Monday, November 24, 2014


Hey All!  I'm definitely short on time but I wanted to thank all of you for the continued prayers and let you know we made it home!

Elena turned the corner Thursday afternoon.  We were able to pull back on meds and get her out of bed on Friday morning.  The doctor came in and told us we could go whenever we wanted.  So we loaded up and left!  Elena did great the whole way home.  We got home Saturday.

Things have still been rough.  She's still in quite a bit of pain and moving her is really tough.  She's definitely a two person job right now.  But, we're home!

We still need prayer as she recovers and that each day will get better.  Thanks for loving and supporting our family!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 3 Update

Good Morning All.  I want to again thank you all for your continued prayers.  We've really needed them the last few days and have so appreciated the calls, texts, emails, love and support you've continued to give us.  It certainly makes this situation easier knowing how much support we have.

Unfortunately, the surgery has been the easy part.  Chad and I both have been completely caught off-guard by how difficult the last two days have been.  Our brains were so focused on the actual surgery, that I guess we didn't realize the recovery could be 1000% worse than the surgery.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it (though I never do...) the last two days have been pretty brutal.  Seeing Elena struggle with the pain, discomfort, fear, confusion, disorientation has been heartbreaking.  We are simply at a loss of what to do.  It's pitiful to see her so out of it on all the pain meds, but the alternative is having her in hysterics and in pain.  She cried for five hours straight on Tuesday after coming out of the anesthesia.  Finally, they gave her a large dose of meds that knocked her out and have pretty much been keeping her on heavy pain meds since then.  Our theory has been to just keep her as comfortable as possible.  Her being unable to communicate if she's nauseous, if her belly hurts, if she's hungry, if she's in pain, if she's scared has proved incredibly difficult.  We're basically assuming it's pain and knocking her out. If you know Elena, she's not a crier and has a ridiculously high pain tolerance so this all has been a real struggle.

The silver lining?  This surgery has a really high success rate compared to what her other Ortho doc wanted to do (not to mention it's less invasive) so there's a good chance this is the last hip surgery she will need.  That's good, because I NEVER want to go through this again.

For all you worriers out there, I promise we're ok.  It's tough right now, but no need to panic.  Chad and I are a good team and trust me, we've been through far more stressful situations than this.  You know, it's the hardest thing in the world to see your child in pain and we're in the thick of it.  We're surrounded by your prayers and are showering Laney with love and kisses.

Thanks for sticking with us!
xo Emm

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Quick Surgery Update

I wanted to send out a quick update for all of you sweet people who have been praying for us today.  I'm doing this from my phone so excuse any grammar mistakes!

Surgery went well.  We will learn more from the doctor tomorrow when he rounds.  It took a little longer than expected, as it took an hour for them to get her IV in.  This is not surprising to us...she's always had issues with this.

She was doing well in post-op until they brought her up to the Peds floor and moved her.  She was pretty hysterical for about an hour and a half.  She's better now but still waking and crying.  Really, Chad and I just want her to sleep.  It's pretty heartbreaking not to be able to do anything or even hold her.  It's hard to say if she is in pain or just scared and confused by everything.  Regardless, it's been a difficult few hours for us.

Continued prayers are appreciated.

-pain control
-mom and dad emotions and exhaustion
-her tummy (constipation is a big issue post surgery that can cause real issues)

Again, thank you all for sticking with us today and sending up prayers on Elena's behalf.  It is such a comfort to us to know that we aren't in this alone.

We will keep you posted.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Prayers Requested!

Elena will be going in for surgery this next week.  See here for a synopsis.

We need all you prayer warriors to lift us up in the next couple weeks.  Here are some specifics:

-Safety for all of us traveling
-Prayers that her hip wouldn't be as bad as it appeared on x-rays
-Dr. Nuzzo, other doctors and Nurses who will be caring for her
-Peace and calm for Mom & Dad
-Elena's Recovery/pain levels
-Calvin, as we will be away from him

Most importantly, pray for a successful surgery without complications.  We will keep everyone posted this week.  Thank you, thank you for keeping our family lifted in prayer as our Elena has to endure this difficult surgery.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Ronald McDonald House

Last Friday was the annual Ronald McDonald House gala.  If you remember, we have attended the last three years with a group of our friends.  It's always such a fun event and gives us an opportunity to celebrate an organization that is so near and dear to our hearts.

This year we had THREE tables...that's right!  30 of our friends and family attended with us.  And this year we had a surprise for them.  Earlier this fall, our friends at the RMH asked us to be their feature family.  What an honor!  We were so happy to have a chance to share our RMH story and raise awareness (and hopefully donations!) for them.  To this day, we still don't feel like we have been able to give enough back to them, for what they gave to us while Elena was in the hospital for 20 days.

For those that aren't familiar with the RMH, it is a haven for families who are thrown into situations with sick children.  We spent that first night at Riley in the RMH.  I remember thinking, "how did I get here?"  No one ever thinks they will need the services provided by the RMH, until you do.  Most of the families have no other choice.  They can't afford a hotel or three meals a day outside of home.  The sanctity it provides is unmatched, both physically and mentally.  We were so proud to be able to share their message and will continue to do so.

