I have to say, this whole experience has certainly taught me a lot about faith and God and certainly about prayer, but it's also kind of leaving me shaking my head a bit. I'm not sure I ever really had a very good understanding of intercessory prayer and while this whole experience has certainly convinced me of the power of it, it's also turned my personal theology upside down. I've always taken issue with the idea of prayer being like a magic genie. I've never really thought that it was as simple as "We ask, God gives." I mean, sure -that might happen sometimes - but a lot of time we ask and we don't get. There are plenty of people out there praying for healing right now that may not receive it. There are lots of people praying for a lot of things and not hearing the answers that they desire, hope, expect, or even deserve. I've never doubted that God was capable of performing this miracle and I am continually giving him the credit, glory and praise for doing so. I just wish I understood better "why us?" Why have we been so fortunate to have our prayers answered time after time after time? It seems like every time I write on this blog that we are standing in need of prayer with a specific issue, there are thousands of you out there who begin to pray fervently on Clara's behalf. And without fail, your prayers have been answered. God continues to shower us with His mercy and grace and is fulfilling all these requests. It's an incredible thing to be in the middle of and it has really changed the way I understand intercessory prayer. That is to say - I think I probably understand it even less than I thought I did, but I am sure grateful for the power of group of people diligently asking God and expecting His blessings. I know it's a miracle to watch Clara getting better and stronger and more alert and healthy each day. But I'm also just amazed at the miracle of prayer. I've never experienced anything like this before and it's changing my heart to see how God has heard your cries and pleas and is responding to them time after time. It is so cliche to say, but I just can't think of any other words and it's ringing truer for me now than I have ever known before: Prayer is powerful. So so powerful.
Aside from the relief from morphine withdrawal and the return of our sweet happy baby, today was fairly uneventful. She's continuing to breastfeed well, but is not getting anywhere near the full amount of her feeds that way, so we're still having to give her tube feedings, too. She got her first bottle today since we will probably have to have her eating from the bottle before we can go home. I'll continue working on breastfeeding while we introduce the bottle and after we get home too, but since we can't know for sure how much she's getting from the breast and we can from a bottle, we will need for her to learn how to bottle feed. (Also, it would be nearly impossible for me to be at the hospital for every feeding, every three hours, around the clock). She didn't quite seem to know what to think of the bottle today. It's a little unusual that she's breastfeeding so well, but couldn't take a bottle today; that's backwards from most babies. But the speech, OT and PT folks didn't seem surprised by it, saying that it's just a totally different feel and experience. We know that she can latch on, suck and swallow, so hopefully we'll get those skills transferred to the bottle with a little practice. She's getting 80ml every three hours in her tube right now, so we'll need for her to be able to drink that much orally before we can go home. We've got a long way to go....
I know I say this every night, but thank you for your prayers. I hope you know how much they mean to us. Please continue to pray for successful morphine weaning, shelter from the side effects of withdrawal, and growing success with oral feeds, both bottle and breast. Of course, as always, pray that she will be protected from infections or other secondary issues that would cause a setback and pray for the physicians and staff who are caring for her. Day by day, we continue to experience miracles and are thankful tonight especially for the miracle of answered prayers.
|Clara's first bottle|
|"Hmmm.... what do I do with this?"|
|Eyes of confusion!|
P.S. Happy two month birthday, Clara! WOW!!
P.P.S. Thank you for the many of you who have asked about Penelope and are continuing to pray for her as well. She's having a tough time. She is still on ECMO and is having several complications that Clara did not face such as infection and bleeding. She had her second circuit change today and we are hoping and praying that will give her the boost she needs to come off the machine and begin her recovery. Thank you for continuing to pray for her and her family as they are in the thick of this difficult time.