Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some Heart News

Maia had her first cardiologist appointment in a month yesterday. Kenny took her, now that Fridays are Daddy and Daughter day. There was a medical student who was shadowing Dr. Rivera, so we got a lot more detailed information this time around.

Blood flow from the heart is now at 37 ml per second. Last time it was anywhere from 20 to 31. So it is improving. Dr. Rivera says that once it gets up to about 60 ml per second she will consider doing the next valvuloplasty procedure (balloon catheter) to massage that stubborn pulmonary valve open some more. We definitely do not mind this! We were prepared to have her chest opened up that first week of life to work on her heart. If all the docs want to do is put a catheter in her femoral artery...we will take it!!!! Oh, by the way a regular child has anywhere from 90 to 120 ml of blood pumping out per second (just so you have a frame of reference). So she is about 1/4 to 1/3 that of a regular heart.

Her pulseox levels at the office was at a 94! This means that our readings at home of 97 are very realistic. 100 is where most people are. When she was discharged from the hospital in November her levels were anywhere from 70 to 80, so we are thrilled with this improvement. This means that for now we should not have to see the blue skin that so many "heart" parents have to witness day in and day out.

We also learned that another reason Maia is doing so well is that even though she has a very narrow hypoplastic right ventricle, it is the nornal length for her developmental stage! Thank you, Lord. This helps her heart to react better, even though it is so narrow. Remember many children born with this very rare HRHS condition have no right heart at all or very small everything on the right side.

Maia is officially 11lbs. 10oz. as of yesterday. She is gaining weight like a trooper. Just right and the doctor is very impressed. It is usually very hard for "heart" babies to gain weight. Eating tires the out from the exertion it puts on the heart, I assume. She is now officially out of all her NewBorn clothing. We regorganized all her drawers to today with 0 to 3 month clothing. It was neat to see the new little outfits she will get to wear from our caring family and friends, but at the same time I felt like she hardly got to wear some of the newborn clothing. Oh well! I am just so glad she is growing and thriving. Again, thank you, Lord!

Maia turned officially 3 months on Thursday. We are so appreciative of this time we have had with her, especially since most of that three months have been at home. We have so many friends that we have made through this ordeal whose sons or daughters have had to fight it out at the hospital and the parents' days are spent in limbo waiting and praying. Again...we very appreciative.

However, before the cardiology appointment yesterday, I think that Kenny and I were almost waiting for the other shoe to drop. We have had so many blows this year to our entire family and Maia has been doing so well that it was almost like it was "too well". I don't know if you know what I mean or not. This cardiology appointment was very reassuring to us. Like my mom told me this morning after I told her these thoughts. "We have had enough shoes falling in this family. It is time for all of us to put our shoes on and keep them on!" Thank you, Mom! I agree!

Like I said, I talked to my mom today. She is doing okay. The chemo symptoms have been very minimal this time around and we thank our friends that have been lifting her up this week. However, she had to have "nulasta" shot on Thursday. This is an antibiotic that has been keeping her whiteblood cell count high. She can fight off disease and illness better with this shot, but everytime she has it her glands in her neck swell and she gets pain from her neck all the way into her arms. Well, it happened again. Yesterday was a blur to her. She tried to catch up on Netflix movies that she had been meaning to watch. She can hardly move her right arm today.
Again, keep her in your prayers. We love you, Mom!!!

She also filled me in on what is happening in the region due to the ice storms. There are 700,000 people in the region that are still without power. Many people have bought generators but have never used them before and didn't read all the precautions. There have many families that have died because they hooked them up in the attached garages and everyone was poisoned by carbon monoxide. How awful and sad! There are whole neighborhoods where no one has gone in or out yet and they don't know if people are alive. They might not have water due to the pipes freezing on top of all of this.

Our family appears to be okay. If they don't have power they are taking shelter with friends or extended family.

Right now schools are going to have to make-up days almost till the end of July. This is pretty extreme since in that region of the U.S. they get out by May 31st at the latest most years. The public school system is petitioning the government to allow them to waive these days so that families can have some summer. We shall see.

We have not heard much from Micah and Gina the past few days. I will have to catch you up on Kaya's status on another post.

Again, we are so grateful to our Lord for how he is using our lives for His Glory. May we be his vessels and instruments in spreading his love and truth. A friend of mine, a heart mom too, posted this at the end of her blog this week and I like it so much that I am stealing from her.

May I be the kind of woman who wakes up in the morning and the devil exclaims. "Oh CRAP! She's up!" Lord make me that kind of woman!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Wonderland or Deathtrap?

My family in Kentucky have been experiencing some amazing weather this week. Last fall they experienced the strong forces of a hurricane from the gulf hundreds of miles away and now they had a snow and ice storm that came in on Tuesday and Wednesday has knocked out power to over 100,000 residents in KY alone.

