Friday, December 10, 2010

Rocky End to her 1st Month

We went to bed last night about as anxious as we've been for a couple of weeks now.  We got a call from the nurse around 7pm (about an hour before we usually come in for our nightly visit) & things were looking pretty shaky.  Ella's blood pressure dropped to a low enough level that the doctors & nurses were quite concerned.  Then, when she didn't pee for an extended period of time, the attention turned to her kidneys.  They scheduled an ultrasound due to fears that a clot may have been blocking blood flow.  The cardiologist also came in to look at her & wanted an X-ray to see if there was any fluid accumulation around her heart (like she had when she was born).  They had to insert an arterial line through her wrist so they can constantly measure her blood pressure & draw blood for labs and also insert a cathater to measure her urine output (is there anything less appealing than a cathater?).

They couldn't figure out exactly what caused this little episode,  but speculation is that some combination of going on & off certain medications & changes in those doses - potentially along with her tummy issues - had a negative side effect.  Another thing we hadn't mentioned before was that her last echogram (from a couple days ago) showed a slight decrease in her heart function - around 5%.  And even though it was explained that this was an expected & acceptable result of weening Ella off of a certain IV medication, it only added to our fears & doubts.

When we visited her, she had a splint on one arm for the blood pressure/lab line & had get poked a couple times to establish another IV line so they could give her a blood transfusion (which ended up in a splint on her other arm).  It was the first night in at least 10 days that Christa didn't get to hold her.  It brought us back to the time when we could only helplessly watch her lay there & occasionally squirm around uncomfortably with tubes & wires hanging everywhere.

Double wrist splints are the new look for the holiday season
Just another one of those humbling nights after things had been going seemingly well...

Its weird how, when things appear positive, we can slowly draw away from that state of complete, conscious dependence on God.  Even with the news about Ella's belly, I honestly wasn't super concerned because she looked so good & I was confident that God was simply going to take care of it.  But last night kind of caught us by surprise.  I was reminded once again how fragile this little princess is, despite how hard she's fighting & what she's overcome - and ultimately how fragile all of our lives are.

And this morning seemed like a reminder of God's faithfulness.  I called the hospital about 30 seconds after I woke up to relatively good news.  Her blood pressure had stabilized at a more normal & acceptable range.  The kidney ultrasound showed no signs of a clot & the X-ray indicated nothing new & potentially detrimental to the heart.  Kind of like He's saying, "Don't worry, I got this."

As we reflect on Ella's 1-month birthday today - which also happens to be my 31st - we keep seeing this pattern: the more control we think we (or the nurses, or the doctors) have of the situation, the less we really have.  When we are confident in ourselves, we get humbled.  When we humble ourselves, God comes in & gives us confidence.  And its amazing how much more comforting it is to be in God's confidence than our own.  Lord, please help us to remember that every day.

Is this her cutest picture yet?  She continues to melt our hearts...



amy said...

Christa & Erik, We continue to pray for your sweet family, those amazing little boys and this dear, sweet EllaBelle. Each time I read an update, I am reminded how precious every second is and so thankful for this first month of Ella's amazing life. We continue to pray for God's will for your family and for a miracle for Ella. Thinking of you all today (through this birthday season) and wishing you love and peace.


Jen said...

Praying for sweet Ella & your family!

Happy 1 month birthday, Ella (& 31st to you, Erik)! :)

Love, The Snider Family

Rachelle said...

You're right Erik, that is an adorable picture! We're praying each day for this little beauty. We'll pray especially for wisdom of the doctors and nurses, for complete healing of her tummy, and continued healing and strengthening of her heart. And I'm praying you'll get to hold this little bundle on your birthday! Thanks for the update!

Amy... said...

Yes...I think it is her cutest picture ever! She is so beautiful. Your last paragraph is life in a nutshell. I really appreciate the way you share what God is doing in your heart...because we can all learn so much from your experience in the trenches. Thanks so much and happy birthday to you both!! Love you all!

Amy said...

Thank you for the update. We are praying and offering Ella to God now.

