Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Looking Back

It's amazing what can happen in 4 years. It's also amazing how fast 4 years can fly by. In high school I felt like 4 years took forever...but it really didn't. College was a blur that went by so fast. And now when I look back 4 years I'm reminded of one of the scariest and craziest days of my life. It somehow seems like a distant dream and yet at the same time like it was just yesterday.

Today is Haddie's 4th "Butt Birthday". 4 years and 4 days ago we went to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia just to get evaluated. OSU told us we had better go just in case Fetal Surgery was needed. We never imagined that we would actually need it. They ran a full days worth of tests at CHOP and told us the tumor was stable but we'd have to stay in the area and not go home. Then just 4 days later, the test showed that the tumor had grown significantly and we had a super small window of time to undergo the fetal surgery or it would be too late.

That just seems so surreal. That's the stuff you see on TV. That doesn't happen to normal people like us. But it did. And we posted about it on this blog. And you all prayed like crazy. And Haddie lived.

It's been a great 4 years with Haddie. I don't update this as often as I used to because not as much is happening. It's just normal life now with 2 kids. Haddie's development is still very slow coming...but it is coming. When we look back a year or two ago at her alertness and level of cognition...man has she improved. She loves going to Ewing school. She learns so much there and they challenge her. She also still does therapies weekly over in Marietta.

Her recent EEG shows that she still has very irregular brain waves. But for her the waves looked good. No crazy seizures like in the past. Shes still on the meds that help control those. Now many of you have asked "how does she like her sister". Ansley really likes Haddie. We aren't sure how much that is reciprocated. Mainly because ansley is loud and a little "hands-on". She likes to grab Haddies face and her hair. And Haddie likes her personal space!

What excites us the most is seeing Haddies personality. She doesnt talk. She can't move much. Yet we are learning more and more how to read her. She says a lot with her eyes. We believe she can think and has opinions. So we try and give her choices and she has to use her eyes to choose. We do not think she's just "brain dead". Her brain is just different. And it's our job to unlock that and figure her out. And that is a challenge yet at the same time a blessing.

She is here. She is alive. She is growing and progressing. And that is a miracle that we won't ever take for granted. Thank you for remembering her 4 years ago and thank you for remembering her today. We know many of you still pray for us and we cannot thank you enough. God continues to use a little 25 lb girl to change lives and encourage people. God is good.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Two Kids & Two Blogs

I realized that I made a post about Ansley Ray being born on August 1st. However, I didn't post it to Facebook. So I have put that at the bottom of this post if you'd like to read it.

This past month has been a crazy one! Ansley was born on the 1st and came home on the 4th. Shortly thereafter we noticed that Haddie wasn't acting herself. She started to get better then got worse. She was very lethargic and she got very congested. So our doctor had her admitted to Camden Clark. She was in 2 days while they gave her some antibiotics. It was either a form of pneumonia or a virus. She recovered quickly which was good because the next Tuesday Haddie started preschool!

And she loves it. She goes to Ewing School Tuesday through Friday for a half day. She comes home bright eyed and happy. There are ten other students in her class. She really seems to be maturing quickly. It's hard to say how but there's a difference in her demeanor and the look in her eye.

People ask how Haddie likes Ansley. That is hard to say. She's not a big fan of the crying. For the first couple weeks we had to keep them separate since Haddie was sick. Ansley never caught any of what Haddie had thankfully.

It's been a bit of an adjustment getting used to having two kids. Ansley is obviously different than Haddie. She cries when she wants something. She keeps us up at night sometimes. She's a normal acting baby. Which is weird for us. But it is good. We are super blessed and learning how to live with two completely different kids. Kate's mom was here for the first 3 weeks and that was a major help. The hardest part since she has left has been that Kate is not allowed to lift Haddie right now due to her C Section. Once she gets cleared on that next week I think life will be a bit easier.

Need your prayers for tomorrow. We are taking Haddie to Akron to get her first round of Botox shots in her shoulders. The doctor thinks that she is very tight in her shoulders and by shooting botox directly into the shoulder muscle it will free up her arms to have more range of motion. Her therapy will be more productive if he's right. There are some risks involved that make us a bit nervous. He could hit the wrong spot and it may hurt Haddie's neck control. He seems to think it will be fine. The effects of the Botox only last 3 months anyways so if it works we can continue. If it doesn't we can stop. So we are hoping it helps her out. We'd appreciate your prayers on that. Below is the previous blog. Hope you all have a great week! God bless!




