September 5, 2008

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."

John 15:12-15

Have you ever pondered the meaning of the word friend??

I took a look to see what Webster had to say and this is what I found:

friend: -noun

1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile

Throughout our year long journey we had friends of many kinds. We had friends who were attached to us by feelings of affection and personal regard. We had friends who gave assistance and support and we had friends whom we were on good terms with.

I am amazed by the outpouring of love we have received far and wide. I am amazed by the never failing support we received from so many.

Throughout the year I have thrown out my thank you's to many. There are a few however that deserve the biggest "Thank You" of all.

The Lord truly blessed us with a wonderful staff of doctors and nurses who cared for Gavin day and night. These people truly were amazing. After spending 4 1/2 months with them they are like family to us. I want to extend some personal thank you's.....

To Vicky, one of our NICU NNP's......Our journey started with meeting you. I will forever remember our conversation the day I was admitted. You were so patient with us in explaining all of the what if's and how to's of a 25 week baby. You gave us confidence that even in a grim situation our baby would get the best care ever. You were with Gavin the night he went to PSL. Your love and compassion in that moment has forever touched our hearts. Gavin was and is as special to you as he is to us. Gavin came to know Vicky for her spa day treatments. I could always rest assured that he had the cleanest ears in the NICU when Vicky was working :) You celebrated with us his 101 days and he sleeps with his dalmation now soundly in his crib. You were with us as our journey started anew the day Gavin came home. Thank you for all that you have done for us and for Gavin!

To Kay, another NNP.....You were there for Gavin's grand arrival. You worked feverishly helping to intubate him in the delivery room. My heart was deeply touched the morning after I had Gavin when you came to my room with pictures you had taken of him. It meant so much to me to know that someone not only cared about Gavin but you also cared about me. You were with us the day Gavin was transported back to Littleton and you shared with us a grand "homecoming" of sorts. Gavin gave you many a scare with his breathing episodes and through it all you kept smiling and reassuring us that this too soon shall pass. You shared many special times with us as a family and we are forever grateful for having you as a part of Gavin's care team.

To Therese, another NNP......We met you when we toured the NICU the day before Gavin was born. You took time to show us around and made sure we had the opportunity to meet other NICU families who had similar situations to ours. We met Nicki that day and were able to see Dayton and his progress. You made us feel comfortable that we had chosen the best possible place to have Gavin. The day after I had Gavin I still remember the card you gave me with the Preemie Purple Heart. I wasn't able to read the card for several days......and to this day, it makes me cry. I forever cherish my purple heart and I wear it with pride! Gavin played a few breathing tricks for you as well and you were always there to reassure us that he would grow out of this phase and you would never let him go home acting that way.

To Jill, another NNP......I think Gavin was two days old when we got to meet you the first time. You were giving him an exfoliating treatment and made sure we were able to take pictures of him without anything on his face. You took time with us to explain how things were going and what we could expect around the next corner. You shared with us when Gavin debuted his build a bear Rockies outfit and you helped us to take the most adorable pictures ever. You fretted many a time in December trying to get an IV location that would not go bad when his blood sugars were so low. You shared Christmas with our family and truly made it the best day ever. I still remember coming into the family room to our Christmas tree and gifts for our kids that you had set up.....with Christmas music. I will never forget how you created magic for my kids when mom and dad could not be with them all the time. You helped to make it special for them. I will always cherish the moment when you shared with me that Gavin did not have a belly button. I still laugh thinking about the fact that it had been gone for more than 3 months before I realized it.

To Rose, another NNP.....I remember that day....Gavin was 3 days old and you insisted that I hold him. "He needs his momma's touch" My heart was touched. I cried. I never imagined I would be able to hold him when he was so small or so soon. You made us feel like we were an important part in Gavin's care and that Littleton truly was about a collaborative effort of both doctors, nurses and families. You were our shutterbug friend. We always knew we could count on you to play with us in the picture taking department. You helped us to capture Gavin with our wedding which are so precious to us now. We played when Gavin was 2 lbs and took some Anne Geddes type photos with him in Colin's hand. This photo has now become a benchmark for Gavin. You took time to take pictures of Gavin for us for Thanksgiving. It was our surprise.....with a card from Gavin. We are forever grateful to you for helping us to capture those moments along Gavin's journey....

Cynthia.....Gavin's nurse.......where do I start....You will ALWAYS hold a place in our lives and in Gavin's. We spent a lot of time together.....we laughed and we cried. I always knew that you were there to support us emotionally along the way. Gavin loves you so much and to this day he knows your voice and responds. You treated Gavin like he was your own......which always made us comfortable when we could not be there. You shared your faith with us. You truly were an instrument of God's grace in our lives. We love you so much....

Tricia....aka Trixie!!! I will never forget the day we laughed and laughed so hard about your trip to Vegas. You were an awesome nurse and you gave so much to Gavin. You showed us care and compassion at every corner.

Cheryl.....You were with Gavin from the beginning to the end. You watched him go from Ventilator to nasal were with him the day of his big surgery in December and you always gave him awesome care. I always looked forward to hearing about your upcoming wedding and sharing life stories with you. Your conservativeness kept us well grounded in our NICU journey....

Wendy...Girl, you won my heart! You so patiently had to deal with me every night at promptly 8:15 when I would call for my nightly weight checks. Gavin gave you so many challenges in the eating the point that I am sure you thought he would never take a bottle. You made Gavin his Christmas stocking and hung it above his crib. We always knew Gavin was special to you. You have celebrated many milestones with us over the past year and I know you will celebrate many more. I will forever remember you telling me you were not giving him that "binky" because he hated it. I still laugh about that every time I think of it. You were not only Gavin's caregiver but you became our friend. Thank you for all that you have done for us and for Gavin!

These are just a few of the many people who cared for Gavin....These people became our family. They were there for us emotionally every step of the way. They celebrated his milestones with us and cried with us as well. They took our other kiddos under their wing and made them a part of Gavin's care. They made them feel special. I have other shout outs to more staff.....but I cannot do it all in one chronicle or you could be reading forever......

Gavin has his big well child check this week and I will have some statistics for you. He continues to meet new milestones along his journey. He is officially "teething" and cutting his 2 bottom teeth. He is working to master his army crawl and can get anywhere in the speed of light. His birthday party went off without a hitch. We were so thankful to be able to celebrate this huge milestone in his life with so many.

It's late and time for me to sign off.......Thanks again for all that you are and all that you do for us. Until next time....

Peace and Love-

Colin, Juanita, Ian, Brooke and Gavin

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