Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Praise God!

1 What are your thoughts?
Our two little girls.
I used to think Ellie was my baby, and now every time I look at her she seems so big! It is hard to imagine she was as small as Nichole.
These are all pictures from the time that we stayed in Mayo.

Proud aunties, Alex and Luise.
My mom loves her new baby girl, she is a proud grandma and a life saver! She came and picked up Ellie while we had to be in Rochester. Between her and my sisters Ellie had a wonderful time and Andy and I were confident that she was not going to be missing us!

Yesterday we took Nichole back to Mayo to meet with the GI doctor. It turned out to be a crazy day. As of Friday, there was nothing scheduled for her to have her blood drawn and check her numbers, I explained to a lady on the phone that it would be pointless for us to be there at 4:00 PM for our appointment if the doctor did not have her lab results. All she was able to tell us is that if we had to do lab work, we needed to be there 3 hours before our appointment, so as we were planning for 1:00 PM, we got a phone call that morning saying we had an appointment at 10:00 AM! We explained we lived 1 1/2 hours away, and we did not make it until 12:00 PM :)

(If you know me at all, you won't be surprised) :)

Nichole slept through her blood being drawn! meanwhile I was standing outside the lab room thinking maybe the rooms were soundproof! I realized they were not as I heard Andy talking to the nurses. At 4:00 PM when we met with Dr. Freeze (who was also her doctor during her hospital stay) she said her numbers looked beautiful! Praise the Lord!

She said most likely she just had an immature liver, and it took a little longer for things to go through. So now we are weanning her off her 2 medications. he will be done with one this week, and hopefully done for good in the next two to three weeks.

The Lord is good. So many answered prayers, and so much love shown to us during these last 4 weeks. We are blessed, and His blessings continue to pour down.

Great is His faithfulness.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back Home!

2 What are your thoughts?
Well, we were wrong - we said that we would for sure be at Mayo for one more night, but after we posted the doctor came in and asked if we wanted to go home (silly question) and then moved the blood test from evening to afternoon. The test came back with the level being the same and so they will have us come back in a week to check her and see where she is at. We were able to leave the hospital around 5:00 and headed up to Minneapolis to pick up Ellie. We stayed there for the night and came home today. We are praying that her bilirubin level has dropped significantly by the time we see them again so that they are not concerned about additional problems with her liver and do a biopsy. We would also love for her not to be on medication. But, it is great to be home - thanks for praying!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Liver Biopsy?

3 What are your thoughts?
Hello All - the results from the blood test showed that her level hadn't really gone down or up which means that they are leaning towards doing a liver biopsy. They are planning to draw her blood again tonight and see where her level is at. At this point, if it hasn't gone up dramatically, then we will go home and they will give the medications some time to work. After a week or so, they would then determine if biopsy is necessary. So, for sure one more night - maybe more. We will let you know if anything changes!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

HIDA Results

0 What are your thoughts?
The doctor just told us that the gall bladder is working just fine - which means they have completely ruled out biliary artresia! That is good news because artresia meant surgery for sure and at some point in her life most likely a liver transplant. They are still not sure why her bilirubin levels are high, but are going to check her levels again to see where she is at. If the levels have gone up, they will most likely do a liver biopsy on Monday. If the levels have gone down, they will most likely send us home and put her on a few medications to help the level continue to drop. We are feeling pretty positive right now that the level has dropped because Nichole is finally gaining some weight and we think her color is looking better. Pray with us that we will be able to come home soon and that Nichole will be healthy. Thanks for all your prayers and support over this past week!

Friday, October 19, 2007


2 What are your thoughts?
Nichole had the HIDA test done this afternoon. They basically take "pictures" of her liver, gall bladder, and small intestines. So far it looks like the liver is doing it's job, so now we are looking at the gall bladder. Tomorrow morning we go back and they will see if the gall bladder is getting the bile to the small intestine.
We won't really know what the next step is until tomorrow's results, then the doctors will hopefully have a better idea of what is happening in Nichole's little body.
Andy and I are exhausted. We got little sleep last night and it has made it a long day. We pray we can go home soon.
One of my friends from MOPS is our next door neighbor. It was good to see her since she moved last summer. It is nice to have a familiar face around, and we get to talk about our new babies.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mayo Day 2

