Monday, December 24, 2012

Clear Your Calendar.....

Exactly four weeks from this very moment, I fully expect to be writing a new post officialy welcoming Hayden Owen Hoskins into this wonderful world we live in.

As I sit here tonight, reflecting on the past few days, weeks, months, and years, I can't help but smile as this Christmas Eve comes to a close.

We had another appointment in St. Louis on Wednesday, and all went well again. We truly feel blessed and as every appointment passes, our hope grows that Hayden will join us as healthy as can be, despite having a giant omphalocele. As of last Wednesday, he was an estimated 3 lbs 8 oz. Even though this still has him below the 5th percentile, he is growing! As we said before: He is below the "curve", but he is making his own curve! He is also passing his NST's with flying colors. 10 out of 10 points each time. He is still in a breech position, but the doctor said that doesn't really matter because he will be delivered via c-section anyways!

Mom and Dad met us in St. Louis Wednesday morning before our appointment and we were able to see the duplex that Kelsea and my mom will stay in for 2 weeks before the surgery. After he is born, I don't know what our plans are. Mom and Dad are planning on staying down there I believe, and it is two bedrooms, but we also have, if needed, the Ronald McDonald house (if there are openings) and another place similar to Ronald McDonald. Right now, I just can't imagine leaving him alone for the night. We toured the NICU again Wednesday becasue everything was kind of a blur the first time, and there were so many babies in there and very few people. It made my heart sink thinking about those babies and nobody being there with them. However, I know people have to work and not everybody has the resources we have.

This is evident in the "elves" that helped Kelsea and I put some "wants" into Hayden's room. The only thing we are missing now is Hayden himself!

Sitting in church tonight, seeing it jam packed at the 6 o'clock service, I couldn't help but look around think just how wonderful God is. There were many faces there I have never seen before. However, knowing that all of these people were here tonight, whether they are there every Sunday or not, were there to celebrate the birth of God's son, who was sent to Earth so we could be forgiven, was an almost overwhelming feeling. Listening to Matt Cowman read from the Bible, who only a few years ago was a "student" of mine, watching Jenn and the rest of the praise team sing with all of their heart and soul, and listening to Bob talk to us about Resetting, it's hard to not appreciate what all He has done for us.

The past few weeks, Bob has talked about Resetting and refocusing on what is important, such as your home, your attitude, and your perspective. It's easy to get lost in everything, especially when you are thinking about things of the world, or materialistic things such as the bedding set Kelsea and I wanted for Hayden's room. Today, of all days, I lost sight of what is important. We are continuing to visit our budget and look at ways to cut our spending and I got sidetracked (as I usually and easily do!) by the otustanding bills we have from the past three months. As many of you know, it takes a while for medical bills to show up on your doorstep, but once they start, boy do they start! I started to worry again about how this is all going to work out. Kelsea reminded me a day or so ago that Matthew 6:31-33 says the following:

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I know I have to trust in the Lord and His plan and I should not question or test it. However, I also know that the bills won't disappear if I just file them in the folder labeled "God" in our filing cabinet! It is about resetting our home and our perspective to follow God's will and the path He has laid out for us. It is not about the traditions of Santa Claus and the Elf on the Shelf (sorry to my friends who use this....I mean no disrespect with my comment...I actually love seeing the pictures of the creative places that people hide him or her....but they still kind of creep me out....think clown under the bed in Poltergeist...don't know why, they just do!). It is about having peace on Earth and bringing goodwill toward mankind. It is about taking my selfish wants and needs out of the equation and putting everybody else first.
For a better understanding, below is the Columbus Road Baptist Church way of explaining things!
On this Christmas eve, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and no matter where you are, who you are with, or what difficult situation you might be facing, that you may find peace on earth and with yourself through the Holy Spirit and continue to put God at the center of your life. And as you lay in bed tonight, drifting off to sleep, dreaming of all of those presents you didn't get as a child (as I still do sometimes) I ask that you say a prayer for myself and Kelsea, that God will give us strength, the two weeks we are apart, and that He will allow us to hear Hayden scream at 9:30, Monday, January 21.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Has it really been 2.5 weeks since I last posted an update? I ALWAYS have the intention of coming home and posting an update from the day. What we experienced, what we saw, what we felt. However, as life usually does, it gets the best of me. Whether it's playing with the dog, reading to Hayden, helping Kelsea clean, cooking gourmet meals of beans 'n weenies, or FIFA, so many times the things we intend to do get put on the back burner. The past 3 weeks have actually been somewhat of a blessing. I felt as though our lives had started to get on with everything and we were leading a somewhat normal life. Baby showers with family and friends, parents visiting over Thanksgiving, preparing for finals week at school, and cleaning the garage and getting 99% of my tools out of the house and basement and into their proper places on the work bench and the peg board in the garage. I think this one makes my parents more happy than it does me!

Kelsea (and Tucker) @ 32 weeks
The past few weeks, Kelsea has had four baby showers. First, over thanksgiving she had with our family and a few friends from church. This past weekend, she had three. Yes, three in four days! She had one at school with her coworkers, then Saturday her friend Kelly had one at her house for close firends, and then last night, the "Church Ladies" had one for her at church. Dana Carvey and Satanatanatan was not there thankfully......not sure if the church lady dance made an appearance...let's hope not (Good 'ol Saturday Night Live days!). Columbus Road Baptist Church, our home away from home, is one of the most amazing places a person could ever ask for. The things they do for their "family" is unbelievable. We are not a huge church, but the resources and the love that flows through its doors is like no other. I cannot imagine where I/we would be right now if it wasn't for this place and the people who show up every Sunday (and the people who don't show up every Sunday!). Several years ago, Bob Cowman helped lead me back to the Lord and there is not a day goes by that I think about that and thank God for putting leading him to Quincy.

There is absolutely no way or no thing, other than God, that could have put so many things in place, over years and miles, that could have better put two people together to help me find my way. For another perspective on this view, this post from October shows just how God is always working. This thought has been prevalent in many, many people's minds the past four days. Many people are questioning how God could let a tragedy happen in Connecticut like last Friday. It is heartbreaking and it makes one sick to their stomach to think about what this person did. However, we can't question God and His intentions. In Luke 4:12, Jesus tells us  it is not our place to test Him. Even though we don't like what we see, we have believe that He has a plan that is far greater than ours and we should not make Him prove it. That is so hard to do, but if we begin to question things that happen in life, it puts us back to square one. The only way to make it to the promised land is to believe that we are saved by grace through our faith. When we doubt God and we begin to question His plan, Satan is winning and we seperate ourselves from God.

Staying strong in your faith and trusting in His plan is what this life is all about. Kelsea and I have done a pretty good job of this over the past few months. However tonight, we had a breakdown. We both have the things we want in life and the things we want for Hayden. While trying to live the normal pregnancy (is there such a thing) while still planning for the reality of what we will possibly be dealing with, the pressure finally hit us tonight. We both want a beautiful nursery with the finest decorations and accessories available to mankind, although we also both know those are not the things we need to have. We both hit a wall tonight emotionally. It sucked! We have become pretty good communicators, thanks mostly to the ONE Marriage class Scott and Allison led us through at church before we got married, but in the hopes of trying to forget about the future that awaits us, we have slipped on letting our emotions out. Well, they came out tonight, along with quite a few tears. The best thing though, was we were right there with each other (along with a dog who was emphatically trying to persuade us that  if we let him have just one of Tucker's toys, he would make us smile!).