My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and Kenny's parents were all affected. My mom and dad miraculously got their power back on as of yesterday morning, but they are the only ones so far.
This is quite an answer to prayer since my mom had her chemo treatment this past Tuesday and is really starting to feel the affects and needs to be a warm, comfortable place while she recuperating from treatment. Thank you God!
Becky, my sister-in-law, has gas heated water and a gas fireplace in their livingroom. Her daughters are staying with friends that have heat, while Chris and her hunker down at home in the dark at night. I am not sure about Joel's family, but Kenny's parents do not have any heat and stay bundled up under the covers in the dark at night in their small apartment. Oh! And out of the 72 people in Becky's office at Humana only 3 of those have power at all!

LG&E, the electric company, is predicting that it could be up to 10 days before power is restored to all residents and now the regional meteorologists are predicting 10 inches of snow this coming Monday! Oh My!
I am also so grateful that my sister-in-law, Meaghan, and my two nephews just moved to California. We miss them so much, but it is nice not to have to worry about if they have heat or not.

Please be in prayer not only for my family but all the residents that have been affected by this powerful storm and maybe the one to come. May they be protected. Pray for the homeless who don't have shelter at all.
Schools at this point have nine days to make-up between this week and the week of the hurricane. Who knows if they are going to have Spring Break?

Becky sent me pictures via an email today. They posted below. Beautiful but Deadly!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Becky!

January 27, 2009

Kenny, Trina, Gideon, and Maia wish their sister and aunt

a wonderful birthday!

Hope it is (was) a good one!

We Love You, Aunt Becky!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Introducing Kaya Francine Gerdis

Kaya Francine Gerdis
Parents: Micah Gerdis and Gina Clements
Big Sister: Julia
Born: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Time: 10:23 p.m.
Weight: 6 lbs 15 oz
Length 20.5 inches long
Apgars were 9 and 9!

Kaya (pronounced Ki - uh, rhymes perfectly with Maia) came into this world a beautiful young lady with a head full of dark hair with blonde-tips.
She has everyone that sees her wrapped around her little finger already!

Keep Kaya, Micah, and Gina in your prayers as they transition into their new life together.
Kaya will be in the hospital for a while longer with some other medical issues. Pray for health for this little one!
Micah and Gina need prayers for financial blessings and a new home to stay in.
God is a God of miracles and we pray that the Lord shall provide mightily for them!

We love you, Kaya! Happy Birthday, Little One!
We love you Micah and Gina, Daddy and Mommy!
We love you, Julia, the Big Sis!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Much Delayed Photo Montage

Okay. These photos are much delayed and they are chronological in reverse order for the most part. Hope you enjoy Christmas photos and the Grandparent visit photos. We had such a wonderful Christmas holiday and one in retrospect that we weren't sure we were going to have the opportunity to celebrate the way we did. We are in such awe of how God has worked in Maia's life and in ours this year and we have much to be thankful for! I look at these happy photos and stand back in pure amazement of our Lord!

The grandkids and their Grams and Papa

Grandma Judy doting on her granddaughter just one more time.

Call me Rico Sauve! Don't hate me because I am handsome. Muhahaha!

Okay this is just so much fun!

I really love this painting set! Thanks Uncle Joel and Aunt Toby!

Both girls looking very content!

Well! Hello "dare"!

We love each other so much!

Taking a five. Try talking to me a little later,...Okay?

Usually a daily occurence at the Sutherland household. He's so darn cute even when he is being punished!

Our Papa probably facebooking. What's your status?

How Cute! Thanks Uncle Joel and Aunt Toby!

Wow! Too cool! And what is funny is that it only drives backwards. But Grams convinced Gideon that this Spiderman toy is "extra special" because of that! Hee hee! I love my caniving, mother!

It is a "must" that you stick out your tongue while balancing on roller skates! Didn't you know that?
My green guitar! It had to be green! I can't wait to sing and play worship songs with Uncle Joel and Uncle Micah when I come for a visit.

The first "look" as he walks out and sees the toys around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning! "Oh my!," he said.

The view that he "Oh My-ed"

Our good friend, Valjon. What a sweet dear lady and another auntie to our Maia and Gideon.

Clop, clop, clop went the donkey's feet
Clop, clop, clop down the stony street
Nod, Nod, nod went Mary's head
She was so tired she needed a bed.
Knock, Knock, Knock went Joseph at the door
Is there room for just one more?
No, no, no the innkeeper said.
Hmmm, wait, you could use my stable for a bed
Shh, shh, shh what is that I hear?
Waa, Waa, baby Jesus, so dear.

Our little Shepherd Boy.

Ah, Mom! Another Picture?!

Definitely a "look". That is a "look" for sure! :)

Resting! Snug and Warm.

