Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Silent Night

My Christmas wish was actually granted last night...a silent night. Emalee slept from 9pm until 7am! She is doing MUCH better! Today is her last day for the liquid steroid and we are starting to taper off her breathing treatments. She is a VERY happy little girl and loves to look at Christmas lights. I hope you all have a happy holiday as we celebrate our Savior's birth.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Roller coaster ride

We are on such a roller coaster ride right now...more downs then ups though! It has been mad craziness since we have been home. Emalee is improving, but not as quickly as I had expected. We actually had to have a suction machine brought to our house to use until she clears up more. She has started taking oral steroids in addition to all of her other meds. The poor girl takes four different things 6 times a day plus breathing treatments every four hours. Being her "nurse" is more then a full time job! The boys are happy to be home but are having some trouble adjusting to the fact that I can't play with them or give them a ton of attention...but at least we are all home together. My mom watched Emalee this afternoon so the boys and I could go play at the park. We had the BEST time! I was a little surprised that Izak could out score me in soccer...I was actually trying!! I think it was the first time that I have been outside the house or hospital since Thanksgiving so I truly treasured the park time! Kevin is working a lot right now considering he has had to be off so much the past three months (all of our medical drama!). We figured out that in the last 2 1/2 months we have spent over THREE weeks in the hospital-that is WAY to much time. Thank you for the continued support and prayers. I can feel them...if it wasn't for our faith I don't know if we would still be going strong at this point!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We're going HOME

Great news...Emalee did so good the last 24 hours that we get to go home!! She will continue on breathing treatments, meds, and thicken feeds but at least we will be taking care of her at our house....with MY boys!! Christmas came early for me! We will by laying very low for awhile...no public places or crowds until 2009. Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us during our 8 night hospital stay. I have a feeling things are going to be crazy for the rest of the day so no updates means no new news. God bless!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A great 24 hrs

Our 7th day in the hospital has been a GREAT one (considering!). Emalee slept last night from 11pm to 6:30am without a coughing episode!!! She has only had minor coughing episodes today, nothing that has made her turn blue. She has only had to been suctioned twice, and best of all...she has been completely off oxygen since 10am and her stats are staying high!! Our wonderful Dr gave us an hopeful report this morning...we should be home sometime this week! It could be as early as tomorrow or as long as the end of the week BUT we will be home for Christmas! I am delighted!! Emalee has eaten more today and slept more today then she has in a month. She smiled and cooed at her daddy for almost an hour this afternoon. She was smiling at him with a HUGE grin when all of a sudden her eyes just closed and she was sound asleep. That's how Kevin and I feel...we are so happy but exhausted! The boys are having so much fun at Kevin's parents house. There is "Christmas magic" everywhere there! Izak is starting to have trouble not being home and is really missing his mommy and daddy. He understands Emalee is sick and we are taking care of her but is ready to be home. Jax is so "go with the flow" that he is happy where ever he is...but lights up when we get to see him. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. I feel such a huge sense of peace and relief. God is in control and is helping us every minute! Our praise to Him for a wonderful Doctor, nurses, therapists, friends, family, and the strength to endure.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We are so blessed. Today was a wonderful day! Emalee is doing great! She has been resting, eating, and trying to get better all day. We are still in the waiting period of the illness. We have to just wait it out until her lungs clear up and she is able to breathe on her own. They tried turning down her O2 but she still isn't ready. For being so sick, she is really a happy baby. Her reflux is definitely under control therefore we have had NO aspiration since Thurs. This should help her lungs clear up and heal. Still no word on how long we will be here...God only knows!
I went home for a few hours this afternoon and saw my boys. They are SO awesome and precious. I can not explain how difficult it is to be away from them and how much I look forward to having my family under one roof again.
Uncle Chris, Char, and Tyler surprised us and went over to our house and put up and decorated a Christmas tree. The boys were SO happy. Then they helped Izak and Jax make Christmas cookies. They loved putting sprinkles on the cookies. Jax would sprinkle on a spoon full and then eat a spoon full of the sprinkles. Thank you guys for giving my boys a wonderful morning!!!
My best friend Tami surprised Emalee with a Christmas tree for her hospital room. It is a small green ceramic tree covered in gold glitter with big bright lights. Emalee's eyes are the size of quarters as she watches the lights light up.
Thank you to Chandi for a wonderful dinner for my entire family.
This entire ordeal is much easier with great friends and family that show so much love and support.
Please continue to pray for my baby girl. She is SUCH a fighter and I know God has great plans ahead for her.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dec 13th, 12:30pm

Emalee was baptised! Thank you so much to Monsignor David for baptising our baby girl today. My mom, Kevin, and I were present for the very simple but absolutely beautiful baptism. Amazingly, Em was awake and alert the entire time.


