Kip, Angie, Noah and Lily

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"I am so glad you are here"

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

This journey started on November 18th, 2009. This journey is about to take a turn in the road. We don't know what is beyond this next turn but we trust God that there is a plan.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

The time is near. Hogan's date of birth has been set and hopefully Hogan can make it until Friday and be ready to come into this world full of life at 7:30AM at St. Mary's.

We had an idea that this week would be a big week for Hogan. We are into the 37th week of pregnancy with Hogan. Hogan has scared us a few times over the past few weeks and did again today at Dr. Rosemond's office. I think he actually is trying to let us know that he is ok and is just playing with our emotions sometimes! He already has quite a sense of humor. He not only flips around during doctors and hospital visits but he has also learned to change his blood flow at times too!

We met with Dr. Rosemond this morning and then had an afternoon appointment with Dr. Lowman. They decided late today that it would be best to go ahead with a scheduled C-section birth on Friday morning. I can't even describe the feeling of hopefully having Hogan on "Good Friday!". This is the day that Jesus gave his life so that we might have life, ETERNAL LIFE!

I chose to title this blog "I am so glad you are here", because this is what Noah said to me Monday morning when he woke up. I can't explain how good that made me feel. He has said it before and hopefully will say it again, but this time it was different. I had planned to go into the office early as usual on Monday morning but for some reason decided to be there when the kids woke up that day. Noah always wonders into our bedroom sometime between midnight and 7AM in the morning every night so he was in our bed Monday morning. Noah woke up and looked at me in the eyes and said "Dad, I am so glad you are here".

"I am so glad you are here"

I am so glad that Hogan is here! I am so thankful that my family is healthy and happy. I am thankful for such an amazing wife. I am thankful for the Doctors, specialists, nurses and staff that we have been blessed with along the way. I am so thankful that my son can say those words and see me with his eyes. I am so thankful that Lily Rose is so funny and can eat, and eat, and eat.. like her dad! :-) We are blessed. I AM SO GLAD THAT YOU ARE HERE TOO! I am so thankful for you! You are the person that is reading this blog. You are the one that has chosen to take the time to step into our lives to see how Hogan is doing and to see what God is doing. Thank you for loving Hogan. Thank you for loving our family. Thank you for your prayers. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE WITH US ON THIS JOURNEY.

The Lord is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger- so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1 NLT

Monday, March 22, 2010

April 5th or earlier....

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

Hogan will be with us within the next two weeks.

It is hard to think about much but Hogan's upcoming arrival right now. We had initially planned for his arrival tomorrow because Dr. Rosemond had initially planned a meeting today and then if Hogan wasn't doing as good as he was two weeks ago then he would have set up the delivery tomorrow morning. This was the plan until the events of the past two weeks that I mentioned in my "It won't be long now" blog. We had the trips to St. Mary's a week ago and that caused our doctors appointments to be moved up a few days. Hogan's heart looked relatively good on the monitor last week so the decision was made by Dr. Rosemond and Dr. Lohman that if his condition stayed the same in this weeks monitoring and next weeks appointment that the delivery will be scheduled for April 5th.

This news was good and bad for me. I am so ready to meet our little boy and Angie is too. The problem is that we are both very scared about what we are about to face. I feel that for the first time in a while the end of this journey (the pregnancy) is about to end. We have been told that because he is inside of Angie that his heart is helped by Angie. When Hogan enters the world he will be on his own. We will see how his heart, lungs and digestion works then. I think we both feel that we want to see Hogan but in the same excitement to see him the fear of the unknown also creeps into our minds. It is almost as if we wish the pregnancy could last another 9 months if it would keep Hogan alive. We don't want the little man to leave us. I don't think we are ready for that right now. I don't think we would ever be ready or will ever be ready.

We are also praying for Noah and Lily. We are worried about Noah's transition into being the oldest brother and the unknown of how Hogan will enter this world. It has been very difficult not knowing exactly how to handle Hogan's situation with him. We already feel that Noah knows something is not right. Lily is still so young that she doesn't really understand what is happening. Noah is a tough little man and I know that he will love on Hogan so much if we are blessed with the opportunity to bring him home from the Hospital.

