Team Boom 4 Tripp

tripp

Bill and I met in 2006 and got married in 2007. We were both living in Asheville, NC. I fell head over heals for him and still feel that way almost 6 years later. He is an amazing husband and father.

I was already 30 when we were married, so we wanted to start a family. Now I realize that is not as easy as it sounds. We thought we had it all planned out. And each month was met with huge dissapointments.

So finally we decided to go to a fertility clinic and were told we were perfectly healthy, but since we had been trying for so long, they would help us. I had a pretty horrible pregnancy, was on bedrest, had to walk with a walker and sometimes had to travel by wheelchair. I developed a muscle disorder, then placenta previa, so I had to have a vertical C section. I gave birth to a perfectly health baby boy: Tripp.

A year and 1/2 later, we decided to have another baby. Went back to the same fertilty clinic and got pregnant with a baby girl. Ella Mary Halstead. Her due date was set for Oct 2, 2012;  the same month as Tripp’s accident. But I had a misscarriage just a few months after being pregnant. At that time, it had been the most dramatic thing I had ever personally dealt with. I cried and cried, couldnt sleep, eat, ect. Anyone that has gone through this knows what a nightmare it is. And we learned soon after that, if we didn’t try again immediately, my eggs would be gone. But we were too devastated to try at that point.

On Oct 29, 2012, what would’ve been just weeks after our daughter’s due date, our lives took yet another turn. Tripp was playing on the playground at daycare and a huge limb fell out of a very high tree. It fell on his head and crushed his skull into many pieces. They took him to Winder-Barrow hospital and then flew him to Egleston Childrens hospital in Atlanta. As Bill and I were driving to meet him in Atlanta, I don’t think we spoke 10 words to each other. We were scared and we just prayed. We honestly didn’t know how bad it was.

As soon as we got there, they let us see him. He looked perfect. No blood, no cuts, he looked so peaceful. Then the Dr started telling us how bad it was, and it took me some time to realize they were saying he could die. It was a slice to my heart and soul. So the next few hours after that were a total blur. When I dropped my happy, perfect boy off at daycare that morning, it might of been the last time I saw his smile or his eyes open or him awake. I will never take another day with my baby for granted.

He survived surgery, then the next 24 hours and made it til Friday. Then he took a turn for the worst and they told us to say our goodbyes. That was the worst day of my life. To think he had survived this and then given no hope. But Tripp proved them wrong, he is a fighter and he pulled through and we have never looked back. He spent 5 full months in the hospital. He is at home now and even though he is making babysteps, he is moving forward.

I cherish every moment with him. He is my whole world and I want him to know how much he is loved. I didn’t want this post to be all sad, I wanted everyone to know how important every single day is with your loved ones, hug them, kiss them, let them know how special they are to you. Even if Tripp hadn’t pulled through, I can honestly say there wasn’t one single day of his life that he wasn’t hugged on, kissed on and told “I love you”. He is a very special boy and thank you all for loving him too.

This story is courtesy of TeamBoom4Trip.com and photos of the Halstead family’s official Facebook page.

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Mia Moo: Angel Child

mia

From IAF founder Jamie Grace: You may be familiar with the reality show Duck Dynasty that follows the lives of the Roberston family. Some of the most popular Robertson family members are Willie, Phil, Uncle Si… just to name a few of the bearded guys who are not only hilarious and great business men but, along with their wives and kids, are great role models.

One of the sweet kids on the show is Mia. Over the last few years I’ve been blessed to meet some of the Robertsons, including Mia and her family. I recently read her story, heard the song her mom, Missy, (“Angel Child”) sings for her and found out about the foundation their family started to help other kids like Mia. If you want to read a story about bravery, courage and an adorable little “angel child,” you’re in the right place.

Jase & I learned that Mia had a cleft lip and possible cleft palate at 31 weeks gestation, thanks to a 4-D ultrasound. We were able to prepare ourselves and our boys, as best as we knew how, for a few weeks before she was born at 37 weeks gestation.

