Monday, August 25, 2008

you are here=)


hi precious girl=) i'm sitting here crying as i write to you because you are in the next room doing more than we could have ever expected. it hasn't been easy for you to get here, and your little fight isn't over sweet girl. but our hearts are happy today=)

you opened your sweet little eyes for us! today was the first time we saw them, and your daddy and i are both so giddy excited we don't know what to do with ourselves. we just want to stand there staring at you, holding your little hand or cupping your head to see if you'll wake up just a tiny bit for us to get another peek=) your daddy actually does that every second he's beside you-touches your leg or arm or head-you usually will wiggle back at him or give a tiny squeeze on his finger and he loves it. they actually had to give you more "calming" medicine yesterday after he left because he got you so riled up=) he loves you so much catherine-it's the most amazing thing to watch. we are convinced you just like it when he holds your hand and that's why you start moving around-that you remember him from when he would touch your little leg when you were in my tummy, and you would always move around then too. either way, we want to keep you nice and comfy now that you're out, but we can't help ourselves sometimes and just want to give you lots of kisses and see you respond to are our hearts' delight my sweet girl=)

so daddy told you a little about how you came into this world, but i wanted to give you my version as well. do you remember that last letter i wrote to you? that was around 5 in the morning last tuesday, and i had been having contractions since 1:30am. at 6:30 or so your daddy woke up and realized i hadn't been sleeping-we weren't too worried at that point. we decided to go get him breakfast at chick-fil-a and get a body pillow for me at target-that's something i wanted for the hospital. it's a very cute pillow-pink polka dots and everything-you would like it i think=) we thought about calling the doctor after that but tried to lay down instead. i was able to take little naps between contractions, and then we went to pick up your silly auntie shelly from the airport at 12 that day. i remember having to stop and sit down during contractions while i was walking into the airport to get her-it makes me laugh now looking back at it. what was i thinking?? i've decided i was completely in denial that day because i was so scared to bring you into this world-not knowing what would happen and how you would do (and my contractions were never regular-that's my other excuse;))...anyway-your daddy and shelly and i went home and turned on movies-again i took little 6-15 minute naps between contractions until about 6pm and daddy convinced me that dr lucas really should at least know what's going on. i called him and he said that he agreed with me-it sounded like it was early labor and probably i could just meet him at the hospital, get some medicine to help me sleep, and then go home. (he later told me that i was one of the few people who have ever fooled him...) well we got there around 7:30pm and the unit was so busy!! they finally were able to check and see if i was dilated at a little after 9pm, and dr lucas had the strangest look on his face...and then he said "katie-you're 8 1/2"..................all those dots represent the madness going through my head over the next few seconds-kristen my sweet nurse honestly didn't believe him. she kept saying "dr lucas-that's not funny! what are you doing!" well he was serious my girl. you came about an hour later at 10:18 that night and it was the most amazing experience. you came out and gave your attempt at a little cry and then the nicu team took over-they intubated you and were able to successfully give you breaths-that means your lungs weren't totally hypoplastic and there was a bit of hope for you my love=) they put you in my arms for a second and let me kiss you, then took you to the nicu to figure out just how much help you might need. our friends and family got here all within a couple hours of your birth-God was very sweet with that my girl-our family wasn't supposed to arrive until the next day but many of them (without knowing i was in labor) got on a plane a day early and were able to see you being taken down the hall after delivery=) i remember being surprised that i felt so happy and peaceful after you were born and they had taken you to the nicu-i don't even know what else to say about that but i think Jesus was just giving us a little gift of celebration with our friends and family. daddy and i went to see you that night and you were unbelievably gorgeous (and you've gotten only more gorgeous each day since then my little beauty=)). to speed the story up a bit, you did great for about 12-14 hours. we went to see you in the nicu-let our friends and family see you a little, and then around noon on the 20th they discovered you might have a little problem in your heart too-it's called a coarctation of the aorta, and basically that means that your big vessel that takes blood to the lower part of your body is super skinny. that, combined with the potential for you needing ecmo, got you a trip to UVA for more specialized treatment. it was a good decision my sweet one because your status just kept deteriorating all afternoon-your oxygen saturations kept decreasing and it became pretty clear you would need ecmo as soon as you got to uva. i waited till the transport team got there, watched them take you out of that nicu, then daddy and i got on our way to charlottesville to meet you. we got a phone call around 2am that night getting permission to start ecmo, and off you went on that. over the next few days daddy and i spent the night at a hotel next door to the hospital-it was a very scary but sweet time-we got to hang out with each other in the morning and at night-and we would always talk about what the scariest part of the day was and what we were most thankful for that day. i found that hope is a scary thing for me my girl. not that we were surprised by that-i think we discovered that while you were still in my belly, but it's all the more intensified now that you're out in the world.

