Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dakota Update

MRI reports are still showing the same thing which is great news. The doctors thought that maybe more damage was done and it just hasn’t showed up yet but of course they were wrong! ;) We have had some very spiritual days these last few days and have felt the strength and love of the Lord so much.

He is continuing to make progress little by little but to us it seems so huge. It is amazing how as a parent you take for granted every tiny thing your child does like being able to breathe on their own, look at you, smile, move, and yes even cry. I can’t wait until I can hear Dakota do all these things, even cry.

Wednesday was a huge day for us. He has been pretty sedated on drugs and his face and body swollen. So to open his eyes before was very rare and when he did it was like half way and not for long. Wednesday was the first day that he opened them wide and for a long period of time. It was amazing and I could see my little Dakota in those eyes. Since then, he continues to open them for shorter periods of time but he is still not focusing on things. He continues to make little movements which we LOVE to see. He has started to cough on his own which sounds so simple to all of you but is so exciting to us because he was not having a cough or gag reflex on his own before which was concerning to the doctors. His vital signs are all going down and they are beginning to decrease the breathing ventilator and oxygen and if he continues to do well will hopefully be able to take it out in a few days. That will be great. It is so sad to see a huge tube in his mouth and I know it is uncomfortable for him.

On Friday Doug and Vicki (Zach’s parents) were in the room with him and his head was facing forward and tilted to one side a little. Vicki was on the opposite side above him and started talking to him and he turned his little head all the way over to her. This was so huge for us because for one, he doesn’t move his head a whole lot and two, we know he was responding to her and he hasn’t shown a lot of signs of response to stimuli yet! It was SOOOO good to hear. He hasn’t done it since but we know he hears us every time we talk, sing, and read to him.

Yesterday was so special as well. They have an ASU student come once a week to do music therapy and she came yesterday. She was LDS so she knew all of the primary songs and she came in and sang a lot of them to him. We loved it and she had the most beautiful voice. She came back a second time so we could all hear her sing to Dakota and she asked me what his favorite song was. Of course…it’s Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam…he sings it so dang cute. So she started out with a couple of others and he had been totally asleep through the whole thing. Even the physical therapist was moving his little legs and arms around and he was still out through it all. As she finished some of the others she started singing Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam and immediately his eyes opened. It was the most beautiful sight in the world and the spirit was so strong in the room. Even one of the cute nurses had to step out because she was crying. He kept them open for most of the song and then he was asleep again. It was a tender mercy of the Lord and I know my little Dakota is going to be just fine. I am so grateful to that sweet girl and for her sharing her beautiful talent with us.

It is still just a waiting and watching game as we wait on Heavenly Father and Dakota to decide how fast and what they want to do but we are here trying to be as patient as we can.  It is hard because I just think of all the cute things he does and says and I just want to grab him out of that bed and hold him in my arms but I know that it will come so I will be patient and trust in the Lord because He knows what is best.

Please keep up the faith and prayers. I know that they are being answered because he is here with us and miracles are happening daily. We feel all of your love and prayers and it has given us strength beyond our own. The first day that all of this happened I was SO empty inside. I thought I could never feel happiness again. It was the worst feeling in the world but I feel so much joy and even though things aren’t perfect right now, I feel that happiness inside that I didn’t think I could. This is the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel my Saviors’ love for me!

We love you all and are SO grateful for all you do for us!


  1. tessie thanks for the updates! Its so good to hear that he is improving each day! I know my faith and testimony has been strengthened. We love your family and are praying for a healthy recovery for dakota! Keep posting! :)

  2. It is sooo good to hear of all the improvement Dakota is making. We will keep praying for a full recovery! Thanks so much for updating.

  3. Thanks Tessie for posting updates on Dakota. I know that has to be the last thing on your mind these days. He is doing so amazing! He is one tough little cookie :) We love you guys and keep praying for a full recovery!

  4. SO glad to hear! I am always hoping for updates! Thank you! We continue to pray for you all! Even Brycen and Parker pray for their friend "Kota". Brycen tells me Dakota is going to be ok! He says "Kota" is fine mom. I think the little ones know a lot more than we do!

    Thanks for your testimony and strength! It helps me too! We love your sweet family!

  5. Every time I read about how Dakota opened his eyes for Jesus wants me for a sunbeam I start crying all over again! Dakota is till in our thoughts and prayers! We love you guys so much!

  6. Thank you so much for posting how he is doing that has to be so hard to post when times are so hard. What a touching story about the Sunbeam song. I started crying because I could totally hear his little voice singing it. That is the loudest one he would sing in nursery:) I am so glad he is doing so good. I know what you mean when you say the little things are such huge accomplishments.
    Tessie what strength you have. You have been through so much you are such a strong woman and are are truly inspiring. We love you!!

  7. You guys are such amazing examples. We pray for your family every day and are so excited to hear about Dakota's improvements. I love that he reacted to his favorite primary song.

  8. We are so very excited to know how well he is doing. I have been watching Deacon this week and have been a little more patient, and enjoyed him even in his, not so happy moments and I want those things for you too! I can't imagine wanting them, because I have them but I want Dakota to sit up and talk to you. I want him to sing "Jesus wants to help me, Jesus wants to help me" so you can hear it again! You have so much strength and I know our Heavenly Father is watching over sweet Dakota and he is going to do those things again. I just know I wouldn't be as patient as you and Zach are right now!

