Friday, October 30, 2009

Relief & Relaxation... and Comfort

From Lynette
Today at 5 a.m.

Olive is off oxygen today and just breathing in room air. She is looking so comfortable in her little bed with her head resting on little water pillows. Lots more fluid continues to be coming out of her drain and her head is looking and measuring smaller. So thankful for all of this.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update of the Last Three Days

From Lynette
Today at 7:00am

Dear friends and family,

Much has happened since my last post. Life has been such a rollar coaster changing hour by hour, so I have only been updating immediate family because our time has been so limited.

Since my last post we were working towards moving Olive to Chiang Mai and waiting on a bed opening up in the NICU at the government hospital since the private hospital refused to take Olive calling her a "hopeless case."

Two days ago Olive became less stable and was having constant seizures for almost a 30 hour period. Rusty had gone to Chiang Mai with his mom the evening the seizures began to work with the consulate to get Olive a US passport, Social Security #, and birth certificates taken care of.

Here is the timeline of the last three days...

Monday night: Rusty and Colleen go to Chiang Mai. After leaving Olive begins having seizures and looking uncomfortable. The doctor was trying to up her milk intake to maximum intake to help her gain weight, but she wasn't tolerating it well and was throwing up and had a swollen little belly. Her head circumference had increased 2 cm on that day...I was starting to feel worried of what we were going to do if a bed didn't open up soon at the government hospital in Chiang Mai.

Tuesday morning: We get a phone call of someone who wishes to remain anonymous who would be willing to help us get Olive back to the States (miracle #1), Rusty meets with the US consulate in Chiang Mai who cancels all of their morning plans to focus on getting Olive's passport, SS # and residency as Michigan, and birth certificate finished all FREE of charge and finished by noon (miracle #2).

Meanwhile in Chiang Rai our doctor is saying that if Olive can't keep her milk down that she can't be transferred to Chiang Mai even IF a bed opens up. She is also having lots of seizures and our doctor thinks she shouldn't go. We are BEGGING her to let her go just to get this fluid relieved to help her with the seizures and to get her at least to a place where they have the resources and ability to surgically help her. Rusty then starts talking with our insurance about getting her medivaced to a private hospital in Bangkok where SOMEBODY can help her. This is approved and they say they will come later in the evening to get her.

Tuesday Afternoon:Rusty (who is still in Chiang Mai) is feeling super encouraged everything that has come together during the day.

Meanwhile I am in Chiang Rai next to Olive's bed watching her have constant seizures that are not being controlled by her anti-seizure medicines. She is now not able to have any milk because of her seizures so she is back on an IV and her veins keep blowing so she is getting poked so many times. My heart is getting more and more worried and breaking watching her look so miserable... and her head keeps growing.

THEN the doctor comes in and tells me that Olive has a severe case of pneumonia they just found. She thinks it is most likely from her aspirating milk from throwing up the night before. She tells me she thinks she shouldn't go to Bangkok because she is unstable. She also mentions that if we don't give Olive antibiotics for the pneumonia that the infection will most likely take her in a few days and this is her suggestion. Being next to Olive for the last 24 hours and watching her look so miserable I felt like maybe this is where we are supposed to step back and stop forcing her little body to work so hard. That maybe we should just let her go, let her be with Jesus where her body will be made whole and she will no longer be in any pain. Tears are flooding as I call Rusty and tell him the news the doctor just told me. We cry together on the phone and Rusty says he is leaving Chiang Mai now and will be there soon.

Tuesday Evening: I tell our doctor that we need the evening to talk together and pray about not giving Olive antibiotics and we will tell her our final decision in the morning. Colleen decides not to fly out after-all, thinking she will want to be there for the funeral. Rusty and Colleen drive back that evening and cancel the medivac team for that night and puts them on hold until the morning. Rusty and I call a neonatologist in the States to talk through our current confusions we find ourselves in. We go to sleep crying that night feeling a deep sense of sadness and trying to find that still small voice that seems lost...exhausted.

