Dion's random ramblings

Monday, November 16, 2009

Priase be to God! Liam (the great) turns 3!!

It was three years ago today that Liam entered this world!  How wonderful it is to celebrate his 3rd birthday!!!!

The 15th of November was one of the most difficult days of our lives as Megan went into labour for the third and final time, then just 27 weeks into her pregnancy.  She had been in hospital for about two weeks since she first went into labour after falling ill in her 26th week of pregnancy.

On the that evening I had just arrived home with Courtney after visiting Megan in hospital when the phone rang and the doctor asked me to come back as quickly as I could.  I took Courtney to our friend Madika's home and raced back to the hospital where Megan was already in the delivery room.  An hour or so later little Liam entered the world at barely 1kg. 

Naturally we were overjoyed at his birth, but we knew that we had a journey ahead of us.  As Megan was wheeled into surgery after the birth I stood by as the doctor and nurses prepared Liam to go into the intensive care unit at Pretoria East hospital (the neonatal ICU).  He was so tiny and fragile. 

Well, you can follow some of the story here, and some other bits here.

About a week or so after Liam's birth we took this picture of him with this tiny little teddy-bear.  Look how small he was!

We prayed through the day and night, and had many wonderful friends and family praying with us!  Liam remained under the wonderful care of the ICU unit for almost three months.  They were truly wonderful, not only caring for him medically and for us emotionally, but they even worked out a way to help us when our medical aid funds ran out two days before Christmas!  The hospital and doctors negotiated a reduced rate so that we could keep him in the ICU.  It was truly a magnificent Christmas gift!

Of course there were the many friends, like Wessel Bentley and his wonderful congregation who helped us to cover the almost quarter of a million rand shortfall that we had for his medical expenses.  Between our friends, and an extension to our home loan we were able to cover the costs entirely and soon Liam was at home growing at a rate of knots!!!

There have been a few little moments inbetween, he has been in hospital a few times (as you'll see from the links above), and we still have to pay some attention to his physical and cognitive development.

But, these little hiccups are not even worth considering in comparison to the joy of his life!!  He is growing up to be such an incredible little guy!  He has a wonderful sense of humour, he roughs it with the best of them (climbing, running and jumping), and like his dad, he loves his bicycle!

We were cautioned to expect the worst, and we are thankful that we have only been blessed with the very best!

Here's an updated photograph of our little miracle boy taken this morning... Just look how much he has grown in relation to that same little blue teddy-bear!!

Today Liam turned 3 years old, and we give thanks to God for the gift of his life! 

Courtney and Liam are the most precious gifts we have ever received!  Please take a few moments to give thanks to God with us for Liam, and perhaps also to thank God for your children.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

All praise and thanks to God! Our miracle son turns 1!

Liam and Courtney (still asleep) opening his Birthday presents.

Friends, please join us in praising and thanking God for the miracle and blessing of Liam's first birthday!

He is perfect and healthy in every way - we cannot begin to express how thankful we are for the miracle of his life! Please will you join us in thanking God for his health and development? He has come so far in the last year, from 1kg at birth to a healthy 10kg's. He still has some way to go, but there is nothing that love, care and a bit of occupational therapy can't sort out!

Here's the story of his birth and here are some moments from this first year of his life. And here are a few posts specifically about Liam the Great!

As you will know Megan and I fast and pray each Friday for children and premature babies, and their families of course, so it is wonderfully fitting that Liam's first birthday falls on Friday the 16th of November 2007. Today we will remember friends that we have made on this journey - some who have experienced the joy of a frail child growing strong, and those who have had to endure the sorrow and pain of loosing their precious little one.

Once again, we are so grateful to all our family and friends we have been so caring, patient, and supportive over the last year. It is a great blessing to be loved!

So, if you would like to leave little Liam a message please do so in the comments, or email it to me directly (as some have done already! Thank you!) We'll print and keep them for him to read in years to come.

A very happy dad!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some great news about Liam, but his dad is blind as a bat...

Yesterday little Liam the great went for all his 1 year checkups (eyes, ears, muscle tone, development, but also for his injections and immunizations)...

