Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I was listening to a song this morning on the way to the hospital. It said "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." It got me thinking and emotional. I believe God answers ALL prayers, maybe not how we would like it to be answered, but He does answer them! I know that while pregnant I prayed for a healthy child...We got Gavin with many health issues, but I know that he is one of the greatest gifts I've been given and I thank God for him! I think Gavin is in our lives for a very special reason! He has brought so much to so many already! We are all struggling with this, but God has a plan for Gavin, You and Me. I am honored that God has given us this opportunity to become more focused on Him. He is using this situation to do good and I continue to trust in His plan!

Also, so many of you have said things to me such as, "You are so strong, incredible, a wonderful mother, etc." While I do appreciate this and it makes me feel good, I know it is only through the grace of God that I am surviving this! I am amazed at the peace I feel and know it comes from Him! Thankfully I know this or I might be getting quite a Big head with all your thoughtful comments! They do help brighten my day! God is using you to keep our family strong and at peace! Thankyou!

Gavin is having a peaceful day and just hanging out. They are trying to keep him at a good level of sedation so that he feels free from pain and anxiety(especially with the vent tube down his throat.) We are still waiting to hear from Dr. Bove on whether or not additional work on his mitral valve is an option. I'll let you know when I find out.

Have a great day! I'm doing much better and am at peace with the situation.

Love, Alicia

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Well, you will be glad to know I am swimming again(although only treading, still swimming.) Thank God in your prayers tonight for our favorite nurse, Missy! She came and gave me a breath of fresh air when I didn't feel I could do it on my own! She listened, gave me more information and even said she'd give me some of Gavin's sedation medications if I end up needing them!(I asked!) So, I am feeling more at peace with the situation. There may be other options, such as medication, that could be attempted first if surgery isn't an option right now.

God always steps in when we need him! Today it was Missy, yesterday it was Nicole and everday it's you guys,who we know are praying for us and supporting us! We are so blessed!

Just wanted to let you know I'm feeling better! I'll be in touch later. THANKYOU!!!

Love, Alicia
Well, I officially feel like I'm sinking. I know that God has a plan and I continue to know He will get us through this, but I want to go home and have Gavin doing well! It has been a difficult couple of days. Yesterday I told you that there is a possibility of another surgery. I was praying that he would not need one then, but today that option sounds better than others that were given. So, today I am praying that surgery to repair the valve is an option. If the surgeon feels that this can't be done, then the only other option they see is to give him a tracheotomy and to be on a vent at home until surgery is an option or other problems he has(lungs,etc.)clear up. We won't really know more until the cardiologist can talk with Dr. Bove tonight. He is out of town today. Please pray that surgery can be done and that the valve can be repaired enough to get Gavin off the ventilator and home again!

Gavin is doing well today. They are just trying to keep him comfortable until they have more information.

I'm sorry to bring you down, but these are the facts. I know God will bring us all through and it will make us stronger and more reliant on Him. He is in control and knows best!

Thankyou for your continued prayers and support! Hopefully I'll have better news tomorrow.

Love, Alicia

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gavin really must like it here! Today he hasn't had the best day. Poor little guy! He gained a lot of fluid in his lungs and is having a harder time breathing, so they had to up his vent settings and his sedation meds. He had us a little scared this morning. But, he is doing fine now. They have been taking him off his dieuretics, which keeps fluid off him, and then he has these episodes every week. They have decided to keep him on them and hopefully this won't keep happening.

They also did an echocardiogram to see if the leak in his valve has gotten worse. They didn't think it was much different, but are taking the findings to the surgeon to see if further tightening of the valve would be good. So, another surgery may be needed. We'll just have to wait and pray!

So, needless to say it has been a discouraging day, but thankfully our great friend, Nicole/"aunt" Nicole, is here to support me today! I would probably be sobbing on the nurse's shoulders otherwise.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support! We really appreciate you all! We know God will sustain us through this time and that He is using you to help!

Love, Alicia
The gang is all here! Gavin and I are enjoying our visit from Joel, "the boys", Grandma D., Aunt Jill and Uncle Mike! Gavin is especially enjoying his big brother Caleb's visit. They were "playing" pirates together with sound effects and all!

