet compared to the great sea of things that we have to be thankful for.  It is when we allow that droplet to be our main focus that we lose sight of where our trust is to be.

The weekend with Carson was great.  No major events, just enjoying the little guy as much as we could.  The expectation is to be able to leave sometime tomorrow after his head ultrasound is done.  We are a little bit skeptical though, we could have to stay an extra day to await the scan results or even several more days if the results point to needing a shunt sooner.  
Don't mistake our doubts in their estimates for a lack of desire though.  We are very much looking forward to arriving home as soon as possible.  It is in God's hand and wisdom to guide us to exactly when though and our greater desire is to be sensitive to His timing.  We do miss you all and are looking forward to the comfort of home after a stay that seems much longer than it has actually been.

It seems like it has been months, but we are only at the two week mark.  What a two weeks it has been though. There have been great concerns and fears, but much more plentiful were the blessings.  We were concerned for his health and general well being; we were blessed with an amazing and healthy baby boy.  I was concerned with Mom's health; she was blessed with an amazingly quick recovery from the Ceasarian.  The blessing that all of you have been to us overwhelmed us.  The blessing that God as a whole has been in our lives is so much more than we can contain.  His strength and presence is so much more than capable of any task.

Concerns and fears going forward?  You bet.  There are still many questions left unanswered in the life ahead for Carson.  Will he ever be able to walk?  It is much too early to tell.  Will there be other limitations in his life?  Could be.

Is the same God who carried us through these last two weeks of concerns and has us feeling overwhelmed by His blessings and grace going to continue to be there?  Without question.  Lord, how unworthy we are.  Help us to continue to put our trust in you rather than allowing our focus to be diverted to the fears.  Help us to be thankful for the great sea of blessings you provide rather than losing hope because of a droplet.

Thank you all for continued prayers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 11 for Carson

Hi everyone!!

    Day 11 was a great day! (This was Carson's actual due date) What a joy it's been to have had him these last 11 days.
    We spent a good amount of time with our little buddy and really enjoyed some great moments. I'm sure you have already noticed that this is not the "master" blogger Dad, he set me up with some licorice and coaxed me to work the press tonight. I'm too easily persuaded. :) Dad, as we now get to call him, YAY!!! has been so so so so so so ..... infinity..... so wonderful to both Carson and I. We are so blessed that God placed him in our lives, and we love him immensely.
    There is really not much that I can as far as a update goes. Carson is doing fantastic! He's eating well, sleeping well, and ....... well- more than well even :)  We are still just waiting for that amazing moment of walking out of those doors with him..... coming soon!!!!!!  I am so proud of my little man, what a trooper he is, and I swear the little guy is smiling through it all.So my plan as the blogger tonight is just give you some really cute pics!!!!! SO here goes...                                                                

he-he I'll make that rookie diaper man a champ by the time this is through.

You gotta keep an eye open around these parts.

We are so excited about what the Lord has been doing in our lives. No, it hasn't been the easiest of things, nor something that we would have ever asked for, but we have peace that this really is God's perfect plan. We have peace that He is in control, and that He will use this to be good. Seeing the ways in which He has worked has been such a joy . What a great God we have!! Thank you all so much for your prayers, and your loving support. What a blessing they have been.

And Lord.... I pray that we go home really really soon .
Goodnight all! Sweet dreams!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 10 for Carson

They said what? I'm confused.

Day 10 for Carson was blessed frustration.  Frustration because, you guessed it, his release was pushed all the way until Monday at the earliest.  The plan is now to release us using a car-bed (rather than a car seat) with some special gel packs to protect his back for the drive home Monday.  With the driving schematics laid out, why not release us now?  We don't know, but God does and we will look to Him for wisdom and trust in His hand as it continues to guide this journey.

The blessed part?  One of the reasons for the frustration is that Carson is proving himself every day to be a very healthy and active baby.  We are so filled with joy to see this amazing addition to our lives and to see him so vibrant after all that he has been through is a huge blessing.  We count ourselves very fortunate to be wondering why clearing him is such a difficulty rather than facing many other fearful complications that could have arisen.

We were also blessed today to get to spend an evening with Rob and Lisa.  Their wedding anniversary falls on the same day that I proposed to Mom.  We enjoyed a pleasant evening showing off Carson's pics again as well as reminiscing about Mom and I and our relationship's beginning.  We are very thankful for them and blessed to call them close friends.

