Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31, 2007

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." Colossians 2:16-17 (NIV)
Happy Halloween!!!
Much Love,
Dr. Kyle

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17, 2007

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3)

Kyle had a check-up with his pediatrician, Dr. Marshall on Monday. Kyle is now 12 pounds, 8 ounces and 23 inches long. While I was expecting Kyle to weigh a little more, (he looks so big to us!) Dr. Marshall was very pleased with his weight gain, as she said Kyle has gained 4 pounds since she last saw him in August. Kyle also received a flu is always so hard to see him get a shot. Overall, Dr. Marshall is very happy, and amazed, by Kyle's progress. The one area of concern, however, is his speech skills. Kyle tends to have a very raspy/hoarse coo. Sometimes, he will be laughing and talking, but other than this breathy sound, not much else comes out. Also, his cry is very quiet. We think that there is the possibility that one of Kyle's vocal cords may have been damaged during his stay in the NICU. This is very common in preemies that are intubated (the breathing tube down his throat) or were using a feeding tube for an extended period of time. Another risk was Kyle's PDA ligation heart surgery. There was a nerve, the size of a strand of hair, for Kyle's vocal cords in very close proximity to the ductus that was repaired during surgery. It is possible that this nerve could have been nicked during surgery. Anyways, Kyle's "raspy" voice, along with the issues he had had with swallowing (remember we are still thickening his milk) are signs of partial vocal cord paralysis. The only way to tell for sure if damage was done is through surgery. Even if damage was done, there is not a cure, so we will not even consider surgery at this point. Eventually the healthy vocal cord will become stronger and compensate for the damaged vocal cord. In the meantime, Dr. Marshall is going to have us resume speech therapy at Akron Children's Hospital as well as have another swallow study done.

I typically brag of all of Kyle's accomplishments on the blog, but this week I have some exciting news to share about his big sis Madison as well. Madison was chosen as October's "Student of the Month" for Fishcreek Elementary! Her teacher that nominated her had this to say about Madison on the nomination form, " Madison is a top notch academic performer. She is kind and generous to all the students. She leads by example and also reminds others to make good decisions. Madison follows all the Character Counts Pillars (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship) each and every day. She is fantastic."

Joe and I are so proud of both our "babies!" Thanks for sharing this journey with us!

God Bless,

Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Monday, October 8, 2007

October 8, 2007

The little children were brought to Him that he might lay His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14

Kyle's "adjusted age" is four months old as of yesterday. Kyle is doing everything a 4 month old baby should and we couldn't be prouder. The age range on his exersaucer said for ages 4 months and older, so we thought we'd give it a try. Although he is still a little small to be using it (as you can see from the side view) he seemed to enjoy being in it, especially the upright position. As with everything else though, his favorite attraction is his big sister. Whenever she is around, all toys (including mom and dad) are ignored.

Kyle met with his Developmental Specialist, Mrs. Brady, on Wednesday. We thought this would actually be his first session with her, but appreantly the visit was to just literally "meet" her. Now that Kyle and Mrs. Brady have been properly introduced, his first official session will take place in the next couple weeks.

Since Kyle's premature entrance into the world, I have received the following story from several people, and most recently my Aunt Karen emailed it to me. It would always bring me comfort, and still does. I thought some of you may enjoy reading it. Be warned, it can be a tearjerker... my eyes are usually brimming with tears after reading it.

The Smell of Rain, A true story
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one."
Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially 'raw', the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell that?" Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain." Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?" Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain." Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

God Bless You All,

Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 1, 2007

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:18-19

Hey everyone! It has been awhile, but there really has not been much to report...which I guess is a good thing. Kyle has not had a doctors appointment in over month - that in itself seems like a minor miracle considering all the doctor visits and appointments Kyle has endured over his short life! On Wednesday, he does meet with the developmental specialist that has been assigned to him. I will be sure and update you all on how it goes, although we expect it to go very well. We see more and more progress in Kyle each week, whether it be his gross motor skills or his constant babbling and laughing. He is such a happy little fella...and a show off too. Last weekend, while his Godmother Leanne was at our house, Kyle rolled over for her three times in a row!!! Unfortunately, since that time he has not repeated his newest "trick" but at least we know he is capable of doing it.
Many of you have probably read the beautiful messages left on the comments section by Laura. Well, the little boy holding Kyle in the bottom picture is Laura's grandson Gabe. The picture was taken on Friday when we went to watch Madison march in the Stow Homecoming Parade. The kids all seem to love playing with and holding Kyle, and baby Kyle just loves it right back. Especially when his big sis is involved, he is constantly watching her whenever she is present. Joe and I tried for years to have another child, and when we finally got pregnant with Kyle, I worried that with 7 years age difference between them, they would not be close. I was definitely wrong, the bond between them already is undeniable. Actually, I think the age difference is just right...Madison is a HUGE help with Kyle, plus she is old enough to be over any jealousy issues she may have had with a new baby. That is how God works. Very often, God's timing takes us by surprise. We are not in control. But God is. His time is not the same as our time. He answers our prayers in His time, and He works out His purpose in His time. Only God can see the big picture. He has planned out everything to intertwine perfectly for our family...we are so blessed!
In Christ,

Jennifer, Joe, Madison and Kyle