Saturday, October 31, 2009

Olive on Saturday

Our little fighter, Olive, turned 5 weeks-old yesterday. :)

Lynette and Rusty's friend, Libby, has updated her blog.

Here is Lynette's update from her blog:

Olive continues to remain stable, and look more and more comfortable. She had another ultrasound this morning and the neurologist was very pleased with the results of the fluid that has been removed. Because she is responding so well they have decided to remove 10 ml of fluid every 4 hours now. Her head is both looking and measuring smaller. She continues to be off oxygen and is breathing in room air. There continues to be some seizure activity which they are monitoring, but they say it is getting to be less and less.

We feel so grateful to be here at this hospital with Olive receiving such wonderful care. They even have her little head resting on water pillows.

If you are interested in seeing more pictures than I have on this blog,
click here for pictures from Chiang Rai
click here for pictures from Bangkok
click here to get to the Olive Hope Care Fund

Thank-you for the amazing love and support we feel from friends, family, and those we have never even met. I wish we had the time to write back to all of your comments, but know that we read them regularly and they mean so much to us.

Much love,


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pictures from Bangkok

Libby Colleen Rusty Lynette

A rollercoaster 3 days

My mom posted an update on Olive's new hospital.

And, from Lynette's blog post:

A Window Into Our World
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the past three day craziness.
Dear friends and family,

Much has happened since my last post. Life has been such a rollercoaster changing hour by hour, so I have only been updating immediate family because our time has been so limited.

Since my last post we were working towards moving Olive to Chiang Mai and waiting on a bed opening up in the NICU at the government hospital since the private hospital refused to take Olive calling her a "hopeless case."

Two days ago Olive became less stable and was having constant seizures for almost a 30 hour period. Rusty had gone to Chiang Mai with his mom the evening the seizures began to work with the consulate to get Olive a US passport, Social Security #, and birth certificates taken care of.

Here is the timeline of the last three days...

Monday night: Rusty and Colleen go to Chiang Mai. After leaving Olive begins having seizures and looking uncomfortable. The doctor was trying to up her milk intake to maximum intake to help her gain weight, but she wasn't tolerating it well and was throwing up and had a swollen little belly. Her head circumference had increased 2 cm on that day...I was starting to feel worried of what we were going to do if a bed didn't open up soon at the government hospital in Chiang Mai.

Tuesday morning: We get a phone call of someone who wishes to remain anonymous who would be willing to help us get Olive back to the States (miracle #1),

Rusty meets with the US consulate in Chiang Mai who cancels all of their morning plans to focus on getting Olive's passport, SS # and residency as Michigan, and birth certificate finished all FREE of charge and finished by noon (miracle #2).

Meanwhile in Chiang Rai our doctor is saying that if Olive can't keep her milk down that she can't be transferred to Chiang Mai even IF a bed opens up. She is also having lots of seizures and our doctor thinks she shouldn't go. We are BEGGING her to let her go just to get this fluid relieved to help her with the seizures and to get her at least to a place where they have the resources and ability to surgically help her. Rusty then starts talking with our insurance about getting her medivaced to a private hospital in Bangkok where SOMEBODY can help her. This is approved and they say they will come later in the evening to get her.

Tuesday Afternoon:Rusty (who is still in Chiang Mai) is feeling super encouraged everything that has come together during the day.

Meanwhile I am in Chiang Rai next to Olive's bed watching her have constant seizures that are not being controlled by her anti-seizure medicines. She is now not able to have any milk because of her seizures so she is back on an IV and her veins keep blowing so she is getting poked so many times. My heart is getting more and more worried and breaking watching her look so miserable...and her head keeps growing.

THEN the doctor comes in and tells me that Olive has a severe case of pneumonia they just found. She thinks it is most likely from her aspirating milk from throwing up the night before. She tells me she thinks she shouldn't go to Bangkok because she is unstable. She also mentions that if we don't give Olive antibiotics for the pneumonia that the infection will most likely take her in a few days and this is her suggestion. Being next to Olive for the last 24 hours and watching her look so miserable I felt like maybe this is where we are supposed to step back and stop forcing her little body to work so hard. That maybe we should just let her go, let her be with Jesus where her body will be made whole and she will no longer be in any pain. Tears are flooding as I call Rusty and tell him the news the doctor just told me. We cry together on the phone and Rusty says he is leaving Chiang Mai now and will be there soon.

