Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rainy Day

Today the weather has been rainy outside with scattered showers inside as well. The news we received yesterday is still hanging over our heads like a dark storm. The comments from yesterday's blog have really helped us more than you can know. Drake and Kennedy chose us to be their parents, we are here to do a job. Drake has already defied the odds once in his life; it is our sole duty to provide him with everything he needs to continue his pursuit in conquering the unconquerable. With the support that Team Drake and Kennedy have, along with the power of prayer and our loving support, Drake will prevail!!

The doctor came in to speak with us today; we still have so many unanswered questions that can only be told with time. She is going to speak with a developmental doctor on Monday and hopefully we can begin a routine for his therapy. The doctors confirmed with us that they were caught off guard just as much as we were. By looking at him he is doing the things that he should be doing; he tracks with his eyes, moves his arms and legs, and even gets fussy. We have opted not to see a neurologist quite yet, as they will only tell us statistical data we don't want to hear. Our focus is on praying for his health, a lot of love, and dedication to his developmental therapy.

Kennedy is still doing great. She is 6# 10oz...can you believe it. She is right at 5 pounds heavier than when she got here. They both will be 40 weeks gestation this coming Wednesday. This is the time period that they do the standard brain scan. Kennedy will be having hers on Tuesday. As you can imagine, we are definitely on edge. I know we shouldn't worry, but we have let our guard down once with Drake...and his news hit us hard.

I got to spend quality time with both of them today. Drake and I watched some football for a little while and then I rocked Kennedy in the chair. My father came in town this morning, having not seen him in over two months due to his hear attack. He got to hold his grandchildren for the first time; how great is that?

I wrote a quote when Drake was at his sickest moment. I constantly reflect back to it, as it provides me with the strength for my family.
"Keep the Faith, Never Lose Hope, Continue Moving Forward"

1) Drake's bath
2) Drake with Papa
3) Kennedy with Daddy
4) Drake and Daddy watching football
5) Kennedy & Mommy
6) Kennedy's bath


  1. Lets not let yesterdays news change the hope and excitement we hold for these kiddos! I was just telling T that Drake's eyes are like windows and they DO NOT say "no body home, my brain has problems" ..i refuse to believe the miracles just all of a sudden stop here! There is no limit on God's miracle card!

    Wow Miss Kennedy!! The big 5lb gain mark!! Big girl!! You keep being bubby's biggest fan. He is so happy to be with you again. It looks like both of you just love where you are--with your super duper parents!

    I say bring in the scans, tests, and stats! There is nothing writen in stone aside from God's promise to bless those who bless him! Lets keep the ball rolling out that hospital and right into home!

    I am Affirming perfection!! My Prayers continue!!

  2. Keep your faith strong
    The harder the struggle, the more glorious
    The triumph! We love you

  3. I Know you may have seen this before, it is long and only talks about a mother, but the words are so very true for preemie parents. I found myself reading this when we would have a bad day in the NICU with the twins. Good luck and may God bless your family.

    How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
    by Erma Bombeck

    Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?

    Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

    "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

    Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie."

    The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

    "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."

    "But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.

    "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

    "But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

    God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness."

    The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?"

    God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see -- ignorance, cruelty, prejudice -- and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

    "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

    God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

  4. I am in agreement with you Natalie. I have a great nephew that the routine ultrasound showed was not growing as he should be and who had a very weak heart beat. The ob sent my niece home to come back in two weeks expecting to either miscarry(again after four years of trying to conceive) or find the baby was gone and schedule a post procedure. Her husband refused to accept this and a call to prayer warriors went across the country speedy quick. I know God is in control and he does not always grant our heart's desire, but sometimes He does; when my niece went back with heavy heart for that follow up, the doctors and nurses were scratching their heads for a "medical" explanation...the best they could come up with was saying the baby must have been in a weird position? We all believe it was God himself touching the baby who was also then the proper size and with a vigorous heart beat. He is to this day a toddler that glows and loves life and family. I am not a doctor, but I am a prayer warrior. I am in agreement with Natalie. When pregnant we often say "don't care what it is as long as it is healthy...I used to add and will now when I hear it, and even if it isn't healthy we will love this gift from God no less. That is all the role God gives us really is to love these precious gifts he gives us to care for as their parents.
    I believe Drake will exceed the dire expectations presented by the doctor (he is limited by the scientific) and in so doing may even serve as a tiny witness to some hard core scientific minds as to the reality of a God very much alive and still in the miracle business. I also believe that no matter what, you will love both of these beautiful babies and do an outstanding job of answering this mission given you by already have shown such courage and grace. I too have noticed in many pictures of Drake his truly looking into the faces of those holding him, as well as his emotional expressions. I like Natalie, see a little guy very much "in there". God's got this dear ones. <><

