Wrapping up Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month – May – Isaac’s STORY!

A gift to Isaac by the Team that worked on him after arriving at the NICU

We prayed! A lot! You see there was MUCH waiting for God to move in order for me to become pregnant with Isaac. While the waiting was painful, day by day, I would awake in the morning, with my heart aching to be a mom. Every day, I would lay the full extent of the burden at Jesus feet and He would then equip me to walk in His freedom, hope, faith, and trust. I knew God loved me completely. He knew what was best for us. And I knew He held the power to decide what was best for our life. He was faithful to provide for me and continually washed His peace over me. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I battled against my flesh that wanted to demand that I get what I so desperately wanted, and yes, everytime I surrendered He filled me up. (funny how that works!). But in this waiting time, God also grew me up so much, and this was the beginning of his preparations to prepare me to be the mother He wanted me to be. He knows what He is doing.
So finally, the news! WE were pregnant! I had for the majority of it, a wonderfully blissful pregnancy.
I went in for what would be my final check up on August 29, 2002. A week overdue, I was sent home with plans to induce in two more days if nothing happened.
Well something did happen later that evening that would change our lives forever! And to see the hand of God woven throughout this is nothing short of continually giving me chills, goose bumps and a deeper understanding of the sovereignty and faithfulness of God!
When I had some “red flags” that late afternoon, I finally laid down to see if baby was moving. An hour went by -nothing. Drank an orange pop to get him moving….still nothing. At this point I am getting concerned. The nurse on call told us to go to the hospital for monitoring. It wasn’t long after heart monitoring the nurse showed me the tape and the inconsistency and the points where it was nearly flat. Then the doctors arrived peering over me. You are not going home tonight. “we have to get that baby out of there now”. I knew this was serious, and immediately told Joe to get on the phone and start calling people and asking them to pray. I was asked to climb off the table, walk to the operating room, as Joe was left behind with the door shut in his face. (his mom told me later, Joe stood on the other side of that door with his hand pressed against it)
I kept my emotions collected as I knew I had to do my part to make this go efficiently as possible. But my body lay there shaking out of control. I began to recite Psalm 23 (this was a verse I had memorized as a 12 year old little girl when I had to go for a heart catherization procedure-as a follow up to my heart surgery at 18 mo. of age). A nurse stood over me and spoke a few words to me that brought an instant peace like a message from an angel. “Leah everything is going to be okay” A few seconds later and I was out and under anasthesia.

Isaac was delivered by emergency cesaeran – not breathing, limp, and unresponsive. After being worked on for “some time” they felt they had him stabilized. I came out of the anasthesia and shortly after met Isaac. My first and very brief meeting of him, was when they told me his body was going into shock, shutting down, he was having seizures and they needed to transport him to the NICU at St. Vincent Hospital 25 miles away. I greeted my little man for the first time as he lay in an incubator. I touched his hand and said hello. I remember hardly believing this was my baby.
He was whisked away and I remained there praying along with a nurse that a room would open up for me soon so I could be close to him. And Praise the Lord within a few hours I was across the hall from the NICU. As I sat in my bed, my baby laid in the NICU hooked up to a ventilator clinging on to life.
That night doctors told us the news of Isaac. “your baby is very, very, sick, we do not know if he will live”. Joe and I sobbed hard. I spent some quiet time with the Lord in prayer and reading the Bible. When I was finished, I experienced something incredible and hard to describe. “a peace that surpassed all understanding”. (earlier that day our very precious friends, Gary& Joy Duckworth had come to support us -Joy was hands on Jesus in the flesh helping me change from my gown that I had thrown up on all over. Pastor Gary led us in prayer as we dedicated and submitted Isaac to the LORD, knowing God created Isaac, He loved him even more than us, we asked for healing, but also KNEW Isaac belonged to the LORD and He would do His very best-) I sat there with this peace in my spirit. I had an assurance that only God can give in the supernatural “that everything was going to be okay” (hmmm interesting isn’t that the theme here-what did that nurse say at that moment of peace in the beginning of this ordeal?). I did not know what that meant at all-whether Isaac would live or God would take him back home. I just had a calm peace that somehow, no matter what it would be okay.
Next day we got news that Isaac had done remarkable overnight and was doing more breathing on his own, his organs we starting to function properly-that it looked like he was going to live! We sat next to Isaac with doctors there, giving glory to God!

