Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fourteen years ago today, we wept when we heard the news from the Doctor's office that we were expecting!  We had hoped to be parents, but had to wait for this blessing.  For some years we struggled with infertility.  They were years of longing, and of turning our eyes to God, and trusting Him for his plans for us.  Imagine our delight when what we had hoped for and prayed for, was confirmed, and new life had started within.  I remember skipping through the strawberry patch that day!
Our journey today is somewhat a kin to that.  It is like we now have a fourth child - a newborn.  (Perhaps she will reveal herself to be our first, again, but I accept in my heart that we will not necessarily get the same Lydie Bug back.)  We treasure this new life, we sing over her, we encourage her and we linger at her bed.  We watch her sleep, and we pray over her.  We have entered the sphere of wonder again, where we look to see how this new child is developing, and we envision who she will become.  Delicate details are being created.
On Lydia's birth announcement, we included Psalm 139:13.  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  Then we had tiny footprints,  with "fearfully and wonderfully made" beneath.
We trust God to be knitting Lydia together again.  All His works are wonderful.  May we wait, with great expectation, for His new creation.
I return to the refrain from Lydia's favourite song by Gungor, Beautiful Things.
You make beautiful things,
you make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things,
you make beautiful things out of us.
You make me new,
You are making me new.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lydia had a restless night, but is recovering well from her surgery.  She began receiving small amounts of formula today, through her new tube.  The goal is to keep her stomach small for the first few days after the surgery to promote healing.   Her nurses increase her feeds in a very systematic way until she is up to her full feeds in a few days.

Lydia got new casts again today: bright, deep purple!  Grandma got to choose the colour.  Lydia's physiotherapist said that he could see improvement in the tone in her calves, and that the casts are helping.  She will probably need at least two or three more casts after these.

We went outside again today, to enjoy the birds, the sunshine, the breeze and the shade.  Lydia was able to sit up well in her wheel chair, and she even rested and slept for a while outside.  

Our greatest encouragement from today is that Lydia found her voice.  She regularly made small humming sounds.  We celebrated her accomplishment and told her how we look forward to hearing her singing voice.  She needs to know that we will applaud her every "first step" and cheer lead her every gain.  To have found her voice, while still recovering from surgery and weak from a restricted feeding program, is evidence again, of God's goodness to us, and His healing in her.

Lamentations 3:25,26

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lydia had her G tube surgery today at the end of the operating room day.  She just made it in!  We were thinking she might get bumped again today, and then we got the call to the OR.  We thank God for his provision in this.  She has to fast from midnight the night before, and throughout the day, and so after doing that yesterday, and then again today, she was hungry and tired.  The G tube cannot be used for at least 12 hours, so hopefully tomorrow morning she will be given food again.  She presently has an IV. 
The surgery went well.  We were with her in the recovery room, and she was agitated and uncomfortable, and so she was given some pain reliever.  That helped.  She settled, but would be regularly roused as they checked her vitals every 30 minutes.  She fell asleep just before 10 p.m..
Please pray for weight gain, as she has lost weight in the last two weeks; for healing from the surgery and no infections; and for relaxation for her muscles that still have a lot of tone and spasticity, which is normal for her recovery stage in the coma.  We continue to learn more about how a coma is her body's protective response for her brain, as she is not ready for full consciousness.  Today we had the experience of a coma likened to a computer rebooting.  You can move your mouse, or push keys, but nothing happens, and an hour glass shows on the screen telling you to wait.  The computer just needs time to be ready for use again.  Lydia's brain is rebooting, and it takes time - a lot of time and rest.  Months and years, in her case.
At Sick Kid's we see and meet many people with different stories of tragedy and pain.  As I sat with my mom, waiting to be called to the recovery room, the woman beside me sat alone.  She was visibly distressed.  I felt for her, and prayed for her.  The Lord moved friends who were there with us, to talk to this lady, to hear her story, and to offer to pray for her.  She welcomed their presence with her.  She had been sitting for 8 hours while her son underwent a critical surgery.  She was beginning to despair that he had not made it through the surgery.  She sat alone!  That is such a sobering thought.  How is it that we are so surrounded and supported, and this woman sits alone?  Please pray for her and her son. 
The poem footprints has come to mind many times in the last 6 weeks (yes, it was 6 weeks ago today!).  We know that God is always with us.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  (Hebrews 13:5)  We pray that this woman will come to know the One who can comfort her and sit with her, and carry her through her darkest days.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"
The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you."
Mary Stevenson

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tomorrow, Lydia is on stand by for surgery!  Possibly, she will have a  G tube inserted.  This means that her feeds will go directly to her stomach, rather than through the NG tube she currently has, that goes down her nose, and throat and into her stomach.  A G tube will be more comfortable for her, and enable her to continue to get the nutrition that she needs.  As she learns to swallow and eat again, she will be able to do this in addition to receiving feeds through her G tube.  Nutrition is paramount to her recovery!  We learned last week that the caloric needs of her brain equal those that an athlete who is running a marathon require!   Her brain is working very hard to rewire and heal.  While we wish she could enjoy fresh strawberries, spinach, peas and beans grown from home, we are thankful that she has a safe means of receiving the nutrition she requires.  Perhaps next season she will enjoy them all the more!
Tonight when we were tucking the boys into bed, and we were praying, Ben suggested that we ask God to bring back all of the parts of Lydia that we loved.  (I think Ben was thinking he could do without the part of the older sister with a prerogative for organizing and delegating!)  (read: bossing him around!)  I share his prayer request with you, and ask you to join us in that prayer.  We ask for a full recovery, but know that may not be the gift we are given.  So we ask for all of the parts that we most cherished in Lydia to return: her exuberance, her kindness, her focus and drive, her laughter, and her sweet spirit.  We thank God, that He has already given glimpses of her warm smile back to us. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We have shared many times how God has sustained us and upheld us in this time.  We have known the peace that passes understanding in astonishing ways.  I read a bit more tonight, to see how Laura Story (the writer and singer of the song Blessings) has faced the "unasked for" in her life.  Her story resonates with us.  She has learned that:
"There is a blessedness that comes through waiting on the Lord.  There is an intimacy in our walk with the Lord that comes through walking through that valley.  There is a reliance on His Word that we only know when everything else in life fades away."
So what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?


