Nov 10, 2008

Our Best Day Yet

This picture was taken an hour before Mimi got the call.



Here is Mimi getting in as much time holding Mia as possible before they take her away.



Dad even got to hold his sweet baby before she had to go.


Mimi is giving Mia a last minute pep-talk before the big event.


It will never matter how desensitized we get from all the tubes etc, but it will NEVER be easy to wheel our baby to the Operation Room. And even more for a transplant.


This is moments after Mia returned to the room. The first time we got to see her. She had a really great (low) heart rate and her saturation levels were on the money.


This is our baby Mia with her new Angel heart. She looks so great. Her new angel heart feels entirely different beating in her chest. She is pink, and beautiful!


Here Mia is after surgery. She is now giving Mimi a pep talk. Between the anxiety and stress of the surgery of Mia,for the loss that another family- who is suffering somewhere, and for all the other moms with babies still waiting here in Seattle, she has just been feeling ill. I think a good nights rest will do wonders. I think we have both experienced every emotion possible today. Mostly we are in awe at the miracle that took place, and that transplantation is even an option. We are so happy, and so relieved. We are so grateful to the donor family, and their willingness to give. Our nurse tonight gave some really good insight. She mentioned how wonderful a feeling it is for a donor family to know that even though having suffered a tragic loss, that part of their baby is living. Their baby's heart is alive and beating and will be doing so for years to come. She mentioned that it is healing for them to know magnitude of the gift they were able to give. This gift is something we will never take for granted! The healing effects of selflessness and service are always present.



An enormous thanks to all the nurses, surgeons, pilots etc who did a wonderful job today. It was touching as the doctors almost seemed giddy after surgery. They were so happy about the condition of the new heart and that there were no hangups. I know that they have to feel so much joy in giving such an amazing service to babies and in turn to couples like us. We waited so long, and we could tell that they are truly happy for our blessing today.


Here I am with my mom. Her mother/my grandmother, passed away today at noon, just a few minutes before our baby was out of the Operating Room. I didn't find out until tonight and I have had many different thoughts flood to my mind. The first of which is my wonderful grandma holding this sweet angel baby that has given Mia life today. Grandma was a true Christian her entire life. I know that she is watching from above. She was always so good at watching after us kids, I know she still is. I am sad to see her go even though she has declared for months that she was ready to go and to be reunited with Grandpa. She led a life that was filled with service to others, and I think that when she was unable to give any longer, she decided that she was finished with her work here. She actually cared for my grandfather for years, while he had severe Alzheimer's, and while she couldn't even walk without a walker. I can't believe she is gone, but I am happy she is in a place of rest. I know that grandma will hug a baby this day, as she will rejoice with her husband and son who have gone before. I know that grandma will stand by Mia's side along with other angels to give comfort in the days to come. (I was brought to tears a few days back when my sister Anne commented that angels were standing by Mia's bed), so I know they are there. Grandma will continue to live on through her family as we have all been influenced by her example. Love you grandma. Thanks for showing us the way. I can remember from the time when I was just a boy when you would tell me that one day I would be the one to pick you up in my arms and carry you when you were too old and weak to walk. I hope I did enough to carry you in your last days. I will miss you until we meet again.



As we head into the next and more rewarding leg of this journey, I have to thank all who have given so much support. I know that Mimi and myself have been moved to tears many times over by the wonderful and inspired words of others as you have made comments to us as well as on our family blog. We have rarely had to stand on our own through these tough months. There is no method to sufficiently express our gratitude, but I will say again, that the inherent good in people has become more and more evident. All of the family, friends and strangers who have lent their shoulder, words, prayers, time and efforts. You have changed us.

45 comments:

Chris & Tammy said...

What a happy and sad day today. I am so sad that your grandma past away John. She was an amazing lady. I think of her as such a kind, wise, sweet and a beautiful person. She will truely be missed.

I am so happy for little Mia. It wont be long until she is at home crawling around, playing with Jensen and Ellie. She has truely touched my heart and made a difference in my life. She is a strong little girl.

leah said...

We are so sorry to hear about your Gma. What amazing words to describe her... and beautiful to think of her holding this other precious angel who is now a part of Mia. I think your story has changed us all. We love you guys!

Heather and Tim said...

Dear John and Mimi,
My heart is so full of emotion. I think that the emotions of the day are just starting to sink in. We are so, so happy for your Mia. Her transplant is truly an incredible gift of love, and a gift of science and knowledge from our Father in Heaven. I am missing Grandma. It is so sweet to think of her holding your Angel baby in heaven. Grandma was one in a million. I will forever miss her unconditional love in my life.

Baseballs and Tutu's said...

