Friday, March 13, 2009

Letter To My Sweet Evelyn, Love Mommy

My Dearest Evelyn,

The first moment I saw you I was struck by your beauty. Even with so many tubes and wires coming from you, everyone who saw you commented on what a lovely baby you were. I believe that was somehow part of your testimony here during your short stay.

I was so delighted that you came into the world screaming. You were full of passion. And you were so plump! The Bible says that God formed your inward parts and knit you together in my womb. I believe that you were perfect the way He made you, Evie. He doesn't make mistakes and He made you the way you were to glorify His name. Mommy hoped He would glorify His name by healing your inward parts here on earth, but that was not His plan. You know, we don't understand God's ways a lot of the time and sometimes life is just so perplexing. Things often turn out so differently than we expect. But one thing always remains constant: Jesus is still sitting on His throne and He has not changed. He was not surprised when the doctors kept finding new problems in your chest. Daddy and I were so tired of bad news that that we began running the other way when we saw a doctor coming. But Jesus knew. He was not surprised when the surgeon told us he'd never seen a set of problems as complex as yours. Mommy wondered how a world-renown surgeon could not do anything to help her baby, but God made you that way. He wanted to do something through you because He had a plan and purpose for your life. He knew that even the most gifted surgeon would not be able to fix you. Jesus always knew. He made you, baby girl.

In your twelve days here in this life you have impacted more people than many do in their entire lifetime. You touched hearts in a way that most people can't. God spoke very clearly to me about a month before you arrived that He was giving you to Daddy and me as a gift. He said that you were going to keep us from lukewarm Christianity. At the time it didn't make a lot of sense, but Evelyn, God has done such a work in mine and Daddy's hearts. I am changed forever. I got to choose to love, knowing that it could result in loss. I got to choose to believe the best, against all odds. I got to learn what faith really is, even though it didn't turn out my way. You have given Mommy the best gift a daughter can give. The opportunity to believe for the impossible, and to love deeply, getting nothing in return. Mommy needed this lesson! I've been longing to be able to love others more but I've felt locked out, like I will never be able to feel the pain of others in order to be used by God to comfort them. Thank you for unlocking my heart. I am forever grateful to you, my Evie girl.

We never ever stopped believing that God was well able to give you a new heart and lungs. Even after you left us we continued to ask the Lord for a miracle and for you to be healed. That was the most we could do, and we did it with all of our strength. Yet at the same time we were holding you with open hands and willing to let the Lord accomplish His plan in your life.

Evelyn, some people leave this earth having never accomplished the purposes God had for them here. Instead of choosing to receive His gift of amazing life and freedom from sin, they choose to live for themselves. People choose not to follow Jesus and they never even see all of the blessings God had just for them: freedom from guilt and shame, and peace no matter what trial. I want to tell you that you did accomplish your purpose here. You hit the mark that God had for you. I take this as a challenge, and I will use it to challenge others in the days to come. I will say to them "Evelyn had twelve days and used them all, how many days will it take you to get right with Jesus and start accomplishing the purpose He has here for you here?"

Despite the tears and deep grief, my heart is glad. I am content knowing that God is the giver of all good things. He gives and He takes away. I will always bless His name. I am thankful for the twelve days we had with you. I am especially thankful that the Lord touched your body and helped you to breathe life for the span of four hours on your own. That time with you was more precious than I can express. My heart was consoled as I held you and kissed your sweet face as I had so longed to do since the moment you were born. Now Jesus is holding you and kissing that same sweet face. I was excited for the day I get to heaven before, but now I am even more excited because I will be with you in the presence of Jesus, worshipping Him for eternity. I will hit the mark God has for me here and then I will be on my way. The Bible says that this life is fragile - it is but a breath. So goodbye, my sweet daughter. I will see you in a breath!

Love, Mommy

Evelyn Hope Nelson was born in Palo Alto, CA on February 23, 2009 and died in Boise, Idaho on March 7, 2009 of Congenital Heart Disease. She is survived by her father and mother, Chris and Stephanie Nelson, and her big sister, Clara Nelson. She is also survived by numerous relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Many many thanks to all of you who prayed for our family and who sent us verses and words of encouragement. Thank you for the meals, for cleaning my house and for even giving us money to help with bills. Wow. The generosity of the people we are surrounded by. We love you all so much more than we can say and we cannot wait until it's our turn to bless, clean, cook, and pour out love to you.

All our love,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Homegoing Service

A few of you have asked about Evelyn's homegoing service.

The answer is YES you are invited! Please come, it is going to be an amazing celebration of Evelyn's life and the goodness of God. Here are the details:

Friday March 13th @ 11 am
(Viewing at 10:30 am)
River Valley Community Church
1115 N. Garden St.
Boise, Idaho 83706
Short graveside service immediately following

I will post my memorial to Evelyn after the service sometime, which will be our last post. :)

We love you all and thank you again for sharing this short season in our lives with us.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Evelyn is With Jesus

Our beautiful Evelyn Hope went to be with precious Jesus last night at 10:05 pm. We got four wonderful hours with her free from tubes and wires. We prayed for pretty much the whole time asking God for a miracle. After she died, Chris and I kept asking. We are thankful for the wonderful four hours we got to hold and kiss our baby.

We know that God's ways are good and right and perfect. We don't understand them but we worship Him anyway!

He is good all the time no matter what our circumstances say.

We will soon be posting one last time as a memorial to our sweet daughter and as a thank you to all of you warriors of the faith who prayed hard and believed well.

Jesus will richly reward your faith.

All our love,
Chris and Steph

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Plan

We are going to be unhooking Evelyn from everything @ 6pm MST tonight. If she is able to breathe on her own for a bit we will stay in a room here in the hospital tonight with her. If she's still breathing in the morning we will get to take her home with us. If she stops breathing, our plan is to pray that God would raise her from the dead. We have nothing to lose at this point. We know God wants to do something huge through her but we don't know what it is. His plans and judgments are perfect and as long as there is opportunity we will pray and believe for LIFE. We know that we have access to healing just the same as we have access to forgiveness - through the cross of Jesus. This is what we are believing for. Thank you for believing with us. We will let you know the outcome when it is appropriate to do so. We love you all so much!!


Home Sweet Home

I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to sleep in my own bed last night! We never knew our bed was so comfortable! :)

Thanks for praying for my health and for good roads! We had both! God answers prayer! He is so amazing.

We are meeting this morning with the "care team" at the hospital who will help us make a plan for Evelyn. We are hoping they will let us take her home but have a feeling this may not be as easy as it should be. Will keep you posted as details unfold.

All our love!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Have We Exceeded Our Prayer Request Limit?

If not would you toss up one for me today? We didn't even make it to Reno last night because yours truly got incredibly sick. So here we are in a podunk town in CA just waking up (late! We are so tired.)To face a very long stretch of road. Please pray that I would get well fast. I cannot be sick right now! But I am dreading getting into that car. One thing is for sure I will never eat McDonalds again. That's what I get for eating that junk! :) please also pray that Donner Pass and NV/OR would not be snowy. We need to get in at a decent time tonight. Evelyn arrives today early afternoon. I can't stand the thought of her in a new and strange place without us for very long.

Thank you for continuing to support us and pray for us. Everyone should have a blog so we all can pray for each other.

Oh and Jessica, you are so right about Evelyn already being healed through what Jesus did on the cross. We are going to be praising Him the whole way home. Since I WON'T be throwing up! I keep teasing Chris..."I think its morning sickness, babe. Maybe I'm pregnant." He doesn't think its as funny as I do. And of course its only been 1.5 weeks since Evie was born so I'm not for sure.

