Holy week/3 weeks after surgery


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 weeks since the surgery on wednesday. While time is going by so slowly, looking back it seems like it’s been forever!

As we enter in to this Holy week and prepare for the greatest mystery of our Christian Faith, we can definitely feel His presense with us.

Part of our weekly routine (apart from me working 9-5 on the computer while Cristina sleeps through most of the day) has been the visit of a new priest friend, Msgr Michael Mannion, one of the pioneers and humble author of the first book on Abortion and Healing. Mother Teresa continues to sneak into our lives, showing her presence and intercession each day….and Fr. Michael Mannion is a confirmation of that. His book:

Not only has Fr. Michael been generously giving of his time to us and to his visits with us, he has been joyfully sharing his experiences and adventures working along side Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Yesterday, after bringing us Communion to the Ronald McDonald House, he gave us a Miraculous Medal that Mother Teresa had given him during one of their adventures in India.

To top that off, the Sisters of Life in the Bronx sent Cristina a beautiful care package this morning and in it we found this:

(A hand-knit prayer shawl based on the Missionary of Charity habit colors!)

At this point we couldn’t help ourselves but laugh a little…and Cristina looked up to heaven and said “Ok Mother Teresa, we get it!”

What else can I say? God has been and continues to be good to us….we really don’t deserve these blessings.

From what I have learned from the other young mothers who are here at the Ronald McDonald House healing from the same fetal surgery that Cristina and Bella had, it seems that it becomes a waiting game…even painful at times. Our “big day” of the week is Wednesday….and that will be the day that we have our weekly check-ups to see Maria Isabella’s progress and growth as well as her brain function and the slow relief of her hindbrain on her spinal cord. (that’s the hope!)

On Sunday we were blessed with the visit of one of the young women who gave birth last week after going through the same process that Cristina and Maria Isabella are going through…..the little girl was born at 37 weeks and she is GORGEOUS! Her feet are grown a little inwards (due to the Spina Bifida) but through patient and consistent physical therapy by the mother, she will most likely regain all of her functioning. She also seems to have full control of her bowels and is feeding extremely well! Quite different from what the initial doctor’s visits back home predicted! (and sadly, the opinion of family members who didn’t want her to have a baby with “problems”) She truly is a miracle!

We now have a more visual idea of what to hope and pray and wait for…..Cristina can now feel little Bella move more than ever and her pains (while not completely gone) are slowly starting to get a little better. The biggest struggle for her at this point seems to be the fact that she is confined to her bed….and usually has to sleep through the day because of the meds.

*****Please keep 2 of the other post-fetal-surgery women in your prayers…..one of which went in to labor only 2-3 weeks after surgery! Her baby was delivered at 25 weeks due to one of the risks associated with this surgery “Global Membrane Separation”  and required the baby to be delivered immediately. Thankfully, the baby is doing well for such a pre-term birth and although she is extremely delicate and fragile….the doctors are doing all that they can to keep her alive and developing. Her mother will remain here in the Philly area until she is about “9 months” of ‘age’ or until she would have supposedly been born at 9 months. 
The other woman to pray for was someone who had the surgery a little over a month ago and last week spontaneously and unexpectedly (we had had a conversation the night before, everything was going great) felt her water break at 5:30AM and is now in the hospital while the doctors try to figure out how to keep the baby in her womb long enough for her son to develop a little more. ****** 

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating for the sake of bringing in more prayers for Cristina and Maria Isabella – these risks can happen to anyone! We have a strong faith and hope in Our Lord, that He has brought us here to this point…that He opened the doors not only for the surgery but also the stay here at the Ronald McDonald House. (which was confirmed when we ran in to a fellow Catholic Blogger/Mother from Chicago who recognized us here at the House….I’ll have to blog about that another time!) No matter what happens, we trust that He is in Control and has His Hands in all of this. BUT, we count on your prayers…and as nerve-racking and painful this waiting period can be at time….(Cristina’s random sores and pains can be signs of anything) we strive to constantly lay everything down over to Him, especially this Holy Week as we prepare for what is the cause and reason for our Hope – the Resurrection!

So tomorrow we are heading back to CHOP for our check-up and we can’t wait to see our little girl!

Please continue to pray for her healing and for God’s Will to be done in all of our lives!

Also know that even as this has become a prayer intention that seems to be slowly “drawn out” because of the long waiting period we still have, (12-14 weeks!) we still need your prayers! We count on them daily and return them to God for all of those who are praying for us!

We are so grateful for all of the love, support and prayers that has been sent our way!

God bless you all! We love you! (Expect some updated pics tomorrow!)

In Christ



One response »

  1. This is a very hopeful post Andrew. My family continue to pray for Christina and beautiful Isabella. This week two years ago we were sitting in PICU with our two week old baby following major heart surgery, it was truly the most profound Holy Week we have ever lived, walking Christ’s passion with Him. Jennifer (Ireland)

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