Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ann Arbor Appointment

Well, we had an appointment in Ann Arbor on Thursday, as most of you know. We came away with different news than we expected. According to Autumn’s lab results, her kidneys are not filtering as they should be. The doctors said that according to her current labs she should be on dialysis, but because she is making progress in her growth, she can hold off on it for now. It appears as though she is going to have more of a chronic, or permanent, kidney problem. We are now going to attend the Chronic Kidney Disease Clinic in Ann Arbor once a month, so she can be monitored a little more closely. The doctors said her body will be their guide. They will be taking a couple of extra labs to see how well her bones are actually growing because that is a key indicator of how well she is able to filter her nutrients through her kidneys. They are also keeping a close eye on her blood pressure, as well as her sodium, calcium and potassium levels. We will be talking more about dialysis at our January appointment. There will also be some mention of the possibility of a transplant in the future. Of course, we all know that God has a perfect plan in all of this. We are not worried about the future of our little girl because we have confidence in God’s plan for her in all areas of her life, but especially with her kidneys. He has been in charge since before she was conceived. I love knowing that He doesn’t do anything wrong! All things are for a purpose! What a mighty God we serve! All things work out for His glory, even if it doesn’t seem perfect in our eyes. Please continue to pray for Autumn’s kidneys and overall health. Please also praise God for His faithfulness, His perfect plan and timing, as well as His great love for us all.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Christmas to Remember

Sorry about the lack in posting, no excuse. Not much has been going on, we have just been enjoying being home together. Autumn is still healing and progressing very well. We have a check up in Ann Arbor tomorrow (December 28, 2006) - we are trusting and praying that everything is still going in the right direction. I will be sure to update you all when we get home.

Jen is enjoying her last few days at home with the girls over Christmas break as she will return to work on January 3, 2007. God has again provided as Grandma Hess has decided to stay home this winter/spring and take care of Autumn. This is a great answer to prayer for us. She is very much looking forward to spending this quality time with her newest grandchild. We are very thankful for her willingness to help us in this way.

Christmas has been such a blessing this year. Just being home together has been a great blessing and a big reason to celebrate, but this year we had a few extra blessings. It has been a tough fall / winter this year in many aspects, including financially, with Jen not working for so long and me being off for months at a time - it has been difficult, but God has provided and the bills have always been paid. Praise the Lord!. With Christmas on the way, we knew that we would be a lot tighter this year than in the past, and we were very OK with that, but God had other plans. First of all - the nurses from the Midland Hospital (pediatric / maternity) decided to bless us and the girls with many gifts this Christmas. We received many necessary household items along with plenty of toys, clothes and books for both of the girls. Jayna got double duty as she was the one that she designated to open all of Autumn's presents. She was one busy girl. We are so thankful to these wonderful ladies and the kindness and compassion that they have shown us this year.

Next, we have had many cards in the mail and drop in visitors this past weekend from family and friends dropping off both gifts and money. We have been overwhelmed by the things that you have done for our family. It has been great to see many of you over the past week or so. You know us well and have travelled through this with us. It has been great to share so much joy with you as well.

Also, a group of students at Coleman High School called STAR decided to help us out. I don't know much about the STAR group or even who is in it. I know that they are involved in different types of community volunteering and work. They planned an activity day on the last day of school for the entire high school. During this time students were able to pay to do different types of activities, like basketball, volleyball, or even throw a pie in the face of a teacher. You can imagine the money that they collected (I know how much that I would've paid to throw a pie at a teacher when I was their age). Even more, imagine our surprise when they called to tell us what they did. We didn't have any idea that this was even going on, and these kids reached out to us. They brought a check over on Friday evening, and we were overcome with emotion. With the house payment looming in the next week, we weren't sure how we were going to pay it and once again, God provided. We are so thankful to the STAR group and look forward to thanking them personally sometime when school resumes.

We have been humbled through this journey. We have learned lots of things including how to accept a gift - it is usually just people being obedient to what God wants them to do, who am I to say no. We have also learned to depend fully, 100%, without reservation on God. He has taken care of us - physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. He has, without any reservation, taken care of us completely. We love Him and are so thankful for all of you who He has used to bless us this year.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Just wanted to share a couple of pictures of the girls since we have been home again. Now that Autumn has all her ports out - she is finally able to have a real bath. Here are just a couple pictures of that and one of 'Sissy Cuddle Time' as Jayna calls it. They just love each other.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Coming Home

Dr. Juarbe said tonight that he sees no reason why Autumn can't come home tomorrow evening. We are so thankful. She is doing wonderful and has received some extraordinary care from some wonderful nurses / doctors. God has placed us in these places, under these circumstances, with these people - in His perfect time. We are so happy that she is well enough to come back home and are looking forward to having all four of us together again. Be looking for some great pictures from home in the next few days!!