We have an appointment with Dr. Lohman on Wednesday of this week and then if that goes well we will go to another appointment next Tuesday with Dr. Rosemond. The appointments will determine if the April 5th birth date is going to be set or if Hogan will be taken a little earlier. I know we have been praying and we have had so many people praying for our family and Hogan over the past few months. We are so thankful and we appreciate your continued prayers. We need them now more than ever and so will Hogan.

Our journey with Hogan is about to take a turn in the next 2 weeks. We don't know what that new direction will look like right now but we are praying for the strength and guidance that only God can give us. We continue to ask for prayers for Hogan's live birth and I also ask for you to pray for Angie. She is having a tough time right now battling emotions that I can't imagine. When I come into the bedroom at night and see her holding her belly (Hogan)... it rips my heart out. I know what is going through her mind without a word being spoken. Hogan is a lucky little guy to have Angie as his mother. I am a lucky man to have Angie as my wife and my best friend. I am also so blessed to have friends, family and even people that I have never met that have been so supportive.

Thank you for your prayers, love and support.
Thank you for loving Hogan.

We can make plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the story behind the name "HOGAN"... and a quick update on things!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand. Isaiah 41:10

hogan Name Meaning and History
Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hÓgáin ‘descendant of Ógán’, a personal name from a diminutive of óg‘young’, also ‘young warrior’.


It is interesting to me, although this third child was a surprise to us, we picked out the name so quickly. When we found out we were having a boy in our first pregnancy it took us a long, long time of looking through different books and websites until we reached an agreement on the name just a few days before Noah Kipling's birth. Lily Rose's name didn't even come quite as "fast". We finally picked her name out just before Angie went into labor. We had wanted to honor our mothers with her name and decided to name her "Lily Rose" because both our mothers and grandmothers loved flowers. My grandmother passed away when I was in college but she owned a flower shop at one time and had a love for beautiful flowers. My mother loves making arrangements and loves pretty flowers just like Angie's mother. Angie's grandmother has some of the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen in her flower gardens. We decided it would be best to name our daughter "Lily Rose" in honor of them.

This third child was different in many ways, we had the freedom to name this child whatever we wished. We also knew that this would probably be the last child for us. Hogan Sayer was to be the name for our little boy while Kaytie Sayer would have been the name of a girl. The moment the sonographer let the words fall off of her lips "it's a boy" we knew his name was Hogan Sayer! Angie even looked at me that day and said "Hogan" with excitement! It was a blessing because when we found out that Hogan had a severe condition, we had a name to pray. We named this third child after both of our mothers and Angie's grandmother. It was my mother that God used to give me the Christian foundation that I would fall back on time after time in my life and trust me I fell and continue to fall! Angie's parents had an amazing faith in God and were grounded just like my mother. We were also amazed to find out Hogan's name had an interesting meaning. We had no idea that a meaning for Hogan's name was "young warrior". I was contacted by a person we didn't know through a good friend of mine Clint Harris letting me know that Clint's friend was a Hogan and that she wanted to make sure we knew of this information.

As I mentioned earlier, the name "Hogan" was chosen to honor my mother. The name "Sayer" was chosen to honor Angie's mother. I have realized that while we honor our mothers with the name we have chosen for our third child, it is that my wife that is the mother that I admire just as much but in a different way. I know that I am dealing with Hogan's birth different than my wife. Hogan's mother is such an amazing woman. She is being the best mother to Noah and Lily while still battling emotions of having Hogan inside of her with a condition that is supposed to quickly end his life after birth. She is feeling this baby kick everyday, many times a day. She talks about him often kicking while we are having fun family time. She has been an inspiration to me. I continue to ask God why I have been so blessed in so many different ways. I thank God for loving mothers like my wife and for the love and support that our mothers have always given us.

