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Linkin Dallin Hamilton

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S: Linkin Dallin Hamilton 2012/11/07 - 2013/03/26

FC: L | Linkin Dallin Hamilton 2012/11/07 - 2013/03/26

1: Linkin Dallin Hamilton | BORN 11.7.12 | WEIGHT 9 lb, 6 oz | LENGTH 21 inches | TIME 6:40 pm | {WELCOMED WITH LOVE} | . | . | .

2: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 So – I just have to write down how McKinley reacted when we told her the news. She came into our room at like 10pm last night. We told her she needed to back to bed, but before she left, I told her that we had something to tell her. I was laying down & her face was right by mine. I told her that I had been sick a lot lately, right? She said yes. And I said it was because I was pregnant & had a baby in my tummy. I truly wish I would have had a video camera. You should have seen her eyes get big & wide & a huge smile come over her face. She was just speechless. We told her if everything went well, she would have a new brother or sister by November. She was so excited. She clapped her hands together & was so happy. We told her she couldn’t tell anyone else yet, though, and that put a damper on things because she really wanted to tell everyone, but she finally headed to bed. We kept telling her to go to bed & she put both hands on her cheeks & said “it’s just that I am so excited!” So she came back in 3 MORE TIMES that night. I don’t think she got to bed until after 11. The next time she came in she said “Mom – but when the baby kicks will you let me feel it?” and the next time she came in, she said she had a “suggestion” about dad helping out with the kids in the morning so mom could get some rest because dad was grown up & he didn’t have a baby in his tummy. She even wrote in her journal because she was so excited & couldn’t tell anyone. (she wrote "I am too excited because my mom has a baby in her tummy"). Today, she was all whispers, trying to talk to me about the baby. Do you think it’s a boy or a girl? When will we know? When can I tell everybody? At lunchtime, when she was saying the prayer, she stopped & whispered “I’m just going to pray for the baby in my mind, OK?” She helped with the kids today & twice asked me if she could get anything for me. It was really sweet. Sunday, March 25, 2012 And - I don’t like FEELING like I’m going to throw up all the time either. I really don’t know which one is worse. With one, the slightest motion (even folding laundry!), smell (chicken), or sound (a cough or a burp) will make my weak stomach go even queasier. I feel like I’m on a never-ending boat rough boat ride. I’m just grouchy ALL the time. With the other, actually throwing up, it’s just SO violent. It seems so never-ending. The endless heaving. When you think you are done – oh no, there’s more, even though there’s not really more. And afterwards, my throat & head killing me from the effort. Oh. Both of them are really miserable. AND- I am so thankful to be pregnant. I can’t tell you right now that I’m thankful to feel like this, but I’m thankful that I don’t feel worse. I know lots of people do. And I can tell you that I’m thankful for my girls that help me out. And for my husband, who – even though he won’t be here this week – I know he loves me & supports me. And I’m thankful to be pregnant. I truly am. I have to admit that I haven’t completely vested in the fact that it’s real – even though I feel so awful. It’s just that after a miscarriage, you have a lot of doubts and I’m still only about 7 weeks along. Anything could happen. I’m thankful to be here, though. Truly, truly thankful.

3: May 13, 2012 To my new baby: Hello tiny one. It feels so strange to write to you. I’m not sure why. I have more fears with you, I think, and I worry that everything won’t be okay – especially after my miscarriage – so I’ve protected my heart and haven’t completely opened it up to you yet. I am sorry. I want to tell you, though, that when I saw you on the ultrasound at 9 weeks, I cried. I cried in the doctor’s office. And I REALLY cried when I got back out to the van. You were moving all around and that precious, beautiful heart of yours was beating strong. That’s when you started melting my heart :) You cannot imagine how excited we all are to have you coming. If it were up to me, I would fast-forward the next 6 months and just have you here. I think your sisters would do the same if they could. Ireland has been praying that you will come out already – even though we tell her that you wouldn’t survive. She can’t wait. Tonight when I tucked her in, she kissed me goodnight – and then she pried open my mouth with her fingers & yelled in my mouth “goodnight baby!!” It was so sweet and so funny. She LOVES babies. I will be 14 weeks tomorrow & I’m really starting to show. I made your daddy go dig out my maternity clothes yesterday because none of my pants fit me anymore. My belly is really starting to pop out & I love to rub it. I’m sure I’m just imagining it, but I swear I’ve felt you move already. It’s a strange feeling. I love it, though. Today is Mother’s Day. I felt so blessed today to be expecting you and adding to our family. We always knew we had someone else waiting – even if it took you longer than we would have chosen. Listening to the talks and the songs about motherhood made me feel closer to you. It’s such a difficult, but amazing thing to have the trust of our Heavenly Father and to know that my body houses a living human being. You have sure put me through the ringer, though :) It’s been a really rough last 3 months. I’m only just starting to feel somewhat human again. I did throw up in the temple on Saturday, though. That was a bit embarrassing, so thanks a lot! ;) We really aren’t sure if you’re a boy or a girl. Your dad wants a boy but thinks you’re probably a girl. He has this theory about maybe my body rejecting male embryos since I’ve had 2 miscarriages & 3 healthy girls. I don’t know – maybe he’s right. I would love a girl to complete our family & feel like at least I would somewhat know what I was doing. McKinley wants you to be a boy. Ireland wants you to be a girl. I’ve heard both from Kezi, so I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out in about a month. It’s always an exciting thing. I want you to know that I love you. I’m so thankful – TRULY thankful – to be pregnant with you & anticipate the day you join our family.

4: Blue! So - yesterday was the big ultrasound day & I wanted to document some thoughts/feelings I had. Things have been so busy with us getting ready to move (did you see that in our newsletter? we're moving... like... this week) that honestly the ultrasound came faster than I imagined. With the others (especially with Kezia), I was DYING to get to the ultrasound, so excited to know! With this one, we were all definitely excited - it's just there is a lot going on! Yesterday there was grocery shopping, McKinley had a birthday party to go to, etc, so honestly when the time rolled around to get to the hospital for the ultrasound, I was almost late! I had to call & remind Jason, too - he was so busy at work. McKinley didn't come because she was at the a fore mentioned birthday party, so it was Jason, me, Ireland & Kezia. Once we got there, it was so nice (except for the confounded full bladder they make you come with) & we were able to get in there pretty fast. Now... I'm going to back up here & just give you an idea of our thoughts before going into this. Jason wanted a boy, but honestly thought it was a girl. I was seriously hoping for a girl. There are 4 of us sisters in my family & I thought it would complete our family & besides - I'm kinda familiar with the girl scene & we had all the stuff for a girl. Plus, we watched an America's Funniest Home movies episode on Sunday where this kid - probably 3 years old - was so excited that he PEED in his EYE. I was just thinking - PLEASE let this be a girl! McKinley REALLY wanted it to be a boy. Ireland REALLY wanted it to be a girl (right before we left for the ultrasound, she said "it's a girl, mom cuz girls have girls and boys have boys. Well... we did discuss that a bit). Kezia vacillated between a boy and a girl and she's convinced she has a baby in her tummy, too. So - when he finally got around to showing us the gender, we were all speechless for a few moments. A... boy? Wha...? How....? I just felt like someone plucked me up from where I was & put me in some foreign land somewhere. Complete disorientation. I always referred to the baby as a "her" and "she" and was pinning all kinds of ruffly, fun things on Pinterest. It's now been 24 hours since the news & my brain is finally starting to acknowledge that there is a human of the male gender in my body. I even noticed a boy with such a cute little outfit today that I had some hope & happiness. We're starting to call him "little brother" and think of boy names. Something totally new!! Yes - Jason is really excited. Of course, he repeats that he would love the baby just as much if it were a girl, and I believe him, but I know that this is special and he is excited & looks forward to all the boy stuff ahead. I didn't post the "boy parts" picture, but let's just say that it was PRETTY obvious and VERY different than what we've seen in the past ;) We are feeling blessed. Lots of exciting changes in our family!!! | The Big ULTRASOUND! | From mommy's blog:

6: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 TO MY BABY BOY: I am truly sorry I haven’t written as much as I should to you, my baby boy. Here you are – always with me, and yet so many times I take you for granted and don’t talk to you as much as I should, or sing to you. It’s been fun to feel your movements. Your dad, your Aunt Cindy, and your sister McKinley have all felt you move quite a bit. Ireland just hasn’t been patient enough to put her hand on my tummy and wait for you. But I get to feel you off & on all day long. And it brings happiness to my heart. Like with all my pregnancies, I wish I could shine a light through my tummy & just sit & watch you. See what you look like. See how big you are and if you have any hair yet. We are 26 weeks now. Still feels like such a l o n g time until I get to hold you in my arms, even though I know it will come soon enough. My tummy certainly feels huge. I have a hard time bending down & doing much of anything. Your sisters are so excited for you. Hopefully you won’t get mothered to death by them. McKinley loves to give you hugs and kisses before she goes to bed at night and she loves to talk to you & she always wants to feel you move. I love hearing your heartbeat at Laurie Hansen’s office. It’s so beautiful. I wish I could listen to it all day long. Thank you for choosing to come to our family. Thank you for coming when you have. We are all so very excited & feeling blessed that you are coming into our family. Tuesday, September 11, 2012 TO MY BABY BOY: 2 more months to go!! I know that sounds really short to many people, but to me, it sounds soooooo far away. Not only are the last couple months the hardest in a lot of ways for me (extremely sore hips, carpal tunnel, lots of fatigue), you are so active and it’s hard for all of us to wait another 2 months to hold you in our arms. But I will try and be patient. I will try & enjoy the feeling of you moving in my tummy – even if it’s jabs and kicks to the ribs at 3am You seem to be most active in the afternoon & then again at about 10pm. Last Sunday we were up late with McKinley for her 7th birthday & were talking to her & she put her hand on my tummy & you just were going crazy – pop, pop! Somersault! McKinley was laughing so hard that she had tears streaming down her face. You certainly made her happy on her birthday son It is still strange to call you son. I’ve never had one before & I’m excited – and still very nervous about the whole boy thing. You must be patient with me because I know it’s going to be different – and I even sort of know how, but it’s all theoretical right now & the reality is going to be an interesting adventure People are asking about your name. I still like the name “Link.” Your dad likes “Lincoln.” And we are still kind of at a total loss for a middle name. He would like “Lewis”, but it’s already Daken & Uncle Jeff’s middle name – AND it’s not a name that combines both of our families’ names, like your sisters. We’ve tried to combine “Daniel” (my dad) and “Billy” (dad’s dad), but it hasn’t worked out so far. So I guess we’ll keep working on it & let you know I’m 31 weeks now, so my pregnancy app says that you are about 3.3 pounds. I wish I knew what you looked like. I will love you no matter what you look like. Always know that. I guess I just picture you just like your handsome daddy – dark hair. Light eyes. But like I said, you could have light hair & dark eyes or whatever combination & I would love you just the same. My tummy is certainly getting large. It’s very hard to bend down & pick things up. And it’s getting harder to find shirts that completely cover my tummy.

7: I know these last couple months won’t be easy for you, either. It’s cramped in there & it’s only going to get more cramped & crowded. But I pray that you may grow healthy. That you may feel the love and anticipation that we all have for getting to reunite with you & hold you in our arms. Thank you again for choosing to come to our family. We love you & talk about you already so very much! | Growing belly = Growing Love

8: "You're the song we were destined to know."

9: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 32 weeks I feel like I've been neglecting this pregnancy. With all the other girls, I was pretty good about writing to my unborn child every few weeks or so in my journal. I think I've written maybe 3 times with this one :( I also haven't taken hardly any pictures of my baby bump. On Sunday, I finally gave McKinley the camera & asked her to take a picture. So - I wanted to do a quick post about this baby. How am I feeling physically? I am going to be positive here & say pretty good most of the time. Sure, I am tired. Sure - my sciatic nerves bug me by the end of the day & I walk around like and old person. Sure - I go to bed looking WAY hot in 2 wrist braces for my carpal tunnal, Jason's old T-shirt, and nose strips so I can breathe. And sure - my hips ache at night and I toss & turn & have to get up to pee at least a couple times. Not to mention that my shirts and pants are already too tight and I have 2 more months to go... Wait a minute!! Where did my positive-ness go? Hmm - I guess I'll have to work on that ;) No - really I am blessed to have the opportunity to be pregnant. I am thankful that there are just a couple months left and that the heat of the summer is slowly going away. How do I feel about having a boy? It's growing on me (and IN me :). I have definitely gotten used to using "him" "his" "he", "brother", which I think is a good start. However, after I read certain articles about the adventures of boyhood, I start to feel panicky and wonder if I am really cut out to be the mother of a boy. Names? Sigh... wish we were one of those people that just knew from the start what this baby should be called & make our lives a whole lot easier. I am determined, however, NOT to be like we were with Kezia & wait until 3 days after the birth & realize we should really figure it out sometime. We are going for an "L" name because we have an H, I, J, K and an M in our family. I like the name Link Hamilton - because it Links our names together & he's a link to the generations. Jason likes Lincoln, but I feel like it's too common and Lincoln Hamilton sounds a bit to presidential to me. Yes, yes, we could name him Lincoln & call him Link, but it still would have a different meaning. The middle name is the real challenge, however, each of our girls have names that are a combination of family names from Jason's side & my side. If you can come up with a great way to combine the name "Daniel" (my dad) and "Billy" (his dad), you let me know, K? :-) Sibling opinions? They are all really excited. McKinley especially loves to feel my tummy when he's active. Just last night he was moving all around & she just laughed as he kicked, moved, and squirmed around in my belly. Ireland & Kezia haven't really been patient enough to feel him move too much, but they talk about him a lot. I'm excited for McKinley to be old enough to really be a helper and I'm excited for Ireland because she really LOVES babies, and I'm excited for Kezia to be a big sister, though I'm afraid she's going to have the hardest time because she's been the baby for almost 3 years & I'm sure it's going to be a bit of a transition for her. Feeling Ready? Not really. I have the crib and the mobile up - and the changing table/dresser. I have more blankets and gender neutral things than I realized that I did, but I still will need some more clothes & I need to find a cute boy nursery set and a boppy cover and a diaper bag. Also - need a new car seat. Of course I bought a gender-neutral car seat with McKinley & now it's expired & I need a new one. If I would have known, I would have bought a super-girly carseat to begin with! I also want to do the letters of his name once we can figure that out! Worries/Fears? Of course, I have the fear of every mother - that something will go wrong with the pregnancy or birth. That something will be wrong with his little body. I also don't know about how the delivery will go. I still haven't decided if I'm going natural. I may just get induced & get the epidural this time. Not sure how that's going to go. I also worry about after he comes - with my other babies, I haven't really dealt with school, so I could just turn on cartoons in the morning if I needed to sleep. I won't have that kind of luxury this year. I need to continue to get my girls up & going in the morning so they can catch the bus. Just praying that this little guy is a good sleeper!! | From mommy's blog:

10: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 TO MY BABY BOY: Last night I had a dream about you. You were moving around in my tummy & I looked down & put my hand on the top of my tummy & I could feel that it was your foot. I looked closer & could see & feel each of your tiny toes. Then it was like I could see through my tummy & I could see your whole body, including your beautiful face & eyes. I remember measuring your legs & saying how big you were & that you should be big enough to come out any time! I wanted SO BADLY to hold you. This morning I woke up, remembering that dream, and SO wanting to hold you. Sigh... still a month and a half left to go. Seems like so long, but I’m sure if you’re anything like your sisters, you’re content just to hangout in there for as long as possible. I’m excited to get your nursery all ready. To get your blankets folded and your clothes set out. To get those tiny diapers stacked and the binkis ready. McKinley did a paper in school with names of her classmates & how many syllables each name had. She included each member of our family – including you. Link – in the column of 1 syllable names. I t was so cute! I love you so much little one. I truly can’t wait to hold you in my arms & kiss your sweet face. Monday, October 15, 2012 TO MY BABY BOY: I’m sitting here this morning in the room that will be yours. I like to come here for my personal study in the morning. I turn on the lamp, pray to my Father, read the precious scriptures, and this morning I actually have time to write in this journal, too! I love to sit in this room & dream about when it won’t be so quiet & empty. When your laughs, squeals, cries, smiles, and movements will fill it and make it come alive. Yesterday, I spent a good amount of time going through baby clothes. I am really not used to seeing all these boy colors. I am used to pinks, purples, yellows, flowers, hearts, lace, etc. I’m not used to brown, green, blue, cars, trucks, and sports. It will be different, but I am getting so very excited for your arrival. My family had a baby shower for you while we were in Salt Lake. They were very generous. Grandma & Grandpa Potts got a new carseat for you. GG Tew made you a really cute, thick brown blanket with detachable cars & a diaper motorcycle. Aunt Cindy gave you LOTS of new clothes. Aunt Tiffany sent a great diaper bag. And Aunt Trisha made some cute onesies for you & some other cute clothes.

11: There is also a baby shower planned for a few days & I am excited for that. Your room is getting filled with blankets, clothes, and decorations. It will be all ready for you when the time comes. One of my favorite things is bringing home a baby to everything all set up and ready for your arrival. We are truly all looking forward to it. I am praying for patience & strength to get through the next month. I want so badly to hold you, but I know that this last month will do you good & I know it will do me good as well We all sure love you so very much. We’re so excited to meet you – to hold you – to kiss you – to love you. Sunday, October 28, 2012 I’ve had a couple dreams & thoughts rumbling around in my brain that I wanted to capture: The first dream was that I had the baby, but it was a girl & I asked Molly (Jackson) to take care of it for a while. We were on a dark ship or something. There were a lot of people & a lot going on. Finally, I found her & thought I should take her back & nurse her. I tried to get her to nurse, but she didn’t really like it & pulled back & milk went everywhere. Then, we were someplace else – hiking or something & she was like 17. She was in some cutoff denim shorts & was a teenager & I remember thinking – wait a minute! Where did my baby go? Why is she all grown up? I didn’t get to cuddle her & hold her & enjoy her babyhood or growing up years. I felt very frustrated & cheated. It wasn’t fair! Anyway, so last night we were up till after 1 ordering stuff for Christmas – which REALLY is something I am thankful for because to be pretty much done with Christmas shopping before this baby comes is a BIG deal for me. I would really LOVE that. But it did take a lot of time & of course I didn’t wake up on time to wake the family up on time & we were late to Sacrament meeting. We just missed taking the sacrament & I was really disappointed. I also was just plain tired & ornery & uncomfortable. So – when the closing song came, it was a surprise to me that the Spirit was able to reach me through that music & tell me what I needed to hear. It was Hymn #124 – Be Still My Soul: 1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side; With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In ev'ry change he faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Oh, how I needed that song today. I have been feeling so restless, so weary, so WANTING this pregnancy to be over. My energy is just depleted & I haven’t even been out walking till today for probably 2 weeks. So – this hymn just spoke peace to my Soul. It was my Heavenly Father saying “Be Still, Heidi. KNOW that I am Thy God & I know what I’m doing. Be patient. TRUST in me that I will provide for you and this new life. Be faithful. Even if this last bit is difficult and thorny, I will lead you to a joyful end.” It was a balm that healed my troubled soul & I was able to smile – even through the many comments of how large I was and how other people went early. TO MY BABY BOY: I ALMOST wrote Link. I think daddy & I have come to a preliminary agreement about your name. Right now it’s looking like Linkin Dallin or Dillon Hamilton. I need to talk to him some more & we need to pray about it. I do want it to be a name that is strong & you are proud of. If we named you Linkin, I will probably always just call you Link & I hope you’re okay with that. You still move so very much & it really seems like you are move active REALLY late at night. Last night daddy & I were up working on ordering Christmas gifts. I was 12:30 & you were still moving around like a crazy kid. I think you were having a party in my tummy. It does make sleeping difficult for me & I REALLY pray that you will catch on to the day/night thing quickly. It’s been 3 full years since I’ve had a baby in the house, so be patient as I try to remember how everything works & we find out a system that we both can live with. I admit I’ve been having a very hard time being patient lately. November 13th seems so very far away, even though I know 2 weeks isn’t long in the big picture. It’s just that I have your nursery all set up now & ready for you. I washed your clothes & put them away. We’ve got tiny diapers just waiting for you to fill them I will pray that you will have mercy on me & not take as long as your sisters have. I know you’ll be worth the wait either way. I love you so very much, my son. Our entire family is so excited for your arrival – Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – and especially your sisters, your dad & I. No matter what you look like, no matter how much you weigh, no matter your health, WE LOVE YOU. We’re praying for you. We are so very excited to meet you! Until then, be well & know that you are loved little one!

12: From the October 2012 Newsletter: HEIDI: Heidi could not be happier that October is done & is looking forward to having this baby in November! Everything is 10x harder to do with a huge belly, numb hands, aching hips & minimal sleep. She is thankful for the 2 baby showers that were given for her & the new little one. The wonderful gifts included a car seat, a nursery set, handmade blankets, adorable clothes, a diaper bag, diapers, wipes, and everything in-between. We are so blessed to have such giving, amazing family & friends! Heidi has worked this month to get the nursery ready, wash the clothes, get the hospital bag ready, etc. She’s feeling pretty ready to get this baby boy here!