Even though things have been "good" I have been living with a huge amount of stress for the past three months (and my neck has told me every day for exactly the past three months). Kelsea helps remind me that God will take care of things and as the title of my blog states, I know he wouldn't lead me somewhere and then leave me to fend for myself. However, it is hard to not worry about how your life will be in the future. For three straight months, I have worried about my wife's health, my unborn son's Omphalocele, will we get to hold him that day, that week, that month he is born. I worry about the helplessness I'm going to feel as we sit in the NICU and he is attached to tubes and machines and there won't be a single thing I can do except watch and pray. I worry about medical bills and house bills, and car bills, when Kelsea doesn't return to work this Spring. I worry about what the future holds if she stays home with Hayden next year because of his Omphalocele and how we will make it. I worry about Kelsea being in St. Louis for two weeks without me. I know, I know. I need to put my worries onto God and He will move those mountains. However, it is hard. I am such a planner and right now, I feel as though I can't plan because I don't knowwhat the future holds.

However, we never really know what the future holds; only God knows this. Even on this night of self-pity, my heart aches for so many people around the world. A dear friend of mine found out that, after a successful surgery over a month to correct TTTS, she recently lost one of her unborn twins. I also think about the parents of the childrent and adults who were killed in Connecticut. I can't imagine what they are going through and how difficult it would be to wake up knowing somebody took the life of your child and they are no longer with you. I pray that they all find comfort in the Lord's unseen plan. I know they say that only time can heal these wounds, but I don't know how time would do that.

I do know that time has flown by the past three months and that these next few weeks will go by even faster. It is scary to think that 5 weeks from right now, I will be sitting in the NICU at Children's in St. Louis, hopefully watching over a sleeping beautiful baby boy. The doctors have set a tentative date for Kelsea's C-section of January 21st. FIVE WEEKS! We hope to get that date in stone on Wednesday when we go back to St. Louis for our next appoitnment. I am also very happy that my parents will be meeting us in St. Louis Wednesday morning on their way home. They left Florida tonight, with Hannah Ho in tow,  (Kelle and Jay's dog) and have no return date set. We are so thankful for them coming our direction and giving up their lives to gives us whatever support we may need. I also want to thank evrybody around the world (literally) who has sent cards, prayers, and love and support. Even though we are not able to respond to every single one of you (we received 11 cards today) I want to let you know how much it means to us when we sit down and read through every single letter, prayer card, scripture, etc.... I am looking forward to the day that we let every single one of you know just how your prayers changed our lives forever! Until that time......

Thursday, November 29, 2012

10,000 Reasons

A couple of months ago, I was at Columbus Road Baptist Church on a Wednesday night sitting in the back running the sound board for the Praise Team (I don't know what I'm doing with 200 of the 225 buttons, sliders, and switches...) when they started practicing this song in the video above. Joel Webel, who is one of the MANY talented musicians we have at our church, led this song. I instantly fell in love with the song. He sounds a lot like Neil Young (think Heart of Gold) when he sings this song. Walking out from the ultrasound today, Kelsea and I briefly mentioned how we feel like today was a day to celebrate. Although Hayden's weight is still low and below the 10th percentile, everything else was great. He passed his biophysical profile with 8 out of 8 points. This test, done during an ultrasound, observes the baby's general movements, muscle tone (moving of arms, hands, and fingers, and breathing movements (or practicing breathing as Kim told us) which are basically chest and diaphragm movements, and the amount of amniotic fluid. Even though Hayden is still only at 2 lbs 5 oz., we felt hope because he has gained weight. We walked out thanking God for this wondeful news and took a seat to wiat to meet with the specialist.

As we sat down, I noticed a couple sitting across from us, close to our ages probably, who seemed very happy and carefree. We were called in to our next appointment, and all went fine. We again felt at ease with the doctor and Shannon, our nurse coordinator who meets us at every appointment, was wondeful as always. On our way out, as Kelsea was scheduling her next appointment, I spotted the same couple leaving the office. Their expressions were a sharp contrast to what they were 45 minutes earlier. My heart immediately sank and I wanted to reach out to them. I don't know what they were grieving, but there was definitely something heavy on their minds and hearts that was not there 45 mintues earlier.

It's easy to thank God when things go your way and you get what you want, but what about the times you don't get what you want? I felt so bad for this couple. I don't know their story, who they are, where they are from, or where they were going. However, I've been in their shoes and so have many of you. You have shared your experiences with us and shared your thoughts and prayers with us. I wanted to let this couple know they may not see it right now, but God does have a plan for them. We don't always know how we fit into it or what role He will have us play, but if we turn to Him and cry on His shoulder, He will lift us up. We can't just praise His name and sing out when things are going our way. When we find ourselves at that day when our strength is failing, the end draws near, and our time has come, your soul still needs to sing unending praise.

I hope this couple has Jesus Christ in their lives. If they do, they will get past this. I can't imagine where Kelsea and I would be today if we didn't have God in our lives. He is not 100% at the center where He should be, but He is moving closer and closer every day. I know for a fact that He is the reason we are where we are today and that we are making it through this today. My prayers tonight are for you to find the 10,000 reasons for your heart to sing His praise. One of the reasons I thank God is for the work that is happening right now. The people in our lives who are being touched and transformed by the love and forgiveness He has shown me, including my own transformation. I thank God for continuing to throw them the "life saver" hoping they will turn their back on their old lives and grab on to Him.

Reason 10,001.....................

Monday, November 26, 2012

Your Presence

I'm not much of a "book" reader, but I read. I read online stories, keep up to date with the news around the state, country, and world, and I have recently become more of a follower of blogs and reading other people's accounts about their lives, their trials, and their tribulations, especially those regarding revolving around families who have had pregancies with babies who have omphaloceles.

Two nights ago, I found one that really drew me in. A lady was talking about her pregnancy and everything milestone she wrote about, I followed along right on the edge of my seat. It was from 3 years ago, but her story was very similar to mine and Kelsea's. The week they found out (the week they went in for the ultrasound to find out if they were having a boy or a girl), their ensuing trips to a specialists, the level II ultrasounds, and the echos. Everything was right on. Even down to this lady's wonderful attitude regarding God's plan for her baby boy. As the weeks progressed, I felt like I was getting closer to this family and pulling and praying for them, even though this was three years ago. However, towards the end of her pregnancy, a weekly check-up revealed that his heart had stopped beating.

I was completely devastated. It was like a horrible ending to a really, REALLY good movie. It was the ending that nobody ever expected. All through it all, this lady kept a positive attitude and gave all credit to God, even in the end, after her baby boy's heart stopped beating. For the past two days, I have once again, tried to take on the world all by myself. Instead of putting my faith in God's hands, I tired to worry the hours away. The past 48 hours were miserable. I tried to do it myself, but as always, it doesn't work. All I could think about for the past two days was that Hayden's heart was still beating strong and we would push on through another week.

As I sat in my truck tonight, waiting for Kelsea at QMG, I opened up to God and asked Him to forgive me for not leaning on Him. I asked Him to forgive me for not putting my worries on Him. Of course, our God is a good God and he forgave me. He also once again showed me His plan and I felt like a fool for not putting full trust in the Lord. As we left the doctor tonight, I was still full of adrenaline after hearing Hayden's heart, this song was on the radio.

I am not a musically inclined person, but music has always connected with me. It is more than just the sound. When you really listen to the lyrics, it is amazing what message people are able to convey.