Love you all!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

As it Turns Out...

We met with the surgeon this morning and he confirmed what everyone else had already told us. He put it this way - to do the 3 surgery series on a baby with JUST Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is about a 90% chance of survival. Which is really good. This is what we anticipated coming down here. But after Evelyn was born they discovered 6 other major problems with her. Dr. Hanley said that doing the surgery on a baby with HLHS and just one of the other major problems she has brings the odds of survival down to 50/50. Which puts in perspective where Evelyn fits in. WAY below 50/50. With not one additional problem but six, he said he doubted she'd even make it out of surgery and if she did she would not leave the NICU most likely.

I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I'd make the choice we are making. But it is the best and really, only decision there is to make.

If the top surgeon - who by his own admission - says that he rarely turns families away from surgery says its not an option, then well, we sure don't want to do that! We are so glad we talked to him. We were leaning away from surgery anyway, so that was the confirmation we needed.

I guess it's illegal to transport a "dying person" as Evie is considered by the doctors, across state lines so our options were:

1. Unhook her here and "wait."
2. Get a medical transport to take her back to Boise, admit her to the NICU there and unhook her.

Our insurance doesn't cover this type of transport but God is so good to us, continuing to make our way smooth down here. One of the social workers got approval for Stanford to absorb the cost of the transport for us! So they are paying for it. We started crying and then the social worker started crying. God is good! Evelyn leaves today on her private jet - still on the medication that makes her stable, and we are just waiting to sign some papers before we hit the road!

Now we will get to see God do a miracle in Evelyn as we step out of the boat and onto the water by unhooking her. This is the perfect backdrop for a miracle and we will not stop believing! Please keep praying for a miracle for Evie!

Nothing is impossible with Jesus!

Lord, you are good and we put our baby girl, Evelyn, into Your hands. She is Yours. Please glorify Your name through her.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

The meeting with the doctors was as we anticipated. They gave us the option of surgery but they recommend against it. From their standpoint (50 doctors all agreed) the risk is so high and if she lived through the surgery she wouldn't live beyond her first year. The other option, of course, is to just take her home. As you can see this is the most difficult decision Chris or I have EVER had to make. But we know that as Evelyn's parents, God will give us grace to make a good decision. AND we know God is our Healer and so we will continue to believe for Evelyn's healing either route we choose. We probably won't post again until we've decided - but we want to decide soon.

Thank you again for your prayers and love. Please keep praying even though you may not hear anything from us for a bit. We will update again when we decide and have a plan of action.

All our love,
Chris and Steph


They actually called us! We are meeting with the cardiac surgeons and the cardiology team today at 1pm Pacific time. We are anticipating this to be the meeting where they tell us if they can do anything to help Evelyn. Please pray that God would give Chris and I wisdom about how to proceed. We know they will either tell us that there is nothing they can do for her, or that they are willing to do a surgery of sorts but with high risk and low benefit to her. We need God's wisdom! We know God's will is to heal Evelyn because He has spoken that to us but we don't know what that will look like.

Thank you for praying! We will report when we have something to report :)

Love Steph

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thoughts on an 18 Month Old

Wow. That's all I can say! It has been amazing seeing Clara. Our first encounter happened while she was asleep in the car. Waking up after a plane ride to two faces you haven't seen in weeks must have been interesting to her. It took her a bit to wake up let alone warm up to us. But now she's the same old ball of energy that we know and love!

A few thoughts...everyone says I'm seeing things but she is totally different than when we left for CA! 2.5 weeks is an eternity in toddler life! Her hair is longer, she's popped some new teeth which has pushed her two front teeth together. No more cute baby gap-in-the-teeth! She's a big girl. She talks and laughs WAY more, she eats way more, and last but not least she's gotten a much louder voice! Sorry Heidi but you are getting the blame for that one! I guess chasing three boys around for 2 weeks will cause any girl to learn to be heard! :)

Clara is such a bright light and a much needed distraction for Chris and I. Plus it's good for us to be on her schedule - 1 nap in the afternoon and to bed by 8pm!

About Evelyn today, she opened her eyes for the first time and got a good look at Mommy. I was talking to her and she was trying so hard to open them but they were glued shut. So I all but shouted across the room to her nurse "quick! Can I get some saline and gauze? She's trying to look at me!" I couldn't get them clean enough and she fell back to sleep but as we were literally walking out of the hospital I got a call on my cell phone from her nurse "she's wide awake and her eyes are open!" So I ran back up to the NICU and sure enough she was looking for me. I'll try and post those pics. Of course, I cried. She hadn't seen me ever and I had never seen her eyes - blue (of course). Then later she had what the nurses call "an episode." She was wide awake and freaked out and tried to pull out her IV's and breathing tube. So looks like she'll be sedated more often now. She's really a spitfire when she's awake! I can't wait until she's not hooked up to all of that stuff!

Word on the street is that the surgeons and cardiologists are going to talk about what to do with Evelyn tomorrow during their weekly 7am meeting. We would love for them to come to a consensus so we can go forward. We know whatever they decide won't affect Evelyn's fate as much as it will affect the vehicle that God uses to heal Evelyn. Mostly we would like it to move forward so we aren't just in limbo. At the same time we know God's timing is perfect and we don't want to rush Him. We continue to focus on being thankful for such amazing nurses, doctors, for the Ronald McDonald House, for amazing and supportive family who will travel so far to be with us as well as amazing family and friends who continue to lift up Evelyn before the Lord and contend for her healing. Wow talk about run-on sentence! That one was just for you, Kelsey Zedwick! Sorry my tiredness is really showing right now. :) I'm sure thankful for that 8pm bedtime tonight! And thankful that the joy of the Lord is my strength.

We love you all and will - of course - let you know if/when we hear something tomorrow. Don't be alarmed if we don't post right away though. Remember, things really do move slowly around here so tomorrow may be later this week too. :) Thank you Lord for your perfect timing!

All our love and kisses from Clara,

Steph Holding Evelyn!

Hello friends and family, I will let these speak for themselves-

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let Faith Arise!

We just wanted to give you a faith update. :)

We realize that a lot of you don't know all of the details about Evelyn's condition. Don't feel too bad, there is so much that Chris and I don't really understand every detail. Just take our word for it, the doctors still haven't decided on a plan - or if Evelyn is even a candidate for a surgery. But everything they tell us is bad, bad, bad.

HOWEVER, we want to share our hearts with you, our prayer warriors, so that you have some direction in how to pray.
We have more hope everyday. Last night I could not get any peace. Usually Chris will just pray for me and I'm fine. Not last night! I was exhausted but couldn't sleep due to horrible thoughts and emotions. Finally I cried out to the Lord and just asked him point blank "is it your will for Evelyn to live?" We have all of the Sciptures that say it IS His will for her to live but I guess in my human-ness (and inexperience in this kind of realm of living by faith) I needed to know for sure. God is so patient. No sooner had the last words escaped from my mouth when I felt His presence so near and total peace. Then I saw a picture of me holding Evelyn in the NICU with all of her tubes and wires (we are going to try and post those pics later tonight by the way). Then I looked up and Jesus was there with outstretched arms. I placed Evie in His arms and He took one hand and moved it over her from head to toe. All of her lines disappeared. Then He touched her chest with His finger and gave her back to me. I knew she was healed. I looked at her and then I surprised myself by giving her back to Him again. When I was first pregnant with Evelyn the Lord spoke to my heart very clearly that she was going to be like Samuel in the Bible - whose mother gave him to the Lord before He was born and He grew up serving God. I knew that what I was doing was giving her to the Lord as an act of consecration, or dedication to Him. This is the second time that He has told me that she would be fully His. We know she has an amazing call of God on her life. After this, I asked the Lord to please confirm this vision with His Word so that I wouldn't second guess it later or dismiss it as emotionalism. He reminded me of Rev 1:18:

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades (the unseen world) and of Death."

