The Boswells

The Boswells

Friday, July 8, 2016

Happy ONE! {Davis}

Last weekend, we celebrated Davis turning one! The emotions we were feeling were nothing less than gratitude and joy. There were many days that we sat in the hospital not even knowing if this day would ever come for Davis. We are so thankful to the wonderful and amazing doctors and nurses at Children's of Alabama. They never gave up on Davis, many seeing that the odds were stacked against him, too many obstacles to overcome, but had watched him fight through every time.

I remember when our team at the hospital approached us about Davis needing a heart transplant to survive. My heart was overwhelmed, and I was broken watching my baby struggle to live. It seemed like such a silly thing to be discussing when we didn't even know if Davis would live to see the next hour. Many times, I was down on my knees pleading with God for Davis' life. Hospital life is hard, and everyday was filled with ups and downs. And one day, I surrendered. I surrendered to God's will. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do; give up control, raise the white flag. That day, I gave Davis back to God.

It's been close to eight months since Davis received his gift of life. We are forever grateful to the Perry family. We struggle at times putting our feeling into words, because there are no words to describe the gratitude we feel in our hearts. Not a day goes by that we don't think of them and John Clarke, our little hero. And while we were celebrating Davis' first birthday, we were also celebrating John Clarke in our hearts.

Davis is doing great! He's doing so much better than anyone would have thought or imagined, but we know our God is in the business of doing that. Ephesians 3:20 says "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine." I believe that all children are miracles from God, but God granted us another miracle when he spared Davis' life. We thank God for the time He has given us with Davis. Time to make precious memories. Time we do not take for granted. Every day is precious.

Many family and friends came to help us celebrate Davis. We are again, so thankful for the support they have shown us. Our community has wrapped their arms around us, and we couldn't be more proud to live in the Auburn/Opelika area. With so much hate and bitterness in the world, especially on this day, it's great to live and work with people who still have so much love in their hearts. Thank you for your prayers and for loving us so well.

 Happy birthday, Davis!

 Frosting is yummy!

Davis enjoying a cupcake for breakfast on his birthday!
He loved it!

Davis' actual birthday was on a Thursday, and we held his party the following Saturday. His theme was "Oh, the Places You'll Go"by Dr, Seuss. We appreciate everyone who made time to come, especially with it being a busy fourth of July weekend!

 Davis is officially on the move!
He started crawling a few weeks ago! Hes already pulling
up to his knees!

 The struggle is real to get a family picture with a baby and a toddler!

 I don't have many pictures with my boys; I'm usually the one behind the camera.
Extra thankful for this snap!

It's safe to say that Davis enjoyed his cake!

Davis weighs 19 pounds and 1 ounce. He's wearing 9-12 month clothes and a size 3 diaper. He loves Mickey Mouse, crawling to the back door to try to play with the blinds, and everything his big brother does. He likes taking baths but isn't a fan of the splash park. He's tried several new foods and is very interested in eating. We couldn't be more proud of the progress he's made. We thank the Lord for giving Davis the ability and strength to reach and even exceed his goals!

Thank everyone for praying us through this year. We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers, for this is only the beginning of our journey. We love you all!


Monday, June 20, 2016

10 & 11 Months {Davis}

So often I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am so thankful for every second, minute, hour, and day with Davis. Things are stressful at times (a lot of times), and it's hard. So hard that sometimes I think it's unbearable. But then I look at Davis, see him smile and know with all of my heart, we would go through everything again and again, just to have these moments. There were days I didn't think I'd be writing about his milestones and accomplishments every month, yet here I am. God has given us this time. Time we do not take for granted. This second chance of life is the best, most important gift other than the gift of salvation. We want to use it wisely and give God all the glory and praise for what he's done for our family.

Davis is making huge strides! We love watching him grow and learn. He's wearing 9 month clothes and weighs 18.5 pounds. That puts him in about the 20th percentile for weight. Right now he's holding his own, but we would like to see him pack on some more lbs. Feeding is going great! Davis is still taking the majority of his food by mouth. He maybe gets 1 to 2 tube feeds a day to supplement what he doesn't take during the day. He's taking more solid foods by mouth. Before he would hold the food in his mouth before swallowing. Now his swallowing is more automatic. He continues to see a speech therapist once a week to work on feeding.

