I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Back to the hospital

For the past month Carter has been in and out of the Doctors' office with high fevers and respiratory issues. This weekend Carter seemed to be getting worse. We took him to the after hours clinic on Saturday and they started him on new antibiotics and more medicine for congestion and his newly developed cough. Not long after Carter received the new antibiotics Carter developed a rash over his entire body. We still do not know if the antibiotics are the cause of the rash or his high fever. Sunday Carter was much worse than Saturday. He was more fussy and ran a fever all day. After much consideration I decided not to go to work, but to stay with Carter. This was a huge blessing. Around 8 o'clock I noticed a golf ball size mass protruding from Carters groin area. It was a large hernia. This is extremely dangerous in Carters case because he does not have as much colon as most babies his age. We rushed to the ER at UMC and were admitted. We are still waiting to find out when Carter will have surgery. Because of the high fever and congestion Carter has had, there are concerns about doing the surgery immediately. Our doctors also want to consult the doctors at Johns Hopkins before any decisions are made. Carter is receiving I.V. antibiotics right now and we are awaiting details about the surgery time.

8 months old!

Eight months have already passed since the day God allowed Brandon and
I to meet our little miracle. This month has been extremly trying for
Carter. With the exception of a few days Carter has been sick almost
the entire month. It started with respiratory issues that developed
into a respiratory infection and now Carter has a virus that has caused
him to have a very high fever. Besides not feeling good Carter is
waking up 2-3 times a night. This is extremly exhausting for his mommy.
We are praying that all of this illness will reside and Carter will
start feeling better.

We recently visited a G.I. specialist for Carter's growth issues.
I know it looks like Carter has really grown in his pictures and he
has, just not as fast as he should. Carter is now 8 months old and just
now starting to grow out of some of his newborn clothes. Honestly,
Carter being small has been the least of my concerns. We just wanted to
make sure Carter was not missing out on any nourishment. Carter
requires more calories than most babies his age, due to his bladder
being on the outside of his body. His body burns more calories in an
effort to keep his bladder the same temperature as his body. The
specialist also thought Carter's trunk may be growing at a slower rate
than his arms and legs, due to his spinal defects. As a result of his
myelocystocele's being repaired a few of Carter's vertebrae are fused
together. The specialist said Carter is not being malnourished and she
will continue to follow him for now. She will only intervene if it
becomes neccesary.

The G.I. Specialist was extremly impressed with Carter's
development. She said he is actually ahead for his adjusted age. One of
Carters biggest accomplishments is he can now situp by himself.
Although, he does get a little excited and fall over sometimes. This is
a huge accomplishment for Carter, because all of his abdominal muscles
are not connected. Carter said his first word this month and has not
stopped talking since. His first word was mama. Although, he now likes
to call me Maaaa! Carter can also say yum and hey. He loves to wave hey
and bye-bye. He also throws both of his arms in the air when we say
TOUCHDOWN! He is extremly friendly and loves other kids. He is also
extremly loving. At night he rubs my face to go to sleep and "sings"
himself to sleep at naptime. He also loves to grab my cheeks and with
his mouth wide open give me kisses. Needless to say I get soaked with
drool. But arn't those the best kisses? I am thrilled God chose such a
bright personality for Carter. Aside from prayer I think it has really
helped Carter do as well as he has.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your
paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6

To him be the glory!

 A thank you just isn't good enough in a case like this. We have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from our family, friends, and community. Of course, we are talking about the T-Shirt sales to benefit Carter and his upcoming surgeries. The generosity of God's people was not only seen in the T-Shirt sales, but in other generous donations and acts of kindness. Saying that we are grateful, appreciative, or thankful is a HUGE understatement. So, here is our attempt at saying Thank you.

Knowing that Carter would be having multiple surgeries and lengthy stays at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, MD, Meagan and I knew there would be financial and logistical difficulties to overcome. However, there was never a feeling of doubt, worry, or anxiousness about how we would deal with all of that. With our faith in God we knew that his plan is always perfect and that He would show us how to handle the situation.

