Friday, December 30, 2011


Well, today we learned why cardiologists don't usually use their ultrasound machines to determine the gender of a baby.

Today we had our final appointment with the perinatologist, Dr. Weiss, who looks very closely at the baby to make sure that there is nothing wrong with any part of the baby. He, obviously, looked closely at the heart and he also looked at all of the other organs, appendages, etc. He also took some blood from Dena to run some tests on it.

The doctor said that everything looked great with the baby. There are the proper number of fingers, toes, ventricles, blood vessels, eyes, ears, etc. Everything looked perfectly normal and he said that there was no way that the baby had HLHS. WHAT A RELIEF!!! It doesn't appear that we will have any scary surprises this time and we are very thankful!

Profile of the new baby

After he had looked at all of the important stuff, the doctor asked us if we wanted to know the baby's gender. We told him that we did want him to confirm it for us, but that one of the cardiologists had told us last week that she was 95% sure that it was a girl. He replied, "I will be the judge of that and then I will text her and tease her if she was wrong!" So he began to move the baby around and then he said, "Well, I guess I have to text her." Dena said, "WHAT?" The doctor replied, "It's a boy!" Then Dena said, "But the cardiologist said that it was a girl!" So Dr. Weiss said, "Well, if this is a girl, then she has a weenie!" I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! Then the doctor showed us the visual evidence that the baby indeed is a boy.

It's a Boy!

After leaving Dr. Weiss' office, we met with Dr. Thomas, Tucker's cardiologist, to look again more closely at the heart. Last week when he looked, he couldn't see a number of the things that he needed to look at, but today he could see everything. The baby has 4 normal ventricles, a normal aorta, no evident septal defects, and normal blood flow in and around the heart. That is about as clear and normal as you can get at this stage of development. He actually even said that he was confident enough in what he saw today, that we probably don't need to come back for another look. What a blessing!

As I mentioned last week, we were hoping for a girl, but, above all, we want a healthy baby. I think that we both felt like it was a boy deep down. Regardless, Tucker will be a great big brother and we can't wait to watch them grow up and play together.

I do want to say that we have no hard feelings about this surprise! We knew that the cardiologist is not an expert at determining the gender of a baby. She told us that she was pretty sure (95%) that it was a girl, but that she couldn't guarantee it. The cardiologists use different wands for the ultrasound machine than OBGYN's use, they are designed to look at hearts, not at babies inside the womb. The cardiologist also isn't as skilled at manipulating the baby to get good shots of the parts.

Now the hard part will be changing our plans. We will have to repaint the baby's room, but we won't have to buy near as much stuff, since we still have all of Tucker's old clothes and toys. The hardest thing will be coming up with a name. We have had a girl's name picked out since before we got married, but we don't have any ideas for a boy's name. With Tucker, we saw the name and just knew that it was right, but I spent a while earlier tonight looking at boy's names and none of them really sounded right to me. Right now, the only two names that we even remotely like are Case and Reed, but we definitely are ready to stop looking yet.

We hope that nobody else had purchased anything for a baby girl yet. We did receive a few girl things at Christmas, but nothing big. We apologize for the change, but I can assure you that we were more surprised by today's events than anybody, except for maybe the cardiologist.

So, let's try this AGAIN...Surprise...It's a...
We hope that everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surprise! It's a ...

We had a visit with Tucker's cardiologist, Dr. Thomas, today. As a heart parent, this is a very nerve-racking experience, especially when it has been 6 months since the last checkup. The good news is that Tucker's heart looked great and we are still on track to have his last surgery in Summer 2013. You can read more about Tucker's checkup on his site:

The other bit of news we have is that, while we were at the cardiologist, we were given the opportunity to get a look at the new baby's heart. We were Dr. Thomas' last patient before lunch, so he had some extra time and asked us if we wanted to check on the baby's heart. Of course, we didn't hesitate or waste this opportunity, even though we have our next Perinatologist appointment next week and were scheduled for a fetal ultrasound then too.

Dr. Thomas took special care to look at each ventricle and all of the major vessels of the heart that were visible. He told us that he could only see about 60% of the things he needed to look at, but that all of those looked good. Specifically, the baby appears to have 2 normal sized ventricles and the aorta looked good too. This is such a relief because those are the two main parts of Tucker's defect, HLHS. He will look at the heart again next week more thoroughly and then we will go back for a final check sometime before 25 weeks, which we are currently at about 17 weeks.

I can't tell you how excited and blessed we are to have this news. We expected to check for these things next week, but we were beginning to get nervous about it. The one thing that was holding us back from being completely ecstatic about this baby was the fear of a repeat experience. It was actually quite emotional for us...Dena cried! We know that we can't be 100% sure of everything for a few more weeks, but we do feel better!

Finally, one of the other cardiologists asked us if we might want to check on the gender of the baby. Again, there was no hesitation...we certainly did! The baby was not in the best position to get a good look at the gender and the doctor is not an expert at determining gender, but she felt about 95% sure that the baby would be.

So for the news:

The bottom line for us is that we want a healthy baby. But, if we could pick which type of healthy baby, it would definitely be a girl. We have our little boy and we both felt like a girl would be a perfect fit. We already have a name picked out, we already have the guest room painted in a feminine color to become the nursery, and we think that Tucker will be a good big brother for a little sister!

This was a great day for our family! Tucker's heart looks amazing, the new baby's heart looks good, and we found out it would be a girl. We are blessed beyond measure! If we don't get anything at all for Christmas, this will be enough! Honestly, this news is the best present that we could have asked for, special thanks to Dr. Thomas for making this happen!

Thanks for stopping by and supporting our family! We hope that everyone has a great holiday and has an opportunity to love on your family. Remember that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because our God sent his only son to us, to die for our sins. It isn't about presents, food, or prosperity, it's about a tough situation that ended up saving our souls!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Piece of our Little Heart

You may not know this, but we LOVE Sanctus Real. When we found out that their lead singer, Matt, was going to have a son with HLHS, we went to their concert to meet him. We actually had never heard their music before, but we instantly fell in love with it. Even if you take away my friendship with Matt, I would still listen to their music. I have yet to find a Sanctus Real song that I didn't like.

All that being said, we listen to Sanctus Real fairly often. In fact, that is pretty much all I listen to in my truck because of Tucker. Every morning when we go to school and every afternoon when we go home, the first thing Tucker says upon entering my truck is, "Daddy...Tucker...listen...Matt...peese!" This is Tuckerese for "Daddy can we listen to Sanctus Real please?"

With all of that time spent listening to Sanctus Real, you can imagine that we know the songs well. We know them so well, that Tucker knows most of the words to the songs on their cd "Pieces of a Real Heart". He even knows the music without the words, he can recognize most Sanctus Real songs within 2-3 seconds of their start. Often times, if the music is low enough, we can catch him singing along in his sweet voice.

A few weeks ago, we were sitting around listening to music and we were actually able to catch him singing with the video camera on our phone. I have included the videos for your viewing pleasure!

Tucker isn't the only one who enjoys Sanctus Real. Since we met Matt, we have been to 6 of their concerts and have enjoyed them all. We will going to our 7th this weekend. Sanctus Real is wrapping up their tour with Casting Crowns and The Afters, so Dena and I are driving to Temple, Texas to see them. We are especially excited about this concert because Matt will be performing a song that he wrote for his son, Bowen, called "All of Me". We have seen him perform it before, but this will be the first time that we will see him share Bowen's story with a special slide-show going, and this will be a much larger crowd than usual. Here is Matt singing "All of Me" at the last concert that we went to, I know you will enjoy this:

In addition to the concert, Dena and I are taking the rest of the weekend to spend some time together. We will be going down to San Antonio after the concert to enjoy the River Walk. We are excited for a weekend away and are happy that we can leave Tucker to have some fun with Granny & Pops!

Thanks for visiting us and we hope that everyone has a great weekend!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Everything is Cooking

We hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Our week started out with a nerve wracking visit with the Perinatologist. For those that don't know, a perinatologist is a doctor who uses ultrasound to look at a fetus closely and take measurements to ensure that everything is going well with the pregnancy. We were more anxious than normal because of Tucker and because we saw a perinatologist twice with Tucker and she didn't catch his defect, even though she should have seen it.

Because of our previous experiences, we were not really sure what to think and very skeptical of any news that we received during our visit. The main difference for us was that this doctor came to us highly recommended by Dena's new ObGyn and by Dr. Thomas, Tucker's cardiologist. We thought that the doctor would be looking at the entire baby, but because of how early it is in the pregnancy, he could really only check for signs of Down's Syndrome. The good news is that there were no signs that the baby would have Down's Syndrome, they will confirm this with a blood test, results should be coming tomorrow. The "bad" news is that, while he did humor us and look at the heart, it was too early to see anything. We will have to wait until our next visit on January 2nd to look at the heart. Dr. Thomas should be at the next visit too, just to get a second set of eyes on the heart. We should also find out the gender of the baby on the 2nd too, so it will be a VERY big day!

