Monday, November 28, 2011

Jasmine's Second Chance at Life

After 105 days in the hospital, 97 days in Loma Linda, 91 days on the transplant list, 2 infections with pneumonia, a heart that stopped and needed to be restarted, problems with the liver, trouble being ventilated and multiple other complications...God had stepped in and shown how amazing his mercy and grace is. With Him nothing is impossible! No mountain is too high and no task is too great to overcome for him. We got the call on Jasmine's 91st day on the transplant list and she received her gift on day 92.

Over the last few days life in the ICU has been rough. It seemed to me that Jasmine was just getting sicker and weaker by they day and I felt she was slowly slipping away in front of my eyes. I started feeling desperate to hold on to her and just wasn't really sure how much longer she could fight this tiring fight. My desperation drove me to arguing with the medical staff as I spoke out of frantic desperation. At one point Jasmine appeared to be having a seizure, but we were not for sure as they had turned off the paralytic for a while and twitching can be a reaction. She was hooked up to a continuous video EEG overnight and no seizures were detected. We may never know if she had a seizure or not. Her heart rate started doing some really weird things we hadn't seen before and no one knew why. It would race from 150 down to 108 and back up again in a matter of seconds. It would do this over and over again and I sat in horror watching the monitor fearing that her heart was just going to give out. The father of the patient that Jasmine was sharing a room with had a conversation with me on Friday night that forever changed my life. He asked me if I had truly given Jasmine over to the Lord and I replied that I had, but it wasn't until I got home that night and went over our conversation hat I realized I truly had not. While I had an abundance of faith, hope and trust I had still been in the hospital trying to control what was going on. That night I let go and truly let God. I reminded myself that no matter who the nurse or doctor on staff was that God's plan for Jasmine was not going to change. He has already planned her path and nobody, including myself, was able to re-write what was in store for her. I felt a peace and comfort and just gave it to God knowing that he is faithful in his promises and believing that he was working.

Church on Sunday morning was amazing. Pastor Gantt talked about being thankful in ALL things. He reminded us that even in the storm you can find reasons to be thankful. We have had so many blessings on this journey. We spent Sunday just thanking God for how far he has brought us, thanking him for walking with us through this, for the people we have met, for the fact that Jasmine was still with us, because we had a place to sleep...this list just goes on and on. I have grown as a person over the last four months and I am sure as we continue on in this journey we will all continue to grow. Spiritually we are all growing and it's amazing the change that I see in us. We are better people because of what we are enduring. None of us are exempt from the devastation that life can sometimes bring and I just thank God everyday that I was placed in a family that knows how to pull together and support one another. My entire family is amazing and we have held on to each other in this storm and we will get through this together as a family.

When you are going through a storm...just know that God can turn it around in a minute:

6:55 p.m. Sunday, November 27th was so exhausted from all of the events of the last week so I went to the apartment to eat and take a short nap. My mom had just left to drive home to San Diego. The phone rang at 6:55. When I saw it was the hospital my heart started to race not knowing if something had happened to Jasmine. I reluctantly answered the phone and it was Dr. Tinsley. She said " Naycee, today is the day that our prayers have been answered!" I was silent for a moment not wanting to jump to conclusions but I could feel that my heart was starting to beat faster. When she said they have a heart for Jasmine, me whole body felt weak. I can't exactly put into words the emotions that rushed over me. Excitement, fear, relief, sadness, anxiety, and confusion are just a few of the feelings that ran through me and collided with each other all at the same time. We have waited so long for this day wondering if it would ever come. You wait for this call wondering where you will be, what you will be doing. I burst into tears and could feel my body shaking. I told the doctor I would be right up to the hospital and I know she heard the anxiety in my voice as she made sure to remind me to take my time and drive carefully on the way to the hospital. I stood in the middle of the room confused for a minute while I tried to decide what I needed to take with me to the hospital, it took me a minute to gather myself enough to produce an intelligent thought. I immediately called my mom and my husband to tell them the news and ran out of the door. ( I will let them share their reactions with you, but just know that there was a lot of shouting and a lot of tears) On the way to the hospital I was bombarded with a cocktail of emotions that usually do not fit together all at one time. My mom had just left to drive home to San Diego and she was still in the area...she raced back and actually beat me back to the hospital.

