"Sometimes the soul gets sifted and shaped in places you could never imagine and ways you could never expect."
…I read that quote while sitting in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) with my premature daughter 10 weeks ago. For me, the most mysterious soul sifting & shaping of my life (thus far) took place on the 2nd floor of Surrey Memorial Hospital.
|9:24pm: Macy right after she was born; being intubated so she can breathe.|
|The critical care guys getting her prepped for ambulance transport to a different hospital.|
Actually, we found out later that night that my uterus was "barely holding together," as the specialist said. She said that it was lucky we made it in that night or else me, Macy, or possibly both of us could have died if my uterus had ruptured.
Well…we know that luck has nothing to do with it. The Lord was hovering over us and protecting us. There were SO many "God-moments" that it would take a whole other blog-post to describe them all. To say that I feel loved by the Father is so inadequate. He preserved me, my daughter, and our family unit.
|Approximately 2 AM: The team of nurses and doctors working on Macy after she arrived at her room in the NICU.|
We went into the hospital that night thinking they'd check me and let me go home. We were obviously a little surprised when they said that baby needed to come "now." We decided on the spot that wherever Macy went, Ryan would go. I needed him to be with her. And so he was snapping all of these pictures on his phone while I was being worked on and transported in a different ambulance to the same hospital as Macy. I wouldn't get the chance to meet our daughter, this tiny 4 pound human whom I've literally been dreaming of since I was a little girl, until the next day.
We ended up staying in the NICU for 2 weeks. Things got worse before they got better.
We were finally able to hold her at 2 days old.
Slowly but surely, tubes started coming out, and we were able to get a better look at our little girl.
While Macy was in the hospital, I was SO BLESSED to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. It was (another) prayer request that was answered.
The families that stay there vary--some have babies in the NICU, yet others have kids who are going through chemo. I saw little ones, close to my boys ages, with bald heads and chemo machines attached to them. I saw parents sitting at a table with all of their bills literally laid out before them trying to decide which ones to pay. Heart-breaking situations. I often felt like my heart was bouncing around outside of my body and any little thing could bruise it. Or break it.
Yet…it was this time of being so raw and sifted before the Lord that opened my eyes to things I'd otherwise never see. It's a dangerous thing to ask the Lord to "break my heart for what breaks yours" because, quite honestly, I'm not sure our hearts could ever handle it. Seeing my much longed-for and prayed-for daughter in an incubator, hooked up to monitors, and IV's was hard. But, surprisingly, it was almost harder to be so close to the desperate situations of others. It made my raw heart grieve and cry over people I only knew from a distance. I'd just barely been exposed to their lives, to their burdens, and my heart ached for them. Yet, it was good in so many ways. To know that the Holy Spirit was fine-tuning my senses and allowing me to feel (a portion) of what he feels.
After having 3 full-term babies, the NICU was the last place I expected to find myself. Yet I'm grateful. To be sifted. Changed from the inside out. To be lovingly re-shaped by my Creator. To, once again, not be left the same. It's humbling. And an amazing reminder that he does ALL things well…