Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have been getting many questions about Israel's tongue surgery and what exactly was wrong with it, and/or what the big deal was with it. Many people say "Oh I know so and so and they are tongue tied and it's no big deal, or I know so and so who had the surgery and it's pretty easy. Now I know that these people say things like this out of a way of trying to connect and show sympathy, not to try and sound rude, as it often comes across. So here's the long and short of Izzy's tongue stuff. He was born tongue tied. Meaning that his frenulum (that thing under your tongue that hold it to the bottom of your mouth) was connected to the end of his tongue, instead of about half way back like the rest of us. This in and of itself really isn't a huge deal. Many people can live like this with no problems and other opt for a short out patient surgery to quickly clip it. But Izzy's was a bit different. So different in fact that many people at Doernbecher's looked at it and all said they had never seen anything like it, even a pediatric ENT who has been in his field for 34 years! So Israel was quite a different case. Israel's tongue wasn't only connected to the bottom of his mouth, it was connected up through the tip of his tongue and to the back of his lip causing his mandible (gums, where your teeth grow in) to split into two. Here's a pictures so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.

This is a major problem because it doesn't allow Israel to eat anything solid, unless it is mashed, like baby food. His tongue had no mobility so as soon as something entered his mouth he could not control it and he would eventually choke and most of the time throw up! In addition, this would cause other major problems in the future with speech and teeth growth. So it wasn't something that could just be left alone, like many of the other cases of people who are tongue tied. We have been seeing our surgeon since Israel was two months old, and she is amazing! She felt that this needed to be done at around age one for the best recovery and retraining process of the tongue and eating and such. As mentioned in my earlier post, we had the surgery on Friday and it was a huge success. She said it was quite difficult because of the way in which it was attached to the gums, but she feels good about it. Most likely he will have another surgery similar to this when he is two years old to completely free his tongue. She could only go about half way as far as it needs to be because she only had so much tissue to reconstruct the tongue with. But she feels like this is a very good start for him and will allow him to begin eating solids. Our other hope is that as his mouth continues to grow that his mandible will grow back together and teeth will be able to grow in properly. Prayers for this would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Surgery Details

*The detailed blog post about Izzy's surgery for all of you who enjoy all the fine print as much as I do*

Thursday afternoon (3/25) we went to Shriner's for our pre-surgery appointment. We filled out all of the necessary paperwork, got all of his stats (weight, height, etc.) and talked with the nurse about basic surgery info. We were then supposed to meet with our surgeon and the anesthesiologist to discuss the details of Israel's surgery. Well, we then found out that our surgeon wasn't going to be in that day to meet with us, but would meet with us in the morning before his surgery. However we needed to wait and talk with the anesthesiologist still. He was currently in a surgery so they said it would be a little while...well after 2 more hours of waiting (We had already been there an hour) I went and checked in on things, they called up to the anesthesiologist and he said he would be at least another hour! We had all three kiddos with us and it was nearing dinner time and Izzy was WAY over due for a we left. They said we could just talk with him in the morning. Sure wish we could have had this option earlier! Oh well!

We drove to my sisters house (about 30 minutes from Shriner's) and stayed the night. We left Rachel and Jaxon there for a few days (My sister and her husband are amazing! And my kids just love them!). Israel was only allowed to have food until midnight, but could have clear liquids until 5:00am. He drank a bottle at 8:00pm, just before bed. I tried waking him up in the night to get him to drink another one and he wanted NOTHING to do with it. To bad he didn't understand why I would want him to do this. He slept the rest of the night, peacefully.

We woke up early on Friday (3/26)and got Izzy up too. My thought was, just stick him in the car in his PJ's as soon as it's time to go and he can sleep on the way over. And did he sleep? NOPE! He was wide awake talking and as happy as can 6:00am! Well we arrived at Shriner's at 6:30am. We got checked into Israel's room, did the basic stuff and then we waited. Amazingly since Shriner's is a children's hospital they were very accommodating. When we got into Izzy's room his bed was covered with a soft fleece handmade blanket (You know, instead of the boring white blankets). They also had a handmade pillow case for him draped over the edge of the bed. In addition, they had a mobile attached to his crib, which he really liked. And lastly, they had a brand new toy in the box for Israel that he LOVED! You's the little things like this that make the difference in your experience.

