Happy Birthday Audrey!

It’s really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that our baby is one this week.  Every single time I drive by the exit on 405 where I thought we might have to pull over and she would be born in the car, I remember the intensity of those moments and it feels like it just happened.  And nearly every time we pass that exit, Rylee says “There’s the midwife office Caleb, that’s where Audrey was born!”.

This little girl was so highly anticipated, its tough to put words to it.  From before she was born Rylee was praying for a sister.  Before I was even pregnant at all, Rylee was praying for a sister.  When we told her a new baby was coming, she was absolutely sure it would be a girl.  We carefully explained that only God knew and either way would be great.  She emphatically told us, “No, I already know it’s a girl.”  We asked her how.  She said, “God told me in my dream Mama.”

How could we argue with that?  We waited and waited.  Lo and behold, she was right.  She asked and God answered.  His gift to all of us was Audrey Rose.  Given to us during a more than tumultuous season of our life, she has been a ray of sunshine since the day she was born.  Her smile and giggle delight each of us every single day.  I am amazed at how God used the timing of her entering our family for good.  She has brought out a different side of each of our other children.  She has drawn them out of themselves.  The way they love her amazes me and I can’t imagine life without her.

I am so glad we said yes to the question ‘Is there room for one more?’.  That ‘one more’ is such a sweet treasure.

Here are pics from her birthday party today, it was great fun.  Audrey slept through the first hour but enjoyed the rest of it quite nicely.

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A birthday party parade-complete with instruments!
A birthday party parade-complete with instruments!

A Tale of Two Teeth

I might be a bit biased, but that is a cute smile!
I might be a bit biased, but that is a cute smile!

Audrey is just about nine months now and has already acquired some major life accomplishments.  She can “army crawl” as fast as any Marine.  Although she chooses not to use them to eat any food, she has two teeth ready to take on an 8oz fillet from Ruth Chris.  I don’t have any official stat on this one, but I am pretty sure she has ridden in more baby carriers than any other baby in the history of the world.  Audrey has also brought endless joy to her each of her siblings.  Most of all she has her Mommy and Daddy wrapped around her little finger, but that didn’t take much more than a smile.

This sweet girl?

Who, me?
Who, me?

You wouldn’t think that this sweet little girl would scream through the whole night would you?  If you knew that she had an ear infection in both ears (one eardrum was perforated as it had ruptured in the night) you might have a different opinion.  Karissa and I were grateful to find out today that Audrey’s fever, pain, and restlessness had nothing to do with her kidneys.  However, anytime your baby is hurting it is hard on everyone, but especially mama.  I love how Karissa so lovingly nurtures all of our children especially when they are sick.  She has an amazing amount of grace, mercy, love, and energy for our children when they are hurting.  I am so grateful she is the mother of my babies!

On the mend

Hopefully this isn’t jumping the gun but I think Audrey is on the upswing today.  She started eating again about 3 AM after about 35 hours of just a few ounces of milk.  I feel like I held my breath for a whole day as I waited and watched and really hoped we weren’t headed for another few days in the hospital that would this time include Christmas.

Between the snow and her not feeling well, it hardly even feels like it’s almost Christmas around here.  We haven’t done the homeschool projects that revolved around Christmas, we sledded every day instead.  Snow days aren’t the same either with a commission job instead of salary, definitely changes the perspective a little bit!  We haven’t done much of our baking either.  There has been so much change for us the past two months that I still feel my head spinning and it’s hard to figure out how to move forward sometimes.

It used to be a long list of expectations on our time during the holiday season of where we needed to be, now we have total freedom to be and do what we’d like to.  That is wonderful but still so different and strange.

Trying to smile.  Thankful for an eating baby.  Remembering to just breathe.  Comforted that Jesus came and He understands it all even when I don’t.


Audrey update

For those of you wondering where things are at with our little girl, here’s the latest. We went in for a follow up visit today, at first check her labs were good and her body seems to be infection free. In a few days we’ll have the conclusive results. Also we’ll plan another visit to Children’s Hospital in a couple weeks for another test and she’ll go on a longer term medication as well. He said that the next 4-6 weeks would be most likely for a recurring infection in her kidneys so if you would pray with us for health inside her little body especially for a few weeks, we would love it.

If you missed that part of our story and want the scoop, click on the ‘hospital’ tag on the right for all the posts about Audrey’s recent kidney infection and hospital stay.

Sleeping and eating

That is pretty much the only thing on my Audrey’s agenda here at home. She went to bed at 8:30 last night and it is now 9:30 the next morning and she is still sleeping. She woke up to eat all night then went back to sleep right away. We are so very happy to be home. I slept in her room last night to make sure she was doing okay and so that I had some chance of sleeping myself, which was wonderful.

So the scoop from here is that Audrey will have to go back for some tests next Monday to make absolutely sure her body is infection-free. It is an unpleasant test, one that required several different people to complete last time, so hopefully this time it goes better. They did a sensitivity test in the hospital to ensure that they put her on the right antibiotic, so we are glad to know that as well. The bacteria she had was resistant to some antibiotics they tested with, which is again a reminder that we have to be so careful not to use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as bacteria are mutating to become resistant to our arsenal of antibiotics.