Tuesday Evening: I tell our doctor that we need the evening to talk together and pray about not giving Olive antibiotics and we will tell her our final decision in the morning. Colleen decides not to fly out after-all, thinking she will want to be there for the funeral. Rusty and Colleen drive back that evening and cancel the medivac team for that night and puts them on hold until the morning. Rusty and I call a neonatologist in the States to talk through our current confusions we find ourselves in. We go to sleep crying that night feeling a deep sense of sadness and trying to find that still small voice that seems lost...exhausted.

Wednesday Morning: Rusty goes to the hospital to talk with our doctor with Libby and our friend Blah. Rusty is preparing to tell the doctor that we are planning on not giving Olive the antibiotics and letting her go. However, when he arrives Olive is peacefully sleeping without any seizures. The doctor comes in and tells him that maybe Olive doesn't have pneumonia after all and instead that she has some sort of chronic lung disease that means she may need to be on a ventilator for the rest of her life...and that we should let her go.

Rusty gets upset about her misdiagnosis about the pneumonia and tells the doctor that today Olive is leaving Chiang Rai and we are getting her to a facility in Bangkok where somebody can begin relieving the pressure in her head. The doctor says she isn't stable enough and Rusty says he would rather risk leaving and help her somehow. He calls insurance and a medivac team is approved and will arrive in late afternoon.

Libby and I drive home to our house and pack up our things in case we go from Bangkok directly to America. We have one hour to pack up and then drive back to the hospital. No clue whether we are leaving for one week, one month, one year, or for good. Mixed emotions and a feeling of numbness of not wanting to grieve good-byes here if the future is so unclear.

Wednesday Evening: Rusty and I say our good-byes to the wonderful nurses in the Chiang Rai ICU that we have grown to love. We leave with Olive in a small plane and medivac team to Bangkok. Olive remains stable during the transfer.

Once we arrive at this AMAZING hospital we are met by a team of doctors (neonatologist, neurosurgeon, cardiac specialist, and internist) who are ready to care for Olive (all of whom speak amazing English).

They tell us to relax and they assess her, talk together, and do a bedside ultrasound. Then we all met together for a consultation meeting and they go through the different options of treatment at this stage and suggest doing a ventricular tap (a temporary drain in her head to relieve some of the fluid that stays in for 5 days). We explain to them our insurance issues as well so that they understand we are working towards getting her back to the States as soon as she is stable enough to get her on Medicaid, and they are very understanding.

Last night they went ahead with the temporary drain and everything went well. She is in her own ICU room with a nurse and doctor caring for her at all times. They discount the price for us to sleep in the hospital in a room down the hall from Olive and tell us we can visit her at any time and if the doctor needs to talk he/she will come and knock on our door. Amazing.

Now we are having meetings to discuss evacuation options in the next 5-7 days, and back-up plans in case she is not stable to go at that point. The staff at this hospital have been incredible with helping us talk through issues with insurance, evacuation issues, explaining in detail their findings about Olive from tests they are running. They also talk to her like she is a little sweet baby and look at her at her. She is being treated like a little person with value, and it means so much to us.

Also, about the chronic lung disease...they are saying she may have issues or she may not. They say she may need to have a little oxygen for another month...or another 2 years, but that she will not need to be on a ventilator at this point. Quite a different story then we heard from our last doctor.

We are so thankful to be here in this place, at this moment. I could keep going, but this is getting to be MUCH to long for your weary eyes to read.

I will try to post again tomorrow.

Much love,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Tyler, "I wish Lilly was my girlfriend."
Me, "Do you know what a girlfriend is?"
Tyler, "No."
Me, "Do you know how you get a girl to be your girlfriend?"
Tyler, "No."
Me, "So, if you don't know what a girlfriend is, or how to get one, how do you know you want her to be your girlfriend?"
Tyler, "I don't"
Me, "I think that's a good question to ask your Dad."

Yikes. Why do I ask those questions?!

Olive update

I like the summary my cousin, Melissa, wrote so much, that I'm copying and pasting it here:

Yesterday morning we received this heartbreaking news from Lynette:

Olive is not doing well. She has been having continuous seizures for the last 24 hours and they are having a difficult time controlling them with medication. She also has pneumonia again and her vital signs haven't been stable today.

And then last night I got an e-mail from Lynette that Olive had stabilized again! Praise God!!!