15: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 – (NOVEMBER 7 - LINK’S ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD!! (and NICU) Wow. So very much can change in a week’s time. Our little Link is HERE!! with some complications. I’m going to copy/paste from my blog & elaborate: The Adventures of Link Hamilton The adventures of our 4th-born child, 1st son, Linkin Dallin Hamilton. I woke up a little after midnight (we just got to bed about 11) on November 7th (I was 39 weeks). Gosh, I sure seemed wet. I really doubted that my water had broken - it usually never breaks until RIGHT before the baby is born. However, while I knew that my bladder control had weakened since delivering 3 other babies, I didn't think it was quite that bad. I went to the bathroom & I called to Jason to come & then tried to stand up – that wasn’t a good idea. Lots of liquid! I yelled a couple more times & Jason finally came. I told him that maybe my water had broken. He got me some clean clothes & I walked around & GUSH, GUSH. It was streaming down my legs. Jason had to get towels. We talked things over. This was quite unexpected. It was about 12:30 when we called Diane. She didn’t answer, but then Adam called back & we told him we thought my water had broken & were wondering if Diane could come over. She was so sweet & drove over, but I drove over by myself just to make SURE this was what we thought it was (as if there was any doubt as I left a trail of water walking to labor & delivery). I arrived in L&D about 1:15am or so. Jason arrived about a half-hour later. And then... it was a L O N G night and following day. I was only a 1+ when I got there & they gave me 3 doses of cytotech over about an 12 hour period before I was dilated enough for pitocin. Those were LONG, tiring hours. I TRIED to get some sleep, but between the gushes of amniotic fluid and contractions that were just strong enough to be uncomfortable, I’m thinking I got 10 minutes of sleep tops. Finally about 6:30am, I called mom & let her know – and Jason called DeeAnn at about 7. I was so grateful for Diane getting the girls off to school. Apparently Kezia climbed into bed with her at about 6am & once she found out mom & dad were gone, she didn’t go back to sleep. So – the dilating went SO s l o w. I tried to sit up – I tried walking – I tried sitting on the ball – tried the hot packs for my chest - and sometimes the contractions were consistent. Sometimes not. Every few hours they would check me. Dilated to a 2, 2+, tight 3, etc. It took F O R E V E R. We talked. Texted. Watched some TV. Walked. Finally I was about dilated enough to start pitocin. It was about that time that Laurie Hansen finally decided to swing by. We got word that she wouldn’t be able to deliver me because that was her day for her root canals in St. George. She had mentioned that, but I didn’t realize it was that day. ANYway, when Laurie came & we decided to go to pitocin instead of using cytotech, she wanted to put in an internal monitor to check the contractions more accurately. Wow. OUCH. Every time they checked me it HURT (my cervix was still up high) – but this was 10x worse. OUCH. Thankfully she finished & left & I decided pretty quickly I was done with messing with the pain. I was exhausted. This was about 1-2pm & I had been up for over 28 hours. The guy came to do the epidural & it took a while to really do its job, but once my legs & feet felt numb, checking was SO much nicer & I was able to relax & they could do the pitocin. They had some concerns over the next few hours of pitocin because he kept having “variables or drops” – his oxygen would sometimes go down after my contractions & they didn’t like that, so they didn’t push the pitocin as hard, but it was coming up on 18 hours after my water was broken & there was greater risk for infection. So – the word “C-section” wasn’t really said out loud, but that was the indication. So – it still took a while with the pitocin to get dilated. By then my mom & DeeAnn were there. I was a little out of it, though. I think it was a combination of the epidural & the oxygen. I tried to sleep, but didn’t really sleep. I could hear everyone talking around me. I was a 7 at about 5pm or so. That’s when Laurie came back – YAY!! She didn’t really mess around when she got back. She checked me & I was almost an 8. She had me get on my hands & knees (which was really cool that I could do that with the epidural – but still not feel too much pain. In that position, I dilated to about a 9, but he was still not doing great with his heartrate, so they had me lie down. She had me do some pushes & then she said the baby was going to be there soon.

16: (Nov. 7th cont.) I had been on oxygen for about 4 hours at that point. It was pretty annoying to have that mask on while I was pushing, but I did. She got me on my back finally, which wasn’t very comfortable, but when she told me to push, I PUSHED! Everything went pretty fast after that & he came at 6:40PM! At the end, she had me reach down & touch his head while I just did mini-pushes. It was neat, but I was ready to get that kid out. I tried pushing harder, but she stopped me for a minute. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had the cord wrapped around his neck & she was moving it out of the way. I finally got his huge head out & then it took a huge push to get those shoulders through & then HE WAS HERE!!! I cried – I was SO extremely happy that he was here. When they handed me my baby, my first thoughts were “Oh – my baby boy is FINALLY HERE! And then – WOW he’s big! (9 lbs 6 oz!) And he’s purple!” I got to hold him for a while & kiss those huge cheeks. They took him after that & did some respiratory therapy with him while I pushed the placenta out, which (thankfully!) looked great & there wasn’t a whole lot of bleeding, thankfully. They wrapped him up, we took some pictures, and then I got to hold him & breastfeed him, which he immediately loved. He latched on right away & was so cute. They moved us to a different room & I can’t remember, but I think that’s when they told us there were some blood sugar issues. Seemed to be a pretty normal thing with larger babies. Diane said all her kids had low blood sugar issues, but got to go home in a couple days. I woke up to feed him at 1am and then at like 6am or so. The next morning we had breakfast & talked with our nurse. Dr. Poulson came in & said he had been working with a NICU doctor in St. George – was a bit concerned with his blood sugar continuing to drop & thought it was probably just annoying, but he might have to stay for a couple more days. Kind of a bummer, but I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. Jason & I had a wonderful lunch – he had a free voucher for a meal & we both got a good meal & enjoyed watching some TV. I was exhausted, but feeling pretty good physically. Diane came around 2 & we said she was our “sister” so she could come in the nursery. She brought me a PB shake – yum – and we visited. Adam came about a half-hour later & he & Jason gave Link a sweet blessing (that was the moment we decided to go ahead with Linkin Dallin Hamilton) – blessing him with health & strength.

18: L

19: Welcome to the world, our precious son/ grandson

21: We were just hanging out when the nursery nurse said the phone was for me & it was Dr. Polson. WOW. I had no idea what was coming. He basically said he was still working with Dr. Carroll & they both felt that his low blood sugar was enough concern to transfer him & an ambulance would be there in an hour and a half. They also said until my milk really came in, they didn’t want him to breastfeed & I would just have to pump. I hung up the phone in disbelief. Everything was kind of a blur after that. Rushed check-out, paper-signing, gathering our things, watching as the emergency crew surgically inserted a line through Link's umbilical cord stump and loaded him into the waiting ambulance. I was kind of a wreck. A long, draining labor, minimal sleep, and all the post-pregnancy hormones were definitely displaying themselves as sobs and prayers and tears.

22: We went home, ate dinner, gathered the girls’ things and headed to St. George. I can’t say how hard it was to go home like that. Gone was the idea that Jason & I would pull up to the house with “Big Sister” shirts and their adorable little brother in his car seat. I had to come home without my baby boy & without anything for the girls, but an emotional, sensitive mother. I was still trying to keep it together. The girls were asking questions & I’m sure they were a bit concerned. Mom followed us down to St. George & we drove right to the hospital & got here about 8:30pm or so. They let the girls come up & meet their brother for the first time. Unfortunately, it was through an isolette, but they were excited to see him. They set us up in a room here at the hospital (rm 475) – one floor above the NICU. Jason went with the girls & slept over at the Hamiltons. Mom stayed here with me. But she had nightmares I had to wake up to pump.. and they called at 5:45 to say that his sugar dropped to 30 & they had to up his glucose level to 15 again. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. I couldn’t stop the tears. I just wanted to at least breastfeed my baby. I felt so useless and sad. | {Meeting} BABY BROTHER

24: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 So - here we are - day 6 of Link's life, and day 5 in the St. George NICU. We definitely have settled into a routine now. We’re down in the NICU by 8am for his first feeding, then we hang out with our Link for a while until the doctors & nurses make their rounds – they usually reach us about 9:30am. They talk about his treatment plan. We ask questions. Then we come back to the room. I pump. The rest of the day is pumping or feeding or cuddling with Link or resting up here. At night, Keeley’s been feeding us dinner, bless her heart. It seems like it’s just been an endless cycle of feeding, pumping, elevators, having to use phones to get doors open, etc. etc. The hardest part of this whole thing for me has been that I haven't been able to breastfeed him. They are worried that he is using more energy (glucose) breastfeeding than he's getting from the breastfeeding. I'm hoping that will soon change. For now I'm pumping every 3 hours. Waking up to feed your sweet baby in the middle of the night can be hard, but waking up in the middle of the night to a machine pump is just downright depressing. Just yesterday they let me start feeding him on one side, though, so I’m PRAYING he will be good so I can keep doing this. So - do we know why his body is low in blood sugar? Well, Link is acting like a baby who's mother had gestational diabetes. I've been asked by numerous doctors if I was diagnosed & I tell them all no! My 28 week test came back totally fine. My weekly samples came back well in the normal range. In fact, I talked to Laurie last night & she went through all the signs & symptoms & it really didn’t fit. She said I could get tested if I wanted to. Honestly this is all kind of embarrassing & shameful to me. I know everyone keeps telling me that it’s not my fault, but what if it is? What if I had eaten so much better during my pregnancy & not eaten so much Halloween candy (I’m serious!) – would we not have to go through this ordeal? They are telling me I might still have diabetes – or I might later on in life. It’s just kind of made me defensive instead of being a wake-up call for me to clean up my act & REALLY start eating better. What they are telling me is that even if I didn't have gestational diabetes, it is probably a matter of genetics. We do have some family history of diabetes. And Jason has some on his side as well. So... the poor kid gets to deal with bad genes. The GOOD news, though, is this isn't something he should have to deal with in the long term. Once his body learns to maintain its blood sugar levels, he will be fine & it doesn't mean he'll have diabetes or anything. So - what's his treatment plan & timeline? Well, they are giving him glucose and hydrocortisone. They are trying to SLOWLY wean him off the glucose. I say slowly because every time they try and push the weaning, his blood sugar levels drop & they have to up the glucose levels again. He's shown us that he's not going to just let them crank down the glucose & he'll adjust. He really needs time for his pancreas to stop shooting out that insulin. So - they are slowly weaning him off the glucose. Then they will be weaning him of the hydrocortisone steriod. Then they need to make sure he's going to be stable for a couple of days. So - right NOW that translates to about another week here - if he cooperates 100%. He started his glucose levels at about 16 – now they’re down to 7, but he’s having a really tough time getting past 7. He keeps dropping his sugars below 60 & they have to maintain or not go down on his glucose. Which means more time to wean off. Which means more days here. I am P R A Y I N G we get to come home by Thanksgiving. Seriously. I would be EVER so thankful.

26: St. George NICU

27: It's been rough, but we have SO much to be thankful for. And in this season of thanksgiving, I want to count my many blessings & list them so I can remember how much I have to be grateful for! 1. I am SO thankful that my baby is HERE! There are not enough underlines, bold, italics, etc to express how grateful I am that my baby boy is here - on the earth, in my arms, and in our family. SO GRATEFUL! 2. I am so very, very thankful for my amazing, wonderful husband. For the 4th time, he was the force that grounded me in my labor. He was SO wonderful - multiple nurses and doctors marveled over how helpful he was & they kept saying they were going to hire him :) Not only has he seen me through the labor & delivery, but he has helped me work through it & keep it together through this whole NICU experience. There is a tiny baby girl in the room with Link & her mom is so sweet & is going through a divorce right now. I can't even imagine trying to go through something like this without your best friend & husband by your side. 3. Our family & friend support system is unbelievable! Friends that have watched our girls whenever we have needed it. My mom & his mom - coming to watch the girls and staying to help. Our amazing family here in St. George (Hamilton's) - feeding us, watching the girls, helping us in every way. Prayers to heaven offered by SO very many family & friends. Messages from so many people asking what they can do to help. I am overwhelmed by the love, support & sacrifice of so many people. 4. Both at the Cedar City Hospital & here in St. George... SO many wonderful, amazing nurses & doctors. Understanding, helpful, informative. They have been awesome. 5. So thankful for this boarding room - and for the INCREDIBLE view of the St. George Temple from our window. Talk about helping us keep an eternal vision: 6. Insurance. We're still going to have some hefty medical bills, I am sure, but I am SO thankful for health insurance. It might be tight, but we should be fine. 7. My girls. They are SO VERY excited to have their baby brother here. It's sad to have them only touch him through the isolette or hold him with all the wires, but they LOVE to kiss him & hold his hand and sing him songs. Can't wait to get him home & let them really get to love on him. 7. The weather. Still wish I was in Cedar, but I have to admit the weather here in St. George has been chilly, but just about right for me! 8. Gospel perspective. I've had a few reminders lately through song or scripture that have reminded me that I chose to come here to have trials and see if I will choose faith instead of fear & doubt. I still have a way to go, but I am going to choose to trust in God & His will for us. So - keep the prayers coming. We are certainly playing it by prayer. And waiting for the day we will have our "wireless Link" ;) | GRATITUDE

32: Sweet Dreams

33: K | Our Sleeping | Babies smile in their sleep because they're listening to the whispering of angels

35: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 That was a long blog post – and I added quite a bit from what I posted for the world, but hopefully it will be nice to read in the coming years. We’re still here in the hospital. Here are some updates: -They are still letting me breastfeed him on one side. It’s going pretty well. I just have to figure out how to balance this with my milk coming in – and the fact that they are letting him eat when he wants to now, instead of having him on a schedule. I think it’s totally fine if he wants to eat at 2 hours instead of 3, but waiting 3.5+ hours is really hard on me. Like right now, my breasts are SO full and painful. I’m just waiting for their call so I can jump down there & feed him & not be so miserable. I also have to decide if I’m going to pump after I feed him. Last time I didn’t & that’s another reason I’m in pain, but I’m also hoping the milk with be more abundant & richer if I wait – but then I won’t have quite the supply in their fridge, either, so I’m trying to figure it out. -Last night – about 5 pm or so – they tested his levels & they were HIGH – almost 200! They switched out his glucose just to make sure it wasn’t that, but I was REALLY hoping it just meant that he was really GETTING IT & his pancreas got the message & he’d be fine, but the next reading was 60 (and HOUR later) and the next was 45. Sigh he was back up to a level of 6 this morning. They decided to only wean him a half instead of a full measurement of glucose every other feeding. At that rate, if he completely cooperates (ha ha.), it would take another 3 days. I just worry about him. He LOOKS so healthy & fine. If I had him at home right now, I would have no idea that his blood sugar was low. His color is good. He’s eating & sleeping like a regular newborn. I just hope when he finally comes home, he will be OK! PRAYING. I DO NOT want to come back here!! -He’s in his own room now. They moved us to the room next door. It’s kind of nice having our own space, but we miss his girlfriend Lindsay. -I had a dream right before I woke up this morning. We were all at some big party thing & then we went into this house. Mom or someone turned on some water so Link could get a bath. It filled up the whole house. It started to cover Link & so I went to pick him up – I remember thinking it wasn’t a big deal – but he swallowed some water & when I went to hold him, he couldn’t breathe & he arched his back & then went limp as a rag doll. I kept trying to pat his back & get him to breathe, but he just wouldn’t. I remember yelling for help & then SCREAMING! I think I might have woken up screaming. It was so scary. -Jason is in Cedar now. He’s there so my parents can go home & to be there for the girls until DeeAnn gets there tomorrow sometime. I am thankful he’s there for the girls. They are happy to see him. I miss him here, though. It’s pretty lonely. I really feel like my life is just endless feeding, pumping, eating & sleeping. I really SHOULD spend this alone time to really connect with God & try to read some more scriptures & conference talks. Heaven knows I could use the inspiration right now. -I just fed Link. Can’t believe how much harder it is without Jason there helping me. Man – what am I going to do when I get home & I won’t only NOT have Jason’s help, but I’ll also have 3 other little girls needing me? Sigh I really should enjoy this time while I can. It was just difficult because I breastfed him, then burped him, then fed him, then he pooped & I could just really use some extra hands at that point. I wish I could give him a bath, too. -Uncle Terry just stopped by to see us. Link was wide awake the whole time even though I just fed him. I was kind of worried about awkwardness, but it was fine & Terry had lots to talk about. His daughter Shannan is almost 42, but is pregnant with her first baby – halfway through her pregnancy. I think he’s excited about having a baby to hold again. He left & Link was still wide awake & kind of fussy. I hope that doesn’t mean his glucose levels will be way down because he’s been so active. I hated leaving him there – wide awake & kind of fussy, but I HAD to come back up here & pump. I filled 2 of those orange containers. -I want to go for a walk outside, but I also want to take a rest. Didn’t get to sleep till 12:30 last night. Pumped at 3:30. Fed Link at 6:30. Tired

39: "The love a parent has for a child, there's nothing else like it. No other love so consuming.” Cassandra Clare,

40: Thursday, November 15, 2012 A full week here in the NICU. Everything is such a blur to me right now. I don’t know if it’s the noises in the hall or just not my bed or waking up to pump, but even though I’m not waking up at night with him, I still feel exhausted in the mornings. Last night his sugars dropped to 38. So – he’s back up to a 6 again. I feel like we’ve been stuck here for 3 days. Hardly any progression at all. It makes me want to really cry, thinking we really truly might be here into next week & into Thanksgiving. I am TRYING to keep an eternal vision. I know even 2 MONTHS in the NICU is a short time in the eternal scheme of things, but right now I still just want to cry. Isn’t it kind of ironic that so very much in my life all I want is some peace & quiet – some time to spend by myself – reading a book, writing, connecting with God – and here I have it and all I want to do is be home. Jason is home. Home with the girls. Home in our bed. Sigh That is not right I know. I should be thankful (and I am) to be here with my son. That I can feed him, cuddle with him, love him. I was thinking to myself today “If I could choose, would I rather still be pregnant or have been here for a week?” Wow. That was a tough one to answer for me. I think I would still say I would rather be here than still pregnant. Crazy, right? And completely selfish. $5000 later. Yikes. I’d better not tell Jason that. But honestly, I think if I were still pregnant, we’d still have to go through this ordeal – and maybe even longer since he would be exposed to my sugars even longer in the womb. Sorry – it’s terrible – but being NOT pregnant is still such a joy to me. I can bend down! I can sleep on my back OR my tummy (even though my chest still makes that difficult). I can breathe! I can wear clothes! My face is so much less puffy. I can walk without waddling & without the shooting pains I get by the end of the day. My carpal tunnel remains, but is SO much better. I can even sleep at night without them. So – yes – it’s selfish to say I’d rather be not pregnant even if it means going through this, but it really is SUCH a blessing to be not pregnant. Wow. That was a rant. I am emotional right now. I just want to take my baby home. My poor baby whose heels are pricked to death. He’s been so patient through all this, but he doesn’t deserve it. He deserves to be home with his sisters & his mom & dad. I love him so very much. I HATE it when they make him cry. I HATE all those cords. I HATE all the beeps and the checking and the measuring and the documenting. He looks so healthy. If I just yanked all the cords & took him home, no one would know he wasn’t healthy. Sorry this isn’t really helping me, is it? I need to take a deep breath & focus on my Savior. Remembering the story of Peter walking on the water & the minute he gave into his fear, he went down. I need to focus on my Savior to stay on top of the water & get through this. He knows how I’m feeling. He watches over my son. I really need to trust in Him and stop worrying so much. Sunday, November 18, 2012 I just got up from being on my knees for a while. It’s so hard having Jason gone, but it really gives me some time alone with my thoughts and prayers & I know it’s good for me – even though it’s so difficult. Jason & Jeff just gave Link a blessing. Jason is such a good, good man. I truly don’t deserve him. He’s been fasting all day & isn’t going to eat until tomorrow. I know he wants our little man to get better as much as I do. He said that God had many wonderful things in store for Link. And he did command his body to be made whole – dependant on our faith in Christ. That’s part of the reason I really needed to get on my knees tonight – and it’s something that’s been in my thoughts. Do I HAVE the faith for my son to be healed? I would like to think I do but do I? Oh how badly I want to take him home. How badly I want to have him in my arms without all the wires. But do I have the faith? I prayed for more faith tonight. I prayed that God would take my small faith & enlarge it to what it should be. Enough to make a miracle for my sweet boy. The thing is that I KNOW that He can work miracles. I KNOW that. I have had miracles in my life. But none that have meant more to me than this. Truly. What would I give to have him healed & better? What sacrifices would I make for him? Oh I would do so very much. I prayed that I would be a better mother. I will!

41: I keep wondering what the Lord is trying to teach me in this. Maybe this is dragging on & on because I haven’t learned the lessons I need to learn here. At the beginning, I read the story of Alma & Amulek & how they were delivered from their trial because they were joyous through it. At first they were just humble & obedient, but they learned how to even find joy in the midst of their affliction. I just wish I knew the secret to it. Sometimes I think it’s just impossible. Then I think of my friend Gayla and how at church she would give me a genuine smile. Even though at home, her husband was dying from a brain tumor. She found joy. And she spread it around. HOW??? How was it possible. How did she do it? Whenever I get news that Link’s blood sugars have dipped, I just automatically go into fear & doubt mode – even discouragement. Friday morning at 6am, I went into feed Link & his sugars had been really low – into the 30s. I came back to the room & just cried. I would not get out of bed for the rounds. I had Jason go instead. I just laid there & cried. How can I change so that my mood doesn’t take a dive every time his blood sugars do? Or – even rise when they rise? How can I learn to dance in the rain? To have His perfect peace even when Dr. Carroll tells me that if this Diazoxide doesn’t work, they are talking about sending my baby to Philadelphia? How can I find peace in that?? I’ve prayed for help in this. Prayed for the peace and faith and love that I need to get through this – no matter how long it drags out. DeeAnn brought the girls down on Saturday. Oh I was so glad to see them. That morning she wasn’t sure that they were going to come down because Ireland had thrown up & Kezi still had a cough. That was part of my tears. It had been a week since I’d last seen them. I couldn’t wait anymore. It was fun to go to the Jubilee of Trees with them – and just hang out with them at Keeley’s house. Tonight we went to the St. George Temple Visitor Center. Oh, I had a hard time keeping my tears in check as they talked about families & played a clip for the Christus with Jesus Christ’s voice. I just need His peace so very much. And I want my baby so very much. Hearing these babies cry in the rooms next to ours. Watching as parents load their new babies into their cars & drive off with them it’s hard. It’s hard to see my baby every day & think how perfect he looks & think WHY can’t I just take him home?? I know these are normal frustrations, but somehow I need to find a way to make it through the hard stuff without giving in to the despair. I think one thing I heard today is going to help, though. Maybe it will really help to move me to peace & happiness & being able to smile – even when the nurse tells me his sugars are 30 or 40. And I think it’s counting my blessings. Not just randomly, but EVERY day – and multiple times a day – to remind me that EVEN amidst this trial, God is showing me his love – if I will L O O K. So – I need to do this morning & night – 10 things. So – since it’s the night, I will think of 20 things: 1. I am SO thankful for the generosity of the Hamiltons. Don’t know what I’d do without them. They’ve watched our girls, fed us, came to visit. Just been so amazing & giving. Love Keeley. And Jeff. 2. I’m so thankful I was able to attend church today & partake of the sacrament. Great reminders about being grateful – and remembering my covenant to ALWAYS remember my Savior. And even though every time we go anywhere, I feel that painful hole where Link should be with us, going to church today with the girls just gave me so much comfort – a feel of familiarity & normalcy with my girls that I really loved. 3. Going to the Visitor Center with the girls was awesome as well . The missionaries were so sweet. The messages were so good for me to hear & read. 4. When Jason & I drove out to feed Link, the sky was so beautiful. I wish I would have taken a picture. Pink clouds. Beautiful sunset. 5. I am so thankful for Jason & Jeff being able to give Link a blessing. Even though I’m not one to ask a lot, it really means a lot to me & I really did feel the Spirit when Jason was speaking. And I know he’d been fasting all day & had the Spirit with him. 6. I am thankful for the good doctors & nurses working with Link. The one tonight was so cute when McKinley came in with me – talking with her about school & how many teeth she’d lost, etc. I am thankful that I feel safe leaving him when I can’t be there. 7. I’m thankful that I got to cuddle with Kezia today. We came home after Sacrament meeting. She has had a runny nose & cough, so we left early. It was so nice to read a book with her & cuddle. Just another thing that added to the normalcy.

