Baby Brennan Eckert

This blog is devoted to Brennan Charles Eckert, born November 16, 2007, to parents Kim and Jeff and big brother Tommy. On January 25, 2008, 10 week-old Brennan was admitted to T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital. He was severely dehydrated and eventually diagnosed with Slick Gut Syndrome. Brennan's doctors tell us he will be here about a month with a lengthy recovery at home as well. This blog is meant to update all those who are loving and supporting us and our sweet Brennan.

UPDATE: Brennan spent 21 days at TC Thompson and was discharged from the hospital on February 14, 2008. He began receiving food by mouth on February 18. His oral feeds were gradually increased as his tube feedings were decreased until he was shifted to 100% oral feeds on February 29. His feeding tube was removed on March 3, and his central line was removed on March 6. According to his doctor, Brennan is now a "normal baby with a recovering gut." He is home with us and doing great! 

Although we never could have prepared for this experience, we are more grateful than we ever could have been for the gift of our son. We have been so blessed by a community of folks who walked with us on this journey. Some were people we hardly knew, and others were lifelong loved ones, but we were given to abundantly at a time when our needs were great. And we are so thankful for how God met us in our need through the hands and feet and love of so many of his people.

"Let the Great Rabbi hold you silently against His heart. In learning who He is, you will find out who you are: Abba's child in Christ our Lord."
-Brennan Manning

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

boys boys boys

I haven't written about our boys in quite some time, and I just wanted to share a few photos to let you know how great our little Brennan is doing! He just went to his pediatrician and his GI doc last week, and they both stated their disbelief at his overall health and growth. He is now in the 75th percentile for weight (21 pounds) and the 95th percentile for height and off the charts in head size (just like his brother, and all thanks to his dad on the latter two things). Brennan is a huge bundle of energy and joy. He started crawling at six months and is currently trying to climb and stand on everything (he'll be eight months on July 16). When we walk into the room and see him, his whole face breaks into this enormous grin with two little teeth and one super cute dimple. We melt every time, as you might imagine.

It is hard to believe, at times, what our sweet boy went through only a few months ago. He is so healthy and happy and energetic - we are blessed beyond measure. He still has reflux and a bit of iron deficiency, and takes meds and follows a somewhat strict diet, but these are things we are not complaining about! We continue to be so grateful that God brought Brennan into our lives, and we are so thankful for how well he is doing.

Tommy is also doing well. He's a high-energy 3 1/2 year old and keeps us super busy. He is learning about sharing with his brother. this is not his favorite thing. but he is also a super sweet big brother who eagerly waits for brennan to wake up from naps and loves to crawl in brennan's crib and cuddle him.

we feel so blessed to be sharing life with these two amazing boys, and we just wanted to give a little update on how they are doing. thank you again to all of you who have lifted up our family in the last months.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

doing better

thank you SO much for your thoughts and prayers. I've
been really touched by all the emails and calls today.
I was overwhelmed yet again with how much God uses us
as his hands and feet to encourage and love others.

Brennan is doing well. He has only had one bout of
diarrhea today and is basically acting like any sick
baby. He's not sleeping great, and he's pretty fussy,
but he's not vomiting and he's not having excessive
diarrhea. It's getting better instead of worse, which
is great. "normal" sick is ok, and we are feeling more
and more confident that he is going to be just fine
with this bug. even as he is fussing and crying, we
are thankful for his strong, fighting spirit - we know
it is part of what got him through all this in the
beginning and what is helping him now.

we will keep updates on here. thanks again for
your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Please pray again!!!!

We are asking people to pray for Brennan again. We have had a great month, but last week I had a stomach bug. Brennan has caught it and is having consistent diarrhea again - just like before. His doctor says there is nothing we can do but hope and pray that his gut is healed up enough that he can tolerate the virus and not shut down again. This is the thing we have been hoping would not happen since he got sick, and so we are just hoping that it is a mild bug and that it will go away quickly. We are praying that Brennan's little body is healed up enough that he can fight this bug and just get through it. If he doesn't, he will end up back in the hospital and back on the feeding tubes. As you can imagine, this is something we really hope does not happen! We really believe Brennan is going to pull through this and be fine. He is clearly stronger and healthier than before, and his reserve is so much different now. But this all feels so familiar, and it is not a good feeling. So if you have a minute, would you pray for our sweet, strong boy?
blessings and grace,
Kim, Jeff, Tommy & Brennan

Saturday, March 22, 2008

ON VACATION! and enjoying normal life together...

