Monday, December 29, 2014

Drowning in the Storm

  Throughout my weekend of bed rest in the hospital, I got progressively worse. My blood pressure continued to climb. They now wouldn't even let me move from my left side at all. I still was doing the urine test to check my protein levels, but was forced to use a bedpan now. 
My doctor made a very wise decision at this moment that I feel was one of the factors in saving Ezra's life. He gave me a shot of steroids to help develop baby's lungs "just in case". I got one on Friday, and 24 hours later a second one. He wasn't on call this weekend, and I would miss him. He has delivered three of my other four kiddos, and knows me and my case well. 
The weekend was a very long one for myself. I missed Emma and Addie's soccer games. There was a game night we planned at our house that we had to cancel. I was still not seeing the seriousness of it all, and was irritated that my schedule had to keep changing. 
Sunday morning Josh sent me a text as they were getting ready to go to church of cute little Isaac all dressed up. I made some joke to him about keeping his phone on in case I needed him. I didn't actually think I would. 
Not long after I was talking with Josh the doctor came in. 
"We have the results of your urine test. You have 600 grams of protein in your urine, and your blood pressure is not responding to medications. We need to transfer you to a hospital that is equipped to deliver this baby."
Wait, what??? I am only 31 weeks and 3 days along? That is TOO early! I need to stay pregnant! I need my husband!
I called Josh but the phone just rang and rang. I left a voicemail. I texted him to call me ASAP. I called again and again. The nurses are now asking me what hospital I wanted to be transferred to, and I couldn't even get a hold of Josh. I learned later that it was praise and worship music at church that was too loud he couldn't hear his phone ring. 
I texted four people at church and asked them to find Josh and tell him to call me. When the song was over, Josh looked down from his phone and saw he had six missed calls from me!
He finally called back. 
"Honey, get here now! They want to transfer me!"
I am a little unclear on the details, but I know that Josh was able to get the kids and come to the hospital. He made arrangements with our dear friend Esther to watch the kids so he could come to Ann Arbor with me. 
I know that my church family stopped the service to pray for me and my unborn son. We surely needed it!
My blood pressure was 226/146! The doctors in Ann Arbor needed it to get lower before I traveled. They put me of magnesium sulfate and apresoline because my blood pressure had to be down to 160 before I could travel. They got it down to 153/80, and they started to load me onto the ambulance. This is when I started having pulmonary edema. I was literally drowning in my own fluid! I don't know if it was from the very high blood pressure or from the magnesium sulfate but my pulse ox went down to 84%! My lungs were filling with fluid! They now declared me too unstable to travel and wheeled me back in the hospital to have an emergency C-section. 
The nurse had to call Josh who was already on his way to Ann Arbor, and he turned around as fast as he could. 
They gave me Lasix and a breathing treatment. I put out 2400cc of fluid before the c-section and another 800 as well on the operating table.
They quickly prepped me for surgery. The doctor said a spinal would be fine, which meant that Josh could be there for the birth of our son. As the anesthesiologist put the needle in my back, I tried to remain calm. Something didn't seem right. This was my fifth c-section and I always had to have someone help me scoot back on the table but this time I could do it on my own. I I lay down and was strapped down and the doctor started. 
"I can feel you!" I said. 
They reassured me that I would feel lots of pressure. 
"It's not pressure, I feel you cutting into me!" I said, with a little more panic in my voice. 
"We have to get this baby out now!" the doctor said. 
The last thing I remember was screaming "It hurts!!!" through the mask and hearing Josh say "Oh no, Tamara. Oh no, honey!" Then I was asleep. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Storm's A Comin!