42: Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain. | Life in the NICU

44: November 18, 2012 (cont). 8. I am so grateful that Link is doing well besides his blood sugars. There are so many other things that could have gone wrong – so many babies in there with multiple problems & literally fighting for their life. 9. I’m thankful that my phone just rang & I was literally thinking in my head “please be Jason, please be Jason.” – and you know what? It WAS Jason. That is a love note for sure. They made it back safely & the girls are in bed. Peace of mind for sure. 10. I’m thankful that we’re in St. George in November & not the middle of summer. Ug. HOT. 11. I’m grateful for good pumps. As much as I despise that I’m having to pump so much, a good pump is my best friend when I am so full & engorged & uncomfortable. It really does make life livable again. Seriously. 12. I’m so thankful that I can wear clothes now. I mean, not my REGULAR clothes, but all my maternity clothes actually fit without being SO crazy-tight on me. I mean, I couldn’t wear most of my maternity shirts anymore. My belly was just so huge. Now, I can slip into something & have it be comfortable all day long. Love that. 13. I’m thankful the girls have cousins they love down here. It is just so nice that they can feel comfortable & happy over at the Hamiltons – even when we can’t be there. 1problems & literally fighting for their life. 9. I’m thankful that my phone just rang & I was literally thinking in my head “please be Jason, please be Jason.” – and you know what? It WAS Jason. That is a love note for sure. They made it back safely & the girls are in bed. Peace of mind for sure. 10. I’m thankful that we’re in St. George in November & not the middle of summer. Ug. HOT. 11. I’m grateful for good pumps. As much as I despise that I’m having to pump so much, a good pump is my best friend when I am so full & engorged & uncomfortable. It really does make life livable again. Seriously. 12. I’m so thankful that I can wear clothes now. I mean, not my REGULAR clothes, but all my maternity clothes actually fit without being SO crazy-tight on me. I mean, I couldn’t wear most of my maternity shirts anymore. My belly was just so huge. Now, I can slip into something & have it be comfortable all day long. Love that. 13. I’m thankful the girls have cousins they love down here. It is just so nice that they can feel comfortable & happy over at the Hamiltons – even when we can’t be there. 14. Just BARELY, 2 people just asked me on Facebook how we’re doing- Shannan Hoffman & Lena. I know so many people have been praying & even fasting for our baby today. I really am feeling that love. I am SO thankful for them. So thankful for their thoughts & prayers. 15. So thankful for prayer. That I can kneel down & pour out my heart – tell my Heavenly Father all of my fears, concerns, and pleadings. That I KNOW He is there & listens. I’m so thankful for that. 16. I’m grateful for the songs we sang in church today: Prayer of Thanksgiving Song – Hymn #93. Here’s some lines that stuck out to me: 1. We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; (so many people are praying for our family – and a blessing for Link) He chastens, and hastens his will to make known; (I need to accept HIS will, not mine) Sing praises to his name; He forgets not his own. (I almost broke down on this line. He hasn’t forgotten me – or my precious baby boy. He loves us so very much) So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, wast at our side; All glory be thine! (He IS on my side & wants what’s BEST for me and my family) And – Count Your Many Blessings Hymn #241 1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, (this has been me so much lately) Count your many blessings; name them one by one, (I’m going to!) And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. (it already has!) Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. (Is this the answer to my question of HOW to be at peace – even amidst the turmoil. And not only at peace – but finding JOY?- I’ve GOT to try it) So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all.(He IS over all! I know that & what a great reminder. He’s in charge & He knows what’s best!)

45: Count your many blessings; angels will attend, (I TRULY believe angels have been watching over my boy. He looks around & I am positive he sees angels) Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. ( I don’t know when this journey will end, but I do need Help & Comfort & it needs to come from the One who knows exactly what I’m going through & my son is going through – my Savior) 17. I have a really good milk supply. My friend was asking on facebook about increasing her milk supply. Even though it’s painful a lot, I am REALLY thankful I can provide this much milk for my son. Oh, so very thankful. 18. So – I sent Gayla a message asking her the secret to finding happiness even when going through a horrible trial. She just started sending a message back & was so sweet & addressed so many of my concerns already & she’s going to send more. She is just the sweetest person & I am SO thankful to know her. 19. If it weren’t for this trial, I would not be so thankful for family – to be with my girls. In taking for granted getting to take my baby home the day or 2 after I deliver. I am going to be SO very much more thankful when I will get to take him home. 20. My body. It’s doing pretty well. It delivered a 9 lb, 6 oz baby & it’s doing really well. I can walk longer now. I can do so much with my body. It is a miracle and I am so thankful for it. Monday, November 19, 2012 1. I’m so thankful for my mom’s birthday today. Wish we could have done something – I feel bad, but I am SO very thankful for her. She was so sweet. Just crying & telling me that all she wanted for her birthday was for Link to get better. 2. I’m so thankful that they got the PICC line into Link safely. Even though it was hard on him & they had to sedate him twice – and even though they had to draw like 8 vials of blood – that part is DONE. So thankful they got the UVC out & were able to get the PICC line in. 3. I’m thankful that I got the blog update done – and that I was able to link to Facebook. 4. 9 comments on the blog. 25 comments on Facebook & numerous texts & phone calls from family & friends. Also – Terry & Connie stopped by today & Keeley, too. DeeAnn, Dave, Deb & Larry are planning to stop by tomorrow. Elise, Jen, Diane, and the bishop stopped by the house to see how we were doing. SO, SO very many prayers being said on Link’s behalf today. How can I deny that that is a love note from God? 5. Gayla’s response to my message was so wonderful. She was so sweet & understanding. She has so much wisdom & love. I could feel my Savior’s love through her response. 6. Dr. Carroll. I’m just so thankful that he cares enough about Link to really do all he can to figure this out. I also believe he uses his faith as well as his knowledge to help us. I am so thankful for him. 7. I’m so thankful for my husband. Seriously. He didn’t get hardly any work done because he was taking Kezi to the doctors, answering the door, going to the hospital to have his blood drawn. Dealing with 3 children and a house to take care of. I am SO very thankful for him. He is a giant love note from God. 8. My girls are also just love notes to me. When I hear their sweet voices on the other end of the phone, my heart just melts. When I hear Ireland praying for Link and praying for mommy – and praying again and again when I hear their I LOVE YOU MOMMYs! Talk about love. I am so very thankful for each one of my children. 9. I’m so thankful for my baby boy. I’m thankful for his patience in all of this. He’s still so mellow and good. I love his ring of dark hair. I love his beautiful eyes (they are looking more blue every day). I love his silly smiles. I love those kissable cheeks. I love how he can be fussy and I can start singing to him & he will calm right down and look right at me. I cannot say how grateful I am for him. He shows me such unconditional love every day. 10. Every day I am amazed at Keeley’s generosity. She even picked me up & brought me back today. Not like she doesn’t have a family to feed, a home to clean AND a full-time job. And she just KNOWS – sending snacks with me. Making sure I’m taken care of in every way. She is amazing. I am SO thankful for her. 11. I REALLY did feel the Savior carrying me today. There was so much going on. So many things that could have sent me over the edge in despair, but I really felt like I was watched out for – even with the very real possibility of Philly in front of me – and Dr. Carroll even having the discharge nurse start things rolling for a transfer. Even with all this I could still smile & laugh today. I found some joy in the journey today & I AM SO THANKFUL for that.

46: Monday, November 19, 2012 Update on Link Life can just be hard sometimes. And sometimes (many times) our expectations don't match reality. I expected to have a perfectly healthy little boy. I expected to be able to take him home in his new car seat within a couple days of his birth. I expected to let his big sisters smother him with hugs and kisses - help with burping, baths & binkis. My expectations certainly didn't include being in the NICU - let alone for 12 days now. But, of course, no one really expects that. Link's doctor says he's "that kid" - you know - the one that keeps him up at night, researching... trying to figure out what the deal is. For a while, he was doing great with weaning off the glucose, but at 25% concentration, 6 ml/hr Dextrose (sugar water - glucose), Link has stalled. Every time they try to go below that level, his blood sugar readings drop. They want his blood sugar readings to be above 55, but they keep dipping into the 40's & 30's. They've tried upping the hydrocortisone. They've tried upping the food - they have his feeding tube at 25 ml/hour + as much breastfeeding & bottlefeeding as he'll take. And just yesterday they started a new medicine - Diazoxide. It is supposed to block the insulin. They started the dose at 5 - today they are maxing it out at 15. It will take till Friday to really see if this medicine is going to work. And we are all P R A Y I N G it will work. Because if it doesn't... (d e e p breath, cringe)... they are setting things up for a transfer to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This Children's hospital is where all the research & experts on hyperinsulinism are located. From their website: An additional cause of hypoglycemia in children includes a condition called hyperinsulinism. This may occur as a result of abnormal cell development of the special "beta" cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin or from a mass in the pancreas. Some children are also born with errors in their metabolism that can lead to hypoglycemia. Today they are taking out his UVC (the IV through his belly button) and putting in a PICC line - and the people at CHOP recommended some labs that would help rule out some rare genetic disorders. One of the labs is a very specific genetic test where they are drawing blood from me, Jason & Link. That lab alone is $8,000 (did I mention how grateful I am for insurance?) Jason & I are holding up pretty good. He is my rock & my anchor. What a wonderful daddy & spouse he is. He is watching the girls for today & tomorrow & then they'll come back down to St. George (they were here last weekend as well) so we can be a family for Thanksgiving. Prayers on Link's behalf are very much appreciated. We have felt them. We know that we are loved & being watched over. I truly believe Link sees some very special angels watching over him that we cannot see. I will try to update this blog again when we know more. Thanks again for all the support & prayers. | From mommy's blog:

48: Thanksgiving | 2013

49: Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen. Alma 26:37

50: Our FAMILY is a circle of strength and love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.

52: Dr. Carroll | Miquelle

54: Monday, November 26, 2012 Philadelphia I have thought about how to start this post & I'm not sure even where to begin. It's been a pretty amazing, intense, crazy past couple of days. My heart has been going through such a range of emotions: Frustration that the nurses & doctors have to keep pricking & poking my little boy. You should see his poor little heels. I think about that initial PKU test & how hard that is to watch your baby go through. Think about doing that every 3 hours. BUT ALSO...Gratitude for those same doctors & nurses. They truly care for him - they have the knowledge, the technology, and the concern that helps them care for my baby. The Life Flight plane we took from St. George to Philly Discouragement that we had to make this trip to Philadelphia. I mean, really, Philadelphia...what in the world!!?? BUT ALSO... so thankful that we made it here safely. We left at 3am this morning. Jason got to sit in the copilot chair. We made a couple fuel stops. Link was fussy for a little bit, but great for most of the time - he slept a lot. I slept a little, too. The Life Flight nurses were awesome. We really had no hitches & the weather was beautiful. SO thankful that Jason & I got to fly together. In the beginning they said only one parent could fly with him, so I was so thankful that we both could fly together & be together. We got here at 4pm Philly time. It's been a whirlwind learning protocol, meeting doctors & nurses, etc. But SO grateful that we're here & he can get the help he needs to get better & COME HOME. Disappointment that we weren't able to get into the Ronald McDonald House today. BUT ALSO... so grateful that they are letting us stay in a boarding room here & we get to sleep in the same BED! Yay! Extreme hurt and pain having to say goodbye to my girls yesterday. There were times I thought I wouldn't be able to breathe when I thought about not being able to see my girls for a month or more. I can't tell you how difficult it was to give them that last hug - smell their hair - kiss their cheeks. I love & miss them SO much already. BUT ALSO... full of gratitude for my family in Salt Lake who are caring for my beautiful girls. I know they are in good hands and I'm just so thankful that our family did not even miss a beat & stepped in right away to support us in our time of need. Jason's family has been so amazing as well & I truly don't feel worthy of these awesome people. So sad that we are here - not knowing anyone. In this huge city. BUT ALSO - grateful to all the family to came to see us before we left. Link has had so many wonderful visitors. Both grandmas. Both grandpas. Jason's Aunt & Uncle & their spouses. My sister. Jason's brother & sis-in-law. So many wonderful people to see our beautiful boy. | From mommy's blog:

55: Depressed that we are here at this time of year. Honestly... I can't even THINK about it being Christmastime or I start to get teary-eyed. How can I face the holidays when our family is separated? How can I listen to Christmas music without being able to dance with my girls? How can I enjoy all the lights & decorations when ours are going to sit in boxes this year? BUT ALSO - thankful for my Savior, who this season is really all about. Through Him, I can do all things. Because He was born, I can have eternal hope. Sad that we are the "needy family." I want to be the family that gets to GIVE, not receive. BUT ALSO - so very, very humbled in appreciation for those that have supported us through this ordeal adventure. The Facebook messages, texts, e-mails, calls, prayers, gifts, words of comfort... I cannot tell you how overwhelmingly amazing it is to know of & feel everyone's love & support. We are SO VERY blessed to have these people in our lives. Heartbreaking to watch my son go through this. Sometimes it's just so hard to think that he is not just a regular, healthy newborn. He looks so good. You would never know he has low blood sugar issues. The heel pricks, the vials of blood taken for tests, the IV lines in his umbilical cord, his arm, his head. Wires & cords all over him. The endless noises & beeps. Sometimes I have to refrain from just ripping everything off of him & making a break for the door. BUT ALSO so thankful for him in our lives. So thankful that so far he has been so good & mellow & sweet. He's let them prick him & do all these things to him with minimal fuss. He's so adorable. I LOVE kissing those cheeks. I LOVE watching him come into awareness more every day - he loves looking at mom & dad. He loves looking out the window. He loves hearing us sing to him. I love him so very much & so thankful that his issues are still so minor compared to so many. I am so very thankful for him in our lives. Can we say EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER? We'll know more tomorrow, but we talked briefly with a couple of the endocrinologists tonight. They are going to keep things as they are tonight - try & keep him stable - and then probably run some more tests. They are still waiting for the results of the genetic test I mentioned in my last post. They said that will tell them more about what they are dealing with. If Link has issues with his pancreas, they would be either focal or diffuse. Focal (a recessive gene from one of us) would be a smaller portion of the pancreas that is producing too much insulin - and they would just be able to remove that smaller portion & he should be fine. If it's diffuse (a recessive gene from both of us), he might have to have most or the entire pancreas removed & most of the kids who have to have their pancreas removed will later have diabetes as a result of not having enough insulin. If he needs surgery, they are talking 4-6 weeks of being here. So - that's what we know right now. I'm sure this week we'll be learning more about hyperinsulinism, hypoglycemia, and how things work at CHOP, including meeting all the doctors & nurses working with Link. Everyone has been so amazing - asking what they can do to help. At this point, I think we mostly just need prayers. Please pray for Link's doctors & nurses - that they will be able to help him, comfort him, and understand his health problems. Please pray for Link - that he can continue to be mellow and understanding and that his body may heal. Please pray for Jason & I - that we will have the mental, emotional & spiritual strength to get through this & learn what we are supposed to learn through this trial. Please pray for those amazing family members watching over our sweet girls who are missing their mommy, daddy & brother. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all your support.

56: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 I really need to start the gratitude journal up again. I feel like I’m sinking right now. We’re here in Philadelphia. I feel like we’re a million miles away from my girls. Trisha just called & Kezia is having a hard time. She got on the phone, crying & I could not help but break down, too. I can’t comfort her when I’m just crying, too. I had to give the phone to Jason to talk to her. He did a great job while I just sobbed. It’s only been a couple days & I miss them so much. Also – Tiff just said that her stepdad worked for Delta forever & the buddy passes that we’re getting from Uncle Terry are going to be a slim chance for Christmas. We kind of knew that, but she really thinks we won’t be able to get home & they are trying to pull together money to buy tickets for us. Which is so sweet, but they are like $900 each. Yikes. It makes me so sad. I need to be there for my girls at Christmas. My heart breaks that we are apart right now. And the other thing bugging me is they are changing Link’s PICC line again. It was not in the right place, so they have to re-do it and hurt my baby boy again. Also – we weren’t able to get into the Ronald McDonald house again, so we are here. Hopefully we’ll get a sleep room. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll have to go to a hotel. I just don’t know. It’s rainy, cold, miserable here. I overhear people talking about being here for months & months & I can’t stop the fear from creeping into my throat. Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Link is 3 weeks old today. It’s all been such a blur. I need to FORCE myself to enjoy the journey or else I will wake up one day after we get home & realize that my baby is 2 or more months old & I will have missed these precious moments with him. The one thing that really breaks my heart, though, is that I am working to really enjoy every moment & not just wait till the journey’s end, but his sisters don’t get that blessing. They WILL miss his first months of life – they probably won’t be the ones to say they made him smile first or laugh first. They will miss all those precious newborn moments & it really does hurt to know that. Yesterday was a rough day all-around. We started in the NICU, but by the afternoon, we were moved to the 5th floor, which is the endocrine floor. We were in room 5, but we still didn’t have a room at the Ronald McDonald house, so they moved us to room 10, so we could put up a cot & both sleep here. In between all that moving rooms (with all our luggage & everything), poor Link was so poked & prodded yesterday. They took out the PICC in his arm because they x-rayed it & it wasn’t placed properly. The lady came in & put it in his foot instead, but he kept moving his leg & the machines kept going off, so she came back & x-rayed it to make sure it was still in place, which it was, but he kept moving his leg & kinking the line. They put this boot thing on & it’s helped a bit. Also – his blood sugars were 42 & then 48, so they tried to do a “critical draw” & get some blood for tests while he was low. Oh it was heartbreaking his screams. 2 different girls were sticking him & trying to get blood & they weren’t really getting it & finally, they tested it again it was 55 because he was so stressed out his blood sugars went up, so all that pain for nothing. The PICC lady was also messing with the IV in his head & he didn’t like that. Then – at night – he was really constipated. They even put a suppository in, but he was still so miserable. He just cried & cried. It was really the first day I have heard him cry. And – he cries. Not the little kitten-cries like the premies do, but a full-on “I’m in PAIN!” cry & it breaks a mother’s heart – especially when with my other babies, I could just breastfeed them & they would be comforted. He hasn’t breastfed in like a week now. Pumping is still depressing. I want to hold him. I want to feed him. I want to cuddle with him. Sigh I’m praying for a more mellow day today. We did get some more information yesterday, though. They got HIS genetic test results back & it looks like he has 1 recessive gene. But we don’t have ours back yet, so we don’t know who it’s from. If it’s from Jason, it would probably be focal disease, which is what we want, so they can just cut out a PART of the pancreas & he probably won’t have diabetes later on. If it’s from me, it would probably be diffused, where they would have to take out the whole thing – and then he would most likely have diabetes later on. But they are planning the PET scan for Tuesday & surgery for Wednesday. Not for sure, but planning.

