Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why Signs, Miracles and Wonders?

When my friend Carol (Sheep to the Right) started her blog and inspired me to start one, one of her first posts was about how she named her blog. Being new to this whole blogging thing, I have wondered where some of the creative and interesting names for some people's sites have come from. I've read the history of some people's blog names and it ranges from laugh out loud funny to awe inspiring. After reading some of these, I thought they gave great insight into the person, their thoughts and the lens through which they view life. So, I want to tell you why I chose Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

The "wonders" is easy. I constantly stand in amazement, wonder and awe of the greatness of my God. He is just "good all the time" to quote the song. Even when things are bad...He is good. This thought is what gets me through some days.

The "signs" part comes from a question I have grappled with for quite some time. Is it ok to ask God for a sign? I haven't sorted out the answer completely to that one, but once I do, I'm sure there is a book in it somewhere. LOL. I believe that God does give us signs to direct us and guide us on our path but is it ok to ask for one? Probably more to come on this subject later.

"Signs" is also tied in to my website and ministry that I hope to have up and running soon. It will be "Signs of Life Ministries." I chose this name for several reasons. One is that I want there to be "signs of LIFE" in my life. By that I mean signs of true abundant life which is only found in Christ. I want it to be evident that He is my LIFE.

Another is that the sign for life in ancient times was the ankh. It is fascinating to me that this symbol is a cross. But of course, those of us who know our Saviour and Redeemer know that life does come from the cross.

Signs of life is also the reason for the "miracles" part of my blog. You see, when my son Spencer was born... there were no signs of life. His apgar at birth was 0. Forgive me for the long post, but here's a little about his story. It is copied from the talk I give at Epilepsy Advocate events.

"On the night of December 28, 1999, I was admitted to the hospital to have our son Spencer. The labor was very long and hard. On the morning of the 29th Spencer was born, I knew something was terribly wrong because he was not crying. I remember asking the nurse over and over, why isn’t he crying? The neonatal team had been alerted and rushed Spencer out of the room to the neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As many of you may know a baby is given what they call an APGAR test at birth to evaluate the baby’s health on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best. Spencer was given a score of zero at one minute and a two at five minutes. You can imagine how scary that sounded, but they told me he was fine but having some problems. Once they got him breathing with the help of a respirator, we were told his blood glucose level was very low, he had very high acidosis, and that his blood pressure was dangerously low. We were told he possibly had lung, liver and brain damage due to asphyxia and was having some problems with his heart. The outlook was not good.

By that evening, Spencer had stabilized somewhat and was beginning to make positive progress. Early on the morning of the 30th everything started to go downhill. A nurse in the unit observed that Spencer was having what she thought was a seizure. At this time he was medicated for the seizure and apparently went into cardiac arrest. The doctor came to see us at 7:30 am and told us that Spencer’s liver, kidneys, and cardiac functions were all starting to shut down and that this was obviously a turn for the worse. The physician told us that if we had family that wanted to see Spencer that we should tell them to come immediately. Within the next 30 minutes, a fleet of nurses were in our room with a wheel chair to take us to the Neonatal ICU. You could tell by the expressions on their faces that it did not look good for Spencer.
When we got to the unit out worse fears were confirmed. The doctors and nurses were performing manual CPR and indicated that this had been going on for over an hour and that Spencer was not responding. The physician then came over and explained that they would have to stop CPR and take Spencer off of the monitoring, the IV’s, and the rest of the equipment if we wanted to hold him. Up to that point, Spencer had had so many challenges that we still had not had an opportunity to hold him. They then wrapped up my son in a blanket and a cap in an effort to hide the fact that he was already turning ashy and gray and handed him to us. Here he was less than one day old and we were to hold him for the first and last time. It was our chance to say good-bye. You see they were just waiting on his heart to officially stop beating so they could call the time of death.

We were placed in a private room just off of the NNICU and immediately my husband and I started to pray over our son. We asked for strength to face this situation and for God’s will to be done. During this time, the physician kept coming in to check Spencer’s heart rate. There was a nurse waiting with a death certificate ready to fill in the official time of death. We didn’t know this at the time, but with each visit the doctor made, his rate was dropping and got below 20 beats per minute. Phone calls were made on our behalf to our family and church informing them that our son had passed away. On the doctor’s third trip to check Spencer’s heart rate, you could tell he was visibly shaken. He started to take Spencer from my arms and I said, “No, please don’t take him… I just want to hold him a bit longer. I don’t care if his heart has already stopped!” But when he pulled back the baby blanket we were surprised to see that our son had turned a pink color. The doctor then explained that Spencer’s heart rate was around 120 bpm and that he wanted to take him back to monitor him. When the physician left the room the nurse filling in the death certificate requested the time of death. The doctor looked at the nurse and said “this baby isn’t dead, he is alive.” We feel like we experienced a MIRACLE that day.