On a Wednesday night back in early October I had a headache. Dinner was just on the table, and the girls were extra chatty as they are every Wednesday evening, excited to go to AWANA that night. I took some Tylenol and was out the door, chauffeuring them and having a coffee date with my friend Mindy. Once everyone was home and tucked in bed, I noticed my head was still throbbing. I was hoping a good night sleep would help. 
I woke up Thursday morning with my headache still there, but significantly better, so I took some more Tylenol and was off to the office. I was feeling a little behind in my work with all the time I missed with Josie out of school because of her burn, so I dove right in. After staring at a computer screen for a few hours, my headache was much worse. I decided I would call the doctor to be on the safe side. The office was closed for lunch and so I decided I would eat some lunch too. The dining hall was probably not the best option (with all the noise) so I had a quick lunch and went home to put Isaac down for a nap. 
I told Josh at lunch that I was going to call the doctor again after I put Ike down, and to be on alert that I may need to go in for an appointment, so he should try and keep his schedule a little loose. He was heading into a meeting at that time, and told me to just let him know. 
When I got ahold of the doctor, they told me to go into labor and delivery to get checked out. I felt so foolish. It was just a headache. It wasn't horrible. It didn't effect my vision, and I wasn't having contractions or anything. I called Josh to let him know he would have to cut the meeting short. He came home to be with Isaac and I walked out the door. "I'm sure it's nothing honey. I just want to be careful. I will be back before dinner."
I walked into the triage room on the fourth floor. They asked me why I was there as they took my vitals. I told them of my headache that wouldn't go away. That no, I wasn't seeing spots, and no, I didn't have any abnormal swelling. The cuff stops squeezing my arm. "Um, you aren't going anywhere until we get this BP down." My blood pressure when I checked in was 227/127. Yikes!
They hooked me up to a monitor for the baby's heartrate, one to measure contractions (I wasn't having any), and a blood pressure cuff that was going off every 30 minutes. One nurse had me lie on my side, another said it was more accurate to have me sitting up. Nothing was actually bringing it down though. 
"We are going to have to admit you. We will run some blood tests and a urine test and see how you are doing."
I snapped a picture of my belly all hooked up to monitors and sent it to Josh. "I may be here a while. Can you get dinner going and get Emma a ride home from soccer?"
During this whole time, I really am pretty clueless as to how bad things were. I knew they said my blood pressure was high, but I didn't realize that it was dangerously high. I heard of preeclampsia before, but didn't really know much about it. Anyways, I felt fine everywhere except this headache. 
They place me in a room with a nice bed directly across from the nurses station. Even though this is baby number 5, I had them all by csection. I had never been in a labor room. My bed had these big blue pads being strapped to the rails. Was this standard? I didn't know they were putting the pads on my bed to protect me if I had a seizure. 
I really don't know why I was so unaware of how serious this was. Maybe the nurses were trying to protect me by not letting me stress and worry. Maybe my brain wasn't working at full capacity because of how sick I was. I just know that as I was lying there in bed, I was worried they may put me on bedrest. I don't know how we would handle bedrest! We still have burn clinic appointments every other day for Josie, plus two girls in soccer, and a toddler! Little did I know that bedrest is something I would look back at and long for. I had no idea what lied ahead. 

This is the picture I texted Josh, and incidentally the last picture I have of me pregnant. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Welcome Ezra Henry

I have been trying for a while now to write a post on the birth of my newest son, Ezra. I just haven't been able to put it into words yet. It was pretty traumatic for me, and I am still processing some of it.
In the meantime though, I want to shout to the world that he is here!
Arriving at 31 weeks and 3 days, little Ezra Henry Mathew was born on October 12th, weighing 3lbs 8oz and 16 inches long.
He has a long road to go before he can come home, but he is a fighter!

Here is the moment when I first got to hold my sweet, tiny little boy, five days after his birth.

I am so thankful for God's protection for my life, and the life of my son. Praise be to God!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

Today was a day we have been looking forward to for so long!!! Josie went back to school!
She had her morning burn clinic appointment and after she got bandaged, we headed over to her school. She actually squealed when we pulled into the parking lot! So adorable.
It's no wonder why she missed school so much. When we went to drop her off in class, kids were shouting her name in the hallway, and greeted her with lots of cheers (and a charging group of hugs her awesome teacher intercepted, and I was very grateful for!).
The class filled the board with sweet words, and fun drawings. Josie was really feeling the love!
Jo wanted to bring something for the class to let them know how much their care and concern meant to her these past weeks, so we brought in muffins. She was glad to be able to give something back, even though it was little.
I don't know if it was pregnancy hormones, or what, but I teared up as I said goodbye to my sweet girl. I know she is in good hands though, with a class that is excited for her to be back, and a teacher who cares for her like she is one of her own.
I can't thank everyone enough for your prayers for Josie. These past weeks have been quite a trial. We are grateful for a God who brought us through.
She will still have to see the burn clinic every other day until her burn is healed up, but this was a HUGE milestone!

