Monday, 10 March 2014

Answered Prayers

It's been
- 19 months since we knew the Lord called us to Scotland;
- 1 year since we got a HUGE surprise that we were expecting our 4th child;
- 269 days since learning there was a problem with our baby's brain;
- and 263 days since our move to Scotland.

Our family has lived a decade or two in the past year. Each day with Airdrie is a day we cherish. I've never before celebrated milestones of a baby with such immense relief within my heart. Yet in the same breath we anxiously await those milestones that seem to be missing.

This Thursday we have a follow up appointment with the paediatric neurologist. Both Mark and I are so anxious to hear what the doctor has to say about Airdrie as well as proudly present those things she can do.
 In light of this and the encroaching anxiety we face I thought I'd timeline the prayers our family has seen answered in the past 269 days.

Taken from our Facebook page or eNewsletters to our supporters:

June 3, 2013 We made our announcement to the world:

Then after the standard 20 week anatomy scan we got a phone call...

Dear friends and family,
Please pray.
We have to have an additional ultrasound Tuesday for the baby to check some things out.
Prayers on behalf of our precious baby would be most appreciated at this time.

"Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God."

After one of the hardest days I've ever lived though I wrote this letter: 

June 18, 2013
Friends and Family,

Thank you so much for the prayers and petitions offered for our baby and our behalf this weekend. 

We had our second ultrasound this morning with a perinatologist and she confirmed there is a large cyst in the baby's head pressing on the cerebellum part of the brain. While we need many more tests and screening to determine the exact diagnosis this is what we do know, that our sweet baby girl will be born with a handicap. 

As we leave for Scotland in 24 hours we have been presented with some new challenges.  Upon arrival in Scotland we are to seek immediate assistance with a specialist in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Based on the outcome specialists or further treatment may have to be sought elsewhere in the world.

There are still so many unknowns at this point that we are unsure of what the future for the baby might hold. We do know that God has given us a baby who is perfect for us and we are the parents made for her. We trust the Lord implicitly that he loves her more than we do and He will not give us anything more than we can handle. 

Please continue to pray for our baby, our family and even the physicians who we will see in the future. We are blessed to have such a wonderful support system of individuals who are Christians in word and deed and who we know will intercede on our behalf. 

As we better understand the challenges that the future will hold we will let everyone know how to pray. Until that time we humbly ask you continue to lift our family up and especially pray for the Lord's protection and grace for the daughter we have yet to meet. 

Thank you again, your prayers were felt this weekend and today as the Lord upheld us through this difficult time. 

Because of Christ,
Mark & Jordan

Then, a day later, another major life-changing event occurred: we moved to Scotland.

July 1, 2013
Our heartfelt gratitude to those who have and are continuing to pray for our unborn daughter (click here to read that update). We have been to see both a general practitioner and a midwife for Jordan and the baby. Those visits were encouraging, not with merely a false sense of hope, but that she and the baby are in good hands within this medical community and ultimately The Great Physician. We will have a scan in Elgin today (Monday) to get an evaluation from the obstetrician here in-country. As a dear friend reminded us in an email, "God is Awesome, and He has a plan for your daughter and for your family.  I guess the best doctor for her is in Scotland, so thank Him that you are going there this week."

Please Pray For:
- our ultrasound today (3 pm here, 9 am CDST)
- wisdom for Dr's that will treat Jordan and the baby
- the healing of our daughter
- Buckie Church of Christ
- our assessment of where we are to plug-in in ministry
- the contacts we make in daily living--Christ; will shine through us
- protection from the attacks from the Enemy on us as a family

Friday was a hard day for our family--a day where our faith was put into practice; where we begin to walk our talk and live out the songs we sing, the lessons we teach and messages we preach.

We had a scan with an obstetrician at the maternity hospital in Aberdeen and now have a diagnosis. Our daughter has Dandy-Walker Syndrome. There are several variants ours being "a complete absence of the cerebellar vermis (the area between the two cerebellar hemispheres), and cyst formation near the internal base of the skull". This can result in quite a severe handicap. There is no treatment, in-utero or postnatal, for this only therapy to help in areas of coordination or learning.
Genetic screening has been offered to determine if the cause is from an extra chromosome, either 13, 18 or 21. The first two defects being "lethal" the latter, Down Syndrome. After extensive conversation and with the agreement of the doctor Mark and I have decided against the screening as the risks of such testing outweigh any rewards--we would know just "to know".

There will be many more scans, appointments and an MRI in the near future as the doctors monitor any changes and seek any further knowledge to be gained. We will begin posting on our blog saving any major development news for email and then, of course, our monthly eUpdate.

We covet your prayers in this time--for our baby girl and for strength for our family. You can't believe how much it means to us to know brothers and sisters in Christ and congregations around the world are petitioning the Father on our behalf. Throughout this all we are reminded that God gave His Son for us--He has held nothing back. As a parent that sacrifice takes our breath away--yet should we withhold any of our most precious treasure (our children) from Him?