I got the the hospital and walked in to see the staff with expectant and hopeful looks on their faces. They have been waiting for us and I could see the emotion in their faces. They didn't know when surgery would take place as we were told that the donor was donating multiple organs and there was a lot to coordinate. I watched as people made phone calls, multiple labs were drawn and blood was ordered from the blood bank for surgery. Jasmine had been pretty stable and calm for the last day and all of a sudden her heart rate was up again. I watched her heart rate going up and down and up and down and just thought please baby girl hold on, we are almost there. We were eventually told that surgery would not happen until very early morning. I didn't want to leave as I didn't want to miss her going to the OR so me and grandma slept on the floor in the conference room outside of the unit that night. At 6:30am on Monday I went in Jasmine's room to sign some consent forms for surgery and was told that they would soon be leaving to go and retrieve the heart. We ran back to the apartment to take a quick shower and sprinted back to the hospital. We still had time as 8:00 hospital time is not actually 8:00. Pastor Gantt came and kept us company, we prayed over Jasmine, we talked and we anxiously waited for word on when Jasmine would be going down to the operating room.

11:50 A.M Monday, November 28th I stood rubbing Jasmine's head and talking to her as we watched a large group of people get ready to take Jasmine down to the 2nd floor where the operating room is. So many people were involved in this process. They were moving lines, getting portable ventilators ready, checking to make sure meds were ready to go down with her to the OR. They talked with me about what would be happening and assured me that they would be caring for her like she was their own! I can't even explain how I was feeling at the moment. Time almost seemed to slow down. It was amazing to see the staff work. They are the true definition of a highly functioning team. They worked together so well, Jasmine's nurses were giving history and telling the surgical team what Jasmine could and could not tolerate. It was comforting to know that they were all communicating and that they knew her so well.

11:55 am, Monday, November 28th Pastor Gantt, my mom and myself went with the surgical team to take Jasmine down to the second floor to the operating room. We got off of the elevators on the surgical floors and I saw the sign on the doors that said no street clothes. I know that this was as far as I was able to take her. I said a prayer over her and handed her over to the Lord as I prayed for the hands, wisdom and care of the surgical team with complete expectation that she would be returned to me. Watching them wheel her crib beyond those doors was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. With complete trust in the Lord and his plans for her, we returned upstairs to the waiting area to await the updates that were to come.

1:48 P.M I received a text from the hospital that surgery had begun at 1:06 and Jasmine was doing well. Oh how I wished at that moment that I was able to text them back. I wanted more information. So again I started to pray and I had a calm come over me that just relaxed my whole body and eased the anxiety I was feeling. I knew that God was in control of this and that we was going to take care of her. So we continued to wait for updates with a peace in our hearts. Now I am still a mother so I was anxious for more updates but I knew in my heart that she was coming back from that OR!

3:36 P.M. I received a text that stated "Jasmine's new heart is in and beating. Waiting for her to warm, will be some time". Praise God!! Those are the words that I was waiting for! The heart is beating!! Most of the time we spent waiting I was thinking of the family that gave us this gift. I just kept thinking of all they were going through while we were getting another chance for Jasmine and my heart just ached for them. I have no idea who they are but I feel so strongly for them.

We waited so long for another updated and it never came. I am not sure if something went wrong with the paging system or not so we went upstairs to the small conference room outside of the cardiac unit where Jasmine would be passing when they brought her up. Her recovery nurse passed by and I asked her what was going on because it had been quite a while since I had heard anything. She said she was on her way down to check and would come back and let me know. It seemed like she was gone forever. When she came back she said she didn't go in but she saw that it was very un-eventful and all of the numbers on the monitor looked great. She thought it would be about 30 minutes or so before they brought her back up. We continued to wait with wonderful company. Suzanne and Lexie, thank you so much for coming, you two are amazing. Tofa and Shay, you two have been such a support to us. You are amazing women we are so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for being there.

