Posted (Tina) in All Posts on May-21-2008

ATTENTION SHANDS STAFF: Ella will be coming by the NICU for her last visit before heading home to Colorado. Join us this Thursday, May 22nd, anytime between 6:15pm – 8:15pm in the conference room. Hope to see you there!

Other than Ella getting up extra early this morning (you always know it is too early when it is still dark outside), we had a great day together. She was in such a great mood, especially during her bath.

She had 2 good PT sessions between yesterday and today. I recommended a different approach to mix things up and sure enough, Ella responded much more favorably. Thank goodness!

You know it is bad when you have to bribe your daughter for tummy time. She was content while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on my Mac. I can tell that she is getting stronger each day.

Today, she was actually smiling at the PT which warmed my heart. It has taken a session every day for nearly 4 weeks and finally, she is not completely melting down. I know that process is going to have to start all over again in Denver. I just hope that the new PT I’ve scheduled is a good match for us.

Once again, I’m thankful for the experience we have had since we left the hospital. We have been exposed to excellent surgeons, physicians, occupational therapists, and physical therapists during our stay. Although parents can get a “gut feel”, it is nice to feel more knowledgeable about what to expect for Ella and to have gained more discernment in this arena. Since parenting is new and Ella’s care is so different than an average baby, this investment of time was a wise decision for us. This way, when we go home to Denver and are screening doctors and therapists, we have a comparison in our minds.

We lose our couch, rocking chair and end tables tomorrow. Although we have sold some other items on Craigslist, that will really make it final: we are going home. I’m hoping that camping out for the next few days isn’t too tough with little to no furniture. We lose our dining room table and desk on Saturday. Ella’s crib sold to a sweet lady that is preparing to be a grandma. She drove 45 minutes to view it and leave a deposit, and insisted on letting Ella sleep in it as long as possible even though this means an extra car ride. Isn’t that nice?

We’re excited to go and visit the NICU staff tomorrow evening. It should be fun to see some familiar faces that we have not seen in awhile. I think it will bring into perspective just how far Ella has come, even from leaving the NICU in late January.

Josh only has 2 more days of work and of being in Gainesville. He is a little excited to be starting the process of going home.

So far, it appears that the weather is going to cooperate during both trips. We are supposed to get lots of rain on Friday in Gainesville (2-3 inches), so we’re hoping it clears up by the evening & early morning of Saturday when the car packing and driving begin.

I can’t believe this chapter is ending…its been so long. One thing is for sure, Gainesville will always hold a special place in our hearts.

laura blackwell on May 21st, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

I love the sleeping face picture. I will be thinking of you tomorrow. I bet it will be a very emotional experience. In Prayers-

Joel Snyder on May 22nd, 2008 at 1:12 am #

Ella, You lucky girl to have so many people who care about you. I am at work with about 400 kids sleeping overnight. I will say hello to the Dinos for you. I am glad that you are making progress on all your stuff. I will check on you later. Have a great visit at the NICU. Love,Grandpa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Matt, Abby, Austin & Caed on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:02 am #

I can guarantee that there are a lot of people in Gainesville (and a few in Trenton) that will hold a special place in their hearts for Ella. And for the two of you. There are few people I’ve met who have faith and a passion for Christ like you two. There is no way of knowing how many lives have been touched through Ella’s story. My family and I count for a few of those. I thank God we got to meet you and we’ll never forget you.

Williamsburg on May 22nd, 2008 at 9:12 am #

I’m just in grateful awe of the internet in general and the blog in particular today – I’m old enough to remember the world without it and to still retain amazement at the electronic miracle that allows a true global community to have been touched by The West’s awesome story this last year. It’s made being away from you in person (semi) bearable, and I know it will be nice for those truly wonderful people you are saying goodbye to in Gainesville to be able to maintain cyber-contact. What an incredible gift that God has allowed us.
We’re paving the map back home with prayer for all of your needs, weather and otherwise. All our love. XOXOXO

Kara on May 23rd, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

I am so excited and nervous for you guys. You are certainly in my prayers right now. Josh, You go guy!! Making that trip twice. You are amazing and such a great father and husband. I’m glad they have you.

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