Friday, December 25, 2009

Finally A New Update

We might be the worst bloggers in the world! Contrary to popular belief, we have not totally abandoned the blog. Since our last post over a month ago, our sweet little boy has grown and grown. He is now 10 pounds and 22 inches long! We can't believe how big he's gotten! He is getting very interested in all the things around him, especially Christmas trees lately! Ryder had a great first Christmas and we are so thankful to have this sweet boy this Christmas. Here's some of the pictures he had taken a few weeks ago. We think he's very photgenic!

This has to be the cutest boy you've ever seen!

Happy boy laying on Daddy's hand

Look at those eyes!

The last two for Ryder's homies....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11 Weeks!

November 17th. If this date doesn't blow you away maybe you just need a little perspective.
  1. November 17th: the date that our son was expected to delivered into this world!
  2. November 17th: the day before our son turns 11 weeks old!
  3. November 17th: the day that our son reached 7lbs 12 1/2 oz!
  4. November 17th: the last day after 11 weeks of meals of being delivered to our house from our City View Church family! You are all amazing. We love you dearly.
  5. November 17th: the day that we thanked God for our baby boy for the 1 millionth time!
To celebrate we thought it might be time for you to see Ryder's new world. Here are some pics of his new room. This is a world without wires attached to his stomach and chest. A world without 11 other stinky babies to compete with. A world where his Mommy is at his beckon call 24 hours a day. A world in which he can call home. Enjoy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Quick update to let you know that RYDER IS HOME!!!!! We got to bring our sweet baby home yesterday afternoon. We are so thankful for all of your prayers, encouragement, and support over these past few months. Thank you Jesus for our friends and family who have walked with us and for the incredible amounts of grace You have given us to make it to this day. We continue to pray that YOU will receive glory from Ryder's life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Muscles

Just a quick pic to let you know that Ryder is doing great. We happened to look up and take this picture at just the right time as Ryder (Super Baby) flew over our heads.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2nd Street to Recovery

God's good. Ryder is doing great. His surgery went very well. This time he had a lot of work done but he's such a big boy that he was able to leave Cooks and go back to Harris without a breathing tube. Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support. Next step is getting him home. All this will take is eating everything on his own. So lets pray that he gets as hungry as a Baptist leaving church.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Need to hear from you...

Today my sweet wife said something that broke my heart. She told me she doesn't feel like she is able to be much of a mommy yet to our new baby boy. Of course I immediately showered her with all the ways I've seen her blow me a way by being such a great mommy to Ryder. It's no wonder she feels this way but I know it's not true. I'm sure you would agree with me.

We have prayed and prayed that God be glorified in our efforts and in our new family and we know that it must be taking place. If God's chief end is to see Himself glorified, then we know that He is more glorified in Ryder's surgeries and shunts than if He had healed Ryder without them. It's difficult, though, to see that glory when trying to view it through all the "gloom" that we have seen.

Now, with both these things in mind, please help us. I need Beth Anne to hear from you regarding how great she is doing as a new mommy. I'm sure you have seen her do something great (cause she's incredible). Also, we both need to hear from you regarding God's glory. In what ways have you seen it? In our efforts? In Ryder's smile? In your own prayer life? We'll take it all. Please leave a comment to help us.

We love you all so very much and we are so grateful for all that you have done for us. It's so good to hear how many people are praying for us and Ryder. We ask that you continue to do so. Please remember that tomorrow is the day for his surgery. It will be at Cooks around 1pm. Look forward to hearing your stories. Take care.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tuesday / Newsday

Recently I received a phone call from Dr. Lynch (Ryder's new Doctor). This was not out of the ordinary. She calls me every Tuesday/Newsday to let me know how Ryder's brain scan looked from the day before. This then allows me to relay the info back to Beth Anne in a loving hubandly manner. The news though was not what we were looking to hear. Ryder's ventricles have increased in size again. His doctors' only assumption is that since he's growing so much (6lbs 9.4oz/huge) his body is producing more fluid and therefore, requires an increasing amount to be drawn from his VAD. That being said, they also think that the best option now is to not wait any longer, but to move forward with the next surgery.

