Our son, Silas, was born at 41 weeks 3 days gestation via emergency C-section. He was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which means in a nutshell that he went an unknown period of time with a lack of blood and oxygen to the brain. If you haven’t already, read the first two posts! He underwent therapeutic hypothermia for the first 72 hours of his life. His body temperature was kept around 90-91 degrees. Everything was an unknown. No prediction on what the outcome would be. It was a day by day, minute by minute medical journey. During this time, we were completely at peace in the Lord’s arms and He used us and our situation multiple times for His glory. I take absolutely no credit at all for anything that happened. We could not have changed a single thing even if we would have tried, and never could have made it through without His grace.
Before we went into the hospital, our bank account balance was about $45. That’s it. One account. No credit cards. No savings. A couple of days after Silas was born, my husband Evan left the hospital to come back home to take care of some financial things. We had realized it was going to be a long stay in the hospital and without knowing what the outcome may be, possibly a life changing experience when we got released. Although time was standing still for us, life was passing by. Bills were coming due, and Evan was having to miss work which meant no money would be coming in. We had no other means of income. Evan left the hospital that day to go to his work and see if there was some way they could approve the time he needed off so that he could keep his job. He had been gone for less than a half an hour when a lady came into my hospital room. She was a social worker that had been assigned to our case and she brought in a FMLA application. She had even already filled it out with all the necessary information, needing only Evan’s signature. Through joyous and grateful tears I called Evan to say he could just come back because God had already taken care of it! This was one of many answered prayers during this time. Another example of God’s “financial plan” for His children. Evan also got the paycheck for what he had worked up until that day, and it was almost exactly the amount we needed for the bills that were due. The Lord will always provide!
After the third day of Silas’ cooling treatment, they started to rewarm him, a process that happened over time. The nursing staff made sure we were aware that this would be an unpredictable time. Silas could never wake up. He could stay alive but with no other function. He could have a severe disability or disease. In fact, the social worker had already prepared all the necessary forms to apply for his disability. While he was still being warmed, we came to visit. Silas had been breathing on his own and they had removed his ventilator. His nurse, one who we adored, smiled and said “Watch this!” He put his finger in Silas’ mouth and Silas sucked on it. I naively thought, “So what? Babies will suck on anything you put in their mouth. Why are you saying my baby sucks?” Then the nurse somewhat exclaimed, “He sucks!” And after a few more seconds, I realized that something so simple and natural as the reflex of sucking was a milestone to rejoice over! It was a sign of normal brain function. Praise God!
Hour by hour, Silas’ body began to wake up. Each tiny working part of it was another answered prayer, more evidence of God’s healing hand. Silas’ kidneys were two of the slowest organs to start working. He was four days old and had only voided about 219 mL of urine since his birth. This should be compared to his total intake of 1380.7288 mL of fluid via his arterial line and IV. His total output of 219 mL equals 7.4 fluid ounces. That’s less than one cup. Needless to say, Silas had swollen so much that his skin was stretched, shiny, and literally seeped fluid. He had gained two pounds of pure fluid, and for an 8 pound infant, that’s significant. His nurse that day said that we really needed to pray for pee! So we updated everybody and just asked for prayers that God would wake his kidneys up and make them work. Midday I got a call to my hospital room from his nurse. “You’re prayers were answered,” she told me, “Silas’ just peed a sopping wet diaper full!” Just like that, our Heavenly Father had heard the cries and answered. As silly as I had felt asking everybody to pray for pee, I was extremely overjoyed that God had heard!
Silas had been rewarmed to a normal body temperature and was showing tremendous progress. I was due to be discharged from the hospital and it had been arranged for us to stay at the charity house across the street. Yet another answered prayer. Silas still had a long way to go, but his vital signs were stable, blood count good, organs beginning to function and many reflexes intact. The plan now was to allow his body however much time it needed to finish healing and ever so slowly start trying normal “baby things”. He had been getting nutrition only from the IV, no feeding at all. He had been restricted to very low stimulation, meaning dim lights, no sound, and touch only. Yes, we did the unthinkable and didn’t allow anyone at all to touch our newborn baby! Doctor’s orders were that only Mom and Dad could touch him, and I mean we could only literally TOUCH him. No rubbing, patting, caressing at all! He had still only been held by the nurses that carried him after birth to the NICU. Just like I explained in previous posts, our hearts had been prepared for this journey. God never failed us! He let us walk closer to him during this time than ever before. He came through time and time again in very evident and specific ways.
After I had been discharged, we had to go to Target to pick up some things we needed (ibuprofen, Tylenol, groceries for the next few meals, and a stepping stool for me so I could get into Evan’s truck after surgery). We had just ate at a restaurant before going to Target. While shopping for the cheapest items we could find that would meet our needs, we happened upon a sweet woman that we knew. We talked a minute about how we had been, updated her on Silas and went our own ways. Evan and I continued shopping, knowing all the while that we couldn’t afford what we needed. We hadn’t told a single soul about our financial situation. Before we made it to check-out, that same woman found us and handed Evan $100. God had sent us money through this obedient Christian woman, a true cheerful giver! Moreover, when we paid for our items, the total amount was covered with the change equalling almost exactly what we had just spent at the restaurant. It was within $2-3 of the exact amount of both transactions. This is evidence of the God that I serve. He knows exactly what we need, when we are going to need it and He always provides it!
Please continue to follow this testimony, as I share the many other miracles God performed in our lives during Silas’ medical journey. Many thanks to the woman who gave so cheerfully! You know who you are and we are forever grateful! You were such a blessing to us in a time of need!