Olive was born in Thailand, two and a half months early. I know her parents Rusty and Lynette through YWAM Seattle from 2002. Please read the Facebook notes below written by her parents, chronicling her journey since the September 27th. The latest update is from the Insurance Company, saying they will not pay more than $10,000 USD for her care, which means she won't move down to a private hospital in Bangkok. Please keep praying: pray for a change of heart from the insurance company, pray for the doctors in Chiang Rai, that they can treat Olive even BETTER than the doctors in Bangkok, pray for little Olive, that she'll continue to fight and improve and be the miracle everyone knows she is. Just continue to pray.
update on Olive Joy Polinder
Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 9:22am
Dear friends and family,
We have been overwhelmed by the prayers, love, and support we are feeling from all of you. We feel like we are on an emotional rollarcoaster....trying to hold on to hope for our little one, making decisions for her care, and then being moments from thinking we will have to say good-bye to her.
We named her together today after Rusty arrived...Olive Hope Polinder (2.8 lbs)...born at 28.5 weeks.
Today was rough. Started off encouraging. One important medicine that we were encouraged to get to her ASAP (surfactant for her little lungs that didn't have time to develop enough) was driven overnight from a friend of ours from Chiang Mai. She received her first dose at 1:00am last night and responded well, giving them the ability to decrease the level of oxygen she is on from 60% to 40%. This morning she had her second dose, and seemed to be responding well to that.
This afternoon around 2:00 I was getting discharged from the hospital and got a phone call to come as urgently as possible to the hospital she is at (about 10 minutes away) and said she wasn't doing well. We arrived to find out she had a pulmonary hemorrhage and they needed to draw my blood for a possible transfusion. Her heart rate was dropping, as well as her oxygen level. We sang to her, prayed over her, and cried that we wouldn't have to say good-bye before Rusty landed and met her. It took about 25 minutes for them to stabilize her with a new respirator. They had to then increase her oxygen level to 100%...which increases the risk of other complications.
Current complications she has...PDA (a little hole in her heart that hasn't closed). They gave her medication for this tonight that helps 80% of pre-term babies with this problem.She also has an enlarged heart...but they said with the last x-ray that it seems to be getting a little smaller.Possible Intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding in her brain). This can only be confirmed by an ultrasound which has not been done yet...this is the Dr.s assumption by symptoms she is seeing.It seems like the pulmonary hemmorage has stopped and is looking better.The bleeding has made this little one anemic, so this evening she was starting on a blood transfusion this evening around 9 our time.
They are having a hard time stabilizing her. She is on 100% oxygen...which we want to be reduced as soon as her little body can handle it. We thought we were also going to lose her this evening around 6:30 when he O2 saturation levels dropped to 10%. They were able to give her some medication to bring it back up.
We are exhausted emotionally and physically. So glad to be together again. Pray that we will have the strength we need for the moments ahead and the ability to trust Jesus through all of this. Pray for sweet little Olive...that Jesus would work a miracle and breath life into her little body.
One top of all of this we are having insurance complications and unsure what will be covered...so please pray for that.
Much love, Lynette and Rusty
September 29th update on Olive
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:31pm
Dear loved ones,
Yesterday was such a special day. We were both able to spend hours holding little Olive on our chests spending time talking to her and singing over her, We have been overwhelmed by the e-mails, phone calls, facebook messages, and visitors. We are being held up by the prayers of so many we know and love, and also by many who have heard the news who we don't even know personally.
Today has been like each day so far since little Olive Hope has arrived...filled with moments of joy, moments of fear, moments of uncertainty, sadness, hope and thankfulness.
This morning she had an ultrasound done to assess the level of intracranial hemorrhage that she had the other night. There are four levels--one being the least severe with little long term complications and four being the most serious and highest risk of long term complications. Olive had a level four intracranial hemorrhage. The doctors are telling us that if she makes it she will certainly have serious cognitive and motor damage..(mentally handicapped, cerebral palsy...and the list could go on). There is also a high risk of blindness due to the high concentrations of oxygen they have had to keep her on. She is also still anemic so she is getting blood transfusions. And this morning she was very jaundiced so we had to keep her under a photo-therapy light most of the day. Because of her brain damage she is no longer able to blink her little eyes. They remain open ALL the time unless we reach and blink them for her. They only have her on IV so far and say she can't have any breast milk until they hear bowel sounds. My milk has come in, so as of now I have been pumping and storing it in the freezer.