This surgery will take place on Monday the 26th and will be at Cooks with all the same great doctors and nurses. (We are so thankful Sarah can be with him again!) The goal this time will be to remove the temporary VAD and implant a permanent shunt (see below) that's permanent and will be permanently in his body and will permanently replace the natural function in his brain that absorbs/drains spinal fluid for him, permanently (Please feel the weight of the word permanent. Feel it yet? Beth Anne and I feel it too).

Though this is a huge deal in our world, to the doctors it is not. They are confident in Ryder's progress thus far (they know he can handle it), and they are confident in what they can do for him. Once completed, the next step in the process will be to get Ryder recovered, eating entirely on his own (no tube) and then home to his cool new room.

So, please join us in prayer. Pray all the things that the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. A special request I ask for Beth Anne and me is prayer for faith. Its becoming increasingly difficult to push on. We know we have to though. We have begun to realize that God must be being glorified more in our struggle to press on than He would have been through healing Ryder without these surgeries. Please pray that we will be refreshed and that we will be strong parents for our sweet little boy. We love you all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just Pictures

Since the last post didn't have any pictures, here's a few new ones!

Hanging out with Mommy while Daddy's at work

Ryder decided to pull his feeding tube out, so we caught a few pictures of a sweet little bare face!

Is he dreaming about ballerinas???

All clean after Daddy gave him a bath!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pray for strength...he's big

Well friends, things are going well. Ryder is now 5lbs 13 oz. If you look back at the October 2nd post he weighed 4lbs 13 oz. Yup, that's 1 pound in 11 days! This means that he will weigh 33lbs when he is a year old. It also means that he will weigh close to 200lbs when he's 6! (Trust me I did the math. That means it will happen.)

Ryder is now eating from a bottle or nursing at every other feeding (4 out of 8 times a day). He is able to hold his own temperature. He is back in his normal baby bed. The best part is that he is back to his room with his friends in room 1.

Today we met Ryder's new doctor. She is a very sweet lady and Beth Anne is really glad to have her. Today I also stayed home from work (didn't feel too hot this morn and needed to rest up). This worked out well because I needed to be at the hospital with Beth Anne to hear some updates from the doctor. We found out that its likely that Ryder will be having a second surgery. This surgery will be to give Ryder a permanent shunt to replace the device that is currently implanted under his scalp. We don't know when this will be but I promise to post again before hand if he has to have the surgery so that you can be praying for his medical team and for his sweet little head. There is still a chance that the permanent shunt won't be necessary, so we're going to continue to ask God to heal Ryder's brain without a second surgery.

The doctor also told us some very exciting news today. In all previous scans they had been monitoring a spot on his brain that at one time wasn't receiving necessary amounts of blood. This spot meant an increased risk for developmental problems. Praise our Great God! It has been gone for the past 2 brain scans! Ryder still is at risk because of a bajillion other factors, but its one big factor that has been eliminated.

Please pray that we would continue to praise God for what He is doing in our life. Sometimes things are rough, but we know that He knows best & has our best in mind. He has been faithful to us and we love Him. Thank you all for your prayers and for all of your concern.

Friday, October 2, 2009

One Month

Hello Friends. I'm sorry that it has been a week since our last post. There's just a lot to do and we can't seem to figure out how to get it all done. Even though this is the case we seem to have fallen in to a routine. This routine really is God showing us one more way that He is wonderful. From it He has given us peace. We still stop every once and awhile to to think things over and it takes our breath away. But after a few tears and sweet words we pick each other back up.

