Sunday, January 10, 2010

When it Rains, it Pours...

This smile just melts my heart.  It really does.  I look at my baby, who is about to turn 3 years old in a couple of weeks, and simply can't believe how far he's come.  When I think about everything he's been through, it just seems like a distant memory.  I remember people telling me that the night before his last open heart surgery- that soon it would all be a distant memory.  I remember not being able to wait for the day where that is how I would remember the most horrific moments of my life...turning my baby over to the surgeons and 12 hours later seeing him with a fresh scar running down his chest.

That scar is fading.  And so is the memory... but only a little.  Most of the events of that time in our lives are engraved pretty heavily on my heart.  I just like to push them to the back burner and focus on the following days, each one while watching Andrew grow, laugh, learn and I just fall in love with him more each day.

In both of these pictures, I have to comment on how he lined up his Thomas trains, just like they are on the show.  He knows Annie and Clarabel go behind Thomas, and Henry and James go right nearby.  His favorite things to do these days are to play with his trains.

I have to admit, the thought of sending Andrew back to surgery in his future makes me almost physically sick.  When I think about how much more we know him now (and we said that the last time!), how much he has grown and developed his special little personality.   I know our time is coming... the question is when?  I dread the day that I have to once again look at my baby and wonder...will I ever see him again?  This is where you have to trust.  Have faith.  Hope.  Cling to that peace that can only come from God. 
While surgery is looming over our heads these is very real for some of our heart friends.  Our very special friends.  Ones whom we have grown to love and have supported each other through everything this heart journey throws our way.  This smiley little boy is Logan Jacks.  Andrew and Logan are only a couple months apart in age.  They are just typical little boys.  They love to play, have fun, laugh.  They both love Sheriff Woody, Elmo and Thomas.  They have completely stolen their mommies hearts and we could almost just melt at the sight of their smiles.  The only difference between them and your typical little boy is...

They have broken hearts.

Not broken in the sense that they are sad.  Nope.  Quite the opposite, actually.  They are two of the most spunky and happy little boys I know.  They just having matching chest scars.

Logan's mommy, Stef and I have become very close friends since we met through carepages only a short two years ago.  We share so many similarities with our boys, and have found we have lots in common beyond our journey as heart mommies.  I knew the moment I met her, and we clicked right away, that we would be friends for life.
These two precious little boys brought us together...
I'm so glad they did.

Which is why my heart is just breaking for Stef right now.  It is so hard to see one of your best friends going through such a painful time.  The truth is, I know how she's feeling, because I have been there.  Yet I can't imagine the emotions she is going through right now, because Logan's next surgery is right around the corner.  It is this Thursday, January 14.  Logan just turned 3 years old.  How do you hand your three year old baby over to the surgeons?  Once they've grown up and you've had the chance to just keep loving them a little more each day, for three whole years?

I don't think it is a coincidence that Logan's surgery falls on the exact same day our family heads to Iowa City for Andrew's cath.  I am so grateful that Stef and I will be there together, and be able to support each other in ways that only heart mommies can understand.

This is Logan's older brother, Wyatt.  And he's having a hard time with all this too.  Who can blame him?  He's only six.  And he's got a special heart too.  It might not be broken, but he is an incredible big brother.  He has so much love to give.  He even loves Andrew and treats him like his little brother, too!
Will you join me in praying for our dear friends, the Jacks family?  They are heavy on our hearts and minds this week.

We just want our boys to be able to run and play like this again.  Happy, full of life, and not a care in the world!  After all, that's what little boys are supposed to do, right?

They say when it rains, it pours.  There are two other heart families who we have also met on this journey who are sending their babies to surgery this month.  Please also say prayers for the Carter family, and the Snyder family.  Derrick's surgery is the 18th and Jordan's is this Tuesday, the 12th.  Way too many families are being affected by CHD's.  We must all work together to find a cure.  For our kids, and the ones yet to be born.  February is CHD awareness month- and us heart mommies are all working hard to fight for our kids!

We've been having all kinds of fun around here lately.  Last night we went to Papa and Ga Ga's for dinner, and they surprised Andrew with this neat train that will run below the Christmas tree.  It is especially fitting because it is A Christmas Story train.  And if you've been following our blog for a while, you'll know that both Andrew and I are obsessed with that movie!  Andrew still asks for "Ralphie" and I don't bother to tell him Christmas is over!  The truth is, I sort of want to watch it too!  Ha!

Andrew loved holding the remote.  He thought he was making it go, but really he just pushed the button over and over again that makes the whistle blow and it was driving us all nuts!  Ha!
He wouldn't take his hands off this remote!
Papa had these blocks from when his other grandkids were little.  He brought them out for Andrew and he had a blast!  He wanted to stack them up and then fall into them!  Good thing they were soft!
After he'd knock them down he'd yell, "AGAIN?!"

He didn't want to take a break for dinner, he was having so much fun!  I just love capturing these huge mouthed smiles!
Ga Ga and Andrew playing
C'mon, more fun Ga Ga!
Papa also had this saved from a while back, and Andrew loves to play with it and race the car down the ramp.
Is it sunny at Ga Ga's house, Andrew?   Ha!  What a cool dude.

