Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Other Words

I apologize for the long post... but hang with me. I pray you will be blessed.

I have never participated in “In Other Words” at Amy Bayliss’s site “In Pursuit of Proverbs 31” before but I have to say that this week’s topic really grabbed my attention and I felt like I had to share. The quote for this week was by Billy Graham

“Miracles have happened when God’s people come together in prayer.”

This quote struck a chord with me because you see I have experienced my own modern day miracle. Here is a little about what happened: (This is taken from the talk I give at epilepsy events.)

My husband and I had been married for about six years and we were beginning to get pressure from both sets of parents for grandchildren, so we decided we were ready to start trying to have a family. In March of 1999, I had a miscarriage. We were devastated but as my friends and family comforted me and I moved through the stages of grief we finally decided to try again.
This time, I had an uneventful pregnancy. I had morning sickness, gained 30 pounds, and craved every food imaginable – you know ladies, all the normal stuff. Everything seemed to be going along just fine until the time came for our delivery. We were so excited on our way to the hospital but still a little nervous about this unknown adventure we were embarking on called parenthood. 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. (Is there any other kind ladies?)

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. They had exhausted every rescue measure they had available to them. 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. We prayed Phil. 4:6-7.

“6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We were trying not to have fear, but were presenting our request to God but remembering to be thankful at the same time no matter what the outcome. Then we experienced God’s true peace that no one can understand.
We prayed Psalm 37:4.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

We told God that our desire was for our son to live, but if that wasn’t in his will, then to please help us and give us strength for whatever His plan was.

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 already 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 beats per minute 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 the left lateral hemisphere of 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. 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 normal. 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.

We still fight a daily battle with epilepsy and have had several hospital visits in which we thought again that we might lose Spencer. But God has used it to open so many doors of opportunity to share about Him and His love for us. We remind ourselves and Spencer that God uses everything for His good if we will let him… even things that the enemy has intended for harm.

Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

When people ask us how we do it…we are able to tell them that His power and strength is what gets us through our tough times.

Another amazing part to this story we learned after we got home from the hospital is that when the nurses informed my family that Spencer had died, my sister in law called a friend of hers who was known as being a prayer warrior. She asked this lady to pray for me and my husband because we had just lost our baby. Unbeknownst to us, this lady had been praying in her own personal life for about 2 months for God to let her see a modern day miracle. She agreed that there are so many things about our everyday lives that are miracles… but she wanted to see a Lazarus type of miracle. She had been reading John Chapter 14 and had been specifically praying John 14:11-14.

“11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

When she received the call from my sister, instead of praying for strength for me and my husband, she began to pray for God to raise Spencer from the dead. She was also telling people in her workplace about what was happening. When she received a phone call back from my sister that Spencer was indeed alive… she was not surprised at all. And… people she worked with prayed to receive Christ that day. We later received letters from those people whom we had never met. It was incredible to see how God weaves his tapestry of our lives together so beautifully. We can miss it if we aren’t looking. Also, members of my family that were lost whom we had been praying for for a long time also prayed to receive Christ that day…"the saving of many lives.”

If you ask Spencer what he thinks about having epilepsy or what happened at birth with his stroke, he will tell you that it’s ok that it happened. He will tell you it gives him a chance to tell others about Jesus and what a miracle He can do in their lives too if they will pray and believe.

“Miracles have happened when God’s people come together in prayer.”


Unknown said...

Praise the LORD! Beautiful Post and what a glorious story! Even in the trying times His glory shines through. Blessings and much favor to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing!!! What an amazing post,praise God for miracles today!!!! I posted your link in my post today!!!!

Kimberly said...

I know this testimony of God's faithfulness blesses everyone who reads it! I am so glad you put it up for all to read! Thank you for how you give Him all of the praise and all of the glory!
You are a blessing!

Amico Dio said...

I always stand in awe when I read the things that our God has done. He is amazing and so wonderful!

God bless you and your family and I pray for Spencer to continue to be a blessing to others!

ocean mommy said...

This testimony gets to me everytime. So powerful and what a story that little one has to share.

Jenny said...

Wonderful story! God is still in the miracle busincess!

Cheri said...

Through sobs of absolute joy in our God, all I can say is... WOW!!

Carol said...