The rest of the week was great! We spent a lot of time with my family and got to relax some. We also took Tucker to his first movie in a theater. We went to see "The Muppets" and Tucker had a pretty big time. He got his own popcorn, drink, and candy and got to sit in his own chair. He did okay, but got a little bored about 3/4 of the way through the movie. He love the songs and danced and clapped during the big finale!

Tucker at his first movie, The Muppets
Too much fun at the movies!

The other big thing on the horizon, besides the holidays, is that I'm about to start a new venture in life. As most of youI know, we are very involved in the CHD world as a result of our experiences with Tucker. For several months I have been working with Matt Hammitt, Bowen's dad, on the new Whole Hearts Foundation. I have been answering emails from new CHD parents, old CHD parents, families, friends, etc. I have also been in charge of the Whole Hearts facebook page. Whole Hearts will be teaming up with a new social network for CHD families, called I have been asked to be a dad blogger for this new website. I am very excited about this opportunity. I hope that my experiences can help other dads and CHD families that are just starting this journey. I'm a little nervous about having enough to say and I will definitely have to improve upon my writing skills, but it should be fun! I will post information about my blog once we are up and running sometime in January. Right now, I've got to come up with a topic for my first blog entry, I feel writer's block already starting to creep in...oh no!

Tucker helping with the tree!
 I do have some more to say this week. Look for a post about our favorite group, Sanctus Real, and Tucker's love for their music!

As always, thanks for visiting and be sure to come back soon!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We're Having a Baby!

 Just a quick note to share the news that Tucker is going to be a big brother.

We have known for almost a month, but wanted to keep it a secret until we were closer to the safe zone. It has been really hard to not tell everyone, but we are glad that we waited. Dena had a obgyn appointment today and we got to see Baby Hamilton. Dena is 7 weeks & 3 days pregnant and the baby is exactly the right size and it's heart was beating strong at 162 bpm. The official due date is May 27, 2012, but we will probably schedule a delivery for the week before.

We made the decision to switch doctors for Dena this time around because Medical City is our hospital now and we needed a doctor that was there. We definitely don't want to take any chances with this baby. This is also why we will probably schedule the delivery a week early, we would have an hour drive if she went into labor unexpectedly. The new doctor, Dr. Diaz, is great! She made Dena very comfortable and she is really nice and easy going. We think we made a very good choice!

Probably the most common question that we have had so far is, "what are the chances that this baby will have a CHD?" CHDs occur in about 1 in 100 babies, HLHS occurs in about 1% of those babies. This baby will have about 1% higher risk of having a CHD, so a 2% chance. It is not very common to have multiple babies with CHDs, but it does happen. This is another reason why we will have this baby at Medical City. We will also have a very thorough fetal ultrasound at about 20 weeks to check on the baby's heart and other organs.

We are very excited, but also trying to be cautious. There is still a chance for miscarriage until about 9 weeks, but everything looked good today. Tucker doesn't understand yet, but he loves babies and will be excited...but probably jealous too!

We will keep you updated on Baby Hamilton's progress. We would appreciate prayer!

Thanks, as always, for visiting our page.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Losing It!

It has been WAY too long since I really blogged! I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. Every time I would start, something would come up and I would get sidetracked. I've finally decided that I need to get back going on this page, especially since blogging is going to become a much bigger part of my life in the near future, but more on that later!

A little over a year ago, Dena and I made the decision to lose weight. We decided that we needed to be healthier and set a better example for Tucker. We made the commitment to each other, for Tucker, that we would get our eating under control! We decided to try Weight Watchers because they had a free trial going on and it looked simple enough. I have to say that it has not been nearly as hard as we thought it would be. We have both done a very good job and we are both healthier today than we were a year ago!

I must say that if you are considering losing some weight, we would both highly recommend Weight Watchers. We like the fact that you can still eat the things that you want, you just have to do it in moderation. I feel like this method really creates a lasting change in your life that will be easy to maintain after you are off of the plan. Crash diets, quick fixes, and the like can work, but they usually don't last! In my opinion, the faster you lose it, the quicker you will gain it back! We both use the online program and mostly track our points using the iPhone app. Once you get in the habit, it really becomes second nature and if you miss a few days tracking, you can usually tell if you were good or not just by how you feel.