Much love to you,
The Hendricks Family

rhonda said...

thanks so much for the update, ... i've been wondering,.. even more than usual the last couple of days. i woke up yesterday, very early, .. sort of in "mid-prayer" for ella. it was weird. what a reminder that God is truly calling us to pray, to be connected to what He's doing in and around this amazing little girl. :)
the roller coaster of wonderful encouragements, and fearful possibilities, must be exhausting.

praying for renewed strength for both of you. may you be comforted with a sense of His closeness, ... and refreshed by the sound of His words.

may ella "feel" the touch of her Creator, and "hear" the whisper of His voice. may her tiny body respond in defiance of human odds.

the photos are pictures of hope for all of us to carry with us. :)
praying with great love and huge hope, today!

Chelle said...

Oh you guys, she's just exquisite...that picture of her is so amazing! I love what Amy said and echo that.

We are praying, praying. So very much!

cheryl said...

Oh, my how scary. I continue to pray daily for Ella and all of you. God does answer prayer, and He is our strength in times of need. I know it is comforting to know that God is in control. Will continue to pray for little Ella to stabilize and get on her way to good health.

Cheryl Dobson

The Liezen Family said...

That is an adorable picture! Look at those eyes! Ella is a beautiful little girl. Our entire family continues to pray for you and Krista and I were talking last night about the number of people following Ella's story and raising your family in prayer. I know God is hearing all of those prayers and praises. Happy 1 month birthday to Ella and happy 31st to you!
The Liezen Family

jonesfamily said...

we will keep praying to the God who heals for this sweet girl. thank you for sharing your heart. i am challenged and grow in my faith every time i open your blog.


happy birthdays!

Linda said...

Happy Birthday Erik and Ella-belle!!
We will continue to pray for Ella's healing..comfort for you, Christa and the boys. God is in the midst of all this uncertainty..holding you close. I pray you feel His loving arms about you, that you breath in His sweet fragrance and lean back into His arms and feel His comfort that is everlasting.
We love you,
Linda and Bob Tackett

bella_luna06 said...


Linda said...

First I must say, Thank you Erik for being so transparent.
I agree with everything that Rhonda said to you both, especially for physical, emotional, and spiritual strength.
Thank you God that your "Grace is sufficient". May you both continue to rest in Him...Ella, and the boys, are so very blessed to have you for parents.
Precious picture, just precious.
Happy, happy birthday to Ella! and Happy, happy, happy birthday to you, Erik. May God fill your cup to overflowing.
Blessings to you, Andi's mom, Linda

Bryan and Kalya said...

Psalm 29:

"Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array... The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace."

For you, Christa; for you, Erik; for you Elijah and Ayden; for you baby Ella we pray for strength and peace from the God of all glory and strength and the only one worthy of our worship.

We love you all so very, very much and we stand along side of you asking for strength, peace and the power of God to heal.

Mom and Dad

Shelly said...

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 9:9-10

radchrista said...

Psalms 115:11-15

You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.

The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the LORD—
small and great alike.

May the LORD cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Hi Erik and Christa, my name is Christa too, and I have been friend's with Andi for years. Just wanted to let you both know that my mom and I are praying for your family. You have much love and support from Christians everywhere, even ones you've never met. May the Lord's will be done, and thank you Lord for what you have done for baby Ella. We will continue to faithfully ask for God's grace and mercy for your entire family. May the Lord give you peace.

Marcia said...

Dearest Father in Heaven,
Bless this child and bless every day
of new beginnings.
Smile upon this child
And surround this child, Lord,
With the soft mantle of your love.Keep your hopes up!

Much love,
Márcia and Paul Raymond

Jennifer Howard said...

We continue to faithfully pray for Ella's strength and healing. The boys lit a candle for her at church with their prayer for her healing too! I love how touched and concerned our children are for her! The prayers of children must really touch our Lord's heart! How can they not? Ella is so beautiful! She is looking so good! It is so wonderful to read about her progress and we sure pray that it continues. Positive thoughts and prayers always heading your way! Bless you all!