The great news is that he is perfectly healthy! In fact, not only is he healthy, he is doing so much better than we ever anticipated! He is reaching all of his milestones, and even surpassing some. The effects of the damage to his brain are minimal, and we hope they will become even less of an issue as he grows and mature. Naturally, our doctor (responsibly) warned us that with such a premature child the first 2 years or so are always dicey, so he is not out of the woods yet. However, you wouldn't say that there is any problem if you were to see him!!!

How different things were last year this time. I know some of the photos below have been posted before, but they never seem to stop amazing me and filling me with gratitude for all that has passed.

Last year this time Megan was in hospital (for the second time) trying VERY hard not to have our baby! I remember when the pediatrician and neonatal ICU manager came to see us, we knew something was amiss. They arrived together and gave us the rundown (worse case scenario) of what could happen:

  • If Liam was born during that week he would be very frail and prone to infection.
  • There was a high chance that his lungs were not developed, so we needed to prepare ourselves for him to spend months on a respirator, and then further time an ventilator once he had learned to breath.
  • It was likely that he would suffer some brain hemorrhages as a result of his brain being so fragile and not yet capable of coping with the stimulation and trauma of being out of the womb three months early.
  • There was a high likelihood that he would need numerous bouts of surgery to help sort out any digestive problems (which are common to neonatal premature babies).
  • It was likely that he would either suffer damage to his eyes, or be entirely blind, as a result of the respiration and ventilation (oxygen damages the eyes).
After they had shown us some pictures, explained all of the risks, and allowed us to ask questions they took me into the neonatal ICU (my first of MANY visits over the next few months). I scrubbed my hands and arms, put a mask over my face, and was instructed not to touch anything or anyone. Then they showed me a little boy who was born at more or less the same stage as Liam was due to be born - he was on an open resuscitation table (with heathers), pipes, probes, and a myriad of bells and whistles attached.

It was so traumatic - when I left the ICU and had to return to the ward to tell Megie about the experience I remember sitting in the parents lounge for a few minutes just weeping... I couldn't believe that we were actually going through this! After I had composed myself I went in to Megie's room and did my best to paint everything in a positive light - but in my heart I feared that we were going to loose our little miracle boy. It was a feeling that I would feel many, many, times after his birth.

Megie and I cried our eyes out! Heck, when I think back on November, December, and January last year all I can recall is an aching hole in the pit of my stomach, and seeing the world through teary eyes.

I remember that we prayed and pleaded with God to help us, and to keep Liam from being born. We begged God to keep him and Megie safe, and then we sat in a stunned silence...

Those were dark times! But, I will confess they were made bearable by the loving support and prayers of so many friends and family - we were receiving literally hundreds of emails and text messages from concerned people (some whom we had never even met)! It was an image of the body of Christ loving itself to wholeness.

Each afternoon of that week I would leave the hospital, fetch Courtney from aftercare and do my best to be composed and strong. We kept her bag packed, so that if I got a call from the ICU Courtney could go to her aunty Madika (and have clothes for school etc.). Then we would go to the hospital and watch a bit of TV with Megie - Courtney would cry all the way home.

Tough times.... I get quite emotional even thinking about it!

Yup, so he was born very early. I got a phone call on the Thursday evening, 15 November, to say get here quickly since Megie's water had broken and there was no way to keep Liam from being born. The nurse who phoned me warned me that it was serious and that we need to be prepared for the worst. I rushed to the hospital as fast as I could (my Polo Tdi has never been quite so fast since! I was doing close to 200km/h on the highway to the hospital). When I got there Megie was in the delivery room and our gynecologist, the pediatrician, the neonatal ICU staff, and the theater sisters were all ready. There wasn't enough time for a C-section, so.... Well, you can imagine. (The photo above shows how small he was with the little blue teddy bear. The one below shows how large he is in relation to that same bear today!)

Our lives changed that instance... Suddenly so many things that were not really important just fell out of our sphere of concern. For the next three months our lives were simply focussed on spending as much time as we could in the ICU with him, and making sure that Courtney (who was not allowed into the ICU) has as normal a life as possible.

Well, it's a year later, and Liam is healthy, strong, intelligent, agile, in fact he is just perfect, perfect in every possible way!

I just don't know how we could ever thank God for such an incredible and undeserved gift! If you read this post today, or find it in a year, or two, or three, please could you offer just a short little prayer to thank God for the gift that he has bestowed upon us? We cannot do it by ourselves, we need your help to fully than God for His mercy and grace!