Davis is about 3 months behind developmentally, which is a miracle in itself. After everything he has been through, to only be 3 months behind is terrific. I give all the credit to our Lord who has given Davis the strength and ability, and also, to our fabulous physical and occupational therapists at Children's. They worked with him everyday, and showed Tucker and I things we could be doing to help Davis reach his developmental goals. Davis also has a wonderful physical therapist who comes once a month to work with him and shows me things I can do to help him continue to make progress. He's doing so well that at our last visit, she said it was time to rewrite goals for Davis, because he has already reached the previous goals.

Davis can sit up by himself without any aide or support. He can roll from his back to his stomach and from stomach to back. He can go from a sitting position to a laying position and vice versa unaided. He is very determined and motivated to reach toys and will get himself into a crawling position to get to them. He's doing lots of scooting and wiggling around, so we don't think it will be too much longer before he begins crawling. We have also been working with Davis on putting weight on his legs. He has showed some interest in pulling up, so we are working hard to encourage that.

Davis has gone from 12 medications to just 5!!! He is completely off all of his stomach meds, and he hasn't shown any signs of reflux at all. They took him off his antibiotic and antiviral medication, because it was making his neutrophil (help fight infection) count go down. Right now, he's on aspirin, his transplant meds, steriod, and  antifungal. It's amazing the progress he has made in such a short amount of time!

During these two months, Davis went to the Montgomery Zoo with his brother and Aunt Kate, he took his first boat ride, and got his first haircut. I was trying really hard to wait till a year old to cut his hair, but his bangs were so long they would get in his eyes. You could just tell it bothered him. I wasn't ready to take him to get a "real" haircut, so I just trimmed it some around the edges.

 Wild hair, don't care!
(Except I kind of cared.)

 Trying to get a picture this month was a struggle!
I get props just for just getting it done, and I was on time,
I might add!

Much better!
This was obviously post trim.

I forgot to mention that Davis now has 4 teeth, and they are absolutely precious! Hopefully, he will be using them to chomp and munch on all kinds of delicious foods! It's hard to believe that he will be a year old next week! When we were at the hospital time seemed to drag on, but since we've been home, it's seemed to fly by. We are so thrilled to be planning a ONE YEAR celebration with this sweet boy!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

What a great weekend! The boys and I headed to the lake, while Tucker and his dad went to the Farmlinks golf course near Sylacauga for the weekend. The trip was Tucker's birthday gift from the boys and me. Since everything that happened with Davis, Tucker hasn't been able to get away. He worked three days a week while we were at Children's and only took time off at the beginning and for transplant and recovery. He works so hard everyday, and we are so thankful for everything he does for our little family. This was a much deserved trip doing what he loves with one of his favorite people, his dad.

Hudson, Davis, and I enjoyed a weekend of swimming, being lazy, and doing whatever we wanted to do. Mymama and Phyllis were there to help out with the boys, and Emily, Andy, and Prudence joined us too! It was the perfect weekend! It made me realize how much I have missed weekends on the lake. I always leave well rested and clear headed. I'm a firm believer that Lake Martin is just good for your soul!

 Ready for a swim!

 Hudson loves a boat ride!

 They couldn't get enough of the doo rags!

 "Mommy, I'm a pirate! Arrrrgggg!"

 Best friends

 Swimming with Aunt Emmy and Pru!

 I love that Hudson enjoys the lake just as much as I do!

 I'm so thankful this kiddo gets to experience the lake.

 The doo rags get me every time!

 First time tubing!

 Emily's still got it!

 Even Shug took a dip!

Sweet baby love!

Tucker and Big Al enjoyed two rounds of golf on 
two different days. They stayed in a cabin on the golf
course and ate at the clubhouse.
It looks beautiful!

As much as we missed Tucker and Big Al, we were so glad they were able to get away and spend some much needed time together. We had a ton of fun at our home away from home, and we can't wait to go back for the 4th! We are so grateful to the men and women who served to make weekends like this possible for our family. It's freedoms like these we take for granted so often.