We have recently been encouraged by the song Blessings by Laura Story.  

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Monday, June 25, 2012

My day began with me taking the time to find a scripture that had been rattling around in my head for the last few days.  After a google search of "I am doing a new thing, do you not perceive it?"  I came to Isaiah 43:19.  Verse 18 spoke to me too.  Below is part of an email I sent this morning:

Forget the former things,
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Is 43:18-19
As I sit in Toronto, I marvel that God keeps giving me birds to hear above the din of traffic, and trees outside our room at Ronald McDonald House that obscure most other buildings, and perfectly frame the CN tower. In the city, he gives what satisfies my outdoor loving soul. How gracious and generous is our God! 

Back to Isaiah: I have been drawn to focus on and anticipate this new work that the Lord is doing. I need to not dwell on the former things: our lives before and the fullness of them, or the beauty and potential of Lydia, .... He is making a way in the desert that is as abundant and generous as this nature filled view of the city from our room. I can trust Him completely.

A couple hours later, in talking about comas to Lydia's nurse, I was surprised to hear that she considered Lydia to be emergent – meaning, coming out of the coma.  So what I thought was coma cloaking her, is actually the reality of her new conscious state.  She is only somewhat responsive.   We have waited for the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon, and so I was hopeful for something breathtaking and beautiful.  Alas, her wings must dry and she must hang before she can take flight.  It will be a long season of more waiting.

This morning's verse came back to me as a promise.  He is doing a new thing.  He is making streams in the wasteland. 

When I look back over the last 6 weeks, it is amazing how far Lydia has come.  Each week will bring progress and growth, but it is sometimes hard to measure it in days.  Lydia was agitated for much of the day.  She had a good therapy session with Ryan and Anne, where they had her sitting up on the side of the bed, and working on holding herself upright, and holding her head up.  She still requires a lot of support.  She worked hard.  When she was tired, and allowed to lie down after, she had the biggest smile on her face, as she lay on the bed, motionless, relieved that her work was done. 

Lydia smiled at memories of funny jokes and laughter shared later in the day.  More encouragement to hold on to that our Lydia is in there, and will emerge over time. A friend encouraged me with her experience with individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury:  

"Lydia has been responding to her family's voices etc., which means she recognizes family. She is remembering things; she is cognitively processing things you say to her, she is just unable to respond right now. Many kids are completely unresponsive, while Lydia is actually responding, recognizing social relationships. There are definite clues that the Lydia you know and love is in there. Many kids coming out of a coma don't display any recognition of family members while Lydia's smiles are a clear indication that she recognizes your family."

I end today, and perhaps many days to come, where I started it, with Isaiah 43:18-19.

Forget the former things,
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Is 43:18-19

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One of the morning prayers I sometimes pray, says "I thank you God, for the gift of another day of life."  Life is a precious gift.  

In March, I bought a framed print with the poem, LIFE IS by Mother Teresa, and a picture of a large deciduous tree in bud, silhouetted against the sky.  I have reflected many times in the last 51/2 weeks, at the significance of this poem.  Our life has changed and taken on new meanings: we have confronted tragedy, met challenges, and admired beauty.    May you savour the gift of life you have been given.

Life is ...

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
Mother Teresa

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lydia got to enjoy some of the same sunshine we did today!  She went outside, in her wheelchair for a while, and although she is still in a coma, her eyes were open the whole time.   There were chickadees eating, and she turned her face towards them.
Lydia also got to have a small freezie today, and she did a bit of slow swallowing. 
Her bright pink casts have many new signatures on them - the nurses and therapists have been busy signing!
Lydia has had an ice pack around her neck often today, to try to ease some of the tension in her neck muscles. The Neurology doctor reported that he felt the neck muscle difficulties were muscle spasms rather than whiplash.  He will gradually increase her muscle relaxants, in an effort to provide some relief.
 An 11 year old friend of Lydia's sent the following message to us:  How wise children are!
Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                                                                     Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lydia has spent the day with her aunt and cousin. Lydia has a new bed, an air bed, and it is much better for her.  Although she is turned every two hours, she has developed bed sores from so predominantly being on her back.  The air bed will help to cushion her body and prevent more positional bed sores. 
Lydia has been very responsive today, has worked hard in her physio sessions, and has been fairly alert.  These are all things to celebrate!  This morning, we were given a gift of hearing one of Lydia's first sounds.  We called her hospital room, and Grandma held the phone to Lydia's ear, while we talked to her and told her about how we loved her.  Apparently her eyes were wide open, and then she rasped out her first sound -"aahh".  We heard it, and our hearts rejoiced.  She has started some speech therapy, but she seems tired every time the speech therapist arrives. 
Today, in talking to a friend whose husband is a local firefighter, she shared with us, that to the firefighters who arrived on the scene and found Lydia, and to those who know the usual outcome of such a severe accident, "a miracle has already happened".  Lydia is alive.  Her life was spared.  As we wait now, we are waiting for her restoration - for the unknown beauty that her transformation will bring.  A lot has been happening in our hearts, to open us up to new ideas of beauty, found in different ways and at different speeds than what we are accustomed to.
From day 3 of the accident, one verse that has consistently been on my heart, is Philippians 1:6 ..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  We trust God to carry on the good work He started in Lydia when she was created, and carry it on to completion until her time on earth is finished. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grandma and Lydia had a very busy day together.  Lydia has had her first set of casts removed, and then a shower, with many tangles to comb out of her hair from her restless head turning, some physio on her neck, and then new casts on her legs, toe to knees again.  They are serial casting Lydia's legs, which means that she gets a series of casts, new ones every week, to rest her calves and keep her feet flexed, so the muscles are not strained or shortened.  Lydia also had some speech therapy today, although, that sounds misleading, because the therapist is working to coax Lydia to be able to make sounds.  She is silent.  We are a long way from actual speech!  Our once articulate girl, is going to have to learn to talk again.  How we miss her chatter!  
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  When her time comes, she will speak. Or maybe she won't and she will communicate in other ways.  She has always been a good communicator, so I trust that she will find her way again.  It is clear that Lydia recognizes voices.  My mom reported that when her physiotherapist entered her hospital room today, and said hi to Lydia, her eyes popped open as she recognized his voice.  Ryan often makes Lydia work hard, so whether she was happy to see him, or dismayed at his arrival, we don't know, but she responded to his voice!  She sometimes has smiles for familiar voices of friends and family, even before something funny is shared, she smiles.  We are grateful again, for this gift of smiles.
At home, we are thankful for the rain to water the soil, and cool the air.  We are thankful for our able bodied, active sons, and their resilience.  We are thankful for the daily offers of help, cards, meals, and gifts for Lydia.  We are thankful for family business, and the generosity of our families to do more in our absence, in an already intense season.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.
Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Lydia has had her neck collar off for 5 days now, and it is becoming apparent that she has suffered whiplash. Today her neck muscles were very tight, and strained. She tends to pull to the left side, and this was increasingly evident today. Her taut muscles are hard, and therefore painful. Pray that this tension, which is a natural part of her condition, can be released. In general, her coma is becoming lighter, and so she is progressing to an unpleasant stage where she is restless and confused. Her mind cannot grasp what has happened or what she is feeling. Consequently, she is agitated. She sweats, her respirations increase, and her brow furrows. We have read about this stage, and been warned that this is the most difficult for caregivers to observe. Apparently Lydia will not remember any of it, which is a blessing, because she appears to be anxious and uncomfortable.