Lena Clarke is coming home tomorrow also. It has been such a joy to be down the hall from her these past couple of weeks and it will be great to see her at home again also. Their family is so special to us and we love them so. It is such an encouragement to see them everyday. They have lifted our spirits. God is working in all of our lives - these are two specific examples right now. He has taken so good care of us. Thanks for your prayers for us all!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back In Midland

Everything went fairly well today in Ann Arbor. We were transferred late this afternoon back to Midland. They welcomed us back with open arms and Autumn has already seen Dr. Juarbe this evening. As Jen wrote last night, the plan is for Autumn to receive this antibiotic 4 times a day for seven days, which I believe should end on December 12th. Jen will be staying with Autumn in the hospital, so things aren't completely back to normal, but it is so nice to be closer to home. We cannot wait to see Jayna again tomorrow after school and I am sure that she is going to love seeing her little sister again. We are thankful for God's help, timing and strength. He is always perfect - which is why we have endured this. It reminds me of a song - 'His strength is perfect when our strength is gone; He'll carry us when we can't carry on. Raised in His power, the weak become strong; His strength is perfect.'

We are thankful for His perfect strength. If you are in Midland and are feeling well - stop by and visit Jen / Autumn. She would love to see you. Room A409!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Day of Tests and Answers

After another 10 hours without food, Autumn had an ultrasound on her liver this morning. This came back normal, which is good to know. The liver doctors told us they believe her elevated levels are due to her infection. They are going to continue to watch her levels to be sure they come down as her infection clears. It was a blessing to hear them say they didn’t think anything else was wrong with her liver.

Autumn needs to stay on Bactrum for 7 days, with yesterday being day 1, to fight off this infection completely. She will have a PICC line put in her head to administer this antibiotic. This is a more permanent IV line. However, it is not as permanent and invasive as the broviac was. Therefore, there is some risk involved with this one, but not as much. She will have to spend another night fasting though. After this is placed, she will be able to hop in an ambulance and take a ride back up to MIDLAND!!! That’s right; she can finish her 7 days of antibiotics in Midland! We are so thankful for this. I will still be staying with her in the hospital, but I will at least be able to see Jayna and any other healthy familiar face that wants to visit. Also, it will be nice to be close to Lena and the Clarke family again. Autumn should finish her antibiotics on the 12th and then be able to go home.

We praise God for His continued goodness and grace to us. We are very thankful that Autumn is line free! We are so glad to be able to come back to Midland. God knows exactly what we need ALL the time. He has been our sustainer and rock. He has heard our weary calls and answered all of them. He is ready and willing to hear yours as well. He is eager for a relationship with you, if you don’t have one already. Then, He will listen to you, answer you, encourage you and bless you. May God bless you all. Thank you for your continued love and encouragement.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

She's Out...

Just got the call from Aaron....she's out of surgery!!!

Everything went great! She will be awake within a half hour and will head back upstairs to continue to heal.

Praise God!!!

She's In...

10:30 am - Autumn is in surgery - they said to expect a few hours at minimum. It takes longer to take them out than it did to put them in.


Aaron just called and Autumn is "on deck"...she is next for surgery. They gave her a transfusion this morning to get her blood supply back to where it needed to be for stability, and she has been fasting since 2am - they're so thankful that surgery is this morning since she is so uncomfortable right now with an empty belly.

They plan to remove both the Perinatal port and the Broviac. I'll update as soon as we hear word. Please pray for the doctors and for Autumn to remain strong.

God is faithful. We believe.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Round 2 - Day 1

We are finally resettled back in Ann Arbor at the Mott Children's Hospital. We have met with numerous doctors and surgeons since our arrival at about 3:00 pm. Everyone agrees that Autumn's infection is being caused by one of her 'sites' - so they will perform the surgery to remove them. We signed all the paperwork and she will begin fasting at 2:00 am tonight. Unless something changes - she is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. The surgeons did remind us (as always) that if emergencies come up - things may be pushed back - up to a day. Either way, by Wednesday night she should have her ports removed and well on her way to killing this infection. I will try to update you tomorrow on what is going on. Please pray for Autumn tonight as she is going to be very uncomfortable fasting. She likes her food and needs it. She is going to need lots of lovin' tonight and in the morning that is for sure. Thanks for you kind words and prayers. You are appreciated and helpful to us.


Aaron just called and they've arrived safely and are getting settled.

On the road again...

