Friday, September 30, 2011

Morgan's First Hymn

Friday, September 30, 2011 10:00pm

Morgan wants everyone to know that she has earned another $20 from her Daddy! She wants to know if that is an hourly rate? If so, then she will have earned $660 thus far... for you non-accountants, that is 33 hours off the high-frequency ventilator!

Today, Seth and I are rejoicing that our little girl has made it this long on the C-PAP machine! We are beaming inside! Yet, we are prayerfully optimistic. This a very big step in the right direction. This is a miracle! and nothing short of it!!

The C-PAP machine provides Morgan support through her nose. While on the C-PAP machine, Morgan is having to use her own lung strength more and more to breathe! We are prayerful that she can sustain this long-term. There is a chance that she may have to go back on the conventional or high-frequency ventilator, but we are praying against that!

Her lungs continue to be very sick and critical. There is a long road ahead for their development, but we are encouraged. The new tissue and air sacks need to grow and become strong and healthy.

Morgan received her last dose of her steroid medicine today. As the effects of this medicine begin to lessen in the next days, our prayer is that her lungs would have gained enough strength and growth to continue forward. Get ready for the roller coaster, because if the steroids are her only strength, then she is in for a long recovery. Please join in this specific prayer!

They have begun to feed Morgan milk again today. She is receiving 3 ml every 3 hours. She is growing! Morgan wants everyone to know she now weighs 2 POUNDS 2 OUNCES! She is growing. As mentioned before, the digestive system development is very important, too. We pray she tolerates her feedings well and continue to gain the necessary nutrients to become big and strong!

Our prayers continue to be: 1) Her lungs and all that encompasses; 2) Her nutrition and development of the digestive system; 3) protection of her brain; 4) continued healing of her heart; 5) against any type of infections. Also, please keep those taking care of her in your prayers. We pray for their wisdom and skill as they take care of her.

One of the precious things about this leap forward is that we can now hear Morgan cry or make noises. It is oftly soft and squeaky, but it is a glorious sound! We are so thankful that her lungs are growing and that she cannot only use them to breathe, but she can also use them to produce the sweetest hymn these parents have ever heard.

God is Great! Thank you from all your prayers and encouragement!

Elizabeth and Seth McCoin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best Day Yet

Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:00 pm

Morgan had her best day out of the womb, yet! We are so happy with her progress today. She took her sweet time recovering for a few days, but, boy, did she make us smile today.

As we shared earlier, Morgan swtiched from the high-frequency ventilator to the nasal C-PAP, this afternoon, around 1:00 pm. When we went to visit her tonight, after dinner...SHE WAS STILL ON IT! Yay, Morgan! We understand that it is highly likely that she will return to the high-frequency ventilator, but we are celebrating her progress today. There are numbers on machines, balances in the gasses in her body and other indicators that allow us to tell how well she tolerates the type of breathing assistance she receives. She's up one minute, down the next and sideways the others. Tonight the indicators were telling us that she is tolerating it very well. We owe her successful day to the steroid regimine and she will taper off of the steroids tomorrow. It is our prayer that the steroids have provided some sustainable improvement and that she will be able to continue to develop without them.

Further, Morgan's feedings have been suspended. We hope to have her return to milk in the next day or two. Her digestive system is, obviously, critical to her development. We pray that she will allow us to help her and that she will be able to progress. We are thankful for the snail's paced development of her lungs, but she also needs to get going with this highly important peice to her puzzle.

Continue to pray for the doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses caring for our little girl. We cannot sing their praises from a high enough mountain.

We continue to be overwhelmed with your prayers, kind words, hugs and gestures of kindness. Our thanks could not be expressed deeply enough.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Much Improved

We wanted to give a midday update and ask for prayer.

Elizabeth went to see Morgan at lunch and learned that her stats improved this morning. In fact, they have improved so much, that the doctor wants to try her out on the nasal C-PAP again this afternoon. This is great news and would not be attempted had Morgan not improved so much after the past few days. We have no idea how long her little body will tolerate this, but we are pleased that she is well enough to attempt it. Our dream would be that she would not have to return to the ventilator, but we must be cautious and thankful for her current status.

Elizabeth also learned that her feedings have been suspended. We are not sure when she will be able to tolerate milk again, but she is currently receiving nutrition through an iv. Her digestive system is just as critical as her lungs and we are anxious to push her along.

Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers and, please, always include the wonderful people at St. Vincent's that are caring for us and our daughter.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eyes Wide Open

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 9:00pm

Overall, Morgan has had low key day and slow progression. Morgan is a tortoise, not a hare.

The lungs continue to be our biggest battle. We are extremely concerned about the overall health and development of them. The doctor said today that her lungs are developmentally delayed by about three weeks, hence some of her struggles. The x-ray this morning showed a teeny-tiny improvement, but we will take it and celebrate in this small victory. The biggest concern is that she needs to grow new lung tissue. This is important in order for her lungs to be able to function properly. This, in turn, effects the ability for the lungs to properly process oxygen. Due to these factors, she continues to be on the high frequency ventilator. Any measurable results, big or small, regarding the steroid regimen that is being administered are not expected until after 48 hours. We are extremely prayerful that it is helping our little Morgan. God is the ultimate Physician and Healer, and we know He has Morgan in His hand... and Houston is tugging on God's pants asking for Him to keep an eye on her. The good news is that in time, Morgan's lungs can catch up to her gestational age, but it just take time and much patience on her parents' part.

At this time, there is no sign of infection in Morgan's body. Her platelets are on the low side but not enough to cause alarm. They will continue to watch this, and her white blood cell count in the coming days. As long as these counts stay in the appropriate ranges, then she can continue to receive the steroids.

Morgan's feedings have been reduced in quantity to 1/2 ml an hour. She seems to be tolerating her feedings well, but like any person, her appetite fluctuates. Ideally, we would like her to continue to digest all that is given to her, but the doctor has told us that is normal to fluctuate. Morgan needs to eat so she can gain fat, or as Aunt Augusta says, "get fluffy." Fat is what is going to give her strength to fight and grow the new tissue for her lungs. Her tummy is one of the last areas to develop, so we are still prayerful that there are no hindrances to the maturity of the digestive system.

There is not change on the status of her brain or her heart. Protection of these two organs is still a priority.

Our prayers continue to be 1) Morgan's lungs - on all accounts 2) Her nutrition 3) the lack of any infections 4) protection of her brain 5) and the healing of her heart. As always, please keep the doctors, nurses, and care givers in your prayers.

This afternoon, I was talking to Morgan. While she was sleepy, she would blink at me, as if to acknowledge my presence and our conversation. I decided to read aloud to Morgan the prayers sent to me via my email/texts concerning her. As I began to read these prayers, her eyes opened wide as she listened. I was humbled by this 21-day old infant who knew the power of prayer already. Certainly, awe inspiring.

As always, thank you for your love, prayers and support! We are so blessed!


Elizabeth and Seth McCoin

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Improvement After the Afternoon Scare

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 10:15 pm

After a pretty hefty scare this morning/afternoon, Morgan seems to be doing much better. While she is still very critical, we were very pleased with her improving rebound tonight. We spent some quality time with her tonight and she even got to see her Aunt Augusta! Aunt 'Gusta even went as far as rubbing lotion on Morgan's back, which seemed to soothe her based on her levels increasing during the deep rub.

Morgan's lungs continue to stay very sick and our knees are in the dirt with prayerful hope that they will develop with noticeable improvement. She has restarted a 3-day steroid course to help with her lung development. There was an attempt at this recently and she was only able to receive 2 days of the 3-day course because of the increase in her white blood cells and the inverse decrease in her platelet count. We were afraid of that inverse reaction being a sign of an infection, so the steroid treatment was immediately stopped since steroids inherently increase the risk of infection. We learned that there was no infection, but the risk was too great to keep her on the steroids at that time. That said, we pray that her white blood cells and platelets will stay manageable so that she is able to receive the full dose of steroids this she needs all the help she can get at the current moment.

We received a good report from Morgan's brain ultrasound today. There was no sign of bleeding which indicates that there is also no sign of a hemorrhage. If you recall, we had seen a level 1 hemorrhage that has since dissipated. We continue to receive very satisfactory reports related to the status of her brain. This is the only part of her sweet body that cannot be repaired if any damage is present. Her brain is disadvantaged enough from her father's genes and she doesn't need to fight any other battles in this arena.