In our meeting on Tuesday, Lydia's condition was likened to the season of winter. In winter, the deciduous trees are barren, and nothing seems to be happening, but unseen growth is taking place in the roots, preparing for the growth that comes in spring and summer. Lydia is in a long winter. Spring will come and she will bud and blossom. For now, we trust that in the hidden places, she is being healed. We await the beauty that God will bestow upon her.  This is another image to hold, along with that of the butterfly, being transformed in the cocoon.

At our friend's funeral last week, there was a solo with beautifully poignant lyrics.  The refrain caught us:  Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.  Please continue to pray for the hidden things that God is doing in Lydia. 

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There's a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Today began with a very encouraging meeting with Lydia's rehab case manager.  She helped us to know what to consider, as we look ahead to Lydia's discharge from the hospital.  She is very stable, and is healing, little by little.  She is no longer in acute condition.  She may transition to a Rehab facility, or to our home, with a team of therapists and health care professionals.  Before she can be transitioned, she needs to have a G tube inserted, to facilitate feeding.  She is currently fed via a NG tube that is inserted in her nose and goes into her stomach. 

With a brain injury, swallowing is almost always impaired, and it could be some time before Lydia can learn to eat on her own.  The G tube will allow all of her nutritional needs to be met while she relearns this.

Lydia's clavicle may still need surgical intervention, but we are thankful that her ortho injuries are so minimal.  She could easily have sustained pelvic, spinal column or multiple limb fractures. 

In the past month, we have met many wonderful people, who have cared for us and encouraged us.

We met Ann Voskamp's sister, Molly, at Sick Kids one day last week.  She gave us Ann's audio book, 1000 Gifts, and we have been listening to it on our trips to and from Toronto.  We have been challenged to give thanks for all of the gifts in our lives, to notice them and name them, and be grateful for each one: big or small. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances.  Today we are thankful for fragrant, ripe, juicy strawberries, for sweat on brow in summer's heat, for mending bones, and for peaceful sleep.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Grandma and Grandpa were with Lydia today. Her physiotherapist had her out of her room and down to the gym. Afterwards, apparently Lydia was pretty tired, but Ryan was satisfied with the "work" they were able to do. Again, we think, who knew you could do so much while in a coma? Now that Lydia's neck brace has been removed she requires a different wheel chair; one with a head support on it, so that she can be upright more often. Her rash has cleared, and she has had a good day. We are so thankful that her grandparents can be with her at the hospital, allowing us some days at home, and some sense of normalcy for the boys.

It was one month ago, yesterday that our lives changed. When we look back over our years of marriage, we are grateful for the many full, abundant years that we have enjoyed together. The future will hold more laughter, joy and family adventures and activities. It may just look different than what we have known. We are adjusting to our new normal. We quiet our racing minds in our moments of fear, remembering that He is with us. We trust Him to hold us.

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,"

Today, another song from Kari Jobe blessed me: 

Find You on My Knees

Trouble chasing me again
Breaking down my best defense
I´m looking
God I´m looking for you

Weary just won´t let me rest
And fear is filling up my head
I'm longing
God I´m longing for you
But I will

Find you in the place I´m in
Find you when I´m at my end
Find you when there's
Nothing left of me to offer you
Except for brokenness
You lift me up
You never leave me thirsty
When I am weak
When I´m lost and searching
I find you on my knees

So what if sorrow shakes my faith
What if heartache still remains
I'll trust you
My god I´ll trust you
'Cause you are faithful
And I will

When my hope is gone
When the fear is strong
When the pain is real
When the it's hard to heal.

When my faith is shaken
And my heart is broken
And my joy is stolen
God I know that you lift me up
You never leave me searching

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Butterfly kisses for Dad

For the last month, Michelle has faithfully updated our blog. Sometimes we've collaborated, but mostly, she has been the writer. There have been times where she was not even sure that she authored the words that came up on the screen, but rather, God was guiding her fingers. Life has been a blur. The blog has been a mix of all that has consumed our lives these past weeks. I thought it appropriate that since its Father's day, I take my turn.

This past month has been the most difficult of our lives. We have moved from shock to despair to hope. And sometimes back again. And sometimes we are just numb and raw from pain we didn't think we could endure. But in the midst of this we have also experienced this Peace. And it does pass all understanding. We have been encouraged and blessed by many people in our lives and sometimes, miraculously, by complete strangers. We have been upheld.

This morning we were talking to Lydia about some of our favourite things. I gave her some butterfly kisses like I used to when she was a baby. We talked about wrestling which would turn into tickle fights for Lydia. We told her about news from home. Through all of this chatter she had several great smiles for me... Some of the first I've seen in person. Its been a great Father's day. One I will remember.