"Let me hear Your voice,
 For Your voice is sweet.......
I love Your embrace
I love Your presence..........
Your desire is for me
Nothing can change Your mind."
I know it will happen again, but the last line of the song really got me. His desire truly is for me, and there is nothing I can do that will change His mind. It is His plan, and it will continue. I just ask God, that You give me the vision to see more clearly what Your plan is so I can help carry it out.
Kelsea got her Rogam shot tonight (RH- Blood), had her Glucose testing done, which she said she could drink that stuff all night long, measured in at 29 weeks (which is good considering we are 29 weeks!), and discussed more with our local doctor about the non-stress testing (NST). She reaffirmed what Kelsea and I both felt, that the NST at this time would not be an option because it can produce a false-positive for a problem and Hayden would be forced to join us early in this world, and we don't want that! All is good. We are good. We are even considering cloth diapering.......    Call us crazy...maybe! Smart.......maybe! All part of the options to weight over the next few weeks.
We head to St. Louis again Thursday for our next ultrasound and appointment with the specialist. Althought not looking forward to the quick turnaround on the drive, we are looking forward to seeing our little Hayden again on the black and white screen!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Does it Mean to be Loved?

Has it really been 2 1/2 weeks since I last visited this area of the World Wide Web? It is amazing, scary, exciting, and nerve racking (all at the same time) when I sit down and think about just how quickly time is passing us by.

These past 2 1/2 weeks I have tried to accomplish two things. First, I have tried to continue pushing forward trying to get everything in order for the new year and have our life as simplified as possible when God decides Hayden is ready to join us on the "outside" in this wonderful world. Second, I have tried to slow down and enjoy our life as a normal married couple who is expecting their first child! Let me tell you, these two lifestyles don't really play well together!

I am lucky that I don't need a lot of sleep to function. Staying up until midnight or 12:30 and getting up at 5:15 or 5:30 work ok for me. Would I benefit from more sleep? Probably. However, I've promised Hayden the best life possible and I will do what it takes to ensure that. Our parents have been strong examples showing Kelsea and I what it means to sacrifice your wants for your child's and I have quickly learned that it is something easy to do. The day after we returned from St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, I heard a song on the radio coming home from work. Thankfully, Soundhoud was able to give me the name and lyrics of the song. Although the details are different, the lyrics of this song, "What it Means to be Loved" by Mark Schultz, hit pretty close to home. It goes without saying that it brought tears to my eyes, once again!

So what does it mean to be loved?
  •  Over the past 3.5 weeks,we have all seen the posts on Facebook regarding what people are"thankful for." Well, every single post people have put on there are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • The continuous cards of prayer, encouragement, testimonies, and general well-wishes are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • The financial and emotional gifts of love and support are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • All of the wonderful gifts and gift cards we have received from Babies 'R Us and Wal-Mart for Hayden are examples of what it means to be loved.

  • All of the cute clothes and hand-made blankets and socks and hats that Hayden received yesterday are examples of what it means to be loved....looks like I have some work to do on Hayden's closet today...not sure where we're going to put all of his things!
  • All of our family members who were able to make it Kelsea's shower yesterday (and those who sent cards but weren't able to make it) are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • Kelsea's mom Laurie, sister Kim, Aunt Bonnie, and Grandma Mildred who traveled a long way in a VERY short time yesterday are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • Kelsea's Uncle Bruce who sent the bar of soap (with a train on it of course!) because he heard she was having a shower are examples of what it means to be loved!!
  • My parents coming in town and helping us out around the house this past few days are examples of what it means to be loved.
  • I know there are more, and I apologize if somebody is reading this that has done something that has showed us what it means to be loved, but there are so many things, it is hard to keep track of them all.
The basement is almost complete being "decorated" and the computer room is a mess (as always). However, it will get done...sometime! Pictures will follow soon!

11/22/2012 - 28 or 29 Weeks....whichever one it is!!!
Other than the issues with the Omphalocele, Kelsea's pregnancy is following a normal pregnancy. Kelsea is not getting big, rather Hayden is getting so big! We need that. We meet with Dr. Kagumba in Quincy on Monday for a normal visit and then we head to Barnes again on Thursday for a 3-week follow-up ultrasound and meeting with one of the MFM specialists.

Yesterday, our iPhone app told us Hayden is 29 weeks. Now, does that mean he is entering the 29th week or has completed 29 weeks, I have no clue. However, it does tell me that we are leaping and bounding closer to our due date. The goal is to make it to 39 weeks, which would put us a week before his due date, which is on February 9th. If we can make it to 2/2/13, that would be wonderful. Howver, as we have found out through our connections with many wonderful people around the country who have had an Omphalocele baby, many don't make it to their scheduled C-Section date, but the work God has done through us and in us continues to amaze me. I am sure the date won't end up being 2/2/13 (which would be the 39 week mark like the MFM wanted us to hit) but that date would mark the one-year anniversary that of our miscarriage with our fist baby.

It's so hard to fathom what God can do and the control He has over everything in this world.  From the timing of Hayden's due date (although it is yet to be seen when he will actually join us) to the work he does on people's minds and hearts. I continue to see loved ones and strangers evolve. I see God throwing that life jacket to them (as Bob always explained to me that God was doing for me) pleading with them to grab on. It is a hard thing to do to give your life to God, something I still struggle with. However, He truly is a loving and forgiving God. I continue to pray, and ask for your prayers, that those in this world who are struggling to find God, will have their eyes and their hearts opened, so He can show them what it means to be loved.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Omnipresent....or Just Hanging out in the Heart Station???

Genesis 28: 15, 16 states the following:

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it" (Genesis 28:15,16).
I know this is true, that God is omnipresent. Bob and I have discussed this in our studies over coffee (which I truly miss because I have not made it a priority lately). However, I felt like the only place He could have been today was in the Heart Station Fetal Echo room this morning at Children's in St. Louis. The news that was delivered to us today, I know it was from God. 
Hayden behaved this morning and our tech, Diana, was able to accomplish her job in about 45 minutes! Many times it can take up to 90 minutes to get sufficient pictures of the heart becasue of constant movement. However, God was right there with us, moving her hands across Kelsea's belly and comforting Hayden throughout the process. After Dr. Singh came in and looked at the heart again for about 3 minutes, he turned towards us and said "The heart is functioning properly. It looks good and I don't see any major defects." Before he could finish, the flood gates had been raised and tears were rolling down my cheeks. It was unbelievable news this morning, something that I know ALL of your prayers had a hand in. God was so good to us today. He gave us some reassurance that He has a plan for Hayden and He is using him in so many ways. He is using Hayden to reach out to families who are hurting today, families who are making difficult decisions, families who feel like there is no hope. He is using Hayden to show His love and grace is greater than all things we could imagine here on Earth.
We also got to tour the NICU which was like a whole different world. Children's is such a neat place. From the train when you walk in from the parking garage to the little kids's voices in the elevators. It is truly an amazing place. The Neonatologist and Pediatric Surgeon we met with for over an hour gave Kelsea and I reassurance that Hayden is going to get the best care that is available after he is born and Dr. Cahill, the MFM we met with today, along with Dr. Shanks from our last visit, and Shannon and Chris (our Nurse Coordinators) have given us the confidence the Kelsea and Haydne have the best care leading up to his birth.
Thank you everybody for your prayers and well wishes. It has been another long day, but such a rewarding day. It was a nice change to hear some good news, some news that made the selfish, human part of me happy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

City of Fulfillment

Well, we finally made it to our room after leaving the house 6 hours ago! Drove down to St. Louis tonight.....thanks Mom and Pops for the room and dinner.... Or at least part of it! We have a long day tomorrow... 5 or 6 different appointments I believe, so we decided to try to have some fun. We stopped by Baby's R' Us and I got to have some fun with their little "scanner gun!" I could do some damage with that! A lot more fun than looking online!