As I stated this afternoon, we were notified that Morgan's heart has improved and while the issue has not totally vanished, we are comfortable with it's status at the moment. The PDA needs to improve more, however, it is at a point that we can focus more attention on her lungs. And is difficult for a father to type about his daughter's heart and PDA in the same sentence, but as long as it's medical...he'll survive.

Her feedings have increased to 1 ml per hour, which has doubled in quantity from yesterday. She continues to accept the nutrition well. Morgan is noticeably bigger than the day she arrived. The feedings are helping and we pray they will continue in such a positive manner.

As we stood at her bedside tonight, the nurse practioner decided to pick on me about Morgan going to an Eighth grade dance (probably with some boy that's faster than a 12-gauge shot). We talked about how lovely she will be with her nails and hair done in her "little dress,"... a "Little House on the Prairie dress," maybe, but that's about all this father could stand.

We continue to be thankful for the relationships we have with "Morgan's Helpers." They are knowledgable, caring, intelligent and wonderfully selfless individuals. As we thank the staff at St. Vincent's, we would also like to thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Let's fervently pray together

Here again is the attachment that our friend Ashley put together. Sheet 2 of this file has this week's slots largely open.  You are more than welcome to fill your name into any slot. Let's bathe Morgan, Elizabeth, & Seth in constant prayer over the next 72 hours.

Scared, but prayerfully optimistic

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 2:40 pm

I have just returned to my office from visiting Morgan with Elizabeth. Morgan is very sick and we ask for immediate prayer. Her lungs are at great risk, which has always been our greatest concern. We received good news regarding the medicine treating her heart, so we are halting that and going to back to a steroid for her lungs, since these two treatments do not mix well. Please pray that her lungs will develop at a greater pace than current progress. Also continue to pray for those taking care of her.

Seth McCoin

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sassy Britches

Monday, September 26, 2011 10:00 pm

Morgan has been on a plateau for a few days now. It is our understanding that she is neither getting worse, nor is she getting better...which is the worry for all of us close to her. However, among our network of friends and family, we were able to enter a place of solitude today as we navigate this strange and tough time with our daughter.

As some of you may know, my sweet sister-in-law, Nicole, is an emergency medicine doctor in Nashville, TN. She has put us in touch with a dear friend from her medical school class, Erin, who is, now, a neonatologist. Further, Elizabeth's cousin's wife, Anna, is a former neonatal nurse, who has also placed us in contact another neonatologist. These two relationships have allowed Elizabeth and me to bounce questions around and more fully understand Morgan's status and the terminology involved. As we have never once doubted Morgan's care at St. Vincent's Hospital, nor those taking care of her, understand that is impossible for parents, in our situation, to collect enough information. That said, today, more than any other, Elizabeth and I feel so comfortable with Morgan's care. Our confidence level in Dr. Bruce, Dr. Bierd, the nurse practioners and the "hands on nurses," has never been higher. We would ask that all of you continue your prayers for these selfless indviduals that are giving our daughter an opportunity to achieve a healthy life and anything she desires from her daddy. We are so thankful for them and for their commitment to Morgan. The peace and solitude we feel as parents, due to these individuals, is a calming factor that gives us strength as we watch our baby girl fight for her life.

As of today, our sweet Morgan is 1 pound, 15 ounces. THAT'S ALMOST TWO POUNDS!!!!!! We are so pleased and we can visually see her growth. She has been able to start her feedings again at the pace of 1/2 ml every hour. We are hopeful that she will continue to accept them as gracefully as her mother in an evening gown. Morgan's dependence on weight and growth is essential to all of her little body's development, especially her lungs.

Morgan's lungs continue to be our greatest concern. She needs to grow new, healthy lung tissue to compensate for the current tissue that is making her breathing such an uphill battle. We pray that the nutrients from her feedings will allow her to grow strong and resilient, as Houston taught us that this is her most important struggle at this time.

On a positive note, it seems that the medicine treating Morgan's heart is working. The doctor has seen improvement in the Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) from the echocardiogram we received today. It is our hope and prayer that the medicine will continue to improve this issue and that no surgery will be required. It is terribly important for Morgan's heart to be as strong as possible so that she is able to fully give it to her father before she gives it away to some undeserving boy...eighty years from now as she sits in wait in the turret of her parents' house.

