Wiersma Family Blog

A glimpse into our lives as a family with micro-preemies. Our twins boys (Lovingly referred to as our Miracle Men) were born almost 16 weeks early.

Our journey continues when our son Max was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3. This is his story....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A better day

Despite the struggles of last night, Kate and I were both able to get some sleep.  Kate woke up every three hours to pump, but I slept through at least one of those, which was nice.  We woke up and called for an update on the boys and heard that they had a good night.  The doctors and nurses made a couple of adjustments to their vent settings, but it was a pretty quiet night.  Kate and I ran a few errands this morning.  Kate cannot drive for a few weeks because of the C-section, so I got to chauffeur her to Target to purchase some "nursing mom" specific apparel.  It was a great experience for me and I was able to explore some departments at Target that I didn't even know existed.  We got Kate one of those super cool motorized carts to get around in, and I was really jealous.  I have driven them before, but she had a legitimate medical reason for using it, so she was able to drive around guilt free.  I think the doctors need to change their limitations to specifically preclude women recovering from C-sections from driving motorized carts.  That girl about brought that store down.  I could not stop laughing.  She was looking for some more comfortable clothes to wear around the house and hospital, and she would be cruising along, see something she liked, hit the brakes, throw it in reverse, decide she didn't like it after all, and continue to the next rack of clothes.  So many people were staring at us because I was wiping happy tears out of my eyes while she was yelling at me to stop laughing because it was making her laugh, and that hurts her abdominal muscles which are very tender right now.  With out a doubt the most fun I have had at Target ever.

We came home from running errands and headed out to the hospital.  We got an update from Max's nurse that he was having a good day.  The doctors have decided to back down the frequency of his blood gas draws, so that is a good sign.  They did say that he was having a little more "stuff" leftover in his stomach after they feed him the breast milk.  They said this is very typical but might mean they need to hold off on future feedings for a little bit.  The amount they are giving both boys is so small and they call it "gut priming" and is not proving really any nutrition, but just getting the digestive system off to a running start.  Wes apparently got a little bug up his rear late in the morning and decided he didn't need any help from the ventilator to breathe, so he just dislodged his vent tube.  This is the second time he has done this and he often sleeps holding on to the tube like he is trying to suck his thumb, but this time he pulled it out far enough that they had to re-intubate him with a new tube.  This apparently caused quite a stir and required a large number of nurses and doctors to get the tube placed back correctly.  His nurse Cathy (who is a wonderful lady and a great nurse) said that after all of this stimulation and commotion, he opened his eyes and glared at her.  You might remember that we had been hoping that Wes would have a BM because he had been fed for almost 48 hours with no dirty diaper.  He had one.  Nurse Cathy had never seen anything like it.  She said that a normal BM for a kid his size is 2-4 (can't remember the unit of measurement they use), and Wes' registered on the Richter scale at an Earth shattering 14!! That is 3.5 times the normal amount.  I washed my hands up and gave him a little high-five...he makes his dad so proud!!  Cathy said it was everywhere and just another way he was "getting back" at her for not letting him breathe by himself.  

Kate and I continue to struggle with the physical distance between us and the boys, but we really enjoyed sitting at their bedside for a few hours today.  We want to say thank-you to everyone who has gone out of their way to help us.  We are just so overwhelmed.  We have received so many thoughtful cards and gifts that we don't even know where to start.  So I am going to use this blog to say thanks.  Thank-you to all of our neighbors in Esker Creek (yeah Drenthe!!) for the gas cards...such a thoughtful and generous gift.  Thank-you to our small group from Haven CRC for all the things you have done for us, the gift cards, the nursing supplies (at least I think that is what they are), etc.  To the person or group of persons who edged our landscaping an laid down all new bark.  To the food fairies that anonymously dropped of a fridge and freezer full of food (my parents were kind enough to offer to do some grocery shopping and ended up taking most of it home when they got here because there wasn't any room!!).  To the Commercial lending group at Macatawa Bank for the generous gift and thoughtful card, as well as the card we received from the retail group too...what a blessing to work for such a great organization.  These things all mean so much - thank-you so much.  Kate and I have begun to pray that we will be able to graciously receive these gifts and use them to further glorify the name of God.   As we have been blessed by so many people, people we do not even know, we too hope that we can be a blessing to others.  Last but certainly not least, a HUGE thank-you to everyone who has offered up prayers on behalf of myself, Kate, and especially Max and Wes.  The road ahead is long, but with the support of our family and friends, we are prepared to walk the path to the glory of our Father in Heaven.

