"What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the LIVING. Wait, hope for and EXPECT the Lord. Be strong and of good courage and may your heart (Ned) be sturdy and enduring.....Yes, Wait For and Hope For and Expect the Lord."

Psalm 27:13-14 (Amp)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sweet Relief

Rest finally came to little Ned last night around 10pm. It was an extremely long up hill battle yesterday trying to get his pain under control. The problem stemmed from the fact that his narcotic tolerance is extremely high due to living in a drug enduced state for months on end and that they can't start IV drips on the floor on children as young as Ned....that needs to be done in an intensive care unit. The NICU isn't supposed to bring children back into their unit after discharge....it's part of the way they control germs and infection and the PICU is always really slammed full with extremely sick children. Ned really isn't nearly sick enough to be in the PICU, but his pain was starting to cause him some real respiratory problems which I feared may send him back to the PICU for good cause?

Yesterday afternoon, he started to have some real signs of respiratory distress. He was needing more and more oxygen support and his O2 stats were slowly, but steadily decreasing. I called in my nurse and asked her to page surgery. Our surgeon was in the OR and the responding surgeon began trying different doages of the morphine and fentynal.....nothing. He continually kicked and screamed to the top of his lungs. This had gone on since 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon and he was so exhausted and in so much pain that he was too tired to breath and he was guarding his abdomen and only taking really shallow, really labored breaths. He looked terrible. Dr. Adamson got out of surgery and came by....agreed that Ned seemed to be in a bad way and suggested that we try him on one more medication (a muscle relaxer, not a narcotic) to see if that had any effect. If not, he said we would do whatever we needed to do to get him on some higher doses of pain meds. Once we started the muscle relaxer, Ned we completely to sleep for about 10 minutes, immediately woke up screaming. I paged the on-call surgery resident twice, when he didn't come immediately, my nurse paged Dr. Adamson at home. He called down to the PICU and the attending fellow said she would handle Ned's pain management without moving him to the unit.....yeah!!!!

When Bridget walked in our room last night, I have never been so thankful to see a human-being in my life! I felt like, "Thank you Lord"...here was somebody who knew my son and understood his addiction and tolerance levels. I told Bridget that I was so thankful that somebody who believed in drugs was finally here! It took an unbelievable amount of drugs to get him to sleep. After she gave him his first round of ativan and fentynal, she came back to see how he was doing...Ned just looked at her like "what else do you have?". They finally put him back on a Fentynal drip and he went to sleep around 10pm. He has been out like a light ever since. I know the child has to be completely wiped out. He is back down to .2 on his oxygen where he had gotten back up to 1.5 liters. I feel sure he'll come back off completely once he comes out of this little comatose state he is currently in.

Thank you all for all your prayers, they were much needed and felt over the past two days. I think we're over the hump and should start working on the feedings soon and try to make our way back home in the next couple days!

I just got back from visiting Russel and April, Baby Seth's parents. Seth is still stable on ECMO. The surgery team is re-positioning his ECMO cannulas this morning as they had shifted just a bit. Please pray, pray, pray for him and his family. Please ask God to work a miraculous healing in his little body like only He can do.

Much love to you all!
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lucky Number 7?!

Well, we have gotten past what I truely expect to be our final surgery. We still don't have a good idea about what caused the first nissen to fail, but this one went off without a hitch. Dr. Adamson secured the stitches with (I think he said polyester) material to help scar tissue grow and more strongly secure the wrap? For some reason polyester doesn't seem like a surgical material to me...maybe I am remembering it incorrectly? They tested the nissen to ensure that a feeding tube would pass through the now narrowed opening. It went through easily where there was some obstruction last time. Maybe that had to do with the problem, only time will tell. Please pray that this procedure will hold up so Ned can begin to learn to eat like normal....that would be amazing!

In the meantime, Ned needs prayers for relief from pain. He has built up such a narcotic tolerance, that they can't seems to get him comfortable following the surgery. Now that he's out of the ICU's, they can't put him on any kind of a narctoic IV drip and the one time doses of drugs just aren't touching his pain. He has been extremely worked up all night and really hasn't rested much at all since his surgery. Please pray that his pain will subside so that the amount of medicine he is allowed to receive will sufficiently allow him some rest.

Please check out Baby Seth's link and continually pray for him and his family. He was born yesterday (delivery was scheduled for tomorrow) and he is having a difficult go of it so far. The surgeons put him on ECMO yesterday afternoon just hours after his birth. His parents are holding up beautifully so far....what a testiment to the sustaining grace of our Christ! Seth showed some signs of improvement this morning....baby steps, but progress all the same! Just please pray that his body will get the rest it needs for his lungs to begin to function better!

I'll post more when Ned is resting better. Right now, I'm cramming between scream sessions....love to you all!

Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Many Needed Prayers

Just to clarify the heading, Ned is doing fine. He is still refluxing pretty severely; however, we have been able to manage it somewhat with the use of probiotics and continuous feeds. We're simply waiting for the 25th to repair the nissen procedure. I am really hoping that once that is complete, he will begin to make some progress on feeding by mouth. I have tried him several times on spoon feeds, but it seems to get to a certain place in his throat and up it comes. I am very encouraged that he is willing to try. I so hope he'll begin to eat a little soon! Even if we're still supplementing him through the g-tube at night, I sure would like to get back to work at some point. I really miss working....just getting showered and out of the house, living in somewhat of a routine and interacting with other adults during the day. I know this is just a season so I'm trying to focus on finding my way where I am and learning to praise God for the place in which He has me. One day, when Ned is going off to college or getting married, I'll look back on this time I have with him and be grateful. Although it isn't what I would choose right now, I certainly don't want to squander it as if it isn't a valuable experience.

On to the prayer request....other than surgery and eating prayers for Ned, there are several other families who are really walking through the fire right now. I'm not sure how many of you have kept up with Baby Skyla's blog. Skyla had the same two major defects as Ned and has struggled with complications from the repairs since her birth last October. I am deeply saddened today as Skyla has lost her fight. My heart is so burdened for her mother. I truely believe that God allowed Skyla to return to Him as she had served her purpose on this earth and He wanted to shelter her from any further suffering. Having said that, I don't know that it will give her mother any peace or comfort at this moment. She has been completely devoted to Skyla and has been her strongest supporter, ally and cheer section. Please pray for her family and specifically her mother, Kristy. I would love to say that I can't imagine what they are going through, but the truth is that I have imagined it in my head many more times than I care to recall. I can't begin to know the surreal reality that is consuming them, but I believe that they must be feeling completely crushed by the realization of all their fears and now facing a sense of loss like none other.

Also, please keep in mind that one day this week may be the day that Baby Seth makes his debut. Please pray that the Lord will lay his protecting hand upon little Seth at this very moment, that He will ordain Seth's birth and use the miraculous healing of Seth's body to speak into the hearts of others. Please keep his parents, April & Russell, in your prayers throughout the week. The unknown, when it relates to your children, is a very dark place to be. I am praying that they will feel the Lord guiding them and holding them granting peace throughout Seth's healing. They are both such beautiful people, I look forward to seeing what a precious child the Lord gives to two such people.

That's all for tonight. I believe in this prayer group and God's faithfulness to respond to your requests. I attribute Ned's life to each and every little prayer that was lifted up in his name. There is much power here and I'm hoping it can now be used to bless others.

Much love to you all!
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned

Monday, June 2, 2008

Way Past Due

I realize that it has been forever and a day since I have updated the blog. The only reason I haven't kept it up very well is that we haven't installed high-speed internet access at our house yet and my verizon card is slower than dial-up. I think we'll be online in the next couple days; however, I have received several emails questioning Ned's progress. This may be short since my patience can't withstand this slow pace, but once we have our computer set up, I'll keep this blog up much more regularly again.

First, for the good news! Ned is growing by leaps and bounds. He weighed 8lbs. 12oz. when we left the hospital on 04/15 and today he weighed in at 11lbs. 8oz. He is getting quite chunky and it's completely cute. We have been meeting with an army of specialists since we got home and so far, they are all amazed at his progress considering his medical history. Everyone that enters our home or meets with us calls him a complete miracle and I agree knowing they have no idea how true their statements are. His developmental progress hasn't been terribly dealyed, amazingly, and we hope to have him back on track in about a month. I'm sure he isn't loving me because I'm like a drill sergeant!

Ned still isn't taking anything by mouth, and at the moment it appears that it will be at least a month before we can even begin to make any progress. His nissen procedure has failed....confirmed today with an upper GI test back in Chapel Hill. They are planning to repair it on the 25th of this month; however, he probably won't work on feeding by mouth very much until that is fixed. With all that in mind and knowing that teeth are soon to make their grand debut, I have decided to hang up on the nursing. It was a difficult decision for me, but my time is getting extremely strained with keeping up his feeding and supplies, along with pumping supplies, house cleaning, Jack and work. Something has to give and that seems like the most logical responsibility to relinquish especially considering that I have a stock pile which will get hime through a couple more months anyway.

This surgery at the end of the month will be Ned's seventh surgical procedure. While this sounds overwhelming at first, I am looking at it as God's perfect completion. In the Bible, the number seven signifies His completetion and, often times, rest (as in the Sabbath). In many circumstances, the seventh means "finished" and many verses surrounding the sevenths say "It is done". His promises and the truth in His living word have carried us though this and will see us through.

I apologize for the delay and I'll keep up better in the future....and I'll post pictures when the connection is faster. Thank you all for the continued love and prayers that have been poured out on our family.

In His love,
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned