Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What have we been up to??



Alexa in her blessing dress (this was taken a few weeks after the fact) but still a little doll.





Alexa and her daddy on our family outing to Roaring River. She wasn't very amused by the fish and you'd think it was freezing by her expressions in some of the pictures. (more are posted on the album) It was actually a really nice day. This was our first attempt to take her out in the Jeep. We didn't end up going on any trails and later decided that was probably a good thing.





Alexa and Grandpa P. playing with the birthday balloons. (Also more pictures and videos on the web album.)





Alexa is 8 lbs. 10 oz. but still pretty little. She looks like a newborn now except that she's really strong and holds her head up really well, smiles, laughs, and coos & jabbers constantly.

Life has been busy as this time of year seems to be. (oh, actually I think that's a year round thing.) We had a very nice Thanksgiving with Trevor's family and spent some quality family time at home over the weekend. It was a very nice change of pace.

Alexa is growing fast. She's now 21" long and has her own height mark on the Petersen family growth chart, found on the back of the kitchen door.

She's starting to grab things but still hasn't quit figured it out yet. She still needs help. Baby Einstein play mat, the swing, and bouncer are mom's new best friends as Alexa has finally starting to enjoy entertaining herself and can be left to jabber for a period of time.

About a week ago she was looking out the window from her swing and she started humming. A few minutes later she was asleep. It was so precious - singing herself to sleep.


We also went to see her Grandma LaRue and Great Grandma Groll a few weeks ago. Grandma Groll had only seen her one other time, very briefly so it was nice to spend some time with her. (more pictures on the web album)

Well, that's all for now. Check out the web album for more pictures and videos and I'm going to try to add more in a week or so. Thanks for checking us out.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

She Laughed!!

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This video was purely by accident. I was trying to catch her rolling over - which she hasn't quit figured out yet - and she started laughing. (Don't mind my voice in the background.) For the last week or so she smiles and acts like she's trying to laugh but nothing comes out - finally it did and how cute is that!?! This video was taken just a few minutes ago - that's how adorable I thought it was and couldn't wait for everyone else to see her newest trick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Adorable Little Copycat



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A few weeks ago, the first weekend in Oct., Alexa started copying me when I stuck out my tongue at her. Trevor didn't believe me at first, but then she did it when he was watching and he was convinced that she knew what she was doing. It was super cute. So, now we have it on video along with her adorable "talking" and very animated facial expressions. (She also started drooling and blowing bubbles with it about the same time.)

This is Trevor & Alexa's other new trick - Trevor balances her on one had to see how long she can stay there. She tries to sit up a little, but usually ends up slumped over. Here's a video to demonstrate.
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And yet another trick - we see how long she can stand up without trying to sit down. The video I took was taped sideways so we'll have to try again.

Alexa with her Grandpa Petersen.

For Family Night we decided to do a little canning. In the process we noticed that Alexa was about the same size as a #10 can. The family got a kick out of the comparison. There are several more pictures with her and the cans on the web album.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Happy Little Girl

How could you not think she's the most adorable thing you've ever seen? You'd never know she was fussy right before I took the picture. It was like she knew she was getting her picture taken.

Alexa is still enjoying our morning walks; it's probably b/c she gets to be carried in the sling most of the time. She's also decided that her pacifier is not for her - she'd rather lick her blanket as she falls asleep instead. I haven't figured that one out yet.

I'm getting excited about her laughing soon, well, who knows when that will be but she smiles so much sometimes it's like she's trying to laugh but nothing comes out.

Don't forget to check out the web album. We've added more pictures (they may not be in order) and videos.
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What a Blessing



Melissa, Alexa, Analla, & Caroline on Alexa's blessing day.
Trevor was very nervouse but he gave Alexa the most beautiful and special blessing. There were many who shed some tears. I know I'm her mom, but the spirit was very strong and we knew how special this little girl is and how much she means to her Heavenly Father. It was no accident that He wanted her here on earth at the exact time He sent her. During the blessing I felt a lot of the same feelings rush through me that I had during the time Alexa was in the NICU, peace and comfort that she will live a wonderful life, and the knowledge of the overwhelming love that surrounds our little family.
It was so nice to have both of our families there and many of our wonderful friends.
Life couldn't be better for our little family.



