A Day in the Life of a NICU Mom

Josiah has been home for a week and for the most part, it’s been a smooth transition (minus the times I’ve almost fallen asleep nursing him at 3 in the morning 🙂 ).

But before I get caught up in all the daily little and big things that come with being a mom, I wanted to take the time to reflect and remember what my life was like as a NICU mom.

Because as painful as those 9 weeks were, that was the first time I truly experienced how His grace could be sufficient enough for me.  Those slow weeks showed me what I was capable of when I believed in my Good Father, that He would carry me through.

The 10 foot by 10 foot space that was Josiah’s NICU room became my own little sanctuary.  Behind that closed curtain, I danced with my son for the first time to the tune of the mobile playing above his crib.  It was where I dreamed about a day when Josiah would run and play, and wept with countless tears asking the Lord for strength I didn’t even know how to ask for.

It’s where we faced terrifying moments that tested our faith, all the while looking at the face of our precious, sweet son who was braver and stronger than us.

These pictures below represent just a snapshot of what my daily life was like from November 20, 2016 to January 23, 2017.  It was filled with lots of “firsts” – Josiah’s first nursery, crib, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, nursing and eating, and bath time…just to name a few.  Our brave little man also endured his first surgery, ultrasound, and MRI during that time as well.  But he was always surrounded by a state-of-the-art medical team who became more like family to us during our 9 week stay.  And without all of this, Josiah would not be able to be with us today.  So for all that those 9 weeks were – the most miraculous, terrifying, heart-breaking, glorious season of my life thus far – I want to remember it all fondly.  It’s become a part of me in a way that I will never forget.

And one day, my sweet son, you may be reading this as well.  And although you of course won’t remember any of it, I want you to know how incredible your birth was.  How miraculously the Lord broke in and healed you in ways that nobody could explain.  How brave you were and how proud of you we are, your daddy and I.  This is your story as much as it is mommy’s and daddy’s.  Now it’s yours for the telling.

 

Josiah is Home! // One Word for 2017

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On Monday, January 23rd, after just over 9 weeks in the NICU, our miracle boy came home!

Even though he’s been home for a week now, it’s still a little surreal.  Sometimes I get up from nursing Josiah and I glance at myself quickly in the mirror and think, “Woah, there’s actually a real baby in my arms, in our home right now!”  And as hard as it is to continually nurse and care for a little one all through the day and night (I fully believe I never understood the meaning of exhaustion until I become a mom!), I cannot even begin to express the emotions welling up from deep within the recesses of my heart.

The day before we finally got discharged from the NICU, one of the nurse practitioners came by to do her final assessment of Josiah.  We started reflecting on his progress over the last 9 weeks (you can read more on that here and here).  Apart from his VACTERL syndrome imperforate anus birth defect (which he would have had even if he had made it to full term), he had almost no preemie-related issues (e.g. breathing problems, digestive problems, feeding issues, etc.).

She went on to say, “Honestly, for how early he was born at 29 weeks and for not having any of those preemie issues, all I can say is that this was a miracle.  He literally is a miracle.”

And in that moment, 9 weeks of heartache…9 weeks of praying and crying before the Lord…9 weeks of asking hard questions…everything, all of it, was justified.  

Her simple confession, both as a medical professional and as an “outsider” (not a family member or close friend) wholly validated all that we had gone through.

Already, in just two months of life, our son is a living testimony of how God is real and He loves to do the impossible.

Last year, I chose the word “Immanuel” as my One Word for 2016, and reflecting upon all that we had gone through at the end of last year…He truly, truly was with us.  There is no other way we would have made it.

And as the year closed and a new one began, I felt the stirring on my heart to believe.  To reach for the impossible in a deeper, daily way.

To declare that this year, 2017 is going to be about miracles.  

After all, I’m looking at one every day.

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To the countless ones who prayed with us during these last 9 weeks, we are indebted to you.  Thank you for being our village, our home team, and for carrying us through this season.  We are so thankful to have him home.

A Month of Miracles // An Update on Josiah

They all said that becoming a parent will change you forever, and you can never go back to not being a mom or dad.  They were right.

Tomorrow it will be a month (four weeks to be exact) since Josiah entered our world in the most terrifying and miraculous way.  And our world will never be the same.

I have never experienced such a wide range of emotions in such a short amount of time.  I have never felt so helpless and heartbroken than when I watched my son’s silent tears roll down his tiny, tiny face as a breathing tube was put down his throat in preparation for surgery…just 30 hours after his early birth.  I have never felt such an overwhelming sense of love than when countless family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers sent words of encouragement, prayers, meals, gifts, checks in the mail, and the list just goes on.

And through out each day, gratitude has become my ever present companion.  It brings sparkle to our hospital room and shines upon every interaction I have with my sweet son.

Many of you have read my last post with an update on Josiah’s physical condition and what the doctors have told us thus far.  We are still pressing in for creative miracles and for complete healing over our son.

But today, as I reflect upon the first four weeks of his young life, I’m astounded at his progress.  And as a testimony to your prayers and to the goodness of our Father, I want to celebrate the ways our miracle son has…well, become a living miracle before our very eyes.

So, below are a couple of pictures from each of the last four weeks to visually mark his amazing progress. Read more…

Our Little, Mighty Warrior // An Update & Prayer Requests

Josiah’s birth and his first two weeks of life have taught us more about faith, trust, and surrender than we have ever learned in all of our days combined.  Whenever somebody has asked how we’re doing lately, my common response has been, “I feel like I’ve lived a year in two weeks!