that was our routine for 3 nights, then came the night we were to go home and just drive an hour and a half to see you in the morning. that was not fun for me my sweet girl. i didn't want to leave you. i couldn't imagine being that far away from you and it taking so long to get here if you needed us. but we made it, and after a couple nights of that, we get to today. they trialed you off of ecmo today=) that means they just give it a trial run and see if your body can oxygenate itself with only the did great=) i got to stand there beside you the whole time and "cheer you on" as the nurses were saying=) you were so peaceful and wonderful during the whole time-just holding your own and giving them all the numbers they wanted-your nurses keep calling you things like "pistol" and "soldier"-you are definitely a fighter my little girl and i'm so proud of you. i stand there staring at you unable to understand what all's going on. how are you really here??? it's more than we ever imagined and we have fallen madly in love with you=)

so their plan is to test a few more things tonight, and take you completely off ecmo in the morning. what! i can't even believe it as i type it=) then surgery would probably be a week later for your diaphragm and then a few weeks after that for your sweet little aorta. lots of things are playing into this plan, and i honestly can't even keep up with it sweet baby-but i'm so thankful we're where we are and i can only trust that you are in good hands-that God is holding you near as always and breathing His life into you. we were listening to praise and worship music this morning driving to charlottesville and i realized that when i closed my eyes to sing all i saw was your sweet little form on your hospital bed-like i'm seeing Jesus when i look at you and i'm so proud of you for that-and thankful to Him...i have no idea what He's doing-but it is good and i am blown away by it all. part of me was singing to God when i would sing along, and then another part of me felt like i was singing for you-that you are praising Him and glorifying Him with everything that you are doing right now-i don't understand all of this my dear but it was a great experience there in the car and i liked it=)

you know what's funny? i'm starting to love the "hospital smell" because it is your smell right now. when i lean down to kiss what has become my favorite little knee in all the world, i smell that smell=) and when i'm home and using the breast pump to prepare food for you to eat one day-i smell that smell then too=) yesterday they gave us a blanket that had been in your bed for a couple days-it doesn't quite have that smell but i just want to rub my face all in it=) you are the most precious thing and we love you more than i know how to explain. your daddy is getting antsy because he wants to go see you again, so i'll wrap this up and go join him=)

keep fighting my sweet girl=)



Farrah said...

I do not know you, I found out about you through my cousins, Ryan and Jennifer Harris, but I feel like you and your precious family are a part of my daily life now. I check for updates as soon as I can each day. Ms Catherine is such a strong little girl and she has so many people praying for her I know she is going to be fine. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Farrah F. Haupfear

Eric & Lauren said...

Katie, she is just too cute! I
love those curious little eyes:) You are so strong and we are thinking of your family often. What good news...we will continue to pray. Thanks again for sharing your letters.

I love all of these new hot mama's!

AJ Macc said...

Hallelujah!! Praise God!!! I am SO excited for all of you. Just this morning I was updating my prayer warrior sisters on your condition and how they could pray for you, and I told them I was praying that these days of rest and healing would help the rest of your healing to amaze everyone and bring great glory to God Our Father. So, Glory to God - I pray that He keeps on amazing us through you. You are such a blessing to so many already! We love you!
- Andrea-

Lauren Dufort said...

Ohmygosh, Katie! This is so exciting to read! God's strength is shining through little Catherine for sure! Thank you so much for keeping us all updated. (I know it's probably tough to find the time). I only wish I could come give you a big hug. Love ya!

Lauren D.

Sarah said...

Katie and Donnie, I am so glad to hear how Catherine is doing! The three of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Sarah and Danny
(you know, Traci's :))

Callie Cobb said...

Catherine is truly a miracle baby!! Sarah T has been keeping us posted, but the blog adds so much more. Our prayers go out to ya'll and your beautiful little girl. Keep us posted.

Love ya'll,
Callie, Jason, and the Eastman Gang

Kristy said...

I love you all so much!

Heather said...

This is such an amazing miracle! I watched the video of her opening her eyes and she is just gorgeous! I am continuing to pray for you both and of course sweet Catherine as well! God is amazing:)

Heather Ragsdale

Erin said...

Oh Katie,
I adore you. I love everything you are, and you inspire me as a mother.
This is a beautiful post, but it made me do the ugly cry as I sit here on the couch.
I am AMAZED at what God is doing. Little girls are fighters...Maren always was.
Hang in there, momma. I love you.