I believe there is NO good death and I feel that infant/child death is even more horrible. Every infant/child death is bad. I have always wondered if it would be easier if "X". We are thankful that we do know Hogan has a battle ahead of time. We are thankful that so many people continue to pray for Hogan. We are thankful for technology and the Dr's and nurses that have been so helpful during this journey. We are trying to prepare ourselves in case a miracle of life isn't given to Hogan and although we try and prepare ourselves for "what could happen", we know that we can't do it. My heart goes out to anyone that has lost loved ones and especially their child or children. My heart breaks for you. We know people are going through life events that are so much tougher than ours. We continue to be blessed. Hogan continues to fight!

Today started off with notification that our marker at the cemetery was being put down at Oconee Hill this morning. I hope that we won't be using this area for a long time! We had a couple of Dr.'s appointments this afternoon. We saw Dr. Rosemond after lunch and we were happy to know that Hogan seemed to be doing relatively good considering his condition. His heart beat sounded fine and his growth hasn't deteriorated to be alarming at this time so we march on with the pregnancy. Angie is going to be monitored again next week and see Dr. Lohman. The following week we will meet back with Dr. Rosemond to make plans for the birth! If things go well then it looks like April 5th might be the date that Hogan will enter this world. The date could change if things get worse with Angie or Hogan but right now we are tentatively planning for that date. Dr. Lohman and Dr. Rosemond talked this afternoon and decided that we might even get to try a normal delivery. It was unbelievable that when the sonographer checked Hogan's position, he was still breech. A normal delivery wouldn't be an option. In the 10 minutes that we waited for Dr. Rosemond to come in to do his evaluation.... Hogan had turned! He is now head down. Hogan had been turned head up for the past couple of months. This would allow us to maybe have a normal delivery now.. if Hogan decides he wants one! Dr. Rosemond was amazed that the little man decided to move and get into the correct position for birth while we were in his office. I think Hogan already has a funny personality!

We continue to be so thankful for all of the support Hogan and our family have been given over this journey.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT

Saturday, March 13, 2010

it won't be long now...

Angie probably wouldn't have chosen this picture!

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

I have to start this blog out by thanking you for your prayers. I know that your prayers are having an impact on our family. I also know they are having an impact on Hogan's life.

We are finally starting to realize that our journey is about to take a different turn in the road. Angie and I have been waiting to meet this little blessing since last fall and now the time is getting near. I feel that as the time gets closer the stress starts to get more intense but it is a different stress than normal. We are anxious to meet Hogan. We don't really know how he will enter this world. The verse above really speaks to me right now. We continue to pray for the miracle healing of Hogan. We continue to be thankful that he has beaten so many odds already. We continue to be amazed at the prayers and support that Hogan has been given. We are so thankful. I can't express the strength that Angie and I are both feeling and we know it comes from God and it comes from the prayers that have been lifted up already by so many friends and family members.

The roller coaster of emotions continues. I was told this week that the marker for the cemetary should be ready to be put in place next week. I hope the marker is going to be put there and it will serve as a reminder of the miracle of life that God is going to give Hogan! It is also a reminder that this life is temporary for all of us though. Angie and I went ahead and put our birthday's on our stones with the "dash". The reason I wanted to go ahead and do this is because just in case a miracle doesn't happen I don't want Hogan to be in the cemetary and nobody to know that we were the parents. He has changed my life and he has changed our family forever.