The caravan is on it's way to Ann Arbor. Jen is riding in the ambulance and Aaron is following in their vehicle. They finally got on the road about 1:30 after a stall this morning when they couldn't find an open bed for Autumn at Motts. But, after some shuffling around, they were able to locate a place for her.

Aaron & Jen will thankfully stay at the condo again, what a generous family to offer this to Aaron & Jen once again. Truly a blessing. Aaron said the traffic was heading quite slow about 40 mph due to snow.

Please pray for traveling safety and for Autumn's stability while traveling.

Aaron plans to update if they get a chance tonight - hopefully with some detailed info on their game plan for aggressively treating this staph infection.


Sunday, December 03, 2006


One of the blessing of being in the Midland Hospital this past week has been that many of the nurses / doctors who were there when Autumn was born, revived her, and worked on her and Jen that day, have stopped down in her room to meet her and encourage us. They have shared their stories of how their lives have changed through Autumn's progress also. It has been such an encouragement to us to see these many people that we owe so much to. We are proud of their work and knowledge. The staff at the maternity floor in the Midland Hospital have become much more than just doctors / nurses to us, they have become like family and we appreciate them so very much.

The medicine that they have been using to fight the infection is not working. The doctors in Midland have consulted with our Ann Arbor kidney doctors through this whole process and have tried a few different medicines, none of which have stopped this severe infection. It is controlling it, but not killing it. As of tonight - they plan to transfer Autumn to Ann Arbor in the morning. So, unless anything major changes overnight, we will leave for Ann Arbor tomorrow. Hopefully while we are there they will perform the surgery to remove her dialysis catheter and broviac IV line (everyone agrees that one of these sites is most likely the cause of the infection).

Please pray for Autumn - that her body will begin to fight off this infection. She is so strong and we are so proud of her. She is a true angel. Also, please pray for Jayna - as you can imagine, she isn't very thrilled that Autumn is going back to Ann Arbor and we will be apart for a while again. She understands that it is best for Autumn, but she knows that it will be hard for her. She is down, so please pray a showering of encouragement and strength for her. Also, please pray for Jen and I. We know and believe that God is still in the process of healing Autumn and is in TOTAL control of her life, but we are tired right now. Lots of sleepless nights and concern for our girls has made us both very weary. Please pray for strength for us as a couple of struggling parents. We are so appreciate to you all for carrying this load with us. We know that it is a burden that God has allowed us to carry because we can handle it. He promises in His word that He won't give us more that we can handle and we are standing on that promise tonight.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Staph Infection

Autumn has a staph infection - they want to watch it grow a little more, but they are thinking they can treat it with a 10 day aggressive antibiotic. After they watch it a bit more they can decide if she can fight it here in Midland or have to go to Ann Arbor.

Please continue to pray for strength. Autumn is 3 doors down from Lena Clarke - this has been quite an encouragement from Lena as well for both of the Clarke and Hess families. God is good.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Fever Strikes....

When Autumn woke up to nurse Wednesday Night around 1am Jen noticed she felt quite warm. She changed her and opened her gown up to see if she was just warm; her fever was 101.9 so they headed off to the hospital as directed by the on-call Dr. When they got to the ER her temp was 102.9. (They eventually admitted her in the early morning to the Pediatric Wing, Midland Hospital)

They did blood work and collected some urine and administered an antibiotic. Her fever gradually dropped and stayed around 98 - 99 for most of the day Thursday and her labs appeared to all be ok. Last night (this morning) around 1am she got another fever of about 101. They have her another round of antibiotics and it's coming down again. They found today that in one of the blood cultures that there is an infection somewhere in her blood system. They're going to let it culture for another 12 hours or so, apparently the longer it can have time to grow the more exact they'll be able to tell where the infection is exactly at. Dr. Juarbe will look at the culture again this early evening and then discuss with her Ann Arbor doctors a method of attack on this infection!

Please pray for Autumn's health, and the Dr's as they work to keep her well. And, rest for Jen, the nurses have asked Jen to stay at the hospital since she knows Autumn's routine with meds and changing dressings and flushing the broviac very well. Jen's very tired...Aaron is at home with Jayna at night for now. And, Jayna spent the day with Grandma today. Please pray for all of them that this will be an infection that can be treated aggressively and her body will respond very quickly.

One of us will do our best to keep the blog updated.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Tree Hunting

We took our annual trek to the farm to pick out the perfect tree. Thought that we would share it with all of you!!
Here we are riding in the hay wagon out to where the Fraser Fir trees are growing (This is Jayna's favorite part.)
Looking for the perfect tree!!!

Autumn says, "They all look big to me, Grandma!"

Too Short!!

I think we got a winner!!

Where did all my help go???

Got It!!

