Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrating a Life of Love

As the new week approaches, most of us are thinking about the Valentines we have to make for our children or the flowers we need to order for our loved one. But one family's focus is a little different this year... They are looking at the "week of love" in a whole new light... 

At 12:09 pm on July 25, 2013, Miranda and Allen Jennings welcomed Little Miss Joplyn Rochelle to their family. 

Another sweet and perfect addition to their already blessed family of five, with siblings: Bryston, Xannah & Oaklend. 

Like most parents, they were just happy and excited to bring their sweet baby girl home and start this new journey. But that pure excitement quickly dissipated when the doctors started to perform a final assessment for discharge and noticed Joplyn had a heart murmur as well as an alarmingly low blood oxygen level of 70 (should be in the high 90's). Knowing she would not receive the care she needed, and at just two days old, she was flown to University of Minnesota Children's Hospital for emergency medical treatment and a heart condition known as "Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome..." This was just the beginning of this baby girl's journey. She underwent her first open heart surgery (the Norwood Procedure) at seven days old and then had her second one at four months old (the hemi-Fontan Procedure) where she fought for her life.

And as if this sweet girl's body hasn't gone through enough, her blood and oxygen levels are tested every hour and several medications are administered throughout the day. 

Joplyn will have to have at least a third surgery at the age of two and any other surgery will be determined as time goes on. The long-term prognosis is still unknown and survival rates are dependent on how her body handles the surgeries and treatments over the years..

About 1 in 100 babies are born with CHD. Sweet Joplyn was that 1. But what an amazing story and a testimony she will have one day when she can say, "God's hand, love and mercy have been upon me since the day I was born... And my life is living proof.." 

She has an amazing, loving, and supportive family to come alongside her throughout her journey. Please join me in lifting them up in prayer and support, as well as all those affected by CHD, during this CHD Awareness week. And while you cut out those paper hearts you're making or smell those roses you received, remember that we need to not only celebrate the love we have for each other, but the life that God has given us because of His love.... 

"We love because he first loved us"
-1 John 4:19

Joplyn's mom Miranda summed it up beautifully... 

"What you have to remember with this heart defect is to live each day to the fullest and not worry too much about tomorrow.."

To learn more about this precious family or show your support, please visit the "Prayers for Joplyn Rochelle" Facebook page or their CaringBridge page.