Update on Clara Ray

Little Clara had heart surgery today.

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Going into the surgery, the doctors didn’t know if they would be able to do a 2-ventricle repair, or if they would need to make her heart function on 1 single ventricle.  They had to wait and see how she did during surgery, and see how her heart looked.  If a single ventricle was necessary, it would take at least 2 more open heart surgeries to complete the process of converting her heart to function with a single ventricle.

I am so very happy to report that the surgery was incredibly successful.  Not only were the doctors able to preserve both ventricles, but they were able to “fix everything,” according to her mama.  Every hole in her heart and every leaky valve is fixed, and she has a permanent pacemaker.

The next 24 hours are the most critical, and the doctors are watching her closely, but for now, no more major surgeries are on the horizon.  She is expected to recover over the next several weeks, then go home in her Mommy and Daddy’s arms.

To God be the Glory, now and forever.

 

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Welcome, Clara Ray!

Yesterday, another heart warrior was born.  The doctors are already calling Clara Ray a miracle.

Clara

During her mother’s pregnancy, the doctors saw a combination of heart defects they had never before encountered at Boston Children’s hospital.  Although they had seen each defect individually, they had never seen all of the problems occur in one baby.

Clara had a full heart block, a complete unbalanced AV canal, Hetetotaxy syndrome, and hydrops, among other defects.

She wasn’t expected to live past 20 weeks, and of course, the doctors offered her parents an abortion.  Her brave and faithful parents, Johanna and Craig, refused the abortion and started to pray.

It was soon after this that Johanna found Matthew’s story with an internet search, and contacted me.  It has been incredible to watch their journey, celebrating each milestone with them.  When Clara’s heart was still beating at 28 weeks, she had already proved the doctors wrong.  Then came 30 weeks, then 35, and Clara still held on.  She was born early yesterday morning at 38 weeks, weighing 6 lbs, 9.6 oz.

Clara is not out of the woods yet, and still needs our prayers.  She will most likely need a pacemaker soon, and open heart surgeries after that.

Johanna and Craig’s faith is strong, and they have continued to pray, giving God all the credit for each and every step along their journey.  We are so thankful that she is finally in her Mommy and Daddy’s arms, and we praise God for this miraculous little fighter and the gift of new life.

Click on the links below to follow her journey:

GoFundMe page at Clara Ray’s Heart Journey or Facebook at Prayers for Clara Ray

Birthright International Conference

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Last weekend, I had the honor of sharing Matthew’s story at the Birthright International Conference in Newark, NJ.

If you are not familiar with Birthright, it is a wonderful organization that offers free, nonjudgmental help to any woman facing an unplanned, unwanted, or difficult pregnancy.  Their website says, “The essence of Birthright is love,” and we found that to be true as we were welcomed with warm and open arms by all of the delegates at the conference.  What an incredible group of women and men, all of whom have dedicated themselves to “loving both.”  They love all babies, born and unborn, and love their mothers no matter what the circumstances.

I shared Matthew’s story as the keynote speaker at the conference banquet, and it was very well received.

Aaron and I also got to see a part of the country we’d never seen:  New York City!  It was a lot for this small-town-girl to take in, but we had a lot of fun.  We walked through Central Park, rode the elevator to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, and experienced Times Square and the busy, busy streets of the Big Apple.

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