Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wow Wednesday Q&A

Chrissie continues to improve here in PICU Room 1!  Sats are good, blood pressure and heart rate are good, they removed the Nitric Oxide (which dilates arteries to allow better blood flow), and so far, Chrissie is handling it all like a champ! 

Here's a quick attempt to answer a few questions that several readers have asked:

Meaning of our ranch name, Forgotten Saw Ranch:  Shortly after we purchased our little ranch, our oldest son discovered an oak tree that grew around an old saw that a rancher must have stuck in the tree back in the early 1900's and forgot he stuck it there.  The tree grew around the saw, so now the handle of the saw sticks out of one side of the tree and the tip of the blade is showing on the other side of the tree.

Share some tips on childrearing:  I feel very unqualified to share any parenting tips!  It's all God.  We homeschool and spend a ton of time with our kiddos.  They are truly a blessing, never a burden.  They bring so much joy into our family.  I'm not worthy to be their mom, but so very grateful that God chose to bless me with each precious child who He hand-picked for our family.  We try to have a daily schedule which involves chores for each child, we try to have a family devo/prayer time each night before bed, we try to put God as our top priority, we try to show His unconditional love in every circumstance, we completely rely upon God (we are not capable of doing anything on our own, and we've learned this the hard way!), we try to avoid spanking/corporal punishment (although sometimes our kids beg us to just "spank" them rather than discussing the bad/wrong choice!), we don't have TV/cable/satellite in our home, we do rent movies from that give the same messages that our family believes are important, we do have "outside" contact with the world (many believe that homeschoolers are not "socialized"!), we volunteer together, serve together, learn together, study His Word together, play together, laugh together, cry together, eat meals together, work together, pray together and trust God together.  Again, it's all God.  We cannot take any credit.  We are FAR from perfect, and we apologize to our kids often because we're constantly failing them in our human attempt to parent the way we'd like Christ.  But, we're reminded that Christ is the ONLY Perfect One, and we will fail, but we pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, ask forgiveness (from our kids and from God), then press on toward the goal of parenting in a God-honoring manner as much as possible, which only occurs through the leading and filling of the Holy Spirit.

The Seaworld photos would be complete if Chrissie were in them:  EXACTLY!  Oh.My.Word.  That was a hard, hard day for all of us.  We've never gone anywhere as a family without Chrissie (since she's been in our family, obviously).  So, so, so hard to pull out our double stroller, but not have Chrissie climb in.  As much as we all tried to push on through that day (our first day to be together as a family since Chrissie's surgery, yet Chrissie was absent), it was HARD.  I think what we all wanted to do was to run back to the hospital and have our own little party in PICU room 1 as a family, which would have included Chrissie, but the PICU will only allow 2 people in the room at a time, and they prefer that those 2 people only be parents and grandparents.  I can't wait for Chrissie to be in our family photos again. 

How's her heart doing - rhythm wise?  Chrissie has been in perfect "sinus" rhythm since the prayer "bossing" session over Chrissie as they were doing the emergency wean from the ECMO!  It has not slipped out of rhythm once!  Her heart rate is great (varying between 85-110), her blood pressure is great, and her rhythm is great.  Isn't God amazing?!?  Chrissie had a heart with a completely collapsed right atrium and every other chamber had something messed up with it during the first "bridging" test when trying to get off the ECMO, and right before our very eyes on the echo (sonogram) machine, we saw God breathing life into Chrissie's heart, filling it chamber before our very eyes, creating proper blood flow with the proper red/blue blood directional flow, inflating the collapsed right atrium, passing through the new pulmonary artery and out the new valves and into her lungs.  Then God breathed His life into Chrissie's lungs in order to get her off the ECMO machine, and she's been progressing beautifully ever since.  We're told her heart is no longer the issue.  It's her lungs.  But Chrissie is making tremendous progress daily.  Tonight they turned off the Nitric Oxide completely, which was being used to keep arteries larger (I think), and she's been doing fine without it.  That's another huge step in the right direction!!!

