Six Months

On March 20, 2011, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

It’s 6:22pm as I write this; and six months ago at this moment, I was only minutes away from witnessing the birth of my daughter. That was six months. And two weeks in the NICU. And some sleepless nights as we awaited surgery. And ten days at Children’s Hospital. Ago.

whew.

Things are a little different now. We got a six month old little girl!

The day came and went quietly. I almost had to remind myself, the day was so normal. We woke up, we ate, went to church, had lunch, went shopping for some new walking shoes for Jocelyn. I took in a disappointing loss by U of M to Duke in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Normal… I’m still taking it in.

So I couldn’t let the day go by without celebrating the one hundred eighty-two days that our daughter has drawn breath. Thanks.

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A Milestone Revisited

On February 27, 2011, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

Tonight was momentous – and not because of the Oscars! For a couple of weeks before the surgery, Julia had been rolling over when we got her on the floor for “tummy time”. On January 16th as we were packing up to go down to Children’s Hospital, she actually rolled from her back to her belly. It was a mix of elation and wistfulness as we watched, knowing it would be a long, long time before we would see her do that again. Open heart surgery has a way of delaying things.

We had to wait thirty-seven days, but we set Julia on the floor this evening and she rolled over as if she was picking up right where she left off. She was a little taken aback with Jocelyn and my shouts of celebration, but she seemed to take it in stride. I’m hoping that you’ll celebrate with us!

UPDATE: I just got a text from Jocelyn that Julia tipped the pediatrician’s scales at eleven pounds this morning! One more thing to celebrate!

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One Week Later

On February 2, 2011, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

Just wanted to give you a quick update of how things have gone a week after Julia’s discharge. As you can see, she’s wearing her new scar like a party hat! She seems to be over most of the discomfort, and though we’re still in the process of… er… stabilizing her diaper situation, we think that a corner has been turned in that area as well.

It’s becoming a little more normal every day. Interesting thing is that we really don’t know what “normal” looks like. We’ve been living in a state of abnormal for the past nineteen weeks, and it’s going to be an interesting journey on the road to normal. Those thoughts are forthcoming.

But as you can see, our girl is definitely thriving through it all. Thanks so much for your concern and encouragement!

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The State of Julia

On January 25, 2011, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

Ladies and Gentlemen, prayer warriors, well wishers, friends and family:

The State of Julia is strong.

We’re in the home stretch here at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Today during morning rounds, I heard two of the most beautiful words: “Discharge Studies”. Basically, they’re taking one more look under the hood to make sure all is well before they send Julia home. We have no firm discharge date yet, but most of the team grins when they talk about tomorrow. Makes me grin too!

They did an echocardiogram and an electro-cardiogram to be sure that the valve and septal reconstruction are holding. There is also an X-ray scheduled for tomorrow morning to be sure that there are no fluids accumulating in her chest. There are also the consults on home care, symptoms to look for that would merit a call to the Cardiovascular Staff and the “oh crap” signs that mean get her to the Emergency Room fast.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the literally hundreds of people and faith communities who have been following Julia’s story and approaching God through a broad spectrum of traditions and personal disciplines and humbly asking for help for our little girl. A few of you have sent pictures:

Prayers from the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan…

Congregational prayer from Faircreek Church in Fairborn, Ohio, where Jocelyn grew up…

Children of the Grace Children’s Home, run by my friend Jaya in Andhra Pradesh, India…

And a candle lit at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist in Brecon, Wales on the day of Julia’s surgery. This short list doesn’t include faith communities in the Netherlands, Greece, a Roman Catholic Church (praying in Spanish) in Corpus Christi, Texas and dozens of families and individuals on three continents that are too numerous to mention here.

It is our deepest conviction (including that of our medical team) that the prayers and good thoughts of so many have sustained Julia through the first few months of her life when her heart had no business doing what we were asking it to do and through the surgery and recovery time of the past week. You have prayed for the sanity of her parents, for the skill and clarity of the medical team and for the indomitable fighting spirit of our little girl. This could not have happened without your prayers and encouragement and we humbly thank you.

You’ll be hearing more very soon!

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One Week’s Progress

On January 24, 2011, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

This may very well be the shortest (in word length) entry I ever do:

Monday, January 17 – 5:56pm:

Monday, January 24 – 5:10pm:

Guess that says it all, huh?

By the way, that was the first time I saw my little girl’s smile in over a week. Melted her Dad’s heart.

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