Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My, how time flies!

Where has this week gone??? Is this a cruel joke from my good friend TIME b/c I wrote a nasty post about him this last week? I am begging you, Time, please slow down a little bit…I can barely keep up with you!

So, last Friday was my good old 31st birthday party. If I had TIME to turn on the news I would have known that the bottom of the sky was going to fall out and flood warnings and severe weather was on its way. Because of the torrential down pours we went to El Patio and then next door to a little bar called The Tipsy Clover. I was feeling way too old to be hanging out with all of those “youngsters!” However, I met a fellow “birthday person” born on the same day 4 YEARS AFTER ME and none of them could believe I was 31!! What a compliment (or maybe they just had too much to drink)! Actually, I met several people that couldn’t believe I was turning 31…come on people…it’s not THAT old! We had a blast with all of our closest friends…but, the best was my best friend driving in all the way from her little town with my favorite cake in the whole entire world! Thanks, Lizard…you really are the best!!!

Saturday morning came quick…and with it came the hustle and bustle of preparing for the NFL Draft. This day ranks at the top of “best days” in Brandon’s life…and lucky for all of us it occurs once a year! Friends and neighbors gathered in our living room to enjoy smoked sausage, pork chops, salsa and watch B and his buddies play the most ridiculous made up game involving draft picks and cold beverages…TIME hasn’t forced them to grow up at all!!! The only question I still have about the draft…what NFL team was lucky enough to get Graham Harrell?

Saturday’s lazy resting in front of ESPN made getting up at 6am on Sunday a little easier. We made it to the march in our pink and green and had 26 friends and family members walking for Team Chunky Monkey. It’s hard to explain why March for Babies is such an emotional day for us. When the March for Babies Houston organizer approached me personally to tell me what an unbelievable job our team had done this year I wanted to cry. When a stranger stopped Brandon to tell him she liked the name of our team…and asked him why we were there marching…he wanted to cry. When they announced the start of the race and then said, “Go, Team Chunky Monkey” as we passed through the start line…I wanted to cry. I am proud to walk in memory of Bennett and all of the other NICU angels that have gone before us. Every step of that 5 mile walk made me proud and I know Bennett was proud of us for making such a big difference. Thank you all so much for your generous contributions and making the effort to make such a big difference…we did it! As of today we have raised over $6000 and company matching hasn’t even been calculated yet!

Because TIME had been flying by and we had so much going on I hadn’t seen the news in days…until CNN on Sunday. Hello, Swine Flu!!!

Really, the name itself sounds like a joke. This is no joke! For the mother of a preemie and one living with cystic fibrosis…I take the breakout of any illness very seriously! So, we are on lockdown in our house. In our county they have 30 suspected cases of swine flu and one confirmed case in a teenage girl. We had been looking forward to taking Ellie to the annual fundraiser at the Houston Zoo, however my pediatrician told me to take Ellie out of gymnastics b/c of the regular flu…so, I am pretty sure he wouldn’t be okay with her going to the very public zoo with kids everywhere. So, our poor baby has been in the house and will remain in the house until the “all clear” is given. This may mean no trip to Arizona (and wouldn’t you know we have nonrefundable tickets!!!). However…peace of mind is priceless!

The beginning of the week brought more torrential down pours and some very serious flooding in our area. Monday we had several tornado warnings and wind comparable to that we experienced with Hurricane Ike (not literal wind speed, but it sounded the same)…very scary! So, not only are we on lockdown…we literally couldn’t leave the house!

Basically, we have spent the remainder of the week taking walks, cooking homemade meals together and making new outfits. I truly cherish every single minute with Ellie, because it’s evident that TIME is going to continue to fly by!


Friday, April 24, 2009

It can't be...

It can’t be…that today I am turning 31 because I am pretty sure I just turned 30 yesterday.

It can’t be…that my baby girl is almost 2 ½ …because I am pretty sure they were just born yesterday.

It can’t be…that my precious angel boy has been gone for almost 2 years…because I am pretty sure I just held him in my arms yesterday.

