Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Wednesday the 26th we celebrated our 4th anniversary! I can't believe it has been four whole years...the time is just flying by.  This anniversary was so much more special to me because I have truly realized through this trial how much I LOVE and ADORE Zach, what an amazing husband and father he is, and how much I REALLY need him in my life! In the hospital there was a handful of people including nurses, doctors, social workers, etc. who would warn us how hard these kind of things are on marriages. They counseled us to take time out for ourselves to be together because these types of things they say break up even the best of marriages. I can see in a small way how that could be but not for Zach and I...if anything it has brought us so much closer together and has made us appreciate one another more then ever before. We have both tried to see the positive side of everything through this and we have both agreed how grateful we are to have one another and how hard it would be to do something like this alone or also how hard it would be if this had happened to one of us instead of Dakota. I definitely couldn't do it. Zach is my rock when I need it most, he makes me laugh when all I want to do is cry, he is what gets me through each day when I just want to give up. Zach and I joke that we are bipolar now because one minute we are crying, the next we are smiling and laughing. It just kinda comes these days. I try to justify that that's what anybody would be like in this type of situation...but maybe not...maybe I am going crazy couped up in this house all day every day. :) Whatever it is, I am SO grateful for Zach because he is what cheers me up when I am down whether it's just with a big hug, a sarcastic joke, or just rubbing my back while I let it all out. So what I am trying to get at is HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Zach!!! I love you to pieces and couldn't imagine going a day without you by my side!

Now to the little guy that has stolen so many of your hearts:
We had an appointment this week with his nuero-rehab doctor. This is a new doctor for Dakota at primarys that didn't see him in the hospital but is the one who will be following him from now on. He is a super nice guy but wasn't the most positive from the get go. Although he can admit he doesn't really know how Dakota will be in 6 months or even a year, he doesn't think that Dakota will walk again, talk again, or even attend a normal school. It was hard to hear him say all that he did even though we know it is a possibility, but in our minds...if he doesn't really know because brains and kids are all so unique...then we are gonna just keep hoping for the best. He based all of that, off of Dakota's spasticity. He is still kind of tight in his body and is on the highest dose of Baclofen (medicine to help with spasticity) that he can have. There is talk in the near future of putting a Baclofen pump in him which will directly inject the medication right in his spine. This would allow him to be on a smaller dose while maximizing the medicine because it will go directly in the spine instead of taking it through the g-tube. It sounds a little scary to me but I also don't like how much medication he is not sure what to think at this point.

Waiting in the doctor's office...trying to catch up on our MUCH needed sleep! :)

Even though the doctor wasn't the most positive we are still seeing positive changes in Dakota that the doctor didn't even ask us about. He was most concerned about his muscle tone (which has been getting incredibly better since the beginning). His smiles are getting so much bigger and he has even tried laughing a few times. His laugh is just a louder and faster breathing through the trach with a big smile...but it is so cute. His eyes are looking better all the time. He is really looking around good, trying to find us (even trying to turn his head towards us not just his eyes), tracking things for longer periods, etc. His neck is getting a little stronger (he is trying to lift it more when he is laying on his stomach and holding it up without help longer). When we stand him up to help him walk he has started to bend one leg and move it forward on his own. We are supporting all his weight and whole body but he is attempting to move his leg like he remembers what to do. He is still way too weak to do any big movements on his own.

We brought his car seat in the house and make him sit in it a couple times a day to work on holding his head up. He is not a big fan of it, especially at first but he works hard at holding that head up. Good job buddy!

One thing that he LOVES to do is ride this huge stuffed horse.

Zach and I hold him on there and pull it down the hall and he just smiles so big and thinks it's pretty cool.

What a good horse...even lets him lay on it.

We are still trying to get on a consistent schedule with this little guy but he runs the show. The sleep thing is by far the hardest part of it all. Just when we have a break through night where he sleeps through the night (9-6), the next night he won't go to bed til 11 or he will wake up at 4. Zach and I are both sleep deprived which I think adds a little to are bipolar behaviour. :) But we are hoping it will all come with time. We have had a few issues with his heart rate shooting up, even took him to the emergency room down at Primarys at 2 in the morning for it but nothing seems to be super concerning so they are just trying out some new medication to help get that under control. If it's not one thing it's we just try and take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Sleeping with his daddy!

