Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recharging the Body

Last night was the first night Annie and I actually slept well. The stress and anxiety we have been through this past week was excruciating. Annie and I have not stepped foot out of the NICU level for over a week since last Friday night. Today, we are going out for lunch. I know, we have been told over and over that we need to get out of here for a little while...but there was no way we could leave them while Drake was literally clinging on to his life.

After what the doctor told us last week about Drake only having 24 hours if he doesn't have any urine, we learned that we have to take it with a grain of salt. We spoke to the doctor this morning and he said we still don't know if his kidneys are functioning properly or if its the medicines...they won't know until they ween him off of them. The doctor said again that they don't know what made him begin producing urine, but they are not changing anything right now. Annie and I looked at each other at that moment, because we know the power of prayer and God's healing hands were at work.

Kennedy got moved back onto the respirator from the CPAP... She gave it her ALL. The doctor said that a bad day on the CPAP is better than a good day on the respirator because it forces the lungs to develop since they have to do the work instead of the machine. She was trying to breath too fast and shallow which didn't allow her to exhale the CO2. She would get so tired from the rapid breaths she would stop breathing for a little while. We are understanding and accepting of this because sometimes they just aren't ready...you don't know if you don't try. The unfortunate deal is that she doesn't get to do kangaroo time for a couple days since she had to be re-intubated.

Photos: Kennedy back on the respirator, Annie making a baby blanket


  1. Brian and Annie, you two enjoy a great lunch, you have earned it! I know you want to be by their sides 24/7, but you two also need your rest and relaxation, so that you can be strong and be there for your two little fighters :)

    I'm so glad to see Drake continuing to do well, and hopefully soon Kennedy can try the CPAP again :) She will make it onto it soon enough, and eventually breathing on her own :)

    God's power is for sure what is keeping everyone going, and our prayers keep going up daily for you all :)

    Keep hanging in there Team Drake and Team Kennedy! You all are working miracles daily with God at the helm of this :) Soon enough, these precious miracles will get to be at home in their cribs, and you two can sleep in your own bed again :)

  2. I will pray for a peaceful lunch for the two of you!! I know you both need it. Prayers for you 4!!

  3. I am so glad you both got a good nights rest. We all know how dedicated you both have been to those babies...Coaches Annie & Brian have to be taken care of too if Team Kennedy and Drake want to keep winning! ;) I hope you have a relaxed and peaceful lunch! Prayers endlessly going up for all of you!

  4. Good afternoon precious family!

    I do not know you but I have been reading your blog for the past 9 days. I delivered boy/girl twins at 24 weeks and 5 days and I am SO blessed to tell you that we will be celebrating their 3rd Birthday on August 30th:)!!! I wanted to write sooner but all of the emotions came flooding back with every post. My little ones both had a very difficult road in the NICU but our little boy really struggled. He was diagnosed with a grade IV brain bleed and he would just get so exhausted so frequently and just try to give up. Like you all, we were in a wonderful hospital (Baylor of Fort Worth) and our doctors and nurses spent countless hours pouring over books trying to figure out how to keep our angels going! It finally worked! After 118 days, our little girl came home (on Christmas Eve) and at 130 days, our little boy came home. This year, our son has been discharged from the neurologist and they have both been discharged from speech therapy!!!

    I know how hard your days and nights are right now...I remember it all very well! I am praying for all of you regularly and I want to reach out to you both so if there is anything I can do, please email me at nataliecgordon@yahoo.com. There are going to be more roller coaster rides ahead but God only give preemies to amazing Mommies and Daddies which I have clearly seen in your posts! God is guiding your angels specifically and on His time so keep the faith that He will bring your angels through this.

    All our love from one micro preemie family to another:),

  5. I have prayed for your sweet twins each night, and I am so pleased to see how God has been answering all the prayers for them!!! I commented earlier (Holly), but I thought of a poem someone gave to us when we were in the NICU with our daughter. It truly spoke the story of what we were enduring. Hope you enjoy it as well:

    The Wait Poem by Russel Kelfer

    Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cred; Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate…and the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

    “Wait? You say wait?” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why! Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard? By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming Your word.

    My future and all to which I relate hangs in the balance and You tell me to “Wait?” I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign. Or even a ‘no’, to which I’ll resign.

    You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe, We need but to ask, and we shall receive. Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.

    Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate as my Master replied again, “Wait.” So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

    He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine…and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign. I could shake the heavens and darken the sun. I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

    I could give all you seek and pleased you would be. You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me. You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint. You’d not know the Power that I give to the faint.

    You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair; you’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there. You’d not know the joy of resting in Me when darkness and silence are all you can see.

    You’d never experience the fullness of love when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove. You would know that I give, and I save, for a start, but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

    The glow of My comfort late into the night, the faith that I give when you walk without sight. The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask from an infinite God who makes what you have last.

    You’d never know should your pain quickly flee, what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee. Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true, but oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you.

    So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to truly know Me. And though oft My answers seem terribly late, My most precious answer of all is still ‘WAIT’.”

  6. I love the poem above too. It is so true. Similar to the theme in the poem, I remember telling my husband when my 24 week twins were in the NICU that I wanted to fast forward time. I said that I would deal with whatever their outcomes may be at that time, but I couldn't watch them struggle anymore, and I couldn't be told all the horrible possibilities by the doctors anymore. My husband told me that if I just fast forwarded time I also wouldn't be able to witness the strength and bravery and fighting spirit of my little miracles. As painful as it was, he was right. I know you both understand this too. Your little miracles are showing you everyday their strength and determination and bravery. I feel blessed to be able to follow their story and cheer them along.

    Our twins went back and forth from CPAP to vent back to CPAP and then from cannula back to CPAP back to cannula and eventually off oxygen altogether. It's a long road. Micro-preemies are expected to do so much before they really should be doing anything. Kennedy will get the hang of breathing, and Drake will be right behind her.

    Glad to hear you were able to get lunch together. It is important to take care of yourself, but it's so hard when your focus is elsewhere. Praying for you all.

  7. So glad to hear that you had a restful sleep & took time for lunch today. Drake and Kennedy's parents need to take care of themselves too. Praying constantly throughout each day and night for your family! You are never far from my mind and are always in my heart. Praying our Lord provides a healing comfort to Drake and his kidneys and strengthening in Kennedy's lungs. I can't wait to see your next post and see what God has done!

  8. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Mahatma Gandhi

    I’ve been checking your blog daily as I cannot get these 2 mini fighters out of my head. Their will to survive is absolutely beyond words. What amazingly strong little humans, although I expect nothing less from a Gilstrap! Hope you guys had a peaceful lunch... because I’m sure that in a couple of years, you are going to have two strong-willed toddlers running around with no signs of peace in sight.

    Hugs and prayers to you and your family ~ Autumn

  9. Kennedy,

    You are beautiful! I can't wait for you to meet my Kennedy. You have a special place in her heart because she likes to believe that she was your mommy's favorite kindergarten student and that you were named after her! She asks about you everyday and says prayers for you each night before bed. You are such a strong little girl. We are proud of you for giving your lungs a workout today. We will continue praying for your brother, mommy and daddy.

    Love, Cristi