Precious Emalee is exhausted, as is our entire family! We have not learned a ton of new info. Emalee is being treated for the whooping cough, RSV, reflux and pneumonia. The hope is that the illnesses will not get any worse and eventually she will begin to heal. Her lungs are FULL of junk! We will be in the hospital, here in Rogers, until she is able to breath room air (not straight O2 which she is on now), able to eat well enough to sustain herself, and not choke during coughing spells. I asked the Dr if he thought days or weeks or what and he just shrugged his shoulders. Time will tell. I am very grateful to be here because the Drs., nurses, and therapists are wonderful! The hard part is that it is impossible to rest here. Every two hours someone comes in...either to give medicine, breathing treatments, or access the princess. Emalee is getting used to all the rustling around and sleeps through a lot of it.
Today's Prayer Requests:
-Complete and quick recovery of all illnesses for Em
-A smooth, uncomplicated day tomorrow.
-Thanksgiving to everyone who is praying for us and helping us in anyway. Thank you for all of the encouraging emails. It is extremely hard to be able to write the blog let alone email. I am getting the messages and they do really cheer us up, so THANK YOU!
I hope to things are smooth enough tomorrow that I can go and see the boys for a little while. I miss them SO much. We are still in isolation so no visitors for us.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Whooping Cough

We just found out that Emalee has whooping cough. She is very sick..hard to breathe with very thick mucus. We do not have a lot of details right now because we just learned this news. Please pray for her, this is very serious. Also, please pray that this is not spread..especially to the nurses, doctors, therapists, and their families.
If you have been in contact with Kevin, Izak, Jaxen, Emalee, or myself within the last 2 weeks and are exhibiting cold-like symptoms or a deep cough please give me a call ASAP. Don't worry, this is not very dangerous to healthy adults/children...we are just trying to keep it under control and NOT spread it.

The Plan

What an eventful morning! And early...it started at 4 am with Emalee SCREAMING in pain. Her reflux is starting to wear on the lining of her tummy and esophagus. BUT, we have a plan and so far it is working! The Drs and therapists believe that she is aspirating her reflux so we are working on preventing the reflux. She takes a medicine, Reglan, before each meal that empties her stomach. Her formula is now thickened to the consistency of honey, and she eats, sleeps, and plays sitting at a 90' angle. The last three feedings have been successful, no aspiration!
Her lungs are still very full. The RSV and pneumonia are not able to clear up until the aspiration stops. She has needed her breathing treatments before she can have them and she is still on O2. We have been trying to wean her off the o2 but she just isn't ready to breath on her own just yet. Right now we are just waiting. Please pray that her pain subsides, the reflux becomes controlled, and her lungs become clear.
I dont know what they are giving her in the IV but somehow her hair is getting more and more auburn and her eyes blue. She is absoultely beautiful!
The boys are having a great time with Grandma and Grandpa (THANK YOU!!). Last night they got to help decorate their tree. Most of the ornaments are knee high (or eye high for a 2yr old).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Questions answered with more questions

Today was another big test day! Emalee had to starve all morning so she could have a swallow test performed. She was seated in big chair inside an x-ray like machine and then given a bottle. We were able to see the inside of her mouth, trachea, esophagus, throat, ect on a screen and watch her suck and swallow her bottle of dye. It was fascinating! On and off for the last month she starts choking and has a horrible coughing episode during her feeding. She is only able to eat between 1 and 3 oz before aspirating (formula in lungs, resulting in cough attacks). During the test, we all watched the screen with baited breath to see her aspirate. So she started eating, and then ate, and then ate, and then ate some more. The little girl ate more then she has even eaten and did NOT aspirate!! We were in SHOCK. We got back to our room and she started kicking around (in a good way), cooing, smiling, and was happier then she has been in a long time. It was wonderful yet disappointing. The test did not show why she is aspirating because she didn't aspirate! I am hoping that maybe we have had our own little miracle and the aspiration wont come back. Kevin is feeding her right this minute so here is hoping (and praying) that she has another successful feeding. She is going to be evaluated again tomorrow morning. Her RSV and pneumonia is not getting worse....but not really any better yet. We tried to turn down her oxygen but after 15mins her stats were to low so back up it went. She has been started on a reflux medicine. The Drs are thinking that perhaps her reflux could be going high enough in her esophagus that she is aspirating that. Time and tests will tell, hopefully!
The boys got to hang out with their daddy all day! I called to talk to Izak and he told Kevin, "I wont talk to mom on the phone. I will only talk to her if she comes home." Needless to say, my heart was broken!
I know that God hears our prayers. He can and will give us everything we need according to His will.
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Brief History

