Saturday, April 30, 2011

Feeding and Photos

This is my job, eat and grow.
 We are still working on bottle feeding with Abigail and the progress has been slow.  We are holding out hope that she can pick it up soon.  In the mean time here's some recent photos. 

We took a break from the hospital to catch a Ranger game!

Dad, Granddad and Abigail

If you could not see the photos from previous posts of Abby's photography session check a few of them out here. paigewalkerphotography

Paige did a great job especially considering the location and time constraints.  Thanks again Paige!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Learning to Eat Again


We have been working really hard with Abigail lately on taking a bottle.  She gets to try three times a day and it has been a challenge unlike before she had her first surgery.  She usually spits, gags and turns her head away fighting us.  Yesterday the speech therapist came by to assess her eating skills and after working with her she decided we needed to do swallow function test.  Today Abby took a trip downstairs to radiology.  The test was an x-ray done while the speech therapist fed her with different nipples and different consistencies of formulas to see how she swallowed.  From the test we found out that we have been using the wrong nipple and that she needs her formula thickened.  With those things ironed out we hope to have better success feeding Abigail.  With the first effort this evening we didn't have much luck.  This may seem fairly minor but we really hope she gets the hang of it soon. That's all we've been working on. We'll keep everyone posted if there is anything new..

Mom and me
Dad and me
Our transport to radiology.
Taking a peek at the camera through the porthole.
I deserve a nap after that hard work.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Abigail - Post Op

Abigail is still on the road to recovery from heart surgery.  She will be one week post op on Monday and considering what we were expecting, she is doing fantastic.  The doctors are gradually increasing her feeding volumes and the amount of calories she is getting with the formula.  We have settled back in to our routine and we bottle feed her 3 times a day. Our goal for now will be just to work on getting bigger.

 Mom and Uncle Ryan

 Story time!

 2 Months Old

As I pray over Abigail each time we leave her bedside I ask him to comfort her, heal her and give her strength.  I thank the Lord for blessing us with Abigail, and when we walk away I always end up thinking about how much we love her.  Isn't it amazing though, HE loves her even more.

 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 

Ephesians 3:14-21

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making A Swift Recovery

Abigail had a few more busy days Tuesday and Wednesday. Following heart surgery Monday she was moved to the Cardiac Pod of the PICU. She came back with her chest closed up, on a ventilator, oxygen, and a pace maker. She came off the ventilator 530am Tuesday morning and started very small feedings later that afternoon. The chest tube, used to drain off fluid, was removed on Tuesday as well. At 12am this morning, the pace maker was discontinued.
As the morning progressed we found out that our stay in the PICU would be short lived. Abigail was recovering from her heart surgery very well and quicker than we had expected. She had her foley catheter, pacing wires, arterial line, and central line removed by eleven am this morning.

Tuesday Pictures
All of the equipment, in a nice, quite room. Crazy huh!

Abby and Mom

A little swollen but looking great!

Sucker for tiny fingers!

A visit from Great Uncle Doug and Grandaddy Joe

Wednesday Pictures

This pretty girl was looking good today!

Resting after several lines were taken out.

Mom and Dad's friend Blake B meeting Abby.

Cousin Lindsey and Mom.

Getting ready for my trip.

Moving time!

After a few visitors, we were headed back to the NICU around 2pm. Leaving was bittersweet because we had a nice, quite, large room all to ourselves and a relaxed visitation policy. However, we are pleasantly surprised by her rapid recovery. Several of the NICU staff members were shocked to see Abigail back so soon.

Abby is all settled in back in the NICU and will continue her recovery there. They will gradually increase her feeding sizes and ween her off of the small amount of oxygen she is still using. Over the coming days we will watch the liver closely to see how it will respond. Thank you for your prayers, I have no doubt that they were heard. Our little girl is incredibly strong! By no means are we out of the woods, so continue to pray for her. We look forward to sharing good news with you all.

Resting in the NICU after a long day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Abigail Two Months Old - Heart Surgery

Well we are back home and I can finally take a second to let you all know that the surgery went well. Praise the Lord! The day was busy with doctors and nurses trying to get three different surgeries completed with one heart surgeon to do the work.

Abigail with a tape mustache before surgery.

Resting and Comfortable

Abigail's surgery was delayed a little bit which turned out to be a good thing because several of us got a chance to be with her this morning. Aunt Lesa and Aunt Sudie got to see her for the first time. We got to have some special moments all together that would not have been possible otherwise.

So thankful for these moments!


