A video

Jul 23 2012

Jack from Jered Hurd on Vimeo.

Jack’s story in video.

It’s God who made this possible, and we are thankful beyond mere words.

But He worked through a ton of amazing people, and we appreciate our friends and fellow missionaries in East Africa who went the extra mile so we could be where we needed to be; Breanna’s family who took care of us for over 4 months until Jack was ready to come with us back to Kenya; Our family and friends EVERYWHERE who prayed and gave… thanks so much.

I hope this video serves as a temporary substitute for those of you who never got to see Jack. May you meet soon!

Read more about our media equipment project, which allowed us to put this (and other videos) together to share with you:

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Four Months

Jul 01 2012


Jack’s now 4 months old, though his corrected gestational age is 2 months. He’s finally in newborn size clothes, weighs 8.5 lbs. and is 19.5″ long. He loves to eat, putting on the pounds as fast as he can. Where he once was alarmed at any touch, as are most preemies, he now prefers to be held than on his own in his bassinet.
He’ll celebrate his four months on the outside with a trip to the pediatric cardiologist to check on his atrial septal defect that should be steadily closing on its own, and he’ll follow up with a doctor with the neonatal intensive care unit to make sure he’s hitting benchmarks as he should. We have tickets home to Kenya for mid July and these follow ups will help us determine if our timing is okay.

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Eight pounds & almost ready to fly

Jun 21 2012

We almost hit a routine, which is kind of something new for our family: Grace and Isaiah went to Vacation Bible School at a nearby church faithfully last week. And the theme was “Sky.” I’m sure many of you participated in something similar. On Thursday night, after I was done with church music team practice, Olivia, Grace and I scrunched into a gondola on a tethered hot air balloon ride that rose up to the heights of the church roof. The sky is the limit with God, and as the kids learned the beautiful truth that they can trust God no matter what happens around them, it added to my personal lesson of trust while I worked on a video and song about Jack.


This week, we started off things differently. As you realize, we have stayed in the US a little longer than originally planned, and hope to be here until mid July. We realized it would be wiser to give Jack extra time to follow up with specialists and make sure things continue trending towards improvement. The improvements come as snapshots as we hear the results of the follow up appointments.


Jack’s periphal area of his retina is slightly damaged (typical of many preemies). Each check up has shown gradual improvement. The check is clearly uncomfortable for him. You can see the spreader (speculum) they use to force his eye open, then they insert depressor inside agains eyeball.

After a "long" five minute exam, the doctor said his retinopathy showed improvement, but was still not completely resolved. Not unusual, since it resolves around 56 weeks, apparently. So, at least one more test to go before we leave.

Jack endured his second eye exam as a baby “on the outside” of the NICU. Same routine as before: 3 eye drops to dilate his eyes, then an uncomfortable eye exam using an intense light focused through a lens, a speculum to keep his eye open, and an eyelid depressor to move the eyeball where needed. Because of Jack’s larger size, the technician had to hold him very firmly, wrapped in a blanket, while the doctor examined each eye. Jack swelled into a full blown wail during the five minute exam, not the small mewing cry of a preemie. After a long five minutes, the doctor said his retinopathy showed improvement, but was still not completely resolved. Not unusual, since it resolves around 56 weeks, apparently. So, at least one more test to go before we leave.

“He’ll need another exam four months after the next one.” The doctor told me. Four months. Huh. Add to the list of to do items: find a pediatric opthamologist in Nairobi, or at least an opthamologist comfortable examining infants. But the exam showed routine progress, and even though Bre waited in the lobby because  she wasn’t feeling well, we left encouraged. “I could hear him all the way in the lobby,” she said when we got home.

Breanna was still feeling lousy the next morning, so I took Jack in to see the pediatrician. After many questions I could not answer, about his eating, I realized the doctor seem concerned, and confused about the number of calories I said he was eating. I made a mental note that Breanna needs to come to his next pediatric appointment, even if she’s wheezing and barely conscious!

Doc also wanted to know our schedule for specialists follow ups, especially with a cardiologist. “His heart murmur is louder.” She shot out, after I gave her another blank look, while I mentally sifted through my ill prepared memories of future appointments Jack needed to keep. She admitted it may be just to his bigger size, and not actually a real concern, but we need to try to visit the cardiologist before going back.

