Friday, February 27, 2009

Update Tidbits

Braden is definitely teething, poor guy. He is just chewing away at those cute little fingers and sticks them in too far, more often than not. We haven't seen him get overly fussy, though. He is continuing with tummy time and the physical progress is coming slowly. Braden cries half the time, but then other times he will be really relaxed and fall asleep. He still has far to go with strengthening his neck muscles to lift his head. He will get there!

Braden's weight was 9 lbs. 7 oz. at yesterday's appointment. While he was down to his diaper, I looked really hard and I think I may have seen a fat roll. Hurray!

I found a photographer that will come to my house for baby pictures every several months. Interestingly, the photographer also spent time at Children's with her own heart baby. Braden had several pictures that will likely show the chest scars. Those scars aren't pretty, but at the same time they are beautiful. It is part of our Braden's story and how far he's come. We had a lot to talk about during the session and it was good to talk with someone who'd been there. Can't wait to get those pictures back!


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Braden was weighed again today and was 9 lbs. 1 oz. This weight gain thing is extremely exciting for us! Every day, seeing him thriving, doing so well, it is so gratifying. We find that as we relax just a little bit more the further we get from his surgery and hospitalization that we are spending significant time reflecting on the whole experience. It has really been more than our minds could process at the time. We have been able to consider our faith in Jesus, having been tested in such a gut-wrenching way and can testify that He really is faithful, even when we don't understand what we go through or why.

Baby Braden continues to lead a rather quiet life. He doesn't go much of anywhere and the few times he has gone out, I have been so stressed out by complete strangers or kids coming up to touch him I can hardly imagine going places where I know people. It is difficult to have such an adorable little pumpkin and not be able to show him off, but why do people insist on touching babies' faces and hands? Everything goes in the mouth and that's how germs are spread. It is awkward to have to guard him so closely, so we just stay home! I keep telling myself that this is just a season and that he depends on us to protect him while his immune system builds up. I remember in my research hearing about a similar baby whose mother remarked "ours was not a pass around baby". That is our Braden too. We are trying to find that balance between not being overly fearful and just using the good brains God gave us.

Our little guy has been learning some good lessons lately about the joys of having three big sisters. First, if you even make a peep, or grimace for that matter, there is always a sister to shove a pacifier in your mouth. It is actually good entertainment to see how many times it can be spit out (because you don't really want it) and have it promply stuffed in again. Also, sisters make you sparkle. Since everything the girls own has glitter on it, baby Braden sparkles with glitter dust constantly . . . on his head, cheek, nose. He'll love that when he's older. Just wait till they talk him into mascara on his beautiful long eye lashes! Last, sisters are very entertaining. Rachel does a mean version of Mana-mana (How DO you spell that?) from the first season of the Muppet Show. She sings it over and over for Braden (dances too) as he swings. All three hover and sing and talk in little squeaky voices to make baby smile. He makes them work for it because it really is entertaining and what else does he have to do?

Braden celebrated his first Valentines day by wearing a big heart bib declaring it. He missed out on the heart shaped pizzas and yummy hot chocolate fudge cake but I think he enjoyed himself. We are all sincerely enjoying all the family time this slow season is providing us with. Life is good and we keep looking for opportunities to celebrate each day the Lord gives us.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Braden's Dedication

On Sunday, February 8, 2009, we had the joy of dedicating Braden, now 3 months old, to the Lord in the presence of our family and congregation. It took some work to get our crew over to the church for the service. Darth goes over early for worship team practice, so it was a one to four ratio, parent to children. I have to say, that morning was a bit hectic, trying to get myself and FOUR kids (I have to keep reminding myself I am the mother of 4!) ready and out the door, looking presentable, at the same time. Tricky business. The girls are at this interesting point in life, old enough to do most things for themselves, but young enough to be easily distracted by almost anything, the dog, the TV, the ... (you name it). I'm pretty sure I raised my voice a few times that morning! My kids still love me, but we will have to keep working on the responsibility-follow-through thing.

