Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brody {Six Years Later}

Six years ago today was without a doubt the scariest day of my life.

We were asked that evening to leave the NICU so that the doctors could work on Brody. Our wing of the NICU was blocked off and Brody’s isolette  was surrounded by partitions. His "23 weeker" lungs were failing and his brain was swelling and hemorrhaging more each and day causing numerous issues and leaving him hanging onto his life by a thread.

Completely overwhelmed and still trying to take in everything that had happened the last few days I remember my OB taking my hand and telling me "these next 12 hours will make or break Brody. Right now you need to pray."

It was a Wednesday night and our church stopped service, joined hands and Baxter lead the congregation in prayer for our Brody.

Brody had the doctors “backed into a corner with nothing else they could do…” His last hope was a gas called Nitric Oxide and thankfully, Brody made a turn for the better and responded well to the treatment. I remember the neonatologist coming to Bret and saying "I don't know what you’re doing, but keep doing it".

Brody showed us all that day just how tough a teeny tiny premature baby could be.

Although it wasn't all uphill from that day forward I knew my Brody wasn't going to give up without a fight. My heart ached as I watched him each day struggle. I watched his body swell and his tiny hands clinch tighter as the pressure on his brain worsened and I watched more and more machines surround him as the days passed. I watched as his tiny body was poked and prodded with multiple IVs, chest tubs, broviacs, tubes and monitors. with.  As badly as I wanted to hold him to speak to him to love on him, I was also terrified to over-stimulate him and make things worse. There were times all I could do was crack the window of his incubator and softly encourage him to hang on. So many tears I wiped off of his bed as I prayed and begged him to stay strong.

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Six years later… look at my boy now…

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All parents are proud but I’m certain you don’t get any more proud of your child than I am of my Brody. I am so thankful to God that he is allowing Bret and I to raise this pint size, country music lovin’, southern accent talkin’, blonde haired, blue eyed boy.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27 NIV

 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin!

Six years ago today, nearly 3 months before their due date, Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin were born and began the fight of their lives. A day of happiness, a day of fear, a day of guilt and a day of thankfulness all in one.

Brody Coleman 6:14pm 3lbs 15in

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Baxlyn Hope 6:15pm 2lbs 10oz 15in.

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Kylee Mae 6:15pm 2lbs 7oz 14 1/2in.

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Korbin Lee 6:16pm 2lbs 11oz 14in.

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Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin… Six years, SIX YEARS! I can’t believe it’s been that long yet I remember the day like it was yesterday. From the disgusting meatloaf I ordered for lunch, the moment Dr. Leveno said today was the day, the crowds of people surrounding me in delivery, hearing a couple of you make a tiny whimper as you tried to clear your tiny lungs and seeing your tiny, red bodies for the first time…. moments I’ll never forget.

Your Daddy and I are so incredible proud of you and have enjoyed watching you all grow and thrive since your rough beginning. We are so thankful to God that He chose us to be your Mommy & Daddy. Happy 6th Birthday, our sweet babies. We love you more than you’ll ever know!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kylee: 2 Months Post-Op!

Our sweet girl had another follow up today with Dr. Mayfield! For those of you who missed her 4 weeks post op post which included some amazing before and after pictures, click here! She had a major case of the giggles today with Dr. Mayfield…

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Her incisions are looking great and are healing nicely. She’s been cast free for a month and boot free for about 2 weeks now.

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Kylee has resumed her twice weekly physical therapy and her WONDERFUL therapist is doing a great job at helping Kylee adjust to her “new foot”. Having nearly never put weight through her heal or walked in what’s considered a “natural” position, it’s taking some getting used to. We’re currently working on major stretching and walking heel to toe, especially on that left leg/foot. Kylee was also released to participate in PE and recess again at school – yay! For now, she doesn’t have to be fitted for a new brace, which is also great news for her! She’s THOROUGHLY enjoying being able to wear her cute boots which she was never able to do wearing a brace!

We’ll go back in two months for her next check up and update then!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quad Quotes: Marriage.

Everyone knows the old saying “Out of the mouths of babes”. Having four five year olds, you can imagine I hear my fair share of ridiculously cute things on a daily basis. I love hearing what comes out of their mouths (most of the time!) and watching how they comprehend the many different things they’re learning. I’ve been horrible at stopping and writing down the cute things they’ve said as they’ve grown but this one, I wanted to record and share.

Last night on the way home:

 Me: Do any of ya’ll think you’ll get married one day?

Baxlyn: No. Some people don’t wash their lips.

Me: You can marry someone you fall in love with.

Baxlyn: I already fallded in love wit you, Mom, but you’re already married.

Korbin: I’m gonna marry Baxlyn.

Me: Well, you can’t marry anyone in your family.

Korbin: Whatever, Mom. I’m gonna marry B.