6:15 p.m As were were sitting in the conference room we saw the end of a crib start to come up and I knew that was my girl!!! They rushed her by so fast that we didn't get a good look at her. The surgeon said everything went great and I will be out to talk to you soon as he helped navigate her into the unit. They never stopped. Filled with excitement and anticipation I sat and waited for Dr. Razzouk to come and give me an update. After they got Jasmine settled Dr. Razzouk came in and said that she did well. He said that the heart was a "perfect" fit and everything went as expected. Those words sounded so beautiful to my ears. We waited for what seemed like another hour before I was finally able to go back to see her. We were told in advance that we would only be able to see her for 10 minutes once every hour until she was more stable. When I walked in that room, I was shocked to see how red she was. She was very puffy from all of the extra fluid, but her color was astounding. I didn't realize how grey she had started to look over that last month until I saw her pink all over. I looked up at the heart monitor and thought that the sinus rhythm of the heart looked funny. I was told that it's what a normal healthy heart is supposed to look like, not realizing all this time that the rhythm of Jasmine's heart all this time was grossly off from what it should have been. Wow!! I just stared at the heart rate monitor in amazement! A steady heartbeat with no erratic beats or PCVs. I was standing in the same room with a miracle. God is so good and we just praise his name for what he has done. When you are so close to losing your child, the second chance means everything. Thank you does not even come close to being enough.

As I type this Jasmine is over 24 hours post transplant and is doing well. The doctor's are very pleased with her progress so far. She is fluid over loaded so they are working on getting the excess fluid removed which will take a few days at least. She has been having some problems with high blood pressure that seems to be slowly getting better. Her body is so used to a poorly pumping heart that it's not quite sure what to do yet with all that extra blood flow. She is warm, pink and has a healthy strong heart beat absent of any murmur!! They did an ECHO today and I am interested in hearing the results. This will be the first time that I am not scared of what the results are going to show. They have already started to wean the nitric oxide down and she is tolerating it well. Ventilator support has come down slightly. Dopamine is already off and we are hopeful at this time that she will continue to do well. They turned the paralytic off this morning and I was ecstatic to see her moving her little fingers earlier today. When I started talking to her she tried to open her eyes a little. Praise God!! This child just amazes me and I just can't wait to hold her close to my heart! They are keeping her highly sedated right now as they just want her to rest, they want her to move a little but not too much and so far she is following doctor's orders (for once). Due to the fact that she has been on the ventilator for so long it may take a while to wean her off, but we know that God will see her through this. He has brought her this far and I am looking forward to the day that I get to see her little face without that tape from the ET tube. It is so hard only being able to visit for short periods of time but she is in the BEST hands!

Words can't express how grateful I am. This has been such a roller coaster and there have been so many ups and downs. We have been so close to losing her and as I sit here and reflect on all Jasmine has been's a miracle in itself that she made it this far. All the Glory to God as this was in HIS plan. He is so faithful and his mercy and grace is above all. I am eternally grateful to the family that made such a selfless decision in their time of grief. We do not take lightly this gift and I just hope that they are able to find some comfort in knowing that their child will live on in the lives of others. I will pray for them and think about them everyday for the rest of my life. I can't think of a more generous gift. LIFE! Through them and the selflessness that God put in their hearts...Jasmine has another chance at LIFE!! Grateful, thankful, joyful? None of those words will ever measure up. Nothing I can give will ever seem like enough. Yesterday, November 28th, 2011, Jasmine was given the most wonderful and precious of all gifts. A "perfect" heart. Our hearts were fixed last night when Jasmine's new heart started beating! Thank you Jesus!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

