Saturday, May 3, 2014

We've Started a New Travel Blog

We just wanted to let all our blog followers know that we have decided to create a new travel blog to capture all of our new adventures in Europe. Of course Cooper is THE prominent feature in just about every blog post! 

Check it out at, or use the "Travel Blog" link to the right ----->

-- Ryan, Ronda, and Cooper

Cooper in the Formula 1 race car

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Moving on Up!

We have good news all around... We are out of the PICU! We have removed all tubes except for an IV to get fluids. He was able to get out of bed and he even took a few steps. Because there was no muscle to work with for surgery it has really cut down on the healing time. I'm really trying to find the good news with his unexpected diagnosis. The surgeon had originally said that we would be in the hospital for 2-4 weeks but with the way Cooper is progressing so quickly we should be going home in the next few days!
Riding in the Wagon!
Today Cooper was able to eat some food. He was so excited! We also had some visitors, the Londono family. They brought Coop a Tigger stuffed animal that he has not let out of his sight. All the excitement for the day has worn him out. Here's to him sleeping through the night!
Elizabeth, Cooper, and Victoria
Too Much Wagon Excitement!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

PICU Day #3

Today was much more eventful than yesterday.  This morning, Cooper's surgical team decided that he could be extabated after he was given an epideral. So around 10 we got to watch one of the anesesiologists give his epideral, and then around 2pm, Cooper came out of his sleep and they pulled out his breathing tube.  He was very upset at first, he cried and whined for about two hours. But after some drugs he is back with us!  The nurses removed several of his 'tubes' and he seems to be recovering. His face and extremities are very swollen. He does have a pitiful little growley voice, but he still has a great sense if humor. He played peekaboo with the nurse that pulled out his tube!

One of Cooper's favorite things that is attached to him is his oxygen detector (I'm sure that's not the technical term).  Here's a picture of him and his ET toe!
We will remain in the PICU for at least another day.  Later this evening, the surgical team plans on taking out Cooper's drains... Just another step towards getting completely unplugged!  We have a sleeping room again tonight, so we will be on rotating watch.  We are also very grateful for Grizzy making the trip between Colorado Springs and Denver and taking care of our house and dogs during this time.  We couldn't have done it without her!

We have been keeping a close eye on the situation back home. The Black Forest Fire has created such chaos in our beloved city.  We are praying for everyone that has been affected, it is such a tragedy. 

Much Love from Denver,

Ryan, Ronda, and Cooper

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

PICU Day #2

Not a lot to report today. The surgical team came in this morning and made the decision to keep Cooper on the ventilator so it has been a very quiet day. We have seen six doctors and a bunch of nurses that come in every hour or so. I really can't get over how kind everyone has been. This is an amazing hospital. Tomorrow the same thing will happen. A team will decide if he is ready to wake up or not. He's had a fever on and off but I guess that's normal.

The big news today is the Black Forest Fire. The evacuation area is about two or so miles from our house. The wind is blowing north so we don't believe that we will be evacuated but we needed to get a plan in place just in case. Ryan's Mom, Barb (aka Grizzy), is staying with our dogs at the house. Ryan made a trip back home to trade cars with her in case she needs to take the dogs somewhere if the fire heads south. The trip normally takes about an hour but today it took over two hours because of all the people being evacuated. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this fire.

The love that we all have felt from everyone has been amazing. Thank you for all your prayers, kind words and good thoughts. Until tomorrow... Here's a video from today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

In the PICU

What a day. The good news is that he made it through the surgery and he is Thank you to everyone for your good thoughts and prayers. They were felt!