Then an update from Lynette:
The 3 of us are flying to Bangkok to a private hospital and 4:30pm Thailand time. It is a big risk! But we feel like it is the only way Olive can get the care that she needs right now. Please be praying for us.

This morning I got a text from my mom after talking to Lynette's mom, who had just spoken with Lynette (it's amazing how fast we can share information!) to say that the transfer had gone well.

A little bit later, the following update was posted:
Well we made it! Had a team of doctors waiting for us, they are great. Olive is getting her poor little head tapped to relieve the pressure as I write. Thanks so much for your prayers. We now have a couple of days for the doctors to get to know Olive and try and help us make good decisions for her future. She is in her own room, with her own nurse! We are thankful. Rusty and Lynette.

Olive is such a champion!!!!

MOST unfortunately, AETNA, in a moment of infinite wisdom and completely unchecked power, has LOWERED their cap on Olive's care now that she is no longer in a government-run hospital. If you can, please consider making a donation in any size at or Anyone who donates (in any amount) by November 6 will be entered in a drawing for a free laptop!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The force

The other night, we were brushing Tyler's teeth. Apparently he didn't like something, because he made this motion to me. (This is a re-enactment). :)

He laughingly explained, "I'm using The Force!"

Going to the park

We spent some time at the park this afternoon with Tyler's neighbor-friend, Bailey.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Waiting on a bed...

Lynette posted:

This morning we walked over to the hospital prepared to be moving Olive to Chiang Mai today to begin getting consultations from neurosurgeons there about what the next step is to care for her ever growing head. After arriving it became clear that there was no bed currently available in the NICU at the government hospital in Chiang Mai...and now they are saying they aren't sure when one will open up.

We talked with our doctor here and with a doctor in Chiang Mai about possibly temporarily moving her to a private hospital in Chiang Mai until a bed opens up at the government hospital. After our doctor here called the private hospital in Chiang Mai she told us they won't accept Olive into their care because she is classified as a "hopeless case."Great. We really appreciate your help and care.

So what exactly are we supposed to do with Olive when her vitals are stable and the pressure in her head increases day by day? I guess just continue waiting and praying for a bed at the government hospital.We have a wonderful head doctor from the government hospital working to get her in ASAP, but there is really nothing he can do until a bed becomes available for her...which hopefully will be in the next two days. We are hoping to get her under his care when she moves to Chiang Mai. He studied in the States, speaks amazing English and had a pre-term baby of his own while in the States. He seems to think he would like to assess her first in person and then decide what the next best step send her to help her in Chiang Mai...or if its possible to get her to the States.

Last night we spoke with another WONDERFUL neonatologist from the States who thinks the best thing we can do at this point is get her home to the States ASAP and on Medicaid, or to proceed with some temporary measures in Chiang Mai to relieve the pressure, then continue trying to get her home (most likely to a hospital in Indiana or Michigan).

Now the question is how do we get her home if that is what is best for her? Tomorrow morning Rusty will be meeting with the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai to begin working on Olive's passport as well as researching options about flights back.

On a lighter note, we have been having lots of fun with our nurses here at the ICU in Chiang Rai. Today when I was sticking more milk that I had pumped in the freezer they were laughing at how much I had stored up compared to how little Olive can drink. I told them they should start drinking it with their morning which they were appalled and thought better if I just make Rusty drink all of it, or to have him use it as a face mask. :>)

You have all been SO wonderful with your words of love and encouragement, your incredible generosity, and your prayers. Couldn't ask for a bigger support team during this time.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

After a week of too much eating out, I finally went to the grocery store. Wayne requested that I make chicken pot pies, which I've never done before. I found this recipe on Food Network's website, and we agreed that it's a winner. I couldn't find the frozen small whole onions, so we didn't have those. They would have been good, but it was still great without. The only thing I'll change next time is to leave off the sea salt on the crust - it's just a little too salty with it.

Chicken Pot Pie, Ina Garten

4 individual pot pies (We couldn't finish two of them between the three of us).

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. (I used my Chantal bowls - they are 5 1/4" by 2 1/2" and hold 2 3/4 cups). Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch yesterday. Wayne had the camera, and didn't get shots of Tyler with any pumpkins, but he did get a few other shots.


Trying to make a scary face.

Checking to see how tall he is.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Olive update

Rusty's sister, Stacia, wrote an update on what they have found out about Olive and the medical transfer(s).