With light-hearted comments aside, our prayer requests continue to be; 1) the health and development of Morgan's lungs, 2) that the medicine continues to improve Morgan's heart, 3) that Morgan's brain development continues positively (ultrasound tomorrow), and 4) that there continues to be no sign of infection. As stated earlier, please always pray for her wonderful caretakers.

We have been so overwhelmed with friends and family during this time. We have received so many letters, flowers, dinners and other wonderful gestures. We cannot thank our Lord enough for placing all of you in our lives, nor for your prayers on behalf of our child. We found so much grace in tonight as we shared a table with a couple that has been through a similar situation. They shared their story with us and allowed us to understand that while a parent will weep for a child, such as Houston, there is another day on the horizon with sunshine and thankfulness.

Morgan's personality continues to beam. No matter how sassy she may be, we all love her. Today as we commented on how she has been uneventful for the few previous days, her nurse sarcastically mentioned, "yeah, but she's gonna kick my a** today." We all smiled and laughed heartily while Morgan did just what we were told. She kept her sweet nurse on her toes, just as expected. We find so much pleasure in her unspoken words and her inexplicable charm. It reminds me of a raised eyebrow filtering an inappropriately funny comment at a cordial dinner. We are so in love with this tempered little girl and we cannot wait to have her home.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts. I cannot help but think that Morgan will, one day, grow up to be an inspiration and stronghold for many.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Wink and A Smile

Sunday, September 25, 2011 9:41pm

Morgan continues to hold steady this weekend. While we are thankful she is not declining, we still need her to move forward. We are thankful for each hour and day as she continues to grow and strengthen.

Morgan's lungs continue to be the most critical to her development. Her lungs are very, very sick and need to mature. Babies are remarkable (and it is a God-thing) in that they can re-grow new lung tissue to take over the old tissue. As we learned today, Morgan's lungs need to grow this new tissue in order for her to be weened from the various stages of ventilators. Daddy, are you ready to give up another $20? This is our biggest prayer request, today!

The doctor seems to think the medicine is working to heal her heart. Tomorrow an echocardiogram will be performed to confirm this. We are hopeful that the signs are true and she is healing.

Her feedings were stopped when the heart medicine was administered. Prior to the suspension, she was tolerating the feedings well. We are hopeful that when the feedings begin again, that she will pick right back up. Currently, all nutrition is being administered through her i.v.s. Today she weighed 1 pound 14 ounces. Yea! We pray that she will continue to tolerate the feedings so she can continue to grow and strengthen. The more she rests, the more she she will grow and her fat will develop for her stength.

As of this morning, there were no signs of infections on the various cultures. Please continue to pray that no infections will appear.

The doctor does not seem worried about her brain. It continues to feel normal to him. Another brain ultrasound will be performed on Tuesday. We pray that nothing will appear on it. As noted in prior posts, the brain is the one organ that cannot be repaired if something happens to it. We pray for its protection.

Our prayer requests 1) *** Please pray for her lungs to grow new tissue and mature! *** 2) her heart continues to heal and will not require surgery 3) her nutrition, including growth and strength 4) for the protection of her brain 5) against infections. Please continue to keep the doctors, nurses and all who provide care for our Morgan in your prayers. Pray that they will have the wisdom to treat her as she needs.

We continue to relish in the time we get to spend with Morgan. She continues to grow. She is a lanky little girl. Yesterday, when I went to visit, she opened one eye and waved her hand as if to say, "What's up?" While we are not able to pick her up or hold her, we are allowed to be more involved in her care. We are able to put lotion on her skin and help with her care when appropriate. We are thankful for little moments like these. We are also beginning to notice certain traits she has from both of our is fun!

Seth and I are very thankful for all the prayers and support from dear friends and family. We could not survive this journey without you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Truly, thank you!

Elizabeth and Seth

Saturday, September 24, 2011

asking for mercy

Hi, friends.

I spoke with Elizabeth this afternoon, and she asked that I update the blog. My apologies on the front end for the insufficiency of this post. I had detailed notes and somehow have misplaced them, so I am posting from memory here.

Morgan's lungs are still critical. We are praying that they would begin to mature. She is holding her own, but she needs to make progress. This is the chief area for prayer.

