Ready for a Judah update? 🙂
We are gradually easing back into “normal” life after being gone for nearly 3.5 months. It was a much needed getaway for our family. The Lord did so much in our hearts – we are forever grateful! But now it’s time to jump back into therapy and doctor appointments. 🙂 I’ll be taking Judah to Gainesville next week for 4 days of therapy. The following week he’ll see three doctors in Lakeland, Orlando and Tampa. Soon after that he’ll see his rehabilitation specialist and hematologist. Thank you, again, for the support you’ve shown our family to help us cover these medical expenses. Your generosity has blown us away!
We’ll also be jumping back into the hyperbaric chamber soon. Chad has been busy, busy setting it back up. I look back and wonder how in the world I spent two 1.5 hour shifts in that chamber every day. Yikes! But I know we’ll get back into a good routine.
Judah’s social skills seem to improve every single day. It’s a lot of fun seeing his personality continue to emerge. He’s imitating new words and sounds. He’s interacting with his siblings more and even with strangers (if you catch him in the right mood) 😉
“I say yes”
“I see ya”
“Butts” – compliments of his Daddy – Judah loves making us laugh by saying “butts”
He tries his best to sing along with us as we sing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Jesus Loves Me” – it melts my heart!!!! I absolutely love hearing him try to sing. 🙂
His vision continues to improve. He notices when we walk away from him and lets us know he’s not pleased. 🙂 And when we come into his visual field he says, “Hi!” It’s the cutest thing EVER!
He is more vocal about his preferences, specifically when he wants to go outside. There are times he hears the front door open and close when the other children run out to play and he gets very angry if he’s not immediately taken outside as well. I love that he’s showing us his desires and preferences.
My biggest prayer request at the moment is Judah’s eating abilities. During our trip Judah developed thrush in his mouth. It was painful for him to eat so he figured out a new way of eating. When we’d put the food in his mouth he put his pacifier in his mouth to sooth himself and suck down the food. At the time we were thankful he was eating – in whatever way he needed to. But it’s become a habit that is proving hard to break. We’re looking for a speech therapist who can help Judah learn to eat correctly, to eventually chew and eat textures, and to drink. He doesn’t currently take a bottle or sippy cup. Please agree with us for wisdom and divine direction. All of our steps are ordered of the Lord.
And last but not least, the biggest update of all!! Next June Judah will be a BIG BROTHER!!!! (GASP!) This came as a complete surprise! I admit I’m overwhelmed at the thought of a new baby coming along when Judah still has so many needs. But I also know God can do so much in Judah in the next 7 months. Our children are absolutely thrilled that we are having another child. Isaac cried when he found out and admitted, “I thought you’d never have more babies after what happened to Judah, but I’ve really wanted another brother or sister.” We are thankful for LIFE. We love all of our children dearly – it’ll be exciting to fall in love with Dearey baby #7.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. 🙂
We love you!
“Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” — Psalm 127:3
Here are some before and after pictures from Judah’s MRI. In the back is the original MRI at 3 months old. On the front screen is the MRI from Wednesday. The white area that you see is fluid that filled in where the brain tissue died away. You’ll notice that in the original MRI there is a little bit of brain tissue in the frontal lobe, but the rest was gone. In the front picture you can see considerably less fluid and lots more brain tissue!!!! Our doctor said Judah has grown almost 50% of his brain back!
Praise THE LORD!!!!!!!!!
And further good news is Judah’s vision has improved and his prescription was reduced! Oh Look What The Lord Has Done!!!!!!
Look what the Lord has done for me! Luke 1:25a
200!!! 200!!! Can you believe it?! Today at 6:30 am I climbed into the chamber for our 200th dive! Amazing!! In less than 6 months we’ve spent approximately 400 hours in the chamber.
Some doctors and therapists have told us not to expect too many results before completing 200 dives; but to expect our best improvements post 200 dives. We are already so thrilled with the improvements we have seen in Judah; and we fully expect to see continued progress in our little man. God is at work!