It just can’t be…

Why is it as we get older the time really does go by faster? I am sure that when I was 12 the years didn’t go by this fast. What is going on?

I am so grateful to be one year older…don’t get me wrong, but I feel like time is pushing me through my life faster than I want to go. I want to experience new things and make new memories, but I don’t want to leave the one’s I cherish with all of my heart behind so quickly either. I am not just talking about Bennett (although he is a MAJOR reason I hate to see every day end…making it one day further from our last “date”). I HATE watching the time with Ellie slip away. I love, love, love being a mommy more than anything else in the entire world. I love spending every single day with Ellie and it scares me that the last 2 ½ years have gone by so fast. She has changed and grown so much. I just don’t want this phase to end…not that I’m not looking forward to the times we will have in the future. I am scared that this is my one chance to be a mom and these are the only times I will get to make these memories. It is terrifying to think that this is the only time you will change diapers, or make bottles, or potty train or teach someone to read. I want to do that a million more times…I just don’t want these times to end.

So, I reread my post from last year and I loved it! (I have to say so myself!)

I love the positive attitude I had going into this year. I love the thought that the last year was probably the worst and that it could only get better. I am going to keep it (the positive attitude that is) and keep the same hopes and prayers for this 31st year of life. I KNOW it holds greatness for me. My blessings have not “run out,” I know that He has carved out some wonderful journeys for my future. I am going to end this 30th year of life triumphantly…not just in survival mode!

So, cheers to the many blessings my 31st year WILL bring!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flashbacks and Dreams

I follow a few blogs. Preemie parents, CF patients and a very few friends I have made along the way.

In my “spare time” today a prayer request caught my eye…for Kayleigh. As I read the most recent post I felt chills up my spine…and then the words brain dead met my eyes and the tears began to fall.

Flashback to June 12, 2007 a little past 1:00 in the afternoon:
Our phone rings and it is one of Bennett’s Neonatologists…he tells me to get to the hospital as soon as possible because something has happened to Bennett and they are going to try to keep him alive until we can get there. Panic…fear…heartbreak…anger…sadness…these are the feelings that were rushing through my mind.

Upon arriving at the hospital we are told we can not enter the NICU just yet…they are still getting Bennett ready for us to see him. He was alive, but there were concerns. We were hopeful, grateful, relieved, and anxious. When we got into Bennett’s room we just knew…

Our little boy was gone. His body was there, but the soul and life that he usually had in his eyes was gone. His body made involuntary movements every now and then. His eyes would focus on us and then begin to move left to right like he was looking for something and so the neurologist was called in for an EEG.

On June 13th the EEG was run and on June 14th we were told that Bennett had a flat reading…he was brain dead. Typing those words takes my breath away. Brain dead…after fighting for his life for 6 months my little boy suffered from an unexplainable accident that resulted in a severe brain injury.

We knew that we didn’t want Bennett to live his life like that…never able to really experience life. Unfortunately, the state of Texas doesn’t really give you any choice as far as decision making is concerned unless your child is diagnosed as having no quality of life. Bennett was classified as having “No Quality of Life” and on June 14th we made the decision to take him off of life support the following day. On June 15th, after three days of praying for a miracle, Brandon and I passed Bennett back and forth until he took his last breath in his daddy's arms.

Fast forward to today and the words I read on little Kayleigh’s blog. I ache for her family. I ache because I know the hope and fear that her parents are feeling. Knowing that their daughter has defied the odds for the last 9 months, and praying that she has one last fight in her. Praying that the doctors will figure out a way to help her or a reason for what has happened. Praying that God will grant them one last miracle.

I have fallen to my knees and I have prayed that prayer. I have lived the nightmare they are living and it is heartbreaking.

There is hope that Kayleigh’s story will end differently than Bennett’s did and that is my prayer for them. However, the similarities in their stories is chilling.

Please take a minute today to say a prayer for Kayleigh and her family. I am posting a link for them on our site if you would like to follow her story.

This brings me to the dream part of my post.

I have written before about how I have terrible sleep issues since Bennett’s death. I dream frequently that he is alive and it is my job to save him…unfortunately, I am unable to do so night after night.