Thank you all for your love and prayers.  We are blessed to have each and every one of you as a part of our lives.  We love you all (at home and abroad) and are so eager to see you all again soon!

And goodnight to you as well little Carson, we are also eager to be able to keep you by our side rather than leave you behind each night. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 9 for Carson

Day 9 and the trip to...nowhere.  We were so looking forward to going home today but it was not to be.  The neurologists visited Carson this morning and cleared him to go home with us but the nurse practitioner put the brakes on because they weren't comfortable with the sore on his back combined with his two hour long ride in the car seat.

The hope is now that tomorrow they will allow us to take him... all the way across the street to the Ronald McDonald House.  Unfortunately it looks like we will not be home this weekend, instead they would rather us be nearby in case anything occurs so the McDonald House is looking like an option to at least take him out of the hospital.  Even that is looking bleak after they ran the thoughts through again this evening, so we are hoping at least that will happen.

One of the hardest parts is that they don't even have clear reasoning on why they are holding him.  If the neurologists cleared him, you would think they would have a definitive reason to override them.  Instead it seems like they are uncertain of the idea because of risk and then follow that up by being uncertain of why they are uncertain.  I don't want to rail on them too harshly because the hospital and department as a whole have done a great job, it is just frustrating to be in the holding pattern as they ponder risks that will still exist a week or weeks from now with no better solutions.

Our timing is not God's timing and though we do not understand we will continue to trust in Him for what is best.  As He directs and guides in each event we need to let our grip (and gripes) go and trust in His perfect wisdom.  You also quickly feel like a selfish heel when there are parents in the same nicu that are months past their child's birth and still waiting.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.  We are saddened that we will not be able to see some of you as soon as we had hoped, but we do look forward to that day with even greater anticipation now.  We love you all!

Hurry it up down there, rookie!

Day 8 for Carson

I've got a plan to bust out of this joint!

The day started with news that the doctors were now backing away from having the shunt surgery (for now).  That gave us mixed feelings as we had prepared ourselves for the shunt and were now confused upon their reasoning entirely.  The shunt not a shunt game has been played out in many young spina bifida patient's lives and we have seen the toil that it has put many parents through.  It was good news to hear that he wasn't going back into surgery tomorrow or friday, but we were cautiously optimistic as we knew we had just been invited to the juggle.

I was able to speak with the neurology department and apparently Carson's ventricles had good numbers from the detailed scan (good news).  What they have been more worried about is the scar in his back and the swelling it was showing.  It looked a lot better today than yesterday, however, so they put off the surgery.  When I asked about the borderline game, they expressed that it is better to wait and let his whole body concentrate on recovery of the first surgery rather than introducing a new variable to the equation.  There is also a waiting time in which they are hopeful that his body will adapt to absorbing the fluids normally rather than allowing the pressure to build.

So we have been pushed to waiting until the results from next Monday's scan come in, but that is the best part.  They indicated that the plan is for Monday's visit to be an out-patient one.  They will allow Carson to be on his back for part of tonight and if all looks well with his scar in the morning they are planning to discharge him!

What a wonderful day it has been to see God at work in such amazing ways.  While we know that the shunt is still a distinct possibility down the road, we do feel more prepared to handle it when it comes.  Potentially getting to go home tomorrow is a confirmation that our little boy is as healthy in all other areas as we felt he was demonstrating.  Praise the Lord!  We thank Him for His wonderful hand upon our boy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 7 for Carson

Waking up to a brand new day.  Progress leads to hope and then the new unknowns arise that lead to fears.  Carson has been progressing so well but today's diagnosis was that he will need a shunt.

Goodbye to the feelings that things were settling down, hello to new unknowns and fears of his fragility.  We went from being happy about his progress to feeling like we were about to start all over - after all a shunt means a brand new surgery which means going back to all the tubes and machine hookups that we were so happy he had conquered.

I think one of the biggest shakeups is the separation of truth from expectations.  Sometimes you see many positives that are true and tie them to an expectation.  Then, when that expectation is shattered, you begin to doubt the truths that you had lumped together with it.  This parallels our Christian life and beliefs as well as the Devil often uses this technique to get us to doubt our foundation.  Let an expectation sneak in along with foundational doctrine and then blow up the expectation and suddenly our focus is lost from where it is supposed to be as we doubt the truths we had it nestled beside.  As we saw many positives and had a hope of not needing a shunt, the dashing of that hope left us doubting the positives.  Have we overestimated all the progress?  Was it all imagined and he's much worse off than expected?

