Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Joshua!!!

As I think back over this past year I feel a wide range of emotions, but mostly I feel grateful. I am so grateful for little Joshua!! He is a miracle and a blessing to our family. I am grateful for everyone who prayed for our little guy and helped our family in so many ways. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father that hears our prayers and answers them. I am grateful for children who love this little brother unconditionally and who have stepped up to help when he has needed more of mom's time. I am grateful to know that our family is sealed together forever. I am grateful for Neil, his love and support through this year has helped me through it all. I am grateful to watch each of our children grow and change through this year. We have been so blessed as a family this past year. We have seen miracles in little Joshua's life and we are so grateful for them.

Everyone here is so excited to celebrate Joshua's birthday with him. We keep singing "Happy Birthday" and he keeps smiling. I think he just likes to hear his name. We baked a heart cake. I'll post pictures of the celebration later.

Happy Birthday, Little Joshua!! We love you so much and are so grateful to have you in our family!!!!

Love, Mom and Dad, Rebecca, Bethany, Julia, Matthew, Emma, David, MaryAnne, and Dallin

We hope you enjoy this slideshow of Joshua's first year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dallin has Pneumonia

Well it seems like someone at our house usually gets sick the day after Christmas. It couldn't be all the excitement and junk food, or could it? (Actually the last few years it has been me and it was because I didn't want to put Christmas away). Well this year on Saturday afternoon Dallin said he was cold and tired and wanted a nap. I thought it was the before mentioned excitement and junk food. He slept all afternoon and evening. That is not what Dallin usually does. Sunday he didn't seem any better. He has been known to be sick on Sunday to get to miss nursery, but this didn't seem like he was faking it. He slept off and on all day Sunday, by now I was getting concerned. We called our home teacher and gave him a blessing. Monday morning he still seemed about the same. I called the doctor's office, but couldn't get him in until Thursday. We decided to take him to the urgent care. I checked his temperature before I went and he really didn't have a fever. When they asked what symptoms he had I told them he didn't have a fever. When the nurse checked his temperature it was 104.5. I felt rather foolish. They ordered blood work and chest xrays. I learned that three year olds don't like to have blood drawn or sit still for x rays. I guess this is a preview of what it will be like when Joshua has his next surgery. The doctor determined that he had a pretty severe case of Pneumonia. They considered admitting him to the hospital. He was pretty determined he wanted to come home. His blood count looked ok so they let me bring him home.

When I took him back yesterday he looked better. I am grateful for strong antibiotics to help him feel better. He is finally getting up off the couch some today. Hooray!!!

Joshua's first haircut and two teeth!!!

Before his hair cut....

Well December has been a busy month for Joshua. He got his first two teeth a couple of weeks ago. They came in together and he didn't even get fussy. I guess after heart surgery the pain of teeth isn't too bad.

The other night I decided he needed his first hair cut. He probably needed it sooner, but I wasn't sure if his older sisters would ever forgive me when I cut it. I hoped they really wouldn't notice, but they did. They loved his hair. They accused me of aging him a couple of months when I cut his hair. I guess he has to do something to look older. He is still wearing size 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. I think his new hair cut looks very cute and grown up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

One year ago...

This morning as I started roll dough for our Christmas Eve dinner I couldn't help thinking about our day one year ago. Last year I started roll dough and then headed to a routine doctors appointment. That is where the day I had planned out ended. Our day went very different from what I had planned.

Our doctor just didn’t like the way the baby’s heart sounded that day. She asked me to go to the hospital and have them monitor the baby for awhile. I thought I would go for a little while and they would say everything was fine, and then I would go home and finish our Christmas Eve dinner. That wasn’t how our day turned out. I ended up spending a couple of hours on the monitors at the hospital and having a long ultrasound done. The results of the ultrasound were inconclusive. My doctor decided we should go to Billings to see a specialist. Neil and I left the children at home and headed to Billings. We had another more detailed ultrasound. The ultrasound took a long time, and the tech would tell us about everything she saw, except the baby’s heart. Whenever they looked at the heart they got very quiet. Finally the doctor came in to talk to us. He told us our baby had four potentially fatal heart defects. He suggested we do Christmas with our children and then leave to go to Salt Lake City to have our baby. It was a very emotional and difficult day. It was very hard to go home and tell our children.