Jesus calls the shots on who dies and when. He controls this. The doctors do not get to decide who dies. And if they try to pronounce a death sentence over Evelyn we are not going to receive it. God has given us over 30 verses that say its God's will to heal and deliver. Now He has given me a promise because I asked Him to speak to me.

Please understand this is MORE REAL to us than what the doctors are telling us.

Pray specifically against a spirit of infirmity and a spirit of death. We really feel that this is a spiritual battle and the spirit of death is trying to lay claim on Evelyn.

Also Chris and I are learning a lot about faith. This is what we have concluded thus far. Faith is a lot like being crazy (by the world's standards). You honestly and genuinely are convinced that something is real when it is contrary to all natural evidence. Everything in the natural realm says Evelyn's chances of survival are nil. But we are looking past that and have our eyes FIXED on a God who does miracles with a word from His mouth. Her healing is more real to us than her diagnosis.

Everything in me wants to protect myself, to prepare for the worst and to some how buffer any potential disappointment by planning for "just in case God doesn't come through." THIS IS NOT FAITH! This is natural reasoning - an enemy of faith. Faith says that it is going to believe - not wavering in doubt - forever.

God has put Chris and I in a place where we have no option but to dive in headfirst and believe with all of our being that His Word is true, applicable to our lives, and in this case its our ONLY hope. Its easy to always choose the way that our 5 senses say to go when there is that option. For example, as long as we had the surgery and Dr. Hanley as an option we chose that but now that those may not be an option we only have the Lord. We are throwing our lot, our everything, in with the Lord. Please join us and be a part of a miracle. God wants to strengthen the faith of His Beloved Church. This means you too! Decide today to believe the Word, forget about the "what if's" and give your everything to Him. You won't regret it!

We love you! Please don't grow weary praying for Evelyn. We will see God move!

Love Steph

Clara is Coming to CA!

Since my dad and Chris' parents are all here we thought it might be a good time for a visit from big sister! So my mom and Clara fly in tomorrow! This way we will have lots of extra hands to help us with Boo and at the same time we will get to see her! Chris and I are so excited to see her. It's going to be very good for all of us!

That's all for now. Just wanted to share the excitement! :) Hope everyone is well and enjoying your Monday!

Love Steph

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No News - I Promise!

Some of you are wondering if we've heard anything from the doctors. And nope, we haven't. Now you see how serious we were when we said nothing happens fast around here! :)

As for other Evelyn news, when Chris and I arrived to visit her today I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see that her coloring is way better! It was starting to get a tinge of yellow as you maybe noticed from the pictures. Now she's pleasantly pink. A little on the pale side, but with my arm next to her we are the same color. Clara isn't exactly a Bahama Mama either. :)

So for the big surprise...are you ready? We got to HOLD her today!!! Yep full on, cradling her in our arms, tubes and wires everywhere. It was so wonderful. And yes, I cried! That's not fresh news. Poor Chris - I cry all the time so he has his checklist "do you need your pain meds? Are you missing Clara? Is your faith low? Do you need me to pray for you?" When I held Evelyn he didn't even ask. I was glad because it would have just added another question to the mix "are you crying because you're happy?" Anyone know when postpartum emotions/hormones GO AWAY? Soon would be nice.

Back to holding Evelyn. She wasn't sedated and instantly melted into my arms. She was so calm - I loved it!! I'm so thankful for her nurse, Jean. She's been a NICU nurse for 20 years and takes such good care of Evie. She's the only one of Evie's nurses who has even been willing to talk about letting me hold her. I guess its kind of scary for the nurses because of how tied up Evie is. So if they aren't experienced they usually stay away from letting parents hold the baby. Thank you Lord, for Jean! :)

I will post pictures of our first hold later.

Chris' parents and sister along with my dad arrived this afternoon. Its fun to show Evelyn off! It will be so good to have company for a few days. We are blessed to have people in our lives that make so many sacrifices.

Please keep praying for a miraculous healing for Evelyn. We are confident that your diligence in prayer will pay off. Plus you will be richly rewarded in heaven. :)

Please also add in there a prayer that I would heal faster than I am from my surgery. The soreness is really starting to get in the way of how much I'm wanting to be with my baby. I get tired too fast and Chris makes me go home and rest. God can heal me too!

We love you! Thank you for your encouraging comments. It helps us to keep fighting!

All our love,

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Latest pictures for sure!

Sorry, I accidentally uploaded some old pictures on the 'Nelson toes' post. These are truly the latest ones. You can verify that I'm telling the truth because unlike my wife who recently lost a ton of weight-I'm gaining pounds by the day out here. Too many Big Macs!

Is that a Nelson toe or what? Latest Evelyn pics

Hope: "Confident Expectation"

Thank you so much for your prayers and the verses that some of you have encouraged us with. We have been encouraged in the Lord!

We don't have any new news, medically speaking. We aren't sure when we will actually meet with the doctors since its the weekend. However, we have realized a few things since the bad report we got last night.

First, we realized how much we were depending on the surgeries and the doctors to "heal" Evelyn. We asked the Lord to forgive us - this is wrong thinking. God is always in control and sometimes when we aren't too desperate for Him to move in a situation its easy to sort of take Him out of the equation and depend on the world's solutions. Of course this isn't always wrong. If I have a cavity I'm going to go to the dentist and get it filled probably before I spent hours praying about it. God has given us modern medicine and technology and we are SO grateful for that. BUT in our situation where the doctors really are out of their league, we were foolish to think even the 3 surgeries would make evelyn's life
"normal." Only the power of God can do that.

We were with Evelyn until the wee morning hours last night (this morning?) We prayed for her, read the Word of God to her and sang to her about Jesus. Then I got to be the nurse's assistant. I got to feed her milk drops, clean her face and eyes, and even change her diaper! It was so fun. She's gained weight too! 5 ounces! So now she is 7 lb 13 oz.

This is not the end. We are not grieving. I'm crying a lot thanks to postpartum emotions, but our faith is high. We know that God doesn't have favorites, He's no respector of persons. Jesus healed people in more serious situations than ours! Remember Lazarus was dead for 3 days!! We have much to hope for and actually feel safer resting in the Lord and trusting Him to heal her than we did trusting in a surgery. Again, as soon as the doctors contact us and we make a game plan we will let you know. But even if things change and the doctors are totally optimistic it won't change anything for us. Opinions come and go but the promises in God's Word are firm and that is what we are relying on. Our hope, our confident expectation, is in the Lord.

Please join us in stepping into a realm of faith that few get to experience. Its an honor to know and to trust in Jesus! Its time to pray and believe!

We love you so much!

Friday, February 27, 2009

God is in control!

Hello friends and family. Please pray for us. The latest test, a cath procedure confirmed the previous studies and revealed more issues. These second round of issues make it so that the surgeries won't work. I can explain better later. Pretty much we are at place where if God doesn't move little Evelyn doesn't have much chance of living. Please pray that God will heal her:
1. Her hypoplastic left heart
2. Her hypoplastic rt lung
3. Her veins that are connected to the wrong side of her heart.
4. That she would have 4 veins (somehow she only got 3)
5. That the openings from the veins to the heart would enlarge.
6. That her veins would enlarge.