In Christ,
Mark & Jordan

August 8, 2013
We have an MRI set for 23 August but as of yet we have no new news regarding our baby. She seems to be active and doing well. Pray for strength for us especially as we face continued doctors appointments. It is always then, when they again present the seemingly hopeless situation to us in view of the world's eyes, that we can start to lose heart. Pray that our faith will not be shaken, we know the Great Physician and know He is the author and perfecter of our faith.

Please remember us in prayer when you wake up tomorrow morning. At 1 p.m. (7 a.m. Central Time) we will go in for an MRI for our baby.
We will post any results we hear on our blog as opposed to sending out an email. Please check there, or here on our Facebook page for updates.

Thank you so much, you are a blessing to us.

Mark & Jordan

Please pray for us. We have a scan and MRI results in an hour.
In every situation, in every season God is in control.
And then a blog post our most recent update with sweet "Sally Pink" in which we asked:

Please continue to lift us up in prayer, specifically that this is not a chromosomal abnormality and that the cyst doesn't cause any problems.
In our household we are praying for a miracle--those who watch our story unfold can't help but see that we serve the One True God and He is mighty to save.

Most of all throughout all this, however God choses to write this story, that our family and this precious baby girl will glorify Him.

A blog post detailing the results of the MRI and a request:

October 8, 2013
...So above all, pray for a miracle with our baby girl, and next please pray that our family continues to seek peace that passes all understanding.

I am now preparing to spend my 4th night in the induction ward.
Thank you for all the prayers, not only for sweet (stubborn) Sally-Pink but also for my endurance in this. Obviously my idea of perfect timing is not the perfect timing for this baby.
Today upon learning we were going to have to restart this process I was in tears and my wonderful husband, after spending a cold and restless night in our car, drove the nearly 2 hours home and picked up our 'big kids' to come see me! I was able to leave the hospital grounds for a few hours and just be with my family. I was so blessed by this.
My sisters Jillian, and Catlin have played the roles of Super Aunts and been with the Anderson Circus for these long days. Also, my mother has been back and forth playing both the grandma and momma roles wonderfully!

After having to go back to Texas yesterday my very wise father reminded me this afternoon "I know it is hard but each moment God delays the birth is another moment He uses to heal and prepare."

Thanks to you all, you're a blessing. We will update when we have a baby girl here.

Psalm 37.5

Airdrie is going to the neonatal care unit tonight. They think she may have some fluid in her lungs as a result of her c-section birth. They're just going to monitor her and X-ray her chest, but please keep her in prayer. God has done some amazing things today in totally watching out for our baby girl, we have faith He'll continue to do so throughout the tests in the days to come.

Not only did Airdrie wake once on her own last night to eat, but she's also gained another 5oz! Thank you for your continued prayers!

Another baby post:)

Airdrie has hit a milestone! She has begun to give intentional smiles, and only to her daddy!
(We finally got official "momma concurrence & documentation" tonight!)

Thanking the Lord for each miracle one day at a time!

We had a bit of a scare today:
Airdrie went to A&E (Accident & Emergency--the ER) and was admitted to the hospital today for the possibility of hydrocephalus. Three Doctors and many hours later it was determined the threat of hydrocephalus was not eminent and she was discharged for the weekend.

We do have a scan scheduled for Monday as there is some concern about the size of her fontanelle (soft spot) in addition to an MRI in Aberdeen on December 2nd.

We're thankful for the continued prayers and thankful that the Lord was merciful to us today!

Because of Christ,
Mark & Jordan

Airdrie had an appointment with the neurologist today at the Children's Hospital.
While we were familiar with the Dandy Walker malformation today we were greatly encouraged to learn that last weeks MRI revealed there is in fact a very small vermis (tissue connecting the cerebral hemispheres) present in Airdrie!
Developmentally now at 6 weeks of age she is on track, and with every passing day we thank the Lord for His grace and provision especially concerning our baby girl.
Mark and I have tears in our eyes:
I checked on Airdrie playing quietly on her baby gym and she was grabbing at the toy with BOTH HANDS!
While it may not seem like a big deal, this is a huge milestone for her with her DWM!
God's mercies indeed are new every morning!

Which brings us to the present...

I am so overwhelmed when I look back and read these. I remember the emotions we felt--the way I fought sickness of my heart for 5 months, how there were nights when Mark and I would fall asleep crying together. 
But in looking back I see SO many of those prayer requests answered! Airdrie does NOT have a chromosomal abnormality. On the array test she is a "perfectly normal little girl". 
While still on the dainty side for an Anderson baby, she is growing, putting on weight, and nursing well.
God HAS worked a miracle in her, a small vermis is present where at first was declared "no visible vermis" on the perinatologist report.
For the past 4 months we have had a healthcare worker come to our home weekly to measure Airdrie's head as to check for hydrocephalus, and there has always been no sign of it.

The list of answered prayer goes on and is heartening.
Where once we cried out to God because we didn't know if our baby would survive we truly have a miracle baby whose life tells an amazing story of God's great love, compassion, and mercy.

Thank you once again, all who have prayed and are praying still for Airdrie. Please remember us at her appointment on Thursday and her still when you go before the Father as she has obstacles to overcome.

I thought it apropos to end in the familiar lines of the doxology:

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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