Monday, December 27, 2010

So, the car was NOT ready before Christmas - which means we drove a hire car home. Although irritating, we did not let this setback dampen our Christmas cheer... it's not been an easy holiday period, with all the memories of last year and all of us desperately missing Jane, but, we have made the best of it and it has actually been a very happy Christmas - Daniel's FIRST!

The packers arrived at 9am this morning and the house was clear by 3pm - it's outrageous to see the entirety of one's worldly possessions packed into boxes - it doesn't amount to very much - a very sobering thought! Daniel has coped admirably as his universe has been dismantled and invaded by sweaty Mexicans... he is now sleeping soundly, I am pleased to report!

Sadly, it looks as though the Lord is continuing to refine Ed and my patience (it needs a LOT of work!) - this morning, the packers informed us that they are unlikely to even SET OFF from the bay area with our van-full of possessions until NEXT MONDAY... which would mean we'd be unlikely to get our stuff until the middle of next week at the earliest. Yikes. We are praying that it doesn't end up taking that long, but, after a number of phone calls today, it is not looking very hopeful... oh well, it looks like Daniel will get his first taste of camping - IN our new apartment!

Ed will leave tomorrow morning to collect our car while 'DIY Dave' (as my father-in-law is affectionately known) and I set to work painting over any scuff marks and generally getting the house back to it's pre-Gilchrist condition!

We head down to San Luis Obispo (no idea if that's how it's written and I'm too pooped to check on the Internet!) tomorrow, once Ed arrives with the car. We have booked one night's stay there and then we head on down to LA the following day... we plan to take the scenic and enjoyable route along highway 1, through Malibu... Emily and David will be with us that evening and then fly back to SFO to catch their flight home on the morning of the 30th... I hope we've done the right thing... it seemed like a fun idea at the time, to do the move altogether, but now we're faced with the prospect, we're worried that perhaps it will not feel as much fun as we'd envisaged! We'll see!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dearest friends and family,

In many ways we are having a wonderful time - it is lovely to be all together with Ed's Dad and sister - we all miss Jane very much, but the delicious smiles and cuddles with Daniel have kept our spirits from sinking too low... he is SUCH a scrumptious little man!

The cabin we are staying in is luxurious - warm, comfortable, spacious and spotlessly clean - so it is not too much of a hardship for Daniel and I, who are spending most of our time indoors. The reason for our being home-bound is twofold:

1) Baby it's cold outside! It has been snowing, blizzard-style since we got here - actually, I tell a lie, it stopped snowing and the sun came out yesterday morning - the ONE morning that we had arranged for me to have a go on the slopes - so my wonderful father and sister in law, having spent the previous 2 days skiing in horizontal, icy blizzard & wind, watched the blue skies from indoors as they looked after Daniel... meanwhile Ed and I skied in fabulous conditions - only to see the snow roll in again as we were having lunch! How guilty do I feel?!!!

2) Our car broke down on Saturday morning... this is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare actually. So, it broke down and, because it's still under warranty it has to be repaired at an Audi dealership. The nearest one is in Reno (50 miles away). The car was towed away on Saturday and then sat in the local towing station until this morning, because the weather was too hazardous for them to set out. We have therefore arranged for the car to go to Sacramento - which is further away, but at least it is on our way home. I just spoke to the Audi dealership in Sacramento and they close for Christmas, tomorrow evening at 6pm... they are 'doing their best' to get our car roadworthy before the holidays, but they can't promise, since there are already quite a few vehicles ahead of ours... Thankfully, part of our warranty agreement allows for us to have a hire car for 5 days in the event that our car breaks down when we are more than 100 miles from home - we only found that out yesterday, so at least we are no longer stranded, and we can drive the hire car to Sacramento... BUT if our car is not fixed by 6pm tomorrow evening, then we will have to drive the hire car home and then Ed will have to drive all the way to Sacramento (about a 4 hour round-trip) on Boxing day (otherwise known as 'my birthday') to pick up our car... as if we didn't have enough going on in these 2 weeks!

A few prayers on that subject would be appreciated!

The icing on the cake came this morning as Daniel and I drove home from dropping the Gilchrist skio-trio at the Gondola... I left Daniel in the car as I opened the front door, then locked it behind me and went downstairs to open the garage. I then drove the car into the garage, picked up my son and tried to re-enter the house... but the door had locked behind me... so there was no way for me to get back into the house! Daniel was already late for his nap and was therefore ever-so-slightly-not-so-nice-to-know, I didn't have the number for the cabin company and Ed was only intermittently in cell-phone range... after about 10 minutes, I managed to communicate what had happened to Ed, who thankfully had the number for the cabin company - he phoned them and they arranged to send someone out immediately. 1/2 an hour later (!) a ski-bum arrived and said (in Bill-and-Ted-esque drawl) 'oh yeah, sorry mate, I kinda forgot the address I was supposed to go to, bummer, yeah, it's freaky that garage locking mechanism, yeah, people get locked out all the time...' - needless to say, I found it hard to remain polite!

Anyway, Daniel is sleeping soundly and I have had lunch, so the World is looking slightly more rosy than it did an hour ago!

Sadly, we are still going to have to cut the holiday short to get to Sacramento for the car (PLEASE let it be ready!), but, despite these set-backs, we ARE actually having a lovely time together... and Daniel has learnt a new trick - yesterday he found out that he can suck his toes! By the looks of things, they are very tasty!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What with planning our move to LA and preparing for Christmas, I am afraid blog posts have slipped down our list of priorities recently! And this post is to prepare you for a few weeks of blog silence...

Ed's Dad and sister arrive TONIGHT (yeah!). We can't wait to see them.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jane's death. We can't believe it has been a year already, since in many ways we still feel we're only just coming to terms with the reality that she's gone. I am glad we will all be together. I am sure there will be lots of tears - but I'm hoping we can also remember all the ways Jane brought such joy to our lives with her sunny personality and ability to bring laughter into whatever situation she found herself - Ed read 1 Thessalonians 4 this morning and reminded us that we do not grieve as others grieve because we have the sure and certain hope that Jane is alive and well beyond the grave - what an amazing joy it is to know that although we miss her terribly now, we WILL see her again one day!

We leave to go skiing in Tahoe on Friday and will get back here on Christmas eve. We then spend Christmas and Boxing day (otherwise known as 'my birthday'!) together here before the packers come on the 27th! The hope is that they will be able to pack everything into the van on the 27th, travel down to LA on the 28th and then unpack on the 29th... they are currently saying that they can't guarantee delivery of our stuff until the 3rd January (which seems a mighty long time for a 7 hour drive!) - but we're praying it doesn't take that long! Camping in an empty apartment with a 10 month old does not sound a whole heap of fun!

It may well be that we do not manage to post again until we get to LA... although I might try and post a sneaky update from Tahoe... we'll see!

So, let me satiate your Daniel appetites before the likely post-famine with a few of the photos from the professional photo shoot we did as a family recently... get ready for a severe cute attack!

We hope you all have a very happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have just spent the last 20 minutes with tears rolling down my face with laughter as my son initiated his first joke! He had what could only be described as a 'smirk' on his face and a twinkle in his eye as he repeatedly turned his head to avoid looking at me - the more I laughed and tried to meet eyes, the more he was clearly having to stop himself from bursting into giggles - but managed to maintain a mock serious expression throughout until, at long last, I managed to make our eyes meet - and then his face creased into the most enormous grin. He's incredible. And here he is in his new hat and mitts set...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dear friends and family. Thank you to those of you who have been praying. The last two days have been significantly better! Not only have we seen some lovely homes, but Daniel has also been in an inexplicably better mood!



This morning we had breakfast on the terrace overlooking the marina, bathed in morning sunshine. I read my book while Ed was on a conference call. We then went to view some properties in the morning and then decided that the best place for lunch and for us to mull over our decisions was in the Hotel's pool and hot-tub! After lunch we saw a couple more possible places, but by 6pm we'd made our decision.

So, the BIG news is: we have signed an extendable 12 month lease on an apartment in Marina del Rey - footsteps from a pool, tennis courts and a gym as well as being just 2 minutes walk to the beach! We think we might JUST be able to cope with living here in Los Angeles! We're really excited and grateful to God for his provision.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hi there! As I write, the LA sunshine is streaming through the hotel window and I can look out over the Marina and Pacific ocean beyond... it is NOVEMBER and yet I was out in a strappy top (complete with vomit splatterings - my new every-day fashion accessory!) this morning!

We drove down as far as Bakersfield on Friday night and then made the final push to LA on Saturday morning - it was pouring with RAIN for most of the way down, which felt very bizarre - but the sun has shone ever since!

On Sunday morning we went to Del Rey Church (www.DelReyChurch.com), which was GREAT and may well end up being our church home once we move!

We were invited to the home of Ed's new boss on Sunday afternoon, which was lovely - although slightly stressful since Daniel was NOT in a good mood! Being in one hotel room is a nightmare for successful napping - and the triple-whammy combination of being in a new place, in-and-out of the car seat all the time (as we view various properties) and his usual routine being messed up have meant that Daniel is in melt-down mode - I don't blame him - but it doesn't make for the best of first impressions!

Ed is at work today and Daniel and I are trying to have a bit more of a peaceful routine day - although we have squeezed in a few home-viewings... no one property stands out yet, but there are a few that we could live in - one is right on the beach-front! Now THAT would feel like we were living the LA dream!

Tomorrow, Daniel and I are getting driven around the area by the relocation consultant that EA has arranged - she is going to show us up to 6 properties that she feels are the best on offer at the moment in our price range - so I'm hopeful that maybe one of those will be a winner!

I have to keep reminding myself that the Lord already knows where we are going to live and He has prepared it for us, so I don't need to panic or give in to fear - but the pendulum between peace and panic has been in full gear! Especially when my little boy has been screaming more than usual so my nerves are feeling slightly frayed!

This is NOT easy - we LOVE our current home in the bay area - and we love our church - and our friends... although this move to LA is exciting, the reality of making a brand new start has made me feel like I want to burst into tears at times - BUT my Father KNOWS what is BEST for us to mature us and stretch us - but stretching is not always very comfortable!

Do pray for us! It would be wonderful if we had a forwarding address to give to people before Christmas - but even that I have to trust Him on!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Before I go to bed I absolutely MUST write a quick blog post! I have been meaning to write one for days but I always think of it when I'm in the middle of an activity that doesn't mix well with blog writing!

The ONLY down side to life in the Gilchrist family having settled down, is that our blog has become a lot less interesting to read! I am pleased to report that there continues to be no new drama!

Daniel is in a schedule, so an average day looks like this: - waking at 6.30am, feeding, playing, sleeping at 8.30am until 10.30am, then puree, feed, story time, play, sleep at 12.30pm until about 3pm, feed, play, walk, then puree at about 5.30pm, then bath time (Daniel's favorite time of the day - he is an expert splasher and takes great delight in emptying the contents of his bath all over me with violent flapping of his arms - I have to wash him quickly while there is still water to wash in before it all gets splashed away! Great fun - although I am thinking of investing in a set of full-length waterproofs!), then feed before bed at about 6.30pm... he then SLEEPS through until morning! Wahoo!

The only snag was that the hour went back last weekend - so for a few days we were waking at 5.30am (that's just not funny) - but I am pleased to report that this morning he slept until 6.30am - so I think we're back on track! Phew!

We had a lovely time away in Point Reyes - the weather wasn't great, but we still managed to enjoy some beautiful walks - and LOTS of much-needed rest!

Ed is in the UK for a 10 day work trip (combined with friends and family time at the weekends and most evenings). Daniel and I are missing him lots - but we're thankful for the IPhone 4 'face time' option & Skype - so we get to see Daddy every day! Yeah! I am using the time (when Daniel is asleep!) without my man around to catch up with some precious girl friends out here, fill our freezer full of puree for Daniel, do a spot of sewing and even a wee bit of song writing!

We have decided to try and find a home in LA before Christmas, so that we can then move in in January - so the weekend after next, we are driving down to LA for the week to house hunt! As part of the relocation package, EA is arranging for someone to book a schedule of home viewings for us - so all I have to do is turn up and choose! Your prayers for that would be really appreciated!

I am really trying not to think too much about the move at the moment - seeking to stay invested with the friends and things we're involved with here - I have made the mistake of mentally 'moving' too early in the past and have missed out on enjoying the last few months of living in a place because I'm already planning the next stage... I suppose it will all feel more 'real' once we have decided on where we are going to live...

I think that's enough of an update for now! I'm off to bed! I guess most of you are just about to get up (it's 6am in the UK!) - so enjoy your day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I am currently breaking my own rule: "No communication with the outside World while on holiday"... but Daniel is having his nap and I have permission from Ed (who is happy playing 'Angry Birds' on his iPhone!) to do a sneaky post...

We travelled up Highway 1 yesterday lunchtime and are staying in Point Reyes for a few days (we get back on Sunday afternoon). The view, as I type, is stunning. It has rained all night and all day so far, so, the view is ALL we have seen of Point Reyes! But we could not be happier - enforced rest was what we needed today! In fact, the rain has stopped in the last half hour, so, once Daniel wakes up, we're going to head out for a walk... can't wait!

Actually, we did venture out for a short walk yesterday afternoon - we just walked down the road from our cottage - but, short though it was, we managed to see Daniel's first DOG, COWS, HORSES and, wait for it... LLAMAS!!! Daniel was all wide-eyed amazement. Oh that we would see this World more through the eyes of a baby - the wonder and amazement at the beauty and order of this earth - as I look at Daniel's appreciation of all the things I so often take for granted I see anew (and praise Him for!) the fingerprints of my Father all over the World He has made!

This past week has been really good. On Monday, as you know, my insulin pump started running insulin (rather than saline). Apparently it can take weeks to get to the correct settings - but thanks be to God - it seems we have hit on the correct settings first time! My diabetes nurse says this has only happened ONCE in all her years of starting people on pumps - so I definitely see God's hand at work in causing this transition to be so easy. I feel SO well. My sugars are really stable and I am not getting shaky at all - even when I missed breakfast yesterday (part of the trial they wanted me to do to check the levels). So the pump is turning out to be absolutely brilliant.

The other great thing that happened this week is that Ed bought me an iPhone :) - I LOVE it! Not only is it LOTS of fun, but I have also found a carb counting application which makes working out how many carbohydrates I am about to eat for my meal SO easy - it does ALL the maths for me! Thank you Lord!

I hear a little person stirring... so I'm off to concentrate on my boys!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More embarrasing details from the Gilchrist lives...

