The Boswells

The Boswells

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Four Months {Davis}

Davis is four months old! On one hand, I can't believe time has flown by, and on the other hand, I can't believe it's only been four months. There are times when time seems to stand still, the wait never ending, and then in a blink, a week has gone by. I am thankful for the strength that God gives us to journey through each day. He gives us just enough manna for today, allowing us to fully depend on him to get us through this.

Davis weighs 14 pounds 3 ounces and is wearing size six month clothes. He's in the 30th percentile for weight and the 3rd percentile for height. Proportionally, he's in the 87th percentile. That's a nice way to say he's short and chunky. He's gaining weight at the appropriate rate, even gaining too much despite the nutritionist reducing the calories to 27 per ounce. His nutritionist has since reduced the calorie count to 24 per ounce. The reduced calories also make it easier for him to tolerate his feeds.

As mentioned in a previous post, Davis received his two month vaccines. Shortly after receiving his shots, he had the typical fever and fussiness, but because of his cardiac output, it lasted a little bit longer and even required going back on oxygen for a few days. The doctors decided it would be best to increase Davis' cardiac output, so they increased the rate of his Berlin from 80 to 85. Additionally, he started throwing up more frequently. Not tolerating feeds is a common sign of heart failure. The body sends blood to all the major organs (brain, kidneys, liver), meaning the stomach does not have the blood flow it needs to do it's job. The nutritionist switched his formula from Enfamil Gentlease to Simulac Alimentum, which is easier on the stomach. They also put him on Prilosec and Zantac to help with reflux. All of these changes have helped; Davis has the typical normal baby spit ups with occasional vomiting.

Davis had another swallow study this month, and finally, he passed! I was quite nervous that he wouldn't even participate this time, because he had not shown any interest in a pacifier, but once he figured out something was coming out of that bottle, he figured it out real quick. It was such a relief to see him sucking from a bottle! Davis did not pass for the thinnest consistency, but he did pass for solids, and we can thicken his formula with rice, so he can take it from a bottle. I was disappointed he didn't pass for the thin consistency, but was so proud to see how far he has come. Passing any part of the swallow study meant he was one step closer to being a "normal" baby. This mama cried tears of joy!

Davis loves sitting in his recliner!
His favorite part is visiting with all his friends who stop by to chat!

Unfortunately, bottle feeding has been somewhat of a struggle. Davis did great in the beginning, taking nearly an ounce and sucking the bottle dry. Then he just quit. Flat out refused to take a bottle, a paci, anything. In fact, it was almost like he had developed an aversion to the spoon, nipple, or paci. He could have his whole hand in his mouth, but gag if you touch his lip with the paci. It was very frustrating. Solid foods have been about the same as bottle feeding; it's hit or miss. He's tried avocados, bananas, and sweet potatoes. His favorite so far has been bananas. We were able to get him to take about 8 mLs at one point. Right now, we are taking a step back and just focusing on getting him to take the pacifier again.

 It's already Christmas at Children's! 
I couldn't resist a snap in front of the tree!

This kiddo thinks it's funny to pull out his feeding tube!
It's not so funny when his nurse has to put it back in! :(

The good news is we are moving up on the transplant list! We actually had an offer last week, but we were unable to accept. Davis has only three percent antibodies, which is great, but this particular heart had a particular antigen that one of those antibodies would have attacked, making the risk of rejection higher. Our bodies don't develop antibodies until we are about a year old, which is why Davis can accept a heart of any blood type. So how did Davis develop these antibodies? The doctors think he probably received the antibodies from the blood products (blood transfusions, platelets) he received earlier on. The doctors knew this was a risk, but he needed the blood and platelets to save his life. They told us they would have accepted the heart and gone through with the transplant if Davis had been sick in an effort to save his life. As hard as it was to turn down this heart, we knew it was not the heart for Davis. We are thankful that God has given Davis strength and has kept him healthy and infection free, so that the doctors don't have to consider performing a risky procedure. When we pray, yes, we pray for a heart, but we also pray for the perfect heart for Davis. We know God is working on that, and we thank him for answering our prayers and keeping Davis safe. Sometimes God has to say "No", because He's working on a bigger "Yes!".


