Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 16 - Hannah Lietzau

Five years ago our lives forever changed.  Somewhere across the world a baby girl was being born.  We had no idea that the Lord was preparing us to be her parents.  We had never really considered adoption for our family.  We were able to have children.  Two healthy boys and it just never really came to our minds.  God would dramatically change  our hearts.  Five years ago we were pregnant with our third awaiting our first doctor appointment.  I was 91/2 weeks along and anxious to hear the baby’s heart and see the first little picture.  At the appointment we got the devastating news that they couldn’t find a heart beat.  We were numb with disbelief.  It tore us apart and we grieved for three days at home in bed.  The following day was a Sunday and we decided to be with our community of people who love us well at church.  This Sunday happen to be Adoption Sunday.  Our church spoke on the importance of obeying God’s command in caring for the widows and orphans.  My husband and I left that service both feeling like the Lord was speaking to our hearts.  We had an amazing conversation at lunch and my husband encouraged us to pray about it and to be open to where God could be leading us.  we met with others who had adopted, and just felt in our hearts this was God’s plan.  We chose China for several reasons.  We knew the need to adopt females was really great, we had friends serving in China, and at one point we were open to the Lord having us serve in China.

When we inquired about the process in China we were told the wait for a healthy child was about five years and growing.  Our hearts ached with the thought of having to wait so long.  We then were told by our agency about the waiting child program.  I remember looking over this list of special needs.  It was overwhelming to me to check mark what we would accept. I cried and prayed over the list.  There were times when I was unsure we were doing the right thing.  My husband would encourage me by saying God doesn’t always call us to comfortable things.  These words would continually ring through my heart during this entire process.  As I glanced at the list again my eyes kept being drawn to heart conditions.  I have complete heart block that is managed by a pacemaker and for some reason it just made sense to me.  I tried to talk my husband into this crazy idea by telling him most of these kids just have holes in there hearts and most close up by the time you get them.  He was a little uneasy but after reminding him of his same words to me. “God doesn’t always call us to comfortable things”, he agreed.  We decide to submit our paperwork and the day we applied was the day our sweet girl was born.  Most people are not as lucky to know there adopted child’s actual birthdate.  They are usually given one at the orphanage.  Our sweet girls birthmother atatched our daughters birthdate to her sweater with a note.  God had given us this sweet information to allow us to see how he had already had this in his plan. His good and perfect plan.

Shortly after we submitted all of our paperwork we got our referral for our sweet Hannah.  She was very sick and had a very complex heart condition. By only the hand of the Lord we had met a wonderful pediatric cardiologist a few years back who gave us his card.  I remembered how personal this doctor was and decided to email him to see if he would look over her file.  This same great doctor also happen to be chinese and could read and speak mandarin.  It was truly a gift from the Lord.  He graciously told us that her heart defect was very complex and would require multiple surgeries.  He said he was unsure she would make it home.  My husband and I decided she still needed a mommy and daddy to love her for as long as she had on this earth.  We moved forward with the adoption process and were so eager to meet our daughter.

The day we met our sweet girl she was so sick. On top of her heart condition she had bronchitis. Her face and lips and extremities were blue and her breathing was very labored.  I had no idea if she would make it home and we were scared.  We also knew in our hearts that we were to love her for as long as God gave us.  We had brought antibiotics by the advice of a friend and started her on it right away.  Within days she began to perk up.  We had brought a Pulse ox and it was scary to see her o2 levels in the 40’s.  When it came time to come from China the airlines would not let us board because of how sick she was.  They felt like she was a flight risk and did not want to be responsible.  That wonderful pediatric doctor from the states that looked over her file agreed to talk with the airlines.  He told them he took full responsibility for her and that the hospital would be waiting for her once we landed.  The airlines granted his request and we were able to board and come home.  We know this doctor was a gift from the Lord. 

When we arrived home from China with our daughter we went straight to CHOC.  All the emergency doctors had already been told and were prepped for our arrival.  They were stunned by her 02 stats and were preparing for her heart cath.  After the heart cath the doctors rounded the next day to discuss the coarse of action.  Hours later in the middle of the night our sweet girl went into complete heart failure.  Her 02 stats dropped into the teens and they were telling us that she wasn’t going to make it.  There were lots of doctors and nurses working on her and pumping her full of stuff.  Her eyes were shut and as the doctor kept telling me over and over that she wasn’t going to make I started singing and talking to her. A few more doctors came in and said we have two options.  They could do nothing and just keep her comfortable and her heart would eventually stop or they could try and go in and do surgery.  They said that she had about a 30% chance of making it through surgery.  They said if she made it through she would have brain damage and most likely would not be able to lead a normal life.  I remember asking everyone to leave the room except for my husband and the dear doctor that helped us get her home from China.  I turned to the doctor and said “you know how far we have come we want you to do everything you can to help save this girls life”.  He said okay and in a matter of seconds they had a room prepped and ready to go.  I kissed her head and told her to go in there and make these doctors scratch there heads.  I said you are a fighter and your story’s not over.  at that moment she opened her eyes and then closed them again.  We were all stunned.  The surgery was suppose to take five hours and they were done in three.  As the surgeon came towards us with his somber face my heart about stopped.  He said in the most serious manner.  I have no scientific explanation for it but it’s as if her pulmonary arteries opened over night.  He said we were able to skip the first phase of surgery and go straight to the glen.  She is doing amazing, she’s pink and you can go see her.  The doctors kept saying how stunned they were that they had never seen anything quite like it.  We knew what happened and who the credit belong to and were not surprised in the least.  Our God is big and capable of big things.  They had told us she would most likely be discharged in two weeks and we were out in five.  Every day she amazed them more and more.  She had no cognitive issues, and no reason for further testing.  She went from barely sitting up on her own to crawling and walking in a matter of weeks. She still continues to amaze us with her willingness to learn and grow and we just feel so blessed.  Hannah still needs to have the Fontan and her 02 levels remain stable in the mid 80’s.

We are blessed to look back and be able to see how God had this plan already laid out for us before he put it on our hearts to adopt.  He has been in it so clearly.  Two years after almost losing Hannah we got the devastating news that our first born son has RCM and needs a new heart.  He has been on the transplant list for 16 months now.  We have seen how God has used Hannah’s story to help prepare our hearts for this next journey with our son.

We know there are still rough days ahead.  We take it moment by moment realizing that God doesn’t always call us to comfortable things and that he will give us the strength we need to face each obstacle. We remember his abilities to do big things and to meet us where were at and we realize that he brings about these things so that the works of God can be displayed.


Drea said...

Thank you for sharing your story! Our youngest daughter is three months post transplant, and we met several cardiomyopathy families during our time in the CICU. Their children have done very well. We pray for a successful transplant and recovery for your son!

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