|Esther after her surgery today|
Esther has got the Holy Spirit in her! She came through surgery without complication or excessive bleeding. The surgeon met with us and explained what they found and what they did. He said her hernia was about 8cm diameter and there was some diaphragm that they were able to stitch together and close, but they needed to use a patch to close the remainder of the hole. In addition, she did not have enough room in her petite little tummy for everything to fit without it being too tight. So they created a small pouch out of lab grown skin that is allowing for expansion. Kinda hard to describe without a drawing (which the surgeon was kind enough to do for us).
Anyhow, she made it through one of many high hurdles in her path to recovery. Next is more time on ECMO to allow her to rest and heal. Followed by respiratory challenges to test her for coming off ECMO (all the time risking bleeds and clotting). Then she should go onto a ventilator, with risks of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure to her blood vessels in her lungs) and various other complications. If she passes all those tests, we then look to possibly working on nutrition and acclimating her gastrointestinal tract (mouth to bowel and bottom) to digestion.
She has been through a tremendous trial (imagine having all your internal organs rearranged) and looks wiped out, but still has a look of calm about her. I know where our help comes from. God has given Rhonda and I a peculiar calm the entire day as well. We are full of praise for our awesome God! He has given us another day to rejoice in His goodness and grace.
It really was peculiar today though. We watched them take Esther into the operating room at 0830 and didn't see her again until 3:30. The entire time just flew by when we would have anticipated agonizing through such a stretch of time. Awesome. That's all I can say about Him. Thank you again for all your prayers, and please keep em coming.
On another note, many of you have asked how you can help us during this time. Our journey here at Children's Hospital will be a very long one and could be up to 5 months if Esther keeps making it through all of these hoops. I have fairly good insurance and it will cover a lot of our medical expenses. We are living in our trailer for free so there is no cost of staying anywhere. We have some food expenses and people have been so generous in bringing by dinner, snacks and gift cards. We can't tell you enough how much it means to us. One of the biggest financial burdens is that Jason may need to go back to work in about a month because we need to make money in order to keep paying our bills. People at Jason's work will be able to donate their time to him so that it would allow him a longer time to stay with me and with Esther. Jason and I have both agreed that whatever money we can raise through fundraisers (bracelets that Janell has created for team Esther) and a bank account set up, that we would use that money to help with bills at home. This way Jason can continue to use FMLA and stay with us at Children's. That being said, my sister Michelle Vandenberg, who used to work at People's Bank is setting up an account for Esther Holtrop. Michelle will be the one to distribute money and checks to People's bank in Esther name. You can send checks or money to her address:
822 Van Dyk Rd
Lynden, Wa 98264
Please write checks to Esther Holtrop. My sister asked to have the money sent to her house and not to the bank so she can keep track of it.
Also Sole Obsession in Lynden will be having a shop for Esther day and 20% of the proceeds will go to us. I will get back to you on the official date this will be. Lastly, We will be starting up a meal train this week. If you are interested in delivering a dinner for two and live closer by or want to stop in, please send me your email and we will put you on the list. Jason's friend Damian will be setting this up for us. Directions will be included of when, what and where for the meal plan.
We can't thank you enough for all the replies for thousands of people we know and don't know. We are honored to share our story with you.