Our hearts are aching for this little one. We are willing and ready to care for a little girl with handicaps if Jesus chooses to give her to us. Part of us is also hoping and longing to see a miracle. Another part of us feels very afraid...of all the unknowns to come. She has had every possible complication and to the most severe level thus far...and yet there is something in me that keeps holding onto some sort of hope. And another part of me that doesn't want her little body to suffer any longer. Thoughts are going and coming in all directions.
We have been asked today if we want them to continue aggressive treatment measures, or if we would like to stop those treatments and simply let her go. Yesterday I thought we were feeling ready to let her go because of how much misery she was going through...and now we have been through two days of holding her and seeing her vital signs increase...and I'm not ready yet to let her go.
All this to say...decision making has felt difficult, but today has been a day when I am going to bed with hope for life for this little one...
And just enough strength to make it through this day by threads. And exhausted.
Jesus has indeed been drawing us closer and closer to Him through this journey...our only place to find any hope in this circumstance.
We can feel your love and support all around us.
Carrie's prayer for Olive...(Carrie is my sister-in-law)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:39pm
Carrie sent me this prayer she has been praying over little Olive and I keep praying it over her little body all day...
"Olive Hope, The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
"May the power and the blood of Jesus wash over your little body. Lord Jesus, I pray that you would surround Olive with the protective cushion of Your Spirit. I pray that you would wash healing all over her body, around her cells, through her organs, through her brain cells, renewing and restoring.
Lord, restore the damage that has been happened with bleeding. Take it away and replace it with cells that are new, that are uninjured. Protect her body from bleeding – keep her cells tight and whole and immune to damage.
Keep her from infection. Keep her vital signs stable. Protect her eyes. Protect her vision. I pray that her vision would be restored, and she will be able to look into the eyes of her mommy and see her.
Wrap this little being in your presence, around and around with protection, comfort, and healing. Let the power of your kingdom be evident in her tiny body. Jesus. Mend Olive. Make her whole. Restore and protect her. Let her hear her mommy and daddy’s voice even when they are not with her. Let her rest and heal.
Give Lynette and Rusty the strength and endurance they need. Give them words to pray, songs to sing. Hear the cries of our heart, Lord. Turn our tears into tears of rejoicing. Give Lynette and Rusty restorative sleep.
In the name of Jesus who died for us and brought us life and the light of your kingdom here on earth, Amen.
October 30th update
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:27pm
Another day without much drama...which is exactly what we were needing today. I was able to catch up on being behind with sleep while Rusty, Bethany, and Jan stayed at the hospital with Olive. Rusty was able to hold her for an hour and sing with her.
I came in from 3 pm-1am and had time singing to her, holding her skin to skin, and praying over her.
Our BIG prayer request is that she would have bowel sounds so that they can begin giving her the milk and colostrum that I have been freezing. She has only been on an IV with dextrose and some other electrolytes and is soooo little and skinny. The Dr. says that there are many factors at the moment for why she has to be NPO (nothing by mouth), but the biggest fear is that if we give her nutrition before her gut is ready, she may get necrotizing enterocolitis (http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/nec.html).
Please pray that little Olive would be free of this complication. Please pray Carrie's prayer over her...that her damaged cells would be reversed and replaced with new healthy cells.
She is also still anemic, hyponatremic, and jaundiced. The Dr finally ordered her to be on eye drops and eye ointment to prevent her eyes from drying since she can't close them on her own.
Libby is spending the night with her at the hospital and my parents will arrive tomorrow morning.
We are so encouraged by the number of people praying for her. The support we feel from each of you has literally been lifting us up when we are at our lowest points.
Thank-you. love, Lynette
Update and new prayer requests for Olive...
