My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

It's Been Awhile

Hello My Friends!
If you are reading this then my friends you truly are!

It's been sometime since I was able to visit here with you.
So....much has happened it might take awhile to work through this post!

It started way back in October, soon after my return from Tennessee...

I left to visit my son in Virginia who had just returned from a deployment to Japan.
I drove through winding mountain passes in West Virginia...

  Along the ocean in Virginia...

Through underwater tunnels and then....

back home again.

I hadn't been home long...
Literally just days, when my daughter, April texted me several times from her Doctor's Appointment on Friday, November 8.
They wanted her to go directly to Weatherford hospital. She was having problems with severe swelling and high blood pressure. At this point, she was only 27 weeks and a few days into her pregnancy.

We left late the next day, driving and praying through the night so that we could be there on Sunday morning, November, 10.

We rented a larger truck than what we own so that we could bring Emmitt and all of the things we had been gathering for Paisley's nursery. We hadn't even started working on the nursery yet.
We were supposed to come the following week to do attend her baby shower and start on it then.

Paisley Reyné was born the next evening, Monday, November 11, 2013.
Just barely past the 28 week mark.

So, I'm going to stop and let you know that I've got chills just sharing this with you.

I am a women of Faith.
My relationship with my Heavenly Father is all that keeps me going at times.

We knew God had his hand on this precious little family, but now we know He had been making plans for something miraculous!

The birth of our tiny princess!

While in the Weatherford hospital over the weekend, April was given 2 steroid injections to help Paisley's lungs develop sooner. This was on the first day of her stay two days prior to Paisley's birth.

On Monday morning November 11th, April's doctor released her to come home. We were under strict orders to take April to Harris Hospital downtown Fort Worth if anything at all was not right.
After only about 6 hours at home, just after dinner, Russell came into the nursery where Hubby and I had just begun talking about the project ...
April was in the bathroom...
Something was not right...
We all knew she had to go to the hospital. Thinking it would only be overnight or a few days at most...
Russell and I threw what we had just unpacked into an overnight bag and off Russell went to the hospital a minimum of 45 minutes away.
They were not there but a short time when April's placenta tore away.. she had sudden onset Preeclampsia. A very severe case.
Had this happened at home...

Or even the Weatherford hospital...

We would not have our darling girls!

We were told that Weatherford would have had to wait for transport.
They would not have been able to save them both.

God knew Russell would get April to the hospital~lickety split!
Just in time as it were!

 This was the very first picture taken of our little angel...less than 10 minutes after they took her mommy back to surgery.
Daddy took it from his cell phone and sent it to me.
I wasn't even at the hospital yet!
We were in route, with my dearest darling Rebecca and the most amazing prayer team sending up prayers for our precious ones as we drove.

We were so blessed!

One of the specialist from the team of doctors we were supposed to meet the next morning was there and delivered Paisley. This team is so...good,
Women are flown in from all over the southwest for them to deliver there preemie babies!

There's God's hand again! .
All knowing and totally covering us with His grace!

The specialist just happened to be in the hospital that night and called into April's room just as her placenta tore away

I took these pictures from my phone the very first time I saw her!

It took awhile nearly a week for April to get well enough to be released from the hospital. Even now, she has a few problems with blood pressure and blurred vision.

We spent the next 64 days...
In the NICU!

doing cares...
 giving baths...

And growing!

 We celebrated many milestones there at Paisley's cribside.

1st and 2nd month birthdays!

 Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Our Family all worked our way towards the goal of bringing Paisley home. Paisley was so blessed to have regular visits from Grandparents and Great Grandparents. Their visits really helped keep up spirits.

I have to tell you these were some of the hardest days of my life.

Not only was I away from my Husband and my home, but it was so.. hard to watch my daughter and son-in-law go through this.
Leaving their baby each and every evening. I tried hard to stay positive and upbeat. Never wanting April to know how I was struggling.
Prayer was all that kept me going some days.
Others, well...
I had Emmitt!

And of course, April, Russell and Paisley!

If you have ever gone through this or know someone who understand.
Most nights, I would just collapse in bed and then cry.
Thank God for the amazing team of Doctors, Nurses and even Receptionist at the NICU!
They are truly Angels walking among us!

It can be so confusing in this environment, alarms going off on monitors, a different nurse everyday and it seems like everything you're being told conflicts with what they told you the day before...
It was a daily walk of Faith.
Totally out of control and relying on the One who was.
Whew! Hard stuff!