Morgan will receive another round of medicine for her heart tomorrow (she also received a round today). After these 2 doses, they will perform an echo on Monday to see if her heart has improved. If it has, she will not need surgery. That would mean transporting her to UAB will not be necessary, and she can stay right where she is (which is what we hope).   Doctors have expressed hope that there are some signs of improved heart function, so we are continuing to pray for this.

Morgan has gained weight. She is now 1 lb 12 oz! Grow, Morgan, grow!

Let's continue to lift Seth and Elizabeth before God and beg him for mercy and his favor in every area of their lives right now.

Also, the blog might not be updated every day. No news doesn't necessarily mean bad news (or good news, for that matter). So if it's been a couple of days, don't worry. ;)


Seth and Elizabeth, I am so sorry I cannot find the notes. Any edits or other things I missed?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not Much Action, But More Progress

Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:45 pm

Not much changed today, but today was a busy day for Morgan. She spent almost six hours on the traditional ventilator. Way to go Morgan! She wore her sweet little self out and returned the high-frequency ventilator, late this afternoon, but the progress was noted. Her lungs are getting stronger, but it is hard for parents to watch their daughter struggle in recovery after such a big step. She still lacks the appropriate lung development to breathe on her own, however, we are pleased with her fight and progression toward health. Her lungs are still very sick and we pray that they grow stronger and stronger with each attempt of weening her away from assistance.

There is still no sign of infection in Morgan's body. We are so pleased and hope that this continues. The doctor will continue to watch and pay close attention to this aspect for at least another week. Morgan continues her medication to fight any present infection that may not be noticable at this time.

Our prayer points, for Morgan, are consistant with the past few days and we ask, again, that you continue to pray for the doctors, nurses and all of those taking care of Morgan.

The wiggle worm continues to amaze us. I was pleased to receive pictures, via texts, from Elizabeth that proved that our Morgan may, one day, be the finest gymnest to grace our world. The positions that this little contortionist can place herself in is beyond the imagination. She is so delightful to watch and we cherish our moments with her.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Queen of the Pod

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:35 pm

Morgan would first like to say, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNCLE PATRICK!"

Today was a good day for our sweet Morgan. She tolerated all that was asked of her and her parents could not be more proud. Uneventful days are great days for parents in the NICU.

Not much has changed with Morgan. She continues to accept her feedings, there is still no sign of any infection and there is hopeful news regarding her lungs, heart and brain.

The uneventfulness of the day starts with Morgan's lungs. This is her most crucial organ to develop at this time. She stayed on the high-frequency ventilator all day and her dependency on the provided oxygen stayed low. It seems that yesterday's strengthening is carrying over. Our feet continue to harden in concrete, but our hopes are high.

Also, we found out that her heart vessel may be able to be treated through medicine without surgery at UAB. As we all know, surgeries can be a bit scary and an alternative solution is always easing to those around the patient. We pray that the solution will be least invasive as possible.

Next, we have been worried about a small deposit of blood in Morgan's brain. The neurologist read Morgan's head ultrasound today and indicated that the deposit was not blood and simply fluid that should cause no alarm. You can only imagine the elation we felt with this news.

Our prayer points are consistent at the moment; 1) lung development, 2) that her feedings continue successfully, 3) that there continues to be no sign of an infection, 4) that her heart may grow stronger and develop without surgery and 5) that nothing appears to change our current understanding of the deposit in her brain and the continued protection of her brain. As always, please continue to pray for the doctors, nurses and all those involved with our sweet Morgan's care.

This afternoon, as the neonatologist made his rounds, he approached Morgan's bed with the statement, "Now for the Queen of the Pod..." (as there are four rooms [Pods] in the NICU). The entire staff at St. Vincent's has given our Morgan such wonderful care and they have decidedly made an attempt to know her sweet, little personality. As we stood at Morgan's bed this evening, she continued to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, while her wonderful nurse and her nurse practitioner spent time to explain Morgan's status and simply "hang out" with us. It is so special for us to, not only, have a connection with our daughter, but also to understand that those taking care of her also care for the parents. We feel so blessed to have our daughter under their watchful eye(s).

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for our sweet daughter, Morgan. Words could never express our love and appreciation for all of you.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picky Little Girl

Tuesay, September 20, 2011 10:30 pm

For the most part, today was a good day for our Morgan. We are keeping our feet on the ground, but we are quietly beaming with excitement!

