Two

It’s the age all preemie parents cannot quite fathom when they’re holding their tiny newborn in the NICU.

As monitors beep and whoosh and hum, you hear the doctors say, “By two, your little one will catch up to his or her peers…by two, you won’t have to adjust his or her age for development…by two, most people won’t even know he or she was a preemie.”

Two seems forever away when you’re just celebrating one more ounce gained, one more millimeter of milk digested, one more day before you get to go home.

And yet, here we are. Already and finally at two years old. What a victorious birthday today is for you, my son.

Many of the little and big miracles I could not even hope to dream of during those early days after your birth have already come to pass.

You’re a miracle by God’s great design.

And tonight, as I gaze upon your sweet, sleeping frame, everything becomes blurry. And all I hear is this broken, whispered prayer spilling forth from this momma’s full heart before the feet of an Almighty, merciful God…

Thank you…thank you…thank you for the gift of this life, our son, Your son. Thank you for giving us the privilege of raising this child for You. Thank you for deeming us worthy to walk this road, to grow our faith in the very best way. Thank you for being Emmanuel God, for showing us the Father’s heart, the power of prayer, and the strength that comes from leaning on brothers and sisters to believe in the impossible.

Thank you for Your promise. And thank you for not giving up on us when we didn’t believe…when we were close to losing all hope…when we forgot Your promise. Thank you for Your faithfulness to our family through every valley and mountaintop.

And most of all, thank you for the gift of Your son. By His death and resurrection, we have new life. We have hope for healing. We have faith to believe in the impossible. We are children of the living, Creator God. And because of that greatest gift, we are the family we are today.

Four surgeries, 10 weeks in the NICU, countless doctors appointments, and many, many prayers later…here you are, sweet boy.

You are living proof of the power of prayer. You are everything God promised us when He said that you would be a child full of joy.

Your appa and I are so blessed to be your parents in this pilgrimage. We love you, baby boy. Happy birthday 🙂

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Dear Son, Today You’re One…

Last night, I started to remember the hours that led up to your sudden entrance into this world.  I pulled up the note that I still have on my phone where I documented every hour that I was feeling what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Looking back, I should have realized I was in preterm labor.  But in the hazy fog of pain, my brain just couldn’t even fathom the idea that you would be born at 29 weeks.  So early…too soon.

Every time I drive past the hospital where you were born, I remember your dad speeding down the highway at 3:30am…and that’s when I realized you were coming.  November 20th would be your birthday.

I still remember the moment you were born and the nurses found your heartbeat.  You were alive.  All 2 lbs and 6 oz of you was alive and ready to fight for survival.

They asked us what your name would be.  Daddy and I looked at each other and we knew exactly who you were meant to be.  Josiah.  It was God’s promise to us – “Jehovah Has Healed.”

Those early weeks in the NICU were a blur.  Every day we stepped into your little hospital nursery we didn’t know if it would be a good day or a hard day.  We definitely had our fair share of both.

But eventually we fell into a rhythm in the NICU.  And your little corner of the hospital became mommy’s bittersweet sanctuary.  It was my season of sitting in the refiner’s fire.  It’s where I started to learn that sometimes we don’t know the answer to “why?”  But in that tension of what is and what truly is, that is often where we find the greatest treasure.

And then, after 9 weeks in the NICU, you finally came home!  And that’s when it really started. 🙂

Those newborn days of over-exhaustion and total inadequacy.  Of looking at myself in the mirror and realizing that motherhood simultaneously ruins you and rebirths you.

But also realizing that the whole “the days are long but the years are short” and “babies don’t keep” are all true.  One day, this would all be a thing of the past.  And it made me try harder to treasure each moment, to mentally capture exactly what I felt when you first laughed, to breathe in your scent after a nighttime bath.

We had our everyday days.  Days filled with playing outside and learning new things.  And we had our hard days.  Days in the hospital, surgery after surgery, realizing that this was also a part of our reality.

But looking at you now, all I see is a sweet, smiling miracle.

Son, your life is living proof that God is good.  Every breath you take and every ounce you gain is living proof that God loves to do the impossible.  Every moment you learn something new and every time you continue to defy the odds and medical expectations, you are living proof that God has the final word.

So, thank you son.  Thank you for coming into our lives and turning everything upside down.  Thank you for giving your daddy and me the greatest year of our lives yet.

And I pray for the day that you begin to realize all this for yourself.  That you ask us about the story of your birth and how you came to be.  That you start to understand that your name holds God’s promise for you.  That you can read this and know just how truly blessed you are and how much you have blessed so many just by being alive.

Above all else, on this first birthday, I want you to know that everything we have been through this last year we would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Every joy and every trial has been more than worth it to witness the living miracle that you are.

So happy birthday, my sweet, sweet son.  The best is yet to come.

Love,

Momma

P.S.  I’m still banking on you saying “mommy” first.

 

 

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.