Yesterday we were invited round to the home of a family whose twin daughters were in the NICU at the same time as Daniel. We had spoken once while we were at the hospital (they were put in touch with us because their daughter needed the PDA surgery just a few weeks after Daniel had been through it) and had not seen each other since.

They invited us round for 4pm - so I thought we were going round for afternoon tea...

Their home was immaculate - it looked like a show home. So, the embarrassment started when Daniel chose THIS afternoon to have an attack of the projectile vomiting! Oh yes! It was AWFUL! All over their designer rug, splashed all over their hardwood floors and (worst of all), we put him down briefly in one of their play pens for a photo - and he vomited all over this child's soft, pink blanket - I couldn't help but notice the lightning reactions of the Mum as she grabbed her daughter to avoid her being covered in sick!

Ed is secretly rather proud of the vomit on the pink blanket - what else did I expect? He feels this was a justifiable protest vomit - a PINK blanket? Honestly...

At 5.30pm, having only had nibbles, I realised that this was NOT afternoon tea... and, judging by the frantic activity going on in the kitchen, it became clear they were expecting us to stay for dinner...

Daniel was covered in vomit by this stage and his internal body clock was telling him (and he, in turn, was telling us!) that it was almost dinner, bath and bed time...

I had no changes of clothes for him - and I just didn't think it was fair to try and ask him to go to sleep while we ate (by now it was 6.15pm and the food was not yet even cooking!) and then wake him up for food, bath and change of clothes when we got home... I never wanted to be a fussy Mum, but yesterday, I just couldn't see a way to be 'chilled' and 'go with the flow' and still be fair to my son!

So, to our extreme embarrassment, we had to ask them not to cook the pork chops that were intended for us, because we were going to have to leave without eating!

Cringe! I don't think we'll be invited back!

Tooth-hurtie (part 2)

OK, so perhaps I didn't tell you everything about the wisdom teeth extraction. I had thought that the details to follow would be on more of a 'need-to-know' basis, but Nicci insists that this sort of information is exactly what the public wants...

I have never before had so much as a filling, let alone had a tooth extracted, so I didn't really know what to expect - although having just 30 days before gone under general anaesthetic for the shoulder surgery, that part I wasn't too concerned about.

So the nurse took all the vital signs: blood pressure, pulse etc. and inserted the IV line (she said I had nice veins). All this I had anticipated. What I did not anticipate was having my arm put in a brace to stop it from bending and then being strapped down to the chair, both arms and legs. One of the assistant nurses pointed out that my heart rate had spiked when I was being tied down, as if that was surprising. They said this was necessary because, just because I was being put to sleep would not stop me from moving around, like in real sleep. I was beginning to get nervous for the ordeal my sub-conscious self was soon to be going through.

Before they hooked up the IV line to the good-night juice, they needed to give me some sort of drug, the reason for which I forget. Anyway, as it was administered, the nurse told me that this particular drug had a brief side effect, which could manifest itself either as a headache, or an intense itching sensation in the 'groin area'. She asked me to tell her when I felt something. It was the groin area. It felt as if she had emptied an entire packet of itching powder down my pants. And with my hands tied down to the chair there was to be no relief by scratching! Happily, the sensation soon passed - and then next thing I knew I was awake in the next room being asked to bite down on a wedge of gauze to soak up the blood, and being prep'd to go home.

The rest you know. It is now the third day since the op, and I'm doing surprisingly well - although the stitches in the back of my jaw are a bit annoying. I do apologise for omitting these vital facts first time round. I hope they blessed your day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tooth-hurtie

Classic - the time of my appointment with the dentist to get my wisdom teeth extracted was... 2.30pm. Very appropriate. Although, in truth, I'm not feeling too bad with it: Not too much swelling (although as I type I am wearing an ice-pack to minimise the potential for that), not too much pain (although perhaps the vicodin has something to do with that?!).


Eating, however, is an interesting experience. I went and bought all sorts of soft fruit and I plan to use Nicci's puree maker to whizz up some smoothies!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yikes! Where have the last few weeks gone? I am so sorry for the blog silence - we are still here - and we're doing well!

However, in the past 2 weeks, we have had a lot to discuss and decide... and I think that while we have been praying and seeking God's will for us, we have not known what to write on the blog!

As many of you know, up until recently our plan was to come back to the UK next summer.

Since moving out here, we have been praying that the Lord would make our next step clear – I was hoping that would mean a move back to the UK. Up until 2 weeks ago, there was no sign of any promotion within the UK, but Ed could have simply moved his current job back into the UK office… so we were free to move home whenever we wanted… BUT 2 weeks ago, Ed was told that his current job is being split in two – one half (the smaller, less exciting part) is being moved back to the UK and the other half is being incorporated into a new, more senior role, based in the (wait for it…) LA office!

Why not just quit EA and move home now? I hear you asking!

Well, we ourselves have asked that same question and a number of factors make that a less than ideal option for us:

1) Ed earns his 7 year sabbatical in April next year – that’s 7 weeks full-pay holiday on top of his regular 5 weeks annual leave – something we have ALL been looking forward to!
2) Moving ourselves and all our furniture etc home would be fairly expensive!
3) Ed is excited about this role and opportunity – there is no guarantee that he would find a job that he’d enjoy as much if we moved back – and it would be really hard if he was constantly thinking ‘what if…’
4) The role in LA is a significant promotion, within an exciting business unit, with real applications outside of EA (should there not be any obvious move within EA at the end of this job) AND it would increase the breadth of his experience significantly
5) Daniel is plugged into a specialist developmental follow-up program in California – in Nov 2011 he will have an important review – if we stuck with our intention of moving home next Sept, he would miss this.

That’s probably more detail than you needed – but I wanted you to see that we HAVE thought it through!

On the plus side:

1) It’s LA (!) – not the worst place to have to spend some time!
2) Ed’s new boss has said that would like Ed to be in the role for 18 months – so it’s not a life sentence!
3) Ed has made it clear that his next move is going to be back to the UK and EA have written into Ed’s contract that they will move us home!

So, weighing it all up, we’ve decided to move to LA for 18 months – starting in January! This means that we are planning to move home during the summer of 2012!

BUT do not fear! Because we have the sabbatical to take next year, we are planning to spend the best part of August and Sept in the UK next summer – and we also hoping to be home for Christmas 2011 too! So those of you who are itching to meet Daniel will NOT have to wait until we move home permanently to be introduced and have a cuddle!

AND for our precious SFO friends - we WILL be coming back to this area fairly regularly for Daniel's follow-up appointments!

AND let me also mention that LA is a LOVELY holiday destination – lots to do and gorgeous weather – we’re hoping to get a place with a guest room – so do consider coming to visit us – we’d absolutely LOVE to see you!

This has not been an easy decision – with all we’ve been through we are keener than ever to be living close to our precious family and friends – but, having prayed about it, it seems that the Lord has made our route home (at least in the short term), more difficult – and there are lots of things that point to the move to LA being the right thing for us…



Yikes!

Our other news is that I have been fitted with an insulin pump... sorry for the display of my midriff, but I wanted you to see it!

I still feel a bit wobbly about being attached to something full time - but I have been researching on the Internet and there are some clever products out there that can hide the pump discretely about my person - I have ordered one - so the game will be for people to see if they can guess where i'm wearing it on any given day!

On the plus side, it's pink! AND it is absolutely brilliant at calculating how much insulin I need - so I think, long term, it will make living with diabetes much easier.