Inversely to yesterday, Morgan's white blood cell count went down and her platelet levels went up. This is an improvement and, so far, there is no sign of any infection. More results will continue to trickle in, but overall, we are optimistic.

Morgan's feedings continue to improve and, tomorrow, we will attempt to feed her more frequently. By increasing the frequency of the feedings, she will also receive an increase in milk. There were no indiciations of Morgan's body refusing her nutrients, today, and we pray that this will continue. All of this is on the coattails of Morgan gaining another ounce in weight, bringing her up to 1 lb, 10 oz., as of this afternoon.

We did learn today that her heart needs to develop and patch some things up. The chambers and valves are all working properly, but there is one vessel that patches itself in full-term babies that Morgan's body is not patching due to her young gestational age. To spare the actual details (which sound much scarier than they are), if her little body does not develop her heart on its own, we will be able to send her to UAB for a procedure that is common and can help her blood and oxygen flow more completely and beneficially through her heart and lungs.

Now, the really exciting news... Morgan sustained breathing without the ventilator for about four hours tonight! The doctor moved her from the high-frequency ventilator direclty to the C-PAP, totally skipping the traditional ventilator. Her dad gave her full credit and is now $20 lighter in the wallet. She managed to stay on the C-PAP until she fought so hard that she wore herself out. She is currently back on the high-frequency ventilator, but the progress is noticeable and exciting.

When we went to see her tonight, we relished seeing her little mouth without any obstruction. Prior to our arrival, she had been sucking on her pacifier, but as we tried to place it back in her mouth, she quickly jerked her left arm and pushed it right back out. She doesn't waste much time telling us her likes and dislikes...even at such a young age and in such a fragile state.

All of that said, our specific prayer points continue to be; 1) that her lungs continue to progress, 2) that she continues to accept her feedings and grow stonger each day and 3) that there continues to be no sign of any infection. Our newest prayer points are for the development of her heart and, also, her brain. Please, also, continue to pray for the doctors, nurses and all of those taking such wonderful care of our baby girl.

Finally, keeping up with her daily mischief, one of Morgan's sweet nurses told us, today, that, "She's a picky little girl." She knows what she wants and when she wants it. Try being her father on her sixteenth birthday at the car dealership! He already knows she can have whatever she wants...but she doesn't!

As always, Elizabeth and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than we could ever portray to all of you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Seth and Elizabeth McCoin

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sticky Fingers

Monday, September 19, 2011 10:00pm

Earlier today, we were alerted that Morgan's white blood cell counts were elevated and her platelets had decreased. The inverse result of these is that an infection may be present. The doctor decided to proactively treat Morgan with antibiotics since we may not have the results of the culture for two days or more.

Further, Morgan is being fed more milk once every eight hours, instead of less milk every four hours. She is responding well to her new feeding schedule, just like one of the lion cubs at the Birmingham Zoo. We are hopeful that she will continue to respond well and gain the essential weight and nutrients her little body needs.

After two days of "speed bumps," her dependency on oxygen is going down. This is a very slow process and requires great patience. She continues to only tolerate the high-frequency ventilator, however, her lessened depency on oxygen is a step toward the conventional ventilator. Stepping down to the conventional ventilator within the week is a major goal. Her dad says he'll give her $20 if she meets this goal...VT, open up the account at your bank!

These are our most pressing issues at the moment; 1) Morgan's lung development, 2) her nutrition and 3) that no infections cause any hiccups on this arduous path. These are our prayer points. Please, also, pray for the doctors, nurses and all those who are caring for our sweet Morgan.

Among all of this, Morgan continued to be a little wiggle worm today. She kicked her feet, waved her arms and even found her little hands stuck together from the tape holding her IV. Her resilience paid off and she was able to free her hands to return to her mischief. She continues to show us her sweet disposition through her stuggle. She has a little personality that just won't quit. Her parents are still wondering where she may get that from??? She is giving the nurses a run for their money and getting away with it with a wink and smile.

We are so proud of her and so grateful for your concern and prayers.

Seth and Elizabeth

white blood counts

This morning Morgan's white blood counts are elevated. Doctors have taken cultures, which will take 2 days to return. They are putting her on antibiotics today with the hope that they will help Morgan fight off this infection.

