Monday, July 24, 2017

Celebration of Canaan's Life

Arrangements for Canaan's Celebration of Life service have been scheduled, and Becca and Nathan would love anyone who's been touched by her life to attend.

Celebration of Canaan
Saturday, August 5, 2017
7:07 p.m.

Fourth Avenue Church of Christ
117 4th Avenue North
Franklin, TN 37064

Please wear your brightest Islander attire to this service. Becca and Nathan don't want to see any black! Bright colors, flowers, darkness.

Expressions of sympathy can be mailed to:
137 4th Avenue North
Franklin, TN 37064

Before leaving Arkansas, Becca and Nathan were able to meet with Canaan's birth family and talk and grieve, as two sets of parents. They talked about how this adoption and death has forever connected them. Canaan's birth family knows Becca and Nathan will always remember Canaan, and they also made sure the birth family knew Becca and Nathan would keep loving on Murphy and Marshall.

So how are Becca and Nathan doing? They aren't doing well. And they won't be for a while. They are two parents who lost a child. They are grieving. They may not have given physical birth to Canaan, but have no doubt that she was theirs and they were hers.

I know it's so hard to try and figure out what to say to them so as they head back into town, I tried coming up with some suggestions instead of the dreaded/awful question of "How are you doing?"

I'm so sorry.
I love you.
You are in my thoughts.
I've put you on my prayer list and am going to pray for you every single morning.
This sucks.
I'm going to be near your house at X time on X day. I can (bring you some groceries, pick you up a smoothie bowl, grab a coke zero for you, bring you a stupid movie and/or stupid magazines, go for a walk with you, etc.).

Thank you all for your prayers, and for continuing to reach out. It means the world to keep seeing how touched everyone is by Canaan and her short life here on this earth. We will be sure to sing loudly at her service on August 5th!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 14: Canaan is with Jesus

Two weeks ago today, there were many tears shed as a baby girl was born way too early, and death seemed imminent. But then there were whispers. "She's fighting. She is fierce. She is hanging on." 

And then more disbelief. "There isn't infection. There isn't a brain bleed. She's been extubated." 

And disbelief turned into faith. And with faith, hope. And with hope, a groundswell of love.

For fourteen days, Canaan Rebecca Daniel lived in a fight for her life, and she touched countless lives in the process. This one pound miracle breathed life into hearts all over, with thousands praying for her. Her story was shared with strangers who had no connection to the Daniel family. The gospel was proclaimed. 

In her last 30 minutes before she passed from this Earth to her eternal home in Heaven, she was held by Becca, Nathan, and then Donna, her Nanna. They kissed her silky black hair. They sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children" to her. They felt her heart beat. Nathan tenderly whispered, "There won't be a day that goes by that we don't think of you, Canaan Rebecca."

Today, Canaan rests with Jesus. She's smiling, with her deep brown eyes you could get lost in. She is in no pain, and we rejoice that her suffering is no more. I like to think she is running and climbing all over the place, just like her birth siblings. She leaves a large swath of grieving behind, as we struggle on this side of earth to cope with her loss. But we also live with hope, knowing that she will one day greet us all with a joyous smile on her face.

As you see 7's throughout your day, lift up the Daniel family in prayer and give thanks for the courageous 14 days Canaan Rebecca Daniel lived. Know that much grieving is to take place, with more questions than answers. But also know this. Canaan's life had purpose. Jesus loves all the children of the world, red and yellow, black, brown, white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Embrace these songs today with Becca and Nathan. Pray for their entire family. Lift up the doctors and nurses who were with Canaan until the very end. Let your tears fall freely. Feel the pain with us. And if you do nothing else, witness to others. Tell them the beautiful story of Canaan Rebecca.

Even If - MercyMe

Blessed Be Your Name - Matt Redman
Run, baby girl, run! Run to the promised land. In Canaan's land there will be no more tears.

On behalf of Nathan, Becca, Fenley and Wake, 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

11:41 pm - please keep praying!

Friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ,

Please keep the prayers coming into these evening hours. Nathan has made it to Arkansas (he had already left earlier in the day for a planned weekend in Arkansas - what a touching God detail to cover so that he and Becca can be together). She's asked that I continue to keep the blog updated, as I know many of you are checking back on this page.

They are waiting right now - waiting to see if she is going to make it - and should know more around the 2 am hour. Becca ordered a shirt earlier this week that says "Wait. Trust. Pray." No truer words can be spoken right now. They wait. They trust. They pray. This faith they have, is a faith that has to be dug in deep. God is good and blessed be His name, but this is a full on storm and it is HARD. Beyond human strength.

Becca says it is painful to look at her as she and Nathan know Canaan is in pain, so we beg Jesus for comfort for her. And let us all raise our hands in praise that Canaan is surrounded by her mommy and daddy. The neonatologist said this is "catastrophic" yet she can recover. Some numbers are starting to look better while others worsen.

Canaan entered the world in an incredibly difficult way with her birth mother's infection and placenta abruption. Becca and Nathan long to see her run healthy and whole this side of heaven. They can't thank everyone enough for holding their arms up. This isn't their battle. Our prayers sustain them. Our prayers are theirs as they only have groans at this moment in time. She isn't a micro preemie who is adopted...she is Becca and Nathan's, their Canaan Rebecca. Her sweet black hair, her long fingers and toes. She is fighting.

They know the chances aren't good but they also know our Lord and Savior, our Abba Daddy, still loves to do miracles. The nurses whiz around them, while beeps and alarms go off, and they are lost yet also not because Becca and Nathan know where they need to be. With their daughter who has needed them to love her these last 13 days and Lord willing thousands more!

Becca and Nathan thank you for the prayers and the support. And Canaan knows you love her, too. Gut wrenching pain yet Holy Spirit filled.


Urgent Request for a Miracle

Please stop what you're doing right now and pray urgently. The hospital has called and asked Becca to come immediately. Canaan does have an infection. They do not know if she will survive. Please in the name of Jesus pray for a miracle.  I wish I had more words but I can't find them. May the Spirit interpret our groans and intercede for us.


Day 13: To the Heart of the Matter

Apologies for the delay today in posting. I was a dummy and left my laptop at home when we went to the hospital (go figure - I guess Mom brain will continue to exist for me).

I also want to get this out quickly, so I'll get right to the prayer requests:

1. Canaan is getting her echo done this afternoon. Pray that the PDA has closed! The doctors want to know that this is heading in the right direction.

2. Her heart rate spiked this morning/early afternoon to a concerning level. Tests are being run this afternoon, so please pray there isn't any infection.

3. Let's keep praying that the kidney and urine output stay consistent. A side effect of the medication Canaan just finished is bowels not working as well. So pray that this side effect doesn't rear its ugly head.

If there's anything I've learned this week while hanging with the NICU team, it is that little Canaan is fighting hard, and that she is still in an incredibly critical point. I no longer want to say she's "doing well." A light bulb went off in my head today as a nurse said that Canaan has a right as a preemie to be this way. She is not expected to act like a full-term baby, because she isn't. She has a right for these levels to ping back and forth, and for things not to be consistent in her little body. Canaan is not in a "good" place. She's in a place to be expected for a baby this critical.

Please keep praying when you see 7's. We are all so comforted by the sweet notes from all of you and the witnessing you're doing on Canaan's behalf. I wanted to share one from a friend of mine in North Carolina:

"I wanted to send you a quick (sorry, it ended up not being so quick) message! I have been reading your posts and praying for your friends and baby in Arkansas. When you wrote yesterday, pray when you see or think of the number 7, I didn't really get it or think much of it. However, this morning, I am out of town and was able to surprise one of my best friends from high school who leads a faith based fitness program. I got up at 4:30 so I could drive to her 5:30 class. One section of the class was doing reps with weights and she said "Ok, ladies, 7 reps of each exercise and then repeat the set." She went on to say that she wasn't initially going to say 7, but she changed it last minute and for us to go with it. God was in Conver, NC this morning at 5:45 reminding me to pray for this family! At the end of the workout, my friend Kara lead us in prayer and I could not get your friends out of my mind. I shared your post from yesterday with Kara and we both had chills. I know there was no coincidence in this and wanted you to know that the village that is praying is probably far bigger than you know."