What beautiful and glorious pictures those are! I am so happy for all of you. Before you know it she will be at home playing with all the other and I can't wait to see that. She has made such a difference in my life as I am sure she has made in many others!

I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma. I am sure she is watching over you right now with Mia's angel...there isn't a doubt in my mind about that! May God bring you peace as you mourn and grieve for your grandmother in the days to come. And may God bring Mia strength to heal quickly!

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us!!

Yergensen Family said...

WAHOO!!! I am so happy for Mia and for your family! She looks so good..so rosey pink! Can't wait until you can take her home to your family. I bet the kiddos can't wait either! Good Luck and Keep us all updated!
So amazing what the power of prayer can do. Knowing there was/are so many people praying for Mia and your wonderful family!
I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS! WAHOO!

ann said...

Praying for peace within the circle of life.

Margie said...

thank you for the great update and pictures John. I'm glad to hear that all has gone well. I'm sure there were angels there watching over Mia. I was even reading Holland's last conference talk on angels and thinking of your sweet family yesterday. We hope the next part of the journey continues to go well.

Anonymous said...

Tears of joy and releif were shed many times yesterday by Carol and I and so many others. Today I will shed a few tears for Mia's great Grandma who passed away yesterday. Shirley was such an exceptional person and it's almost as if she traded herself for another exceptional little girl. It seems a fitting end for such a selfless woman.

John, I am so proud of you and Mimi for how well you have endured this ordeal. You have shown such courage and grace. I love the fact that you draw attention to the constant display of kindness shown by others toward your family. You could easily have become bitter but have chosen the high road. Mia's story will serve you and your family well for the happy years to come. Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude for you son and for your sweet family.

Miller Family said...

Sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing. God works in mysterious ways.
What a blessing you have received today with this new heart. We are so thrilled to hear how well the surgery went and all components of the heart and Mia are working well together. Praise the Lord for all His Glory. We will continue to keep you in our prayers. It's amazing how one precious little baby can touch the lives of so many and truly make a difference. Thank you for sharing your sweet Mia with us!

Alicia in Virginia said...

I received a prayer request for Mia online yesterday morning and have been glued to your blog since.

I'm thrilled for Mia, you and your family. I'll keep Mia in my prayers.

My husband works in the organ and tissue donation service and I can assure you what your nurse said is right, the donor family takes great comfort that their loss was not in vain and Mia can benefit from it.

I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I agree she is watching over Mia and the baby who gave Mia the greatest gift.

Brenda said...

What a sweet thought about your Grandma holding the donor baby. I believe that must be true. Just out of curiosity, will you ever know who the donor family is or be able to thank them in person?

Hilary said...

She looks so amazing! I am so incredibly happy for you all. After all that you have gone through these next couple of weeks will be a breeze. Sending our love, prays for you and this selfless family that said yes to a miracle. Much love, Hilary Cook

Jill said...

What a beautiful girl she is. She looks great and will only continue to improve. My thoughts and prayers are still with you at the passing of your Grandmother. It's hard to imagine how much one little family is asked to endure. It's also hard to imagine that the Lord knew you were strong enough to take it. Although difficult beyond anything I can comprehend, what a wonderful thing to know the Lord trusts you both enough.

Brimaca said...

I can't quit sobbing. All the emotions. I am so glad for you but can understand the heartache that would come from feeling for the donor family. My brother and his wife adopted a little girl. It was so for them to see the heartache in her birth parent's eyes as they made such a selfless sacrifice. Not the same situation, but sorta similar.

We are continually praying for Mia and for the donor family. Now we will add your sadness over your grandma to our prayers. What an emotional day you had yesterday!

Kirstin said...

Your family is such an inspiration to me... at times I felt guilty doing our everyday things, then reading your blog and seeing what your family was enduring. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of John's grandma... and that you are enduring yet another trial... but the Lord is with your family, and angels are standing by Mia. Words cannot express how excited I am for Baby Mia and her being able to receive a heart. An eternal thank you to the family who was able to let go, and give their baby's heart away so that Mia could have life! Congratulations... Keep the wonderful updates coming!

The Eggett Family said...

MIa looks so incredible. So pink and wonderful!! She is a miracle baby through and through. She is one tough little girl. I think John hit it on the head, You guys have gone through so much, that now the next journey will hopefully seem a bit easier, even with bumps in the road. John, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma, but no doubt she is loving that sweet baby that gave her great grandbaby the gift of life. Good Job you guys - you have endured this challenge so well, staying so optimistic, please know that you are continually in my prayers. Love you!

Beth said...

I have shed many tears of joy for little Mia. I am so glad that she is on the road to recovery. I love you guys I can't wait to hold her.
I loved what you said about Grandma. She was truly an angel. I loved her as if she was my own blood.
I love you.

Katie said...

