Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grow - A Guest Post!

We're off to Boston this week so Peyton can get some very much needed second opinions at the Children's Hospital there.  Since I don't know what my availability is going to be like this week for blogging, I've asked some friends to help me out.  I hope you enjoy my guest bloggers while I'm gone!

Today, please welcome Jac from babEblessings!

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Last year my husband and I spend almost 5 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with our son who was born 8 weeks early. To say that this was a trial is an understatement. We spent 33 days at the hospital, without the comforts of home at a time when my own bed would have been a dream. We were dropped into a situation that has us dreaming of the nights when getting up at 3am to feed Gray seemed like a vacation in comparison to what we were living at the moment.

Our First Family Photo - G was about 12 hours old.
During our time in the NICU there were so many people in and out of our lives; nurses and doctors, cleaning staff, support staff, social workers, occupational therapists, other parents. One of the things that was constantly said to us was “God only gives you what you can
handle”; I’m not sure I can tell you how many times this was said to us. I would always smile and nod after people said this, cringing inside. I dislike this saying because I know it’s not true. I don’t believe that God ‘gives’ us anything that is negative. It was never God’s will or plan that Grayson be born early. He did however protect Gray and keep him healthy and strong.  
God did not put us in the situation; he didn’t give this to us. He did however help us grow. We grew in our strength, and our relationship.

I have been through a few tough situations in life, but watching my son struggle those weeks was by far the hardest thing I have been through. The hardest night in our journey was the night our son had to be put on a ventilator. During the day he had a few episodes where he would stop breathing, so in the evening when the episodes became more frequent the doctor was called in and tests were done. At this point Brian had left for the hotel for the evening but I decided to stay at the hospital to make sure that Gray was okay, and to be with him. I didn’t want to leave him alone; I wouldn’t have wanted to be alone if it was me. So the doctor came in and explained the tests they were going to do, which included a lumbar puncture, and said that if Gray continued to have episodes they may have to intubate him. After having a strong baby for the first few days of life, and being as strong as I could for both of us, at this news I began to crumble. The doctor had asked that I step out of the room so they could do the tests, and to be honest I’m not sure I could handle watching the tests at that moment, so I went back to my room. I called Brian and asked him to come back; I needed him to be there for Gray in the moments that emotionally I couldn’t be there. And I called my mom. My mom worked in medicine, and is one of the strongest women I know. I needed my mom at that moment but I also knew that she would remind me of who was really in control in those moments. So as I stood in my hospital room letting the situation take over, my mom brought me back. She started reminding me of the truths that we had been standing on through our pregnancy. Our son has a destiny planned by God before we knew he existed. Our son is a strong fighter. Our son will impact the world in a great way. So I wiped away the tears, took a few deep breaths and headed back to Grayson. When I got back Brian had  arrived, and they had intubated Gray, and they were setting up the machines that would be breathing for him. Brian and I stood there holding each other watching our 4 day old son lying there with tubes and machines all hooked up wondering what comes next.  And then instead of crying we began to pray. Brian waited for an hour or so, and then headed back to the hotel. One of us needed to be rested to support the other. And I sat there talking to my son, singing to him, and being there for him. 

This is part of my journal entry for that night:

It’s ten to 5 on Friday morning – I’ve been awake for almost 24 hours straight, and from what I can tell this is just the beginning.

We’ve had 3 really great days – no big issues – other than a bit of jaundice – which is totally expected. Well now in just a few short hours he went from okay to needing a machine to breath for him. For a new mom it’s possibly that hardest thing to go through. So here I sit at his bedside singing worship songs of strength and trust to him. It seems a bit futile but it’s all I can really do for him.

So now we have a song – just Gray and I – to get through anything. When I was going through surgeries I had a song that would calm me down, and remind me of who was in control. Well Gray and I have found our song.

Here’s the Chorus –
I can do all things through Christ

I can move a mountain

If You are the strength of my life

I can do all things through Christ

If You are the strength of my life


Well this is what is getting us through right now. We can do anything! As long as we focus on what really matters and who is really in charge.

So now we wait and see how Gray does – and what’s going on. Does he have an infection? Are his lungs still a bit under developed? Or is he just being a preemie?

He was just being a preemie. His brain wasn’t developed enough to remember to breathe for him. 48 hours later he was taken off the machine and hasn’t had an episode since. He just had to grow a bit more, and so did we.

During this time we were put through a lot, and we grew a lot. Brian and I strengthened our relationship and our marriage.  He grew in his understanding of his hormonal wife, and I grew in understanding that under his strength he was breaking down too. But most importantly we grew in our strength in our faith. We spent that time singing to Gray and speaking truths over him and standing strong in our faith for him.

A week old and doing so much better - good enough for snuggles
God didn’t give us this situation; God created our bodies to develop at a certain pace, and even though Grayson wasn’t
in utero anymore, he was developing the way he should. We had to stand and fight for our son, and know that he would be okay, and believe that everything God had promised us would come to pass. We had to hold our son and believe that although his body wasn’t working the way it was designed just yet, that it would. We claimed healing for him long before it came. And we remained calm. We didn’t let fear take us over, take control of our emotions during the hard times.

During our stay we had quite a few babies come and go while we stayed. 2 weeks into our stay a baby girl was born 5 weeks early and became Gray’s neighbour. Baby S was put on a ventilator just after she was born, and when her mom, K, came to see her I recognized the fear in her eyes. I had seen that fear in my own the night Gray was intubated. So the next day when K was sitting there I went over and introduced myself and Gray. Told her that if she needed to talk I was there and if she had questions to just ask. And I shared that Gray had been intubated, and what to expect and what the machines were and that the tech was around every hour to check the stats and that was normal and nothing to be alarmed about. How S would react when they took the tube out and not to be upset if she lost her voice for a bit, but to be there and touch her and talk to her and let her know that they were there. 2 weeks later when we baby S got to go home, K and I were in tears because we had been through a lot together.

K and I on the day that baby S got to go home
During those weeks with K, I was able to be there for her and help her through some of the things I had already been through as a mom; even in the short time I had been a mom. I had let the situation I was in help me to grow. I didn’t just ‘get through’ the situation as so many people do. If I had, I really believe that K and I wouldn’t be friends because I would have stayed by Gray’s bed and kept to myself and let the situation control me. Instead I made a conscious decision to not let it ‘just happen’ to me. My faith in God allowed him to help me grow. And because of that I was able to help someone else even when I was going through my own battles.

Our last moments in the hospital. Finally bringing out babE home


The world ‘gets through’ life; gets through the situation only to find another one comes along. They find that they’re always fighting the same battles because they’re not growing through them. The battles I’ve been through in my life, that I’ve grown from, helped me grow through this one. If I hadn’t been through some things before and grown, this situation may have shattered my faith.

So I’ll leave you with this thought: are you just ‘getting through’ the situations that you come up against in life, or are you allowing God to help you grow through them. I really hope it’s the latter, and if not I hope that from today on you make the choice to grow. 
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Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Jac!  I know this couldn't have been easy to write.  I haven't been through this same experience, but I've been through two separate week-long NICU stays with both my girls and that was hard.  I can't imagine the length of time you went through.  Friends, I hope you take a moment to head on over to Jac's blog to show her some love!
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