They Must Think I Have Gone Nuts

When your child has been in the ICU this long, you start going a little nuts. Things are so up and down that when you finally get back to a stable place you are desperate to stay there. Now I do know that I have no control over this situation, but the mother in me does not agree. I believe that God has blessed me with the gift of a keen parental intuition. I do not claim to know everything, but my senses about what my kids need have never been wrong. I am not a nurse or a doctor but I am a mother. Mother's know their children better than anyone. We love them before we even know we are pregnant, we know their personalities before they are born, and we are able to sometimes feel what they feel if we are truly paying attention. Some medical professionals are better than others at actually listening to the parent. I start to get a little crazy when I feel like they are not listening. Ok, actually I get a lot nuts. A straight up lunatic. Why are some people more understanding of the fact that I have been in the hospital EVERYDAY, ALL DAY for over three months next to this child. I have studied her every move, every reaction to change, and I have quite an intimate relationship with the numbers on the monitor. I can actually tell you if her heart rate is getting ready to go up or down, I can tell you is she is awake or sleeping and I can tell when she is not happy. She has had a fever the last couple of days that goes away when I can get her to calm down. The keep sending cultures, but I can tell you this has happened before. She gets fevers when she is mad. I don't blame her. Getting all worked up because you can't move but are not asleep would give me a fever too. The cultures have been coming back negative so far, but what do I know, my nursing degree comes from the school of M.O.M!

Jasmine has been proving hard to sedate. Unfortunately, she has been on these medications for so long that she is building up a tolerance. Call me crazy but changing her narcotics three times in three days is not doing anyone any favors. I do understand Jasmine is difficult, despite being on multiple sedation medications and a paralytic she is still twitching her toes, raising her eyebrows, moving her tongue and trying to breath over the ventilator and she has even tried to open her eyes a couple of times. I understand them not wanting her to breath over the vent as with the high frequency ventilator is can cause her more harm is she is breathing, but changing her medication daily is not working for me. I like seeing her little toes move and her eyebrows raise when I talk to her. It lets me know she is still with me and knows I am there with her. While trying to talk with the nurses and doctors about my concerns I fell frustrated because I really don't feel like they are listening sometimes. They keep trying to explain things I already know. I have been there for so long and already have an understanding of Jasmine's condition and all of the medication that she is on. It just seems like they are not hearing what I am really saying. They don't have to agree with me, but listening with an open mind would be nice. Some of them are most certainly better that others at taking my concerns into consideration, but there are some of them that truly do not seem to care what I say and it infuriates me beyond words. Maybe they forget that while a child being on a ventilator, sedated and waiting for a heart is a normal occurrence in their daily lives...but this is my life and the life of my child that I am staring at each day. They leave the hospital and go home to their families and I leave praying that mine will soon be reunited under one roof.  One of the doctor's actually asked me if I was sleeping alright because if I wasn't they could help me with that. I almost think they would rather me be sedated so I left them alone. I know that most of them mean well but they just really don't get it. They think I am losing it because I am frustrated. I am not losing it, I am not breaking down or falling apart. I am simply trying to be Jasmine's voice and that is not something that is going to change.

 Jasmine was taken off of the nitric oxide today and seems to be doing well without it. All of the cultures they ran were negative and her jaundice has seemed to resolved. She is not yellow anymore and her billirubin number dropped dramatically. Praise God! At this time she is in good condition to receive a heart should one be offered. I am praying with everything that this is her time. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, November 24th, we were flown here to Loma Linda on August, 24. While I am so very grateful to be spending time with family and friends, I can't help but be saddened that Jasmine is still in that hospital bed waiting for a second chance at life. We have so many reasons to be joyful and we will most certainly remember that we have so much to be thankful for. There have been so many answered prayers. We have come so far, and if it wasn't for Him we would not have been able to make it. We remind ourselves daily of what he has done for us and we know that he is working. God is good and because of him Jasmine is still with us.

Tonight we are praying that Jasmine can remain in a comfortable state, she is really fighting the ventilator, we are praying that she continues to remain infection free and that she has full protection over her other organs. We are praying for safe traveling for our family members that are coming to be with us and we are as always praying for a heart tonight.