I have gotten several inquires about all that has gone on in with our family in the last few months so here is a quick recap: Emalee was born Sept 21st with some breathing problems. She had to spend a week in NICU before coming home. On Oct 31st I had my 4 wisdom teeth removed which lead to the formation of a bacterial infection in my throat. I had to have emergency surgery because my throat started to close. After a week's hospital stay I was released but with one major complication...1/2 of my tongue is numb due to nerve damage. My taste and temperature sensations (hot and cold) are horrible. Food tastes like it does when you have a really stuffy nose...very little flavor. The day after Thanksgiving, I got tonsillitis which lead to another hospital stay. Again, my throat started to close. Currently, my baby girl is in the hospital very sick, both of my boys are sick, and my husband is trying to balance all of this plus the real world of going to work. However, I have strength and a great sense of peace that only God can grant. When you remember our family, please pray for healing, happiness, and knowledge for the Doctors.

"Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7

Thank You

A big shout out to everyone that has offered their help. We appreciate the offers for dinner, help with the boys, and visits at the hospital. Right now we need prayers (and sleep:). Until we know what we are facing, this is the only thing that we really need. Although we would love to have visitors, Emalee is not allowed to have people coming and going. Not only is she highly contagious but her immune system is extremely weak and she can not afford to fight off anything else. We GREATLY appreciate every one's generosity!!!
Also, it is very hard for us to talk on our phones here...there is always a lot of action! Please feel free to email us anytime and we will get back with you when we can. dionneam@yahoo.com or kevinjsmith77@yahoo.com
Thank you all for caring for our family!


Today has been TEST day for Emalee! Our wonderful Dr is testing her to find out what exactly is going on. She is positive for RSV and pneumonia but there seems to be an underlying issue that is causing her bad choking episodes. She has been sick for almost a month and we are just now "connecting the dots" and realizing that the choking episodes correlate with her feeding. She was tested ALL morning with different Barryium (sp?) dye. They were looking for problems in her upper GI tract. She does have some reflux but not enough to be causing her choking problems. This evening we are meeting with a speech therapist who will evaluate her sucking/swallowing while eating. Tomorrow morning her upper air ways are going to be tested. We are looking for the "problem" that is leading to what is now thought to be causing her to aspirate. She is such a good little lady for being so sick. She only cries during/after a choking episode, which happens every time she eats. The RSV is causing her to produce a TON of mucus in her lungs/chest. This stuff is very thick and hard for her to pass therefore the nurses and respiratory therapists have to suction her airways (NOT fun!). Last night she had a horrible episode which resulted in a blockage the size of a golf ball. She is such a trooper though! A positive report: she is NEGATIVE for rotavirus! Yeah! The boys are feeling MUCH better today. They are chilling at Grandma and Grandpa's house having a blast. Thankfully, Kevin was off work today and able to help "hold down" our princess during the tests. More later..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

24 hrs and counting

So Emalee has been in the hospital for about 24 hrs and is making GREAT strides at a fast recovery. Her breathing is much better, not as labored as before. She is sleeping peacefully now. She still has choking/coughing episodes but they are becoming much less frequent. One major issue we are facing is that she is aspirating every time she eats. (Some of the formula is going into her lungs instead of her tummy.) This is very painful for her and almost always leads to a choking episode. Also, she is being checked for Rotovirus (stomach flu) because she has blood in her stool. Even though she is going through all of this, she is still a very happy baby. She hardly ever cries and just watches the nurses with her big 'almost blue' eyes.
Her big brothers had to go to the Dr this morning because they are both sick. Both have yucky colds/RSV type stuff but Jax also has an ear infection and Iz a horrible cough. Please pray for all THREE of my sick children. More later...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Please Pray

Emalee was hospitalized this afternoon with a horrible case of RSV and pneumonia. She is a VERY sick little girl. We are awaiting more tests and will update as we can. Right now she is having a lot of trouble breathing and keeping food down. She is retracting badly even though she is on oxygen. She will be getting breathing treatments every 4 hrs and suctioned as needed. The suctioning is horrible but extremely helpful. They basically put a tube in her nose that goes down her throat and sucks out the mucus...and there is a lot of it! The coughing and suctioning is very painful for her. Please pray for a complete and fast recovery.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tyke Woof Woof Smith

