I donned my wrist watch for the first time today in 18 days. The thing is so aggravating to take on and off for all of those hand to elbow washings that I had chosen to just put the thing away until I needed it again. You see, time here has also been relatively insignificant. There are no windows in the little ICN room where Katie is, and hence no way to tell night from day. The rapid transit tunnel from the Hospital to the parking deck is under ground, so it is entirely possible to enter and exit the hospital without seeing the light of day once you enter the parking deck. The only schedule that we have been trying to keep is our time with Michael in the morning and the evening during the shift changes at the hospital.Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:For Beth and I, time here on earth has become a dazed and confused compilation of events rather than days. They seem to run together. Honestly had it not been for these never ending e-mails to look back upon, we may have never really been able to sort everything out. However we have always known that we are on the Lords time. We have faith that just as our yearly seasons come and go, so shall this “season” of our lives. Soon the cold hard ground of this great event will begin to thaw, and bring forth the fruits of normal parenthood. We know that this time has been and will be of some benefit to someone somewhere. We are thankful for this “time.”As a school teacher, as most of you reading this will understand, my normal day is rigidly regulated by a cursed clock and associated bells. I needed my watch today because I returned to work. Time is of the utmost importance in a classroom. This was a welcome distraction from “living” in a hospital. After so many days here, our little caravan decided we needed a day to go home and re-fit, re-supply, re-group, re-pack, and re-turn. I also took Michael back to day care in order for him to get a little socialization with children of his own age.At present the plan is for me to go back to work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I also plan to take Michael with me and have him a daycare in order to help begin putting some familiar structure back into his life. He has been such a trooper, and had really done well during this family crisis. Beth and Joan plan to remain at Parker’s house for the foreseeable future, to be near Katie. I will be there on the off days and weekends, as will Michael.I really enjoyed my return to work today! Soooooooo many of my coworkers came up with tearful eyes and loving hugs! It is great to work in such a place where such freedom of emotion can be exhibited. Those of you new to our faculty may not fully understand just how tight knit we are. If you hang around a while though, you will! I look forward to visiting with those of you that I did not get to see today, perhaps later this week!Katie has had a spectacular day. She has had her nasal canula removed and is breathing room air. Her oxygen saturation levels are running 97% + most of the time. Her PICC line was removed and she no longer has any “internal” plumbing except for the naso-gastric tube. She still sports those ever so important electrodes for measuring various bodily functions, but they are not intrusive.In our absence for most of the day, my mom and dad, John and Irene, came and spoiled the mess out of Katie. All she wants to do now is to be held, rocked, and sung to. Wait a minute…..she may have been spoiling them.When Beth and I got back this afternoon Katie was just about to get her periodic assessment by the nurse. She is showing less and less signs of the withdrawal symptoms, and more and more signs of hunger. She has gained a little weight and now weighs 7 lbs 8 ounces. Only 8 more ounces and we’ll be back to birth weight.Katie still is not cooperating with the oral feedings. This is the last great hurdle that we expect she will have to clear before being moved out of intensive care and into a transitional unit. Since she is a Cole, after all, eating should come quite natural. If only Michael could get into the ICN he could surely show her how to get some grubbing done! We are confident that since the Lord has handled everything else, He too will handle this in His own time.Another verse that I enjoy concerning time is Psalm 62:8. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” We have done just that. When I say “we,” I am including you. So many prayers from so many prayer groups, congregations, and individuals that have been poured out must have had Heaven reverberating like thunder. They have been and continue to be heard by the Master, the source of our refuge. Thank you, and keep them coming.
We are Andy, Beth, Michael, and Katie Cole. We started blogging in the spring of 2009 as we dealt with the life-threatening birth defect of our daughter, who had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. But now she is now a happy and healthy one year old and we want to share more of our life than just "Katie's Story." We emerged from this most difficult time with a stronger marriage, a stronger family, and a stronger faith. Please join us as we live our thankful life!
A congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH, is a birth defect that occurs in approximately 1 in 2500 live births. Half of those babies will NOT survive. Babies with CDH have a diaphram that was not formed correctly and this hole allows the abdominal structures such as the liver, spleen, and intestines to migrate up into the chest cavity. Because this usually happens so early in gestation (usually at 8-12 weeks), it interferes with the normal growth of the heart and lungs. Most of the time the lung on the affected side ends up being only a fraction of a normal sized lung at birth. This doesn't usually cause problems until the baby is born when they need those lungs to breath air for the first time! At birth, this is a life-threatening emergency that will require surgery to repair as soon as the baby is stable enough. Following surgery, there is most often a long, slooooowww recovery process.