Here are some things we would welcome your prayers for from here on out:

1. That the urinary reflux she was born with would not get worse but that she would grow out of it with time as has been our hope since she was born, there is a small chance it would require surgery to repair it in years to come if it doesn’t get better.

2. That the antibiotics would eliminate all infection in her kidneys and that we would discern the best possible plan of action in terms of medication for the next year for her.

3. For as smooth as possible test next week making sure she is recovered completely.

4. That the damage to her kidneys from such a severe infection would be minimal, we will follow up on this at Children’s Hospital.

My big praise is that now she is rejecting the bottle and is nursing again-my heart was so broken thinking of her weaning at the hospital, it was just too much, and I am so glad we are back to normal there!

Thank you Jenna for the yummy dinner last night, it was the perfect coming home food. Maybe you can post the recipe? I ate it again, cold, for breakfast and it was just as good as last night!

A mama update (in other words, details and feelings)


Hello friends, three cheers for wireless internet at the hospital. Thank you to my sweet hubby for letting me have his laptop here to use. I am feeling pretty disconnected from life at this point and it helps to be able to read comments and emails. As I type, Audrey is in the front pack (the Baby Bjorn) with her IV pole next to my shoulder. We are bouncing on the exercise ball, it has been one of the only things to help calm her hurting little body. If you know me well, I am a baby carrier junkie, and though normally not number 1 on my list, the design of the Bjorn makes it possible for me to wear her and keep her wrapped IV arm safely untangled. So today it is my new favorite.

How blessed am I to read comments in the previous post and know that in those four comments, prayers were being lifted up for Audrey in a town in California, on the Gold Coast of Australia, in music city-Nashville, Tennessee and up north in Bellingham too. Thank you.

Walking through the doors to come into the pediatric floor here on Wednesday brought back a heart full of emotion for me. Almost six years ago, this hospital was our home for almost 5 weeks as our firstborn baby fought for her life. Though only five weeks early, Rylee was extremely sick and spent just about all those 5 weeks in the hospital trying to get well. In a room just down the hall from where I am now I waited and stared and waited some more, six whole days to even hold my baby for the first time. Nearly everything that could have gone wrong seemed to go wrong.

So it is strangely comfortable for me to be here. There are even some nurses here that were here then. This is where we became a family of three almost six years ago and now here we are a family of six. Amazing.

The status for tonight is that up until an hour ago Audrey had consumed about 6 ounces out of the 24 she needs to get down in order to go home. I talked with a nurse and she said realistically it could be a couple more days. I keep asking if there is something else wrong, why is it taking so long for her to be able to eat and get better. The reality is, as my sister astutely observed, she is in pain. When we are in pain we keep up on pain pills and don’t feel like eating. Same for her, only it means we stay at the hospital till she feels better enough to eat.

Tonight, right after pumping milk for her, she was hungry. I wanted to cry because she tried nursing to my delight, but there was nothing left for her. I carefully grabbed the fresh bottle and tried to slip it into her mouth and she drank almost the whole thing. Now she is sleeping. So if we can just do this a few times more, we can go home.

I am missing our other kids so much my heart is hurting. It’s really hard to have to/get to stay here when I wish I could be both places. But I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who is taking very good care of our children. And for all of our friends and family who have brought food here and to our home and sat holding Audrey with me, thank you.

It is hard to watch Audrey try to scoot around with her gimpy, splinted arm. It is hard to try and calm her when there is nothing I can do. It is hard to hear my kids playing on the phone and not be there with them. It was unbearable to watch different nurses try to start her IV, then more nurses try to get blood for her labs, poking and jabbing all over her body. It is frustrating not being able to speed up her healing and get her home on my own terms.

But it is sweet being able to smell my kids hair when they came to visit today. It is peaceful sitting in this quiet room listening to the drip of fluids keeping Audrey hydrated. It is amazing to watch the kindness of others poured out in the most lovely ways. It is a blessing to know that what happens to Audrey is not up to me, that it is up to Someone much more capable than me. So goodnight, I will leave you with my prayer requests:

For Audrey to not get woken up by nurses who want to do her vitals, that they would let me get them when she is awake instead of them upsetting her. She really needs some decent sleep in order to heal.

For my weary, sore, spent self. That I could keep giving and keep making milk for Audrey despite the toll of these days on my body.

For hunger to increase and pain to decrease in Audrey’s body.

Many thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Here are some more pictures taken today while Audrey’s sweet cousin Isaac came to visit. They sure do have a connection. Audrey perked right up when she saw him and they started chatting away immediately.


An update

I just got off the phone with Karissa.  The Dr. had just come to see Audrey and made the determination that she will need to stay one more night for sure.  She is not rallying the way they would like to see, and certainly not eating enough.  They are concerned for the kidneys because the infection must have been pretty bad for how long she is taking to recover.  We won’t know to what extent the damage was until we go back to Children’s to update their records on her kidneys.  The one silver lining is that Audrey is choosing to eat from her mama instead of the bottle.  Now we just need her to get back to her normal intake level.