Friday, April 22, 2011

A Month For Miracles

April 2003 - in a coma. 

I have been thinking about being brave and posting some of the hospital pictures we have from our son's birth this year. We have shown them to him now and we have been talking a lot about what it means to survive a near-death experience like that with him.

One thing I now know: a lot of it doesn't hit you until years down the line. And that is quite something to process. Especially as my son has started absorbing it, too.

I had an amniotic embolism with my son. Some of the fluid from my uterus leaked into my body and it caused a full-blown anaphylactic reaction and cardio-respiratory collapse. I was without oxygen for about 8- 10 minutes. My son was born purple and floppy by emergency c-section and I was in a drug-induced coma for a number of days waiting to see if my brain would survive the oxygen deprivation it had experienced.

This is one of the most painful for me of all the pictures from the hospital to look at. 
This is me in the coma. They brought our son in for pictures in case I didn't make it.

An amniotic embolism is "the most dangerous and untreatable condition in obstetrics - a set of complications associated with an 86 percent mortality rate."* My husband was told I would unlikely regain consciousness and that I was not exhibiting any signs of awareness let alone wakefulness. It was a given that I would suffer long-term neurological damage (as a result of having insufficient oxygen for so long) and my son's outcome - he had most likely gone without oxygen for as long as 14 minutes - was unknown, too.

Not only did I come out of that coma and have a CAT scan that showed a perfectly healthy, undamaged brain - but our son also lived and is bright and healthy, too. 81% of babies born in amniotic embolism trauma do not live. Those that do almost always have severe brain damage. In fact the odds of both of us living without either of us having brain damage is about 1 in 1.2 million.

Up until about four years ago I had absolutely zero memory of our trauma in the hospital. For four months after my son was born I had no short-term memory at all. "Easter," my husband would say, "Easter is where Misha's memory stops." So April is a majorly significant month for us in this house. Easter is incredibly significant for us. Life after death hits very close to home for us.

And this April, this year, has been no exception. We just got incredible news again this week.

Some background:

My daughter had her first allergic anaphylactic reaction to a certain food when she was 5.5 months old. She had another one just before she turned two. And since then we have carried shots with us everywhere, all the time. As she said to me today: "Mom, do you realize I have never put any thing in my mouth to eat without first checking the ingredients and worrying it will hurt me?" When she has a reaction she can stop breathing in under four minutes. It's a big deal and seeing her carry that stress as a little girl has been so hard.

Two years ago she was about to have an additional diagnosis added to her charts and that is when I (got feisty about it! and) felt the nudge to fight it unconventionally. I sought a lot of advice and worked with a variety of specialists, but most of all I prayed. And I felt a plan formulate in my head that I knew would be almost impossible.

But we did it. We changed every single thing about how our family lived and ate. We altered our entire diet and I prayed almost every night for healing in my daughter's immune system, in her body, in her health.

Last year we saw the first big breakthrough. What her doctor had told us would never happen - and to not even hope for -  began to happen. This year we are seeing even more changes. We just got her blood work back and it is beyond good news. It is shockingly amazing news. (Honestly? It's more than I even prayed for!)

We will have one more food challenge with her doctor and will do a series of "just-making-sure" ones here at home. But it looks like we have another beautiful miracle in my daughter.

My birth experience with my son was not my first experience with a supernatural gift. I had already been very sick before that and had a shocking encounter with years' of prayers being answered in one day. I was very sick and expected to be sick for the rest of my life. That miracle happened on June 21st of 1999. I read a scripture early that morning that I have never forgotten.

This last week my son was reading a new devotional to us all in the dining room and, as he began reading the scripture for the day, I got chills. It was the same one I had read all those years ago. It is the same one I have prayed for my daughter's body. It is the same one I am so, so thankful for every year, every April, for every family member. (My husband has quite an amazing story, too.)

God is no respecter of persons. He listens to all of our prayers - and if you need back-up faith to ask Him for a miracle, for a healing - please, borrow mine! I know up close and personal that He heals. He gives life. He is generous and good and kind. And as I know that I know that I know - at Easter time more than ever - He does wonderful things.

"I will not die but live, and I will declare the works and recount the beautiful, amazing and incredible acts of the Lord." 

~ (my personalized, modified version of Psalm 118:17)
April 2011

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
~ Agatha Christie

* Our story is told in chapter five of the book God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer by Pete Greig.


Jennifer Jo said...

What a moving post. Those pictures break my heart. So incredibly sad.

And then, further down the post: your smiling face, rosy with color, your growing, intelligent children, you total ALIVENESS---what a huge gift. Life is a glorious gift.

deb colarossi said...

I cannot possible do this justice.
But I am here.
will return....
your are so loved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this today. We are in the midst of praying for our own miracle, and this reminded me to "pray without ceasing". Thank you for reminding me that miracles still happen.

Belinda said...

Thank you for this memorial to the works of God!
I remember those very scarey days when we were all praying for you, all over the world... in 1999 and in 2003. I was so thankful for the internet being a part of everyone's life so that everyone could know and pray.
You remembering your miracle, and I'm remembering it like it was mine, too. Yes, God is good.

Your radical diet change to strengthen your immune system is also a God-given answer. May I ask if you have made any other changes as far as vaccinations or chemicals?

May the Lord continue to multiply your faith, Misha, in your own heart, in your children's hearts and in your children's childrens hearts!

Belinda in Holland

Drue McLean said...

I love reading your words!

Sara said...

Hey misha, on Saturday, in the middle of needing many Miracles, I was encouraged by your words. On Easter Sunday, I asked God for healing with strengthened faith. This morning, in the wee hours, God gave me the best birthday present ever: my SCB (clot) is GONE! Thanks for sharing your story again. Love, Sara

kristin said...

my, my, my.

i will smile a little wider today at the broader mystery of god's work in the world.

strength to you as you finish up this month.

emily wierenga said...

oh my dear misha...

to see that photo of you years ago, in a coma, and then to see you glowing and beautiful today...

i have tears. God is so, so good.

Nikki said...

God is so good.

Your life is a miracle. Your son's life is a miracle. I can't imagine how wrenching it must be to re-live pieces of this by writing about it...but what an amazing testimony of God's grace you both are! The first two photos give me chills: I interned at that hospital in 2005/2006, those rooms are so familiar.

Praising God for your lives!!!

Jessica said...

amazing. What a beautiful, moving, faith-building story. Your family is beautiful- I am praising God for the marvelous things he has done for you!

Cottage Mommy said...

Wow. wow. Wow. Misha, thank you for sharing this. Your story, your life, your son's life, your all just shine Jesus. Your lives are a living testament to Him. Amazing. Miraculous. Thank you for reminding us that He still does miracles!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your story. I found this blog through simple homeschool. I've enjoyed your posts much.

However this post? Wow. I've been struggling so much with my doubt in God, my doubt in my faith in God - too long to list here.

God spoke to me through this post today. He still works miracles.

Misha Leigh. said...

Anonymous on May 2 - Thank you. You are in my prayers today.

Karisse said...

Thank you for sharing. That verse is one of my favorites. I actually just put it on canvas yesterday. :)

tonia said...

Oh, Misha!

I am just moved beyond words. gracious, so amazing.

I am so grateful that you are here, now, with us, sharing that beautiful big heart and that mega-watt smile. I hope we get to sit down to that tea someday for real.

BettyDuffy said...

MIsha, I almost missed this post, since I wasn't reading blogs at the time it went up--but I'm so glad I found it today. I'm praying for a few miracles of healing of my own, and your story gives me hope.