It was a day of celebration for us. Both our families came over to be a part of the day, filling two entire rows in the sanctuary. They needed to be there. Every family member has walked this road right along with us from the beginning, when we discovered we were having a baby with heart defects. From July to the present, our parents and siblings, have been so encouraging, praying, taking our girls when we needed them to, just being there for us. The service was a special time to remember how far God has brought Braden. Our family members have seen him at his worst, in ICU with the open chest and lines everywhere, to today, where he looks absolutely fabulous and amazingly adorable. It was an joyous time of celebration and expressing gratitude to Jesus for all He has done in Braden's life, as well as in our family.

Pastor Jerry brought Darth, myself, Kara, Megan, Rachel, and of course Braden, onto the platform. He spoke for several minutes, on the miracle that Braden is, where he has been, and where he is now. There was a beautiful arrangement of yellow roses for me. I appreciated the gift as well as the verbal blessing to be where I am needed most, with Braden. I haven't been to church since November and that has felt really strange. However, I know that this season with Braden is extremely important.

After sharing some of the Bible passages that have been so close to our hearts, like Jeremiah 29:11, Pastor Jerry challenged us to raise Braden for the Lord. Darth and I affirmed our desire to train Braden in the knowledge of God and His Word. Then others on the pastoral staff came on stage to join us for prayer. The prayer time was wonderful. Braden started crying, because unfortunately he didn't get to finish his bottle and I didn't think to bring a pacifier on stage. I whispered to Kara to go find one in my purse and she saved the day! The crying, magnified by the microphones on the platform, was another display of Braden's health. I don't think anyone minded the noise. The pacifier worked its magic and then we could once again hear Pastor's prayer. Thank you Lord for our precious baby boy and wonderful girls. We ARE blessed.

A brief health update: Braden now has an homecare nurse that will be coming by once a week for tracking his growth. Darth and I are very glad to not have to take baby weekly into the pediatrician's office. This is a bad season for frequenting where the germs are! Braden weighed 8 lbs 11 oz on Wednesday. He is feeling more solid when we hold him and his little cheeks are getting fuller. So cute! He has also been doing little bits of tummy time. The incision and pacer have made this a long time in coming so we are starting slowly.


Friday, February 6, 2009

February Cardiology Visit

Braden saw the cardiologist at the outreach clinic today. It is a wonderful thing to have access to great medical care. The clinic is held 5 minutes from home. We appreciate not having to drive to Seattle for every appointment.

The visit went really well. Braden weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz., up from yesterday (hey, ounces matter!). He had an echo, done by the same tech who did the pre-surgery echo. Braden was very cooperative, drinking his bottle and watching Baby Mozart on the TV. The doctor was pleased with the heart function. Always love those good reports. Braden's diaphragm is still enlarged and that issue links to the initial surgery. It may take a while for that to correct, for the diaphragm to return to normal position and function. We may have to wait several months for the diaphragm to heal and the left lung to be able to fully expand again. The cardiologist wasn't too concerned since Braden is looking good and gaining weight. If he was "limping along" it would be another story, but thankfully that doesn't describe our boy!!! Also, we have dropped another medication, down to three now. We came home from Children's with five.

Please pray for the diaphragm to heal, for health for our family (the girls keep picking up sniffles and coughs from school), and for weight gain. Thank you!

-Darth & Jenni

February Update

Braden has finally passed 8 pounds! Today he was up to 8 lbs. 3 oz., not quite on the growth curve yet, but getting closer. He has started laughing too. It brings tears to our eyes, it is so adorable. What a happy baby he is.

It has been a month since we came home from Children's. We are enjoying being able to look back and remember how far Braden and our family has come in a month. It is still hard to process all we have gone through with him. God has been gracious to our little guy. Children are a blessing and we rely of the Lord every day to raise these little people He has entrusted to our care.