ANSLEY RAY BLOG-
 I realized that I left some of you hanging that follow the blog! Ansley Ray was born August 1 at 1:03pm, weighed 6lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. As mentioned before I knew the the date but Kate did not. Once we hit July 28th I started messing with her. Some folks said if they were Kate they would have killed me. But this is what she wanted...to be surprised and for it to be like a natural birth which is unpredictable. I had to make every day in the range (July 28-August 8) seem like it could be the day. So July 28th I drove her by Camden Clark making her think that was the day...until we went to breakfast. I did the same thing the next day. On the 1st I told her we had our weekly doctor's appointment and so I drove by Camden Clark and went around back into the parking lot of building C where her doctor is. As we started walking to the building I handed her a water balloon and a penknife to pop it. She did and I asked her what happened. She said her water broke. (Some of you who saw the video actually thought her water broke...nope...just me being goofy) So off we went to Camden Clark.

Everything went fairly well up until they started the C-section. Due to the previous two surgeries Kate had several adhesions and scar tissue. So when they opened her up they accidentally clipped a small section in her intestine. They called in a general surgeon to help with that and a few moments later Ansley was born. They fixed the issue and we got to spend some time with Ansley.

Kate recovered rather well despite being pretty sore. We came home three days later and have been enjoying time with both of our girls the past two weeks. Kate's mom has been here to help us which has been awesome!

Haddie seems to like Ansley. She looks around kind of confused when she cries. Haddie's had a little cold so we've had to keep them a part for the past couple of days.

Ansley is a pretty easy baby so far. She only cries when she's hungry or needs a change and after you take care of that she's fine.

We are very blessed to have a calm and normal pregnancy. We think Ansley and Haddie will learn from each other and will help each other out in time. Thanks for your prayers. God is good.



Monday, August 15, 2016

Ansley Ray Update

I realized that I left some of you hanging that follow the blog! Ansley Ray was born August 1 at 1:03pm, weighed 6lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. As mentioned before I knew the the date but Kate did not. Once we hit July 28th I started messing with her. Some folks said if they were Kate they would have killed me. But this is what she wanted...to be surprised and for it to be like a natural birth which is unpredictable. I had to make every day in the range (July 28-August 8) seem like it could be the day. So July 28th I drove her by Camden Clark making her think that was the day...until we went to breakfast. I did the same thing the next day. On the 1st I told her we had our weekly doctor's appointment and so I drove by Camden Clark and went around back into the parking lot of building C where her doctor is. As we started walking to the building I handed her a water balloon and a penknife to pop it. She did and I asked her what happened. She said her water broke. (Some of you who saw the video actually thought her water broke...nope...just me being goofy) So off we went to Camden Clark.

Everything went fairly well up until they started the C-section. Due to the previous two surgeries Kate had several adhesions and scar tissue. So when they opened her up they accidentally clipped a small section in her intestine. They called in a general surgeon to help with that and a few moments later Ansley was born. They fixed the issue and we got to spend some time with Ansley.

Kate recovered rather well despite being pretty sore. We came home three days later and have been enjoying time with both of our girls the past two weeks. Kate's mom has been here to help us which has been awesome!

Haddie seems to like Ansley. She looks around kind of confused when she cries. Haddie's had a little cold so we've had to keep them a part for the past couple of days.

Ansley is a pretty easy baby so far. She only cries when she's hungry or needs a change and after you take care of that she's fine.

We are very blessed to have a calm and normal pregnancy. We think Ansley and Haddie will learn from each other and will help each other out in time. Thanks for your prayers. God is good.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

Baby Time


Is it time for a new baby? Well not yet. Sorry if I got your hopes up. Well not really, it's kind of fun messing with people!

In case you didn't know, Kate is pregnant. Like, very pregnant. 37 weeks today. That's 10 weeks longer than our previous record with Haddie! And today marks the beginning of the possible dates that "Pacman" might come.

Kate has always hated the idea of having to pick a baby's birth date. I think she's always liked the idea of it being a surprise. Haddie's birth was anything butt normal (pun intended) and this time around I think Kate really wanted to experience this as close to normal as possible. Because of the fetal surgery though, Kate is not allowed to go into labor. So we knew eventually the doctor would ask us to pick the date. And two weeks ago she did just that. She said they would want us to make it to 37 weeks (today) but they wouldn't want Kate to go any further than August 8th. So we had to pick a date in that time frame.I told the doctor we'd get back with her on that. And that's when the wheels started turning in my head.

So I proposed the crazy idea to Kate: what if I knew the date but didn't tell her. I'd find a way to make it that she wouldn't know until the day of. And what's crazier than that idea is that Kate agreed. Kate "I Love To Have My Plans" Williams agreed. I got the doctor and nurses on board and picked the date.

And here we are. Some folks have started taking bets. On the date. On the gender (which neither one of us knows) and the two names we picked out (which we ain't telling).

We are very blessed and excited to get to experience this. If you want some insider information before placing your bets there's one person you can ask...and that's Haddie. I've told her to keep the date a secret. Give her some ice cream or chocolate and she might tell you.

 We'll post again when Pacman arrives. God is good.


Monday, May 9, 2016

What Were You Doing 3 Years Ago?