Well, I also had my eyes tested yesterday... it turns out I am blind as a bat.... I do have glasses, but like most people who THINK they can see without them I don't often wear them. Well from now on you'll see me 'be-specticled' much more frequently... It's a bugger getting old!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

An update on Liam the Great!

In just over a month Liam will be 1 year old (well on the 16th of November he will be one year form birth! He will in fact only be 9 months old from his actual gestation date). Megan and I took Liam for a checkup recently. Of particular joy was our meeting with his occupational therapist. But just a few thoughts before I get to that news!

We took him to say 'hi' to the wonderful staff of Pretoria East hospital neonatal unit. It felt strange going back there... At this point Liam has spent almost one third of his life in that unit! Can you imagine having spent one third of your life in ICU!?

However, as this photo shows we have everything in the world to rejoice about! Our little miracle is just that, truly a miracle! He now weighs almost 10 times his birth weight (having grown from 1 kg to 10 kg's!) Sure, we only feed him creatine and USN supliments (that one's for you John! They are the BEST supliments in the world!), but it is paying off!

Well, the great news is that Liam is perfectly healthy. He had his first bout of tonsillitis while I was in Malaysia. However, this proved to us that his immune system is functioning as it should. In terms of his development his is on track for a premature baby - most of his milestones are being met somewhere between his birth date, and his original gestation date. There are some minor visible indicators of the trauma and damage he suffered because of the brain haemorrhage's. He has struggled a little with his left arm and leg. However, the OT assures us that there is nothing so serious that we cannot deal with it through exercise and stimulation.

Friends, we cannot thank God enough for the incredible miracle of his grace!

Strangely enough I my gratitude was enriched while I preparing my log book for my tax return... Liam was born on the 16th of November, on the 20th and 21st of November I was moderating exams as an external examiner for TEE College. It was on the 2oth of November that Megan phoned me with that dreaded call to say that Liam had a grade 4 bleed in the parietal lobe, and that I needed to get to the unit as quickly as I could - they did not think that he would survive the day... In my log book it simply says 'Turfontein to Pretoria - hospital visit'.

It was possibly one of the most painful hours of my life as I drove from Johannesburg to Pretoria to meet my distraught wife and baptise my 1kg, 1 week old son, before he died...

Well, here he is! Perfect in every possible way! A testimony to God's grace and creative power!

Megie and I still continue to fast and pray every Friday. We do it to give thanks to God for all that God has done, but also to remember that many others have not had the same experience of joy and blessing that we have. We don't understand why that is. But, we do pray. We pray in the hope that God's grace would reach and bless others who are going through what we went going through.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter MIRACLES!!! This one's for you Janet!

Happy Easter everyone! I pray that it was a time of renewal and rediscovery for you.

I had the great honour of preaching an Easter Mission entitled 'The week that changed the world could change your life'. I preached the following messages from Palm Sunday to Wednesday (and I've thrown in my Easter Sunday message from Bryanston Methodist Church for good measure):

1. Sunday morning services Growing like Christ: God's unexpected tools for maturing people.
2. Sunday evening Christ the King: Is God ever satisfied?
3. Monday evening Easter's empty promises.
4. Tuesday evening Judas Christ's most honest and successful disciple! Coping with failure and living without regret.
5. Wednesday Evening Prayer under pressure: There's a lesson in the tone of Christ's voice.
6. Easter Sunday The hope of Victory: More certain than death and taxes!

We had an incredible response to the mission! It was such a joy to be with Les Green and his wonderful people. I am always overwhelmed by the generosity and grace of God's people. I was so lovingly received and richly affirmed by them.

OK, now onto our little Miracle! Janet gently reminded me just recently in a comment on this blog that I haven't given an update on little Liam in a while. Well, he is doing so well!!!!! He now weights just under 5kg's and is 5 months old. He has had 3 of his synergis injections (so one leg is worth R20 000 and the other is worth R10 000!) So, 3 more to go! He has responded well to the injections and has been infection free. Thank you so much to all those who have prayed for us, offered us support, and donated towards the cost of these life saving injections. We appreciate it all so much. You may never know how much! Hey Wes!!! What can I say? You're a gift and a miracle of God's grace to us!