Mia Elaine Robertson was born on September 12, 2003, with a bilateral cleft lip and palate & it was through a mutual friend, we met a family in our area who had a son born with this same condition just a few months before Mia. This family lead us to the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas, Texas, where we traveled when Mia was 17 days old. They checked her from head to toe and fitted her with a palatal appliance in order to give a “fake roof” to her mouth.

This helped tremendously in the feeding process as it aided in allowing her milk to travel down her throat instead of out her nose. We did our best to fatten her up over the next few weeks in order to get her healthy enough for her first surgery, correction of the cleft lip. At 3 months old, Mia underwent her first corrective surgery. Jase and I were prepared to physically take care of our daughter, but we were not prepared emotionally as to how different she would look after this surgery. We had fallen in love with that sweet face for 3 months and were not prepared for the swelling and stitches that we saw in the recovery room. It was a very emotional time.

Our baby looked so different, and we actually wondered if it would have been better if we had chosen not to put her through the surgery. In just a couple of days, the swelling diminished entirely, and we soon realized that this indeed was the best thing to do for our child. I try to help parents in this regard so they do not experience the same trauma that we did. Mia healed quickly, and we continued to prepare her for the next surgery. She had palate correction surgery at 7 months old. After having her palatal appliance cleaned 3-5 times a day for 7 months, Mia now had her own natural palate. She was a happy baby who loved her mama and hardly ever wanted to be away from me. This is extremely common with babies who need so much medical attention. No worries. I took her to work with me at Duck Commander, and she played on the floor and with her Mamaw Kay while we worked.

We soon fell into a normal routine as she became just like any other baby – feeding, sleeping, playing, laughing. When Mia was 5 years old, she underwent a second lip correction surgery in order to straighten the lip from her last 5 years of growth. During the surgery, the doctors noticed that her nasal passages had begun to collapse due to scar tissue from the first surgery, so they had to do some work in the nose area as well. Mia had to heal from more stitches around her mouth and also had to wear a nose stint for a few weeks in order to open and stabilize her nasal passages. This was a difficult adjustment for a 5 year old, but she soon learned to help with the tasks of cleaning her stint each day as well as helping me clean the area around her stitches. In a few weeks, things returned to normal. A year later, she fell at the playground at school and broke her arm. The break was severe enough to have pins surgically placed in her elbow to stabilize the bones. She spent two nights in the hospital for a broken arm.

In 2012 we started the process of preparing her mouth for the upcoming bone graft surgery. This surgery is necessary in order to add bone to the cleft in her upper jaw where bone is absent. This is so her adult teeth can be moved to their intended position. Due to a larger amount of scar tissue from her surgeries as an infant, Mia’s upper jaw did not grow at the same rate as her lower jaw. This caused an under-bite of 15 mm. Her orthodontist, Dr. Jeff Genecov, developed a type of headgear that Mia was required to wear 12-14 hours a day for 12-18 months. Mia did great at this, wearing it to bed each night and school each day to get the required hours. After 12 months, it was decided that her jaw had moved enough (10 mm) to do the bone graft surgery. On January 3, 2014, Mia underwent major bone graft surgery. Her surgeon, Dr. David Genecov, took bone from her left hip and placed it in the cleft of her upper jaw. He then placed a splint in her mouth to hold the bone in place for 12 weeks. She has been on a “no chew” diet since that time. She will go for a check-up and x-ray on March 18th. If Dr. Genecov sees that the bone has sufficiently grown together, he will then remove the splint and she will be able to resume her normal eating habits.

Mia was born with a difficult challenge in her life. She has risen far above the expectations we had as parents. She now travels all over the country, speaking and singing to groups of people, encouraging them with her story of physical and emotional struggles. Watching how she deals with all of this in her life is difficult sometimes for us as parents, but she has become an inspiration to so many, including her daddy, her brothers and me. We couldn’t be more proud of Mia.

For more information on the Mia Moo Foundation and to purchase the song Angel Child, visit MiaMoo.org

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Image Credits: Mia Moo
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