Monday, November 2, 2015


Hudson absolutely loved Halloween this year! Last year, he was still too young to trick or treat, and he wasn't quiet old enough to eat candy. Fast forward to this year, and he was ready! Our little ninja turtle had a blast, and even got to have twice the fun, because he got to trick or treat twice!

The weekend before Halloween, we carved our pumpkins. Tucker spent the morning with us to help, and then he headed back to Birmingham to stay with Davis. I say WE carved pumpkins, but it was really mostly Tucker. Hudson wasn't really interested. He didn't even want to touch the pumpkin guts and seeds. Tucker and I were calling it pumpkin guts. Hudson couldn't say it right, so it came out "pumpkin butts". We couldn't help but giggle each time he said it. Needless to say, Hudson and I played while Daddy did all the hard work. I did help him clean out the "pumpkin butts" though!

 Pumpkin carving fun and the finished product!
Tucker did an excellent job!

The city of Auburn did their trick or treating on Thursday night this year. Auburn High had a game on Friday night, and Auburn University played Ole Miss at home on Saturday. It broke my heart to miss Hudson's first real trick or treat experience, but I was holding down the fort with Davis. Daddy and Shug did a great job of getting him ready for his Halloween party at daycare and for trick or treating that night. He had so much fun that he didn't want it to end! Tucker sent me a video at the end of the night of him at the door crying, begging to trick or treat more. 


 Ready to get some candy!

Checking out his loot!

Children's Hospital held all of their festivities on Friday. Davis can't leave the unit without a team of people, and the machine that makes his Berlin function weighs about 250 pounds and has a battery life of about an hour. Due to this, he wasn't able to take part in the Halloween festivities, but that didn't stop us from celebrating! He dressed up like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. It was the perfect costume for him, because like the Tin Man, Davis also needs a heart. 

 This little Tin Man needs a heart!

Saturday morning, Tucker and Hudson headed to Birmingham. Hudson was able to spend some time with his little brother, and we had an opportunity to spend time together as a family, something that rarely happens these days. 

 My heart swells seeing these cuties  together!

These are the moments that help us to persevere in this wait.

Later that night, Hudson got to trick or treat again with his cousin Prudence. It was cool and rainy, but they didn't care. And neither did I. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to spend time with my biggest making memories. We are looking forward to taking both of our boys trick or treating next year!



Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2015

Every year we take Hudson to a pumpkin patch. Last year, we went to Jack-o Lantern Lane in Lafayette. It's a legit pumpkin patch, meaning they actually grow the pumpkins there on the farm. There are so many fun family activities to do there including the hayride, inflatables, train ride, and a petting zoo. No, they didn't pay me to write this, it's just that awesome! Hudson loved it last year, so we decided to go again this year.

Going to the pumpkin patch meant a morning away from Davis, but Tucker and I feel that it's important to continue to do normal family things with Hudson. We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses at Children's of Alabama for the excellent care that Davis receives. We felt completely confident leaving Davis in their very capable hands, so that we could have some much needed family time together. Of course, it was bittersweet. We enjoyed watching Hudson run, play, and giggle, but there is always something missing. Without Davis there, our little family is incomplete. We look forward to next year when the four of us can go together. 

 Selfie on the hayride!

 Hudson loved petting the rabbits!

 Checking out the horses.

 Last year, Hudson was too small to slide down this thing. 
This year, he was just the right size!

 Picking the perfect pumpkin takes time. 
You can't rush perfection!

 Trying to get a two year old to pose for a picture is nearly impossible!

 These silly Boswell boys!

 Happy Fall!
We miss Davis!

 You know we had to ride Thomas the Train!

This boy steals my heart everyday!