Going Nutty in Loma Linda,

The Townsends

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Little Slice of Heaven

The last 24 hours has been pretty steady. There are not too many changes to report. I would like to take an opportunity to say that there are some amazing people staffing the floors of the pediatric cardiac ICU here at Loma Linda. These people are amazing and we are blessed to have met so many of them. They are caring, compassionate, knowledgeable and not at all lacking bedside manner. Last night the charge nurse who I will refer to as head sergeant, because she is all about getting things done the right way, took it upon herself to arrange for me to hold Jasmine. If you have ever seen a patient in ICU hooked up to machines on one side and IVs in the other, you can appreciate how difficult it would be to achieve this task. It took multiple people and some creative maneuvering, but it was successful. I don't know if the medical team really knows what they did for me, how much I needed to hold my daughter, how I have been aching to hold her close to me. Holding her was a little slice of heaven and did my broken heart so much good and restored hope. I know Jasmine knew mommy was holding her. It's these moments that give me such joy. I don't see the breathing tube, the wires or the tape all over her. I just see my beautiful sweet girl. I am so grateful that they thought to give me a chance to snuggle with Jasmine. I realize it was not easy and I appreciate them so much.

 We have come so far. Days are still up and down but each day brings new blessings and new people into our lives, some who have been a source of support and some who we hope to be a source of support here. Here we are united and brought together through our children, each of which has some type of heart condition. They call us heart moms and heart dads. We cry together, pray together, we are bonded by experience. All of our stories are different, but still...we speak the same language. Our heart babies are special and we are so blessed we were chosen to care for them. A wonderful woman who I met here said to me that God must think we are something special to have entrusted us with this amazing children, and I couldn't agree more.

As far as Jasmine is concerned, there are no major changes since the last time I posted. She looked less yellow to me today than she did over the last couple of days despite the fact that her bilirubin was elevated. They are running more cultures to see if she is getting another infection as she has spiked a fever and her white count was higher today that it was yesterday. So far...the preliminary results are negative. I am praying they continue that way as we know she doesn't need another infection. She is still on antibiotics from the last infection. We are trusting and believing in the Lord to work this out and we know that he will. She has had some issues with her hemoglobin continuing to drop and unfortunately she has had quite a few blood transfusions over the last week. I am hoping that her levels stay a little more steady as the antibodies from the donor blood is not good for a transplant patient. We don't want her body trying to attack her new heart once she gets it.

God is truly good. Although we are going through this storm, He continues to bless us and answer prayers. Our faith has never been so strong. We have asked him to stabilize Jasmine and he has done that, we have asked him to keep her free from arrhythmia's and he has done that, we have asked that he keep her safe and protected and he has done that. He has done so much for us and we just praise him for walking with us. The fact that Jasmine is still here today is God's mighty work.

Tonight we are praying that the cultures that were taken continue to come back negative, we are praying that Jasmine's body be kept from infection of any kind, we are praying that her liver continues to work and is free from any permanent damage and we are praying that he keeps her in his arms tonight. We are praying for all of the other heart parents and children that surround us, we are praying , we are praying, we are praying...and as always we are praying that He bring Jasmine her perfect heart today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roller Coasters

When the doctors in Las Vegas recommended that we transfer Jasmine to a heart transplant center they warned us that this process would be a roller coaster. Little did I know at the time that roller coaster is most certainly the best description of life in the cardiac intensive care unit. A roller coaster climbs to the top very slowly, hangs steady for a moment before throwing you down at a rate so fast that you hardly have time to process the change. You then start upward again but it takes a while to get back to the top, all the while your heart is still racing from the previous fall. Life has been like that here, slow to the top and then downhill again before we can blink. The downhill fall is so fast and sudden that you don't have time to catch your breath. The climb to the top is so very slow.