Honestly, our decision to do this together has made all of the difference. If it had just been one of us, we wouldn't have succeeded! If you are married or dating, making a lifestyle change can only happen as a team. We do well together and we are bad together.

I also believe that this has helped Tucker to eat better and to slim down a little bit. While he has grown taller over the last few months, he has also been eating better because of us. His HLHS will be a constant struggle for his health, he doesn't need a weight problem to exacerbate things. Creating a habit of eating well now, will pay off for him in the long run.

So, you are probably curious about our results. I think the proof is in the pictures, which you can see below, but the numbers don't lie either:

-I (Trent) started this journey at a hefty 300 lbs. in August of 2010. Currently, I weigh 231 lbs. This is a total weight loss of 69 lbs. in a year. I have been as low as 227 lbs., but had a little too much fun and food during the summer and am trying to regain my handle on things.
-Dena has had a little tougher time, but this is expected for most women. Regardless, I am very proud to say that she has lost 36 lbs. over this last year. She has worked hard and I am very happy for her!

We are obviously still a work in progress but we have accomplished many of our goals. My original goal was to get down to 220 lbs., but since I have almost reached this goal, I have upped the ante. I now have a goal weight of 200 lbs., which would be a total weight loss of 100 lbs.

I have added some pictures below, so you can see our progress. If you have any questions about losing weight, we would both be glad to help!

Me in the same shirt: Before (left), 6-month progress (right)
Me & Dena, September 2010 (Before)
Me & Dena, September 2011 (After)
Me & Dena, September 2011 (After)

Me & Dena, September 2011 (After)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tucker in Action!

It has been so long since we updated and Tucker is doing so many things now, I thought it might be nice to update with some pictures and some video...enjoy!!!

We went to eat at Twisted Root Burger Company, in Allen, and the mall has some awesome fountains for the kids to play in. Tucker wasn't sure what to think at first, but after a few minutes he wanted in! We will have to return with some swim clothes soon!

Tucker "working" and playing outside. Whether he is digging a hole, eating rocks, or "helping" me mow the yard, this kid loves to be outside!

A true boy!

Riding his bike

Helping in Pops' garden

Helping daddy mow!

That boy is a dancing fool!!! If there is anything that we know about Tucker, it is that he LOVES music. If you put on some music, he will dance, clap, sing, etc. He especially loves Zac Brown Band, as exhibited in this next video. He also likes to come to Praise Team practice at church, I hope his dancing doesn't get him kicked out of the church, j/k!

He's gotta wear shades! For some reason, Tucker has a thing for sunglasses. He won't wear them long, but he really enjoys putting them on, taking them off, putting them back on, and leaning his head back.

Even almost a year ago, he loved sunglasses

Ray Charles?

Too cool!
 We hope you enjoyed these and we hope that they brought a smile to your face!!!


Easter 2011

We had a great time this weekend celebrating the most important holiday for Christians, Easter!

Hamilton Family Easter, 2011
We celebrated with family and watched the kids hunt eggs, but the highlight of the weekend was a great service and sermon at FBC Tom Bean! All holidays have become commercialized, but it is sad that the true reason for a holiday as important as Easter has become so overshadowed that many people don't even know why it is celebrated! The meaning of Easter has become increasingly important to me since we had Tucker and have dealt with his heart defect. I think about the deep sadness and grief that I felt when we thought we might lose Tucker and then I try to understand what God must have felt when he SENT his only son to take on the wrath and punishment of the entire world of sinners. What love and grace that God has for us!!!

Tucker at church, Easter 2011

Daddy & Tucker, Easter 2011

As I said, we had a great time with our family this weekend. We held our annual, Hamilton Family Easter dinner and egg hunt on Saturday night. It was much more fun this year because Tucker could actually pick up the eggs and put them into his basket. He was still easily distracted, but it was much better than last year. It is always great to get together with the majority of the Hamilton Clan! We are very blessed to have a family that enjoys the company of each other and who makes time to get together so often.

He found one!

Hunting eggs


It was also a chance for us to see our new nephew, Beckett, and our neice Maddie. We don't get to see my brother and his family enough and we were very excited to get to spend some time with them. We went to church together and had Easter lunch at my parents' house. Beckett is growing fast and is probably going to give them some interesting times in the future. Tucker isn't really sure what to think about him...he likes to poke him in the face, in a loving way, of course!

