Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Latest on Maggie

Here is the latest email I have received. I texted back and forth with Brooke this morning. She sounds like she is in good spirits. She got to hold Maggie for the first time last night---for almost and hour and a half. I think this was such a wonderful step for all of them. I am so thankful she and Maggie finally got that time together.

If any of you would like to leave a word of encouragement for Brooke and Matt, just leave it in the comments and I will be sure to get it to them. I know it is such a blessing to them to hear about/from all the people who are keeping up with them and praying for them---whether you know them or not.

Here is Brant's last message. He included some great thoughts at the end about the body of Christ.

(I will try to include some new pictures of Maggie next time.)


Since our last message on Thursday evening we have been blessed with Maggie continuing to enjoy slow improvement with her breathing. Otherwise all other areas continue to be stable or slightly improved. We are truly thankful and feel very blessed today.

When we sent the last email we were very pleased that Maggie was showing movement and activity in her lower extremities. That movement has continued, and seems to perhaps even be mildly increasing. This includes motion of her legs and the ability to pressure her bladder some so she urinates.

There really has not been any new development concerning her cranium and the fluid she has there. The staff is regularly measuring her cranium to be sure it isn't expanding due to increased fluid pressure, and it has not. Maggie is scheduled for another CT scan on Tuesday. After that scan Matt and Brooke will consult with the Neurosurgeons to determine if Maggie should have a shunt inserted to help drain fluid from her cranium and reduce the pressue there. They regularly remind us that most children with this condition do require a shunt sooner or later.

The immediate concern Thursday was, and continues to be, Maggie's breathing. She was clearly attemping to breathe. However, her breaths were not very deep and were not adding much Oxygen to her blood stream. Consequently the amount of Oxygen in her blood was dangerously low. The medical team determined this was primarily due to high pressure in her Pulmonary Artery which did not allow blood to flow into the lungs where it could be Oxygenated. For the last few days Maggie has been kept very still and quiet. The lungs needed to grow, open more, expand, and develop.

Thursday evening Maggie's ventilator was supplying about half of her breaths (30 per minute) and Maggie was also supplying about 30 per minute. She was being supplied with air that had just been reduced from 100% Oxygen to 90% Oxygen. Since then the staff has been slowly weaning her off the ventilator, by gently decreasing the percentage of Oxygen in her air and slowing reducing the number of breaths the ventilator was providing each minute. We were thrilled late this afternoon when they were able to finally remove her ventilation tube and replace it with oxygen supplied by a nasal breathing tube. Maggie has responded wonderfully and seems to be holding her own right now. Although in the overall scheme of things, still being in a NICU unit and simply moving from a ventilator to a nasal breathing tube may not seem like a huge move, at this point it is wonderful for her and us.

The staff at Children's expect Maggie will spend the next few days resting and slowly strengthening. This is simply one step in her path. The very earliest they might consider releasing her would seem to be towards the end of next week. If she has a shunt inserted next week that would delay her release further. Whenever she is released, we expect she still to have health issues that will require time, attention and prayer.

So today we feel some relief, some victory, and an abundance of thankfulness. We are thankful for the excellent medical care Maggie has received. We are thankful for the great comfort and support so many have given. All of us have been blessed with strength and healing from a God on whom we depend. We know that Maggie's journey is not yet over. Her journey has just begun, as have some of her struggles. But, the same could be said for all of us. Some of her issues are just a little clearer than are some of the issues we might face.

If you will pardon a brief theological side note, we truly do not believe that in any way God sends problems, like spina bifida, to any of us. God has not sent this to Brooke, Matt or Maggie. Satan is the source of failure, defect, death, and all problems. Like a mad scientist in his lab, Satan works his devilish best to create schemes and creations that are designed to cause havoc, hurt, and pain. He takes his best shot and then launches his evil designs from his hellish hole into the world aiming at us. But perhaps the greatest power God has is his amazing ability to take Satan's very worst and find a way to turn that evil creation into a blessing for us. This is one of the great ways God shows that he is God.

Maggie's spinal defect is not of God, but we can clearly see one thing that God has already made good from of it. The Coles and the Bryans have been incredibly blessed by so many already. We know that this community itself is one of the ways God is responding to bless. This community gathered around Maggie is in and of itself a great thing. We have been so comforted by the care and affection that you have shown. We know that much of the good health Maggie has is due to your prayer and your faith. We have felt tremendous love and affection, far beyond what we deserve. And, God has used this community as a source of power and strength. A good friend of ours often says this world is far too difficult for any of us to get through it by ourselves. That is why God gave us groups, communities, in which we live. So we thank you for being part of this wonderful community that is one of God's blessing back to us and we pray that you continue to pray and have faith for Maggie.

Brant for the Coles and the Bryans