"Thanks to so many of you who have responded to Rusty and Lynette's request for some assistance in researching options for them. We have gotten a ton of very helpful information over the past few days. Rusty asked me to write an update, just so people would know what they have figured out thus far . . .

Rusty was able to get in touch with the second in command at the U.S. Consulate (whose wife "incidentally/providentially" had a preemie baby in Thailand recently as well). He was very helpful and is working right now on all of the citizenship, birth certificate, etc. end of things.

They have decided they will move Olive to Chiang Mai (3 hrs from Chiang Rai) on Monday. They will pay for this transfer from the Olive Hope Care Fund as Aetna will only cover one transfer and this is not the one we want them to cover!! There is a very good Neonatal Surgeon in Chiang Mai, who was trained in the U.S. and speaks English well. Once they get there they will sit down with him and figure out the best option for relieving the pressure on Olive's brain. They will also discuss next steps in terms of if they should remain in Thailand or return to the U.S.

We have gotten some very helpful information about Medicaid and it looks like Olive will qualify if/when she comes to the U.S. They'll also likely need to apply for Social Security Disability for Olive, so we are continuing to investigate the options there. If you have any contacts in the SSA -- please let us know.How Olive would come to the U.S. is another matter entirely . . . PLEASE PRAY THAT AETNA WILL APPROVE THIS MEDICAL EVACUATION (if that is what the MD recommends) AND WILL COVER IT IN FULL!!!! It is very frustrating (to me at least) that Rusty and Lynette have been paying privately for this insurance for such as time as this and now there is only coverage for a small fraction of the costs they are facing . . .

Thanks to all of you who have given to the OLIVE HOPE CARE FUND. Rusty and Lynette are so blessed and overwhelmed by the generosity of so many of you. Here is the link if you would like to donate: continues to sustain them through this journey . . . please continue to pray and if you have any additional information you think would be helpful, please let us know!

Tomorrow (10/25) is Olive Hope's one month birthday!

Psalm 139:13-16 (adapted for Olive) For you created Olive's inmost being; you knit her together in her mother's womb. We praise you for she is fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, we know that full well. Olive's frame was not hidden from you when she was made in the secret place. When she was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw her unformed body. All the days ordained for Olive Hope were written in your book before one of them came to be . . ."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Olive is moving to Chiang Mai

Lynette and Mom posted updates to their blogs. Little Olive is four weeks-old today! Lynette posted on FB that Olive will be moved to Chiang Mai on Monday for the surgery.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Medicaid question

From Rusty --

A need for Olive:

Lynette and I are faced with some decisions in the next couple of days. It looks like Olive will need a shunt soon. We have been advised to have her moved to Chiang Mai (2.5 hours away) We are trying to figure out our options before making this decision. We need to know if Olive would be eligible for Medicaid in the States. We have a cap on our insurance, and are wondering if we should try to get her home to America asap. Does anyone know how this would work for a baby born overseas to come into an American hospital? Does it depend on the State? If anyone knows someone that has the answers to these questions can you put us in touch with them? Does anyone know someone who works for Medicaid? our email is Thanks for all your help and prayers. I bring this to you, cause many have asked if there is anyway you can help. To have some of these answers would help us alot.Olive is again stable today. Her head grew alot over the night. She had another CT scan today. We need to relieve her pressure asap.

Love, Rusty

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Possibly moving Olive

From Lynette's blog:

This morning we met with our neonatologist to discuss what the next step will be for dealing with Olive's growing head. The neurosurgeons here in Chiang Rai don't have experience doing this surgery on such a little baby, and it looks like the best option will be to move her to a hospital in Chiang Mai (three hours away). We are waiting to hear back from the government hospital there as to when a bed will open up for her in the NICU and then we will most likely be packing up and moving our headquarters there. This could be in a day, or a week. We will be very sad to leave our nurses and doctor here, but it looks like this is the best option for Olive.She had another good day today.
We love you guys,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mom's reflections

Mom has written an update on her blog.

I am very thankful for Mom's brief visit (and of course, Tyler was very excited about Grandma's visit too since we don't get to see one another often enough). She came last evening, and left this afternoon. It was wonderful to be able to process both of our thoughts and feelings about everything that has been going on.