That story never gets old. Man, I love God. He is so awesome. God has prepared Mr. Spencer for greatness. He will be victorious in his life. I can't wait to sit back and watch it unfold. Thanks for sharing this today!

Denise C said...

Hi Amy,
I happened upon your blog...(From Kmom3)...and I am so touched by this beautiful display of Christ's love. I am wiping tears as I type. This is such a precious post of your sweet son's life...and how God's amazing grace and new mercies were so vividly evident!

Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony ! I am moved to tears.

Sweet Blessings,

Cheri said...

Hi Amy, I just wanted you to know that your testimony yesterday really had a profound effect on on me. I posted about it today.

Love, cheri

Jenifer said...

God is SO AWESOME! Praise His Name!

I have an aunt whose child has epilepsy. Could I share this story with her? They have had an extremely hard time dealing with and adjusting to this. I think your story would be a huge encouragement to them.


Jenifer said...

Thanks, Amy. I will send her here. Her daughter is 8 almost 9. They have been dealing with this for a few years now. They recently had a procedure done to help her control the seizures. I'm not sure what it's called but it involved a device implanted under her arm and when she has a seizure she places a magnet over the device and it's suppose to stop the seizure. It was working up until recently. She has started to have "break-through" seizures and from what I understand they have been pretty bad. I think hearing your story will be great encouragement for them. I've tried to encourage them as much as I can. My daughter had seizures for about 2 1/2 years when she was younger. Her's were labeled febral. So, although I can relate on some levels- what they are dealing with is going to be a lifetime adjustment. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Many blessings,

Celly B said...

What an awesome testimony your family has! I am in tears at the greatness and faithfulness of our God and at the faithfulness of your family in sharing your story!

Glynnis Whitwer said...

I never tire of hearing stories of how powerful our God is. Thank you for reminding us that NOTHING is too hard for God. I can't wait to hear more stories of miracles in Spencer's life. God must have big plans for that boy.

Love, Glynnis

Darlene said...

WOW! Thanks for sharing your testimony with me. Spencer's story is amazing. "How Great is our God" song comes to mind as I read this.
Praise God for the miracles we see and hear about in our time. God is not dead..HE is alive!!

God Bless you and your family!!

Janet Roller said...

Even though I know the story, and have heard it time after time, it still amazes me. God is big. OK, understatment of the century. But I just love it when He shows up "big" when His people pray.

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

Amy, amy, amy. I feel sad and glad at the same time. For a minute you wonder why the child .. he didn't do anything, and then you remember God has Spencer and Ethan in his hands and loves them both way more than we do. I am sooo thankful that God is in your life .. I don't know how people live life without Him.

Oh the testimonies for our boys .. I wanna be on earth to see what God has in store for them.

Blessings from above ... Thank you for encouraging me ...

Celly B said...

I've tagged you. Check out my latest post when you get a chance!

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing testimony! Tell Spencer his attitude is inspiring. May God continue to bless your family.

Susan said...

Wow, what an amazing testimony!

I know it brings God delight each time a life is changed because of this awesome miracle.

We do serve a miracle working God. My husband broke his neck, c-1 and C-2, he should not be here, and is in perfect health. He was 18 at the time.

Your children are beautiful. Glad to see you are now an Advocate for Epilepsy. Oh, my husband was dx with this, and was completely healed, off all meds at 21!


Mike and Debbie said...

I came here from Cheri's site. I love hearing your testimony of God's miraculous healing of your precious little Spencer.

DeAnna said...

That story NEVER gets old. We serve the Most High God who is worthy of ALL our praise every day!!! I cannot wait to see years down the road what God has done through Spencer's life.

Anonymous said...

There is a new meme in bloggy world that I think you might enjoy: Miracle Mondays!!! I have a link on my site and I am so excited about it :)

Beth Cotell said...

So many miracles in this one post...Spencer's life being saved, the prayer warrior praying for and receiving a Lazarus miracle, all the people being brought to Christ because of your son...

"It was incredible to see how God weaves his tapestry of our lives together so beautifully." That is such a wonderful way to say it.

Thanks for sharing your miracle!

Andrea @ Mommy said...

Praise God! Not only did he perform a miracle on your dear baby but the whole situation brought others to Christ. God Bless!!

Missy said...

Amy, I am just speechless.

I am.

Speechless. In tears, and speechless.