58: Every little thing you do... I do adore

59: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Some answers & info The past couple days have been busy. They moved Link from the NICU to the Encdocrinology floor. Then they moved all of us to another room on the 5th floor so Jason & I could sleep here with Link. We're still on the waiting list for the Ronald McDonald House. They took out the PICC line in Link's left arm & put a new one into his left foot. That was a painful process & I hate to hear his screams. :-( The other difficult thing was that they tried to draw his blood when his blood sugar was low & they couldn't get enough & he was screaming & he ended up getting so upset that his blood sugars rose & they ended up not being able to get the sample anyway. Not fun. They also removed the PICC from his head, which is nice :) Right now he is on 30% Dextrose at 18.5 ml/hr. That's quite a lot of sugar. And now he's having some intestinal issues. Poor guy. He has been pretty good overall, though. Love this little dude. Today was a bit better than yesterday. The biggest reason is that we got some answers on what's going on with our sweet boy. The genetic tests are back. They got Link's test & it showed one genetic mutation. It took another day before they got the results back from us - the parents. But we JUST heard that the results show that the gene came from Jason. Which is REALLY good. That means that there is a VERY high chance that Link has focal disease instead of diffuse, meaning that they should only have to take out a portion of his pancreas instead of the entire thing. So - Link has officially been diagnosed with hyperinsulinism. If you want to know more about it, go HERE. Jason & I watched this yesterday & it REALLY explained a lot & went through the whole process of what needs to happen. Right now, Link's PET scan is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4th & his surgery is scheduled for Friday, December 7th. I am so relieved that we are getting some answers & are looking at moving forward. Dr. Adzick will be doing the surgery & he is really THE MAN. He has done more than anyone & he has pioneered amazing surgical procedures (among which is a breakthrough in-utero Spina Bifida surgery that he was on Good Morning America to discuss). Jason & I got to walk to the grocery store today. FREEZING! But so good to get outside finally & walk around & see all these beautiful old buildings. Also - Carrie Underwood stopped by CHOP today & it was fun to hear her answer the kids' questions :) THANK YOU again for all the prayers & support! They have truly sustained us! | From mommy's blog: | Sweet

62: Sunday, December 2, 2012 Finding Joy - Gratitude One of the first days in the NICU in St. George, I opened my scriptures, praying for help & guidance to get me through these difficult days. It opened to Mosiah 24. Here are the verses that caught my eye & my heart: 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as a witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage. After reading these verses, I truly felt like I needed to learn how to "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." But HOW??? Truly, I was puzzled. Every time Link's blood sugars were high, I got hopeful, I was happy. And every time they plummeted, so did my spirits. This obviously was NOT finding joy in the journey. My happiness was contingent on his blood sugars being good, not on my faith in the Lord. I felt like I HAD to figure this out. And just so you know - I'm still figuring it out - but in my frustration, I turned to a dear friend. This friend (I went to high school with her) lost her husband to brain cancer. I didn't know her well at the time, but she lived near me and I saw her at church sometimes. The thing that struck me was that even during this trial of hers - in the midst of her knowing her husband wasn't going to make it - and having to take care of him and her 2 young sons - whenever I saw her, she had a genuinely loving, happy smile on her face. Even after his death, her smile remained. HOW did she do that? I always wondered, but now I really needed to know, so I sent her a message & she responded in her wonderful, loving way. She gave me scriptures to read & talks to read & offered her personal experiences. She is an a m a z i n g person. Truly, amazing. I feel like she is light-years ahead of me spiritually, but she is such a loving person, too. Truly Christlike. Yesterday Jason & I read one of the talks she suggested. It's called Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to. By S. Michael Wilcox . It's a great talk. And something familiar came up that I wanted to share: Now God tends to do everything backwards; we worship a backwards God, in a sense. I say, “Lord, help me understand and then I can believe.” But in the scriptures, the Lord says, “No, believe and then you will understand.” I say that’s backwards, and He says, “No, you have it backwards.” So here the Lord says, “Be comforted, rejoice, give thanks, then I’ll answer your prayers.” And I say, “Lord, answer my prayers, and then I’ll be comforted, rejoice, and give thanks.” That is backwards. Link is doing well. They are changing his PICC line again today to ready for his scan & surgery next week. They are also consolidating his NG tube feedings so his body can get used to regular feeds after the surgery. And they are letting us try a bottle of breastmilk when he's hungry. So far, he hasn't really been ready to eat from the bottle, but we are hopeful that soon he will! He's really starting to watch things & track things with his eyes. They got him a mobile & he's starting to really pay attention to it. We got some books, so we're reading to him. And he went for his first stroller ride a couple days ago! :) And here's a cute video of Link's silly sleepy smiles. He does these a lot when he's in that stage of sleeping when he's trying to wake up or just going to sleep. It's so cute. The smiles start at about 30 seconds. Love this baby boy. | From mommy's blog:

63: AGAIN! Again there's the message that I need to LEARN how to find joy in this journey, even when I don't have my prayers answered yet. Even when I'm still here - and going through this trial. And so I am learning this & growing in ways I never wanted to grow. But I am seeing the need for it, too, because what if I'm constantly focusing on just the destination? Well... I will wake up one day when we're home & I will be so happy that we're home, but I will look at my baby & realize that he's already 2 months old & I will have missed all those precious newborn moments!! I will have missed the joy! And I won't be able to get that back! I still have a long way to go, but I am learning to smile. I'm learning to reach out to others even when I'm feeling like curling in a ball and wanting the world to go away. I'm learning that my pain & my hurt & my grief is so small compared to so very many. I've met people that haven't been here for weeks, they've been here for months & months. I've met people who have come back for the fourth or fifth time. I am trying to smile, enjoy THIS journey I'm on, "submit cheerfully to the Lord", and "Be comforted, rejoice, and give thanks" so I can get my prayers answered! :) Speaking of giving thanks, I feel like I need to give thanks today for a couple of things especially: 1. YOU. You people out there. You people praying - and even FASTING today for my son and our family. It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing so many people are offering prayers and sacrificing for us. It's humbling. And I want you to know that we feel your love and concern. This next week is going to be a busy one for our son with the PET scan on Tuesday & the surgery on Friday, so this fasting & prayer could not have come at a better time. THANK YOU. 2. We made it in the Ronald McDonald House. Seriously, SUCH a blessing! Sleeping on the couch or in a cot in Link's room was getting to be difficult. Sleep was so minimal. Being here in the Ronald McDonald House is also a humbling experience. Getting fed. Having a comfortable bed to sleep in. So many things I take for granted every day. Also - these amazing people I'm getting to know. Each one has a story. Each one is amazing. My heart fills with gratitude for the sacrifice of SO many people that made and make this house possible. Did you know we are staying in the FIRST Ronald McDonald House? Very, very neat. so thankful. Link is doing well. They are changing his PICC line again today to ready for his scan & surgery next week. They are also consolidating his NG tube feedings so his body can get used to regular feeds after the surgery. And they are letting us try a bottle of breastmilk when he's hungry. So far, he hasn't really been ready to eat from the bottle, but we are hopeful that soon he will! He's really starting to watch things & track things with his eyes. They got him a mobile & he's starting to really pay attention to it. We got some books, so we're reading to him. And he went for his first stroller ride a couple days ago! :) And here's a cute video of Link's silly sleepy smiles. He does these a lot when he's in that stage of sleeping when he's trying to wake up or just going to sleep. It's so cute. The smiles start at about 30 seconds. Love this baby boy.

65: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ | Spending precious time with our duder-dude

66: _____________________________________________________________

67: DATE__________ | Boys are meant for kisses and hugs, For watching rainbows and catching bugs, For sharing all of your favorite things, For books to read and songs to sing.

69: From mommy's blog: | Tuesday, December 4, 2012 PET scan Today was Link's PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan. To know more about the scan, click HERE. Basically, they bring him to the PET scan room (we walked him down - he was asleep in my arms :), give him general anesthesia (they put the mask on him while he was still in my arms. I had to move my head so I wouldn't inhale & go under as well!), then they give him 18 fluorodopa (a nuclear medicine - radioactive) & put him through 2 different scanners. The medicine goes through his body & to his pancreas & lights up any areas of focal lesions on his pancreas. We had to leave once they administered the general anesthesia. It was a long 2 hours of waiting till we could come & get him & help bring him back to our room. We passed the time by getting a bite to eat & checking out the Ben & Jerry's across the street :) He did pretty well. I think the breathing tube they put in irritated his throat, but other than that, he did just great. Then, we waited to find out the results of the scan... Sometimes waiting is the hardest... Dr. Palladino just stopped by & verified that it does look FOCAL (yes!) and that it looks to be in the body of the pancreas (double-yes!!) What that means to us is that Dr. Adzick should only need to remove the smaller part of Link's pancreas. Because it doesn't look to be in the head of his pancreas, he shouldn't have to have his bowels "re-routed," which is great & also means his recovery should be quicker. So, now, we wait for surgery on Friday. More waiting! But we are so very thankful for this news! We are enjoying spending time with our baby boy. This morning (NO LIE - & Jason will back me up on this), he was wide awake & smiled - three times!! Of course, catching his smiles on camera are a bit tricky, but he REALLY did smile & it brought such a smile to MY face as well!

71: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Well, I’ve been capturing things on the blog, but I wanted to do a “behind the scenes” post. I’m so grateful to be at the Ronald McDonald House. They give us comfortable (tempurpedic!) beds to sleep in & yummy food to eat (& so many yummy desserts & sweets!) RIGHT next door is an LDS church. Seriously talk about LOVE NOTE from my Heavenly Father. We went to church on Sunday. So far I have been okay seeing little kids – at the hospital – in the Ronald McDonald House. But when I walked into that church & saw these families with these young kids & we had to sit down by ourselves & this cute 4-year-old girl sat in front of us, talking to us about her birthday wow. I had SUCH a hard time keeping back those tears. It was just NOT okay to be sitting there without our kids in that environment. It was really hard for me. It was all I could do to keep it together. It was also fast Sunday. I haven’t ever fasted when I’ve been breastfeeding, but when dad gave me a father’s blessing, he mentioned fasting & I knew I needed to do all I could to help out my son this next week, so I’m sure the fact that I was fasting didn’t help my emotions. They were VERY close to the surface. I did bear my testimony & explained briefly why we were there & I bore my testimony about the love of my Savior & my desire to learn to bend to His will. After Sacrament meeting, 2 couples talked to us & gave us their numbers – asking if they could do anything for us – and another asked if she could bring a meal. Everyone was really sweet. Sunday school was another absolute love note and REMINDER – it was about the brother of Jared & she talked about the “tight like a dish” – just like from the talk we read a couple days before. And the thing that really stood out to me was a verse in Ether: 8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind. 9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord. 10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water. 11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water. 12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them. So – you see, the Jaredites didn’t wait until AFTER they reached the promised land to praise their God (though they did that as well – and I need to make sure I do that, too, when we get to our “promised land”) – they praised God THROUGHOUT their trial. Day & night. They gave thanks on their journey – through their trials.

72: The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated. ~Washington Irving

73: My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. - Jim Valvano

74: Thursday, December 6, 2012 Today is the day before Link’s surgery. And last night was kind of sad. First, we had to leave Link here whining so we could go back & eat. The Ronald McDonald house was great – they had this share a night thing – LOTS of people, hour dourvs, drinks, desserts. It was really nice. Ronald himself came & did an act, a ballerina from the Nutcracker came, a couple therapy dogs came. There was face painting. They lit the Christmas lights. I missed my girls. What good was all this fun when I couldn’t see the joy through their eyes? It was pretty lame to be there without them. Then we went back to the room & watched a show about a 600 lb woman that was trying to lose weight. Then this lady was SCREAMING in the hall. I mean, seriously, everyone came out of their rooms to see what was going on. I honestly thought maybe she just found out her child had died. She was hysterical. Jason went out there to see & apparently she was drunk (they served alcohol at the big shindig) & her husband wouldn’t let her hold their 5-month-old baby because she was too drunk & she freaked out. Apparently, she went to the hospital after that & sent him to a hotel for a night. Anyway, I could hear little kids crying after that. Everyone was a little shook up. And THEN on this show, the lady trying to lose weight ends up DYING. How depressing. Just sad. Missing my girls. Listening to that woman – wondering what I would sound like if I DID find out my child had died. Glad it’s a new day. We just met Dr. Adzick. He was pretty nice. Down-to-business kind of guy. Can’t wait for the surgery to be over & on the road to recovery.

75: PRE-OP

76: Heading Into the Operating Room...

77: ....Along with many prayers and angels.

79: From Mommy's Blog Friday, December 7, 2012 Post-Op He's done!! My baby is out of surgery & everything went well. Honestly, I know everything happens according to God's will AND I also know that all your prayers and fasting & love have made such a difference. THANK YOU. Link's surgeon, Dr. Adzick, met with us post-op & told us everything went really well. He said the lesion was large & mushroom-shaped & on the underside of his pancreas. He had approximately a 50% pancreatectomy, but Dr. Adzick said he should have enough pancreas left that he shouldn't be diabetic later. SUCH a blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are back in the NICU with him now. He's still pretty out of it, but is moving around & really looks great. As far as recovery time, it's really up to Link. They won't really tell us how long it will take because he has to have his bowels start working, his blood sugars need to be stable (between 80 & 180), and he needs to be eating well before they'll let him go home. Could be a week - could be 6 weeks or more... we're praying for a fast recovery.

80: Saturday, December 8, 2012 It’s done! The surgery is over & they only had to remove 50% of his pancreas. I am so so SO thankful. Seriously. I can’t tell you how much support we’ve been getting – facebook, texts, calls, blog comments, emails. It makes me really take a look at myself. How often do I tell someone I’ll pray for them & then maybe say a halfhearted prayer if I remember? It really makes me want to pray more sincerely for others. Have more charity. And it makes me want to GIVE. Give to the Ronald McDonald House, give more to people who are going through hard times. I really do think about how blessed we are. I almost feel guilty joining these HI groups on facebook. I have a child who should be fine after this. Cured. We met a girl – Brittany – with a little girl with diffuse disease. She’s here for the 3rd time. She’s 5 months old & at about a month old, they had to do a 98% pancreatectomy. They are trying new medicines. Her blood sugars keep dropping. Ohhh I am so thankful that we are not going that route. I feel bad saying that – and I know that we may still have struggles up ahead – but I truly am thankful right now. After the surgery & he looked okay, we went to dinner to celebrate. We went to the White Dog –a recommendation from a lady who worked in the St. George NICU. We dropped $140, but it was REALLY good. Wow. We both had starters (him a tuna tartar, me – potato soup – YUM), then our main courses – Jason got a pork loin dish & I got a NY strip steak. Both VERY good. Then we topped it off with a chocolate plate dessert. Wow. Oh – and I forgot to mention that Jason got a fresh squeezed lemonade & I got 2 servings of hot milled apple cider. That stuff was amazing. It was so nice to eat somewhere that good. It has been good to get out more. The day before, Thursday, we went to the movie theater & watched the last Twilight movie. The ending was brilliant. It was a good movie & so great to be with my sweetheart & get my mind off the surgery. When we came back from dinner yesterday, he was in more pain. Crying a lot. We shushed him & talked to him. How I wish I could hold him & pat his back. He loves that. They gave him more pain meds & I think that helped. He was a bit calmer when we left. This morning they said he had a couple “rescues” in the night where they had to give him a bolas of pain meds – and they gave him the morphine drip – this morning he seems like he’s not in pain, which is good. He’s just been sleeping the whole time we’ve been here. Dangit. I bought a new cord for this laptop & it doesn’t seem to be recognizing it. I’m going to run out of power

81: . | . | .

83: Monday, December 10, 2012 2 weeks. We’ve been here two weeks now. Finally last night I told Jason it would probably be good if he could get some work in & potentially not use up ALL his leave. So – I took off & I’m at the hospital & he’s supposed to be working at the room in the Ronald McDonald house. When I got here, I had to hold him right away. He is just so cute. He even smiled for me a bunch this morning LOVE that smile. He hasn’t pooped yet post-operative, but they are still going to let him eat some. I sure hope he takes it – then he won’t need a feeding tube back in. THAT would be completely & utterly awesome. Link – 5th floor. 215-590-3322 I felt the spirit strongly at church yesterday. I did fast on fast Sunday. Till about 2. But, it added to the fact that my feelings were very fragile, on the surface & the spirit could really speak to me. And I have so very much to learn. Not only did we sing this verse (which is an extra verse that people usually don’t sing): 4. In word and deed he doth require My will to his, like son to sire, Be made to bend, and I, as son, Learn conduct from the Holy One. I did bear my testimony & read that verse. THEN, in Sunday School, she talks about the EXACT thing that Jason & I were learning about – the Jaredites & their boats that were “tight like a dish.” Then then she shared the verse that I captured above about how the Jaredites praised the Lord even before their trial was over – they praised him throughout their trial. Yesterday was church. We only went to sacrament meeting because we really wanted to get to the hospital to see Link & see if maybe he had peed & see if his pain was okay. But – again – there was a cute little girl in front of us. The first thing that hit me was the sacrament song, Savior Redeemer of My Soul. The first line: “Savior Redeemer of my soul, whose mighty hand hath made me whole.” My first thought was – YES – I want Him to make my son whole. And then the thought came was that this trial was also supposed to make ME whole. That sounds strange, but I think I’m supposed to learn things that will make ME whole – this isn’t just for Link, which I knew all along, but I really realized that I have sicknesses of spirit that need to be cured as well. The first speaker was a black missionary. He admitted at the beginning of his talk that he kind of forgotten he was supposed to speak that day. Part of my head & heart turned off right then, but I’m sure glad I didn’t really completely tune out. Another lesson about not judging. He talked about the verse in 2nd corinthians: 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And I got to really thinking about this journey & asking myself HOW this is going to change me and make me a new person. What lessons did I take away? Because, if I’m just going to go home & be the same person I was, then what’s to stop from another trial coming along to try to teach me these lessons I’m supposed to learn? NO! I want to be a “new creature” – a NEW Heidi. The obvious lesson is empathy. I really need to remember this experience – the pain, the hurt, the fear, the uncertainty – and apply that when I meet someone else who is struggling. Be MORE understanding. Show MORE love. MORE Christlike charity. Perhaps that is the greatest lesson. But there is more. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) that I CAN find joy even amidst the struggle – even DURING my trial – I can praise God & be thankful for my journey. I’ve learned that I need to JOYFULLY submit my will to Heavenly Father’s. That is a lesson it seems I need to keep re-learning. To STOP fighting it. Just like an oxen (yes – it takes humility to picture it), but when I truly submit and stop fighting against his will & TRUST that He knows what is best, I can find that joy & peace. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it will be worth it. I’m also learning to not pray for my circumstances to change, but for myself to change. Not praying for Link to get better or to get home soon, but to pray for ME to have the patience and strength required for this journey. AND of course humility. Even through this journey, I have used our situation to garner approval from others. I constantly check facebook, looking to see how many people responded to a post. Pride. All of it. I need to seek approval and empathy & strength from my Father first & foremost & then only post when I’m truly looking to update people. And I’ve learned that we have it GOOD. I mean, we may be far from home, but there are those farther – whole countries away. We may have had a son that has had to have surgery, but there are those who have had much more major surgery – heart surgery, brain surgery. We may have not been able to take our baby home for over a month, but there are those who have not been able to take their babies home for months AND months – the lady next door to link in the NICU has been here for five months – 5 MONTHS! We may have had to come here to support our baby, but there are those who do not have the support we do. They do not have family to take over with their other children. They do not have amazing friends that have sent packages & money & phone calls & texts. We may have to pay $5-7k for Link’s medical care, but there are those who do not have insurance and are faced with upwards of millions of dollars for the medical care of their babies. We may not be able to be home, but there are so many who cannot get into the Ronald McDonald House – and we are there.

84: From Mommy's Blog Tuesday, December 11, 2012 My Girls As we meet people here, they ask us where we're from and why we're here. When we tell them about Link, we usually mention that he has three sisters at home. Usually they get wide-eyed and ask "How are the girls doing with all of this?" Well, let me tell you. Kezia. Oh, my sweet blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty. She had a hard time the other night & cried to her daddy "why can't you just come get me & bring me to the hospital?" She just doesn't understand why she can't just come here at the hospital like she did in St. George. She is our daddy's girl. I will talk to her on the phone & give it maybe 2 minutes before she's asking for her daddy. She loves for us to read her books over Skype. She's regressing on her potty training. Ireland. She's kind of the opposite of Kezia. She thinks we're someplace completely unreachable. She asks me "Mom - what are you doing in that land over there?" She is a momma's girl. She has a hard time hanging up with mom. She had an owie one night when she was at Aunt Cindy's. We were just talking on the phone - not Skyping. She was trying to "show" me her owie & saying "it's right here, mom. It's right here." I said "I can't see it sweetie." She started crying & was sobbing "I know you can't. You're over there. You're so far away." She has expressed her frustration over this whole thing by taking permanent markers & decorating Aunt Cindy's walls & furniture. Sigh... She always asks when we're coming back. McKinley: In a lot of ways, my heart hurts for McKinley the very most. She is trying so very hard to be brave. She hasn't cried. When we ask how she's doing, she always says "good." But I know this is hard for her. She's going to a new school. Again. She's trying to meet new friends. She's trying to act like she's just fine. She's expressing her frustration by doing everything HER way. She won't let Grandma help her with certain things and she takes her own sweet time to do things. I am thankful her cousins are there to help her. And, me? Well, I miss them horribly ALL the time, but I can usually keep it together. Until... church. Did I mention that there is a church RIGHT next door to the Ronald McDonald House? (talk about a LOVE NOTE!) I see little children - and even little girls - all the time here at CHOP and at the Ronald McDonald House. And I'm usually fine. But when I walked into the church and sat down and this adorable little girl in the pew in front of us struck up a conversation about how she had a birthday yesterday and now she's FOUR years old... well... it was a good thing I had some tissues with me. I couldn't stop the tears. I missed my girls so very much. Seeing little children & little families in church is the hardest thing for me. Here I am sitting with my sweet husband. I should be enjoying church without the distractions. But at the time, what I wouldn't give for my distractions to be there with me!! It is just not okay to be sitting there with an empty lap and empty hands. It's at church that I feel like my heart will break in two. It's where I have a very difficult time keeping it together. At church and... last night. After we got done Skyping with the girls, I just fell apart. Every part of my heart screamed that this was not okay. This was not how it should be. I should be the one that they run to when they get home from school. I should be the one helping with their homework. I should be the one that tucks them in. I should be the one to give and get sweet good-night hugs and kisses. It's been over 2 weeks since I've touched my girls. And it will be a week and a half more till I'll get to be with them again. And it's just not okay. We got round-trip tickets to SLC for the 20th, coming back the 26th. I can't wait to be with my girls, though I think I'll have the same feelings about being with my baby boy while I'm there. It's a strange, hurtful feeling when your heart is in two places at once.

86: Sights and Sounds of

87: Philadelphia

89: Notes of | LOVE

92: D-DAY!!!!! After 6 weeks of being in the hospital, we're finally GOING HOME!! | Enyo, Dr. Palladino, 2 VERY happy parents & a healthy baby boy!

93: Riding in his car seat for the VERY first time!!

94: Good-bye Philly!

95: Hello Salt Lake!! We were SO excited to bring our Christmas surprise (Link!) home to the girls!

96: From Mommy's Blog Sunday, December 30, 2012 H-O-M-E!!!! This was another difficult post to begin. My emotions seem to overpower my vocabulary. But... bottom line... WE ARE HOME!! Let me see if I can explain how we got here. Link's surgery was December 7th. As I mentioned in a previous post, it went really well. Within 3 days, he was up to his full feeds (90 ml) and they were able to get rid of his IVs. When they pulled that central IV line running the glucose, I have to admit that I just broke down and cried. He had an IV running within a few hours of his birth & to remove that & be able to hold him without the IV and walk around without that huge pole... well, it was just awesome. Just completely amazing. Everyone that worked with Link in the NICU was amazed at how quickly he was able to eat and poop and recover. They said he was in the top 5 fastest recoveries they had seen. He was able to go back up to the 5th floor (endocrinology) by about the 4th day post-op. Now... we knew he was doing really well - and we knew the possibility of being home for Christmas was looking pretty good - but we didn't want to let on to family or friends. Mostly because we met quite a few people who were given discharge dates & then had to end up staying for one reason or another, but also we wanted to see if we could bring home a Christmas surprise :) So - he got up to the endocrinology floor by the 11th. Then he had to do five days of full feeds. This time was so wonderful for Jason & I. We were able to take his leads off and walk around with him and feed him & just enjoy him. We also took a morning & did a little tour of Philly - Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, U.S. Mint, and the Double-Decker Bus Tour. It was really neat & just felt so good, feeling confident we would be going home soon. We also spent that time doing some education about coming home - some medicines we might have to give, etc. Thankfully, most of that education we didn't even need. After he had been on full feeds for five days, he had to do an 18-hour fast. Our doctor said that babies that have been on so much glucose their entire lives usually don't go the entire 18 hours. But Link did! I honestly couldn't be around him during that time. A mother has an intense need to feed her baby & to hear him cry & not be able to feed him would be harder on me than him. They said he did well, though, and he didn't drop a blood sugar!! The doctor walked in the next day, threw his hands in the air & said "he's cured!" If someone had taken a picture of my face at that moment, I think it would have been a mixture of crazy-silly happiness mixed in with tearful gratitude. It was an amazing moment. What it meant is that we don't have to check blood sugars. We don't have to carry a glucagon syringe. Basically... he is a normal baby now! Yes. MIRACLE. So, we really could have come home on Tuesday, December 19, but we checked out airfare & it would have been almost $300 extra (we had purchased a round-trip ticket for the 21st when we got there so we could be home for Christmas & come back for Link), so we took deep breaths & stayed an extra couple days with our baby, waiting to come home. Our discharge day was like an early Christmas. I felt rather giddy putting him in his car seat and taking him OUT Of the hospital! For good!! I have to admit, though, that I had some guilt in leaving. Thinking of all those people we had met. Babies and children that wouldn't be going home any time soon. A 9-month-old conjoined twin, waiting to leave the hospital & be with her sister, an adorable little boy who was waiting to have his 2nd intestinal surgery, a baby boy who's unwed 20-year-old mother stays at the hospital all day and they are telling her he might be there for another YEAR, a 3-year-old little boy from Minnesota fighting cancer, a 6-year-old adorable little girl with stitches all over her head, fighting brain cancer. My heart hurts for them. I really felt some guilt being able to walk out of there with a CURED baby.

