Rhonda and Jason

Rhonda and Jason
Our Wedding Day

Friday, April 13, 2012

Esther is here and fighting so hard!

Hello All,

This message is coming to you from Rachel, Rhonda's twin sister.  I'm sorry I haven't been able to bring an update prior to just now...and Please Please forgive me if I leave anything out, I know Rhonda and Jason will fill things in later. 

Esther was born just before 4 pm yesterday (west coast time)  When I got the message from mom she said that the doctors and nurses rushed her right out of the room as soon as she was born and into intensive care. During which time Jason was floating back and forth between Rhonda and Esther. 

At just after 4 mom called saying that Esther was able to breathe 60% on her own, but that it wasn't good and we needed to keep praying because they wanted her to be able to breathe more on her own.  At the point where they told her she was breathing at 60% they also told her that Esther would not make it.....and the prayer chain continued....

At about 6pm I got the call that Esther was breathing in the high 70's/80%!!!!! God is soooo stinking amazing!  Jason had just come out of the room to let them know they are putting more iv's in through her belly button. The nurse will be in at 7pm west coast time to look at transporting esther and Jason to childrens hospital.
Prayers: for blood circulation to be better. B...ecause of her major organs not getting a chance to fully develop they are struggling more to pump blood.
Praise!!!! Well last night doctors said...esther won't make it out of delivery, there isn't any tissue where her lungs are....When she was born...she had 60% breathing...I praise God for what he has done...and has yet to do still!

At about 8pm Mom updated with the fact that they are still going to be transporting her to Childrens tonight. Rhonda is trying to go too. A few things are going on though...When they put the IV's in her belly button, it went through the blood vessels and into the bowels. This is no large concern right now, but it is more of a concern for infection.
When they put the breathing tube down her throat, they thought it went into the lung, but they are seeing air going into her stomach and then into the bowels. They ahve put an additional tube in to get excess air out. 
They also have held off on putting her on the heart lung bipass machine...they are leaving it up to the doctors at childrens hospital. According to most CDH babies in the past they don't make it off that machine.

Not sure how rhonda is doing at this point. Mom said she didn't want tot alk to anyone after hearing from the doctors.

Jason, Rhonda and Esther were transported to the Children's Hospital, during the ride, Esther was breathing at nearly 100% on her own!!!!!!!!! GOD is sooooo GOOD!!!!  How can we keep from praising HIM!

Around 5 am Rhonda said that they were giving Esther a blood fusion and that they were going to get her ready to have the ECMO.  Rhonda I believe wrote about this in a previous blog posting...or maybe it is in the side bar of the blog about what this is.

At about 6:50am Rhonda and I got to talk on the phone because Esther was in surgery at the time.  She told me that Esther weighed in at 6 pounds 6 ounces...seriously all I could think was Praise God!!!! Such a personal prayer request...because I was praying for her to gain some extra weight so she would be strong enough to handle the surgery...God is so so so good! 

AT about 7:50 am Esther just got out of surgery to have the ECMO put in. Her vitals are good right now. The longest she will be on ECMO will be 2 weeks. Once she is off the ECMO she will have the surgery for the CDH. So we are praying for the time frame of the ECMO to be shorter so that they can go ahead with the surgery... for the diaphragm. At this stage anything can happen in this two week time period. THat is why we are praying for the time period to be shorter.
Rhonda and Jason are hanging in there to the best of their ability. They haven't been able to sleep at all. They are going in to see Esther in about an hour.

ARound 9 am...things got really touchy...The message from rhonda...things are bad...please pray!!!!  Esther had about 30 specialists working on her. They found air around her heart and then there was bleeding on the brain.  The point where prayers were the only thing sought after because doctors could only say...we don't think she could make it...My question for them would be...how many times are you going to keep saying we don't think she is going to be making it out of this, before you just say...God has a special plan for this child, we are doing everything we can to save her...get your prayer warriors going...I wish i could be there to ask these doctors this...

While driving home from work so that I could pray, cry, worship, speak words of encouragement I got a message from Rhonda saying that they would be checking the bleeding in the brain and if it gets worse because of the ECMO they will decide whether to to keep trying to keep her alive.

BUT GOD....he's so amazing...because I'm sitting here at home worshipping...listening to the song Rhonda wrote about when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsamane....and I was like wow...God you are amazing...But then I began singing the song..."Oh no, you never let go, through the calm and through the storm..."  And for real...That is God...he never lets us go.

So the bleeding is stabilized..Doctors looked at xrays from when she was born yesterday and they feel like they just simply missed it when the looked at it last night. So my sweet little niece is a fighter...a spirited young lady, who is saying no I will not stop fighting. And so we continue to pray...pray for Rhonda and Jason that their spirits are high, that they speak those words of power and encouragement over Esther when they are with her.  That they feel the HOLY SPIRITs power upon them, surrounding them....