Gavin is doing very well today. He is down quite a bit on the ventilator and they even did one practice run without any breaths from the ventilator. They said he did well, but will most likely be on the vent until Monday or Tuesday. They are starting him on a medicine (a vasodialator) to help lower the pressures through his pulmonary artery. This should help get him breathing better on his own.

Thanks for your prayers! Have a great weekend!

Love, Alicia

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another good day for Gavin! He is just hangin' out and enjoying the company! He is doing well with his breathing and hopefully will be off the vent in the next couple of days.

The boys got to make picture frame artwork yesterday with a volunteer group that does activities with patients and their families. They decided to make them for Gavin, so now his room looks more festive!

The guys are taking off soon. We sure will miss them! It was a nice weekend with all our visitors!

Thanks again for all your love and prayers! God is so good! I pray you and your families are doing well and can't wait to see you again!

Love, Alicia

Friday, January 26, 2007

I have really been bothered by something since being here, they wouldn't let me cut Gavin's fingernails! I'm a little anal about this.(Just ask Jacob, Nolan and Caleb!) Anyway, I said something about this the other night to one of the nurses and she said I know we can't do it, but I'm pretty sure that we can't stop you, so Yeah!, I cut his nails and gave him a baby massage today! He really seemed to enjoy it, the massage part anyway! I feel much better too! I'm thankful for the small stuff I can do for him.

He just went in for a heart catheterization to measure the pressures in his heart and try to find out if this has to do with why they can't get him off the ventilator. They are also going to put in that new veinous line I was telling you about. Pray that everything goes well with this, there are risks, but usually minor.

I'm looking forward to a visit from Joel, the boys, my mom and Jill and Mike this weekend! It gets really lonely here, so I'm thankful for the fellowship they will bring!

Gavin is doing well today and sends his love!

Thankyou for your continued prayers and support! We are so blessed!

Love, Alicia and Gavin

Thursday, January 25, 2007

So, it is quite boring here, right? Well, Gavin made sure I had some excitement thrown into my day yesterday! He started getting agitated and not looking good, so I asked the nurse to check him out. She said he probably had a belly ache, but mom knew different. He started breathing fast over the vent and his coloring wasn't good, to make a long story short, after many attempts by me to get something done for him (2 hours later!), they finally got scared enough and reintubated him with a new ventilator tube. The old one had a huge leak and he wasn't getting enough oxygen or pressure from each breath. He did much better after that and is doing well today.

It will turn out to be at least a few day setback, but they assure me he will get off eventually. His lungs have to clear up and some of the sacs in the lungs have to reinflate due to the stress they had during yesterday's event.

So, back to waiting some more.....

He is showing the doctors that he has a mind of his own and that their "plans" are not his or God's. So, though quite discouraging for me, I know God's plan is best!

Thanks so much for the many cards that are being sent our way! The nurses say he is the most popular kid in here, he receives mail about every day! We appreciate all the love and support and feel very amazed, blessed and humbled by it all!

May God bless you all!

Love, Alicia and Family

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Well, Gavin must like it here. He was down far on his ventilator and they were ready to start practice runs, but he said No Way! He started needing more pressure and oxygen, so the steps forward have turned into steps backwards. They said they'll attempt again tomorrow. Sigh!

Please pray that they will be able to remove the ventilator by Friday, because if they aren't able to they are going to put in another veinous line, called a Pic line. They would have to put him under for this and would do a heart cath as well. One of his doctors thinks it should be done if it looks like he'll be here much longer, because the one he has in now has been in for quite awhile, which could lead to a blood infection and more time here!

They are still impressed that he is doing this well. I knew they thought he would have a rough time after surgery, but after talking to one of his cardiologists today I don't think we realized just how bad they thought he'd be doing. So, we are very thankful that things are going as well as they are.

Thankyou for your continued prayers! Pray for patience for us too! I do have comfort knowing that God has a plan for all of us and He will take care of us whatever that plan may be.