Here it is - all decorated up. Yah!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beautiful Morning

We thought that we would share our view in the backyard on Thanksgiving morning. There were a total of 5 - just a few yards from the back garage. Too bad that we are technically in the city limits, because it is firearm deer season up here right now. Also, one of these was taken by photographer Jayna.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We Are Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to all! It has been quite a year in our home, full of ups and downs. Upon reflecting today, we realized we have so much to be thankful for. We were at home just the four of us today, so we shared some of the things we are thankful for this year. Here are a few of the things:

1. Our merciful Savior who loves us unconditionally and has forgiven us for our sins. He has been our rock through so many good and bad times this year. He continues to remain by our side everday with loving and guiding hands. As Jayna said today, "Actually, He is my other Daddy."

2. Our family who is full of love (immediate, extended and church). We have all grown together through our trials and triumphs. We are so thankful that God has put us together and continues to grow the bond between us. Our girls are a true blessing from God. He designed them to be beautiful, as well as full of life and love. They are little pieces of Heaven here on earth, made for a Heavenly purpose.

3. Our friends who have loved us, supported us, laughed with us, cried with us and spent some treasured time with us.

4. God's provisions. We have all the things we need and much more. We are healthy, strong, encourage, loved, etc. We are blessed with a home, food, clothes, heat, toys, etc. We have been blessed by the ability to help others in need. All our needs are always met!

We could be here all night writing things we are thankful for, but we will stop here. Be sure to spend some time this next year thanking God for all He is and will be, thanking your family and friends for who they are, and remembering how blessed you are in everyway. What are you thankful for? We would love to hear!! Have a great holiday weekend!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

With the holiday season coming upon us quickly, it is time for holiday programs. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving program / turkey dinner at the school last night - given by Jayna's kindergarten class. We had a fun time watching the program and meeting all of Jayna's new friends. We thought that we would share this picture of the girls before the program. Enjoy!! Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Check Up

After a long day at U of M, we really didn't get many new answers. Due to some kind of miscommunication between the clinic and the pediatric dialysis unit, we didn't get Autumn's labs done until the end of the day. We are supposed to find out the results of these labs tomorrow some time.

What we did find out is that while Autumn is gaining weight, she is not gaining enough. They would like her to gain 5 ounces a week...she has gained about 9 ounces total since she has been home, so she is about 6 ounces behind. For now, we are just going to continue feeding her as needed while we watch her weight closely. She is still having to have her medicines/supplements three times a day. She is not doing well with keeping these down, so please pray that she will be able to digest them without any trouble.

Also, her liver is still enlarged and causing her some discomfort. The doctors believe this should get better with time and nutrition. We are praying this is the case.

As of right now, we will go back on December 28th for another check-up. She will continue to keep her "equipment" in for now, unless her levels turn out to be incredible and the doctors decide to take them out before the 28th. We love this little miracle and are so thankful to God for all He has done in her little body. We are committed to keeping her healthy and growing. We will continue to let God work in her in all areas. This Thanksgiving, we have much to be thankful for in Autumn and beyond. May you also find much to thank God for in your life and family.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Prayer Requests

We are going to Ann Arbor tomorrow (Monday, November 20th). Our appointment is at 10:00 am and we have a few different places to go to in the hospital. We also plan to stop at the NICU to drop off the hundreds of cookies / brownies that Jen and Jayna have been baking the last couple of days. It will be so nice for them to see Autumn doing so well.

  • Please pray that Autumn's appointment goes well. I will be sure to post some updates from the appointment tomorrow night. Be checking back.
  • Also, please pray for the Morley family. My dad's Uncle Phil passed away yesterday after a brave cancer battle. Pray for comfort and peace for our family this week.

Thanks to all of you who have been so wonderful to us. Your obedience is encouraging to us.

Family Time

We had some nice family time this week. Jayna had Wednesday off of school. It was opening day of deer season, so she figured that it was time to teach her how to shoot a gun. So, we pulled out my old Daisy BB gun. She hit the pop cans 2 times from about 20 feet. Not bad for her first time. She has even saved the cans that she hit for a collection. We had lots of fun.
The girls had tons of fun laying of the bed together. Jayna even took a picture of Mommy & Autumn. Lots of big smiles. Looks like a happy family to me!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Crazy Jayna

Jayna received a great, fun music cd from Ryan, Beth, Conner & Quinn a couple of weeks ago. We listen to it all the time. I captured a small video of her listening to this one song about wanting to dance. She is crazy!!

Tummy Time

Because of Autumn's ports - she hasn't had much tummy time at all. Jen has slowly and safely been allowing her some time. With the help of her boppy, she really enjoys this time. We hope that you enjoy these pictures also!!