Hogan continues to fight for life. Angie had a normal checkup with Dr. Lohman's office on Wednesday afternoon. The checkup turned into a little more than we thought because after monitoring Hogan's heart rate, Dr. Smith noticed that the rate was not good enough for her to let it go without more evaluation. She sent Angie to St. Mary's to get this monitored for a longer period to make sure Hogan's condition hadn't deteriorated. When I was able to arrive at the hospital Dr. Lohman was in the room with Angie and she was happy to see the heart rate had improved but she told us that she couldn't let us go home because Angie had started having contractions! So, we waited for these contractions to slow or stop. It was after the third round of medication that the contrations calmed down and we were able to go back home for the night. There are many reasons that we don't want Angie to go into labor yet. Hogan is a very small baby because of Trisomy 18 and the longer he can stay inside of Angie in a good environment and grow the better. The other reason is that Hogan has decided that he doesn't want to come into this world conventionally and hasn't turned correctly yet. I think he might know something! We have been told that the C section would be less stressful on Hogan and this would allow him to have a better chance to live. Also, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, we were scheduled to go back to Dr. Rosemond on the 22nd to get the next ultrasound to check Hogan's blood flow. If the blood flow is worse than it was on the 7th then Dr. Rosemond mentioned he might schedule the delivery the following morning the 23rd. This appointment is going to be moved up to this week. We are not sure what day but Angie's doctors want Dr. Rosemond to check on Hogan because of the heart rate problem he had on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday night Hogan decided that he wanted to go back to St. Mary's again. We noticed that the contractions were getting closer together at dinner that night and decided to write down how often they were occurring. Angie had 6 contractions within 60 minutes so she called the Dr. like we had been told. Dr. Lohman didn't want to take any chances and sent us to get checked monitored again. I had a peaceful feeling that things would be ok again but just in case I packed my Bible, camera, phone charger and other things in a bag on this trip. We got to the hospital around 8:30 and after being monitored for a while and more medication we got to leave after midnight to come home. Angie is still pretty exhausted but we are happy that Hogan is still alive and ok inside of her today.

The good thing about being back at St. Mary's this week was that Angie and I were able to sit for hours and listen to our little man's heart beat. It brought back so many memories of Noah and Lily's birth and it really reminded us how big of a God we serve. We got to talk about things that we probably wouldn't have talked about if we were at home. We got to hear Hogan kick and kick and kick!! He might be a soccer player one day! It also brought a smile to my face to hear and see the babies that were born on Wednesday and Thursday night this week. It makes me so happy to see babies now more than ever.

I also noticed the "coach" shirts one of the dad's that had just watched his baby enter the world. I have 2 "coach" jersey's in my closet at home and look forward to getting my third jersey soon. I know you can tell it's march madness when I hear Hogan's heart beating and it reminds me of a basketball bouncing and then I see "coach" shirts at the hospital and it makes me think of coaching sports. I feel it is appropriate for the hospital to give out these shirts to the new dad's because we are life coaches for our children.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT

Saturday, March 6, 2010

March Madness

For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Well, it's that time of year again. The time of year when the grass starts to turn green, the days get longer and basketball tournaments are in full force. I grew up in Dublin, Georgia so it also means St. Patrick's festivities and soon to follow will be Easter and the Masters. I think I have numerous favorite times of the year and this is definitely one of them.

This year March Madness has a whole new meaning for us. After 16 weeks of an emotional roller coaster since finding out about Hogan's condition, the time of his arrival is getting near. The anxiety is starting to escalate and so are the prayers for us. We continue to pray that we will have a live birth and that God will give us as much time as possible with Hogan. We have had to plan for death but we hope and trust that God can heal Hogan. We continue to draw on the prayers from our friends and family and try to focus on our "point".

I mentioned NILMDTS in one of my earlier blog posts. Teresa Vickery is the local photographer that is part of this incredible organization. She just happens to work part time at St. Mary's in labor and delivery and is also a very talented photographer that makes incredible pictures of babies. Teresa has been so good to us. She told me in December that she would do whatever we needed and for me to call her no matter when Hogan decided to enter this world. She also told us that she would do pre birth pictures for Angie. We had the pictures made on Monday morning and they turned out incredible. We are so thankful that we have these pictures so that we can have memories in pictures. My wife is beautiful. She is the type of woman that is really pretty but just gets better looking the more you get to know her because of her amazing heart and spirit. The pictures that Teresa took captured both! Angie was stunning in the photos and Noah and Lily even stayed still long enough to get in some family shots! One of the photos that Teresa wanted to take was of me kissing Angie's belly while holding on to her with my left hand. Thank God she wanted this picture because the moment I kissed Angie's belly I felt Hogan move. It was a neat feeling for me. It was almost as if he felt the kiss. I didn't say anything at the time fearing I would have an "emotional moment" :) but it will be a memory that I will never, ever forget.

