A Heartbeat and Two Hundred Days

My first doctor’s visit for baby number eight went wonderfully. I love the doctors’ office that I go to. Every time I go I feel like I am visiting friends that are dear to me.  Their caring, compassion, and professionalism as they have cared for me and my babies through the years is priceless. I should be used to the hurried pitter-patter of a little heartbeat playing on the doppler, but I leaves me awestruck each and every time. I made a recording on my phone to play for my husband and the kids. I keep playing it over and over to listen to. During the recording you can hear the my heartbeat and the quicker heartbeat of our little baby. I have been feeling pregnant; I’m extra tired, a bit queasy, and I’ve put on a few extra pounds, but hearing the baby’s heartbeat makes is all the more real to me. I know the next 200 days until we get to meet our little one is going to fly by!

We are blessed and oh so thankful for everyone’s love and prayers for us! God is good!

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The Latest News


More fun and more adventures are coming to our family in February 2017! God is good!

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A Sweet Little Moment

In the midst of chaos a sweet little moment can be so rich. I had a moment with the girls tonight. With the littlest one in my arms, the others took turns giving me hugs and kisses, and just like that I knew I was exactly were I was supposed to be.

These moments don’t last, but I can only hope and pray that I cherish them while they do last. Next week we’re sending our oldest off to a week-long church camp and I am struggling with remembering that the boy who was just a baby only a few short moments ago is growing up and becoming more and more independent every day.

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An Eliana Update

May 25, 2016. That’s the last time I recorded that Eliana had a headache or felt like she was moving. That day she said her head hurt and that she felt like she was being flipped over and over like a pancake.  To go over a week without symptoms is a pretty big milestone for us!  We’ll take it!

Every time she gets out and bed and comes back into the living room I am almost sure that she is going to say her head hurts. I stopped giving her the antihistamine medicine that the doctor wanted us to try, because it didn’t seem to be helping and it was making her feel like she was starving all the time.

This is what happened before her symptoms just went away. There is no “fix” for Chiari, but I am confident that God is taking care of His girl.

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My Gum Ball Hero

God knew that I needed a little old lady to stop and talk to me how wonderful she thinks large families are. She told me that she only has three children, but she always admires large families. I confessed that they are some times exhausting, and she agreed before saying, “But just look at them.” Thankfully at the moment they were behaving!

The kids were blocking one lady and as we passed she told me that her daughter has five children but they are all teenagers now. She said something about how hard it is for them to get ready in the morning. These nuggets of truth I can do without knowing . . . I know it will be a different kind of hard when they are all teens!  I’m trying to survive here and now!

Three different strangers asked if all the kids belong to me. I never know how to answer. I usually just say, “Yes they do!” If he hears people ask, Mr. J usually pipes up that there are seven of them. He tells them that there two older boys and five sisters. He goes on about how hard it is to have so many sisters. It’s hilarious.

God also knew that I needed a stranger to buy two extra gum balls at the gum ball machine as we were leaving. Two of the kids started crying when one gum ball fell onto the floor and we were another gum ball short! Some times God gets our attention with huge things but other times he uses the little things! That guy who spent 50 cents on my kids was my gum ball hero!


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An Eliana Update


Eliana’s appointment with the neurologist went very well. She doesn’t think that Eliana’s nightly headaches are related to her Chiari. She was given a prescription to try to help with preventing the headaches before they start. Her MRI measured her Chiari as being smaller than before and it did show some spinal fluid restriction, but she was not concerned about this. Waiting and keeping an eye of things is much preferred over surgery at this point in time! We’re praying that on Friday Eliana’s neurosurgeon will agree with the neurologist’s thoughts. IMG_8181

Eliana took a trio of frogs to her appointment with the neurosurgeon. Our visit was fairly uneventful. The neurosurgeon is not recommending surgery at this time. She does think the headaches may be Chiari related. She wants us to see how things go in the next three months and keep track of any numbness or tingling that Eliana is having because that may be cause for concern. In the meantime we will keep praying that Eliana’s headaches stay away and that her Chiari symptoms resolve. We are so thankful for everyone’s prayers! Just like her name means, God has answered our prayers!

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A Chiari Story, a God Story

Over two years ago we found out that our oldest daughter has Type 1 Chiari Malformation. It’s a neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing many symptoms. 


We found out that Eliana has a Chiari after having a CT scan and then an MRI because she was having horrible vertigo spells and headaches. She was 5 years old then and vertigo spells were so bad that she would jump into our arms and hang on for dear life until the room stopped spinning.  There were some times she would get sick. Afterwards she would be completely wiped out and just want to go to sleep. This happened once or twice a month for several months. 

We saw a Riley Hospital neurologist and a neurosurgeon. Eventually the spells stopped and she has had 6 month checkups with her neurologist and her neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon suggested that because symptoms were not severe and would not require surgery. Eventually the spells went away and she was having 6-month check ups with a neurologist and a neurosurgeon.

She did have some vision symptoms like seeing spots and saying things looked blurry so we say a pediatric eye doctor and found out she needed glasses, but after very through eye exams her vision issues seemed unrelated to her Chiari. 

In March,  more than two years since her last vertigo spell, Eliana started complaining that she was getting dizzy again. Every night after she lies down for bed, she complains that her head hurts and that she feels like the room is moving and/or spinning. 

After I called both doctors to report her new symptoms they ordered another brain MRI. The length of the herniation of her Chiari is less than it was 2 years ago from 9mm to 4mm, but the MRI showed that there is decreased spinal fluid flow.   

There are normally two options for treating Chiari. The first option is brain surgery and the second option is to treat symptoms. Next week we have appointments at Riley with both Eliana’s neurologist (on Tuesday) and her neurosurgeon (on Friday) to discuss her symptoms and her latest MRI and find out what our next steps will be. 

We don’t know what the doctors will suggest, but we know that God is with us.  Through all of this we are trusting in Him. Eliana’s name means, “God has answered my prayer.” Not that He will answer some time or we’re waiting on him to answer, but He has already answered.  We are sharing all this to ask you to pray with us. I will keep you posted! 

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