We are currently in Florida at my parents' house here. This was a vacation we planned long ago, but we never imagined we would be able to do it a month ago. Brennan is doing so well. He is a miracle baby and an answer to prayer. He looks amazing with chunky legs and fat little cheeks. He eats like a horse and is so sweet and fun. He is doing all the normal baby things for his age, and he is a strong little guy. We are especially aware of this when he is mad at us for not feeding him as soon as he wants to eat, and he screams and strains in our arms. :) He is still anemic because of all of his blood loss, and he is still spitting up weird stuff, but otherwise he is doing great.

Tommy is doing fantastic. He is so happy and sweet, and he's staying dry even at naptime (which is super exciting after 3 years of diapers)! He loves spending the week with grammy, grampdad, daddy, mommy, brennan, chester and henry (the dogs). He loves to sing - his favorite songs are "hop hop hippity hop" (thanks Jennette!) and "that funny song." He still likes to talk about riding a helicopter up into the sky to see Jesus with Brennan when he gets big, but now he also tells us, "I want to ride up and thank Jesus for our gifts." Earlier today he was consoling Jeff, telling him, "Your team didn't win and you were SO sad!" (If you know Jeff, you know Tommy is referring to the IU basketball loss yesterday). His sweet and tender spirit touches us every day.

We feel so blessed to have both of these boys in our lives. And I continue to be honored that anyone is interested in reading about our little lives. Thank you so much for your love and prayers for us! And wow - I am SO thrilled that I don't have any big concerns or requests. This is a pretty boring blog entry, which is absolutely wonderful.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Saying goodbye to tubes and diapers

On Friday, Feb 29, Brennan's tube feedings were discontinued. He struggled a bit with some vomiting over the weekend but actually did surprisingly well with 100% oral feeds, so on Monday, March 3, his doctor removed his feeding tube!!!

As Tommy told us, "His tube is gone! his bandaids are off!" On March 6 his central line gets removed. According to his doctor, he is now a normal baby with a recovering gut. I never thought hearing the word "normal" applied to my baby would be such a relief. He still seems to have quite a bit of discomfort and struggles with sleep (to put it lightly), but what a huge huge relief to have these very normal problems. We are grateful beyond words for his continued improvement and for the healing that God has done in his little body.

In addition to having Brennan on all oral feeds for the first time, we also engaged in full-on potty training with Tommy. We tried this last summer but he was not quite ready. And he did absolutely GREAT! He is loving his big-boy underpants; he loves his huge basket of Disney Cars that he gets when he accrues enough stickers even more. I've never seen someone able to poop and pee so much in such a short time to get toys! We used the naked technique so have some good pics for bribery in his adolescence, but we wanted to share this one with you.

Tommy continues to crack us up with his endless antics and touch us with his sweet spirit. Tonight he told me as we were praying, "We talk to Jesus up in the sky but we can't hear him. Thank you Jesus for giving us Momma." When he saw me with tears welling up, he then prayed that same thing over and over, ending with, "Cry, Momma!"

Finally, for those of you who know Tommy, you know he has a VERY strong attachment to his little bunny, "Bubba." So strong, in fact, that I special ordered a matching one when he was 10 months old. This double was immediately and continuously rejected and dubbed "fake bubba" by us. Tommy started giving Brennan his own bubba as well as "fake bubba" very early on, which we thought so sweet and tender, as Bubba is his most prized possession. And although I have tried every stuffed animal and blanket in our house, wouldn't you know that "fake bubba" is the one thing Brennan will snuggle? So apparently I can now look forward to searching for not one but two bubbas every time we leave the house. still, seeing our boys with their matching bubbas is quite a sweet sight...

I have been so encouraged by all the positive feedback I've received about this blog, and I am especially grateful to our dear friends, Greg and Joy Ryan, who suggested it and helped me set it up and provided endless support and love to us along this journey. They have a fantastic blog for their little boy, James, who was diagnosed with leukemia last summer. You can learn more about their hilarious and sweet boy at

Even though Brennan is doing so great, I'm going to continue to write about our boys and how they're doing if you're interested in getting updates. Thank you again so much!!!

wishing you every blessing in Christ,
Kim & Jeff

Thursday, February 28, 2008

good news!

