Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Great Mercy

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. -Ezekiel 36

Without thy sweet mercy I could not live here,
Sin soon would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through thy free goodness, my spirits revive
And he that first made me, still keeps me alive.

Church is a great reminder of what is true. Today through this scripture and song I was overwhelmed with God's mercy. My flesh hates being subject to something outside my control. But God's mercy is a very good uncontrollable factor in our lives. We don't make ourselves presentable to God. We can't. By faith, he mercifully exerts all the effort and energy to bring us to himself clean. This is a very good place to be.

I see Little Man being worked on everyday by people paying attention to the smallest detail and it also is a healthy reminder of this great Outside Intervention going on in my own life. I did not save myself. I could not. There is One who faithfully intervened on my behalf and did what I could not do for myself. Jesus paid attention to every detail and now I'm free. What mercy!

We have had 8 very, very positive days. Harrison just knocked out day 8 tonight. Different nurses have called him a "champ" and a "rock star." We've had an incredible first week. My brother adequately refereed to it as a golden week. To be at now where we were 8 days ago is pretty unbelievable.

The past two days have been very positive still. Today was a little stressful as we rode the proverbial roller coaster for a bit. After 8 straight days of positive news and feedback we walked into some unsettling news. We knew we wouldn't bat .1000, and we've been told this will be a process of a few steps forward and a then a step back. Today wasn't really as much a step back, as it is Harrison choosing to take a break for a few seconds.

Harrison is obviously underdeveloped. Among other things that are still growing is part of his nervous system. Right now, the part that runs his involuntary breathing isn't quite fully operational. He is breathing on his own really well better than 90% of the time, but he gets tired from all the work and every now and then takes a break. This little rest coupled with the lack of stimulation from his brain and nervous system causes an episode nurses refer to as a "Brady."

I've witnessed about 4 of these, and it is kinda terrifying. In the middle of his hiatus his heart rate plummets from 160-170 to 40-70 beats a minute and his O2 saturation then begins to quickly taper. A lot of alarms begin to beep and red lights flash. Which set off my blood pressure and heart rate. But a slight rub on his back, a wiggle on his torso will cause him to snap out of it and remind him to breathe. Often, in shorter spells, he comes out of it on his own. And in about 10-15 seconds everything resets and continues

He has had anywhere from 2 - 3 Bradys every 12 hours since his birth. And we've been assured these are really normal. Every baby goes through these. In fact, it's a rare exception if a pre-mature baby doesn't Brady.

So in some sense this is part of the process of a pre-mee's development. When we went to check in on Harrison he had recorded 4 Saturday night and 5 throughout the day today. Enough to warrant some further inspection from doctors. They were concerned maybe an infection was wearing him down so doctors ordered a blood lab. And as it turns out his blood came back with great numbers. His white blood cells were normal, and he actually just finished 7 days of antibiotics 2 days ago. So they don't feel its an infection. He is tolerating feeds. They have increased his feeding from 1ml/4 hr to 2.5ml/2hrs. And they want that to go up to 9.5ml/2 hrs over the next week. They also took an x-ray to check out his lungs and they looked very much improved, strong and clear.

One thing I believe effected him was something that happened yesterday. They tried to insert a permanent IV into his arm. He had one in his bellybutton they wanted to remove to avoid infection. This line (no bigger than a thread of cloth) would go into a large vein in his upper arm, around his shoulder and settle close to his heart. They were unsuccessful to turn the corner (fairly common) at his shoulder and didn't leave it in. They worked on him over an hour and he fussed and fought them about the whole time. That really wore him out, because when we went to see him later that night he was really lethargic. I think that spell of working on him wore him out and he's still recovering from being worked over for an hour.

We aren't sure why all the Brady's occurred all the sudden. And it seems it's normal for pre-mies. All Harrison's other signs are showing progression. He pooped today when I changed his diaper. It was a load from my perspective, but the nurse told us it was about a medium size. He weighed in at 1# 10 oz tonight gaining 45 grams since yesterday (a big jump).

May the Great Physician continue to intervene on Harrison's behalf and bring him to full maturity.

You could pray for him in this way:

That these Brady episodes would lessen and not harm him. They are treating him with caffine for his heart, and that can help to a point. But it seems time is the only cure as his body continues to grow. But pray his nervous system develops healthfully.

And pray he gains weight and tolerates his feeding. This is the next big hurdle after the respiratory one we cleared this week. This will help grow and develop him more than anything at this point. If he keeps tolerating his feeding, they can take his IV out for good!

Thanks for your prayers,

Gripped by this mercy,



  1. Absolutely praying for all of these things and for mom and dad, of course. Love y'all.

  2. Praying! Thanks so much for the continued updates, Josh. You are a beautiful writer, and it helps being able to specifically pray for Harrison and his immediate needs. Hugs to mommy and daddy!

  3. Praying, praying! What a great update. Thanks for keeping us posted, Josh.

  4. many prayers and much love from NC! Love, E

  5. Josh,
    I came on staff with Erin in 2004 and have been keeping up with y'all's journey with Harrison. Just wanted you to know that I'm praying hard for your little guy and for you and Erin. We have a 20 month old little boy and another on the way, so your posts about Harrison really bring me to tears. Anyway, wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you three. Blessings, Dara Lynn Rieger

  6. Josh & Erin, (Josh, I joined staff with Erin in 2004 as well) I'm just catching up on what's been happening w/you & your little man Harrison. Praying God's continued blessing, provision, & health for you all. One of my best friends & her husband have been going through precisely the same thing as you, but beginning a month earlier. From my time with them, and what I've read from you, I want to encourage you as you walk with Harrison through this. It truly sounds like he's doing really well. I'm praying for you all!