And has the drainage slowed down any since she's been off the anti-clotting meds?   Yes, it has, tremendously!  They were able to take away the big plastic bins that the blood and fluid from her chest/lung drainage tubes used to empty into.  They were having to empty those collection containers multiple times/day for many days, even once she got off the ECMO, but over the past few days, there has been very little drainage through those tubes, so they took away the collection containers and now there are plastic "bulbs" on the end of the tubes that collect the small amounts of drainage.  They're not ready to remove the drainage tubes from Chrissie's chest/lungs just yet because there is still some drainage, but not much.  So, it appears that the internal bleeding has stopped or is atleast barely occuring once they were able to give Chrissie drugs to help her blood clot, after she was off the ECMO.

When they did the original surgery were they able to do/fix what they needed/wanted to?   Yes, it was a complete miracle!  Dr. Kupferschmid didn't think they'd be able to fix quite a few areas on one side of her chest/lung because it appeared to be too hard to get to certain things that were wrong, but God enabled Dr. K to get to every single problem/issue and FIX it!!!  It was such a miracle.  There are still vessels/arteries within Chrissie's pulmonary system that have severe stenosis (narrowing and kinking), which Dr. Porisch will have to fix with a heart catheterization procedure in the future (where she'll insert a tiny camera into Chrissie's pulmonary system via her groin and then insert "balloons" and stents into the areas that have severe stenosis).  We knew that would be the case because that's not something that the cardiac surgeon addresses anyway, so we weren't expecting those particular areas of severe stenosis to be fixed during her open-heart surgery anyway.  We were in awe when Dr. Porisch came out of the OR the afternoon of April 19 to report that Dr. Kupferschmid was able to fix every single thing that was wrong.  Amazing.  It's all God!

How is Kiefer doing and what is his adoption story?  Kiefer is doing amazingly well.  He had a sinus infection, fluid on his ears, Giardia (intestinal parasite that causes diarrhea), and several Haitian skin conditions, but all of that is finally under control and he is thriving.  Kiefer is totally attached to my husband, Matt.  (Matt calls him the "tick" because he latches on to Matt and never lets go...he has to pry him off if he needs to do something!)  Kiefer LOVES to be outside, and he is a happy, loving little guy who keeps everyone in our family very busy while he fills them with love and joy!  We were so blessed to have Stephanie and her daughter Emily and all of our kiddos to step in and take care of Kiefer while Matt and I stayed 24/7 at the hospital with Chrissie when she was doing so poorly.  Our plan had been to alternate "shifts" where 1 of us would be at the hospital with Chrissie and the other would be at home with the kids for 2 days at a time, but when Chrissie died the first day of surgery, we knew that our shift plan wasn't going to work because neither of us wanted to leave Chrissie's side.  Even after we were both gone from home for an entire week, Kiefer didn't skip a beat.  When he saw us again, he ran straight to Matt to love on him, and he was back to calling me "momma" and coming to me for sweet affection.  Kiefer loves his siblings, and we're so blessed to have kids who WANT to play with their baby brother.  Every one of our kids changes poopy diapers now (except maybe Sawyer, who is 10,...not sure if he's done it yet).  I stand in awe of the way God designed His perfect plan for Forgotten Saw Ranch by sending Stephanie and Emily to live on our ranch to fill in the gaps anytime we need them, and I am so proud of all of our kids for unconditionally loving and showing His love and serving in a Christ-like manner, even when times are tough.  You can read about Kiefer's adoption story here.  (His story is told in 3 parts, this link will take you to Part 1, then you'll  need to scroll in the archives listed in the right sidebar of the blog to look for Part 2 and Part 3.) 