Yay Mia!!! She looks wonderfully pink :) Thanks for posting these great pictures, I was brought to tears. It truly was an amazing day and I'm glad you've shared this experience with all of us. Sorry about the loss of your grandma...what a day for you. Take care!
Love from the Allreds

The Curleys said...

Oh what a happy and glorious day it was for you guys especially but again for all of us who have given you so much thought and prayers. Reading this post and seeing your little angel in all those tubes made me cry I felt for her and you guys. It makes me that more grateful for my healthy little girl and for my ownself. Your story has truly touched thousands and has made me feel more grateful for what I have an enjoy in life on a daily basis. Its a great time with Thanksgiving around the corner to constantly have gratitude on our minds. Thanks!

Vollmer Family said...

Mimi, I only met you briefly at MOPS a couple of years ago, but I have been following your blog for months. I am rejoicing with you in this amazing gift for your beautiful baby girl. I will continue to pray for her healing! God Bless Your Family!!
~Jenny Vollmer

Jane Anne said...

I am praying for you. I was so touched by all the pictures. Your words tugged at my heart. I am so thankful for the surgery, for the heart, for the other family that donated. What a blessing! What a reminder for us to be praying for them, too.

I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I am praying for you. I am praying for your mom. I am praying for Mia. You are all constantly in my prayers!

Amanda-The Family News! said...

Whew did this post bring on the tears. I would have to believe too that if my child were a donor I would have a sense of calm about knowing a part of my baby does live on in another person. I can understand that. Mia does look beautiful.
I am so sad to hear about the passing of your grandmother. I am sure she is loving on the angel baby who gave Mia her new heart! What a sweet post! I can't wait to see more pictures of Mia!!!

Analisa-creator of hairblingzcutethings said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma john. so much happiness today and also sorrow! i'm so happy jd and i were able to spend some time with you all before mia went in for surgery. i feel so lucky to have gotten to know her these last couple of months and to have spent more time with mimi. you guys are one amazing family and you have touched the lives of so many people! mia is truly an angel and she obviously has angels watching over her. Not only have you guys been changed but I think your family and story has changed so many of us! i still get so emotional we i think about how she finally got a heart and how heavenly father does answer prayers...maybe not on our time line, but he does! :) we can't wait to see you guys again!

Rebecca said...

Wow, what an emotional post. The timing of your grandma's passing is timely, as I am sure she does have more opportunity to comfort Mia from the other side. What a great thought.

I can't believe all that stuff she's hooked up to, I love that after four months my prayers have changed so much for Mia...there was gratitude always, that she was alive and that there was hope, but always the pleading. Still, there is pleading, but so much more joy! I love it!

Can't wait to see her!

Shila said...

Wow, Wow, Wow, what else could have happened yesterday? It is all so amazingly emotional! That little baby looks like she has grown since she has gotten her new heart. I am sure she has. We too heard about Grandma Hallmeyers passing last night. We are sorry for the losses. We are greatful for the new chance at a good life for Mia.

eRiCa said...

this post was beautiful. All the emotions you guys were goig through. The pictures. The loss of your grandma and the thought of her greeting and thanking the little angel whos hear Mia has...you guys are wonderful. you guys amaze.

Stephanie M Larsen said...

My mother in law and I just sat and cried as we looked at these sweet pictures and read your words. I don't know what else to say than my heart is so full of love for you guys and little Mia. You'll be in our prayers everyday as you have been. Love you. -Steph

Rachel said...

What an emotional post. First, it brings me so much happiness to see little Mia post surgery. She looks fabulous in pink ;) I am so excited Mia is now on the road to recovery. She has proved to be such a fighter, that this will seem like a cake walk for her. I can't wait to come see her. Second, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your grandma, John. I have no doubt she spent her first hours there holding that precious angel baby along with your grandpa.

Erin said...

Even under all those tubes and wires I can tell she really is PINK! WOW! That is amazing! It is going to be so fun to see her get better each day, and go home with her family. How long do they expect her to stay in the hospital?

I'm so sorry, John, for the loss of your grandma! I hope you will have peace and comfort as you reflect upon her life. What a day for you guys!

Meems, I hope you feel better, and were able to get some rest last night. Take care of yourself and know we are still praying for you and your sweet girl. Keep the updates coming!

THE LIGHT HAS COME!

Jennifer said...

Awesome! Your entire family is just awesome!

Katie said...

john and mimi,

i don't know if you remember me, but i was john's fhe sister at arbor cove with jenner, annie, tracy, christine, etc. anyway, jenner found your blog and told me about it. i hope you don't mind, but spent hours last night reading your story.

i want you to know that i am in awe of your strength and humility in this trial and yet you continually express your gratitude for the tender mercies that heavenly father has blessed you with. i think mia must have chosen you for her daddy and mommy. mimi, you have inspired me to be a better mother.

your little mia will be a beacon of light for all who read her story. thank you for reminding me of how much our Heavenly Father loves us!
may He continually bless your family.

with love,
katie nielsen

Holen Family said...