We are seeking God for peace and healing! We will never stop praying for God to heal our little Evelyn. With God there is never a reason to stop believing!

Hasta La Vista Evel!

As I stood at Evelyn's bedside staring at the myriad of machines, lines and sensors, machines beeping in the background, my eyes focused on Evelyn's nametag. The letters EVEL juxtaposed, instantly images of my life before knowing Jesus flashed before my eyes. My hero in those days was Evel Knievel. Yes, I know a man who had crashed more landings than he actually had made and broken more bones than the average stunt man, is not the type that should be idolized. Nevertheless my buddy Jamie and I thought he was the greatest. We often discussed stunts we would try when we got back to the states. In Kuwait we couldn't get our hands on motorcycles so we spent some of our down time jumping bicycles. We wore out motorcycle review magazines and saved our money to buy the latest machine on the market.
Thank God that there is a better way! At the height of our attempts to jump our way into the heavens, God not only changed my language, He tore down my Tower of Babel! Having experienced life without Jesus, I can tell you that there is nothing better than being a born again Christian! In the midst of trials He is there to comfort and encourage! When you don't know which way to turn, he can give you direction! If you don't know Jesus, don't hesitate to get to know Him! Thanks for bearing with me as I remember what God has done in my life!
Hasta La Vista Evel!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Down With Suspense!

Just a quick post to say that Evelyn's cath procedure got rescheduled until tomorrow (Friday) around 1pm. They just got a little behind on their schedule and the caths before her took longer than anticipated.

On a fun note, I've been able to give Evelyn drops of milk from a syringe a few times a day. Only about .5 ml every 6 hours. Its not even enough for her to really swallow. I place it inside of her cheek and it gets absorbed into her mucous. But she loves it! She licks her lips and tries to suck on the syringe. This evening Evie's nurse was so wonderful and she let me feed her the drops of colostrum, and then I got to clean her eyes! They are starting to get that yellow weepy stuff that newborns often get. Clara had it so bad and I thought it was such a pain to clean her eyes. With Evelyn it's sheer joy. I continue to be amazed at how much "perspective" really affects our lives! The nurse even deferred to me a few times and asked things like "does she seem comfortable to you? Is there anything else you want me to do for her? Etc." At one point I made an off-hand comment that she was drooling and it was running under her skin folds. Not expecting her to fix it but she dropped what she was doing and cleaned up Evie's drool. I'm so thankful for nurses who allow me to feel like Mommy even when I really am helpless in regards to Evelyn's care. The little things mean SO much right now!

Also a sidenote - some of you have asked if we are refraining from posting pictures because Evelyn looks bad. And in fact we aren't doing that at all! She does have a lot of tubes and lines coming from her and we know that can be frightening to some, but she actually looks better everyday. The lack of pictures is just due to technical difficulties. The hospital's wifi has been temperamental so we've been using the internet on our phones to post updates. Our phones can't upload pics. We will post pics as soon as we can. Its so overwhelming that so many people care about what's going on in our lives.

We LOVE you and will post again as soon as we know something



Yes yesterday was a rather tough day. Steph's post really inspired me, so I decided to come up with a list of a 100 things I'm thankful for. Suprisingly I had 70 in 15 min! Here's the list. They are not in order of importance!
I'm thankful for:
1. Steph (I could come up with at least a hundred things that I'm thankful for with her)
2. Steph's faith
3. Steph's desire to be a good mom
4. Steph's health
5. Clara
6. Clara's fun personality
7. That Clara likes to go outside and play.
8. My mother-in-law
9. My father-in-law
10. My mother
11. My father
12. My parents raising me with morals.
13. My brother Erik and his family.
14. My brother Ben and his family.
15. My brother Jared.
16. My sister Erin.
17. That my family cares about us.
18. Steph's beautiful eyes.
19. Baby Evelyn (there's about a hundred things wrapped up in that one)
20. Our church
21. Pastor Mark and DD and family.
22. Amazing practical preaching
23. Amazing worship!
24. Friends that care about their walk with God.
25.Friends that care about our walk with God.
26. Our churches believes in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
27. Our Church has a place to meet.
28. Tim Love and the sound team.
29. Our other great leaders-Galways, Richters, Laframboise, Argons.
30. Our amazing friends.
31. Conolidation team.
32. The servants hearts of our church.
33. Soft chairs
34. Nursery at church
35. The Vanderpools leadership in the nursery!
36. Small groups.
37. David and Jessica's group. 38. Focus on safety at our church.
39. Nursery workers!
40. The hard work that Kelsey and Jonathan put into the nursery policy book.
41. Whoever puts all the grape juice in the little cups for communion.
42. Security team.
43. Concealed weapons permits. 44. Teaching on the local church.
45. Men's meetings
46. Consecration week.
47. Guys like the crosswalker.
48. Anniversary services
49. Valentines day
50. Church picnics
51. ROAR
52. JGC-it's so exciting to watch those guys grow up!
53. Metropolis
54. Presbyteries
55. Our great church heritage. 56. Brother Dick and the great church he pastored.
57. MFI
58. Ralph and the parking team.
59. Set-up team
60. Tear down team
61. Missionaries
62. All the prayers for our baby.
63. Tuesday morning prayer
64. Friday morning prayer
65. Saturday morning prayer.
66. The Saunders care of Clara.
67. The computer that Raz and Christy gave loaned us.
68. Both my legs
69. Both my arms.
70. That God gave us memory. Can you imagine life without memories. How horrible to keep making the same mistake twice. 71. Great surgery for Steph.
72. Great hospitals.
73. Great surgeons.
74. Great nurses.
75. Great NICU
76. Steph's health.
77. Anethestiologists-without these guys surgery would be a lot more difficult.
78. Lactation consultants.
79. Leaders that give wise advise.
80. Infrastructure-the roads around here are great.
81. My job
82. Great employees
83. Amazing boss
84. Great company to work for. 85. Technology
86. Email
87. Dvds
88. Cell phones
89. Paid vacation
90. Ronald Mcdonald house
91. Flowers
92. Sandwiches
93. Sewers
94. Clean water
95. The Bible (I have at least 100 things I'm thankful for in the Bible)
96. Divine healing
97. God that heals
98. God that hears our prayers
99. God that knows everything.
100. God that sees everything.
101. Prayer
102. Every verse on healing.
103. God that answers our prayers.
104. Jesus
105. The cross
106. Freedom from sin.
107. Heros of the faith listed in Hebrews 11.
108. Martin Luther
109. Soap-think about it.
110. Deodorant
111. Shoes
112. Hymns
There are many more but I need to stop!
Psalm 19:14-May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Evelyn is still in stable condition. The results of her CT scan (which ended up being this morning instead of tomorrow) showed that she needs more tests. :) So they are going to do a cath procedure tomorrow which should give them some conclusive information and from there the cardiology team will sit down with us and make a "game plan" as they call it.
Today was specifically trying for Chris and I emotionally. Tonight we spent some time seeking the Lord together and reviewing the promises He's given us - both from His Word and what He's spoken to our hearts regarding Evie's future. Part of the trial is just being here in the hospital environment where everything is medically focused and things are never clear or black and white. Words like "tests, risks, complications etc..." abound in most of our conversations with specialists. It can really start to weigh on our faith! It was good for us to stop and re-focus on the Lord and on His promises. We finally got peace and joy again. It's easy to start depending on what the doctors say (or don't say) and shift the focus from faith in a healing God to faith in fallible man. Don't get me wrong. We APPRECIATE every doctor and nurse that has crossed Evelyn's path (Lord bless them!) BUT our hope MUST be in the Lord. The other part of why today was so hard is that I'm postpartum (emotional!) and Chris is totally exhausted. We've got a midnight stomper in the room above us at Mickey D's house and poor Chris isn't the heaviest sleeper. Plus he's carrying the weight of my emotions and his own. Please pray that Chris will get good sleep at night. Evelyn and I need him strong and full of energy. As for me, I've discovered the power of earplugs here during my hospital stay. :)

One thing I have learned this week is how much I've taken health for granted. Will everyone join me in taking a moment to genuinely thank the Lord for the health they DO have? We all have trials in our bodies but I guarentee there is also something about our health we can thank Jesus for. I'll start: I'm thankful that Evelyn has two kidneys, she doesn't have any problems with her brain or chromosomal abnormalities. I'm thankful that her color is great (pink - not blue like it "should be") and that she's a chubbo. I'm thankful that she's not premature. Oh and she happens to be adorable! :) We have it good compared to what other parents go through!