How are your other children holding up and how do they feel about adoption?  Our kiddos are doing remarkably well.    You can click here to read what our 13-year-old son has to say about adoption and our family.  All of our kiddos love adoption and have a huge heart for the orphan. (God has opened their eyes to the harsh reality of life for orphans, particulary those in 3rd world countries, and they cannot ignore what God has revealed to them)  They'd have 20 siblings if it were their choice!  In fact, we haven't announced this publically (until now!), but our family is currently in the process of adopting 6, maybe 7, children from Haiti.  They are all at the Haiti Children's Rescue Mission, and we're working with Hope for Orphans (a division of Campus Crusade for Christ) to try to complete the adoption of these precious kiddos who God has called us to.  Haiti has closed their humanitarian parole option which allowed many orphans to be united with their forever families, so this adoption has turned into a traditional adoption, which no one knows how long will take because of things just now resuming in Haiti since the earthquake.  Here's a picture of our 6 kids at their orphanage in Haiti with another adoptive mom who visited last week:

Please keep our Haitian kiddos in your prayers.  I haven't even begun to work on my dossier for their adoption, and it kills me to know that they're just waiting for us in their orphanage.  We do get to communicate with them via email or Skype (when it's available and we're available!), but knowing that they're living in such hard conditions (when I haven't even started our dossier) just breaks my heart.

I think that's all the answers I have right now.  If you have a question you're just dying to find the answer to, please leave it in a comment for me, and I'll do my best to answer it.  I may not get to it for a few days (or weeks!), but I will try.  Keep asking if you don't hear back from me! :-)

May I ask you all to pray for protection for Chrissie from germs/infection as she will leave the PICU for the first time today and be wheeled through the hospital (which is, of course, full of germs!) and put into the MRI machine.  Pray that God would blanket her with protection from head to toe from exposure to germs/illness/infection.  She'll also be "unhooked" from her IV meds during that time, so pray that all goes well with that without any complications.  Lord knows that I am praying for very little drama...just the drama of the WOW factor when the doctors review the MRI and are astonished by the results on this WOW Wednesday!!!


Looking Up said...

Praise God! Continuing to pray!

Karen in PA said...

Has Chrissie opened her eyes yet?

The Fab 5 said...

Still praying and hoping everything goes smoothly today on Chrissie first trip out of the PICU.

Lisa said...

God is so good, I get goose bumps all the time just thinking of how much he has done for his daughter. There is no doubt in my mind that God has been in PICU Rm1 this whole time with Chrissie ministering and healing her continually, not just Chrissie but with yah'll too. Its just hard to wrap my human mind around the fact that God is EVERYWHERE all the time giving us all what we need..
Praying for great results on the MRI, and for God's supernatural protection over Chrissie as she goes out of her room. Father God you are so good, thank you Jesus you know Chrissie's needs right now and I know you have your hands of protection over your child, thank you Jesus.

Nora S. said...

Praying for a miraculous MRI for Chrissie!

Thank you for all your updates and answers to questions. You and your husband are blessing precious children with God's love and it's wonderful to watch your lives.


Kevin and Krista said...

Praying today that God would be glorified and Chrissie would wow everyone with an amazing brain scan. My church small group has been praying for Chrissie's healing for 2 weeks. I wish you really knew how very many people have lifted her, and your family, up to God.

Congratulations on the decision to open your heart and home to more orphans! I love it!

I am so glad you answered the Forgotten Saw question. I figured there must be a cool story but it never seemed the right time to ask. Glad some did!

:) Krista

Katie said...

Your family's story is such an interesting one! I see God through everything you write. I do have a question... how in the world do you afford to have such a large family, and animals, and a ranch, and adoptions?? We can barely afford our little family of 4 and our little house... I don't know how you do it?

Debi said...

Hi Pattersons!
I am still here and still praying and thankful for each step of progress for Warrior Princess Chrissie.
What an amazing journey of faith God has you on with Chrissie and as you prepare to add 6-7 more precious children! Trust Him alone to guide and provide. He knows the way that you take and when He has tried you you will come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
Love and hugs and prayers,

Staci and Damon said...

Our family prays for yours every day. I love to read that you are adopting again! Adoption has been a wonderful gift for our family, and I enjoy reading about others taking that step of faith!! By the way...your children are all so beautiful, it brings a tear to my eyes!

sabrina said...

Oh my goodness...adopting 6 more children? That is great and such a blessing, but I am sure it will be hard to handle them all :)

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