Love, Alicia and Family

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gavin is having a great day! He is still on the ventilator, but is making his way towards having it removed. It is only set at 12 breaths per minute, down from 20 yesterday, and he is breathing over it(not using it for breaths, just pressure). He may start having practice runs without it tonight or tomorrow. The nurse says she believes it will be Thursday when they remove it now. Good thing I didn't hold my breath! :)

He is also tolerating increased amounts of feedings. He looks good and very peaceful today! Must be partly due to having one of his favorite nurses, Missy, today! She's really nice, informative and cares for him very well!

Please continue to pray that Gavin will be taken off the vent this week and stay free from infections or problems! We are thankful for all your prayers and especially to the Lord who answers them all!

Love ya, Alicia

Gavin says Hi!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Well, Joel and the boys just left for home. I cried. But, it sure will be more peaceful! Joel will need lots of prayers this week! Me too, since I'll be missing them.

Gavin is doing great today. He is back to being fed again slowly through the NG tube. They are also continuing the weaning from the ventilator. Slow, but sure. There are no signs of infection from the cultures so far and no fever anymore. So that's very good!

So, hopefully they can remove the ventilator some time tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath, but I sure do want to hold the little guy!!!

We are so thankful and blessed to have God as Gavin's (and our) Great Physician! He has blessed us in giving Dr. Bove, other doctors and nurses the knowledge and skills that is getting Gavin better each and every day!

Your thoughts, words and prayers continue to get us through each day! We are so thankful! Being able to read your messages is such a comfort and high point in our day!

With love, Alicia, Gavin and Joel and Boys from home

Sunday, January 21, 2007

God and Gavin are reminding us that patience is a virtue!(Make that Jacob, Nolan and Caleb too! We forgot what busy fellows they are after a week away from them.) We were getting used to him progressing so fast that it's hard to go back to waiting this weekend. He is still doing great, but moving slowly.

They had to stop his feedings for 24 hours because his belly was full of air and had to be hooked up to suction. He also needed some more blood today because his hematocrit was low. This is normal after surgery. He has gone down a little on the ventilator settings, but slower than expected. Now they are thinking it will be more like Tuesday before the ventilator is taken off.

He is looking really good today though. The nurse said he really seemed to like having his brothers in the room today. All of his vital signs were really good when they were visiting! The power of brotherly love!

We have enjoyed our visit with the boys and grandparents this weekend. We took them to Cabela's yesterday to see the animals. They loved that! They head back home with Joel on Monday, back to work and school!:(

Thanks for the continued prayers on our family's behalf! God continues to bless us with so much!

Love and miss you all,

Gavin is still doing well, but not as much happening today with him as far as progress. He is up to his feeding goal and has made small steps in getting the ventilator off. It will probably be on Monday they are telling us. They are really taking him slow since he's been on it for so long and they don't want to have to put it back in.

He is starting to run a low-grade fever as well, but this is nothing new with him. But, to make sure it's not the beginning of an infection, they drew some samples of blood, urine and sputum to see if there is any bacteria growing.

He had visits today from Grandma and Grandpa O. and Big Brothers! It's good for him to hear the boys voices, he needs to get used to hearing the "craziness" again! Jacob, Nolan and Caleb were glad to see him!

Thankyou for the wonderful messages. They are very inspirational and mean a lot to us!

Love, Joel, Alicia and Boys

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gavin continues to make progress today! He is off a couple more medications and they removed his chest tube which was draining extra fluid off his chest. He is also tolerating increased amounts of formula through his NG tube. They have also decreased the number of breaths and oxygen percentage that the ventilator is giving him. Getting him off the ventilator will be slow due to his having "wet" lungs still due to increased blood flow to his lungs over the last few months. But, they still anticipate removing the ventilator by the end of the weekend.

We are still feeling very happy and continue to be amazed by God's love and grace in our lives! If you told me a year ago that we would be going through this, I would have said there is no way I could handle it and stay strong. I've always known that God gives you only what you can bear, but until now I didn't really see how people could hold up during such trying times. I was reading a Max Lucado book (Thankyou Nicole!) and he says that "Jesus is walking alongside you, yoked together, but He is pulling the weight and carrying the burden." "He is carrying our fears before we even felt them." "Those times when we are surprised by our sense of peace is when Jesus has lifted our anxiety onto His shoulders and placed kindness on ours." WOW! It brings tears to my eyes! He definately has done this for us!