This is the scripture I leave you with as one of the prayer warriors out there left on my Facebook page....

Psalm 5:3 "Oh Lord, you hear our cries; in the morning we lay our requests before you and wait in expectation."


  1. God is so amazing! What a miracle he is doing!

  2. all of 4 south is sending you prayers and love !!!!! (thank you Rachael for updating) we are all here for you !! Skyla

  3. I sit here and weep. Because we do have an amazing awesome GOD! And my children ask why I am sad and crying...I show them sweet Esther. My darling Kausten tells me she is sooo cute and that God will help her. So we continue to pray and believe. FIGHT little Esther Fight.

  4. Go Esther go....still praying hard

  5. Praying! Thank you for the update - God bless you guys!

  6. She's beautiful! Fight, baby girl. We're praying for you all!

  7. Praying for your sweet baby girl! We all know God is amazing and will keep her safe!

  8. Praying for your precious baby girl. Trust in the Lord. I will continue praying for your sweet little one.

  9. Jeremy Camp's "Walk by Faith" was one I listened to while delivering our CDH miracle Finley and again and again as I drive back and forth from the NICU. Tears are streaming down my face right now because it never gets any less awe inspiring to WITNESS the power of prayer. Thank you Lord. We give praise for all you have done and will continue to do in Esther's life. Continue to give Rhonda and Jason supernatural strength and peace. Please let them be able to get her lungs to open up more, for good blood gas levels, for her lungs to continue to grow and heal so that they will be ready to go off ECMO quickly. We ask for no more complications and for wisdom for all the medical team that is helping her.

    You guys have been ever present in my thoughts and prayers and I was reflecting in prayer that 20 months ago yesterday Finley was induced and we began out NICU journey. We were always considered a middle of the road case and then around 14 days her PDA closed and made her PH severe. The doctors started trying to prepare us for her not coming back from that - but God heard the prayers and quite miraculously, she improved and within 5 days she was strong enough for her repair surgery.

    Fight Esther, fight!! Lord, hear our cries.



  10. She is beautiful and strong!! Jason and Rhonda are so much in our thoughts and prayers. Praise God for the great things He has done! Keep fighting, Esther! Stay strong, Holtrops! Much love and prayer from Atlanta.

  11. your faith is inspiring Rachel. I know God has a special plan for Esther, I can't wait to see it unfold. :) We are praying, praising, and waiting EXPECTANTLY with you.

  12. Prayer keep faith indeed like Liz said. Awesome song and reminder thanks Liz. Hugs! Jb

  13. Praying for little esther and you both. Praying she would sense God's tender love through your voices, your touch, and His powerful presence surrounding her, sustaining her, holding her. What a precious precious marvelous baby girl. With love from Michelle Nickols

  14. Amazing miracle, keep fighting Esther, Rhonda, and Jason.

  15. Esther is Gods special gift to you Jason and Rhonda.
    She is HIS. Praying for healing, wisdom, peace, love, and understanding.

  16. Praying for Esther's miracle and strength for the entire family during this very difficult time. Never give up hope and your faith in GOD, miracles happen everyday. She is absolutely beautiful. Keep talking to her, singing to her and telling her how much she is loved....she will draw strength from you. Take lots of pictures and cherish every moment. As a mom of a ECMO and CDH survivor, ECMO can give Esther time to rest and get her to her repair surgery. I pray the bleeding has stabilized and Esther has a strong and stable night.

    One day at a time and always have hope,
    Tracy Meats, Ian's mom from CHERUBS

  17. Sending prayers your way from Michigan. Followed through a FB link and will keep praying for Esther and family.

  18. Debbie Elaine Marshall Biehle NeunsingerApril 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Our prayers have been coming your way for Esther Frances, Rhonda-Mama & Jason-Daddy & FAMILY!! We are miles apart but Auntie Debbie in Spotsylvania, Va has a long prayer chain reaching out!!

  19. Our prayers are with little Esther and the entire family! :) Please keep us posted! -Jennifer Maas

  20. Just wanted your dear family to know how much the Lord has placed you on my heart these last few days after hearing about little Esther via Facebook. I have a 7 week old and as I look at him, the reality of what you must be going through is cutting deeply. I prayed for you throughout the night last night as I woke up to nurse and will continue to do so. This mama's heart is calling out to the Lord on your behalf. Love to you...

  21. Lots of prayers for your little girl and you as well. Stay strong and take care of yourselves so you can be there for her. Stay with Esther. She hears you and knows you are there even if it doesn't seem like it. I pray God continues to hold you up and comfort you. Rest assured He is with your baby comforting her too.