Brody: YALL… You just look at their hand. If they ain’t got a ring, you can marry them.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cast-free Kylee! {4 weeks post SPOTT surgery}

Our Kylee is now cast free! She ended up being able to get it off 1-2 weeks early than we had anticipated – yay! I have to take a moment to brag on this little girl. She has made this entire process seem like a piece of CAKE. Seriously, she is such a brave, tough little girl and continues to amaze me as she grows!

I mentioned a while back that she happily starting crawling the day we brought her home from the hospital after surgery as it was much easier than being wheelchair bound. It was within 2 weeks she started applying pressure and walking on her left foot. Took us all (including her doctor) by surprise but she insisted she was fine and her doctor gave the OK as long as she tolerated it. Because of her smooth sailing recovery, Dr. Mayfield decided to take the cast off a bit earlier than planned.  You’ll notice her cast is no longer neon yellow and she is sporting the caution orange color here. Somehow she (ahem…Daddy) got her cast wet during one of her baths so had to have it re-casted which is where the orange came in. Bret and I took her this week to have it removed for good! She walked right in there like she owned the place and was happy to get the show on the road…

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Below are pictures of her incisions… if you don’t handle stitches, incisions and a little dried blood very well, here is your warning to leave and come check the next blog post….

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Dr. Mayfield did a total of 5 incisions. Here are the first three on the inside of her foot. He started at the bottom, took a teeny tiny tendon, sliced it in half (length ways) and then proceeded to transfer it up and around the back of her leg using other incisions to help guide the tendon to the desired spot on the other side of her foot. The pink arrow is the incision where he did a gastroc release to help with her tone issues.

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Here is the outside of her foot. You can see the tendon was brought around the back of her leg and again “weaved” under the skin where it was attached to the spot that the middle arrow is pointing to. You can see where the outside of her foot is calloused from walking on on it for so long. Her doc is confident over time and walking in a more natural position that it will all heal itself.

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Kylee is now wearing a boot to help protect her foot a little longer. We’re unsure yet as to if she will go from this into a regular shoe or if she will still need to have extra support from an SMO (brace) of some sort, like she wore prior to surgery. She will go back to Cooks in 4 weeks to check her progress and to discuss the next step. Obviously we would love for her to FINALLY be brace-free but understand there may be a few more hurdles to jump before we reach that point, and that’s ok!

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Now… some before and after pictures! Here’s a pretty typical picture of Kylee’s foot before surgery. This one was taken in October.

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This one was taken at the hotel the night before her surgery. While we could physically manipulate her foot to (somewhat) point it forward, it always went back to this position. Walking, running, standing still, with a brace, without a brace, with or without wearing shoes THIS is what she dealt with 24/7. Although she has never seemed to mind, it was painful to watch and unfortunately, it was only getting worse as the months passed.

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Ready for this?! Kylee’s foot as of yesterday…

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Seriously. Look at how freaking great she looks! This is NO manipulation at all and is all her. Although she is walking well in her boot, she’s still very hesitant to walking barefoot. The first time she stood without her boot she cried and sat back down immediately. I’m not sure how much of it is pain and how much is just that weird sensation of not having your foot being held in one position because of the cast. Dr. Mayfield said we can expect it to be tender and sore as things loosen up again. I’m very anxious to see once she does start walking on it how everything looks but for now, Bret and I are so please and even more so thankful we have amazing doctors that help our babies thrive!

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Here are a couple of shots from the back BEFORE surgery. This is a good representation of the best position we could get her foot into before..

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…and a look from the back post-surgery!

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There have been several times over the past few weeks, while in her cast, that we notice her leg/foot still turned inward. Her neurologist and surgeon are keeping an eye on the rest of Kylee’s left leg. We’ve had several doctors think she has a mild case of tibial torsion (where the tibia twists abnormally) going on while others don’t think it’s an issue. One thing that is certain is that kids with hemiplegia cerebral palsy are at a very high risk for abnormal bone development on their affected side. We’ve been told over time, there’s a good chance Kylee could develop other issues further up her leg that we may need to address. All of that, of course, depends on her growth and the results we see from this surgery. While it seems obvious her foot will be MUCH better from here on out, what we don’t know is how much of that twisting was her actual leg and not just her foot.

Before we left Dr. Mayfield’s office she let him know she was “ready for him to fix her left hand”. Bless her heart. Makes me sad but also happy at the same time knowing she feels that safe with him! He explained to her that he doesn’t work on kids’ hands but his very good friend did and that as soon as we finish up her foot, he would be happy to introduce her to Dr. Sherman. One thing at a time, baby girl!

Thank you all for your support through this surgery (and the others we just had!). We greatly appreciate all of the prayers, the cards, the meals and the extra help with the kiddos. Bret and I are so so blessed to have so many people who care and who back us through whatever is thrown our way!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent Activity #2 {Jesus Is Love}

We did two activities from our new Advent Calendar this week. Our first lesson was “Jesus Is Love”. We read scripture that told about Jesus’ love and that he commands us to love each other. It wasn’t just a good lesson for the quads’ but a good one I could be reminded of every once in a while.

