Monday, 4 January 2010

The Story of Emma

I've been wondering what I'd say about the New Year, I often feel like I have little new to say. So my first post of this decade is not about me. This is something that our Pastor and friend, Eddie Byun, wrote about his preemie daughter this week. So here it is:

Princess Emma's Story

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful daughter of God named Hyun who was expecting two more beautiful daughters in her womb (Princess Emma and her identical twin sister). But sadly, a few months into the pregnancy, because of how beautiful she was, God wanted Emma's sister to go home to heaven a bit sooner than Emma, so the family had to say goodbye to Emma's sister. But Mommy and Daddy were still excited for their wonderful Christmas gift that would come later that year, for Princess Emma was due to be born on December 26th.

Suddenly on October 20th, during a regular check up, the doctors asked Hyun to stay at the hospital because of some concerns they had when monitoring Emma. Then early the next morning, Princess Emma (Emmanuel Lee Byun), who takes after her Dad and likes to get things done early, was born 10 weeks early on October 21 at 5:50am at 990grams (2.18lbs). I believe it was because Emma heard rumors that if she were to be born near Christmas, she may only get one "big" present for both Christmas and her birthday instead of two! Also she heard that many of her friends may not be able to come to her birthday parties because of the holiday season so it was time to come out!

But being born at 30 weeks had it's share of challenges that most preemie babies face. Various organs were underdeveloped, especially her lungs. But after a quick operation, her lungs began functioning a bit better and slowly but surly the rest of her body seemed to be growing healthy and strong. After one month, Mommy and Daddy were actually feeling peace about this stressful ordeal. Mommy visited Princess Emma on Sunday November 29th in the afternoon and everything seemed peaceful and fine.

Then suddenly Mommy and Daddy received a phone call Sunday night from the hospital that something happened to Emma. Princess Emma was going through septic shock ( - an infection in the blood stream that shuts down all the organs and often times leads to death. From that day forward, Emma's life and her parents lives would never be the same. After several surgeries, many blood transfusions, and 2 weeks of kidney failure, Emma was going through some extreme inflammation and her whole head and body were bloated. They decided to releave the toxins and excess liquids from her body attempting a dialysis approach through her stomach. This was going well and she was able to get many things filtered out of her system.

Then suddenly instead of urine and and clear liquids coming out of the dialysis tube, blood was showing up. Something was seriously wrong. They discovered that at least one of her organs must have burst and needed to do another surgery. But after all the other surgeries she had been through already, they were very hesitant. But after a few days and realizing things were not getting better, they had to go in. They found that her upper intestine was ripped and they successfully stitched it up again. But now they could no longer do the dialysis through her stomach area anymore because of the possibility of that area re-opening. So Emma started getting bloated once again with extreme inflammation. And with her kidneys still not working, there was no way for her to get her bodily toxins out of her system. Another challenge to face.

With her condition getting to serious levels, there was one final option - something that had never been done to a baby that size before. They unsuccessfully attempted some of things on other babies but there was no other option. They would try a blood dialysis through her veins to help filter her system. But the problem was that the filter tubes are made for babies 3kgs or more, but Emma was 1.6kg. With a great deal of prayer and hope in God, the surgery was successful! A record for this country and possibly the world.

So now, 8 surgeries later, Princess Emma has surprised even the doctors in the hospital by making it through this far and still showing so much strength. As of now (January 5th), Emma is scheduled for surgery #9 this afternoon to find a larger vein for the medication to be placed into. Today is day 76 of God's grace over Princess Emma's life (and FYI, her Korean name is Byun, Ha-Eun, which mean's God's grace). She has urinated very small amounts 3 times but overall, it has been about a month that she's had kidney failure.

The main prayer requests remain for her:
#1: Her brain. Pray that there would be no long-term brain damage from all the challenges she's faced.
#2: Her kidneys: Pray that her kidneys would function in perfect health to filter her body and produce urine on a daily basis.
#3: Her intestines: Pray that this would also heal as soon as possible.
#4: The doctors told us today that her lungs seem to be getting a bit weaker the past few days. Pray for strength and health for the lungs too.
#5: Her heart: Her heart rate dropped quite a bit several times the past few days. Pray it would be strong again.

Overall, Mommy and Daddy are hopeful and believe God can and will heal Emma unto perfect health. Each day has its share of challenges but they are learning to lean on each other and especially God each day.

Princess Emma, her Mommy and her Daddy thank you all so much for your prayers, love and support.

Your prayer support is Emma's life support.
Eddie, Hyun and Princess Emma
Acts 20:24; Prov 31; John 11:4

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