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

MRI update!

Carter did great with his MRI. He was sedated for about 3 1/2 hours, so he was a little grumpy and drowsy last night. He woke up this morning ready to go and worked really hard with his speech therapist. The University of Mississippi is going to send the results to Carter's Neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, so I do not plan on getting the results for a while. Thank you all so much for all of your prayers!

Carter's self portrait he took on my phone! Cheese!

MRI 12/18/12

Carter went back for his MRI about an hour ago. It should take about 3 hours, so right now I am playing the waiting game. They used a mask to put him to sleep and then they were going to put him under general anesthesia. He fought so hard! It took me the Anesthesiologist and a nurse to hold him down while they let him breathe through the mask. They said he set a record for the longest fight. Poor baby has been sedated too many times!

The MRI is to make sure his spinal cord has not re tethered and to make sure there are no other spinal defects that could be causing the unexplainable vomiting. They are going to send the images to his Neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, so I am not expecting results any time soon. We are praying everything is stable and we can completely focus on his "big" surgery in April. Thank y'all so much for all of your prayers for our sweet little gift! I will try to update later this afternoon.

Here are a few pictures from this morning...

Just an update...

I haven't updated in a while and I just wanted to catch up! Carter has been doing great. He did catch the flu and was down for about a week, but thankfully he bounced back pretty quick and is doing really well now!

I spoke with our child life specialist at Johns Hopkins yesterday. She is helping us get everything ready for Carter's big surgery in April. She submitted all of our information to the Children's House and Ronald McDonald house. These are both homes that we may be able to stay at while we are there. We are praying we will get into the Children's House. It is within walking distance of the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House is not within waking distance and we would have to take a shuttle back and forth. Hopefully the Children's House will work out. She also gave me a few more details about the surgery. She told me they will wait and put a PICC line in Carter until the day of surgery. She also said that I will be able to carry him back to the operating room and stay with him until he is fully asleep. I know that this is just a small thing, but knowing that Carter will be asleep for weeks it really warmed my heart!

I decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and Carter is in love! In love with the Christmas Tree! He is still not talking, but just by looking at him you can tell exactly what he wants to say. He grabs my hand and leads me to the tree about 50 times a day. We stand by the Christmas tree using our excited sign language and admire its beauty. Carter has even been nice enough to add a few of his own ornaments this year! I recently found a Woody figurine and train in the tree. They were probably the cutest ornaments on the tree.

We are really trying to enjoy Christmas and the time we have with Carter right now. Brandon and I both know that in 4 months we will be begging for this time back. In our own selfish ways we really don't want him to have the surgery or maybe it's that we don't want to have to watch the pain he is about to endure. We know it is necessary, but its hard to think about the little boy that holds our entire heart having to endure any pain. The only thing that brings us comfort is our Faith. Our Faith that has already brought us and especially this sweet boy through so much. Faith that will bring us through again and Faith that no matter the outcome God will be with us. To Him be the glory!!!

Carter with his "hospital" tree. That I got to put up in our dining room this year! Yay!!!

Examining his Bob and Larry Christmas lights!

Silly boy!

My very own Elf dancing in the yard!

Happy Birthday Dadee!!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband...

and Carter's Dadee! We love you so much and I could not imagine spending the past 10 years with anyone else!

Happy Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving! We are so thankful to be home from the hospital this year, but we are most thankful that God chose us to be Carter's parents. We could honestly not imagine our lives without him or without having him just like he is. He is absolutely perfect and we love him so much! The Christmas tree in the picture below was given to us by Brandon Elementary School. They gave it to us last year, along with other decorations so Carter's hospital room would be bright and cheerful for the holidays. I remember telling Brandon I wasn't sure what I would do with the decorations if something happened to Carter? He was so sick and no one could figure out exactly what was going on with him. The decorations would be too hard to look at if something were to happen. So, yesterday when I setup the Christmas tree in our dining room I gleamed with pride. It brought back so many emotions and truly made me thankful for all that we have today. Thank you Brandon Elementary for adding light into our very dark hospital room. No matter where we are I plan to always put up Carter's hospital tree.

Special Child
by Sharon Harris

You weren't like other children,
And God was well aware,
You'd need a caring family,
With love enough to share.

And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven't been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.

Your winning smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.

We're proud that we've been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The joy that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.

A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above,
A child who's taught us many things,
But most of all - "Real Love"

Happy Thanksgiving from the Cline's!

Happy Halloween from Bob the Tomato!

Happy Halloween! Carter is absolutely obsessed with Veggie Tales, so it was only appropriate for him to be Bob the Tomato. He loved it! We took him to see my family in Florence and to a subdivision in Brandon. He had a great time and walked almost a mile! I hope everyone had a great Halloween! Here are a few pictures of my very cute Bob!