Alexa and Trevor listening to General Conference.



Alexa smiling at her mommy.


Alexa is now smiling a lot more - mostly right after she's eaten. Now that she's 10 days from being 4 months, she's somewhere past 7 lbs (haven't weighed her for a few weeks) and seems to be getting longer by the day. She's still in Newborn diapers (it's just about time to graduate to the next size though) and still wearing Preemie clothes. We tried some Newborns on her and they are still too big, but the Preemies are getting a little short. She started sleeping a lot more and only waking up once at night (well, on the good nights).

It's been so fun to see her start to interact more. She likes it when we sing to her, but books are still not enough entertainment.
She watched her first movie a few nights ago, Cars, she liked the parts with a lot of car noises and lights, other than that she wasn't amused.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ready to GO!

We've been walking at the "Y" with some friends the last couple of mornings and she seems to do pretty good in the stroller as long as we're moving. I got her all ready to go this morning (note the adorable shoes that now fit) and she decided to play (this usually only lasts 1.5-2 min). She's so much fun when she's smiley and happy - it makes everything so worth it.

I can't believe how big she's getting and how fast she's growing. She's now 3 months old and about 6 1/2 lbs., looking back it seems like she was just born a few weeks ago. We're planning to bless her on Sunday - something that seemed so far away.

Things continue to progress. She's still refulxing and her monitor goes off a few times a day - mostly when she's sleeping, but things are getting easier and we're doing better with a schedule on most days.

I love being a mother.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

She's growing fast


It's been a while, so here's a few pictures to play catch-up. Alexa now weighs 6 lbs. and within the last 3 days she has started making eye contact when someone talks to her, looking around at her surroundings. She also kind of started to talk for a few seconds today, and earlier in the week she rolled from her tummy to her back, but there were no witnesses so we don't really know how she did it.
We went shopping for the first time this past week and it was just a little fiasco. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot of shopping done and it took 3 times longer than it should have. No more quick trips that's for sure.
The video I wanted to post is on the camcorder so is unavailable. I've been trying to get more, but every time I start recording he stops being really funny. I'll catch him in the act sooner or later.



Alexa started smiling more. Isn't she adorable?
Sometimes she really enjoys her swing, and mommy really enjoys that too.


She found a new sleeping position - face down. Whatever works.



Today was the fist time Alexa went to church. This was her new Sunday dress G-ma Petersen made her. I have no idea what's going on in this photo, but it's pretty cute. Trevor was trying to get her to do something.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

5 Pounds and Much More

Alexa reached 5 lbs. last Wednesday. She continues to get bigger and become more like a new baby. Since she's now past her due date we can officially say she's a newborn. Just when I thought being a mom couldn't get harder, she now officially also has colic. Needless to say, we often have really late night, or rather early mornings, and we've spent a lot of time sleeping on the couch so Trevor can sleep. I've really been trying to live in the moment and not try to wish for her to get bigger or develop faster, but these are not the moments I want to last for very long.

A few days ago Trevor told me I created a monster. The following night we were up until 3:30AM. It was then that he understood that you do whatever it takes to keep her from screaming. Grandma LaRue gave her a massage, which she loved, and it seemed to help relieve some of her discomfort.

It's not all bad. When she's awake she responds a lot more to people talking/singing to her and seems to enjoy it. Especially her Grandpa Petersen. If we can get a consent a video will be posted soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our First Outing to the Park


This was her expression all the way to the park. I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head. I guess she was a little worried about the stroller thing (or so excited she couldn't stand it).