The infection that Jasmine had started as a bacteria infection in her breathing tube that quickly turned into pneumonia that started a chain reaction of problem after problem. When your heart is not working well your immune system can't fight infection like it should. It causes stress for the already stressed heart. The pneumonia caused trouble ventilating Jasmine. Her lungs were just not handing the ventilator well. Despite being ventilated she had increased work of breathing and nasal flaring. Her blood gasses were coming back acidotic and she was just really struggling. They decided to put her on a high f frequency ventilator. It's actually more gentle on the lungs although it looks scary upon first glance. Instead of pumping the lungs up and down like a traditional ventilator, the high frequency ventilator expands the lungs and keeps the pressure constant while creating smaller faster breaths. She did well on the new vent for a couple of days and then she started de-satting. Her O2 levels went from 100 down into the 80's and sometimes 70's. The medical staff put her on nitric oxide which really helped. Over the last few days she has been sating well. Being on the high frequency ventilator requires her to remain medically paralyzed. They don't want her trying to breath over the ventilator which she typically tries to do. I realize this is what is best for her right now, but oh how my heart aches seeing her like this. Her muscles are unable to move but she can still be awake if not sedated enough. I have witnessed tears coming out of her eyes a few times and that just makes my heart bleed.

 Last week the whites of Jasmine's eyes turned yellow. I was told they would be running tests on her liver function. I immediately got nervous as we were advised that once other organs start to fail that a person is no longer a candidate for transplant. Initially her levels were high but have since improved. Her bilirubin levels are high and she is looking pretty yellow. They did an abdominal ultrasound yesterday which didn't reveal anything to be grossly concerned about. She has what they refer to a sludge which is basically build up that is not getting through due to her poor profusion. She is also on TPN which is liquid nutrition given as she is not being fed very much. TPN can cause issues with the liver. Praise God...her kidneys are working ok. The medical team has advised me that the issues with her liver will resolve once she gets a heart and can be aggressively fed.

 The last couple of weeks have been pretty sweet girl is so strong and she is fighting so hard. Currently her white count is 16 which is lower than it has been in a couple weeks. This is very encouraging and a sign that this awful infection is finally clearing. They have changed some medication and TPN levels hoping to improve liver function and help with the jaundice. The medical staff seems to think that some of what they a seeing on the lung x-ray may be scaring rather than residual pneumonia. This is good news as it means that the infection is clearing. Over the first 7 years or so of life, the lungs continue to grow so right now it seems that we are dealing with things that are manageable.

Last week when Jasmine was up and down and all over the place I was told by one of the doctors that they thought she was running out of time, which was devastating to even think about considering how far we have come. I remind myself that satan sends people to lie and create doubt and that is not something that we are going to fall into. God has brought us this far. He has answered so many prayers along the way and we faithfully move forward knowing that he will continue to hold Jasmine and this family in his hands. Even in the tragedy there are wonderful blessings taking place and we are ever so grateful. His grace and mercy is sufficient. We do not understand his timing but we do know that it will be perfect. God has kept us covered and the fact that Jasmine is still with us today is a miracle to which we give God all the glory.

On a positive note we had family visiting over the last week. It's always nice to get the support of family members. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful support system in our family. Family means everything and I personally think that my family is the best!! The love that is shared is something that money can't buy.

We continue to pray together knowing that God is moving on our behalf. This little girl has touched us in ways that we were not even aware was possible. She is stronger than all of us. We thank you to those of you that are praying us through this. We are so very grateful.

With complete trust and faith in God,

The Townsend Family

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Light in the Darkness

What a rough few days we have had. The infection Jasmine has developed was taking a toll on her and she just doesn't have a lot of reserve to fight it. After thinking that things were getting better...I was once again reminded just how quickly things can change.

