Facebook status from January 20, 2015: If you have a moment, could you say a quick prayer for me and mine today? There’s just a lot of little things that are adding up to a BIG pile of stress and discouragement right now. Thank you.
…I don’t remember everything that was piling up just then, but I distinctly remember at some point during that week sitting in the middle of the driveway, as the snow blower had gotten away from me AGAIN, worrying about being late for yet another doctor’s appointment to check on the little trouble maker who was already kicking me noticably at 22 weeks, and telling God, “I can’t do this…I don’t know how on Earth I’m supposed to be there for Jamie who is six hours away and adjusting to a new job, keep schooling and supporting Livie who was in meltdown mode CONSTANTLY due to all the upheaval, get the house ready for market, find another one, pack up, etc. etc. etc. while following the restrictions I was supposed to be on while carrying my baby boy… Something. Has. To. Give… NOW, PLEASE!”
Less than a week later, I was in preterm labor… And JJ arrived… And I was no longer on restriction (the nurses thought it was crazy how fast I bounced back), but I was now spending six to eight hours a day in NICU, plus HOURS pumping to provide milk for him when he was ready, plus everything that was previously on my list… And watching my little boy fight for his life, outside too soon.
The guilt about killed me. I blamed myself. I apologized to JJ and to God for complaining… And then hit me: peace. Complete, overwhelming peace. I was never supposed to be able to get pregnant, but I had. I was never supposed to be able to carry to viability, but I had, just barely, but still… If this was because I had asked God for help, He would bring us through this, whatever the outcome.
So I sat by the incubator day after day, quoting Job 1:21 to myself over and over, as I learned how everything worked, listened during rounds, and soaked in every moment with my little guy. When I left each day, I cried the whole way home and then got to work. We got the house ready, and sold. I let go of many of my hopes for cleaning out prior to moving and got things ready. I stayed in touch with Jamie and, I think strangely, having JJ in the hospital helped to ground him, too. Olivia did homeschool in the NICU with the doctors and nurses helping her with her work and the March of Dimes rep constantly restocking the book cart for her, and she was so focused on JJ that she didn’t worry about herself as much.
We got moved, JJ was transferred to Virginia, came home, and things were crazy… But I’ve never again felt as hopeless and helpless as I did before his birth. Why? I think because now I get it, finally: I’m not in charge. All those little sometimes trite phrases we hear as Christians are true: “if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it”, “Praise Him in the storm”, “let go and let God” and so on. Would I be as confident of this if JJ hadn’t made it? I don’t know… But I like to think I would, because the peace arrived long before he was into double digits for chance of survival.
I’m still a bit of a control freak, but I’m trying to step back and live in “now” with my kids and my husband. Do I have multiple contingencies planned for all four of us for the next twenty years still? Yeah, but every time a door closes, I handle it better now, because it’s not MY plan that matters. 😉