Our Miraculous Journey...


I feel like my family has been blessed with a second chance. In 2008, our son Holden was born extremely sick. He had heart defects, his lungs had not fully formed, he had pulmonary hypertension and he had severe reflux. At 10 weeks old he came home from the hospital on oxygen, a feeding pump and a heart monitor. During one of our many hospital visits doctors determined that he had pulmonary vein stenosis. They explained that it was inoperable and in most cases was fatal. They said they did not know if he had "two days, two weeks, two months, two years or two decades." The words cut like a knife.

I prayed like I had never prayed before. I asked God for a miracle. I asked anyone who would listen...to pray for Holden. Even in the darkest of hours, I heard a voice telling me everything was going to be alright. It was that voice that gave me the faith and strength that I needed for myself, my family and my son. Today, Holden is 4 1/2 years old and is doing amazingly well. He's off the oxygen (which doctors said he'd need indefinitely), he's off his feeding pump and he's off all medications. He is truly a miracle.

I share this story because I feel like we've been to hell and back...and I'm so grateful to have made it to where we are today. But I saw how dark those days can get. There were hours when I was scared that he might not make it to see the sun rise. But through it all I had FAITH. I honestly can't imagine going through this journey without it. I am in the process of writing a book about our experience. I hope we can inspire others to believe, even amidst what seems impossible. Have FAITH. If not in God, have faith in something. Have Faith in yourself...or simply in that things WILL get better. Keep HOLDEN Faith!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

“I failed Mommy”…The words cut like a knife. My sweet boy had his first strike out in a scrimmage T-Ball game.  Several kids struck out. It didn’t seem like a big deal and I certainly was not expecting the tears and the sincere anguish that HJ was feeling.  I didn’t know if he even really liked t-ball. Up to that point, there had been a lot of dirt kicking, picking at the grass and gazing at the clouds. But yet, sitting before me was a teary faced 5-year-old, who heard the words “foul ball” in his mind it meant he failed. And when that foul ball was followed by a strike…he for the first time in his young t-ball career, had to walk off the field to the dugout dragging his head, rather than run to first base as he always had before.

I hugged Holden, trying to explain that it was okay. I assured him that he would get another chance to hit the ball next time. I was relieved at how well his coach handled the situation. He told Holden that even Chipper Jones strikes out. Everyone strikes out. He told him that he could come back and try again…and that next time he would do better.  HJ wiped his tears, grabbed his glove and ran back out to the field with his team.

Just when I think it is not possible to love my child any more, a moment like this happens. Through his tears, I saw the care and passion in his heart. So while I have been judging his actions on the field for dislike for the sport, the reality is that he is 5. He is entitled to still be unfocused at times. We can’t expect him to always have a good attitude about having 3 practices or games a week.  How can we really think that at this age he can channel his passion the way older kids or adults do.

Is T-Ball going to be his thing?  I don’t know. But what I do know is that my kid has heart. He cares. And whether it is on the t-ball field, soccer field or in the classroom, he is soaking it all in. He is learning. He is watching his friends, his coaches, his teachers and his Daddy and I and learning from us!  I hope we did and will continue to do a good job teaching Holden. Teaching him to have a happy heart. Teaching him to try his best. And teaching him that failure is okay. We all fail. The important part is that we learn from our failures so we can improve. 

Not always an easy concept to grasp…no matter our age! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grateful for Kindergarten

Tomorrow Holden will start Kindergarten and I am full of emotions! On one hand I am incredibly grateful. And then, of course there is a part of me that wants to hold onto my little guy and not let him go. I’ve loved the time we’ve had together. But tomorrow things will change!

Fortunately change is not always a bad thing. There were doctors who cautioned us that Holden may never make it to Kindergarten. Other doctors said if he survived, that he would be on oxygen indefinitely. And then there were the doctors who said his conditions were complicated and they had no idea what his future would hold. Finally, the doctors who suggested we pray for a miracle.  It was a rough first couple of years, but I prayed like I never prayed before.  I begged God for a miracle. And little by little, things changed. Holden started doing things that many doctors were not sure he’d ever be able to do.

We had an appointment with Holden’s cardiologist last Thursday to review results from a recent echocardiogram. Despite my faith, these appointments always cause me anxiety because Holden is living with three pulmonary veins, instead of four like you and I. He also had pulmonary hypertension and a small hole in his heart. Early on, it seemed like echo results often identified additional problems and concerns. Fortunately (or miraculously) his body created collaterals to pump the blood from his heart to his lungs. Doctors have said that this is “un-chartered” territory and don’t know what the future holds. But Thursday, Holden’s cardiologist told us that he longer has pulmonary hypertension. His pulmonary pressures are finally normal. And the hole in his heart is practically closed. And the doctor feels good that as Holden grows, the collaterals will grow and keep up. It was amazing news!  

When Holden was just a couple weeks old and in the NICU, I bought a plush flower in the hospital gift shop. It reads “And the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.” Judges 13:24   That flower always sat above his hospital crib/bed and is still in his room today. I couldn’t help but think of that flower after our doctor’s visit. With growth has come health. Positive change.

So while I still find it painful to look back, taking a temporary peek into the past certainly helps me appreciate where we are now. It humbles me beyond belief. It helps me keep things in perspective. It helps me not take a single day for granted. And it helps me embrace change.

So I will put on a brave smile as Holden gets out of the car tomorrow morning and save my tears for after the door slams and my sweet kindergartener walks into his first day of elementary school. It is then that I can have my moment to break down understanding how truly blessed we are!

Acknowledging the past, living in the present and celebrating the future,


Sunday, October 7, 2012

I am writing a book to share our story and hopefully inspire others to have faith when the road gets dark.  As part of this process, I went back and read blog entries I had never re-read and sorted through photos from the past several years.  I put together a short video and I have mixed feelings about sharing it. On one hand, it makes me feel very vulnerable. However, on the other hand, I think it shows that while the journey was not always easy, we tried to make the best of every day. None of us knows what God has in store for us. But if we keep HOLDEN FAITH we can make it through anything!