I had a bit of a melt down the night before it was fitted - just wanting the diabetes to go away. But generally I am doing ok with it.

Daniel is doing great - although he is constipated! I am learning infant massage in the hopes that a bit of manipulation will help to push things through! (sorry, too much detail!)

AND Ed is going under general anaesthetic today - for the 2nd time in 2 months! He's fine - they just need to take 2 of his wisdom teeth out - and, unlike in the UK where they just give you a bit of local anaesthetic, so that you are awake for all the heaving and drilling and yanking and stress (I have had ALL my wisdom teeth out in the UK) - the kind dentists in the USA put you under! So I will be feeding both of the Gilchrist men on puree for the next few days!

Thanks for wading through this monster post! I will try to go back to more regular, managable posts from now on!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brace yourselves people, i'm going to attempt a comprehensive update on all things Gilchrist!

Firstly, Ed - his shoulder is healing amazingly well. He no longer has to take pain meds and is out of the sling for large portions of the day. It is still painful and stiff, but he is re-gaining movement and, once he starts physio, we are confident that he will make a full recovery.

This week, some changes have come to light within EA that will impact Ed's job. There is no immediate risk of redundancy (praise God!), but the changes might mean that rather than being able to come home in Sept next year (as we had been planning), we might need to adjust things and plan for a return to the UK the following Summer...it’s still not clear and we are praying hard about it… we SO long to be home, but equally we want to be wise about the next move for Ed and want to make sure that when we come home there is actually a job for Ed to go to! Your ongoing prayers would be appreciated!

Secondly, me (that's Nicci - Daniel is not able to type updates yet! I know, he is a miracle baby, but that would just be silly!) - i'm not sure whether I have blogged my decision to be fitted with an insulin pump... the deciding factor was that they come in pink - I felt that was guidance! Just as I was typing, the doorbell went and it was a delivery man who handed me the box containing all my pump equipment! So I now have it! I'll be trained on how to use it and run it with saline during the week of the 18th and then i'll start using it with insulin on the 25th. I am still not sure how I feel about it - I hate the idea of being attached to it 24/7, but I feel it would be silly not to try it, since everyone says that it is a life-transforming way to manage diabetes... so we'll see how it goes... day to day, I am coping pretty well with being diabetic - no major hypos or hypers to report - I just have to monitor what i'm eating and how i'm feeling fairly closely...

I am loving being a ladies bible study leader and have been blessed with a lovely group of women who all seem really hungry to grow. It's great to have that as a slightly different focus during the week rather than being 100% Mummy!

And finally, Daniel! - We had his first developmental check up today. I had been looking forward to this appointment for quite some time. The appointment lasted 2 hours - a developmental specialist and a physio put him through his paces - testing him against cognition and physical development milestones. I was hoping that on every assessment Daniel would be ahead of the curve and would be judged to have caught up with his birth date age. However, although the overwhelming take-home message was that Daniel is doing exceptionally well, he still has quite some way to go before he has caught up with his peers. Apparently, for a baby born at 24 weeks, they would be happy if he was tracking with his birth date milestones (so, at about a 4 month old level). Daniel is tracking at about 6 months cognitively and at about a 5 month old physically. So, there is LOTS to praise and thank God for!

For those of you who are continuing to pray for him (thank you!), arm strength and co-ordination are the things I have been sent home to work on with him - specifically, bringing his arms into the mid-line to reach for things when he is lying on his back. They also expect him to start babbling (rather than the cooing he is doing currently) in the next month or so.

In terms of his measurements, all those prayers 'that he would grow big and strong' are paying off! He has caught up to his birth date in terms of his length and head circumference and I was warned that I need to make sure I am not over-feeding him since he is a wee bit TOO chubby! They are not concerned, but they said that it might delay him starting to crawl if his tummy gets too heavy to lift off the ground! He might just be building up to another growth spurt!

So, all in all, we're doing well! Over and out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Have I mentioned that Daniel has started solids?
We started him on 2 meals a day of baby oatmeal on Friday - and he's loving it! The only downside is that it seems to be creating a bit of a digestive log jam for him, poor little chap! As I type, he is sitting on my lap making effortful grunting noises, grimacing and farting audibly! Oh the joys of motherhood! Yesterday he made us all laugh at housegroup where, in a silent moment of prayer, Daniel let off the longest, loudest and most stinky flatulent episode I have ever witnessed! Brilliant! Ed was so proud!

As if he hasn't got enough to deal with, just look what I put him through earlier! He loved it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All you Freeway fans out there will be glad to hear that I have not completely stopped song-writing since becoming a Mum - Oh no! The creative juices are still flowing! Yesterday, I came up with this lyrical delight:

"I've got sick in my hair -
Daniel put it there.
I'm close to despair
Coz I've got sick in my hair"

Other ditties that get regularly sung around the Gilchrist house include:

"You're incredible, you're cheeks are edible"

"Somebody smells of poo (oh baby!), I think it might be you (oh baby!)"

Freeway boys - this gives you something to be working on while I'm away (!) - I think everyone will be feeling very excited about the new lyrical direction for the band in 2011!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

As you may remember, back in Feb Ed busted his shoulder in a snow-boarding accident... we were advised to wait and see whether he'd need surgery or not. Well, in the past few weeks, Ed decided that the limitations the injury were causing him were significant enough to warrant going under the knife and so he scheduled himself for surgery on Weds afternoon. It was his first time under general anaesthetic - and his first ever surgery!

Before he went in, Ed's main concern was that they'd wheel him into the wrong operating room and he'd end up being discharged having had a sex-change - you'll be glad to know that this did NOT happen! Phew! But they DID shave one side of his chest - so now the dilemma is whether we should shave the other side so he has symmetrical re-growth!

The operation went well and Ed now has 3 'dead-man's ligaments' holding his shoulder together! He is on some pretty ballsy pain-meds, so on Weds and Thursday he was completely out of it. Yesterday he managed to come for a walk and be up and about a bit, but he's still fairly spaced out - and still in quite a lot of pain - but he's doing OK and we're enjoying having a few days at home as a family.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We've just had a lovely family weekend together... I thought you might like to have a taste of what the weekend included for Daniel...







Although hiding our son in a box might look like child-abuse, we assure you, he smiled and giggled his way through the weekend - clearly loving having Mummy and Daddy all to himself!
Post-script from Ed:
Note that in each of these photos he is either in a new outfit, or in the bath. Explosive movements were, as ever, a theme of the weekend. Also, those blue dungarees... I used to wear those!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We got to take some pretty cute photos of our little man this week too... so here are a few just to keep you all happy!
Good morning blog fans! I know that you have had to cope with a severe post-famine over the past week or so... our apologies! You will be pleased to know that the reason for the lack of updates has NOT been due to any further Gilchrist tragedy (phew!), instead, to make a welcome change, we have been having just too much FUN to get round to sitting down to blog!

Let me fill you in on what we've been up to...

A week ago last Saturday we drove (with my parents) up to Lake Tahoe. We had booked a cabin which said it had 'lake views' - now, one sad consequence of the past year is that Ed and I have become slightly cautious about expecting things to go well, so, when we read 'Lake views' we envisaged that we might be able to glimpse the lake out of the bathroom window if we stood on the loo and leant out... BUT to our absolute delight and surprise the cabin FAR surpassed our expectations - we were literally separated from the lake only by a meadow - we could enjoy a gorgeous view of the lake and mountains from our sitting room, our bedroom and decking area AND (most importantly) from the HOT tub! To top it all off, there was also a giant moose-head stuck on the wall over the fireplace - BRILLIANT!