Thanks again for your many prayers and kind words of comfort! We are so blessed to have you in our lives!

We'll update you again tomorrow! Until then, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as well.

By the way, in response to Aunt Lori's ("Little Vinster???") question: Joel has knick-named all our boys with the last three letters of their names. (Jacob=Cub, Nolan=Lan, Caleb=Leb and Gavin=Vin.) Somehow Gavin's name Vin has turned into Vinster. So, there you have it!

Love ya,

Joel, Alicia and Gavin

Thursday, January 18, 2007

We can't keep from smiling! GOD is so good! Gavin continues to move in the right direction. He is off a couple more medications and is beginning to be fed again through a nasal gastric tube. They are taking things slowly to make sure he can handle the changes. He is still on the ventilator, but they hope by end of the weekend to have him off. Everything is a slow progress, but at least a progress!

We are thankful for visits from Aunt Amy and Grandpa O's brother (how thoughtful!). We are eagerly awaiting a visit from the "Big Brothers" this weekend!

Gavin continues to show them who's boss by waking up even after being given "enough sedation medication to put you and I out." He also keeps grabbing for I.V.'s and tubes even though they have his hands tied down! Little stinker! We are so proud!

Thanks so much for all the messages and prayers! We are so touched and emotional reading them all! We are so blessed! We'll continue to update as things progress.

Love to all,

Joel, Alicia and Gavin

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another good day for Gavin! He had a visit from Pastor Freswick and Bev...Thankyou! He "is doing all that he is supposed to." He just had his chest closed up, the next step in his progress...this can lead to problems with his blood pressures and heart arrythmias, but they don't forsee this happening with him.

We want to thank Amy(such a great sister!) for setting up this site and updating everyone thus far!!! THANKYOU!!!

We also thank all of you for SO many prayers and support over the last few months! We appreciate all of you and are humbled and touched! Thanks to GOD most of all from whom all blessings flow! How blessed we are!!! GOD has given us such a gift in Gavin. We feel so blessed to have four wonderful boys and such an amazing support system and most of all HIS love!

Love to all,

Joel and Alicia

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 2! The doctors we talked to today have all expressed how great the surgery went. One of them said, "We expected the worst and got the best..." Gavin hasn’t even had the swelling problem they anticipated, and so far has met and exceeded all expectations the doctors had for him.

Tomorrow, they are going to start weaning Gavin off the sedation medication (which he is on because he moves around too much!), which will allow them to eventually take him off the ventilator. The nurses say his success so far is due to the fact that he's feisty and "has red hair," but we think it's because he's just like his big brothers, who you all know have plenty of energy and fight, themselves!

There is no other way to put it: we have received the ultimate answer to all of our prayers. We are hopeful and positive in thinking his recovery will continue in this way. Once again, we cannot properly express our gratitude for all of your support, comments, and prayers. They mean so much to us! THANK YOU.


Alicia and family
Gavin in resting well now. The surgeon said the surgery went better than expected. Gavin looks surprisingly good and all of his vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure) are positive. He hasn't even needed to be put on the lung/heart machine like they thought he might! We are so thankful and happy with this news. The doctor said the next couple of days are crucial to his recovery, and while he is still in very critical condition, we know he is a fighter and will put that fiery red hair to good use. :o) No matter what, we know God will take care of our baby, and that all of your prayers are being heard. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you again for your support. We'll keep you updated as we know more.


Alicia and Family

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gavin's surgery ended at about 4:45pm - much sooner than expected! We are still waiting for the surgeon, Dr. Edward Bove, to come out to let us know how it went and if it was successful. We are hopeful in thinking that since the surgery didn't go as long as they said it would, this means it wasn't nearly as difficult as they originally thought it would be.

We will let you know what we hear from the doctor. In the meantime, please continue to pray for our Gavin, and know that you are very dear to our hearts. All of the messages already left for Gavin and us have meant so much!

If you would like to read more about Gavin's world-renowned surgeon, visit this website.
Today is surgery day! Gavin went into surgery at 12:30pm, and have been told that the procedure should take about 5 hours. We've decided to start this website as a way to keep everyone up to date and informed about Gavin's progress, so we will post later to let you know how things are going. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. Your support means so much to Gavin and our family!