Every night as I am settling in to sleep I hear newborns SCREAMING in the rooms next to mine. I remember when Clara was a newborn at times (usually when I was sleep deprived and recovering from surgery myself) feeling so frustrated with a screaming baby. You want desperately to meet their needs but you don't always know what they need. It can be intense and make you feel helpless. But I would like to share something from my heart with all parents of newborns and potential parents. Remember during those times that you can be so thankful. Thankful that you can hold your baby, that your baby is strong enough to SCREAM and that it TRULY is a privelege to get up a few times a night with that precious bundle. What amazing things we have that we take for granted. I know I did!

How blessed Chris and I are to learn to be thankful in all things when we still have so much of life ahead of us. Thankfulness chases away the heaviness and darkness that clouds our ability to see with eyes of faith and then ignore our 5 senses when they don't agree with God's Word.

Please continue to pray for Evelyn. We would appreciate prayer too for ourselves - that we would LIVE in a place of faith where we reject information our 5 senses gives us when it is in conflict with God's Word. Without faith it really is impossible to please God. We must come to Him believing that He is and He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

What great things lie ahead of each and every one of us! And we have a God that walks with us every step of the way. We have nothing to fear.

We love you and long to be home where we belong!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Evelyn Update

Steph is doing awesome! She has been able to lose the IV, pressure cuffs, and finger probe! They finally let her eat and was given the best tasting cooked carrots she had ever tasted. Over 24hrs of not eating turns anything into the most delictable provison.

Evelyn is very stable. While we were visiting her little niche of the NICU, the cardiologists and urologists stopped by, to discuss her condition. The cardiologist was very pleased with her numbers, and the urologist said that the piece of tissue sticking out of her umbilical cord was not a big issue. If it needs to be fixed it can wait several months. All of the teams involved with Evelyn have a meeting scheduled for 6am. They will be discussing their plan for little Evelyn. One issue that needs to be resolved is her lungs. Her heart is pushed over into her right lung. They are unable to tell how it is affecting the lung. They are also hesitant to jump into a big cardiovascular surgery without knowing the condition of her lung. They have a CT scan scheduled for Thursday, which will give them a better answer for the lung, but may be able to do it sooner.

God is doing good things through all of this-I was able to connect with a family that has a child who has even worse problems than our little one. Their baby has a whole in his diaphragm which allowed all of his organs to get sucked up into his chest cavity. The baby is on an eckmo(not sure of the spelling) machine. It bypasses the babies heart and lungs. I've been able to talk to the parents and am going to visit their baby tomorrow if I see them. There are so many people here that are hurting so much and have nowhere to turn. My heart goes out to them. How horrible to go through something like this without the Lord and our family and friends at church. Please pray for this family-that God would touch their baby and their hearts.

Thanks again for your support and prayers-we serve an amazing God!

Monday, February 23, 2009

To My Beautiful Evelyn, Love Mommy

Evelyn, Welcome to the world! What joy Mommy and Daddy have on this, the day of your birth.

I just wanted to share my heart with you as I'm having some trouble sleeping. That was supposed to end once you were born by the way. :)

You are such a gift to us, Evie. We asked the Lord to give you to us and He has been so faithful. We know you really belong to Him anyway.

This morning very early, I remembered the verse in 2 Peter that says "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." I've had some anxiety about your birth and your health and this morning before you were born I finally was able to really release you into the Lord's hands. Someday you will know what it's like to be a mommy and to desperately want to make everything good for your babies. But what I'm finding is that you are much better off in the Lord's hands. He gave me peace to let go of control and to see you as you really are - His.

Psalm 139 says that He formed you in my womb, He knit you together, He knows all of your days, and every hair on your precious head. You are His. He has such an amazing plan for your life, Evelyn. Already you are full of passion and strength. You are a fighter. Your Daddy and I are so proud of you - giving the NICU nurses a run for their money with your breathing tube. While we wish you WOULDN'T try to pull it out when they aren't looking, at the same time our hearts rejoice that you are living up to your name meaning "life." Full of life!

I can't wait for you to meet your soon-to-be best friend, Clara. You two have such a fun journey together ahead of you. Learning, growing, playing, and best of all - building the Church together. We are a team, you and Clara and Daddy and me. We are going to live our days believing in a huge God who does miracles in our bodies and in our sprits.

Lately I think of the sacrifice that God made - giving His ONLY Son to pay the penalty for the sins of people who had betrayed Him. God watched His only Son die in order to do this. It's very easy to become numb to this "concept," and take it for granted, but the Lord has been challenging me to really internalize this and see new meaning in it. His only Son, not His second-born, as you are to us. His Only. I imagine what it might be like to lose you or Clara. I can't dwell on it too long because it becomes too heavy to bear. But just long enough to see what a GREAT sacrifice that was for the Father. What pain He must have felt watching Jesus go through something so hard. How often He may have wanted to make it all good for His baby. But there was a much greater purpose in Jesus' death and the Father knew this. Sometimes hard things are necessary in our lives to, as James 1 says, "develop perseverence" so that we can become closer to Jesus and more useful to Him.

Daddy says shorter posts are better - I am long-winded and since this post is just for you, I don't feel too bad about it. :)

Evelyn, Daddy and I will not stop believing God for a new heart for you. As long as we live this will be our confidence. In the meantime we can't wait to hold you, show you your new room, introduce you to Clara, your family and your church family. And best of all, teach you about the miracle of knowing Jesus. You have a purpose here and we can't wait to watch your life unfold!

My love forever,

PS - Friends and fam, Evelyn remains stable and we likely won't know anything until tomorrow. They weren't able to do the echo or the lung scan on her because they spent most of the day trying to get her IV's in (it wasn't easy I hear) so they can get the medicine going that helps her heart until surgery (should she need it :). One of the side-effects of the meds is that baby can get lethargic and "forget" to breathe. Hence they had to put a breathing tube in her. I faked like I was feeling great and got to visit her in the NICU tonight. She is FULL of spirit and spunk. Keeping her nurse on her toes. :) And come to find out, I didn't fool my nurse at all. She told me when we got back to my room that she was on to me but knew I needed to visit my girl. Praise the Lord for the nurses I've had. They all have such a mother's heart and so sympathetic with us in our situation. My first nurse pulled a ton of strings and got me a private room! Typical at Boise hospitals, rare at Stanford and UNHEARD of to get a private room on the first day! God has been SO kind to us!

We love you all and hope your weekend was fabulous. We think of you all often.

Love Steph

More Baby Evelyn pics!