Beckett, Maddie, & Tucker

Tucker has been pretty healthy this month, which has been nice! He is walking and running everywhere he goes. He is also saying a lot more things. Our favorite is probably when he walks into a room and says, "Hi Dada!" or "Hi Mama!" He learns a couple of new words every week and he will be running his mouth before we know it.

Probably one of the cutest things that he has done happened when I mowed the yard for the first time this season. He has a toy lawn mower that makes sounds and Dena brought it outside while I was mowing the front yard. He watched me for a few minutes, then he started mowing on his own, in the drive-way though.

Helping daddy mow!

The next post will be mostly pictures a some video to show our little man in action...stay tuned!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Man's Best Friend!

Where to begin...

We had a good time camping, but that's not what I want to talk about right now. We came home from our family camping trip to disaster! Bitter, devastating, gut-wrenching, DISASTER!!!

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot

Dena and I had been dating for about 10 months when we decided to take a trip to the pet store in Commerce, TX to see what they had. There in the front of the store was a litter of rat terrier puppies. She gave that look and I knew that I wouldn't be able to say no. She wanted the one that was attacking the other puppies, she said that we don't want the ones who are just lying there, we want the active (hyper-active) one!

Bizkit's 1st picture, he was so tiny!
We took home a mostly black, rat terrier puppy who had a little, tan spot above each eye. My favorite band at the time was Limp Bizkit, so what did we name him...Bizkit! He lived with me in my apartment for the remainder of our college days. His favorite thing to do, besides escape the house and make us chase him, was to lay on top of the couch and bark at anyone who dared walk past my apartment. He pretty much went everywhere with us, especially in the beginning when he was small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. He spent a lot of time at my fraternity house and Dena's sorority house (even though he wasn't supposed to be there).

Dena & Bizkit during college

Me & Bizkit during college
It was just the three of us for about two years, then we decided that Bizkit needed someone to play with, so we got Grayvee, another rat terrier. Bizkit & Grayvee probably had the same father, but they couldn't be more different. Bizkit is mostly black while Grayvee is mostly white, Bizkit is hyper-active while Grayvee is laid back and calm, Bizkit gave aggressive, almost biting kisses while Grayvee gives sweet, gentle kisses, Bizkit is the overbearing older brother while Grayvee is the lovable, sweet younger brother.

The boys!
The boys were inside dogs for the first year of our marriage, as we lived in an apartment. They slept in our bed most nights and pretty much ran the house. When we moved back to Tom Bean, they started spending more time outside, but they still expected to be inside for bed! Their adventures outside got them into some trouble. One of them was almost always trying to find a way to escape the fenced-in yard. Grayvee got bit by a copperhead snake one night, but is no worse for the wear. Bizkit got hit by a motorcycle during one of his escape attempts and had an issue after ingesting some flea killer one night, but he was always back to normal after a couple of days.

Bizkit under the covers of the bed!
After moving to our new house we decided that they would spend the majority of their time outdoors. They did NOT like this! They did everything they could to get to come inside. They tore up window screens, they destroyed a doorway, they dug holes, etc. Finally, my dad and I built a fence around our back porch to keep them out and I installed an electric wire around the privacy fence to keep them from escaping. The fence around the back porch worked for about a week when they discovered that they could make it up and over. You see, these dogs can jump over 5 feet!

Bizkit with the broken window screens in the background

Bizkit in one of his favorite places, to top of the couch!
Dogs have given us their absolute all.  We are the center of their universe.  We are the focus of their love and faith and trust.  They serve us in return for scraps.  It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.  ~Roger Caras

Things really changed for Bizkit & Grayvee when we brought Tucker home! They had to get used to spending the majority of the time outside, no matter how much they protested. When they were inside, they were watched very closely to make sure that they didn't hurt Tucker. Grayvee is scared of Tucker and tries to stay as far away as possible. Bizkit wasn't scared of him and would make sure that Tucker stayed as far away as possible. Over the last year and a half, they have gotten used to each other and the dogs ignored Tucker most of the time. The only time they really cared was when Tucker was eating, because he was known to drop them a scrap or two.

