Update – 2/22/2007

On Monday, Hannah went to see her pediatrician, who said she looked outstanding.  She weighed 14lbs 5oz, which is perfect for her height.  He listened to her heart and her chest and said she sounded great.  He was also impressed by her development and that she was doing so well on solid foods.

That night we had a tiny scare — she didn’t seem too interested in eating, although it wasn’t NEARLY as bad as when all this first started.  We also noticed that every now and then she would start breathing really fast, but then it would go back to normal.  She actually does this a lot, but usually it’s because she’s excited or trying to talk to us.  She hadn’t had a “good” poopy diaper in a few days, and we could tell that her tummy was bothering her a little.  We called the cardiologist’s office, and they said to just watch her close, and if we’re still worried about it that we should check her into the ER.  After about another hour of trying to get her to eat more (and of course we’re already freaking out by now), we decided to take her in to the ER at Our Lady of the Lake, just to be safe.

We were worried when we got to the emergency room, because it was PACKED.  We told the nurses about Hannah and her condition, and they called her name next.  Praise God, we didn’t have to wait.  They took her vitals, and they all seemed pretty normal.  They let us wait in a hallway away from all the other patients to make sure she didn’t catch something.  We didn’t have to wait very long at all, and we were brought back to a room.  While we’re sitting there praying (and freaking out), a nurse walked in and said she recognized us from Healing Place!  She knew about Hannah’s story already and said she had been praying for her.  Isn’t it amazing how even though Satan tries to distract us and make us question our faith, God intervenes and gives us peace!  Not one, but two nurses that night walked in to see us because they recognized us from Healing Place!  I mean really, what are the odds of that!  It was so comforting to know that Hannah has been in the hands of believers!

The doctor came in, and after checking her out, he said she looked really good, and that she might just be a little constipated.  They gave her an enema, which she did NOT like one bit.  About 15 minutes and two diapers later, she felt much better, and we were soon discharged.

We took her to the cardiologist the next morning, so he could do an ultrasound and make absolutely sure nothing else was going on.  The ultrasound showed good signs of improvement in her condition!  Her shortening fraction was measured at 13-18%, and the diameter of her left ventricle had decreased to 2.7cm!  Praise God!  He continually amazes us!  The cardiologist said that he is not worried at all about Hannah’s feedings, which is great!

Since that time Hannah’s appetite has gotten closer to “normal”.  We still think her tummy is hurting her a little bit, so the doctor called in a laxative prescription for her, which she has been taking for two days now.  Her pediatrician also recommended we use glycerin suppositories if we need a little extra help.

Yes, we went to the ER for constipation, but wow, was it ever worth it!  We received reassurance from God that He is still in control, and also got an unplanned update on Hannah’s heart function, which was definitely the best it’s been so far!

Update – 2/18/2007

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

Yesterday was a very special day for us. Hannah was dedicated in church!! If you remember, two months ago we had scheduled her dedication to be on December 16th, but she was admitted into the hospital instead. So finally, on February 17th, close to Valentine’s Day, we were finally able to have her dedicated. As she was smiling on stage and staring quietly at all the people, we know that heaven was smiling down on her. Isn’t it amazing that exactly two months ago she was in a helicopter, in very critical condition, being flown to Ochsner?? But God is faithful, and she continues to do so well at home. She’s rolling all around, sitting up, eating lots of solids (green beans are her new favorite), and saying Da-Da. She is the happiest baby I’ve ever seen and hardly ever gets upset. She certainly seems to value the little things in life already! She has taught us so much.

Last night Greg and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet a family with a 20-month old daughter that is battling the SAME heart condition that Hannah has. They just happened to have the same pediatric cardiologist that Hannah does, and he told them about us. We visited them at the PICU and saw their precious daughter looking much like Hannah had at the beginning of our trial. We saw a familiar doctor that Hannah had those first few days…and it seems like they learned a LOT from how Hannah was treated. Greg and I remember praying that Hannah’s treatment would somehow help other children with the same illness. And once again God was faithful! It was a joy to share all that God has done for us and will do for them. Hannah is a story of hope. We are thankful for this divine connection. They are a strong Christian family with great faith, and we join with them in prayer for their daughter’s complete healing. You can check out their amazing adoption story and updates on their website. Go to  www.babyjellybeans.com and type Wusterbarth in the last name search field.

