Please Pray for Max

Another very close friend of mine from college needs our prayers! Amy was a sorority sister of mine and we have remained close the last 5 years since we graduated. Her and her husband Tyler are pregnant with their first son Max and live in Franklin, TN. Here is whats going on in her own words:

I went to my OB for a routine, 28 week appt this week and found out that my Sjogren's Syndrome is causing problems in the baby. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that I was diagnosed with at the same time as the Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is about a 2% chance of women with Sjogren's Syndrome passing antibodies to the baby that can cause congenital heart block. Well, unfortunately, this has happened. Structurally, his heart looks ok, but the electrical system of the heart has been damaged by these antibodies.

On Tuesday, Max was diagnosed with 2nd degree heart block. This means that the top part of his heart is not communicating with the bottom part of his heart effectively. They set us up with a Cardiologist appt on Friday and we just hoped for the best.

Tyler and I met with a Pediatric Cardiologist at Vanderbilt on Friday and we found out a lot more information. It's actually worse than we thought. She diagnosed Max with 3rd degree to complete heart block. This means the top part of his heart has completely stopped effectively communicating with the bottom part. His heart rate is in the 60's and 70's when it should be in the 140's. Also, the heart's rhythm is not normal.

So, the plan is... They put me on steroids to hopefully help prevent any more damage. I will be monitored closely by a high risk OBGYN once to twice per week and I will see the Cardiologist every 2 weeks. I will have frequent ultrasounds and echocardiograms in order to see if the baby's disease is progressing or if other problems are occurring. The goal is to get me to 36 weeks and then deliver by C-section. If at any time between now and then, if Max looks like he is doing worse, he will be delivered then.

I will deliver at Vanderbilt and the baby will immediately go to the NICU for care. He will most likely need a pacemaker and they will evaluate at that time when would be the best time to do the surgery. We probably won't really know until that time. He will be in the NICU for at least a few weeks, but that also depends on a lot of factors.Because of the damage that's already been done, if more damage occurs, there is a small chance that Max may need a heart transplant. Right now that's not the focus.

If all goes well, Max's quality of life should be good. He will always have a Cardiologist and will most likely have a pacemaker. He will have to be careful not to do anything to get his heart rate too high. This probably includes playing contact sports. We are hoping he will be a heck of a golfer though!

So, Tyler and I would really appreciate if everyone would pray for us and for baby Max. Please pray specifically for...

1. A better than expected outcome. Miracles do happen and we certainly do believe that.

2. That the steroids will help prevent further damage to Max's heart instead of causing more complications.

3. That complications, in general, will be minimized.

4. That I will be able to carry him to as close to term as possible. (at least 36 weeks).

5. That when he is born, Max will be strong and recover well.

6. That God will give Tyler and me strength and peace because we are going to need it.

Now, I want to be sure and point out a lot of positive things that we are very thankful for...

1. God is giving us a baby boy and we love him so much already.

2. We have a lot of wonderful friends and family to support us.

3. We discovered this problem when we did and we were able to see a Pediatric Cardiologist within 3 days. 3 days was long enough to wait. I cannot imagine having to wait longer, which is usually the case.

4. I don't have to be admitted to a high risk OB unit.

5. We live within a few miles of Vanderbilt Medical Center and we have easy accessibility to it. I cannot imagine how much more complicated things would be if we did not live in an area with such wonderful healthcare.

6. Although this problem is extremely rare, our Pediatric Cardiologist, seemed very competent and clearly gave us a plan. We really liked her.

7. Our bosses are being very understanding and flexible with our schedules.

8. We are hopeful that Max will have good quality of life.

9. God has given us faith and we know He will not give us more than we can handle.

10. We have such faithful friends and family.

11. Tyler and I have each other to lean on; we are not doing this alone.

Here is a picture of Amy and I back in December when we had our girls' weekend so that you can put a face with the name. I thank you on their behalf for your prayers!!

I did want to update on the other friend that I had recently asked prayers for, Jessie and her baby boy Thatcher. His liver transplant went well and although he is still having to stay at the Ronald McDonald house in Pittsburg, they are only having to go in once a week to the clinic for checkups. They are hoping to come home this next month!!! Praise the Lord! She also got to see her sweet older girl Amelia who recently got to visit. Thatcher is now 9 months old and cuter than ever! Check them out at: http://bjandjessielink.blogspot.com/


Celebrating our Risen Savior!