Monday, May 30, 2016

3 Years Old {Hudson}

My biggest, the boy that made me a mommy, is three! I don't even know how it happened. People say enjoy every moment, because it goes by fast, and boy were they right! It's been bittersweet watching him grow and gain independence. I'm so proud of him in so many ways and enjoy watching him grow and reach milestones, but in my heart, there is a tugging, a longing, wanting him to stay little. In many ways this year has been a blur. My heart hurts sometimes thinking about all the time I missed with him, especially when things with Davis weren't so good.

I'd leave for half a week to stay with Davis, and I would come back, and Hudson would have learned something new or would be saying something new. One thing I can say is, Hudson was always around people who loved and cared about him. I can't say enough wonderful things about my sweet mother-in-love, Phyllis and Tucker's sister and bother-in-law. Phyllis basically lived with us during that time, and Emily and Andy opened their home to all of us. Hudson even had his own room at their house. Tucker and I decided early on that we had to do what was best for Hudson and Davis, even if that meant we didn't see each other but for a few hours each week. One of us was always with one of them. We did everything we could to keep Hudson's routine as "normal"as possible during those stressful months. The good news is that Hudson won't remember any of it, and I actually think it has made him a well rounded, more resilient kiddo. The way he handled all the changes and uncertainty was amazing!

Hudson is my sweet, mischievous, dashing little boy! He loves all things super hero, especially Ninja Turtles. He's also into dinosaurs thanks to our sweet neighbor across the street. She gave Hudson a book about dinosaurs that was her son's, and Hudson has been hooked since. He can identity a triceratops, T-Rex, Iguanadon, and Brontosaurus. He can count to twenty, knows all of his shapes including hexagon and octagon, and knows all of his colors. He knows his ABC's and loves to sing! His favorite book is a nursery rhyme book, and he can say or sing just about all of them! His favorites to sing are "Twinkle, Twinkle", "Itsy bitsy Spider", and "Baa Baa Black Sheep". Other favorite books right now are "Little Blue Truck" and "Goodnight Train". We read them every night, over and over!

Hudson loves to be outside! Tucker and I gave him a bicycle with training wheels for his birthday, and many days, we don't even make it to the house from the car, because he wants to ride his bicycle. He got a smaller version trampoline for Christmas, and he also loves to jump in it. Tucker put a basketball net inside it, and he and Hudson like to slam dunk the balls. Hudson especially likes playing with his friend, Watson, who lives right down the street. He's just a few months older than Hudson. They ride their bikes up and down the neighborhood sidewalks. Hudson always wants to go see if Watson is at home!

Hudson still goes to daycare, which gives me lots of time to work with Davis on feeding and physical therapy. Davis has made huge improvements in a short period of time, and I believe it's due in part to the time I've been able to devote to him during the day while Hudson is at daycare. His best friends at daycare are Kelsie, Walker, and Carter. I'm pretty sure they keep each other in trouble! I'm sad that he will be leaving his daycare in August when I return to work, but I know he will adjust quickly to our new routine.

Hudson already has a heart for the Lord. Leaving church on Sunday, he asked me "Mommy, are we done praising the Lord?". I told him church was over, but we will never stop praising the Lord. He learned about Abraham in Sunday School and is now obsessed with the "Father Abraham" song. He says the blessing before meals and prays by himself with Davis every night. Tucker and I help him say his prayers every night before he goes to bed. One of us will say them and Hudson will repeat after us. He loves his "Jesus Storybook Bible"! His favorite to read about is Daniel in the lion's den. I love watching his little heart grow in the Lord. I can't wait to see what great things God has planned for him!

Hudson is the best big brother! He loves Davis with all his heart. He always wants to make it better when Davis gets upset. He will say, "It's okay, Davis. Huddy is here." while rubbing his head. He will sit on the blanket with Davis in the afternoons after daycare and play with him. Davis pretty much thinks his Huddy hung the moon! Everything Hudson does makes him smile and giggle. And the sweetest thing is when Hudson gives Davis a "noggin" before we put Davis down for bed. A noggin is when Hudson gently bumps his forehead to Davis' forehead. Hudson will say "Give me a noggin, D. Love you, D!". And my mama heart explodes. Every. Time.  

 A birthday waffle for the birthday boy!
Daddy's waffles are almost as good as Shug's. Almost!