Israel's surgery was scheduled for 8:00am. However they were running behind. At 8:15 they came in our room and gave Israel some "Goofy Juice" as they call it. It basically gives him temporary amnesia and totally relaxes him so he isn't afraid and doesn't fight them. He drank it up and right away it started taking effect. It was quite funny actually :-) Around 8:45 they took us down to the "holding room" where we waited to send him back to surgery. The people down there we so nice and sweet. They pulled out 4 stuffed bears and let Israel pick one out to take to surgery with him. He picked the brown one, and preceded to chew on it's ear...cute! At 9:00 they took him from our arms and back into the operating room. I was sad to see him go, but I tell you what, the power of God is so amazing and I could literally feel all of the prayers being said for Israel and us and I was surprisingly calm and relaxed.

We left our cell phone number with the surgery desk gal and she called us along the way with any details so we didn't have to just sit and wait. Jon and I walked over to OHSU and got some breakfast. During breakfast we got a call that surgery had just started at 9:30 and everything was going well. After that we walked over to Doernbecher's and got ourselves a Starbucks coffee. We got another call at 10:30 that Israel was done in surgery and was heading to the recovery room! At 10:45 we got our last call that he was ready for us! We got in and held him right away. He had a very hard time coming off the anesthesia and other drugs. He was very upset and confused. Although we found he enjoyed being help closely and being sang to. We had planned to stay the night, but Israel was doing SO well our doctor sent us home at 2:30 the afternoon!!! God is SO good!

We are home now and enjoying being here instead of the hospital. Israel is doing as good as can be expected. He is still cranky and obviously in pain, but we are keeping his meds going on a regular basis and that really seems to help. More updates to come later on as time allows :-) This post took me a whole day to finish as I only seem to have a few moments at a time. Thank you again for all of your continued prayers. We cherish them!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick Update!

It seems I only have a few minutes here and there, so I figured better to post at least a small update than nothing at all.

Israel went in for his tongue surgery this morning. Everything went well and as expected. Israel is with us now recovering. Having a very hard time coming off the drugs and anesthesia. Very fussy and confused. He goes in and our of awareness...meaning he will be calm and fine for a new minutes and than totally crying the next for no apparent reason. He is currently drinking his first bottle since 8:00pm last night and enjoying it...even though it's only watered down apple juice. He is liking being in Mommy and Daddy's arms wrapped in his blankie. Israel is doing so well they might even send us home today! What a blessing that would be!

(Pre-Surgery Picture...I love the gown!)

I will post a bigger update with more details later on as I have more time. Thank you for all your prayers! We could feel them this morning!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birthday Fun!

We had a wonderful time celebrating Israel's first birthday. It is still hard to believe he is 1 already! We did a little celebration on the actual day with just us. We gave him a few gifts and a frosted cupcake. He loved it! A few days later we had a party for him with all of our family and some of his favorite people :-) Unfortunately Israel accidentally got woken up from his brother too early from his "before party nap" so he was quite out of sorts. He is usually the happiest baby and he was scowling at everyone and wouldn't let much of anyone hold him...even some of his favorites! Bummer! But I guess that's how the song goes isn't it? "It' my party, and I'll cry if I want to" :-) None the less, it was a great time celebrating the life of our precious miracle! We are so blessed with such wonderful friends and family who love Israel so much! Here are some pictures from our celebrations.

Israel LOVED his cake!

Happy Messy Boy!

