Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Significant Date Followed By a Significant Day

Today is Samuel’s due date. August 1st seems like sooooo long ago to us. Lord, thank you for giving us these 24 extra days with our precious son, Samuel.

It was actually a pretty good day for Samuel. In fact, it was the first day in the last 5 or 6 in which he improved a bit: lung x-rays better, billirubin numbers down, urine output up a bit, etc. They were small improvements, but we’ll take them. Though, he is still definitely critically ill, we are grateful for another day and for any improvements. The flip side of the coin is that we’ve both experienced another case of emotional whiplash.

Kathryn’s uncle very graciously took Caleb and Joel for most of the day today. That allowed Kathryn’s mom (Pat) to come down and spend some time with Samuel. Pat brought with her some fresh clothes, some goodies, and a bag full of cards that had arrived through the mail or personal delivery in the last few days. K and I opened each one of them by Samuel’s bedside and read each card out loud. We were blown away by your generosity – gas cards, Starbucks cards, restaurant cards, CDs of music, etc. We count ourselves “ridiculously blessed” (to steal a phrase from John Woodall) to be surrounded by such a loving and supportive community. One of the great gifts that you all have given us in this season is the ability to give our attention where it is most needed. We have not had to worry about meals, childcare, lawn care, house cleaning, etc. Experiencing the grace of God poured out so consistently and abundantly in our lives is a humbling thing. As we read the cards, we told Samuel about the giver, about how you love him, and are praying for him. He said to say, “Merci.” He hasn’t learned English yet. ☺

A college friend of Kathryn’s and mine surprised us by stopping by the hospital very briefly today. He lives a couple of miles from Egleston and just wanted to tell us he loves us, is praying for us, and is thinking about us. It was good to see him.

K & I just had the privilege of participating in his nightly bath for the second time. It is satisfying to be able to care for his needs in a tangible way. That is what parents of newborns do, and what we’ve been able to do so little of. Because Samuel is so sick, the CICU is allowing us a few more visitors. In fact, K’s aunt and uncle are here right now spending a little time with their great (really great, in fact) nephew. We are so grateful for Colleen and Dave.

You can be praying for us about tomorrow. We haven’t seen the boys since Sunday morning, and they are coming with Grandma (“Gab’m”) in the morning. When Kathryn was chatting with our eldest on the phone tonight, she hung up with him sobbing. On the surface it was because his beloved stuffed animals, Puppy and Spikit, were left back at K’s uncle’s and aunt’s house (they are his comfort and true friends), but missing mommy and daddy and the general unpredictability of the last few weeks were certainly the undercurrent. (No worries, his friends have been retrieved.)

We are also meeting with a staff child life specialist, Stephanie, who will help them understand a little of what is going on with their little brother. We may play doctor a bit and make some pictures/crafts for Samuel. We are grateful for Stephanie. This is all new territory for us, and it is hard to know how/what to communicate to Caleb and Joel. After doing that for a bit, we are actually going to be able to bring the boys back to the CICU; we’ve been given a 30 minute window. This will be Joel’s first time (and Caleb’s second) seeing his little brother. We’ll try to give them some jobs to do to feel useful: put up the pictures, place stuffed animals, hold his hand, get Samuel’s feet and hand prints. Friends of ours from our small group through church have very kindly set up a photographer to come and take some family pictures for us. Thank you Jennifer and Tracy for serving us in such a tangible and creative way. After this, Kathryn and I plan to tell C & J that their little brother is very sick and may not come home.

We are anxious about all of this. Our hearts are heavy when we realize that this may be the only time the five of us are all together. That, of course, assumes that Samuel makes it till tomorrow morning. Please pray that the Lord grants us tomorrow with Samuel. Please pray for our reunion with the boys tomorrow morning. Please pray for our time with the child life specialist. Please pray for our time with the five of us – we want this to be a happy and memorable time, but our hearts ache every time we think of it. Please pray for our conversation with Caleb and Joel afterwards. When it comes to praying for these things I find myself leaning hard into the truth of Romans 8:26-27: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.”

Thank you all for your continued generosity expressed in so many ways: following our story, prayers, words of encouragement, yard work, gift cards, house cleaning, meals, etc. This is the church, the body of Christ, at its best. We are humbled and grateful that, for some reason, we are the recipients of its/your love. Merci beaucoup!


  1. We will continue to pray, especially for tomorrow and your family time! That is so special but also must be so difficult! God will provide you with the right words and answers to questions.
    The Tates

  2. Bryan,
    Praise God from whom all blessings flow. We are praying for all of you.

  3. Just finished our nightly reading of the blog, along with daily/hourly check-ins like so many. Praying for you now. Keep fighting and surprising them, Samuel! Scott & Jen

  4. Praise God for slight improvements. God does miracles with what we see as small. Continuing to pray for complete healing for little Samuel in God's time and His way, along with a very special family day tomorrow. May it be the first of many. I love you and am so thankful for God in you shining through you during this very difficult time.

