You may well know of Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife (he is executive director and co-founder of FamilyLife and the daily host of the radio program Family Life Today). He has authored or co-authored several books. Rainey’s daughter Rebecca recently gave birth to Molly Ann, her first child. Molly was unexpectedly born with a life-threatening medical condition. The following are a few emails explaining the situation and asking for prayer. As the father of young children, reading these emails just about broke my heart. Please pray for Dennis and his wife Barbara and for Rebecca and her husband Jake. And pray for Molly. Though it seems that her situation is hopeless, God is more than capable of healing even this little girl.
Update: this evening Dennis Rainey wrote “Molly met The Savior just moments ago and is breathing celestial air at the feet of Jesus.” So do pray that God would grant His grace to the mourning parents and grandparents.
E-Mail from Dennis Rainey (Sun, June 15, 2008),
Believe me, this is not an email that I wanted to write you…but you are family and need to know.
Molly was born Friday morning around 5:30 to our daughter Rebecca and her husband Jake Mutz. A single email from her dad Jake announced “It’s a girl.” I knew something was up when we didn’t hear anything from them for the next hour and a half.
Everything about Molly looks so cute and normal. But she has a problem with a vein that carries blood to the brain. The Vein of Galen is supposed to carry blood, nutrients, oxygen, ect to the brain, but because it is enlarged and has a tangle of blood vessels in the middle of her brain, it is flooding the brain with too much blood and the blood that is going there is not going throughout the brain as needed. The result is that at birth her heart began working double time to try to pump blood to the rest of her body. Her condition at birth was so serious that she was in congestive heart failure and she had pulmonary hypertension.
The MRI taken on Molly around noon yesterday came back with very bad news. More than 50% of her brain has irreversible brain damage. She is blind. If she ends up being able to live thru numerous surgeries, she will not be totally paralyzed, but likely be in a wheel chair, not able to talk, or understand language. The pediatric neurological surgeon told us that the only hope of her living would be a series of 10-15-20 surgeries, that would need to begin soon…each one risky for a new born, and with a very questionable outcome. If taken off the ventilator, her heart and lungs would fail within a few days, if not within hours.
Rebecca and Jake are faced with the choice of multiple surgeries with no guarantees or making her comfortable and enjoying all the days the Lord God gives her. Words can’t describe what Jake and Rebecca are experiencing.
I am writing you to ask you to please pray:
Pray for Jake and Rebecca that they will be comforted and experience God’s peace in the midst of dashed hopes.
Pray that they’ll have wisdom to know what God wants them to do.
And ask God to heal Molly. He is able. He could do it. Yet, He may have other plans for her little life. May His will be done. And may he be honored.
Thanks for praying.
E-Mail from Dennis Rainey (Tuesday, June 17, 2008)
Molly’s condition remains the same, critical. Multiple meetings with neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists (from here to Little Rock, to Indiana to Mayo Clinic), neurologists, and interventional radiologists, have confirmed: Much of her blood is going to the brain.
Because of the abnormal vein and aneurysm, the blood that’s going there is ineffective, since it’s not going to her lungs, and the rest of her body…as a result 60-80% of her blood is going to her brain, normally it should be 10-15%. And because of this she is in congestive heart failure.
Damage is substantial to both halves of the brain and permanent. As a result they have two options:
Brain surgery, very dangerous and at best a questionable procedure, since she’ll never function normally without a miracle. If the surgery is successful, the congestive heart failure could be slowed and with a couple more surgeries, perhaps eliminated. Leaving Molly with a damaged brain and many more dangerous surgeries.
Second option is to withdraw life support and enjoy what hours or days God may give Rebecca and Jake with her. It is likely she’ll only live a few hours.
I have to tell you that listening and watching Rebecca and Jake (with Molly in Jake’s arms) grapple over what God wants them to do in terms of treatment of their daughter has been THE most difficult thing I’ve ever watched. It’s been holy. Worshipful. Heart rending. It is beyond imagination and words. I know that some of you have been through this, but oh how tough to watch two people you love enter into this deep valley. I marvel at how honest and real they’ve continued to be. Their faith and trust in God is remarkable.
They have decided not to operate. And in the coming days, Rebecca and Jake have decided to remove the life support.
What has been unimaginatively tough has just become a lot tougher. Please pray for Jake and Rebecca’s broken hearts. Scriptures tell us our days are numbered. Molly’s little life may be comprised of less than 7 days.
I am grateful for your prayers and sustaining love.
God is God. We are surrendering to Him and His ways. Blessed be the Name of our God. There is NO hope in any other.
E-Mail from Dennis Rainey (Thursday, June 19, 2008)
As the sun is coming out here in Colorado, and The Son will soon be welcoming home Rebecca and Jake’s daughter, Molly. A gift, entrusted to them for 7 days, to be ushered home, undoubtedly by a band of the gentlest and mighty angels dispatched from the throne of God to carry her into the presence of The Savior.