Introducing our newest addition to the family: Tyke Woof Woof Smith! The boys' Christmas present came early this year...a Schnoodle puppy! Izak named the puppy "Tyke" because that is the nickname Grammy calls Izak and he thinks it is "so cute". Jaxen has decided to call the puppy "Woof Woof". So far the dog is doing good...he is very smart and has learned to run and hide every time Jax comes his way. Izak is very protective and treats Tyke like a little king. Tyke is a miniature Schnoodle and should only grow to be about 10lbs. He is suppose to be very smart, social, and great with kids...here's hoping! Kevin's parents got his sister, Sasha, so it will be fun to have doggy play dates.

All Smiles

Miss Emalee Ann is ALL smiles now. She is really showing her sweet personality. Despite being so sick she still smiles all the time. She is just getting over a nasty stomach virus which almost landed her in the hospital. She was starting to show signs of dehydration on Friday but so far we have been able to keep her hydrated with Pedilyte. Her breathing is doing much better..she only has a few wheezes but will have to continue the breathing treatments. We are SO blessed to have a wonderful Doctor taking care of her.


Precious Gabriella came for Thanksgiving. The boys ADORE her! Every time we would leave my mom's house, Jax would call "Ella? Ella? Ella?" the ENTIRE way home! Unfortunately, I got sick (again) the day after Thanksgiving and was hospitalized. My throat started to swell shut again, this time due to tonsilitis. Thankfully Super Aunt Amy came prepared with lots of games and fun things for the boys to do while I was in the hospital. We are finally starting to feel better. Emalee and I are just getting over the stomach part of the virus, Jax and Iz have horrible coughs but are in good spirits, and poor Kevin is just starting to show signs of getting the stomach part. Thankfully, he was able to take a week of vacation this past week and help me get better and take care of the kiddos. I can not believe we have been sick for SO long (over a month and a half) but I really think we have "rounded the corner" and will be back to normal soon. The kids Dr has recommended the boys stay out of Mother's Day Out this month to give Emalee's immune system a break. The baby girl has been sick most of her life...so we are going to be hermits and stay inside and away from germs for the next month. Please God, grant me patience!!

Happy Birthday Izak

We celebrated Izak's 4th birthday with a party at Chuck E Cheese. Several of his soccer teammates, class mates, friends, and a lots of family all joined to celebrate. He had a BLAST! At the end of the night, we had to drag Daddy and Uncle Chris to the car, they were the biggest kids of all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Izak goes to the dentist

Izak went to the dentist on Friday. He had to have a cap put on one of his back teeth. As you can tell in the picture, he was very comfortable and had a great time. He actually asked if he could go back and see Dr Leis and Mr Thirsty (the suction thingy). When he was leaving the office, a lady in the waiting room gave him a $1 because she heard he did such a good job. He thought that was the greatest thing ever. We are SO proud of our big boy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two months

Emalee will be two months old on Friday (also Kevin's 28th birthday!). She is now eating formula mixed with rice cereal--bring on the fat rolls! As of last Friday she weighed 8lbs 8oz and is stunning. You can see in her eyes that she doesn't feel great but she is doing much better! She definately has her daddy wrapped around her tiny finger.

Duck, Duck,

GOOSE! On the way to buy our lottery tickets we passed a pond in Bella Vista that has ATTACK GEESE! They chased the boys trying to get food. Izak took cover under Emalee in the stroller (first picture). These animals were so aggressive that the boys had to hide in the car and throw them food. We had a blast though!

Big Brothers

The boys love to give Emalee her breathing treatments. They are such great brothers!

Thank you Mom

My mom is a rockstar. She has helped us SO much these past two and a half weeks. She has taken care of the kiddos, driven them to school, cooked their dinners, taken Emalee to the Drs, cleaned our house, and loved all over us! Thank you Mom!!!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Splish Splash

Emalee loves taking baths! Notice our little "One Eye Wonder"...she will open one eye, look around, and then either close that eye and go back to sleep OR if she is interested in what she sees she will open both eyes!


This morning, VERY early, Uncle Chris and Char came over for breakfast. After a great meal, Emalee, Jaxen, and Char decided it was snuggle time...which turned into nap time!