The cutest pumpkin in the patch is Davis! 
I had to include a picture of him in his pumpkin pajamas!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Three Months {Davis}

Our miracle baby is three months old! I am so grateful for everyday that we have with him. I don't want to ever take these days for granted ever again, with Davis or Hudson. Each day we have with both boys is a treasured gift. Tucker and I are so thankful God chose us to be these amazing boys' parents. We just want to soak up every hour, every minute, and every second. Soon they will be big boys, and we will miss these crazy, full, and tiresome baby and toddler days.

The day Davis turned three months old, he weighed 12 pounds and 8 ounces. He weighs about a pound more than that now. They take his weight daily to make sure he's following a growth curve. In order to get him to gain more weight, they were adding micro-lipids to his formula. He was getting 95mLs, which is a little over three ounces per feeding. The mirco-lipids increased the calorie count per ounce to 32. He started to gain too much weight, about 60 grams per day, so they reduced the calorie count to 30. He was still gaining too much weight, so they stopped adding the micro-lipids all together. They increased his feeds to 100 mLs at a regular calorie count of 27 calories per ounce. He's now gaining the appropriate amount of weight, about 20 grams daily. Davis is growing so fast! He is now wearing size 6 months clothes and size two diapers.

Unfortunately, Davis is still being fed by a tube that runs to his stomach. He's had two swallow studies, and he failed them both. The first time, he failed right away. He had the second swallow study two weeks after the first one, and while he had definitely gotten stronger, he still aspirated after 8-9 swallows. He gets tired quickly, and when he becomes tired, it's hard for him to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing all at the same time. We are allowed to dip his pacifier in formula at the start of a feed, so he still associates the taste of formula and the action of sucking with feeling full. His speech therapist said they probably won't do another swallow study until after transplant.

They have also started giving Davis his two month vaccines. He will get a monthly shot of an antibody that prevents RSV. He had his first round last week. He also received his DTAP vaccine last week, and I know he's scheduled to get another vaccine this week. Being at the hospital means there is a greater risk he could get sick. Hopefully, getting his vaccines will help prevent him from getting sick before and after transplant.

Last week, we were told that the average wait time is three months. Davis has been active on the list a little over two months now. We are hoping that Davis will get the gift of life he so desperately needs, soon. However, we are trusting in God's plan and in His perfect timing. We know he has it all planned out. Sometimes I wish he would let me in on his plan, but that's not how it works. In the book of Isaiah chapter 55 verses 8-9 it says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." I also believe that God is on my side, fighting for our family. Romans 8:28 tells us "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." This means that in this season of darkness, there will be light. God is doing something BIG here, we just need to trust Him and have faith. The Bible tells us "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1. Now is the time to persevere in this wait, and watch what God does in and through Davis. He is evidence of a mighty God!

 The nurses at Children's are amazing!
 One of his sweet nurses made this for Davis on his three month birthday.

Please continue to be in prayer for Davis and for us. We had to come up with a new schedule, so Hudson could be home more. This means that Tucker and I don't get to see each other very much, and it only gives us one night a week to be together as a family. It's hard on Tucker and I, but we feel we are making the best decision for both our boys. We also know that this is not forever; it's just one chapter in our book. We believe it won't be too much longer till we are all together again!

Continue to be in prayer for the donor family, as well. We always want them to be included in our prayers. Their tough decision and loss will be our greatest blessing. We will be forever grateful.


Saturday, September 19, 2015


Many of you may be wondering how Hudson is handling all of this. The truth is, being two is a blessing. He doesn't really understand what's going on,why his schedule has changed, or why his little brother can't come home. He knows when Tucker or I are away that we are with Davis. He will say "Davis at the hospital to get better.", and he will often ask to go see him, "See Davis?". We do take him to the hospital for short visits. He gets to talk to Davis, hold his hand, and pat his back during tummy time. If anyone has sacrificed the most during all of this, it has to be Hudson.