What has been tough, is about to get much tougher. Pray for Rebecca and Jake and forward this email to anyone you know who will pray for them.
Our days here have been so full of the presence of God. Honoring Him for Molly Ann.
Friday morning she was born… she didn’t cry for nearly 4′ because she was suffering from congestive heart failure. Her mom held her only for seconds before she was whisked away to be placed on life support. We think her problem is a heart murmur. Oh how I wish that was all she had. She is rushed by ambulance to The Children’s Hospital here in Aurora. We arrive that evening to hear Jake say she is going to need brain surgery. I am thinking…I wish it was a heart murmur.
Saturday was a day of testing, in more ways than one. She has x-rays, ultra-sound, and MRIs around 11. The radiologist makes a copy for Jake and me from her text book about the Vein of Galen. I go on line and find out that Molly is up against a serious abnormality in the middle of her brain that it is VERY rare and VERY destructive. Around 4 we are seated in a private room with a neurologist, cardiologist, neonatologist, and nurse giving us the news that over 50% of Molly’s brain is permanently damaged and that the damage affects both halves of the brain. 10-15-20 dangerous surgeries, she MIGHT be able to have A FEW functions as a human being. (Later I talk to a friend who has been a neurologist for 30 years and he puts it in perspective-“In cases like Molly where there is so much brain damage, I have never seen a good outcome through surgery.” Never is a strong word. Yet we hope and pray for a miracle…even today) It is as though this young couple have been hit by a truck, news beyond comprehension. Joy turns to mourning.
In other words, it would take a miracle for Molly to live.
Sunday Jake’s parents, Bill and Pam Mutz, arrive along with some of their family. Laura flies in from DC, Samuel and Stephanie and their three children fly in from Seattle, Ashley flies in from Memphis where she was on vacation with her husband and 5 sons and Ben and Marsha Kay come to the hospital. Rebecca and Jake want to introduce their new daughter to each family member. Many come and kneel at Rebecca’s feet and just sob. When a family is being a family it is powerful. Worshipful. God honoring.
Jake and Rebecca spend a good bit of Sunday and Monday praying, talking, seeking second opinions trying to decide what is God’s will for Molly…what is the loving thing to do?
Monday we surround Molly and have a baby dedication, read Scripture, pray and sing a couple of songs. More than a dozen of us weep our way through the familiar hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Again many of us kneel at Rebecca’s feet as she hold’s little Molly in her arms teethered to life support tubes.
Monday night Bill and Pam Mutz and Barbara and I witness the unimaginable…we sit in a hospital room as Jake hold’s Molly…listening for over 2 hours as Jake and Rebecca process their choices. God is God, but it’s impossible to NOT feel, this just shouldn’t be. What a choice for a young couple to have to make. They decide to not pursue the several very dangerous and complex brain surgeries and remove life support later in the week.
Tuesday, honestly, I don’t know what happened to Tuesday. But I do know that if love could heal, Molly would be well. Instead, we can all see Molly’s little chest pounding, her heart beating faster and faster, trying to keep up with what she needs to live. 60-80% of her blood is going to her brain when it should be 10-15%.
I do know that Wednesday was an incredible day. Videoing, picture taking, making a mold of Molly’s hands, Rebecca and Jake holding Molly still teethered by life support tubes. Rebecca and the mom’s giving Molly her first, and only bath, washing her hair. Stroking her little naked body. This is not what this young mother expected. Doing footprints and hand prints. Ask me to show you my bible and I’ll show you her footprints all over Psalm 127 and 128…and her handprint on my life verse, Psalm 112:1-2…Her life may have been short in terms of days, but her life has been mighty. Mighty Molly Mutz.
Wednesday closed out with this email at midnight from Jake, on the close of the last full day that Molly will likely live:
I just got done holding Molly chest-to-chest for the last 3.5 hours! Heavenly! I could feel her beating heart on my bare chest! 2569 kisses later I relinquished her to Mom.
She is an Angel!!!!
Now Rebecca is experiencing this delight! I just looked over at Bec & she nodded, as if to say – I WILL be sleeping here with my Sweet Pea for the next 12 hours!
We love you guys!
Jake & Rebecca
And now today. Molly’s coronation day. Read Ecclesiastes 7:1-4. This morning we will all say goodbye one by one and then leave Rebecca and Jake to spend the afternoon with her. She is expected to live only a few minutes after being taken off all life support machines later on this afternoon.
Pray for Jake and Rebecca today.
And for the Mutz family and ours.
Our hearts are breaking.
E-mail from Dennis Rainey (Evening of Thursday June 19, 2008)
Molly met The Savior just moments ago and is breathing celestial air at the feet of Jesus.