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Thank You Pastor Gary!

24 Jan

I’m sitting here with Tiffany and Makoa and I am thankful. The nurses were able to find a suitable vein in his hand so we haven’t had to poke him in his head yet. Praise God!

We also made it to church this morning at LCPC and it was, as usual, completely inspiring. I’d also like to say a special thank you to Pastor Gary. We approached him after the service this morning and thanked him for all the Church has done for us.

He immediately recognized our names an asked how Makoa was doing. He sat down with us and explained that he understands what we are going through. I’ve heard him talk about this before, but his son passed away at the age of nine from cancer. Once again, God always puts things in perspective and shows us we need to be thankful.

Pastor Gary invited us to sit and talk with him. We prayed, we cried, we found comfort in God’s grace. It was a special moment for us, and we are grateful to him for taking the time to be there for our family.

January 19th 2010

19 Jan

Well… we’ve reached Makoa’s gestational due date. It’s amazing to think that he has now been with us for two weeks. It’s also scary to think that he might not be here if we hadn’t of gotten him out when we did. It’s only by the Grace of God that Makoa is here with us and we thank God everyday that He has brought this little angel into our lives.

It’s been a roller coaster two weeks, but it has been the best two weeks of my life. Not only getting the opportunity to watch Makoa get stronger and develop his own tenacious personality, but also seeing our growth as a family in God. Everyday is a little bit better than the last, but we are making sure we take it one day at a time and not to get ahead of ourselves. We have some of the major genetic tests coming back this week and we are hopeful that they will all come back negative and confirm what we feel in our hearts; a little boy that  needs some extra calories and a little time to grow.

Hey Mom, do you have any tape?  Cause I’m ripped!

It was another day of new personal bests for Makoa, he ate 25 cc’s at his 8 PM feeding.  Now that he’s showing an active interest in the bottle feeding, we are eager for him to start chomping down the whole thing.  We understand that it’s a slow process and it will take him some time for him to “get it down” and develop the muscles for feeding, but we have made sure to inform Makoa of what he needs to do in order to come home and join our family.  Once again, we have appealed to his competitive spirit and we hope his Breeden/Neumeier sides will come out and he’ll hop on board the milk train.

He’s such a sweet boy and it absolutely melts your heart every time you hold him.  We continue to be amazed at the support, love, and prayers that our family and friends have been sending Makoa’s way.  Everyday he’s awake for a little bit longer, squirming a little bit more, and definitely getting much stronger.  We know it’s because of God and the love from all of you!

Thank you for all of my prayers!

January 18th 2010

18 Jan

It’s officially been two weeks since we had Makoa and what and improvement we’ve seen in that time.  Tomorrow is his actual due-date, and he’s looking more put-together everyday.  Every time we hold him he’s getting stronger, feeding longer, and showing us his determination.   

We spent most of the day at the hospital with Makoa.  Both Tiffany and I took turns feeding him a bottle today, both times he took 22 cc’s, a new personal best.  Of course he is physically exhausted afterwards, but we need to keep challenging him and getting him to feed.  He will have to take eight feedings of 45 cc’s per day before we can take him home.  We definitely have a way to go in reaching that goal, but we are seeing the progress and that is exciting.

I’ll leave you tonight with a couple videos we shot today.  One is Makoa and the biggest smile you will ever see, it’s absolutely the cutest thing you’ll ever see.  The second is, well… me being me.

January 17th 2010

17 Jan

As I sat in church today, listening to Pastor Gary talk about changing from the inside out, I couldn’t help but think of Makoa and how thankful I am for the work God continues to do in my life.  There have been many times in my life where I was simply wiping the outside of the bowl.  It’s not until you start cleaning the bowl from the inside-outward that you will really be able to hear and understand God.  It’s amazing to see how God is using me now that I have thrown my hands up to Him and said “lead me”.  It’s a beautiful thing.

We made our way to the hospital after church.  I dropped Tiffany off and Nainoa and I went to Mulligan’s to spend some quality time together and goof-off a bit.  Of course, being the competitive family we are, Tiffany was not to be outdone by my pep-talk with Makoa yesterday and let him know it was time to do some serious feeding.  While Nainoa and I were on the way back, I received a really cute photo with an accompanying message.

He took down 17 cc’s!  That is a new personal best!  It’s wonderful watching him continue to grow and get stronger.  We are so thankful for the continued prayers and we are looking forward to bringing him home as soon as he has the strength to feed consistently on his own.