That brings us to today, the second worst day in our lives! We came home from our camping trip, unloaded the camper and truck, bathed Tucker and put him down for a nap, and got ourselves cleaned up. Both of us recall hearing at least one of the dogs barking when we got home. I think that I heard both of them, but I can't be sure. After Tucker woke up from his nap, I went to let the dogs in. Grayvee was already at the back door, as usual, then I opened the gate to let in Bizkit...but he wasn't there. I called for him, but he didn't come. I went back into the house to get my shoes because I assumed that I would be chasing him, as he had probably escaped somehow. As I scanned the bottom of the fence for his escape route, something caught my eye, but no, it couldn't be! I screamed and ran back toward the house. As I opened the door, Dena met me and asked what was wrong. I told her and everything is a blur from there. I will spare you the details, but I will say that I wouldn't wish Bizkit's death on anyone. We have an above ground pool in our back yard that still has water in it and that is where we found him.

I removed him from the pool, Dena dried him off, and we held him for a long time. I called my parents and my mom took care of Tucker while my dad and I dug a grave. Our back yard has about 6 inches of dirt and it is pure rock after that, needless to say, it took us a while to dig that hole. Dena sat with Bizkit the whole time. Grayvee would sniff Bizkit then watch us digging, I'm not really sure he knows what to think.

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner

Bizkit loved toys, especially squeaky ones! He could "de-squeak" a toy in a matter of minutes. No matter how tough we thought a toy would be, Bizkit could surely destroy it in no time at all. Bizkit loved food! That dog would eat anything! Often times we would find him on the table after a meal, cleaning up any left-overs for us. Bizkit loved to run! He escaped so often because he liked to run and run and run. If we would let him run for a little bit, he would usually come back to the house on his own.

He loved toys, especially squeaky ones!

The boys running on a cold day.
It is done! He is gone! He is free to run, eat, and play with toys until his heart's desire is fulfilled.

I know that he lived a long, happy life for a dog. I know that he was getting older and that we probably didn't have a lot longer with him anyway. I know that he was just a pet. It just doesn't seem right. All these thoughts keep going through my head: Was he alive when we got home? If we had went out there when we first got home would he have lived? If I had emptied the pool this wouldn't have happened! If we had taken the dogs camping with us, this wouldn't have happened! Do pets go to heaven? Will we ever be able to have another dog? Is is wrong to feel this way about a dog, a pet??? How will Grayvee be without his buddy?

All we have now are our pictures and memories. Grayvee is sleeping now, but every time there is a sound he looks to the door like he is waiting on Bizkit to bark. Dena and I have cried until we can't cry anymore. It's like a bad dream and all I want to do is wake up and give him a kiss!

Always curious, time for an extreme close-up!
He always like sleeping on clean laundry!
He could sleep in some crazy positions!
Forever Buddies!
The last picture taken of Bizkit, week of March 14, 2011
I'm sure that life will go on! I'm sure that when the day-to-day goings on pick back up, the pain will subside and we will get back to normal. It just doesn't seem like that today. A little piece of our hearts went into that hole today and we will never get it back.

I leave you with this:
Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices.  This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain BIZKIT, a Dog.  ~George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog"

Bizkit Hamilton, 9/13/01 - 3/19/11
Good Boy! We love you Bizkit!!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break with Surgical Precision

Well, here we are, Spring Break, one of the joys of being a teacher!

The plan for this week was to relax a little bit and then spend several days camping at Lake Texoma...plans change!

Dena has been having chest and side/back pains for several weeks and after seeing the doctor, it was determined that she had gallstones. The only way to fix the gallstones is to remove the gallbladder. She met with a surgeon last week and they scheduled the surgery to remove it for today. This was not how we wanted to spend our Spring Break, but if it makes her feel better then it is worth it!

We checked in at Baylor Regional Hospital of Plano at noon today and her surgery was scheduled for 2:30 pm. The check-in process was not the most pleasant experience! Even though they called us yesterday to let  us know what to expect today, they failed to mention that we would be required to pay for at least 40% of the surgery today. When we checked in, they asked for the money and we were certainly surprised; no money, no surgery...THANK GOD for credit cards!!! I'm not sure when this type of expectation became standard practice for hospitals, but apparently it is very common, we just haven't dealt with anything like this before.

The surgery for removing a gallbladder is done laparoscopically. They don't make a large incision, they make several small ones and use a camera to see what is going on and small tools to perform the surgery. The procedure itself only took about 45 minutes. Dena did great through the surgery and everything went well. The doctor said that her gallbladder was basically useless because of the gallstones and that she would feel like a new person once she was recovered from the surgery. The hardest part of this procedure is dealing with all of the air that they pumped into her chest cavity to be able to use the laparoscope. Getting rid of the gases over the next week or so will cause some pain and discomfort, but she has dealt with it before and she will be fine.