These were taken about 6:45pm, her oxygen level is great and better than expected. The echo was interupted so they need to finish it and then they will give us more details. If she needs a surgery it will be from 2-7 days from now.

Thank You!!!

I just wanted to post real quick to thank everyone for their overflow of love, prayers, and support of us today. Even though we are 11 hours away it didn't feel very far because you were so near to us through modern technology. :) we feel like we have been floating ona cloud of grace. Cheesy - ok I admit it. But I can't describe how REAL God's presence has been to us.

Nothing new still about Evelyn but it was a huge answer to prayer that she was screaming so loud and didn't need much help breathing. It will probably be a big waiting game to find out when her surgery will be (if she needs one - remember we are still going to believe for a miracle :). Thank you for bearing with us during this joyful and also trying time of our lives. Great big hugs to you all!!

Love Steph

Evelyn picture...more to follow

Alright here she is...getting ready to let out an amazingly loud scream! We are so excited! They will be doing an echocardiogram shortly if it hasn't already been done. I will let everyone know when we get updates! Please keep praying for a total healing! For you men out there that will be getting asked the details: 7lbs 8oz. 19 inches long.
Several people have asked for the hospital address:

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Maternity F2 RM 233
Palo Alto CA 94304


Evelyn is here!

She was just born about 20 min ago. She weighs 7lbs 8 oz. Her lungs are healthy! Right now they are adding tubes through her umbilical cord. Steph was doing great when I left her. The placenta was laying on the table when I walked by-pretty crazy stuff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Matt and Heidi Saunders

Ok so Chris brought it to my attention that we can't possibly write as much as we did for my mom for everyone who has blessed us - we probably won't even be able to mention everyone who has blessed us! So we are going to limit what we write - sad to say. :(

Matt and Heidi Saunders. First off today is Matt's birthday which is really funny because as Heidi noted in one of the comments sections (yes we do read all of those and SO appreciate your comments! Makes us feel like we are having a conversation with you.) Heidi mentioned that Clara and she share a birthday - August 16th. Well, Evelyn is a day late from sharing Matt's birthday! I tried to get my c-section scheduled for today but they just wouldn't do it on a Sunday. Bummer.

So I'm going to say just a tiny about Heidi and Chris will do the same for Matt.

Heidi is such a servant that it sometimes makes my head spin. She ALWAYS has a good attitude about anything she's asked to do, and she really just likes helping people. She is the ultimate Mommy, friend, example Christian, and wife. She's faced harder trials than most mommies will ever face and she has come out with grace, strength and a message on her heart to share with other mommies ( yours truly). Heidi I love you and you will never know how thankful I am for you!

Matt is one amazing individual! I think he is probably one of the most generous guys I've ever met. I still have several large items at my house that he has given me-a nice desk and chair, a vacuum cleaner, and my grill. (You can see the grill on google earth. It's the round dark circle on our porch.) Not to rob him of his reward in heaven, but he even gave somebody a car once! Another thing that has impressed me with Matt is how he's stuck with his walk with God. He's had plenty of chances to get offended and leave our church, but Matt has stayed the course and it's amazing to watch how God is rewarding him for it. Thanks Matt for being such a great friend all these years!

As a sidenote tomorrow is the big day! 12 o'clock pm. I thought I wouldn't be able to eat anything from midnight on, but the anesthesiologist gave me permission to eat up until 4am! So if you happen to be awake at 3:30am you can think of me as I eat my last meal of this pregnancy. Mommies can attest that a pregnant lady CANNOT go 12 straight hours without eating. So yes, I will be setting my alarm for 3:30am. Ok probably more detail than you need. :)

Love you all! Please stay tuned for the BIG UPDATE tomorrow!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Voting Time!

Alright loyal family and friends-With the scheduled emergence of baby Evelyn less than 36 hours away, it's time to vote:

Will Evelyn look more like:

1. Steph and the Dresback clan

2. Chris and the Nelsons

3. Just like Clara

Denette Dresback - Steph's Mom

So, I had this great idea today. At least I think it's a great idea! We are going to try and brag on someone new every day. Fun huh?! Of course all of this is depending on the day and if we have time to do it every day. Right now we have time because we are just waiting for Monday! If anyone wants to add anything in the comments section to any of our bragging please feel free! Of course if you don't know the person it's hard to brag on them, but we want to somehow bless the people that have blessed us!

I'm going to first brag on my mom since she is down here with us. My mom is Wonder Woman. She's been a single mom since I was...hmmmm...I think 14? While I was in highschool my mom was working at least 40 hours a week cleaning houses, going to college full time, raising me, my then-Jr. High age brother and my then-4 year old sister! Ok pause right there...raising ONE kid as a single mom I cannot fathom. Let alone one in each of three very difficult seasons of childrearing. Amazing. She finally graduated from college with a degree in Managing Information Systems (smart lady computer stuff) and got a full time job - still raising us kids...I think I was away at college around this time but trust me I was just as high-maintenance as the highschooler version of me! Fast forward a few mom is now working more than full time in healthcare doing smart lady computer stuff (still not EXACTLY sure what she does even though she's told me probably a thousand times! But it's really important and she really enjoys it and she's really good at it!) She's in an MBA program also, trying to earn her MBA. She's had at any given time in the past few years, me, my brother and my sister (or any combination of the three) living at home with her. She's never acted like we are a burden to her. She pours her time, money, and love into her kids (and grandkid - lucky Clara!) And she's so fun to be around. She never fails to rise to any challenge that God has allowed into her life. She loves to learn, she loves history, the ocean, travelling, and she loves to meet people's needs. I think most people can relate to this - growing up you think you are SO different than your parents, and you like it that way. But the older you get the more you see reflections of your parents in your own personality. With my mom, we happen to share traits that we like about ourselves so we always laugh about the way that we are. I'm glad I am like my mom in so many ways. I love you Mom! So does Chris, so does Clara and so will Evelyn. Thank you for coming to stay with us and for the Jamba Juice Smoothie you are getting me right now! :)

Love Steph

New Finding - Please Keep Praying!

At our echo on Tuesday the doctors thought they spotted something in Evelyn called a diaphragmic hernia. Essentially that's a hole in her diaphragm that would allow the contents of her abdomen (bowels, etc) enter into her chest. Which is a really big bad deal. So they did an MRI on me last night to try and rule this out. Praise the Lord they did rule out the diaphragmic hernia but they found that her right lung is smaller than it should be. This is what Chris was referring to in yesterday's post. The doctors see this problem but they can't be sure it's really a problem. Our neonatologist just told me that from what they can tell this is what it means: after Evelyn is born they will want to do tests (x-rays/cath procedure) to find more info about the lungs. Additionally the doctor warned us that she may need "help" breathing right after birth. Which could mean putting a breathing tube in her. After telling us all of this she said "remember though we haven't even met your daughter so we really don't know what we are dealing with." I asked if her lung is so small it's not functional and she said the "volume" of the lung is ok even though its small. But what they can't tell is how the lung will perform. So here we are - potential problem that might be nothing.

Please pray that all of this will turn out to be nothing. If she's anything like Clara she won't have problems in the lung capacity department. :) And we have not lost hope that she will be healed before surgery is required. Although at times its a fight to hang on to hope. Good thing that is Evelyn's middle name. Very appropriate and a good reminder to Mommy and Daddy. Mostly Mommy. Daddy is much stronger in the hope department.