97: The plane ride was soooo loooong. Not because of Link. He did really well & slept most of the time. But every time I thought of being able to see my girls & knowing we'd be together for good, my heart would skip a beat. It was like when I was 8 and we were going to Disneyland the next day & for the life of me, I couldn't sleep. I was SO excited. And then the tears came when we flew over the Salt Lake Valley. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. There was a couple on the plane that we had met in the Philadelphia ward & we asked them to help us surprise my mom & the girls. So - once we FINALLY landed, we put a big red bow on his car seat, gave him to this cute couple & walked down that escalator & got smothered with hugs & kisses. The girls were so excited to see us & we were so excited to see them. My mom was there with the girls. She was on the phone with my dad when the couple came behind us, so I don't think she completely heard our friend when she came with the car seat & said "Ummm - I think you forgot this. Merry Christmas!" But when my mom saw the car seat & she realized that Link was home, she was screaming into the phone "The baby is here! The baby is here!" And, yes, there were more hugs & tears and exclamations of disbelief. There was strangers that were crying. It was wonderful. It was amazing. So - we spent the next week at my mom's house for Christmas. We surprised each member of our family separately. It was so much fun. My youngest sister, Trisha, came to my mom's & Ireland spilled the beans & told her the baby was here. There were tears. It was awesome. I told my oldest sister, Cindy, that I left something in the van & asked her to bring it in :) But the BEST was my sister, Tiffany. Tiffany & I both were going to get our hair done in Trisha's basement salon, so Trisha & I planned a way to tell her. When Tiffany got there, Trisha told her that her friend dropped off her baby for just a minute or two so she could run some errands. So - the car seat was sitting there & he slept while we visited for a while & got our hair done. After a half-hour or so, he started to get fussy & Tiff asked if she could pick him up. Trisha said she thought that would be fine, so Tiff got him out of the car seat. She commented on how cute he was & what big cheeks he had - like Link. She held him for a while and he kind of got fussy. Tiffany said maybe he was hungry. Trisha laughed & said "why don't you feed him, Tiff? You're still breastfeeding." We all laughed. I asked if I could hold him & she handed him to me. I said "Well, maybe I should just feed him" & I prepared to do so. Tiffany was saying "What are you doing Heidi? You are naughty! That's not your baby!" And I said "YES IT IS!" For a second, she didn't believe us, but she realized it was true & there were hugs & tears & "you guys are SO mean!" It was just so perfect. I truly wish we had gotten it on video. We surprised Jason's mom at her sister's house. We surprised Jason's brother over Skype. We brought him to the annual Tew Christmas Eve party & surprised a lot of people, including my sweet grandma. Christmas was wonderful. It was loud. And chaotic. And messy. And... just perfect. There would just be moments of time where everything was slow-motion & I was in disbelief that this was really happening. We were back with our baby. And he was healthy. And we didn't have to go back. | Our Christmas MIRACLE!

98: Surprising Family! :)

99: Surprising Family :)

101: Rejoice in the spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the miracle of Christmas which is Hope, and the heart of Christmas which is Love.

102: Christmas Eve

105: 2013

107: Richfield Family

108: Home Sweet, Sweet Home! | Cont. from H-O-M-E blog post: We stopped a night in Richfield on the 26th & had a great time visiting with Jason's family & showing off Link. Then we headed home on the 27th. I wanted to shout when I saw the "Cedar City" sign. We pulled up & wouldn't you know it, there is a sweet friend of mine, bringing in groceries. She had cleaned every room of my house, filled my fridge, brought flowers. In the basement, Santa had left a swing set, and angel neighbors had set it up for us. The girls were so excited. That entire day, the tears came. Feeding Link in his very own room. Eating as a family at our own table. Watching the girls interact with their baby brother - singing, talking, playing, feeding. I still am in awe that we are here. That he is well. Gratitude swells in my heart constantly. Link is doing SO well since he's been back from the hospital. He's breastfeeding well and sleeping well. He's smiling and cooing and losing his old man hair. The only medicine he has right now is hydrocortisone - and he only has to take that when he is sick or has a fever. He also has some follow-up appointments with cardiology & hematology, but other than that, he is a normal baby. THANK YOU. Thank you to all who have fasted & prayed for our baby. I cannot tell you how powerful your prayers & fasting & acts of service have been. I cannot tell you how very much I KNOW it has helped my baby heal & get home. I cannot tell you how much comfort it has given me and Jason during this time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And most of all, I thank my God. Truly, he has seen us through this trial & I am so thankful for his comfort and love. As much as I want to just pretend that the past couple months didn't happen, I know they did & I pray for the ability to make the changes I need to make from this experience & learn the lessons He would have me learn. He is truly our miracle baby on so many levels. Miracle that he was cured. Miracle that he was home by Christmas. Miracle that he is doing so well. Miracle that we didn't end up going into next year & have our deductible start over. Miracle.

110: at home!

113: Sleepy Time

115: From December 2012 Newsletter: LINK: Oh, our blessed miracle boy! We are SO very happy to finally have our wireless Link!! J He was so good to give his grandmas, aunts, uncles & cousins smiles. He also slept pretty well. We think he’s pretty glad not to be hearing all the beeps and machines in the background – not to mention all the pokes & pricks, waking him up. He’s getting more used to having his sisters around him all the time and trying to get his attention. He loved his first bath at home & splashed & kicked his legs. He is completely off his medicines – unless he gets sick & then he needs stress dosing of hydrocortisone steroid. Which is why we are mostly keeping him inside for a while. We really don’t want him getting sick! We were a little worried that we might have to supplement the breastfeeding or put back in the feeding tube because he lost about a pound since discharge, but Dr. Polson, his pediatrician, wasn’t too worried – especially since it looks like he has started gaining again – and he’s still in about the 68th percentile for weight. He is fully breastfeeding now, which has been wonderful. He sleeps pretty good in his crib – or the portable swing – or the papapsan baby chair – or the Baby Bjorn. At night he usually gets up 2-3 times. He didn’t really like the Soothie binkis in the hospital, but he has really grown to love the Nuk binkis. His head strength is getting really good and he loves to stand up – his legs are getting strong! Since Link was pretty much clothes-less for the first couple months of his life, it has been so much fun to dress him in the cute outfts he’s been given – and such a change from cutsie girl clothes – cars, trucks, dinosaurs, bugs, etc. He just looks so handsome in all his new clothes. He’s almost too big for most of his 0-3 months clothes – we may have to end up returning some L His scar looks great & is healing really well. Jason & I never noticed it the first month or so of his life, but he seems to have a birth mark on his inner left leg –a dark brown large splotch. At first we thought it had something to do with the blood clot in his left leg, but all the doctors say no. His hair is getting thicker on top & he has lost most of it in the back on the sides, but he has basically a mullet – long hair just in the very back, bottom of his head J His left eye seems to be goopy a lot – probably a clogged tear duct. We think his eyes are going to be blue like his sisters! We are so thankful to have him home and are hoping with his young life that the hospital – and all the pain that came with it – is already a distant memory for him. For Christmas, Link got a tummy time mat, some church clothes & some toys.

116: From January 2013 Newsletter: FAMILY: The majority of January was spent staying at home, just enjoying being a family again & feeling very blessed every day. Here’s a few other things we were up to: January 4th, all the girls went to a Primary “Meet and Greet” where they got to have hot chocolate and doughnuts and meet their new teachers. All of our girls are in Primary now! We’re switching off taking the girls to church on Sunday – with the flu outbreaks going on, we don’t want to expose Link. With being at home more, we’ve been getting out the craft stuff more – and we’ve been having fun painting, coloring, putting together bead animals, playing with play doh, making crafts out of trash, etc. The girls have had fun watching mom do yoga at nights and they like to do the Kids Yoga VHS, too, where they get to act like their animals while they do the yoga poses. One night when they were watching mom do a Rodney Yee yoga video, they had an interesting conversation that went something like this: My girls' conversation as they watch me do a Rodney Yee Yoga video: Kez – “Why is he naked?”, Ireland - “Kezia, that's just the way they look in those lands” (it was on a beach) McKinley - “No... he's definitely wearing something.”Kez - “He's wearing panties!!!”...wherein we had a little discussion (while I'm trying to do the yoga poses) about speedos for men. We had a few pretty good snowstorms as well this month and the girls have had fun playing in the snow & drinking lots of hot cocoa. On the 11th, McKinley & Ireland went to a princess dress-up birthday party for Anna Strand. McKinley was dressed up as Belle & Kezia was Snow White. Ireland was REALLY upset that she didn’t get to go to a costume party, but she had Isabella Daniel’s birthday at the same time & she had fun going to the spa & getting her hair & nails done McKinley & Ireland started tumbling at the Cedar City Aquatic Center on the 14th. They both really like it and are love to play on the mats. They are learning forward & backward rolls, jump rolls, balance beam walks, and they just started learning cartwheels. They like to try out their new skills when they get home, but it’s a bit hard with all the tile. The older girls got some play makeup from Santa & they have had fun (especially Ireland) using it at every opportunity – even on their brother! On the 19th, we went sledding for a couple hours by CAL Ranch with the Bealers. Great fun was had by all! It was a beautiful day. We finally bit the bullet and got an annual family pass to the Aquatic Center and we took the girls swimming on the 19th and the 26th. They LOVE to swim & go down all the slides. Grandma Potts was so sweet and sent a package in the mail for the girls. It had one Ring Pop in it. Now 1 Ring Pop and 3 girls didn’t really add up, so mom and dad decided to instigate a competition. Whoever got their jammies on first at night got a point, and whoever got dressed first in the morning got a point – and whoever had the most points at the end of a week would get the Ring Pop. The next week was like a dream for mom & dad. Girls getting their jammies on at 6pm – and McKINLEY of all people waking up at 6 AM to get dressed before anyone else. Although there were some arguments over who got ready first, overall, it was great. McKinley ended up winning the Ring Pop! The girls are also really loving playing downstairs on their new swing set. We cleaned & organized the downstairs & upstairs & they are such fun places to play now! The girls like to come up with reasons that Link is crying. A few of mom’s favorites: Ireland - “He’s crying because he thinks he’s having surgery again.” Ireland – “He’s crying because he loves my singing so much.” Kezia – “He’s crying cuz he wants a chip.” MIRACLE: We sold our other Enoch lot! What a blessing!

117: LINK: -Link is doing so great. People are still asking us about him & it is so wonderful to be able to tell them that he’s doing great. He had a couple regular check-ups this month & he is doing great. He is about 13 pounds now & in the 60th percentile. He had to get a few shots at his second visit, but he did really well -Link really loves his mobile. The minute you put him in the crib, he is looking up at it & loves to watch it go around. -He is really getting better with his hands, too! He has started to be able to pull the cow on his chair & hit the jungle gym things. He also loves to put his hands in his mouth & suck on them. Sometimes he will unlatch while he’s breastfeeding to put in his fist! -He’s also pulling his legs up more. Pretty soon he’ll be able to grab his toes! -He is such a good, smiley boy. That huge gummy smile can light up a room – and he gives them so easily -He still doesn’t really like tummy time, but we are working at it. He will go a few minutes before he gets super-mad. -Towards the end of the month, daddy got him really laughing & giggling! It was soooo cute! Now we just need to get it on video. -He’s still waking up 1-2 times a night, which isn’t bad – and he’s eating every 2-3 hours. And if you don’t feed him right when he’s hungry, he can get really mad! -Link’s sisters REALLY love him! They are constantly wanting to hold him, kiss him, sing to him, read to him and just be around him. They fight over him a lot & mom and dad have to try and let them take turns. They are constantly saying how cute he is & Ireland says “he’s a REAL baby, mom!” -Link loves to mimic. If you ooooh at him, he will oooooh right back. It is so adorable. He also does this squeal at the end of his “talking” that is so cute. -The girls got some play makeup for Christmas & Ireland put some on Link. Poor guy It’s just the beginning. -He still snorts quite a bit if he’s hungry or mad. -He still is really liking the NUK binki & takes it before he goes to bed. -He has a few nick-names, but mom usually calls him Link or “duder-dude-dude.” -Link’s legs are really getting strong & he can stand up with some help for quite a while! -We finally came up with his good-night song & the whole family helped. It’s to the tune of “Give Said the Little Stream” and it goes: Link, Link, our little boy We Love You, Yes it’s True! Link, Link, our little boy You are our pride and joy. You’re small we know But you will grow Your Heavenly Father loves you Sleeping, sleeping, all the night Dream away, oh dream away Sleeping, sleeping, all the night Dream oh dream away

118: "Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things". - Kurt Vonnegut

119: It's the little things that make life beautiful.

120: Wearing the clothes that Aunt Trisha made and bought.

121: Handsome Boy

122: You are so

123: L VED

124: 2 Month Photoshoot

127: More photoshoot :)

129: The make-up incident :)

130: Sunday, January 20, 2013 To my baby boy Link! I should have written sooner – you are almost 3 months old! Yeesh! I guess I thought I have written so much ABOUT you in my blog that it should count, but I need to write TO you. Oh, my baby boy, even though we’ve been home from the hospital for a month now, I still feel like I’m in shock that we’re home sometimes. To go from where we were – massive amounts of glucose being run through your IV, hydrocortisone, feeding tubes, monitoring wires – to where we are now – NO wires! – no medicine (expect hydrocortisone – only if you’re sick) – completely breastfeeding – seriously. Amazing. Miracle! My heart swells with gratitude so many moments of the day. You are such a joy to me son. And as difficult as those months were, I have to admit that having that precious time – where it was just me and you and your daddy – was so just awesome. I didn’t have the distractions of home. I could just sit and hold you & cuddle with you and kiss those sweet enormous cheeks It was precious, precious time with you that I won’t ever forget. I remember when you first started smiling. Oh. So sweet. Now you are to the point where you are on the verge of full-out laughing. You do this cough-laugh & then a squeal at the end. It is the cutest thing ever. We are still working on tummy time with you. You DO NOT like it. Your head is getting stronger, though, and you like to stand on my legs. You still have a bit of hair in the back that really does kind of look like a mullet. It’s pretty hilarious. You sisters love you SO much! I can’t tell you the joy it brings me to see them crowd around you and give you hugs and kisses & fight over who gets to hold you. THIS is how it’s supposed to be. They love you so very much. I love that we are family now. One day, it will be nice when you are sleeping a bit more at night, but even that doesn’t bother me as much as it usually does. I am just so thankful for you, my baby boy. My Link. My duder-dude. I am still working on your good-night song. For some reason, I really want to do it to the tune of “Give said the Little Stream.” I think it fits you. I still love to dress you up. It’s so completely different from a girl, but it’s been fun to enter the realm of dinosaurs and sports – bugs and trucks. I can’t wait to explore this new world with you. To find out all the differences between a boy and a girl. I am truly understanding ,though, how the bond between a mommy and her son can be such a strong one. I sure love you. SO SO very very much. Your daddy does, too. He is so protective of you still. He won’t let you go to church till you’re like 4 months old because he’s worried about you getting sick. He always asks how you’re doing when he calls from work. He LOVES spending time with his son – and I know that will only grow as you do. He is such a good daddy & you are blessed to have him. I hope that you & him will also have a strong bond and that you will look up to him as much as I do. He is a good man and a wonderful father. Wow. This was long, wasn’t it? I guess I’m trying to make up for not writing to you yet after you were born. I love you, my boy. SO so sosososososossoso very thankful for you!!!!!

133: Look At All These Presents, I Can Handle This

137: My sisters remind me, by their very steadfastness, that truth, beauty and goodness exist in the world, and that no matter what, there are and always will be people loving people through thick and thin.

138: From February 2013 Newsletter: FAMILY: February was a great month. Here’s what we were up to: Ireland & McKinley completed their tumbling classes & did terrific! Jason & Heidi continued to switch off at sacrament meeting with the girls. Our good friends, the Dixons, moved to Oregon this month & it was sad to see them go, but we wish them all the best of luck in their new dental practice. Valentines was a lot of fun. That morning daddy gave mom some red roses and the girls each got a white rose and a card from dad. Mom also made love notes for everyone & wrote out Jason & Heidi’s love story. And Heidi decorated Jason’s mirror with chocolate kisses and streamers. Daddy made pink pancake and we had strawberries & pink smoothies. At school, Ireland & McKinley passed out My Little Pony Valentines with chocolate hearts inside. They brought home a LOT of candy, too :) That night, Hannah Blackwell came over to babysit while Heidi & Jason went to Rusty’s & had a fabulous steak dinner. It was wonderful. On the 17th, we headed down to St. George for some family time & fun in the sun. Patrick & Kiersten & their family were at the Hamiltons & we all enjoyed a yummy BBQ and then we slept over and went to the park the next day. We all got a little sunburned – the weather was so perfect :) On the 18th, we all went over to our new neighbors, the Vogt’s, for Mahina’s 6th birthday party. They painted Hello Kitty masks & cupcake magnets & we all even got to make our own pizzas & have some cake. It was fun to be able to get to know them a little more. On the 23rd, all the girls went to Ella Strand’s cowgirl birthday party. They had a lot of fun making horse necklaces & eating cake & ice cream. On the 24th, Grandma & Grandpa Devenish & Hayden stopped by on their way down south & we had a good visit. On the 25th, Jason did a wonderful FHE on the Plan of Salvation. It ended up taking over an hour, but was really good and neat & the girls learned a lot. The27th was our appointment with Mary Murray, the Pediatric Endocrinologist who came down from Primary Children’s to St. George. It went great & Link looks to be free & clear & shouldn’t need any more follow-up appointments. Hooray!! Our other big news is that we got an annual family pass to the Cedar City Aquatic Center! Yay – lots more working out and swimming in our future :) The girls also found a lizard in the basement & brought him up. We named him Leonard the Lizard & he was fun to have around, but ended up dying after a few days. A funny thing that happened: We were all in the girls’ room saying prayers. Ireland was saying her prayer & Kezia whispered to her to bless her can foot. It just such a funny request that mommy started giggling & before we knew it, we were all laughing & having a very hard time finishing prayers & being reverent. It turns out that Kezia means to bless her toe that had been smashed by a can a couple months ago :) A few bummers this month: Our water heater was leaking & we had to replace it. Thankfully, most of it was covered under our home warranty. Also, our clothes washer stopped working & we had to order some new springs & install them. Sweet Diane let us come to laundry in the mean time. It works, but still leaks L Snow blower also has had some issues. LINK: -Link continues to grow and do so well! According to the Pediatric Endocrinologist, unless he gets super-super sick, he shouldn’t have to take ANY more steroids! Yay! She also explained some of symptoms of diabetes, but we are still hoping that we won’t have to deal with that & it probably wouldn’t happen till he was around 10. -Sometimes when Link is fussing, it SURE sounds like mama! -Link is really getting to be a pro at his jungle gym. He can make the sounds go & grab & hold them. He’s getting great at the bumbo, too, and will just hang out while mom cooks. We also bought him an exersaucer this month & he is loving it! He can really play with the little toys & hang out! We also tried the jumper this month & he likes it.

139: He hasn’t quite figured out the jumping part yet, but he loves to just hang out. He still struggles with tummy time, though. He can lift his head quite a bit, but he gets really mad after only a few minutes. -Link loves to hold his hands together and suck on his fingers. He’s also gotten good at grabbing hair :) -He still is eating every 2-3 hours and naps every hour and a half to 2 hours. He doesn’t have a BM for a few days and then wow!! He explodes and ruins whatever outfit he is wearing! -He does pretty good in the car, but on the way back from St. George, he was really overtired & screamed for about 30 minutes :( -He does love his binki! -Link still sleeps okay at night, waking up a couple times, but there were a few nights that he was up about every hour & that was a bit rough! -He is getting good at rolling to his side – we think he’ll make it all the way over pretty soon! -He is really smiling a lot and laughing a lot :) He loves his baths, too! -Link’s birthmark has really gotten dark! It’s on his left leg & at birth, it was barely visible, but it’s REALLY dark now. -Link was congested a lot of the month & had a really hard time breathing while he was eating :( -Link’s right eye continues to be clogged & goopy

142: 3 Month Photoshoot

144: Somewhere over the rainbow

145: eyes are blue...

147: Thursday, February 7, 2013 I really should be cleaning the kitchen right now. Or folding that mountain of laundry. Or at least trying to catch a nap when he’s sleeping. I keep trying to do that, but I never know how long his naps are going to be right now. So – it’s usually me, just falling asleep, when he wakes up. Sigh it’s okay. Not sure if it’s this nice, bright house, or the fact that I’ve been exercising, but more likely it’s just a complete tender mercy of the Lord that I seem like I still have energy and patience during the day - even when I’m up 4 times in the night. It’s not all with him. I’m usually up with Link about 2 times, but whether it’s the dogs or a girl, It seems like I’m usually up a few times at least. And then I go to work out at 5:45. I’m not really sure what to write about today. I am so very blessed. Link is 3 months old today & he’s finally been OUT of the hospital longer than he was in. I really did get chocked up as I sang to him & put him down for his nap a few minutes ago. My heart just overflows with love for that kid. He is so very precious to me & I am SO very thankful for him. And my girls. And my sweet husband. Truly blessed. Sure – we have money stresses – I REALLY want to get our carpets done. We really should get some more food storage. Then, of course, there’s the basement to finish (can’t we just finish those 2 rooms and the bathroom?) and the yard to finish. And Jason is worried about keeping his job with Obama not approving the budget. But – you know what? It doesn’t even really matter. What matters is the love notes I’m leaving on Jason’s mirror & the ones he leaves for me & the time we spend cuddling & talking at night. What matters is spending time with McKinley & Ireland when they get home from school & getting to hear about their day and their teachers & their friends. What matters is coloring with Kezia in the morning and practicing writing her name. What really matters is cuddling with my baby boy in the morning, talking to him & listening to him coo back an d mesmerize me with those gorgeous blue eyes of his. What matters is talking with my sisters & parents and feeling their love & trying to express mine. These are the things that matter. From Mommy's Blog Sunday, February 24, 2013 Sunday Ramblings I realize that I haven't really done much to update this blog, other than our monthly newsletter stuff. So - I thought I'd take a minute here & write down some thoughts/feelings that have been going through this sleep-deprived brain of mine. I'm so glad I have a warm home. It's so beautiful outside - we've had some decent snow storms - but I am content at the moment to be in my warm, quiet home, cuddled up with my baby boy while Jason has the girls at church. Life is good. Sure - I'm still up 2-5 times a night with Link - or with a daughter who had a nightmare - or with our whining/barking dogs - or with my computer that likes to randomly make strange noises... BUT life is still good :) Even now, after being home for about 2 months now, I still have moments - like in the shower yesterday - where I am just brought to tears at the miracle of having my baby boy HOME and WELL. I am just filled with a tremendous amount of gratitude and humility - especially when I see that my friend I met at CHOP (whose daughter has diffuse hyperinsulinism) has to keep going back to the hospital - dealing with a G-tube and medicine. And here we are - fully breastfeeding and no medication at all. Why us?