Greg and I are continuing to work with the Louisiana Pediatric Cardiology Foundation in planning the upcoming fundraiser. Greg has begun work on the website, which is www.lpcf.com. Thanks to Rob from HPC for designing the awesome logo! We are still in need of corporate sponsors, so if you are interested, please let us know!

Update – 2/11/2007

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving towards all He has made.”  Psalm 146:13

This past Friday we took Hannah to her cardiologist for another check-up. Her heart rate was 140 (completely normal) and her breathing rate was 39 (also completely normal). He is going to try to get her completely off two of her medications, Propranolol (beta-blocker) and Lasix (diuretic), so we have started weaning those. That will leave us with only 3 heart meds and aspirin!! AND…we don’t go back to her cardiologist for 6 whole weeks! Hallelujah! We are praying, praying, praying that her next ultrasound on March 22nd will show much improvement.

Here’s more good news…

A couple days ago we got a notice in the mail that said we had a certified letter from Ochsner to pick up at the post office. I waited until yesterday to go pick it up. I figured it was just another statement or something from our doctor’s visit there a week ago. As I was waiting for the postal worker to retreive the letter, I saw her devotional calendar on her desk. For yesterday’s date, February 10th, the verse was Ezekial 36:26 which says,

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.”

I thought, “Wow. God put that there just for me to read!” The verse alone renewed my sense of faith in Him, that He is healing Hannah. Then the postal worker handed me the letter. It was from the Cardiomyopathy and Heart Transplantation Center at Oschner. I tore it open it before I even got to the car. Here’s an excerpt of what it said:

“We are writing to inform you that during Hannah’s recent hospitalization her name was placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing database waiting list. She was listed as a status 1A for heart transplantation on December 29, 2006. During this same hospitilization, her medical condition improved and on January 8, 2007, her listing status was changed to a Status 7. After being seen in the clinic on February 1, 2007, by Dr. Thomas Young, her medical condition was deemed stable and she was removed from the list.”

Hannah is no longer on the heart transplant list!!! PRAISE GOD!!! Those few sentences are evidence of God’s faithfulness in healing her heart. We prayed from the very beginning that she would not need a transplant, even when all the doctors said she needed a new heart. We believed this was not God’s will for her. As Jesus healed the sick in the Bible, He always said that their faith made them well. We believe this is the key to Hannah’s miracle, and we continue to pray in faith for her complete healing.

Update – 2/7/2007

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

God gave me a revelation early yesterday morning about how to successfully give Hannah her medications! I prayed for wisdom, and once again He was faithful. I had noticed that she always took her bottle with her afternoon medicine. Since it is such a small amount, she can’t even detect it. So yesterday morning and evening, when she gets all of her meds, I tried giving her the bottle one ounce at a time– and in each ounce I put only one or two medicines. This took a lot of trips back and forth to the kitchen, but she took it ALL every time!! Didn’t even leave a drop. God is so good! I had been really worried about giving her meds by syringe because she always lost some. And it is very important that she gets every little milliliter. Isn’t it so good to know that God pays attention to all of our worries??

On a totally different note…

Greg and I attended another meeting today about an upcoming fundraiser for the Louisiana Pediatric Cardiology Foundation. The event will be a mixed doubles tennis tournament held at the Country Club of Louisiana on May 31st-June 2nd. It is being chaired by Hannah’s cardiologist in Baton Rouge, and he and his partners were the founders of the LPCF. The charitable organization provides support services to children who suffer from cardiac disease. Greg and I, along with many other parents of children with heart-related problems, are working together to plan this event. Right now we are seeking corporate sponsors who are willing to provide donations. The LPCF’s goal is to raise $25,000 and we believe it can be done. There will also be a silent auction during the event, so we are seeking local businesses who are willling to provide products or services to be auctioned off. If you or someone you know is interested in donating, please send us an email (click “private message” on this website’s menu) and we will provide you with more details. Also, any tennis players interested in participating in the tournament– registration has not begun yet, but will be limited to the first 120 teams that sign up.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!!!

