I want to start today by saying something that I think about all of the time, but I'm not sure y'all get to hear it enough. Each and everyone of your posts, comments, messages/e-mails mean SO much to us and they most certainly don't go unnoticed or unappreciated. It blows my mind how God has used each and every one of you at some point and time to encourage us with just the words I need to hear at just the perfect time. Some of you I haven't talked to since high school, some are parents of friends, friends of family & friends of friends that I've never met personally, some are old room mates, sorority sisters, church family, co-workers, school friends, our decorators, etc. I have found that, contrary to what I envisioned, I don't have as much time as what I would like to respond personally and promptly to each and every post or message, but I want you to know that your words of encouragement and prayers have been much of the fuel that gets us through each day. So, THANK YOU for taking the time to bless us with your words and please keep them coming because they matter :-).
Grace has been a resident of the 15th floor since Wednesday! What makes the 15th floor different than the ICU? She is no longer hooked up to ANY monitors (more on that in a minute!!!), she no longer has a dedicated nurse (her nurse now is responsible for 4 babies) and she has to have someone there with her 24 hours a day since because she is in a private room (with a bathroom and shower in it :-). This floor is suppose to be a transitional floor, so (Lord willing) the next step should be... home! Grace is doing great with her new independence, she is just working on learning to eat "safely" (without aspirating into her lungs). She is mostly fed by the feeding tube in her nose, but OT comes in once a day to work with her on proper sucking. The good news is that she is very interested in eating from the bottle and she loves her pacifier, so sucking isn't the problem, it's just a matter of getting her vocal cord muscles stronger (specifically on her left side), so that all of the milk goes down the right way. She has another swallow study (where they watch her eat different consistencies to see if she's aspirating) scheduled for Thursday. Please pray she passes this test with flying colors because this eating thing is the key to our discharge (which we are eagerly awaiting). Since one of us has to be here 24 hours a day, it has required David and I to split up a lot and that isn't our strength. Since we were 18 years old we have pretty much spent every waking moment possible together, so the lack of family time has been some what tough and it's only been 4 days. This past week has been especially trying because I'm pretty sure God's plan was for our family to have every sickness possible run through our house before Grace gets home (since it's so important for her to stay as germ free as possible). This past week consisted of Abby having pink eye, Andrew and my Mother in love having a stomach bug, and ALL of us having this annoying cough. By God's grace the only person that has stayed healthy is David. Please pray that he remains healthy because he is the one who spends the most time at the hospital. We decided that it's easiest on the kids if I'm home to put them down at night and get them off to school in the morning, so that means David's health is key to making sure Grace stays as germ free as possible.
The Lord has put so much on my heart since the last time that I posted that I want to share with you, but I'm just going to share with you what He put on my heart this morning during my quiet time (in the car by myself on the way to the hospital :-). So, Grace being off of all of her monitors is a very exciting step because it means that she's that much closer to coming home, but I have to admit that it has also been a mortifying experience for me! For the first 4 and a half weeks of her life I became use to being able to look at all of the numbers on her monitor in order to see how she is doing. I knew instantly what every number and beep meant and it gave me a huge sense of comfort. Now that she is monitor free, I feel uneasy because I can't see what's going on inside of her. I'm learning that I'm going to have to trust God to be my "monitor." I pray that if there is something to worry about that He will make that clear to me, but if my worry is not warranted that He would give me His peace about it. This analogy reminded me of how we all have "monitors" on... The things we use as our "monitors" to measure how well we are doing in life could be friends, media, work, ministry, our social calendar, success of our kids, etc... When one of those "monitors" begins to beep because something isn't right by the world's standards or our own vision/desire we have the tendency to sort of freak out. I know that before Grace was born, my "monitor" was beeping so loud that it broke my heart when we found out that our babies heart was broken and that she would not be perfect in the world's eyes. The beeping of my "monitors" meant that our lives would never be the same, we would be "different" than all of our family and friends, etc. The lesson that God has taught me through all of this is that He is the one who created me, sent His son to die for me (and you :-) and loves me more than anyone else, so I need to take off all of my other "monitors" and let God be my one and only "monitor."
Here is our monitor free Kitty!!!
How precious is Daddy and Gracie trying to catch some shut eye whenever and wherever they can?