Sunday, October 28, 2012

Annabel's Amazing Story

Her story began with life June 2, 2012, the day she was born, but in less than a week it already looked like a tragedy. Left in a bundle at the local hospital, Annabel’s tiny, frail body struggled to survive. A treasure born into a broken world, abandonment and illness were already making their tragic way into Annabel’s story. But Annabel was found, and then admitted immediately into the hospital where she was diagnosed with a very complicated tracheal esophageal fistula – disorder of the digestive system in which the esophagus does not develop properly. Annabel’s condition was so complex that the doctors were unable to place a feeding tube, and so she survived on IV nutrition for nearly two months, until she came into our care.

The weather forecast for July 26, 2012 gave a 90% chance of rain. Flooding was expected and our hearts were in our throats as Annabel was disconnected from the IV nutrition and oxygen that had sustained her life for two months and carried into the car that would drive her the six hours from her orphanage to the hospital in Beijing. We prayed that the car would not get stuck in the floods and that she would survive. Those prayers were answered in marvelous ways. It didn't rain a single drop, and as we stood waiting at the entrance of the hospital, Annabel was carried from the car – alive. She was rushed into an already-reserved bed and immediately put on oxygen.  
 As Annabel’s condition was examined, the doctors were very concerned. On the evening of July 29th we were called to the hospital to talk with the doctors about her case. Half of her one lung had collapsed and was bleeding. She was in serious condition. We prayed, and while Annabel didn't improve, she didn’t get worse either. But as the days went by and Annabel didn't gain strength, the chances of her surviving the impending surgery grew slimmer… and then Annabel began to deteriorate. For Annabel to have a chance at survival, her doctors were going to have to leap at the fast-narrowing window of opportunity and operate.

August 13th the doctors scheduled her for surgery – a last-ditch effort to save her life. The 4 hour surgery on our 5lb treasure was successful, but Annabel was not out of the woods yet. Her lung was still collapsed and she was very, very weak. But it was a miracle that Annabel had survived the surgery, that her orphanage had contacted us when they did and that Annabel was able to make it to New Day.
Annabel’s miracle continued to develop, and in the following days, Annabel improved. Her lung slowly recovered and she began receiving nutrition through a feeding tube. Within a few weeks, she was drinking formula, for the first time in her life.

 September 28th, 2012, two months after Annabel had arrived at New Day – though she never actually stayed on the grounds, Annabel was released from the hospital. She is still quite weak, but is gaining weight and smiling. When her story began, it looked like a tragedy. But today? Annabel is very much a miracle and her story is full of overwhelming hope. 

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