Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family!


I didn’t get a Christmas letter put together this year since I just sent out Chisum’s birth announcements. However, I’m grateful for our blog to be able to keep family and friends updated on our happenings throughout the year.

Obviously the biggest excitement of the year was welcoming Chisum Marshall! And excitement might be an understatement. He made quite the entrance, but we are so blessed to be healthy and thriving – Praise the Lord! Time is flying by - he is now 3 months old.

And we are excited for our first Christmas with him! He got to meet Santa last week. He didn’t think Santa was too scary…


…but he still wasn’t quite impressed. :)DSC04970

He also had his first Christmas program at school! The Rudolph nose was my favorite part.


We celebrated Christmas with the Pope side of the family last weekend. The grandkids enjoyed reading the story about the Birth of Jesus with Grandma and we got some nice family pictures after church on Sunday. DSC04986DSC05006

We are grateful to celebrate the Birth of Jesus and all of the Blessings we’ve been given this year! Merry Christmas!DSC05008

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chisum–3 months

We have a growing baby boy!
1 month
2 months


Chisum-muffin, at 3 months, you:

  • Love grabbing at toys and your burp cloth with your hands.
  • And whatever you can get into your mouth, you do! Especially your fists.
  • Love to kick, kick, kick when you’re laying down on your floor gym or on the changing pad.


  • Have started laughing a lot and are really ticklish under your chin and armpits.


  • Started daycare – and while it was a big adjustment at first, you are doing well (better than mommy!)
  • Enjoyed your first Thanksgiving and spending time with cousin Maelle!


  • Only wakes up to eat once in the night and are ready to be up and playing around 6 am.
  • Went to your first big bull sale at Cross Diamond! There was a bull named after you and he is going to live in Oregon.


  • You think your Papa Joe is pretty great – especially dressing just like him.


We love you!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chisum’s Story {Part 3} Meeting Chisum

Read {Part 1} Patience
Read {Part 2} Strength & Miracles

First, I just want to thank you all for your outpouring of love and support after sharing the meat of our story in Part 2. There were so many prayer-warriors out there that we have yet to thank, but know that those prayers were felt and that we could not have gotten through that day, or the 11 weeks since, without God’s Grace!

After the traumatic day of Chisum’s birth, I spent a majority of the next day in the ICU recovering. It was hard to sleep that night as the events of the day kept spiraling through my mind. And that the nurse kept coming in every two hours to administer pain meds – but I wasn’t complaining about getting those. They also checked my blood every couple of hours and I received two more units of blood that morning. They brought in breakfast (which I thought was marvelous – I felt famished from not eating anything the day before), and I talked to the doctors about my progress. They were confident that I’d be discharged from the ICU that day, but it all depended on my blood levels.

IMG_4525Besides my parents and Ronny’s parents being at the hospital with us, Ryan, Lindsay and Maelle (my brother, sister-in-law and niece) were able to come visit and that truly was such a gift that they dropped everything to come. Through all of the memories I have of being in the ICU, one of the high points was Lindsay combing through my hair and putting it in a ponytail. This was such a small thing, but my hair kept sticking in the tape of my artery valve on my neck and I had so many IV lines in both my hands that I couldn’t do it myself. I also couldn’t turn my head because of the art-valve. I have to give props to Ronny though for trying to put my hair up earlier in the day!

I FaceTimed again that morning with Chisum from the NICU and he seemed so alert – it was killing me not to be able to hold him. Finally, around 4 pm, I was discharged from the ICU and taking to the post-partum floor in the Women’s and Children’s wing of the hospital. Two floors away from my sweet baby in the NICU. When I arrived in my room, I told my nurse I would not be staying long, I needed to get to the NICU. She had to go through the rounds with me, then – despite being totally exhausted and shaking from being so cold – I got loaded up in a wheelchair and she took me to the 3rd floor NICU.
Ronny was already there and was feeding Chisum when I rolled in the room. It was such a beautiful sight to see them together. He finished up, then the nurse graciously handed Chisum over to me.

My first look of him was just being in awe of his perfection. But this was not what I had planned. I had planned to hold Chisum right after he was born, look into his eyes and never let go. I had wanted so bad to bond with him from the start and be able to introduce him to my family as they walked in the room to meet him. I had dreamt about being able to breastfeed and provide for him. I didn’t get to experience any of that.
But my plans were not what God had planned. God put us through this for a reason. Even if that reason wasn’t apparent to us then, I know now that God’s provision for us is greater than we’ll ever know. If He put us through this to change just one life, then it was all worth it.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” {Jeremiah 29:11}

So, when the nurse handed Chisum to me for the first time, I created those “first” moments in my mind to cherish. We had just been through a whirlwind of events, literally to almost-death and back, and I finally got to meet my healthy, perfect son. But it also felt like we were just trying to survive – just trying to get through the chaos that was running constantly through my mind. I listened to the words the nurses were saying about feeding schedules, along with my nurse and doctor checkups up on the 5th floor, but it was all a blur.

All I wanted to do was bond with my baby. But I didn’t feel like I got that experience. We had so much making up to do from birth until the time that I got to be with him. And I really struggled with that. At the hospital and for at least two weeks after we came home, I really grieved with the fact that I missed so many of his firsts in the hospital. I didn’t get to change his first diaper. I didn’t get to feed him for the first time. I didn’t get to help give his first bath. I didn’t get to be there when they created the ink prints with his hand and foot prints.

Ronny was there for these firsts, though. This was truly a gift that he could be a part of these, and I don’t resent that at all. It was just really hard to wrap my mind around trying to just sit back and enjoy my new son with all of the madness surrounding us in the hospital and just running on survival mode. DSC04478DSC04479DSC04483DSC04484
But it got better. The feeding got easier, the sleeping/napping got easier and I finally felt like I could enjoy motherhood and not be completely scared to death of it.

And God’s providence didn’t end with this. Right after Chisum’s traumatic birth, the doctors weren’t confident that he wouldn’t have some form of brain damage or organ/blood issues. But test after test, Chisum proved all odds of having issues and was perfectly healthy. They kept him in the NICU for five days to be sure that all tests came back ok – and they did. Thanks to God’s plan and the power of prayer – we have a perfect son.

Meeting Chisum was the best moment of my life and we are so blessed that every day since has been a glorious gift from God.

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. {Psalm 127:3}

Read the Final Part in Chisum's story: {Part 4} Life in the NICU & Healing.