Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eighteen Months


it has been 18 months since the day God worked through Dr. Brown and he saved Breanna's life.

Breanna was born September 30 at 31 weeks. All 4.5 pounds of her was the spitting image of her daddy. Before birth, we were told she had three markers for down syndrome, but we refused testing because of the high rate of miscarriage. And to us, it didn't really matter. She was our baby.

She entered the world at noon via c-section and we immediately knew she was not a down syndrome baby. In fact, she didn't even really have the look of a premature baby. She was actually quite a bit larger than most of the babies in the NICU.

The first few days drug on while we waited to hold her. According to the doctors, she was doing just fine, they were decreasing her oxygen levels, and had high hopes she would not stay intubated long. Huge relief for us.

Thursday, October 4th, was the day our life felt like it came crashing down around us. I had just gotten home from being released from the hospital. Was visiting with the girls, and waiting for Chris to get home, so we could go back down to the hospital. Right as he walked in the door, the phone rang.

It was the hospital.

Something was wrong. VERY wrong.

My head started spinning as one of the NICU doctors explained during her checkup that day he had thought he heard a murmur, so he called the cardiologist in for an echo. as a precautionary measure. The results they had were not good, and that he was now putting the cardiologist on the phone to speak with me.

'We found that you daughter has a condition called D-Transposition of the Great Arteries. She also has a very large hole between the chambers of her heart called a septal defect, and her atrioventricular canal is not formed all the way. This is a life threatening condition. We do have her stablized for the time being, but you need to get down her as fast as possible, so you can get the papers signed for Riley's lifeline team to come and transport her to Riley's.'

What? I don't understand. I dropped the phone and fell to the floor.

Chris thought I was in pain, since I had just had a c-section..he had no idea what I was about to tell him.

Panic. The girls. I tried calling both my parents and got no answer. Got grandma and she came rushing out to get the girls.

Chris and I headed to Evansville.

We got there, and she flatlined right in front of us. I stood there and watched while a team of nurses and doctors got her breathing again. I watched while my daughter was intubated right in front of me. Feeling like I was in a bad dream. How could this be reality?

The doctor explained to Lisa and I what needed to happen. I could not speak. I couldn't do anything. Finally, the doctor looked at me and said, 'honey, it's ok to cry.' I lost it.

October 5th, Breanna was lifelined to Riley's.

Honestly, October 5-15 were just a blur of days. Not sleeping. Being scared out of my mind. Not wanting to leave her bedside out of fear she would pass while I wasn't there with her. When I did leave to go sleep, I was still waking up every few hours to pump so the doctors could give her breastmilk through a feeding tube. It was the worst week and a half of my life.

A waiting game.

When's the day?

They had to shave her head to place a PICC line in. Her sweet, sweet Nurse Sam took a picture of her with a little bow in her hair before they shaved her head. And made me a scrapbook page with her picture, the bow, and the hair they shaved. Oh, how I cherished that page with every fiber of my being. I was amazed at how the nurses in the NICU loved the babies. How attached to them they got.

We found out just a few days before surgery when they decided she was to the point she wasn't stable enough to go on without surgery, even though she was not nearly as big as they wanted her to be. They were hoping to hit to 5 pound mark. (We never hit that before she left the hospital.)

Chris and I got to the hospital bright and early to spend some time with her before they took her away for surgery.

My dad told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. He said, "Casondra, if God decides to take her, I will still feel blessed that I got to spend 16 days with one of His angels."

As much as that hurt, as much as I didn't want to think about the possibilty of her death, he was right. But saying good-bye to her outside the operating room, knowing I may never see her alive again, was the single hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.

I thank God daily for having a husband who was strong enough to hold it together for me. Who held me up, when my knees went weak, and I couldn't hold it together anymore.

We walked to the waiting area, where our family and pastor were waiting.

We formed a circle and Tony prayed for God to lay His healing hand on Breanna, and for the comfort we needed to make it through the surgery.

God gave me comfort. He knew I couldn't handle the time length of the surgery. He gave me the strength to be still, and I slept.

Every hour during surgery they would come around and give updates on where they were in surgery, how things were going, etc. Hearing she was on by-pass was the hardest of all the news for me, because I knew there was a possibility her heart would not start back up. But everytime the nurse came around, we only got good news. She was doing great!

They last bit of information we got was, they are attempting to take her off of by-pass. If they are unsuccessful, the surgeon will scrub out and come talk to you about putting her on ECMO.