Wednesday Morning: Rusty goes to the hospital to talk with our doctor with Libby and our friend Blah. Rusty is preparing to tell the doctor that we are planning on not giving Olive the antibiotics and letting her go. However, when he arrives Olive is peacefully sleeping without any seizures. The doctor comes in and tells him that maybe Olive doesn't have pneumonia after all and instead that she has some sort of chronic lung disease that means she may need to be on a ventilator for the rest of her life...and that we should let her go.

Rusty gets upset about her misdiagnosis about the pneumonia and tells the doctor that today Olive is leaving Chiang Rai and we are getting her to a facility in Bangkok where somebody can begin relieving the pressure in her head. The doctor says she isn't stable enough and Rusty says he would rather risk leaving and help her somehow. He calls insurance and a medivac team is approved and will arrive in late afternoon.

Libby and I drive home to our house and pack up our things in case we go from Bangkok directly to America. We have one hour to pack up and then drive back to the hospital. No clue whether we are leaving for one week, one month, one year, or for good. Mixed emotions and a feeling of numbness of not wanting to grieve good-byes here if the future is so unclear.

Wednesday Evening: Rusty and I say our good-byes to the wonderful nurses in the Chiang Rai ICU that we have grown to love. We leave with Olive in a small plane and medivac team to Bangkok. Olive remains stable during the transfer.

Once we arrive at this AMAZING hospital we are met by a team of doctors (neonatologist, neurosurgeon, cardiac specialist, and internist) who are ready to care for Olive (all of whom speak amazing english). They tell us to relax and they assess her, talk together, and do a bedside ultrasound. Then we all met together for a consultation meeting and they go through the different options of treatment at this stage and suggest doing a ventricular tap (a temporary drain in her head to relieve some of the fluid that stays in for 5 days). We explain to them our insurance issues as well so that they understand we are working towards getting her back to the States as soon as she is stable enough to get her on Medicaid, and they are very understanding.

Last night they went ahead with the temporary drain and everything went well. She is in her own ICU room with a nurse and doctor caring for her at all times. They discount the price for us to sleep in the hospital in a room down the hall from Olive and tell us we can visit her at any time and if the doctor needs to talk he/she will come and knock on our door. Amazing.

Now we are having meetings to discuss evacuation options in the next 5-7 days, and back-up plans in case she is not stable to go at that point. The staff at this hospital have been incredible with helping us talk through issues with insurance, evacuation issues, explaining in detail their findings about Olive from tests they are running. They also talk to her like she is a little sweet baby and look at her closely... smile at her. She is being treated like a little person with value, and it means so much to us.

We are so thankful to be here in this place, at this moment. I could keep going, but this is getting to be MUCH to long for your weary eyes to read. I will try to post again tomorrow.

Much love,


Answers to Prayer!

From Rustin and Lynette
Yesterday at 11 p.m.

Olive is responding well, to the drain in her little head. We are feeling so blessed to have a Dr. that is by her side 24-7. We can now sleep. We need to give Olive a few days here, and now we are trying to figure out the details of an evacuation to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Please pray that everything falls into place for that. Money stuff is freaking us out, thanks to all who have helped us out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


From Lynette & Rusty
Today at 12:00 p.m.

Well we made it! Had a team of Doctors waiting for us, they are great. Olive is geting her poor little head tapped to relieve the pressure as I write. Thanks so much for your prayers. We now have a couple of days for the doctors to get to know Olive and try and help us make good decisions for her future. She is in her own room, with her own nurse! We are thankful. Rusty and Lynette


From Lynette
Today at 12:30 a.m.

The 3 of us are flying to BKK to a private hospital and 4:30pm Thailand time [Thailand is 12 hours ahead of us]. It is a big risk! But we feel like it is the only way Olive can get the care that she needs right now. Please be praying for us.

If you are new to this blog or Olive Hope's story, you can start reading from the beginning here. You can also follow the post Label "Olive Hope Polinder" in the right sidebar.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mid-morning Update on Olive

From Lynette
Today at 11 a.m.

Olive is not doing well. She has been having continuous seizures for the last 24 hours and htey are having a difficult time controlling them with medication. She also has pneumonia again and her vital signs haven't been stable today.