It was a magical week - lazy days by the beach, a lunch cruise to Emerald bay, awesome walks in desolation wilderness and by the lake, hot tubs, the US open tennis, bottles of wine on the beach watching the sun set, happy cuddles with Daniel, golf, fantastic BBQ meals and lots of great conversations and happy family times together... it really could not have been better! My parents even saw a BEAR one night from their bedroom window! How exciting!

The only slight sadness was that Daniel started teething while we were away, which meant that he was a bit more demanding than usual because he was in pain - but even that was special, because it meant he needed more cuddles - and one thing grand-parents seem MORE than happy to do is CUDDLE their grandson! So it was win-win!

We got home on Saturday evening in time for Daniel's dedication service in Sunday morning. Because of the teething, we were a bit anxious that Daniel might scream the entire way through - but he was as good as gold throughout - the only thing that made us giggle was that just before the dedication was about to happen, in the quiet moment as Mark (the lead pastor) was going up to the front there was an almighty audible explosion in Daniel's nether regions! The people in the rows around us ALL heard it and were laughing - there was nothing we could do - Daniel was dedicated with a nappy FULL of poo! What a relief that it stayed IN the nappy and didn't end up all over Mark! Can you imagine?!!!

It was a very special occasion. Mark mentioned a bit about the start that Daniel has had in life and what we've been through and then prayed for us and Daniel. At one point Mark said that Daniel is a 'miracle baby' - and Ed, in a lion-king-esque moment, lifted Daniel up above his head for everyone to see - the entire church cheered - it was very special... we can't quite believe the love and support we have been shown by our brothers and sisters in Christ out here - is really has been overwhelming and a huge example of the miraculous love that God gives His people...

On Sunday afternoon there was the annual 'NICU graduates' party at Stanford hospital - a lovely opportunity to go back and see many of the doctors and nurses who cared for Daniel during his first 3 1/2 months in hospital. Everyone was amazed at how chubby, smiley and healthy Daniel is! One real highlight for Daniel was having a cuddle with Julianna - his primary (and favorite!) nurse from the NICU - we can't be sure that he does remember her, but he certainly seemed happy to see her!

To top off an overwhelmingly happy day, we all went out for a really happy dinner on Sunday evening. As we were getting ready to go out I found myself humming the song 'He's turned my mourning into dancing again, He's lifted my sorrow...' - it really felt as though the week in Tahoe and then the celebrations of Sunday were a 'full-stop' to the suffering we have had to walk through... I may be wrong and I will trust Him if there is more sadness to come, but I pray that we can now have some months tragedy-free to enjoy our wonderful son!

Mum and Dad went home yesterday and the house feels very empty today without them here. They have both been so generous and giving in dropping everything to care for us - it will be good to have time just as the 3 of us again, but we are missing having them here!

The summer break is now over and things are starting up again at church this week. I have agreed to be a women's bible study leader on Wednesday evenings and last night was the first meeting - Wednesday nights will be 'Daddy-date-night' - although, by the slightly frazzled expression on Ed's face when I walked through the door last night, the evening had not quite turned out as he had hoped! We pray that Daniel learns to be more settled in the evenings soon! I am really excited to be having the opportunity to lead a group of women in bible study - it feels 'right' to be serving others after all that I have received in the past months...

Ed and I are also doing a 10 week 'biblical counselling' course on Monday nights - we are bringing Daniel along and the idea is that he will sleep through it - that didn't quite happen last Monday - although he DID stay quiet - we'll have to see whether that is feasible long term or not! If he starts to be disruptive we'll do a re-think!

The only other things we've got on are that Ed is meeting with some other guys every other Thursday evening for bible-study and prayer in a local bar and we're probably going to go to a local church fellowship group that meets once a month on Sunday afternoon... all that might seem a lot, but we're excited about it all and (don't worry!), if it feels too much, I can always strip things back and only do the women's bible study... it just feels great to be actually able to get involved at last!

Phew! I think that's all the updates for now! We hope you're all doing well! We love you all HEAPS!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh yikes! I have just realised that I have not told you about last weekend - when Ed and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!

Before we left to come out to California, our dear (and hugely generous) friends from our church back home in Arborfield gave us a gift of money that we were instructed to use for something fun... well, the opportunities for 'fun' have been few and far between over the past year or so, so we thought it was about time we cashed in on our fun fund! Ed booked us onto a dinner cruise in San Fransisco bay - it was fantastic - beautiful views of the bay, Alcatraz and the city, delicious cuisine and live music AND dancing! After our last attempt at a date night (!), we decided to take Daniel with us - which was absolutely lovely. He was really well-behaved and it felt right to be celebrating our wedding anniversary with our son for the first time. While all the other couples were slow dancing together, Ed, Daniel and I were dancing as a threesome! Such fun!

So a HUGE 'THANK YOU' to all of our lovely friends back home who contributed towards the generous gift that enabled us to enjoy such a treat evening as a family! We love you all and we miss you like crazy!
Having my parents out here with us is SUCH a joy! Dad arrived on Wednesday and there is a sense of completeness now that Daniel has met all his living grandparents. Dad and Daniel hit it off straight away and have been enjoying cuddles ever since!

I realised that I have been remiss at updating our faithful blog followers on some things - so let me amend my ways and fill you in on the latest...

Diabetes:

It has been confirmed that I am type 1. Day-to-day I am coping pretty well and the specialist I am seeing is really pleased with how quickly we have managed to get my sugars under control. I have the occasional 'hypo', which is not very nice - but thankfully I am recognising and treating them before I go too low.

Daniel:

Sleeping through the night that one time was obviously a freak accident - he has not done it since! Oh well, it is encouraging to know he CAN sleep through and, in faith, we believe he WILL sleep through consistently one day! Our little man continues to thrive - he is completely off oxygen and is passing every medical investigation (his 6 month check up/audiology/respiratory etc) with flying colours! Wahooooooooooooooooo! Yesterday he giggled for the first time - a sudden gurgling, uninhibited expression of sheer joy that brought tears to my eyes! As a silly Mother, I frantically tried to re-create the exact circumstances that had lead to the giggle, but, despite my best efforts, it was a one-off... we are hoping that, just like sleeping through the night, these one-offs will become more a part of life!

Tomorrow we are heading off to Lake Tahoe for a week, so we will be off-line until next weekend. We are hoping for a relaxing week filled with natural beauty and fun-time together... We get back on Saturday and then, on Sunday Daniel is getting dedicated at church (for the un-churched, that just means we get up the front and the church officially 'welcomes' him into the family and we say publicly that we want to bring him up to know and love Jesus). We are thrilled that Mum and Dad will be here to share that special occasion with us - every day I thank God for my miracle son, who really, by human standards, should never have made it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ed got back yesterday from a week in the UK. While he was away, we both suffered from a touch of the 'grass is greener'... As Ed coped with the drizzle of an English summer (!), he felt sad that he was missing the mini heat-wave we were experiencing in California... and I felt sad that I was missing out on seeing all our precious family and friends back home!

I seem to often struggle with this 'grass is greener' syndrome - looking over my shoulder at what others have/experience and wishing things were different for me... I have been really challenged recently as I have been thinking about Psalm 23 where it says that the Lord leads us in green pastures... that means that if I am one of His sheep, I am IN the green pasture He has for me... other 'pastures' might look more lush and green to me, but I need to trust my good shepherd that THIS pasture has the nutrients and goodness that I need - THIS is the 'green pasture' he has for me right now...