While I was pregnant I had frequent dreams that I was having twins (girls) and usually one of the babies would not make it… Last night was just another one of those nights. I had a dream that we had triplets ~ two girls and a little boy. I delivered all of them all prematurely and one of the girls and the little boy passed away, but we brought a little girl home with us. I don’t know how I feel about dreams like that. So real and vivid…

A lot of you have asked about Brandon’s test results and I am irritated to report that Ambry HAS NOT even processed his blood yet (4 weeks after receiving it) because of an insurance hold up. I am pretty sure that the stress of these impending results is what has sent me into this phase of nightmares and sleepless nights again. Not to mention I will be 31 in two days and it was definitely not in my plans to still be waiting to get pregnant at this age…with that said, I am very thankful that I was blessed to be a mommy even with the path we have taken.


Monday, April 20, 2009


As of today we are at $4130 for Team Chunky Monkey! I am speechless…and honored that all of you share our dedication to The March of Dimes. This is not our final total ~ I am sure we are well over $5000 by now!!! I have $500 to deposit tomorrow and I know there are a few of you out there that have checks to deposit. Bank Day is April 22nd and there are a few Wells Fargo branches that you can deposit at that day that are having special gatherings. However, you can make a deposit at any Wells Fargo bank as long as you ask them for a special March of Dimes deposit slip and put Team Chunky Monkey’s name on the slip.

If you have any questions about how, where, when to deposit please email me as soon as possible. You can also bring any donations you receive with you on Sunday to the march and there will be representatives there to assist you.

Speaking of Sunday…we will be leaving our house at 7:30am and heading over to the University of Houston campus. Feel free to meet us at our house our look for the hot pink and green shirts near the starting line at the walk and let’s all walk together!

I want to make this post profound and heartfelt, but truly I can’t even find the words. I am so grateful for all of the hard work and effort all of you put into making our team a success. Thank you to our top fundraiser, Jamie, who raised over $1000 and to all of the teachers at Brazos Bend Elementary that donated. Thank you to our NICU graduate family, Rees and Sophia, for joining Team Chunky Monkey this year and helping to make our team a success. I would also like to thank the countless other friends and family members that generously donated to make our team so successful and to raise so much money for The March of Dimes.

This wouldn’t have happened without you…thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.

Brandon, Angie, Ellie Grace and ~Bennett~

“as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:11

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs

Yesterday was almost impossible to get through. I felt like every where I turned there was a sign...

Like the mom that was unloading her twins (boy and girl) next to me in the parking lot…who ate at the same restaurant I did…just a few booths over. I had to make myself not stare at her perfect family…and imagine how my life was supposed to be like hers…in my eyes at least. Coincidentally, they finished eating at the same time we did and we walked out the door behind her and her beautiful babies…what a gift she was given.

We walked into the mall and I decided to buy Ellie a new bathing suit for our trip to Arizona next month (SURPRISE AUNT COURTNEY!!!!!). I chose Gymboree because I like how their suits fit Ellie. I walked in and wouldn’t you know they just came out with a huge monkey line. I had to buy the tshirt for her that said, “Daddy’s Little Monkey” on it…adorable. I find that I can’t help but to look at the little boys clothes at Gymboree. I always got Bennett’s clothes from there, Polo or Pottery barn kids…but, almost all of his outfits came from Gymboree and matched his twin sisters as much as they could. It was heart breaking to see the boys monkey clothes and not buy anything…I almost did though…there was one that I know my little man would have had on today if he were here with us. I miss him.

I appreciate your sweet comments and we are so very grateful for the gift God has given us with Bennett as our eternal angel. However, the true life grief sometimes makes it hard to see the all of the greatness, around anniversary times. I am grateful for so many aspects of our new life…especially how Ellie thinks that Bennett is just playing hide and seek with her…or when she points up to Heaven and tells me that Bennett is there…or how she sends her white balloon sailing up through the clouds and she knows it’s going to Heaven…but there is still an indescribable emptiness in my heart.