That is when the roots of truth have to reground you.  Who is at the helm?  Is my trust in Him?  What room do we have left to worry or fear that which we do not know if we hold fast and strong to those two truths?  The surgery for the shunt will come and it will go and the same hand that was upon Carson for his last surgery will be on him for this one.  The same hand that had control over his well being from the start is no less able to care for him with a shunt.  Lord, we praise you for your hand upon each of us and our well being as every day for each of us is a gift from you.

Again, we would like to extend our thanks to each of you who love and support us.  Your kind words are such an encouragement.  Your prayers mean so much.  It is obvious that His strength is with us each day and not our own, and your prayers and loving words are being used by Him tremendously.  Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 6 for Carson

Day 6 was eating, sleeping, pooping.  Standard baby fare.  Good to see that after all of the extremes Carson has been through so far he does have the basics down.  What a blessing for Mom and I as we get to handle and care for more and more of his needs each passing day.

Carson's post-surgery bandage was removed and we were able to see his lower back for the first time.  It still has a lot of healing to go as the stitches continue to do their work holding everything together.  Because the wound is now exposed, we are not allowed to hold him again until it becomes more stable.  We are so thankful to live in a time where this type of surgery can be done.

We were visited by the Leflers today and what a refreshing time it was.  Although we were not allowed to take them up to see Carson because of the hospital's newer rules (H1N1 scare means immediate family only), we did get to spend a nice afternoon touring the greater (and not so greater) parts of Los Angles bragging on Carson and showing off all of our pictures so far.

Carson did get his more detailed scan today, but the results won't be available until tomorrow.  He has been doing extremely well recovering in all other areas so we pray for positive results there as well so that we can come home that much sooner.

 Today was a day of appreciation.  Things slowed down and seemed, despite the hospital and all the surroundings, to feel a bit normal.  It was nice that Mom and I were able to just step in and start to get into almost a routine of feeding and changing him, but far better was the time we had to just relax and watch him for awhile.  We were able to stop and just be astounded at this little miracle that God had placed in our lives - to consider how fearfully and wonderfully made each and every one of us are.  The pause also allowed me to consider just how amazing Mom has been through this entire ordeal.  Lord, thank you for this wonderful boy!  Lord, thank you for this wonderful wife!

Dealing with a proud father and his camera all day is enough to wear a guy out.  Luckily, he's cute when he's sleeping as well.

 Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 5 for Carson

Day 5, Sunday, a day of rest (thankfully).  

After the last two rollercoaster days, we were ready for a peaceful day.  Looking on the map for nearby churches that I was familiar with we decided on Faith Baptist in Canoga Park.  We started the morning by bringing Carson a milk supply and he was upset that we overlooked the opportunity to bring donuts along too.

The morning service at Faith Baptist was very good, what a perfect time for Romans 8:28.  We met and chatted with several very nice families and Carson now has even more prayers behind him.  We also heard reports of two people being saved in our home church, what a wonderful day!

During our afternoon session with Carson he got to say his goodbye's to Granny Foster.  We were then treated to a good long stint of him being awake and active.  Such a terrific follow up to yesterday's eyes open activity.  It really is starting to feel like he's progressing toward being able to head home.  In fact, this evening in the baby shuffle, he was sent to a room with infants that weren't as critical.  Praise the Lord for His wonderful hand upon our boy!

One thing Carson has against going home - having to see Daddy's full maskless face for the first time.  If he can't hold his lunch I'll just say "babies always do that."

What an amazing 5 days it has been!  Mom and I have been so blessed by Carson's arrival that we can't wait to see what happens from here.  We are also so blessed by all of you.  The support from back home and the news of friends and people from all over the place following along and praying is overwhelming.  Our hearts are warmed and we are so thankful to all of you.

Tomorrow is a big day as it's the first detailed follow-up measurement for hydrocephalus.  Things have been good so far, but the more detailed look can possibly bring the news that he's borderline or even crossed the threshold to need a shunt.  Again, we can't say thank you enough for all your prayers, love, and support.   

I know, I know - quit blathering and post another cute baby pic.  Here you go!