As an aside, you may notice that I have elected to add some advertisements to this blog.  My entrepreneurial spirit just couldn't resist.  I will report my findings to those of you that may be interested in how this whole Google AdSense thing works, and for the rest of you, I hope it does not provide too large a distraction.


  1. Laughter is a true gift from God! I am thankful that you had fun today, and shared it with us! God is Faithful!
    Continuing to pray for your family,
    In Christian Love

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed your shopping trip Mark! :) Thanks for all of the updates! I'm praying and thinking of you guys often and always look forward to hearing how both of you and the boys are doing!
    We'll keep praying!
    Heidi :)

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  4. Sounds like little Wes might have a bit of his father in him. :)
    The pictures you posted are precious. A few months from now you will not be able to believe they were once that little.
    All of you continue to be in our prayers.

  5. Just caught up on your blog via other HC class of '99 blogs. Kate, Mark, Wes, and Max are all in my prayers and will be added to my church's prayer group. Thank you for sharing so honestly what has been a challenging journey. Grace and peace to all of you in the coming days.

    In Faith,
    Susan A. Sytsma Bratt

  6. Thanks so much for the update Mark and Kate. We know first-hand what it feels like to have to go visit your new little ones. Thank God for the support and generosity of others, and for a sense of humor! All six of us are holding you up in prayer!

  7. Hi Mark and Kate,
    Mark - you must write a book! Not only do we read the blog for updates but for the humor and insite you provide!
    We continue to pray for all of you - each day is such a blessing!
    Kerry and Steve

  8. it is great to read this news this morning! i was laughing several times reading your post. not only are the boys doing well, you two are laughing and having fun together - and you should be, you are new parents and it is a time to celebrate and be filled with joy.

    just a note about the ads, my husband put adsense on his blog and his mom clicked and reclicked endlessly to try to make him money - and we were almost to the $100 or whatever it is (when they'll send you the check!) and we got red-flagged and everything was negated. so please, no one do that! ;)

    it must be so hard to be away from your boys - but you can use this time to heal and gain strength for your journey, just as max and wes are. sounds like the staff at the hospital is wonderful. you certainly will have formed even more special friendships because of this. have a wonderful day!

  9. Praise God for the GOOD day, for wonderful nurses, for sleep, for laughter, for fresh air, for Target and for God's care that comes through family, friends, neighbors, organizations and strangers!! I am so touched (like so many others)by your writings but especially how you articulate your faith. I pray every night for all of you and your families. Love the pictures - no words can describe the miracle of new life like those pictures!

  10. Mark & Kate,
    Praise God for the good day you all were able to have! I stumbled on your blog and have been following for the last week or so. I continue to keep Max, Wes, and both of you in my prayers - Thank you for keeping the blog updated so we can pray for your needs!!!

    Jodi (Vork) Essenburg

  11. I am so glad you and Kate were able to get out to the best store on earth! It sounds like your boys may have a bit of humor like their daddy! Your family continues to be in our prayers. Thank you for all the updates!

    Bryan, Renee and Dakota Breuker

  12. Wes will be the only one in the church nursery carrying around a vent tube instead of a blankie or stuffed toy for a "lovey"! LOL! Laughter is so healing for both of you, maybe regular trips to Target will be on order! (:

  13. Mark and Kate, I haven't seen either of you since high school, but we have been praying for you and your family in our small group. I want to thank you for your testimony and let you know how much your faith has moved me. We will continue to pray for your and the health of your precious boys.

    Beth (Nienhuis) Vanderhyde

  14. Wes, you made your uncle Geoff proud!!
    Your boys defiantly have a lot of Wiersma in them.
    We continue to pray that each day you will have more good news to pass on and funny stories to tell.
    We miss the boys already!
    Love you all,
    (Aunt)Stacy and (Uncle)Geoff

  15. Kay and Dave MastApril 1, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    We continue to read your blog and pray for those two precious little boys, for you and Kate as well. Your witness to God's goodness is awesome to read.

  16. Mark and Kate I just found your blog and I praying so hard for your family. I am a mother of twin boys that are 2 now. I know the days seem long and hard but keep your faith. I am praying your little boys grow stronger by the minute. Kate I know that it is hard to be away from your babies but remember to take a little time for you so that you stay strong for them.
    God Bless you both and your baby boys.

  17. What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!

    Preemie Baby Clothes for Tiny Treasures