  5. Annie -

    In the very beginning of your sweet babies start into this world, the song This Ones A Fighter continuously played in my head... Drake is a fighter and God knows this. I learned early on with Sydney and her doctors that I needed so much more than their diagnoses... Putting faith in everything that happens with her is the way I get through the day. You and Brian have the analogy of first downs with the babies... look at this as a with any fumble, you can get the ball back and continue to make a drive AND I believe that is what your sweet little man will do... He's going to pick that ball up and continue making progress. With Sydney I always have thought about her journey as hurdles... we got past the not being able to hear hurdle, the one leg being longer than the other hurdle, the possibility she could develop cancer hurdle, the "We have found some spots on her abdomen, she needs further testing to see if its cancer" hurdle, the surgery to correct her leg length hurdle, and now this hurdle with what is this lump she's developed... I have faith that just like Drake she is a fighter...God will never give her more than he thinks she can endure... Although very scary I hold on to that faith. Sydney wants you to know she loves you and the babies very much... she can't wait for the day they are old enough for you to call her to babysit!

    We love you all and will continue to pray for each of you! Keep fighting Drake - you are a true testament to the amazing power of love and prayer. We are behind you 110% just pick up that fumble and keep moving forward.

    Love and BIG hugs -

    Yvonne and Sydney

  6. I know this scary news caught all of Team Drake & Kennedy off guard. Our prayers have not wavered or ceased since your tiny little blessings were born. We were all united when Drake was so ill this summer. The Lord is calling us to unite again on Drake's behalf. He is giving our prayers a very specific direction. Prayer is such a powerful and beautiful way to worship our Lord. Not only does it bring us closer to Him, but it lays our fears at His feet. He already knows those fears. It is our privilege as Christians to
    pray our way through life's storms. Many of us have been fervently praying for your precious babies since before they were born. This summer, I personally prayed for Drake harder than I have ever prayed for anything in my life! I felt the power, faith, love, courage, and strength of Team Gilstrap! Drake's amazing journey ministered to so many hearts this summer! Now our Lord is using Drake to minister to us again. God has designed a plan and purpose for Drake that we can't even begin to fathom. What an honor it must be for you to be Drake and Kennedy's parents! You were chosen to be their parents and they were chosen to be your precious children. It is very humbling to pray for you, your family, and your sweet miracles each and every single day! We have rejoiced with you as Drake and Kennedy have reached so many milestones. We also share your concern as you face the challenges ahead. Lots of hugs, many prayers, and an abundance of love being sent your way! Continue to be courageous and know you are not alone! My prayer is that our Lord will wrap His arms of comfort and healing around you and your babies providing a peace that only He can give!

  7. Our prayers have never stopped, but will be amped up again with this latest fumble. It is encouraging that Drake has passed so many milestones already and we know that God will continue to give you everything you and those babies need.

    Lord, please heal Drake's brain and continue his miraculous development. Thank you so much for Kennedy's good progess and growth. Please make your Presence known to Annie and Brian every day so that they have the strength to face every challenge before them. We pray in Your son's precious name -

  8. Praying for your sweet family and especially Drake. Drake will overcome this! You will be surprised at the new connections the brain will make to compensate. The good thing is that he is young and the brain will build those new connections. Drake is going to continue to surprise us all! Treat him just like you do Kennedy. Don't give him a crutch and always have high expectations of him. I am a mother of a child that was diagnosed with Aspergers. We treated him as if he did not have it. He is now in college, makes straight A's, has lots of friends and drives his own car. These were all things that we were told he would never do. We sacrificed to provide extra social training, making extra effort to help him be as normal as possible. I am happy to say after 19 years, he is very much a regular kid. He is a little quirky, but he has far exceeded any doctor's expectations! Drake can too because you are his parents! God Bless!

  9. Hi sweet family. What ups and downs you all have experienced since the beginning of this journey. Your steadfast love for one another and for your children will always be the most important factor in their lives as well as your own. Hold each other close and little Drake's heart will feel your love and your strength. He is perfect in every way, as you already know. Love to you all. -The Hatcher Family

  10. Brian, I hope that while you and Drake were bonding over football this weekend that you had one of your great peptalks with your boy. I absolutely agree with the person who said your children chose you and Annie as their parents and Drake definitely listens to you as his "coach"! You and your wife have been amazing advocates for your children and I know you will continue to do so as they grow and develop. My prayers are with you and your warrior family as you continue to adjust to the news and as you go forward in this journey!