This week is going to be huge for our family.  We get the genetic testing results back which will hopefully eliminate any of the syndromes they are testing for.  In my heart-of-hearts I truly feel like he is going to be fine.  We  continue to pray for good news, and as you can see… so does Makoa!

Our Hope

17 Jan

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
~ Romans 5:1-5

Extra Prayers

16 Jan

I received a text-message from my friend Mark today that really put things in perspective for me.  He and his wife Erica we’re pregnant with Quads and she had them last night.  Here is the text message from him:

The babies came last night.  Lidia Rose lived almost 5 hours before going to heaven and the other beauties are in the NICU.  Momma is doing pretty well, my hero!  Love to you!  Keep all us in your prayers!

This obviously hit home for Tiffany and myself and left us both in tears as we were driving down the 110.  God has a unique way of putting things in perspective for you.  I think it made us both realize how truly blessed we are and how lucky we are that Makoa is for the most part healthy and continuing to improve.

So I ask all of you to keep our friends the Fleischauer’s in your prayers.  They have a long road ahead with their other three babies and I know they will need all the support they can get.  And even though Lidia Rose has returned home to the Father, the other three have a perfect angel to watch over them and help them grow.

January 14th 2010

14 Jan

It’s 10:45, I just got home, and I’m not even tired.  It has been an emotional day of ups and downs, but we have survived another day!  As you know, I received a call this afternoon from Tiffany letting me know that Makoa had a urinary tract infection.  For some reason, the news seems to always come down when I’m not there and Tiffany is left to take the brunt of the emotion herself.  We received a great piece of advice from a friend who had a child in the NICU.  She told us, “You need to detach emotionally from what the doctors tell you, the bottom line is that every child is different and will react differently, so you just don’t know.”   We are still working on that…

There was some good news, Makoa is back off the oxygen and doing well on his own.  I showed up after work to the hospital and our little man was just relaxing in his new outfit Grammy bought.

He’s also gained another .5 oz which is great.  They are also adding some extra calories to his feedings to help speed the process of his weight gain.  It’s like their cooking up a mini protein shake for the little guy, and I love it!  The hard thing for me tonight was seeing him with the IV in his hand, and I know it was just as difficult for Tiffany.

There are four things that have made me the man I am today: God, my Parents,my Wife, and my Children.  There is nothing that breaks my heart more than to see my Wife in pain, whether it be emotionally or physically.  I wish I could take that pain and those feelings of hurt she has from her, but sadly I can’t, so all I can do is hold her while she cries.  I know it’s because she is a mother and there is something about that job and the connection that you have with you child that words cannot describe.  People always describe Tiffany as “the strong one” and she is, but she’s also been through a lot in her life and there comes a time when you need to just cry.  This journey has been difficult for everyone, but we must put our faith in God to carry us through.

I’ve been very blessed that God has poured his love onto me, giving me the strength to support Tiffany and our family through this.  It’s also with the prayers, love, and support of family and friends that keep us going.  I spoke with one of my dear friends Jason tonight.  Jay and I roomed together in college, we’re in each others weddings, even played in a band together.  But most importantly, Jason is the one who introduced me to God.  I remember sitting in his Ford pickup truck in a Burger King parking lot in Westlake Village eating some dinner and sharing his testimony with me.  It’s always great talking with Jason, but spiritually it always lifts me up because he truly understands God’s grace and how amazing he His.

I also ran into our “angel” Gina in the NICU.  Joey is on schedule to go home tomorrow and she brought over some clothes that he had grown out of.  We began chatting and I thanked her for praying with Tiffany that day.  She told me that God had put in her heart that she needed to pray with that family.  It’s amazing to see a light that is so bright in someone and that she’s willing to share that light with others.  Gina said that if Tiffany ever wanted to talk, she would be there.  I’m hopeful that Tiffany can find comfort in other mothers who have had children in the NICU.

I spent a couple hours with Makoa tonight.  We sang some songs, prayed a little, told him to stop scaring Mommy.  I love holding him and could do it for hours without blinking an eye.  When it was time to go, I wrapped him up tight and put him back in his crib and he was snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug.  His picture of Nainoa & Kaialani is propped up and his crib so they can always be with him.  And of course, God is holding our little man when we aren’t there, making him stronger so he can come home.

January 13th 2010

13 Jan

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired.  Tiffany and I have finally come to the conclusion that we need to take care of ourselves too.  Driving back and forth, working, dealing with our emotions, these are all physically taxing.  Emotionally, I feel very strong, physically I’m starting to fade.  Hopefully a good night of sleep will do the trick!