148: Smile | Your

149: lights up our world!!

150: in St. George!

153: Play date with Owen Dixon

154: From March 2013 Newsletter: FAMILY: March was the most joyous and most devastating month our family has ever faced. On the 3rd, we had Link’s blessing. Family & friends came. Tiffany flew in from Minnesota. What a joyful, blessed time. Grandma Potts did a St. Patrick’s Day party for all the cousins. Heidi got to go birthday shopping with her mom & out to breakfast with her sisters. The blessing was beautiful and we had wonderful food and conversation at our home afterward. So much joy. The rest of the month was spent enjoying an extra day with Tiffany & Maddy, doing St. Patrick’s crafts, celebrating Heidi’s birthday, Jason had a business trip to Ogden for a week, playing outside, a family trip to the dentist (Everyone but Kezi had cavities , playing at the park, having the Corrys over for Sunday dinner, and just enjoying life. On March 26, 2013, Heidi went to wake Link from his nap and he had rolled over. When she picked him up, he was cold and limp and blue. The ambulance was called and they tried to revive him at the hospital, but it was too late and there was nothing they could do. He had returned home to his Heavenly Father. Our entire family was shocked and devastated. Neighbors helped. Family came. There were a lot of preparations to be made for his funeral. We are so grateful to all who came and supported us during this horrible time. Link’s funeral was on March 30th. Family & friends came from all over. We felt everyone’s love and support. The talks, poems, and musical number were wonderful. Link was buried in the Cedar City Cemetery. There was such an outpouring of love for our family – cards, flowers, food, watching the girls, financial support, gifts, financial help, willow tree statues, a Yladro statue, books, messages, phone calls, paintings, etc. It was amazing to see the generosity of so many – we are truly, truly grateful. LINK: Oh – our precious baby boy! We miss you SO very much! On March 26, 2013, during naptime, you rolled over in your crib and were face-down when mommy found you. You left this mortal world behind – along with a lot of broken hearts. You have left an enormous, aching hole in our family. We talk of you every day. We miss you every minute. Losing you will be something that will define and motivate our family forever! We have already felt your missionary efforts on the other side and we pray that they will continue and that we will help move them along. SO many people here love you and miss you. They have shared their memories. They have shared their love for you. You have touched so many, many lives. Your funeral was beautiful. Everyone talked about how beautiful you were in your little white casket. I know your body was beautiful, but it was SO much more beautiful with your spirit inside! We pray that you will continue to touch our lives – be there for us – watch over us. WE LOVE YOU! You will continue to be included in our newsletters every month. Even if it’s just to say how much we miss you & love you. Or times we’ve thought of you. Or things we’ve done that have helped remind us of you. You will ALWAYS be a part of this family. We love you. Here are some things Link was doing before he died on March 26: -On March 3, Linkin was given a name and a blessing. His father talked about the power of the priesthood, the gift of discernment, the gift of charity, and he also talked about serving a mission and marrying an eternal companion. We have faith that all these blessings will be fulfilled on the other side. It was a beautiful day all-around. Mom cried when she dressed Link in his blessing outfit- complete with a tiny bow tie. He was just SO handsome!! Family came from far & wide (Aunt Tiffany even came from Minnesota) to see our miracle baby & celebrate his entrance into this world and the fact that he was home & healthy. Lots of people got to hold Link and kiss his adorable cheeks. We got lots of wonderful, precious pictures that day. What an amazing blessing.

155: -Link continued to get better and better with his hands. He was grabbing his toes. He was to the point where it was dangerous to having him on your lap or in the Bumbo at the table because he would grab anything he could reach. One time he grabbed mom’s malt-o-meal breakfast & got it all over his hands! Good thing mom cleaned him off before he could get it in his mouth! He also knocked over the sugar and a cup of water. He was also getting really good at pulling his cow on his seat. He could make the music go and at the end, he was just pulling it right off. -His tummy was also getting strong & when we would put him under the jungle gym, instead of hitting the hanging parts with his hands, he would scoot & kick them with his feet really hard. -We were really working on tummy time with him the month before he died. He was getting a really strong neck and if you put him on his tummy with his arms under him, he would lift up and roll over. -Link had his 4-month appointment on March 20. His weight was a bit down, but overall, he was truly healthy and perfect. He was meeting all the milestones. The doctor asked a specialist to look at his birthmark just to make sure it was okay. He came in and wanted to see the “miracle baby” – he said his birthmark was fine, but something he would have his whole life. - We started the “cry it out” method with Link – and would go & check on him at increments. He had a hard time for a few days, but was actually doing really well by the end – he would sleep till 5:30am. -Link was starting to really like watching Baby Einstein and Baby Signing Time. He would sit through almost the whole 30 minutes before getting fussy. -Link brought smiles and joy to our family EVERY DAY. He was really smiling and laughing so good. His daddy would always get a huge smile from him when he got home – and he knew just the tickle spot to make him giggle & giggle. His sisters loved to hold him & McKinley would walk around with him & Ireland would just move his little chair wherever he wanted to go. -Link tried rice cereal for the first time in April. We tried mixing it with warm breastmilk, but he never really took to it. He would get fussy and spit most of it out. -Link was finally able to go to church with us for 3 precious weeks. He looked SO handsome in his church outfit – white onesie collared shirt, black pant, and a grey/black vest. It was so fun to take him and show him off. Jason took him for 2 of the weeks and was able to cuddle him & get him to sleep. Mom was able to take him to primary one week. He was SO good. He sat & listened to the kids sing and Ireland would look over & smile at him – and he was a bit distracting to the other kids as well. They kept looking at him and some would say “Your baby is so cute!” -The autopsy report did not show that Link had any health problems. He was just called home & we sure miss him at his earthly home. WE LOVE YOU LINK!!

156: Oh, I’ve loved you from the start In every single way And more each passing day You are brighter than the stars Believe me when I say It’s not about your scars It’s all about your heart

159: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 I really feel bad I haven’t written much in the past month. I need to write about Link’s blessing. It really was an awesome day. Mom & Tiffany came on Friday afternoon. I had really been working hard (which is not easy to do with 3 little kids and a baby) to get the house really organized & clean. I sure wish it would stay that was permanently. But anyway, we had some homemade bread & they took naps (Tiff & Maddy slept in Link’s room & he slept in our closet), which was hard for the girls to have them rest right after they had gotten there & they wanted to play, but once they got up, they played some more. I made some homemade, real-food chicken pot pie. That night, mom took me out for dessert at Krave. It was yummy & Lisa Anderson was there. Afterwards, we went to Famous Footwear & we each got a couple pairs of shoes. It was fun to spend some time with mom. After that, dad came with the Edwards. Mom & Dad were going to stay at the Pitts’, but as it turned out, they stayed in the girls room, while my kids & Cindy’s kids stayed on the pull-out couch & upstairs & Cindy slept with Tiff. The next morning (Saturday), Cindy, Tiff & I went & ate at the American Diner. It was a yummy breakfast & nice to be with the sisters. We came back & mom did a little St. Patricks Day party with the kids, which was cute. Later on, we went with the kids to the park. They had fun, but I thought I needed to head back to feed Link, so we took off. When I got home, the house was decorated with happy birthday signs. They sang to me & after a spaghetti dinner, we had cake & ice cream. It was cute & sweet. Sunday morning, I woke up, got the crock pots going, ate a little & then got myself ready. I had put McKinley & Ireland’s hair in curlers, so their hair was easy to fix. Everyone was so good to help clean up & I was amazed – truly! – that everything was pretty much ready to go at 10am. We had an hour to go! Finally at like 10:20, I got Link up from his nap & put him in his little white suit. That is when I started to get emotional. It was the first time for a boy blessing & he just looked so handsome & I was so thankful for him. Jason’s family was starting to come. We took a couple pictures & headed over. It was nice to have so much of our family there – we were only missing Adam & Joseph. And the Bealers even came. So did Kevin & his wife. The blessing was beautiful. Jason talked about what a blessing Link was in our family & about serving a mission & he teared up when he talked about finding a celestial companion & getting married in the temple. I wish I had written more down at the time. It was neat, though. I definitely felt the Spirit & Link did so good. I did bear my testimony & so did Cindy – and by that time it was like 20 after the hour. I hadn’t even realized how late it was, but I was glad I got a chance to thank everyone for fasting & praying for us & sharing my testimony. Cindy’s was sweet about missing us in Salt Lake, but feeling like we were in a good ward family. It took a bit to get the slow cooker soups finished when we got back, but they were done by about 1 & we all ate. It was potato soup and rice soup and frog eye salad and turkey & rolls and lots of desserts I thought the food ended up being really good. We took some more pictures, but people started leaving & pretty soon it was just Trisha & her family, us, and Tiff & Maddy. The Simons decided to drive here & back on Sunday because they had lots of packing. It was nice to visit with just us. Miss those girls. Tiff stayed overnight & flew out of Cedar the next day. It was so fun to have her & Maddy here. I wish they could have stayed – especially with Jason leaving to Ogden. We played upstairs & downstairs. We talked. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had that much 1 on 1 time with Tiff. I sure love her. Wow. That was a lot to write. I need to be writing in here more. I really do. I feel like I’m still very much in the fog of babyhood, but I’m trying desperately to still be aware of what’s going on. To cherish these precious moments. To memorize every inch of my baby’s beautiful ear, to count his eyelashes, to repeatedly kiss those cheeks. I don’t want these babies of mine to be teenagers. I just don’t want it. I’ve had a taste of it with McKinley’s attitude & I just want everything to come to screeching halt & make time stand still for a little while. I love these kids. I love Jason. I miss him. Can’t wait for him to come home & cuddle me. Looking forward to many, many more birthdays with these blessed loved ones.

160: is a little world created by love. | Link's Special Blessing Day

161: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

162: "My Father...My Hero" Dad, you're my hero in so many ways, And I am so grateful to you I have such respect for the man that you are And the wonderful things that you do You have a heart "as big as an ocean" A "soft side" you don't always show, All of your life you worked for your family, You taught me and helped me to grow You were the man I knew I could lean on, Who fostered a strong sense of pride, The father who gave me his love and affection, And always remained by my side. All of my life, Dad, I will be thankful, That I had a father so true. I never had to search for a hero, The hero in my life was YOU!

164: JOY

165: IT'S NOT WHAT WE HAVE IN OUR LIFE, BUT WHO WE HAVE IN OUR LIFE THAT COUNTS. - J. M. Laurence

166: 4 Month Photoshoot

167: Our Handsome Little Man

168: AUNTIE KISSES :)

169: 2012 Babies - Spencer, Maddy, Link

170: All the pennies in the wishing wells All the diamonds Tiffany's could sell All the riches put together All the sunny California weather Could not make me love you any better -Mindy Gledhill

172: Master of the EXERSAUCER

173: Our Handsome Hamilton Boys

175: First time eating rice cereal | Not a fan...

176: St. Patrick's Day

179: From Mommy's Blog Monday, March 25, 2013 Media Fast I think the Lord has been trying to talk to me lately - to get a message through... and I think this is the message he's been trying to send: Turn off the computer/phone/Kindle and be in your life. Yesterday in church, our bishop read a letter from our stake presidency asking our stake to have a "media fast" the week before General Conference. And then, today, I ran across THIS post. Yup - he's been trying to get through to me. I am actually looking forward to the media fast. I think it will be harder than I anticipate. I hope to help the kids fulfill this as well & get creative & have more fun & get more done, though I admit that I am a bit worried about nap/quiet time when the girls usually watch a movie while I try to get a little nap in after being up multiple times in the night with the baby or one of the girls. And, yes, the irony is not lost on me that at this very moment I am using a computer to type this blog post. But I wanted to document this & also let people know that if they want to reach me next week the best way will be to call :) The fast starts this Sunday & goes till conference. Wish me luck!! :-)

180: Death is nothing at all Death is nothing at all I have only slipped away into the next room I am I and you are you Whatever we were to each other That we are still Call me by my own familiar name Speak to me in the easy way you always used Put no difference into your tone Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow Laugh as we always laughed At the little jokes we always enjoyed together Play, smile, think of me, pray for me Let my name be ever the household word that it always was Let it be spoken without effort Without the ghost of a shadow in it Life means all that it ever was There is absolute unbroken continuity What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind Because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you for an interval Somewhere very near Just around the corner All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost One brief moment and all will be as it was before How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again! Canon Henry Scott-Holland, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral (1847 - 1918)

181: Linkin Dallin Hamilton Obituary 2012 ~ 2013 Our sweet, precious baby boy, Linkin Dallin Hamilton, born on November 7, 2012, passed away in his sleep on March 26, 2013 and returned to the arms of a loving Savior and family who preceded him. In his short time on earth, he touched many lives - both in his home town and across the country in Philadelphia, where he had surgery when he was one month old. Link is the beloved son of Heidi and Jason Hamilton of Cedar City, UT. He is survived by three adoring sisters - McKinley, Ireland, and Kezia. He is also survived by loving grandparents, Dave and DeeAnn Devenish of Richfield, UT, Billy and Offie Hamilton of Fritch, TX and Dan and Patricia Potts of Murray, UT, as well as a great-grandma, Louise Tew, of West Valley, UT. His five aunts, six uncles, and 13 cousins will also miss him dearly. Link was such a blessing in the lives of all who knew him. His smiles and laughs will be sorely missed and leave a large hole in our family! We are so thankful for an understanding of eternal families and rejoice in the knowledge that we will be with our baby boy again one day. Viewing to be held on Saturday, March 30, 2013 starting at 10 a.m. at the LDS Church located at 1925 W. 320 S. in Cedar City, with funeral services following at noon. Interment will be at the Cedar City Cemetery under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences can be sent to www.sumortuary.com. Donations can also be made in lieu of flowers at any Wells Fargo in Linkin Dallin Hamilton's name. Published in Deseret News on Mar. 29, 2013

182: From Mommy's Blog Tuesday, April 9, 2013 Two Weeks Two Weeks. 14 days. 336 hours. Two weeks since I've kissed his sweet, warm, pink cheeks. Our baby boy. Our only son. It started out as a pretty typical Tuesday. The girls got off to school. Jason went to work. I took Kezia and Link with me to the store. I put his car seat in the cart. He was a little fussy as I dropped off a prescription. He cooed & talked to me & played with his toy giraffe as I waited to have a key made. He fell asleep in his car seat as I gathered things and put them in the cart. I saw some of my neighbors in the cereal isle. We talked. One of them asked how Link was doing & I smiled as I told her how wonderful he has been. How he has grown. I let her peek at him while he slept. We got home. He was awake & I put him in his exersaucer while I brought groceries in and put things in the freezer. By that time, he was hungry and fussy, so I got him out of the exersaucer and fed him. His sister Ireland got home and kissed him. My mom called & we talked and Link smiled & kicked his legs as Kezia put the headset on him and he heard his grandma's voice. He was getting tired, so I swaddled him, sang to him, kissed him and put him down for a nap like I always do. This was right about noon. I sat down with the other two girls to eat lunch. We started eating and I heard him fussing, so I went back in - put his binki back in and stroked his face & shushed him. This was about 12:15. The last time I saw him alive. I took a nap while the girls watched a movie. I was really tired & slept soundly. I got up about 2pm. At about 2:30 I went in to feed him because he needed to eat before I left for my dentist appointment. When I got into his room, I noticed he had rolled over. He was still swaddled, but he had completely rolled & was face down - with his head toward the bottom of the crib. I thought that was strange, but I didn't panic until I picked him up. He was limp. He was cold. He was blue. He wasn't breathing. I held him as I ran out of his room. I screamed. I called 911. I put him on our living room rug. They walked me through giving him CPR. After a while some police came & took over for me - giving him CPR. I called Jason. I cried. I screamed "He HAS to be okay! He has been through too much in his life already! He HAS to be okay!!" They were asking me questions & I was trying to answer between sobs and screams. I felt nauseous. I felt sick. I felt despair into the bottom of my stomach. Jason came. The paramedics came. Jason went with Link in the ambulance & I waited till my sweet friend Diane came to get Kezia & Ireland. Then I rode with a police officer to the hospital. He drove fast, but not fast enough. I called my mom. She said she had to look at the caller ID to make sure it was really me. I was frantic. We said a prayer on the phone. We got to the hospital. Jason was there. We went to the room that they were working on him. There were no signs of life. I sobbed. I went to where his body lay & held his tiny hand and the doctor told us that he was gone. I remember that I kept walking around & repeating "but he's my baby boy. But he's my baby boy..." Everything else is kind of a blur. People were there helping, talking, giving hugs & holding hands - our bishop, our friend Mark Corry, Jason's brother, Jeff. An officer put us in a tiny room and asked a bunch of questions. I kept looking at this guy like he was speaking a foreign language. I was just in such shock.

183: Everything else is kind of a blur. People were there helping, talking, giving hugs & holding hands - our bishop, our friend Mark Corry, Jason's brother, Jeff. An officer put us in a tiny room and asked a bunch of questions. I kept looking at this guy like he was speaking a foreign language. I was just in such shock. We eventually left the hospital and went home. I went into my room & sobbed. My friend brought the girls to our home & we had to tell them that their baby brother had returned home to Heavenly Father. Friends and family were coming & going - helping with the girls. Cleaning. That night was the hardest night of my life. Every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was his little blue face. All I could feel was his cold lifeless body. We let the girls sleep in our room. Jason slept on one side of me. McKinley slept on the other. We were all so close & they were breathing in and out, in and out. I just felt like they were breathing for me. They were my life support when I felt like I couldn't make myself breathe. Still, even though they were breathing for me, my heart was still shattered, and I could not sleep. I tossed & turned. I felt shock and grief in the pit of my stomach that kept coming. Finally, sometime in the middle of the night, I got up & went into Link’s room & grabbed the blankets from his crib. I laid down in the bed next to his crib & just sobbed & sobbed. Oh, how I needed my baby boy in my arms. How I NEEDED him. My prayers were desperation. They were pleading. They were demanding. They were "God - can't you see? Can't you see how badly I NEED him? I need him! Please NO!" They were "Oh God, NO! You have the wrong girl! I CAN'T do this! I CAN'T! Other women can. They are strong. They are courageous They are faithful. But I can't. Please don't make me!" After a while, Jason came in there. He laid there & cried with me. The next few days were full of things that no parent should have to do for their child. And, indeed, my mind would NOT accept that this was happening. We chose pictures, we went to the mortuary and picked out a beautiful tiny casket, we went to the cemetery and chose a plot, we put together a program for the funeral, I put together a slideshow, we dressed my baby boy's body for burial....and all the while my mind is screaming "I am not here. This is not happening. I will wake up. He is fine. He is beautiful. He is healthy." Words came from my mouth. I blinked. I breathed. I pumped milk for a baby that wouldn't drink. I cried tears constantly. And in the background were angels seen and unseen. My parents who drove to me the minute they heard & helped & cried with me and helped with the girls. Jason's mom and sister who came right away & were there for me. Jason's brother who kept coming from St. George to be there. My sweet sisters who helped get the girls' outfits ready. They put together pictures and items to be displayed for the funeral. They ran errands. My sweet friend, Lena, dropped everything, found a sitter for her three boys, and drove from Fredona, AZ to come and hold my hand and help me breathe. She had lost baby twins and she knew what to say & do. So many amazing people were coming & going. Flowers. Cards. Paintings. Gifts. Food. So much love. I have to admit that at the beginning, I didn't want any of it. I just wanted it to all go away. I wanted it all to disappear & I just wanted my baby boy back in my arms. But I felt the love & support. I felt the prayers. Most of all, I turned to my husband. He told me everything was going to be okay - even when I was looking at him with tear-swollen eyes and asking "How? HOW can it be all right? How can we do this?" He is my anchor. He is my rock. He helps me to breathe. To remember. To kneel. To trust.

184: The day of the funeral was horrible and sweet and surreal. Somehow I got up and got dressed. Somehow the girls got dressed, too. Trisha fixed my hair. Tiffany helped with my make-up. Somehow I got to the church & as a little family, we kissed & talked to Link's body. Somehow I stood there for an hour and a half while people came. They came. From all over. Minnesota. Texas. Park City. Vernal. Salt Lake. Richfield. ALL OVER. Family. Friends. Loved ones. They hugged me. They told me they were sorry. They told me how beautiful he was. Somehow somehow I listened as my father gave a prayer. Somehow I tucked my baby boy into a casket of white and watched as they closed the lid – never to see his face in the flesh again until the resurrection. Somehow I sat through a funeral where heartfelt prayers were said, beautiful talks were given, memories were shared, sweet poems were read, powerful songs were sung. Somehow we got to the cemetery and I listened as my sweet husband dedicated the grave. Somehow I stayed there after everyone left with my groom by my side and watched as they put his tiny casket into a vault and placed the lid. Then somehow I left the cemetery and came back to the church and talked some more. We sat by Vic & Molly Jackson, who had lost a 2-year-old daughter and I clung to their words and their love. Somehow we came back home and I talked and cried and smiled & even laughed with Jason’s family from Texas. Now... it's been two weeks. It still hurts. I know it will for a while, but I cannot disregard the tender mercies - the love letters from heaven - that have happened in our lives since the passing of our son. Some of them are too sacred to share here, but they are real. This whole experience has tested my faith in the Plan of Salvation, but I can say that I KNOW that I will see my baby boy again. I know he is happy. I know he watches over us. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. At first I wondered how he could do this when he knew how much it would hurt me - and I'm sure I will keep on wondering that - but at the same time, his peace & love have abounded. There was a rainbow on the day of his funeral. The forget-me-not plant that my grandma gave me is blooming like crazy. I've had some amazing dreams. I've heard some very healing, loving songs. Read and heard some wonderful talks. The fact that he died on the week of Easter - with General Conference to follow the next weekend - is a complete tender mercy.I wrote this the week that he died: Empty: An empty crib. An empty room. An empty car seat. An empty exersacer. An empty jumper. An empty Bumbo seat. An empty swing. An empty tiny chair. Empty eyes. Empty arms. Empty laps. Empty hearts. .. An Empty Tomb.