 Halloween and I was excited to go and put Jasmine's costume on her. She couldn't miss her first Halloween, hospital or not. I was taken aback at how ill she looked when I walked into her room. I know that she is sick, but that day she actually looked sick. She was pale and extremely weak. She just looked like she had no energy at all. Despite all of that she had a pretty decent day, she was fluid overloaded and a little puffy so extra diuretics were given which resulted in too much fluid being taken away. This caused her blood pressure to dip down too low, so more fluid was given. It's such a balance act of in and out, ups and downs. It makes my head spin at times while I am trying to figure out what is going on.

Late in the evening Jasmine's CO2 levels remained high and they were once again having a hard time ventilating her. Her right lung is infected and after messing with current ventilator settings all evening they decided to put her on a high frequency ventilator. This ventilator scared me when I walked in the door the following morning. It's loud and it makes her little chest and stomach jump up and down extremely quickly, however, Jasmine seems to be responding well. Her CO2 levels have dropped back to a reasonable rate and her blood gasses have been better than they have been in a couple of days.
I felt I was at a breaking point a couple of days ago. I wasn't able to sleep and ended up having a good crying session. I just felt like I was walking in darkness...helpless and unable to do anything to change this situation. In the midst of this dark hour...I continue to have faith and hope. My faith has not wavered and I just know that God is taking care of this. In the midst of darkness, you can always find some light.

A couple of days ago, the whites of Jasmine's eyes turned yellow. A liver enzyme test showed elevated levels. Over the last couple of days her levels have come down some, but the lack of feeding seems to be causing problems in other areas. Things that can most likely be corrected once she gets a new heart.

Light has started to shine through a little, Jasmine's white count is going down which is an indicator that her infection may be starting to clear. The sputum culture that was taken last night was negative for the preliminary result. Thank God...I was starting to wonder if she would be able to kick this infection. I was encourage yesterday when she tried to lift her arm and she squeezed my finger. In previous days she had been too weak. I hope this is an indicator that she is feeling a little bit better. Hopefully this pneumonia that she has continues on the way out...she just can't handle these infections very well.

We ask for continued prayers that this infection completely clears, we ask that you pray that the nurses and doctors are able to keep her comfortable and in a stable state until they find her perfect heart.

We have been blessed abundantly with people in our lives who are touching us in so many ways. Other parents, nurses, doctors. We are continuously reminded that they are praying for us and we are so grateful. God hears our prayers, and we just know that darkness will soon turn to light.

With hope and faith in our hearts,

The Townsend Family

Friday, October 28, 2011

Life is Fragile

In the cardiac world things change change without warning. One moment things are clam and the very next moment the situation seems to have taken a downhill turn.

The infection that Jasmine has developed is creating problems for her little heart. She has pneumonia and her little heart just can't handle that kind of stress. Yesterday Jasmine had multiple arrhythmia's which can be dangerous, especially in jasmine's case. An arrhythmia is what caused her heart to stop a few weeks ago, so needless to say i am scared beyond any words that I can find in my vocabulary.

The doctor's and nurses are working hard to try and correct the mis-rythms, but in the case of heart disease, there is not always a clear cut answer. There is suck a delicate balance to be managed with a cardiac patient and finding the right balance for each patient can be tricky. It's almost like trial and error unfortunately. As a mother, I find myself becoming frustrated with the fact that there are so many unknowns. As I watch doctor's and nurses work diligently to help Jasmine, I can do nothing but stand there and pray that they are given the wisdom to know what to do.

When you are watching your child in the midst of a crisis, you hold your breath without even realizing it. Time stops. Just when I think I have cried all the tears that could possibly be left in my body, my skin is once again saturated with moisture. To say that I feel helpless would be an understatement. Stripped of the ability to care for my own child has left me with a feeling of loss that continues to assault me each and every day. Day after day, I sit watching her in the hospital praying that TODAY will be the day. Please Lord let today be the beginning of our second chance with Jasmine. Each passing day our hearts ache a little more. I keep telling myself that everyday that passes is one day closer to Jasmine's miracle, but it's getting increasingly harder.