And actually, this pasture IS pretty darn green! Daniel is an absolute delight and, although I don't want to gloat, I do want to say a massive 'Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiba!' because last night Daniel SLEPT through for the first time!! Whoop! Whoop! The only irony was that, because Ed was still on England time, even though Daniel slept through, Ed did not! Humph. It's still exciting though!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The girls got back from their road trip on Weds night - it sounds as though they had a great time and packed more into 9 days than we have managed in our entire time out here!

Yesterday we managed to squeeze in a trip to the 'mall' for some mandatory American shopping and also spent some time at the pool - although both Wellie and Ann are the archetypal 'English Rose' and therefore had to plaster themselves with factor 40 suncream before sitting in the SHADE - all very non-Californian behaviour! They also laughed at me for swimming in such a way as to not get my hair wet (!) - my excuse was that I was trying to preserve it for my 'date' with Ed that night (more about THAT in a minute!)

As they left, I remembered to take a photo of their ridiculous hire car - apparently it wasn't a Cadillac, but it was still ridiculous! It was SUCH fun seeing them - more visitors from home are very welcome!


So, about that date I mentioned...

Ed is leaving today for a week in the UK and so we thought we'd capitalise on having a baby-sitter on hand and go for our first 'date' since Daniel got home from hospital...

We walked down to a restaurant that is about 2 miles away - a beautiful walk along the coast with the sun setting - all very romantic and just the thing to get up a good appetite! We then shared a starter and enjoyed our main dishes - relaxed conversation, good food, some wine - we were having a lovely time... but then my phone went...

My poor frazzled Mum had been coping with a baby screaming blue murder for over an hour... she had tried everything (she has quite a repertoire of baby-soothing antics), but nothing was working - all my son wanted was my boobs! Nothing else would suffice! He is an absolute breast snob!
We quickly got the bill and then RAN the 2 miles up the hill to get home! Oh my! Running on a full stomach is not a good idea! I was just about OK, but my poor husband (who had eaten more than me!) only just managed to hold his food down - by the time we got home, Ed was looking green and had to take some indigestion medicine before putting himself into the recovery position on our bathroom floor! Not exactly the end I had envisaged to our date night!

Daniel had actually cried himself to sleep in the time it took us to get home - but he woke up about 10 minutes after we got in and guzzled milk contentedly in my arms before falling asleep... hopeless! I think we'll have to take him with us on date nights for the time being!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This is the 4th post in 2 days! I am doing well!

Today, I decided to treat my amazing Mother to a pedicure! Despite our best efforts to get her to sit down, she seems to spend a good proportion of her time tidying or cooking in the kitchen - so we have nicknamed her 'Cinders'! My Mum delights in feeling useful - but it was time to ensure she sat down and got some relaxation time!

It was WONDERFUL! - not only did our feet and nails get exfoliated, moisturised and our nails tidied and painted, but on top of all that, we enjoyed a chair massage throughout and then a foot massage at the end! Heaven!
We were both in danger of dosing off, but thankfully we managed to hold it together just enough to avoid dribbling in public! Phew!
We decided to take a photo of our happy feet when we got home! The neighbours think we're bonkers!
Every day we do some 'tummy time' with Daniel to build neck and back strength - Daniel has been lifting his head for a few days now, but this morning, instead of just staring down at the mat, he was able to lift his head sufficiently to look around - and here is the photographic proof!

Then, just to show off, he managed to roll from his front to his back - both to the left and then to the right! It won't be long before he's mobile! Yikes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here are some more delicious photos of little Mr incredible...





This week, not only have I had the joy of my Mum being here, but my lovely friends - Clare "Wellie" Wells and Ann O'Flynn have come out to visit! :)

They flew in on Tuesday afternoon, picked up their hire car, booked in at their Motel and then arrived at ours at about 5pm - the first indication that they were here was hearing the low rumble of a powerful engine - I went to the window to look, and sure enough, the girls have hired THE most ridiculous, sporty 2-seater Cadillac - although at first I took the enormous grins on their faces to mean they were pleased to see me, I think they were actually slightly delirious about the enormous engine they had been given the keys to for the duration of their stay! I failed to take a photo of said vehicle, but fear not! Although the girls have now headed off for a road trip to LA, Vegas and Yosemite, they will be back next Weds and I will provide photographic evidence of their ridiculous American ride then!

Joking aside, it was an absolute joy to see them both. It made me realise how much I am missing my wonderful friends from back home - don't get me wrong, the Lord has blessed us with fantastic friends out here, but there is something special about friends you've known for years - it was just so easy to slot back in to chatting and laughing - SUCH fun!

On Wednesday the 5 of us (Me, Mum and Daniel - and Wellie and Ann) went down to Capitola (a pretty seaside town south on highway 1). We had lunch overlooking the ocean, then managed a nappy change on the beach (without getting covered in poo - reeeeesult!) before doing tag-team shopping (one of us would stay outside with the buggy while the others tried on shoes/dresses and then we'd tag in and out for the much-needed 2nd opinions!). The only purchase was made by Wellie - who needed some flip-flops... it wasn't until she was at the till that she realised just HOW cool the ones she had chosen are - get this: in the sole of these flip flops is hidden a BEER BOTTLE OPENER! Yes lads, you read that right! Wellie is now able to open beer bottles with her flip flops! Oh Yeah!

Before heading out to 'Town' (a local favorite restaurant), we had time to watch some rugby Ed had recorded - Daniel was happily kicking away on his play mat and is usually completely disinterested whenever the TV goes on - but not this time! Oh no! All kicking ceased, he became silently transfixed, his Mother's smiles were no longer captivating... he had found a new love... RUGBY! Ed was absolutely delighted to see that his son is a man of taste and is clearly showing interest in the game already! It was hilarious - he literally watched the match with us unblinkingly!

Dinner was a fun time, although I realise I need to work out how to 'do' eating out with diabetes... last night I took my insulin before joining in with the shared starters we'd ordered, but then the main meal took quite a while to come... and I felt my blood sugar plummeting... it was OK, but I was nervous enough to ask the waiter how long our meals would be. He obviously told his supervisor that we'd asked and the result? FREE PUDDINGS!!! Reeeeeeeeeeesult! Luckily my main dish had not had sufficient carbs for the insulin I'd taken, so I had about 60g worth of carbs still to eat - I very much enjoyed consuming my remaining carb limit! Yum! There are some plus sides to being diabetic after all! (oh, and while I'm on the subject of diabetes - my eyesight has completely returned to 20:20 normality, so thanks for all the prayers! The glasses have been consigned to the drawer and I am back to looking like a thicky! Oh well! I also seem to have stabilised my sugars and have not had any significant hypos or hypers since last Weds!)

The other main event of this week is that I have decided to get Daniel into a daytime routine... he seemed ready for a bit more structure and I was beginning to feel that just feeding him on demand was not really working... we started on Monday afternoon and I have to say that it is going really well! He is SUCH a good baby! And I am loving knowing when I'm going to feed next and feeling more in control of my day - definitely helps with planning my insulin/eating requirements to have a structured day too... Daniel continues to smile liberally and has started gurgling communicatively - to everyone's delight!