Abby & Pete said...

keep fighting strong baby. we love so much! you are constantly in our hearts and prayers. and your mommy and daddy, of course!

Jennifer said...

Catherine is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. It truly is an inspiration in faith and shows the power of prayer and love. You are all in my daily prayers.

Josh and Kate plus 1 said...

Amazing! I'm not really sure what other words are fitting! Your courage, strength & faith are amazing! And what an awesome God we serve! I know Shelly's roomate Lindsey has been praying that God would "show off" in your situation & I think He has! Praise Him for He is great! We are so happy for the progress Catherine is making & will continue to lift you guys up in prayer! And someday, I would love to meet you & your sweet girl. =) Blessings! ~Kate Walker

Dotty said...

what a beauty you have, she is amazing! so strong and so wonderful. i pray God keeps his loving hands on her and she keeps on fighting! many blessings
momma to lcdh zach

nysewanders said...

OK seriously, I'm freaking out. I think your daughter is amazing. I wish I could be there and do a special (oh, so special) song and dance to celebrate each victory. (Just imagine a little running-man action). I cry and cheer every time I read an up-date... my kids probably think I'm hysterical. Love you and I'm praying praying praying!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord that she is doing so well!!! She is a fighter!! We are keeping you and sweet Catherine in our prayers.

Tara and David Dorsey

Teri from CMC NICU said...

Hi Katie! I am so estatic to see your precious little Catherine has made it into the world. She looks beautiful. I know the road ahead is long but I see miracles in the NICU everyday and Catherine is no exception! Catherine is lucky to have such a strong mom and you are lucky to have such a strong little girl. You are a wonderfully beautiful person and I know you and Catherine will get through this. You, your family and little miss Catherine are in my prayers. God Bless to all. Love Teri from cmc nicu

mummy to angel SKYLA said...

Catherine is so amazing. She is so strong and proves it day by day. Im so happy that she is doing well. My daughter Skyla had CDH and the coarctaion of the Aorta. These babies are so strong. I will pray that she continues to improve each day and be home with you all soon.

Kristy, mummy to Angel ^^SKYLA^^

Erin said...

Davises! I just want y'all to know I am so so happy for you and continue to pray lots and lots. She is so precious but of course you know that!!!! I would really like to come and meet her (and see y'all too I suppose ;) in a few weeks if that's ok! I will be passing through on Sept 15 or 16, so I can contact you closer to then to see if it will work out. I don't want to be a burden but really really wanna see you!

Gigi said...

wow. What else can be said? She is fighting so hard, and she is obviously aware that her beloved parents are there cheering her on. You guys are both precious individuals - it would only make sense that your already infamous daughter would follow in your footsteps. All of my students at school are praying for you guys and courageous Catherine, and they ask for updates all the time. Know that you guys have cheering sections everywhere - One of my senior students asked me today if you planned to publish this blog as a book - not only because he liked the idea of writing to your daughter before she's born, but because I'd read to the class some of your words... and they all were in awe.
When you're able, please do let us know how she does tonight and tomorrow am off of the ecmo. I'll have my computer at work set to refresh the blog screen every few minutes. :) Much love to you guys - hang in there. I know you're exhausted.

Emilie said...

This makes me so happy! I've been up since 3:45 this morning because I couldn't sleep...and so I've been thinking about you, Donnie and Catherine so much. I've been praying that she has had a good night and morning. I've been picturing her with out the ecmo machine hooked up to I'm so glad I got to see that video! She is amazing! Love all of you!

ShannaRenee said...

Happy 1 week Birthday Catherine! You are SO strong and SUCH a fighter (must take after your mommy and daddy) and every breath you take glorifies God's love for you! You are a miracle and inspire us all. We are rooting for you! Go and astound those doctors today with your strength and determination! Lots and lots of love!!!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and wanted to say hello. We are a CDH family also. Our daughter, Parker was born in May 2006. You can read her story at if you'd like.

We are praying for Catherine and your family as she travels the CDH journey. She is absolutely gorgeous! And what a fighter she is!

I am going to play catch up now on your blog!

If you need anything please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kelly said...

What a beautiful, beautiful daughter you have. I am continually praying for you all.

hannah and tony said...

My heart jumps for joy at your strength precious little girl. I suppose you come by this honestly--the strength that your mama & daddy have is amazing. All made possible through our beloved Heavenly Father, praise Him, praise Him, PRAISE HIM!!!

Happy 1 week birthday precious child, I love you dearly :)

Katie Bug said...

you don't know me, but i found your blog through a friend of a friend of a friend :) just wanted to let you know how inspiring you are. you are such an amazing, strong woman. such a testomony of faith! I can't help but bawl every time I read an update. God is doing awesome things in your family right now! You are touching so many lives. Big hugs to your beautiful Catherine, who is no doubt just as strong as you are!

with love,

AtlantaMama said...