This week has been full of ups and downs for Michelle and I. There is so much uncertainty on this road we are on. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. We are certain of several things though and we cling to these.

We are certain we live in an amazingly supportive community that has rallied around us in countless ways. It has been humbling to be so blessed. We have found that it is in the midst of tragedy that community can truly be community.

We are certain of the love and support of family and friends.
We have been upheld.

We are certain of God's love and provision for us; that He is with us in our deepest, darkest places. Sometimes those are scary places to be. We have had to trust God more deeply than ever before. Trust can be hard, but we do trust Him. We trust the Great Physician.

Thank you to those who are praying without ceasing. Again we are upheld.

Lydia has had a good day. Her rash has improved. It was great to see her without her neck collar on - she looks so much more like herself.

Happy Father's Day!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lydia's MRI results came back clear for any fluid or spinal complications, so they removed her neck collar today! How much more comfortable that must be for her! Her neck muscles are very weak, from a month in the collar, and probably she suffered whip lash from being thrown on May 17. Today, when she sat in her wheel chair for two hours, he head needed to be held up. In one month, she has lost a lot of muscle tone - everywhere in her body. I don't know if she has the strength to lift, even if she wanted to, her heavy, casted lower legs.

Lydia has developed a rash all over her body - it is worse on her back. We are uncertain what has caused it. The hospital dermatologists will be looking at it on Monday.

With the exception of her feeding tube, she is free of machines. She looks like our girl sleeping - and sleeping some more. She is cocooned in light and warmth. Tonight, she had her eyes partially open, for a short period, and her facial expression seemed to show fear and uncertainty. We did our best to explain about the accident, and where she is, and that her body is healing from the injuries. We assured her that we were with her, and that God was always with her, whispering to her in her cocoon of his love for her. "Fear not", we said. Her face softened as she closed her eyes to rest again. So we pray for rest, and for gentle and peaceful awakenings when they come.

We have learned that seldom does an unconscious person wake up all at once. "Instead, the process of waking up from a coma is often long. Waking up depends on how badly the brain has been injured. The levels of coma tend to lighten and deepen, and then lighten again for different lengths of time. Usually a person with a brain injury wakens little by little. The process is different for every child and can take days to months. Not every child wakes up. " (taken from the Sick Kids Booklet for parents Recovering from Brain Injury)

My desire is to omit the last line from that paragraph, and believe that in time, Jesus will announce to Lydia: Talitha Koum, which means "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" These are the words that Jesus spoke to Jairus' daughter, as He raised her back to life. Earlier in this passage in Mark 5:21-43, when Jairus hears the news that his daughter is dead, Jesus says to him "Don't be afraid; just believe." How often we need to remind ourselves to not fear the future, but to believe. The One who can raise the dead, can heal Lydia and return her to us. We trust Him. In his power, and in His time, our prayer is that he shall say to Lydia "Talitha Koum".

Friday, June 15, 2012

Steady My Heart

I have just returned home from Friday Friends, and what a blessing it is to me, this group of beautiful women of God, who gather once a month on a Friday evening, to share deeply and pray for one another.  We have been together for many years, and in this long journey with Lydia, these sisters are holding me up, like Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms when he grew weary.  (Exodus 17:10-12)  We walk this path together, caring for one another, sharing our burdens and our joys,  praying together for the will of our heavenly Father to be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  With this trusted group of women, my heart declares, "How beautiful is the body of Christ".

Driving home tonight, I listened repeatedly to Kari Jobe's song Steady My Heart - music blaring and singing loudly, proclaiming the presence of God in the midst of pain, and finding refuge in His arms.  One thing I know for certain, He is HERE - right with us in this.  There are no depths we can go to where He is not there with us to steady our hearts. 

Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy
Why is pain a part of us
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You're here
You're real
I know I can trust You

Even when it hurts
Even when it's hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are

Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I'm not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What's good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

And I will run to You
You're my refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
Cause of everything You are

You steady my heart (x2)

Have a listen, and sing it with abandon.  

Lydia has brand new lime green casts on both of her legs, from toes to knees!  If she were at school, she would love for her friends to all sign them!  No, she has no fractures in her legs, these casts are to help her feet to be flexed, or at a ninety degree angle, so that when the time comes, she will be able to stand, and not have muscles that have drastically contracted, and thus impede her from standing.  Without the casts, Lydia's toes are almost always pointed.  This is part of the muscle contractions that happen in a coma.  Yes, she is still in her cocoon/coma.  Her smiles are wonderful indications that she is hearing and responding from her coma, even though it is in a delayed manner.  As her coma becomes lighter, we hope that she will be able to more consistently, respond. 
One small item of progress to report on and give thanks for: Lydia had a blod clot in her right arm, around the bicep area, and it has dissipated.  They monitored it with ultrasounds, but did not want to give her any blood thinner medication, lest it cause more bleeding in her brain.  Healing is happening, bits at a time.

Lydia will have the MRI this afternoon, and they will be able to assess her brain, and see if the neck collar that she wears, can be removed.  The neck collar provides support, and has been on since the accident, because of fluid at the base of the spine that was seen in an earlier MRI.
We are thankful for many gifts: the gift of family, friends, and community to care for Lydia and us, in this time.  After attending the funeral of a dear friend this morning, and celebrating her life, we remember the precious gift of life that God has given to each of us.  Cherish it and the Giver.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The goal of 5C is rehabilitation, so Lydia's days are full of activity and then, rest.  She has a sling and mechanical transporter that is used to lift her from her bed into a wheel chair.  She sat in her chair for over two hours, and the highlight was a trip outside into the sunshine - for her first time in 4 weeks.  Her eyes were open as we went, a rare but increasingly frequent occurrence.  Her eyes are open, but not focusing.  To protect her eyes from the sunshine, I put James' sunglasses on her.  Catherine joked with Lydia that she looked like a cool dude, relaxing in the sun!  Lydia gave us a broad smile – her toothy grin that she is known for!  It is the first smile I have seen.  How it blessed my heart!  She had other smiles today, for the charge nurse, and for another funny story.  Lord, how we love that the first part of Lydia that you are returning to us, is her smile.  Thank you, thank you!