3 What are your thoughts?
Nichole had her 2 week chekup in Charles City with doctor Schrodt this last Monday. Doctor Schrodt thougt that Nichole still looked jaundiced and decided to do some more blood work. As a mom it was hard since Nichole had been already been poked every other day since we got home to check on her billirubin (I am not sure how to spell it). I thougt, "better safe than sorry." Doctor Schrodt also thought that she seemed bloated, so he wanted to do also a CBC (Complete Blood Cell-Count). Her billi looked great, but the CBC was definitelly not good. Doctor Schrodt had Nichole come back to do a Liver Panel on Tuesday. On Wednesday Doctor Schrodt called and said we needed to do something, "this afternoon, we cannot wait." My heart sank. Doctor Schrodt had contacted Doctor Chandra (Nichole's pediatric cardiologist in Waterloo), and they decided that it was serious enough to act right away.
So we packed up and got ready to come to Mayo, knowing we would be here for a few days. Our dear friends from church came to our house before we left and prayed for us. The Lord surely is sustaining us and encouraging us through our friends and family.
My mom met us at mayo and picked up Ellie. She has had a tough time missing her daddy, but loves being with grandma and her aunties and Opa.
So here we are. Day 2, and we still don't know what Nichole has. Originally they thought it was Billiary Atrasia (?) but today she had an ultrasound and everything looked normal. They continue to take blood to run different tests, but her blood continues to clot. They are not sure if this is related, or the problem. Andy and I are waiting, and praying, but we are not too woried at this point. Maybe because the doctors here have no idea what she has! We know God does, and we know that He will take care of us.
So we are praying that the doctors can figure it out (after all, it is Mayo Clinic), and that we can come home soon. It is a time of waiting. Tomorrow they will do another test in the afternoon, a HIDA (don't know what it is, but it somehow will "color" the tract that her food takes as it travels through the liver and to her intestines).
I will update tomorrow as soon as we know something else.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our Journey

3 What are your thoughts?
Last May, when I was 19 weeks pregnant, I had a 4D ultrasound; the kind of ultrasound where you can actually “see” your baby. It was very fun and moving to see Nichole. As I was looking at her, I felt like I needed to ask if her heart was okay. Some of our friends have been through their own journey as their baby girl has had many heart problems and surgeries. I was not concerned about the same thing for Nichole, but somehow I felt like I needed to ask. The technician didn't say much, except that there were four chambers, and it was good. A few minutes later, my midwife said that they had found some fluid around Nichole's heart, and I needed to have a level 2 ultrasound in Iowa City. I remember walking outside the clinic and crying, I called Andy and my parents, Andy called his parents, and many people started to pray, some people that we don't even know. The next day we were flying to Florida for the Alliance General Council and the ultrasound would have to wait one more week.
That first night in Florida I woke up in the middle of the night. I can't remember if I had a dream, but I do remember having an overwhelming sense that Nichole was going to have Down syndrome. My heart felt heavy and I remember thinking, “Not Down syndrome Lord, it is okay for our friends, but not for us.” Some of our closest friends in Charles City have a two year old with Downs, and I love Jennifer almost like a daughter. I got to watch her last year while her mommy worked part time at church, and I have never seen her as a child with a disability. However, it was quite different as I thought of my daughter having Downs. The next day I asked Andy, “What if she has Downs?” and he said, “Then we will walk down that road, and we will not walk it alone.”
At Council, we prayed for healing for Nichole's little heart and the fluid to be gone. I really believed that God was going to heal her heart, and as we prayed, God very tenderly reminded me that He does not make mistakes, and I felt His peace in my heart.
The last day at council, the Alliance Missionaries had a parade, the new workers were introduced, and the ones that were retiring were recognized. We were very moved and emotional. I felt like we were being called to go into missions, and specifically, to go to the places where we would find the “unlovable ones,” those that by our world's standard are less, and have little to give. So we came home ready to start the process of pursuing missions, and asking God for confirmation.
When we went to have the level 2 ultrasound, Nichole's heart fluid was gone. Praise the Lord! We felt in our hearts that everything was okay. The doctor said not to worry, our baby girl was perfectly healthy. I walked away happy, and even then I asked Andy as we left the ultrasound room, “So does that mean she really does not have Downs?” Up until this point, no doctor had even said the words Down syndrome to us.
Two weeks after that we went to my regular checkup. My midwife came in and asked Andy and I how we were feeling about the Iowa City ultrasound. “Great!” we said. “Didn't they tell you?” she asked. “Tell us what? The fluid is gone.” And her face changed, and for the first time we heard someone say, “your baby might have Down syndrome.” And as I sat there God whispered those words to me again, “I don't make mistakes.” “And it will be okay if she does,” we said.
A few weeks later I spent some time in prayer and journaling. I was thinking about the unlovables, “Lord, is that really where you want to take us?” In my journal on June 3rd I wrote:
“It seems to be a time of questioning.....questioning the purpose of these seemingly “complications” during my pregnancy with Nichole. Questioning God's plan and direction for our family. I am wondering if God is asking me, “Do you trust me?” and my first response is, “Of course I trust you Lord.” Maybe He smiles and says, “I will teach you how to trust me.” I know it is not easy to trust God, at least not with.....the trust that requires giving ourselves, yes, our lives, our possessions, our children, our spouse! “Do you trust me” He asks, “Oh Lord I do, but honestly I am so scared, and the truth is, I want to have a perfect life. But more than that, I want to do what you want me to do, and it starts by trusting you, because you are good, and you love me, and true happiness and fulfillment in life come from you alone.”
On October 2nd Nichole was born. Two weeks early, I can't complain! The labor and delivery went almost as smooth and quickly as possible. And yes, Nichole was born with Down syndrome. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.”
All along we were thinking missions, and God had little Nichole in mind. “Will you go to those that the world sees as less? the “unlovable” ones? Will you love them?” “Yes Lord,” I said. “Do you trust me,” He asked, “Oh Lord I do, but honestly I am so scared.”
My “life verse” has always been Psalm 139. I prayed it many times while I was pregnant with Nichole. Today there is even more meaning to these verses than ever before.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How wonderful are your thoughts for me Oh Lord
How vast is the sum of them.
Were I to count them
They would outnumber the grains of the sand.

