Friday, February 29, 2008

What Our Days Look Like

Little Britton loves to be held! He sleeps great in his crib at night ... goes right down. But during the day, he rarely stands for anything less than being held in someone's arms. The NICU nurses got a taste of this when he was in the hospital and gave us a heads up. We aren't complaining because we love holding him. The house, however, is in quite a state (and clean freak dad isn't handling it so well). Here is how we spend our days:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

I love this video. I took it the other night while Danny & I were "waiting" for Britton to wake up so I could feed him before he went to "bed." Yet, it was already 11 p.m. when I shot this, and obviously I was the only one still awake. We're all working on getting into bed earlier these days. Anyway, enjoy. Sorry the video looks sideways ... 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baby Cuteness

No news to report today. Just more baby cuteness to share...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sneak Peek

These are a few of the pictures from Britton's recent photo shoot. More to come once they're edited. Just wanted to post a few ...

He Smiles

Britton has been on the verge of a genuine smile for a couple of weeks now, and he finally unleashed one last night. He looked Danny right in the eye and gave him a big grin. What a cutie?!

We plan to celebrate each little developmental milestone like this one as a miracle, because a baby with a hypoxic birth injury like Britton should not be so developmentally on track. Raising his head, tracking with his eyes, and smiling should be hurdles for him, and we are beyond the moon that he is doing all these things as a newborn should so far. Britton is going to be working with physical & occupational therapists to help him meet his future milestones. We had our first appointment yesterday, and we look forward to seeing how this therapy helps him down the road.

Britton continues to eat well and gain weight. He has a long way to go to catch up with his peers. At his appointment last week, he was only in the 6th percentile for size! Like most premature babies, though, he should catch up by the time he is 18 months old.

Please continue to pray for Britton ... we are not out of the woods yet. Our little boy is at risk for serious things like autism & cerebral palsy, and we just pray that he will be spared of these and that he will continue to progress developmentally and meet these all important milestones. We trust that prayer moves the hand of God, and we have most certainly seen your prayers at work in our child's life. Thank you, thank you for praying!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Missions Conference

This is the biggest week of the year at Covenant Presbyterian. We, as a staff, are prepped for it for months prior to the kick-off breakfast, which was Saturday. This year has been really special so far for a couple of reasons. At the breakfast, the guest speaker talked about the orphanage he runs in China and really gave a great perspective of God's grace in trying circumstances. It gave more confidence in our calling to adopt a little girl from China.

Our main speaker is Dr. Derek Thomas who is the teaching pastor at the church Emily grew up in in Jackson, MS. He is an excellent expositor of God's Word and his Welsh accent doesn't hurt either. Last night's message on Thomas from the book of John was very strong. As I reflect back on these past 7 weeks, I can admit that there have been many days of doubt. I've wondered at times ... Do I really believe God could heal or restore my son? Would He? And Why? You process so many things in the heat of suffering. Thankfully, God has revealed Himself so clearly in our lives during this time. Just last night it was shared with us that the medical team in the delivery room had pronounced (or were just about to) Britton dead just before he gasped for air and his heart rate reached 100 bpm. Wow! It still rocks me to the core and humbles us both to this day.

Though my faith is weak, it is not my faith that saves is what my faith is in--Jesus Christ. If it depended upon my wavering faith that is tossed about with every disappointment I would be in a rough place. But, graciously, the Rock of my foundation is Christ. I led a study on Caleb (found in Joshua 14) this past week. In my studies I came across these words penned by Dale Ralph Davis regarding Caleb's faith:

"We try to base our faith on our feelings. If so, we will feel like unbelievers a good deal of the time! Sometimes we place our faith in faith; that is we believe that if we have enough faith we will be able to weather the storm (which means that, somehow, we must pump up the faith). We forget that great faith is not so necessary as genuine faith (Luke 17:5-6). The object of faith, by definition, is God (not faith). 'It is no so much great faith in God that is required as faith in a great God!'"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Britton's Nursery

Finally, pics of the wee one's room...