In Lydia's therapy session, she explored tastes today, to see if she could get her lips to move, and to encourage her to swallow.  She was offered the choice of strawberries or Smarties.  She chose the strawberries!  A choice that delighted us, as they were berries brought from home.  She smelled them.  We rubbed the juicy cut side of a berry around her lips.  She seemed to enjoy this sensory exploration.

Tonight I was able to snuggle with Lydia in her bed;  something we would do every night at home before bed, something soothing to this mother's heart.  We delight in the gifts of today. 


Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

This is a long journey of faith that we are on together. We are told to be faithful in prayer. Lydia's recovery will be filled with many quiet spaces of waiting, with minutely small steps forward, and possibly some backwards steps too.

I should clarify from our blog update yesterday that each of the "gifts " of community we received, were a result of specific "asks" we made. The majority of the work to be done, is in prayer. Your prayers are effective. We know this personally by the "peace that passes understanding" that we are experiencing. Our family is upheld in prayer. We are carried through this storm. (Isaiah 43:2)

Let us not forget dear friends that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. (2 Peter 3:8,9). Our God is above time. No matter how long a time interval is from our time-bound perspective, it's like a twinkling of an eye from God's eternal perspective. So we wait on the Lord for his timing.

To those who are faithfully praying - thank you. I urge you to keep on. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Yes! Pray for our families, for Lydia, for her bus driver, the truck driver, and her friends. Pray for healing for all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yesterday, Lydia had an MRI, to give her medical team a more recent picture of her brain There was not an anethetist present for this, and Lydia was not sedated, consequently, she moved too much for them to get a concrete resolution. They intended to repeat the MRI today, only with an anethetist present. They stopped feeding her at midnight, so that she would be ready for any MRI opening. As she didn't have a set appointment time, it would be done whenever the machine was available. She waited all day, no doubt hungry, as she had been used to continuous feeds. She was therefore sleepy and unresponsive. When it became evident that the MRI could not be done today, they reinserted her feeding tube and began feeding her. She is now on bolus feeds, which means that she will be fed larger amounts, six times daily, rather than continuous feeds. Over time, they will wean her down to three larger feeds. One more small step closer to normal routines. They will try to do the MRI again tomorrow.

James was with Lydia today, and of course, he would have loved a smile, or some purposeful movement, but Lydia was too tired, and she slept a lot. She is our sleeper!

We are hopeful for Lydia's recovery. Along with many of you, we trust her to our God, who is faithful.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Joy returned to me today, as I looked back on all that we had been carried through, and thanked the Lord for his abundant presence with us, and His provision for our family. I have started a list of the mercies we have experienced in this journey. Just today, one neighbour did our laundry while another one cut the grass. A young mom in our church made us dinner, and a box of individual meals for us to have at the hospital arrived. We receive the generosity of our God in these things, and in the emails, texts and notes sent from friends and strangers. As our community has drawn together in prayer and faith, it has moved us deeply. Truly, the body of Christ, is beautiful.

As I write this, Lydia is sleeping soundly, covered in a bright lime green quilt, made expressly for her. Sweet dreams, Lydie bug.

Forever Reign

We sang this song in church on Sunday, led by a youth team of Lydia's friends.  This song, Forever Reign by Hillsong,  continues to ring out in our hearts.

You are good You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love You are love
On display for all to see
You are light You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life You are life
In You death has lost its sting

Chorus 1 

(Oh) I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God You are God
Of all else I'm letting go


My heart will sing no other Name
Jesus Jesus


We are grateful for the gift of Lydia's smiles.  Her warm smile is something that we, and many others, remember and appreciate about Lydia.  In the workings of her brain, some of the connectivity that allows her to smile at humour or jokes, is being knit back together. 
Last evening, Uncle Trevor, and two close friends of Lydia's from our Farm Market, visited with Lydia briefly. She responded slowly, to their banter and joking, with smiles. But they were beautiful, huge smiles.
Now doesn't that make you smile?
We thank you, Lord, for this gift of healing from you.  You know how to graciously encourage us and increase our faith.  How you delight in giving good gifts!  We praise you!  We thank you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thank you, all, for your prayers.  Once again, we are held in the everlasting arms, and comforted by the God of all comfort.  We have been so thankful for the infinite grace and mercy we are experiencing.  No matter how deep we go, He is still there, giving us more of Himself.  Amazing love! 
As this day of taking refuge in the Lord, draws to a close, we continue to wait on the Lord. 
Today we were blessed with more encouragement in Lydia's progress.  My mom reports:
Lydia continues to impress her therapists. They had her working with balls and she was able, with some effort, to get her left hand to touch the ball, and repeated it several times.  She also was encouraged to kick the ball, and although the movement was limited, the intent was there.  
So our soccer player has begun to make her comeback!  We are mindful the comeback will be long, but in faith, we believe that all things are possible with God.  Thank you for joining us in prayer. 
John 14:27.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
We are finding our way back to his measureless peace and grace today.


Yesterday was a day of tears for us, as we struggled with the uncertainty of Lydia's recovery.  We went from the "highs" of Sunday's smile and laughter, to the "lows" of an unresponsive Lydia, and a medical team meeting where we were informed that if Lydia should not recover to the point that she could be admitted to a Rehab facility, she would be transferred to home, with medical care, and she could remain in an unresponsive state for the rest of her life.  While we have known this possibility for weeks, it sunk in yesterday.  We could not imagine anyone other than our lively, interactive, fun loving girl back at home with us.  Yesterday she sat in a wheel chair for an hour, and it was our first time seeing her like this.  It was painfully difficult to see.  Somehow, Lydia, lying in a coma is easier to see than sitting upright, propped in a chair and incapable of moving herself or adjusting her position.  Add to that the growing grief of missing her.  We wept more yesterday than in many days previously.
We recognize that her medical team had to present to us all possible outcomes.  We are hopeful that Lydia will continue to heal and will be able to go to Rehab.  She is in Mighty Hands.
Yesterday afternoon, she did show some response to commands from her physio therapist and occupational therapist, which is encouraging. 
Today, new grief meets us with the news that a dear friend has died, leaving 2 children and a dear husband behind, clinging to the Hope we have in Jesus.  We surround them with our prayers too, and ask our Merciful God to be ever present in their lives.
Zeph 3:17  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Today, we are quieting ourselves, withdrawing a bit, to hear Him speak words of love to us, to heal our weary souls, and to nestle into His sweet lullaby.  I AM is here.

