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.