Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dedication of Our Miracle Babies

I was blessed last year to share in the bond of pregnancy with my two sisters - Keri, my big sister and Christina, my sister-in-law. We were all only a few months apart, with Keri being first, me second and Christina third. Keri and I were both having girls, and Christina was having a boy...her third!
Each baby in our family is a special miracle, but there was something amazing about the three born this year. A little background...

Christina is a breast cancer survivor. She underwent chemo, radiation and a double mastectomy after the birth of her first baby, at the age of 29. Her cancer was hormone-induced, so she was warned that getting pregnant again was pretty much out of the question. Her second son, Matteo was a divine "accident", and God blessed her with a healthy pregnancy. So when they wanted a third to complete their family they prayerfully considered it before stepping out in faith. Levi, her third is another amazing testimony of God's grace. Christina is healthy and thriving and completely cancer-free!

Keri started bleeding only a few months into her pregnancy, and found out that she had a large melon-sized hematoma in her uterus along with placenta accreta. She was told that if there were any complications with Hannah's birth, that she could bleed out on the table. As you can imagine, this was devastating news to our family. However, as I've witnessed countless times in my life, prayer and the grace of God can move even the biggest mountains. And move they did! A few months before Hannah came into this world Keri's hematoma had re-absorbed into her uterus and her placenta had moved enough to be considered within "normal range". Hannah was born several weeks early, and after a short stint in the NICU was cleared to go home.

While we were out in California in July we planned on dedicating all three miracle babies. What an awesome gift to be able to stand in front of the congregation as examples of God's amazing grace.
The three babies being dedicated

Our amazing pastor from Sierra Bible Church and the grandbabies (minus Levi who was asleep in his car seat)
Our sweet girl!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

OUR Aspen IN Aspen

We took a family trip to Aspen, Colorado at the end of September to see the beautiful fall colors, and to introduce our Aspen to the inspiration behind her name :) Here are a few of the photos we got of our sweet girl with her trees!

Have to give credit to our friend Melissa for making this adorable headband!

Mommy's sweetie!

So cute!

Daddy's girl!


 View more photos on Photobucket under "Colorado Trip".








Like Father Like Daughter

A lover of the Food Network, just like Daddy!

video

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Long overdue update!

Aspen has been doing so well! We went to the cardiologist the day before we left on our big trip to California and everything looks good. They still hear a slight murmur (small leakage) in her lower chamber, which is supposedly pretty common post-op. They are hoping it will close on its own over time, but they'll keep an eye on it - nothing she'll need another surgery for though, praise God! We have another appointment in several months to continue to monitor her progress. I am continually amazed at her strength and healing, and most of all the grace of God!

We took our first trip with Aspen out to California to spend time with my family and to introduce Aspen to her cousins and aunts/uncles she wasn't able to meet. Apparently we booked the trip at the right time, avoiding some of the horribly hot 100 plus degree days we've had here in KC. Yuck!

We've included pictures below that capture some highlights of our trip.

My sister-in-law organized a family photo shoot for all of us and our respective families.
Our family
Our sweet girl
Aspen & Daddy
Aspen with her Aunt Jo
Some cute photos Nini captured


Happy girl!

Oh, the life!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Surgery Progress - Day 7 and NOW AT HOME!

Approximately seven days after open heart surgery, Aspen is now back home!  Talk about a speedy recovery!  From fighting off potential germs and infections to healing the heart muscle after a complex surgery, the human body is remarkably resilient...

What a special week it has been for our family... we have made many new friends and cannot express enough gratitude to our CMH medical community.  While the week started with tears and the fear of the unknown, we ended with lots of smiles and laughter.  These are the times you simply cherish, and will remember forever. 

We cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your continued support.  We will have more updates very soon! 

May God bless you all!

P.S.  Aspen sends her love to all of the staff at CMH.  She was all smiles leaving the Sutherland Tower early this afternoon.




Friday, May 11, 2012

Intercepted a Letter

As a father, I've always wondered when "The Time" would come.  When I reference "The Time", I am referring to my little daughter dating.  As many of you have seen via the blog, our little Aspen went on her first date with Sandy and Marvin's handsome son named Austin.  I'm not going to lie, I was nervous, but knew that Austin had a heart of gold and that he had a fantastic set of parents.  The date went extremely well, but little Aspen was surprised that Austin had not picked up the phone to call her --- post date.  While she was saddened, she knew that it was also important to play the dating game.  Surprisingly, she told us that it was critical to not agree to all dates right away and to not answer every single phone call.  I smiled...