Josie in front of her special board full of messages.

Josie and Miss Campbell. Josie told me today she was going to knock her over with the biggest hug. I'm glad she didn't actually knock her over, but she probably could have!

Monday, October 6, 2014

We Have Good News

We had a very eventful weekend in our home. Thankfully we all pulled through!
Sunday evening I went for a stroll with Isaac to just get out of the house and see some fall colors that I have only been able to enjoy through the window, or from people's Facebook pictures.
I only made it around the block and I had a horrible sharp pain on my side. It lingered for much longer than I was comfortable with, and I had to call Josh to come walk me home! So much for my stroll!
Anyhow, as I was walking I felt what can only be described as a pop on my upper right side of my abdomen, and then a warm sensation across my stomach, and relief from the pain. So weird, and slightly scary knowing that I had a bad gallbladder that I need removed after the baby comes.
I called the nurse hot line. I didn't want to go to the ER, since I was no longer in pain, but I was nervous because of the baby. I wasn't sure what to do. The nurse hot line told me to go to Labor and Delivery.
Meanwhile, Josh just called and learned he was to report for jury duty the next morning at 8am, and we had a burn clinic appointment for Josie at 8:45 am, and he is not sure what is going on with his wife. I think to say that it was a stressful evening for Josh would be an understatement. He may have an extra gray hair or two in his beard this morning. 
I felt silly being in Labor and Delivery for not really being in pain, no contractions, or other distressing pregnancy related things, just this weird side pain and popping. When I got there though, my BP was ridiculously high! They decided they did not care about the side pain and popping, but my blood pressure was going to keep me there for a while!
Long story short, my BP went down a sufficient amount, baby boy's kicks and heart rate were excellent, and I got home a little after midnight with a clean bill of health, and no idea what the weird pain was. I guess no news in this case was good news.
Now, onto our exciting news. I took Josie to the appointment this morning. She WALKED in (no crutches) FULLY CLOTHED (granted it was sweat pants, but that is fine with me!) and left with a note from her doctor saying that after her Wednesday appointment, she was okay to GO TO SCHOOL!!! What awesome answers to prayer from a God who sees the details! 
Tonight, Josie is sleeping upstairs in her room for the first time in weeks. She is excited at the idea of going back to school Wednesday, and we are too. She misses her teacher and friends so much!
I know that she is quickly on the way to full recovery, but I am going to miss hanging out with my Josie girl. She is a neat kid, and I have cherished the extra time I have had with her, and I know Josh has too! If only it was under happier circumstances!
Thank you all for praying for her! She still has a bit to go, but has made HUGE strides!

Josie spending some quality time with Isaac this morning. I love their special relationship!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Time Slowly Whizzes By

That is what this last week has felt like. The days are long, but the weeks go fast.
There hasn't really been much to report on the home front with Josie's healing it seems, but then we have a day like today that makes us realize how far she has come!
She has been going to her daily appointments at the burn clinic. There is continually new growth of skin. We are so thankful for that! Sometimes I think I am expecting more progress, and there isn't, and then I think there won't be much, and that day a whole bunch of new skin growth will have taken place!
Today, after they dressed the wound, we talked about the high possibility of Josie returning to school next week sometime! That blew me out of the water!
There are a few things that need to be able to happen for her to go to school, the first being able to wear specific items of clothing! I had to order a few uniform dresses for her to wear to school. She generally wears pants, but they aren't really a viable option at this time. She needs to be able to wear underclothes as well, but due to the location of the burn, we have not been successful in that yet.
She needs to be able to shower. She has had old maid's baths, and we have washed her hair, but she hasn't been able to get into the shower yet and that is necessary!
She needs to be off her pain meds completely. At least, I think this is the case. For sure she needs to be off narcotics completely (which she is almost there), but as far as Tylenol and Ibuprophen,  I am thinking she will have to be off of those too, as that is something she would have to get from me. I will be checking into that soon though.
Something this momma is worried about is her being emotionally ready. She has suffered a trauma, and sometimes she is in tears over it. I am afraid of her getting overwhelmed at school. I am also afraid a classmate may bump her accidentally and her be in a lot of pain! It really still hurts to touch.
I would also like to see her off the crutches soon. I think she is able to do this, but too nervous to try.
If you could please be praying for these things, we would really appreciate it.
I wanted to thank you all for praying for me, specifically my back. It is feeling much, much better, which is such a blessing because I can now help Josie (and the family) out more.