You can see our video below, but it will also be up on their website soon.  Feel free to make a donation or sign up to volunteer your time while there! Here's their website:

Click HERE to watch our video!

The whole crew

 All my Pi Phi loves (well, the Indy ones anyway)

 My brudders

Monday, November 3, 2014

Three Years

In one second, one phone call, one blip in time, our lives were shattered.  I screamed.  I couldn't even muster a prayer from my lips.  I just began screaming Jesus' name.  I still can hear myself.  I can still feel the panic in my gut.  I arrived at the Riley Hospital ER that day all alone to find out whether my baby was alive or dead.

It's been three years and that day is as fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday.  The flashbacks can be crippling.  The pain is still so immense.  I'm not sure if it will ever ease.  Regardless, life moves on but I'm powerless against the memories of the day that our lives changed forever.  They are always waiting just below the surface, ready to consume me at a moments notice.  My days are dotted with reminders of our crushed dreams....the other morning at breakfast, our eyes brimmed with tears watching a dad with his three year old daughter out for a breakfast date together.....the other day when I overheard a little girl tell her mom that she loved her....when we go for a walk and stop to watch the little cheerleaders cheering for the local youth football team....the other night when a million little Elsa's came to our door shouting "Trick or Treat!" and watching their eyes light up at the sight of candy.  All of those are reminders of a life our little girl will never get to experience.  In each of those moments, my heart breaks just a little more.

Chad and I often talk about how little we were able to comprehend during those days at Riley.  I guess it would be safe to say we were in shock, unable to even imagine the life that we now live.  We literally had no idea that Elena would be forever changed.  We assumed once the medication wore off, she would spring back to life and all would be well.  And reality sure smacked us upside the head that first year.  When I think back to her first year of life, all I can remember is an inescapable, lingering darkness.  We were always teetering on the edge of being consumed by it.  Looking back, I would call it the depths of despair.  I can't explain to you how unbelievably sad it is to say that my baby's first year of life, we were all fighting for survival.  I remember nearly nothing but sadness.

The second year brought reality and fear.  It was (and still is) scary to face the future.  We began to understand what our lives would look like....therapy, doctors, wheelchairs, equipment, likely permanent feeding tubes, surgeries.  We finally understood that there would be no "snapping out of it".  But, I also remember there being hope.  I remember beginning to understand (again) that God's plans are not our plans.  And even though we had planned for complete healing for Elena, that perhaps God's plan would be more fulfilling.  I began to realize that we will never know why, but it isn't always the why that matters.

Right now I feel as though I'm in a place of perpetual healing.  I have far, far more good days than bad days.  Most days are treated as normal life and are genuinely happy.  But the hard stuff is always lurking there too.  It can hit out of nowhere.  The healing is ongoing.  The grieving never ends.  It gets more bearable, but it never ends.  I'm really good at spontaneously bursting into tears (part of this is genetic...I come from a long line of criers) but tears are healing.  I'm realizing that it will take longer than three years to recover from the trauma we've endured and that's ok.

Any time you face a major life altering moment you have a choice.  You can crumble into a pile of nothingness and be sad forever or you can do your best to pull it together and fuel your purpose in life with the perspective gained and realize despite EVERYTHING you have endured, you inevitably have WAY more to be thankful for.  It felt as though we crumbled for a bit but we clung to each other and to our faith to pull us to our feet.  We have felt our way through the darkness, often desperately clinging to single strand of hope for the past three years.  You must keep your eyes forward and not dwell on the what happened but focus on how you recover from it.  It's beginning to feel like we are emerging, no doubt stronger.  God has given us grateful hearts.  We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of all our family and friends.  We have been humbled by the impact our sweet little girl has had on the hearts of many.

Three years ago Elena's precious little heart stopped beating.  By the grace of God, He breathed life back into her and in a way, she was reborn.  For a little girl who has never uttered a word, the lives she has touched is pretty amazing.  For three years our motto has been Ephesians 3:20, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or even imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."  We knew God was capable of physically healing Elena and we clung to this verse.  But perhaps God saw more opportunity.  Maybe the physical healing isn't the most important part, but it's the spiritual healing.  I know God IS doing immeasurably more than we originally asked for, or that our prayers ever could have imagined.

It's too difficult to try and think about what our lives would look like today if November 3, 2011 had been different.  I would do anything to change what happened that day.  Unless you've experienced it, you can never imagine what it's like to watch your child struggle like Elena does.  As hard as life has become for Chad and me, it will never come close to what Elena has to deal with.  This anniversary will always be incredibly difficult.  I'm sure that will never change.  It was the worst day of our lives and set us on a course we could have never imagined.  But Elena lived that day and we will be forever grateful for that.  We have experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs in just three years, but we continue to move forward with thankful hearts.  We're thankful for life, every precious second, and the perspective we now have.  Most importantly, we're blessed every day by our sweet Elena, her story and all we learn from her.  She is love, perfect, innocent, pure love.