Autumn had a couple of visitors this week. Here are Roger & Connie finally getting to hold their granddaughter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I told you all that I would post more about Autumn's care and our schedule over the next few weeks / months. Finally tonight, I have a few free minutes to explain it more to you.

The biggest thing that we have to do here at home for her is change the dressings on her dialysis catheter and her broviac IV. This is fairly uneventful and just a matter of producing a semi-sterile environment, cleaning the wound and reapplying the new bandage. We must also flush her IV daily and change the cap on her IV weekly. We are very comfortable doing these things and know that it just another part of her care.

As far as feeding goes, as you probably noticed in her pictures, Jen & I took her feeding tube out the other day. When we were at the hospital, they measured every little ml that they put in her and weighed every single ml that came out. The day that we left the hospital, the doctors decided that they were comfortable enough with the direction that she was going to allow Jen to breast feed her on demand, as you would a normal baby. This was a huge praise for us to allow this to happen. It has been a big weight lifted off from us to not have to measure everything, but also to allow Jen to have this time with Autumn. All we have to do is make sure that she is still having so many wet/soiled diapers a day. Also, 3 times a day - Autumn has some extra sodium, calcium & iron to help her levels. We do send daily weights to her doctors in Ann Arbor, another way for them to monitor kidney function. She is eating well and is continuing to gain, what appears to be, good weight. Another Praise!! We are so thankful.

We do have an appointment in Ann Arbor on November 20th with her kidney doctors. At that time, they will draw labs and check her creatinine and BUN levels (with us knowing that they are still going in the right direction). If everything looks good that day, they will plan the surgery to remove the dialysis catheter and broviac. We are believing that this will be another big step in God's plan for His healing of Autumn. He is always so faithful to His word and keeps His promises. We Believe!! Please join with us praying for Autumn and for Dr. Kershaw as we prepare for this big day in her little life.

The only other major part of her care is going to start in January (when Jen goes back to work). We had planned to send Autumn to a wonderful Christian daycare, but given her sensitivity to germs and other kids, her doctors are not allowing her to go to a daycare. We know that we can't protect her from everything, but will do all that we can to help her have a healthy winter. The doctors reminded us how important that it is to keep her healthy these first 3-6 months. Nourishment is very important to her kidneys continuing to heal. Any sickness that slows down her eating will very likely continue damage to her kidneys, so we are going to protect her as much as we can this first six months home. Our house is filled with anti-bacterial soap and bottles of hand sanitizer. We will do all that we can to protect her and that means hiring someone to come into our home to watch Autumn from January to June. Please pray for us, that God will lead us to the correct person to help us care for Autumn this first six months or so. We know that God is faithful to us in all ways and we are thankful to Him for that. He is our Sustainer.

It has been such a joy to run into some of you since we have been back home. You have been such an encouragement to us and we love you all. You are very special to us. We may just have to throw a party when Autumn is well. A celebration of God's miracles.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pictures From Home

It has been great to be home together as a family. Jayna is still loving on her little sister. Check out all these pictures of our family together here at home. We do want to mention that it was an incredible time yesterday morning to be able to walk into church together (all 4 of us), the doctors have allowed us to go as long as Autumn stays in her seat with her top up to protect her from people and germs. We have missed being with the body of believers and it was wonderful to be there again yesterday. We would love to see some of you that don't have a church family, there with us sometime. You are always welcome.

Jayna even helped to burp her little sister. Check out the video below also!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Having Fun At Home

Just wanted you all to know that everything is going well here at home. Autumn saw her pediatrician yesterday and all the normal kid stuff looked great. We received a visit from the local visiting nurses today, just to affirm our training and care for Autumn - to check her out and answer any questions that we had about her care. Basically everything is going great. Jayna is loving having 'Miss Autumn' or 'Sissy' home. It has been so fun to watch them together. Be looking for pictures sometime later this weekend.

Also, please pray for Jen and her family. Her Grandma Messer (Wava) passed away last night. It wasn't a surprise as we knew that she was not well, but it does affect Jen in a major way. She was very close to her Grandma for alot of years and we enjoyed seeing that same interaction between Grandma Messer and Jayna over these past few years. She was a very kind and caring lady and we will all miss her. So, please pray for Jen, as she does some travelling alone in these next few days (as Autumn is not able to make these trips yet). Pray that Jen will continue to be the light that God wants her to be and that God's peace and comfort will surround her family.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day 33 - We Are Home

Yes it is true - after 33 days in the NICU at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor - we are home. God is Good - All the Time and All the Time - God is Good. We are so grateful that you all have carried this burden with us and today we are so pleased that you all get to share in the joy of this miracle from our Heavenly Father. I will share more in the next few days about details of her care and what our schedule will be over the next few weeks, but for now, I am going to continue to relax at home, with all three of my girls!! Enjoy these couple of pictures of today!! You are a blessing!!