We were blessed with a few truly special nurses who got us through the thick of things!

Back at home in Indiana....
Our city of Kokomo was hit hard by a series of tornadoes on November 13.
We live in a small town to the south but....
My car was in Kokomo, sitting in the parking lot of the car rental agency.
It was totaled.

Our bank was leveled and a huge part of town was destroyed or nearly so.

But once again, God had a plan, I couldn't see it yet, but that silver lining had to show up soon,
I was getting weak in the knees!

He knew I needed a new vehicle and showed us a way for me to get the very one I wanted!

I even got to buy it while I was still in Texas!

It really helped having the additional vehicle...we were about to start our tag team race to get Paisley home.
I took the early morning feeds with the help of my mom from time to time.
April was there in the afternoon and evenings meeting up with Russell and then it would start all over the next day!

Our goal...
Seemed simple enough but let me tell you what...
When a baby has been fed through a tube since birth, they haven't a clue as to how to take a bottle! It was such a workout for her!
We had to literally teach Paisley how to eat!

In order to come home....Paisley had to do take the entire bottle 8 times consecutively in 24 hours...
Without her stat alarms going off!
This was the hardest part of our NICU stay!

 Pappy commuted the 1000 miles on a regular basis to visit with the little miss!

Finally, it arrived!
2 months and 2 days after she was born...

The tiny princess came home to Weatherford! With much fanfare!

My daughter's face says it all and brings tears to my eyes everytime I see it!

Everyone including Emmitt was glad to see this day finally arrive!

One week later...

My hubby flew in to drive Emmitt and I home in our new vehicle.
After 74 days...
I had to leave Miss Paisley and her mommy!
We had a talk and she said "she would be good" but...

She's been pretty stinkin' ornery!

She just celebrated her 3 month birthday!
She now weighs 7lbs 9oz. and is 21.5 inches long!
She is now the size of the full-term newborn.
God truly blessed us!
Paisley is doing amazing! Other than being small...
She is doing great!

Don't let her small size fool you...
She's a pistol!

I wouldn't want it any other way!

I have a blast making her tiny blankets, headbands and shoes!

Most days we video chat and I'm flying back to Texas to spend a week next month!
It has been hard being away after seeing her nearly everyday for the first 74!

Since I've been home...
We had a record year of snow!

Emmitt loves it!

Me, not so much!
It's been so...cold!
Somedays too cold for Emmitt to play he pouts!

I did have a chance to do a quick event....the very week after I got home!

I am feeling quite blessed after seeing all this now in print!
I am so very grateful to everyone who followed along on facebook.

Because the kids do not have internet out in the sticks of weatherford...
Doing blog posts was out of the question but we tried to keep everyone updated via facebook and instagram!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers!
They truly got us through!
My dear friend Deb and her darling daughter Jennifer were so... good to keep in touch and pray continuously! They had a very similar experience with their darling Bella!
You can read Bella's amazing story here
Ya'll rock!
God knows how much I love you and Aunt Bea!

Well, that's it for now.
Life is starting to get back to normal.
We are back to our renovation and wow! Wait 'till you see the mess he's in there making as I sit here at my laptop!
Later this week I will show you Miss Paisley's nursery that Pappy/Hubby and I built for our tiny princess!
And then, the next project here at the reno ranch!

If you're still reading this you rock too!
Thank you so much for sticking it out with me!

Until next time...God Bless Ya'll!


  1. Oh- I read every word, Donna. God bless you. We have lost a full term newborn grandchild due to hospital error aplus we have endured a NICU for several weeks with a newborn (our little SweetCheeks). I know God's hand was in all of it-although sometimes it is hard to see beyond the pain of the day-to-day ups and downs. You are really, truly blessed with your daughter's health and your sweet little grandgirl. She is darling. Now- GET SOME REST! I am so glad to see a post here from you- I wondered what happened to you-I am not much of a FB person so missed your updates. xo Diana

    1. Hello sweet Diana!
      I am not much of a facebook person either but the kids would tag me and that kept everyone in touch with the happenings!
      You are a treasure and I'm so grateful for your kind thoughts!

  2. Donna!

    I never let you and your family go!

    I was grateful to God that I had the common sense to become your facebook friend, or I would have been worried sick. I knew in my heart everything would eventually be good, but I was also well aware that Paisley's care and development would take time. (The difficult moments, hours, days, weeks and months that you described above.)

