Today we have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. One year ago our precious daughter was in critical condition and her prognosis was bleak. Today she is a healthy and happy one year-old and we couldn’t be more grateful. For those of you who haven’t heard the long version of Mariah’s incredible story, you can read it here.
The short version goes like this: our daughter was born six weeks early with a deadly bacteria. Within 24 hours, her body started to shut down; she had a collapsed lung and her blood was septic. When the doctors told us that she may die, we were heartbroken and started crying out to God. After two hours of praying and singing in the hallway outside of the NICU, the doctor came out and told us that Mariah had amazingly stabilized, that her lung “mysteriously” inflated on its own, and that her body had started fighting. From that moment on, every complication from her illness began to disappear.
For the thousands of you who have prayed for Mariah, I’m going to take a moment and be specific about how your prayers were powerful and effective.
- Mariah’s lung inflated on its own which allowed her heart to get enough oxygen to pump the medicine through her blood more effectively.
- Her body began to stabilize its erratic sugar counts.
- Her heart rate and blood pressure stabilized.
- Her blood became bacteria-free.
- Her brain scan came back normal and she has no brain damage from the many seizures she had during her first 24 hours.
- She was able to skip the Intermediate Care Unit and went from the Intensive Care Unit straight to the General Care Unit.
- Her virtually non-existent immune system at birth has fully recovered. White and red blood cell counts as well as platelet counts are leveled.
- Despite being born premature, she has reached her developmental milestones.
- Her umbilical hernia has closed up and healed.
- Her hearing test came back perfect despite the doctors’ concerns that the strong antibiotic would cause deafness.
- The initial concern over her inability to gain weight has clearly been erased.
- As far as we can tell, she has outgrown her dairy allergy.
- She has overcome the sensitivity in her arms from being tied down and stuck with many IV’s.
- God sustained us through that difficult time in the hospital and for the four months after that we spent in isolation as we waited for Mariah’s immune system to develop.
- We’ve gotten the opportunity to share Mariah’s story with thousands of people, many of whom were going through heartbreaking circumstances with their own newborns.
Man, we’re just thankful. There is nothing like seeing God work so directly and completely. We share her story everywhere we go because we just can’t keep quiet about it. Hearing doctors and nurses call Mariah a miracle and marvel at how there aren’t any residual side effects is such a testimony to God being the great Physician.
Obviously, we’re experiencing a lot of emotions today. I remember the trauma of hearing the doctors bluntly use the word “death” and of the nurses asking if we wanted a priest to come and say her last rites. I remember the heart wrenching sound of my strong husband’s grief-stricken sobs. I have the image of my tiny baby girl hooked up to tubes and monitors burned into my mind. I remember the feeling of complete helplessness as I held my breath willing her chest to continue its rise and fall. I remember the feeling of stroking her little hand and crying silent, hot tears about not being able to hold her as she cried.
At the same time, I remember the absolute joy I felt when I heard her cry for the first time. I remember the doctor telling us she had stabilized miraculously. I remember the Spirit whispering to me that she wouldn’t fall. I remember singing my heart out in that dark hallway even though I could barely move after the C-section. I remember when I was finally able to hold her again and how I would sit for hours singing to her. I remember panicking when a new orderly was unsure of why my daughter wasn’t in her normal NICU bed (she had been moved to the general room). I remember the absolute relief it was to call the hospital early every morning and hear the nurse say that Mariah was stable through the night. I remember belting out the song “I’m Overwhelmed” through tears of joy in that dark hallway after the doctors moved her out of the NICU. I could go on and on…
So as we celebrate her first birthday today, I know we are blessed. We have a little girl that can scream at the top of her healthy lungs, that can lick the bottom of her shoe and have her immune system kick in, that can express herself with that strong-willed personality that fought off death, and that can bring hope to others with her testimony.
Glory to God! He has entrusted a treasure to us and we are eternally grateful for what He has done!
Psalm 66:16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.
2 thoughts on “Mariah’s First Birthday”
The best one yet! Your words say so well all the feelings we had during the hardest time in our lives! But, this is not a/b us , or even Mariah! This is a/b our great God, Jehovah Rapha, our great healer!
To Him be the glory forever and ever!
We will continue to tell of the great things that He has done!
Happy, Happy birthday sweet Cheeks, Mariah!!!