Can you believe it? Its been a month. We have a son. He is ONE month old! It's just impossible to think through all this. The hardest thing to think about is how much I love my son. I can't begin to measure it. It brings me to tears as I write this; I finally realize that this is how much our dear Lord loves us. Thank you God for such a blessing. While I can't measure Your love, You let me see it in a new way. You are so good to us. This is what Grace is, friends. God giving us something we don't deserve. I couldn't earn this life He has given me if I tried, but I have it and it keeps getting better.Ryder is doing so well. The device the implanted in his head is working great. This means that the ventricles in his head have begun to decrease in size. We have no clue how long that the device will be necessary, but we are praying that it is very effective and that Ryder won't need it for too long.

Ryder is eating well too. Our big man has learned to swallow. This past Sunday was his first time to try eating from a bottle and as of last night he began to finish every bottle that you put near his little face. As you can imagine, he is gaining weight too. On his one month birthday the little dude now weighs 4 lbs 13 oz. When he was born he was 2lbs 15 oz. He has almost gained 2 pounds... in one month!

Thank you all for your prayers. God has carried us through so much in the last month. There is no doubt for us of His goodness. This goodness is especially visible in each of you. We know of so many who are praying for our family. My prayer is that you are drawn into a deeper relationship with God through these prayers and that you will be blessed by God in the same ways He has blessed us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recovery... Ryder's Way

Hey Friends. This past Wednesday Ryder went to Cooks hospital for brain surgery. When I say brain surgery I mean that they did SURGERY on his BRAIN! Though it was scary it was very simple and very quick. His nurse was our friend Sarah Doyle. God's providence and goodness didn't stop there. He even gave us a Surgeon that was a follower of Christ. Dr. Honeycutt (the surgeon) led us all in prayer before they took Ryder back. Ryder had an entourage at the hospital that followed him around both Cooks and Harris hospital like he was the pope. That said, we are forever grateful to our friends and family that were at our side praying or were literally by our side.

Right now Ryder is recovering. He is now completely off of any breathing assistance. At one point (in Ryder style) he got sick of having the breathing tube breathing for him so he coughed it up and started breathing on his own. It scared Beth Anne a little when he extubated himself, but she was kinda out of it the last time he showed his stuborn personality and did things his own way (I am referring, of course, to crawling out of his Momma 11 weeks early).

He has lost a little weight (about 2 ounces), but he has also begun to eat more than ever (40ccs). So he is doing great. Our new prayer is that the device in his head can be removed very within the next couple of weeks. That will help Ryder out a very great deal. So please join us in asking for his safety, proper development, and comfort. We love our great God and know that he can do anything. Also, please know that we love you all and are so blessed by all that you do.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ryder's Surgery

Really Beth Anne and I are at a loss for words. I wish I had something witty or fun to share. Instead, I thought I'd go for informative. Ryder has swollen ventricles (brain parts). These ventricles have rapidly increased in size since his birth. Increased size in a limited space (his head) is bad. The ventricles are not allowing fluid to drain properly and the extra fluid is building up. This problem was the result of a hemorrhage that turned into a clot. To help things out the doctors are going to create a way for the ventricles to drain by means of something called a VAD (Ventricular Access Device). If you are just finding this out you are not alone. We just found out today that he was going to have the brain surgery and that it would be tomorrow morning at Cooks Hospital in Fort Worth around 11am. Just imagine the weight that has been dropped on our shoulders- Our baby boy is having brain surgery. So if you are freaking out with us please let your freakage drive you to pray with all the strength that you have. Pray that God's glory would be seen in this. Pray that the surgery would go well and that God would guide the doctors and nurses who will be with our baby. Pray that we will be comforted and find peace in the fact that God is in control and He knew all the details of today and tomorrow long ago. None of this makes sense to us. All we can think is that it's not suppossed to happen this way, but it is. So we want comfort. That comfort is going to have to come from seeing our Creator, Jesus, glorified. We love Jesus dearly and want to remain steadfast in this time for our sweet son and we want anyone around us who doesn't share in that same love to see Jesus made known. Thank you for being so faithful to pray for our family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tension and Gain

Well, if any of you wondered if Ryder had big genes in that little body, wonder no more. Big Ryder gained almost 3 ounces since yesterday. That means that he is now 3 pounds 15.2 ounces. You're right. That's almost one pound in less than 3 weeks!

