Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Football

We took advantage of the nice weather today and played outside for awhile.  Corey worked on teaching Ashlyn how to throw a football.  She throws it with both hands, and still seems to think that it is better to kick it than to throw it.  Catching it will take some work.  We also had a bonfire and roasted hotdogs for supper.

Friday, September 24, 2010

HopeKids Fun

This week we went to two HopeKids events.  On Tuesday, Corey and I went to see a pre-screening of the new movie Legend of the Guardians.  It was a pretty good movie, and it was good to have a night out together.  Date nights are a rare thing, so this was fun.  On Thursday, I went with Ashlyn, my parents, and my brother Tim to see the play Charlotte's Web at Stages Theatre.  This was also fun, though I wasn't sure it would go well because, prior to going, we had let Ashlyn watch the film version and she became very upset when Charlotte died at the end, and she wasn't sure that she really wanted to go see the play.  She did fine though -- she was very happy to see that the person playing the role of Charlotte did not actually die at the end of the play, and this made it all OK for her. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recent Artwork

Ashlyn paints with medicine dropper
Ashlyn paints with toothette
We've been doing lots of art again because it's one of Ashlyn's favorite things to do.  I've taken some of the leftover medical supplies that we have around and have been finding ways for Ashlyn to use them for her art projects.  A few days ago I used some of the Hydra-Aid (the beverage thickener that we used to thicken water for Lynnea so that she could handle swallowing it) that we have left to thicken some water with food coloring in it.  This made an interesting kind of paint.  Ashlyn thought it was fun to use medicine droppers and some of the oral syringes that we have left to squirt the paint on to her paper.  She also enjoyed using the toothettes (pink minty sponges that Lynnea liked to use to drink her thickened water) to paint with.  Along with painting, she has also been coloring with markers, crayons, and chalk pastels. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Visiting the U

On Tuesday, Corey and I went down to the U of M to visit for the first time since Lynnea passed away.  It was strange to be there without her, and it was a little hard initially going up to the 5th floor, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared it might be.  We were there to visit another baby with the same heart defect that Lynnea had that we had met in the hospital last February.  He had been scheduled to have his Glenn surgery on Monday, but that ended up being postponed.  It was good to see that family again, and we had a nice visit with them.  It was also good to see some of our PICU Family -- the doctors and nurses that we had come to know so well while we were there.  I'm glad that we decided to go.  Ashlyn was disappointed that we didn't bring her along, but we figured that we should go without her this first time back.  We promised her that we would go again another time and bring her with us. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Family Time

This week Corey took a couple of days off from work (he had vacation time he had to use up) so that we could spend some time together as a family and to celebrate my birthday.  On Wednesday we took Ashlyn to play at a park near our house; it was one she had never been to, so this was very exciting for her.  On Thursday, Ashlyn helped Daddy bake birthday cupcakes for me.  They did an excellent job.  On Saturday, we went to the Science Museum.  Ashlyn thought the dinosaurs were very cool.  We had fun spending time together as a family.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Two Months

Two months ago, I held Lynnea in my arms for the very last time, rocking her as she took her final breaths.  On July 5th, I said my final good-bye, but really, in a lot of ways, I had already lost her on June 17th when she went into cardiac arrest.  That night, while I stood in the doorway of her hospital room watching the doctors doing chest compressions on my baby, desperately working to bring her back to life, I prayed, as I had so many times in Lynnea's lifetime, for a miracle.  The miracle I was hoping for was a miracle of healing, of restoration, of more time with my baby. . .just a little more time.  But, also as always, even though it was hard to do, I ended my prayer with "not my will, but Thy will be done."  I was not given the miracle of complete healing that I had been hoping for, but I was given a little more time; there were no more smiles, or giggles, or demands for water on a pink minty sponge, but there was time for a few more goodnight kisses, a few more nibbles at her baby-back ribs, and time for more prayers.  Lots of people prayed: family, friends, friends of friends, complete strangers. . . they all prayed, and continued to pray.  A friend of mine called me after we had gotten the very discouraging news about the MRI results that showed that Lynnea had suffered extensive brain damage; she had been praying for Lynnea and our family, and she wanted to know what she should pray for specifically, rather than the more general prayer of strength and comfort that she had been praying.  I told her to pray for clarity -- I was tired of all of the gray areas, I wanted to know how to proceed in a way that was best for Lynnea; I wanted to be able to clearly see what was best for Lynnea without having my judgment clouded by my own selfish desires for her.  I wanted healing.  I wanted Lynnea to live.  I wanted as much time as I could possibly have with her.  I wanted all of these things for me so badly that it was difficult to know if I was really still doing what was best for her.  So, my friend prayed that my family and I would have clarity in the decisions that we were being forced to make.  And that clarity came.  It became clear how much Lynnea was suffering, and how much better off she would be snuggling in the arms of Jesus experiencing all of the glories of heaven, and it became clear how selfish it was to keep her here in a world where all she could know was suffering.  It might be easy to ask why the prayer for clarity was answered while the prayer for a miracle was not.  But, along with clarity about how to proceed with Lynnea, there also came clarity about the miracle I had asked for; the night that Lynnea coded, I prayed for a miracle -- not my will, but His will -- and indeed a miracle did take place.  During those last weeks in the hospital, I was shown that there were far more people praying for Lynnea, being impacted by her and her struggles, than I could even imagine.  There was strength given through those prayers, strength for me and my family to make the impossible choices that we were faced with, strength to say our goodbyes to sweet little Lynnea with confidence, and strength to go on in spite of the pain that comes from the empty hole that is left in our lives without her here.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for Lynnea throughout her life, and who keep praying for us now that she is gone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minnesota State Fair

Daddy and Ashlyn have fun on the farm.

Farmer Ashlyn drives her tractor.

Ashlyn tries deep fried alligator.

Ashlyn and Daddy on the giant slide.
Today we went to the state fair.  We had a fun day as a family, and Ashlyn had a great time.  She loved going down the giant slide with Daddy (she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie).  She also enjoyed the Little Farm Hands -- she was a hard-working farmer, and she thoroughly enjoyed the apple that she was able to buy at the market with her day's earnings.  In addition to the apple, she also ate a variety of other foods today: a chocolate malt, cheese curds, chocolate chip cookies, frozen grapes, and a pronto pup (all of which she shared with Mom and Dad, except for the pronto pup, which she quickly devoured all on her own).  She wasn't overly excited about trying deep fried alligator; she told me that "alligators aren't food."  But, in the end, she managed to taste a bite of it, but didn't want a second bite.  We decided to sit down at the Leinie Lodge just to rest, and Ashlyn was very excited that a band was playing music (The Haygoods) so she insisted on getting out of her stroller so that she could dance to the music.  She is quite the dancer, and seemed to completely enjoy her first concert experience.  Overall, it was a very good day.