Citizenship for Olive!

Update from Lynette
Today at 3:30 a.m.

Some good news. I walked out of the US Consulate in Chiang Mai with Olive's passport, birth Certificate, and Pending Social Security number. We have been feeling like things are not going our way lately. But today everything went our way. This stuff usually takes days to process. Praise God. And Thanks to all the workers at the US Consulate in Chiang Mai.

Olive is now a US citizen!

Olive is uncomfortable today. Please pray.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Compliments of Ryan Callahan

Turn up the volume...

To donate to the Olive Hope Care Fund, make checks payable to "Olive Hope Care Fund" and mail to:

Stacia Hoeksema
1260 Prospect SE
Grand Rapids, MI USA 49507

Olive Transfer Update

From Lynette
Today at 5:50am

This morning we walked over to the hospital prepared to be moving Olive to Chiang Mai today to begin getting consultations from neurosurgeons there about what the next step is to care for her ever growing head. After arriving it became clear that there was no bed currently available in the NICU at the government hospital in Chiang Mai...and now they are saying they aren't sure when one will open up.

We talked with our doctor here and with a doctor in Chiang Mai about possibly temporarily moving her to a private hospital in Chiang Mai until a bed opens up at the government hospital. After our doctor here called the private hospital in Chiang Mai she told us they won't accept Olive into their care because she is classified as a "hopeless case."

Great. We really appreciate your help and care. So what exactly are we supposed to do with Olive when her vitals are stable and the pressure in her head increases day by day? I guess just continue waiting and praying for a bed at the government hospital.

We have a wonderful head doctor from the government hospital working to get her in ASAP, but there is really nothing he can do until a bed becomes available for her...which hopefully will be in the next two days. We are hoping to get her under his care when she moves to Chiang Mai. He studied in the States, speaks amazing English and had a pre-term baby of his own while in the States. He seems to think he would like to assess her first in person and then decide what the next best step send her to help her in Chiang Mai...or if its possible to get her to the States.

Last night we spoke with another WONDERFUL neonatologist from the States who thinks the best thing we can do at this point is get her home to the States ASAP and on Medicaid, or to proceed with some temporary measures in Chiang Mai to relieve the pressure, then continue trying to get her home (most likely to a hospital in Indiana or Michigan).

Now the question is how do we get her home if that is what is best for her? Tomorrow morning Rusty will be meeting with the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai to begin working on Olive's passport as well as researching options about flights back.

On a lighter note, we have been having lots of fun with our nurses here at the ICU in Chiang Rai. Today when I was sticking more milk that I had pumped in the freezer they were laughing at how much I had stored up compared to how little Olive can drink. I told them they should start drinking it with their morning which they were appalled and thought better if I just make Rusty drink all of it, or to have him use it as a face mask. :>)

You have all been SO wonderful with your words of love and encouragement, your incredible generosity, and your prayers. Couldn't ask for a bigger support team during this time.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

This weekend's updates on Olive

Olive Update from Friday, October 23rd:

Today they removed Olive's nasal cannula so she is on room air. They also took her off IV fluids and continue to increase her milk intake. Looks like we will be heading to Chiang Mai on Monday.

Update on Olive (Written by Lynette's sister, Stacia)
Yesterday at 11:09am

Thanks to so many of you who have responded to Rusty and Lynette's request for some assistance in researching options for them. We have gotten a ton of very helpful information over the past few days. Rusty asked me to write an update, just so people would know what they have figured out thus far...

Rusty was able to get in touch with the second in command at the U.S. Consulate (whose wife "incidentally/providentially" had a premie baby in Thailand recently as well). He was very helpful and is working right now on all of the citizenship, birth certificate, etc. end of things.

They have decided they will move Olive to Chiang Mai (3 hrs from Chiang Rai) on Monday. They will pay for this transfer from the Olive Hope Care Fund as Aetna will only cover one transfer and this is not the one we want them to cover!! There is a very good Neonatal Surgeon in Chiang Mai, who was trained in the U.S. and speaks English well. Once they get there they will sit down with him and figure out the best option for relieving the pressure on Olive's brain. They will also discuss next steps in terms of if they should remain in Thailand or return to the U.S.