More good news: we had confirmation yesterday that Daniel does not need to be on oxygen at all any more, not even at night - so, at long last, we are enjoying the freedom of a tube-free baby! Wahooooooooooooooo!

Thank you for all the prayers that I know are going up for us as a family - we really are doing amazingly well! Praise God!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Although Daniel has been smiling occasionally for quite a few weeks now, in the past week he seems to have mastered the ability to smile on demand and is using his new skill liberally with anyone that will give him some attention! It is THE most delicious, heart-melting, gummy, dribbly, joy-inducing facial expression that ever there has been...

We have been trying to capture it on camera for the last few days, but generally, at the sight of a camera, Daniel assumes a serious frown and refuses to smile - even when his parents and grand-mother exert themselves with their most amusing and enthusiastic efforts... the end result: exhausted parents and grand-mother, camera returned to it's case and then, almost without fail... a few moments later, Daniel's face yet again breaks into a wide, gummy grin from ear to ear! If it wasn't so cute, we might be tempted to get frustrated - but the sight of that little elated face melts all of our hearts and makes it all worth while!

Anyway, this morning I managed to capture it... it is often even bigger and more enthusiastic than this, but here it is... get ready for the ultimate 'cute-attack'... Daniel's smile...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wahoooo!

Daniel had his LAST eye examination today. After weekly appointments during which his eyes have been pinned back and prodded around with, under bright lights, at LONG last - today we heard the words: "His eyes are mature, you don't need to come again"!!

Wahoooo!

Now we just need to get rid of the need for Oxygen overnight and then he'll be ready for pre-season training for England's Rugby team.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear friends and family...

Thank you all SO much for all the messages of love and support that you have sent over the past week or so - we are sorry that we have not been very good at responding to emails - but my sugar-high has left me with blurred vision (which should resolve when my sugars stabilise), so I have not been able to read or use the computer...

Yesterday I went and bought some cheap glasses, so I can now see - although I would prefer to have my 20:20 vision back, I am quite enjoying the novelty of my new 'intellectual' look!

So let me update you on what's been going on...

We had a lovely time with Grandpa G staying - again we can see God's grace in the timing of his stay... if he had not been here, Ed would have found it very hard to come and visit me in hospital...


Daniel loved getting to know his Grandpa... they became firm friends and Daniel loved the ridiculous songs his Grandpa made up about him!

Grandpa G left on Sunday - and my Mum arrived! They crossed for a few hours, which was fun.

We are SO grateful and glad that Mum is here. She HAS to get the 'Best Mum in the World' award - we have worked out that the ONLY month she has not been in San Francisco since October last year is February!

It is a big sacrifice, being away from my Dad and all her friends and 'life' back home - not to mention the fact that she's missing the summer holiday she and Dad had booked... all for her little girl - I am a very lucky daughter to have her as my Mummy!

So, Daniel is now getting the chance to get to know another of his wonderful grand-parents! Smiles abound! And I am getting the help and support I need in getting meals on the table, having someone to watch Daniel when I need a rest and generally getting my head round the implications of my diagnosis...

I am feeling slightly less overwhelmed by it all. Diabetes stinks, and I have to constantly battle the temptation to give in to fear... but, miraculously, I am feeling OK. Nurses and doctors keep asking me whether I want/need counselling as a result of all I've been through - and really, I SHOULD need it, but, incomprehensibly (humanly speaking), I really am feeling OK... low at times, but generally OK! Praise God!

Daniel continues to astound everyone with how strong he is. We had an appointment with the respiratory doctor yesterday and she kept saying 'he looks really good'! She has agreed to let him come off the oxygen throughout the day, which is wonderful. This weekend we are getting a 'saturation monitor' which we will use during the night to check whether Daniel's O2 sats stay OK on room air when he's sleeping deeply. If the results of that trial look fine, then we might be able to say goodbye to all tubes and canisters!!! Finally, I might just have a tube-free baby!

He is an absolute joy. I'm sure he's the best looking, most gorgeous, talented, funny, cute, well-behaved and good-natured little boy that has EVER been born... of course, I am totally objective in my assessment of him!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The other day the verse where Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to 'sift him like wheat' but that Jesus has prayed for him 'that his faith would not fail' kept running through my mind... it feels as though the Gilchrists are being 'sifted'!

However, despite the fact that this year has royally SUCKED, I keep being blown away by the evidence of God's grace and His restraining mercy throughout all we've been through...

Some examples:

1) In the car crash last June, I walked away unharmed when the police said I should have died.

2) My Dad's heart attack was caught just in time so that his heart was not permanently damaged and he didn't die.

3) Ed got home to see his Mum on the day she died.

4) Joshua's heart kept beating until week 24 - the earliest the boys could have been born and stand any chance of survival.

5) The more we find out about my pregnancy (now knowing that I had diabetes as well as everything else), the more we realise what an absolute miracle it is that we have a healthy, 'normal', beautiful baby... really, humanly speaking, neither of our babies should have made it.

6) Being born in his 25th week, Daniel had only a 50% chance of survival - there were SO many things that could have gone wrong and yet, even though we had some rocky moments, he has come through it all unscathed - the pediatrician is amazed how strong and healthy he is!

7) When we saw my GP on Weds, she said "there is definitely someone looking after you" because she apparently NEVER checks her work emails over the weekend - but just as she was going to bed she had a sudden urge to check - if she hadn't, I would have gone to bed and may well have been unconscious by the morning, my blood sugar was that high!

... there are many more examples I could give where the Lord has limited the evil that could have happened. We are still walking through the toughest year of our lives, but I believe that God is with us and is using all this to refine and strengthen us - and to help us fix our eyes and our confidence on things unseen...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Praise God! I'm HOME!!!!!!

I am diabetic. Yikes! They will do all the blood work later this week when I see the endocrinologist to find out whether I am type 1 or 2. Currently, their best guess is that I am a type 1.5! (i.e I am still producing some insulin, but not enough...)

It is all slightly overwhelming. I have to finger prick to check my blood sugar and inject insulin before every meal and before bed (and any other time I feel strange) and (biggest bummer of all), I have to count and restrict my carbohydrate intake... it's pretty depressing how small my portion sizes of anything that tastes good will now have to be! But at least they are not saying I have to cut fun foods out altogether!

My last blood sugar reading was 126 - which is great. I am still feeling the effects of my roller-coaster blood sugar ride - fatigue, blurred vision and tingling in my feet and fingers, but apparently these symptoms will improve over the next few days.

My Mum is (yet again!) jumping on a plane to come out and look after her little girl. She arrives on Sunday - so will overlap for a few hours with Ed's Dad - and will stay for at least 6 weeks. I am SO grateful to her and my wonderful Dad for being prepared to drop everything and come out. I really need her now since the work of monitoring and stabilising my blood sugar will take a while - on top of caring for my delicious (but demanding!) newborn son!

God is good. Amazingly, through this I have been able to trust Him and not get angry that yet another thing has 'gone wrong'. Maybe I am (at long last) learning to accept HIS will, even if it doesn't agree with my own!

Annus Horribilis, Chapter 6: Diabetes

For the last week or so, Nicci had been thirstier than she had ever been before. She would be drinking about 7 litres of fluid a day and still be thirsty. She had also lost about 20 lbs in weight in 2/3 weeks. We had put this down to breastfeeding, and fatigue, and the hot weather... but as Nicci was discussing it with some friends on Wednesday evening, Taylor Buzzard (soon-to-be-mother-of-three) said perhaps a visit to the doctor would be wise: some weight loss might be expected when breastfeeding, but not 20 lbs!