Ryder is doing very well in almost everything. We can see this when we hold him, when we see him stretch, yawn, even poop on momma. The problem is that when we are away from him all we can seem to think of is tomorrow's news. Is it going to be hard to hear or exciting? We want to see our boy healthy.What we want though could be different than what God wants. We are trying so hard to believe that whatever happens God is doing His best for us, Ryder and Jesus' name. We know that this is true and it's exactly what God's word says, but it’s very hard to live out.

More than anything we want to see God glorified in our son. The tension is to want Him glorified and at the same time have very specific requests that we are begging God to do. Whatever the answer is, I’m sure God is going to teach us. What we need form you, our faithful and loving friends, is to ask God to grant us peace and trust.Pray that our big man continues to grow and continues to amaze our doctors.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Setting the Record Straight

It seems that the problem is not that we can't do math. The problem is that Ryder has a crazy mommy who apparently just makes up what he weighs. Here are the correct numbers from his past 4 weigh-ins (after triple checking with the nurse):
9/15: 3 pounds, 6.3 ounces
9/16: 3 pounds, 8.1 ounces
9/17: 3 pounds, 10.2 ounces
9/18: 3 pounds, 9.6 ounces
Yes, he went down a little bit today, but that could be partly because he moved to a big boy bed yesterday! He's not in the isolette anymore, so he's burning extra calories to keep his tiny little body warm. He's doing great at maintaining his temperature. Now hopefully he can keep packing on the ounces while he warms himself up!

Here's Ryder in his dishpan/bathtub. He doesn't quite know what to think of it yet!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gaining Little by Little

Tonight's weigh in put Ryder at 3 pounds, 4.9 ounces. That means he's gained 5.6 ounces since his birthday 2 weeks ago. We're retracting yesterday's statement that he has gained 7 ounces. Apparently we can't do math...we're very tired! We got a little ahead of ourselves, but we're still very happy with the 5.6 ounces that he's gained!

Here's some pictures of our little man in his new clothes today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Move!

Ryder is growing! He is up to 3 pounds, 4.6 ounces...exactly 7 ounces bigger than when he was born. He also made another move tonight. Ryder is now a resident of room 1 in the NICU! I'm sure he doesn't care which room he is in, but this is a big deal for mom and dad because room 1 means he's that much closer to coming home with us.

We got the results of the head CT today and they were not what we were hoping for. Some areas of concern are still showing up. The doctors have decided to continue to watch him until Monday. They will do another scan then. If the issues aren't resolved at that point we will talk about other measures to take from there. Please continue to pray with us that God will heal Ryder's little brain as only He is able. Pray also for peace for us. Today was another rough one after hearing what wasn't great news from Ryder's doctors.

We have been so touched by the messages we received through the day to simply let us know that you are praying. Thank you again for praying with us and loving our family.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Great Exchange: Wires for Threads

It seems that our weekends are becoming more tiring than the weeks. It seems that all of our plans are thwarted regardless of our attempts to make the most efficient use of our time. It seems that everyday we learn something new about our new lives as parents that takes our breaths away. Though we are struggling to catch up to this crazy life we still get moments in the day to look into the eyes of our healthy baby boy. In such moments we are reminded that regardless of the chaos, we are blessed beyond measure.

For example: Today we arrived at the NICU to be surprised by Ryder's new look. Big Man was wearing his first set of pajamas and he was light one more wire! Putting on PJs may seem to be something trivial to you and me. To Ryder though, it means that he is learning to maintain his own temperature, it means that he is gaining weight and it means that he gets to start getting ready for his GQ cover shoot (Just look at the pictures... You'll see).

So, thank You, God. Thank You for sustaining us. Thank You for our sweet boy. Thank You that we get to be a family and thank You that we know all of this is from You. Your word tells us that "for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). For all that You do, we thank you.