Well, about an hour passed and we got a phone calling telling us to come to the second floor same day surgery area to speak with the surgeon. Our hearts dropped.

We got down to the area where we were supposed to talk to the doctor, and waited for what seemed like an eternity. I am sure it was more like 4-5 minutes though. Dr. Brown came in and just looked at us for a moment.

PLEASE speak. Tell me what you need to tell me about my daughter.

About that time, he got a big smile on his face, and tells us, "Well, she came of bypass on the first attempt. She has minimal swelling, and we were able to close the sternum up."


Chris and I looked at each other and laughed.

Thank you! Thank you! We can never tell you thank-you enough for saving our baby.

He said, "It's nothing really. I had to wear a little bit of stronger magnifying glasses because her heart is only the size of a small strawberry right now. Well, they are getting her set up in her Post-op room, you should be able to see her within a half hour."

Praise the Lord!

I know this picture will feel heartbreaking for some to see, but to us, it is the beauty of life! She's was still with us..she was ALIVE!

And 18 months later....HERE SHE IS......

Breanna's life, her story, is such a testimony to the power of the miracles God DOES perform.

'With God, all things are possible'

I got a plaque today at Hobby Lobby that just jumped out at me. And I think it really speaks true..."instead of carrying the world on your shoulders, talk to the one who carries the universe on his"

I hope you all are enjoying your day as much as we are enjoying ours! We love you all!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Prayer for a Friend

Today after I got both the A's off for school, Kinsey, Breanna, and myself went to run a few errands.

In the car, we were jamming...yes, jamming at 8 am in the none other than the Casting Crown cd. Hands down, my current FAVORITE cd !!!
In Home Depot, it was taking me a while, because I was trying to find a certain type of tile to use for my demonstrations for Uppercase Living. Both girls were getting rambunctious, and Kinsey looks at me and says, "Mommy, I thought you said this wasn't going to take very long." HA,HA I did, in fact, tell her this prior to entering the store. I say, "Well, honey, we haven't really been in here very long." I think I got an eye roll with that.

After about thirty seconds she busts out in song. 'Lord, I lift my friend to you...."Ok..she has my attention. She sings a few lines of the song before I interrupt.

"Kins, I didn't realize you knew that song."

"Well, I do Mommy, " she said, "And I am singing to Jesus about T. He will help her, Mommy"

T is a friend of hers from school. They have become good friends over the past few months. I have encouraged it, despite the fact that I DO NOT agree with how this little girl is raised. Her parents openly curse and scream at their children. At 7 years old, she has a cell phone. The girls are allowed to do whatever they want, with little supervision. I could go on and on...

I had another the group of moms that my children play with, tell me she feels this little girl is a 'bad' influence on the other girls, and that the other girls should not play with her. I disagree! I think these other little girls are a positive influence in her chaotic life. Despite her upbringing..despite her faults (maybe them seem worse to some but in the grand scheme of things all sin is the same) , it is up to us to teach her about Jesus!

Back to mine and Kinsey's discussion....

"Mommy, she needs to be prayed for. She says the same bad words her mommy and daddy do. And we need to pray for her so she knows that is not the right thing to do."

"yes, Kinsey, you're right. We do. you are a very good friend for praying to Jesus to help her, but we also need to pray for her mommy and daddy too"

"Why Mommy?" she asks.

"Because we need to pray for them to find Jesus too."

We get back to the car, and I turn on the song Kinsey was singing in the store. It now, has a new meaning to me. My 6 year old, praying to our Mighty God, for one of her very best friends. Knowing that is the best thing she can do for her friend. Her little mind comprehends so much more than I give her credit for.

Here's the song she was singing:

Lord, I lift my friend to You,
I've done all that I know to do
I lift my friend to You
Complicated circumstances have clouded his view
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

I fear that I won't have the words that he needs to hear
I pray for Your wisdom, oh God,
and a heart that's sincere
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You
My best friend in the world, I know he means much more to You
I want so much to help him, but this is something he has to do
And Lord, I lift my friend up to You

'cause there's a way that seems so right to him
But You know where that leads
He's becoming a puppet of the world,
too blind to see the strings
Lord,I lift my friend up to You
My friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You,
I've done all that I know to do
I lift my friend to You

LORD, as I end this blog, I have some unspoken request for friends who need to be lifted to you tonight. Shed the light of your love upon them. They need to feel your presence around them. They need the strength to keep believing during these very difficult times in their lives. You, and only you, can take away their pain.