HOWEVER, while Aspen has been in the hospital (and unable to check our mail box), I intercepted a letter.  I don't think she'll mind that pops was snooping through her mail!  In fact, she will actually be super excited to see that her first date wrote a very sweet and sincere note, which included one of most adorable dressess known to mankind.

Sandy and Marvin, I hope you don't mind that I am sharing the note.  It is perfect for such a stressing time! 




Sincerely,

A Smitten Father

Surgery - Day 3 Progress

Good evening,

Quick update...

Aspen had a fantastic Day 3!  Her ventilaton tube, kidney tube, pacemaker wires, brain electrowave wires, two IVs and catheter were all officially removed.  She was also allowed to consume a few ounces of Pedialyte in order to replenish her vital minerals and nutrients.

She was quite alert for being so heavily sedated over the past couple of days! 

We continue to praise God for all of the wonderful love and support he has supplied us over the last few days.  This not only includes watching over little A, but also for everyone thinking and praying for us.  Thank you all!





Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Surgery - Day 2 Progress

Just wanted to send out a brief update - Aspen is doing well, praise God! They weaned her off four medications today and are slowly weaning her off the sedation medication. She woke up for a brief second and looked us both in the eyes before falling back asleep, but that moment was priceless to us!

She's still on her ventilation machine because they need her more awake before they take it out to ensure she can breath well on her own. It may come out later this evening or tomorrow morning.

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers. More updates to follow...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Surgery - A Success!

All,

Amy and I are excited to report that Aspen's AV canal surgery was a success!  The medical staff at Children's Mercy has been FANTASTIC.  We couldn't have asked for a better team of care professionals.  It's simply astounding to see the amount of care and affection poured out by Aspen's doctors and nurses.

Our amazing Lord continues to provide for our daily needs, as well as bless us with continued love and peace through these difficult times!

We will be updating everyone with more information in the coming hours.  For now, we wanted those who are following the blog to know that she is doing very well and resting peacefully!  Thank you all again for your continued thoughts and prayers... they are MUCH appreciated!

Below are a couple of photos of Aspen resting in her bed. 

More updates to come...

Love,
Matt & Amy



The Morning of Surgery

Today is the day we've been anxiously and nervously awaiting for the last five and a half months.  Aspen will undergo open heart surgery to correct her AV canal defect.  While we had BELIEVED we were mentally prepared for this special event, it was simply heart wrenching to hand our little girl over to our medical staff! 








For those of you who would like more information relative to the specific defect, please click here.  If you are even more intrigued to investigate more about the heart defect, please click here.

Thank you all for the phone calls, emails and prayer requests.  We truly appreciate each and every one of them!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Evening Before the "Big Day"

They say a smile is worth a thousand words, but how could these smiles not be worth a million? 

We decided to capture a few quick photos of Aspen before her "Big Day".  Enjoy! 





Pre-Op Complete

We just got back from Children's Mercy this afternoon after a three hour PreOp appointment. Everything is set for surgery tomorrow at 6:30 AM. We were able to meet with the chief cardiovascular surgeon (Aspen's surgeon) and a few people from her care team who walked us through what will take place tomorrow.

So here's what will happen - we will arrive at 6 AM, they will prep her for surgery and then we will hand her over to surgical team (the part I am dreading). Then the anesthesiologists will place several IV's in her veins along with an arterial port in her chest/neck. This will take anywhere from a half hour to an hour. Then the actual surgery will begin, which should take about 2.5 hours. During the surgery she will be on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine that will circulate her blood for her. She will also require a blood transfusion, which is standard for a patient of her age. After surgery is complete they will be keeping her sedated until Wednesday morning so that she sleeps through the toughest part of recovery (praise God!). Based on how well her body recovers, they said that she will most likely be able to be taken off the ventilator on Wednesday, at the latest, Thursday.

We will send out an update after surgery is complete. Thank you all so much for your texts, emails, phone calls and support, but most of all for your love and prayers. We have faith that God is going to heal our little angel.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Post Comments - UPDATE

Just a quick update relative to our blog maintenance... 

We have adjusted a couple of features that will now allow the majority of you to post comments without requiring a blogging account.  Thank you to those of you pointing this out to us, as we simply overlooked this feature!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Surgery Rescheduled

We received a call today from Children's Mercy regarding Aspen's surgery. It was originally scheduled for May 16th but they told us that they were able to get her in May 8th if we'd like to take it. Of course we jumped at the opportunity as we are so anxious to get this behind us.