Maia's Baby Dedication Ceremony

Her baby dedication dress! Too precious! The Reeds gave Maia this gorgeous ensemble! What a perfect dress for a perfect day!
Well, it is Kenny's birthday today. He is celebrating 34 years on this earth. Thank you, Lord for blessing our family with Kenny! He is such a wonderful husband, father, brother, and son! We are so encouraged to have an amazing person as him. May he have a great new year of life that continues to glorify the Lord with every breath. May he walk in God's steps each new moment.
May he find joy and peace with each new day! We love you, Kenny!
Kenny might have to share this birthday with a new family member. They think Gina is going to have this little girl today. I will keep everyone posted as soon as I hear more!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Apologies

Hello All!

I want to apologize to you. Many people have been inquiring and wondering why I have posted anything in a while, especially since my mom and dad came to visit us for Christmas last week. One reason is that I am not sure where my cord to upload my pictures of that precious time is and I am a very visual person and to me a blog without pictures is pretty boring. So is it really worth it? Of course it is! But the other reason is that while I was with my parents last week I didn't want to take time away from just relishing in their presence and this week I started back to my teaching position at Calvary and therefore was extremely busy over the weekend and the beginning of this week to even think about posting the happenings of the Sutherland family.

So you may wonder why I have time all of a sudden on Wednesday morning and that is a good question. Well, it so happens that my lovely daughter gets up for her 4 a.m. feeding and by the time she is done it is about a quarter till 5 and I normally get up at 5:45 a.m. to get ready for the day anyway. I tried going back to sleep yesterday and did, but when I got up an hour later it felt like a Mack truck had slammed into me. I was thoroughly exhausted, so since I feel pretty good and decent after Maia's feeding I have decided that I should probably just go with it and stay up for the day. I might need to rearrange my schedule at night time to compensate, but this definitely gives me more time to start my day off right with devotions and then maybe some extra time to prep for school and of course the most important duty...Blog. Hee hee

My time with my parents was wonderful. They got in at noontime the Saturday after Christmas, taking their time on the way up to stop and rest at a hotel the night before. They stayed until the next Friday, the day of New Year's. We had a great time of just fellowshipping and being with each other. I was trying to prepare emotionally for seeing my mom without any hair in person. I had seen the picture, but I wasn't sure how I was going to react to seeing her right in front of me in all her "chemo reality". When she arrived she had the cutest chique wig on, but later that night she got all comfy and took off the wig. You know what? It was great! She really is really cute with no hair. I might need to convince her to "Sinead" it after the chemo is done. She really has a good complementary noggin to her face. LOL Of course, Gideon had to try on the wig and he looked like a Rock Star. He got out his green guitar he got for Christmas and gave us a little rock concert in the livingroom with his new hair doo (sp?). It was too funny. We were all cracking up.

I have gotten some really cute photos of the grandkids with their Papa and Grams (as she is now officially called after this visit). I am not sure how that one started. I'll have to ask Kenny when he gets up in a little bit.

Papa, while he was up in this neck of the woods, decided to travel on Tuesday up to his side of the family in Berlin, Connecticut. It is ony a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive on a good day if the traffic isn't horrendous around NYC area. He visited with family and of course his real intent was to get in the UCONN girls' basketball game on Wednesday. He rang in the New Year up in Connecticut and came back on Thursday morning. It was good to see him back. I am glad he got that opportunity and I know he felt like they were imposing since we live in a two bedroom apartment, but I was very glad he was back and enviously wished he hadn't gone up to CT in the first place. I relished every moment I had with my parents, knowing it might be a while before we get to see them again.

I hope my mom didn't think I was slacking on my motherly duties while she was here. I don't think that was the case, but I just wanted her to have every opportunity she could get to hold, cuddle, and give tenderloving care to her new granddaughter. When family is visiting from KY, I know that they only have a little time to be with my family and I don't mind if they monopolize my kids. I love being with my kids and some mothers might find it hard to give up holding and even feeding their little one for long periods of the daytime, but I absolutely loved watching my mom and dad holding Maia and showering her with kisses and hugs.

I am going to wrap up now, because I actually do need to get ready for the day. School this week has been much better than I thought it was going to be. Thanks go out to those who have been lifting me up, knowing that I was going to face this tough transition this week. I have felt the Lord giving me His peace and joy during these past few days. I am already anticipating different learning experiences I can shower on my students for the new year and I am truly excited to be here. I'll write more later about Maia's doctor's appointments as of late and other Sutherland happenings. Maybe I'll even get to it tomorrow morning at 4:30 a.m.! Yikes!

Love You All!

Oh! And by the way...if there are typos in this posting I am purposely not going to spend time correcting my errors. Too early and so little time! Hee hee . Take Care!