Time passing as the balloons start sagging. So thankful for how far we've come!

Monday, September 29, 2014

One "Step" Closer to Recovery

Today was another great day of healing for Josie. This is truly an answer to prayer how fast she is recovering, as everyone who cares for her burns remarks at how quick and unheard of her recovery is. 
Today was the last day of the arm bandages, which means that out of her torso, arm, and thigh, she only has a bandage left on her thigh! The open part of the wound is getting smaller and smaller in circumference daily!
Getting completely off the Norco has been great for her. The Tylenol 3 doesn't seem to effect her moods so much, and she is awake more. We've spent a lot of time drawing, watching movies, and reading. Today she was even able to start some of her school work that she missed out on last week.
Tonight we tried out some crutches too! It was great to see her be able to move around (a bit) again! She pushed it a little too much, and is feeling it right now, but hopefully sleep will come soon.
We cannot thank you enough for all your prayers, visits, calls, meals, packages, and hugs. They mean SO much!

Josie received a special quilt in a package today, made just for her! She was so excited!

Thrilled to not be completely couch bound! Notice her guard dog always at her side. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunshine Therapy

Today was such a beautiful day! We talked Josie into letting us take her outside for some fresh air and sunshine, and I think she enjoyed herself!

Thanks for all the prayers. We have an appointment at the burn clinic tomorrow morning at 9am, and we are eager to see how much skin growth occurred over the weekend. 
She's getting better every day! Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Making Progress Every Day

We have had a nice couple of days with healing. Josie has transitioned from taking Norco to Tylenol 3 for pain, and it was pretty smooth. She is more alert, and less loopy. We like that! 
Her appetite has even improved! Thank you for specifically praying for that. She will have cereal now, and a sandwich, and a small amount at dinner, which is a hundred times better than before.
We have had a lot more visitors, and now Josie gets to enjoy them too, instead of being too drugged to realize what is going on. 
It is hard to see so much progress being made, and then realize there is still so much more to go. She is a trooper. I wouldn't have nearly the good attitude she has about all of this. I am so proud of my girl. 
All of the cards, and prayers, and special gifts and treats, and meals are such a huge encouragement to all of us. I love it when she gets a card and says "they knew I got burned and they are praying for me?" with such a hopeful little voice. It puts a big smile on her face, and mine too!
Our little artist girl is starting to get back to what she loves. Just a few days ago, it hurt to even move her arm, and now she is using that arm to make beautiful pictures. If you were to see the burn on her arm today, you would be shocked. It looks SO good!
Thank you for praying! Thank you for everything. We are so blessed by you all!

Josie is working on bringing some autumn inside, with a nice, bright maple leaf.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Great Appointment at the Burn Clinic

Josie had another appointment at the burn clinic this morning. She wasn't really looking forward to it at all, and neither was I! I know how important her wound care is, but I hate that it hurts her so much.
Today was just great. 
I first wanted to state how much we appreciate the women there that work with Josie. Frances and Jaymi take such care in changing her dressings, and cleaning up the burn. They are incredibly gentle with her, and I know they do their best to keep her as comfortable as possible. They care for her as if she was their own, and that does my momma heart so good!
Today when changing the dressing on her leg (where the worst of her burns are) we saw a lot of new skin growth! We were all so excited! Her leg is well on the way to healing quite nicely. This particular visit was also great because Josie was in a lot less pain! They found some bandages that work really well with her skin, and with the burn healing nicely with new pink skin, the wiping that would normally bring screams and thrashing, only brought some tears and wincing!!! This is such good news, and a big encouragement to Jo. Her burns look so much better, and she is starting to feel a little better too!
The trip to the clinic (and a very long night the evening before) completely wiped Josie out. She slept for hours upon hours. This is great news because it is so important for her to get a lot of rest while she heals.
She slept through the visits of her nana and papa, our neighbor, friends from church and from New Tribes. It was fun when she woke up to a lot more special treats, and thoughtful cards and gifts.
Please pray for Josie's appetite to return. She does not want to eat at all. Josh got her to eat a little rice today, but that was it! She is suffering from an upset tummy from taking medication on an empty stomach, but that just makes her not want to eat all the more. She is not quite making the connection between food making her feel better. She isn't drinking as much as she should either, and she really needs to stay hydrated and have extra protein to heal quickly.
Thanks again for all of your love! I want to share so much more, but I am exhausted and need some sleep!

