October 11, 2007 - It's a girl!

Hello all,

Mike and I were directed to go to the hospital after my water broke on Tuesday night about 11:00 pm. I finally delivered a beautiful baby girl at 7:58 pm on Wednesday, October 10th. She weighed in at a whopping 8' 11" and is 20.75 inches long with a full head of dark hair.

Please be in prayer for her and us. She has been taken away this morning to a Children's Hospital to undergo some tests due to some complications after birth. She experienced some seizures and they want to take every precaution to make sure things are OK.

Have a great day and thank you all for your prayers and support,


October 12, 2007 - Emily Rose

Hello friends,

The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming! Thank you all for your prayers and concern. I realized that in my email, I never mentioned my baby's name. I'm sorry. In the original email, it was in the subject line, but that email was rejected because I tried to send it to too many people. I copied and pasted the message, but not the subject line.

If you haven't figured it out by now...the baby's name is Emily Rose.

Baby Emily is in the NICU and will remain there for a week or more. She has been having seizures and the doctors are trying to figure out the cause and also the proper medication to stop them. It is believed that it was the trauma of birth that caused the problem, but this has yet to be determined. They ran a CAT scan on her yesterday and an EEG to see what they could find. We are still waiting for some results and they are continuing to do more and more tests. The most conclusive test will be an MRI which they have to wait a few days to do. She stops breathing when she has a seizure and is on a ventilator, she will have to be off the ventilator before going into the MRI.

It is a waiting game and that is all the information that I have right now. We trust that God is in control and will not give us more than we can handle. We are ready to accept HIS will, whatever it may be.

I will continue to give you updates as they come in.

Thank you for everything!!!

Mike and Dawn and Emily

October 13, 2007 - The update on Emily

Hello y'all,

We just got word that Emily is off the respirator and breathing on her own. If she has another seizure, she may have to go back on it, but the seizures seemed to have stopped for now. The progress is slow moving, but all signs are looking good.

It is still too early to determine if and what brain damage there is. They will be performing another EEG (measures brain wave activity) either today or tomorrow. The one test that will give them the best information is an MRI. Because of how the brain develops in the first week of life, an early MRI would be inconclusive; therefore, the doctors are going to wait until she is 5-7 days old before performing the MRI.

God is good and we are ready to accept whatever the outcome. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Only time will tell. It would be nice to be able to hold her, though.

As you can imagine, Dawn is having a hard time with this. Her body is VERY sore and she is recovering slowly. She desires to hold and nurse her baby, but Emily can't move right now because of all the machines attached to her. Emotionally, this is a very draining experience for her...and me.

Please continue to pray that we have the strength needed to endure whatever God brings our way. We know that He is in control of everything and He will only give us what we can handle. Dawn is finding out that God thinks she is pretty strong; which I knew all along. If we find that Emily has permanent brain damage, we will consider ourselves blessed that God sees us worthy of the task of raising her!

Giving HIM all the glory,


PS If you are reading this email and can't understand how we can praise God through this trial and would like a further explanation, feel free to ask me to share how God has worked in my life and brought me into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. I believe this is the main reason for this trial.

October 14, 2007 - Today's Update

Hello y'all,

Today is a glorious day. Not because there is any new development, but because it is the day the Lord has made. I decided to leave Dawn for a little while and go to church. We are going through the book of Mark at Bullitt Lick and today we were on Mark 10:13-27. Most of us don't have this verse memorized, so here are some key verses.

13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

Mark 10:13-16 (NASB)

Emily is dependant on the doctors and nurses for everything. If she was in our care, the case would be the same. We would be responsible for providing everything she needs to survive. We would feed her and clothe her and change her diaper. This is how God wants us to be with HIM. He wants us to depend on HIM for everything. Every breathe we take is a gift from HIM and we need to acknowledge that. Every decision we make, we should not think about how it affects us, but how it reflects HIM.

This is how I am trying to live my life. It is not easy because when He wants you to trust Him, He doesn't let you in on what He is doing until you can look back on the event and see His hand guiding every step. As an example, I graduated from seminary in May. It was my hope and prayer that I would have a new job and be settled in a new home in time for the baby's arrival. He had other plans. Looking back on it now, we are right near one of the best Children's Hospitals around, and Dawn is being taken care of by doctors that she knows and trusts. Our church family has been there every step of the way providing support and prayers and right now there is no better place for us to be than right here...we are where HE wants us to be.

All of this is to say that we need to put our trust in God alone! He knows what He is doing and where we need to be at every moment of our lives. Making a decision to follow Him with ALL of my heart has been one of the hardest things of my life, but one of the most rewarding. I have gone places I never would have thought (like Kentucky) and look forward to where He will take us next.