185: I am SO thankful for the resurrection of my Savior. SO THANKFUL! How horrible it would be to think that this was the end for my precious son. It is still going to be so very hard. I know it will. Please bear with me as I begin this grieving journey & sort through all kinds of emotions and pain. It really does amaze me how such a tiny person can leave such a huge hole in our hearts and in our family. But I KNOW that he truly is our LINK from heaven to earth!! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU to everyone. We don't know that we will get time to personally thank each of you for the cards. The flowers. The gifts. The text messages. The facebook messages. But we want you to know that we have read every one and appreciate them with all. Thank you. From Mommy's Blog Thursday, May 23, 2013 Funeral - Linkin Dallin Hamilton - March 30, 2013 I've finally gone through the pictures from Link's funeral & uploaded them. I know it seems like there are a LOT. There are - and these are only probably 20% of all the pictures. I apologize, too, because I don't think they are in order, but I tried. The day was really a blur to me. The poem "Footprints" really means more to me now. This was definitely a day where He carried me. There are so many things about that day that I can't remember - I still was in shock that it was really happening. But there are a few things about that day that stand out to me and I hold in my heart. The first was the love and care of family in preparing us for this horrific day. They helped care for me, my daughters, and my home. When we got to the church, some of the first people I remember seeing were Jason's family from Texas - his dad, his cousin, his aunt. Bless their hearts for coming so far & being there for us. Also - seeing the displays that my beautiful, loving sisters and cousin had worked so hard to put together - touched my heart. Pictures of him. Flowers. His favorite toys. Blankets. Shoes. So lovingly and beautifully put together. Then, as a little family, we walked into the room where our sweet son and brother lay. We had talked to the girls the night before about how the room would look and where Link's body would be. The girls were curious. They touched him. They were reverent and quiet. We said one last family prayer with our baby boy there. We prayed that Link would be with us. That our Savior would support us. That we would be able to get through the day. Then came the hugs. Oh... the sweet, sweet loving hugs and words of comfort and love from so many people. So many of YOU! It was so humbling and amazing to feel your love. Though, it was hard to stand there. You can probably see from the pictures how heavy my heart was and how often I had to turn to my sweetheart for physical and spiritual support. I know this sounds funny, but a part of my brain registered multiple similarities from our wedding day. Lots of pictures, a video playing in the background, a book to sign, a line with hugs from loved ones who have come far and wide, flowers everywhere. Except this was some horrific parallel universe. Instead of pictures of the happy couple... there was pictures of my baby boy who was dead.

186: Instead of a video playing happy love songs, it was playing heartbreaking, melancholy songs. Instead of tears of happiness and hope, everyone was crying tears of sadness, of missing this precious son, brother, cousin, nephew, grandson, friend, etc. And instead of a line full of joyful family, our line included only us and a tiny casket holding the body of our baby. Tucking my son into his casket and watching as they closed it was one of the most difficult moments of my life. The funeral was as sweet and loving as it could be. I have to tell you that the first song we sang - Nearer My God to Thee - was a moment of perfect clarity amid the chaos in my mind and heart. Hearing so many friends, neighbors, family, loved ones, singing that song was so powerful. I FELT your love through that song. We were in the front row and it was like a wave of love that overtook me. I could not sing a note - I felt your love so powerfully. The talks were wonderful. I am so glad I have a CD of them. They're on my phone now & I listen to them as I clean - or when I am questioning or hurting or angry or feeling guilty. The stake president from our last stake spoke - it was such a personal, loving talk. Our wonderful bishop talked. Jason was somehow able to share some precious memories and scriptures. The cousins sang "I am a Child of God." It was so sweet. My friend, Diane, read the poem she wrote, which I'm including below: Healing in His Hands, by Diane Bealer - dedicated to Jason and Heidi Hamilton A tiny babe lays sleeping so peaceful and so calm And while he lays there without pain we seek a healing balm A mother’s arms are open she yearns to feel his warmth To kiss his cheeks and hold him close it was she who brought him forth A father’s heart is broken he longs to see that smile To sit and talk and play with him if only for a while The grief the pain the aching will it ever fade away? It doesn’t seem to have an end it must be here to stay But through the pain and hunger to have that baby near Comes the Savior of Mankind their prayers He always hears It’s He alone that has the balm to bind those bleeding wounds For He knows in time they won’t always be consumed He's waiting and He’s watching for times to bless and heal He knows there’s nothing like a child that makes this pain so real He aches to hold those parents and show His love so dear The scars to show He knows their pain Only He can nobly wear So turn to Him and give your pain He strengthens those that fall His love is here for all who seek The King of One and All So when your world is crashing down and pain is all you see Comfort is never far away if you can make it to your knees

187: Isn't it beautiful? The words are absolutely spot-on. I always talk about (and dream about) kissing those cherished cheeks of his. It brought me more joy than I can express. Jason talks about missing that precious smile. And the hunger... yes the hunger. Such a beautiful poem. The day was beautiful. The time at cemetery was short, but there was hope and love in the sunshine and the presence of all our loved ones. Thank you to ALL of you who came to support us. Many of you didn't know what to say, but it didn't matter. You being there expressed to us more than words could ever tell how much you loved us and wanted to help. As difficult (this word is absolutely insufficient, but will have to do) as this day was, I am so thankful that it happened. I think of pioneer women who lost babies along the trail. There were no flowers. No video. No pictures. No beautiful casket. They did not have hundreds of people there supporting them. Many of them buried their babies in shallow graves - never to visit them again. This day was a sweet tribute to a baby boy who changed my life forever. I am so very blessed and privileged to be Link's mother.

192: From May 2013 Newsletter: LINK: We miss your blue eyes, your chubby cheeks and your impossibly adorable smiles & laughs every single day, our baby boy. Mom can be seen often kissing her finger & putting it to your picture. You would have been 6 months on the 7th of this month and that was a hard day for mom. Adam Bealer dropped by and brought blue balloons. We each wrote a note to you and attached it to the balloons and sent them up to you. Also – we watched your slideshow and we cried It’s been two full months since you died and we’re getting by, but you are in our thoughts all the time, Link. We talk about you constantly. Wondering what you’d be doing by now. Wondering if you would like eating certain things. Your sisters are taking turns sleeping in your room. I think it helps them to feel closer to you. Mom & dad continue to read the after-life book to try and get an idea of what it’s like where you are. We know you are watching over us – and along with Grandpa Tew (and many others) are working hard as a missionary. Much of this month was spent trying to finalize your headstone. We hope you will like it and it will have meaning for you – as it does for us. We went to your grave on Memorial Day and it was neat to be there – but we think we will enjoy it more once the headstone is in. Mom & Dad felt your presence in the temple when they went this month. Mom has had a few precious dreams where she actually gets to kiss your adorable cheeks and there is almost nothing sweeter & more comforting for her in the whole world. She’s still working to collect all the pictures, videos, and memories from everyone so that we can have a book for your birthday. You continue to touch so many hearts, Link. We love you. We miss you.

194: From June 2013 Newsletter: LINK: You are still so very much a part of our family, baby boy. Even if people can’t see you, there are still six members of our family. We know you watch over us. We knew you were there as the “Link” in Grandma Devenish’s family chain came together on June 22nd. Thank you for being there. Thank you for shining your ray of light down on us from above. We FINALLY got your headstone ordered. I wanted the sides polished, so it is going to take longer. I am praying it will be here for SURE by your birthday. You can read in your sisters’ sections how each of them have thought of you this past month – McKinley wrote a story about you for the Friend. Ireland threw a goodbye party for you. Kezia dreamt about you and is still finding cute clothes for you at the store. Dad felt your presence strongly at the temple. Mom knew you were there, too. Please keep sending butterflies, warm breezes that tickle our cheeks, rays of light, and most of all the peace to know you are happy and well. We miss you so much, our baby boy. We love you.

195: From July 2013 Newsletter: LINK: You would have been 8 months old this month, our baby boy. On that day, you sent a BEAUTIFUL double-rainbow that stretched over the entire valley. The colors were so vivid. It was so beautiful. THANK YOU. I’m sure you knew how much we needed that love note from God and from you. Thank you for being there for your daddy when he was missing you at the top of the mountain on his hike. Thank you for watching over us and loving us from above. I’m sure you knew what a hard time your mommy had this month – missing you on the 4th of July as she put away some of your diapers, toys, and blankets. I’m sure you saw her many tears as she filed away your stack of medical papers. It’s hard not to think of all you’d be doing now. I’m sure this part of the newsletter would be filled with new foods you’d tried, messes you’d made, crawling you’d conquered, fireworks you’d witnessed for the first time, and memories you’d made. We are trying to really look for those love notes instead of on the pain of not having you here. Some days are harder than others. We are starting to plan ways to honor you on your birthday – donations/service to the Ronald McDonald house and your angelversary – strengthening “links” in our earthly & heavenly families. We are excited for this, because we strongly feel you letting us know that your mission was and is strengthening those family “links.” We love and miss you EVERY single day. We look for you in the clouds, the wind, the rain, the sun, the sunrises, the sunsets, and the rainbows. We know you are there. We love you.

196: From August 2013 Newsletter: LINK: At the end of the August, it was 5 months since you left this earth. That means that you have now been gone longer than you were here, and that knowledge hurts so very much. You gave us another beautiful rainbow on that day – and also a gorgeous sunset. Thank you so much. You have sent us butterflies, birds, and even a tarantula to brighten and enliven our days. We were so thankful when we got the copy of your tiny footprints from the hospital. Just seeing them helped us feel closer to you. You continue to inspire us to be better people. We know you watch over us all. Mommy always wanted a boy first so he could watch over & protect his siblings and even though you were not the first to come to our family, you are now doing just that – watching over them all. Especially your sisters while they’re at school. Thank you SO much, baby boy, for allowing another brother or sister to come down to our family. We feel sure that you got to spend some time with them in preparation before sending them to us. We miss you EVERY moment. EVERYday. We LOVE YOU!

197: From September 2013 Newsletter: LINK: Our sweet baby boy. How we miss you. Mom had an especially hard month missing you. It’s now been six months. Half of a year since you left. The memories grow fainter and the pictures and videos grow more precious. It’s looking more like your headstone will not be here by your birthday and that is very heartbreaking. Please forgive us. We will still try and make that day special, though, and pray you will be close. THANK YOU for all your missionary work you have been doing. THANK YOU for being a part of your grandparent’s sealing day in the temple. Many of us knew you were there. It was such a special day. THANK YOU for helping to turn our hearts more to family history. We know you will help us find those people that are missing “links” in our family chain. One very special part of our month was receiving our “Link Bears.” They are the bears that are made from your clothing – complete with a seam where your surgery scar was and a spot where your birthmark was. They are treasures. Your sisters sleep with them every night. Mom & Dad love our bear, too, and it will forever remind us of our Link. We miss you. We love you & are so thankful for the time we spent with you in mortality and await the time we will get to be with you again.

199: Our precious Link Bears

200: Forever | I thought of you with love today but that is nothing new. I thought of you yesterday and days before that too. I think of you in silence as I often speak your name. All I have are memories and your picture in a frame.

201: Family | Your memory is my keepsake with which I'll never part. God has you in His keeping. I have you in my heart.

202: Mommy's Memories *I remember your last bath. You took it with Ireland. It was her turn. We have had to take turns with who gets to take a bath with you. They all wanted to. It was Ireland’s turn & she was so excited. She LOVES taking baths with you. You loved it as always & I was thinking it wouldn’t be long until we could stop using the sling & instead use the insert so you could sit up while you bathed. We talked to you. Ireland helped wash you. We sang. We were silly. After the bath I brought you to your room & dried you & put lots of lotion on you. You don’t love that part between getting out of the bath & getting dressed, but you did okay. I still remember the smell. You smelled SO good all day long & even into the next day. I just couldn’t stop smelling you. That sweet baby smell. I even told Jason how good you smelled & told him to smell you & he did & agreed. You were the cleanest, happiest, most beautiful baby in the whole world. I love you. *You loved lights & things that glowed. At night, while we were reading books or saying prayers, you would touch the snowman night light. You learned how to twist it around. And that last morning with you, they had the lava lamp going the night before & I sat you in front of it & you tried to touch it & watch it. *Memory of that last morning. You were SO good at Walmart. You fussed a little while I talked to the pharmacist. You were awake while I had a key made. Then you slept until we checked out. At home, you played happily in your exersaucer while I brought groceries in and put some frozen things away. By that time, you were fussy & hungry. I went into the living room and fed you for a while before I put you down for your nap. I swaddled you. I gave you your binki. I cuddled you. I’m so thankful you were fussy after a while, so I could go back in one more time, give you the binki, stroke your face & see your warm pink beautiful body before you had to leave. *Memory of the last couple days Sunday night we had the Corrys over and you were really fussy right before they left & also about the same time the next day during FHE. I stood up with you and held you & patted you & that’s about the only thing that calmed you down. Daddy did the same thing on Monday. I see that time now as such a blessing to be close to you. To calm to, to kiss you, to love you. I love you oh how I love you and miss you my baby boy. *You loved me blowing on your tummy – giving you raspberries – after your baths or when I was changing your clothes, I would lift you up & blow on your tummy & you would just squeal and laugh I love, love, loved that. *I remember just that morning (& many other mornings) – I would put you in the jumper in the door jam while I got dressed and did my make-up & got ready. It hurt a lot this morning as I got ready. I looked over to see that spot in the door jam where you should have been – bouncing up and down – with Kezia “helping” you. Oh, my sweet boy how I miss you. I miss you. *Oh your sisters. My sweet baby boy, how you brought JOY into this house. Your sisters thought you were the greatest thing to ever happen to them. How they kissed you. Held you. Touched you. Sung to you. Played with you. McKinley would put you on her legs and do “horsey-horsey.” Ireland would say “Cuteness Alert!” when you came near & smother you with kisses. Kezia would go talk to you in her baby voice. They loved you so much that we had to set timers & take turns. They would all argue over who would get to hold you & I would have to literally set a timer so that they could each have a turn. We would have to take turns on who would get to take a bath with you. We started with Kezia & went from youngest to oldest. Also, in the car. Ireland got to sit by you the first month & a half. McKinley got to sit by you the rest of the time. I don’t think any baby in the whole world could have been more loved than you. I mean that. Everyone in this household adored you and treasured you and loved you. *You loved looking in mirrors. I would hold you up to the mirror in our bedroom & you would just smile & talk. You would touch the mirror. I would always say “Who IS that handsome little guy? He is SOOOO handsome!” I don’t know if you knew it was you or you thought it was another beautiful baby boy.

203: *One of the hardest things is going into your room. The room where you died. Every particle of every sense screams out for you. My eyes long to see your beautiful blues. My ears ache to hear your cries, your laughs, your “talking.” My nose longs to smell that sweet baby smell. My mouth longs to kiss those huge, precious cheeks of yours. And my skin aches to touch your skin – to hold your tiny hand, to touch those tiny toes. *I miss you. Have I mentioned that? The girls are going back to school next week & I’m scared. Everything has been a bit out-of-the-ordinary since you left & getting back into routines will only make that hole that you left more apparent. All those little things that I miss every single moment. I miss getting you out of the bed in the morning. Oh how you loved those early morning smiles. Even when it was 6am & I’d been up with you three times already & was grumpy, your smiles would make me smile. I miss you on my lap as we said family prayers in the morning. I miss you in the bobby on the table as we ate breakfast & talked about the day. I miss you once the girls leave & Kezi would say “now it’s just mommy & Kezi & Link time!” I miss playing peek-a-boo with you, playing horsie, horsie, playing pat-a-cake, lifting you up and “tick-tocking” you. I miss dressing you for the day in all those adorable boy clothes that I was loving so much & so new at. I miss giving you baths & having you kick the water & flail your arms. I miss your copying me as I’d say “ooooooh.” I miss you in your exersaucer. I look over at it & can’t help but just put my hand to my heart and try to just keep it from breaking. I miss you in your jumper as I’d get ready. I miss putting you in your carseat & taking you on errands – to playgroup, to the store, to the park. I just miss HOLDING you. Oh, how I miss HOLDING you & KISSING your cheeks. All the nurses in the NICU would lament that they couldn’t kiss those cheeks, but I could & I did so very much. So very much. I am sleeping with your soft blue blanket – the one you slept on every night. *I am sitting in your room right now. In the squeaky rocking chair. I’m crying for you. I think the last time I really sat in this chair was to feed you. I wish I would have enjoyed EVERY time I fed you. A lot of times I would look at my phone or read a book. I am sorry for that, my precious son. If I could go back, I would have focused all of my attention on you. On your breathing, on the feeling of closeness that feeding you brought me. You liked to reach you and swipe your hand across my chest as you ate – or grab on to anything you could get a hold of. You liked to pull on the strings of a hoodie sweater that I liked to wear. Sometimes when you swiped my chest, you’d scrape me & leave a mark if your fingernails were too long. I’m sitting by the crib that you should be in right now. It would be about your nap time. This is the room where you left your mortal body & so I come here – just I like I did before you were born – to seek the Lord – and to seek you. It is a sacred place. I think it has always been so. Last night I had a dream about you. I don’t remember all of it, but I remember that you were sitting on your dad’s lap & I knew you were gone, so I put my hands on both sides of your face & looked hard into your eyes & told you “I love you so much.” I think I also told you how much I missed you, but I just specifically remember telling you how much I loved you. I NEEDED you to know how much I loved you. I don’t remember you speaking, but your gorgeous blue eyes looked back into mine with an understanding & I knew you knew. Then I think I put you on my lap so your dad could talk to you. I even remember telling someone in my dream about this dream that I had with you. I’m so thankful that Heavenly Father let me remember. And I hope, somehow, you did get the message about how much I love you. *You loved fans. Maybe not quite as much as your sister Kezia, but almost. You would be fussy when I laid you down somewhere but the minute I turned on the fan, you were mesmerized. Many times, when we were in your sisters’ room at night, we would have the girls running back & forth to turn on & off the fan in the room. You sure loved it. And your sisters sure loved you. I know they miss you, too, but they seem to be okay. Hopefully they will continue to love you and remember you and know that they will see you again one day. *I went to turn on the water to give the younger girls a bath. Oh – HOW I wanted you there! I wanted to give you a bath & sing to you & watch you kick your little legs and splash with your arms. I wanted to make you smile. I felt like my insides were going to burst from the missing you & wanting you. And yesterday when I saw the exersaucer, for just a split second, I thought you were in it. I thought you were okay. I thought everything was all right. And then the reality hit me and my heart dropped.

204: *Good morning my angel son. I just got done running with a friend and I am sitting here, missing you. Right about now you would be waking up – right about now I would be rewarded with the most beautiful baby boy smile in all the world. I would be able to hear your sweet voice cooing & I’m sure I could even get some laughs from you. I wasn’t always a morning person – especially when I’d been up at night – but you would always make me smile. You couldn’t help it. Right about now, I would bring you in here to cuddle with your dad for a minute while I got ready. Shhh – don’t tell him, but sometimes I did it because I knew having you close to him would wake him up. He loved your smiles, too. Then I would pick you up & take you to your sisters’ room & it was the same thing there. I would lay you in their bed and you would start talking & they would roll to you, kiss you, hold your hand – fight over you. But you were the happy waker-upper. Everyone loved seeing your good-morning smile – and I would sing the good morning song and say “Jesus loves you and mommy does, tooand Link does, too.” A few days ago I sang that song & Kezi made sure I didn’t leave you out. It was so sweet. I miss those mornings with you. How I wish I could go back & at least just watch one of those mornings. Relish in the joy of every day time with you *You were really getting good at touching the screen on my phone or on the Kindle. I think by now you would have figured out some of the cause & effect of pushing buttons. *There were just those mornings that I didn’t feel like doing anything but cuddling with you & Kezi in my bed. We would talk. We would sometimes read books. I would feed you. We would sing songs. We would just cuddle & not get much done that morning. I am so thankful for those mornings, now. Spending time with you was the MOST important thing I could have done that day. *You really were getting good at pulling hair. You would pull your sisters hair (& they loved it), but I didn’t so much love it all the time – one time you got some thin hair that had fallen from my pony tail and just yanked. It hurt! *: The pictures show it, but you LOVED to have your fingers in your mouth. All the time. And you were trying to get your toes in your mouth, too. I do think you would have succeeded by now. *We had to say good-bye to our Tundra dog today. I think you only got to be around him a couple times. We are hoping & believing that you are now getting to know him a lot more on the other side – that you both are running, playing, jumping. Please give Tundra EXTRA hugs for me. Tell him I miss him & love him. McKinley does, too. *Ireland was such a special sister. She LOVED you to the reaches of the human heart. Every moment she wanted to be around you. The MINUTE she came home, it wasn’t “Hi mom!” it was “where’s Link?” If you were anywhere near her, she HAD to be touching you – holding your tiny hand, kissing your sweet face, touching her head to your head. She would pull on your legs when I was holding you. She would lean on the carseat as I was holding it – trying to be next to your face – trying to kiss you. And she always wanted you to be touching her, too. She would grab your hand & make it stroke her face. Again & again. *Many little children were infatuated with you. I remember being in the Bealers basement, helping clean up & Jackson said “your baby is SO cute!” and Addison agreed “Yeah – he is such a cutie!” At church, little children wanted to touch you. I remember Jenna Davies in my class – she just kept saying how cute you were. It was funny – that last Sunday. I had already changed your diaper once that day. I went out from sacrament to feed you – like I usually did – and then I went back after sacrament to change a poopy diaper. You were so good throughout primary. You sat on my lap – played with toys. I think you loved to hear the children sing. I’m sad that’s the first and last time you’ll have gone to primary. But I took you to class (the kids are 5 and 6 years old). I had you standing on my lap and you did a HUGE poop. The kids could NOT stop giggling after that & they kept asking if you were going to poop again. *Just those cheeks. Many of the nurses commented on how hard it would be not to kiss your adorable cheeks because they weren’t supposed to. But I could! And I DID! Again & again I kissed those cheeks. Oh, how I wish I could kiss them now.

