Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Answered Prayer #1


So I decided to write this little "series" on answered prayers for several reasons. First, I want to finally update all of you on Brooklyn's condition without it getting too overwhelming and complicated (for you and for me). Second, I want you to see that God can and does heal (and is very creative in doing so). And finally, I want you to know that YOUR PRAYERS ARE WORKING!

The first major answer to prayer is that Brooklyn still does not have or need a shunt (a tube that drains any spinal fluid that builds up in the brain). This is a HUGE plus. As I've stated in the past, shunts can definitely save lives if they are needed, but they can also cause death if there is a malfunction that goes undetected. In fact, the mortality rate of children with Spina Bifida is 25% -- which is pretty high -- and the majority of those deaths have been attributed to undetected shunt malfunctions/infections.

In the past, children born with excess fluid in their brains were instantly shunted. However, as I've explained in  previous posts, our neurosurgeon and her team believe that if given a little time, some children's bodies can find a way to deal with the excess fluid...and that is EXACTLY what Brooklyn is doing.

The reason this may be surprising is that Brooklyn's ventricles were quite large in my womb already (in the "severe" category), meaning that there was already quite a bit of fluid build-up in her brain. However, in my womb, she was also leaking some fluid out of the hole in her back (where her defect was). That means that post-surgery -- when they closed up that hole -- odds were that her ventricles and the fluid build-up in her brain were only going to increase since there was no leakage point to help "deal" with the fluid. All of those factors considered, the chances of Brooklyn needing a shunt were very, very high.

But God is so good. Get this: Brooklyn's ventricles have not changed AT ALL since her surgery. They have literally not budged in size. This is not typical. The neurosurgeon expected at least some increase, but instead, Brooklyn's ultrasounds have been "stone-cold stable." The look of subtle surprise on our neurosurgeon's face told me all I needed to know: Our prayers were being answered.

Now, there is a chance that Brooklyn may still need a shunt down the road. But every day she goes without one is a very good thing. The older and stronger she gets, the chances a malfunction or infection decreases. Some kids end up with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of shunt revisions because of infections and malfunctions, and we certainly don't want that. So every day Brooklyn goes without a shunt is a blessing.

Although we know what the future could hold, we remain hopeful. Our peanut's head is pretty large (95th percentile), but as long as it stays within the growth curve and she doesn't start to exhibit any symptoms that there is pressure in her brain, we are in the clear. The goal is to get through the first year of Brooklyn's life without a shunt. If we can do that, then odds are she will never need one. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Our neurosurgeon has told us that if we don't shunt Brooklyn, she will most likely have a larger head (called macrocephaly), but that is not the end of the world. She's gaining weight like a champ, so she's "growing into it" quickly. :) And, quite honestly, we think she is cute as a button just as she is!



So there you have it. Your prayers are being answered!

And although you have all certainly done your part here, I can't help but ask for more prayer. I mean, they are working people!

So...we humbly ask that you continue to pray that Brooklyn won't need a shunt and that the fluid that is in her brain now does not cause any major cognitive challenges for her.

I can tell you with all of my heart that I will never ever again underestimate the power of prayer, and I hope Brooklyn's story encourages you to never underestimate our God. He hears and, yes, He answers.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14: 13-14

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16


Amanda Schu said...

what a beautiful little girl with a beautiful story.

Carrie said...

She is absolutely gorgeous. I'm so glad she's doing well, and that she hasn't needed a shunt! God is amazing!

Mbini said...

Hi mommy
I am visiting blogs of spina bifida moms today. And all are sounding so much like me. So now I am nolonger unique...LOL. SOund like God is working miracles in your life.

Enjoy your bundle of joy. My daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus too. She is turning 6 soon and love her to bits.

Stephanie said...

{just prayed for Brooklyn} :)

And - she IS cute as a button.