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Yesterday we experienced a 'time to weep'. God graciously holds our tears and our hearts in this season.

Psalm 34:18 is God's promise to us ....
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We have returned to see Lydia as a family today. The Lord has gone before us and prepared a way for the five of us to be together again. Last week, for the boys first visit, they moved Lydia to a private family visitation room in ICU. On 5C, she is in an observation ward with 4 other children, and allowed only 2 visitors at a time. We have planned to take turns seeing her. We were told we would get a private room in 5C sometime, but it might be awhile.
Last night they moved her to a private room! We are celebrating God's provision in this for our family.
She is sleeping right now, but earlier my brother reported that she was quite awake and responsive to their conversation: her cousins were joking and laughing, and she started to smile. When they laughed more, and "dialed up the laughter a bit" she began to belly laugh with them. How great is that? What amazing things are going on in her body and mind while she is cocooning?
Psalm 104:1 Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my god, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lydia had another first today

Lydia had another first today - first time sitting in a chair!  There is a lift system above her bed, and a harness the nurses put on her, to lift her and put her in a chair.  She handled it quite well, and sat for 35 min.  Her days are starting to have a routine of bathing, exercises, and plenty of rest.  This morning, briefly, her eyes were half open, but unseeing or registering what is seen.  This is part of her healing.  It may signify that she is less deep in her coma than previously,but not necessarily.  From the reading we have done in the book the hospital gave us, there are eight stages to a coma, and Lydia is currently between stages two and three.  Again, we are aware that the journey is long.  To quote a Chinese philosopher: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  Lydia has had many small steps this week.  We celebrate each of  them!

Lydia received a home made card this week from a young teen who encouraged Lydia with these words:  Don't tell God how big your problems are.  Tell your problems how big your God is!  Isn't that great?
Lyrics from another Chris Tomlin song blaze in my mind with that thought: 

Our God is greater,
Our God is stronger
God you are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God


Last night, with the boys, we went up to our recently completed cabin, for a family sleep over.  We had planned our first family sleep over for Friday May 18.  The cabin is a special spot for us.  We worked on it, on and off, for a year.  This spring, Lydia was the driving force to get it done!  She was Dad's helper, and doer.  We were both amazed at her focus and dedication to completing this project. 
James has retreated to the cabin a few times over the past weeks, as it is full of memories of time spent with his girl. 
Lydia had a sleep over with many girlfriends the Friday before her accident, and I am so thankful she did.  Last night was our first time having a family sleep over.  We missed Lydia, but we enjoyed playing manhunt/tag with the boys, roasting marshmellows, and reading Catching Fire aloud at bedtime.  Life continues.  When Lydia is able to join us, one of the first things we will do together, is have a sleep over at the cabin.  Until then, we entrust her to Jesus, knowing that He will return her to us in His time, and she will be His gift to us. We will be the Herrle5, together again.


Every time I leave Lydia to return home, I place my hand on her forward and say or sing to her: 
"The Lord Bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
This is a blessing we have sung or said over our children from the time they were infants, although we do not do it as regularly as we once did.  Usually, as we retired to bed, and looked in on them to see them sleeping peacefully, we would say Numbers 6:24-26.  
With renewed love and peace, we say this blessing over Lydia as she sleeps deeply, cocooned in the light and love of Jesus.
We were recently received this encouraging email:
Since yesterday I have been praying this over Lydia and wanted to share this you - may it encourage and strengthen you today and may every promise/every word breathe LIFE into Lydia. It is taken from Numbers 6 :22-27, it is known as the Aaronic blessing given to Moses for the His people (us). This apparently is the expanded version from the original Hebrew. I have inserted Lydia's name to personalize it and it seems fitting to do so.

Yahweh will kneel before Lydia presenting gifts and He will guard Lydia with a hedge of protection.
Yahweh will illuminate the wholeness of His being towards Lydia bringing order and He will provide Lydia with love, sustenance and friendship.
Yahweh will lift up the wholeness of His being and look upon Lydia and He will set in place all Lydia needs to be whole and complete.
So, I will put my name on Lydia (the Israelites) and I will bless her (them).
I love it!  We look to Yahweh, Yahweh, forever Yahweh, Yahweh.  And He shall reign forever, He shall reign forever, He shall reign, forever and ever ...  Sing it with me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today was another restful day for Lydia, yet one that was full of activity for her and around her. We have been meeting and getting to know her new medical team in Neurology at Sick Kids Hospital. Much more rehabilitation will be given to Lydia on this floor. I was amazed just today at the number of things a person in a coma can do! Lydia had a shower this morning on the shower bed. She then had physio for her arms and legs. This afternoon, the Physio therapists had her held up into a sitting position for about 5 minutes. Her eyes were minimally open for this, but not responsive. Still, it was beautiful to see our girl sitting up, and to see her cared for by such compassionate professionals.
Many of you will have seen the youtube photo slideshow that Lydia's good friend created. The photos are powerful. I cry every time I watch it. The lyrics to the accompanying Chris Tomlin song, Faithful, are even more powerful. I rest in them today. God is working in hidden places that I can't see. I know that I can trust his faithfulness. He holds my fragile soul, with great tenderness. He holds it today, and tomorrow. He is always there.
Faithful, forever you are faithful, lover of the wounded heart.
You defend the poor and the forgotten. You are faithful God.
I will sing to the maker of heaven and earth.
God you reign, forever, and your love will endure.
Faithful and true is the name of the Lord. You are faithful God.

