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CBN.com “The pregnancy was going well, but in January it turned. Everything changed.”
It had only been 20 weeks, halfway through her pregnancy, when Karen Bryant began losing amniotic fluid. At first her doctor was not concerned.
After more testing, Karen’s doctor realized that her water had broke prematurely, and the baby was surviving on just a pocket of fluid the size of a quarter. Karen was immediately ordered to bed but in her 26th week, she was rushed to Maine Medical so that she could have an emergency cesarean section. A nurse examined her, and before they could even give her anesthesia, the baby was entering this world, feet first.
Karen recalls, “I got very fearful, and the Lord met me on the operating table with the anesthesiologist behind me. He leaned down and said, ‘Karen, just trust the Lord.’ I could feel my whole body relax, and I delivered her feet first. She had the cord wrapped around her neck four times.”
The tiny baby had to be resuscitated five times. At 1 pound, 2 ounces, she had two holes in her heart, her lungs hadn’t fully developed and her skin was transparent.
Karen and her husband Chris named their little girl, Hannah. They were told that she wouldn’t survive. But incredibly, Hannah held on.
“I just cried. She was so tiny and frail,” says Karen.
Days passed and Hannah clung to life. The Bryant family felt the stress. Karen spent long hours at the hospital while Chris stayed home to take care of their son Ben.
Chris says, “It was a struggle for me at the hospital. I felt so hopeless. Frustration and anger would set in because I couldn’t do anything.”
Hannah came down with two deadly viruses. She had laser surgery for a brain bleed. Plus the two holes in her heart and her weak lungs continued to cause problems. It took three months for her to reach 2 pounds.
Hannah’s cardiologist told Karen and Chris that Hannah needed more surgery to slow down the fluid being pumped into her lungs. But the Bryants believed in prayer.
Karen says, “He kept saying the holes will not heal on their own. I said never say never. I said you’ve given me a week to pray, and he said yeah. He didn’t believe me. They never had to do the pulmonary band and six weeks before we took her home the bottom hole healed.”
After five and a half months in the hospital, Hannah came home. She was on five medications, oxygen and a monitor. She had many complications over the next year.
Dr. Steven Meister, Hannah’s pediatrician, says, “When she first came to us, she was one of the tiniest children of her age that I’ve ever taken care of. She had lung disease, congenital heart disease, she had retinopathy of prematurity which is a problem that affected her vision, and she had problems with her hearing.”
Surgery closed the remaining hole in Hannah’s heart. But Hannah’s lungs were still weak and her doctor said that she would need oxygen for a very long time. Once again, the Bryants prayed for Hannah’s healing.
One night, Karen was watching The 700 Club. Exhausted, she could barely stay awake. But something Terry Meeuwsen said woke her up.
“There’s a preemie baby who’s lungs aren’t developed, and God is healing them now in Jesus name,” Terry said.
Karen says, “I sat right up. ‘That’s Hannah! That’s Hannah!’ Claimed the word. Two weeks after that we had a lung x-ray, and I remember the day we went down. The doctors would stand, look at the x-ray, look at us, go back and come back again. After a few minutes they said her lungs were perfect.”
Dr. Stephen Meister recalls, “What happened with Hannah [was] she needed the oxygen for a very long time, longer than expected. Then suddenly she made a dramatic improvement. She’s growing. She didn’t grow at all at first, and now she’s grown by leaps and bounds. I think that Hannah is very special.”
Today, Hannah is five years old and very fond of her family’s swimming pool.
Karen says that when she looks at Hannah, all she sees is “grace, God’s grace. That’s what Hannah means.”
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