Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

On September 15th, Katy and Andy found out that Baby Jacob has a life-threatening condition called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). CDH is a very serious condition in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest restricting lung development. In Jacob's case, his liver is also squishing his heart and displacing other organs. CDH occurs in about 1 out of every 3,000 pregnancies and has a mortality rate of 50%. To make matters more complicated, Jacob has Right-Sided CDH which only occurs in about 10% of CDH cases and is typically more severe. They are so blessed to have found this out when they did, or Baby Jacob would have surely died at birth.

They will be delivering at UW Hospital in Seattle and later transferred to Seattle Children’s. Thank you to everyone who has already begun praying, and everyone who will now. Baby Jacob is blessed to have all of you thinking and praying for him.

Reflecting on My "Trip to Holland"

May 5, 2012
(This is in regards to our blog post on September 15, 2011:

"The pain of that will never, ever, ever go away,
because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you
didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy
the very special, the very lovely things about Holland."

Although Jacob's birth was beautiful and wonderful, it was overshadowed with fear and sadness. I am so thankful to have had two amazing and beautiful birth experiences with Landon and Hazel that went as natural and planned as could be. I mourn the loss of the bonding and sacredness experienced immediately after birth, but at least I was able to experience that not once, but twice, with my first two babies.

I also mourn the loss of Jacob's "newborn-ness" that we weren't able to enjoy, but I rejoice in the life that we have to share in Jacob. I am learning to let that go because Jacob brings such immense joy to our life every day. The joy I speak of is much greater than that of my other two kids, not because I love them any less, but because the spectrum of despair and joy was stretched greater than I have ever known. In that, I am able to recognize pain and despair more intensely, and therefore, I experience joy more intensely.

I didn't get to "go to Italy" this time, but at least I have been there before. My trip to Holland has made me wiser, love deeper, and appreciate life in a way that I never would have been able to.  I am also thankful that I was able to at least go to Holland and not some wasteland.

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising
a child with a disability--to try to help people who
have not shared that unique experience to understand
it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you are going to have a baby, it's like planning
a fabulous vacation trip--to Italy. You buy a bunch
of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The
Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in
Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally
arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several
hours later, the plane lands, the stewardess comes in
and says "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I
signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy.
All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've
landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to
a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of
pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you
must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a
whole new group of people you would have never met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than
Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been
there for a while and you catch your breath, you look
around, and you begin to notice that Holland has
windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from
Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful
time they had there. And for the rest of your life,
you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.
That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, ever go away,
because the loss of that dream is a very significant

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you
didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy
the very special, the very lovely things about


  1. A wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing it. I am happy that you have gotten to "travel" so much as a mother. :)


  2. Katy... where do I start? You words and encouragement during our journey with Esther lifted us up more than you can ever imagine. Jason and I would just cry reading every entry we ever received from you guys. It meant the world to us. Although we didn't have the time to respond and thank you in the midst of it- we heard and were lifted in each journey. Thank you for caring for us and being our family in it. God used you huge. I spent time at uw yesterday with the team and felt so encouraged. They cried with me but were encourage of the joy that we had with our 20 days with Esther and how much she brought ppl to the Lord in her story. I even got to pray with Chris. Later I went to children's and met with a CDH family that was Esther roommate briefly and got to pray with them and drop stuff off. I have felt so much healing in just being there for families in this way and feel so encouraged by the new mission field the Lord has given Jason and I. I can't wait to meet you guys someday. Thanks for you sweet msg you wrote about Jason and I in your blog. It was written so well. We love you guys and are so happy we get to partner in faith in our CDH journey's!!!
    The holtrops

    1. I'm glad I could be of some support to you guys. We were uplifted by so many, and the words from those that had been in my shoes were the ones that I held so dear seeing as they really knew what we were going through. I hoped I could do that for you as well. I look forward to meeting you face-to-face someday as well! I'm glad your visit back to UW and Children's was a positive experience. God bless!