What were you doing three years ago at this time? We were gathered around a table with family. It was a satisfying evening. We ate together and played a board game together. Kate and I had been in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for about two weeks. We had a lot of highs and lows in those two weeks. The highest being that the fetal surgery to save our daughters life was successful. The lowest being that somewhere after a week had passed our daughter had a level 4 brain bleed on both sides of the brain.

Even though we were in New Jersey and not Belpre, it was good to be with family and not in a hospital. Little did we know what the next day would bring.

Hadassah decided it was time to make her grand appearance. The doctors tried to stop Kate's contractions but they wouldn't stop. So we had to deliver. Who knew that the the next hour would be such a defining one in our lives. Doctors came in and told us the odds weren't good and asked us some hard questions about resuscitation and other impossible things to answer like that. They tried to prepare us for the worst. That's their job and I don't hold it against them. But it was our job to have some faith in a God who can do whatever he wants with 2lb 7oz baby. And so He did.

And here I sit 2 years 364 days later in a chair and I look at a little girl who has come a really long way. She's taking baby steps. No, she's not walking...yet. But she is progressing. And that's more than we could ever ask for. She's going to go to preschool in the fall. She's going to be a big sister in the fall. She has friends. She has a personality. And we marvel at what God will do in her and through her next.

Haddie in her stander. She can stay in it for over
an hour and can stay at almost 90 degrees for
20 minutes of that without her head
flopping over. Progress!
And I imagine 3 years ago at this time I know what some of you were doing. You were praying. Praying for us. Praying for a miracle. Praying that God would bring us through it all. And we can't thank you enough for those prayers. God is good. All the time.



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Get Ready, Get Set

You know that moment right before a race starts and the runners are taking their marks. They are mentally picturing what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. And no matter how much preparation they have made, nothing really prepares them for when that gun goes off and the race actually starts. That's how I'd describe where we are.

We are preping for the race which starts in August. We know we have to get in shape for that but we also know there's no way to truly prepare for it.

In August, Haddie will start preschool at Ewing in Marietta. We have had a lot of meetings recently where they are evaluating her and making sure she gets what she needs when she's at school. The state requires a lot of paperwork and a lot of meetings just for our kid to go to school. But we are looking forward to her going. We know that she will benefit from being with other kids, having daily therapy, interaction, and weekly swims in their pool!

And we are also getting ready for this little person:
Pac Man is due August 18th. However we found out today that they really do NOT want Kate going into labor. So they will consider doing a C-Section at 35-37 weeks. That's the end of July which just so happens to be the same week my brother's wife, Bethany is due. 

So we have a baby's room to paint. We also are trying to reorganize our lives a bit. We know that with Haddie and Pac man, we are going to have our hands full. So right now we're trying to spend time doing the things that matter. Less time watching TV and more time preparing for the things coming up at the end of summer. 

So far everything is going great. We are tremendously blessed to be in this situation. We recognize not everyone gets this opportunity. So we try not to complain about anything but rather rejoice. We have a wonderful Fall coming. The time between now and then will be a tad hectic but we are up for it. So Get Ready, Get Set....

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Introducing Pac Man

Many of you already know. A lot of you have seen the video. Haddie's expression is priceless. In case you missed it here you go:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYanSY2HyLc

Yep. That's a heartbeat! And it's not mine, Kate's or Haddie's! We are expecting! Haddie's brother or sister has a due date of August 18th which currently puts Kate at 13 weeks. We found out before Christmas but decided to keep it quiet until we met with the doctor, had the ultrasound, and heard the heartbeat.

Obviously we are a little nervous. If you couldn't tell from the previous 113 post...Hadassah Marie has kept us on our toes for almost 3 years! But we are excited and blessed to have this opportunity again. The doctors at CHOP told us in 2013 that we'd have to wait two years to try again and we'd have to have a C-section. Otherwise everything should go fine for our second pregnancy. And so far, so good. Both the ultrasound and the heartbeat were good. Our doctor says we will probably deliver a couple weeks prior to Aug 18th to ensure Kate doesn't go into labor.

We have also decided not to find out what we are having. We tried that last time and it didn't work out. Every ultrasound we had before Haddie was born we told them not to tell us the gender. We forgot to mention that when a doctor asked us to read through an MRI report. So this time we will go for the surprise again. So until then, Pac Man will be the name. (Some of you video game types will make the connection from Pac Man to Frogger) If we end up having a girl we'll just tell her she was "Miss Pac Man" all along and we didn't know!

God is good and we are very happy to let you all in on this. We ask for your prayers. Most issues occur in the first trimester and we are almost out of that. But we didn't find out about Haddie's condition until the 22 week ultrasound...so obviously we are still a little nervous. Kate has been feeling okay. No morning sickness but she has had some pretty rough headaches and even a couple of migraines the last few weeks. But all in all she is doing well.

We thank you for your prayers and support. It means a lot to us. And as always...God is good.