We have gotten some very helpful information about Medicaid and it looks like Olive will qualify if/when she comes to the U.S. They'll also likely need to apply for Social Security Disability for Olive, so we are continuing to investigate the options there. If you have any contacts in the SSA -- please let us know.

How Olive would come to the U.S. is another matter entirely... PLEASE PRAY THAT AETNA WILL APPROVE THIS MEDICAL EVACUATION (if that is what the MD recommends) AND WILL COVER IT IN FULL!!!! It is very frustrating (to me at least) that Rusty and Lynette have been paying privately for this insurance for such as time as this and now there is only coverage for a small fraction of the costs they are facing...

Thanks to all of you who have given to the OLIVE HOPE CARE FUND. Rusty and Lynette are so blessed and overwhelmed by the generosity of so many of you. Here is the link if you would like to donate:

God continues to sustain them through this journey... please continue to pray and if you have any additional information you think would be helpful, please let us know!
Tomorrow (10/25) is Olive Hope's one month birthday!

Psalm 139:13-16 (adapted for Olive)
For you created Olive's inmost being; you knit her together in her mother's womb. We praise you for she is fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, we know that full well. Olive's frame was not hidden from you when she was made in the secret place. When she was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw her unformed body. All the days ordained for Olive Hope were written in your book before one of them came to be...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A need for Olive: Can you help us get some answers?

From Rustin
Today at 3:33am

Lynette and I are faced with some decisions in the next couple of days. It looks like Olive will need a shunt soon. We have been advised to have her moved to Chiang Mai (2.5 hours away) We are trying to figure out our options before making this decision. We need to know if Olive would be eligible for Medicaid in the States. We have a cap on our insurance, and are wondering if we should try to get her home to America asap. Does anyone know how this would work for a baby born overseas to come into an American hospital? Does it depend on the State? If anyone knows someone that has the answers to these questions can you put us in touch with them? Does anyone know someone who works for Medicaid? our email is Thanks for all your help and prayers. I bring this to you because many have asked if there is anyway you can help. To have some of these answers would help us a lot.

Olive is again stable today. Her head grew a lot over the night. She had another CT scan today. We need to relieve her pressure asap.

Love, Rusty

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Possibly Moving Olive to Chiang Mai

From Lynette
Today at 6:22am

This morning we met with our neonatologist to discuss what the next step will be for dealing with Olive's growing head. The neurosurgeons here in Chiang Rai don't have experience doing this surgery on such a little baby, and it looks like the best option will be to move her to a hospital in Chiang Mai (three hours away). We are waiting to hear back from the government hospital there as to when a bed will open up for her in the NICU and then we will most likely be packing up and moving our headquarters. This could be in a day, or a week. We will be very sad to leave our nurses and doctor here, but it looks like this is the best option for Olive.

She had another good day today.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An emotional day for Lynette & Rusty

From Lynette
Today at 2:40am

Dear friends and family,

Yesterday was an exhausting day. We got a phone call from the hospital at 6:30 am that Olive wasn't doing well and we should come as soon as possible. When we arrived her vitals were very low, but they climbed back up again...only to drop again. The doctor told us that she thinks she will die in the next few hours. Rusty had called Luka and told him that Olive was going home to be with Jesus today so Luka and some of the staff and students from the Akha Youth Development Center went and dug a hole for her little casket. We spent the morning with her singing to her, holding her, cuddling her, and saying the things we needed to say. She would stop breathing for about 1 minute and her heart rate would drop, she would lose all color...and then take a big breath, cough, and her numbers would rise again. Her numbers continued to drop (into the single digits) and rise all day (6:00am until 3:00pm)...and then at 3:00 we aren't sure what happened but her numbers stabilized. She dropped very low one more time last afternoon and then has stayed stable since.

All the nurses as well as the doctor said they have never seen any cases like this and they are just as confused as we are. It's a strange place to think you had said your good-byes and grieved so deeply the reality of losing her...and now to have her stable.