Olive's rough day

Lynette posted about Olive's rough day yesterday. They thought they were going to lose her several times throughout the day, but she has surprised everyone and rallied once again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Olive (and parents) had a rough day

Lynette posted this morning at 8:30 am (central time)/ 8:30 pm in Thailand:

Here is just a brief update on today...
Olive's vitals have been dropping and rising all day. This morning her heart rate was down to single digits as well as her blood oxygen level. We thought she was gone and then this afternoon things have become more stable. We are emotionally exhausted. Tonight I will be sleeping at the hospital with Olive.
Much love,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Olive - October 17

Mom and Lynette updated their blogs.

I did get to hear Olive's hiccups today and Lynette held up the phone to her so that I could talk to her for the first time. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


On her blog, Lynette posted an update.

Rusty's sister, Stacia, is there visiting. Her FB update is:
October 16 -- 1970: my parents lost their first baby, Shawn Mitchell, also while they were on the mission field. 2009: happy 3 week birthday Olive Hope! "Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. . ."

And yesterday, was:
I am watching the gospel of Jesus here in Thailand through my brother and sister-in-law and it is a painfully beautiful thing to behold . . . watch this to see what I mean . . .

Rusty's other sister, Shawna, posted this FB update:
Olive is 3 weeks old today! She is still very sick but they are loving every precious moment they get to share with her. Rusty said "she stole my heart, and I told her she can keep it no matter what."

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Mom talked to Lynette this morning and posted on her blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Mom posted an update on Olive. My sweet little niece and my sweet sister, I hope you can both rest. You are so near to my heart. I love you so much!

Olive and Oliver

Stacia and Colleen, Rusty's sister and mother, have arrived. Lynette posted and update and pictures.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

5th Birthday

With family living all over the world, we generally remember one another's birthdays from afar. Tyler enjoyed opening presents from his Grandparents early. He received gifts in the mail from Rachel & Hollins and Lynette & Rusty and cards from his Great-Grandparents. He really loved receiving mail just for him, and the anticipation of waiting to open those mystery packages. (We had him wait to open Lynette & Rusty's present until his actual birthday - when I got home from work that day, he was standing at the stairs waiting for me and holding their package).

On his actual birthday, the 6th, he and Wayne spent a few hours at All Star Sports where they played arcade games and rode on go-carts. In the evening, we let him pick where he wanted to eat, and he chose Pei Wei.

This is the first year that he has really anticipated his birthday and he was so thrilled to turn 5 - he thinks he is really a big boy now! In fact, this week, he put on pajamas and asked whether he looked like a "baby" in them. He said, "I wore these when I was 4. Do they make me look like a baby?!"

Last night, we enjoyed having a few family friends over for a birthday party. We had planned a picnic at the park. But with temperatures topping out in the lower 40's, we opted to stay in. The kids did a great job of entertaining themselves.

We played a couple of party games.

And finally, blowing out his candles.
Happy birthday, Tyler!

Pepper Harvest

Wayne harvested the rest of our peppers this week and took some pictures. It's a good thing he got them in, since our temperatures have really dropped this weekend!
Jalapeno peppers
Habanero peppers

Thai chili peppers
He has made chili paste, hot pepper flakes and pickled peppers so far.

Stuckey Weekend

A couple weeks ago, the last weekend in September, Hollins and Rachel visited. Here are a few pictures from our time together.
Rachel and Tyler

Grandpa Ted and Tyler putting a puzzle together.

Tyler opening his gift from Grandpa Stuckeys

Pirate Legos

Our annual family picture.

Tyler's present from Hollins and Rachel that arrived in the mail this week.
Fireman Legos


Mom posted a few updates on her blog from their time in Thailand.

Lynette posted about their day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Lynette posted some photos and an update on her blog. Medical decisions about the present and future continue to be difficult as they continue on this medical and emotional roller coaster.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Follow this link for Mom's update on Olive. I believe Mom and Dad fly back to the states tomorrow morning (our time). I'm so glad that Rusty's sister, Stacia, and perhaps his mother are planning to fly to Thailand for a visit next.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

School is not about fashion

Tyler tonight:

Tyler: "School is not about fashion."

Me: "School is not about fashion?"

Tyler: "Yes, school is not about fashion. It doesn't matter what you wear. School is about learning and taking turns."

Me: "Where did you hear that?"

Tyler: "No, I just thought about it."


So, later I just had to follow up...

Me: "Tyler, what is fashion?"

Tyler: "Hmmm... Let me explain it.
It's clothes that are pretty...and stylish."

Me: "Are you sure you didn't hear that somewhere?"