More days in the NICU. We loved on him, prayed over him, and sang Jesus Loves Me to him daily. After 17 days in the NICU, learning to suck a bottle (hard for him), MRI to determine he had a stroke in utero, and the doctor that delivered him told us”in my 30 years of delivering babies in this sick condition-I have only seen 2 live – one other baby and your son”
We left the hospital with Isaac homeward bound. Isaac remained on seizure medication until 7 months of age, had numerous blood pricks, EEG’s, other testings, lots of doctor visits, and OT. WE didn’t know for sure how the stroke may or may not affect him. We were thrilled when he started walking at 9 mo. old thinking we were in the clear because he was physically showing all signs of functioning well.

There is so much I could share with this adventure. But as time went on we realized he was very delayed in communication and just struggled to understand verbally, emotionally the world around him. He suffered some serious separation anxiety and between the age of 2 and 3 I just recognized this quiet/inwardness about him that concerned me. I prayed and sought the Lord to help me to help connect with my son the way he needed, in order to help draw him out. God has been faithful time and time again – I saw a quick turn around in Isaac in his responses. I have always been aware that Isaac has needed more direction, more time to develop and more time to connect with things. (all things are beautiful in HIS time) It has been hard at times to see. I recall when he was 4 and taking swimming lessons. The young instructor got very impatient as my little man stood there not responding to instructions to get in line while al lthe other kids were all ready in order. Mama to the rescue! I swept down to assist him. And then went home with my heart hurting, crying, telling Joe we’ve got to teach him what get in line means. So we practiced in our home with mommy and daddy. But he was not able to understand. One thing after another has been challenging for him in this respect. The concept of same and different – just a blank look. Simple comparing two flash cads with the same picture, two different, over and over I would drill him – he had no idea. Then, one day about 1 1/2 years after presenting this to him, we were in the grocery store – “mama! Those are different! That car is red that one is blue! (referring to those awesome race car shopping carts).
This is one in a zillion of those things that seem so turned off inside him that one day (BOOM!) the light just comes on! I notice that experiencing things hands on and through real living helps him to understand.
This is one in a zillion reasons, why the beauty of home schooling is such a gift to us! God has made a way when it seemed there was no way for me to be at home, to home school, to see my boys grow together, love one another, and learn through real life experience! So if you see me get excited about home schooling, it isn’t because I thinkg I am so great, or wanting to flaunt myself, – truly I am JUST in utter joy of seeing God perform what seemed impossible to me! It truly lights up my life and I stand in AWE everyday!
The challenge are there for Isaac. But in spite of it all – God is faithful to show that He is very present throughout the whole entire adventure from the beginning. And it encourages me to know that HE will continue to be faithful!
I recall when Isaac was only 8 months old and we went into Walmart photography for some mother/son pictures. The young gal there said to me, almost hesitating, “I have something to tell you, you might think this sounds CRAZY but I am a Christian, and there is something special about your little boy. Sometimes God just gives me these words to speak on someones behalf, and I just want to say he is special and God is going to do something great with him.” You should have seen the look on her face and the tears that came to her eyes when I said: “well I don’t think that sounds crazy at all. Because I am a Christian and this little boy was almost dead and God breathed life back into him. We had an immense amount of people covering him in prayer and God healed him”. Wow! Wow! Wow!

I thank God everyday for the privilege He’s given us in Isaac. Through the challenges, Isaac has remained a wonderful, joyful, sweet, loving little boy! God has taught us SO much, and continues to teach us so much through Isaac’s life! He’s is teaching our whole family things that we would have never known any other way! God knows what He is doing. He has a plan for our family, and Isaac’s life (Psalm 139).
I told my best friend of a zillions years the other day. Parenting Isaac, teaching him, learning how to bring life out of him through the ways that work for this uniquely created and designed life – has given us that life long challenge to “walk daily in faith”. It’s a daily step by step faith in seeking, cliinging, relying and trusting in God to show us the way! And HE ALWAYS does!

Glory to God!