The Birth Story of Our Daughter

Hannah Mercy Elizabeth
Delivered at Home, August 3rd, 1997 at 8:42 pm

Listener's Letter / Special Edition
Mailed October 3rd, 1997 to our ministry mailing list...

Dear Friends & Listeners:

Please forgive us for being so tardy in writing this letter to you. As we're sure you who regularly receive Songs for His People have noticed, the July-August issue just didn't materialize. Much of our life, including this ministry endeavor, has been put "on hold" for the past two months. Some of you are already aware of what has happened and we thank you for your concern, your prayers and support. For those who have not yet heard and have not been otherwise contacted, we will try to briefly update you regarding our recent circumstances...

First of all, we want to say: "IT'S A GIRL!!!" Hannah Mercy Elizabeth Farnum was born at home on August 3rd, 1997, 8:42 PM. The birth went beautifully, but once she was out it was obvious that she was having difficulty breathing. The midwife gave her oxygen and continued to suction her, but still she did not take a good deep breath! Prayers were said and it was decided that an ambulance should be called. Thus began our journey into faith, patience & mercy.

We had thought that the hospital would help her clear the fluid from her lungs and then send her home in a day or two. But the respiratory distress was just the tip of the iceberg, where her problems were concerned. She was diagnosed with hemolytic disease - a result of Trish's RH Negative blood: Mommy's blood building up antibodies from being sensitized to RH Positive blood during our second child's birth. The antibodies crossed the placenta and attacked Hannah's red blood cells, leaving her with only one-third the volume she should have had. She was also diagnosed with CMV (Cytomegalovirus). This is a virus which approximately 90% of the population has had and it can be asymptomatic or display symptoms similar to a cold or allergy in a child or adult -- but to a developing baby, it is much more serious. We had never heard of CMV and do not know at what time in the pregnancy Trish was exposed to it. It can cause enlargement of various organs, damage to the bone marrow, hearing loss and even brain damage. Hannah's liver, spleen and heart were enlarged (the heart specialist originally gave her a 10% chance of recovery), but have reduced some in size since birth. She will "catch up" to them as she grows. They say we won't know about brain damage or hearing loss until she is older, but we are trusting Yahweh for protection and/or healing in those areas.

Hannah Mercy Elizabeth ~ Just 2 Days Old!
Picture taken during her electro-encephalogram.

Anyhow, what we had hoped would be a short stay ended up being 5 weeks! -- 3 weeks in the Intensive Care Nursery at the Lester E. Cox Medical Center, South, in Springfield, Missouri, and two more weeks in Columbia, Missouri, at the University Children's Hospital. Because of her respiratory difficulties she had immediately been put on a ventilator (intubated) to help her breathe. During the time we were at Cox Hospital, they tried five times, unsuccessfully, to extubate her (take her off the ventilator). Each time her breathing became quite labored and her carbon dioxide levels would go up, requiring her to be put back on (re-intubated). Since she was having trouble getting off the ventilator, they thought that she might need a tracheostomy or another surgical procedure called a cricoid split, which would result in the widening of her airway, and thus allow the free-flow of air. The ear, nose & throat specialist (ENT) at Cox was inexperienced with this, so we were transported to University Hospital to see Dr. David Parsons. (Hannah traveled by Helicopter!) Before leaving Springfield, however, Norm & some friends of ours from our local fellowship anointed Hannah with oil and prayed for her. We told the surgeon, who is a Christian man, about this and he said that he believed in the laying on of hands and would be expecting that she may not need the surgery. She was scheduled to go to the Operating Room (OR) on Aug. 28th, but because there was a whole string of trauma cases brought in that day, her surgery kept getting "bumped." By early Friday morning the OR was still not available and Dr. Parsons had an out of town meeting to attend. The hospital re-scheduled her for Tuesday, Sept. 2nd, which gave her four more days of rest and Mama's milk AND prayer. (We had several lessons in patience during the course of our hospital stay!) Tuesday arrived and Hannah went to the Operating Room at about 1:00 PM. The surgeon met with us for some last minute questions and then we prayed together. About 40 minutes later he called to say he had "outstanding news!" (NO SURGERY!!! PRAISE YAHWEH !!!) She had been put under anesthesia and then he removed the ventilator tube from her throat. Then he put some type of scope down her windpipe and observed her for a while. She had very little swelling and although her airway is a little narrow, it was his opinion that the operation was unnecessary. That was four weeks ago and she is doing great! Hallelujah!!! She was able to start nursing that same day which made Mama & baby both very happy. (Prior to having the tube removed from her throat she was fed mother's milk through an NG tube down her nose.)