When we got to the park it took a good 5 min. for us to get the carseat/stroller figured out, then another 3.2 min. to get her situated (little exageration for emphasis). The first 5-7 minutes of the walk went pretty good, then she all of a sudden didn't like it. We turned around to head back to the car and the road got a little bumpy and she stopped fussing, from there on out she was silent. All in all I'd say it was a successful outing.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Parenthood


Another sizable picture. I love this one. I actually think this is one of the last times she was content for an extended period of time. If she wasn't so cute it would make this whole parent thing so much harder. Yesterday she was 4lbs. 15 oz. (she had just eaten).

She's getting to be really fussy, especially in the evenings and I hold her a lot! She's on 2 different reflux meds now and who really knows if they're helping. The doctor said one of them will possibly make her irritable - yup it did!

We're going for our first stroller outing. She's still not able to go out in public, but we thought a little fresh air would do us all some good. I'll let you know how she does.

Well, it appears Stephanie was the closest (and the only participant) - $170 grand - Good thing for insurance. This is only her birth and hospital stay. She currently sees a home health nurse 2x/week and will be getting the RSV shots come October. (a round of 5 shots @ approx. $2,000 a pop.) Again - good thing for insurance. Everyone said having a baby was expensive, but we had no idea she would end up being this much! It's also said that they just get more expensive, but I think in Alexa's case she's going to get cheaper. (If not we're in big trouble)

After all this, we wouldn't trade her for anything. She has already brought so much joy and adventure to our lives. She may look cute to all of you, but she also has the most adorable personality - she's very animated and dramatic even at her very early age (2 mths, or 6 days which ever you choose to go by).
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alexa's Stay at the NICU

Any guesses on how much 52 days in the NICU costs?

Happy Birthday



















We decided to celebrate Alexa's 0th birthday. She's probably the only baby in the world to have a 0th birthday party. We had cake and ice cream, and she got some new shoes that are waaayyyy too big for her. She's officially passed her expected birth date, so as far as developmental standards, she's two days old!

Alexa is doing a little better today and last night than she did this past weekend. She has really been scaring us with her breathing episodes. It's hard to imagine what would happen if the monitor wasn't constantly alerting her (and us) that she is forgetting to breathe. It kind of makes me wonder how anyone had kids that survived without technology and modern medicine.

Grandma has been over helping paint Alexa's room for the past few days. It's really making her room come together nicely. We painted it bright green, with her name in pink on the wall, and pink flowers all around the room. We think it looks good anyway...
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Life at home



















Today makes a week with Alexa at home with us. It's been really nice to have her close by. She's been doing well eating and sleeping. I also think she's filling out a little bit in her face.

Last night was pretty eventful. She has her monitor that measures her breathing rate and heart rate. It sounds like a smoke detector when it goes off. Last night it went off so many times I lost count. It kept saying she wasn't breathing, but when we looked at her, she looked fine. We're wondering if when the alarm went off it would scare her and she would start breathing again. Anyway, we still need your prayers as does little Alexa. Tomorrow is her due date, when she will officially be 0. We were thinking of having a birthday party for her.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home


Well, we're on day 3 at home. The first night was pretty rough. Alexa woke up about every hour and slept most of the following day. I was aware of the sleep deprivation beforehand, but I had no idea it would be this bad. Well, the last 2 nights have gone much better. She's sleeping about 3-4 hours at a time, day and night. We had a little trial and error of her sleeping situation. The first night we tried the bassinet until 3AM, then tried the carseat. The carseat was out best bet with a 3 hour strech, so the above picture is her makeshift sleeping quarters for the time being. It actually works out really well for everyone.

In addition, I got tired of trying to keep her dry by changing her outfit every time she spit-up, so she now has a permanent bib (color coordinated of course) - which has helped tremendously. Most of her major spit-up jobs are down the front of mommy (another joy of parenthood).

Since her arrival home Alexa has only had a handful of events and even then she came out of them almost instantly on her own. Another answer to all the prayers.

