Friday, October 19, 2012


The day we found out we were expecting, we created a road map full of plans; everything on it has since changed. I had recently accepted a new position with the school district, a position I have worked very hard to obtain. Since I have been an exceptional planner my entire life, plans were to start the school year off right after a brief duration of maternity leave. I had already lined up the perfect child care with a former teacher who would only be keeping three babies. Everything changed in June, when Drake and Kennedy decided to meet us earlier than anticipated. We were maternity leave turned into an extended period, forcing me to take my FMLA benefits. Still, I was set to go back to work as soon as we were able to escape this hospital stay we we are still pushing through today. Gran would spend the weeks in Tyler taking care of the babies, while Brian and I were at work. Then came the big blow...Drake's MRI...rerouted once again. After weighing all of our options, it was with a heavy heart that I resigned my position with the school district. At this point in time I need to focus on our babies, their health, and developmental progress. We don't know where this new road will lead us, but we do know that we are doing what is right for our family.

I've grown accustom to the routine of our days here in Special Care, one seemingly merging into the next. Temperature, diaper change, and working on feedings every 3 hours. This has been our norm for several weeks now; however, today was different. Kennedy has been doing so well at meeting her minimum on feeds that they removed her feeding tube today. Now we get to see her pretty face free of tubes all of the time! They also removed her pulseox ( pulse/oxygen meter) that she has worn on her feet and wrists since day one. Every day, she is getting closer to going home; a reality that both excites and scares us.

Drake is doing better with his feeds but he does not always take his minimum of 50mL. A great deal of this has to do with his reflux which is better but still present. They are talking about trying him on straight emfamil AR tomorrow, as it is heavier and actually thickens in the stomach to help keep it down.

"The only thing constant in life is change itself!"

1) Daddy & Kennedy
2) Drake
3) Kennedy
4) Drake
5) Kennedy
6) Both babies


  1. You will NEVER regret the decision you have made. Being at home watching how fast they grow and learn is something you DO NOT want to miss. Work will be there when these babies go to school. These next few years are going to zoom by so fast you won't know what to do. Get won't want to miss a thing! ;-)

  2. Oooooohhhhh my goooodnessss!!!!! Look at Kennedy's sweet face!!!!!! And that smile!!! Oh praise God for her successful journey!! Yay big girl!!

    Drake seems to be getting better at the feeds faster then Miss K did...probably bc he likes to catch up to her!! I cannot! canno!t cannot! wait to see his sweet face free of tubes too!!!!

    God has a route, you are graciously accepting despite it being contrary to your plan. He blesses those who trust in his plan--who trust in Him...

    Congratulations in a exciting day for Miss K. Keep moving forward!

  3. I love these posts of such great news. Both babies look so happy, healthy and beautiful! Being a mother brings out patience we never thought we had. I'm so very proud of you and Brian.

    Love you all,


  4. Annie, be comforted knowing that for all of us, our road map ends in Heaven, so you can never truly go astray! You might have to take a few detours and scenic bypasses in life on that road, but when the journey is over, and you are at the gates of Heaven with all the rest of us, we can all celebrate together :)

    I know the current path isn't where you planned, but just know that God has the map of your life already planned out, knowing what is to come, so be at peace with life right now, and just enjoy each day with your precious children and your loving husband, your family who supports you through all of this, and all of the friends and people who are being touched by Drake and Kennedy around the globe.

    You and Brian have done such an amazing job the past few months, and one day when Drake and Kennedy are older, you can tell them the story of their birth and the months that followed, and they will be totally amazed as they listen and hear your words :)

    Keep up the faith team Drake and Kennedy! Soon they will be leaving the hospital, starting their new life, ready to face new adventures, challenges, and have more obstacles to plow over... they have so much future ahead! :)

    God bless the Gilstrap family, and everyone who is honored to know them!

  5. I am praying for you on your daily walk. I know it is very hard to give up a cherished dream; I am just as certain you have made the absolute best choice for your family. You are a very courageous and fiercely loving Mother! I am amazed and inspired by you Annie. Oh darling Kennedy must be feeling a little like a butterfly let loose from the tubes? no wires?

  6. I LOVE those pictures...even though I haven't been commenting, Syd and I still read your blog daily and look at the babies. We have a soccer tournament coming up in a few weeks and she knows she can't see the babies, but she would love to see you!

    I'm a planner too, and I know all to well when plans fall apart...but I have realized God's plan for my family has been full of ups and downs, but we've learned, adjusted, and grown...without Ali being dyslexic, I could not share with other parents of dyslexic students in my class the amazing success stories I get to witness and the steps they need to take as a parent of a dyslexic kiddo themselves! Without Sydney's many differences I wouldn't have slowed down to see where God's plan for me was. I appreciate the little things with them so much more.

    I can't wait to watch where your path leads with both your sweet miracles!

  7. Jill, Rob and KellyOctober 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    TISD's loss, but being home with the babies is the perfect place to be. I will always be grateful that my husband made it possible for me to be home with our kids, especially the first years.

    The picture of Kennedy's tube-free smile is PRECIOUS! Can't wait to see Drake that way too. Their progress is so encouraging - you'll all home in no time! We'll keep praying for an uneventful transition back home.

  8. It surely is TISD's loss! The selfish part of me is sad you are leaving it the mommy side is SO EXCITED for you to be able to spend all the time with your precious gifts from God! They are truly amazing, Annie. I love seeing all the picture and watching them grow. God knows you are a planner and wanted to see you handle things when they get rerouted. You are amazing and have not wavered in your love and strength for Drake and Kennedy! They are flourishing because they have been blessed with wonderful parents!
    I hope all get to come home soon. I am sure you can not wait for that next step. Once again, I thank you for sharing all of this with us. God bless your family.
    ~Katie O.