AMAZING! Amazing blessings! Amazing labor! Amazing blue eyes! Amazing fight! Amazing GOD!!!

Joy and Blessings and continued prayers!!

Missives From Suburbia said...

This is the most amazing news!! Go, Catherine, GO!!

Praying for you and thinking about all three of you. I hope the surgeries are wildly successful.

Debbie said...

I was so taken with the news of Catherine that I couldn't even calm myself down to write to you last nite. I am so excited and most of all grateful for this little blessing. I have printed off one of the pictures of you and Catherine and am taking it to work to show off. All my friends are praying for you and I think it's about time they see your precious family. Bless you all,

Debbie Campbell (Erin West's aunt)

Pinks and Blues said...

Oh, beautiful little Catherine... the sun and the stars, all music and dance, all hope and faith and love and courage are in those magnificent eyes of yours. Your exquisite eyes and your strong little hands are the greatest strength and the greatest gifts for your mommy and your daddy... and for all of us who love you so. Love is the most mighty power, and it flows from God through your eyes, your hands... your soul. You are love.

Shawn Procter said...

Miracle Catherine, you are loved by many...and so obviously loved by Your Creator, the One who wove you together in Mommy's womb. Looking forward to seeing God glorified even more through your story and your life. As those eyes open, how we long to have your mouth open and tell us what it was like to have Jesus hold your little body, while He was preparing you to come early. One day, I believe we will all have that chance to hear from you yourself. Love you little beauty! And Katie and Donny, I praise the Lord for how much He already has blessed you both with this precious child. I know Shelly has been touched deeply as well.
Shawn Procter ~Chicago

Tom Hall said...

Joy and I are keeping up with things by reading these posts. WE and our church are praying for Catherine Marie and for you two, asking God to show himself strong and good on your behalf. We love you and think of you often.


Dawn Johnson said...

So much good news! Constant prayers for you all.

MelissaR86 said...

Hey Katie! I'm so happy that Catherine is doing so well! And she has the prettiest eyes! You, Donnie and Catherine are all so strong! Its not hard to guess where she gets her strength and fighting spirit from. We love you guys and are continuing to pray for yall! Love, Melissa

beverlyjl said...

Praying for Catherine and all of you. I know it is hard, but God is present in the midst of all of this and Catherine is hearing Jesus whisper in her sweet little ear! I am convinced of that! Our Cadenne is a CDH survivor, born in Dec '07.

Cadenne Hope's Grandma

Nikki said...

Hey Sweet Baby Catherine!I made a song for you just now. It goes like this: O baby Catherine, O baby Catherine, I love you baby Catherine. Your blue eyes are.... so beautiful.

It's really good when you hear it out loud. :)

I sure do miss you today, and yesterday and the day before and every day since we left the hospital.

We are all so proud of you, sweet thing.

Love unbound,
Aunt Nikki

Dr. Ray said...

Hello Ms Catherine

I used to know your mommy, and I look forward to meeting and knowing you. Please tell her hello for me. And tell your daddy he is a very lucky man to have her.

I used to live in the area. We moved some time ago, but we have never moved our love for all of the folks back there. Now, you are one of the folks too, and I look forward to loving you too.

I will be praying every day for you, and I will have our entire church praying for you too.

Dr. Ray Spann

lisawitt said...

I do not know you but found your blog several months ago when you were just beginning this journey. You words were so inspiring and Catherine will treasure these letters one day. I would check back every so often to see how you and your husband and Catherine were doing. And although I do not know you, I kept you in my prayers. What a true joy when I checked back and read the miraculous news for Catherine. God has plans for this little one and I pray He continues this blessing for all to see!!

The Gulliver Family said...

I found your blog through a post on Kate Walker's facebook. I don't know you personally, but through reading your blog, it surprises me to know that we are not friends. You have done a phenomenal job documenting your pregnancy and everyone who reads your stories are very blessed. You appear to be a very strong woman and I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers so that you may stay that way! Your daughter is beautiful - thank you for bringing her into this world!
Wishing your family strength,

K said...

I have been following your story and was so very glad to hear that Catherine is a fighter. I wish you luck in the days ahead and you are in my prayers.

Cazza said...

Thank God for loving parents. Love goes far beyond our imagination and can heal all wounds, pain or hurt. Love conquers anything. Parenthood is so vital for growing children and must be done in making the right choices. Hold on, she will be coming home to stay earlier sooner than later.