As we pulled into the "city" I thought about how life changes a person. I also thought about how my connection with God has changed me over the past few years. I have always loved St. Louis and have many fond memories from here and many memories I can't recall...or maybe have tried to forget! As we exited off 70, as you turn South onto Broadway towards the dome, the city suddenly overtakes you. Even with some run down buildings, it's still beautiful. I always felt St. Louis offered me everything I ever needed. However, I never realized what it was that I truly needed. Even though the things I desire and need have changed over the past three years, I am glad that now that I know what I really need, I can still find it here. Made me smile knowing I was here tonight for my Kelsea and Hayden and not here for my selfish wants and needs, hitting up Washington St. and all the stuff the "city" offers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5: Cat Hair and Fireplaces

As I read the "thankful" posts over the past few days from female friends I have on Facebook, I think about all of the things I am thankful for myself. Over the past few days, I have had several conversations with different friends, and all of them have centered on things I/we are thankful for. I am assuming they are doing one each day leading up until Thanksgiving or the month of November. However, that isn't enough time to even begin to put a dent in the things/people I am thankful for.

The biggest and most important thing I am thankful for is God's everlasting love. It is so hard to comprehend how He can love and show mercy and forgiveness to somebody who has lived the life I have had. It would be easy to accuse God of "punishing" Kelsea and I with the uncertainty that we are having with her pregnancy right now. However, we know that is not what our God does. We know He doesn't punish us because we have sinned. We do know that God is jealous for our love and our attention. I continue to see God work in not only our lives, but the lives of people around us and around the country. God is constantly telling us not to worry because He has our back!

I have wanted nothing more the past five and a half months (since we found out Kelsea was pregnant again....which I'm still not happy I didn't get breakfast that morning! Ask her about my great sadness over this story....) than for Kelsea to experience "normal" things many women get to experience during her pregnancy. Normal activities, actions, feelings, concerns, etc.. Well, for the most part, that hasn't happened. God realized she was stornger than most women and could handle bringing His special child into this world. From our concerns over the first few months because of her first miscarriage to our current concerns with Hayden's Omphalocele, I was worried she was going to miss out on things. What, I didn't know. I know we are to give our worries to God. Philippians 4:6-7 states

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

There were some things in particular that had been weighing on my mind. Things I shouldn't have been because there was nothing I could do about it. After I finally turned to God and asked Him for the things I needed, the things I wanted for Kelsea, He showed me once again just how powerful He is. God answered my prayers and reminded me He is in control.

I had mentioned in an earlier post about how I hate making people sad. I hate seeing the hurt and sadness in their eyes when I tell them something they don't want to hear. Whether it is something that impacts others or something that impacts us, I DON'T LIKE IT! However, I am here to say, sometimes the things we are afraid to say or ask are the things that need to be said or asked the most. Please don't be afraid to ask us questions about what we are going through, what we are feeling, or thinking. Don't be afraid to ask us what we are scared for and what we are excited for. I know it is like waiting in line at a funeral or visitation. You're not sure what to say because you know no matter what you say, it won't change things. You're afraid that what you say or do might not be appreciated or even come out right. I'm here to say, it's ok....say it anyways. Ask it anyways. Don't be afraid you are going to upset us (which we might...sometimes it is hard to hold back the tears) because most times it is that comforting word, phone call, note that is left that helps you get through. Never let your fear get in the way of your intentions.

Kelsea and I have been trying to balance doing the "normal" things expectant parents do with the "not so normal" things parents with complications in their pregnancy do! First off, I think I have been the one that has been "nesting" lately! The upstairs is clean, the rooms have been rearranged, and the basement is all set up (minus wall decorations), so we decided that it was time to minimize car hair. I have never been a fan of cats, although they were a package deal and I have grown to accept them as part of our family. However, I still get frustrated at the amount of cat hair in our house and on our coats! We decided it was time to shave the cats again and keep the hair to a minimum.  I'm not sure what is going throught the cats' mind right now, but I have a few good ideas! It sure is a good thing Tucker doesn't shed! Which by the way, I know it is probably one of those things that there is zero need to worry about, but I think constantly about how I am going to miss him and have already come up with some ways to sneak him down to St. Louis every now and then so he can give Kelsea some love when she is down there. I know when Hayden gets here that Tucker will take a backseat and I won't worry about him as much, however, right now, I do...and I know I will miss him. I do feel loved though because once again, God has been working...even in the pet department and let me know He will take care of Tucker, just as He will take care of our little family!

Kelsea and I have had some "fun" the past few days. Trying to accomplish one of the "normal" activities in between nights of coming up with questions for the cardiologist, neonatologist, and pediatric surgeon, we decided we better start looking at items that we "think" we will need for Hayden. Still not exactly sure what his life will be like after he is born, we decided to go ahead and register at Baby's R Us and Wal-mart and try to come up with things we think he will need. With the help from our new friend in Texas, Kelly Davis, we feel we have a pretty good idea. However, we hope to learn more from our marathon appointments this Thursday when we go back to Barnes and Childrens in St. Louis. We have struggled a little bit because this is obviously going to be our first child and we're just not exactly sure since we have never done this before! We don't know if we are picking things out that are too expensive, or not the right size, or if it stuff we don't need or if there is stuff we need, but we have no clue we need! It has been fun and we have started a big list, many duplicates as we keep saying we need to go back and cross-reference (mainly cross off) things we have on both websites! It is so hard picking stuff out for Hayden when we can't see the items in front of us. Of course, Wal-Mart has limited items in stock, so that isn't a ton of help! We are actually going to stop at a Baby's R Us in St. Louis when we are down there in a few days and hopefully will be able to decide on what we want/need and what we don't need/want!

So here is my Facebook "Day 5" post: I am thankful for:
  1. the love of God
  2. my loving wife
  3. one of the strongest and most supportive families a person could ever ask for
  4. the endless cards, words of encouragement, and gifts of love we receive every day in the mail and in person....we have quickly gotten behind recording all of the information that we promised we would when this started. However, my plan is to start catching up tomorrow night.
  5. Our new fireplace in our finished basement...this thing will get a lot of use over the next few months!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Every time I sit down in front of the computer to create a new entry in my blog, I always sit for clsoe to ten minutes while my mind jumps all over the place. I never know just how to start. I have never been an effective writer. Only a few short years ago, I still e-mailed papers for my master's class to my parents so they could critique and correct my ramblings. I have never been able to fully organize my thoughts. Sometimes I feel this is true in my life. I want things to be perfect and I try so hard to reach perfection, but it seems as though I can never attain it. It usually just ends up being "good enough for who it's for!" It reminds me of a book I read, maybe in 4th grade. It was titled something like How to be a Perfect Person in 10 Days (or something like that). The one thing I remember was the last step/day. The boy had to sit there and do nothing. Not think about anything, not say anything. Nothing! The boy ended up realizing that no matter what he did, he wasn't going to be perfect. Sometimes I struggle with that.

This past week has tested my faith and reliance upon God. As usual, I have failed. I have tried to handle things on my own and not give my worries to God. When that happens, we fail. We fail miserably. For the first time in seven weeks, I have felt a strain between my better half and myself. We have kind of been at each other over small, insignificant things. Things that when I look back and compare it to what God's grand plan might be, they pale in comparison. Does it really matter what dresser we put in our bedroom (changing bedroom layout upstairs), or if we get a pack-n-play that has an attachment to change a baby's diaper on it, or even if my wife puts the creamer back in the fridge before I am finished drinking my coffee on Saturday mornings (yes....this was really something that upset me!)? No, these things don't matter, however, when we don't put our worries in God's hands and try to go through this life on our own, this is what happens to us. If God is not at the center of your life, as human beings, our selfishness gets in the way of wanting to serve others.