Jayna picked out Autumn's 'Coming Home' outfit!! She is beautiful!

All buckled up and ready to go. Autumn had to pass a test of sitting in her car seat for 2 1/2 hours last night to be sure that she could do it for real today. She did great - both in her test and for real all the way home.

Walking down that long hallway one last time. It was so exciting for Jayna to be with us this week. She was such a help, learning how to care for her sister and it was great for her to have a front row seat to this incredible celebration.

A couple of pictures of the girls as soon as we got home. They are both so precious.

The news I've had to hold in...

We've had to hold this news in until we knew it really was going to happen this week...but now I (Allison) have to hold it in no longer....

Guess what this means????

That's right...Jen, Aaron, Jayna, Autumn & Grandma Hess are all on their way home! Praise God for this miracle child. Autumn is far from being her whole self again, but is strong enough to continue her healing at home with her family.

This is also a public service message to say...Yes we know you all want to see her...but not yet...Autumn is to have very limited visitation for 6mos - 1 year. But especially in these first three weeks she is home.

Thank you for your prayers and continued prayers. When Autumn heads back to Ann Arbor in 3 weeks for a check up we're expecting even more reason to Praise our God!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Day 32

Autumn continued progressing again today, (I know, I am beginning to sound like a broken record) but we are encouraged every day by her progress. Many of the nurses who have helped care for her over the past 4 1/2 weeks have stopped by to enjoy how great she is looking and have commented on how close we were to losing her. Hearing some of these things in the past few days, have reminded us, just how powerful God is. It reminded me of a sermon that Sep, James & I listened to a couple of months ago, on our way home from Wisconsin. The speaker reminded not to settle for doing something great, but to expect the impossible. Great things happen every day and God uses lots of things and people to do great things. When we thought that we might lose Autumn a few weeks ago, our family asked God to do the impossible. You see, if there is no explanation for it, all credit goes to God. That is exactly what He has done for Autumn - the impossible - and we give Him all praise. He is amazing and we are thankful to be His children.

Mom and Jayna hung around lots today and also spent some time at the movie theater. It has been such a lift to our spirits to have both of them around this week. The staff in the NICU have taken quite a liking to Jayna. The have so much fun together. Here are a couple of pictures of our actions today. Photographer Jayna was back in action today and a couple of these pictures are ones that she took. I can't even tell the difference anymore.

We continued with more learning how to care for Autumn today. Jayna even scrubbed up and put on a mask to give us a hand.

Here are the Pictures

Jen & Jayna giving Autumn a bath last night.

Jayna took this picture of her little sister!! She is a great photographer.

Jayna finally got to help feed Autumn tonight. Such wonderful family time. This has been time that Jayna has been missing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sister Time

Today, Jen, Jayna & I continued our learning ways. Autumn is still progressing and her kidneys appear to continue to be healing. We thank God for that and thought that we would share a few pictures of some of our fun tonight!! I am super tired tonight, so hopefully will be able to write more about her progress later. Just know that she is still moving in the right direction.

Also, Jen is feeling alot better, still fighting this infection, but definitely doing much better. Thanks for your prayers for her.

Jen and I have recently touched base with a young couple (Al & Amanda) whose son John Francis Lake is going through almost the exact same thing as Autumn did. He is only a week or so into the process so they are very nervous, stressed, etc. Please pray for Al, Amanda & John Francis. If you have the time - send them a note of encouragement. They had a rough day today and could use a pick me up!! Their blog is

Something is up and I can't load pictures. I promise to try again in a few hours.

Day 30 & Day 31

Sorry about not posting yesterday - it was a busy day. They are letting Jen and I do alot more things with Autumn to help us better understand how to care for her. We have been learning how to change the dressing on her IV, how to clean and change the dressing on her dialysis catheter and how to insert and position her feeding tube. It has been great learning these things and while some of these things can be intimidating, we have enjoyed learning and being able to do these things to care for our daughter.

Jayna is down here with us for a few days this week and has enjoyed spoiling her little sister. Yesterday, Grandma took her to a hands on children's science museum for a few hours. They had so much fun and learned some things too. It has been great to have Jayna and Mom around this week.

One last thing - Autumn's BUN yesterday - 26!! Indescribible!!

