Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pictures of our Angel

Here I am with Grandma feeding me my rice cereal...I love eating!!

Mrs. Dawn gave me this cute outfit that I wore to church last weekend.


We have had a blessed day. Our morning started out wonderful. We got to wake up as a family (rare on weekdays) and get ready for our day. Joe took the day off because we had the neurosurgeon appointment today. We all got to attend the physcial therapy session at our house...Joe had never met the therapist, and he got to see what actually takes place. Then my wonderful husband took Ella to his doctors appointment (physical now that he's 30...needs to make sure everything is okay!), while I went to bible study. Then we all went to Children's Medical Center and met with the neurosurgeon. His first question was "So, why am I seeing you guys?". He then proceeded to explain that he saw NOTHING that concerned him. Sure there are some trouble spots, but he said she had a good looking brain, even compared to a healthy baby it wasn't so bad. He reminded us again how lucky we are that Ella isn't worse. Again, I felt like it was God humbling me...telling me He has been protecting us. Thank you to everyone who prayed specifically for this to be a non-issue and for the doctor to say there is nothing at all to be worried about. Bless the Lord!!! Thank you also to my Mother's Heart Bible Study...I will never be able to say thank you for the prayers and constant support.

Monday, October 30, 2006

To be humbled...

I have read and reread and prayed and cried today. I think so much about what Ginny and Matt are going through today with the loss of Eliot. I'm reminded of the first 48 hours with Ella and how close we were to losing our little girl. Even those first couple of weeks when we waited every day to hear how the infection was progressing, or receding as it was, I have never been so scared and brought to my knees. I look back through pictures of these past, almost 6 months, and I'm amazed and even more grateful. How small do our problems look now? I'm so thankful that my baby will wake up tomorrow...that she will smile at me...that she will give a huge laugh to her father...maybe her eyes are a little lazy and maybe she can't hold her head up, but I can hold her...there was a day I thought that would never happen. I learned this through my sister today as she had to say "goodbye" to her husband. My brother-in-law, Michael, left for Iraq today...and I have a husband who gets to come home tonight and give me kiss and a hug...Sara won't have that for at least a year...God will remind us what to be thankful for, even when we don't want to listen. As I was doing my bible study tonight I reread a verse that I already had underlined, but I think it takes on new meaning now.

2 Corinthians 7-10
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake,I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I am learning that through the hard times I learn more than a I do when it's easy. I know that I have been taught a huge lesson with Ella on God's goodness, but now I have to apply those lessons on a daily basis...easier said than done. We live in an imperfect world, but in heaven that will all change. Eliot is there, without cords, or vents, or feeding tubes and he's laughing and singing and dancing. I hope that we can all learn to be humbled with where God has us, because He still has us here.


For those of you who have been following the wonderful life of little Eliot, he has gone to be with our Lord. Please take a moment to say of prayer of comfort over Matt and Ginny as they struggle with this loss.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Physical therapy

A lot of you have asked about Ella's physical therapy so I thought I would give you some of the notes from today. The chair shown here is Ella's new (well, used) Tumble form feeder seat for supported sit. The PT thinks this is a great position for Ella and we are going to practice keeping her head in the middle as well as trying to get her to grab things from it. We dangle a great toy in front of her and try to get her to reach for it and pull it towards her. We are also supposed to play pat-a-cake with her...that's her grandma's job while she's her from Iowa this week. Ella also does strengthening excersises on a ball (like a smaller version of a yoga ball) and they do floor excersies. Mostly working on head control, core strength and stability. We have been told to try and get Ella to hold her own bottle...we have to practice this everytime we feed her and it's difficult to try and feed her AND get her hands on the bottle. One of the signs that she has neurological problems is that her hands are usually fisted and rarely become unclenched...so getting her to hold anything is difficult. Her Grandpa Roughton was working with her on this by using rings to practice "water skiing". We've noticed that she's been getting upset in crowds or when people have strong perfumes on...they said that her nervous system is very fragile and is more sensative than average kids...so PLEASE don't take offence if she gets upset around you!! Oh, Ella gets a massage twice a day now to keep her nerves in check bc babies with neurological problems usually don't like being touched much...take note, when she's older I want 2 massages a day!!

Prayer Request: As I mentioned earlier, Ella keeps her hands fisted a lot of times. We need prayer that over the next month she starts to open her hands more so that we don't have to use hand splints...these act a lot like the thumb loops we had in the NICU and her first couple of weeks home...she didn't like them much.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Race For The Cure

Here we are at the Race for The Cure this morning at NorthPark Mall. It was in the 50's this morning so I put Ella in her winter suit (thanks Mimi!!) We didn't walk fast, but we did the whole 5k...so we were pretty impressed with ourselves. Our friends Kim and Tiffany joined us too...good day for celebrating and honoring. Joe ran the 5k in 23 mins...he's getting geared up for San Diego in June!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Uncle Drew

Just chillin' with my uncle.

Lunch with Maggie, Kim and my good friend Avery

Maggie and her daughter Avery (who is only 2 days younger than Ella) came to lunch and so did Kim Pickle. We had such a good time...her are the girls hanging out at PeiWei...no table food for the little ones...YET!!

Can you believe someone thought I was a boy in this outfit??

Hanging out with my cousin, Micah, do we look alike??