Showing off his muscles!
Hudson is 36.6 lbs. and 39 inches tall!
He wears size 3t clothes and is completely potty trained!

 Mommy and Daddy got to take cupcakes to daycare!
Tucker had dental work earlier that morning. I was thrilled
he got to go with me. This is something neither of us
would normally get to do because of work.

Huddy on his big boy bicycle!
And it doesn't get any cooler than a
Leonardo helmet, my friends!

 Make a wish!

Happy birthday, Hudson!

If you couldn't tell, we absolutely adore this fantastic little boy! We are blessed to be his parents, and we are so thankful God chose us for the job!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Divine Appointment

I have said it before, but I must say it again...I no longer believe in coincidences. Over the course of this amazing journey with Davis, I have learned that God loves his children so much that he leaves no matter, no detail untouched or unplanned. Think about that for a second and let it sink in. Our Heavenly Father who created us in his image loves us to the point that he wouldn't leave our lives to chance. Every detail has been meticulously planned. And He does this to bring good, even when it doesn't feel good, even when it's hard (really hard, excruciatingly hard), and even when the situation you find yourself in seems impossible and without solutions.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
all the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him, who
have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

People often ask "Why does God allow bad things to happen?" Whether it be a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one taken too soon, or the diagnosis of an incurable illness, we humans question the goodness of God. I have to admit, when all of this began with Davis, I too questioned God. I was hurt. I was angry. We were good people. We went to church and were involved. We were doing our best to bring Hudson up in a loving, Christian home. Why would God allow this to happen to us? One day sitting in Davis' hospital room on the CVICU, I was reading in the book of John, chapter 9.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, 
that he was born blind?" 
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened
so that the works of God might be displayed in him."
John 9:1-3

I burst into tears. God was speaking to me through His word. On that day, I had peace. I had peace knowing that no matter what happened, if Davis lived or if he didn't, God would be with us. And through this terrible thing that was happening to Davis, good would come forth and prevail. People would grow in their faith, including us. People who hadn't gone to the Lord in prayer for many years would be down on their knees in tears praying for Davis. People we don't even know have been touched by what God has done in our lives through Davis. And I believe that many that didn't know Jesus as their Savior, asked Him into their hearts after hearing our story. But it's not our story, it's God's story, and He is truly the best story teller. I'm still not sure why he chose us and the Perrys to tell His story, but I believe He knew in advance that we would bring glory and honor to His great name in the midst of a storm.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, " declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

The day of Davis' transplant, I received a message on Facebook from a former coworker of mine, Morgan Smith, that basically said "I think Davis might have received my friend's baby's heart." We only worked together for a couple of years. She taught 4th grade and I taught third. I hadn't seen her in many years other than a couple of passings at the lake. We have been friends on Facebook for many years, and I enjoy seeing the pictures of her sweet little family. I tell you this to drive home a point. There are no coincidences! There is not one person placed in your life at random. God put this sweet friend in my life, because He knew she would be our connection to the Perry family, the family that donated their son's heart to Davis and saved his life.

Morgan asked me if we had any information about the donor. I told her everything I knew, but it wasn't much. We knew our donor had the same blood type, was in our region, but far enough away that the surgeon had to fly to get the heart, and that something had happened at the hospital the donor was at that delayed the surgery. I wouldn't find out till later that Morgan and her family were actually searching flights departing from Birmingham, Alabama and landing at Monroe, Louisiana. And they found one.

Without telling me this, Morgan began to tell me a little bit about the Perry family. She didn't tell me a whole lot of specifics, but said she felt very sure that Davis received their son's, named John Clarke, heart. At first, I thought there was no way, but the more information we learned about the Perry family and the details of John Clarke's passing, the more I began to think the Perrys were our donor family. Of course, I stalked Holley and Jonathan on Facebook. I was relieved to find out later that they had actually done the same thing. (See, I'm not the only crazy one!) I remember the first time I looked at Holley's page, and I saw where the night of John Clarke's passing, they had a prayer vigil at their house praying for the babies that would receive John Clarke's organs. I knew then, that even if they weren't our donor family, they were Godly people, and I hoped that they were truly our donor family.