Update – 2/5/2007

Matthew 6:34 says… “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A few days ago, Hannah apparantly figured out that mixing her medicines in her bottles…made it taste funny. No, not just funny- bad. So she protested by not wanting to drink all of her meds, or much of anything for that matter. After one whole day of panicking, crying,  and racking my brain for a solution, I finally decided that she must be associating this “bad taste” with ALL of her bottles. Not good for a little one who is supposed to be getting EXTRA calories right now. So the following day I resorted to giving her meds by syringe, which she is definitely not a big fan of either, but 2 minutes of crying is certainly better than a whole day of worrying. After that, she took every single bottle that I gave her the entire day. Of course, her Mimi and I were praying CONSTANTLY during each feeding, and God heard each and every prayer. We praised Him with every empty bottle. He had given me wisdom to handle the problem. Thank you, Lord! He is SOOOO faitfhful. So for now, we continue to give her meds by syringe mixed with a tiny bit of formula. We’re hoping her cardiologist will have some other ideas for us at her appointment this Friday. But it works for now.

On a brighter note, Hannah is doing so many new things each day that we can hardly keep up. She is practically sitting up on her own, saying all sorts of new things (including ya-ya, la-la, hey, ha, da, ga), and rolling around. She’s started mixing up her “words” and makes funny sentences! She’s really gotten into solid foods, too- she loves eating carrots and sweet potatoes. If I gave her the spoon and bowl, I think she would try to feed herself! So praise God that she is thriving at home. Since she’s doing so well, I’m planning on going back to work February 26th, so be praying for a smooth transition. I know her Pammie will be glad to take care of her 3 days a week again! As always, thank you for your continued prayers for God to completely heal Hannah’s heart.

Update – 2/1/2007

Today we had our check-up with Hannah’s cardiologist at Ochsner in New Orleans. The drive over brought back so many memories of making that first trip on December 17th- the uncertainty of it all, being in total shock, praying constantly, watching the helicopter fly overhead transporting our little Hannah, wondering what our future would be like. This time we were able to watch her sleeping peacefully in our own car, feeling so thankful that we were able to transport her ourselves, that we were just going for a check-up, and that we would return home with her in just a few hours. Oh, the things we are thankful for these days! Thank you, Lord! It felt so strange to be back in the hospital building where we had spent over 3 weeks with her in PICU. It had been our home away from home. We enjoyed seeing the wonderful nurses and doctors again who had taken such good care of Hannah. They are truly the best of the best, going beyond the call of duty.

We were very pleased with her check-up. She now weighs 14 pounds! Her cardiologist said over and over that she looks great. Her ultrasound was pretty much the same, “maybe a tiny bit better.” But we were encouraged nonetheless because she has never gotten worse, even though her medications have changed. He decreased another medication (Propranolol) and plans to have her off of it soon, and increased another (Carvedilol). These are both beta-blockers. He told us about another patient of his that had the same heart condition at one year of age. It took about a year and a half for the heart to return to normal function. So he reminded us to not be discouraged by the same ultrasound results for the past few weeks because it simply takes a lot more time. We can handle that! We are still believing for Hannah’s complete healing. In the meantime, she is still on the transplant list with downgraded status. Our prayer is that she will eventually be removed from this list! We do not have any more appointments scheduled in New Orleans as of right now, so we’ll continue seeing her cardiologist in Baton Rouge every two weeks. Thank you so much for praying us through this check-up today. We left New Orleans with a great sense of peace. God is in control and He is watching over Hannah. He is faithful. By His stripes, Hannah IS healed.