Because of this, we do everything we can to do fun stuff while Hudson is in Birmingham with us. He has been to the McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Zoo, and a Birmingham Barons baseball game. We also go to Railroad Park a lot. Hudson loves to watch the trains as they pass. I can't tell you what it means to us to have that time together as a family. We can't wait to do all of these fun things with Davis!

 Fun at Railroad Park

 Hudson loved playing with the trains at the McWane Science Center. 

 The water station was a blast!

 Playing the piano just like in the movie "Big".

 He didn't want to leave.

 Checking out the "elepants" at the zoo.

 Train ride at the zoo.

 His favorite part of our zoo trip was feeding the Lorikeets.

 Birmingham Barons game

Celebrating the first game of the season with Davis.

Another blessing in all of this, is that neither Hudson or Davis will remember any of this. We do our best to keep Hudson's schedule as normal as possible. Even while here in Birmingham, his routine is pretty much the same except he's not at his house.  He has adjusted better than any of us. The good thing is, we know that this season of waiting will not last forever. We will eventually get to go home, and when we do, Davis will be with us. We look forward to that joyous day!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Two Months {Davis}

The past two months have felt like two years. Looking back, I'm reminded of God's faithfulness, His supreme goodness, the many answered prayers, and the miracles performed. There was a point and time when I thought I might not get a chance to write about Davis at two months of age, yet here I am. My boy is thriving despite his circumstances. God has been with him and us, at every corner, closed door, and step of the way. God has given Davis strength to fight every battle and to fight it exceedingly well. God has also given Tucker and I the strength to get through this and the wisdom to make the best decisions for our family.

When I asked God to heal Davis' lungs, He delivered quickly. Davis is now breathing room air only, which is huge! He's also weaned off  his sedation and anti-anxiety medications. It is such a blessing to have him awake more and acting like a normal baby. He also got upgraded to a crib. Poor thing, his feet were nearly hanging off the little bed with the warmer. He's also taking some formula by mouth. He basically had to learn how to eat again; it's hard work to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing. There is a risk of aspiration, so his speech therapist wants to be extra cautious. For now, he's limited to 15 mLs per feeding using an ultra preemie nipple. He gets the rest of his formula through a feeding tube. He gets 95 mLs per feeding, which is pumped through his tube over an hour. This helps to keep him somewhat on a normal baby schedule.Tomorrow he will go for a swallow study. The swallow study will determine if he is aspirating. If he does well, he will be able to take more formula by mouth and maybe move up to a preemie nipple. His nutritionist adds micro lipids to his formula, which increases the amount of calories per ounce of formula. He's had steady weight gain, which is great. Right now, he weighs 11 pounds 4 ounces.

Davis has a physical therapist who comes to work with him daily. She works with him on holding his head up and tummy time. This week, he took his first wagon ride and first field trip down to the atrium at the end of the hall. He loves riding in the wagon and sitting up to enjoy the sunshine. He also enjoys visiting with all his friends. The nurses all come down to see him and tell him how cute and wonderful he is. I don't know what he's going to do when we get home, and all he has to look at is his mama. Ha! Both his physical therapist and occupational therapist brag on Davis and his development. They have reported that he is very appropriate, which is amazing considering all he has gone through. It is such a relief to know that he doesn't have any developmental delays.

 Going on a field trip.

 Thankful to God for our two perfect gifts.

 Tummy time

 Hudson is the BEST big brother!

 Holding his head up all by himself.

Davis loves tummy time!

This week, they also had to change out his Berlin machine. This is the machine that keeps the Berlin Heart pumping. They mentioned to us last week that it would need to be switched out for maintenance. This has to be done after so many hours of use. Thankfully, the machine was switched without any problems at all. Another answered prayer!

So now we wait. Being in a season of wait is hard. If there was a countdown or some end in site, this would be so much easier. All we can do is take it day by day, and trust in the Lord's perfect timing. We are so thankful for every day that Davis is healthy and making progress. Please continue to be in prayer for Davis and also for the donor family. It is a difficult position to be in, knowing that in order for your child to live another child has to die. This is something Tucker and I have struggled with. The guilt of it all weighs enormously on our hearts. When we pray, we don't even know what to pray, but we know that God knows our hearts, and we are thankful for the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us.