Sometimes we forget just how far we have come over the last 5 months. Take a look at this photo that was taken just after his birth.

Look how little and frail he was!

The picture on the right was taken just after his birth. He was so tiny! Now, however, he looks like a REAL baby!!! He is quite heavy to hold and such a strong and robust little guy.

What is even more wonderful is that he has started to SMILE!! All parents will remember those first smiles from their kids. Liam has been a little late in getting to his smiles, but when he finally got there it was the most incredible and wonderful sight in the world! It melts my heart (and my brain! Dr Dad goes 'goo goo, gaa gaa, choo' all day long, just in the hope of getting him to smile).

How COOL is this!? Look at that smile. Isn't Liam looking great? Not only does he smile like this, he has also started to 'churtle' a bit. It sounds fantastic and it just blesses us so much to get this type of response out of him.

Megie, Courtney, and Liam spent the Easter Weekend with Megie's folks, Brian and Brenda, who have moved to Hilcrest in Kwazulu Natal (I on the other hand had a bit of work to do, but was also ill, so it was just as well that I couldn't go with them). This photo was taken at their new place (Megie went down with her mom to help her to unpack and visit with them in their new home). So, this was Liam's first trip to the coast. He LOVED the sea. Megie put his feet in the water and he couldn't get enough! A water baby!

Courtney also loved it at the sea! She is constantly nagging Megie and I to 'move back' to our home in Cape Town! Wouldn't that be great!? Here's a picture Courts sitting on the beach (she is growing up FAR too quickly!!! Just look at this pose! Even though I am a 'Gun Free' campaigner I need to start saving for a shotgun!)

I am so blessed with these wonderful people that God allows me the joy of sharing my life with. Megie is a wonder. I am more in love with her day after day! Please pray for her as she prepares to go back to work full time at the end of this month (she has been back in the office a few times a week already for the past few weeks, but I know it is going to be heart wrenching when the time comes for her to go back full time. So please do pray for her!) Courts goes back to school on Tuesday after her Easter break. So it will be morning rides on the Vespa! Yipee. Although it is starting to get a bit colder now, so we will have to wrap up to stay warm.

Some personal news from me is that I am starting my second Doctorate in the coming weeks. I have been toying with the idea for a few months now, spoken to a few friends, colleagues and advisors, and have decided to get going rather than waste anymore time thinking about it. Yup, you read correctly, I am starting a second Doctorate. I will share some of the reasons and motivation behind this as it unfolds. For now I simply need to say, I cannot cope without studying! I need to read, I need to be challenged to think beyond what is commonplace, and I need a bit of extra pressure to write! Plus I still don't sleep all that well and I need something more worthwhile and stimulating to do with late nights and early mornings! I also love reading the Bible and have been wanting to take my New Testament studies further at a more critical level. So, this one's going to be in New Testament (at this stage anyway).

Well, there you go. That's the news Forsterdom!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

We praise God for an unknown saint! AND, an update on Liam

A note of thanks to an unknown saint.

I have often read the text, "... in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28 NIV, emphasis mine).

Of course I know that the text was written by Paul to the Christians in Rome (which he had not yet visited. He was writing to introduce himself, and his beliefs, to this group of Christians in the hope that they would be generous enough to accommodate and help him, using Rome as a home base, while he went on a missionary journey into Spain, which he never got to do before his death), and that this verse comes at the end of his speech on life in the Spirit, and how God's Spirit empowers us for holy and righteous living in the face of persecution and hardship, which was of course a daily reality for Christians in the 1st century. At that time the Church was nothing other than a strange 'sect' of Judaism, rejected by the Roman gentiles because of its links to Judaism, and ejected from the synagogue and persecuted by the Jews of the day because the belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

It cannot be denied that this verse has had a special meaning for so many Christians throughout the ages. At many different times, and in many different situations, this text has brought hope and comfort to people in all sorts of distress. I think that in most cases God is pleased when we hear God's word through scripture, and when it speaks directly to a need that we have.

Well, this week we have experienced this incredible grace again! On Friday I got a phone call in the office from an unnamed member of our congregation at Bryanston saying that she wanted to deposit some money into our account, on behalf of a friend, to help us with Liam's medical expenses! I was blown away! It is never easy to receive gifts such as these, firstly, because we feel so unworthy of such generosity, and secondly, because I think that every person has to contend with the sin of pride - that is, being self sufficient and independent. However, the person was so kind on the phone, even when I encouraged her to consider donating the money to another more worthy cause. I couldn't have been more surprised when I checked my bank account!

