ICN

This is the first time I’ve booted up my computer since Saturday. Yes, I can check my email on my phone, so I’m not completely disconnected. But it’s not really possible to journal when typing with my thumbs nor can I write fast enough with a pen and paper. It’s already June, and I’m just now sitting to process my thoughts from May 22nd. Aaron took Lydia to the zoo this morning, so it’s just Heidi and me relaxing on the couch. See?


So, this isn’t Heidi’s birth story. Maybe I’ll get around to that by July . . . but it is some thoughts on the after-birth story.

Without sharing every detail (and quite possibly boring you all to tears), Heidi and Lydia were unable to meet each other until we brought Heidi home with us last Tuesday. Heidi spent her time in the hospital in the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) instead of at the bedside with her mama. No one under five-years-old is allowed in the ICN, so Lydia’s visits to the hospital were to see me, not Heidi. For almost three days, I never saw my two daughters together. Thus, I called Heidi “Lydia” more times than I can count.


So, yes, Heidi was in the ICN, but she was definitely not a typical patient. She was almost double the size of most babies there. The most invasive form of oxygen she ever needed was an oxygen hood (which delivers humidified oxygen under a plastic tent). She was without the supplemental oxygen by Monday morning and breastfed like a champ on her first try about twelve hours after she was born. She even came home the same time that I did – less than 48 hours after her birth.


However, I spent my first night in the hospital by myself in the post-partum unit. Since I didn’t have a baby to tend to (since she was in the ICN where she wasn’t eating yet), Aaron went home to be with Lydia (and to get some good sleep).

A part of me wanted to grieve being in the hospital without my newborn baby at my breast, but whenever my thoughts tried to wander down that self-pity path, I couldn’t even let them. I thought of a friend who just recently gave birth to her son. Since the twenty-week ultrasound, she knew he wouldn’t live long, but almost three months ago, at 41 weeks into her pregnancy, she delivered her sweet son, stillborn. So while I sat alone in my hospital room with no baby coos or cries, I didn’t cry for me. Heidi was only two floors away from where I was, being monitored but breathing on her own and doing amazingly well, especially for an ICN patient. I cried for the lonely arms of my friend and the ache in her heart. I cried for the mamas I knew in my years of pediatric ICU nursing and the helplessness of seeing your baby wired and being unable to hold her. Amazingly, I didn’t really even feel sorry for myself or angry at my situation. There was a peace and calm that I cannot explain.

wrote my friend an email from my empty hospital room, and since I don’t really know how else to say what was on my heart, I’ll just copy what I wrote to her. “To be completely honest, your experience made this so much easier for me. If you could be so strong and full of grace to carry your son knowing you might not get a moment with him breathing in your arms, surely I could know that same grace with my having a healthy newborn with some extra fluid in her lungs just two floors away. So thank you for the strength and grace that you’ve shown through your pain because you remind me to embrace hardship with joy and grace among the grieving and tears. I love you, friend, and have thought of you often the past few days and said many prayers for your lonely mama heart and arms. You are one of the best and most selfless mamas I know."

It was a very humbling experience for me as a few nights before Heidi’s birth, I was distraught and frustrated with the thoughts that my baby’s timeline might not correlate with hospital policy, forcing me into a scheduled c-section. As I had sat in our bedroom and cried to Aaron about my feelings, I reflected that all my fears and frustrations only begged questions that revealed ugly answers. Why didn’t I trust the Lord for his timing? What did my lack of trust say about the Lord and his goodness? Is the Lord good? Does he love me? Around 72 hours later there was a newborn baby girl in my life, with the Lord gently loving me with blessings beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve with his "Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love" (Jesus Storybook Bible).


I am loved regardless of how unlovely I am.

An aside, I read a lengthy but amazing post yesterday on the Rabbit Room regarding Jacob wrestling with God. I highly suggest taking the time to read it.

Comments

  1. wow that was a heart tugging post! When times are "hard" there is always someone else who is having a harder time. Thanks for sharing this!! Love the picture of the two of you hanging out!!

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  2. I agree with Jessica! I couldn't have said it better. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl! I love reading people's birth stories so I'm looking forward that post too :)

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