Through Morgan, Holley and I became Facebook friends and began messaging each other. Soon after we exchanged cell phone numbers and communicated by text.We both felt 99.9 % sure that Davis received John Clarke's heart. We did this for a few months, then Holley messaged me to let me know that they received confirmation that Davis did in fact receive John Clarke's heart. I remember sitting in my car and crying tears of thanksgiving. I recall being in total awe of my amazing God, amazed at how he planned and carried out His wonderful plan. I mean, what are the chances of this actually happening, the chance that two families would be connected by a mutual friend and through Facebook! Only God could write such a story! (Ya'll didn't know God was on Facebook, did you?)

In the meantime, I was asked to speak at the Donate Life event at our local hospital, East Alabama Medical Center. I'll be honest and tell you I didn't really want to do it. I'm a third grade teacher, not a public speaker, but many people had told me that I needed to share my story, speak or even write a book maybe. I just laughed it off, but I've also had enough experiences where God has used the people in my life to deliver His message, so I began to wonder if God was trying to tell me something. That morning, I got in what I call my prayer chair. It's where I do my daily devotional, praying, and where I spend some quiet time with my Lord. I prayed and told the Lord that if I was supposed to speak or write a book that he would make it clear and make a way for it to happen. the next day, I was asked to speak at the Donate Life event. I heard you loud and clear, God!

Needless to say, I was extremely nervous. I began praying that the Lord would use me to deliver His message on that day. A few weeks passed, and I was contacted by the coordinator of the event, Lisa Harmon, to come to a planning meeting at the hospital. Me, being the planner that I am, wanted to know every detail. I also wanted as much information as possible, thinking it would help my nerves. While there, Lisa asked if I knew who our donor family was, and I began to tell her and others this amazing story. When I was finished, she asked if I thought the Perry family would be willing to come and speak as well. I told her I didn't know, but I would text Holley to see. And honestly, I didn't want to. I wasn't sure how Holley would react. Was it too soon? I think both families knew that someday we would like to meet, but didn't know how to go about having that conversation or when. We certainly didn't think or expect it to be so soon. So, after drafting many texts and deleting them, only to do it again, I finally sent Holley the text asking if they would be willing to travel to meet us. And I held my breath and wished that I could unsend a text message. To my surprise Holley responded and said that she too had been thinking about meeting us. She had been praying about it, but also didn't know how to go about suggesting it either. Talk about a sigh of relief!

You know that song by Carrie Underwood "Jesus, Take the Wheel"? Well, I believe that the Lord was in control the entire time, but this is the part of the story where He really shows out! EAMC took care of every expense for the Perrys, the airfare and their hotel room. Lisa, the director of the event, said she had never seen anything like it. I remember her calling me and telling me she just couldn't believe how easy it was. I replied, "That's what happens when God plans an event!". We truly all believe that this was a divine appointment set up by the one and only, God himself!

After talking with Holley, we all agreed it would be better to meet the day before the event. Both families would be nervous and emotional anyway, but thought that it would be better to get the "first time to meet you" nerves out of the way.We decided to meet at the chapel in the hospital then go to dinner at a local favorite, Mafia's. When the day finally came, I was a mess! As Jonathan described it, it was like going out on a first date. Would they like us? Would I say the wrong thing?Would they ask us out on a second date? I was a basket case, but was immediately put at ease after meeting Holley and Jonathan. There was hugging, teary eyes, questions, and surprisingly, laughter. We have many things in common; we're about the same age and have children about the same age. Tucker and Jonathan shared a love of football, each rooting for a different team. The Perrys are avid LSU fans, while we root for Auburn.

 Davis went to Holley right away.
 It's almost like he knew how special she is. 

 Two families connected by one heart.

 I so admire Jonathan's faith and strength.
This is one of my favorite pictures.

 This is not a glare from the camera. There was a ring 
around the sun this day. I know some scientist somewhere
can probably explain this, but it wouldn't matter anyway, I wouldn't believe it.
God was giving us a sign!