We don't know who the generous benefactor is, however, we cannot thank God enough for your incredible generosity! I don't think we have every quite experienced such great love and blessing!

This text from Romans took on a whole new meaning for us this week, God has worked for our good, in spite of our unworthiness and the struggle that we have been through over the last 4 months. We cannot stop praising God for God's incredible power in healing little Liam, and for the love, care, and generosity of God's people in taking care of Megie, Courtney, Liam and I.

So, whoever you are, we thank God for you! And we thank God not only for the tangible way in which your gift will help us to care for our son, but also for making us feel so appreciated, special, and valuable! We're on top of the world!

An update on Liam.

Little Liam is getting less and less little by the day (I know that is not good grammar, but it's true!) This Thursday Liam went to be weighed and he now weighs 3.3kg's! That's almost exactly 3 times his body weight! He now weighs more than Courtney weighed when she was born (she was 2.7kg's at birth). Liam's progress has also been great, he is starting to become a lot more lucid and responsive (he follows sounds and faces much more easily, and he is doing his best to try and smile!) We visited with some good friends of ours last week Sunday (my friend Christopher and his wife Keryn, and their family. I was preaching at Chris' church in Midrand). Their son Nathan was born just short of a month after Liam (he was born on the 8th of December, at 4.5kg's!!! Can you imagine!?) He is such a lovely, healthy little guy. However, when we have Liam together with him we are able to see that Liam is still a little behind. Nathan smiles, laughs, rolls over, and is awake quite a bit. However, we were aware that little Liam would take a few months longer to do such things. Our occupational therapist said that we can only really start tracing his progress from his intended birth date (11 February), rather than from his actual birth date (16 November). So, whereas he has been out of the womb for almost 4 months, he is really only two weeks old! The photo at the top of this post shows him fast asleep yesterday! He is getting quite heavy to carry! But boy, it is SO MUCH easier to handle him now that he has a bit of flesh! In fact he is getting so chubby that he is getting little folds on his joints (you know what I'm talking about? It looks like his wrists, feet and legs have been 'screwed' onto each other! Just take a look at the photo above and compare it to some of the older photos on the blog. You won't be able to believe the difference).

Hey friends, I cannot tell you how incredible this little guy has changed our lives! He is SUCH a miracle and such a gift! This morning as I was praying I was thanking God for him and for Courts (and of course also Megie!), and for all of you who have supported and upheld us in your prayers. Please will you also give thanks to God with us for these great gifts?

I am still fasting every Friday for the other little babies that are undergoing this struggle. The little girl that I have written about before is still in the ICU after more than 5 months. She is still very ill and having fits often throughout the day. I also discovered that one of my Methodist colleagues, the Rev Z Henslow in Nelspruit, had a baby born at 27 weeks. I spoke with him on Thursday and heard that their little one may have to go for an operation. So, please will you continue to pray for them? We have seen the difference that prayer makes in our lives! We truly believe that it will make a difference in these little lives as well.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Liam the great is (re)born

Today is the 15th of February 2007 (but you knew that already, didn't you?) Tomorrow Liam will be exactly three months old (as you may remember he was born last year on the 16th of November). However, since he was only supposed to be born this past Sunday (11 February) he is now only really 4 days old!

Today was also a very special day for us all. We have been waiting for it since he was a week old. We have had to wait until he was three months old before we could take him for an MRI scan to ascertain the exact location, size, and extent of the brain damage he had contracted as a result of the two grade 1 and one grade 4 bleeds in his brain. Well, today was that day. This morning Megie fed him at about 4.30 AM and then did not feed him again until just before the MRI, we also did our best to keep him awake from when he woke up after that early feed (about 6.30) until it was time for him to go for the scan. It seems quite strange to keep your baby awake, when normally you are trying to get him to sleep! The purpose of this was quite simply so that if he needed to be sedated he would not have eaten, but if he did not need sedation (which we discovered he could not have because he is too small) he would feed and then fall asleep with a full tummy.