I am truly blessed and I just wanted to share this message with you.

On a separate note...I got to hold Emily in my arms today...it was a good day! Everything is the same for now as far as her progress. She is breathing on her own and she is still being fed through tubes and on medication to control the seizures. This will most likely continue for some time. Tomorrow she is going for an EEG and an MRI. These tests will give the doctors the information they need to make an assessment of what to do next. Hopefully, we will be speaking to the Neurologist tomorrow and getting some answers. If not tomorrow, definitely Tuesday.

So, the next time you hear from me we should know a little more than we do right now. I will write back as soon as we hear from the doctor and fill you all in on what is going on here.

Thank you all for the prayers and support! Let me assure you that your prayers are being answered because she looks great and Dawn and I are doing great. As I mentioned before, even if there is permanent damage, we are still blessed to have such a beautiful miracle in our lives!

May God bless you all as He has blessed us!!

Eph 2:4-7

October 15, 2007 - Today's progress

Hello all,

Today was a good day! I got to wash Emily's hair and change her diaper! It was only wet, there was no poop and I was pretty excited about that. After she got her hair washed, she woke up. We have not really seen her with her eyes open, but tonight she was wide awake and looking around. After her bath, the nurse put her in a dress. We got a picture and it will be attached.

Today she had her MRI and EEG. Sometime tonight they are also going to give her a spinal tap. Tomorrow, hopefully, we will get to sit down with the doctor and discuss what happened and where we go from here. She seems to be doing better as time goes on, but there is still so much uncertainty.

I hope to have more answers tomorrow, so continue to pray that the doctors make the correct diagnosis and course of treatment. Know that we appreciate all your emails, prayers and support and God is on our side! She is doing better every day and we are just excited to be able to spend some quality time with her.

We love you all,

Eph 2:4-7

October 16, 2007 - The News!!

Hello y'all,

I would like to tell you all we greatly appreciate all the emails, prayers and love that have been sent our way over the past week. To say the least it has been physically and emotionally exhausting. Our God is a big God and has us in the palm of His hand. We know He is not only watching over us, but strengthening us with every breathe.

As we were waiting for the doctors to come in and give us the news, we had some time to play with Emily. One of the nurses was giving her her medications and she wasn't too happy about it. She began to cry! This is the first time that she has done this since she was born. We saw this as a great thing and never thought we would be so happy to hear a baby cry.

The results from the tests were as expected. She has brain damage (cerebral palsy) and it could be pretty bad. It is the result of a loss of oxygen to the brain while in the womb. The brain takes the oxygen it gets and puts it in the areas where it is needed most. This includes all the major functions the body does, like breathing and keeping the heart beating. In order to do this, it has to deprive the other parts of the brain of oxygen. These are the parts that handle motor functions and learning. So, the worst case scenario, she could be permanently debilitated, the best case scenario, she will be a slow starter, but have normal functions.

As I mentioned, our God is a BIG God and has all things under His control. If He chooses to heal her, He will do it and we will give Him the glory and honor He deserves. If He chooses to make her totally dependant on her parents for everything from eating to going to the bathroom, we are ready to accept that and we will also give HIM ALL THE GLORY. He has a perfect plan for our lives, and as I mentioned in my last emails, we are blessed because He counted us worthy to be blessed with a child that is dependant on us as we are to be dependant on Him.

We covet your prayers and we can assure you that God hears them. There have been so many things that she has done already that show us she is a fighter and will prevail. Even though we have a great attitude and we have total faith is an all powerful God, it is still hard on us emotionally and physically, so continue to pray that He strengthens us and guides us through each day.

The biggest struggles are ahead of us, but we will take each day as it comes. We don't know what the future brings, but we do know that as long as we remain faithful, He will provide all our needs according to His riches in Glory!

Emily will remain in the NICU for at least two more weeks, if not much longer. She does not have a gag reflex which means that she can't swallow. She is currently being fed through a tube and this will continue until either she develops this skill or there is a feeding tube permanently installed. She will have several therapists (Speech and physical) to help her overcome the obstacles that face her. She is also bathed in prayer and the love of friends and family.

As you pray today, and as you hold your own children with a greater thankfulness for their health, know that we are in good hands and God won't give us anything that we can't handle. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit that fills us because we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and have given every ounce of our hearts to Him to hold onto and to take care of. Ever since we left RI to come to Kentucky, it has been our little saying, "Wherever He leads, we'll go." I must admit that this is a road that I didn't know existed, but we are willing to follow Him down it all the same.