P.S. - Jen will talk to her doctor at home more today and I will update you on her status sometime later!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Day 29

Autumn's levels are continuing to go down. Today, her BUN was 34 and creatinine was 1.6 - in human realms this is impossible - with God though, all things are possible. We are praising Him again today that her levels are still dropping. I think that the 3 month time frame for her kidneys to heal is out of the question. Our God doesn't work within human averages or timeframes. He is so faithful,

Autumn also today had a wonderful visit from Great Uncle Robert & Great Aunt Linda from the Washington DC area, who happened to be in Michigan for the weekend. It is always so special to be able to spend time with them and we were so glad that they got to meet Autumn so early in her precious little life.

The only other thing for today is that her blood is down a little bit so they are (right now) giving her a unit of blood. They aren't too concerned about it - they know that they have been drawing alot of blood for tests in the past few weeks. That is another thing that I have learned through this - the importance of giving blood. If you are able - you should - often. We have blood to spare and there are so many needs. Why don't you find a local blood bank and do that this week. You have been such a help to us and I hope that you never mind us sharing what God is teaching us through this - hopefully we can learn some of this stuff together.

Have a great work week!! God is still on the throne!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Day 28

Just a quick note to say that Jen and Jayna had a great girls day today. They bonded and shared some great time that they had missed. Sep & I spend some time with Autumn, got soaked and froze at the Michigan game (we won) and spent more time with Autumn. She is still progressing - Her BUN was 42 today and her Creatinine was 1.8 - Still going down. God is Good!!

Thanks so much for your continued prayers - your faithfulness is so encouraging to us. Please also pray for Jen - she has some sort of infection and is running a fever, nothing that is contagious, so she can see Autumn, but still is pretty miserable. Also, please pray for some close family of ours who have experienced some loss in the past few weeks. Please pray for the Johnson family that God would give them strength, peace and comfort. As always we know that God is the one in control - he can do all things!! Thank You Jesus!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Miss Pops

Today, I miss my dad. As you know, Pops passed away six months ago today. It has been six months of learning to lean (as the old hymn says.) I am still finding more power than I'd ever dreamed. When Autumn was born 4 weeks ago and tragedy struck, I began to panic. How could we do this without Pops? Everyone who knew him knew that he was the strong one that helped us through difficulties and struggles. I learned more about why and how over these past few weeks.

When this struggle started and the doctor finally came out to let me know what was going on (Two hours after Autumn had been born) - he told me 'Your daughter is lucky to be alive and is still not out of the woods, the best thing that you can do is call your church and have them start praying.' I thanked him and told him that he was a couple of hours behind. We had people praying as soon as Jen was rushed into surgery and that Pastor Dave & Rachel were right down the hall with the rest of our family. He said let's bring Pastor Dave back to pray with Autumn right then (I hadn't even got to see her yet as they were still working to revive and stabilize her) - so Pastor Dave and I went to the operating room put on our scrubs / cleaned up and were led back where a team of about 15 to 20 people were working on Autumn. They made some room for us and Dave & I layed hands on Autumn and asked for God to work in her life according to His will and to heal her little body. It was an incredible moment where God took center stage. As we walked out of the room - I was reminded where my strength comes from - My Heavenly Father. You see my dad wasn't strong because he was insensitive or special, he was strong because he depended on our Heavenly Father for his strength.

A couple of years ago, I couldn't have imagined going through this kind of struggle without the support and help of my Pops. As we have travelled this road, it has been fairly easy (if that is possible). Jen and I know that God is in control and that he is our strength. We have learned to depend on Him and He is our strength. People used to always say that my dad was a rock (and he was), but that was because he was connected to The Rock - Jesus is the Rock and he has been our rock these past couple of weeks.

I still miss my dad and his strength - the strength that he taught me about. I am sad about the fact that he will never get to hold this precious miracle. My heart aches that Autumn will never get to lay on the living room floor and read the paper with Grandpa as Jayna has enjoyed so much. I am sad that Pops doesn't get to see me and my family learn to depend 100% on our Heavenly Father - he would have been so proud, but I am so proud to have had a father who taught me the value of these things. He taught me that God and my family were the most important things - in that order. I praise God for 31 years with my father and know that I will join him in that great getting up morning someday.

Autumn's First Bottle

I think that I might have figured this out (Thanks Sis). I have been trying to post it for a week since Autumn first started trying to use a bottle. Enjoy!!

Leaf Jumpers

We had tons of fun this afternoon. We missed Jen & Autumn, but still played and played and played and played and played.