We still have a long road ahead of us, so we ask for your continued prayers. One very important thing one that we want to remind you of is his brain scan tomorrow. This scan is to check on the progress of some bleeding that became evident to his doctor very quickly after delivery and again in his last brain scan. His little body has been through a very great deal and quite early so this bleed doesn't do much to overly concern his doctors. That said, I'm sure you can imagine its not easy for his parents to hear though. Please pray for his little head, our peace, and wisdom for his doctors.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Room... No Attachments!

Big Ryder has moved on from 4a to 3b. You should be confused by this. What it means is that he has moved from the most intensive room to a room that is one level less of intensity. From here there are two rooms to go; room 2 and then to room 1. Not only has he graduated to the next room, he also travels with less baggage. As you know Ryder has a feeding tube to provide him milk. Up until this point he has also had IV's that delivered fats and calories from separate tubes. This means he had two additional lines running into one IV. Not any more! As anxious as he was to leave the womb he has been anxious to free himself from the bonds of latex. He now receives all of his nourishment through his feeding tube. We are so excited to see our Big Man progress. The remaining tube may seem sad, but its only because he is still supposed to be getting his food through an umbilical cord (The little guy doesn't know how to swallow yet!). So, he'll have to wait to shuck that last tube (A mans gotta have goals.)
All of these are very big steps in growth. Ryder is learning to sustain himself. Little does he know though, his very body is being held together by our great and wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ. Colossians 1: 17 says, "in Him all things hold together." Since we know that it is Jesus carrying him through this stage of life, we give Him all praise and honor. Because of this Beth Anne and I have committed ourselves to making sure that we spend our lives helping Ryder to know this same truth. Please pray that we continue to rest in the sweetness of Colossians 1:17. Also, pray that our dear Lord be glorified in Ryder's growth, his health, his life, and someday his knowledge of Him. We love you all and are so grateful for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scan Results

I just finished emailing a client in Ireland (yeah way over there!) who wanted me to know that she is praying for Ryder. Beth Anne just got a gift from our Home Group that brought her to tears, again. What these things mean is that the Body of Christ is more amazing than we ever knew! Our CityView family continues to amaze us with their love for us and for Jesus. They've done so by taking care of us in ways that we haven't even realized that we needed. That being said this is a plea to all of the Body of Christ to continue in prayer for Ryder. The doctor's report today on possible bleeding on his brain was not as good as we would like them to have been. Really, we have no answers except that what they saw before that gave them pause is still there. They are going to continue to take more scans and continue monitoring everything. Please pray that our sweet boy's brain is getting all the blood that it needs and that all anomalies in the results would go away. Please pray that Ryder would continue to be healthy and grow in strength. Please pray for Beth Anne and for me that we would rest in the Grace that God has shown us and that gave our sweet boy his name, Gray.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No IVs...Big Progress!

Dinner was good tonight! We had pasta, salad, bread, and cookies waiting on our front porch for us when we got home (thanks Jen!). Our sweet church family has dinners planned for us through the end of October. We are so grateful to have one less thing to think about while we're shuffling back and forth to the hospital to see our baby boy!

Ryder is still making good progress. He gained a little bit of weight as of last night. He's now 3 pounds, 1.7 ounces. (He lost a little from a few days ago, which was to be expected.) His milk intake has been increased and they took him off of IV fluids today. He should finish his antibiotics tonight and then the IVs can come out! We're so glad that his little hands and feet can be rid of them. They only last about a day in his tiny little veins, so he's been stuck a bunch of times in his first week of life!

He had a follow up head CT today to look at a small bleed on his brain. The doctors have not been worried was very small and they told us that if they scanned most full term babies, they would have the same thing. We should get the results sometime tomorrow. We're still praying that God will heal anything that was there and the scan would show all clear.

Jeremy went back to work today. It was rough on him, but Ryder and I had several visitors to keep us company in his absence. It's about time to head back to the hospital now so Ryder can visit with his Daddy!

Here's some pictures of the first time we got to hold our sweet baby boy. I've gotten to hold him two more times since this first time and Jeremy should get to hold him again tonight. We are loving that time with him!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We got to hold Ryder!