And all the while this was going on, I felt a peace, and I hope they felt it too. Tucker and I truly feel like God has answered yet another prayer for us. We have prayed for Holley and Jonathan before we ever knew who they were, before their precious John Clarke would leave to be with Jesus in heaven. We prayed that God would give them peace and comfort that only He can give. And He has. I don't know how Holley and Jonathan were able to meet us. I don't know how Jonathan was able to speak at the Donate Life event so soon after losing his only son. The son he prayed for. The only explanation was God. God gave Holley and Jonathan strength.

I'd be lying if I said I no longer question or get angry with God sometimes. Many mornings I have cried, not understanding why our answer was yes and the Perry's answer was no. I can't fathom that here on this earth. But I don't linger in that place long. I have trust in my Lord. I lean on Him for understanding. Many days I cry, because my heart breaks for Holley. That woman is strong and her faith is even stronger! She fought for my son to receive John Clarke's heart despite being told several times that six month old babies didn't need hearts. She didn't take no for an answer. She persisted while grieving the loss of her child. Do you understand that?! In her darkest hour, in the midst of the storm, in the midst of great despair, she unselfishly thought of us, of my baby. I'll never be able to express my gratitude, but I hope that Holley feels it every single day.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not 
on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

The life that Davis has been given is not one we take for granted. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of the Perrys and John Clarke. There is not a day that goes by that I don't cry tears of thanksgiving for the second chance of life that Davis has been given. This is not the platform either family would have chosen, but it's the platform God gave us. We hope to bring awareness to organ donation while also bringing others to know Jesus. Our faith is the only thing that got us through this. We live life now with an eternal focus. I'm not sure who originally said this, but this quote has stuck with me "Earth is the only Hell a christian will ever know and the only Heaven a non-believer will ever know." How true that is! We don't know how many days God will give us with Davis nor how many days we each have left on this earth. God doesn't promise us tomorrow. But we have today. To accept Jesus into your heart all you have to do is repent of your sins, believe that Jesus is God's son who died on the cross for your sins, and ask him to come into your heart.

Pray this prayer.
    “Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

    Prayer borrowed from

If you prayed that prayer, you just made the most important and best decision of your life! Congratulations! I encourage you to tell someone and be baptized. Thank all you for reading this little blog of mine. Thank you for caring and most of all thank you for praying. A special thanks goes out to Lisa Harmon and everyone at EAMC for making this event possible.  Please continue to pray for us, Davis, and the Perry family. Our story is far from over, this is just one chapter. God's still writing.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

9 Months {Davis}

Every month, my goal is to catch up on my blogging, but as you can see, it never happens. Being a full time mommy takes up every minute, and any free time is devoted to laundry and housework. It never ends, and at times, it's extremely overwhelming, but it's the absolute best, most fulfilling work I'll ever do. I'm a month behind on Davis' monthly blogs. Sweet boy just turned 10 months, and I'm just now writing about 9 months. And to be honest, I completely forgot to take his 9 month picture! Gasp! Major mom fail!

Our makeshift 9 month picture!

This was a huge month for Davis! He is now sitting independently and rolling over consistently. He can roll from back to stomach and from stomach to back. He also has two bottom teeth and one top tooth trying it's best to break the skin. He had his first physical therapy session, and his therapist said he looked great and to keep doing what we have been doing. He's reached most of his goals except going from a laying position to a sitting position on his own.

Davis is doing well at his weekly speech appointments. He will consistently take one ounce of baby food twice a day. I usually try to give him a fruit in the morning and a veggie in the afternoon. Most of the time, we have to trick him into taking it, making funny faces/noises until he opens his mouth, and then we shove the food in his mouth. Not the best method, but it's effective. He has opened his mouth a few times during feedings. His favorites right now are bananas and avocados.

Unfortunately, Davis failed a swallow study this month. As disappointed as we were, we did learn what he's doing and how we can move forward. Instead of a typical suck, swallow, breathe pattern that "normal" babies do, Davis is taking little paci sucks until his mouth fills up, then he swallows. His speech therapist at Children's said this is how you or I would drink from a cup. There isn't any way to teach him how to drink from a bottle correctly. Babies lose the sucking reflex at about 4 months of age. After that it becomes a learned activity, but if you haven't practiced it, you lose it. Davis wasn't able to drink from a bottle for so long due to surgeries and not having enough blood flow to the gut to tolerate feeds. Then at his first swallow study he failed, and we learned he's a silent aspirator. At that point, it wasn't safe to give him a bottle. The next step will be to transition him to a straw cup.