Day 27 - She's Moved

In the NICU in Ann Arbor there are 4 rooms with about 10 babies in each of them. Rooms 2 & 3 are set aside for the most critical patients. Babies in these rooms have major physical issues and receive care from a one on one nurse 24 hours a day. When is baby is more stable but still needs specific care from the Intensive Care Unit - they are moved to rooms 1 or 4, which is a little more relaxed (if you can be in an ICU) and a little bit healthier. Since Autumn's arrival in the NICU on September 30th, she has been in room 3. Last night, they moved her to room 4. Hallelujah!! God is continuing to make her well and we give all the glory to Him!! For now, I must go pick up Jayna from school. I have a big pile of leaves in the yard that we are gonna roll around in tonight. Be looking for pictures later tonight!! Thanks for all of your prayers!! God IS listening!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day 26 - Levels Keep Going Down

Lab results for today -

BUN - 46
Creatinine - 1.9

They have always said that as long as the creatinine stays below 2.0 - they won't consider dialysis - Yippee!! These levels have been steadily dropping since the initial kidney failure, but this is the first time that the creatinine has been below 2.0. All of these levels have been dropping since Autumn was removed from dialysis - these numbers are a direct result of her kidneys doing some work!! Praise God!!

Day 25

Sorry this didn't get posted last night - something with the Blogger server was down.

Today was a very stable and relaxing day for Autumn. She had a “lab holiday,” which means no lab work today. She will have some tomorrow morning, which will let us know how her BUN and creatinine levels are…we want them to be going down. Today, we worked on getting her to eat from me and the bottle. She is doing a little better with this. The occupational therapist came to help. She assured us that Autumn latches and sucks very well. This made me feel much better. Now, all she has to do is build up some stamana to take more by mouth. We can go home with her feeding tube, but it would be great if she could do it on her own. Grandma Hess and I enjoyed some really nice time with her late this afternoon. She was super alert and interactive, as much as a 3 ½ week old can be that is.

Aaron went home around 12:00 so that he and Jayna could spend some time together at home. Please pray for her. She is getting tired of all of this and really misses her parents. She didn’t even want to say goodnight to me tonight because it would make her too sad. This makes me very sad for her. I am going home late Friday, so that her and I can have a “girl day” together, doing whatever she would like to do. I hope this helps the both of us. Aaron will be down here with Autumn and at the Michigan game…thanks Dean! Thank you to all for your love, support, prayers, kind/encouraging words, etc., etc., etc. You are all so wonderful and dear to us! We love you! We praise God for you as we are in constant communication with Him! Keep the faith, we are!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Are You Ready For This?

As Daisy & Violet would say at VBS - 'Are You Ready For This?' Without boring you with too much detail - Autumn's ultrasound on her kidneys was this morning. When comparing it to the ultrasound taken 3 weeks ago (when her kidneys were not functioning at all) - her kidneys appear to have grown, which means that they are regenerating. They did visualize the blood running through them and it looks like there is scar tissue (which means that her kidneys are healing). That is right - AUTUMN'S KIDNEYS ARE HEALING. Those of you who have been praying for Autumn & us these past few weeks - please join us in this celebration to our Heavenly Father for reaching down and continuing to heal her. He is the Great Physician and continues to amaze these physicians down here. Praise God!!

Day 24

MRI looks great. They didn't see any problems after performing the MRI yesterday!! Praise God that there appears to be no brain damage at all. The ultrasound of the kidneys happened this morning and they will compare it to the original ultrasound from a few weeks ago to see how the kidneys have changed over that time. When I have some results, I will be sure to let you know. I can't say it enough how much your prayers and encouragement have been to us. I hope you don't get tired of me saying that because I mean it and want you to know it. I will share more later!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Day 23 - MRI

Autumn came through the MRI with no complications. She was put under a general anesthetic and did put her on the ventilator, but came off of both just fine. She is now able to eat again (she hasn't eaten since 6:00 am), so she will be a very happy girl in the next 1/2 hour or so. I will let you know as soon as we get the MRI results (probably in the next few days). Thanks for praying for us today. God answered two specific prayer requests today in a way that only he could. I promise to share more later. As for now, I must go and hold a bottle for my little girl.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day 22

We had a great weekend with Jayna!! We had lots of fun and she got to spend some quality time with her sister.

We even had a nice little birthday party (just the three of us) at the condo - complete with Fiesta (my birthday dinner of choice for about 25 years now) and a maize and blue cake (Thanks Deb).

Any material gifts that I have received for birthdays in years past we surpassed greatly by this. One of the best hours of my young 32 years.

Thanks to Anne (the night nurse / photographer) we now have a great new family photo. We are a truly blessed family and believe that God is guiding our every step.

Autumn is scheduled to have a MRI on Monday (to determine any brain damage from the loss of blood) and an ultrasound on her kidneys on Tuesday (to look at them to see how they are healing) I will be sure to update you when those tests are finished and results start rolling in!! Thanks for you encouragement to us.