Dear Lord, I am thankful to you for all things in my life, the many blessings, trials, and triumphs. As I reflect on these things, I want to give you all the credit. Thank you so much for my family. You have allowed me to know and feel the love of my wonderful grandparents Mac & Margie McDuffie, Madeline Stanley, and Elizabeth Harmon. They are invaluable resources for the wealth of knowledge and experience they have and share with me. Thank you Lord for their lives, so that my children can know them as well. Thank you for my parents, Joan & Bennie Harmon, and Andy’s Parents, John & Irene Cole. They have always been supportive of their children, but never before has so much been asked of them. They have been willing to drop everything at a moment’s notice to help when we call (and boy, have we had to call!) Thank you especially for my mother, who put her life on hold for us this year. First by moving in with us at Parker’s house to care for our son while we were going back and forth to the hospital, then by using her time and energy to care for our daughter who could not go to daycare. We could not have made it through the last eight months without her! Lord, thank you for our brothers and sisters, and their spouses. Nora, Bobby, JP, Denise, LeMai, Frankie, Brian, Christy, Keith, Kelly, and Steve: you have done so much for us; your visits, prayers, babysitting, money, and food help to sustain us during the most difficult time in our lives. We have truly felt your love and support. I thank you most of all Lord for my husband and two children. Andy is my whole world, and has been for the last 13 years. Thank you for the love in our marriage. Thank you for putting us together, and leading our household, and allowing us to care for Michael and Katie. Lord thank you for all of our great friends who have been with us in good times and bad, sharing our laughter and our tears. While I am not glad there is a condition called CDH or that you chose our daughter to have it, I am appreciative to you Lord for the experience and outcome that we have had with it. Katie’s CDH has changed our lives. We will never be the same carefree, oblivious people we once were. But Lord, I thank you for that. I don’t want to be that person anymore, because now I recognize our blessings and value our lives more deeply. Through Katie’s condition, you have allowed us to meet some of the most wonderful people. I thank you for Parker Singletary. Her life inspired her parents Jessica and Ashley to create a wonderful foundation in her memory that helps families like ours every day. We could never repay them for their support while we were in the hospital. I thank you for the Myers family, the Vierigs, and the Ashworths, who we have met through this shared experience. I thank you for giving all of the doctors and nurses at Duke the knowledge and skill to treat Katie and save her life. I know that you were there guiding their hands. Thank you Lord for our church. Not only have you provided us a place of worship, but an extended family whose prayers and support have been unceasing. I thank you Lord for the understanding and the support of our co-workers. Both Andy and I have had to rely on others to complete our tasks and do our jobs in our absence. We both work with wonderfully supportive schools that have provided us with so much encouragement. Lord, this day and every day I want to continue to thank you. I appreciate my life and every aspect of it, whether it be a high point or low, you have been with me, guiding me every step of the way. This is definitely not a comprhensive thank you note Lord, but just some things that were on my heart this morning. THANK YOU!
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.