  5. Praying for you guys....that tomorrow might be filled with some sweet family moments in between all of the sad ones.

  6. Oh friends, I am wondering if it is hard for you to post on the blog as it is for me to comment. Perhaps not, because you write such beautiful narratives of your current life. It is hard to express my thoughts and feelings...I write these words with tears streaming down my face. I will be praying for your family time tomorrow, that it would be beautiful and joyful to have the 5 of you together. That worries about what and how to tell the boys difficult news would not cast a shadow on that time, and that the Holy Spirit would give you the words to say to them, and also give understanding to the boys. I will pray for Caleb's sensitive heart in particular. I will pray that you will get some beautiful family photographs. Your little Samuel is so handsome--even all swollen! Wish I could stroke his little hand. Please tell him Kiley loves him and give him a pat for me. I continue to pray for the healing of his body. I praise God for how He is lavishing his love upon your during this time through His people, and I am in awe of how you are already instructing Samuel in the ways of the Lord. He is a blessed kid. Lots of love, Ki

  7. I can't stop thinking of you guys. Tyler, Faith and Ashley have all been praying for Samuel and for the boys. We love you and will continue to pray for your time with Samuel each day and that the Lord would heal his little body. Love, Allison

  8. We are praying for your special family time together tomorrow, and we are praying for the words to come so easily as you talk with Caleb and Joel. We pray for continued peace for you all, and still praying for a miracle for sweet Samuel. Thank you for sharing the sweet pictures too. We love you guys.

  9. So glad I read this BEFORE work. People might be on to my "allergies" excuse! God bless your time together. We're praying for you.

  10. Deat Bryan and Kathryn, I pray that today is all you are hoping for and that your boys have their opportunity to be together. Your strength continues to amaze me and reminds me constantly that you are not alone in any way. He is always there! Still praying for a miracle and sending love!

  11. Kat and Bryan, Thank you again for the update. We will be praying today for all of these specific requests and for your family time together, that Caleb and Joel will both feel joy to be with their little bro. I'm thankful for the child life specialist and for the relaxed rules at the hospital, so that you and Samuel can have more visitors and prayer. Yohan and I were singing and praying for Samuel last night and I keep thinking of the Fernando Ortega song that reminds me so much of our time at Wheaton:

    I Will Praise Him Still

    When the morning falls on the farthest hill,
    I will sing His name, I will praise Him still.
    When dark trials come and my heart is filled
    With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him still.

    For the Lord our God, He is strong to save
    From the arms of death, from the deepest grave.
    And He gave us life in His perfect will,
    And by His good grace, I will praise Him still.

    Still praying for a mighty work from our Great Physician and Healer. We love you all so much.
    love, Mandie

  12. Judy and I continue to pray for God's prtection and healing for baby Samuel. Your prayers are still working as I woke up every hour during the night and prayed for him. May Christ be honored and glorified through little Samuel's life and the faithfulness of his loving Mom, Dad and family.

    Thanking God for you guys,


  13. Bryan and Katherine, praying this morning for your time with your boys. I pray it is a precious time for you to be together and that Caleb and Joel will understand on their level all the child life specialist will share with them. You are carried today and loved so much! Love, Amy and Russell

  14. Bryan & Kathryn,

    I am praying for the reunion of your family this morning and for your time with your precious sons. I know God will give you the gentle words of love to give to Caleb and Joel. Just wrapping their tiny arms around you will be so good for you all and comforting.

    I am still praying for your little miracle (and really cute miracle I might add) and for complete healing from our Heavenly Father and Great Physician!

    Much Love and Prayer,

  15. Praying for you and your sweet boys.

  16. I'm praying for you guys!

  17. I've had that Romans verse prayed over me and my family and it is extremely comforting. I'm praying for your day as you have pictures taken and spend time with your older 2 boys.

  18. If God does not reveal His glory through a miracle in sweet Samuel, He has surely revealed His glory through your perseverance and your faith. This part of your story, written by God Himself, is not an easy page to travel through; yet, I am overcome with awe of the strength, grace, and mercies that our Mighty Lord has granted you. Praying for you and your precious time as a family.

  19. Praying for your family and your beautiful Samuel.

    Seth and Gena

  20. Will be praying for special grace and strength today! Praying for your entire family.

  21. Have been praying for your family and my heart is so heavy as I think of everything you are going through. Your faith and trust in the Lord is uplifting to everyone who reads about Samuel. I know your family has been a blessing to everyone in the hospital. I hope today as the boys visit with their precious baby brother and you spend time with all your boys together that you feel more than ever God's love and mercy surrounding you. I continue to pray for God to bring a miracle of healing to Samuel, for God to be the hands of his doctors and for your hearts to find comfort in Him.
    Cathy Moore

  22. I agree with Kiley that it is difficult to post with words that are so inadequate. We are continuing to pray to our Father of mercies and God of all comfort. We are so thankful to stand alongside you and bear these burdens, praying on your behalf without ceasing. We love each one of you. We pray specifically for each one of you depending completely on the promise of Romans 8 that Bryan mentioned. I am so thankful for His provision of this time together and the sustaining grace that accompanies it. So much love.