Bedding from the super fabulous Javis Davis ...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Photo Shoot

We were finally able to do Britton's long-awaited newborn photo shoot today. The talented Brandon Robbins came to our house and shot Britton in the nursery. Britton was good and awake the whole time ... very happy at first, but then downright angry at the end. One of the highlights included Danny getting "showered" upon by a bare bottomed Britton. We've already seen a few of the pictures from today, and they are beautiful! We'll post a link to the pictures when they are up.

Here is the photo shoot in progress:

Just realized that we haven't posted pictures of the finished nursery ... will work on that this weekend.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bathing Beauty, Part Deux

Somebody is loving his tub baths...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Help My Unbelief

Leaving the hospital last Friday, I asked my mother in-law, "Did the last month really happen?"

I could never have prepared for what January and February held for Emily and me. The surreality of the entire time still stuns me. In fact, I already agonize over my failings as a father, husband and pastor. Yet, thankfully, God's grace is what I am resting on and not my own abilities -- the severity of their inadequacy has become painfully clear. Even congratulatory and encouraging comments from friends and family stop short of penetrating the "fog" we have gone through.

I honestly am stunned by all of this. I don't think I even cried much -- outside of those early hours when we didn't think Britton was going to make it at all -- until the day we left the hospital. The NICU is a different place. You hate being there, but then you begin to rely upon it. After 37 days, we knew no other way of caring for our son, but through the expertise of others. It was a scary day to drive up to the patient discharge area. I watched the video that Emily made and just began to see God's hand in each day of the last month. He was healing Britton physically, and restoring Emily and me spiritually. I had watched the rough draft of the video 5o times emotionless, but when we finally left the NICU, I was overwhelmed with emotion.

This song titled Help My Unbelief has really impacted me as I've struggled to accept God answering my pleas for mercy. From the depths I have petitioned Him and He has heard my voice.

I know the Lord is nigh, and would but cannot pray, For Satan meets me when I try, and frights my soul away, and frights my soul away.

I would but can’t repent, Though I endeavor oft; This stony heart can ne’er relent Till Jesus makes it soft. Till Jesus make it soft.

Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. My help must come from Thee.

I would but cannot love, Though wooed by love divine; No arguments have power to move. A soul as base as mine. A soul so base as mine.

Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. My help must come from Thee.

I would but cannot rest, In God’s most holy will; I know what He appoints is best, And murmur at it still. I murmur at it still.

I have asked (and continue to ask) for God's people to lift up Britton in prayer and for his healing; for Emily and me to have the grace to handle whatever came our way; and for the doctors and nurses who gave Britton the best of care, and God has answered the cries of His people! Britton's life has done more for my faith than I could have ever wanted or imagined. A friend emailed me last week, sharing that their small daughter loves hearing how God is daily answering her prayers for Britton when they check our blog. I guess it hit me as tears ran down my face, that God has been so good to us. He IS answering our prayers. We have no idea how many people have actually prayed for Britton, but we do know that it is beyond anything we could have done on our own. We keep hearing of churches that have lifted him up in their services, placing us on their prayer chains. It is good for our souls to hear...

In a study I led this morning, these words from BB Warfield stood out to me. God has embraced us so tightly this year and at times I do not even recognize it is He, not I, in whom I rejoice.

"There is nothing in us or done by us at any stage of our earthly development because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ's sake or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only 'when we believe', it is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live...It is always, on His 'blood and righteousness' alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place or that take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace."

Britton will be a constant reminder to us of the miracle God has done and is doing in our lives!

Where the Wild Things Are

"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another ... his mother called him "WILD THING!"

Loving our little wild thing...


Here we are with Britton at his first restaurant excursion! Where did we go? Mexico Lindo, of course. We had just left the doctor's office and he advised us to keep him away from crowds for awhile longer. So we opted for a 5 o' clock meal at an uncrowded place. It was fun to be out and about even for a short time.