We are emotionally exhausted and confused...yet thankful to have more time to hold and snuggle her.

Much love,


Look at this baby girl, snug as a bug in a rug

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19th Update on Olive

Please continue to lift up little Olive and Lynette and Rusty today. It has been a very hard day for Olive, and her vitals are unstable. Lynette will be spending the night with her at the hospital.

Lord, hold them tight as they rest. Be there with them, a comfort in their pain and exhaustion. Touch Olive's body and continue to use her to bring glory to your Name.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” -Anne Lamott

May we all find grace today in the small miracles.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 17th Olive Update

From Lynette

Today was another special day with Olive. We took turns holding her and enjoying hearing her little noises now that she is off the ventilator. We still haven't heard her cry, but she does make little squeaks here and there and gets the hiccups every once in a while. Tonight my sister Melody called and I held the phone up to Olive's head so she could hear her aunt. Melody got to hear one little hiccup from Olive on the phone.

We are so grateful for this time that Stacia and Colleen are here with us. It means a lot to have family meet Olive and get to touch and hold her. Libby has continued to be an amazing friend who just keeps walking through each day of this journey with us and supporting us in so many ways. Jan and Roger Boyd & Jean and Larry Russ came to visit from Chiang Mai for the weekend. It's been really special to have them here.

Olive's head continues to grow and is getting some very soft spots due to the continued increase in fluid. Today her vital signs remained stable. She also seemed to be have fewer seizers today.

Today the doctors told another mother from the ICU named Nuay that her two month old son has used up his blood quota from the hospital (30 bags) and that they need to continue giving him blood, but in order to do so they need people to donate. We have been trying to find friends of ours who are eligible to donate for her baby tomorrow and on Monday. Her baby has some serious issues with his liver and the doctors are unsure if they can help him. Please pray for this family and their little one.

In other news, Olive's roomate Oliver has graduated and moved out of the ICU into the nursery. We are happy for him, but also really sad because we aren't allowed to go and visit him in the nursery since we aren't immediate family. Yesterday the nurses got a phone call from his parents that they will come and pick him up when he is ready to go home. Now he only weighs 880 grams and needs to get up to 2 kg before he can go maybe another three months?

For dinner Libby and I drove to Ning's noodle shop and ate dinner with her. Tomorrow she will move back to her home town which is about an hour away. Please continue to pray for her as she is really hurting with the recent loss of her little one.

Our hearts are overflowing with gratefulness from all the love, support, and generosity we have felt from so many of you during this time.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yay Olive!!!

From Lynette at 12:30 p.m.

Olive was taken off the ventilator today and has been breathing all on her own with the help of some oxygen. She had a good day and has been held ever since all those tubes were taken away...between me, Rusty, Colleen, Stacia, Libby, and Ghan she hasn't been put back in her isolette since 9 am.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Psalm 139:5, 12-16... a Prayer for Olive

You hem [Olive] in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon [her]...

...Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created [Olive's] inmost being;
you knit [her] together in [her] mother's womb.

[We] praise you because [she is] fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
[We] know that full well.

[Olive's] frame was not hidden from you
when [she] was made in the secret place.
When [she] was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw [her] unformed body.
All the days ordained for [Olive]
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Jesus...I know you are here...but can you please come a little closer?

From Lynette, Today at 10:27am

We are crawling into bed tonight with sad and heavy hearts. One of the mother's we have become close to in the ICU lost her five month old little girl today. The mother is an 18 year old young women named Ning who we have grown to love. Her daughter had some serious issues with her little heart. This morning I sat and talked with Ning for about an hour. She was so excited because a bed finally opened up for her baby to move to a hospital in Chiang Mai where her daughter would be able to get surgery that she needed.

This afternoon in route to Chiang Mai we got a phone call that they didn't make it to Chiang Mai before the baby died. They had run out of oxygen, and in the process of switching oxygen sources the baby started crashing...the nurses gave emergency medications and CPR but were unable to revive her.