Yahweh was so faithful through this whole ordeal. He gave us many miracles along the way, showered us with love, support and lots of food from family and friends, and gave us some very caring nurses, doctors & respiratory therapists to help Hannah get well. Of course we know that it is He who is the Great Physician. We were also blessed to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, which is especially for families that have children 18 years and under in the hospital. They provided a home-like environment in which to stay and a chance to meet other parents in similar circumstances.

We believe that Yahweh has a reason for everything and so we have tried not to question His will. Some things that happened were very difficult to go through, but they have helped us to grow closer to Him. During the last year or so, Norm had been praying for more faith and Trish had been praying for patience -- He doesn't always answer us the way we'd expect or like! Hopefully we have learned and will continue to apply the lessons He is teaching us. This we know for certain -- that "His mercy endureth forever!"

Hannah has been home for nearly three weeks now and continues to improve. She is a little anemic and her cry will be somewhat hoarse for a while, but she is definitely a miracle baby! (We had more than one person at the hospital tell us that they did not expect her to make it when they first saw her.) We pray that her life will be a constant testimony to His mercy & healing power.

Hannah Mercy Elizabeth

November 17, 1997
About 3 Months Old!

And SO HAPPY to be home!

During the time of Hannah's hospitalization, we spent many hours at her bedside singing & praying & reading scripture - especially Psalms. We decided to devote an entire issue of Songs for His People to Hannah and to those Psalms & hymns that have become so really meaningful to us. Hopefully it will be ready to send out in a month or so. [It's available here!] We really appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

As you can probably guess, we do not believe in insurance or Medicaid (we believe in crying out to Yahweh and not to the government!), so we are trusting in Him to provide. Fortunately, the hospitals and other clinics (neonatologists, specialists, et al) will allow us to make payments without interest. (We were told by the hospital social worker that the Amish will not apply for Medicaid either, so I guess they, that is, the hospitals & clinics, are somewhat used to that mind-set.)

To wrap this all up we will just say how happy, thankful and relieved we are to be home as a family again. The boys just love their little sister and are so happy she is out of the hospital. They are both doing very well and Benjamin has just graduated from diapers to underwear... at least during the day! We realize this is a little off the subject, but we are pretty excited and just wanted to share the good news. (grin)

Well, dear friends & listeners, we want to say thank you again for your patience & understanding. We will resume production of SFHP ASAP! We would appreciate your prayers for Hannah's continued healing & recovery and also for protection during the coming "cold & flu season." As her airway grows, colds will be less of a concern, but this first winter we want to be a little more cautious. Should anyone wish to make additional inquiry or express your concerns, please feel free to call or write us.

May Yahweh bless & keep you all. In the name of our Maker, King, Lord & Savior, Yahshua the Christ,

The Farnums

Please See: Psalms 23, 27, 34, 118 & 136

Should you wish to learn more about our hospital ordeal or have any personal comments or questions, please feel free to contact us. We welcome your thoughts and covet your prayers.

Also, we wish to thank our Heavenly Father, for providing the body of Christ to assist us in reducing so much of our original medical debt.

Thank You!

UPDATE on Hannah Mercy Elizabeth!
We've heard from many of our friends since Hannah's ordeal, and thought it high-time to let others know how well she is doing, too. As of November 1999, she appears to be in great health! And, along with the rest of the family, she has a great appetite, love's her fresh Goat's milk, eats lots of fresh fruits & vegetables (she loves banana smoothies!), plus we all take quality brand nutritional supplements (ask us about Reliv).

Here are a few recent pictures...

Hannah Mercy Elizabeth ~ about 28 months old.

Yes, we count our blessings every day! Praise Yah!
And that includes our newest, Nathaniel William!

Thank you & Yah bless.

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