Christmas at the Clem’s

We’re so blessed this Christmas!  Everyone’s healthy (well, almost everyone) and Santa was good to us this year…blessed!

Santa ate the snacks we left for him!

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Eliana did one of two things:

Threw up

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Or slept…poor girl…up all night!

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And Emily got the American Doll she’s wanted for 6 months.

Emily Christmas 2010 from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

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12 2010

For Sale – 185 West North Street

So it’s time to make this dream a reality…we’re selling our house!

Great for first time buyers or investors. Updated 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Ballston Spa. Central A/C & high efficiency furnace. Brand new stainless steel fridge, gas stove and dishwasher.  1 car detached garage. Fenced in backyard, great for families. Easy access to Rte 9 and 87.  Minutes from Saratoga. Family friendly neighborhood, Ballston Spa schools.

For Sale by Owner…Listed at $169,900.

E-mail 185westnorthst@gmail.com or
call 518-288-3038 to set up an appointment.

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04 2010

A Typical Night at the Clem’s

A quick update – Eliana’s doctor’s appointment with her cardiologist went great.  We don’t have to go back for 4 months.  The results were truly an answer to prayer.  As most of you know, the pressures in her heart were too high and about a month ago, she underwent a valvuloplasty.  The procedure went well and the outcome is that the pressures were decreased about 50%.  Our God has answered.  Thanks so much for all of your prayers.  We truly appreciate them!

On a side note…three kids makes for very interesting experiences.  Eliana loves to dance.  Andrew’s working on dexterity exercises and Emily is full of questions.  Oh…the innocence of children.

Eliana Dancing from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

Andrew’s Exercise from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

Emily’s Question #1 from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

Emily’s Question #2 from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

Emily’s Question #3 from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

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03 2010

One Word

As you probably already read in the last post, I was able to go back with Eliana and make sure that she was knew daddy was with her right before the procedure started.  The doctors and nurses told us that it would take about 2 to 3 hours.

When the second hour passed and hour three was quickly approaching, we all started getting concerned.  Why hadn’t someone come out and told us that they were going to take longer? Is this normal?

Eli’s doc finally strolled around the corner and Leah and I were front and center waiting for his results.  The first words out of his mouth were, “the aortic valve did not act like I would have expected.”  Immediately, Leah and I made eye conctact, thinking the worst.  He then went on to say, “normally I look for the aortic valve to respond a specific way, but it didn’t.”

Doubts, questions and worry ran through our mind, “Was Eli ok?  Where’s my daughter?  Was the doctor able to fix her valve?”  He told us before that this procedure could have many different outcomes, one of them being leakage.  Eli’s valve is already at a disadvantage, so to take away its ability to seal properly would lead us to a valve replacement much quicker than we wanted.  What did he mean?  Were our fears becoming a reality?

I started asking questions as to why the valve didn’t react normally and what the ramifications were.  We were very relieved to hear him say that the pressures in the valve were decreased by half with no leakage.  Are you serious?  You just told us that it didn’t go the way you thought it would.

As we listened, waiting for the doctors conclusion, he said a word that I can still hear as clear as day.  In his Netherlands accent, he said, “it’s actually quite miraculous…it’s really too good to be true.”  Miraculous?  Did he just say miraculous.  We couldn’t believe our ears.  Leah and I looked at each other…we knew it!  God answered our prayer.  I quickly looked the doctor right in the eye and said, “this is what we’ve been praying for…Eliana’s name means, ‘My God has answered.’”  He just said, “keep praying then” and walked away.  We were so excited! We couldn’t wait to see her.

We walked in to her recovery room and she was just laying there, so peaceful, slowly waking up.  What a beautiful gift that God has given us.  We just prayed, saying thank you. Then came the long wait…6 hours of no events or alarms and we could go home.

Eli did great.  She never cried out.  She never got cranky.  She never got upset.  All of which we thought would be the case.  But she didn’t, she just sat in mom’s and dad’s arms the entire 6 hours.

We finally got her in the van around 8:20pm – almost 12 hours later – and she was asleep before we even left the parking garage.

We go back in a month to see the results of the procedure.  We’re continuing to pray that the results after the procedure stay that way…to be specific for those of you who are praying with us…no leakage and a mean pressure gradient of 24.

Thank you for praying and for continuing to pray…I still can’t get over it…it’s miraculous!  Our God has answered!

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02 2010

Eliana Update

Blogging has of course taken back seat to three kids, work and life in general, but here we find ourselves again…the seventh floor of Albany Med has seen the Clem family way too much.

Eliana’s was so good this morning as we waited for her turn with the pediatric cardiologist.  No food, no drink, just mom and dad and great family to help keep her busy.  Trust me…she’s been busy.

As the nurses came in to start the first steps of getting her ready, she kept a close eye  on all of them.  Too many experiences with nurses…she knows what’s going on…a veteran.

Unfortunately, mom & dad have become veterans too.  We don’t like it, but oddly enough, going through this 6 times in the last year and a half have helped calm our nerves a bit.  Emily with her hernia surgery, then Eli with her first two, then Andrew’s two eye surgeries, then Leah with hers…now Eli’s turn again.  We also just found out that Drew has to have another procedure for his eyes.  Will we ever be done with the hospitals?