While the doctor agreed the symptoms were concerning, she didn't think it was anything overly serious but did order a precautionary 'fasting' blood test to check blood sugar levels. Nicci took the test on Saturday morning as Dad and I waited in the car with Daniel before she dropped us off at the train station for our day trip into San Francisco and Alcatraz!

(Dad arrived on Tuesday evening last week and is with us for about 2 weeks. It is great for him to be able to meet Daniel for the first time, and for three generations of Gilchrist men to hang out together).

While Dad and I were in the city all day, Nicci went off with Daniel to our friends Vic and Briana Ishida's baby shower, (their daughter is due in a couple of months), which was up in San Bruno (about 14 miles north of us up the freeway), and then later to a girls' hang-out (where Daniel showed himself to be a true ladies man in the making) at Caitlin Arnold's house in Mountain View, which is 19 miles south of us down the freeway). There were times during the day when Nicci felt a bit dizzy - but pushed on through, spending quite a bit of time at the wheel alone in the car with Daniel in the back.

We all met up back at home again at about 9.30pm and settled Daniel down and were getting ready for bed ourselves when at 11pm our doctor called, having got the results of Nicci's earlier blood work. Her fasting blood sugar levels were at 320mg (normal being more like 100-120mg). She said we should get her to A&E and that it was a miracle she hadn't passed out behind the wheel during the day.

So I took Nicci back down to Stanford where she had her blood tested again. Her initial reading was off the scale of the litle pin-prick machine they used (it just said > 500mg), so they drew some more blood and found her to be at 920mg!! They hooked her up to an IV drip to re-hydrate her. One doctor said that it was likely she was 6 or 7 litres low on fluids (no wonder she had been so thirsty) and again, everyone couldn't believe that she had WALKED into the emergency room given her astronomically high blood sugar levels. This was all happening between midnight and 2am on Saturday night / Sunday morning.

Brief interlude here to say that, while it's natural to keep score of the catalogue of things that 'gone wrong' in the last 12 months, it is a better discipline to count our blessings. What amazing timing that this should happen while Dad was staying with us so he could stay at home with Daniel! Just like it was amazing timing that Nicci's parents were with us when she had that heavy bleed during pregnancy and was put on strict bed-rest. God is good, not only that we had a keen and able baby-sitter on hand - but also for keeping Nicci from passing out during a busy day when I was not with her, (and also just because he IS!!). Anyway, back to the small hours of Sunday morning....

Nicci had been hooked into the IV line and lying on a bed out in the corridor as it was fairly busy in A&E. Being a Saturday night, added to the those coming in with more 'domestic' complaints were people being treated for wounds sustained during pub brawls etc! One guy walked past us who looked like he had come off worst in his particular punch-up...

By the time Nicci was being hooked up to her third bag of fluids we were wheeled out of the corridor and into a room between an elderly lady who had had a fall and someone else whose complaint I don't recall.

By now, they knew it was Diabetes and they started giving her insulin, and constant fluid replenishment. I left Nicci in their capable hands and got home at about 3.15am to find Daniel sleeping peacefully. He woke up for a feed at 4am and then slept through until about 9-ish. We had been led to expect that Nicci would be discharged on Sunday morning, so I insisted Dad should continue with his plan to go on from his visit to some Russian Orthodox friends in Modesto and head out to see Yosemite. Having seen our photos, Dad was keen to see the awesome landscape for himself...

Nicci had suggested that I call the pediatrician to inform them of Nicci's diabetes and to ask whether it was of any relevance, or hand any knock-on implications for Daniel.... Daniel looked fine, but the nurse on the other end of the phone said I should bring him in as I'd said he'd been pretty sleepy. I needn't have bothered. In the doctor's surgery he was Mr. Perky-perky, all smiles and flatulence and the doctor said he looked and sounded great. They weighed him, and he's now 13 lb 8 oz - just half a pound away from the 1 stone threshold! What a Belter!

From there I went and picked up Heather Lux, a friend of ours who had very kindly offered to help me fix some things together for Nicci, whose stay in hospital we now realised was going to be longer than we had first anticipated, and to look after Daniel while I went in and delivered them. Nicci was able to leave her room and come down to an outdoor patio area in the hospital and meet us all there. It was a lovely tearful reunion of mother and child. Nicci was able to relieve some breast-pressure and give Daniel a good ol' fresh-from-the-source feed. (While Nicci has been in hospital I've been using some of the frozen stuff we'd collected over the last couple of months, which he's been taking without too much fuss - but he does prefer the fresh-stuff.)

The doctors had been having a hard time stabilising Nicci's blood sugar - she had responded well to the insulin, but her levels went the other way such that she became 'hypoglycemic' with low blood sugar levels. So they needed to give her some sugar, which then sent her high again... I trust we are zero'ing in on the right doses etc as we come to land on the right balance with the accuracy of a lazy mosquito.

With these wildly fluctuating levels (but mostly still high at around 400mg), the walk to the patio area and the breastfeed kind of took it out of Nicci, so Heather took Daniel back to the car and I took Nicci back to her room and bed. As I was walking back I got a text from Dad, who had just got himself a mobile phone-on-the-go so he could be in contact. When he heard that Nicci was to be staying longer in hospital he immediately ditched his plans, turned the car around and away from the direction of Yosemite and came straight back. What a great man! It has been amazing having him here.

When I got home, having dropped Heather back to her place, I put Daniel down and tied up a bit before he woke up for another feed. The doorbell rang and it was Caitlin who, unexpectedly, had been to a Thai take-out place and had got us dinner. What a great friend! Once again, the arms of God's love are being extended to us through those of his people. God is good. And we are hugely grateful to those dear friends back home in Arborfield and Barkham who have been praying since they heard the news via Colonel Bruce.

When Dad arrived home we went in convoy to the car rental office to return his car, and then came home to eat the delicious Thai food that the Arnolds had generously provided. And then to bed....

Daniel is awesome. He fed before we all turned in at about 10.30pm, and slept through until 4am when gladly took a good amount from the bottle and didn't make a fuss in being put down again, whereby he slept through again until 7.15am. Having had a lot of close-up time feeding him in the last couple of days I am seeing that he really has Nicci's eyes - which makes me love him even more, if that were possible!

Having fed him, I left him with Dad and went to check in on Nicci at the hospital. I arrived as the Doctor was explaining various bits and pieces about what's next etc, and how they hope to discharge her later this afternoon :-) Then the Diabetes specialist arrived and presented Nicci with her new toy: a blood sugar measurer. Nicci immediately warmed to this woman when she saw that she had picked her out a pink one. So finger-pricking is to be a feature of at least the next few weeks, if not the rest of her life!

Nicci remains in amazingly high spirits, although is still feeling the dizzy-ing effects of her continuingly fluctuating blood levels. We were both encouraged by what had been reading in the Bible this morning: Nicci was in Psalm 73: "25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail,but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." I was in 2 Corinthians 1: "For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many." In God we trust! And we are so grateful for the help of your prayers!

It remains to be seen whether Nicci will indeed be released this evening, but it's great to have Dad to look after Daniel while I do all the stuff that's going on at work - it's our big financial reporting day, following our most recent internal financial re-forecast. From what I hear, all is well at home. I'm heading back there now to check in on things, and hope to have some good news from the hospital soon....