Despite the many responsibilities and life changes, we are so happy to have her home. We have been so blessed to have such a special little girl. The many prayers and support have been a great strength and without a doubt have carried us through. We cannot express the gratitude we feel for all the help that has been so unselfishly given in our behalf. Thank you all so very much.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Home


We finally made it home tonight at about 6:00, after a nice quiet day at the hospital. Alexa did well today and the doctor and nurses felt comfortable with sending her home. She didn't cry too much in the car, and we stopped by the Freeman sign next to Johnny Carinos to take a picture of her name on it.

I know we're not out of the woods yet, but I really feel like this whole experience has been a real faith builder for our family. They say you don't receive a testimony until after the trial of your faith. That's been so true in our experience. It's been so hard to see all the other babies come and go, but to have to stay behind with Alexa. I still don't even know why it was such a hard thing - she was never close to death or anything like that, but at times it almost seemed like it was more than we could handle. I really think this whole experience has tried our faith, and given us such a stronger testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We've been able to feel of their love and see the little miracles and answers to prayers.

One answer to prayer that sticks out in my mind happened just yesterday or the day before. Alexa was starting to have problems again with her stomach, and we were really worried that she might have to stop eating and take the IV again. We prayed (and many of you prayed with us) that she would recover, but also that the doctor and nurses would know how to help her. That night, we left a little discouraged, and thinking that this would set us back atleast another week or so. During the night our nurse thought to ask the doctor if they could discontinue her milk fortifier. The doctor thought that was a good idea, so they did and she ate well the rest of the night, and the next day also. I guess you could look at that as a coincidence, but for us it was an answer to prayer
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Rooming In

Last night on the 5th attempt, we were finally able to room in with Alexa. Basically they let her stay with us in a room in the hospital all by ourselves. It's basically just to make sure we can take care of her and she doesn't have any problems out of the NICU. It was more or less a sleepless night, but at the same time it's starting to finally feel like we might get to take her home.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House in Joplin, where we've been staying. There was a huge celebration and Ronald himself came down to visit. He came to the NICU and took pictures with the babies there, and he handed out RMH tshirts. Then KOAM news interviewed us. It was supposed to be on at 6 and 10, but I never saw our interview. It's probably a good thing though. At the celebration we saw one of the families that were our friends and roommates in the NICU. It was hard to believe that they'd already been gone a month! Alexa is pretty close to having seniority there, or atleast in our end of the NICU. It was kind of a bittersweet experience walking out of there with her. We're so glad to finally get out of there, but at the same time we've really come to love all the people there, that it's been hard to leave.

Hopefully, all will go well today and we'll be able to take her home late this afternoon. I think to say we're excited would be just a little of an understatement.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Pictures


Alexa's new pictures are on the link at the right, or here

http://picasaweb.google.com/seabass2020/AlexaSPhotoshoot?authkey=T6K9JZ8C4Hw.

Feel free to leave your comments on how cute you think she is.

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Transfusion

















On Monday, a photographer came by and took several pictures of Alexa. It's done by a professional photographer who volunteers her time and resources for all babies in the NICU. She doesn't charge anything and even gives us all the pictures on a CD and a copyright release so we can have them printed. A lot of them turned out really good. We'll put them on her Picasa site.

Alexa received her blood transfusion today. The doctor is hopeful that she will start perking up, since her red blood cell count was so low. They have also changed her reflux medicine just in case that was also causing problems. She looked really pale this morning, but she has really got alot of her color back since receiving the blood. Things were a little scary this morning with all of this going on, but as I was thinking about it, I had a really good feeling come over me about the whole thing. And something about that made me know that Alexa was going to be OK in spite of everything that had happened. We really appreciate everyone who has prayed with us and for us. I know it's working - just look at her!
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Another Delay

