Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back Home

Well, two of the three Sandersons made the move back home this week. Kyle and I decided it was time for us to move out of the Ronald McDonald House and back into our little apartment in Newhall. I was getting quite homesick and ready to sleep in my own bed, shower in my own shower, and enjoy tiny bit of normalcy. It took us three days to get all the stuff we had accumulated in that little room back into our apartment and boy do we have our work cut out for us! We have bags and bags of thing to put away, a whole nursery to set up, and a whole lot of cleaning to do. But it is so wonderful to be back home!

Little Suzie, however, seems to be in no rush to come home at all. She hasn't made too much progress with her breathing in the past week and still is on oxygen. Kyle and I are realizing that she will most likely have to come home on oxygen, which is fine by us as long as we get to take her home! The great thing is that she is now on a low enough flow of oxygen for her to come home right now if she was ready. So really the one thing we are waiting on is for her to learn how to drink all her feeds from a bottle. She eats 47ml eight times a day. Right now she is taking about 20ml from a bottle once a day. So you can see we have a long way to go in that area. But it's just another opportunity for us to be patient and trust the Lord. We certainly do not want to take her home until she is completely ready, so we will just wait until that time comes.

It has been a bit of a challenge for me to not compare her with the other babies. Ever since we have moved into this most recent nursery (where babies are typically discharged from), all the babies around us come and go but Suzie just seems to stay put. They all seem to have no trouble taking all their bottles and she is the only one in the room still on oxygen. I confess that I am so tempted to be envious and wish that Suzie was doing as well as the other babies. But how selfish of me to not simply be happy for these other babies and grateful for how well Suzie really is doing! I have so much to be thankful for and hope that the Lord grows me in gratitude, trust, and truly loving others more than I love myself.

Here are some more of our favorite pictures.

I have so much fun dressing out little baby girl in very girly outfits:)

Since it looks like we'll be here for several more weeks, we have taken the liberty to make her crib as homey as possible. She has several blankets and toys from home as well as an aquarium and a mobile! She really enjoys watching the animals and listening to the music.

We also brought in an infant seat so that we can change her position some times. She looks like such a big girl in her seat!

She really hates her bath until we get her all covered up in a towel and wash her hair. She loves to have her little head massaged.

Well, that's about it for us here. Please pray that Suzie would continue to progress in her breathing and be able to learn how to eat all her feeds from a bottle. We are continually grateful for all the prayers and support of so many. Thank you for sharing in this journey with us. We praise our great God for you all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Experiencing God's Kindness

The Lord has given us so many reasons to thank him through this trial and we received several more reasons to praise Him just this past week. Last Friday we had a little party with our Bible Study to celebrate the Lord's faithfulness in the yard sale the previous weekend. Everyone from our apartment complex was invited to join us as I don't believe there was a single family that didn't contribute in some way to the yard sale. We had such a wonderful time of fellowship with our dear friends and hope we were able to express a fraction of the incredible amount of gratitude that we have for their thoughtfulness, love, and support for us. They put together a slide show of the sale, gave an update on the many ways God was glorified through it, and presented us with a publisher's clearing house style check for...
Six thousand four dollars and 75 cents? Can you believe it?? We were completely blown away by this amount! Our jaws dropped as they presented it to us and we were so humbled and thankful to the Lord for providing abundantly more than we would have even imagined. Thank you Tommy, Sarah, Andrew, Kim, Jonathan, Meredith, Aaron, Jen, Matt, Nelly, John, Kim, Will, Annette, Matt, Ashley, John, Delphine and so many others for your amazing example of loving us as Christ loves. We have learned so much from you all!

This past Saturday my sister threw me the most wonderful baby shower. So many of my dearest friends were able to attend and encourage me in many ways. We again were blown away by the amazing generosity of the body of Christ as they provided for many of our tangible needs in anticipation of bringing Little Suzie home in the next several weeks. The shower included a sweet time of prayer for Suzie and Missy Mehringer was so faithful to exhort young mothers to fear the Lord and seek to honor Him as we raise our children and serve our husbands. I left feeling so refreshed and encouraged to experience sweet fellowship with so many people that I treasure. Thank you ladies for blessing our family! We love you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bottle Feeding

Here is a quick video of Suzie's attempt to bottle feed. This is one of the biggest things keeping her from coming home so we hope she able to get the hang of it soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Update...Finally!

Sorry it has been so long since we have posted an update. It has been a long week and it's getting late, so this will be brief. Suzie had a pretty rough recovery the first few days after her surgery. It took her little body a while to get the anesthesia completely out of her system and her breathing suffered for it. She was in a lot of pain up until this weekend, but she seems to be doing much better now. On Friday they were able to extubate her as she started to get significantly better. By today she has shown tremendous signs of improvement and is now on less oxygen than she was before her surgery. Praise God! She is back on her full feeds and they are going to try bottle feeding again all week. Today she was moved out of the critical nursery back into the step down nursery. And she is big enough to be in a crib rather than an incubator!