Josie trying to give me a smile. She was nervous about the appointment. I don't blame her!

This is so cool. For the last two visits, Natasha lets her use an iPad to watch movies on to help distract her from the pain. Seriously, we love these guys!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another Day In Paradise

It's not all sunshine and lollipops here, but the mention of paradise was not meant sarcastically.
First, I wanted to share with you how the morning went.
Our awesome carpool people did both the morning drop off and pick up, as I had to be into the lab for a three hour glucose blood draw. If you didn't know, it is a very exciting test that includes drinking a ridiculously huge amount of a thick, sugary drink after fasting all night, and then having your blood drawn four times in three hours. It is not my favorite test, but you do what ya have to for your little ones.
So, Josh and I had it all worked out that he would be home this morning with Josie and Isaac so I could get this appointment done. It WAS a good plan...then an hour into my appointment I get a text from Josh. Her bandage had fallen off, and she needed to get to the burn clinic asap.
Now mind you, this really isn't that big of a crisis, but for someone who has not slept well in days, hasn't eaten, and has had a huge dose of sugary yuck, I wasn't really thinking straight and went into panic mode.
Josh could not take Isaac, because I took the van (because my back won't allow me to crawl into the car yet) and the van had the car seat. Plus, he really couldn't be watching an almost two year old, and carrying for Josie the way she needed.
I could not find ANYONE within a close distance to watch him. Everyone was too busy, or didn't answer the phone! So, I drove back to the house, packed up Isaac and his scrambled eggs he was eating, with the diaper bag, and stroller and rushed back to make it to my next blood draw time. My back was not shorting out (miracle!) and Isaac was finishing his food (another miracle!) and I made it in time for my blood draw( yet another miracle!)
My friend Casie came to my rescue, met me in the waiting room and took Isaac with her. I was so thankful, as I was clueless how I was going to entertain my almost two year old, for two hours in a waiting room with my limited mobility. She really saved my bacon!
Truly my little "crisis" wasn't anything though. I learned that while I was panicking about how I was going to deal with the mundane, my poor Josie girl was going through yet another excruciating morning. 
I guess since the bandage was falling off, they had to re-scrape her burn before bandaging it back up again. Josh said it was so bad that the nurse that was helping with the procedure last time, just couldn't do it this time. It was too hard for her. My Jo was going through another difficult wound treatment, while I was feeling sorry for myself for a little inconvenience. I felt like a fool.
So that was what our morning looked like. Not one I would want to repeat.
The rest of the day though, was a gift. Our little bit of paradise in a rough storm. I had exceptionally good results at the chiropractor, and shouldn't have to go back for another week now!
Josie's pain meds continued to do their job, and just knowing she wasn't in constant pain is a good thing.
The outpouring of love from everyone on the planet! Seriously, amazing! We had so many visitors, who were encouragement to our weary souls. Packages and cards in the mail. Meals, and more meals being brought, and scheduled. Sweet treats for my baby girl (everyone must know she has a big sweet tooth!). Even special visitors who knew today would be especially hard missing AWANA, setting up a perfect movie night that helped her forget what she was missing.
We have felt so loved from the Lord through these wonderful people in our lives. All the prayers, and hugs, and emails of encouragement mean the world to us. Thank you.

Josie's main mode of transportation is her daddy's arms. She is not able to really put weight on her leg, and he helps her up when she needs the restroom, and to the many doctor appointments.