As I mentioned in my last post regarding the promise God has given us over him and his name – that Jehovah has healed – this has become the foundation upon which we say every prayer, declare every word over our son, and the filter through which we listen to what the doctors have been telling us.

I have never been more thankful for medical professionals.  Every surgeon, doctor, nurse practitioner, and nurse who has been with our son…my heart overflows with such gratitude for their dedication to their field.  To all of my friends out there who are training to enter or who are in the medical field – thank you.  Thank you for all your countless hours of studying, taking out too many loans, spending years and years in school, and sacrificing your own lives and families in order to help someone have a fighting chance at a beautiful life.

Yet as much as I have appreciated all of the medical professionals who have been with Josiah, we are constantly reminding ourselves of the truth – God is the Great Physician, He has the final word, and as the Creator God, He is not done with Josiah yet.

So with that truth anchoring our souls, I will give an update as to what the doctors have told us so far.  As you pray, please do so with the same truth anchoring you that is anchoring us…God is still in the process of fearfully and wonderfully making our son.  We are contending to see some miracles that will astound our doctors and give glory to our Sovereign God.

Read more…

Josiah

People always ask the same two questions to a pregnant woman – (1) Is your baby a boy or a girl? and (2) What is his/her name?

The first one was easy for us to answer because a little boy ultrasound is hard to get wrong.  But the second one, we were stuck on for quite a while.  I think we were both waiting for some giant neon sign from God telling us our son’s name.

A name holds so much meaning for a little one.  It’s the start of his identity.  It’s what he will be called for the rest of his days, and in some ways, it’s the beginning of his destiny.

Months before I got pregnant, I was driving down a really beautiful scenic road near our neighborhood when I just suddenly, out of nowhere, got this thought into my head, “I think our first child is going to be a boy.”  Yeah, I know…random.  But I knew that I knew that I knew that this was not just a passing thought.

Fast forward six months later and as I’m staring at the positive pregnancy test, I remembered.  “This baby is a boy…” was the first thing that came to mind.  And lo and behold, 15 weeks later, we found out that we were having a son.

One of the earliest names that popped into my mind was Josiah.  So I looked it up on my Baby Center app and saw that Josiah meant “fire of the Lord.”  “That’s pretty cool,” I thought, “A good, strong name for a son.

We took some time to mull on it, pray about it, and wait on whether or not Josiah was the name.  We tossed around some other ideas, but nothing really stuck.  “Oh well…we have plenty of time until next year when the baby comes,” we kept saying to one another.

The week before I gave birth, the name Josiah kept coming to mind.  Finally, I told my husband that we should really pray about the name.

The night before I went into early labor, I couldn’t sleep.  I Googled the meaning of Josiah and to my surprise, I realized that the original Hebrew meaning of the name was different.  Josiah means “Jehovah (God) has healed.” Read more…

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Our Miracle Son

On Sunday, November 20th, our precious son – Josiah Jisung Lee – was born at 4:20AM, at 29 weeks and 4 days, weighing in at 2 lbs. 6 oz. and 15 1/4 inches long.  His expected due date was February 1st, so he arrived into our world about 10.5 weeks early.

Josiah is currently in the NICU at the children’s hospital and is recovering well from his first surgery (which took place on Monday).  The picture above was taken on Monday before he went into surgery.

There is so much to share with so many at this point (and many questions to answer) – prayer requests, how Josiah is progressing, how we’re doing right now, what our life looks like, etc.  And we will do our best to share what we can, when we can, and this blog may just become the perfect place to do that with you all.

But above all else, there are two resounding truths that are permeating every hour of every moment these last five days – (1) we are just so grateful that Josiah is alive, that the Lord is ever so present and near to us, and that there are so many who are reaching out to help and support us on this long journey and (2) God’s Word is the final authority, He is the Great Physician, and He is not done with Josiah yet.

In the hours after I got discharged and we saw Josiah for the first time at the NICU…when we had to come home without our son for the first time…when we lay in bed praying and crying together for the first time as parents…when I felt the void in my womb…there was a clear answer that rang across the vast unknown of our souls.

This son will be a miracle…a testimony of the greatness of our God and that He is alive and able to do the impossible.  All for His glory and for His namesake.

So, we hold onto that truth today.  We cannot wait to see how our God will cause His Word to come to pass in our lives.

How Life Has Totally (Not) Changed Since Getting Pregnant

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After I saw the positive, pink line on the pregnancy test (well, after getting over the omgahsljwoeirdnsldkfjo is this real?!?! feeling) I imagined that I would spend all these hours writing a journal to my future baby, telling baby how much I love him/her, documenting every little change, writing down all my hopes and fears, etc.

Let’s just say that my last post (eh hem…from like 10 weeks ago) was the closest I got to fulfilling anything of that romanticized picture of what I thought being pregnant would be like.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am extremely grateful for the fairly smooth pregnancy we have had thus far.  And there are moments I’m awed by feeling this little one move and kick inside of me.  And times when I get lost in wondering what kind of personality this child will have, who he/she will resemble the most, etc.

But most days, it’s just an everyday day.  Get up and get ready, work and meet people, catch up on the day with my husband, try to cook something delicious and nutritious, and clean the house…occasionally (unashamed to say that was the norm pre-pregnancy, too).

I think pregnancy is like a 10 month long process (yes, pregnancy is 10 months long…I had no idea either) in letting go gradually of life pre-baby and easing into life post-baby.  Some things have totally changed.  Some things have totally not changed.

So, just for fun (and for me to look back on this post when I’m nursing a baby and have forgotten what life pre-baby was like) these are the things that have changed in the last 7 monthsRead more…