Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nuggets of Encouragement

Our little Samuel turned two weeks old last night. It's hard to believe we've only been living this chaos for 15 days. It's even harder to believe that we were also at the lake with several good friends a mere 15 days ago. That seems like another lifetime. In retrospect, this was a very risky move on our part -- heading two hours north...a few weeks before my due date...when I was at risk for preterm labor. Those of you who know Bryan and I know we are not risk-takers at all. We like to play it safe and follow the rules, but for some crazy reason we dared the trip. And considering my labor with Samuel was 3 hours from start to finish, it was a wild decision to make! Thankfully the Lord allowed us to get home and take naps before my labor started. It could have been a terribly close call.

It was a pretty good day at the CICU today. This morning the doctors and nurses switched Samuel off of the oscillator and back to a regular ventilator because there was a build up of fluid in his lungs. It's harder to suction out the fluid on an oscillator, so the excess fluid warranted a change. They started Samuel on 90% oxygen, which is a very high percentage given we all breathe 21% oxygen. However, over the course of the day, they weaned him down to 60%, and he had some of the best blood gases he's had since being admitted. (They take blood gas tests at least once every 4 hours.) His heart rate was elevated all day, and he had some irregular beats, but on the whole he seemed to tolerate the change well. And hopefully this means he can come off of the paralytic tomorrow. It will make a world of difference in my mind to see him be able to move on his own, open his eyes, swallow, etc. It will feel more like my baby is alive than like he's just being sustained by machinery.

The docs also approved doubling Samuel's breastmilk intake. So now he gets 4cc's an hour. It's still not much, but it's something! I think the plan will be to continue increasing his milk intake until he's getting most or all of his nutrition from it. And they took Samuel off one of the heart medications today. He may have to go back on because his heartrate was elevated quite a bit all day, but whenever we see the meds tick down, we feel encouraged. Oh, and Samuel is on viagra! I guess it helps to relax the blood vessels in his lungs so that blood can flow through them more easily. All in all, Samuel had a lot of changes today. You can pray that he handles them all well and is able to continue making forward progress -- wean more off the ventilator (60% is still a lot of support), get more breastmilk, and need less meds to sustain his heart and lungs.

I left the hospital today feeling hopeful and encouraged. Bryan felt a bit encouraged, but he said he feels like he's experiencing "emotional whiplash." A good day is often followed by a bad one. And Mondays seem to be big days for tests, changes, doctor info, etc. So Bryan finds himself bracing for a potentially hard day tomorrow.

This morning we took the family to church and then all headed to the hospital together. The time we get with Caleb and Joel is so important, and they seem to be feeling our absence and heavy-heartedness more and more. Joel was very upset about going to Waumba Land this morning (North Point's preschool program), and he never feels that way. Caleb has been crying a lot and needing me more and more. Last night he came in our room in the middle of the night for the first time ever and asked to climb in bed with us. As I was putting him to bed tonight, I mentioned that he should stay in his bed, and he burst into tears. This whole experience is taking a lot out of him, and Bryan and I can't be everything all three of our boys need us to be right now. The Lord will have to fill in our gaps.

Some of the elders and former elders at North Point prayed over Bryan and I today after our church service. It was again good to hear what others are asking of God on behalf of Samuel. One elder said, "We're going to ask big!" And right now Bryan is downstairs with his men's group praying and beseeching God to heal our son. We're asking big too.

God, thank you for a day of mostly good news. Thank you for praying friends and church members. Thank you that Richard was our nurse again today and for how he serves us and takes such good care of us -- having the chair I always like to sit in waiting and ready, bringing over the table we put our computers on before we even started to look for it, bringing us water, and being gentle with us and Samuel. Thank you for coming home to a house with plenty of food prepared by our friends. Thank you for your tender care of us in this season of such uncertainty and fear. Thank you for all the things I don't even know to thank you for. Thank you.


  1. The emotional whiplash is very hard...will be praying for you all as I agree- Monday's are always busy full days- alot more people rounding with many more opinions to give. Glad that you are having the same nurse that cares for you. will be praying for your children to also feel comforted by their Father even as you guys can't comfort them in the way that they would like.

  2. Katherine:

    Feel proud that you can offer that liquid gold called breast milk to Samuel. Not only is it impressive that you can pump amidst all your stress, but even more wonderful that he is able to get it's most beneficial healing. You are amazing.

    And your other boys will be OK. We have been through oh so much as a family of 6 over the past 17 years. Children can endure more than we know. Kaleb and Joel know that you both love them. They will be well with that love. They are just true to their hearts that feel your hearts. Children are genuine.

    As always, Samuel and all Apinis family are in our hearts, thoughts, prayers, and hugs.


  3. YAY! Another good day. Thank you Lord. Continue to heal Samuel's lungs, heart and liver. Heal him in a way that speaks only to your greatness and power Lord. Thank you for your sustenance and grace. You are good.

  4. Glad to hear about another good day! We will pray that they continue!
    The Tates

  5. Lots of love to you guys. Following daily and thinking of you constantly.

  6. It does seem like a very long 15 days and I am not even there! We hope for more encouraging news. Thinking of you all often.

  7. So glad that the weekend was one of mostly encouraging news. We're praying that your Monday continues in the same vein, and that God grants you strength and peace as you go thru the day. Praying also that Caleb and Joel will be comforted and sustained by their Heavenly Father.

  8. I've been following your blog about Samuel when we heard from Beth and Tim (I'm their sister-in-law on Tim's side) about your baby. You all are so full of God's spirit, it seems- communicating so beautifully your weaknesses and hopes in this trial. I am encouraged by what you write, and yet you are the ones who need encouraging!! Something you wrote will correctly change the way I view circumstances...having to allow God to fill in the gaps, rather than thinking that God will do it through me. I am praying for you and asking God to let you know His goodness and mercy.

  9. Sweet friends,
    Thinking of you and praying for you today. Praying that God's mercy and grace would fall down on you and sustain you. Praying for a Monday that is much better than the two before it. Miss you guys so much and just want you to know our loving thoughts are with you. The Conleys

  10. Sending you and your family a huge hug, lots of love, and prayers. Reading your and Bryan's writings side-by-side, I see how you and he are so _right_ for one another as life partners and parents to your beautiful boys. I hope that this Monday brings further nuggets of encouragement and that Samuel continues to heal. Thinking of you constantly.

  11. I stand amazed at God's presence in you two. He is more than enough, even when we are completely depleted. I am praying especially for your boys that our nurturing Father will carry them in his arms. He knows what they need and and able to fill in any cracks. If it is God's place for you to be with Samuel...and I beleive it is...then it is God's place for Joel and Caleb to be without you at the moment. I am grateful for those close to you who are in those gaps with skin on. Our thoughts and prayers are with you continuously.
    Pam Flowe