Today they had to shave some of Emily's hair to put an IV in her head, so I won't be sending any pictures with this email. Instead, I am attaching the words of a new song by Casting Crowns. The song is on Christian Radio. I recommend everyone reading this to get this CD. The name of the song is "Praise You in This Storm." Enjoy it! The words don't do the song justice, but when you read the words, you will understand the beauty of what is being said.

May God watch over you all as you continue to pray and bless Dawn and I with your love and friendship!

Glorifying HIM!!!


Praise You In This Storm
I was sure by now
God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will life my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

October 22, 2007 - Update on Emily

Hello all,

This is Dawn, not Mike. I have received several emails saying "we hear from Mike, but how are YOU doing?” So I thought it would be a good idea for me to send the update this time around.

First, I am doing well. My recovery is moving along smoothly. I certainly did not plan to be out and about as much as I have been. The biggest challenge has been taking the time to rest and do what I need to do to recover while running back and forth to the hospital to spend time with Emily. That has been a tough balance at times. I want to spend as much time as possible with Emily, but taking care of me is the best gift that I can give her. So please pray for me as I try to find the right balance.

Second, Emily is doing great! She has been such a blessing to us – I cannot even begin to describe it to you. We know that she will have challenges ahead of her, but she has shown us that she is a fighter and we are so thankful. We have not sent an update in about a week, so bear with me while I brag on my little girl for a bit...

She is absolutely adorable (in my completely unbiased opinion)! Each day she does something new. It is SO amazing to watch her. We count it a privilege to be parents to such an amazing little girl. I know in Mike’s last email, he mentioned that she cried for the first time. Well, she has really gotten the hang of crying & does it every single day. She likes to let us know when she is not happy! And that is wonderful. Twice this week, Mike and I were able to give her a sponge bath. And both times she cried and screamed as if we were beating her with sticks. She gets bright red, scrunches her entire face & just screams. It is wonderful to hear her expressing herself (maybe in a few months we may not think the crying is so great, but for now, we are thrilled).

This week she began working with a speech therapist. The therapist works with her on her sucking, swallowing and her gag reflex. The first day she did this, Emily cried for an hour after the therapist left – apparently she does not like to be gagged repeatedly (who would?). But each day has gotten better. She has started to like her pacifier and actually is soothed by sucking on it (at times). Tomorrow she will have a swallow study done. The therapist will give her liquids of varying consistencies and then x-ray her to see where they go (into her lungs or into her esophagus). This is a very important study. If it goes well, she can move to bottle feedings and eventually to nursing. This means she can have her feeding tube removed. Speaking of feedings, each day they have increased the amount she eats. She is currently eating 57 cc’s every 3 hours. By the time we take her home, she is going to be a porker! At her last weigh in that we witnessed she was 9 lbs. 8 oz!

Yesterday and today, Emily made some great progress. Yesterday, she was moved to a crib rather than the bed with a warmer – so she is able to hold her own body temperature now. And she also went off her oxygen. She has given the nurses a couple of scares where her oxygen levels dropped low, but then she brings them back up again. This too, will get better with time. And today, she was taken off one of her seizure medications - the one that makes her really sleepy. So as this gets out of her system, we will be able to see more and more of her personality (she seems to be a feisty one, so that should be interesting!). And the doctor told me that she will be moving tonight to an intermediate section of the NICU – as the doctor said “this is one step closer to the door”. So Mike and I are hopeful that she will get to come home soon.

The nurses allow us to do more and more which has been wonderful. We have been able to change diapers, bathe her and take her temperature and a few other things. It makes us feel like we are doing something to care for our daughter. I cannot begin to describe to you what a blessing Emily has been to us. She amazes us every single day. This experience has been amazing. No, it isn’t the way we expected things to go, but it is exactly the way that God had planned. I have clung to Psalm 139 lately:

13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Emily is perfect in God’s eyes. She is exactly the way that God wants her to be. She was knit together in my womb by God Himself. He knows exactly who she will be and how many days she will have on this earth. And I am thankful that He has counted us worthy of being her parents. We do ask that you continue to pray for her as she grows. And pray that we will be the parents that she needs us to be – that God intended us to be. We have received countless emails from people who are praying for us & I cannot tell you what it means to us. There is incredible power in prayer!

Thank you for the overwhelming love and support that we have received from many of you. It has sustained us in those times when we think we can't go on. And yes we do have those times, but God is faithful. It is only through His strength that we get through each day. We could NOT do it on our own. We trust that He will be with us every step of the way and we take great comfort in that.

In HIS strength,