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Hi friends! Dave here with an update about the situation with my friend’s Matt and Sarah and their unborn baby, Chloe. Thank you for praying and please keep the prayer going… There is some very good news since my friends Matt and Sarah got back from the specialist. It looks like their baby is going to live and doctors are optimistic that she will be healthy and normal! But the baby will have to be delivered early and undergo surgery immediately after birth. There are still many risks involved and Matt, Sarah and Chloe still need lots of prayer!!! The baby’s condition is still VERY serious and things have to go perfectly from this point forward. KEEP PRAYING!!! Below is a portion of the post Matt and Sarah put out to their friends on Facebook Wednesday…

By-the-way, for those of you unaware, before Matt or myself were married to our lovely wives, we were flatmates for 9 years! He is one of the closest friends I have and has been there for me through so much. He is a true bro in Jesus! Both he and Sarah are real examples of free believers through whom the love of Jesus shines so brightly. Thanks everyone for your prayers and please keep them in your prayers as they still have a long road ahead of them.

I just wanted to give you an update on our situation with our baby, Chloe…

Yesterday changed Sarah’s and my life. As you may know, Sarah is 25 weeks pregnant, and went in for a routine ultrasound yesterday morning. I had been present at every ultrasound until then, but skipped this one due to an appointment I had to drop my truck off at the auto body shop for repairs and pick up a rental car for a few days while I wait for the repairs to be completed. Sarah called me from her appointment with horrible news that our baby had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida. I rushed to be with her at the hospital where we were able to visit with her doctor for a little bit. They scheduled an immediate appointment for the following morning with specialists in Spokane. We spent all afternoon today with the specialists and are now finished.

It felt like my old college days last night when I found myself cramming as much information as I could find online about Spina Bifida, and now having spent all afternoon with specialists, I feel I’m well prepared for the test. As you may know, there are four kinds of Spina Bifida ranging from mild to severe. Chloe has been diagnosed with the severe kind called Myelomeningocele. Now before you freak out on me, this kind is actually the most common type of Spina Bifida so while we’re already in the 3 percentile for even having to deal with a birth defect, apparently we weren’t unlucky enough to have one of the more rare milder types. ;p Being the proactive parental types, it’s especially confusing that we’re in this situation, having known well enough to take plenty of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy. Sarah not only takes plenty of prenatal pills, she even took the time to find just the right ones, an organic whole food source (and endorsed by Gweneth Paltrow no less). We’ve been round and round on the question of why, and it’s been made very clear by everyone involved that Sarah did nothing wrong that would contribute to this outcome. Just the opposite. Sarah has done everything right, and in spite of all we could do, even in the specialists own words, this is just a fluke.

There is good news! Besides the fact that we will no longer be recommending anything endorsed by Gweneth Paltrow (I’m kidding folks), we have seen God at work in every area of concern regarding what to expect with our baby. Thank you for all your prayers, and we will need them to continue. Here’s why…

What is Spina Bifida? Spina Bifida is when there is a small opening of the spine that just didn’t quite close properly during development, which allows cerebrospinal fluid to leak out. The location of the opening on the spine can determine the severity of challenges. The lower on the spine, the better. The challenges can range from complete to partial paralysis from the location of the opening down. The lower the opening on the spine, the better the chance there is of walking normal or with minimal assistance from the use of braces or a walker. Chloe was diagnosed with an opening low on her spine, which is great news. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to see signs of other related challenges such as clubbed feet–Chole’s legs and feet are perfect!

Additionally, the specialists are concerned about fluid collecting on Chloe’s brain. What often accompanies this kind of Spina Bifida is this complication of fluid on the brain because the leak of cerebrospinal fluid through the opening can create a ‘suction’ from fluid flowing normally from the brain down the spinal column. This suction can pull the hindbrain (a part of the brain near the back of the head) down into the pathway of the fluid acting as a ‘plug’. Since cerebrospinal fluid is created in the ventricles of the brain and flows down through the spine, if the pathway is plugged, the fluid begins to build up in the ventricles. The larger the ventricles grow, the greater the risk of damage to the brain, which could determine IQ. Another miracle from God! Chloe’s ventricles are only barely above normal (almost to the point where they wouldn’t even technically label her as having hydrocephalus). Hydrocephalus just means ‘water on the brain’. Additionally, they told us that after 25 weeks of pregnancy, it’s rare for the ventricles to grow any larger.

What’s next? While we did look into the option of surgery, because of how late our pregnancy is (past 25 weeks), we are not candidates for surgery and there is nothing we can do except wait and pray. Their plan is to schedule us for a c-section birth probably a couple weeks earlier than our due date, and the doctors will perform immediate surgery on Chloe to close the opening on her back. She will be in the hospital for one to two weeks after birth, so we should be able to bring her home somewhere near our original due date. Until then, we will be receiving all of our follow up and prenatal care in Spokane on regular intervals to monitor Chloe’s progress.

What does this mean for Chloe? It’s important to remind everyone (including ourselves) that this is not life threatening in any way to our baby or the mother. Also, there is absolutely no physical abnormalities or distortions to Chloe’s appearance in any way other than a small scar that will be above her tailbone from where they sew her up. Her head, arms, hands, feet, everything is 100% normal and we will be giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Also, because the ventricles are so small, there is great reason to expect that she will be of normal intellect! We have seen and heard of many, many stories here where even with abnormally large ventricles, the baby is as bright and intelligent as a normal healthy baby. Regardless, we will love our baby unconditionally and we are so excited to meet her soon!

Please keep praying for God to continue to work a miracle for complete restoration. Chloe’s ventricle measurments need to remain at current levels or reduce in size (which is not uncommon). Also, we are believing God that Chloe will have full bodily function and be able to walk, run and play unassisted on her own. Thank you so much for your support! Sarah and I are in good spirits and are excited about what God can do with our story and we know he can heal our baby. We love you guys. Keep praying. And you can call or talk to us anytime. We’re not moping around in self pity, we’re probably eating ice cream and watching the Real Housewives on the Bravo network <---NOT. (that was matt's little joke). we are seriously praying constantly & encouraged that God doesn't give us anything we can't handle thru Christ-our Awesome, wonder-working God. Thank you!! Love you all!!Matt & Sarah

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