Faithful, forever you are faithful, shelter for the fragile soul.
You lift us up and hold us all together.
You are there, in every season of my soul.
You are there, you 're the anchor that holds.
You are there, in the valley of the shadows.
You are faithful God.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

one step closer to home

I read a poster in the atrium at the hospital today, informing that "This month is brain injury awareness month".  How appropriate that we have moved up to 5C, the  Neuro Trauma Ward, and I have been given my first book on Recovering from Brain Injury.  We will be learning a lot about Brain injury and recovery this month.
It has been a full day at the hospital, with bathing, and a full hair wash.  On Tuesday we just dipped the ends of her hair into a basin.  Today was a full scrubbing!  With her hair braided again, and wearing something other than hospital sheets - a long shirt, that is cut up the back to allow it to slide up her arms, she is looking, and smelling fresh.  Now that we have moved up to the 5th floor, we are no longer in critical care, but on a floor with increased rehabilitation services.  We are in the land of the living!
Psalm 27:13  I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
All our hope and confidence is in Him. 
The next verse continues to guide us:  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
When we arrived in 5C, the nurse said that we are "one step closer to going home".  Hooray!  A bit later, I learned that we could be weeks or months on this step, before going to the next step and then the step after that.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the length of the path ahead of us.  So I return to prayer: Jesus, keep me in today, trusting You for your faithful provision on this day. I will wait for You.  Help me to be strong, and to take heart, and to wait for You.  Thank you that we are in the land of the living.  All our hope and trust is in You.  Thank you for your faithfulness, your gentleness and your immeasurable love for us.  We rest in You.

Lydia has had another restful day of sleeping.  She is now completely off morphine, and she is being weaned, over the next four days, from a drug called Diazepam. She will be given muscle relaxants, to help her muscles from tightening and cramping.  For example, her jaw is always clamped shut.  One other positive progress from today: her temperature was normal for the first time!  Small steps, but ones that take us, little by little, closer to home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

frolicing calves!

After sharing Malachi 4:2, which promises healing, and going out and frolicing like well-fed calves,I queried last week what that might look like.  I received the following response from a friend who grew up on a dairy farm:  
"It is hilarious to watch.  In the early spring or late fall when the weather is a little too brisk, the calves get frisky.  Generally, cows are pretty docile creatures, even calves.  They will do a little bounce, land on stiff front legs and fly their rear end up higher than you can imagine and swing it to the side in the air, landing on all fours.  (Think bucking bronco but with the spirit and litheness of youth.)  When they land, they may repeat this dance a few times, then suddenly jump into the air, almost straight up.  Upon landing, they take off like a rocket.  It is awesome to see.
Contrast this image to almost three weeks of stillness for our dear Lydie bug, who is usually very active.  We ask God for complete healing for her in this time of rest, so that she may go out and bounce on the trampoline, practice her Russian split jumps, play soccer, hike in the bush and race up the hill to the cabin.  We miss her highly animated presence at dinner, dancing around the kitchen, crawling in to Dad's lap and purposefully obstructing him from eating his dessert, and telling us about her days events.  For this fullness of life, we ask the sun of righteousness to rise on our sweet Lydie, with healing in its rays.  Come Lord Jesus, come.
Thank you for joining us in this petition.

A peaceful day

Lydia has had a very quiet, restful day. She sleeps a lot, which is very consistent with who she is. At home, she would often announce that she needed to be in bed early, and then proceed to do so of her own initiative. She was usually in bed before the boys! (Granted, she was up much earlier, but she is a girl who likes her sleep!)
They have completely weaned Lydia off of morphine, and are giving her valium for sedation. She had a slight fever today, but nothing concerning.
She remains in ICU until her spot on the 5th floor is ready.
We opened our Farm Market for the season yesterday, and we have been overwhelmed by the support of our customers. As a family, we want to thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and well wishes.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sometimes miracles take time

The title of this email has stuck with me since it was sent to Lydia in a card last week. That truth rings out today: sometimes miracles take time.
Today, Lydia received a card from Sydney, Australia, from a woman we do not know personally, but who heard about Lydia from a blog, and wrote to encourage her. Her card reads:
Don't leave before the miracle. Stick around! It could be 2 days or 40 days .... This theme of waiting on God's timing is very present in this journey.
So we wait- we wait with gratitude, with praise, with faith, and with expectation.

Today Lydia has had a good day. She is breathing well on her own. Her respiratory therapist said her chest infection is clearing. We were able to wash and braid her hair today, something I know she likes.
We took down her cards, photos and posters, in her ICU room, in preparation for her move to the 5th floor, but found out that she will stay in ICU until a space on the 5th floor opens up for her. We wait, confident in the excellent care she will continue to receive in Pediatric ICU.
She had an ultrasound of her right arm yesterday to assess a blood clot, and the vascular specialist is not concerned about it. A CT scan was also done of her brain and it showed no change. Good things!
Songs continue to uplift me, and give me perspective in this journey. Today's song is Desert Song by Hillsong.

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way ....
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory, and He is here.

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Prayer for today

God, we bless you and thank you for all that you're doing in Lydia's life.  We ask for your strong presence to go with her as she moves onto the 5th floor.  Jesus, prepare the room, the staff, the other children and parents with a peace that passes all understanding.  Provide your wisdom that is beyond natural understanding to all that attend to Lydia's needs.  Protect all that Lydia hears while in her cocoon - may she be ever in tune with your sweet voice, Jesus. Strengthen Lydia's lungs to fully expand, remove any infection, clear the secretions away easily and heal the brokeness.  Continue to hold her nerves, neurons and all the cells of her brain with your touch, heal and guide the healing process that brings full restoration.  May her rest be peaceful and may her awakening be calm. Amen.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, June 4, 2012

Harold Albrecht invites Canadians to join in praying for Lydia

We have been so touched by the support of our community, who care for us and pray with us.  Now our nation has been invited to pray for Lydia, at the request of our MP, Harold Albrecht, who spoke in the House of Commons today.  Wow!  To God be the glory, great things He has done.... and will do!

Stay strong, Lydia!

