Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cana Lynn Milbrandt : From 26 weeks to 32 weeks

After the last appt (the heart echo and first diagnosis), we had just the regular appts, even tho always with ultrasounds. That was such a beautiful part of my pregnancy and time with Cana. I got to see her so much as she lived in my belly. As August 08 passed and Sept 08 rolled in, we were faced with some pretty big battles. My church asked me to not participate in serving the youth. I felt abandoned, forgotten about, crushed. Where was the community i had served alongside? Did we not join the "right" ministry, in order to have their help as we faced our darkest days? We felt like we were on some island where they'd pass us by every sunday to offer their "we're praying for you" and their pitiful looks, and then once we were out of sight, we were out of their thoughts. It may not be what was truth, but it was, without a doubt, how we FELT. Oh how satan tried to remind us of his hardwork to break our spirits.

Then a friend, a dear dear friend and really, a woman i admired for years, who reached out to me during our pregnancy more than anyone else, Maria...wrote to ask if she could email those who helped her family during their journey of grief after losing their #3 daughter, Moriah. She wanted to offer financial help and started sending her family of 6's own tithe and wow..God just blew us away with their faithfulness to Him and their hands and feet of Christ to us. She would send us cards almost every day, words of encouragement and hope! I pray she always knows what her friendship means to me.

During this time, another friend, in connection with Maria, started a facebook group called "prayers for cana lynn" and i would see "my" teens join the group, offering encouragement to us. It was quite beautiful to see the teens i'd served reach out to us! On Sept. 11th, I wrote an email to maria this night/morning i was really struggling to stay "afloat" and shared this, in regards to the struggle with being asked to not serve in youth ministry:

"Its caused me to question and doubt every good thing i THOUGHT i did in the name of the Lord. I wonder...i doubt...my heart. My hearts intention. Was it for MY glory? Was i so controlling that the ministry is better without me? That the teens are better without me. Even as i sit here and type that...i can look over and SEE how many of "my" teens signed up for the group on facebook for Cana. It's one teen in particular who will write me often and bring me cupcakes in july on my birthday, and say she is praying for me. Then there is the teen who went to college and thanked God for me bringing TOTB to stmarthas. I see how many of them have girded up in that truth before they left for the world of "college" or as i like to call it "the world who waits to devour them." I am sweetly broken on their behalf right now..because it was FOR THEM that i can sit here now and feel this way..knowing i did let God use me..even just for the one life."

That was Sept 11, and on Sept. 12, Hurricane IKE hit galveston/houston. Sept. 12 was supposed to be our 2nd echo to confirm the first and to plan better for our remaining time with Cana. It was LAUGHABLE because of the lesson of learning to wait on the Lord was something we talked about and laughed about struggling with. This time of waiting was so completely OUT OF OUR HANDS..there was absolutely NOTHING we COULD do..but wait on Him. It just so happened we were to wait on Him through a hurricane and WITHOUT power for the next 8 days....

A few days after the hurricane, when power came back up slowly around town, they rescheduled our echo and another high end ultrasound. It was during this appt that my specialist reiterated that he was pretty certain it was NOT Trisomy 13, 18, or Turner Syndrome. Then, at the echo, another doctor...Dr. Altman (my maiden name, btw) confirmed the results and said that it was about 90% inoperable. Then we were told we needed to take the NICU tour and possibly meet the neonatologist. We walked into NICU and i remember squeezing mitch's hand so tight. It felt like the room was spinning, i tried not to make eye contact with the parents there with their babies. Those tiny babies, all hooked up to machines, some alone in their NICU unit, alone and so tiny in those tiny boxes, alone. all alone. I was starting to lose my breath, i don't remember anything the nurse who toured us said. Not a word. It's almost dream like to remember it. I hated it. I remember that. Just a month later, we would be sitting there, in NICU B-38, with our Cana.

When we came home, still without power, two teens and the new youth minister had cleaned up our yard, and our neighbors yard. Marco and Jonathon and Elizabeth worked all day to pick up all the debris the storm had dropped in our front and back yard. We have about 15 tall pines and about 50% of those limbs and needles were all over the place. They may never know the impact of that small act of love.


  1. I love reading about Cana. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful friend during your horrific trial. I know how much that helps. Don't you wish that you could just give them a million dollars or something to let them know how much you appreciate them? I know that I could NEVER repay my friend who did that for me.


  2. I can't imagine being asked to step away from something God has called you to do, and something that you love. I'm glad for you that your youth and those serving your youth stepped up to minister and encourage you and your husband in your difficult days.

    Our NICU tour is coming shortly. We don't know if we will even need the NICU or not, but we want to be prepared for whatever the Lord has in store for us.

    Still praying for you and the hubs. I'm not sure what grieving is like, but reading your story and learning from you is helping me to prepare for what is to come.

  3. I'm walking again through all of this with you...I remember those appointments and those days...as it began to get closer and closer to Cana's birth. We were praying and going back and forth...with news each time. Thanks for sharing with us this tiny life to strengthen our faith as well.
    Love you...

  4. It's so good to have at least one friend that will walk through the fire with you. It's so sad that the people we think will lift us up don't and the people that will be there for us aren't.

    Thank you for the suggestion you left of Carleigh's blog. I had heard of families doing that and I've even thought of doing that myself. I think it's really special.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I think anyone who's gone through what you (we) have knows about the 'abandonment' from people who you thought you were friends. It especially stings when these people supposedly share our faith; they should know better!! I am glad for those who were His hands & feet for you and for those young people who reached out to you!