Now I'd like to request your prayers for Andrew.  As you know, his cath is scheduled for Friday, January 15.  About a week ago, he developed a slight cough, but no other symptoms.  We brought him to the doctor last Thursday, just to make sure everything was okay.  She said everything looked good, but he had a little fluid behind one ear, so she prescribed an antibiotic, just to ward off anything and help get him healthy for his cath. 

Well, I am getting nervous, because it has now been 4 days of antibiotic and his cough sounds worse to me tonight.  He's also been running a temp the last 3 nights but is fine during the day.  We can't quite figure out what is going on with him, but I plan to call Iowa City tomorrow and see what they want to do.  I know they won't perform the cath unless he is 100%.  We were just praying he'd be on the mend by now, but it seems as though he needs a few extra prayers.  Please pray for guidance for us and the doctors so we make the best decision for Andrew.  Thank you for all of your support!

This is one of my favorite verses, and especially during scary or hard times.  I wanted to post it tonight for us, and for all the heart families going through surgery this month as a reminder that God is with us, no matter what.
 Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
  Do not be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.  I will help you.
  I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10


Renee said...

We will be keeping Andrew and Logan in our prayers! I am so glad that you will be in Iowa City together! God has such perfect timing! We love you guys!

The Carter's said...

Big prayers for Andrew to get all better and have a successful cath Friday!! Thanks for the prayers for Derrick. :)

Big heart hugs and prayers,

Anonymous said...

Sending prayers your way. I completely understand what you guys are feeling right now. In fact I feel sick just thinking about it as we were in your shoes just a few months ago! I am so glad you are able to be there for Steph. There is not too much better than the support of another heart mom!!
Jillian Broce

Stefenie said...

Oh Jen.....Ryan told me you made him tear up when he read your update this morning. So when I jumped on here to read it I too started to cry. Thank you for the beautiful part about Logan in your post. It truly touched my heart!! I too feel the same way about our friendship and I am so thankful that we have gotten to know each other. I honestly don't know what I would do without you!

I'll be saying extra prayers so Andrew can get well and be able to have his cath this week. I know it has been stressing you out so hang in there. Let me know what IC says.

Oh...and one last boys have similar blocks at my moms house too. Logan loves to do the same exact thing by stacking them up and plowing into them. Too cut!!!

Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan Jacks

Ann said...

Jen and Craig:
I will continue to pray for Andrew everyday and have added your friends littles ones to prayer list. May God be with all of them.
Seems like so many people need prayers at this time. Prayers are the most powerful gift we can offer.

Annie S

Amanda (Trista's Mom) said...

I just read your comment on my blog and I'm just as amazed at how similar Trista and Andrew's stories are!

Andrew looks like he is doing so good with his hearing aids. Trista just started figuring out how to pull them out - very frustrating!!

I am excited to follow Andrew's journey and will keep you all in my prayers this week. Hang in there. You are one strong momma!!

Heart Hugs,
Trista's Mom (TOF)

Party of Five said...

We will keep you guys in our thoughts and prayers. Glad you will be in Iowa City with your friends as I am sure they will need as much support as possible! Take care and keep warm!!!
ps...working on those 7 things. its a little tough and takes me a while for some reason! =)

Sundie said...

Many prayers! I pray everyone has excellent procedures matched with excellent recoveries!!! ...I always felt like spring was the season for surgeries, but now it seems like Winter is! So many going on now! You are so true when you described what it's like to think about surgery again! It is such an overwhelming feeling... I pray each amazingly strong heart heros does incredibly well! I hope Andrew is feeling better for his cath!
Hugs and prayers,

connie and adam said...

I will be keeping your little guy in my prayers along with your family.

ErinLamka said...

We are thinking about you guys and praying that Andrew can get over this virus. It will be nice that you and Stefenie will be there for each other in IC. We'll be down there for the Heart Friends meeting Thursday. Maybe we will see you.


Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how you are all feeling right now. Brielle will likely behaving her Fontan this spring/summer and I am ALREADY getting nervous! Hang in there and know that we are all praying for you guys. I'm so glad that you and Stef are gonna be there at the same time so that you can lean on each other.

Tina, Bryan, and Brielle (HLHS) LeMire

jflannery said...

Dear Jen,
Andrew and Logan are consuming my thoughts this week. Find comfort in all the prayers being lifted up for these little fighters. Clearly God brought your two families together and you have humbly answered His calling to bring genuine, selfless support to other heart families. For you and Stefanie, I give thanks.

Anticipating more posts as your week unfolds...Love, Jodi

Olivia said...


Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post with us. I could feel your emotion and really relate. We've been thinking....just thinking...about Liv's next surgery lately and it has made me start to feel physically sick. I too wondered if I'd be able to stomach sending my daughter to the OR another time, wondering if I'd ever see her again. It seems to get so much harder the more time that passes by. Maybe it's like you said, because we just keep falling more and more in love with them.

Thank Goodness you and Stef have each other. That is no coincidence. We will definitely be praying for you all.

The Spencer's

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