And here he is on his first "walk" around Star Lake! We thought he would enjoy a walk since he loves to look out the windows, but he slept the entire time ... don't think his eyes opened once!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

6 Weeks Today

Here is our little six weeker:

Monday, February 18, 2008

To the Doctor

We had our first outing to the pediatrician's office today, and Britton got a great report! He is now 8 lbs., 3 oz. (2 lbs., 6 oz. over birth weight), and is 20 3/4 inches in length (2 inches over birth length). Our doctor was impressed with how good he looked in light of everything he's been through; and, thankfully, gave us a free pass on vaccinations ... for today.

We are doing well here at home, and are getting some sleep at night. Britton sleeps well when he is not hungry, but with the false alarms on the apnea monitor, we are up a lot (Britton somehow sleeps right through it). Thankfully, Emily's mom is here to take on some of the night feedings and let us sleep in a little bit. We are loving every minute of life with Britton. He is such a blessing!

Hope you enjoy the pics of Britton in his little bear/lamb (?) outfit. It is a preemie size, so his days of wearing it are real limited. It was fun dressing him up in it...



Emily & the boys

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our Rainy Sunday

It's fun to snuggle up with a baby on a rainy Sunday afternoon...

Liking tummy time today.

Taking a nap on GrandMarna.

First Attempt at Tummy Time...

... and he just sacked right out!

Busting Out

Britton is dangerously close to growing out of his first outfit! We're hoping he'll pass the 8 lb. mark by his Monday doctor's appointment.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

First Day at Home

Heading home.

With his GrandMarna.

In his second outfit of the day (still trying to figure out how to prevent diaper leakage).

Testing out the bouncer.

Piper is a bit obsessed with our new boy/his new toy.

Not loving his first bath at home. 

Loving the activity mat that Mima gave him! He spent a lot of time staring at the toys above.

Britton's Hospital Pics

Here is the link to Britton's official hospital pics:

Password, if needed: baby

Leaving the NICU

Our first night together in the NICU ...

Between our excitement, Britton waking up to eat, and the false alarms of the apnea monitor, I think we got about 3 hours of sleep this night.

Dad & Britton cuddling in the morning. Dad didn't realize that due to diaper leakage that warm feeling by his heart wasn't just love!

Saying our goodbyes ...
This is one of my favorite pictures. Britton is looking up at one of the women who saved his life. Wanda, a NICU nurse practitioner, ran the code on Britton when he was born. She and three nurses performed CPR for 9 minutes, ran lines & gave him epinephrine & bicarb to bring him back. We talked to Wanda yesterday about those first scary moments, and we all just stand amazed that #1 Britton is here with us today and #2 that he is doing so well. We will forever be grateful to these nurses who literally saved our son's life.

Dr. John Woods, who delivered Britton, with our baby boy. He just happened to be around the corner in labor & delivery when Danny & I arrived at the hospital the morning of Jan. 8. The nurses were looking for Britton's heartbeat when they finally thought they saw a weak heartbeat by ultrasound. Dr. Woods came in & immediately called a stat c-section and Britton was born just 8 minutes later. We just can't imagine life if things had turned out differently, and are forever grateful for this doctor's decisive actions & fast hands.

Here is Nurse Pam loving on Britton. She was one of the nurses in the delivery room who performed CPR. She also took care of him his whole first day on the cooling blankets. I wasn't around much on the first day as I was recovering from surgery, but Pam was so great with one freaked out dad.

Nurse Peyton took care of Britton a lot during our stay, and she was the nurse who turned Britton over to us on discharge day!

Nurse Patricia is the NICU charge nurse, and she did a lot of spoiling during Britton's stay. When Britton was awake and fussy, she would get him up and make him "go to work" with her.

Nurse Holly had Britton a lot during those early days of the cooling & warming process. She was so great and helped us understand better what was going on.

As you can see Britton had such great care during his NICU stay! There were so many wonderful doctors & nurses who saved his life & gave him such great took care, and we are so grateful. Obviously, one of our fave nurses is missing from these pictures. Amy, who took care of Britton a lot in the early weeks, wasn't there on the day we departed. But we have many fond memories and pictures of Britton being "Amy-fied".Wish we had pictures of all of the great nurses for Britton's scrapbook. We just can't say thank you enough!

Our little miracle.