Lump Update

I met with the breast specialist yesterday (Dr. Allison Laidley). She reviewed my ultrasound and mammogram as well as did her own exam. She didn't diagnose is as anything, wouldn't even speculate at what she thought it MIGHT be. After discussing the past 6 months of my life (Ella) she told me not to concern myself with what "could be" the diagnosis. She wants to do another ultrasound and exam in 2 months (December 28th) to see if there is any change. I'll tell you, for those of you who either watched "The View" yesterday or watched "Grey's Anatomy" last night it kind of freaked me out. Women who are diagnosed after thinking it was just a clogged duct because they were only in their late 20's or early 30's, just had children who they nursed, and had no history of breast cancer in their families. I pray that I never have to face cancer in any form, but I'm so encouraged daily by the women who do survive this disease. Joe, Ella, and I will be running in the Susan G. Komen Race for The Cure this Saturday morning...along side our friends Kim and Tiffany. We will be running in Celebration of my Aunt Linda who is a current survivor of breast cancer.

Thank you for your prayers as we still wait to find out more information about the lumps.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hanging Around

Mom thinks it's easier if I just sit around in a bib...easier to clean me that way...I tend to drool a LOT!! I'm watching my Jesus Praise video and singing along.

Monday, October 16, 2006

2 Years ALREADY?!

Joe and I have now been married 2 years. We gave each other the traditional gift of cotten this year...I gave Joe a hammock and he picked out an amazing skirt (as shown in these pictures). We went to a wonderful dinner at The Grape while our good friends Courtney and Mollie watched Ella. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers this past year.


Ella got to meet her only set of great-grandparents today (and they are GREAT!!). Bert and Betty Roughton are Andrea's dad's parents. They are wonderful and have been married almost 65 years...and still going strong. They live near Corsicana, TX and now have 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren...what a full life and a great legacy to leave.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday 10/15/06

Here are the Mitchell's hanging around on Sunday. First some pictures before church, then some after church on a rainy afternoon.

Joe and Andrea at the State Fair of Texas with friends from church

Dona Porcaro in Town

Dona is the mom of a good friend of Joe's from high school. Since Joe went to school in Minnesota he doesn't get to see people from there very often, but Dona was visiting friends in town so we got to hang out with her. She and Ella LOVED each other!!

Mommy just thinks I'm cute some days and I need my picture taken...

Can you tell that mommy was bored waiting on dad??

Joe is training to run a marathon...so Ella and I are helping him...well, kind of. Here is Ella in her "training" outfit (it was cold outside, but this hat only lasted about 15 mins) as we wait on dad so we can go over to the lake and run. Oh, if anyone knows of a good jogging stroller PLEASE let me know!! Ella and mommy are up to 3 miles...granted Joe is almost at 7, but who's counting. Marathon isn't till June '07 so we all have time to get in shape by then (no, Andrea and Ella are NOT going to be racing...just cheering Joe on).

Going to Church on 10/8/06

The first picture is on our way to church and the second one is on our way home...I think she looks happier AFTER she's gone to church!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some updates

I don't think I ever said how the kidney tests went last Friday. She passed them both. They didn't see any signs of kidney problems or a reason for the UTI she had...so hopefully it's the last one she'll get. She weighed 15 lbs 8 oz at the appointment.

I finally had my mammogram today. They moved my appointment with the breast specialist back to NEXT Thursday bc they won't have my mammogram results before then. I don't think that breast cancer is an issue at this point, but I would like to know what the knots/lumps are...so that is what I'm hoping to find out. They don't hurt and I wouldn't have known about them if my doctor hadn't found them...so I don't think about it much.

We are still working on head control for Ella. She still can't hold it up on her own...which is delaying any further development as well as being able to start her on foods. I also talked to the physical therapist yesterday on what to expect if she doesn't gain head control. We talked about special strollers and positioning devices so that she's not injured in daily walks...as she grows out of her car seat. We will look into this closer to 7-8 months old, if she isn't any further in head control. This is emotionally difficult for me as I want her to be as "normal" as possible and it's also scary on what our 2007 will end up costing in medical bills...2006 has already been shocking. I can honestly thank God that we have medical insurance.

I am struggling with understanding and accepting God's goodness. As I am in a mother's bible study right now we are learning of the lies that we tell ourselves. I think I have been telling myself that Ella has to be perfect in the worlds eyes, without realizing that she's already perfect in God's eyes. Even as a 5 month old she is teaching Joe and I more than we could have imagined. She has taught us patience, hopefulness, selflessness, and the true grace of God. I have seen His face shine on us more in this struggle than in all the good times combined. Please pray that we will have God's will in mind when we pray for Ella. It's so easy to get wrapped up in what we want, instead of what He has planned for her. In fact, God has more planned for her than we as parents could ever have laid out...and we need to be faithful to that plan. Thank you for your support and for loving us. If you ever want to be truly humbled where you are just read the bloc www.mattandginny.blogspot.com and then go to www.clairecox.blogspot.com I promise that your daily problems and concerns will be put in perspective...I know mine are.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mommy's Prayer

Written by our great friend Catherine Couch to the Mitchell Family:

Father, I know that You are in control,
But these days in the NICU have such a tole.
Here is our baby so soft and sweet
Yet we can barely touch her little hands and feet.

She lays there sleeping as doctors come by,
But the unanswered question is, "WHY?"
This isn't the dream I thought to come
I want to be home not going to and from.

What's to become of our baby girl?
Will she grow up being able to run, jump, and twirl?
I look at her now, and just want Your will,
But please, please, Lord, let her be healed.

I'm scared Lord, and maybe that's wrong,
But it feels like everything is taking so long.
Wanting to know if she's okay,
is the main thing I think of throughout the day.

Please let her see, and talk, and run...
play with other kids, and just have fun.
Let her be smart and full of life
free from all cares, worries, and strife.

Envelop her in Your saving grace
And may others see Jesus in her face.
May she shine with everlasting love
And point others to her Father above.

Heal her, Lord, from the inside out.
I give you my fears, my worries, my doubt.

Good night sweetheart...

My daddy is so good at putting me to bed.