We only had one 'paid' shot at the MRI (our medical aid only covers one MRI per family per year). So, we needed little Liam to lie still in that huge tube for the 30 or so minutes it would take to get the scans that were needed. Thankfully he was VERY well behaved (as we have known him to be).

So, here's the good news! The MRI showed that none of the three bleeds had caused any further problems. Also, the most severe of the three bleeds (the one in the right hemisphere) had not formed into a cyst and was draining naturally! And, whereas it had previously damaged about 15% or the right hemisphere, it now only occupies about 3 or 4 % of the mass of the right hemisphere as this picture shows (the damaged area is the lighter spot you can see in the top center of this picture). Nice looking brain that! I hope he will be a Doctor... but not like his dad, I want him to be a real doctor... But who knows!?

In fact, our doctor thinks that this cavity will simply leave some scaring and disappear over time. She said it is a miracle that he had recovered so well! The report indicates that there is no further damage, and that the small scar that is left will present much fewer problems than any of us had anticipated! How awesome is that!? Neither Megie nor I can believe just how blessed we have been. We are so undeserving of God's grace! Although, we are grateful that we have received it. And, as my friend Pete's recent post points out, we also don't know why we are fortunate to benefit from this grace... All that we know is that it happened, and for that we are grateful!

So, as of today Liam is born... again.... he is perfect in every possible way! He is truly a gift from God to us! And we are grateful.

We also received another bit of great news today! The background is that we have a very good medical plan that is an arrangement between the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and Pharos Private Health Administrators. However, as with all health plans there are limits to the cover we receive. Liam's medical bills have reached close to R300 000 thus far, of which we have had to pay approximately R100 000, some of this was our members portion, but some had to be paid after we had reached a few of those limits, and in some instances simply did not have enough cover for necessary or required treatments (in particular he has to receive 6 injections to protect him from a respiratory virus called RSV, they cost R10 000 per injection! our medical aid can only pay R3200 for the whole year). We have jokingly said that we are going to insure his legs for R30 000 each! However, the reality for us was that after we had depleted our savings earlier in the year we took out a second bond on our home (which we are very fortunate to be able to do. Not very many ministers own property against which they could loan any money). However, here is the great news! Today we heard from the Methodist Connexional Office that they are able to assist us with half of the cost of the RSV injections! That is just so wonderful! It makes us feel so richly cared for! So, instead of having to pay R60 000 we only need to pay R30 000. What makes this even more special is that the representative from the medical aid, Sister Venter, sent the motivation to the Church office to make the request. We did not even have to do it ourselves. Now that is both grace and great service!

So, all in all it has been a day of great joy and blessing! Tonight I will sleep well (Megie on the other hand will wake up every two hours or so to feed. Thanks darling!) But, thank you all for your kind care, wonderful support, and constant prayers.

In these last months I have rediscovered the joy of talking to God and the privilege of living in community. It makes me feel better... It is the source of all true healing.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Update on Liam 29 December 2006 - So much to give thanks for!

I came across some photos this morning that I took with my cell phone camera (so please forgive the quality). They were taken over the last 7 weeks.

In these photographs you can see just how far Liam has come!

This photo was taken about a week after his birth. Here Liam weighed around 1.2kg's. He was so fragile and small (as you can see his whole body was the size of my hand, he still had oxygen, a feeding tube, respiration sensors, temperature sensors, blood oxygen probes, and heart rater sensors).

This is a similar photo, look how small he was! When he was first born, at 27 weeks, he was still very foetal. He seldom dropped his legs. Megie and I used to joke and say he looks like a cornish hen!

I have posted this photograph before. It gives a real perspective on just how small and thin little Liam WAS. Notice the emphasis on WAS! We praise God that he is not like this at all now. He now weighs 1.755kg's (that's about 600 grams more than his birth weight). That is almost a 50% weight gain, and it is amazing how much that growth has filled him out. Look at Liam's little premature nappy in the photos above. The nappies almost covered his whole torso at that stage. Now, however, they fit like regular nappies.

Compare Liam's size in relation to his teddy in this photo and the one below.

In the first 'teddy photo' (taken in week 1) Liam was almost exactly the same size as his little teddy, however, in this second photo (taken in week 5/6) his little teddy is not even half of Liam's size. How incredible is that for 5 weeks!? Also, see how his cheeks have filled out! He is turning into a chubby little lad. He is still tiny (about the size of a 3/4 loaf of bread).