Much love and many thanks,

Sunday, August 23, 2015


As you can imagine, our lives were forever changed on June 30th. Not just because we welcomed Davis Tucker Boswell into this world, but because of the tailspin life took soon after his birth. For those of you wondering how we got to this place, here's Davis' birth story.

I was scheduled to have a repeat c-section on June 30th. I was 39 weeks into my pregnancy. On June 29th at about 10 o'clock pm, I started having contractions. They started at 10 minutes apart. As the night progressed, the contractions got stronger and closer apart. I called the hospital twice, once when my contractions were 8 minutes apart and again when they were 5 minutes apart. Both times I was told to try to wait since I was having a c-section that morning anyway. By the time we got to the hospital, I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart and was 5 centimeters dilated. They called my doctor, and my c-section was moved up. 

At 7:09 on June 30th, Davis made his debut. He was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. Little did we know how much our lives were about to change. 

Not long after birth, Davis started having some respiratory issues. He was breathing too fast and had some fluid on his lungs. The doctors said that was typical of many babies born via c-section. We ended up staying an extra night in the hospital. During this time, I began running a fever. The doctors gave me antibiotics, and said it could be a respiratory issue or my developing mastitis. 



We were discharged July 3rd. On July 6th, I took Davis to his lactation appointment at the hospital. Everything was great. He was gaining weight, didn't have a fever, and looked perfect. Later that afternoon, I noticed that he felt warm. At first, I just tried to put it out of my mind, thinking he was just warm from being swaddled. Something about him being warm bothered me. I believe the Holy Spirit was guiding me to check his temperature. When I checked, it was 101.2. I panicked, and immediately took him to our pediatrician. He sent us to EAMC. After some tests and examinations, Davis was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. He would need to spend two weeks on antibiotics at the hospital. We were devastated and so worried for him. 



The first night at the hospital, I remember holding Davis, sobbing and praying for God to heal him. At this point, Tucker and I both thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, and then they did. 


The third day at the hospital, Davis quit eating. I couldn't get him to eat anything! Our nurse took charge right away, checking his oxygenation levels. She noticed right away that something wasn't right. Our pediatrician ordered an echo, and it was sent to a cardiologist in Montgomery. The cardiologist in Montgomery said it looked like a possible coarctation of the aorta. Davis was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham. 

One of the hardest things we've had to do as parents was to send our baby in a helicopter not knowing whether he would make the trip or not. It was a very anxious and worried two hour car ride to Birmingham. When we arrived, the doctors couldn't tell us much. They weren't sure it was a coarctation, because Davis just seemed too sick for that to be the problem. Further echoes determined that the left side of his heart had completely quit working, probably due to a virus. 

We nearly lost him that night. Thankfully, God gave his little body strength and the doctors the wisdom to know how to keep him alive. Tucker and I were a mess. How could we not be? Our baby was teetering a fine line between life and death. 

A team of infectious disease doctors worked diligently to try and determine what virus caused Davis' heart failure. After many tests, it was determined that the enterovirus was to blame. This is the same virus that causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth. It was also the cause of the meningitis. I'm so thankful to God that we at least have an answer. Many parents don't ever know what virus caused the heart failure. 

The doctors told us it would take a miracle for Davis' heart to begin to function properly again on its own. He would not survive without a heart transplant. However, he wouldn't make it to transplant with his current cardiac output. The doctors told us we needed to act fast or his organs would begin to be damaged by the lack of blood flow. Davis would undergo two procedures within the span of a week. The first was a balloon operation that would take the pressure off of the left ventricle. 

That would be the second time we would almost lose Davis. After the procedure, the doctors could not get him to stabilize. The doctor came out to the waiting room to let us know they were going on ECMO. During this time, Tucker and I sat there crying and pleading with God for Davis' life. It was probably an hour to 45 minutes later (it felt like an eternity), when the doctor came back out to tell us they didn't have to put Davis on ECMO. They tried one more thing, and it worked! We are so thankful to God that He gave Davis' body strength and the doctors the wisdom to know how to save him, once again. 