For the first time in six weeks (it is hard to believe that is has been six weeks since we had that infamous ultrasound) I questioned the path God has set before us. Now that the basement is finished, besides moving a few things back upstairs and vice versa, we have cleaned one room upstairs and are preparing to move bedrooms around so we can start to get the nursery ready. We have been looking online and trying to figure out what we will need, and what we won't need. I never thought that would lead to disagreements and a trying weekend like we had. I guess that is what you get when you have two people as stubborn and bull-headed as Kelsea and myself! However, we figured we better start picking stuff out because heer due date is only 14 weeks and 5 days away! Plus, her c-section will be sooner than that, so I am starting to get a little anxious! Anyways, after meeting with Dr. Kaguma last Thursday and hearing Hayden's heartbeat (it has slowed down to about 142 bpm), I came home and started lookin online for things we might need. One thing I found was regarding travel in a car. Some people had talked online about not being able to use a regular car seat, but having to use a "bed" instead. I DID NOT like that idea and for the first time, became upset because that was not what I wanted. I got frustrated and sad, but after about 10 minutes, I finally turned back to God and asked Him for strength to continue to serve Him and His plan he has for us.

Yesterday helped though. After running the sound board at church yesterday morning, Kelsea and I returned last night to serve alongside many wonderful people at the Columbus Road Trunk-or-Treat. It was a fantastic evening and I was continuously amazed at the number of people that were in and around our church last night: members and the public.

We have been going a million miles an hour this past week and although it wears me down, I thank God every night because I know He is preparing us for our future. I feel as every day passes, I am running out of time to finish the house and pick things out for the nursery. I just keep telling myself, if I can make it to tomorrow, then I will have some more time to accomplish x, y, & z. Welcome to parenthood, right???

I have thought a lot lately about the past. I have looked at our situation and what other people are doing for us. The time they have taken out of their busy lives so they could put as at the front for awhile. I think back to moments in my life, especially the past 6-7 years and I think about times when I could've taken time out of my busy schedule to show someone some encouragement and let them know somebody out there was thinking about them. I feel like I let a lot of these opportunities get away because I was a selfish person who didn't have God in my life. Today, and every single day, Kelsea and I sit down and read through the cards in the mail that still continue to flood our mailbox. We have recieve mail from 21 different states in the past six weeks and every single person who has taken the time to write us is greatly appreciated. It is comforting to know just how many people out there are sending love and prayers our way. It is so reaffirming that God is working in many places, all of the time, whether we can see him or not. Even though I wasn't the perfect friend, neighbor, or loved one when others needed my support, it is so truly amzing to see that God is such a gracious and merciful God.

Defiitely not the "perfect" dog!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seasons End and Seasons Begin

Well it has been almost two weeks since I last posted and I don't think I should try to fit two weeks of information in this update. I would probably bore the few readers who come across this! Since it has been almost two weeks, that means we have two and a half weeks before we go back to St. Louis for our next appointment (down there!). We have an appointment with Dr. Kagumba here in Quincy on Thursday, but that is just a normal check-up. Our nurse coordinator with the Fetal Care Center in St. Louis, Shannon, told us before we left Barnes that our next trip would be a long day. Boy, was she ever right. A few days after we returned, she e-mailed us with the information. We have a 9 a.m. Fetal Echocardiagram and a follow-up with the cardiologist to discuss the results immediately after. I have no idea what the Echo will entail, haven't had time to research it yet. After that, we have an 11 o'clock appointment with Dr. Saito (Pediatric Surgeon) and a neonatologist. I am getting so confused on who everybody is and what their specialties mean and what jobs they will have in the future! We then have another ultrasound at 1:00 pm (which by the way.....I wish I could learn how to give Level II u/s on the side.....I would be rich!) and then finish off with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, Dr. Cahill, at 2:00 pm. We also hope to squeeze in a tour of Children's, the NICU, and all other areas we will be spending some time in while we are in St. Louis.

As before, they have been great in St. Louis. Our nurse coordinator has already been filling our spare time with plenty of reading material on long-term and affordable housing in St. Louis while we are there. Kelsea's due date is February 9th, and I am sure as we get closer, we will set a date for the C-Section. However, we have also talked about how strongly we feel that we want Hayden to be born in St. Louis so he is as close to the NICU as possible. It is nothing against Quincy or the medical facilities and personnel here, I/we just want the best for our little boy and I've promised him he will get it. Unfortunately, for this to happen, that probably means Kelsea will be heading to St. Louis well before her due date. When that happens, we don't know yet. I do know that Tucker is going to miss her!

Kelsea was able to go home this past weekend for Mia's (her niece) birthday party and Kim's (her sister) surprise birthday "celebration!" Although I missed her dearly, it was good for her to get away and spend some good quality time with her family. When she got home on Sunday, Kelsea met me at the K of C and stayed with me while I volunteered at Cadan's Carnival, a local event that raises money for CDH research. Rome and Tiffany lost their son several years ago to CDH and ever since then, they have ensured that the doctors at Children's in St. Louis are pusing forward raising awareness of CDH and making advances in its treatment. As I have mentioned before, God has ways of putting people and things just where He wants them so they can help fulfill His plan. Rome and Tiffany's doctor, Dr. Brad Warner, is the name that kept popping up when I first started doing research on Omphaloceles. He was in attendance Sunday afternoon for the event, however I left as he was just arriving. I was hoping to meet him, but as I sat there trying to sell raffle tickets (I did a horrible job by the way.....I think they could've done a better job if they would have just left the booth empty) I realized it wasn't about Kelsea and I and I didn't want to put msyelf in front of what the day was for. I also know that if God wants us to meet him, God will take care of it. It was a fun day and I was truly amazed at the turnout. I can't even begin to guess how many people were there throughout the three hours I was present. Well over a thousand I am sure though. It was nice to have Kelsea join me, even though she was tired, as she had just gotten off the train from DeKalb, and also talk to a former student who was helping me out earning some hours for Beta Club. However, she didn't know how to react when I bought her a rice krispie treat!

Basment is basically done. Windows were installed Friday, furniture is downstairs (although we still have some rearranging to do), the cat's now have a "tunnel" through the wall so they can get to their litter box and food without me worrying about the dog having some "treats" and no, I don't mean from the cat's food bowl....sick, sick dog! On a side note, it was interesting to read why dog's eat poop! Now to just finsih doing some rewiring in the storage/laundry area so I can move the shelves back in to place and move the rest of the "junk" from the garage back downstairs. Best part about everything is the fireplace we now have downstairs. It has already gotten a ton of use!

Friday, we saw our soccer season come to an end. It was definitely a tough ending to a great season. A team that, at the beginning of the season, I definitely did not have faith in. As the season neared the end, we saw our team get ranked nationally and in the state. However, rankings don't mean squat unless you perform. Well, our first game against Alton saw us trailing 1-0 midway through the first half. It took us 76 minutes and 35 seconds, but we finally "performed." The ending to our game was one of the craziest things I have ever witnessed in a soccer match. We had all but given up on our season when with 3:25 left in the game, we tied it up. Not 45 seconds later, we scored again and won 2-1 to advance to play Edwardsville, who 2 of the previous 3 seaons, has had our number. Friday night, we scored 20 seconds into the game and for the first 5-10 minutes, we thought we were going to roll over this team. However, it didn't end up that way, and just as the St. Louis Cardinals glorious posteason run is ending in the background as I type, our season came to an end with a 3-1 loss. I was sad to see it end, as I always am, however, that means I now have more time to spend at home with my wife and prepare for the arrival of our little Hayden!

One more thing, I FINALLY got to feel him kick tonight! Although very faint, I felt my boy move and it made his dad very proud!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Tonight's post is not witty nor funny and probably not very entertaining. It is just an update on our travels and our journey!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day, in more ways than just the weather. Kelsea and I went down to St. Louis last night because we had an 8 a.m. appointment at Barnes-Jewish and thought it would be nice to not have to leave at 5 in the morning to drive down!

The night started off with a wondeful meal at the Cheesecake Factory. I have never been there, but how can you go wrong with a name like that. The best part was taking 15 minutes to decide on what I would have for dessert. I was completely overwhelmed by the 30+ choices!

Our hotel room was extremely nice. The St. Louis Galleria Residence Inn by Marriott (which has been recently renovated) was well worth the $50 price we got it for on Priceline! The only negative side of the room was that we faced I-170, so it was a bit noisy. However, neither of us had trouble falling asleep!

We were excited for today because it meant we were able to take the next step on this journey that God has placed before us. The hardest part the past few weeks has been some of the unknowns. Well, today, several of those were answered. We started the day off (actaully all of our appointments were in one office) in the Center for Advanced Medicine in Barnes-Jewish hospital. We knew we would go through the same steps as we did at St. John's in Springfield, but were exactly sure what to expect. Ms. Hoskins was called back around 8:15 and I was introduced as the "father!" We first met with the Genetic Counselor, Erin, who was fabulous. I don't know what training/education a Genetic Counselor goes through, but she didn't look like she was more than a year out of college! It felt kind of weird to have somebody, who at least looked like they were quite a bit younger than me, giving me advice. However, she made Kelsea and I both extremely comfortable and talked to us on such a personal level. We definitely felt like she cared about us and Hayden and she was going to do everything in her power to ensure our doctors, as well as us, are as informed as possible. After going through a much more extensive family medical background than we did in Springfield and creating a family tree that covered the entire paper, and even after giving some medical advice for extended family members that I will pass on later, she took us back to the waiting room around 9:15.

Shortly after, Kim (who I believe is an Ultrasound Technician) and a 2nd year OB-GYN Resident (don't remember her name) who was learning how to use the Ultrasound machine (The Fetal Care Center is afilliated with Washington University) took us back to the ultrasound room. Both of these ladies were great as well. Kelsea had been filled-in on Kim by a friend who is familiar with her work and Kim was "warned" to watch out for us!

They walked us through the images and the measurements. Reconfirmed Hayden was going to get to keep his name boy showing us his boy parts again! She told us that he is in the 11th percentile based on his measurements and projected weight of 1 pound. However, this does not account for the Omphalocele and the organs that are contained in the Ompahlocele. A Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (MFM) came in and reviewed the ultrasound and took measurements of his own. For a few minutes, we did start to worry a little because he wasn't saying anything and when he would talk to Kim, he was whispering. However, once he was done, he told us he is a quiet talker and that eased some of our anxiety. We have had too many "quiet" ultrasounds!

After talking to Dr. Longman for a few minutes, he did tell us that the intestines, the liver, and part of the stomach is contained in the Omphalocele, which means it is a Large Omphalocele, just as Dr. Kagumba's office and Springfield had believed. Some positives from the ultrasound today show that Hayden does NOT have "sandal foot" and the measurements/pictures show very good signs that he does not have any of the three major chromosomal defects. However, as with everything else, it is only a picture and not 100% accurate. He then discussed possible heart defects. Springfield had noted that Hayden's heart was not positioned where most hearts should be and felt that CDH could be a possibility. CDH is anther disorder in which there is a hernia in the diaphragm which allows organs into the chest cavity. A local couple that I have known for a very long time had a son Cadan, who fought this for almost two weeks before being called home by God.

However, Dr. Longman, the MFM who looked at the ultrasound, doesn't believe this to be the case. However, as with everything else, things can change and we will be going back in 4 weeks for more ultrasounds, a fetal echo, and possible MRI.
After we left the ultrasound room at 10:45, we then met with the next MFM (Dr. Shanks) and the nurse from the Fetal Care Center of St. Louis who is going to be in charge of every step we make from here on out. I cannot even begin to explain what Dr. Shanks and Shannon did for us in the first 120 seconds of being in this next office. I have mentioned how everyone has been amazing so far, but these two were beyond amazing. They put every single fear Kelsea and I had to rest. He answered 7 of my 8 questions in the first two minutes, before I even had a chance to ask questions! It was sitting in this office, that I fianlly felt relief. His goal: Get us to 39 weeks and deliver (literally) to the neonatal team the biggest and healthiest boy possible!
We finally left his office around 11:45 armed with so much information. We discussed outcomes, delivery options, scenarios if Kelsea doesn't make it to 39 weeks and Hayden decides he's had enough of her and is ready for a bigger room, helicopter rides, etc.... Our minds were spinning, but they were spinning positive thoughts and big smiles!
We will go to Children's in St. Louis in four weeks for the Fetal Echo, then will meet with Pediatric Cardiologist to discuss results, and then meet with the Neonatologist and Pediatric Surgeon(s) to discuss plans for after Hayden joins us! We will continue to have doctor appointments with Kagumba here in town on the weeks in between our St. Louis visits.
It was so neat to see how caring everyone was and just to take in the sights and sounds of a place it seems we will become very familiar with. Even with our pain and sadness we have faced the past few weeks, we were reminded today on our way out that there is a reason God puts certain people in these situations. Seeing all the people around us, coming in and out of the elevators, doors, offices, parking garages, we were reminded that this is only a mountain and that there are many others around us who are dealing with just as difficult, if not more difficult situations. We are thankful that we have God on our side and continue to pray for those who do not that they will open their arms and their heart to Him.
We also decided to have a little fun on our way home and stop by the zoo. Kelsea thought that since we were only a few blocks away, it would be a good idea for "mummy' to take Hayden to the zoo for the first time!
 (I know....VERY cheesy!!). The Sea Lion exhibit is awesome! I think we could've stayed there for several hours watching them. Thanks Matt!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Mornings have become my favorite time of day over the past 6-7 years. Saturday mornings, especially on a nice cold fall morning like today, take me back to Saturday game mornings, pulling up to Flinn Memorial Stadium, the anticipation of getting out and playing a match on the National High School Soccer and Football field of the Year! That field was its prime. I can still remember Senior Night against Sacred Heart. With about 7-8 mins to play, Peter C., their current coach had a 18 yard low shot off a corner that beat Wittler, our keeper. Luckily, I was on the post (probably wasn't supposed to be!!!) and cleared it off the line to keep it tied 0-0. Stratman was there and I remember he told me after the game I was probably in the goal and it probably should've been a goal for them.... Some things never change....glad to know he is at least consistent in his dishing out you know what!

With about 4 mins to play, Casey sent a ball from the right wing to the middle of the field to Ryan Thomas who was near midfield. He then sent it to a streaking Jason Allen in front of me on the left side near the 18 who took a touch and dipped it over the keeper for a 1-0 win. Talk about a finish. In those days, it was a miracle guys didn't get hurt when we celebrated. We would literally tackle the scorer and promptly have a dog pile of about 20 guys right in front of the bench!

Well, today is Senior Day for QHS Blue Devil soccer and I am not there to see them on their last game at Flinn. I am on my normal Saturday morning routine getting a headache and backache from the bumpy ride on the beautiful yellow bus. Many people watch cartoons on a Saturday morning, however, today, like most Saturday mornings in the fall, the two pictures included are the only thing I get to watch in the morning. I am going to miss watching the Seniors play today, but I have a feeling after next weekend, I am going to be able to see them play quite a bit more!

I have two games in Columbia, MO, today and I truly feel good things are to come.

In exactly 96 hours, Kelsea and I will be trying to find our way around Barnes-Jewish and even though we have thoughts on what we want to hear from the doctors, we are praying constantly that God's will, will be done. No matter what news we get on Wednesday, we both know He will be right there with us, carrying us forward.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Call Me???

I guess you don't get to 16-2-1 with your 13th straight victory and national rankings without having a little fun....

Great job by producer Eric Stratman!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coincidence or God's Divine Plan?

As I mentioned on Facebook last night, our pastor and VERY dear friend Bob Cowman has been right by my side on my walk with God for the past three years. In the beginning, back to our summer mornings at Panera enjoying some wonderful coffee, he kept repeating something to me that hit me like a brick last night. He always said there are no accidents in life, everything happens for a reason. Everything that happens somehow falls into God's great plan. We would talk about how our love of the game of soccer brought us together, although it took me a few years to realize that it was more than just about soccer. He said it was not a coincidence that God's plan brought him from Ohio to Quincy, Illinois and it was no coincidence that he ended up on the same practice field, for the same team that I did. He told me there are NO coincidences in life with God. He stressed day after day that these things I used to call coincidences were far greater than that. These things that we find eery sometimes when they happen do not "just happen." They are a part of God's divine plan.

It had been awhile since I had thought about those conversations, but they all came flooding back last night. Kelsea had a follow-up with Dr. Kagumba in Quincy yesterday and we got to hear that beautiful heartbeat again. It was jumping around from 160 to 169....I think he was as nervous as we were! Dr. Kagumba went through the reports from Springfield and wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. One thing that caught us a little by surprise was when she told us that a baby with an Omphalocele this large stands a very good chance of not making it full term (we know Kelsea will have a planned C-Section early to try to prevent her from going through natural childbirth which carries many risks to our boy) but it was the first time we had heard there is a chance he could be stillborn. She said that the 2nd trimester is usually a good time for the baby, but once Kelsea enters into her third trimester, the chances of this occuring increase. Not what we wanted to hear, but at the same time, we want open communication and want to be armed with as much information as possible.

On the drive home, after we had to run a few more errands, I continuously thought I needed to hurry up, get home, and start doing more research on Large Omphaloceles and the risks/chances of stillbirths. However, my mind kept moving to the positive and I wanted to find stories of success! One story stuck out in my mind the last 7 minutes of the drive and I couldn't help myself. I know I shouldn't do it, but I pulled the story up on my phone. My sister Kelle had sent me a text message two weeks ago, after we got back from Springfield, with an amazing story about a couple in Texas who found out, almost two years ago exactly, that their unborn child had a large omphalocele. Kelle thought the crazy part was that their story was eerily similar to ours and she wanted to share it. I read the link she sent me. It was a story on ABC News Baby Born With Organs Outside Body Receives Rare Surgery and how they had given birth and gone with the "paint and wait" method. There was also a link to a blog she had started which I opened, but I didn't read a lot.

When I got home last night, I found the article again (actually there are articles all over the Internet regarding Kelly, her husband Cody, and baby Hayes) however this time, I finally went to the blog to read more. The more I read, the more tears started running down my cheeks. One thing that struck my sister Kelle was the similarity in names between my wife Kelsea, and Kelly. However, it didn't stop there. Kelly is a Special Education teacher, as is Kelsea! My sister (will leave her name out since it is Kelle also!!!) said in her e-mail, "Talk about God's work right there! I can't describe the feeling I have right now."

What little did she, and I know, that was only the beginning. As I continued to read last night (I started at the end and worked my way backwards since that is the way Blogger posts new posts and it is kind of hard to find the beginning!) I started to feel more and more hope. I felt God was sitting right next to me, leading my hands to the mouse to find the beginning. One thing I found out was that Kelsea and Kelly's blood type is the same and that the Omphalocele's in our two boys seem to be very similar in size. The next thing, which I already knew, but we haven't told the general public yet, is the names of our boys. I was wanting to wait until he was born (Kelsea wasn't...imagine that!!!), but I felt like I needed to share to explain just how God was working.

Hayden, our son's name is unbelievably close to Hayes. There I said it! It's out!

Hayden Owen Hoskins

Such a beautiful name!  Ok, on with the story....

It doesn't stop there. There was one last thing that literally brought me to my knees. After I finally found her first post from October 15, 2010, I could not believe my eyes when I saw the title of her first post. I wasn't sure what I was doing, and now I don't even think it was my doing, but I titled my first post "Omphalo what???" on 9/19/12. Kelly's first post.....  Omphalo-what?!?!

That put me over the edge. I yelled at Kelsea and could barely explain what I had read. It was such an amazing thing, I was completely overcome. Even if you do not have a relationship with Jesus, this is about as big of a sign as there is. This is like the huge spotlights that casinos have outside trying to draw customers in. It was God's way of saying, "Look at what I did here. Have faith in me. I will not lead you astray."

I wasn't sure what to do, but I felt God take control of my hands and start typing a letter to Kelly and Cody. I am not even sure what I wrote, but when I got a response last night at 9:04 p.m., my world became much brighter. I know God led us to this couple. It was not by chance. It was not a coincidence. It was all part of His Divine plan.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Green Jerseys looked SWEET tonight!

Final 2 OT

15-2-1 on season!

Monday, October 1, 2012


We received some news this morning. It was some news that made myself, and even more importantly, Kelsea extremely happy. Last week, when we were in Springfield, instead of doing an amniocentesis, we opted for the Harmony prenatal test. Althought it is fairly new, this blood test is used to detect common fetal trisomies. Studies have shown it is greater than 99% accurate testing for Trisomy 21 and greater than 98% accurate testing for Trisomy 18. The Genetic Counselor called me this morning (we decided it was best to relay the information to me first, then I could pass it on to Kelsea) and told me the tests came back normal. I want to say we received some good news, but I feel like that is not what God wants me to say. The reason I say this is good news is because babies with Omphaloceles have a 25-40% chance of also having some type of chromosomal defect. As of right now,  it looks like our little boy will not have Trisomy 13, 18, or 21. However, I also know that the screenings are not 100% and we still may end up doing an amniocentesis after we go to St. Louis next week and there are still other possible defects that could be associated with the Omphalocele. We both feel like this is good news, but at the same time, that means that if he would have one of those, then that is bad news. This is not really how we feel because we know we are blessed and that with whatever God decides our baby boy should be born with or without, we will be happy. We know it is in His hands and that we just play a role in His bigger plan.

Over the past few days, I have been overcome with several different emotions and feelings. Saturday, I was overcome with joy because I finally (I didn't actually do it, my players did!!) won my first game of the season. As mentioned previously, it has been difficult because my teams have always had success at the lower level and it has been evident with our record. Saturday, I was able to be a part of one of the most exciting games I have ever coached. Although we lost to Jacksonville's JV team 3-2 on a goal with 30 seconds left to play, the way the boys played, the intensity, the heart, and the patience they had, not to mention two absolutely beautiful goals (actually five beautiful goals because Jacksonville's three goals were pretty spectacular themselves....not normal goals for a JV/Freshman game), I couldn't have been happier for the boys.

This morning, I was overcome with joy, extreme joy because I was able to hear God's work. Several years ago, I was lost. I was living life for myself and I was in a downward spiral. I didn't know it at the time, but I was miserable. I didn't know God, or I had lost contact with Him. Thankfully, he never left my side. He stayed right there, and as Bob Cowman told me many times, it was like I was drowning in a river and he kept throwing me a life preserver. Luckily, God continued to throw that life preserver and I finally saw it. His arm reaching out to me, pulling me to safety, has saved my life forever. Bob has told me that ignoring God when he is reaching out, speaking to us, turning our back on him is about as bad of a sin as you can commit. I look around me and I see people who need God's word in their life. I haven't pushed Him onto them, I have been waiting for the right time. However, I see that God is doing this for me. He is using Kelsea and I to reach out to others to show them His love and mercy and show them they are lost without Him. When we try to do it on our own, we fail...miserably. Been there. Done that. When we do it God's way, all things are possible. I was overcome with joy this morning because I see God working in other people. I have been listening to Bob the past three years, tell me with excitement in his eyes and his voice, that he sees God working in me. It is an amazing feeling to see him doing the same for others.

Tonight, I am not asking for prayers for Kelsea and I and for our little boy. I am asking for prayers for my loved ones who not necessarily don't know Jesus Christ, but who have strayed from Him and who may have turned their back on Him. I am asking God to continue pricking their hearts and give them hope that they may find a better life and realize that if they too put their faith and trust in the Lord, they can still be successful at life.

Tonight, I was overcome with amazement. We were greeted with many more cards of encouragement, scriptures, well wishes, and other gifts. It is hard to contain your emotions when you see how unselfish people are. I have always thought of myself as someone who would do anything for anybody, at any moment. However, I am quickly realizing I am nowhere close to being unselfish as I thought I was. Reading some of the personal notes, from New York, Louisiana, Iowa, and California to name a few, it almost brought me to my knees the "gifts" that others are willing to do for somebody they have never met. In a world as big as what we live in, many times it feels like we are all alone and so far from everybody else.

However, as somebody commented on here, from sea to sea, a band of angels, fellow QHS Blue Devils (angels and devils in the same sentence.... :)....) are coming together. It really makes you feel loved and as thought you are living in a small world. I just pray that God gives me the guidance to continue to spread His word and help others be overcome with God's love and mercy.

And Tuesday night, let's overcome those Raiders, fill the stands with green (yes, Green!) to support the Quincy Public Schools Foundation, and root on our Blue Devil Soccer to a 12th straight win!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Thousand Prayers

The Lord answered some prayers today, and from the sounds of it, there are thousands out there.

I am truly amazed, not to mention how blessed I feel at how our story is being spread to every nook and cranny of this world...literally. It is amazing the statistics that Google can show you regarding where your blog is viewed throughout the world. For example, did you know that right now, there is a 23% chance you are reading this right now on an iPhone? Of course you did! The cards that filled our mailbox today when I got home were an absolute shock. I never expected this to happen. I didn't start writing to reach out. I'm not really sure why I did (even though it was only a week ago that I started....) but I think it was important for me to be able to get my feelings out. Most of the time, I don't really show the swing in my emotions. I am fairly even keeled and go with the flow. I know this may be a way of helping me through it all, to reflect on everything. Plus, it allows me to talk to Mom, Dad, Kelle and Jay and not repeat stories four or five times!

Some of the things I have been praying for have kind of been selfish lately. My rekindled walk with God has been going on for a little more than three years now and I have always felt uneasy about what to say to God. However, I also know that the Holy Spirit tells God exactly what I want Him to hear, whether I say it correctly or not. We have received hundreds of messages, texts, e-mails, phone calls, letters filled with bible verses, prayers, and testimonials (hard to beat the one I heard last night standing in my basement whle the door handles were being installed....the last place I ever thought I would hear one!). It is so encouraging and refershing to feel the love and support from people we know and don't know. While talking to my mom tonight (who by the way is currently in Basalt, Colorado sitting on a deck overlooking the Frying Pan River....can we say jealous????) I was saddened to hear the struggle in her voice and her words. However, I was at a loss of words when she told me about her friend and former coteacher who had spread our story to a church in New York and how they were going to make it their mission to pray for us and our family. I don't even know what it means to make somebody your mission, but it was so comforting to hear the joy in my mom's voice knowing that there were people over a thousand miles away, who none of us had ever met, praying for her and for us. This whole experience (even though it has only been 9 days) has felt like a lifetime of learning. We thought that God used our miscarriage as a way of drawing us nearer to him and as a way of reaching out to others to show His love and mercy. I am quickly finding out that His plan is much bigger than that. He is using Kelsea and I, and baby H for a much bigger purpose.  However, we still appreciate the prayers for strength and understanding, and esepcially patience.

Even with the prayers for patience, it is hard to keep. Kelsea finally got the call from the Fetal Care Center in St. Louis today, one that was met with a sigh of relief and put a smile on my face. This is where I wanted to take Kelsea and Baby H because of one name that kept popping up on almost every search I have done. A Large Omphalocele is correctable, but from my research, it still poses many risks after he is born and there are many other defects that can be associated with this, which is why I want the best out there. We go to St. Louis on October 10th for an early morning appointment with a Genetic Counselor. This sounds scary in itself, but it is no big deal. Everything we will be doing with the Fetal Care Center that day (which is a part of Barne's Jewish and St. Louis Children's) was previously done at St. John's in Springfield, IL. The genetic counselor basically will talk with us about our immediate family and medical issues in the family. We will then have a more in depth ultrasound performed and will have to discuss the amniocentesis.

While in Springfield, we opted for a blood test which screens for the "Big Three" chromosal defects which are many times associated with an omphalocele. We should be getting those results back any day. After getting those results and the ultrasound in St. Louis, we will then decide on the amnio. I want to be as educated and prepared as possible when Baby H arrives because I want to give him the best life possible.

Afterwards, we will meet with the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, Dr. Shanks, who it seems will be in charge of our pregnancy for the duration. After that, who knows. We might have to have an echocardiagram performed to check the heart functioning, but we just dont know. I felt so good two nights ago because I spent about an hour on the St. Louis Children's website looking at the services, doctors, patient stories, and vitual tour. The Virtual Tour was very neat. It is hard to believe that will be our home away from home in a few short months. I wonder if they will allow Tucker to come visit Baby H?

Random thoughts as I have been typing:
  • I wonder how many times a person's car can get hit/door dinged over the course of a lifetime? Kelsea's car was hit again this past Sunday in the church parking lot. I think we have put more money into that car over the past three years, due to being hit or ME hitting concrete pillars underneath hotels in St. Louis, than what it is worth! You think God is trying to tell us something about her vehicle?
  • Well, I was right...AGAIN! It took Kelsea less than 6 days to "slip" on Baby H's name! Luckily it wasn't on Facebook like I had predicted! However, a slip turns into well now I have to tell such and such, and then you have to tell such and such.... I would like to keep some things a surprise, this being one of them.
  • QHS Blue Devil Soccer just won 2-0 over Legend High out of Colorado in the Gateway City Classic. Man do I wish I was down there tonight....gonna miss going to the zoo and seeing the penguins in the morning. However...I am sure Dink is happy to have a room without me for a change!
  • Wonder what ever happened to this kid below... Kind of cheesy, but I like some of the lines. Kind of made me think about all of the people all over the world praying for us tonight....