    Today I can exclaim!
    Isn't being a grandmother the one greatest of God's gifts?!!!!!!!
    I remember following Nana Diana, (comment above), when Chrislyn was pregnant. She kept telling me how much I was going to love being a grandmother. Now we have two precious grands!

    I look so forward to many more sweet tales of your times with Paisley Reyne!
    This post made my heart sing for so many reasons.
    Welcome home.

  3. Hi Sweet Lynne! It was friends like you who made the bad days better!
    Thank you for sticking with me
    Much love and many blessings

  4. are one busy lady. I have missed you and congratulations on the sweet baby. What a precious blessing.

  5. Oh honey!!! Such a sweet sweet post... made me cry and smile all at the same time. Glad you are home, but I know you are missing that beautiful little face.
    Hugs, Gee

  6. Our children were/are very blessed that you were able to stay and help them through this difficult time. The emotional and physical support is a blessing. They both have sung your praises for your invaluable support and presence. Paisley's room is beautiful and one of a kind. The kids still are raving over it. Thank you for all you have done. God Bless, Sandy and Bob

    1. Hi Mimi and Grandad!
      Paisley is so blessed to have you both there for her! I know how much it means to Russell and April that they have you both so close!
      Blessings and hugs to you both!

  7. Congratulations on your darling new Angel.
    Know one needs to tell you how blessed you are, every sentence speaks loudly of your belief. It was a pleasure to read every word that poured from your heart.
    Enjoy your sweet Granddaughter.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. I went to school with April. I followed the updates on Facebook and kept April and Presley In my thoughts and prayers. God is great.

  9. I was just thinking earlier today that I hadn't heard anything from blog posts. I thought...well, she must be terribly busy with some big project! That was right! So glad your little one is doing well now. So glad your daughter made it through. My cousin went through this many years ago and I know how hard it was for her to leave her daughter at the hospital each night. She'd lost one she'd had a few years earlier...she was just born too small. But they tried to keep her alive..but she didn't make it...after several months. That was devastating to them. The next time she was pregnant she went through the same thing but this time the baby was born just a little older and she made it. So I know what an ordeal this is. So glad you are back home with your Emmit and working on your house again. I always love seeing what you are up to.

  10. so good to hear from you, Donna. I rarely get on FB, so I'm so sorry I missed all this. I'm so glad you had Debbie and Jennifer to pray with you all through all of it. Your little Presley is just adorable. So many blessings!!

  11. Wow.... it seems you've been very busy in your absence. So glad everything has turned out okay and baby Paisley is home and healthy:-) A very similar thing is taking place right now with my nephew and his wife. I feel so blessed to have had easy labor and deliveries with my children and never take it for granted!

    So glad you could be with your daughter and son in law helping them through such an ordeal.

    Take care, my friend and "Think Spring"! I can't believe how big Emmitt has gotten...such a beautiful dog♥


  12. This made me thankful I am... for all that God did. Especially for the miracle of Paisley. I had wondered where you have!!! I have to tell you that my eyes filled with even more tears to see that she was born on November birthday. 11-11 'faith'. It truly is an incredible day to be born on. first born Luke was going to be Paisley Autumn if he was a girl. Soooooo, I love her name. She sure looks like a spitfire!!!! I am so happy for all of you. What a wonderful bond you already have with your sweet granddaughter. xxo

  13. Wow!
    Thank you all for your kind comments and support!
    I feel so blessed to have such amazing blog friends! I have missed you all so much!
    Hugs to you!

  14. I'm crying as I read this, Donna. Our son & DIL went through very much the same story in Japan last February. Katie was 3.5 lbs. Now, she just turned one and is the happiest, sweetest little girl. We are all blessed.
    So happy that all has turned out so well for you all. Your Paisley is a miracle and a gift from God... just like our little Katie. :)
    Big Hugs,

  15. Amazing grace! What beautiful blessing. She is precious. Congrats to the new family!!

  16. Oh my goodness! I was so excited to see your feed show up in my email box today. What a journey you and your beloved family have been enduring. So grateful our Lord has protected and provided. Thanks so much for sharing. Your talent and gifts are an inspiration to this old body... but your spirit and grateful attitude is a balm to my spirit and soul. Bless you and yours. It's hard to be separated from our precious new grandbabies. happened to me when I lived in Kentucky and my daughter took our first grandson to Hawaii 4 months after he was born in a difficult birth situation, too. This is such a blessing to hear from you and that your little miracle baby is doing well and your daughter had divine hands upon her. wow. such a blessing to read.