The other highlight of the day was a visit to see Dr. Rosemond that afternoon. We look forward to our visits now because it is a time we get to see Hogan. We get to hear his little heart beat and see him on the screen hanging on the wall in front of us. It is also a comforting feeling to get to visit with everyone that works there. His staff has been so good to us and Dr. Rosemond has never once acted like he needed to leave the room to go visit another patient. He always tells us that we have all the time we need. I can't explain how important that has been over the past few months.

Dr. Rosemond went into more detail about one of the concerns for Hogan he has right now. One of the things he is watching is the blood flow for Hogan. He wants us to be monitored over the next couple of weeks to make sure that Hogan doesn't get into distress. We will go see Dr. Smith next week for a weekly visit. If Hogan can hang in there a couple of more weeks until the ultrasound with Dr. Rosemond again on the 22nd I will be relieved. We were told that after the ultrasound on the 22nd that we would either go for a few more days or if the blood flow gets worse we will have Hogan on the 23rd of March. This was a shock for Angie and I. We were thinking we would have Hogan in April. It looks like the chances of us making it to April are slim now.

As each day passes it seems that we are leaning on each other and God more and more. I know that I can't think straight these days and have been making more notes than ever to stay focused on things that I have to get done at work. It is actually a blessing to be busy at work because it helps me take my mind off of things during the work day although my mind can't help but "go there" frequently. We went to Dublin on Tuesday for the FCA Banquet. We were there because a friend of mine was going to be the main speaker for the event. It was about 20 minutes into the program that the local director of FCA started talking about different blessings with different coaches etc. and giving examples of great things that God has done. He then told the crowd that he had a special prayer request. He wanted everyone to lay hands on each other at each table and pray for Hogan and our family. Angie and I were overwhelmed and are still overwhelmed by the emotion that night. I can't explain the feeling that went through me but I know that I couldn't fight back the tears and I couldn't focus on anything that night but just how great God is. We are so blessed. We are so thankful. We can't thank everyone enough for loving Hogan and loving us.

I can't end a "March Madness" titled blog without getting in a little basketball. I was thankful for getting a ticket at the last minute to watch the Georgia/Kentucky game on Wednesday night. The game didn't end the way I wanted but it was fun to watch such a talented team like Kentucky play. Although the game was action packed and the Stegman Coliseum was electric, my mind drifted at times. I thought about how many people were probably going through tough times in their life in that coliseum. You just never know what people are going through. Someone told me a couple of months ago about a decision that they were trying to make and how tough it was on them. After they finished talking about their stressful decision, they asked me how my Thanksgiving went... well we found out about Hogan's condition the week of Thanksgiving so I just told them it wasn't the best Thanksgiving we had ever experienced. They immediately told me how they weren't going through anything compared to us and even felt silly to be stressed about their problem. It was important what they were facing. The decision that was being made was a huge one that could change that person's life. It may not have been life and death but it was important.

The other thing that kept creeping into my mind was hearing Noah ask me to help "build a bridge" with him when I was leaving for the game. I hated that feeling! I told him that I loved him and that I would build the bridge with him the next morning. I couldn't wait for Noah to wake up the next morning so I could play with him before leaving for the office. I am so thankful for the job I have that enables me to spend most nights with my family.

I know we are going to through a stressful time but I also know that we aren't the only ones that are hurting and have hurt. My heart goes out to everyone that has lost a loved one and especially a child. I know I can't imagine how we are going to feel if the Doctors are right and God doesn't heal Hogan. I can try to imagine it, but I can't. I only know how we are feeling at this moment facing this miracle birth that might happen soon.

I try not to mention many names in my blogs because I can't name everyone that has touched our lives during this journey. Thank you again for your continued prayers, the amazing cards, meals, emails, messages, texts, notes and calls. I know that I couldn't type without the amazing support that we have been given and the amazing love for Hogan that has been shown. He is an amazing little baby that continues to beat the odds and continues to fight for life. I am so proud of him and can't wait to hold him and tell him face to face.

...Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:32-34 NLT