God granted my one prayer…to please just have one healthy baby in my life. I am grateful…more grateful than anyone will ever know, but now I feel selfish because I want that again. With that said, I have never and I will never take for granted one single minute I have with Ellie because this life is way too precious to not enjoy all of the perfect details.

The last few weeks have been hard and that is just the way it is when you walk in our shoes.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting one of the strongest women I have ever met. Heather is going through hell with chemo treatments at MD Anderson, but in all honesty she looked beautiful today. I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t want to intrude and wear her out, but I wanted to give her a minute to talk about her kiddos, or sewing, or anything that she wanted to talk about. I feel blessed to have met Cody and Heather and someday I know we will meet Ella and Kyler. Please continue to keep praying for this young family. I will pray for their strength and their doctor’s wisdom…and for their babies to have peace while their Mommy is here fighting so hard. You are awesome Heather!!! And, yes, Cody is awesome too!!
After my trip to the hospital I came home to hug my baby and get a minute to regroup. It was a fun afternoon of mommy working on orders and Ellie helping mommy with orders…or messing the orders up…whichever way you look at it! Daddy called pretty early to say he would be home at a reasonable time and we were all excited. About one hour later he called back and said he would be late because he was on his way to the emergency center around the corner…turns out B had basically “filleted” (his words) the entire right side of his thumb from the top of the nail down to the first bend in his thumb…disgusting! One shot to numb the area and seven stitches later my baby was on his way home. He ate, asked for something to help him sleep and he was out…and so was Elle…and here I am two hours later…watching my family snuggle together…everyone seems so content in their little area.

Update for March for Babies:
We are only $755 away from breaking our record amount raised in 2008. We can do it guys!!! We are at $3245 so far and that is unbelievable!!! However, I know we can use these last 9 days to make one last push for Team Chunky Monkey…and all of those tiny babies we need to make a difference for. We are even proposing another gift card for the person that can get the most support in these last nine days…to help TCM make a difference for another family. Every dollar counts…and we thank you for helping us with an organization so near and dear to our hearts.

One week until another year of my life is considered my past…I’m just curious to see what year 31 has in store for me…

Another cute little side story about "signs." Last week my neighbors were standing out in front of my house and we were all talking. Suddenly, one of my neighbors has bird #2 in her hair...we were all laughing, but our other neighbor friend told her it was good luck. The next week she found out she was pregnant...

Yesterday, I was at a red light looking out of my drivers side window and what do you know...a bird does #2 inches from my car door...I just laughed b/c only in my world would the bird do #2 inches away from me rather than on me...I just thought this was funny...story of my life kind of situation!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

22 months

22 months…of no hospital visits…of no shopping in the little boys department…of taking of care of only one child…of grief…of nightmares…of heartache.

22 months of tears.

22 months of praying.

22 months spent waiting to pick out and receive the perfect headstone.

22 months.

22 months of trying to understand.

22 months spent trying to remember every detail of every day of Bennett’s life.

22 months.

How can it be 22 months?

22 months of no curly haired, green eyed little boy in my arms.

22 months of white balloons.

22 months of fresh flowers.

22 months of praying…and praying…and praying…and crying.

It doesn’t seem like almost two years have passed since we held our little boy, smelled his skin and kissed him for the last time. I miss him more than I am capable of explaining…

I love you, my little Bennett…I miss you every single minute of every single day.

Monday, April 13, 2009


On Saturday morning, while we were getting the last minute preparations ready for the crawfish boil I sat down to pick out some of my favorite pictures to put on our team poster. I can honestly say I always have a hard time picking out my favorite pictures of my babies because I love all of them. I love looking at all of Bennett’s pictures and wondering what he would look like today if he were still here with us. He looked exactly like his daddy from the day he was born.

