Dark haired and fragile she sleeps warmly swaddled into her blankets. An IV runs from her scalp to a plastic bag attached to a nearby pole and I hold her closely as I think about the numerous times (more than ten) that they had to stick her just to get that IV placement. Her eyes are shut and her rosy lips are dry from dehydration, but she purses them in her sleep and makes sucking motions. I whisper prayers over her as I repeat over and over in my head, not again, not again, not again, God.
Three years earlier my son Roman was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction and an e. coli blood infection after experiencing the same symptoms with which Isabella was now presenting. At one point in my pregnancy I vividly remember telling my mom, "I don't know what I will do if we have another NICU baby, but then again, there's no point in worrying about that. The chances that this baby will be sick like Roman are slim to none." At that point, I couldn't wrap my brain around making it through the uncertainty of the NICU. I didn't want to go back there.
At one point I heard Beth Moore say that God doesn't give you grace for your vain imaginations or something to that effect and I must say that a year later I completely agree with her. Prior to being faced with a NICU experience my brain couldn't comprehend getting through it again--it scared me completely, but once we were actually faced with the situation, there was peace. Was it fun? Heck, no. Scary as all hell, but did we go through the experience and come out stronger? Yes. Resoundingly.
I think back to that day in the hospital room a year later and I can remember that I was working my way through A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp; learning to give thanks and where do I find myself? With a very sick newborn whose health I can' t control and He asks me to give thanks. It starts small, with the obvious, thank you for a good birth, thank you that the family could visit, but it then turns to those thank you's that you never thought would be said, but are ever more precious because of the circumstances...
thank you that I got to meet her
thank you that I got to name her
thank you that we got the IV in
thank you that she is here...now
I pause as a question comes to mind
"If you only get these two days with her, can you still be thankful?"
yes, I vow.
Because two is better than one
and one is better than none
and each moment is a gift
and how can I live willing to give
You my child and yet pray as
though to hang on forever
and remember that You are still good?
365 days later
I'm still holding her.
still loving her
still thanking God that
I got more than two days,
but if 365 is all I have
will I still praise
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