It has been an emotional journey, but we know God is good, and our family and friends have poured out their love on us. We have already experienced God's love and blessings in a way that maybe few people get to. Complete trust, that is all we need, unconditional love, that is what we will learn to give. God knew that we needed Nichole, and like Andy said, maybe she needed us too. She is precious in God's eyes and he has entrusted us to take care of her. As we walk this path, we know that their will be hard times but that he will share his joy with us through Nichole.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some More Sweet Pictures

1 What are your thoughts?

This last two pictures are of when we finally left the hospital. We had to wait for a long time for the doctor's to let us go home! We also had to stay an extra day because Nichole had an Echo to make sure the valve in her heart was closing, and it was! Praise the Lord! Now we are praying that the hole in her heart closses up quickly.

Our Family!

0 What are your thoughts?
Ellie is a great big sister!
She wanted to hold Nichole right away and she kissed her and sang to her so sweetly!
The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful family.

Nichole is here!

0 What are your thoughts?
On October 2nd, 2007, baby Nichole joined our family. She wanted to come early and quick! Two weeks before her due date, and we almost did not make it to the hospital (even though we thought we had all the time in the world).
Our new baby girl.
We were parking outside the hospital at 7:15. I had been squatting through my contractions because I thought it felt better. When Ellie was born, we thought she was coming soon, and we spent ALL DAY at the hospital, so from previous experience, we thought we had a long time and 5:00 AM seemed too early to go. So we showered, I did my hair and make-up since I was determined not to be ugly mom :)
As we walked in to the hospital they took me to a room where they hook you up to determine if it is true labor or not. I think the nurses thought I had a long ways to go. As the nurse noticed my contractions were very close together, she decided to check how dialated I was. "About a 9!" she said, "I will be right back." Andy and I were not sure what to think, but she came back with MANY nurses and they told me not to push yet. They took me to the delivery room and my midwife walked in, then she said, "You can push if you want now." And Nichole was born at 8:22 AM after a very short labor!
I am ready to push!
Yes, a chubby baby. 7 pounds 9 ounces
Isn't she beautiful?

We love you baby Nichole!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ellie's 2nd Birthday!

1 What are your thoughts?
Ellie had a fun birthday party! She had so much fun, and so did all her friends. We brought in her slide and a "jump-house" for the kids and they had a blast. Unfortunatelly our digital camara broke and we had to ask someone else to take pictures for us. I am so thankful for Jaime going around and taking pictures for us!
Ellie loves her friends Carlee and Brooklyn.

Ellie decorated her cake, and it was a lot of fun. we had sprinkles, fruit snacks, gummy life-savers, nummy frosting and more goodies! She loved her cake! Well, actually, all she cared for were the sprinkles :)
Blow the candle!

Ellie enjoyed opening presents, but she did not like it as much when we would take away the new present. It was all better when she would get to open a new bag.
Thanks for all our friends that came to Ellie's party. We had so much fun!



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