I put all of the pictures of the poster and brought it up to the clubhouse. Later in the day a very good NICU friend of ours (Rees’ daddy) was taken aback by the pulse ox on the bottom of Bennett’s foot in one of the pictures. Stamped on the bottom of the part that wrapped around our little guy’s foot said, “1 COR.” Mark said, “Wow, look at that…it looks like it says 1 Corinthians on the bottom of Bennett’s pulse ox. I never noticed that before.” I got the chills when he pointed that out, but what really pulled the tears out of me is what 1 Corinthians reads. I pulled out the verses that touched me:

4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Thank you, Mark, for noticing that little sign from the bottom of Bennett’s foot. That is truly one of my favorite pictures of Bennett and every time I look at it I will be reminded of this scripture.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch…well, no major hitches anyway! The crawfish boil was a huge success and we are so thankful for all of our friends and family that came out to support Team Chunky Monkey. We had over 50 people in attendance, 100 pounds of crawfish, 40 pounds of potatoes, 8 packages of mushrooms and more “beverages” that I can even recount! The most amazing part of Saturday was that we raised over $445!!! I am in awe of the generosity of all of you. The March of Dimes is truly so special to us and to have the chance to honor Bennett in such a special way means the entire world to us. We are so proud.

After a clean up of the clubhouse we were back at home to prepare for the Easter Bunny.

Turns out the Easter Bunny was running a little late getting to our house Sunday morning, so we missed church (I am embarrassed to even admit it). We had five people here and 30 minutes to get ready and get to church and severe weather with a tornado watch on top of it all…which was just impossible. However, we made the most of a bad situation and had a beautiful dinner with our family.

It was a beautiful start to another blessed week in our lives. We are looking forward to receiving Brandon’s test results from Ambry…which should be here any day now. The peaceful feeling I have about Brandon’s test results are still in my heart. I am prayerful that we will be on the road to a successful IVF very soon!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

BIG week

Seriously…has a week already passed since my last post? Where has the time gone and why is it that I can’t get an extra few hours in a day?

This is our recap (not that it is interesting for you to read…but, because I like to keep record for Ellie someday):

Friday was playtime! It was beautiful outside, so after a trip to the grocery store I managed to make my first home cooked meal in about 2 weeks! Ellie had her best friend Addison (aka Adds) over and they had a blast playing with the water table…until Ellie decided to pull an “un-lady like” move and make a #2 in her bathing suit WITHOUT a pull-up on. Paging Daddy…clean-up on isle: Ellie!

Saturday was ridiculously busy from the minute Ellie woke up (after 10:30am). We had a birthday party scheduled at 11am near our house, a baptism schedule for roughly the same time across town and a party in the evening near our house…can someone say BUSY! Literally, we were gone from 11:30 (yes, we were late to the birthday party) until close to midnight (and yes, we had Ellie with us ~ we NEVER keep her out that late!). I wasn’t surprised that Ellie ended up with a clear runny nose because 70% of the kiddos we came in contact with that day had one. Why is it that I notice every single cough, sneeze and sniffle and most of the other parents are laid back not worrying? And if you do ask if a child hasn't been feeling well most parents say, “It’s just allergies.” Seriously, I didn’t realize allergies were contagious (sense the sarcasm?). Basically, after being around a lot of kids that “just had allergies,” Ellie woke up on Sunday with “allergies” too. Bring on the orange Triaminic.

Sunday was a difficult day. Ellie was sick, so we let her sleep in and didn’t make it to church. It was one of those days that I really needed to go to church b/c I was missing Bennett so badly that it hurt to move. I finally had a break down in the kitchen while I was getting a glass of ice water…poor Brandon! After I got myself together, I decided that Ellie and I would go get flowers and have a long visit with Bubba together (B was smoking a brisket, so he had to stay at home and watch the fire). It was a much needed trip and I felt a lot better when I got home. We invited Uncle D, Aunt Katie and Mimi over to eat because I am pretty sure we had enough food for a large country!