Sunday the nurses and doctor told us we would be able to take Alexa home Friday. We decided not to tell anyone, for fear of bad karma. Last night we were still on for staying the night with her and taking her home Friday. We said bye to all our friends and took pictures with all the nurses. Then, this morning our nurse told us Alexa had a serious episode last night that required oxygen to stabilize her. So, they've delayed her going home again. I guess it's a good thing she's not going home until she's ready - we're just ready for her to be ready. The doctor doesn't know what's wrong with her yet. He's concerned that her episodes are becoming more frequent and that she's having a hard time maintaining her body temperature. They did some tests on her this morning and because her red blood cell count was low, they decided she needs a transfusion. They'll do that today at 1:30.
As always, your prayers are much appreciated, felt, and needed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Petersen Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family search - Vintage photos

Four Pounds!!!

Alexa finally made it to four pounds! A landmark that has proven to be somewhat of an illusive white rabbit. Our next goal is to take her home. The Ronald McDonald house (where we have been staying for the last 6 weeks) is having their 10 year anniversary this Saturday. There's going to be a huge celebration and Ronald himself is going to make an appearance. He might even be coming to the NICU for some photo ops. I really, really, really hope we're home when all that goes down. Eating with Ronald is one thing, but a visit and photos is just a little over the top for me.

Alexa is eating really well, and doesn't seem to have any problems besides her occasional heart rate/ breathing episodes. We really just want to take her home - but at the same time we want to make sure she's ready too. She's right at two weeks shy of her expected due date, and we've been in the hospital for just under 7 weeks now.
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Car Seat, CPR, and Monitors



The past couple days have been more waiting around and two more disappointing scheduled departures that have come and gone. Alexa has had a few heart rate and breathing episodes these last couple of days. It hasn't been anything major, just one or two a day. The doctor doesn't know whether it's because of acid reflux or if it's sleep apnea. All the nurses think it's reflux. They have medicine that can help that, but the doctor is hesitant to start her on anything until he knows for sure what it is. The regular ENT doctor is on vacation, so we've had to wait a couple more days for a surgeon to come look at her (I can't wait to see that on our bill). So tomorrow morning he'll look at her throat and decide whether she has reflux or not. Also, tomorrow we are getting trained on the heart rate monitors. They're planning on us taking a monitor home for a while, so we have to get some kind of training. I don't really see what there is to train about - if it goes off, there is something wrong, how hard can it be??

Alexa did her car seat test Sunday. They like to put them in their car seat and let them stay in there for awhile on the monitors to make sure they can still breathe and are comfortable. There must have been 5 or 6 nurses in there with us. One was putting her in the car seat and the rest were telling us how small and cute she was.

We also had to watch a CPR video. It took us an hour, and that was with me fast forwarding all that parts I thought were irrelevant or repetitive.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chasing the carrot


Alexa had a few breathing / heartrate episodes yesterday, so the doctor decided she needed to go home on a heart rate monitor. This turned out to be kind of a blessing, because they weren't going to give us a monitor unless she had a reason to. We were really hoping to have her on a monitor just for a little peace of mind. The bad news is she will have to stay for another couple days because we have to get trained on how to use the monitors. I'm starting to feel like the donkey chasing the carrot. It seems like we're moving, but not getting any closer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moving Forward


Alexa is doing very well today. She started taking a bottle again and they took the tube out of her nose. She lost a little weight from yesterday, she's now at 3lbs. 13.9oz, but that was to be expected.
We got new orders today that she can eat however much she wants, whenever she wants and she seems to like this much better. She was getting a little impatient waiting for her next feeding, so the nurse put her in the swing and she seemed to like it.
If she continues to do well with her feedings and her body can regenerate her red blood cells they are talking about her going home on Sunday. If the red blood cell count doesn't go up she will have to have a transfusion. The doctor was surprised that she hasn't had to have one yet. Just another little miracle.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mommy's Girl

Her feedings were started again yesterday at noon and the X-ray showed a huge improvement from Sunday. They let me feed her all day and she did great. No signs of pain or spitting it out. Then throughout the night the nurse tried to give her the bottle and she didn't want anything to do with it. They ended up giving it to her through the tube.
When I got there this morning I fed her and she did great. She's done really well all day with her feedings - she just likes her mommy!
Her X-ray from this morning was a little worse than yesterday, but much improved from Sunday. The nurses & doctor continue to keep a close eye on her to make sure this doesn't develop into an infection or something worse than what it is. Her I.V. should come out tonight if all goes well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's a bug!