The cake I made for his birthday
(I can't seem to get this to flip the right way when I upload it, so at least you can get the idea)

Izzy's personal cake

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Legs...part 4

Sorry this update took so long to get here! It's been a busy time with birthday stuff. (A new post with fun birthday pictures is coming!) Let me see here, where did I leave off? I was talking about getting his prosthetic legs shorter so they would be more functional I believe. Well, that was all well and good, except for the fact that he absolutely no leg/butt muscles developed so this was an absolute nightmare to get him to stand for more then a few minutes. Not to mention the fact that my body was in a crazy contortion just to hold him up! I had to have my hands on his knees to keep them from buckling, my thumbs on his butt to keep him from sitting down and my head/shoulders on his back to keep him from leaning back! It was a crazy position...for both of us! And if I needed to use my hand to do all fell apart! This is NOT a functional way to get Israel to learn how to stand what so ever! So thankfully our in home therapist was able to bring a stander out for us to borrow for as long as we need. This is a God send! It allows Israel to stand in a functional and comfortable position and lets me be free! It save my back and lets me play with him instead of being his support system physically! YEAH! Its a win win situation! Here is a picture of what I am talking about :-)

It has tons of individual adjustments that can be made so it can fit him just perfectly! It has support straps that go around his knees, trunk and chest. This allows him to be completely supported and feel safe at the same time! And the tray is wonderful because we can put toys on it to entertain him! Wonderfulness!!! He will even stay in it for up to 20 minutes at a time now! This stander will allow his muscles to develop and let his body get stronger. It will still be a very long road before he can ever stand without it, but at least I now feel like we have an effective plan in place!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Surgery Scheduled...we think...for now anyway...

I title it that way, because honestly I have a hard time thinking that the surgery will actually go through, after all we went through back in December. But after more than three months of fighting insurance, and getting virtually no where, we decided to take a different route in getting Israel's tongue surgery done. We go to Shriner's Hospital for all of Israel's prosthesis and generally Shriner's is an orthopedic hospital, but recently they have started expanding to a few different things like plastic surgery stuff such as clef lip/pallet thing etc. We asked about Israel's tongue issue and they said they would have to check because it wasn't a normal thing they covered...and guess what? God just reached down and worked every little detail out for us!

Praise #1: Israel's plastic surgeon from Doernbecher's works at Shriners twice a month!

Praise #2: They said that she is way backed up on appointments just to see her. They called me the same week and said she could see him next week!

Praise #3: After seeing the doctor, she said they could approve the surgery there! However her wait list for surgery was 9 months out! But they would put him on the wait list and could possibly get him seen in 3-6 months.

Praise #4: I received a letter in the mail the next week saying they could get his surgery done in less than a month and gave us our surgery date!

Praise #5: Because it is all being done at Shriner's...we don't have to deal with any insurance stuff!!!

HOORAY! Praise be to God for working out every little detail! We may never fully know why it didn't work out with the insurance or why we weren't supposed to have it done at Doernbecher's, but we can rest fully in knowing that our God knows why and what is best for Israel and that is all that matters!

Some details for all of my prayer warriors out there...Israel's surgery is scheduled for THIS FRIDAY...3/26/10 at 8:00am. We will have the laptop with us and update as frequently as possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Year in Pictures

I stole the idea of taking monthly pictures of Israel in the same place with a little sign from a blog friend, and I am so glad I did! It has been amazing watching him grow, and to see it in progression like this is beautiful :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Year

One year ago today!
March 18, 2009

I headed up to Portland for a routine (for this pregnancy) doctors visit. My sister Melanie joined me this time while Jon stayed home with Rachel and Jaxon. I had my routing ultrasound to check the heartbeat and fluids. Then saw my mid-wife. She talked for a bit and then said “So how is today for having a baby?” My face lit up with joy as I questioned here why. She informed me that the amniotic fluid level was too low and that Israel needed to come today! Hooray! She sent me home to gather my things (And to get Jon!) and we headed back to Portland to be induced! They started me on pitocin around 3:30 and contractions started right away. They were very manageable for quite awhile. Around 8:00 I was dilated to a 7 and they broke my water. Things picked up right away after that. After about 30 minutes of strong contractions (and absolutely no drugs the entire time!)and two pushes (About 6 total hours of labor), little Israel David was born.