Here comes Monday! You know it’s going to be a busy week when you have to send yourself an email detailing exactly what needs to get done each day of the week and it’s only Sunday night! We hit the road running on Monday morning (even though Ellie was still suffering from “allergies”). By mid-day I decided to call our pediatrician b/c Ellie wasn’t getting any relief from our orange Triaminic. We had an appointment for 11 on Tuesday. I had a large order to get out, so Ellie relaxed for the afternoon while I worked. I got a text at about 4:30 that afternoon from my very good bloggy friend Heather. I have written about her before and if you haven’t read her story please hop over to her blog and check it out. She was in town for a visit to MD Anderson to get a new plan for beating stage IV Melanoma cancer. I was secretly hoping that she would get the appointment down here, so we could meet. What an amazing woman! Brandon, Ellie and I met up with Heather and her husband Cody at The Hard Rock CafĂ©. It was a blast! Heather and I share a love for sewing, so we did a little sew talk, and little cancer talk (sorry Heather) and got to know each other. Heather is starting a very intense medicine regimen here in Houston next week and will have to come visit 6 times for a week each time. Did I mention she has two very young babies at home? Please keep Heather and her family in your prayers. I will be putting together a goodie bag for each one of her visits (sorry to ruin the surprise Heather), so if you would like to contribute please email me!

Keep in mind…my week was already planned out, and a trip to the doctor wasn’t in the plans. Turns out, Ellie’s “allergies” were actually an upper respiratory infection. I was so relieved that I got her in! We left with a prescription and with hope that she would feel better soon. By the way, Dr. Y is one of Ellie’s best friends now. He was so tickled with how calm and sweet she was with him. I told him it’s probably because she sees him once a week! What did we learn from that: while runny nose, coughing and sneezing CAN be allergies…make sure you take your child to the doctor just to make sure. The co-pay is worth keeping your child healthy and everyone else’s around you!

Wednesday was packed! Lunch (Ellie has to eat!), Sam’s club and completing one order in order to start another. At 7:30 I still hadn’t started dinner…yikes!

Here we are today. Last night was sleepless…literally. I finally decided to get out of bed at 5 and make breakfast and coffee for B before he left for work. I took the extra time to update our blog until my usually late riser, rose at 7:30am. This was right after I got a call on my cell from my race car driver husband that he had “been run up on curb by another car and popped a tire.” Likely story. I am sure there is some truth to the story, but if you have ever been in the car with Brandon you know why I am somewhat skeptical. Today will be spent picking up TCM t-shirts, doing the rest of shopping for our crawfish boil and Easter Sunday and preparing the house for the housekeeper b/c THANK GOODNESS she comes tomorrow! Ugh…I’m exhausted just typing all of this! Not to mention, Ellie’s illness has spread to Brandon and me. The last few days have been filled with “productive” coughing which I am will soon be handled with an antibiotic b/c of these CF lungs I have!

Team Chunky Monkey update:
WOW…we are up to $2080 total with 17 days left. That is awesome guys! We are hoping to raise a little more at the crawfish boil on Saturday with all of your “spare change.” The food it set to be served at 2pm rain or shine! Feel free to show early and share a cold one with B and his trusty Cajun chef, but don’t forget your cooler! Also, the club is usually short on chairs, so if you have a favorite chair you might want to bring it too. We can’t wait to see you, but we are going to ask for one major favor.

While we would love to see each and everyone of you…Please, please, please do not come if you, anyone in your house, or anyone you are regularly exposed to has been sick (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, fever, diarrhea, you name it) if you sound sick or have a child with any of the listed ailments or anyone has been on antibiotics in the last WEEK. Not only can Ellie’s immune system not handle it, but now mine can’t either. We thank all of you in advance for understanding and don’t worry…if you can’t make it we will be sure to plan a date with you in the near future!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

I got a wonderful call this morning from New City Screenprinting (in Stafford, Texas)...they are donating the printing on ALL of our TCM shirts!!!

This is a wonderful family owned company and I had the pleasure of teaching their daughter years ago (6 to be exact!). This was an answered prayer because the previous quotes I received were outrageous!

I am so thankful to New City Screenprinting and their generosity. Our shirts are going to be AWESOME!

Only 24 days left to raise money for Team Chunky Monkey. Every $1 makes a difference, so skip that trip to Starbucks and help a premature baby instead! We hope to see all of you on April 11th at the TCM crawfish boil. Please email and let us know if you'll be there!