We spent the next 2 weeks in the NNICU. Spencer had x-rays, several EEG’s, a cat scan, an echocardiogram, a spinal tap, an MRI, batteries of blood tests; so many test that I couldn’t possibly remember to name them all. The only thing that they could find was what the physicians called a small area of insult on his brain that we were later told would probably affect his speech and motor skills. They thought he had possibly had a stroke and only time would tell whether he’d ever be able to talk or walk. At the end of those two weeks of testing, we took home for all practical purposes a healthy baby. We immediately started physical therapy and added speech later to make sure if there were any problems that they would be identified early. Little did we know there was yet another storm brewing on the horizon.

Everything seemed to go smoothly for the next three years. Spencer went to speech, occupational and physical therapy several times a week and was basically caught up to where he was supposed to be developmentally. We had a beautiful, smart little boy bursting with personality that won the hearts of everyone he met. And he could certainly walk and talk – sometimes he talked more than we wanted and still does. My husband and I thought, “Hey, this parenting thing is pretty cool,” so we decided to try and have another child.
At our first ultrasound appointment – the storm hit. We were sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office when Spencer started to behave very strangely. He seemed to be trying to speak to us but couldn’t. The right side of his mouth and eye began to twitch and he started to drool. Then he threw up. We had no idea what was happening and even though we were surrounded by doctors and nurses, they didn’t seem to know what was going on either. By this time, Spencer’s right arm had begun to jerk and we called 911. We didn’t realize until later that Spencer was having his first seizure. Spencer went from bad to worse. After an ambulance ride that seemed to last an eternity, we arrived at the hospital where the doctors tried unsuccessfully to get Spencer’s seizure to stop. By this time, the seizure had generalized to his entire body. After giving him enough medication that they were ready to insert a tube into his throat to help him breathe, the seizure finally wore off. Spencer was heavily medicated and postictal for some time. For a parent that does not know what is going on, this can be scarier than the seizure itself. We thought he had had another stroke. He could not talk or move the right side of his body and his face was drawn down on the right side. We wondered if we would ever see our energetic, talkative, effervescent little boy again. Would life ever be the same? What did the future hold?

After a few days in the hospital, the medication wore off and Spencer seemed to go back to his normal self. We were released from the hospital and for the moment, everything was calm. But then, just a few months later, Spencer had another seizure. This seizure also did not stop – a term I have come to learn since as “status epilepticus”. Once again, we called 911 and ended up in the emergency room. It was after this seizure that my son was diagnosed with epilepsy. He had probably developed it due the asphyxia and stroke suffered at birth."

Our struggle of living with epilepsy is something I will probably post more about later, but even though we face challenges, we don't give up hope for Spencer's complete healing from seizures and epilepsy too. You see miracles are something I definitely believe in. I don't just believe in them, I expect them. That is why "it is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me" (Daniel 4:2)

He will perform them for you too, if you will only accept Him and believe.


ocean mommy said...

Amy -

What a powerful testimony to God's power! Thank you for sharing it.

I LOVE the name of your blog, and knowing the reason(s) you picked it makes it all the better. :)


Carol said...

Oh Amy I can't see my keyboard through the tears! What an awesome God we serve. You got a miracle because God knew you and Greg would turn around and give Him the glory. Spencer is such a blessing!

Kimberly said...

Thank you for sharing your story. What a powerful testimony! I also love knowing the reasons behind blog names. I am so glad I read about yours. I love reading about how with God all things truly are possible!

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

Thank you for sharing Spencer's story. It is your story too! You are blessing people by being so open and have cause me to want to add some things to my blog.

God IS getting the glory!

joan wester anderson said...

Your website is beautiful. And in case you need a little encouragement to keep on keeping on, I'd like to invite you to look at mine: I write books about angels and miracles; not to overshadow our Savior in any way but to point out that angels, too, are a gift from God. Many of the people who subscribe to my story mailings need encouragement when life gets tough, and since the Bible mentions angels more than 300 times, why shouldn't we?
Keep doing what you're doing. Grace will always come.

Laura said...

Wow! God is so amazing. Thank you for telling your story and for giving God all the glory in your son's life. God is so good! I, too, pray for complete healing of your son.

Terri Tiffany said...

Thanks for sharing this post with me! Your story is amazing and I can see why you speak on it! I believe we see miracles every day. Our children are proof.
My miracle story is coming out in a new book from Women of Passions. You should share your story on the website.
The miracle that I spoke about happened when God gave me a fully-packed Christian bookstore for one dollar when I thought we could never afford it.

I wish I could speak like you do--I feel God leading me that way but I have a ton to learn! Toastmasters is a good organization but not as cozy as I would like(Going back to our Psychology roots) and I find it a little corporate. I would like to encourage other writers in the craft and women who face situations and they feel there is no place to turn. Maybe some day I'll get there.
So you understand Florida!!LOL
Great blog--let's stay in touch!