Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Speed Bumps

Dearly beloved,

Wait... that sounds kind of morbid.

Let me try again.

Dear loved ones,

Thank you for your continued prayers and concern, and I ask that you keep the prayers coming. Today's been a mixed day so far.

First, the great news. Linda is able to get on and off her bed more and more smoothly and has even walked to the bathroom several times already today. This is a huge praise. Yesterday, the two times she tried to get on and off the bed took her about 5 minutes each way. Today, she's able to get on and off within a minute and able to walk around and stand for minutes at a time. So we're so thankful that Linda is improving rapidly. She is also down to only one IV now, after having three IVs in her body for the past few days. Originally, we were told that Linda's last IV might be able to be removed today. However, after doing blood tests they discovered that her white blood cell count was still rather high. So the doctor decided that she still needs one more day of antibiotics before they take out the IV. And because there was a slight problem with the old IV, the nurse, as I type this, is in the midst of putting a new IV into Linda's arm and taking out her old one. Sigh.

As for Alicia, her condition continues to be unstable. But we believe that these struggles are merely speed bumps along the road to recovery and not dead ends. This morning when we went to see her, the doctor rattled off a bunch of things in Chinese about the problems that she was having and while I understood everything that she said while she was saying it, my mind wasn't quite able to retain it all, so I had to ask the nurse to go over again everything that the doctor said.

Basically, in a nutshell. Alicia has a hole in her heart. This is something that all preemies have. Well, actually all babies of Alicia's age have this whether they are inside or outside the womb. I'm not a biologist, but I guess as the heart develops there is a hole that gradually closes as the heart matures. Unfortunately, since Alicia's heart isn't completely mature, the hole hasn't closed yet. They've given her two shots of medicine already that is intended to close the hole in her heart, however, Alicia hasn't responded well to that medicine, so the hole hasn't grown any smaller. The doctors are planning to give Alicia a third shot today. If the hole still remains in her heart, surgery may be required. I know many, many children have gone through this surgery before. And I've heard stories before of kids going through heart surgery and doing well afterwards, but it's so hard when it's your own kid.

So prayer number one. Pray for Alicia's heart that it would close and be healthy and strong.

Alicia continues to breathe well, though she still needs the machine. But I have faith that she'll continue to improve in this area as well as others. Problem is though that she's still rather small, so everything including her air tubes are really small, so any time she turns her head, she has the possibility of constricting her air passage.

Also her other organs still haven't made any progress which is natural in one sense because she's only 2 days old, but in other senses we really pray that they would develop quickly so that she can get stronger and stronger. Especially in the area of digestion so that she can start drinking some of Linda's milk.

Speaking of Linda's milk, we were able to get a few drops today to pass on to the nurses in the ICU. Even though it was really only a sliver, it was still quite an accomplishment. So we continue to pray that Linda's milk would continue to come in and that we can get Alicia some of the nutrients that she needs.

After writing and saying that Alicia was like all other preemies, I thought I'd better confirm that with the doctors. Unfortunately her answer was not quite what I wanted to hear.

I think I had written that Alicia needed to be resuscitated after birth. This, unfortunately, is not something that most preemies need. Actually, the doctor said that most preemies out of the womb are still breathing and alive. But actually, Alicia's heart had stopped. And not for a few seconds but for several minutes. In fact, according to the doctor, it had taken them about seven minutes to get Alicia's heart beating again. Not a great start.

Also, Alicia continues to have bleeding in the brain, which is again common, but still something that definitely needs to be monitored.

Right now, it's been about 60 hours since Alicia's birth. As I said earlier the first 72 hours are very telling.

Some positive news is that while I was in the ICU I got to witness the nurse do some work on Alicia. While she was doing the procedure, Alicia writhed and looked like she was in pain. And the nurse spoke to her which I thought was precious. She told Alicia not to cry and to be patient and that things would be all right. The nurse told me that Alicia had quite a personality, which made me smile. She's fiesty, I guess. =)

Linda and I continue to have faith and believe in miracles. We believe that Alicia's case is not one that is beyond the reaches of modern medicine, and therefore well, well, within the reaches of our Heavenly Father. She's in the best hands possible, the hands of our Loving Heavenly Father.

Sometimes I don't like talking to doctors. While I understand their need to be real and honest, it is really hard to deal with such doomsayers. But I just take it as a reminder to continue to pray. Allow me to mix metaphors a bit and say that the storm isn't over, and that Alicia is definitely not out of the water yet. But as I said yesterday, I believe that she and we are walking on the water with Jesus and not drowning within it.

Thinking about the lyrics I posted yesterday, I realized that the name of the group, "Destiny's Child" was also an appropriate description of our precious daughter. She is indeed a child of destiny -- a destiny that God wrote and planned out for her before she was even born. I believe that she has something mighty to do in this world, and therefore, you will know our Alicia Charis one day, and you will hear about the things she's doing and you'll say, "I knew her when..." =)

Our dear little one continues to struggle and fight for her life. But I believe that she's not fighting alone. She's got hundreds of uncles and aunties, grandparents, brothers and sisters all fighting and praying for her. Most of all, Jesus is with her and the angels are guarding over her.
I believe our master physician Jesus is working on her even as we speak.

We got an encouraging phone call from a dear Auntie of ours today reminding us to stay positive. She said something that really boosted Linda and I. She told us to remember that God has his perfect plan in motion. Yes, Alicia is outside of Linda's womb right now, and maybe that's not what we would have wanted, but she's still growing and that God in his wisdom has chosen to allow Alicia to finish growing outside of Linda rather than inside. Perhaps God felt that it was better for Linda and Alicia's health to allow this to happen, or perhaps he had his other reasons. But fact is, he allowed it. And the beauty of this situation is that now we get to watch her grow and get stronger each day. We get to touch her and speak to her and see with our eyes as God performs the delicate work of growing our precious daughter. We just trust and walk ahead in faith, believing in our Father's tender love, mercy and grace over us.

And thank you all for your many, many stories of preemie babies growing up healthy and strong. Each of these stories just reminds us that it has been done before and God will do it again.

I definitely look forward to introducing many of you to our precious daughter sooner rather than later.

Here's looking forward to some great news on Alicia in about 5 hours when we go and visit her again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update. Keeping all of this in prayer!