We left on Saturday after Christmas. We were grateful that my parent’s live in the Salt Lake valley. We at least had a place to stay. After visiting with the specialists at University Hospital and Primary Children’s Medical Center we had a better view of what was coming for our baby. The doctors decided to induce labor so that there would be a team of cardiologists on hand when the baby was born. Labor was induced on December 31, 2008. Joshua Caldwell was born about 4:00 p.m. He weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces. He was immediately handed through the window to the ICU nursery. It was so hard to not even get to hold him!! We at least go to go see him briefly before he was walked across the bridge to Primary Children’s. It was so hard to let him go without even holding him once. He has such cute red hair, what a sweet baby he was. Our children had been planning for us to have the first baby of 2009 in Powell, but it didn’t turn out that way.

We finally got to go over to Primary Children’s about 9:00 that night. It felt so good to get to hold him. He was hooked up to IV’s and monitors so it was kind of hard to hold him. The doctors spent eight days watching him to see how he would do when his patent ductus closed. The patent ductus is an opening in the heart that usually closes within a few hours of birth. Joshua’s wasn’t closing. It had to be surgically closed and a shunt placed to carry the blood to his lungs. He had his first surgery on January 9th. I have never done anything as hard as handing him over to go to surgery!! I kissed his sweet forehead and told him goodbye. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it. It was a long and hard wait through surgery.

He never really stabilized after surgery. He had to have an emergency surgery on the 10th as the doctors said he was like an airplane flying at tree level and he couldn’t go any lower. It was a very difficult day. The surgery was successful and he looked so much better afterwards. His body had been over circulating. He was sending almost all his blood to his lungs and not out to his body. We witnessed a miracle in our family that night.

Joshua ended up spending 5 weeks in Primary Children’s hospital. He had to have two more surgeries, one to close his chest and one on his intestines. Neil and Rebecca stayed until January 13th then they had to go back to Powell for work. The children stayed until the 27th then they came back to Powell. Joshua finally got to come home on February 3rd.

We faced many difficult things with Joshua's hospital stay and surgeries. We feel so blessed by the Lord. It has been an amazing year as I look back on it. Even though Christmas Eve and many days after didn't go as I had planned I can see the Lord's hand in our lives. Today as I reflect on last year I feel so grateful to have this sweet little boy here at home. I am so grateful for how much each of our children love Joshua. He truly is adored!! We truly are grateful for all of your prayers for out family and all the help, support, and love we received from you! Thank you!!! We truly have grown through this experience. So tonight as I listened to the beautiful music our children performed for Christmas Eve and enjoyed having Martha over for dinner I am thinking of last year. This year my day went as I had planned it to go last year. I am grateful for the Lord's blessings in our lives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Matthew's Eleven!!

I can't believe that Matthew is eleven years old. It seems that the time has really flown by. He has grown into such a fun young man. He really loves to learn and can tell you a lot of really cool information. He is a lot of fun to have around. He keeps us smiling with the things he comes up with. Matthew we really love you!!! We are grateful to have you in our home.

Matthew decided he wanted a baseball cake this year. It wasn't too hard to make and he was happy with how it turned out. He also wanted a birthday party with his friends. We made a pinata and invited the boys from our neighborhood and cub scouts. Unfortunately, December is a busy time of year and not many were able to make the party. He enjoyed making pizza and playing Wii with Ezra and Sam. Opening presents didn't take too long at all. I think Matthew made it through in record time. The funniest moment of the day was when he opened the gift from David. He had already figured out what David was giving him. After David put it in the gift bag I changed what was in the bag so David was surprised along with Matthew. It was fun to see the surprise on David's face when Matthew pulled out a Super Mario Brothers game for their DS. He said, "How did that get in there? That's not what I wrapped!" It was really funny!!

Happy birthday, Matthew!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A few Christmas Pictures

We just wanted to share a few photos of Joshua this Christmas season. He loves the tree!!! I think I redecorate the bottom of it everyday. This outfit is a size 0-3 months I didn't think it would still fit him, but it did. He looked so cute all dressed for Christmas. We are counting our blessings that our family is together to celebrate this Christmas season!!