As Elizabeth said, "Her little body doesn't have much to fight infections. Other stats are here and there as she tries to recover."


Thank you for dropping everything this afternoon to pray for Morgan!  We certainly had a major scare.  Our prayers certainly were answered by the Almighty this afternoon!  Can you imagine me speeding through red lights and running down the corridor at the hospital trying to get to her?  I am sure I was a sight to see.  I was praying out loud as a I ran. I am sure people thought I was seriously crazy.

This afternoon, very quickly, Morgan's rates dropped.  The nurses and doctor reacted immediately and saved her.  Literally!   It turns out that she plugged her ventilator tube.  Thankfully, it had nothing to do with her little body.  However, this is considered a set back.  This morning's X-ray was the best it has ever been, but the x-ray after the incident showed a slide backwards.

She continues to be on a steroid regiment through tomorrow.  She will receive another blood transfusion and additional meds.  The doctor was encouraged that steroids were working, this morning, and we hope that will help her bounce back.  In addition to the regular suctions, there will be added manual suctions and a closer eye kept on that.  I left the hospital around 6pm and she was resting and sleeping.  She certainly was worn out from the incident.

They have cut her feedings back to every eight hours.  They it is normal for babies to ebb and flow with milk as their gut develops.  They will feed her again around 3am.

Please continue to keep her in your prayers.  Pray for healing of her lungs, complete healing.  This will be a long road for her, but she is a fighter.

I just called to check on her and she continues to take baby steps forward.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

claiming the mercy of God

Hi, friends.

I spoke with Seth this afternoon. It sounds like Morgan continues to
amaze everyone with the progress she is making. What a strong little
girl she is! So like her Mama and her Daddy. Seth said they were
hopeful but trying not to get too excited about anything because they
knew how quickly things could change, and in fact, there has been a
little change even since we spoke on the phone.

Positives first:
1. Seth is wearing pink. Pink. As in every day until Morgan comes
home. When I called, Elizabeth was on a pink shirt-gathering errand.
He says he'll look a little weird in December, but he doesn't mind.
All he wants for Christmas is for Morgan to come home.

2. All of the bilirubin lights have been removed from Morgan!! She is
still wearing her Jane Fonda band around her eyes to shield her from
the intrusive ambient light, but it's a huge hurtle to have those

3. Morgan is feeding better and better! She has been feeding every 4
hours and accepting that, so doctors are switching her to every 3
hours to see how her stomach processes that. She has gained 4 oz!! Up
to 1.9 lbs!!! Go, Morgan, Go!!

Other updates:
Morgan's stats are doing better every day. She is still on the
oscillating ventilator. I think Seth called it the high frequency
ventilator. Her chest x-ray this morning showed some areas of PEI
(more than doctors want to see). I hope I spelled that right--you all
may know this already, but I had to have Seth explain it to me. PEI
are pockets of space where the air flows into the lungs and stagnates.
The doctors want to see Morgan's lung function improving in this area
specifically. The next paragraph I think is about the measure doctors
have taken to try to improve this (something involving a low dose
steroid, but maybe Seth/Elizabeth will want to fill us in further). No
need to, guys, if you are too tired/busy. We will pray and trust that
the Spirit interprets our prayers.

Elizabeth writes "We need to pray for and proclaim today that God IS
going to use this low dose of steroids to get her over this hump and
her lungs ARE going to mature as a result. All her other stats are
good. She is off all billirunbin lights today. They will do another
test tomorrow, but hopefully she won't need the lights back. Please
tell them that I started an email last night and never got it
finished. I appreciate all calls and texts. I promise I will try to
return them."

Then a little over an hour ago..."This afternoon there was a bump in
road...they had to begin some breathing treatments to help her lungs.
It is not necessarily bad, but she dictated she needed it. They will
do a series of these. However, whatever concoction they are doing
right now seems to be ok. We will know more later tonight and tomorrow
as all drugs really get in her system. Her lungs are just immature.
Her feedings are going ok. She had some residual this afternoon, so we
hope that there won't be any tonight."

I didn't understand all of these updates fully, so maybe Seth or
Elizabeth will fill us in on the details that I don't understand.

1. Claiming that Morgan's lungs will improve-- begging the Lord for
His mercy with her breathing.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty
gives me life.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became
a living being.