After this procedure, the doctors told us they wanted to try a risky procedure, one that had only been performed on 50-60 children Davis' age world wide. They wanted to give Davis a Berlin heart or artificial heart (ventricular assist device). The doctor informed us there was a 1 in 3 chance he would make it to transplant, but it was the only thing they could do to save his life. They gave Tucker and I an hour to decide. We didn't need an hour. We didn't need a minute. If this was the only chance to save Davis, we were taking it, no discussion or thinking needed. 

On July 17th, Davis underwent the surgery to get his artificial heart. They told us it would take between 5-6 hours. It was closer to 8. After some recovery time, we were allowed to see Davis. It was such a surreal moment. Davis' chest was open. The only thing covering it was a thin piece of plastic to prevent infection. 
We could see his little heart beating inside his chest. It was truly one of the most frightening yet fascinating things I've ever seen in my life. My heart was aching for what Davis was having to go through. I prayed countless times for God to let me change places with Davis. I would have given him my heart if he could have taken it. 

Before our eyes, Davis' stats begin to plummet. We were rushed out of the room and sent back to the waiting room. Once again, Tucker and I were praying and pleading to God for Davis' life. I cried so hard, my cries were literally shrieks of heartache and pain bubbling to the surface without control. After what felt like forever, a nurse said "The doctor would like to see you now. " I grabbed a couple of tissues. The nurse saw this and stated "You can bring the whole box. ". The way she said those statements made me begin to prepare myself for the worst. As we walked down the long hallway, hand in hand and clinging to one another, we prayed that Davis was still alive. We turned the corner to where his room was, and we could see his heart beating. Once again, Davis was saved! We cried out right there praising God and thanking him for saving Davis. 

The next few weeks were touch and go. He was on a ton of medications and clinging to life at many times, but God remained faithful. He continued to give Davis' body strength to get through each little setback. Several times doctors have come in and stated that Davis shouldn't be doing as well as he is. Yet, he is, because God is with him!



Slowly, he was weaned from all his blood pressure medications and the ventilator. On August 7th, Davis was placed on the transplant list. A few days later, he had to be placed back on the ventilator due to fluid on his lungs. Last week, they were able to extubate again. It didn't look promising at first, but I took my concerns to God. It wasn't pretty. In fact it was pretty ugly. (I'm an ugly cryer.) I cried and asked God to heal Davis' lungs. The next morning, I was amazed. The difference in his X-Ray was day and night. You wouldn't have even thought the X-Rays were from the same child. The doctor came in and said that she wished she could take credit for how well he was doing. She expected to see him struggling to breathe. She couldn't explain why he was doing so much better. I could though. My God was showing out! Once again, God showed me that he was in control. 

So now, we wait for the gift of life. Any day could be THE day that we get that phone call. Everyday is one day closer to bringing Davis home for good. Please continue to pray for Davis and for us, and thank you all for being on this journey with us. We couldn't do this without your prayers, love, and support. 

Going through this has given me a different perspective on life. Work problems, bad hair days, and little disagreements seem so trivial now. So tell the people that mean something to you that you appreciate and love them. As my pastor would say, eat on the fine china and burn the nice candle. Life is too short. 

Also, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I beg of you to get to know him. All you have to do is confess your sins (we all have skeletons and regrets), and believe that God sent his one and only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sins. He loves you and wants a close, personal relationship with you. He will be there to help you and guide you always. He's the ultimate healer and the answer to all of your problems. All you have to do is put your trust in him. 

Tucker and I certainly had faith before, but this experience has only made us grow in our faith. We have realized through this, that Davis and Hudson aren't ours. Yes, they were given to us by God to be their earthly parents, but ultimately, they are His. We are putting our trust in Him. 

Our God is greater than the ups and the downs. G>^v