Ready for Surgery
Cooper charmed every nurse and doctor that we saw before the surgery. They let Ryan and me go back to the Operating Room with him until he fell asleep. He never cried or even fussed once. Such a trooper! His surgery lasted about 4 hours and we got an update every hour. The surgeon came and visited with us after he was all done. He had good news and some not so good news. Cooper did great in the surgery. Unfortunately the hole in his abdomen was much larger than he ever imagined it to be. He had hoped to be able to stretch the muscles and sew them together to create a tight firm belly. Cooper's stomach muscles are pretty much nonexistent so they had to use a mesh to hold everything in place. What this means is Cooper will still have a belly. It is about half the size as it was before. The doctor thinks that Cooper will grow into it over the next few years. The bad part about this is that Cooper will always have a weak abdomen. He won't be able to participate in all activities and he will always have to be extra careful. I think I went into this somewhat naively. I thought that he would be "perfect" if he could just get through the surgery. I didn't think about the chance that this would be a lifetime thing.

After speaking with the doctor we met Cooper in his room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. It was quite a shock to see my tiny little boy with so many tubes sticking in and out of him. He has eight tubes! One down his nose to suction anything in his stomach, a breathing tube down his throat, a central line in his jugular, an IV in each arm, two drains in the incision and finally a catheter. When we came into the room Coop's nurse was getting him all hooked up to various machines. I guess Cooper didn't want to be asleep anymore so he semi woke up and tried to pull the breathing tube out. Ryan yelled at the nurse and before we knew it there were a dozen nurses and doctors in here. I guess when he pulled the tube out all his stats dropped and all kinds of alarms went off. It was a very scary 45 minutes that they worked on him. Since then he has tried to wake up a few times. They had to restrain his arms so he doesn't try to pull out the breathing tube again. The nurse thinks that he is a trouble maker!

State of the Art
Ryan and I will be staying in the room with Coop. I hope we get some sleep. I don't know how it will be possible. We will write again tomorrow!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cooper's BIG Surgery

As most of you know Cooper was born with a rare congenital condition called Gastroschisis. It is where there is incomplete formation of the abdominal wall so that the intestines protrude outside the body. Babies born with this condition have surgery to repair it as soon as they are stable enough after delivery. The doctors in China did not perform this surgery correctly on Cooper when he was born so he is having surgery to fix it now! We knew all this when we chose to adopt Cooper. We thought that he would have the surgery as soon as we got home with him from China but Cooper was malnourished and too small to do it until now. So tomorrow, Tuesday June 11th, we will be moving up to the Denver Children's Hospital. They believe he will be in the hospital anywhere from 2-4 weeks. We won't know how long until we see how the surgery goes. There are all sorts of complications that can happen. The doctor has told us on many occasions that this surgery "is a really big deal!" He has been incredible over the past year getting us and Cooper prepared for this surgery.

So please send some prayers for our amazing little boy. A year ago we were getting ready to board a plane to pick him up. I can honestly say that it has has been the best year if my life. 

Our plan is to update the blog daily like we did while we were in China so all our friends and family can be updated on Cooper's progress. Much love to you all!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Four Months Later...

Our life changed forever four months ago today.  On June 18th we met a sweet, scared, tiny little boy that was in complete shock.  He is still just as sweet but today he isn't scared of anything!

We have done so much in the past four months.  Probably too much, but hindsight is always 20/20.  We had company at our house from the day we got home from China in early July until early September, save a few days here and there.  It was great to see everyone and watch Cooper get to know his new family; however, it has been so nice to get in our own routine.  We have done quite a bit of traveling in our short time home.  

Uncle Cam & Cousin Kate in Estes Park, CO

We were able to take Coop to see his first baseball game in Denver.  We were lucky enough to see our San Francisco Giants win!

My Mom, sister Christy, niece Kayla and her husband Nick came for a week in late August to visit.  It was great for Cooper to be able to bond with them and for them to get to know the newest addition to the family. 

In late September, we went to Jodee's (Ryan's sister), wedding in Pacific City, Oregon, for five days.  Ryan's entire family was there!  Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, and family friends.   We had such a wonderful time and Cooper loved being the hit of the show.  He was an absolute monster on the plane ride to Oregon, but was great on the ride home.