Giving Daddy an eskimo kiss

Lucky for I have mentioned before...we have the most amazing family and friends that are helping us out in so many ways. Are amazing ward family has been bringing us meals for the past two weeks and it has been SO incredibly helpful and nice to not have to worry about one more thing. Like I said, are days are so unpredictable and I like not having to worry about what I am going to make for dinner. So the biggest thanks to ALL of you who have brought us those delicious dinners. I think I have gained like 100 pounds from it since everyone has to bring us a yummy dessert too...but it's worth it! :)

Zach's parents (Doug and Vicki) have come up to give us little breaks which are much needed so we don't go completely crazy. They also do are laundry and grocery shopping which is SO helpful. I tried to wash a load of towels myself and ended up washing them three times because I kept forgetting about them and they would sit in the washer to long...not good. :) So thank you Doug and Vicki for all your help! We love you!

Thank you EVERYONE for ALL that you do. If you have even said one prayer in our behalf  we appreciate it SO much. We need ALL the prayers we can get to keep us going and getting Dakota back up and running. This is by far the hardest thing we have ever done and is physically, emotionally, and spiritually trying us every minute. The doctor admitted himself he has seen miracles happen so we will hold on to that and keep hoping for our own little miracle! Please keep the faith and prayers and thank you for them all!

(We got these pictures taken right before are trip to AZ for Thanksgiving thanks to Doug and Vicki who wanted pics with the grandkids for their Christmas card. Isn't he a little hunk?!)


  1. That is such a cute picture of zach and Dakotas giving Eskimo kisses! We haven't stopped thinking about or praying for you Guys since day 1. Your family truly amazes me with your streangth. We will continue to pray for a full recovery. We would love to help in any way possiable. Anytime day or night let us know if we can do anything. Love you guys!

  2. What a sweet post! I love your and Zach's continued strength and testimony. Your family is in our prayers. Love you guys!

  3. Love the post! You guys really are amazing! Zach and Tessie you are some of the greatest parents in the whole world. Dakota is very blessed to have you two! We love you guys. Happy anniversary! We are continually praying for you guys! We love you!!!

  4. Happy Anniversary to you! January is the bestest month to get married! Lots of love your way.

  5. What a wonderful month to celebrate your eternal family!!! Happy Anniversary! We love you and remember you in our prayers!

  6. Happy Anniversary guys! Your family is amazing and so beautiful! So glad Dakota's continuing to make progress! That picture of Zach and Dakota doing Eskimo kisses is priceless!

    When Tre was in the hospital and still really sick at home I loved listening to the Train song 'Calling All Angels'. Thought that might comfort you as well...

    I also just read the book 'The Message'. Not sure if you've read it or not or if it might comfort you as well but I really liked it.

    We'll continue to pray for your family and your miracle outcome!

  7. LOVED the post. What CUTE pictures of Zach and Dakota giving eskimo kisses! We are continually praying for you guys for a fast and full recovery! We love you guys so much and would LOVE to help any way we can, so please let us know! Happy anniversary to you and Zach- you guys are the most amazing parents EVER. Your faith continues to strengthen each time I read your posts! Keep fighting Dakota, we love you buddy!

  8. Happy Anniversary! I thought by saying that, it would help me feel less like a blog stalker. I know a LITTLE bit of how you feel and your struggles. Doctors in my experience don't really have a soft touch. It would help if when they were handing out hard to swallow news, they would do it with some pizza. I have a 6 year old boy who developed sever Autism after a mystery virus just before his 2nd birthday. The hardest adjustment for me? The sleep issues too. Yikes. Reading your thoughts feels familiar, the whole bi-polar feeling is totally normal. I have these "I can do anything moments" followed by "I am never leaving the house again". It is rough, and from what I can see, you two are handling yourself's beautifully. I think you are right to be optimistic, the brain is a complicated organ. Thank you for being an inspiration. You really have a lovely family and a admirable outlook. I am praying for you all. Have you seen this? (infinite power of hope)I have watched it hundreds of times over the years and it has helped me, you can really feel the spirit when watching. I know our situations are different, but by sharing my story I met people who offered help and encouragement, I hope you will have that too. Keep up the hard work. I am sending prayers and good vibes your way!