The most notable changes we see in Judah are:
* He can see! The changes we have seen in Judah’s eye sight have been amazing!! He recognizes us, scans the room, and looks at his toys. It’s thrilling to our hearts! On top of that, MY eyes have improved! My contact lens prescription has reduced and the astigmatism in my eyes is GONE! Praise the Lord!
* He transitions to change easier.
* His overall disposition is happier.
* He desires to move! It is a joy to see Judah strive to move across the floor ~ to roll to his tummy and dig his toes in the carpet in effort to move forward.
* He’s rolling SO WELL in every direction.
* He’s interested in toys! In the past Judah only liked toys that made an interesting noise because he was so dependent on his hearing and not his vision. These days Judah will grab anything he can find (a piece of cloth, a teddy bear, a plastic bowl, a blanket, or a toy) and hold it up in front of his eyes to look at it.
* Not only will Judah look at the toy, he’ll then put it in his mouth. This is a great step to eventually learn to chew and eat textures. I’m so happy to see him explore textures (and fingers) with his mouth.
*Judah babbles! We love his little voice. Sometimes it’s as if he’s carrying on a little conversation with us. SO FUN! He can say hi, dada, mama, doodah (repeats when we tell him to say Judah), stinky, yucky, ya or yes, and shake his head no. And many times a day he is imitating our sounds. When we sing to him he’ll often try to sing along. I love it! 🙂
Throughout the day, it’s common to hear Judah calling for Daddy. 🙂
Today I told Judah to say, “Ha, ha, ha! ” He repeated perfectly! Next I said, “Say Ho, ho, ho!” And he repeated perfectly! He’s learning EVERY day! And he’s interacting with others more and more.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all of you who made the dream of purchasing this hyperbaric oxygen chamber a reality. You are all a part of these victories!!
Here’s a little clip of our celebration in the chamber this morning. 🙂 “Weeeeee!!!”
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57
We had a fun, successful weekend of six ABM sessions in Gainesville. Judah responded well and was an absolute delight. It’s hard to remember that when we first started our trips to Gainesville he often cried and needed lots of comfort. Now he shows excitement to see Mrs. Josie and enjoys his appointments. It thrills my heart!
Last night when we returned home from Gainesville Judah was playing with his toys on the floor. He’d roll to his tummy and kick his legs to try to move. (Looked like a fish out of water- so cute!) He was acting frustrated that he wasn’t getting anywhere so I knelt down next to him and showed him how to move forward as he learned during his ABM sessions. As soon as I helped him move forward he was happy. This is the first time Judah’s shown enjoyment and desire to move like that. In the past we’ve forced him to move and crawl, but now it’s HIS desire and motivation.
For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28
Judah’s brain hemorrhages greatly affected his vision; not only his ability to see, but his ability to understand what he saw. For instance, when I’d show him his pacifier he’d sometimes notice it, but could not recognize what it was. It held no meaning to him so he did not reach for it. But if I shook the pacifier, he’d hear the sound of the handle clicking and look for it with his right hand. And if I’d rub the pacifier on his arm he’d recognize it by touch and find it. It’s truly amazing how his other senses made up the difference where his vision lacked. For almost two years we’ve practiced holding the pacifier in front of Judah’s eyes and asking him if he wanted it. We knew that some day he’d SEE the pacifier, KNOW what it was, and REACH for it.
That day came this week!! Praise God for His healing power!! We’re having so much fun holding Judah’s paci in different places to test where he can see it and whether he’ll reach for it. We are watching Judah’s healing unfold right before our eyes!
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Isaiah 35:5
Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
Once upon a time, little Judah suffered two spontaneous brain hemorrhages. The bigger of the two bleeds left him unable to see anything but light. Gradually, Judah’s eyesight began to return; yet we were reminded that the bleeds also damaged the part of the brain that enables Judah to understand what he is seeing.