We spent this evening at the morgue with them as they bathed, powdered, and dressed her and wept with Ning and her mother.

Jesus...I know you are here in the midst of all of this pain...but can you please come a little closer? Please surround Ning and her mother tonight as they crawl into bed and weep themselves to sleep. Be with the other families with babies in the ICU who are hurting. Be near all around us...give us your peace.

Give Olive a peaceful night of sleep.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things to be grateful for tonight... from Lynette

From Lynette, Sunday at 10:47am

Crawling into bed tonight feeling so thankful for all of the nurses at the hospital caring for Olive and all of the other little babies there. We have been spending every day in the NICU with these wonderful nurses and getting to know more about their stories. We are grateful Olive is in their care when we go home to sleep at night. We are also so thankful for the other NICU parents who are also walking on difficult journey. Each day we take turns holding each other up in our weak moments.

Another baby died today...five months old...the parents live only 30 minutes away and we haven't seen them visit him once since we have been here for two weeks. The nurse caring for him was crying as she wrapped up his fragile little body and kissing him on the cheek.

One of the nurses told me tonight that they have been sharing my milk with another baby in the NICU who is even smaller than Olive. His parents are from Laos and are unable to visit. This was the highlight of my day.

Olive did well today. She had lots of love between Rusty, Libby, Bethany and I singing to her and touching her.

The outpouring of love we feel from many of you continues to sustain us. We are resting in the truth that Jesus is surrounding us and our little one.
"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much a heart can hold." -Zelda Fitzgerald

Update on Olive's health

From Lynette, yesterday at 11:26am

Many are asking for an update of Olive...

Her breathing is improved...they are continuing to lower the ventilator settings and she is on very low concentrations of oxygen.

She is getting my milk through an ng tube 8 times/day.

She has pneumonia in her lungs so her body is working hard to fight off this infection.

Her head circumference continues to grow each day and surgery is pending, but being put off until the infection in her body can be more controlled.

The doctors in the States and here in Thailand are very concerned about the long-term damage that has occurred from her brain hemorrhage. It seems to be one of the worst prognosis that she could have. It appears to be even more serious than we originally thought.

Weary and emotionally drained...though tears still seem to keep falling. We are soaking up each minute we get to spend with her. Singing with her, touching, and holding her.

We have been getting closer and closer to the other parents with children in the ICU here. Today was a rough day as one of our friends from Laos lost his 5 month old baby. Now 3 of his 4 children have died from the same hereditary disease. He was here alone today when his little baby boy died...holding and rocking him in his arms and sobbing. Afterwards he was unable to contact his wife who lives in the mountains of Laos. Our hearts ache for him tonight as we crawl into bed.

Thank-you for the love we feel from many of you...even from a distance. We are feeling pretty fragile these days. We know many of you struggle with what comments to write. Knowing you are praying and sending your love is enough for us. That is profound enough for us.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts from Lynette's Mom

Lynette's mom posted this on her blog on October 8th:

Our plane tickets will bring us back to Chicago O'Hare October 10. Our hearts will still be in Chaing Rai Thailand with Rusty, Lynette, Olive, Libby, Luka, Ghan, and all the rest of their friends. WE have eaten and cried with many of their friends. We have grown to love Lynette's Thai teacher, who doesn't share her faith, but is such a precious friend..

For myself I need to say, "God, we have the faith that you can heal this little miracle completely if you have a "mission and a reason you think she should be on this earth." God, if you feel that you can be glorified more by taking her home to Heaven, we will be willing to release her, but we thank you so much for this time that you have granted her to be with us to bond and to be touched.

We encouraged Lynette to begin to take the time to heal, rest and so yesterday we asked her to go to the hotel and sleep. Her milk is coming in as though there were plenty of tomorrows. Lynette told her Neonatal Dr and Neurosurgeon that she struggles with insisting her child get surgery when other babies in ICU have a better chance of survival. We know that according to our American doctors that reviewed Olive's case, she has a very grim prognosis. The doctors were so touched, and it is the first time I saw her Doctor put aside her clinical manner and put her arm around Lynette. I think they are just amazed because they are used to us "pushy" Americans getting everything we want.

