I sit here with tears of joy running down my face. Today a prayer was answered. A prayer that has been prayed for many days, weeks and even months.
Today Eliana ate completely from her bottle!!!
NO TUBE at all!!! Oh, just typing those words causes me to well up again. It's been a long time coming. I know though that for many others, it is an even longer road. I know too that we aren't finished with this path. Oh, but I'm thankful for this bright spot. This moment of hope is so sweet. This day when my little girl has been able to eat.
For the first time in 8 months, Eliana has eaten without the aid of a tube. I counted the months wondering had it really been that long. She went into the hospital at the beginning of February to get the NG tube placed. That seems like such a long time ago. Almost a lifetime ago when my little girl was so very tiny and in heart failure - and eating was just more than she could manage. Her doctor likened it to running a marathon in terms of the energy that it required.
With a repaired heart she has sooo much more energy. Today she ate almost 22 ounces! That is a little shy of her goal as I don't tube feed her when she has eaten close to the goal amount in a feeding.
We hit one other new milestone today. I finished her feedings just before midnight! That hasn't happened since she was born! I'm playing around some with the timing of her feedings in hopes of finding a schedule that will work better for allowing her to eat - and allowing both of us to sleep.
I'm so thankful for this accomplishment! I rocked Eliana as she slept after her last feeding and just cried tears of joy. I spent time praising and thanking God that I was able to feed my little girl - without a tube. I praised Him for his goodness.
As I reflected though, I thought about His goodness and how it is not dependant on circumstances. He is good ALL the time. He was good in the midst of Eliana's heart failure. He was good in the midst of my struggles to nurse her. He was good in the midst of all of the many trials with her feeding. He was good as I struggled with sleep deprivation, fear and sadness. Even when the answers and timing have not been what I wanted, I was reminded then and am reminded now that He is good. It is easy to think He is good when things are going well, and I've been challenged often (and especially during the most difficult of times) to remember and praise Him for being good, especially when things are hard. I remember before facing Eliana's open heart surgery having to come to terms with the fact that even if the outcome of the surgery was not good, that God would still be good.
Tonight I am thankful for the many times God has showered his goodness on us!
Tomorrow (Wed), I have a neat opportunity. I am going to be speaking briefly at a Gala and Auction to benefit Duke Children's Hospital. I will be sharing Eliana's story. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be sharing yet and am praying for guidance on that. It will be hard to be brief about something that has seemed anything but brief. (I'm sure I can do that though!) I've been told that there will be media there that *may* be interested in interviewing me. I'm excited about this opportunity - and a little nervous too. I enjoy talking to people though and think that this will be a chance to share some of the blessings that have come during our short time with Eliana.
The gal that has arranged all of this is the one that set up everything for Rebecca's donation. She is really nice and has given me lots of helpful information even down to what to wear. (As a stay at home mom, my wardrobe of "nice" clothes isn't all that extensive so it helped to know that what I wore to Rebecca's event is just right for this one too.)
I would love your prayers that I would share whatever God lays on my heart. Our experience with Duke has been very positive and I'm thankful for the care we have received. I hope to share also about God's goodness through all of this.
I'm still planning to write on more things - and post more pictures of Isaiah's birthday, the pirate party for the boys and the Triangle Mended Little Hearts picnic we attended on Sunday.
With a heart filled with praise,