On Sunday morning, it wasnt even a question, we were going to church. Not that God and I hadnt been talking quite a bit this week, but I just needed some time out of the hospital with Him. On Wednesday, after we received the diagnosis, I snuck into the college praise and worship that night and then went back to the hospital. I didnt want to see any one, I just needed some time to sing and pray. Sunday morning we skipped Bible class and purposely came in about 5 minutes into worship in order to just sit in the back and avoid all the questions. Not that we didnt appreciate every one checking in on us and all of the help, but we just wanted a couple minutes of not having to think about the girls. Not to mention this was my first time back to church since having the babies. I thought my first time back I would be carrying two carriers, stopping in the nursery, showing the girls to everyone etc. Instead, I was sneaking in the back with Mark and my sister.
Of course people noticed us as soon as we walked in. We sat in the last row, pretty much in a daze. Then the song leader led a song that to this day I still can not sing without crying. Talk about God speaking to you. "O For A Faith That Will Not Shrink". I sang these verses through tears streaming down my face.
O for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by ev'ry foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe.
That will not murmur or complain
Beneath the chast'ning rod,
But in the hour of grief or pain,
Will lean upon its God.
A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt!
Lord, give us such a faith as this;
And then, whate'er may come,
We'll taste e'en here the hallowed bliss
Of an eternal home.
Never had a song had such an emotional impact on me as that did then and does now. I have forbid Mark from leading it at church since I turn into a blubbering mess and people give me funny looks.
On Sunday after church we were blessed to have 9 of our 10 elders come to visit us in the hospital. One was in Africa, so he was excused! :) All 9 of them came in to pray with us. They asked us what we needed to pray for and Mark said, "That they will just be healed. That all of this will just be taken away." I was completely taken off guard. Of all the things that I had been praying for, I had not once prayed that God take it away and heal them. I had prayed for help, for strength, for patience, for understanding, for everything else but to actually heal them. I thought I was doing so well depending on God through this whole ordeal. I truly had turned EVERYTHING over to him because I knew I couldnt handle it on my own. But, I just took what the doctors told me and accepted that it was the way things were going to be and prayed that God would help me through it. I had put God in a box of limitations. Limitations that I had placed on him, not that he actually had. He is the "Great Physician" and I had not even asked him to heal my children. Talk about an eye opening moment.
I truly believe what James 5:16 says that "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." We had 9 wonderful, righteous, God-fearing men praying for our girls. So, we brought Ruthie and Maddie into the same room and me, Mark, my sister and our elders stood around and we all placed our hands on the girls. As each one prayed, one by one, I can honestly say that I could feel the presence of God in that room. I can not explain it, all I can say is that I could feel the power and comfort of God in that room with us. If nothing else, I left there feeling uplifted by that brief moment in prayer to God and the eye opening experience of not limiting what I ask God for.
Katie was wanting to stay around to talk to the doctors one more time, but they didnt make their rounds before her flight. So, I headed to the hospital to send her back home. My mom was coming back down since the girls were getting discharged and I would need help again at home. I dropped off Katie and was driving back to the hospital when Mark called me. Ruthie's follow-up MRI came back. All of the irreversible brain damage shown on the previous MRI was completely gone. The words made no sense to me. I was minutes away from the hospital so I just told Mark to hold the doctor there and I would be there as soon as possible. I sprinted from the parking lot up to Ruthie's room where her doctor showed us these new MRI images.
There were no more white spots. It looked like a completely normal 2 week old baby's brain. The radiologist said he had never seen anything like it in his entire career of radiology. He said that he had sometimes seen these results over a period of years, but not a couple of days. The neurologists could not explain it. We didnt need any explanation, we knew. God had answered our prayers. Here are the medical notes from Ruthie's second MRI.
Technique: Multi-planar multi-sequence MR imaging of the brain was
performed both prior to and following 1 cc of Magnevist.
There is no abnormal intracranial enhancement. There has been
interval improvement restricted diffusion which involved the
subcortical white matter on the prior study. Minimal residual
restricted diffusion is still identified in the subcortical white
matter of the posterior parietal lobes. There is no mass effect or
midline shift. The ventricles are normal in size and configuration.
There is no intracranial hemorrhage. Sagittal midline structures are
The paranasal sinuses and mastoid air cells are clear. The orbits
are grossly normal.
1. No abnormal intracranial enhancement. Minimal residual
restricted effusion remaining in the subcortical white matter of the
posterior parietal lobes.
Of course they immediately wanted to do a follow up on Maddie's MRI also, and below were the results.
White spots cleared up also. We were given the CD before they were able to record the medical notes on the Maddie's last MRI, so I dont have access to them from home on her last MRI.
I truly believe that God gave us a miracle. There is no medical explanation for what happened to our girls. We never received a diagnosis except for them concluding it must have been something viral . Our girls had gone from a diagnosis of being severely delayed to having MRI's that were completely normal. We were lined up with SEVERAL medical appointments every month for follow up that we went to. The most interesting were the neurology appointments. Of course before they came in the room they would review the MRI's. After their exam they would always have this confused look on their faces as to how children that presented with the original MRI were holding their heads up, rolling over, babbling, etc. They would always comment that these were not the children they expected to see while viewing the original MRI. I would just smile and tell them that God answered alot of prayers. We were eventually discharged from neurology and taken off anti-seizure meds at 6 months. They told us if the girls presented with any abnormal symptoms again to bring them back in, but at this point they didnt see a reason to keep treating normally developing children. We had the girls in weekly physical and occupational therapy for the first year. They tested out after their first birthday since they showed no signs of delay. By one year we had been discharged from all of their specialists except for heart and eyes.
If you have ever read my blog before, of course you know that we have had a happy ending. The girls have continued to develop on target, and maybe even a little ahead on some things. No one would even know anything about their medical history by looking at them. Ruthie's opthamologist said that her seizure activity is a possible reason for her eye muscle issues, but that is currently the only lingering side effect of our entire 10 day stay at Vanderbilt. When the girls start school we may run into some other delays with education. I will take an educational delay any day over the expectations the doctors told us to originally have.
Of course we have skeptics that dont believe that God healed our children after they hear our story. The number one objection is that the MRI machines must have been broken. Maybe. But, if you look at the dates on all 4 MRI images, they are on 4 different days at 4 different times over the course of a week. That means that Vanderbilt Children's hospital was performing MRI's for almost a week on broken machines, which wasnt the reality of it. Other people think that there must not have really been anything wrong with them and they just got better. To my knowledge, they do not keep a child on a respirator for 3 days with nothing wrong with her. And, maybe they just did get better. But there wasnt a single doctor on any of their teams that had seen a brain injury like theirs disappear the way it did. To me it is so obvious that God healed my children. He answered our prayers, the prayers of our family and friends. There is no other way for me to thank him for that expect to give him all the glory and to tell any one that wants to listen of the great things he has done in our lives.
Our girls are obviously too young to understand the whole situation, but as they get older Mark and I plan to have this story drilled into their heads. They are going to know that God took care of them in a time that even Mommy and Daddy couldnt, and that they better live their lives giving glory to one that gave them the healthy life they are living.
This whole story turned into a lot longer of a blog post then I thought, but as I kept going back through emails and medical records, more and more kept coming back to me. I hope that for those that didnt know their story are maybe a little more enlightened as to where we are coming from. I hope it is a little bit of encouragement about God's amazing power and the power of prayer. It is a good reminder for me that God is active in our lives, even when bad things are happening and nothing makes sense. He will make sense of it, in his time.