John 15:12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

John 15:17 This is my command: Love each other.

We talked about how easy it is to love those who show us love, how it’s easy to love those who we consider loveable, nice, kind and “deserving” of love. What about the people who are hard to love? The kid at school who doesn’t always act or talk nice? Perhaps your sibling when they make a bad decision in someway that hurts you? Honestly, some days it’s hard to show love towards difficult people or in difficult situations. Jesus tells us plain and simple… “Love each other”. Period. No if’s, no stipulations.

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The activity that went along with the lesson was to write a “Love Letter” to someone special. After discussing different ways we can show love to those around us, each of the quads’ picked ONE person to write a letter of love to. A simple message that would show Jesus’ love and hopefully brighten the day of each recipient. Being “big” kindergarteners, Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin were excited to get to write the letters themselves and practice sounding out their words as they did their best to spell what they wanted to say!

Between the four writers and one busy Blade, I somehow only managed to get pictures of Brody & Baxlyn during the activity… boo. Here’s Broman working to hard addressing the envelope being dropping it in the mail…

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Here’s a shot of Kylee’s finished product. She kept her letter of love short and sweet. I love how their confidence is building as they start to try to spell words themselves. So so precious! Her letter translates “U R Beautiful” accompanied by a heart…

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Miss Baxlyn on the other hand could sit and write/color/draw all.day.long. While I’ll keep who her recipient was anonymous, I can tell you she POURED every thought she had into her letter, filling up the page both front and back. This little girl’s heart and kind spirit is simply amazing and makes me so proud. I can only hope the recipient of her letter can feel the love she put into it!

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Their finished letters, addressed and ready to be delivered! Who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones that received (will be receiving) one of these ;)

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Calendar Fun! {Jesus Is Awesome}

I helped host a Shopping Night last month for our local Moms of Multiples group. One of our vendors made these AWESOME Advent calendars and I knew I had to have one the moment I saw them. We’ve always had Advent calendars of some kind whether it be opening little boxes to see what’s inside each day or a simple move-the-marker-to-the-next-date on the Christmas decoration that is hung on the wall but this, this was so unique! There are 30 (I believe) lesson cards to chose from and each lesson highlights a specific attribute of Jesus (Jesus Loved His Neighbors, Jesus Was Obedient, Jesus Cares For You…etc.). Each card has several Bible verses on it that corresponds with the lesson along with kid-friendly discussion questions followed by an easy, low or no cost activity that ties back to the lesson’s theme!

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Although there are plenty of cards to do a lesson and activity every day of the month, that just ain’t happening at our house ;) My goal, this year at least, is to do at least one a week. Our first lesson was “Jesus Is Awesome”.

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The babes were so excited about the new calendar! We gathered together in the living room, spent a few short minutes reading our verses and answering the given questions and moved on to the activity for the day. In this particular lesson we read several verses in the Bible about how awesome Jesus is. We then discussed awesome, wonderful, beautiful things we’ve seen and why they amaze us. Our activity for this lesson was homemade snow-globes!

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The back of the lesson card listed all the supplies we needed (which I just happened to have at home already!) as well as the directions for making our globes!

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We gathered our jars, glitter, glue gun and small figurines we found around the house and each kid choose which they wanted…

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Korbin was the only one who wanted his snow-globe to be Christmas themed. He found a wooden Christmas-looking tree from their train set to use. We simply hot glued the figurine to the inside of the jar’s lid, filled the jar with water, added a few pinches of glitter, screwed the lid on really tight and gave them a shake! It was as simple as that and they turned out super cute!

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Brody chose this little army man. We had to chop his legs off in order for him to fit into the jar, but it worked ;)

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Our finished products…

Brody

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Baxlyn

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Korbin

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Kylee

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Blade (Elmo, but of course!)

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It’s been several days since we made our snow-globes and they’ve held up well. I was afraid the kids would try to unscrew the lids (because that’s what anyone’s kids would do, right?!) so at first I attempted to add glue to the lids and then screw them on really fast so they’d be stuck for good. Yeah, don’t do that. It was a mess and I couldn’t get the lid to seal at all. I just tightened them really well and, luckily, the kids haven’t messed with them.

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If you’re interested in having one of these awesome advent calendars for yourself (or a loved one!), check out Laura's Etsy shop by clicking here! If you feel it’s too late to order one for the holiday season, order one anyways! The calendars can actually be used year round. The large card that reads “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room” can be replaced with this one…

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The lesson card clip can hold a family photo throughout the year until you start the lesson cards again! The black area at the top right is a little chalkboard so you can write whatever you wish. LOVE!

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We’ll share our next Advent Adventure soon!

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