Granddaddy Joe and Grammy Sherry

Aunt Sudie and G

Abby went under the knife at about noon and the doctors completed the operation quicker than we had expected. They called about 330pm to say that the surgery had gone well and that they were closing her chest up. We were prepared for her to come back from surgery with her chest open so that was also another good thing. The swelling and bleeding must not have been bad enough to need to leave her open. Also her liver did its job once she was off of the heart and lung machine. The surgeon said that the TAPVR repair was straight forward and that he repaired almost all of her VSDs (See old posts for some explanation). In other words, I am not sure the surgery could have gone any better. Of course, we are not out of the woods yet but we are thankful that it went well today. We got to see her as she passed by and then we got to go visit her in the PICU a little bit later.

Abigail is currently on a ventilator and doing well in her recovery efforts. Hopefully she will be ready to go back to the NICU in a week or so to continue the recovery process. We will update as we know more but probably no pictures for a little while. Our family is so grateful for your encouraging words and prayers these last two months and especially today. Goodnight.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Family of Faith, Caring for You

Both of us grew up in Arlington, Texas and were raised in Christian homes with loving parents. We have attended First Baptist Church Arlington almost our whole lives. We were both baptized there, regularly attended on Sundays, went to Children's camp, Youth Camp, and many other significant moments in our lives occurred there growing up. We knew each other from the church Youth Group went off to college and started dating. We both came back to Arlington and were married at FBCA. We are now in the Young Married Sunday School class. Long story short, "The Church" has played an extremely important role in our lives. I remember ten years ago how my parents friends surrounded our family with love and prayers when my mom was battling brain cancer (Jane Tettleton, 10 years cancer free. Praise God.). The same church family, and friends we have gained along the way, have "lifted us up." It has been a constant reminder how important it is for believers to gather, worship, and pray. Those of you who are our age and older, who went to FBCA might recognize the blog post title. "A Family of Faith, Caring for You" was the church slogan while we were growing up. I really can't think of a more fitting description of how I feel about the people God has enriched our lives with.

As I tell people our daughter's story I usually end up saying something to the effect of "Yes, we have gone there all our lives and never truly realized how important the Body of Christ can be. It has been so comforting to know all of you are praying for Abigail." We have received many generous gifts from people from our church, people from our family's churches, people we don't know at all. We have been showered with your prayers, gifts, money, letters and even washing our cars and mowing our lawn. I am writing today to say THANK YOU to each of you who stopped what you were doing in your busy lives and did one of those things for our family. You will never now how much it means to Stephanie and I. As my mom often says "Your reward will be in heaven!" My mom also taught me to write a thank you notes for gifts. I will write them, I promise, but for now please accept this "Thank You".

Your letters of encouragement
and kind words they have been such a blessing.

Another special visitor, Aunt Leaza got to meet Abigail this weekend!

So I got a bit side tracked. What I was trying to get to was that our Sunday School Class organized a massive garage sale to help out with Abigail's care. If you have ever put on a garage sale you will empathize with the group. I was there Friday night and people kept coming and coming with truck loads of stuff to sell. They managed to get everything put away by midnight and were up and at it bright an early. Each one, with there own families to take care of, stopping to help take care of ours. Thanks to the Bush Family for hosting and countless others who contributed with time, donations, bargaining skills and sweat equity. We are so blessed to be a part of this community of believers!

Thanks to everyone involved!

Another thing we got to do today was have a photographer come take some pictures of Abby. All the IVs and cords were gone for a brief time and we got special permission to have a small session at her bedside and for a few minutes outside. It was a very special moment for us as we wheeled her bed out onto the rooftop patio into the sun and fresh air. We would like to thank Paige Walker for doing a great job and being incredibly flexible with the environment. Paige was one of Stephanie's sorority sisters and is a talented photographer. You can see some of the pictures from Abigail's session here and some of her other work here.

What a challenge!

Sunshine and fresh air!

So you can see the last few days have been pretty busy so I am doing a last minute post before Abigail has her Heart Surgery. Tomorrow morning at 8am they will take her back and begin pre-op things like IVs and anesthesia. We expect that by 10am they will be about ready for operating. One of the key factors of this surgery will be how Abigail's liver will respond once the surgery is complete. The surgery will last approximately 5-6 hours and they will leave her in the OR up to 2-3 hours for monitoring post-op. She will be taken to the PICU to recover and will remain there until she is able to be weaned off of the ventilator. She will remain in PICU for probably around a week and will then go back to NICU to continue her long road of recovery.

Please pray for her doctors, the staff and that Abigail will continue to be the strong little girl we know she is. Thanks for caring, praying and loving on us.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7).

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Today Abigail got her first real bath! She was less than thrilled and let us know the whole time.

Aunt Brittany was there to help.

All wrapped up and cozy!

Enamored with her mobile.

Goodnight Everyone!