We had a wonderful Easter! We do our best to celebrate that Jesus has risen every single day because that reason alone is why we now have life... oh how wonderful! It is great to have a "holiday" to celebrate it as well and make us all take the time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

We also celebrated our 1 year anniversary of being on staff at Bethesda today! I remember this time last Easter I was so nervous for "the vote!" Oh what a year it has been :)

Easter also marks the start of Spring in my eyes... and a GREAT excuse to dress up for church. My mom found the MOST adorable outfit for Griffin... I couldnt get over how cute he looked! And I really hate that I didnt get more pictures of him in it in the rush to get to church and then the chaos of the rest of the day... BUT we will be taking him to get pictures made in it for sure. This outfit is in my eyes the best thing he has ever worn... hands down :)

And our other adorable cutie in another sweet outfit Cici got!

Carter in his casual Easter outfit... still looking handsome on his first Easter!

God continued to show favor to us on this Easter, allowing us to have our first family vacation. A couple at our church that we are very close to allowed us to go and stay in their beach house for a few days.. FOR FREE! AND on top of that gave us their car to drive down because ours is still being worked on. An absolute blessing and the most generous act of kindness ever shown to us!

We loved having our toes in the sand... more on that in another post to come :)

Griffin's Allstar 2nd birthday party!

Our little man had an Allstar 2nd birthday party last weekend and it was a BLAST! Being that he LOVES balls and sports of all kinds, I thought this would be the perfect way to celebrate with his friends. Balls were EVERYWHERE! Decorations, bowls, cupcakes, hanging from the ceiling, hunted as Easter eggs AND set up with games for all the kids to play. Griffin, aka Mr. All I think about is balls, was THRILLED!

Mommy and Daddy with the birthday boy. Dont you love his shirt? I got it off etsy from flyduds

and it was perfect!

Being that it was Easter weekend we had an egg hunt too! I found ball eggs and the kids loved it!

I went with the multicolor decor and it worked out awesome because everything matched! Target had the Allstar party plates and goodie bags and everything else I found random places.

I was so grateful for Mrs. Debra who made his cupcakes and found the toppers at Hobby Lobby! My Cricut sure came in handy too... I made additional toppers and banners :)

Griffin was able to actually blow out his candle this year :)

We were so thankful that Cici and Mimi could be in town to celebrate with us. And they were a HUGE help! Couldnt have done it without them no doubt!!

Enjoy this montage of all the pictures from the party.....


Happy birthday Griffin!

We are celebrating 2 wonderful years with our sweet boy today! This year has been so much fun to watch him grow, develop a personality and become a little boy!!! We are so blessed by Griffin and he continues to bring us joy, make us laugh and above all praise God for entrusting us with him! We love you Griffin.. and Happy Birthday!!!

Here is a video to recap his last year of pictures and videos. Enjoy!!


Celebrating 2!!!

Today we are having Griffin's SECOND birthday! Being the ball lover that he is we are having a ball with his friends and playing all sorts of "ball games"!

Stay tuned for pictures to come!


Sweet Rebekah

I had the priviledge of taking the pictures of the Chandlar family back in September. Jonathan was the pastor of our former church and Lauren and I were instant mom friends too! Miss Rebekah had just turned ONE in these pictures and is such a delight!

On Tuesday, Rebekah went in to the doctor for what they thought was a typical sick visit however they were quickly sent to Duke for further testing to find out that she had leukemia. She is beginning her chemo treatments today at 19 months old.... will you please join me in praying for them?

Jonathan has a blog that you can read more on at http://jchandler.org/


Life with 2!