Sun at 5:28am
Dear friends and family,
We continue to be overwhelmed by the number of people praying for Olive and us during this time. I'm not sure if I have ever sensed Christ's body around the world coming together to pray for someone. Daily we are overwhelmed to tears while reading e-mails, prayers, poems, and words of encouragement from close friends and even strangers. We have churches praying for Olive all over the US, Canada, Nepal, Akha villages here in Thailand, the underground church in Vietnam, churches in Korea, churches on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, England...and the list continues. Friends of mine who haven't prayed in months or years have been praying for her numerous times a day.
The week has been the biggest emotional rollarcoaster we have ever experienced. At the beginning of the week we were talking with the doctors about letting her go, for fear of her little body suffering so much...and then we saw answers to prayers and her condition improving little by little each day. She had every complication in the book, and yet her condition continues to stabilize. She is continuing to respond well to the colostrum, and today the doctor increased her intake to 1 cc/6 times a day. She had another stool today which is evidence that her little digestive system is working well. Her platelet count is normal, as well as her hematocrit and hemoglobin. Her bilirubin levels continue to drop. She has retained the ability to blink and close her eyes as she sleeps. Today they had her on room air for most of the day (21% oxygen)...and receiving 25% for part of the day, and her O2 blood saturation levels remained between 89-96% which is great news.
The current concern is that each day her head circumference continues to increase little by little. Tomorrow morning at 9:00 am (Sunday evening for those of you in the States) we have another ultrasound on her brain to assess the current state of swelling. How I understand it is that with the bleeding she experienced in her brain, her little head is compensating for that increase in space and expanding to reduce the pressure. After the ultrasound in the morning we will sit down to have a meeting with the brain surgeon, neonatologist, and another specialist. We will then talk about the next step in planning for her treatment...if the hospital here is adequate to care for her or if we will need to transfer her to another hospital in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, or the States if she is stable enough.
We are feeling anxious about the ultrasound in the morning, and would ask your prayers for us. Pray against infection for Olive as she is transported to the ultrasound room. We are in a hospital overwhelmed by patients over flowing into the hallways where we walk through to get to the ultrasound room.
We have grown to really love and respect the nurses caring for Olive. They have been so attentive to her needs, and we have much trust in their wisdom in caring for her. We have also grown to trust the doctor caring for her.
Culturally here in Thailand children with disabilities are looked down upon. I remember volunteering at an orphanage outside of Bangkok eight years ago and watching monks come and visit the hundreds of mentally handicapped children and tell them, "If you do better in this life, your next life will be better." Earlier this week our doctor, Thai friend, and two nurses sat us down for a meeting and asked if we wanted to go ahead and give Olive platelets that she needed and a new antibiotic, or if we would like to withhold the treatment and "let her go." They all encouraged us to "let her go" and withhold the treatment and said she would have about a week before her little body would shut down. They told us that if she survives and is handicapped and possibly blind it would be unfair to her. We cried a lot during that meeting, prayed, and went with our hearts....to continue treatment and commit to caring for her...unless we come to a point where we feel her little body can't undergo any more aggressive treatment.
We go through our days asking for more miracles...more healing of damaged cells, and quality of life for this little one.
Love, Lynette and Rusty
Update from Ultrasound and CT Scan...
Yesterday at 10:21am
Dear friends and family,
We had a very intense day today and are feeling pretty drained. This morning Olive had an ultrasound of her brain to assess if there was any further bleeding, or an increase in fluid around the brain. The results showed that there has been no additional bleeding. However, the area with the bleeding has not absorbed back into the circulation of the brain causing an obstruction in the cerebral spinal fluid. This increase in fluid around the brain (hydrocephalus) is causing some pressure on the brain, as well as an increase in her head circumference. After the ultrasound this morning the brain surgeon decided to send Olive for a CT Scan of the brain to see more clearly what is going on. The CT scan confirmed what they had seen in the ultrasound.
The doctor told us that the treatment will be to place a temporary shunt/drain into her head to remove some of this fluid. He says there is a small chance that it could resolve on its own if her body would absorb the blood from the hemorrhage, but he suggested getting arrangements in place for surgery in case that becomes the only option. The good news is that because her head is so soft, and her fontanels haven't yet closed it will allow her head circumference to increase and make room for this fluid...and the brain surgeon said it is not an emergency surgery, but suggested within the next week or so we would take action.
