Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
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
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I think we got a winner!!
Where did all my help go???
Here it is - all decorated up. Yah!!!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
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
Monday, November 20, 2006
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
- 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.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
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
Saturday, November 04, 2006
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
Jayna picked out Autumn's 'Coming Home' outfit!! She is beautiful!
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
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.
Jen & Jayna giving Autumn a bath last night.
Jayna took this picture of her little sister!! She is a great photographer.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
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 www.jflake.blogspot.com.
Something is up and I can't load pictures. I promise to try again in a few hours.
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
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!!
Today was a very stable and relaxing day for Autumn. She had a “lab
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
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
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.