Now that I am 2 months in to having 2 kiddos, I thought it was probably time to start talking about it. First of all, I couldnt believe how my heart instantly grew the moment my eyes met Carter's. After 21 months of loving one child, I was worried that I couldnt love someone else like that. WRONG! I have loved even more now seeing our two boys together and watching Griffin's instant love of Carter as well. To be blessed with another healthy child, having God entrust his life with us and just simply being grateful that our family had so much joy added to it... so many wonderful things! This next section is for all of you other moms (or moms to be) out there. I had heard all of the above things before and granted it is WAY more incredible to experience them for yourself... I had been enlightened about what it would be like. However, no one shared with me how hard it would be to add to our family. I mean I didnt ask the direct question to anyone that I recall, but still.. NO ONE WARNED me ha! So now thats why I want to open up and just be real. Again, everything I said in the first paragraph is more than true and sharing these realities and not so glamorous day to day things does not change that. Having 2 kids is tough.. and two kids under two I would say is even tougher. It was a new way of life when I first had Griffin and difficult in some similar ways but overall was a pretty smooth transition for me into motherhood. Now having not only another newborn but ALSO an almost 2 year old running around is not only physically exhausting, but mentally as well. 2 schedules, 2 very different stages and needs that they have and my head just feels like its constantly spinning. Once we brought Carter home, and even after I had my Mimi here with me for a week, I was honestly scared to death to be at home alone with the 2 kids. With Griffin I was like, "Oh I got this!" but with both now I'm more like, "Man, how am I gonna survive?!?" Granted it has gotten much better over the last 2 months, there are definitely times where I still feel this way. This also explains why I havent gotten out much yet, or attempted the things that were fairly easy with just one baby (ie. going to the store, mall, church, etc). There are circumstances that didnt help me out with the difficulty either. I was sick with the flu the week before Carter was born and that continued to linger for at least 2 weeks after. It was also very cold weather and therefore I was too worried to take Carter out. AND my little man Carter is an EATER! During his first month, and he even has occasional days like this now, he wanted to nurse every 1.5/2 hrs AND he nursed each time for an hour. So yes that means if I was nursing 6 of the 12 hours! That doesnt give much time to do anything else, let along catch up on my sleep deprivation ha! So, not every newborn is like this.. I know Griffin was not, but it can happen! On top of all that we have had car trouble and I have literally been stuck inside which made it seem like the walls were closing in! It seems that as soon as I get one diaper changed, the other one needs it to. AND if one is sleeping then of course the other is screaming crying. Sweet Griffin is going through the whiny stage and it as increased as he feels that he isnt getting enough attention.. and well Carter is a newborn and newborns cry, simple as that! Being a mom involves sacrifice. Being a mom of 2 involves even more sacrifice. I have missed the days where I could just sit and stare at the baby all day long, like I did the first time. Or of course the old saying, "sleep when the baby sleeps," ha yea well I am lucky to get 1 full hour when they are both sleeping :) I also feel like at times I am cheating on Griffin or not loving him as much because I cant play with him like I used to or get him what he needs when he asks. I know this isnt true, but your mind just instantly goes there. For those who dont know me, but have somehow found your way to this blog, PLEASE know I'm in NO way complaining! I consider it my greatest blessing to be the mommy of my boys! I am however just very adament about being honest haha! And if you do know me, then I have probably been all to honest to you before so you understand. I am being transparent to hopefully set just one "mom of 2"s expectation correctly so you wont think you are going crazy like I did... I've started asking those questions to other moms now and always hear, "Yes I know exactly how you feel!" Oh and its okay to wonder, "What have I gotten myself into??" because God truly knows I did/do! And so maybe reading this you now know that you arent crazy for thinking the same thing! Either way.. I hope my honesty helps!! And if you are a husband, family member or friend of a mom... dont think she is crazy when she cries at the drop of a hat or doesnt seem herself. Being a mom is a full-time job and takes multi-tasking to a WHOLE new level! Do me a favor and let her get out of the house. Even if its just for an hour. Even if its just to walk around Target. I promise the moment of piece and quiet will do her good.... there is only so much crying you can hear before you just hear it constantly ringing in your ear :)


Mini Vacation to DC!

Ever just needed to get away? Even if its just for a day? Well our family thought so and we took the opportunity to visit my bestest friend from high school, Missy, who with her husband Clint moved to DC area a few months ago. We found out that the Braves were playing against the Nationals this weekend so we figured why not go?!? Griffin was too cute with "MISH!" This is the nickname I called her in high school and he overheard me call her that on the phone the day before so all I heard was, "Where is MISH?" Friday we took a trip to the mall and Griffin took Aunt Missy on the train ride.
Carter's idea of fun was sleeping on Mommy, while Griffin played The little brother

Uncle Clint enjoying Carter.. well until he started to cry ha!

And here are the Braves smallest fans all decked out for the game!

Sadly we got rained on HARD on the way into the stadium, it dried up long enough to play 3 innings and for us to eat and the POURED again. This was the only picture I was able to take the whole time we are there and it really does explain the game all to well. Stuck under shelter out of the rain, FREEZING and sad that we couldnt watch baseball :(

Oh well! We still enjoyed our visit with the Davis family! Thanks for having us... and our crazy family of FOUR. We joked with them and said they would probably delay having kids after our visit hahah :)