Davis is all caught up on his vaccines, except for the live virus vaccines and polio. Dr. Johnson at the Pediatric Clinic has been amazing through all of this! He has followed Davis and stayed involved in his care this entire time. He works closely with our transplant team to ensure that Davis receives the best care possible. At our last appointment with him, Davis weighed 18 pounds 2 ounces and was 28.2 inches long. He's growing and gaining weight, but he still has a long way to go. He's only in the 18th percentile, and we would like to see him bulk up a little bit.

The most exciting thing to happen this month was that we had the wonderful opportunity to meet the family that donated their son's heart to Davis. It was an incredible experience! Our stories could only have been written by God himself, and HE planned our divine appointment. I plan on devoting a separate post for that special meeting.

Davis also went to the zoo for the first time. I know he won't remember it, but it was a special day for Hudson and me. Aunt Kate met us there. She's great at helping wrangle kiddos, and it was nice to spend some time with her too. We spent a couple hours there, then Davis got to meet his great grandfather, Bob, for the first time. It was a wonderful day spent making the very best of memories.

 Waiting to ride the train at the Montgomery Zoo.

Davis with his great grandfather, Bob.

I adore these boys. 

Davis loves to play with his toys, watch Mickey Mouse, and have books read to him. He thinks his big brother, Hudson, is the best there is! Davis loves to watch his every move, and everything Hudson does cracks him up! I love to hear that sweet giggle of his, and I love seeing the special bond between brothers. Those two boys stole their mama's heart a long time ago. 

Forever grateful,

Friday, April 1, 2016

8 Months {Davis}

So much has happened this last month! Davis has progressed leaps and bounds since we have been home, and we couldn't be more proud of him. For starters, Davis now has two bottom teeth! He's been teething for months, so it was exciting to see his teeth finally pop through. He is sitting up all by himself without any support, and he is getting better with tummy time. Our goal is ten minutes a day. Sometimes he makes it, but most of the time he fusses. We are working on ways to help him reach that goal, even if that means doing tummy time several times a day till he gets to 10 minutes.

Davis has progressed the most with his feeds! When he came home, he was completely tube dependent. Now there are days when we may only have to do 1-2 tube feeds, and that's really only to supplement what he doesn't take during bottle feeds. He gets 145 mLs a feeding, mixed with 75 ccs of rice cereal to thicken it up. That's pretty thick, and he has to work really hard to get anything out of the bottle, even with a level 4 nipple. We are hoping now that he's taking a bottle consistently, that we can get him another swallow study to see if he can safely swallow a thinner consistency. I think that will help him tremendously. He's also doing well with solid food. When we first came home, he was very aversive to the spoon, but now he has no issues with it being in his mouth at all. He will take about a tablespoon per offering. We are working on increasing the amount of solid food he takes per day.

This month, Davis went to see a kidney specialist to make sure his kidney function was what it needed to be. We know that due to everything that Davis has been through (heart failure, Berlin heart, bypass, ecmo), that his kidneys did have some injury. Thankfully, we received good news about his kidneys! The doctor said that if he were to compare Davis' kidney function with that of a "normal" baby, he wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Due to the medications he's on and everything that's happened to him, he is at risk of having kidney problems down the road, so they will continue to keep an eye on his kidney function, but as of right now, hes doing wonderful.

We have everything set up with Early Intervention, and Davis will begin seeing a physical therapist once a month. After his initial evaluation, we were told that Davis was at about the 5-6 month range as far as physical development goes, and he's right on track for everything else. What a miracle! Davis will also see his speech therapist once a month to help him continue to reach his feeding goals. We are so thankful for all the support and help we have in the Auburn/Opelika area. This truly is a great place to live and raise a family!

 Wild hair, don't care!
We joke he has the most hair of all the Boswell boys!

So thankful for this boy and his sweet smile!

Tucker and I can't take credit for all the progress Davis has made. We pray everyday that God will give us the wisdom we need to help Davis achieve his goals and reach these important milestones. And HE does! I'm in awe of HIS wonderful works.