For those of you keeping score at home, Jack’s now 7 lbs 13 oz. and 19″. I ran some numbers and he’s taking in about 700 calories per day. Adjusted to someone my size, that would be 18,480 calories/day or 34 big macs.

He is growing. It’s really fun to hold a strong eight pound baby. He can hold his head up fine, stand on his legs, and pushes his chest off the mat with his arms.

Isaiah (and all of us) pray for him every night, and I know many of you do, as well. We still plan on flying back to Kenya in mid July, but we’re very aware our plans could change with a report from the opthamologist or cardiologist. We’ll also look into finding a pediatric opthamologist and pediatric cardiologist, or an acceptable equivalent, in Nairobi before we leave. As always, the sky is the limit with God, and we’ll continue to trust Him, ready to stay and ready to go.

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Better Eyes on our 3 Month Old

May 29 2012


This morning Jack visited his ophthalmologist. Even though he screamed (and I cringed) through the procedure, the results showed slight improvement in his retinopathy of prematurity. This marks his third follow up, each with encouraging results.
Oh, and it’s his Three Month Day- wish we could take him out for ice cream at least!

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First checkup on the outside

May 21 2012

Jack had his first check up this morning. He’s doing great with good weight gain, no problems with his lungs.
We’re optimistic about returning to Kenya in the next couple of months after about four different follow up visits for him.
Thank you all for your continued prayers! To God be the Glory.

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May 14 2012


After two months and 14 days, it’s amazing to be together under one roof. Olivia, Grace, and Isaiah can’t leave him alone for too long… there needs to be a pat on the head, “Ahh, Jack’s so adoh-wa-buhl” (the pronunciation’s strangely similar for everyone of us), or a chance to hold him. Grace asks if she is holding him properly every time he fusses, and  Isaiah reports “He stopped breathing… yup he stopped breathing.” Then a few seconds later, “Nevermind, he’s still breathing!”

Truthfully, I think we’re all watching his lungs heave. They were miracles from day one, but they still seem fragile, and while his nurse admitted they occasionally labor much more than they should, they are comfortable with him leaving the hospital. It’s strange to not have a constant reading of his pulse, his oxygen level, or even the little red heart shape that beats in time with his real heart. He’s flying solo now, and in a way, I guess we all are.


Last night passed without any excitement, except for the expected many interruptions from a little man who loves to eat. Breanna earned her bedside cup of coffee in the morning! This morning we took passport pictures of him, laying on a towel. Isaiah willingly posed next to the little guy for us when we were done. Then, with a lot of coaxing, Isaiah rode bikes with me down and across the busy road to pick up the prints.

We’re leaving now so Jack can apply for his passport in person, as the state department mandates. We’ve decided to extend our compassionate leave here so his passport has plenty of time to arrive, and we don’t need to rush his follow up doctor’s visits. After all, he may be flying solo, but we think it’s good to remain in the pattern for  awhile.

Thanks to so many of you who prayed and gave a lot for us and for Jack. Little Jack has a big God, and His body surrounds us in every encouraging word, thought, and token of help. We’ll keep you posted here on our plans as well as updates regarding Jack. Also, I’m finishing up our new blog layout and location, which should be easier for everyone to remember.

I really want to express appreciation for the nurses and doctors at St. Vincent Women’s Hospital. They exemplified professionalism with transparent communication. They seemed to enjoy serving with an obvious adoration for each of their tiny patients. It was refreshing compared to Isaiah’s experience in 2009. Several of the staff shared about the medical ministries they are involved with in Africa, and several others expressed their interest. I hope we were somehow able to encourage them.

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Free at Last

May 13 2012

After 72 days in the NICU, Jack was discharged today from the hospital to go home! What a perfect mother’s day gift


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Due Date

May 10 2012

We’re heading to the big city to see Jack. He’s doing very well. Today is his original due date. Is that something you normally celebrate? I think it should be. Why not? 🙂

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In Recovery

May 07 2012

Breanna and I are here in the NICU at the hospital. Jack’s operation went very well. He’s on the ventilator and an IV. Nurse and doc expects him to wake up “sometime tonight.”

Thanks for praying! We are thankful for our Father who cares (especially) for even the smallest among us. More news to come.

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Jack’s Surgery

May 07 2012

Today Jack has surgery to repair is inguinal hernia. The worst part for him will probably be the fact he’s not able to eat after his 5am feeding! Please pray surgery and recovery go well so he can come home soon!

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