We were given our very best Christmas gift earlier than expected, but we wouldn't change a thing. My due date was actually December 17th, but Elliana decided that she needed to join us August 22nd instead. Yes, at first we were emotional wrecks. The odds for Elli were not very good. But we were blessed with the comfort of the spirit so many times, we knew that it was going to work out. Heavenly Father would always place wonderful people in our path to comfort us, and help us understand what was happening. He has been right beside us through this whole thing. We have felt of his love and compassion for us. It makes this Christmas that much sweeter and meaningful for us.
Elliana really loves her big brother. She is watching him so attentively while he sweetly talks to her. She recognizes his voice, and rarely fusses when he is holding her. There might be 7 years age difference, but these two already share a special bond. It melts my heart to watch how tenderly Bradley talks to her and how gently he touches her and holds her. He is so proud of her, and his sweet little testimony has been strengthened. Bradley knows that prayers are not only heard, but they are answered. He has been so faithful in praying not only to be able to have her join our family, but for her to be able to come home.
Bradley had a fun year trying new things. He was on a T-ball team at the beginning of the summer, and then tried soccer this fall. He enjoyed both, but was usually a little more interested in wiggling his loose teeth. He lost one while running the bases. He took the time to come running over to me and give me the tooth, then he quickly ran back to second base. Thank goodness it was T-ball. He is now in 1st grade and doing well. He is such a good boy who tries very hard to do the right thing. He has a soft spot for any living thing. Any bug found in the house is released to "the wild" rather than being disposed of. He wants to be a zoo keeper when he grows up, and can't get enough of Nature on PBS and the Crocodile Hunter. He is a little artist, and will sometimes spend hours drawing Star Wars scenes, pirates, and construction sites. He is such a cute kid!!
Elliana probably won't make it home by Christmas, but that's okay. We want her to be ready, and will wait as patiently as we can for her to be ready. She is healthy, and that's all we could ask for. She now weighs over 6 and 1/2 pounds, and is such a content little thing. She loves to snuggle right into you when you hold her. She is still learning to eat. It's hard and a little scary for her. When the doctor clamped the valve in her heart, the nerve to the left vocal chord was also clamped. This has compressed the nerve and paralyzed her left vocal chord. It isn't a permanent injury, and she will be able to talk. It just leaves her feeling nervous about choking when she eats. She doesn't have as much control over her airway as she would like, but she improves a little each day. We are working on a plan that will allow us to bottle feed her my milk with a thickening agent in it. She feels much more in control with the bottles and does really well with them. It really shouldn't be too much longer and we will have her home.
We are so grateful as always for your love and prayers. It brings us a lot of comfort to know that so many are thinking. You have all blessed our lives so much! We also want to thank all of the nurses, doctors, and therapists in the NICU. They have become like a second family to us. We are really going to miss them when Elli comes home. Thank you!!!!!!
We love you, and wish you a
VERY, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!
Love- Wayne, Tami, Bradley and Elliana