Brennan is doing great. He went to the doctor on Monday and had gained weight - he's 15 pounds now. Because he was doing so well the doctor decreased his tube feedings down to only 10 hours at night and increased his oral feeds to 4 oz every 4 hours. The doctor told us that if he did well this week his feeding tube could come out at his appointment next Monday! His central line will come out shortly after the feeding tube is removed. By the way, he is doing great with the bottle now. Except when we remove it and try to slow him down while eating - then you would think we were torturing him by his little screams. it's so great to see him act like a normal baby! But he did have a setback with this increase. He began vomiting after every feeding, so on Tuesday the doctor decreased his oral feeds. He was able to tolerate that and so on Wednesday he was back up again. we're learning to take things slowly with him, step by step. He is continuing to do well with this level, so I'm hoping that the doctor will decrease his tube feedings or even eliminate them over the weekend to see if he can handle just doing oral feeds. We are so excited that his feeding tube might come out on Monday, but of course we don't want to rush him if he's not ready.

Another GREAT piece of news is that our insurance is covering the formula, and it was delivered yesterday from our home health care company. This is a HUGE answer to prayer. My income stops this month, so it is very timely. As some of you know, I am not returning to full-time teaching. I had made this decision before Brennan even arrived, but this experience has certainly confirmed and strengthened my desire to be with my boys as much as possible.

Brennan continues to be a somewhat atrocious sleeper. we are overwhelmingly thankful for him and so grateful he is home and getting healthier every day. but if he could sleep without me physically holding him that would be great too. that's really why I haven't updated the blog more often (or cooked or cleaned...) - because he has such a hard time sleeping sometimes. And though I am not opposed to letting babies "cry it out" at a certain age, I am unable to let my sick little baby do this too much - especially when we think the reason he needs to be held at night is because he seems to be in pain. but still...sleep for us would be lovely. jeff does have to go to work, so he wouldn't mind getting a bit more sleep as well.

but on a normal baby note, last night Brennan laughed for the first time - like the real ha ha laugh instead of the fun new baby squeal-like laugh. I had forgotten how amazing that sound is, especially when hearing it for the first time. the greatest thing was that he did it while we were all together eating dinner - so Jeff, Tommy and I all heard him laugh for the first time. Tommy was so excited and just kept standing over Brennan mimicking all the things I was saying and doing, trying to get Brennan to laugh again. He didn't last night, but tonight Tommy got Brennan to laugh again all by himself - by hugging him! It was precious. Afterward, Tommy said, "He laughed! He liked it! He likes me!" which, of course, had Jeff and I in sentimental tears - so thankful for our precious boys.

thank you again for all your love and support. I will do my best to keep you updated, and thanks for caring about our family so much!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

slowly but surely

Thanks so much for your prayers. They are not without effect! On Tommy's birthday, February 21, Brennan latched onto the bottle for the first time. He didn't take much, but he has been increasing the amount every day. On Friday Brennan's doctor ordered him to be off his feeding tube nutrition for 8 hours each day, so he would be hungrier and more likely to eat by mouth. And we have seen a definite change. Today has been his best day so far - he has eaten three times by mouth, and the last time he took 2 1/2 ounces, which is great. We see the doctor tomorrow, and we are eager to find out about the ongoing plan of action. It is frightening to have the continuous feeds reduced because he's still not eating enough by mouth, but it is obviously necessary so that he will be motivated to take the bottle.

We are also currently trying to get his formula but encountering some problems. Our insurance case manager tells us that it will be covered, which would be a HUGE answer to prayer, but thus far we are getting rejections when the pharmacy submits the rx. This doesn't really make sense since it's a blue cross person telling us it's covered, so hopefully we will get this worked out before we run out of formula! And we just really really really hope it's covered, because the cost of this formula is so prohibitive. We're really not sure what we'll do if it's not!

thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. We are all doing much better. Tommy is cracking us up again and doing much better. Jeff and I are both feeling better - physically and emotionally. We are pretty tired because Brennan wakes up a LOT in the night with these terrible pain screams and needs to be rocked or walked. But he is pretty easily soothed back to sleep, so that is a relief. It's just several times each night, so we are pretty exhausted. But we are thankful to be home together, and I am thrilled to be able to snuggle both of my boys again! My parents babysat for us on Saturday so Jeff and I were able to go see Michael Card and go out for dinner - it was wonderful! they babysat for brennan again this morning (we know there's a theme here...) and we were able to go to church for the first time since all this started.

we are so thankful for the meals you are sending! we continue to be so encouraged and overwhelmed by the generosity and love of so many - friends new and old.

kim & jeff