I just took this photo. Josie got this special blanket from someone very dear to her. She said it felt like a warm hug. Haven't seen a smile that big in some time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thorns Jabbing Into My Leg

Those are the words Josie used to describe her pain tonight. It is hard to gauge her pain. She goes from feeling pretty good, to intense pain in just a matter of minutes.  I hate seeing her suffer so.
Today was a rough one, with some bright spots.
The night was long. Josie couldn't sleep. She was just too uncomfortable. Josh changed her bandages in the night, and then we both did in the morning.
We were shocked with what we saw. I was really worried she might be getting an infection. Our appointment with the burn specialist couldn't come fast enough. If only I knew what we were getting ourselves into!
I knew they said a two hour appointment. I was hoping that was due to a lot of paperwork to fill out, or something along those lines. I was so very wrong.
After they undressed Josie's burns, they had to scrape them. You read that right, SCRAPE!!!! A necessary torture I am told. I surely wish they could have drugged her more, or put her to sleep for this. She was just writhing in pain. After the scraping, they had to cut away all the dead skin. More screams and tears. Tears from Josie, Mommy, Daddy, and the nurse!
Josh said maybe I shouldn't have gone to the appointment. That maybe it was too much for me to endure. I don't know though. I need to know what kind of suffering our poor darling girl is going through, even if it means I will have nightmares for weeks. 
We learned that these few weeks may be more than a few, and they will be tough ones. The 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her leg will take time to heal.
Josie is starting to realize that life is going to look very different for a while. When I told her today that we would have to cancel the camping trip this weekend, I feel like I broke her heart. She seemed so defeated. Talking through the logistics of trying to camp when you can't even walk to the bathroom started to make more sense, but she was very disappointed. 
Although it was a very tough day, we had some bright spots that helped today not seem so bad. Josie had visitors galore! She also had some special things like balloons, and flowers, and candy that make any girl's day brighter. 
We have been so overwhelmed (in a good way!) with all the encouragement that has come our way. Phone calls and texts, visits and prayers. Cards, and emails with well wishes and scripture. Help with meals (really yummy meals!) and help with rides. I've even had help picking up Isaac for me (since I still can't lift him because of my back). We are so thankful for the Body of Christ who has helped us through this difficult time.
Please keep praying for Josie. Please pray for her pain to ease up. That is the biggest request I ask now.  Her poor little body is in so much pain and discomfort, it is really the saddest thing.
Please also pray for her to feel encouraged. Tomorrow may be hard. It is the day she is missing her big field trip and AWANA, two things she was very much looking forward to.
Please keep Josh and I in your prayers too. I still have prenatal appointments, and chiropractor appointments to keep, we are having a lot of unforeseen expenses right now, and we are still trying to do normal life with the other kiddos (school, homework, soccer, bedtimes, etc) We could really use the extra prayers. Thank you all so much who have been faithful in lifting us up before the Lord. 

Josie resting with her balloon bouquet close by. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Josie's Accident

I thought I would take a moment to share with everyone what happened with Josie this weekend. I know many of you may know a lot of this story from Facebook, and prayer requests, but I wanted to write it all out in one location so everyone can get the whole story.
Sunday morning we were all getting ready to go to church. Josh had to run the sound that morning, and Josie likes to go early with him so she can help Grandma Joyce in the kitchen with setting out snacks for the downstairs service.
Josie was helping daddy get out the door on time, and one of the things she likes to do is make the coffee.  We were very generously blessed with a gift of a Keurig coffee maker a few years ago (if you don't know what that is, it is the kind where you just push a button and it brews you one cup at a time). Josie just made daddy his cup, and was putting the lid on the cup when the whole cup tipped on her, burning her right side.
I want to take a moment right now to say that this could have happened to anyone of us. She is a very capable 9 year old girl, who has been making our coffee for a number of years. She has always wanted to open up her own coffee shop for as long as I can remember, and even has a special name for it: Cuppa Jo. We let her do a number of things in the kitchen, one being the coffee, because it is her dream. Never in a million years did we know one cup spilled could do so much damage.
Josh was right in the kitchen with her when the coffee spilled. He took her right to the sink and got her clothes off and poured cold water on her. I was upstairs at the time, and heard these blood curdling screams, so I ran down as fast as I could (as a pregnant woman who threw her back out a few days earlier).
That is when I saw her skin just falling of her leg. My poor darling girl was in more pain than I could have ever dreamed of.
As Josh was getting cold water on her, I found his keys and started his car, and yelled for Emma to grab Josie's bathrobe and shoes. Addie was in the dining room with Isaac, just trying to keep him out of the way.
This is where I can only list off how thankful I am, and how much worse things could be!
-I am SO thankful this was on a Sunday, and not on a school day. Josie was wearing a skirt and shirt that was easily removed, and not her uniform pants that would have been impossible.
-I am SO thankful Josh has been trained well in various first aid situations. At the ER, they said that he did the very best things for her: removing her clothing, getting a towel soaking wet with cold water to  put on her burns, etc...
-I am SO thankful that we live one block from the hospital! Josie and Josh were reflecting on many of our dear friends who are missionaries in remote locations around the world. Josie immediately wanted to pray for our friends, the Hatton's, who don't have an emergency room to run to when things get bad.
Josh took Josie, and I stayed home with the rest of the kids. I tried to find someone who could come sit with the kids so I could go too, but everyone was off to church with various commitments, and so I stayed, waiting, for what seemed like an eternity.
I finally heard from Josh. It was bad. 1st and 2nd degree burns on her arm, torso, and thigh. They needed to give her two doses of Morphine, and Tordol just to help her stop screaming. My poor baby! The drugs really helped her pain. I am so glad she got some relief.
She was able to come home after only a few hours there, and I was so glad to see her again. We made a little bed on the couch for her, and tried to make her comfortable. With bandages on a good part of her right side of the body, she can't really wear clothing, or walk a great distance, and we knew that sleeping in the top bunk in the upstairs just wasn't going to work. 
We had a good rest of the day. One of the Pastors at our church, Pastor Rob, came by and visited Josie, and brought some very special treats. That meant so much to her! Our good friends the Mundens came by as well, and helped us figure out some medication stuff for Jo, as well as bring Josh a nice treat. 
Josie is on some heavy doses of narcotics and Ibuprophen, so was feeling better than she really was. I didn't realize how much so, until it was the evening, and time to change the dressings on her burns.
I can't even write this part without crying. She is such a tough, and brave girl, and I was shocked to the core when I saw just how bad the burns were. We used up what was left of the silver sulfadiazine on just her arm and leg, so we would have to wait until the next day to change the dressings on her torso. Josie and Josh spent the night on the couches. It was a very long night with needing drugs every few hours. I wasn't able to sleep on the couch because of my back, so Josh took the whole night shift. He is pretty amazing if you guys didn't know that already.
I called at exactly 8am to her doctor the next morning, and they were able to see her within the hour. Josh took her to the appointment because it was too close to my chiropractor appointment to risk them overlapping. While there, the doctor was able to look at her burns. She thinks that there is the possibility of 3rd degree burn on her upper thigh. She prescribed more silver magic, and referred us to the burn clinic in town. We have an appointment tomorrow afternoon.
Josie has been such a trooper through all of this, but she is feeling very discouraged. She loves school, and loves her teacher, Ms. Campbell. She is very sad to have to miss the big field trip to Art Prize this week in Grand Rapids. She is also nauseous, has no appetite, and cries a lot. I think a lot of that has to do with the drugs she is on right now.
We can't thank you enough for all the prayers you have said for Josie. They really are an encouragement to her. To all of us really. What a scary thing to go through, and to know it could have been so much worse. We are so thankful to the Lord for His protection of our sweet little girl.
Please keep praying for our little Jo Jo, as this will be a long tough time of recovery for her.

She may be hurting, but she is still smiling! The drugs do help!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Time at Blue Gable

We have had the joy and privilege of visiting Blue Gable for many summers now as a guest of dear friends. It has refreshed us in many ways, and this year was a little headquarter hub for some partnership development time as well.
I missed having Josh be able to relax and unplug, and unwind, but it was a good week full of fond memories. 
I love that this little spot on the lake has made it's way into my children's fondest memories (and mine too!)
Here are a few pictures of our time there. As always, it was much too short! It always goes by way too fast.

The cute little cottage. Such a welcoming sight.

Turned 25 weeks pregnant with baby #5 this summer. Just relaxing on the dock since the fish wouldn't bite for me this year.

One of Ike and Daddy's many walks to see the cows. I think this was the highlight of the day for Isaac.

A family soccer game.

Isaac hiding in the corn. Don't go too far buddy!

Mornin' Moos!

A little tradition. Gotta get a picture in front of the sign.