Isaiah 42:5-6
This is what God the LORD says—the Creator of the heavens, who
stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs
from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on
'I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
  to be a covenant for the people
  and a light for the Gentiles'"

2. Pray that Morgan will continue gaining weight and tolerating
feedings (both in frequency and in quantity of milk)
3. Pray that Seth and Elizabeth can rest
4. Pray that Morgan can be taken off the high frequency ventilator and
tolerate the switch to a regular ventilator.
5. Pray that Seth and Elizabeth can grieve together even in their
different ways--that they can find the strength and courage to meet
each other where the other needs to be met. That together they can
claim a full, selfless love, borne of their shared grief, a love that
continues to amaze and inspire us all.

-a friend of the family

Houston-- A father's remembrance

Houston was a dream…a dream of his father.  He was his father’s dream of a “little buddy.”  Hunting, fishing, golfing, you name it.  They were going to do it all.  Men have dreams of boys.  Fathers want their boys to be what their mothers taught them…instead of what they did as rascals against their mother’s will.  Competitively speaking and deep down a father dreams of losing to his son in a round of golf.  He dreams of his son hunting and his son’s, “first deer.”  He longs to carry a tackle box and two fishing rods to the edge of a special moment.  However, a father never dreams of being so touched by a small man that graced our world for only four short days. 
In Houston’s four days, he touched all of us.  Some more than others, but if you are here, you were touched.  His father was not only touched…he was changed.  His father spent hours begging him to fight against a battle he could not overcome.  For selfish pride, his father begged futilely.  But God knew that Houston was born for more than golf carts, antlers or largemouth bass.  Houston was a gift and a lesson. 
Houston was born at only two pounds and one ounce.  The odds were against him from the very beginning.  But he proved his mettle.  He had more fight in those small numbers than most of us have in our adult bodies.  His father watched him fight.  His father was inspired.
Why only four days?  One day was enough to understand.  With his back against the wall, Little Houston fought like hell and changed lives.  He never earned a dime, he never caught a fish and never swung a golf club, but he made a difference.  He brought families together.  He brought friends to weep.  He taught us, all, to make every day count, instead of simply counting our days.
Houston’s four days counted for years.  He touched lives that were untouchable.  He touched relationships that were beyond repair.  Some that rallied around him, closely, will never be the same.  He taught us to live inspired.  He fought for the precious gift of life.  He didn’t win, but he was a wonderful teacher. 
Houston struggled, but who doesn’t?  His life was a brief epitome of ours.  We fight, we struggle, we win and we lose.  He taught his father that it’s okay to lose, but as long as you give your best, no one may ask any more of you.  It’s all of our responsibilities to fight as Houston did.  You may not win, but God will provide a lesson.  If we search for God’s lesson in all situations, good or not so good, we will live in His glory and not our own. 
Houston’s lessons to us are far-reaching.  His feeble body could not sustain the requirements of survival, but his robust resilience and fight were more than a father could ask.  A father may weep in an intensive care unit, but his pride is overwhelming.  The pride of a small man in an infant’s body is what every father desires…without knowing. 
Seth's wedding band on Houston's foot
Houston has touched us, he has bonded with us and he has changed us.  As his father held him in his last passing hour, it was absolutely apparent that this small angel, given to us for a short period of time, was more than any of us understood.  He was a child of God.  He understood when his father told him that he loved him.  This baby’s sweet, sincere eyes opened and looked deeply into his father’s to let him know that he understood that he was deeply loved by many.   Houston understood nothing of “our world,” but he knew he was loved. 
As he took his last gasp, in his father’s arms, he left us peacefully with a meaningful force. 
He is now a cherub and a guardian for, not only Elizabeth, Morgan and Seth, but all of us.  He touched you in his brief time with us…allow him to touch all of your hearts forever.  He lived as a symbol of strength.  He lived as an inspiration to fight and reconcile.  If you find yourself in a situation that seems unbearable, think of our Houston.  He lived the “unbearable” like none of us have.  He wanted to make the days count…he never intended to count the days.  He just did what every father expects of his son.  He fought…he showed his mettle and gave his best.  No one can ever hinder you from giving your best and no one can ever take away from the pride of a father watching his son making the days count instead of, simply, counting the days.