I am so happy for your family! It is so wonderful that Mia has a heart. I was so excited, I called a bunch of people to tell them the great news! I am also sorry for John's grandmas passing. However, What a blessing for her to be with her husband again. I can't wait to see more pictures of Mia. What a courageous little fighter she is!

Sadaf Trimarchi said...

Congratulations to your family and Mia, especially. You've faced a very difficult time. I'm sorry for the loss of your Grandmother.

On a different note though, welcome to the start of an amazing adventure with your daughter. Best of luck to you.

Sadaf

Riley Family said...

That was a beautiful post John! Thank you! You have to know that Mia and your family have changed all of our lives too! God Bless you all through Mia's fabulous journey to recovery!!! I am tremendously HAPPY for you all!!!!

Worsham Family said...

Words cannot express what I am feeling for your family right now. Your strength is amazing. What a wonderful example you have shown. I am so thankful for your willingness to share your journey with us all, you have truly touched my life and I am sure many others as well. You will continue to be in my prayers, Love Shelli

Laurie & the Lufkin's said...

John, I am so sorry about your grandma and so happy about baby Mia's new heart! I lost 2 brothers, one 2 days before I found out I was pregnant with my first baby and another brother just 3 months after he was born. I like to think that by brothers (and your Grandma) are so special that they made sure there were special angels on the other side to watch over us all.

We love your family and wish for the best for you! You have amazing little children and angels in e very corner watching over you! We can hardly wait to see all 3 kids at home, laughing and playing!

Maria said...

Wow, a true Miracle! little Mia is such a fighter...Amazing. So happy to hear the good news!

John, your post brought me to tears. You did a wonderful job telling the story. So sorry to hear about your grandmother.

We love you all! The Miller Fam

Kirk and Jill Smith - said...

I know you have a million comments already, but I went to high school with Mimi and I've been reading and watching your updates regularly. It's so wonderful to know that the effort of yours and everyone's prayers has been answered!!! What a blessing. We will keep you in our prayers!!!

camille said...

It was so nice to read your comment on our blog. I make no comparison to your experiences in the hospital, but spending weeks, days, hours, etc. in the NICU has definitely been rough on me, can't imagine months. YOUR family is amazing and strong and such a great example to me. I have been following your sweet baby's story and I was THRILLED to see your news when I checked on her today. Congratulations, you made it!!!

Anonymous said...

hey im so happy that every thing went well!!

morgan whittingslow

Likes Chocolate said...

Congratulation on Mia getting a new heart. We wish you all the best and will keep you in our prayers.

The Reynolds Family said...

Wow! What a circle of life moment for your family. As one is being saved, another one is leaving. The same thing happened to me when my sister died unexpectedly and then I had Kesley. It is just a testament to the beauty of the Plan that God has for all of us!
I am just beyond words at this whole miracle for your family. This has renewed every person's faith a little more!

The Reynolds Family said...

Wow! What a circle of life moment for your family. As one is being saved, another one is leaving. The same thing happened to me when my sister died unexpectedly and then I had Kesley. It is just a testament to the beauty of the Plan that God has for all of us!
I am just beyond words at this whole miracle for your family. This has renewed every person's faith a little more!

Shanna M said...

Oh my goodness. Who turned the water on? My eyes have not stopped watering! John, Mimi, Jense, Ellie, and Mia. This is an amazing time. One life lost, and another gained. Boy, the circle of life is apparent right now. It is almost too strange for words. But what I do know, is that this has been a long time coming for you all, and I will be so happy when your two girls are home with you and your two wonderful kids. I am sure you can't wait either. God bless, and enjoy the moment.

grandma conway said...

Someone called me on my cell as I was driving up to see Mia on the day of her operation, to tell me that my mom had passed away. With heavy heart I walked into the hospital, into the inner sanctum where babies wait for new hearts and lives. I wondered if I should even tell John and Mimi. I didn;t want to ruin our time together. I wondered what emotions I would feel. Could I forget my sad news for a bit? You can tell by my happy face how wonderful it was to see Mia. I really didn'nt notice all the tubes so much as how comfortable she looked. She looked just like a regular baby in no discomfort what so ever. It was such a relief and you could see the relief on John's and Mimi's faces. When they heard about my mom, they enveloped me in a hug. Life is so ironic. As my mother's heart was fading away, Mia's was new and beating strongly. What an experience. Something for the history books. And with a good ending. I love you guys. Love, Mom