Despite having to be put back on oxygen this morning, Makoa is doing well.  We are staying in Manhattan Beach tonight which is much more convenient, not only for work, but the proximity to the hospital as well.  It allows me to spend more time at the Torrance Memorial with Makoa.  He was such a sweet little boy tonight, opening his eyes for us, and making a valiant effort to breast feed.  He made it over 10 minutes on one side.  That is a huge accomplishment and step in the right direction for Makoa and his journey to complete health.

We are so blessed to have Makoa and just as blessed to have run into so many “Angels” along our journey thus far.  In my post earlier this week, I quoted a poem by Elizabeth Browing in which the first line said: “Earth’s crammed with Heaven”.  Amen!  Is it ever!  I’d like to talk about a specific experience that really shows the grace of God given through a stranger.

It was the 2nd day of being in the NICU and Tiffany was outside with her parents and sister, very upset about the situation with Makoa.  A woman named Gina approached them and explained that she had twins in the NICU and that she knew what Tiffany was going through.  She asked everyone to hold hands and pray.  I wasn’t there, but I could see it had a profound impact on everyone from the tears on their faces.

The reason I bring it up, is not only to show the amazing grace that God spreads on this Earth, but also to thank Gina for comforting a stranger in need.  That is why tonight I ask you to pray for Gina’s son Joey.  His sister has already returned home, but Joey is still in NICU, slated to go home on Friday.

While we continue to pray for Makoa and his health and strength, I don’t want to forget about the other children who share the same NICU has him.  I pray for their health as well.

January 12th 2010

12 Jan

I found a little slice of Heaven tonight.

There is something so pure and magical about holding this little man in your arms.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is such a sense of peace and calm when you hold Makoa, it’s truly amazing.  I hope that each and everyone of you have the opportunity to share in this experience.

After spending the entire day at the hospital, Tiffany went home around five to go have dinner with the kids.  I weaved my way over to Torrance after work and was able to spend a few hours with Makoa simply laying on my chest.  It was a wonderful bonding moment for the two of us and I was so glad to spend some time with him, playing songs, and talking to him.  His spirit is so strong, it overwhelms me.

As for Makoa, he seems to be improving everyday.  We still have a few genetic tests that we are waiting on results for, so we continue to pray that those come back normal.  Ultimately, we are very hopeful that what ails him can be cured with a little food and a little love.  We can see him getting a little stronger each time we hold him now, he even lifted his head off Tiffany this afternoon when we was resting on her.  There are all of these little things that he’s starting to do that really makes us believe that he is going to be just fine.

He’s very photogenic as you can tell by this picture.  Although his eyes are closed here, he has been opening them for short spurts of 20 minutes at a time.  There is nothing better than looking into that little man’s in the eyes, it always puts a big smile on your face.

That brings me to this blog and what it is doing for Makoa.  Not only has it been extremely cathartic for both Tiffany and myself, but it’s been amazing to see the overwhelming response we’ve received from our friends and family.  As I’ve said before, I am a believer in the positive power of prayer.  I read Makoa his prayers every night before I leave his side.  He always lets out a little quiver or sigh.

It’s wonderful getting to share Makoa’s story with all of you, joining together in prayer, and most importantly bringing glory to God.  His grace continues to amaze me, and I’m so thankful to be able to share our journey with you.

Removing My Shoes

11 Jan

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I’m done plucking blackberries.  There is God all around us and we need to open our eyes.  Thank you to all of the people who are keeping Makoa and the Breeden ohana in your prayers.

A quick update…

I spoke with Tiffany and they have moved Makoa up to the 5th floor where all of the stable babies go.  This is of course great news!  The doctor with terrible bedside manners was actually very kind to Tiffany today, saying that he would help with getting us transferred.  He also said our little guy was looking MUCH stronger and it in fact may just be nutrition.  All of your prayers are working!!

It looks like the transfer may or may not happen, it all comes down to the insurance.  We are praying that if we are supposed to be at Children’s it happens, and if not, for God’s path to be shown to us.  We want the best care and if that is at Torrance than so be it.

We will be staying at Tiffany’s parents tonight so I will be able to see Makoa as well as Kaia and Nainoa.  I have dubbed the Glendale-Santa Monica-Torrance spread the “Triangle of Traffic” due to the distance between each.  I’m sure it will be a juggling act for the next few weeks, but our family and friends are a great help.  Thank you to all of those who have offered to help.  We really appreciate it!