We cannot even begin to express how grateful to God we are. He has brought our little girl through so much and has sustained us by His grace the whole time. It has been a rough week, but God has comforted us every moment. We are so blessed to be called His children and for the precious gift He has given us in Little Suzie.

Here are a few pictures to recap the past week.

Here is Suzie weighing in at 4 lbs 15.7 ounces as of this evening!
And this is Suzie's big girl crib.
After being extubated, she has a very hoarse cry with her swollen vocal chords.
Here are a couple of pictures of the shunt. It is a thick ridge on the back of her head.

What a cutie!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Successful Surgery

Thank you all so much for praying for Suzie this afternoon…and the past seven and half weeks! We have so much to praise God for. Her surgery went as well as we could have hoped for. Since her heart rate is normal and they are able to continually lower her oxygen, she doesn’t appear to be in too much pain. We hope that they will be able to extubate her tomorrow or the following day as well as begin her feedings. The neurosurgeon anticipated that she should bounce back in the next few days so we are very excited for that.

The shunt was placed in the back of her head and goes all the way down into her stomach. We were able to see her x-ray and see that the skinny little tube actually swirls all around her whole abdominal cavity. She has plenty of tubing to grow with her for the next several years. The doctor did let us know that it is not uncommon for babies this small to have their shunts get blocked early on and require a shunt revision. We pray that her shunt would work well enough for her to not need a revision, but we trust that the Lord is in control. The doctor also mentioned that she is at risk for infection, so this is another way you can pray for Suzie.

Suzie had a great day today before her surgery. She was so happy and her breathing was doing really well. We posted a video as well as a pre-op and post-op picture of her. She continues to bless us more than we can even describe and we are SO thankful for the many people who are upholding her and us in prayer. We praise God for his incomprehensible mercy and love for us.

Prayer for Reese Kostjuk

Thank you so much for your prayers for Suzie's surgery today. We will post an update as soon as she is out of the operating room.

Please also be in prayer for the Kostjuk family. Todd and Ashley go to Placerita Baptist Church and have been at Huntington Hospital for 10 months with their daughter Reese. She had been moved to a private facility several days ago but was transfered back to Huntington this weekend. They don't expect her to survive for more than a couple more days.

The Kostjuks have been an amazing example to us of trust in the Lord as they have gone through far more than we have for almost a year now. Please pray for peace, comfort, and strength for their family and for the Lord to do what He sees best for little Reesie. You can see their blog here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Big Sale for Lil' Suzie!

In I John 4:7-8, the Word of God says this, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

Several weeks ago, unbeknownst to Steph and me, our Bible study ("The Knot," see our links on this blog), were brainstorming ways in which they might be able to encourage and serve us during this trial. An idea of a yard sale was pitched, and the monster was created! Today was the first of two days for this sale in honor of our little baby Suzie.

Our dear friends took on a massive campaign of gathering items from our church body and apartment complex. They have sacrificed hours and hours of gathering, organizing, and pricing items. Hundreds of people have donated items out of love for us.

Today was an absolute blessing and encouragement. 15+ volunteers served throughout a 100 degree day because of their love for Christ and us. God was faithful in bringing a steady flow of people who bought up the items. Gospel tracts were handed out, with the words, "God's grace is why we are doing this."

I can't tell you the joy and comfort that Steph and me have felt today. God has been so faithful to us during this trial. May we be faithful in declaring His goodness! It so special to see God using Suzie's condition for good. The gospel is being shared, the people of God are being edified in love for one another, and Steph and I are growing in our love for our Savior. Wow.

How much money has been raised? Well, our Bible study is going to "let the cat out of the bag" to us the next time we meet together. We look forward to sharing this with you, not to brag, but to show the readers of this blog what a great and compassionate God we serve.

Love...many people claim to possess it. Many people have the "feeling" of love. Many people speak of love. Biblical love is different than the world's love though. Biblical love is expressed in action, sacrificing oneself for the benefit of another. "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (I Jhn 3:16).

Thank you to all who have "laid down" your lives for us. We praise God for you!

Much love,

Kyle and Steph

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Suzie's Shunt Surgery

Yesterday afternoon we were told that Suzie's shunt surgery is scheduled for Monday at 5:00pm. We were a little bummed that it was put off till next week, but we are grateful that they were able to at least schedule it so early in the week. Suzie has been up and down with her breathing and is retaining fluids a little bit--thus she is gaining too much weight. They are giving her some additional protein to help her absorb her feedings better and our hope is that both her breathing and weight gain would get better once she has recovered from the surgery.

Please join us in praying for a successful surgery and recovery. The surgery should last for about an hour and her recovery will be similar to the recovery from her last surgery. She will have to be intubated and start from scratch on weaning her off of the ventilator and gradually increasing her feedings. She will be sedated for a couple of days as well.

Today, Suzie experienced her first attempt at bottle feeding! The therapist was very pleased with how she did. She is good at rooting and sucking, but needs to get the breathing, sucking, swallowing thing down better. She ate 12 ccs from the bottle and was fed the rest of her feeding through her tube. They will begin to work with her again after her surgery.

We’ll let you know how the surgery goes. Thank you for your support!