  9. Tessi,
    I have been think of you a lot lately. Your story is simply amazing. I am thrilled at the progress your sweet boy has been making. He seems to have a very strong spirit. He is so beautiful. I know that the rest of my family and myself have been have been praying for him, you and your family as you get through this trial. All the best.

  10. Hi I know you don't know me but I was friends with Zach in school. My name is Candice (smith). I heard about your family and has been so touched by your strength and your positive attitude. We will be keeping you guys in our prayers and wish Dakota the best. He is the cutest little boy! You guys are amazing parents and he is so lucky to have you. We wish you the best!

  11. Happy Anniversary! I just love the picture of Dakota and Zach giving eskimo kisses. Too darn sweet!! Prayers are coming like crazy from the Herr household. With love, Meg, Tyler, Mckaley and Michael

  12. I was looking at a friend's blog and for some reason clicked on yours. As I read little Dakota's story, the tears streamed down my face. Our storys are different but I truly feel that I was lead to read your blog. We have a 19 month old who has never crawled, walked or fed herself. We have been to every specialist and done every test to try and figure out our little medical mystery. The doctors can not give us any idea of what she will be like in the furture, which is very un-nerving, but I know that our Heavenly Father sent her to us for a reason. I am convinced that it was to help me appreciate the little things in life. She is making progress slowly and lately her strides have been bigger. I try to only think the best but get frustrated many times while watching other children her age. I can't imagine having a child that is running and playing one day and unable to move the next. You are truly an amazing mommy and Dakota is blessed to have parents that love him so much. I'm sorry to write a huge comment, but I felt I needed to share with you. No matter what anyone says, it is all in God's hands and he truly can work miracles.

  13. Happy Anniversary. You just keep your attitudes positive and continue to rely on the Lord, he can perform miracles. I know you don't really know me from Adam, but I love your Mom. We grew up together and right next door. You come from a good strong back ground. Keep the faith. We will continue to pray in your behalf. Love your Cousin from St.David.


  14. I realized I hadn't checked your blog to see how Dakota has been doing in a long time so I had to come and see! I say, what do doctors know?! ;o) Lol. You keep being positive and believing in miracles!!! I'm so glad you're seeing him continue to improve and do new things! Sounds to me like he'll be proving that doctor wrong someday! Let's hope so!!!!! Thanks for letting me blog stalk! *hugs* Oh, and Happy Anniversary!!!

  15. Happy Anniversary! Such a sweet picture of you two on your wedding day! And I love the family picture up top.
    The big stuffed horse pictures are cute, and the eskimo kiss picture.
    Still thinking of you guys often.....

  16. Hey guys, we love you guys and continue to pray for you. We love hearing about you and want you to know we are here for you. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! You are amazing! WE love you

  17. Sweet Tessie an and Zach We are so happy for the improvement we see in Dakota! You are such great examples to us and you are in each and every prayer our family says! We loved the Christmas Card and I actually got teary and texted Vicki right away, it was so sweet! We are here if we can help with anything thing!
    Much love
    Steve and Bev Nye

  18. happy anniversary and happy birthday! the big 27! we sure are getting OLD!!! dakota looks amazing! look at how much his smile has progressed! i was so excited to see his head control too... thats got to be so exciting for you guys. we sure do pray for him everytime we hit our knees and other times when we have those silent prayers in our hearts. our situation is different than yours, but a little the same. our baby had spinal meningitis. it was, and is, very scary. by all accounts, she shouldnt be here today and at the very least, she shouldve been very brain damaged. BUT, she has pulled through and has made AMAZING improvements and milestones. it's completely up to the Lord and of course the faith and prayers put into it. Dakotas name has been on the Mesa and Denver temple prayer roll so there have been TONS of people praying for him in the most sacred moments. keep up all the hard work, you two our out of control, so amazing!
    please let us know if there is anything we can do.
    the larsens