About a month ago, sometime in March, our Sunday School teacher, John Dickerson, approached us with an idea that our class had to raise money to help with the financial burdens of our upcoming trips. The class decided that a T-Shirt sale to benefit Carter would be the route they would take. Melissa Banks and Laura Clark headed up the project and Melissa designed the shirt. When John approached us with the idea, 200 shirts was the initial goal with a lofty goal of 500 shirts. We believed that it would be an incredible feat to sell 200 and just out of this world if we sold 500. I don't know why we as humans ever put limits on what our God with unlimited power can do, but we do. Only through the help of the Lord the project was a huge success. Over 3,000 shirts have been sold. As much as we would like to thank everyone involved in this project we know that it is only through God that this happened and was successful. All Praise and Glory to our Lord God Almighty for having His hands all over and in this fundraiser and for First Baptist Church of Florence, especially our Sunday School Class.

To God: We are so thankful and unworthy. Please, continue to use us and Carter in whatever way you have planned. We know there are many people in this world with causes greater than ours, so let us be doers of your will and lights in this world. Your unworthy children...Amen!

To Our Sunday School Class: I don't know that words can express it, but we are so thankful to have you not only as leaders of this project, but to have you as brothers and sisters. You have overwhelmed us time and time again with your prayers, your cooking, your gifts, countless other ways of support, and now your hard work in this project. Y'all have adopted us as not just people to say hey to on Sunday mornings or in the local stores, but as your own family. I don't know that it is possible to truly understand how we feel until you are in a similar situation, but know that we love y'all and we would not see the fruits of God's love without you. You are all special to our family. We love you and thank you.

Many people outside of our wonderful church have been more than supportive and helpful. A special thank you goes out to Rankin County School District and particularly Brandon Elementary School. BES has bent over backwards in the T-Shirt selling effort. A large portion of the shirts were sold through the school. Several students even emptied their piggy banks and brought in the savings to my class room and said “We want to help out Carter”. It's hard to crack the shell on this hard-egg, but several times over the past few weeks fighting back tears has been the biggest battle in my class. Students have written letters of encouragement and prayer, my class has raised money on their own, and the Brandon High Key Club made a large donation to Carter. We never know why God does the things he does, but placing me in the Brandon community has been a blessing to me. It isn't the financial support that has been the biggest blessing, either. Seeing that the world cares, that there are so many good people, and the biggest blessing that God CAN DO ANYTHING! Never did we doubt this, but we continue to get to see His work from the front row seats. Thank you to Brandon Elementary and the whole Brandon Community.

As impossible as it may be, we want to tell all 3,000 and counting people who have purchased a shirt, “Thank you”. It is absolutely astonishing to know that there will be over 3,000 people wearing a shirt that was designed to Praise God and help our son at the same time. It is going to be an awesome feeling when we are out and about and we see someone we may not know wearing the shirt. Although we may not know you personally, we know that you are our brother or sister. Your helpfulness, kindness, generosity, and support towards our family is greatly appreciated. We know that you are a big part of God's plan for our son and our family. Thank you for allowing God to work through you.

Of course this would not be complete without showing our gratitude for everyone at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. We especially want to thank those who have personally taken care of Carter and Meagan. The Wiser and Batson Hospitals have become a very familiar place to us. Your warm smiles, kind words, and prayers have helped make difficult times much easier to handle. You, too, have been a part of God's plan for our son and our family. We appreciate what each and every one of you do. We do not know how we would have made it without your help through our NICU stay, numerous doctor's visits, and post-op care. We have seen God work through Carter and through many of you. Thank you so much.

Each and every person that has said a prayer for Carter or us, said a kind word, read the blog, bought a T-Shirt, donated your time, money, or cooking, helped with the fund-raiser, or in any way helped with anything we thank you. We know that there has been a countless number of hours spent doing these things. It isn't possible to measure your kindness or hard work, but we thank you. The most important thing we want everyone to take away from this is the lesson God taught us. No matter how much hard work goes in to anything none of this would be possible with Him. Just as we humans often do, we put limits on things, such as a number on the amount of T-Shirts sold But our God has no limits and shows us he is in control and he is the God of all. Thank you again and God bless you all.... Jesus looked at them and said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 

Here are a few pictures of very sweet gifts we have recieved.

Not feeling well...

Carter has not felt well the past few weeks. He has had RSV and now a respiratory infection. Although, he has been sick he has still been full of smiles!!!