I am desperately trying to hold on to hope, to stay positive...Jasmine needs me to be at my best. Please pray for comfort for my family. Please ask God to keep his arms around us as we continue on this journey. We are struggling. We all love her so much and seeing her struggle has left us all broken hearted. Our hearts will not be repaired until Jasmine's is.

Watching your child so close to being taken away changes your perspective. Things that were important many months longer matter. It can sometimes be hard to hear the things people complain about day in and day out. Not to fault I too would likely be complaining of something similar had I not had my outlook on life changed so swiftly. My advice is not to waste time being angry or caught up in things that won't matter down the road. Life is too precious and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Focus today on all the good around, friends, love or whatever it is in your life that makes you smile. Don't waste the time you do have. Life for today, right now and brush off anything that won't matter next year, next week or even tomorrow.

Our faith has never been so strong. We seek god everyday and are depending on him to see us through this as only he can. We continue to wait on our blessing knowing that his timing will be perfect. Our missed time will be redeemed and our hearts healed.

Please continue your prayers. Please ask God to place his loving hands on Jasmine's heart and sustain her until it's her time. Please ask that her infection clears quickly and ceases to cause any further complication to her. Please pray that her extended time on the ventilator does not cause any complications for her long term and please pray for my older children Victor and Ebony, may they be comforted and free of fear. I know this is hard for them.

Waiting until our hearts are whole again,

The Townsend Family

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Have Been Here Before

We found out yesterday that Jasmine has an infection. Her sputum culture is growing bacteria and she has been placed on antibiotics. It's not completely surprising that she has an infection; anytime you place a foreign object in the body you are at risk for infection. Jasmine has been intubated for so long that infection around the ET tube is not a shock but nonetheless, I am not excited about it. Thankfully, they caught it early and she doesn't seem to be having any negative consequences. She is still satting well and her vitals look good. Praise God! We are praying that this infection clears soon.

The hospital had visitors from the local Police Department yesterday, and they brought the kids some toys. Jasmine received a cow rattle/teether and she can't wait until she is able to play with it. Jasmine has been getting wiggly the last few days. I really think that she is just tired of being in a crib with a breathing tube down her throat, I don't blame her. She most certainly knows when I am there and responds to my voice. Sometimes, I have to be quiet so that she will settle down. I am sure that she wants me to pick her up and she doesn't understand why I am unable to. Don't worry sweet princess, out time will soon be redeemed and we will spend many hours cuddling.

Recently, Jasmine has started a new trick. She refuses to go to the bathroom for many hours. Jasmine is dependant on diuretics to urinate. This is not uncommon for people in heart failure. The diuretics help the kidneys get rid of the excess fluids and sodium. Jasmine has decided on numerous occasions now to hold her bladder and then wait until the nurses prep to straight cath her before going to the bathroom. She is toying with them. It may be her way at getting back at them for all of the poking and prodding that they do. I typically wonder what she would say to them if she could talk.

She is resting well tonight and looks comfortable. I hope that she has sweet dreams. It's always hard to leave her for the evening, but I know that she is in good hands. As far as nurses go, we have some of the best. I have taken a liking to many of the nurses that care for Jasmine and will really miss some of them when we are able to go home.

We are getting ready for Halloween, and Jasmine will not miss her first Halloween. As many of you know, her daddy calls her pumpkin butt, so she will be a pumpkin for Halloween. Keep an eye out for pictures.

Today is day 60 and I am homesick. I haven't slept in my own bed since early August. I am grateful beyond words to have a place to call home here, but I would love to be with my family in our home. The day I get to walk Jasmine back into our house is going to be a special day and I am so looking forward to that day.

I am missing Victor and Ebony (Jasmine's big brother and sister) tonight and can't wait to see them this weekend. Ebony got her braces off today and I am bummed that I wasn't able to be there to celebrate with her, she has waited so long for this day. We will have to go eat something yummy and sticky when she comes for the week.

As always, we continue to pray and wait patiently on the Lord, he hears us and will reveal his miracle for Jasmine soon.

Hopefully and Faithfully waiting,