I wanted to leave you on a happy note, because we do have good things happening in Arkansas! As we've been making the apartment homier, Canaan's digs took an upgrade, too. :) Donna worked day and night to create a beautiful masterpiece. Check out her new isolette cover, complete with flamingos and feathers ("He will cover you with His feathers, and He will shelter you with His wings." Psalm 91). 

She is a fierce little warrior, and is surrounded by love and prayers day and night. Please keep them coming!

Go Fund Me Page for Becca and Nathan

Their temporary home:
ATTN: Becca and Nathan Daniel
15 N. Locust Avenue, Apt. 3
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Blessings to all,

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 12: Ice Cream Memories and Heart Ducts

So how in the world did this adoption come to be? And how far back do we go to try and share in this story? I could take forever to tell you all the background, but I won't. It's too long. But I can share some morsels to give you a framework because it is all about God, and I love sharing how awesome He has woven this story together.

Becca and I are childhood friends. As in, our moms had us in preschool together (waaaaaay back in the day) and in elementary school they would drop us off and then meet up in a moms prayer group to pray for us. And we lived life together and it was crazy and good. We grew up, moved to different states, stayed in touch when we could, etc. We also talked quite frequently as Becca and Nathan were starting their adoption journey in 2015. Fast forward to this year.

On March 19, 2017, I pulled out my journal for church to take notes during the sermon. Our pastor's focus that day was on expecting a miracle, and how we should not only expect miracles, but pray for others who are expecting miracles. I immediately thought of Becca and Nathan, because they had recently experienced another failed adoption. I wrote her name down in my sermon notes as a reminder to pray for them, and then went on with my Sunday.

Do you see the note and Becca's name in parentheses?

Two days later, I received a phone call from our adoption attorney letting me know that my adoptive children's biological mother was expecting again. As much as I wanted to say yes, my husband and I knew it wasn't our yes to say because we truly felt our family was complete. The next morning, my daily devotional was about finding beauty in the mess - a story about infertility. It again brought Becca's name to the forefront of my thoughts, and I knew at that point I needed to pray hard about coming to my friend to ask an extraordinary question. Would she and Nathan consider adopting this baby?

In our conversation on March 29, I even went so far as to point out my morning scripture for the day, which talked about the Lord fulfilling His promises to the Israelites as he parceled out the land of Canaan (yes, do you see that God-wink there with her name?). I feel like this promise of adoption was moving all along to this child, even though Becca and Nathan went through the heartbreak of failed adoptions first. God went to extraordinary lengths to confirm this adoption story for both our families, and it is those promises and groundwork that sustain us.

If you've made it through all of my babbling today, then thank you for indulging me in sharing some of this story. But now to the matter at hand. How is Canaan doing today, and how can we pray for her?
Canaan's NICU station

Canaan is tolerating the medicine she's receiving to (hopefully) close the PDA. As her doctor said, she is "critical, but stable."

Dose one of the medication was received yesterday, she is taking dose two as I type these words, and then the final dose will be tomorrow at lunch. Pray that the medicine works, and pray that it doesn't compromise function of any other system in her body. Pray that her urine output remains the same.

Pray for Becca and Nathan's health. They need to stay as germ free as possible to visit the NICU, so we need sniffles and colds to stay away! They are healthy right now, free of illness. We would all like them to stay that way.
The scrub-in station outside the NICU.
Three minutes of vigorous scrubbing helps keep germs at bay.