Can you believe this was a year ago? It seems like I just took this picture. Carter has come so far this year!

This was his first Halloween. He was Woody and I bought his costume at build a bear workshop!

We are so thankful God allowed us to share another Halloween with our sweet Carter! Happy Halloween!!!

We are home...

We are already home from our quick trip to Johns Hopkins Hospital. We met with Carter's wonderful Urologist and Neurosurgeon. They were both extremely impressed with Carter's growth and overall health. His Urologist gave us the go ahead for Carter's "BIG" surgery. The first unofficial date available is in April. They are suppose to call me next week to verify all of the surgeons will be available that day.

Carter's Neurosurgeon wants him to have another MRI of his spine and brain and if anything has changed we will possibly have it repaired while we are there for his big surgery. His Neurosurgeon just wants to make sure there is not a change in his spinal cord that could be causing all of the unexplainable vomiting. The good news is we can have the MRI performed here at home and have the results sent to him. So I will call our Pediatrician later this week and get the MRI scheduled.

Our urologist went over the entire process of the big surgery and showed us pictures of what to expect. The images were extremely hard to look at and I am a nurse. We have felt so many mixed emotions about the surgery. We know it has to be done for Carter to survive, but we are still not looking forward to it. We are so blessed that God has led us to our amazing Urologist at Johns Hopkins. He is one of the main reasons children with Carter's condition survive today. He is not only a great Urologist, but a great person. We know with all of our heart that he will do whatever he can to provide Carter with the best quality of life as possible.

The "BIG" surgery will last 12-18 hours. They will first break Carter's pelvic bone in four places and cut four triangles of bone out if it. They will then place him in traction. He will go to the PICU where he will stay for at least 2 weeks. Everyday his pelvic bone will be stretched with an attempt to pull it closed in the front. To better understand this, right now Carter's pelvis is open like a book. They are going to try to close the book like a normal pelvis. The stretching procedure will allow for new bone growth and for Carter's pelvis to be even and round like ours. This is a newer procedure and was invented by Carter's orthopedic Doctor at Johns Hopkins. It is one of the many reasons Johns Hopkins success rate of closing bladder exstrophy is the highest the world. After two weeks Carter will go back to surgery and have his bladder put into his body. They will then put a metal plate over his bladder to help secure it and his pelvic bones. Then he will be on the road to recovery. He will be in traction for 6-8 weeks and our hospital stay will be up to 3 months. We are so ready to have this surgery behind Carter.

We are so proud of all the things Carter has overcome in his short life through God's blessings. We know that God will continue to rain down his love on us and provide us with the strength we need to get through all of this. Thank you all so much for all of your prayers and continued prayers for our family. We know that Carter would not be where he is today without them. As always... To Him be the Glory!!!

Poor Carter was not happy about the trip. He was ready to go home as soon as we got on the plane.

Carter stayed on the phone the entire time we were in the room! I think he was trying to call someone to come pick him up! :)

Watching a movie and being such a good boy on the plane!

After Carter's appointments on Tuesday we walked downtown. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful and very clean Inner Harbor.

The new Children's Hospital recently opened at Johns Hopkins. It is absolutely beautiful. For anyone who knows how big The University of Mississippi Medical Center is, Johns Hopkins is probably seven times bigger! It's huge!!! Here are a few pictures of the hospital.

Brandon Brags!

On Monday, before we left for Johns Hopkins Carter got to meet with the Mayor of Brandon. Carter was named the Brandon Brags citizen of the month. He is the youngest one yet and we are so honored and humbled Carter was chosen. Carter was extremely interested in Mayor Coulter's fish and could not figure out why he could not pet him. He tried several times! Thank you all so much for all of your kind words, messages and love given to our family over the past two years. No matter how far away Carter's medical care takes us we will always be honored to call Brandon, Mississippi home.

Come here little fish!

Hand in the poor fish's bowl trying to pet him! :)

Out and About and to Johns Hopkins...

Carter has really enjoyed the past few weeks. He has gotten to enjoy getting out more than ever. Carter has gone to the fair, Mitchell Farms pumpkin patch, Canton Flea Market and had his Papaw down for a visit! He has really enjoyed life these past few weeks. We fly out to Johns Hopkins today for an appointment with Carter's Urologist and Neurosurgeon. We are praying for all good news and the ok to go ahead with Carter's "big" surgery. God has truly blessed us and I know he will continue to do so! Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers. Here are a few pictures of Carter's new experiences the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Carter absolutely loved petting the animals at the fair! He danced,jumped and squealed for them!

Trying to get in the cage with the goats.

Nana and Carter.

He loved feeding the goats.

Having a blast at Mitchell Farms!

The Peanut Festival at Mitchell Farms was so much fun. I would highly suggest it to anyone with children. We had a blast!

All of these new things have left this baby exhausted! :)