Tyler: "I think Ms. Juli my teacher said that...I'm not sure, it could be my imagination."

Yeah...I'm pretty sure Ms. Juli said that. :)

Update on Olive

Mom's FB update at 10:30ish am central time:

Baby Olive had a quiet peaceful day. We cried with the neurosurgeon and neonatal Doctor in a meeting in all Thai Language. Lynette was our interpreter. Olive is back on colostrum and we decided to give her more touch. We also asked Lynette to take a much needed rest. Tonight she held Olive against her skin before she went home for the night.


And a poem Lynette posted:

Like The Water by Wendell Berry

Like the water
of a deep stream,
love is always too much.
We did not make it.
Though we drink till we burst,
we cannot have it all,
or want it all.
In its abundance
it survives our thirst.

In the evening we come down to the shore
to drink our fill,
and sleep,
while it flows
through the regions of the dark.
It does not hold us,
except we keep returning to its rich waters
We enter,
willing to die,
into the commonwealth of its joy.


Here I am, crying again. Feeling emotional. For hurts that I cannot heal, problems that I cannot fix. Lynette was 3 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, both of us with girls. I can't put into words how I feel - the guilt I have for still being pregnant, knowing that my dear sister is hurting, and needing to be so strong, and just the heartbreak of it all.

Even people who don't know Lynette and Rusty have expressed their love, have been praying and showing incredible care and concern... and I think we are connected by our understanding of the intensity of the love between a parent and a child that begins even before their birth, and is amplified the minute we hold them in our arms. I have been so touched by the outpouring of love and support.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Olive Hope

Lynette updated her blog - with pictures, an update on Olive, and a discouraging update on their insurance coverage. Please continue to pray.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A busy day

I just thought I'd share Tyler and Wayne's busy day.

9:15 Swimming lessons - Tyler reported that they "scooped ice cream" (aka front crawl), played red light/green light on kickboards, and dove for rings.

11:15 Doctor appointment for Tyler's 3-week cough (Dr. thinks he might have asthma and/or a sinus infection. Antibiotics prescribed and nebulizer rented).

1:00 Chest Xray to rule out pneumonia (No pneumonia)!

?-3:30 Preschool

Now, we're huddled in for a chilly/drizzly evening with some barbecue. Yum.

Update from Ultrasound and CT Scan

Click on this to link to Lynette's blog for today's update.

And click on this link for my Dad's reflections on the week with Olive, Rusty and Lynette.

Mom's update

At 1:41 am (our time), Mom posted this update.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Lynette and Rusty updated their blog this morning.
Please pray for
*the bleeding on her brain/swelling to lessen and heal
*protection as she is taken through the hospital for the ultrasound in the morning (our Sunday evening)
*wisdom and direction for Rusty and Lynette as they meet with the specialists to determine the best way to proceed with Olive's medical care.

Thank you again for all of you who continue to hold Olive and her parents up in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

an update around here...

I was feeling behind in my "what's happening around here" kind of updates before little Olive arrived on the scene. And now...more time has passed so I'm very behind.

A few weeks ago, my Dad was able to make a quick weekend visit. Tyler still remembers why - Dad's last living uncle died. We really enjoyed our time with Dad. We made it to the state fair for the first time since we moved out here. Tyler rode his first fair rides, enjoyed his first Pronto Pup (and I as well - it's a big corn dog), and enjoyed seeing the exhibits, especially "cow milking" (a pretend cow) station. Sunday, Dad shared a book with Tyler that he had read as a kid that Dad's cousin Yvonne had thoughtfully sent along called the Biggest Bear. We enjoyed doing a little shopping and eating before we had to send him off.

Last weekend, we enjoyed a visit from Wayne's sister, Rachel, and her husband, Hollins. Rachel had a Hesston reunion, so they stayed in Hesston. We didn't get to see them as much as we normally get to when they visit. But, we enjoyed the time we did have with them. We ate some delicious meals and went mini-golfing. We also enjoyed an evening with Dave & Teneesa Stuckey and family Friday evening.

Of course, I had also gotten the call last Friday that Lynette had baby Olive. Starting out this week, I was feeling a bit haggard. It has felt like a long week, with all of its ups and downs, and it is so good to have the weekend here. Some nights, the worries made sleep difficult. My boys, friends, family and coworkers have all taken good care of me though.

So that's what has been going on around here. There is much that is good, and so much to be thankful for.