205: *– just reading to Kezia tonight against the wall in their room. Just had a second where my heart was breaking again – thinking of how many times I was just like that – reading with one of the girls while you were laying there on the floor – putting your hand in your mouth – or a toy we’d given you. Sometimes I’d be feeding you. Most of the time, the sister that was not getting read to was right by you, talking to you, trying to get you to smile or laugh – giving you the binki – and keeping it in your mouth till you took it (Ireland). *You were usually so good in the shopping cart. I LOVED to lean over and kiss those cheeks, let you play with your stuffed giraffe, and talk to you. You usually fell asleep after a little while & I gave you the binki. *I remember when you first started really liking that giraffe toy. It was while we were over at the Bealers. You were sitting there in your car seat – 2 months old – and you were grabbing that thing – squishing it – and you were content to just play with it for a good 20 minutes. *: I remember – especially Jan-Feb – when I was really working out a lot. I would sometimes work out at home. I would try to do it while you were sleeping, but sometimes it didn’t work out, so I’d put you in the little chair & let you watch me till you got fussy, then I’d pick you up & do the workout with you in my arms. Cardio. Squats. And I loved to lay you down and do push-ups over you. I definitely got some adorable smiles out of you that way *A couple times the girls were playing outside – or I’d be pulling weeds – and I’d bring you outside in your exersaucer & you’d get some fresh air. You sure loved your exersaucer. *I remember – I believe it was on the day of your death – holding you up next to my face in the mirror before I put you in the jumper. I remember seeing both of our faces next to each other, feeling so much love for you, and thinking “yes – he DOES look a lot like me. I’m going to have to get a picture just like this.” It never happened, as you know. Now these words will need to be my picture. *We left you with a babysitter (Hannah) for the first (and last) time on Valentines. We went to eat at Rusty’s steakhouse. Thankfully, we still were able to get some text messages. Hannah said you were getting upset, so we tried to leave as soon as we could. I remember coming into your room. Hannah was rocking you and you had calmed down a bit, but I still remember – even with being gone from you for such a short period of time – how good it felt to take you from her, hold you, kiss you and feed you. You calmed right down and went to sleep. I LOVED that time. That time at night. It was just me and you. You were in your adorable jammies. On the bobby eating, I had my feet up on the bed and I would just look down at you and just feel SO grateful that you were home & that I could feed you and hold you without all the wires. You would reach up and rub your whole arm against my chest – back and forth. Sometimes you would put your hands in my mouth. If there was a necklace, or strings, or buttons to grab, you would grab them. I LOVED that time. I will always cherish it. I would try to keep you awake long enough to sing to you, wrap you up, and put you to bed for the night. *You were almost too big for the cow seat. You would wiggle. And you would pull off the cow over & over. *You were getting too big for the jungle gym, too. You would move so much & end up kicking the dangling toys. *That time we went to the park with your sisters. You went in a swing for the very first (& last) time. You weren't sure about it at first, but then you had fun. Kezia pushed you gently. *The other time at hillcrest park. You hung out for 3 hours. Both you & kezi slept in the early spring sun while Ireland played played & I read a book. It was perfect. *You were really starting to like signing time & baby einstein & would sometimes sit through the whole thing *times in the jogging stroller. Super windy day. Morning with Tammy - you wouldn't sleep maybe you were enjoying your last days of mortality

206: *When I took a shower today & saw the baby shampoo, I had to take a deep breath & hold back the tears. I remember you taking quick showers with your daddy in the morning. He had fun being with you, washing you off, getting you all clean. He also loved to take baths with you. I loved to come in, scoop up my baby boy in a towel & lather you up with lotion. *Hanging out with link by the bedroom fireplace - & in bed in the mornings. *Showing him off at playgroup. Comparing sizes of babies - Owen Dixon & Reese Riddle. Loving the cheeks. Krista holding him a lot. Trying out the swing at Elise Dixon's house. *Going visiting teaching with you a couple times. You were so good in your carseat. * We had to make a rule - no touching link during family scripture & prayers. Your sisters would get too distracted. *Coming back from st george - fussy most of the way home - I sat by you. Shushed you. You liked it when I stroked your face & wiggled your knuckles & fingers. *Taking you to the girls tumbling lessons *Waking your sisters up in the morning. Laying you in the middle of them. They would roll over & talk to you & tickle you Daddy's Memories (from funeral) *Your sisters could always make you smile. *Daddy got to wake up with you in the mornings while mommy was running. He would bring you back to his bed and cuddle in the bed. You would lay on the pillow and you two would stare at each other. You were such a good baby. *Whenever daddy would come home, he would smile at you & you took a second, but you would smile back & light up & light daddy up with your smile. *Whenever we'd hold you, you'd love to reach up and touch our face - our chins and our noses. *You were SO very bright. You started to coo & mimic sounds at about one and a half months. *You loved your mobile. Whenever we'd put you down, you'd just look up at it and wait for it to go. It would help calm you. *Your exersaucer was getting to be your favorite toy. There were a lot of things that you could spin around and you would try and spin them around & you'd grab them and pull them down & maybe you were starting to teethe because you'd chew on them, too - the plastic rubbery parts. *You loved it when we'd sing to you or when your sisters would dance with you. When we were in the hospital, mom sang the song by Mindy Gledhill that went "every little thing you do, I do... adore." *You had great balance & strong legs. You would stand in mom's hands & be held by both of your feet & you'd stand straight up. *When you'd get a little fussy, you'd love to have your bum and back patted - hold you tight & pat your bum.

207: *McKinley was truly your big sis. When she found out we were pregnant, she hoped and prayed for a baby brother to hold & she could not wait for his arrival. We trusted her to walk around with you. When she handed you off to mom or dad, she would look at us in the eye and say "do you have him?" She'd make sure we had a hold of you. *Ireland was truly your kindred spirit in our family. She did not want you out of her sight! She is part tomboy & looked forward to climbing trees and playing cars with you. She would lay by you under the jungle gym and show you how to make it the lights and sounds go off. *Kezia we thought might be jealous of you - especially since we were gone for so long, but she was kind & gentle with you. She liked to make silly noises to see if she could make you laugh & smile. *Daddy remembers a week before you died. you were sitting right in the middle of the table in your Bumbo seat where you usually sat during meals, tugging on your jammie toes, Daddy called you by name & you sat straight up & looked at him in the eyes and you both smiled at each other. *Mommy loved you. She could almost always console you. When you woke up from your naps or in the morning, you would say "mmama." From Daddy Link, it is hard to believe that you have been gone now for almost a week. I miss my little man immensely! I feel so bad, as my memories fade so fast they always have, as I can watch a movie I have seen just a few years earlier and find it so enthralling. Link, most every morning I got to hold or see you, which is still so precious in my mind. Most every morning I remember sitting at the breakfast table with everyone and wanting you to be in the middle of the table on your bumbo chair, so we did that. We put you right up in the middle of the table so you did not feel left out in your hammock or in your exer-saucer. Those were some of my most memorable breakfasts as often times you sat in front of me and I would look up to see you looking at me. I would smile at you, and you would give me your smile that would light up my world! The morning of the day that you passed was a day that I won’t soon forget. I had just come back from working out with some friends up the street, which I never doI never wake up in the morning to work out. This was the first time in years! I think you were still asleep while I ate breakfast and hopped in the shower. As I was getting ready to go you were in the kitchen in Mom’s arms, I think you were standing on mom’s hands when I walked in. You are so strong! I remember it was not a lot of time that morning, but you gave me a smile that lit me up and the day was complete! Link you touched my heart every day. I cannot wait to be with you after this life, or in the millennium. I don’t know why you chose to come to our family, but I will be forever grateful to have had the short, yet so meaningful time that we had spent with you! You may already know Link, but I want to share with you my prayer last night. As I pray I try to imagine our Father and at times his Son. Well this prayer was no different, except that in my mind’s eye I saw our Father and Christ on his right hand. In the outline of his arms he was holding a child and I know it was you! When I see them in my mind’s eye they rarely move, however, this time as Christ was holding you he began to sit you upright in his arms and at the same time he came forward as to say “don’t worry Jason, I have him now.” And then He slowly moved back to be by the Father’s side. It was very special to me and I told you mother about it. I Love you son and I do miss you so! I can’t wait to see and hold you again! Love, your daddy.

208: Your daddy had such a hard time last night, missing you. There were many tears shed on our blanket. I talked about a poem for you & he just got out his laptop & started writing. Here is daddy’s poem to you: Was having a hard time MISSING my boy tonight! After I calmed down the below flowed into my mind, and I wrote. Not sure it is complete, as my lovely bride will have some say, as my literary talent and grammer is lacking. I want to say thanks again for all the love, prayers and support, some days are better than others - Love you Link! Link to Heaven Jason D Hamilton – 04/11/13 From eternity you came to us, A short time we sorely know. He allowed you leave, from His side, To companion us below. As shown to prophets long ago, Great intelligences spared, nye ‘til end. Link, you chose our family, We thank you, He did send! Though, your time with us was small, A bit bumpy and a little hilly. We will never forget the sweet time with you, Especially those days in Philly. For two more months, time seemed pure bliss, We valued each and every day! With love we filled our time with you, Wish, SO MUCH, time would delay! Your mission here on earth, full – too short, Many hearts touched, all did groan. While knowledge of His Plan we have, We miss you and try to not bemoan! From eternity – mortality – to eternity, A new mission He has called for you. Be noble, work hard and be brave my son, To meet you, our family, will hold faith true, While His Love shall see us through! Our boy, so thankful you came to us, Our one and only son. Our “Link” to Heaven, when He calls, To Thee Dear Lord, we do submit, Thy will be done!

209: Note from McKinley: I love Link so much. He died. It was sad. I enjoyed all the time I had with him. I treasured every smile and laugh. He is so cute. You had to kiss him. Those cheeks were so chubby. He had tickle spots. Dad would tickle him. We would laugh and laugh. My cousins came for a little while. Sometimes I feel my brother. I LOVE LINK. Me and my sisters and parents loved him dearly. Sometimes I miss my brother but I know he is ok. I LOVE LINK. Grandma Potts' Memories Dear, beloved Link, When your mommy announced you were going to be a little boy I smiled and was so happy for you and your family, I teased your daddy about taking you fishing. He said he was very excited to be having a boy. As your mommy got bigger she loved to talk to you, her little boy. Your sisters got more and more excited too. When you were born I got to be there to laugh and cry and hold you. Your mommy and Daddy were so happy and proud. Tough times started within hours when the doctors said that you had too much insulin in your system and they took you away to another hospital. I cried and prayed that God would let you live and I got to take care of your sisters. Both families helped care for your sisters while your mommy and daddy followed you to St. George and by plane to Philadelphia. We prayed and prayed the day you had your surgery and during your recovery. Oh how we yearned for your recovery. What a great surprise it was when you came to the Salt Lake airport and showed up unexpectedly. The girls and Grandpa and I thought you were in Philadelphia! GG was so shocked and happy when she saw you too! It was a time of much joy. Some of my favorite memories during your sickness were times when your mommy and Daddy would sing songs to your sisters while they stayed with us. Often they would include you and we loved to see you and talk with you. Other happy times were when we heard that your surgery had gone well, when we saw pictures of you in your levi jacket with drawings of your sisters and cousins all around, when we heard your coos while we talked on the phone and the many times and we skyped and shared memories. During the next several weeks life took on a more normal routine as mommy got the girls to school, fed you, took hundreds of pictures and cuddled you. The day of your blessing was full of family and those who love you. I am so thankful we had your blessing when we did because of the many pictures that your mom had taken. You were so good and so patient. You were perfect in every way. You are perfect in every way still. A few weeks later when your mommy called to tell me you had stopped breathing and you were going to the hospital in an ambulance I could hardly understand what she was saying because she was so worried except "God, make him breath!" We had a prayer together and asked that if it be God's will he would make you breathe. After hanging up, I called your Grandpa and GG and talked to your aunts and talked to your Uncle. I cried and prayed and I couldn't stop walking till your grandpa got home. By then your mom had called to say you had died. Quickly we left and drove to your home in Cedar City. Aunt Cindy and Aunt Tiffany left right away. Aunt Trisha left the next day because she was working on your special book. Uncle Joseph came the day of the funeral along with GG and great Uncle Burton, Great Aunt Leah and Toni. Such sadness cannot be imagined as your mommy sobbed and we did too. Our hearts were broken. We were all so very sad. Your mom spent countless hours sorting through pictures and videos and preparing them so she could share your life with others, your aunts spent many hours preparing displays and Aunt Trisha wrote a book about you before joining the rest of us in Cedar City. Many, many people dropped by with food and flowers and gifts. We all mourned your departure. There were blessings given, prayers offered and quiet hours of talking. There was a rainbow, a special moment for your mom during the funeral service while we sang “Nearer my God to thee.” There was the simple faith of your sisters as they said “Link is in heaven. We will see him again.” There were also quotes that brought hope and understanding. There were friends who had also lost little ones who came and surrounded your mom and dad with hope and understanding and compassion born of pain. There were hundreds of people who came to your viewing and funeral. The bishop spoke, the stake president spoke and your Dad spoke. There was such a spirit of love and talks of the plan of salvation

210: The day somehow came and went and every time I saw your video I would cry and I would miss you. Of course, you already know all these things. I just wanted to include them. Right now Aunt Cindy and I are watching your sisters while your mommy and daddy spend time in the temple. They are so good about looking up when they are feeling down. I wouldn’t be surprised if they felt you near them as they spent time in our Fathers house. When I think of you and your activities now I first remember my brother Bart and the time I felt him near just before his viewing. He let me know that he was happy and excited to be where he was. Later in the hospital after my brain tumor surgery I felt my grandpa Tew sitting by me and assuring me that I would live to raise my little Trisha. He let me know that he knew Trisha. He let me know that he was excited to be privileged to be beside me. Later when my parents received a blessing about going on a mission I felt Bart’s calm assurance that all would be well while they were gone. Once again it felt like he considered it a privilege to serve them. Now as you move forward in your mission Link, I hope you will be able to visit us now and again. I would love from time to time to feel your sweet, loving spirit comforting us when trials come and sweet moments happen. I miss you. I wish you could have stayed but I imagine, like Bart, that you came long enough to get your body and are now moving on with your mission. As you move on and embrace the beauties before you, I hope you always remember that your Grandma Potts loves you. This long poem was inspired by Jason and by President Packer. Mom also told me that Cannon is seriously thinking of going on a mission. Sarah has her papers in...this also inspired part of the poem. Our Link to Heaven by Grandma Potts A message to our little Link, Our grandson that we love. As I view your life on earth From family up above I think of how your mom and Dad Shown with gratitude To hold you finally in their arms Their little son, their dude I also got to hold you, to bond with you and glow You are a special son, this I surely know Soon our world began to swirl As the doctors took away Our little boy, our precious one For tests and tests that day They poked you and they prodded Causing pain and grief To all of us so helpless As we prayed for relief

211: The ambulance was scary Our prayers soared heavenward St. George was our next stop I’m sure our pleas were heard For Within the next 2 weeks Your parents were with you As you rode a life flight plane To Philly, hope anew Time with your mom and dad Was precious and so dear Patiently you went through pain With their love near The Angels were attending But they knew it wasn’t time To call you home and soar with you To Heavens realm sublime The angels who attended,. I wonder who they were Relatives who loved you too Family from before? Finally the day came “He’s cured!” the doctors said And three of you came home with a Christmas bow that’s red Joy, reunion, Hallelujah Came the shouts from all God has made a miracle “Let us have a ball” The Angels stood aside that day And watched us feel the joy For well they knew the time would come They’d take our little boy I wonder now how much he knew About his mission here I think that he agreed to it Though short his earthly sphere Perhaps that’s why he lived so full He savored moments here With mom and dad and sisters sweet Relatives so dear And now he joins the angels To watch us as we strive There’s one whose got a special way to bless our daily lives What will his mission be above With his earthly kin? Will he serve in temples? Or with prophets fighting sin? Will he help protect us And whisper words to teach? Will he send encouragement of goals and plans to reach? I do not know the answers But in moments they’ll be shown If we can keep our hearts open His will for us be known Then I believe that we will find Times we rise like leaven And we will find our answers From our Loving Link to heaven | Days and weeks and a month and more Pictures, laughter, kiss Became a part of Links bright life These are things we miss All too soon the day was here Returning Angels came To take our Link and bring him home And leave us photos framed I wonder now how much he knew About his mission here I think that he agreed to it Though short his earthly sphere Perhaps that’s why he lived so full He savored moments here With mom and dad and sisters sweet Relatives so dear And now he joins the angels To watch us as we strive There’s one whose got a special way to bless our daily lives What will his mission be above With his earthly kin? Will he serve in temples? Or with prophets fighting sin? Will he help protect us And whisper words to teach? Will he send encouragement of goals and plans to reach? I do not know the answers But in moments they’ll be shown If we can keep our hearts open His will for us be known Then I believe that we will find Times we rise like leaven And we will find our answers From our Loving Link to heaven

212: Memories from Aunt Trisha: -Talking on the phone with you when you guys were in the hospital and hearing him coo in the background -You SURPRISING me when you came home with him for Christmas. He was SO handsome! With a big red bow on his carseat. I just wanted to cuddle him. So precious. -Of COURSE a fond memory I have is when we surprised Tiff while I was doing your guys' hair :) -When you guys came for Christmas he smiled for me and I felt so special -Reading your blog and seeing the cutest videos and pictures of him and the cutest pictures with his sisters. -His blessing day. He was SO angelic and handsome. I loved being able to hold him and see his smile and hear his laugh. I remember that he took a long nap and I was sad that I didn't have more cuddle time with him. -I was holding Link on the day of his blessing. I was sitting on the arm of your recliner chair while holding him and Darrin was sitting on the same chair. Link was smiling and laughing and Darrin and I were smiling and laughing back. It is such a sweet memory I have of him. I will always remember sweet Link and his chubby cheeks, infectious smile and adorable laugh. I SO wish I was able to have more time with him and watch him grow in the months he was here but I feel so privileged for the time I did have with him. I have learned much since his passing. My testimony of the atonement has grown in bounds and I feel more connected to heaven. I still talk to Parker about little Link and take the opportunity to teach him of the plan of salvation. I have been surprised by Parker's reaction to the whole situation. When I recieved the phone call, I started screaming and I was just hysterical. Parker just kept saying, "Are you sad Mom?" I said yes. I called Darrin and let him know. He came home right away. I told Parker that when Daddy came home we'd tell him why 'Mommy was so sad'. When Darrin got home we sat down with him and Darrin said, "Parker, do you remember Link?" Parker responded and said, "Yes! He went blue and he died." He had a really sad expression on his face. I was shocked! He must have overheard me on the phone but I had no idea he was comprehending any of it. We told him that he was with Heavenly Father and Jesus now. When we were at the viewing we debated whether to show Parker Link's body. We were a little afriad he would say something loud and embarrassing or something. We ended up showing him and talking to him about where Link's spirit was. A few days later, he was praying for Aunt Heidi, Uncle Jason, McKinley, Ireland, Kezi and Link. He said, "Bless Link sleeping with his car." I thought that was so sweet. He remembers Link who looked like he was sleeping with his car in his hand. Memories from cousin Kalli: The memory of Link is still strong in my heart. :) I remember when my mom grabbed his car seat from the car with the big red Christmas bow! He was the best Christmas present ever! I immediately wanted to hold this adorable chubby baby. I was able to and had my mom take a picture. His hair smelled sweet. I love his baby smell. That awesome picture is still in my Mom's phone. I remember going to Heidi's house for the blessing. Link was often sleeping, but there were still glorious times when I was able to cradle him in my arms. After the blessing, at the house, Grandma was trying to put things away, I think. But it was a bit hard to do while holding Link. So I was able to hold him for her. I walked him around and kissed his precious cheeks. And he grabbed my hair, and I laughed. I didn't mind. It was just his way of holding me back. Link may be dead, but he's not gone. He's just away for a while. I'm excited for the time that I will be able to see him again! He is an absolutely sweet child of God. I love him with all my heart! I love you, Link. And I miss you so much! Love always your cuz, Kallz :D

213: Memories from Grandma Devenish: Link was just beginning to giggle and smile and get his own little personality in Feb when we visited. It was so great during Christmas holidays to hold him without the wires. I will always be grateful to Jason for putting Link in my arms after his blessing. I had him all to myself for a little while. We all knew his sisters, especially Ireland, would be right there to entertain him the minute we got home. All his sisters loved him dearly but he was "her" baby brother. I remember with wonder how good he was in the hospital having his little feet pricked so often. I remember asking Heidi, doesn't he ever cry? Sure he did, but not often. I remember feeding him his bottle in the hospital. He did not want to eat very much. I remember his birth and how honored I was to be there when he was delivered. It was a hard one too because he was a big baby. His mother was so awesome through it all. I remember looking at him while they were warming him and checking all his vitals just after he was born. We were in the corner of the room. I remember how happy I was to get my fifth grandson and tenth grandchild. I will always remember what a beautiful, happy baby he was and I will love him forever. Poem from Aunt Cindy: Oh Link we really miss you so We wish you did not have to go We wish you could have stayed a while Oh how we miss your little smile We'll try and try and try our best No empty chairs above is our tender quest | From mommy's journal: Just woke up. The song “I’ll love you for a thousand years” seemed to be weaving through my dreams all night. I remember it & I woke up with it in my head. At first I thought – that would be a good song for the slideshow – I will love him for a thousand years. And then I had the thought that maybe it was my son sending me a song to show his love. I just looked up the lyrics. They take my breath away: Christina Perri – A Thousand Years Lyrics From The “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack Heartbeats fast Colors and promises How to be brave How can I love when I’m afraid to fall But watching you stand alone All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow One step closer I have died everyday waiting for you Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you For a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more Time stands still Beauty in all she is I will be brave I will not let anything take away What’s standing in front of me Every breath Every hour has come to this One step closer And all along I believed I would find you Time has brought your heart to me I have loved you for a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more [Christina Perri - A Thousand Years Lyrics] | I have died everyday waiting for you Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you For a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more And all along I believed that I would find you Time has brought your heart to me I have loved you for a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more One step closer One step closer I have died everyday waiting for you Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you For a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more And all along I believed I would find you Time has brought your heart to me I have loved you for a thousand years I’ll love you for a thousand more

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  • By: Heidi H.
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  • Title: Linkin Dallin Hamilton
  • Linkin Dallin Hamilton Memorial Book
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  • Published: about 6 years ago