But today, I can boldly say that Judah CAN see!! And he is understanding more and more of what he is seeing!
Check out this video from this afternoon:
One of my favorite parts of my day is sneaking up on Judah and watching him recognize my face and say, “hi!” I absolutely love it! After months of wondering if he’d ever see my face, these moments are true treasures to my heart.
Thank you, Father!
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew 11:4-5
Recently I posted a video showing Judah intentionally rolling from his back to tummy and ENJOYING tummy time. At that time he used his right leg to push off the floor and roll himself over. This morning, however, he rolled over 6 or 7 times using his left side to roll to his tummy!
Initially, after his brain injury, his left side was considered paralyzed, yet today he used it like a pro. Praise God for all He has done, all He is doing, and all that is to come!
Here’s a video clip from this evening. He’s enjoying his new ability to roll in any direction he pleases. I love it!
Judah is making great progress! He’s showing more and more desire to move. Check out this picture! Yesterday I laid him next to his toys so I could do the dishes. When I finished I found him in a whole new spot! And still moving! In fact, after I took this picture he moved another 5 feet! This blesses my heart SO MUCH! Thank you, Lord, for working in Judah!
We are so excited to share another victory!! Ok, first off, please ignore the messy home (the girls are building forts) and ignore the two kids bickering in the background. But! Look at this!! Judah has not liked being on his tummy! At all! For months and months, when we’d put him on his tummy he’d resist, cry, and roll right back to his back. But today when none of us were near him he decided to experiment – he rolled to his belly and stayed put for awhile. You can see him start to roll a few times, but decide to stay on his tummy awhile longer!! This is such a big deal! Happy tears here!!
I love hearing Judah imitate words. Blesses my heart to the core!
Today Chad was helping Judah practice sitting up and said, “It’s Easy!” Judah copied him over and over!
We love you, Judah! You bring such joy to our hearts!
P.S. Please excuse how messy he is! ha!
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:30
Last night we completed Judah’s 100th dive in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. What a great feeling!
We continue to see improvements every single week. Glory to God! The most noticeable improvement has been hearing Judah imitate sounds. He’s giving kisses and imitating the sounds animals make. The other night I said, “ha, ha, ha” and Judah copied it perfectly. It’s so much fun! And it shows just how much potential Judah truly does have. All things are possible! We believe it!
Another improvement – Judah is not as sensory defensive in his mouth. He’s putting his toys and fingers into his mouth. One of our therapists recently gave us a little vibrator used in speech therapy. This morning he grabbed it out of my hand and put it in his own mouth. He allowed it to sit on his tongue for about 5 seconds and then giggled. This is a huge improvement! And a necessary one for him to be able to tolerate textured foods.
This morning we had a great appointment with our pediatrician. Our Dr. commented he felt that Judah was at 7 or 8 months in development. I was a little surprised by his remark. For months and months Judah had been at about 3 months in development. For some reason it hadn’t crossed my mind that he had moved up on the charts. So the Dr. pulled up the checklist for 9 month development onto his computer. Judah passed almost half of the questions. He then pulled up the checklist for 6 month development. I was able to answer “YES” to every question on that list! It was such a fantastic feeling! While this is still a 12 month delay, it is progress. And for that, I am thankful!
Here are our biggest prayer requests right now.
*Judah will enjoy textures and be able to swallow them.
*He will learn to pick up food with his fingers and and to learn how to self-feed.
*He will learn to drink from a bottle or a cup.
*His balance will improve and he will be able to sit unassisted.
*He will desire to move! He will enjoy being on his tummy and discovering how to scoot around the room.
*The movement in his eyes will cease. His vision will improve.
“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalm 138:3
We’re trying to teach Judah how to give a kiss and blow kisses. He hasn’t mastered the hand motion yet; but he’s beginning to imitate the sound. 🙂
Kisses from Judah! Muah!