I just took Eliana back to the nurses and doctors to perform her valvuloplasty and they let me go back with her and help put the gas mask on to have her sedated.  I don’t care how many times I’ve done this, it is never easy seeing your child crying in fear, wondering who all those people are, and wondering why daddy isn’t helping her.

I did my best to keep eye contact with her and talking to her so that she could hear my voice.  She was crying hard (the best for deep breaths of the gas), looking at the docs…I fought to get her eyes on me.  I know she saw her daddy hovering over her, praying and saying her name as she fell asleep.  If there’s a comfort to any of this, it’s that.  She knew I was there.

So here we sit, yet again.  Fresh Starbucks coffee, great family, and a lot of prayer…waiting.

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02 2010

Family Night

After an insane couple of weeks, tonight is family night.  We read books, danced to all kinds of music and watched a movie together.  I think I had more fun than the kids did.  Emi and Drew somehow choreographed their moves and Eli was headbangin’ like crazy!  Here’s a sample of the fun:

Untitled from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

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11 2009

Eliana Update

So yesterday we went to the long awaited cardiac appointment for Eli.  We’ve been anticipating this visit for months now.  Why?  Because although the repairs to her heart during surgery have held like glue, her aortic valve is just too small.  Although the docs have explained this in tons of medical terms, the way I understand it is that the valve hasn’t grown with the rest of the heart and it’s like a fire hydrant through a straw.  Ok, not that much pressure but you get the picture.

They use a measurement termed, “pressure gradient.”  Apparently the normal  number for you and me is around 4.  As Eli’s grown, the first couple of months of her life, the numbers doubled each visit until we reached about 57.  The cardiologist said that Eli can live a normal life with those numbers, especially since the other side of her heart has strengthened in size to accommodate the pressure. However, when the numbers reach 70 or so, intervention would happen.  And the cardiologist has been saying since day 1 that something will have to happen before her first birthday.  We’ve been praying specifically for just the opposite.  That God would not let the numbers go up.  About 6 months ago, the number went to 58.  And yesterday the valve showed a pressure gradient of 60…Praise God!

We know that God knows what’s best for her and we’re praying like crazy that no intervention will ever be needed for Eli.  On the other hand, although we don’t want to admit it, intervention may be needed as she gets older.  She’s only going to keep growing – although she’s not showing us that right now…14 pounds at 1 year old – and the valve won’t just start growing.

So, we’ll keep everyone posted as things develop, but for today and until our next visit – 6 months – we’re going to celebrate what God has done.  He’s healing her.  He’s given us the most energetic joy magnet ever.  Eli’s such a blessing to us and we are still in awe of her.  Eliana – My God has Answered.

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10 2009

Eliana’s Birthday

Can’t believe it, but Eli’s one tomorrow.  It’s hard to believe that just one year ago, we were going thru so much with her.  We’re truly blessed to have her with us so full of energy and joy.

We showed this video at her birthday celebration this past Saturday.

Untitled from Chad Clem on Vimeo.

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10 2009

Long time no blog

I know I haven’t visited the blog world in quite some time, but life has been crazy.  Work has changed, the family is growing, priorities have shifted and life seems to be moving at a much faster pace these days.  Emily started, “real” school this year.  Andrew, after a series of surgeries, is in his last year of pre-k.  And Eliana will be 1 year old next week.

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, the most trying and challenging time of our lives was a huge reality.  You’d never think that Eli has any heart issue at all.  She by far is our most active, loud and cheerful baby.  Did I mention she eats like a horse?!  Don’t have a clue how her 15 pound frame handles all of it.

So we’ve played baseball, gone fishing, bought a van, had surgery (that’s Drew under the influence), Emi lost a tooth, and I got to drive a Shelby G500 KR.  (540 horsepower if you’re wondering)

This past year has been a challenging one, but on the other hand, it’s been the most blessed filled year of our marriage.  We’ve been broken and mended, in the valley and on the mountain top, sad and full of joy.  But one thing I know.  Our God has answered our prayer and He is so faithful to us.  I can’t imagine life without Him!

14

10 2009

More surgery

PhotobucketToday Chad and I took Andrew to see his eye surgeon.  After examining his eyes again, we all decided that he needs to have another surgery.  When Andrew was only one year old, Chad noticed that his left eye moved very high and outward he began seeing a specialist.  “Doing the eye”, has become one of Andrew’s famous tricks.  Especially when he’s in trouble.  Try discipline with a straight face while your kid makes this face…impossible!  We end up laughing every time.

Back in June, while visiting family in Birmingham, we took Andrew to see an eye specialist at the Children’s Hospital.  Having a second opinion confirmed to us to go ahead and try to have Andrew’s eye fixed…again.  Its not an easy decision to have your children undergo more surgery.

We would like to have it done before preschool begins but the surgeon is booked all the way through October.  Andrew has been added to the top of the cancellation list to try and fit him in.  If he can’t get in before school then we’ll wait until the first of the year.

For whatever reason, God seems to continue to lead us down this road of surgery.  Thankfully, Andrew has no fear…ignorance is bliss!  After his first surgery in Feb 2009 he cried for Emily and a ham sandwich.  The next time he goes into the recovery room, I’ll have the sandwich ready…no Emi though!

Check back for more updates.  Your prayers mean so much to us.

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08 2009