Sunday, September 26, 2010

Answered Prayer #2

I am writing this post for all of you, but I am also writing it for me. I need it. I have been struggling lately, and I too need to be reminded of these answered prayers, even when I am living with them every day.

I am grateful, but I want to be honest. This is hard.

If I haven't mentioned it yet, Brooklyn is wearing casts on both of her legs. They cover her entire legs -- from the waist down -- and they are true the ones you or I would wear. Heavy, heavy casts that add about a pound to my little baby. They clink together when I pick her up, and they scratch my belly when I try to burp her. There are no cute toes to tickle, and baths involve plastic Jewel bags and a wash cloth.

I miss her legs, her soft legs. I miss rubbing her piggy toes, praying that she could feel my touch. I miss the excitement of watching her legs kick and bend...grateful for every single movement. They weren't perfect legs, but they were warm and they were hers.

I thought that getting her started on the casting would be exciting. That we were getting her body ready for all the walking she'll be doing some day. But every week, when I watch a man take a saw to my baby's legs and then reapply heaps of plaster like some sort of art project, it all just feels so unnatural. A baby shouldn't have to go through this. A Mama shouldn't have to look at little swollen and bruised feet and the occasional open sore. She shouldn't have to feel both grateful and sad that her baby is not feeling any pain. It is hard, and it is unfair.

But you know what? It is working. Every time those casts come off, I see swelling, but I also see her little legs starting to take shape. Little creases are appearing on the backsides of her legs, and knees are forming before my very eyes. And better yet, THEY ARE BENDING!!! About a month ago, when we started the casting process, Brooklyn's left knee could not bend at all. In fact, it was hyper-extended, so we started at less than 0% "flexion." Now? Well, we can bend that knee a whopping 70%, and we are only half way done. How awesome is that?!

The weight of the casts have also put her hips in place, and her feet are slowly starting to move into position. Both feet were severely clubbed, but she developed pressure sores after the first few castings, so we have to take it slow. But we are seeing progress. There is a 50% chance that this casting process will not "stick" and that Brooklyn will still require surgery for her clubbed fee, but with the way our prayers are working, I'm hopeful we will see total success.

So how is all of this an answered prayer? Well, for those of you who have been following our journey since the beginning, you know that our first few ultrasounds showed no movement in the legs. It wasn't until our fourth ultrasound -- and lots of prayer! -- that a technician verified some movement. And then when Brooklyn was born, she was kicking away and even bending her right knee all by herself.

We know that she has hip flexors and quadriceps muscles, but it has been questionable whether or not she has "glutes" and it was pretty well agreed that she didn't have hamstring muscles.


Last week when they were getting ready to put on the new casts, the orthopedic surgeon and I were discussing our next steps and she agreed that Brooklyn probably didn't have hamstring muscles. I hated hearing it, but I wasn't shocked. However, when they began applying the new cast, Brooklyn started to kick and fuss and I saw a smile come across our surgeon's face. "I don't want to get you excited, but I actually think I may be feeling a little hamstring here," she said.

What?! Wooooooo-whooooo! Of course, we have no idea if there is any strength in that muscle, but right now, I don't even care. Hope is what my heart has been surviving on this whole time, so I am taking that bit of news and rejoicing for all that it could mean for my baby. She is not going through this for nothing. As our ortho surgeon has told us, "She will be a walker."

And thanks to your prayers, I truly think she will be. While we were once told our child may be paralyzed from the waist down, we have now seen kicking legs, bending knees, and now maybe even working hamstring muscles. I mean, seriously, who knows what the future holds for our little peanut. NOTHING is impossible with our God.

I hold tight to these hopeful bits of news, but I am human and I admit that I still ask God for more. I don't want to get angry, so I ask for understanding. He often answers by revealing parallels that keep me humble and assure me we are not alone.

While odds are most of you are not waking up at 5am to get to the orthopedic surgeon, you are being "casted" as well. We are all are going through some sort of hardship, and if you allow Him to, God can use those hardships to mold you into the person He intended all along. There may be swelling and bruising along the way, but in the end, when the cast is removed, lives can be changed and God can be glorified. You just have to allow Him to do His work.

Do I hate those casts? Yes I do. Do I hate that there has to be sores and swelling and bruises to get to the end result? Yes I do. Will I miss them? Not at all. But these casts are giving our baby a fighting chance of beating all the odds. A chance to walk in faith, dance with praise, and stand in awe of a God who can heal us all.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 NIV


Carrie said...

That is wonderful how God has answered your prayers for Brooklyn's legs to be functional and strong! I am praying with you that they continue to improve - I'm sure the casting is so difficult for you (even more than it is for her), but I love the analogy that you drew to our Christian walk - maybe this time is YOUR 'casting' as well! Praying for your family!

HennHouse said...

From the moment she was born, I believed that God would regrow her nerves and muscles if He chose to. And he still might. But we were told the same thing, no hamstrings. And Esther-Faith walks with KAFOs. In fact, it is catching up with her that is the problem. :)

Praying for you and your sweet family.

And I agree with Carrie.... Beautiful analogy.

Gretchen said...

Man do I remember those days... and actually kind of miss them because there was and is a familiarity to them! :)

You are so right... the doctors, no matter how samrt they are, can not EVER predict what God will do with our children :)

This post also was so timely for me.... thank you. Even though you are talking about a battle we went through years ago, you reminded me how I felt then, and it is not so different than I feel now... and God is right htere with us no matter what!

Bless you and your family!

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lisa! Christ is so obviously shining through your heart and your words...even through this "storm."

Praying for her legs today...

Theo en Daniƫlle said...

I don't know anymore how I got on your site, but I just wanna say;
thank you for sharing this with us !
It is great to see God at work and He is already being glorified in your writings !
Be blessed !