  17. What a journey you have been on! Paisley is so precious and what a sweet manifestation of God's love. Bless you and your beautiful family!

  18. So glad to see you pop up in my inbox this morning! And so thankful for the amazing team that delivered Paisley and the amazing ways God worked everthing out to get her here safely! He is so good to us!
    Glad you had time to up date us - give April a hug from me!

  19. Wowwww what a beautiful child...filled with God;s love......what a story what a post...God is so good for us all.....Amen !!! that you are back again i miss you Ria...x !

  20. Donna...thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey through this private time in your family. GOD is so GOOD and His LOVE is GREAT!!!!


  21. donna, all my best to that new and beautiful little one. what an amazing story. so thrilled that all is well. and hoping you have a little "down time" for a change! love to you, donna

  22. Dear Donna, this is all touching blogpost! What a story, I was really moved!
    So glad to hear that your daughter and Paisley are back home!
    I send all my love to you and your family!

  23. omg Donna..what can one have been one busy woman! That little girl is an angel...she is so sweet and I adore her name. Not your average winter that's for need a holiday my dear!! All the best to all of you!!!!

  24. Donna! Oh my goodness, you must be exhausted! She is an angel indeed and your sweet family must be beyond elated. What an amazing journey you've all been on the arrive at this truly miraculous place. Wishing you all good health and happiness with your new baby;) xxleslie

  25. Donna, I have missed you !! I had no idea you were going through all this. Thank God all has turned out well. Your baby is adorable. Blessings to all of you. xoxo,Susie

  26. Donna,
    I am thrilled to see these pictures of your sweet Paisley. I am so glad that you, Paisley and April are doing well. Anxious to get updates and new pictures as they come your way. All my love and prayers. Karen

  27. Oh Donna...I feel like such a heel. I had no idea at all you were going through all of this. I had chills reading every word and am thankful beyond measure that you all were protected and watched over by the Lord and all prayers were answered. I know how this changes a person to go through it and someday not too far away the blessings will show themselves and you will look in the mirror at your reflection and wonder how you ever managed to live through such a thing, but know in your heart just why you did.
    Please forgive me for not being on top of things and knowing all this was going on. I am really very sorry for not keeping in better contact.
    Paisley is a little beauty just like her mommy and grand-mommy and you are going to have so much fun with her!!!!!!
    much love from me....

  28. OHHH MY GOSH! I'm speechless... What an amazing chain of events... and now this sweet darling precious little baby. Phew! Thank the lord everyone is still in one piece ! You guys definitely had guardian angels surrounding you!


  29. Love you Darl'in...always in my prayers.
    Loved seeing the pictures.

  30. she is very blessed...I share the same birthday and have told for years 11-11 means that the angels are watching over you and sounds like they are.
    she is so cute!

  31. It is good to have you back, I missed your post! you all are so blessed, and what a testimony to gods grace and healing! She is precious !

  32. WOW !!!!!!!!!!!! what a year !!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing God !!!!!!!!!!! What a beautiful little miracle baby!!!!!!!!!!!! So happy your home safe and sound.

  33. Donna, I apologize for not commenting sooner. I'm just now getting caught up on my "reading".
    Reading along, I remembered our walk through fire and I refelt every emotion with thoughts of yours. It is an emotional roller coaster, but praise God, He is always there to hold our hands and hearts through all the twists, turns and scary parts.
    What a lot of folks don't understand is that it's not just the baby's weight that determines when they get to go home, but more importantly that they know how to nurse. These wee ones sometimes forget to breathe when they're nursing. I'm so glad ou mentioned that in order to go home, she had to nurse stat free.
    Jenn has a heart for micro-preemies and their parents and I know April will too. There is so much that they aren't told by the hospital staff and I think it's wonderful that those who have gone through this can help each other. I believe it's what God intends...the outstretched hand of one to another, creating an unbroken circle of love and support. Babies are miracles of God and our precious little ones proof positive, we are the witnesses of His amazing faithfulness. I'm not surprised she is a little firecracker. Jenn was told by the doctors girls are stronger fighters. Again in God's attention to details...we were given spitfires...albeit tiny ones...who will be fierce warriors!
    I'm continuing to pray for Miss Paisley to continue to thrive and for April as well.
    I love you and miss you. I'm asking God to please let us get together when you get to Texas on one of your long hauls!
    XO Debbie


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné