Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Back in Utah

Surprise!!! We are back in Utah as of Monday night. It was a surprise to us as much as it was to all of you. We knew that the insurance had approved the transfer to Primary Children's in Utah but we weren't sure when it would happen. The social worker had initially told us Monday or Tuesday but after talking with the doctor Friday night we didn't think it would be the first of the week. Well, come Monday late morning the social worker tells me the medical jet is getting ready to come down. We were a little surprised and shocked and definitely not prepared for it. We had suitcases at my parent's house we needed to get, Zach had no flight booked (I got to ride on the medical jet with Dakota), it was just a little stressful but we knew this is where the Lord was leading us to. In the beginning when the insurance approved this the social worker admitted it was in God's hand because this rarely happens. When the nurse came in to tell us the jet would be coming she was in disbelief herself and said this never happens on a Monday morning. Zach was able to get a flight and we landed within ten minutes of each other. Everything was just working out perfectly. Our prayers were being answered right before our eyes. We had been praying that we would be able to move forward and be able to be in the best place for Dakota and the answers just came so quickly I didn't even have time to digest them.  

It was a really emotional day for me that whole day and the next. It was weird how torn my heart was. Of course I wanted to be closer to home and most importantly I wanted Dakota to have the best care he could but it was, in a weird way, hard to leave this hospital, where we had gotten to know the nurses and doctors there so well. They had an INCREDIBLE picu team there and each and every one of them were so great to us and Dakota. They become our friends over those 3 weeks and even though I knew that they would have great people here at Primary's it was hard to say goodbye to those who knew Dakota so well. The hardest part of it all was saying goodbye to my family. My mom and I had a good bawl session together as we sat holding Dakota's hands, waiting for the medical jet to arrive. I couldn't hold back the tears if  I had wanted to.

His last day there...he finally got to wear some real jammies!

Goodbye Nana and Papa...we will miss you!
So comfy and cozy in his nana's arms

Look at both of their serious and thoughtful! :)

Dakota did such a great job on the trip...he even took a little nap. It was an interesting little ride that of course I had to document so that he can see what a cool thing he got to do when he gets older. Not every kid gets to have their own personal jet! :)

Lifeflight team getting him all ready to go.

Getting in the ambulance to take us to the airport.

There it is!

Loading him carefully...I was making sure of it! :) They were so cute to him and me. What a great team they have!

Inside the plane.

Since then, I have pulled myself together a little more and the people here have been so amazing and helpful in ways that the PICU there could not. The PICU's job was to get him stable and ready for rehab and they did a great job of that. Here they are specialized in brain injuries and rehab so they have a wealth of knowledge to share. I feel the comfort of the Lord and know that this is where Dakota needs to be. We have already learned so much about his needs and care due to his brain injury that we had no idea about. The medical teams here have been on top of everything since we have arrived and I can't even count the number of people that are involved in his care.

At this point they are not sure if he is ready for their intensive inpatient rehab program yet but they are still evaluating him over probably the next week or so to see where he is at, what he needs, and to prepare us for his care if we end up going home instead of staying in the rehab. So we are still just taking it one day at a time. The rehab team comes in every day to work with him right now and they are SO incredible. We have appreciated their helpful feedback and their extensive knowledge.

There is still no black and white picture of how Dakota will recover and how fast any of it will be. The medical team here is reviewing all of his information and the areas that have been damaged so I'm sure we will get some more info at some point. We have learned though, that with all brain injury's no matter what they are, it is still individual for each child. So, as always, it is in the Lord's hands and it will ultimately be His decision. So we will continue to pray that His healing hand will be over Dakota's little brain and that He will continue to lead and guide us every step of the way.

His new room (only for a day). He stayed one day in this PICU room until they moved him into the neuro trauma center.

We are doing good though and despite this freezing cold weather that welcomed us home, we are glad to be back. We went home last night for a few hours for the first time in a month while Doug and Vicki stayed with Dakota and it was nice to have a home again. It was hard to go into Dakota's room and bathroom and not see his cute little self there with us doing ALL the cute things that he does. There are times like these when the tears just come and we miss him even though he is physically here with us. It is hard to explain the feelings that we have and the emotions that just come. Words cannot express the gratitude that is in our hearts for the miracle our Heavenly Father provided us by keeping Dakota here with us but at the same time, all the memories we have with him are right there and it is hard not to have that same little outgoing boy doing all the fun things he used to do. I am grateful for my Savior and his loving hands that bear us up when we have those hard moments. The hard moments come for a moment and then they go because of His love and sacrifice for us. Although it doesn't really feel like Christmas to us right now because we have no time to think of it, my thoughts are constantly turned to my Savior and my love for him and his life has grown dramatically. So, in a sense we are celebrating Christmas for what it truly is this year.

Please keep Dakota in your prayers...and maybe we will get ourselves our own little Christmas miracle (although we already have). We would love to see all of our friends and family but unfortunately right now with the flu/rsv season they are limiting visitors as much as possible to immediate family. Also, with Dakota's condition they don't want him to get overstimulated while his brain is still recovering and trying to heal. So even if we go home it still may be awhile before we are able to see everyone. Although we would love to see all of our friends and family, our primary focus is on Dakota and his recovery so we will do whatever it takes to give him the best chances for a full recovery. So know we will be thinking of you guys and we continue to appreciate all the love, support, and prayers that you offer in our behalf. We are still fighting and I know Dakota is too.

He has began to show emotion and have moments where he looks like he wants to burst out crying. The first time he did it I was so sad to see him sad but at the same time so happy to see ANY type of expression of emotion come out of him. Since that first time, he has began to do it more often to where he does it several times a day depending on what people are doing to him. They are happy/sad moments for us but it is progress nonetheless. We continue to rejoice with every tiny miracle!

My moment I needed most! He fell asleep in my arms...when I was having one of my hard moments! I LOVED it!!!!

We continue to thank all of you for your prayers for Dakota. I hate to ask any more of you...BUT...there was this precious little 3 year old girl named Fernanda that came into the hospital in AZ a few days before we left with a strain of Meningitis that almost took her life in one day. She was right next door to Dakota and she was going through SO much! She is fighting for her life and a hard recovery from this deadly infection and her family was SO sweet. My heart literally broke the day she came in and I saw her cute mom crying in the waiting room. Everything we went through flooded my mind and heart and I wanted to take this pain away from this family. They were praying for Dakota as we prayed for their little please if you could pray for Fernanda too!

We love you all so much!!


  1. welcome home! we will continue to pray and we will totally pray for fernanda and her family too. thanks for the updates xo

  2. I saw your light on this morning and was so confused. Makes sense now. I'm so happy that you are back home.

    Is he waking up more and more alert? I love the picture of him sleeping in your arms. I started crying before I even read it. Its amazing what our kids do for us.

    We continue to pray for you every chance we get and hope for a quick full recovery.

    Merry Christmas:)

  3. welcome home! I'm so glad he have been able to make it home safe. The pictures just make me want to bawl. Tessie your an amazing mom as far as I can see through your posts. You have such an amazing testimony. It has helped my testimony grow just by seeing how much faith you and Zach have through the hard times you have been through. I will continue to pray for you and your family. Merry Christmas!

  4. Welcome home and we are so happy to have you guys back. I know Zach's family is too!! We love you all so much and will continue to pray our hearts out for Dakota's speedy recovery. Please let us know if you need anything at all and we hope that you guys are able to get a little more rest and settle into a routine quickly!

  5. Welcome Home! You guys are always welcome to use our house to crash, have a shower, free meals, etc. to be closer to Dakota. I'll even do your laundry! I'll text you the garage code so you can come and go as you please. We love you guys and will continue to pray for Dakota's recovery (and Fernanda's too).

  6. Glad to hear you got home safe! Give Dakota a hug from me! I will miss you guys like crazy, but am thankful for the care he is getting there and for Zach's family being nearby. Call me if you need to chat, cry, or just need me to give you a good laugh (or even if you want me to come out there, I'm sure you've got plenty of company though). I'm proud of you guys and will pray for you like crazy! Love you.

  7. WELCOME HOME!! I was SO EXCITED when I heard the news this morning! Tess-- you are seriously the most AMAZING mother/friend and I look up to you SO MUCH! Your faith is AMAZING (I know I say this every post), but reading each and every one of your posts has strengthen my testimony SO MUCH and I am so grateful for your example! We are so blessed to have you as friends-- please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can help/do for you guys and I hope you wouldn't be scared to ask-- that's what we are here for :) We understand the condition that Dakota is in with visitors and stuff, but I know we can't wait for that day to come that we can FINALLY not only embrace our arms around you, but to shed MANY tears of joy and sadness with you. We LOVE you guys so much and are continually praying. I know the lord has blessed your sweet family SO MUCH thus far, but that he is going to continue to bless you from here on out. Keep fighting Dakota, we love and miss you guys! HUGS! :)

  8. So glad you guys are home, having those hard moments and being able to turn them right around is amazing! We look up to both you and Zach so much for all your faith and trusting in the Lord! Dakota is an amazing little boy with more strength then any of us can realize.

    We are continually praying for his full recovery and for you guys as well. We are so grateful to have you guys as friends.

    Our prayers are with you. Keep it up Dakota, you are an amazing little boy! We love you guys!

  9. We've missed you. It will be nice to see a light on in your window every now and then. What a sweet little guy. I love that you can hold him. I have those moments when I can't control my emotions even if I try when I read your posts. Keith makes me read them to him and it takes me forever because its hard to cry and read;) Brycen and Parker have a special present for Dakota. They saw it and had to get it! Can't wait until he can play with it!! Keith goes down to Salt Lake a lot. Sometimes a few times a day. If you need him to do anything for you he would be happy too. Just call!!

  10. Tessie, you're such an inspiration. We pray for little Dakota & your family daily. You are so strong and you're helping the rest of us gain a stronger testimony each time you post. We love you guys and are in our thoughts and prayers. Welcome Home & Merry Christmas!

  11. So good to hear you were able to come home! I know primary childrens is a wonderful place! My parents have spent lots of time there with my little brother. They have the best doctors you guys are in good hands. We will continue to pray for Dakota and also for fernanda too. We love you guys!

  12. So happy that you are home. I thought that I saw you the other day but was not sure. We are so happy to see that Dakota is starting to show emotion, what a sweet little guy he is. We hope you have a great Christmas. We will also pray for little Fernanda too. My younger sister almost died of the same thing when she was two. She was sick for a long time but now you would never know. Keep fighting Dakota!

    We love you,

  13. Vicki told me the good news yesterday and we were so HAPPY to know you made the trip safely!!!! So happy to have you back in Utah but I'm sure it was hard to leave your family. You guys are an AMAZING inspiration to us and we continue to pray for the amazing miracle that Dakota will make a full recovery. We love you all so much and hope to see you soon :0)

    The Lythgoe's

  14. You are so amazing. After all you are going through, and you are worried about other's well being still. Such a sign of a strong person. One of my favorite quotes is

    "There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.”

    You inspire me!

  15. SO glad Dakota's continuing to improve and you guys were able to be transferred to Primary's! We were up there for a couple weeks with Tre (who's 3 now) when he was about a year and a half with cavitating pnemonia that was eating away his lungs. The staff was amazing and very knowledgeable. We grew very attached to them and they grew very attached to Tre. Dakota is in great hands!!! We will continue to pray for you guys (and Fernanda) and can't wait to see the next post showing more improvement for Dakota and you guys getting closer to getting to go home!!

  16. Tessie and Zach, It is so nice of you to include us in your trials. Thank you for the updates. I think all of us will be closer to the Savior this holiday season. We are praying for your entire family. Our kids knew it was "Dakotas" house when we brought the 7up by today. We would be happy to do anything you need. Love you, Julia

  17. Oh Tessie we are do happy that Dakota is here with wonderful doctors and the help he needs. We love to read your posts to see how you're all doing. Preston loves to see the pictrues of Dakota and asks so many questions. Yours and Zachs strength and faith just amazes us. We hope you know how much we love your cute little family. Your in our hearts and prayers! We love you guys :) Jessie

  18. We don't really know you personally, even though we just live up the road and we were in your ward for moments before it split. We have been hearing about you and praying for your family.
    We know first hand how exhausting worrying about your child can be. When our little guy Jace was in Primary's we were exhausted in every sense, so make sure that you get plenty of rest and not worry about contacting everyone that contacts you! What a MIRACLE your little guy is. It sounds like he has overcome HUGE obstacles and has a strong spirit. We hope that everything continues to go in his favor and he is running around and doing all the things little boys do very soon! We continue to have you in our prayers and KNOW that the Lord is mindful of every situation! We found great strength in everyone's comments when we went through our trial with our son Jace and so I just wanted to let you know that we have been thinking about you and praying for you... even my parents that live in Cache Valley have been praying for you and have asked their ward to keep you in their prayers! Hold strong. Daryl and Ashley Larsen Family