He was born at 9:29pm, weighed 7 pounds and was 19 3/4 inches long. I got to pull him out and put him directly on my chest. There was a whole crew of people on standby incase he was having difficulty breathing. But by the grace of God they were all there for nothing less than to witness the miracle God did in Israel. He came out crying and screaming breathing with absolutely no problems what so ever. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

The neonatologist asked if he could borrow him for just a short bit to ensure everything was fine. About a minute later he handed him right back to me and said he is great, no problems what so ever. It was humorous as we watched the NICU staff take all the TONS of unnecessary medical equipment that they so carefully brought in earlier, back out of the room, all unused! That's the awesome power of our God! He started nursing wonderfully and sleeping great! We were so delighted and overjoyed to finally have our miracle here with us!

And now…one whole year later…ISRAEL IS 1 YEAR OLD!
My of my how a year changes things! I can honestly say that this was one of the fastest years I can ever remember experiencing!
Israel, You are amazing! One year ago, I held you in my arms for the first time, and I was changed forever. I could never fully express the way I feel for you, because I honestly don’t think there are enough words. You have touched my life and changed who I am, and for that I am so blessed! I look at life through different eyes now, trying never to take anything for granted. I marvel at even the smallest of achievements, not looking for the big things anymore, but taking delight in the small. I fall more and more in love with you every day precious boy and I am honored to be the one chosen to be your Mommy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New legs...part 3

After about a week of having Israel's new prosthetic legs we went back to Shriner's for a Physical Therapy evaluation appointment. This is so we can learn how to properly work with Israel in terms of getting him used to his new legs, wearing them, adjusting to having them on, moving around and such things. Right away the physical therapist noticed that his legs were way to long for him! Here's the deal. For a baby to have prosthetic feet is purely aesthetic. They have no functional value. The feet are really for the parents to feel some sort of normalcy with their not so normal child. But the truth is, it is much better and easier for the child to not have the feet on, and here is why. A prosthetic foot adds about an inch of unnecessary height. Plus there is a bolt which holds the foot into the prosthetic legs which adds another unnecessary inch. So to have feet adds two inches of unnecessary height. And with a baby who has shortened arms and legs, to have extra long legs helps nothing, but actually makes things even harder on him. So we did a few adjustments to make life a bit easier on Israel. We took of the prosthetic feet and turned the bottom of his legs into what we call "stumps". They are now two inches shorter and are actually more stable for him in terms of standing. Plus now they are not nearly as heavy (and long) so when he is sitting he can actually pick them up and move them around...which is wonderful! He seems to like these legs much better! For's hard. I know it sounds selfish, but when we got his legs I went out and bought Israel real socks and his FIRST pair of shoes. You should have seen the delight on my face as I carefully picked out just the perfect pair. And now, the shoes are back in their box waiting to be returned to the store. Sometimes, it's just the little things like buying shoes, that make a big difference to me. But I know this is what is best for Israel. And someday, I am sure he will get feet again and at that time I can buy new shoes. For now, I am finding delight in watching my baby standing and discovering this new world of prostheses.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Keep Breathing

Music has always been a huge part of my life. Since the time I can remember I have always loved music. Playing music, listening to music, making up songs, you name it! As I grew in maturity in my relationship with God in my teen years God really started speaking to me through music. Sometimes songs with words, sometimes just instrumental. I have found comfort in knowing that God give me songs whenever I need them. I recently happened upon a song that has been amazing for me. I now have it on my blog page as the first song and on my computer and I listen to it over and over and over again. As I write this post, it is playing in the background. As I said in this earlier post recently times have been harder for me. And honestly, sometimes I feel like all I can do is keep breathing. The reason this is so significant for me is because I am not someone who is usually ok with "just breathing". I usually feel the need to go go go and get things done and be busy and consume my life with so much busy. Often times even forgetting to stop and enjoy the small things, or just stop and feel. I would say I am someone who for the most part feels my emotions and knows my feelings. But I also know that it's easier for me to be busy and simply just not think of everything going on in my life. But as I have slowed down my life, I feel myself feeling more. And you know what, sometimes all I can do is keep breathing...and you know what? That's enough! I don't need to do more, or be busy, or change anything. Sometimes it's if all you can do is keep breathing.

I thought I would share this song with you. Some of you will understand...some of you will not. But that's ok. So if it's not already playing, click on the music player on the top right side of my page, it should be the first song in line. Sit back, listen, and keep breathing.