We are so thankful to be able to report that Ned's final surgery went as seamlessly as the first two- Praise God!! As usual, it lasted much longer than expected, but I think that is mostly because our surgeons are so "unapologetically anal" (their words, not mine) and I am so very grateful for their attention to detail! They were able to repair Ned's bowel through the existing opening where his ostemy was exposed, which was the best case senario causing the least stress to and invasion of his bowel area. Hopefully, that will allow him to start healing and digesting again in the very near future. Since the lower portion of his bowel has never really been used, they have told us that there may be some complications of which they are unaware, but they haven't seen any indications to cause suspicions of future problems so we'll just take that as the first step in a very positive direction. He is still on the ventilator, but they plan on extubating him tomorrow. They just wanted to give him through the night in case they felt the need to really sedate him which may have caused his breathing to be more shallow and could affect his oxygenation. So far, they certainly haven't over sedated him. Ned has built up quite a tolerance to the narcotics and the NICU doctors aren't as liberal in their dosing practices as the PICU so it took them quite a lot of "baby step increments" to get him restful following his surgery. When we got back to his bed, he was wide awake with that breathing tube down his throat. The poor child was extremely agitated, but, of course, he couldn't really cry with the tube back down his throat. I was extemely relieved when they were able to get him settled down a bit with the drugs.
I was also very surprised at the relief I felt following his surgery. I think I really had my "game face" on going into this once. Logically, I understood that this surgery wasn't near the major operation as the first two, but I felt some real uncertainty going into it. I kept having fears that I was expecting too much from God. Not that God couldn't provide, but that at some point, I will have used up all His blessings for me and my family for a certain time period. Almost like I felt that each person only received a certain allotment and I must be near the end of mine? All I could do was pray through it. I prayed that God would continue to show Himself in a real and mightly way through Ned's healing and that I would have complete confidence in His faithfulness to my son. But the sheer lifting of the burden that I felt once Dr. Adamson walked through the door showed me that I hadn't let go of the fears as well as I thought I had. I was still harboring them and carrying them around with me and I see now that I have burdened unecessary weight. As a follower of Christ, my yoke should feel easy and my burden light.....my problem was that I continued to carry what I should have laid down at the foot of the cross.
When I was little we lived beside my grandfather, Papa Ned. When I would leave his house and head home at night I would start walking. There was a lamp post set in his yard that I always passed on my way to our side door. As I began my journey home, I always felt very strong and confident from Papa Ned's front porch to the lamp post, but once I passed the lamp post and the light was behind me, I became fearful of the night. I imagined all the terrible things that could be at the edge of the woods just behind our houses. So from the lamp post to my house, I ran! I mean I ran like something was chasing me and once I got home, it was such a feeling of relief to see that nothing was close to attacking me...I was completely safe. This is how I have felt this week. I felt like I had gone past my mountaintop experience a bit and had settled into a bit of a routine, but once I had passed that glorious glowing tall light, I began to be overcome by my fears. And it wasn't until today when Jesus showed me how I had always been protected and kept safe that I found my comfort and relief in knowing that I was home....living and walking with my Savior.
I believe that our prayer requests will mostly revolve around Ned's eating and digesting issues. For now, we're praying that we'll be able to work through some exisitng reflux issues and that he will begin to learn to suck, swollow and breath all at one time while taking in enough volume to grow. Please continue to pray that Travis and I won't get so focused on Ned's clincial condition that we begin to neglect the spiritual health of our family. It is important that we continue to leave Ned in the hands of God and allow Him to use our family for His purposes even now.
We love you all and we are so humbled and thankful for all the love, prayers and support (I just can't say it enough)!!! As we look toward Easter this holy week, I have a greater understanding of the miraculous work of Jesus while He walked this Earth and deeper grasp of what a sincere sacrifice it was for God to "plan" for His son to suffer and die. This experience with Ned has shown me much and for the first time, this Easter will mean much more to me. My focus will not be on what Jack wears to church or what we eat for lunch, in fact, I haven't picked up one thing for an Easter basket. I just want to start now teaching my boys about the resurrection in a way that they may not ever take it for granted in the way that I have in the past. Happy Easter everyone!
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned