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Lexi Grace, the story..

The Intro

We know by now a lot of people have heard a lot of things about the birth and events that surrounded the life of our first born baby girl, Lexi Grace. ..Or, maybe you’ve heard nothing at all. Either way, we wanted to write her story (so far) to document the details and share the inside scoop to all the drama that surrounded her short stay here on Earth.

<deep breath>  Here we go :)

The Story

It was a spiritual attack from the start. As soon as Kristy started having early weird contractions something just felt wrong. While we were packing our bags at about midnight – I went out in the living room and asked God what was up. He gave me First Kings 17. I picked it up, but nothing even related until verse 17 where it totally shifts gears and tells the story of the Widow woman Elijah is staying with who loses a son. But I didn’t really see the connection, so I put it down and finished packing.

About 30 minutes later, contractions increasing, we decided it was go time. The 5 minute trek to HEB was pretty uneventful, except for a few extra minutes spent locating the emergency room entrance. A nurse took us to the check-in counter, we began paperwork and that’s when they hit.

Monster contractions. Most of you know the story. The nurse had Kristy on the monitor at 0250, but the strip looked poor from the start and only grew worse. The following 60 minutes turned into a blur of increasingly intense contractions and sense of urgency from all parties involved.

Kristy thrashed around on the bed waiting for the doctor to drive in. Between contractions she tried to quote scripture and pray that God would send His angels to protect little Lexi Grace. The contractions were so severe she didn’t even have any discomfort when the foley was placed. Then at 0401, while under general anesthesia, our cute little Lexi Grace Carnevale was born. Lexi was 4 lbs. 11 ounces and 19 inches long. They had to do CPR on her for 30 minutes before they got a heartbeat again.

I just prayed and thanked God and had peace the entire time. Not gonna lie, in the hour I waited by myself satan ran the gammit of negative thoughts through my head. Every possible outcome. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the battlefield that’s been my life the last 7 years – it’s not to think – it’s to trust God. Completely.

So even when they told me Lexi was in bad shape I had absolute peace. No fear or anxiety. I was still choking back tears, but I just went in there and did the only thing I knew to do, placed my hand on her head and commanded her body healed. When I did I got so hot that everything flashed white, I almost hit the ground 3 times before I finally had to kneel down so I didn’t faint.

From that point Lexi improved enough to make the transport to Cook’s. Her pH shot up from 6.5 to 7 and she had started breathing on her own above the respirator.

As they began to make the move, they brought Lexi to see us. She was beautiful and looked much better than when I first saw her. Kristy was allowed to hold her for a few minutes. In her words, “She was perfect looking, but on the vent. She had so much hair and looked just like her daddy. I was able to kiss her sweet face and tell her how much I love her.” Then they took her to Cook's.

We followed close behind, moving to Harris Methodist’s antepartum room where Dr. Speaks, one of Kristy’s partners, graciously took us on.

But after the move – and throughout the rest of the day - there was only a subtle improvement. Despite each negative report Kristy and I decided to trust God, believing for a miracle healing. We told our families. What happened next is something we will cherish forever. Our families prayed together, each individual praying aloud for healing for Lexi.

We went over to the NICU to see Lexi. Our gorgeous baby girl was hooked up to so many things. Kristy said it best, “Looking at Lexi, I felt so much emotion overflowing from my heart. I was in love. Seeing how sweet and helpless she was was, I wanted to do anything to make her better. It was at that moment I learned what it felt like to be a Mommy.”

We stayed by Lexi’s side all afternoon. I finally had to go home to get some things and to give a dedication offering for Lexi. Alone in the room for a short while, Kristy cried out to God. She told him that she would do anything He wanted her to do, even go to Antarctica, if He would make Lexi better. She felt His presence and love so strongly. Then she told Him she would still do anything, even if He didn't heal her. And that she would love and praise Him no matter what the outcome.

That was huge. Kristy moved from saved to totally born again. She finally gave it all, every part of her, to God. When she told me, I knew it was for real. Back in the day we had a random ‘what if’ discussion on that very topic – moving to Antarctica. It had always stuck with me, she was so not into going there even if God specifically told her to. I knew it was a true heart change because she used the exact same reference, the exact same scenario as before.

That evening both our parents were able to have a little bit of time with Lexi, which I'm sure they will cherish forever. Dr. Simpson came to our room with a not so great update. Lexi’s pH had only gone up to 7.02 (7.4 is needed) and at this point the damage done to her organs was not reversible. We were still believing for a miracle. We headed back to Cooks to be with our daughter, stayed by her side and prayed for hours.

However, around midnight Lexi began to decline until she passed away. She slowly stopped breathing in Kristy’s arms at 0116.

By this point exhaustion was setting in. It seemed the hardest part was behind us, but we were wrong. At some point we would have to leave our little one, and that would be the end. As Kristy held our sweet baby girl in her arms, Lexi simply looked like she was sleeping. She was so cute and perfect (and looked just like her Daddy). And she had listened so good to her Mommy, she was tiny with a lot of dark hair.

We took turns holding and loving her. She was beautiful. I don't know how many times Kristy kissed her little face. The nurse in charge was so good to us too. She let us take all of the time we needed. They even helped Kristy to bath her. We would never have thought of doing that, and it was special. Kristy cleaned between her little toes, she had Kristy’s feet!

Kristy held her for hours. She told me I might have to take Lexi from her because she didn't know if she could just leave her. Instead we kept praying that God would give us the strength. Finally we felt enough peace to leave Lexi at 0500. We were exhausted and to this day Kristy says she has still never seen my eyes so puffy.. just like Lexi’s.

We had stayed by her side - praying over her, speaking over her and believing - but satan (death) still won that round.

We made it back to the room by 5:30 am after only 2 hours of sleep in the last 48, we were wiped. But we chose to go to bed thanking and praising God for Lexi anyways.

Cool Side Story: At Cooks NICU, the nurse that was in the room with Lexi spoke with Kristy’s nurse some days later and said she had felt like angels were definitely in the room. Because the baby next to Lexi who was always chronically fussy was totally quiet the entire night Lexi was there.

Anywho, the next morning everyone was there bright and early to see Lexi. They came piling into the room when we woke up (a few hours later) to hear the news. I still couldn’t believe it. I knew I had never wavered in faith, fear had never come in. I knew the 1 Kings 17 passage God had given me ended in life and I knew He had kept me in perfect peace throughout, but why had Lexi never turned around? These thoughts were tumbling around in my head as tears were tumbling out of my eyes. But still we chose to trust.

And that’s when it began.

Friday I had ducked out and was back home showering when God said to go check out that 1 Kings passage again. When I re-read it I realized it wasn’t over. The little boy had died in the story first. Completely. Then was brought back to life. It wasn’t over! It was just regrouping time :)

I bolted back to the hospital and burst in the room with the news. You know Kristy, not scared of anything (and freshly born again), was on board. We were throwing caution to the wind and no-holds-barred trusting God for a miracle. Or at least giving Him the opportunity to do one.

And that’s when it began. Supernatural thing after supernatural thing just started lining up.

We had decided on not telling anybody, because we thought it would just sidetrack the mission. Everyone would have an opinion and honest good-hearted suggestions, but we felt like we could easily get lost in trying to defend a position rather then to just trust and go for it.

However, that evening Kristy really felt prompted to tell one of her good friends that had jumped on a plane and come in town for us. To protect the innocent, let’s call her, Jane. And boy are we glad we did!

Honestly Jane admitted later to initially thinking ‘oh how sad’. But it must have been really fleeting because she immediately launched into a vision she had shortly before arriving. She had seen Jesus standing shoulder to shoulder with angels completely surrounding Lexi’s open incubator. His hands were on her head and healing power was flowing into her, but suddenly He pulled back as if he couldn’t take it any more.

My spirit jumped! It matched what had happened exactly. Even down to the details like the open incubator. I hadn’t told anyone, but as I walked down that long hall to get to Lexi’s room I had a vision (in my mind’s eye) that Jesus was with me and there was a long line of angles marching (2x2) behind me.

Then, I had walked into that room, placed my hand on Lexi’s head (in her open incubator.. how did she know that?!) spoke to her body and released His power.. but I had to pull back because I got so hot that I almost hit the ground 3 times.

That is why Jane saw Jesus pull back – because I had pulled back! Jane just saw in the spirit what had happened in the natural. She saw the other side to the same coin, the other perspective to the same event.

Yes, as Jane had seen, Jesus in me had more than enough power to heal Lexi.. but my physical body was too weak to handle all that power flowing through it. So I had pulled back, which means Jesus had to as well (we are His hands and feet).

That was the first time I had ever felt God’s healing power anywhere close to that strong. I totally didn’t recognize it and actually at the time had miss-interpreted it as being from the enemy. If it was Jesus’ power I felt then I had limited Him! Right then and there I asked God to specifically confirm to me whose power that was I had actually felt. I needed to know.

That night we hit it hard. We started reading a great book I had recently bought called ‘Faith to Raise the Dead’ and writing down any scriptures we found and/or God gave us that really spoke to us.

Kristy found one in Matthew about the centurion’s son. It was super-long so she just wrote down the parts that really spoke to her.

The next day was Saturday. Jane swung back by with tons more encouragement. She said God had really convicted her heart the night before and said ‘why not?!’ Why couldn’t He do again what He had done so many times before? God also supernaturally give her the name Lazarus (a name she couldn’t remember) when He was talking to her about all this. Lazarus was a man who had been raised from the dead.

Jesus also gave Jane a scripture she felt was for us, Matthew 8: 10-12. Where Jesus is amazed and says ““I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!”. When she read it to us, it brought tears to my eyes. It was also really cool because it was the exact portion of super-long scripture in the centurion’s son story that Kristy had left out the night before.

Jane also had one last thing that exploded my faith. She said she didn’t know why Jesus told her this but He said that the power I felt by Lexi’s bed-side had been His. It made my heart leap because that was a direct answer to the exact question I had asked the day before. A question I had told no one. I had only asked it internally. No doubt about it, it had been Jesus’ power I felt flow through me!

But that wasn’t all. Ever since God’s ‘this isn’t over’ shower revelation - there was one thing that just wouldn’t let me go. It was the phrase ‘the upper room’ in the 1 Kings 17 story. I just couldn’t get past it. It kept jumping out on the page and bugging me. Elijah took the boy to the ‘upper room’. What was my upper room? It was like a missing piece in the puzzle.

Then I saw it. We were out running errands - the ‘everyday life’ stuff – headed south on Rufe Snow, coming back from the bank. I looked up at a billboard we pass all the time (the one by the tracks). And the billboard read ‘The Upper Room DFW’. What?! My heart leapt. There is a church called The Upper Room here in Dallas?! How weird is that?!! This was more then coincidence, but I didn’t know what to do with the new found info. I kinda mentioned and pointed it out to Kristy but quickly moved on.

The next day was church. Worship was so awesome. We were so open. The girl behind us saw our NICU bracelets and ended up praying in tears with Kristy in the middle of service. Tynan, our nephew, said he had never been at a church like that before (I’m assuming he was referring to feeling God’s presence so strongly too). And Tom, Kristy’s Dad, got a word from the lady behind us – following him all the way to the bathroom to give it.

At the end of service we went up front to get prayer. There was one particular pastor, Pastor Craig, we both felt lead to go to. However, I don’t like to force my hand – I’ve discovered I rarely know who is actually the best person to go pray with – so I decided to let God pick. And He did. Pastor Craig looked up from the young lady he was currently praying with and said to us directly. “Don’t go anywhere, I want to pray with you two.” Pretty cool.

When they had finished praying, we stepped up and shared our story and desire to pray for Lexi to be raised. Craig wisely let us share our hearts first, judged it according to the Bible and said he could agree with that. Then he asked me to pray over the blankets we brought with us. I prayed. I’m assuming he was ok with all I said because he then stepped in and prayed as well.

Kind of a funny side note I only put together later: Pastor Craig proceeded to ask if he or Gateway could do anything for us. For some reason I was thinking food or whatever.. not service location or service details. So we graciously said thanks but no thanks as our family and friends had all been so amazing and we went on our way. I think God purposely let us (particularly me) misunderstand that question because He actually had another service location in mind.

On the way home Jane had one more cool thing to share. During the service she had a vision of Jesus holding up Lexi and commanding her to breathe. She was kind of amazed by it (as we were). She has seen lots of little snip-it visions for other people (often about baby stuff) - some good, some bad. And she totally wasn’t expecting what she saw. She was like, ‘maybe Lexi is gonna get raised!’

That night I just couldn’t get ‘The Upper Room’ out of my mind. It plagued me. It was almost worse then before. Now that I knew it actually existed I couldn’t in full conscious have the service at the funeral home as planned. It was messing with my faith. I didn’t want to tell Kristy because I didn’t want it to mess with hers either. But finally I had to. When I did she simply said, ‘then why don’t we have the service there?’ Duh!

We looked them up on line. They were not even 5 minutes from our house. What are the odds?! That’s so God. Then we gave them a call and left a short, not very detailed, message and decided to swing by the next day.

I learned two things from that experience. One, always share with your partner when something is bugging you - usually they have the exact, obvious solution you need. And two, quite often God allows this on purpose so that it is truly a full team effort. We need each other. Ask.

Then came Monday. We were up bright and early and at the Upper Room by 10am. We figured if it was God then they would welcome us and our strange request with open arms. And that’s just what they did!

I mean think about it. Two complete strangers show up at your church door, quoting 1 Kings 17, gushing a crazy baby-raising story, and asking to have a room on Wednesday afternoon to have the service in. How many churches would even remotely consider that hot mess?!

Only one God specifically leads you to!

They were great. Their pastor, Steve, jumped at the chance. They were smack dab in the middle of a revival. Crazy things and miracles were already happening. And he was so excited that God kept telling me ‘the upper room’, The Upper Room. But they didn’t just give us a side room, no, they gave us the main sanctuary! Only God.

Pastor Steve also let us know that they didn’t have the usual Wednesday night service. They did it on Tuesdays. So we asked if it was ok to attend and said, “Thanks, we’ll see you then!”

We were busy the rest of the day with the Funeral Home arrangements. It could have been a traumatic, exhausting experience but because of the hope God had given us and all the crazy things that were just “falling” into place - it was a much more light hearted venture (God’s grace in action).

Jane, soon to catch a plane back home, came along too. As she showed us some recent stories she had found on the internet, 16 Dead people raised in South America, and as our conversations turned to God and all that was happening, our spirits just continued to rise higher and higher.

Tuesday was more of the same. Spending time with God, reading, and making final touches for the next days service. I spent the afternoon working on the next day’s ‘speech’ and Kristy spent the afternoon periodically bursting in with some brand new revelation God had given her. It was fun.

That night we went to The Upper Room for their usual Tuesday service. It was fantastic worship. Everybody just focusing on Jesus and nobody worrying about anyone else. Pastor Steve kind of shared our story from his perspective. Then at the end of the night he called us up front and everybody prayed over us. Quite a few people in the congregation wanted to attend and we agreed. It was the perfect precursor for the next day.

Wednesday came quick but we were ready. Well as ready as we could be. Now it was just about being obedient and nothing more. Earlier in the week Kristy had prayed for some fresh flowers to arrive and they had. We loaded them in the car and hiked it the 5 miles over to the church.

Lexi was already there. We unloaded everything and got to pray over her for about half an hour. She was so cute. And Kristy was so cute too. Then we just kinda rolled with it. We did about 30 minutes of worship first and then I read my ‘speech’ trying to unveil and explain the highly unorthodox service everyone was about to experience.

Then we just obeyed. We took communion with Lexi and just prayed the prayer Elijah prayed in 1 Kings 17. Nothing. Then Mom came up and prayed too. Quite a few others came up too. Then I did what Jane had seen. Held Lexi and commanded her to breath (a little to the chagrin of the room, but Don the Funeral Home Overseer graciously let it slide). Still nothing.

That’s all I knew to do. I kinda sheepishly looked at my amazing wife and gave her a big ol’ kiss. We prayed over Lexi for a little longer, but we had done all we knew to do. All God had led us to do. We had been obedient to pray over her. We had given Jesus the opportunity to work. And we trusted Him and His call on the results completely.

By that time, thankfully, Pastor Steve had come on stage. He asked me what I wanted to do. Did I want to wrap it up or let him? That was just God’s grace on me, because I had not planned that far at all. Honestly I had thought about it, but let it go ‘cuz I really had no idea. So naturally, I let him :) He did a fantastic job of bringing it all together and of keeping it from being me just getting up awkwardly and being like ‘that’s all folks.’

We buried Lexi at 4:30 that day with joy in our hearts. We had obeyed. We had done all we could do. We let Jesus make the final call and we were ok with it. She was in a better place, the best place. We love her and miss her tons and will until the day we are reunited. But she is and always will be our first born baby girl who made huge waves in the 21 hours she was gifted on earth. She changed our family forever.

The Aftermath

It has been just as incredible a story witnessing how the aftermath has played out. Seeing whose faith was deepened by it and whose was shaken from it. Hearing everyone’s own take on it. And experiencing each person’s individual ‘crisis of faith.’ Kristy says we could write a really interesting book by simply using each person’s personal experience to fill a chapter, and then putting them all together. I agree.

The biggest thing it taught me is that when God leads you to do something controversial or crazy, don’t worry, there is a specific reason for it and He will sort out the details.

Even now, six months later, it is still sparking and exposing things that are currently being played out. But it is all definitely being used for the good of everyone involved.

Our prayer is that this testimony will be the next step in bringing healing, dialog and closure to everyone involved and that it will plainly expose our hearts and honest intentions in the matter. There’s no doubt about it. Lexi Grace made and is still making waves.

So that was it - our first attempt at allowing Jesus to raise someone from the dead through us. Sounds crazy when you put it that way… but it just takes losing someone as precious as your baby girl that doesn’t even make you think twice about it.

Thank you everybody, for your generosity, prayers, understanding (and food.. so much food!) throughout the last six months. It’s truly been a blessing! We pray all of God’s best back on you - in your lives and in all you do. We love you all. Thank you, thank you!

We love you Jesus and we love you Lexi Grace!!

The Knitty-Gritty, Naked Truth

Many people have asked how this has affected our marriage and Kristy at her job (ya know, her being an OB/Gyn and all). After walking through it I can see how very easily a marriage not centered around Jesus could be destroyed or permanently injured.

For me, I threw caution to the wind and just stepped out in obedience to where I felt God was leading me. As a result, God gave me complete peace in my soul because I know (in my heart) that I did everything I could and was asked to do. I left no stone unturned. I gave God every opportunity to work. I stood up to the enemy and didn’t back down or roll over.

So even though we didn’t see the final result we would have preferred. I know that the final result was definitely God’s call. I’m sure I bumbled through most of it (if not all of it), but I did my best and that’s all I can ever hope to do.

Because of that, personally, there are no ‘what if’s’ that satan can play in my head or guilt he can put on me. I know I’m an idiot, but I did all I knew to do and all I was asked to do. I gave God the opportunity to work. I can’t do any more.

As a couple, it has really strengthened our marriage and brought us even closer. The only reason I can give for that - is because we have run to Jesus over and over for healing rather then to any other source. Even when a thousand other things were trying to pull us a thousand other directions, we chose to run to Jesus. ..and also, because we’ve talked about everything.

There were definitely a lot of ‘what if’s’ at the beginning, especially for Kristy and her Doctor/analytical mind. But we just had to run to Jesus many, many times in those days - and we still wake up and soak first thing each morning - letting Jesus daily heal our hearts. He is our life and the only thing that makes us feel permanently whole and happy on the inside. The only thing that can permanently calm our minds and emotions.

Any time we feel the hurt, rejection, negativity or self-pity creeping in we run and hang out with Jesus until he removes it and refocuses us. It’s not that we ignore the sadness or loss – it’s just that we bring those feelings and thoughts to Jesus - to let him sort them out.

And through that process, here is a small portion of what He has showed us.

When it comes down to it, we still have a child. We didn’t ultimately lose her. She just “skipped Go and collected $200,” if you will. She is in heaven with Jesus and well taken care of. (Being raised up way better then I could have done). She got to leave her mark on this world and yet avoid all the pain/drama of this life, but she is still a Carnevale and our first born baby girl.

Lexi is no longer in our past – she is actually in our future. Some day we will see her again. So we actually have something to look forward to. Something to be excited about. A grand reunion. Someone to greet us when we finally get to heaven too.

Plus it’s just kinda cool that a little part of both of us is already in heaven, hang’n with Jesus, reminding him to take care of her parents :) ..I wonder if babies in heaven throw up too.. hmmm, sorry.

Jesus also miraculously healed Kristy - through a cool word of knowledge at our church's October Habitation Service - of an otherwise incurable Protein C deficiency the Doctors found immediately following the pregnancy. A deficiency that could have caused some of the symptoms and stress during Lexi's pregnancy and birth, and would have been a major headache/expense in future pregnancies. Thank you Jesus!  (You can read more about that whole story, and see the test results here.)

God used this miracle to help confirm my trust in Him for the whole situation. I know 'his loved ones are very precious to him, and he does not lightly let them die.' (Psalm 116). So the fact that he healed Kristy so quickly, yet allowed Lexi to stay dead shows that there is indeed a much bigger thing going on behind the scenes. I realized that often faith displayed through death brings about more life then some showy display of the miraculous power of God.

For example, God allowed his own son, Jesus, to be brutally murdered and die on a cross because He knew what the end results would be. Now the entire world can simply ask and trust Jesus to save them and avoid eternal hell (while permanently reconnecting to God in the mean time).  Where as - if God had rescued his son in some bold and brazen, showy fashion (as he rightly and justly could have) - only Jesus (and possibly the Jews) would currently have that same opportunity for salvation/reconnection.  Thank you God for allowing that death, so that many, many more could be saved (including me!).

Anywho, walking through this I can see how, without a total God-center, one can easily get stuck, focusing on the past. Allow guilt and/or self-pity to creep in. Then shame and/or blame. Then it’s simply a matter of time until everything collapses.

That’s why Jesus has been so key for us. He knows how to sort out our genuine pain from our destructive guilt and how to heal our deep hurts while stopping them from turning into self-inflicted self-pity. And gives us peace when we simply trust that He’s work’n it out.

As for Kristy and her job.. Yea, that is a lot of hard conversations, tears and awkwardness. But instead of allowing this attack to destroy her, God has really turned it into an advantage. Some 30-40% of women experience prenatal death at some point in their lives. That’s basically half. Kristy was sympathetic before, but nothing like the compassion she has now. Now she can truly connect.

Thank God, it’s made her a much stronger provider and care giver. She genuinely understands the pain and the loss and can really speak life into these hurting women’s hearts. Brains make for a good Doctor, but heart makes for a great Doctor. Kristy already had the brains, now she has even more heart!

So yes, there has definitely been lots of pain - pain we wouldn’t wish on anybody. But there’s also been lots of healing and growth. For me, it’s kinda like grad school. It was both the hardest and amazing-est thing you’ve ever gone through, you never want to do it again, but you are so glad you did it once because it's made you who you are.

God gave Lexi to us for many reasons. We see more and more of them all the time. We have chosen to celebrate her life and to use her story for change and to help others. And we’re excited for the future brothers and sisters she will have.

And we are so thankful that God gave us the boldness to obey throughout the experience. Even knowing the potential reputation repercussions and how silly we might look. That obedience allowed God to turn her 21 hours of life into a real story and witness. What would have been our darkest hour is now a fantastic testimony to the supernatural power of God still working today. It’s cool how that works.

We want God to continue to use her as a beacon of hope and life – and we are so glad he is doing just that. She really has been, at least to us, exactly what her name means – a true ‘Word of Grace’.

Thanks, and an extra special blessing on you if you made it this far!   God bless :D

The Song

elci Productions - lexi's song   [ right-click, 'Save Target As..' to download ]
Download the song (yes that is Kristy..er "DJ G" laying down those phat bridge lyrical stylings :)

Cool Links
(Warning: What you are about to see are only a few examples of the extreme miraculous, everyday proof of heaven. Watch at your own discretion)

vid01, vid 02, vid03, vid04, vid05, vid06, vid07, vid 08, vid09, vid10, vid11

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