Today was a big day for the Dane family! Ryder is 4 days old and we got to hold him for the first time! He is such a sweet boy. We each got to hold him and love on him for 20 or 30 minutes before his feeding. We loved that special time and can't wait for the next time we get to hold him!

Ryder is still doing very well. All of his vital signs remain good and he's still breathing on his own. His breathing isn't very steady...which is to be expected for such a little guy. We are praying that he will learn quickly how to regulate his breathing. The amount of milk he's getting is increasing every day and he's doing very good with he's up to half an ounce. Big eater! He'll remain on an IV to give him extra calories and fat until his little tummy is up to the task of digesting all the food he needs. He's also getting antibiotics through his IV for the next several days as a precautionary measure. He's had some trouble with the IVs getting infiltrated and irritating his hands and feet. Please pray with us that his little veins will be strong enough for the IV as long as he needs them.

Here's a few pictures we got yesterday after he got all of the breathing aids off of his face and the first time he really opened his eyes to look at us. We're taking plenty more pictures, just haven't had time to download them yet. More to come!

A Very Early Arrival

Ryder Gray Dane


September 2, 2009


16 ½ inches

2 pounds 15.3 ounces

Even though we were taken by complete surprise that our sweet baby boy arrived two and half months early, we have full confidence that our good and gracious God knew this day would come long ago. We’ve had an emotionally and physically exhausting past few days, but we are in good spirits and are so thankful to God for the precious gift He has given us. We continue to trust in His goodness and faithfulness.

If you haven’t heard what’s gone on the past week, here’s a quick recap. We arrived at the hospital around 8pm Tuesday night and were told that this baby was definitely trying to come early. The doctors and nurses spent all night working hard to slow Beth Anne’s labor and they were able to buy us an extra 15 hours after they gave her a steroid shot that they very much wanted to get to baby Ryder’s lungs. By noon on Wednesday, he had decided it was time to make his appearance and we saw him for the first time at 12:44. He is much bigger than we expected him to be…very long and skinny!

So far baby Ryder is doing great. The NICU team was in the delivery room waiting for him when he was born and they immediately got to work on him. He got a breathing tube, which was replaced that night with a less invasive breathing aid, and even that was already removed today. He’s breathing on his own and doing very well! All of his vital signs are good and we’re getting nothing but positive reports. As of last night, he was up to 3 pounds and 3 ounces. He will probably stay at the hospital for about two months while he grows bigger and stronger.

We are so thankful for our family and friends who have surrounded us and loved us so much over the past few difficult and crazy days. We have already seen God do so much through your prayers. The most important thing for Jeremy through all of this has been to be a strong supportive husband. God was not going to let him do that on his own. As much as Jeremy tried to be strong, he still found himself leaning against a wall in the delivery room Tuesday night, barely able to breathe and staring at the ceiling to keep the tears from flowing. Through the prayer of a good friend, Justin, God truly transformed him into a rock for our family. Jeremy stood close to Beth Anne all night long with no sleep, no food, and a strength (emotional and physical) that only our God can provide.

God has continued to show Himself to us through the body of Christ. We have been supported by so many in ways that we could never have imagined. Our yard is mowed and pretty; our kitchen is full of gifts and food (which we just learned will continue through October!). Thank you, Lord, for the grace and the goodness you have shown us through our friends, family and through CityView. The body of Christ is an indescribable blessing. For it, we are forever grateful.

Friends, we ask that you please continue to pray with us that our sweet baby boy will thrive and grow. Pray for wisdom for his doctors and nurses to give him exactly what his little body needs. Pray that his little body will be guarded against infection. Pray, also, that mom & dad will stay healthy so that we can continue to come see him daily. Pray for mom & dad as we try to work into a complete new lifestyle that we never expected. We know we have a long road ahead of us and we cannot thank you enough for praying with us as we enter this new phase of our lives.


The Dane Family-

Jeremy, Beth Anne & Ryder