Currently Olive has an infection in her blood, though she received antibiotics for it. We will wait to see the results of her CBC (Complete Blood Count) tomorrow to see if her WBC (white blood cell) count has gone down at all, which would show a decrease in infection in her body. Worries from the doctor about giving her this shunt are that she has such weak immune system, she is only 1.295 kg, and fears of using anesthesia for a pre-term 28 week old baby. There is of course an increase in the risk of infection with any surgery.
Good news for the day...her bilirubin levels have dropped and she is no longer under photo-therapy. She continues to do well on the colostrum and day by day they have been increasing her intake. Today she was only receiving 21-25% oxygen. Her heart rate and blood oxygen level remained stable all day. They have also changed the ventilator settings to make her use her little lungs more and she is adjusting well and making good progress.
Tomorrow we will be writing up reports of all of her treatments, diagnosis, and test results and making phone calls to doctors here in Thailand, as well as neonatologists and brain surgeons we have been recommended to contact by our friends and families in the States. We will then be trying to figure out where the best place for her treatment will be, and finding a neurosurgeon who has had experience placing shunts in pre-term babies...as well as finding anesthesiologists who have experience with pre-term babies. Pray for wisdom as we make these decisions.
We have also been trying to sort out lots of details with our insurance, so please pray for this as well.
We are so thankful to have my mom and dad here during this time and for all of the love and support they are giving us. Our dear friend Ghan also stayed with us all day helping us with translating during our meetings with the neonatologist and brain surgeon. Bethany and Libby have been so helpful in so many ways too. Sherry Palsrok is also here as a support which has meant a lot to us. I could keep going and mentioning those in this community who have been so thoughtful during this time but my list would get too long for tonight.
We want to thank so many of you who spent time in prayer for Olive this morning. We continue to ask Jesus to touch her little body...to fight against infection, and to protect her brain despite these complications. We also have been thankful for the good signs we are seeing with her respiratory system and digestive system. We continue to have hope for this little one...Much love, Lynette
Rough day...please continue praying.
Today at 2:01am
Dear friends and family,
Each day we feel like Jesus has given us just enough strength to get through the day...today is a day where I feel like I'm on the verge of breaking down with each new piece of news the doctors give us.
We arrived this morning to the hospital to find out that after a chest x-ray last night they found infiltrates in Olive's lungs, and they diagnosed her with pneumonia. She has also lost her bowel sounds and has been having quite a bit of gastric residual in her stomach so they have stopped giving her colostrum until her little digestive system starts up again.
Her WBC count has increased...most likely due to the infection in her lungs.
This morning we started making phone calls to our insurance company (Talent Trust Insurance) which is under Aetna and got a return phone call that they have looked over her information and talked on the phone with our neonatologist and brain surgeon. The insurance company thinks we need to move Olive to a private hospital in Bangkok ASAP, and both doctors agree that she is stable enough and would recommend this as well. They would pay for her to be flown with a medical team to this top children's hospital.
However, they are telling us that the cap for coverage for newborn care is 10,000 US dollars...which is RIDICULOUS. That will barely cover her for three days down there at this other hospital. We have been on the phone with insurance ALL day so far and Rusty is finally talking to the top supervisors who know all about our situation and will make a decision if she will be fully covered or not around 4 this afternoon. Our medivac team is on hold until we find out if she will be covered by insurance and if they tell us she is covered she will be transfered most likely tomorrow. If she is not covered we will be staying here at our current hospital.We are at the end of ourselves today...I'm so worried about the infections in her little body...and then to add the stress of a transfer...and an imminent surgery. Everything feels out of our own control.
We are waiting for an answer and praying for peace to surround us in the midst of this chaos and worry. We know Jesus has a plan...it has just been a day where trusting that plan feels more difficult. No matter the outcome we will continue to serve Him...the one who entrusted Olive to us as a gift.
Thank-you for your prayers. Love, Lynette
Today at 3:10am
Dear friends and family,
I just got off the phone with Rusty. Insurance will only pay for the medivac team and not more than 10,000 US dollars above that. For now we will be staying at Chiang Rai Regional Hospital and looking into options. Feeling in shock about this insurance coverage. Can't even wrap my mind around the person who wrote that policy.