We are at the mercy of a great and powerful and loving God. I continue to ask God if he doesn't want to do a miracle healing for Baby Olive. We will leave tomorrow leaving part of our heart in Thailand with our children and granddaughter. We will be passing the baton on to Rusty's family to continue "loving on" Rusty and Lynette and helping hold up their weary hearts with day by day decisions.

Lynette held Baby Olive last evening skin to skin. Her ventilator was turned down to 20 (it has been as high as 50 at times. The Doctor has been turning it down every day just a little to see what Baby Olive's lungs can do on their own, and the dear little heart keeps being able to beat at between 49 and 60. No antibiotics have been able to change the high WBC's. But the little blackened toe is beginning to heal....this is the one they thought they might have to cut off. I told Lynette that I'm tired of seeing her poked with needles every day.

We have only one more full day here. In this short time, we have bonded with other ICU parents and it is going to be very hard to come home, but for the sake of the clinic, and the Mission God has called us to, we must. I'm not sure the IRS would be happy if I didn't pay them on time. We are so glad we extended our trip from 1 week to 10 days. Every day has been an important one..

Just know that we have appreciated the faith of our Christian friends all over the world. Our faith in a Loving God is just as strong as it has ever been. We are also aware that He has a Bigger Plan for Olive's life and He is an ALL KNOWING God who knows what is best for this precious little Girl. Whatever God chooses to do with baby Olive, I am choosing to accept. I personally pray for a miracle every morning when I sing and pray over Olive, but I believe God has a bigger plan than I can see for Olive and we are trying to accept what is best for her life.

Sometimes God gives us what we insist on. But today I choose to ask him for what is best for Olive Hope, not for the Polinders or for the Millers. If you find it in your hearts to pray with us, we would love to have complete healing for our dear Olive Hope, but we also want God's perfect plan for our little Olive Hope, and only our Great, All Powerful, All Loving, and All Knowing God can give that to Olive Hope Polinder today.

Fear of tomorrow kept me from freely touching and holding this precious bundle. It was such a joy to hold this little gift today. And we are so happy the doctor's are giving Baby Olive the colostrum Lynette saved.

This experience has brought me closer to a Loving holy God. I will forever be grateful for having met and touched Olive Hope. And now very soon, we will need to say goodbye to Olive and go back home. Our little grandson's Zion and Tyler have both had birthdays since we are here. Our hearts are with our other grandsons as well. None of our grandchildren live with us, but they are always in our hearts.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The only update I have this morning is this quick update from Lynette: "More difficult news and decisions today. We are hanging on by threads..."

I am asking you to continue to pray. The average daily visits to this blog have more than tripled since the beginning of Olive's story, so I know the need is being heard, and today I encourage you, please don't let this baby's need be a spectator sport. Thank you so much to everyone who has been daily (and more) lifting up little Olive and Lynette and Rusty in prayer. This is what the body of Christ is about. If we ever thought "the church" was about a building, traditions, songs, 'getting our fill' or even a social club, we were wrong. The church is about wrapping ourselves around those in need, and being Christ to them. Today Lynette and Rusty need the Church more than ever.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Insurance Update

Note from Rusty:

"I, Rusty, just got off the phone with Aetna, and they are raising the level to $25,000. It helps, but it still sucks! Please pray for sleep for Lynette and I. Love you all."

Rough Day for Olive & Insurance Issues

Below are the latest updates from Lynette. They need our prayers just as much now as they did days ago.

Dear friends and family,

Each day we feel like Jesus has given us just enough strength to get through the 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 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.




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.



Monday, October 5, 2009

Update from Olive's Ultrasound and CT Scan...

Friends, Thank you so much for your prayers for Olive. Feel free to leave a note here for Lynette & Rusty, a prayer, or a few words of encouragement. I would be happy to pass them along. We all know how words of encouragement can be just the light we need in the darkness.