Well, we certainly have SO MUCH to be thankful for (here's little Liam joining us for a prayer)! Liam has been infection free, peaceful, and grown consistently over the last 7 weeks. We cannot thank God enough for God's faithfulness, mercy, healing, and care! Liam now weighs 1.755kg's. He started with one breast feed a day two days ago. Now it is just a matter of getting him up to 8 feeds on the breast per day, making sure that he get enough food from that to both stay hydrated and grow, and then if he keeps that up for a few days he may be allowed home early! He will be on one breast feed a day for a few days (as he gets used to feeding, slowly picks up his weight over 1.8kg's, and gets used to the 'exercise' of having to suck for his food. His lungs will grow and mature through all of this). If he keeps his weight and manages one feed for a few days, then he will have two feeds for a few days, then three, four, five, all the way up to a full eight feeds in 24 hours. This could take a few weeks. However, at his current pace he should be home at least two or three weeks earlier than expected (perhaps some time in the second or third week of January). So, please keep praying for him, and all of us. We give thanks to God, and ask you to join with us in thanking God, for Liam's healthy growth.

A blessed and joyous year ahead. May the miracles of this year be found in and surpassed by the ordinary events of 2007.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Update on Liam - 14 December 2006.

Yesterday Liam the Great (slayer of Oxygen, dirtier of Nappies, conqueror of Neonatal ICU, lover of Incubation) celebrated his 4 week birthday! This is an answer to prayer, and a real milestone, because he gets a little bit stronger each day. Megan and I both feel confident that he passed the major danger points, now it's just fattening him up! His last weight was 1.4kg's.

Here's a picture of Liam getting his first bath from Megie (he had previously had a quick wash down from one of the nurses). His bath had to be done with the oxygen attached, however, we disconnected the probes from the monitors. It also had to be a very quick in and out since he cannot keep his body temperature for too long

Bathing him was quite a big deal for us, since it is something 'normal'. Megie did so well! Remember, it has been about 7 years since we've had to do this. Of course the fact that he still has a few tubes and lots of wires makes it a little more complicated. However, this is one instance in which is size is a real plus. He is small enough for Megie to hold him almost completely in one of her hands, with his legs and a few bits dangling onto her wrist. I, of course, did what most dads do... I held a video camera!

I can, however, assure you that I am a champion at changing nappies! And, at this stage, quite adept at feeding (although our hope is that soon I will not have the 'equipment' to do what is necessary). Until then it is a daily joy to hold him for an hour or so whilst he gets his feed.

Once again, thank you so much for all the encouraging messages, prayers, and practical help (yesterday Jules, one of our worship leaders at Bryanston, arrived with about 10 frozen meals!) It is wonderful to be loved, and incredible to experience God's provision, both in supernatural and miraculous healing, and in tangible care and concern! Where would we be without our faith in Christ, and the love of the body of Christ?

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Friday, November 17, 2006

In God's perfect time!

Update 17 November 2006. Today is Liam's first full day not swiming around in his mom's tummy. He is doing very well in the neonatal unit. His breathing is stead, obviously he is still on a ventelator. Megie is also doing great! It is amazing how quickly she is recovering. She should becoming home this evening (18th). Then we will be back at the hospital every day to feed, visit, and take care of little Liam.

Just a quick note (very early in the morning, or late in the evening), to let you know that our little boy, Liam Angus Forster, was born at 22.30 on Thursday 16 November!

He was born premature at 28 weeks and weighs just 1.1kg's (look at the picture of his tiny little foot!).

However, he is fighting fit and is doing well! The doctors are all very happy. As you can see from the photos below he is a bit of a gadget man (like his dad), and couldn't wait to get acquainted with all the hospital machines and things!

He will be in the neonatal intensive care until he weighs around 2.5 kg's, or until he reaches his supposed birth date (mid February next year). So, please do keep us all in your prayers! We still have a bit of a journey ahead of us.

Megie is doing very well indeed! She was resting when I left the hospital a while ago. She sends her love to all. Thanks to everyone for your prayers, support, and care, over the last two weeks. It has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride!

We thank God for our little gift! He is just perfect!

Much blessing,

Dion, Megie, Courts AND Liam (BJ)

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