My mom arrived yesterday and its been so good to have her down here with us. She's like a breath of fresh air. And if you see Clara please give her extra lovins. I'm trying to devise a plan to have her down here with us for good. Unless Evelyn is healed and doesn't need surgery it will be awhile before I can take care of Clara here. So maybe pray for Clara too if you think of it? Your prayers matter to us. We feel the grace to be in this situation. God is very near to us and things that normally would be hard aren't that hard. We know we have you, our pray-ers to thank. God is so good! Also Chris' stomach is perfect and my cold is gone. Thank you for praying for that!

We love you!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thoughts from Chris

Several thoughts for today:

I know this picture is quite horrible, but yes for a 3 bed 2 bath, 1700 sq foot home in Palo Alto they are asking 50 dollars short of ONE MILLION DOLLARS! No wonder all these execs are committing fraud these days, they can't afford their homes.

As we were ushered into another last minute meeting with yet another specialist this morning, who wasn't able to give us any answers, I began to empathize with the doctors. Often times at my job people will come to me asking for answers about why their phone isn't working. Sometimes there's no logical reason for why it isn't working. Having worked in the wireless industry for five years, I have a pretty good idea of how a cell phone works, but still have situations in which no amount of troubleshooting will result in answers or solutions. Obviously the human body is an amazing example of God's creation. A cell phone and network in no way compares to the complexity. I'm beginning to think that Doctors feel pretty helpless quite often.

After each meeting with our doctors, it's a struggle - all sorts of thoughts and pictures pound my head. Wondering how my baby will look with a million 'lines' (wires, IV's, tubes etc.) sticking out of her body. Wondering how I will handle the surgeries, finances, work, food etc. etc. As my mind starts to spin out of control, there's only one thing that keeps me steady- the Word of God! I have determined in my heart that no matter what happens to me, I will not stop trusting in the Word of God! Job 13:15.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Evelyn Has a Birthday!

Quick post - her birthday will be on Monday Feb 23 at noon. We are elated!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Friends, Meet the Surgeon and Overpriced Seafood!

Chris and I have enjoyed meeting new people at the Ronald McDonald house. Our appointments are not usually too early in the morning so we mozy down to the kitchen area and have breakfast and make a new friend. Today we met a couple with a heart baby - and they are Christians! They miss their church terribly. We lamented right along with them! Then we met a dad who is here with his son for kidney treatments. I only have one conclusion about our conversations this morning - no matter what you are going through there is ALWAYS someone going through something more challenging. And in general, people go through really hard things! While we aren't at all excited about what we are going through and wouldn't wish it on anyone, we feel a tinge of excitement that we can relate to a whole spectrum of people that not everyone can relate to. This is a gift especially since these people tend to be more open when they find out that you are a fellow human with an insurmountable challenge on your hands. How people go through hard things without Jesus still baffles me. We hope to meet some of those people while we are here. :)

One thing today that started out as a big OOPS and ended up a big blessing was meeting the surgeon. We came to Stanford to have Dr. Frank Hanley do Evelyn's surgeries. He really is the "best in the west" - he's a legend down here. Our appointment today was with another surgeon, who I am sure is fabulous too. Stanford doesn't seem to employ second rate anything. But I was a little bummed to not get the legend. Well, we get up this morning, have breakfast, make friends, and head over to the hospital to meet the "other" surgeon. I look at the clock - ok, its 11.45 - then I think to double check my Blackberry to be sure we are on time and...the appointmemt was at 10 am! Tomorrows first appointment is at noon and pregnant brain got confused! Argh. Amazingly I didn't cry. I must be getting too pregnant to cry because I hold it in really well these days. :) So we decide to go anyway and see if they have anytime today where we can see the surgeon. We actually said a quick prayer and then went to beg. The receptionist said, "well I think Dr. Hanley (the legend)may have a minute to meet with you. My heart starts racing - sure enough not only do we get to meet with Dr. Hanley but he said he would do her surgery pending anything unforeseen! Amazing that God even works it out when I'm scatterbrained and miss appointments! Oh and for the record Dr. Hanley said the "other" surgeon is fabulous and he'd trust him to operate on his own baby. So really either one will be great. Especially since ultimately we put our trust in the Lord and not in a legend. ;)

Nothing new came from the meeting except that Dr. Hanley prefers that I go full term so Evie is as big as possible - which will help her in the long run. So Shannon and Copper will probably both give birth before I do but its ok because I'm on vacation! :) we had a window of time today before 5 o'clock traffic hit so we went to SF and ate at the fisherman's wharf. It was delicious but WAY overpriced. Oh well, you only deliver your baby in Northern California once, right? :)

Other than that we have been resting and trying to think of something low key to do. We missed Bingo night at the House last night. Too bad no bingo tonight! Tomorrow I'm supposed to get a delivery date and my mom arrives! So I'll post with that update tomorrow. Thanks again for your prayers. Would you add to the list a little prayer that Chris and I don't get sick? I'm still fighting a tiny cold and Chris has had a stomach thing ever since we arrived. Usually no big deal but we can't go into the NICU and the CVICU if we have anything at all.

All our love!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I will not receive an evil report

We had our latest echo today and the news was the same as it has been; our daughters heart hasn't gotten better. I refuse to let what I saw on the computer screen change my faith. If Abraham could believe that he would have a son even if it was physically impossible, I will choose to believe that my daughter is healed. No matter what the diagnosis. I will continue to ask for that healing every day of my life until it becomes a reality.

Monday, February 16, 2009

God Continues To Be Faithful!

...And it doesn't surprise us at all! When I called the Ronald McDonald House on Friday to see if they had a vacancy the answer was not only "no" but it was "probably not for at least a week." However, here I am updating my blog from none other than the most posh Mickey D's house I've ever seen! We got in this afternoon! No more wondering where we will sleep every day! The hotel we were in was AMAZING but temporary because the ultimate goal was to get us into the RM house as soon as possible. So here we are.

We have had a great couple of days. Yesterday we did nothing and it was fabulous! And today we ventured out to San Jose to meet up with Chris' buddy Brian Womack and his family. We had so much fun with them! Brian's wife Elizabeth is so sweet and kind and their two kids, Jadon and Ella are adorable. Ella is only a couple of months older than Clara so being around her made me miss my little Boo-delicious. I think she and Clara need to hang out so Ella can rub off on Clara a bit. She is so calm and laid back and she eats anything they give her! Chris and I couldn't believe she just sat at the retaurant for hours happy to be there. Both of their kids are such gems. So good to connect with friends we haven't seen in years - that has been the icing on the cake of this trip. Something we didn't plan on but God worked out and we got blessed. Seeing the Womacks and the Liptacs was wonderful.

Back to the Ronald McDonald House. Wow! They have a computer room, multiple family rooms, a kitchen with about 10 gas stoves. We get our own personal fridge and cupboard. They have a nice fitness center, laundry facility - and get this - a Coke vending machine with 25 cent Coke products! And if you even get a cold they put you up at a hotel. So the kids undergoing treatments don't catch cold.

We are going to rest for the remainder of the night since starting tomorrow we will most likely be off of our mini-vacation and into the medical world. Sigh. Please continue to pray with us that Evelyn's heart shows up on the echo tomorrow (130pm) as totally normal. We are planning what we are going to tell the media. :)

Take care! We love you all!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beautiful Stanford

We arrived in Palo Alto last night and we couldn't get into the Ronald McDonald house - probably won't be an option for at least the next seven days. So the social worker at the hospital got us a steal deal at the Stanford Guesthouse which is basically a little hotel on/very close to campus (we don't know yet because we haven't yet ventured out to see. I'm boycotting the car today!) This hotel is so cute and so peaceful. We are only here for another night but I'm going to call my social worker on Monday morning and beg to stay longer. It's for parents of students who are visiting and for people who are attending conferences on campus - or for parents with a child at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. :)

Stanford is so pretty! It reminds me of Seattle scenery - everything is lush and GREEN and it's raining today although it didn't yesterday. Better than the blizzards we would be experiencing in Salt Lake City right now!