When we were first admitted to the NICU we were told to expect a roller coaster ride and to count on her getting some kind of bug during our stay. We almost escaped, but no such luck.

Another X-ray, taken this morning, showed that the inflammation in Alexa's stomach had worsened and it was looking more like she had a flu virus. Her feedings have been stopped for 24 hours and more lab work and X-rays will be taken in the morning. Since they stopped her feeding she is sleeping very well.

An I.V. was started to give her fluids. Since her veins are so tiny the best one they found was in her head - I had to leave when they put it in, but the nurse said she didn't cry very much.
When she's awake she gets fussy until someone holds her, so when mom's not around, the nurses jump at every chance they get (which isn't very often).

We're hoping she'll be back to normal by tomorrow - she's already starting to act like she's getting a little hungry and that's the first indicator that she's feeling better.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

A minor setback

The nurse told us today that we might stay the night with Alexa tonight and take her home tomorrow! She said since she was eating so well, there was really no reason for her to stay in the NICU. About 20 minutes later, Alexa wouldn't take any of her bottle. She would suck for just a little bit, and then cough hard and start to cry. Then everything she took came right back up. We later learned she sent her nurse last night to the ER because she spit up milk in her eye.

After an Xray and labwork, we're still not exactly sure what's wrong with her. The doctor thinks it may be Acid Reflux or a virus, or a combination of both. She just had her feeding tube removed, but they had to put it back in because that's the only way she'll take her food now. Hopefully this won't last too long. We've already seen so many of her roommates come and go. One family we've really enjoyed associating with just went home today. Hopefully she will get better soon and be able to come home with us. As always, all your prayers are much appreciated (and felt!).

Faith

We'd been decided for quite awhile that our baby's first name would be Alexa. We were undecided even until a few days after she was born on what her middle name would be. Melissa had pretty much decided it would be Paige, and had already told everyone that's what it was. Around the time Melissa was getting ready to check out of the hospital, the nurses told us we had to decide on a middle name because we couldn't leave without filling out her birth certificate.

It was quite the ordeal at the hospital that day. We were taking suggested names and opinions from everyone. We even took votes from our nurses. Finally, after weighing all the possibilities, we decided on Faith. Before Alexa was born, Melissa went in for a routine checkup. She was still two months away from her due date. Everything seemed to be fine, and the doctor did some routine labwork. The next day, Melissa excercised in the morning as usual, then got a call from the Doctor that she needed to come to the hospital for some additional tests.

Being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in the Priesthood, and Priesthood blessings. I felt like we should give Melissa a priesthood blessing before going to the hospital. A good friend of mine came over to help with the blessing. In the blessing, I felt Heavenly Father's love strongly for me and Melissa, and I told her that she would be ok, and that the delivery and pregancy would all go well. Just a few hours later at the hospital, we found out that Melissa was seriously ill and would need to deliver very soon. We told our families of the situation, and almost immediately we began to feel God's love for us as friends and family prayed for us. It was amazing how an experience like this made us feel so close to God. We heard of so many people who said they were praying for us and thinking about us, that it really gave us great courage. Never once did Melissa or I feel fear during the entire experience. I was a little scared when I first saw Alexa, but I know without a doubt that prayers were answered, Melissa's blessing was realized, and Heavenly Father's love helped us through.

After all that happened, we felt like her middle name should maybe have a little more meaning. It was our faith in Christ, and the faith of our friends and family that really helped us through. This has changed our lives forever and hopefully her name will always remind us and her of the miracle that happened on 6/19 at 6:19.
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