Lydia has made a giant step forward in her recovery today, as she has continued breathing on her own.  She is doing very well.  We see an answer to countless prayers for Lydia to stay strong.  Yesterday the nurse told me that removing the breathing tube and asking Lydia to breathe on her own, is like asking her to run a marathon, after being inactive for over 2 weeks.  Your continued prayers for her strength and healing are appreciated. 
She has a croupy sounding cough but, considering the number of broken ribs she has, and how painful it must be to cough, we are thankful that she can cough at all.   
She has had a restful day, but is more awake now, and moving both arms. The physio therapists, and Grandma have been doing some exercises for Lydia.  Grandpa is reading to her. 
Tomorrow, Lydia will likely be discharged from ICU and moved to the 5th floor, where she will receive more rehab therapy.   The charge nurse commented that they are all so pleased with her progress.  Deep thanks must be given to the medical team at the Pediatric Critical Care Unit at Sick Kids, for their fine care of Lydia. 
She remains in a coma.  In one blog, I misspelled coma, and said she was in a comma.  There is much truth to that statement as well.  A comma calls for a slight pause, a separation of sentence elements.  Our lives have been separated into before May 17, 2012, and after, just as we felt on the day she was born, that our lives would never be the same again.  We do not know the gift we will be given when Lydia emerges from the coma; if she will be fully restored to us, as she was before, or if a new Lydia will be ours to love.  One thing we do know, this pause, or lapse of time, is full of the workings of our God.  We trust Him for the gift He will give to us, in His time.  


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Prayers to share

We have been very touched by your prayers.  I thought I would share a few of the ones that we have received:
Today:  Thank you Lord, for giving Lydie the strength and determination to breathe on her own today!  She is so strong, Lord, and we know that You are her strength and her healer.
Last week: Lord, we are your precious children, and we celebrate your love today. Continue to snuggle with Lydia, in her cocoon of healing. Soothe her with your ointment. Whisper your love words to her. We say again that we trust You and we entrust her to You. You love her more than all of us combined and your love brings life.
And quite succinctly, a three year old boy that Lydia has babysat, prayed that God would heal her from "head to toe".  Amen!
A dear friend has also shared a prayer that was written by Charles de Foucauld.   It echoes the prayers we have been trying to pray since May 17, as we surrender to our Loving Father.   

Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me whatever you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.

Into your hands I commend my spirit.
I offer it to you with all the love that is in my heart.
For I love you, Lord, and so want to give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve and with boundless confidence,
For you are my father.

Breathing on her own

Over all, Lydia has done well today. The hours immediately after her extubation (the removal of her breathing tube) were the most anxious for us in the last two weeks, as we watched her labouring to breathe. Initially, she did a lot of abdominal breathing, and by this evening, that has lessened considerably. Nurse Grandma reported that Lydie was doing better this evening than she expected. The great relief came this evening when the Doctor wheeled the ventilator cart out of the room, indicating they did not think they would need to intubate Lydia to assist her breathing again.
Walking by faith is hardest when we fix our eyes on what we see, rather than on the One who is all powerful and all loving. Today we prayed a lot and invited others to pray for Lydia and for us.
It has been a week full of small but steady steps in the path of healing. Thank you Lord, for your provision along the way; and thank you friends, for your prayers.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Extubate June 3

Yesterday an ultrasound was done of Lydia's diaphragm.  It revealed some weakness.  This morning they extubated, and they are monitoring her to see if she has the strength to breathe on her own.  Please pray for strength for Lydia, and for wisdom for the medical team as they assess her condition throughout the day.  They may intubate her again if she is not able to breath independently. 

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2

Lydia's breathing tube was not removed today after all.  They decided it might be best to wait another day or two.  The breathing tube gives the nurses an easy conduit for suctioning phlegm and other secretions from her chest from the infection she has. 
The boys visit with Lydia yesterday went well.  The hospital is so very accomodating.  They moved Lydia to a private room for this family time, which lasted about 8 minutes, but that was enough for the boys!  James and I were more keenly aware that this was the first time the Herrle5 had been together since May 17.  We look forward to more family times when Lydia emerges from her coma.  For now, the boys have said they don't need to see her again until her eyes are open. 

Update June 2

Tube by tube, Lydia is recovering, and many of her own bodily systems and functions are now working independently. Late this morning they will remove her breathing tube and she will breathe on her own.
We celebrate each small recovery. Thank you for your prayers for Lydia.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

A Good Visit

The boys visit went well. It was short but sweet. We tried to help them understand that all the tubes, wires & machines are there to help Lydia. They really enjoyed the children's lounge first, which gave them some comfort in being at a hospital.

After two weeks on Morphine, which can interfere with the bowels, Lydia's body is beginning to function properly. This is another step on the road to healing. She continues to spike a fever & infection - please pray specifically that the infection would clear soon.
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June 1st Update

I just talked to my mom, who graciously spends nights and days at the hospital, with Lydia. She is nurse & Grandma all in one.
Lydia's fever spiked in the night, and she has another infection, with a lot of heavy mucous secretions that they have to suction from her lungs.
Yesterdays coughing is seen in a new light.
They will definitely keep her breathing tube in for several more days or longer, so that there is an open path to suction her.
Praying Isaiah 40 again: the Lord gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Lord, make her strong to fight this infection.

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scripture and song

This morning I am holding the word Wait, in my heart, trusting, as I do.  Isaiah 40:28-31 speaks to me:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)
Another version says, But those who wait on the Lord, will renew their strength.
Lord, we are waiting on you, hoping in you, to renew Lydia's strength and our own. 
Steven Curtis Chapman sings a song, Wait, based on this passage.  It is an older song, that takes me back to the early days of our marriage ... its truth still rings out.
Answers come slowly to your cries of desperation,
But time is His tool, teaching the greatest lessons learned;
So let Him do His work in you,
And watch the miracles come true as you (wait).
Wait, wait, wait on the Lord;
You will understand in time.
Why you must wait,
Wait, wait, wait on the Lord;
Yes He hears you,
But for now you must wait on the Lord.
Waiting ....

Yes He hears you,
But for now you must wait on the Lord.

Answers come slowly to your cries of desperation,
But time is His tool, teaching the greatest lessons learned;
So let Him do His work in you,
And watch the miracles come true as you (wait).