Last night we met up with my friend from college, Andrea Liptac and her husband John. I hadn't seen Andrea in 8 years and since the time I last saw her God has done an amazing work in both of their lives. They live in San Francisco and invited us to meet them for tacos (yummy!) and then go to their church service. It is a very small church - but size is no indication of power or passion! These people took us in and after worship they prayed for the baby for healing. It was so amazing. We were touched that they would interrupt their normal meeting just to pray for us, two country bumpkins from Idaho who they will probably not see again until eternity. Plus, it stirred Chris and my faith even more for Evelyn's healing and a good report from the doctors on Tuesday. The Body of Christ is so amazing. And it was such a blessing to see John and Andrea and their precious little boys. We hope that if we are here for very long we will get to see them again.

So that's the update - thank you again for committing to prayer for us and believing for the best - and for the impossible with us. We are so excited to meet our newest little munchkin - if I haven't already mentioned that a thousand times.

Oh! And for those of you who wonder, Clara is having a blast with our friends, Matt and Heidi Saunders. She gets to be the baby sister to three older boys for a week (ages 6, 4, and almost 3). Matt and Heidi's youngest boy has a heart condition VERY similar to the one Evie has been diagnosed with. I was thinking about them even this morning very early and praying for Oliver's healing. I believe we are going to see more miracles every day - even miracles for things that maybe we've accepted as "normal life." So Clara gets to play with cars, dinosaurs and their "kitty." (It's actually a toy Rat Terrier dog, but for some reason Clara refuses to see her as anything but "Kitty." The movie Monsters, Inc. has reached a new level of funny to us because Clara is just like that little girl who calls the monster "Kitty.")

Heidi sent me a picture of her handiwork - she was so proud that she can actually fix a little girl's hair even though she only has boys. :)

We love you Matt and Heidi, thank you for taking such good care of our precious treasure. I promise I will pay you back someday in a different season of life. There will come a day... :)
Thanks for everyone's comments. I'm trying to figure out how to make it so I can comment back? Does anyone know how to do that?

All our love,
Chris and Steph

Saturday, February 14, 2009

About Evelyn

I realized this morning that it might be helpful if I explain what is going on with our baby and why we are going to California - instead of assuming that anyone who reads this webpage already knows as much as we do!

Evelyn has been diagnosed with a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Fancy words for "small left ventricle." Her left ventricle is so small, in fact that it's not pumping blood at all. God is SO amazing though in the way he creates life - a fetus has two "extra openings" in the heart that, in a normal fetal heart allow baby to receive blood directly from the placenta and circulate it primarily to the brain, so that they can grow at the speed of lightning. I know my now-pregnant friends would attest that 9 months doesn't really FEEL like lightning speed, but in actuality a lot happens in that time! Additionally, the blood is not pumped into the lungs until birth since fetuses don't need their lungs in utero. These two openings are forced shut by a rush of blood flow beginning when baby takes it's first breath of air and the lungs are filled. The force of this event causes two valve-like structures that have been held open in the womb to close. The process is usually complete in hours to days after birth. In Evelyn's heart, since her left ventricle is a stinker and decided not to pump (probably due to the fact that both the valves leading to this ventricle are obstructed), her heart has been forced to come up with a "Plan B" for survival. Plan B consists of getting the blood to circulate from the placenta to the brain even if it's not the "normal" way. Our cardiologist - who we LOVE - explains it this way: The heart is a "blue collar" organ and it loves to work hard. If something is preventing it from doing it's job, it's going to just do whatever it takes to get the job done. So Evelyn's heart is using those two fetal openings to make her heart pump. Her heart is doing a great job right now - no murmur, normal heart rate. In fact, my OB jokes that if I was only willing to let her stay in there for her whole life she'd be totally fine. I'm thinking about her first birthday I'd be the one needing heart surgery!!

All of this to say maybe what you've already concluded - D-Day arrives when Evelyn takes her first breath of air and her lungs start to fill up. When those two fetal openings in her heart close, her heart will have nowhere to pump blood and it becomes a fatal situation.

Our cardiologist is prescribing a series of three open-heart surgeries for Evelyn. While these surgeries don't "fix" her heart, they change the structure of her heart so that it is officially a one ventrical heart The first one being within a week after birth (they will give her meds in the NICU to keep those openings from closing). The second at 4-6 months old, and the third at 2-4 years old. These surgeries are called the "Norwood Procedures." Boise doesn't perform these surgeries so our cardiologist reccommended that we travel to either Salt Lake City or the Bay Area. We chose Salt Lake because it is closer to us, but found out late in the game (ummm...two days ago?) that our insurance would not cover my c-section scheduled for Monday Feb 16th. When we checked into it in December we thought it would be covered, but we miscommunicated with our insurance company so here we are!

Everything about the trip to Stanford has been easier, better,'s totally where God wants us. Only bad thing is that now our friends can't come visit. :( Although San Francisco is a great vacation spot... :)

I think that's it in a nutshell about Evelyn.

I will add on a more personal note that we don't see ourselves as the victims of our circumstance. We are learning that God is in control - we don't understand everything, but He holds us in His hands and we can trust Him in EVERY area. Please join us in faith as we believe for a miracle reminiscent of the ones Jesus and his disciples performed in the New Testament. We are asking for his power to come and touch our baby girl. Not just for us, not just for her...but for the Body of Christ, for the people we have met and will meet, and for the glory of God. We have already been able to talk with people that before we either would not know or that would not have any reason to listen to us.

Schedule of events:

Tues 2/17 - Fetal Echocardiogram and OB Ultrasound

Weds 2/18 - Meet the surgeon

Thurs 2/19 - Meet the OB and set delivery date! Also meet the pediatrician and tour NICU

Friday, February 13, 2009

Evelyn will be here soon!

....We just don't know when yet!

We have arrived in Reno after a wonderful drive. We had so much fun worshipping the Lord in the car that neither of us noticed that Chris was driving 55 mph in a 70 mph zone...for 45 minutes. I did wonder at one point why everyone was so upset as they whizzed past our happy little car. Seems like everyone is always in a hurry...myself included (sad to say!) It was nice to not be in a hurry and just enjoy our day.

Chris prayed with one of the gas station clerks in the middle of nowhere, NV. He is getting so bold to share the love of the Lord with people. I know my time is coming, but I still get really nervous. God is so good and patient with us to let us have so many chances to grow in our faith. I've gone in and out of being bold to share the Lord throughout the past few years. Right now I am coming out of one of the "not so bold" spells that I've been in. Chris is good inspiration for me!
We also saw something I had never seen before! Cows overtaking the road! Get a load of this (below). It was something else and lasted a good 10 minutes. Everytime the people on their horses tried to steer the cows AWAY from the road, one would break ranks and run right back into the road. Then sure enough a whole stream of them would follow. Once the stream of cows noticed that the pioneer cow was getting hollered at by the cowboy, they would literally do a 180 and RUN back to the herd. Good lesson for life - learn from other's mistakes! :)
We are going to rest and try to get some sleep tonight. Kind of hard when we know baby Evelyn is just days away from making her grand debut. I found out just a bit ago that I have an echocardiogram scheduled for Tues at 1:30pm. We are praying that Evelyn's heart will be totally healed and we will be facing some pretty stunned doctors. :)

Keep ya posted!