Praying for Katie and John Francis

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John, Katie and Wren Francis (ESBS staff 2010-11)

On the ESBS front, we are nearing the end of our summer break, and getting closer to the start of our 8th ESBS.  Staff training begins August 12th, students arrive August 18th.

Today I'd like to ask you to join with us in praying for a former ESBS staff member.  Katie Francis, who was one of only 3 staff members we had in 2010-11 is 7 months pregnant with her second child and is experiencing some complications.  Below is an e-mail update from her.

Dear Friends and Family, 

I am writing to give you an update on our little baby girl who is due on Oct 1st. There was some concern that she has a bowel obstruction. 

Yesterday we went to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl, and according to the maternal fetal specialist, our daughter (who we are still in process of naming) has several confirmed bowel obstructions. These obstructions can be caused by several factors, some of which are the following: down syndrome, cystic fibroses, imperforated anus (anal atresia), or Herschsprungs disease. Our doctor felt that there was evidence that our daughter has an imperforated anus, which means that she developed in utero with either no anus, or an anus that is in the wrong place, or there is a membrane covering it. This has caused a back up of fluid (the baby swallows amniotic fluid) which has in turn caused balloons or dilations in her bowel, which, along with the anus problem will have to be corrected immediately. What we are looking at is several possible surgeries within the first 6 months of her life. Within the first few days of her life she will have to  have surgery to either put in a colostomy bag or to correct the rectum and bowel right away. Her dilations are in her large intestines, which we have heard is better than it being in the small intestines. She will be in the NICU for up to a month after her birth, and have to return for more several more surgeries if her issues are more complicated. 

There is also another factor. One of the side effects of bowel obstructions and an imperforated anus is excess amniotic fluid, which means that the baby and me are getting huge!  This can be dangerous because if Katie's water breaks with all the excess amniotic fluid the placenta or the umbilical chord could be flushed down too quickly and this could kill the baby. Katie's life could also be in danger if this happens because it could cause major hemorrhaging. 

All this to say, we are asking for prayer and support at this time. 

Our immediate concerns are that 1) Katie's water doesn't break 2) that we can decide whether or not John should stay in school (his program is really intense and he may be advised to defer a year in light of this situation. 3) If John isn't in school we would consider moving within the next month to a city with a better children's hospital or to Richmond VA, where we lots of family and friends to support us.