While Dena was in the day surgery area waiting for surgery and while she was in surgery, I got to wrangle a stir-crazy 18 month old. We took toys and videos for the computer, but all he wanted to do was roam the halls. He didn't get a morning nap so he was very tired and this made things worse. Thankfully, there was a very nice man working in the waiting room and he found an empty consultation room with a couch where we could turn down the lights and let him nap. After about an hour of napping, he was ready to go again. He was actually pretty good, about as good as you could expect a toddler to be in that type of situation, but it is not something that I want to try again for a while! It was also helped by the fact that Dena's mother was there with me and then our pastor came too.

They started her surgery at about 3:30 and we were in the car leaving the hospital by 6:00. It is amazing that technology has advanced so much that Dena can have a part of an internal organ removed and go home from the hospital 3 hours later. She was nauseous and very tired after surgery, but she should feel better tomorrow. We made a couple of stops on the way home for some food and some pain medication. Bert and Barbara made a great salad for her and after dinner, she and Tucker were ready for bed. She will need to take it easy for several days, but should be ready for work next week. They actually said that the more she does this week, the easier it would be to get rid of the air in her chest and she would feel better faster.

So, as far as our camping plans go, we will see how she feels tomorrow and if she is up to it, we will head to the lake with the camper on Thursday. I think that she will be fine and she can relax at the lake like she can here. But if she isn't up to it, we will just spend some quality time here at the house.

The other BIG news that we have is that we have a team to participate in the 1st Annual HEART WALK in Corinth, TX! A national heart group, It's My Heart, is teaming up with Lake Dallas High School to put on the event. Our team, called Team HEART BUDZ, will be walking for Tucker and our buddy Ethan. We need people to walk with us and would love for you to join our team, you can do so by clicking here and selecting "Join Our Team"! The weather should be great and you are supporting a GREAT cause, so please come out and show your love for Tucker. If you can't come, but would still like to help, you can make a donation to our team by clicking here! Every dollar helps us reach our team goal of $500. Please honor Tucker by walking or donating and help us help other CHD families!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Plus 1!

For those of you who know my family, you probably wonder how much bigger we can actually get...well, it seems like we get bigger every day!

Aunt Dena with Beckett
Beckett relaxing
Uncle Trent and Beckett
I told you a few months ago that my brother and sister-in-law were expecting a baby boy. That addition to our family arrived this past Wednesday, March 2nd. Beckett Hayden Hamilton came to us last week, weighing in at 9 lbs. 12 oz with a length of 20 in. We are all very excited about Beck and we are happy that mom and baby are doing great. Beck is a big boy and he likes to eat! As excited as we are, I don't think that anyone's happiness can compare to the big sister, Maddie!!! Amelia and Beckett were discharged from the hospital today and they are all at home tonight...hopefully getting some rest.

Proud big sister, Maddie, and Beckett
The Hamilton Men!
Beckett is following in daddy's footsteps!
We can't wait to go see Beckett again, but we have to get our little man well first. Tucker was sick all day yesterday and we took him to the doctor today. In addition to an upper-respiratory infection, he is dealing with the flu. Needless to say, he is not a happy camper right now and we are ready for a stretch of health for our family! You can read more about the crazy, sick last month for us at

Finally, I want to share with you about a new family that we have been connected to through our friendship with Matt Hammitt. I was introduced, through email, to Alexis and Vince about a month ago. They are a very young, married couple who just found out that they are expecting a daughter, Scarlet, who has HLHS. Because they are young and newly married, this is especially hard for them. I have been in contact with Alexis over the last few weeks and have been trying to show them love and support like we received. They live in Las Vegas, so it is difficult to help a whole lot, but we are trying to be there for them and answer any questions that they have. Alexis went for a check-up with the cardiologist this week and she received some difficult news. The doctor told her that part of Scarlet's hard is not letting enough blood get to her lungs and that she may not survive until birth. I know that God performs miracles every day and I would appreciate if you would begin praying for a miracle in Scarlet's life. I also know, that God has a perfect plan for this family and that it may mean that Scarlet doesn't survive. Please also pray that God will look after and bless this young family, especially if they have to deal with loss.

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