First Vistors

Emalee has had her first out of town visitors! Uncle Calvin, Aunt Heather, Dallas, and Hunter came for the weekend. We had a blast together! I dont think Emalee was put down for more then 5 mins. The boys played SO great together. If only they lived closer!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Healthy Baby Girl!!

Great news...Emalee has been given a clear bill of health! She tipped the scales at 6lbs even at her last Drs visit. Her color is finally better. This means our little angel is considered "healthy" and doesn't have to go back to the Drs for 6 wks!!! She is doing great at home. It is amazing how she can sleep through both of her brothers playing right next to her! Jaxen is madly in love with her. When he wakes up every morning he walks around the house yelling "Baby!" until he finds her. Izak is struggling with the transition. Please keep him in your prayers (along with his mom and dad) because he is really testing his boundaries and trying to "find his place" in our new family dynamics.

On another note, today is the 7th anniversary of my Daddy's death. Although this is my least favorite day of the year, it has been a great one. The new gift of life we have been blessed with really captures a sense of my dad. Emalee's eyes are becoming more and more blue every day...just like my dad's. And God bless her, she definitely has his nose and ears! Out of all three of my children, she definitely resembles my dad the most.

It is hard to believe that she is 15 days old and I have very few pictures of her. What can I say, she's my third! More pictures soon, I promise!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Princess Emalee

Just a quick update...we are HOME! Emalee is doing great and the boys love us all being together. Our dear friend Annie and her mom stopped by today to meet the little lady. She is finally wearing a hair bow! I haven't had a chance to take a lot of pictures, but will very soon! Thank you for all of the prayers...my princess is perfect!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Way to Go Emalee

Wow. That is all I can say! The last day has been quite eventful to say the least! Thank you all for your prayers-they are working! Emalee is COMPLETELY off of oxygen and breathing great! It was a slow but steady process that she mastered like a champ. She now needs to regulate her own body temp, eat and digest her food, poop, and pee...not a lot, right? She only has a few wires and tubes now so we finally get to hold her. It is the best feeling in the world to have her close enough to actually kiss her little round face! We joke that she doesn't have a double chin, just an extension of her cheeks. We had our first nursing session about an hour ago and she did amazing! Even the nurses were impressed with how well she latched on, ate, and then burped. My mom was the first family member to that got to change her diaper yesterday morning. Little Emalee decided that she should poop AND pee on Grammy during the change...we laughed SO hard! She is still in the intensive care nursery and we haven’t been given a set timeframe for her homecoming. The nurses are guessing 1-2 more weeks but considering how good she has done today, I think it will be sooner than later. As you pray for her, please include me too! Yesterday around noon my spinal headache returned. I was given a blood patch on Monday morning (basically blood was taken from my arm and injected into my spine via epidural so that it could clot over the hole that was leaking spinal fluid and causing the headache). The blood patch worked great until the clot broke loose and spinal fluid started leaking again. The pain from the headache was the most intense and horrible pain I have even experienced. Thankfully, I have gotten enough relief via pain management and iv fluids that I was just released as a patient from the hospital! The headache should start to get better in 2-3 days and been gone in a week. Please pray that it does go away otherwise another blood patch would have to be endured-and I really don’t want a fourth hole in my spine! The hospital and staff have been wonderful throughout this entire process...the nurses love all over Emalee. Thankfully, we have been given a room to stay in at the hospital so we are still close to Emalee and she is able to nurse every few hours. Thank you for all of the prayers! We haven’t been able to talk on the phone much so please feel free to email...more later!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Emalee is ONE day old

Emalee is making great progress today! She is able to breathe room air (pumped into her lungs) and has eaten twice! Once Daddy fed her through her feeding tube and then she had her first real bottle (5 ml). Her color is great and she has had her eyes open from time to time. We still haven't been able to hold her yet, but her Daddy hardly ever leaves her side! Izak met his little sister this afternoon. He didn't really know what to think but he did give her the bunny he had made at Build A Bear. When you squeeze the bunny's arm it says "Hi. This is Izak. I love you Emalee. Bye". Complete heart breaker!!! Thankfully, my spinal headache is much better, thanks to a blood patch (YUCK!). I hope to be released by tomorrow...we don't know when Emalee will be released from NICU or when we will get to hold her. We can't wait to hug all over her! She has "lines" leading into her umbilical cord to an artery and until that is removed we wont get to hold her. It is only a matter of time until we have the chance! Thank you for all of the prayers, they are working!!!
**Notice how little her head is compared to Kevin's fist! Also, you can tell in the picture that she isn't very fond of her oxygen line (notice her finger)!