    I LOVE hearing the improvement! It really strengthens me every day. Steve and I had planned to go to the Salt Lake temple a while back because I still haven't ever done a sessions there, around the middle of November we set yesterday as the day to go. We had an amazing time and our thoughts and prayers were constantly going through our minds. There was an amazing spirit it was special that we were able to go there for another purpose besides our original one! We love you guys and keep your in our prayers!

  9. We are so happy that he is improving each and every day! We continue praying for a fast and full recovery and think of your family all the time! Everytime I think of Dakota, I think of Jesus wants me for a sunbeam and get so choked up, but yet get the warm and fuzzy feeling inside, like all is going to be well!:) You and Zach are SO AMAZING and we look up to you so much! We LOVE you guys SO MUCH and look forward to hearing more good news!!

  10. Hi Tessie,
    Eric and Amber told us about your little Dakota and it broke my heart. Our little Cam is the same age and I can't imagine how hard it must be. I'm glad miracles are happening and what an amazing little boy you have! You are in our prayers as well.
    Alison and Arlo

  11. It is so good to hear all the updates and all the improvements he has been making. Reading your posts makes me cry and is such a huge testimony builder. I can't help but feel the spirit as I read the posts. You guys are in our thoughts and prayers everyday!

  12. Hi you two
    This is grampa bert, grandma marilyn is sitting behind me and she wants you to know how much love we have for you.
    We too have a warm feeling that all will be good and that the Lord is with Dakota and loves him so much even more than we can understand.
    Dakota has an eternal family that prays for him, he is celetial and you know it.
    Grandmother Marilyn said he brings so much joy in our lifes.
    Keep your head up hi for you know all is well even though this is dificult beyound what you have thought possible. The Savior knows of your strif and He knows of your love for Him.
    Our love is with you two every moment of the day and our prayers

    Grampa Bert and Gramdmother Marilyn

  13. Such great news, Thank you so much for taking the time to update all of us. It's so hard having you guys so far away, but it's nice knowing your family is by your side. Your continued strenght makes my testimony grow stronger and stronger. Love you guys and continueing to pray fro you and Dakota. All our love XOXOX

    The Lythgoe Family

  14. Tessie and Z,
    This is such great news to hear! Your little Dakota is Such a cutie, Your pictures of him on here are so precious...Im SO HAPPY to hear he is slowly making progress. It warms my heart to know how loved Dakota is, He is continuely being thought of! You both are Amazing Parents...Hang in there and take it a day at a time!! *Sending Warm thoughts your way....
    Love Hollie Pepe, her family and Friends:)

  15. Hi Tessie.
    We just talked to Shana last night and she said there are lots of little miracles. It's so good to hear. Just wanted you to know that you have been in our prayers since we heard the news.
    Love, Mariley (Post) Johnson

  16. Thank you so much for the update Tessie! We love your family very much. My Jake does not cry. When I saw him walk into the room to tell me about Dakota..he had tears in his eyes. We both felt so empty. Our hearts were broken. We have prayed so much for your special little family over the past few years. We have developed a great love and concern for each of you. Watching someone go through a trial makes you realize how much you care and love them. We would do anything for you..and we truly want whats best for you. Your Dakota is darling..and I love watching him at church. My girls ask about him all the time and understand why he needs to be in our prayers. Your experience has truly taught us so much. It is not only teaching my children, but it is showing me how important it is for me to cherish my children. You and Zach are fantastic parents, and Dakota is very blessed to have such amazing parents. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Can't wait to give you a hug!
    Love Pam

  17. Tess and Zack...I know you don't know me very well but I'm a huge friend of Jen's. I've known your sweet fam from a distance for a while and I just love you guys. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Thank you for sharing your faith and testimony. Tisha Morley

  18. We are so glad to hear that things are improving. We are constantly praying for his full recovery and to see him being himself soon. We are constantly thinking of you and Zach and hoping for the best. We know the savior is with you every step of the way. Our testimonies have been strengthened so much by your faith and the miracles that have taken place in the past few days. Our hearts ache when you talk about missing the simple things in life like crying, its hard to imagine the feelings you are having. We love you guys so much and are willing to do anything possible to help you in any way. We hope to be able to see you soon and as always may the lord bless you for your faith, hope and love you show.
    Love, The Hancock Family

  19. Oh Tessie,
    My heart is just broken for your family. It's not fair that such trials get thrown at such wonderful, wonderful people... We're so glad to hear that there is good progress for little Dakota. You guys have been in our thoughts and prayers; I know you will continue to see blessings come of this. We love you! I'm so grateful for your example of strength and faith. Please let us know if we can do anything!
    Love, Lindsay, Joel and Benjamin

  20. The Friedli family....We have never met you guys but we heard about Dakota's story through some friends of ours. My heart fell when I heard of this tragedy but through reading your posts I am reminded of how strong little cowboys hearts are. I have a two year old who is a cowboy as well. I cant imagine how hard this must be. We pray for Dakota every night and although we have never met, from one little cowboy to another and one mommy to another, we are thinking of your family and lifting you all up in prayer! "Be strong and know the Lord God is with you." Love and blessings, The Morrison Family