Update from Lynette:

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 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 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,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Update and New Prayer Requests for Olive

Update from Lynette 10/4/09:

Olive continues to respond well to colostrum. Today she remained stable. Her WBCs have increased showing more infection in her little body. Please pray for this. Also tomorrow she will have another ultrasound to assess the brain hemorrhage another time. We are feeling anxious as we head to bed for the decisions that will need to be made in the morning.

Note from Lynette 10/3/09:

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 rollar coaster 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 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.


Lynette and Rusty

--This song has been on my mind all day..."You are Still Holy" by Kari Jobe

Holy, You are still holy even when the darkness surrounds my life
Sovereign, You are still sovereign even when confusion has blinded my eyes

And Lord I don't deserve Your kind affection
When my unbelief has kept me from Your touch
I want my life to be a pure reflection of Your love

And so I come into your chambers and I dance at your feet Lord
You are my Savior and I'm at Your mercy
All that has been in my life up till now belongs to You
You are still holy.

Holy, You are still holy even when I don't understand your ways
Sovereign, you are still sovereign even when my circumstances don't change
And Lord I don't deserve Your kind affection
When my unbelief has kept me from Your touch
I want my life to be a pure devotion to You.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Answered Prayers for Olive Hope

Here are updates on sweet Baby Olive Hope from the last two days. I am so excited to hear today's news! This is has been exactly my prayer! THANK YOU for joining with us in prayer for this precious one. God is not finished.

Much better day. Olive was very happy to meet her Grandpa and Grandma Miller. She was very responsive today. She does have swelling in her brain, and we are concerned so please just pray that God will continue to heal her. Lynette slept for 10 hours ...and is now with Olive. I used to think facebook was a waste of my time, but now im so thankful for it! You have been our strength friends and family! Rustin

Today Olive regained the ability to blink and could sleep with her little eyes closed. She also had one stool and had bowel sounds!!!! She will undergo another ultrasound of her brain on Monday to assess if she has had any more bleeding. Her head circumference is growing, so please pray for this. I have a cold so was not able to hold her for the last two days...please pray for my health.

A Note for Olive (from her mommy)

Oh my little are so precious to me. Your little toes to your chin-and those tiny little fingernails. Every part of you was perfectly formed. I am heartbroken to not have you inside of me where you belong right now...getting your nourishment from my body rather than from this IV hanging next to your little isolate.

I can't stop thinking about you when I am near you or away. I pray each day that Jesus would be the hands holding you close when I'm unable to. Today I've been feeling sick so I'm scared to get close to you, but everything in me wants to be holding you close to me and singing to you.

Olive there are so many people praying for you around the world. So many people bringing requests to the FAther that your little body would continue to be renewed and restored. I am praying for a release of pressure on your little brain, for the swelling to decrease, and for the damaged cells and blood vessels to be made new and healthy. I've also been praying that your precious little eyelids would be able to close--and today they did!!! You were opening and closing your little eyes intentionally.

The nurses heard bowel sounds over the last two shifts and I was told this morning that you had a stool. I almost jumped on the doctor when she told me because I was so excited. The doctor says that when you stop having gastric contents come out of your ng tube that they can give you some colostrum that I have frozen. Today you only had a little come out this morning...

I am hoping and longing for the day when I can cuddle with you in my own bed...without all of these tubes coming out of you...and give you the milk my body has been making for you. I am dreaming of the day when I will be able to hear your little lungs breathing on their hear the sound of your little cry.

Grandma and Grandpa Miller are here now and have already fallen in love with you. Grandma has even been trying to give you little foot treatments which we are not surprised about. :>)

Bethany, Libby, Jan, Janya, Sherry, Grandma, Grandpa, Daddy and I have been taking turns sitting next to you so that you don't feel alone...and so that your mother can rest knowing someone will call me if you are having any problems. The nurses here are taking such good care of you. I told them your name yesterday and they told me that they call you "Lucy." I laughed when I heard that, but still think its pretty cute.

You are my little love, my little Olive Hope and I hope you can sense how loved you are.

Bethany gave me these verses yesterday that we taped onto your bed and I have been reading them over and over.

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make [Olive] dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

"...He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed He who watches over [Olive] will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 3:4


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