So far we've been told that the surgery will last 3-5 hours and that she will be in the hospital anywhere from 5-15 days. They will be giving us more details the week before, so we'll be sure to keep everyone posted.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hannah

I received a phone call from my mom about a month and a half ago telling me that there was concern about the health of my niece, Hannah. She's the third baby of my sister, Keri and her husband Chris, and she's only a month and a half older than Aspen. Their pediatrician had noticed some spots on Hannah's skull that had him a bit concerned. So he referred them to a craniofacial specialist. Their pediatrician explained that the best case scenario would be that Hannah would have to wear a helmet. Worst case could involve surgery. This was terrifying to our family! So we did all we could do...we prayed.

They were finally able to get in to see the specialist today, and praise God for answered prayer, the doctor told them that Hannah was completely fine and to take her home and enjoy her. Wow!! What an amazing God we serve!



Our adorable niece, Hannah

A mini laugh

Her first laugh!

http://s1065.photobucket.com/albums/u395/Aimkins90/Aspen%20Rose/5%20Months/?action=view&current=video_final_6303067.mp4

Monday, April 16, 2012

New wardrobe!

Having sisters with kids is wonderful in so many ways. They're always there for me when I have questions or need guidance. In fact, I even gone as far as to text them a picture of her poop to make sure it looked "normal"...don't you wish you were on the receiving end of that one!

From a financial perspective, having a sister who has two little girls is awesome because every time they outgrow their clothes, Aspen inherits them. She practically gets a new wardrobe in the mail every few months! Here's what arrived in the mail today:












Saturday, April 7, 2012

Avocado...YUM!

After several weeks of Aspen staring intently at us while we ate we decided it was time to giver her her first taste of "big girl" food! So today we mashed up some avocado and let her explore. The grin on her face says it all!

http://s1065.photobucket.com/albums/u395/Aimkins90/Aspen%20Rose/4%20Months%20Old/?action=view&current=Aspensfirstmeal.mp4


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Surgery Officially Scheduled!

We can now see light at the end of the tunnel!  Today, we received official confirmation that little Aspen's surgery has been scheduled for May 16, 2012.
 
While we are still nervous heading into her big day, we are also very relieved that this special day has officially been circled, starred and X'ed out on our calendars!  After four and a half months of continual worry relating to "watching for signs of turning purple, rapid breathing, excessive sweating", we are so thankful that the medical staff at Children's Mercy has been cleared to treat Aspen's heart.  We continue to pray for her miraculous well-being, and we praise God for His amazing grace!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

I got an email from my sister-in-law this afternoon letting us know that today is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (3-21, representing the three 21st chromosomes). She also sent along this video - what a beautiful message!

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Girl

Our happy little girl! :) 
We finally captured a full smile! She's a stinker and gets shy anytime we pull out our camera, but Grammy was able to distract her while Grampy snapped this photo.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Play Date with Austin

Today we had a play date with my friend Sandy's little boy, Austin. We had fun taking pictures of the kiddos, and they seemed to enjoy themselves as well!




 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Development Update

Our First Steps developmental specialist came to visit Aspen today. After spending over an hour with her, she was raving about how well Aspen is progressing! She said her development is right on track with what a typical 3 month old baby should be doing.

She tracks objects, bats at her toys and passes them back and forth from one hand to another. She also smiles and coos and tries her hardest to talk to us! Everyone who's met her also comments on how alert she is and what great eye contact she has. We are so amazed at how well she is developing - all praise to our gracious God for all of His amazing blessings!

Cardiology Update

Aspen's third cardiology appointment was today, and we are happy to report back that the medical staff is very pleased with her progression.  Her heart murmur is still present, but she is not displaying any signs or symptoms of heart failure.

Her cardiologist and fellow told us that they will be ordering an echocardiogram next visit and will then present her data at the next surgeon board meeting.  They are anticipating an April surgery, and we continue to pray that she is able to get to surgery without any complications!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My New Favorite Toy!

Aspen started sucking her thumb today, and now it seems to be her new favorite toy!

It tastes so good! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

10-Week Check Up

Today we had Aspen's 10-week appointment. She weighs 9 lbs 9 ounces and is 23 inches long. That puts her in the 20th percentile for weight and 75th percentile for height! Our pediatrician said everything looks great!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smiling!

This week our precious angel started smiling! This has to be one of the greatest gifts new parents can receive!