Friday is going to be a big day for Canaan. She will have a brain scan to check for brain bleeds, and will have an echo to check on the PDA. We are praying for there to be no brain bleed and a closed PDA.

Go Fund Me Page for Becca and Nathan

Their temporary home:
ATTN: Becca and Nathan Daniel
15 N. Locust Avenue, Apt. 3
Fayetteville, AR 72701

As you go to bed tonight, sing what we sang to Canaan the other night:
He's got the itty bitty babies, in His hands
He's got Canaan Rebecca, in His Hands
He's got the itty bitty babies, in His Hands
He's got the whole world in His hands.

Praying with hope,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day 11

As I type these words, I'm sitting by Canaan, watching her tiny chest rise and fall, seeing her eyelids flutter open, look up, and then close again, as if awoken briefly from a dream. She squirms and her fragile (but strong!) fingers reach out, and then lay back down on her belly. There are cords and tubes around her, with machines whirring and lights flashing. Numbers appear on computer screens, so many numbers that I couldn't possibly understand what each one measures. It's both overwhelming and also reassuring to see the level of care she's receiving at the hospital. As Becca walks in the nurses all greet her, because of course she has made friends with each of them and remembers every name. They lower the isolette (Canaan's bed) down to chair level so Becca can sit right beside her while she journals and reads.

I drove in from Nashville yesterday, arriving last night in time to go with Becca to the hospital to meet Canaan. She is both fragile and fierce, and boy is she loved already by so many of you! Today Becca received several cards in the mail, and tears flowed freely with the abundance of prayers you are sending to Arkansas. 
I participated in touch time with Becca today, and Canaan squeezed my finger.
And it took my breath away.

Canaan has tolerated her feedings well. And those feedings are Becca's colostrum that she had frozen last fall. It is such an amazing blessing to know Canaan is receiving that nourishment, and we pray her body can continue to absorb the feedings.

She's made it to day 11. Can we just throw a party on that fact? After she was born, Canaan's doctor said making it to day 10 was a huge hurdle to overcome. It doesn't mean she is in the clear by any means, but it is something to celebrate.

The PDA in her heart has not closed, and the doctors determined it's time for Canaan to receive the necessary medicine to help close it up. There are risks with any medication for a baby this small. She'll receive it over the next three days, so here is the request. Pray that it works, and pray that it doesn't compromise function of any other system in her body. 

Managing her care is like walking a tightrope. They adjust the oxygen, and then it's too much, so they adjust it down, but then they adjust it back up. It is such a precarious role for Canaan's nurse, which is why she has one nurse who's assigned only to Canaan and no other preemie in the NICU. The nurse sits right outside her isolette, watching the computer screens, checking her, watching her. I loved nurses before, but I love them even more now. 

A great reminder to pray is that any time you see a 7, say a prayer. As Becca and Nathan have been doing workouts, they are doing 7 sets of reps. And when they are exhausted, breathing hard from exercise, they remind themselves that Canaan is working this hard to breathe too. So whether it be 7 sit-ups or walking 7 flights of stairs, or running for 7 minutes, think of Canaan when you do, and pray. 

If you don't have children, you may not be familiar with the recent Disney hit, Moana. If you have kids, you probably have every song memorized (like my household). The song - Innocent Warrior - is one Becca and Nathan have loved, and the translation is powerful. So here's the song, with the translation:

Innocent Warrior
Your eyes so full of wonder
Your heart an innocent warrior
There's a task for you
My dearest one
Let if flow over you
This freedom you feel
And your deep thoughts
Our young girl
Your eyes so full of wonder

So send prayers out today for our Innocent Warrior, Canaan.

Go Fund Me Page for Becca and Nathan

Their temporary home:
ATTN: Becca and Nathan Daniel
15 N. Locust Avenue, Apt. 3
Fayetteville, AR 72701


Celebration of Canaan's Life

Arrangements for Canaan's Celebration of Life service have been scheduled, and Becca and Nathan would love anyone who's been touched...