Not a wonderful picture (my eyes are halfway shut!) but I wanted one of all of us together. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Summers in Ohio

Ever since Josh's parents have moved down to Ohio several years ago, we like to go down for at least a week of time with the family for a Mathew family reunion, camping in their back year, and just spending time together.
This summer looked a little different. The Bible Institute was under a major renovation, and we didn't feel right about leaving to do our own thing while there was so much to do. We missed the reunion, and several days with family, which we are bummed about, but the kids got to go and see everyone!
Josh's parents came and picked up our kiddos (Isaac's first time away from home without mommy and daddy!) and brought them down for the family reunion, and playtime with the cousins. They had so much fin!
We were able to come down and share our gender reveal with some of the family that were still here, so that was fun. It was just too short on mine and Josh's end!
Here are some pictures of when we were there.

Bubby loved his pancakes. I never knew a kid that little could eat so much!

Grandma had an idea of how to make little dolls out of acorns and sticks. The girls LOVED that!

Isaac was more interested in what snacks Grandpa had.

Working hard on the acorn doll.

One of the finished products. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Here is my newest nephew, Knox. Isn't he a cutie pie??? Look at how he just smiles at his mommy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our Happy Expanding Family!

A few weeks ago we were spending some time in Ohio with Josh's side of the family, and the date of our ultrasound came!
Josh and I went and saw the sweet little one growing inside me, and we learned the gender!
We decided that we wanted to share the news with the family in person in a fun, memorable way.  There were lots of fun ideas, but we settled on silly string. 

Our little one. Only four more months!

Ready, set, spray!!!


It's a boy!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

News Worth Sharing

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How many thousands is this one worth?

One Incredible Winter

We had the most amazing winter this year with record cold temperatures and record snowfall! It was so much fun! I'd be amiss if I didn't share some of our wintertime fun! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our Daughters and their Diverse Interests

As the girls grow, their interests and abilities have really grown with them. I am so excited to see the gifts God has given them. 
Josie has become really interested in art, particularly in painting. She is pretty good at it too! She recently had two peices in an art show. 


Emma started playing the clarinet this year in fifth grade band. She has really grown in her ability and got a one (best score) at solo and ensemble this year! I am so proud!


Adelaide still has interests in dance, and after taking a year and a half off while we moved and had Isaac, she hasn't missed a step. She has added tap, so now she does ballet and tap. 


All three of the girls love AWANA. They have worked hard saying verses and look forward each week to going. Emma completed another book, and next year will be her last year. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Figuring Some Things Out

I know it's been a while. No excuses. I am trying to make time for blogging, but busyness happens. 
We found out Isaac has an allergy to sulfites. He has had three really bad cases of hives in the last two months, so we had him tested for allergies. Since he eats eggs and peanut butter, and drinks milk regularly, it was hard to figure out the problem. We narrowed it down to dry fruit (raisins, in particular) so I did some research and learned that sulfites could be the problem. They tested him, and lo and behold, it was those pesky sulfites! 
Thankfully, he seems to be only sensitive to them in dried fruit form (because it seems to be in EVERYTHING!) We also don't eat a whole lot of processed food to begin with. 
I am so glad we were able to find out the problem. 

Ugly case of hives indeed.

They were so big and raised.

Everyone thought he had some catchy disease.


Here he is, getting tested for allergies.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Merry Christmas! (two months later...)

I hate that I can't figure out how to put pictures from my computer onto here anymore. I love to blog, but I really think the pictures share far more than I can write.

So I have been loading blogposts from my phone, on to here, and then editing them from my laptop. There must be a better way!

So there you go. There is my latest excuse as to why I am not blogging that much anymore. The technology (well lack of understanding of it) frustrates me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baby Isaac Turns One!

Back in November our sweet baby boy turned one! So hard to believe that he's been with us for a year now. I thank God every day for my dear son, and how wonderfully he fits into our family. 
Josh and I threw a big party for him. Kind of a thank you to all who helped us with the last year and a half with the move, being on bed rest, etc. We also just wanted to celebrate his life! My dad counted 65. Ha! Who knew that many people would fit? We wouldn't have been able to do it without Josh's family, who just jumped in and helped anyway they could! It was so nice!

The eats. The cute elephant cake was decorated by my friend Natalie. 

The birthday boy loved his cake alright!

Isaac and daddy opening presents with a lot of "helpers".