Dear Editor, Richlyn’s Story

God has put it on heart to share my daughter, Richlyn’s, story, as a testimony to the power of prayer.

When Richlyn was six weeks old she began crying and vomiting, anything she tried to eat. As new parents, her mother and I assumed we were encountering our first stomach virus. My wife stayed awake with her all might as she continued to struggle. The next morning, (which was the day before Thanksgiving 2014) we made an appointment with our pediatrician.

My father carried my wife and daughter to the appointment so I could go to work. After the appointment, so I could go to work. After the appointment, my wife called to tell me that he had determined it was not viral and had made a call to set us up with a G.I. doctor for Monday since they would be closed through the holiday weekend.

I work strictly on commission and because of that I Never left work early. Though I didn’t know the reason at the time I felt the urge to go home and be with my daughter. I know now it was God! When I got there Richlyn was falling asleep. I got to her and gave her a kiss and a feeling flew all over me. Something was wrong! I told my wife and father we needed to take her to an emergency room. They understandably argued with me. Starr told me “We just left the doctor, who said it was not viral. We are not taking her around sick people and making, this worse! Besides that she is finally resting.” Once again I didn’t know why I was so intent that we needed to go, and once again it was God!! During this my mother arrived home and agreed with me that we should go. When we got in the car I floored it without knowing why. Guess who was urging that without my knowing? Still all this was going on without a definite sign of any further issues. As we hit 565 headed to Huntsville Hospital it became apparent that Richlyn wasn’t falling asleep, she was dying!

Her breath began to shorten when I pulled into the Children’s ER. I took her lifeless body in my hands and ran through the door with zero ability to speak. The nearest nurse took her from me and rushed her to the back. The doctors worked frantically to stabilize her breathing and took scans. The surgeon there informed us she had some kind of blockage. Though he was a capable surgeon, he felt we would be in better hands in Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Apparently God was speaking to him as well. As they prepped our daughter to be transported my wife got in the car with my parents and started toward Birmingham.

This is where the power of prayer took control. As I rode in the ambulance in prayer against the dashboard, my life took to social media to start a prayer chain. Because of that, and because so many of you here in this very building, God heard our cry!

When we arrived at Children’s there was a team of nine doctors and nurses awaiting our arrival. By this time some of our family had made it there to meet us. As they intensely worked on Richlyn, my wife stepped away to speak to the family in the waiting room.

Noticing her leave, a doctor approached me and asked if I was the father. I told her I was, at which point she said to me, “You realize your daughter is very sick, right?” I said “yes ma’am. We wouldn’t be her if she wasn’t.”

To which she responded, “No, I don’t think you understand. Your daughter is the sickest child in the place, probably the sickest child anywhere right now.” And without using the exact words she basically told me that while she was not God, Richlyn would never make it to an operating table. The septis was too bad.

Well thankfully she was right, when she said that she was Not God!

The prayers continued to pour and in the timing of an elevator ride, Richlyn became what they felt was strong enough to go under the knife.

The surgery was exploratory because at this point they still weren’t sure what was causing the blockage. When they do a surgery like this, they have a surgeon as well as a stand-in surgeon, in case of an emergency.

When they got Richlyn open they found it was lymphatic malformation, meaning the blood vessels leading to her intestines were deformed at birth and had wrapped around small intestine and pinched it off. At this point, God was just showing off because the stand in surgeon was the world’s foremost expert on lymphatic malformation!

They sent another surgeon out to Starr and I to prepare us for what was to come. He told us that Richlyn would be on a catheter and colostomy bag the rest of her life. She would be fed through IV’s for the first 3 to 5 years of her life and she would probably receive a G-tube, which bypasses her intestines.

He explained that we should be prepared to stay in Children’s for 4 to 6 months to accommodate follow up surgeries.

After surgery, the surgeon came to let us know she had survived surgery. She told us that had removed 18 cm of Richlyn’s small intestine, and the area of malformation that was causing the problem. She also told us that Richlyn was so weak at the time of surgery that she couldn’t accomplish everything she felt was necessary. She told us she had to act fast so she had taken the two ends of her intestines and just stitched them back together in hopes it would hold for a few days for Richlyn to regain the strength needed for a follow up surgery.

She told us a child as young as Richlyn, the intestines were too fragile for the stiches to hold. She was simply hoping it could hold a few days to get Richlyn out of the woods. She told us those stitches will break free and at that point they will go back with the G-tube.

Obviously God had other plans! Richlyn healed the same as an adult and required zero follow up surgeries!

During our time in Children’s we were flooded with gifts, letters and messages from people that told us they were praying. This included people we had never met, who heard the community cry for prayer and joined not knowing who or why. We later found out that in that night and the following days Richlyn’s story had spread like wild fire.

That’s why I owe so many of you and others in the community more that I can ever repay. Your prayers, your direct line to God is the only reason I have my beautiful daughter today! To this day when I introduce Richlyn to strangers they ask, “Is this the Richlyn that was in Children’s? We prayed for her!”

I try not to cry as I thank them. Knowing a stranger holds a debt you can never repay is a very humbling experience.

Those prayers continued, because my child that was supposed to be on a catheter and colostomy bag, the same child that’s intestines would never hold those stiches and would stay in Children’s for four months minimum with follow up surgeries, left in three weeks and three days with nothing but a bottle of Previcid for indigestion.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you! The ones that opened their hearts and bowed their heads, you are the only reason I have my daughter today and I can never repay you.

If you ever doubt if God is listening, if you ever feel like your voice is not heart, Come to me!! I’ll introduce you to my miracle and assure you not only is he listening, but he is still a God of mercy and miracles!

Clay Carter

Aug. 4, 2016






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