Newly Married Aunt Jodee & Uncle Casey

In early October, we drove to Omaha, Nebraska, to visit our niece, Kayla, and her husband Nick.  Nick is in the Air Force and they are stationed at Offut Air Force Base.  We enjoyed the nine hour car ride through eastern Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, and Cooper gave us play-by-play as he watched the fields and animals along the way.  We were pleasantly surprised with Omaha - it turned out much different than expected.  We found some cool local restaurants, had some great meals, and had time to explore the Farmer's Market and the Omaha Zoo.  The zoo was amazing!  We also spent some time with friends who used to live in Colorado. They took us to a great pumpkin patch near Bellevue, Nebraska where we took some great "pumpkin photos" and Cooper experienced his first tractor ride.  We are definitely looking forward to visiting Omaha again.  Cooper loves his cousin, Kayla!  The ride home to Colorado was long and Cooper wasn't quiet for more than two minutes the whole NINE hours.  Not crying or whimpering, just giving his narrative from the back seat - his version of talking!  We thought that if we turned on a movie he might quiet down for a bit.  No - oh no, that made him so excited he screamed at the screen!  He is so very dramatic!

Kayla & Coop at the Omaha Zoo

Last week we had an appointment at the Denver Children's Hospital with Cooper's surgeon.  The good news is that Cooper has put on five pounds and grown two full inches in four months.  He now is actually on a U.S. growth chart!  The doctor said he was pleasantly surprised at Cooper's progress and that he has done better than he ever expected.  That being said, Cooper is still not big enough for surgery.  The doctor was very frank with us and used phrases like, "this is a very big deal," and "this is a potentially life-threatening surgery."  We agreed that we should wait and decided that after tax season will be a good time to do the surgery - probably next May.  We found out more details on the recovery as well.  Cooper will be in the hospital for a minimum of two weeks and he will go straight from surgery to the intensive care unit (ICU), where he will be placed on a ventilator.  The surgeon explained that Cooper may need more than one surgery, depending on how much he can "close him up" during the first procedure.  Once he gets released from the hospital it will be a 10-12 week recovery at home.  We left the appointment scared to death but thankful that the doctor was so honest with us.  We now know what we are dealing with so we can at least try to prepare for May.
 We have lots planned in the upcoming months.  Tomorrow Cooper gets to celebrate his Daddy's birthday and believe me we have so much to celebrate!  We are planning our annual trip Phoenix, Arizona for Thanksgiving to see Ryan's best friend, Ben, and his family.  This will be our fifth trip to Phoenix for Thanksgiving.  We can't wait for Cooper to meet them!  Two days ago Ryan emailed me from work and asked, "If you HAD to fly home from Hawaii, would you rather do it during the day or night?"  What??  Hawaii???  Ryan has a work meeting he has been asked to attend in Honolulu.  We did some research and discovered that we could get me a ticket using miles (China miles!) and Cooper will fly for free since he is still under two years old.  We will be staying at the Hale Koa on Waikiki.  It is the DoD hotel right on the beach!  I am so excited.  We have never been to Hawaii! 

We have also started the process looking for daycare for Cooper during tax season (Jan-Apr).  We are weighing all the options and have found local, private places, and we are also considering using the child care on Peterson Air Force Base where Ryan works.  We have our first interview tonight.  We shall see what happens!

I ask myself on a daily basis, how did I get so lucky?  God is good.  That's the only answer!  He knew the perfect little boy our family needed.  He made us wait six years - a looooong time!  Nothing has ever been more worth the wait!  Thank you to everyone who has helped us along this journey.  Here's a little bit about Cooper you may not already know:

He loves to dance!
He loves to eat!
He loves to make people smile!

He loves to play in the dirt and rocks
He smiles all of the time
He has about 10 words - Baby, Papa, Bye, Dog (every animal is a dog), Mama, Dada, Uh-oh, Snack... and a few more when he makes them up.
He understands absolutely everything we say
He loves to eat
He makes us laugh
His favorite foods are broccoli, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, pb & j, french fries, veggie fries, and apples

He climbs on everything
He loves the bath
He is sooo funny
His favorite toy is... our shoes!
and, he loves to eat!

Papa Jim and Cooper at the Beach

Great Grandma, Grizzy and Coop in Oregon

Cooper's New Buddy

Omaha Zoo

Pumpkin Patch - Super Heavy Pumpkin!