Lynette's update at 11:50 am (pm in Thailand):

I am getting ready to crawl into bed but just wanted to leave a quick update from the day.
Olive still had bowel sounds this morning, and another stool so the doctor decided to start giving her colostrum (1 cc four times/day). So far she is digesting it and having no residual before each feeding. Her heart rate and blood oxygen levels stayed in the normal range and she was only on about 30-35% oxygen.
We are going to bed tonight with grateful hearts. Thank-you for all of your prayers, and so many words of encouragement.
Tonight one of my Thai friends who came to visit from Chiang Mai (Ichaya) is staying at the hospital with Olive for the night shift. Yet another thing to be thankful for.
Love to all of you!!!!


Please continue to pray. Pray for healing, especially for Olive's little brain. She has a brain ultrasound scheduled on Monday to take another look. I'm so thankful to hear the good news about her ability to digest colostrum! Pray for rest for Rusty, Lynette and my parents. Pray for wisdom as each day they may be faced with making difficult medical decisions. What a heavy weight to bear.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Mom's facebook update at 9:50 pm:

I just did an "all nighter" with Olive Hope. Spent most of my time praying and singing. Olive had another bowel movement and the seems to be a bit better. She had a fever during the night, but did well with the new minerals, etc given he...r. There is hope she may be given colostrum today!

Lynette's facebook update at 10 pm (10 am in Thailand):

Dr. said she still has great bowel sounds and they will try to give her a little colostrum today and see how she responds!!!

Conversations with Tyler

Today on the way to preschool:

"Ms. Juli is pretty bossy." (Ms. Juli is his teacher)
Wayne asked, "well, why do you think Ms. Juli is pretty bossy?
He replied, "well...she kind of acts like she's in charge of the whole school."

Ha! I just hope he doesn't tell her that. :)

Tonight, out of the blue, Tyler asked,
"What is Mennonite?"

This led to a brief discussion, with many questions, of anabaptism and pacifism.

And just now, after his shower:
"What is Mennonite, and why is it Superman's only weakness?"

Ahh... :)

Lynette's letter to Olive today

From Lynette's blog

Oh my little are so precious to me. Your little toes to your chin-and those tiny little fingernails. Every part of you was perfectly formed. I am heartbroken to not have you inside of me where you belong right now...getting your nourishment from my body rather than from this IV hanging next to your little isolate.
I can't stop thinking about you when I am near you or away. I pray each day that Jesus would be the hands holding you close when I'm unable to. Today I've been feeling sick so I'm scared to get close to you, but everything in me wants to be holding you close to me and singing to you. Olive there are so many people praying for you around the world. So many people bringing requests to the FAther that your little body would continue to be renewed and restored. I am praying for a release of pressure on your little brain, for the swelling to decrease, and for the damaged cells and blood vessels to be made new and healthy. I've also been praying that your precious little eyelids would be able to close--and today they did!!! You were opening and closing your little eyes intentionally. The nurses heard bowel sounds over the last two shifts and I was told this morning that you had a stool. I almost jumped on the doctor when she told me because I was so excited. The doctor says that when you stop having gastric contents come out of your ng tube that they can give you some colostrum that I have frozen. Today you only had a little come out this morning... I am hoping and longing for the day when I can cuddle with you in my own bed...without all of these tubes coming out of you...and give you the milk my body has been making for you. I am dreaming of the day when I will be able to hear your little lungs breathing on their hear the sound of your little cry. Grandma and Grandpa Miller are here now and have already fallen in love with you. Grandma has even been trying to give you little foot treatments which we are not surprised about. :>) Bethany, Libby, Jan, Janya, Sherry, Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy and I have been taking turns sitting next to you so that you don't feel alone...and so that your mother can rest knowing someone will call me if you are having any problems. The nurses here are taking such good care of you. I told them your name yesterday and they told me that they call you "Lucy." I laughed when I heard that, but still think its pretty cute. You are my little love, my little Olive Hope and I hope you can sense how loved you are. Bethany gave me these verses yesterday that we taped onto your bed and I have been reading them over and over. "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make [Olive] dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8 "...He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed He who watches over [Olive] will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 3:4

Thursday, October 1, 2009

As of this morning...

Rusty posted this morning:

Olive's platelet count was very low today. They also found more infection in her blood. No bowel sounds yet. Lynette is having a hard time sleeping and starting to feel a bit sick, but thankful that her parents have arrived safe and sound.