15 May 2012

Miracles Do Happen, part 2

Warning: a graphic description of abortion is contained in this post. I do NOT recommend that children under the age of 13 read this.

They delivered our son at a few minutes before 1 a.m. on March 30, 2003. The moment I heard his cry, peace washed over my wounded spirit like a soothing river. It was if, at that moment, God swept me up in His arms and I knew - I KNEW - that everything would be alright.

As tiny as he was, they whisked him away to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), where he would spend the next three months, 2 weeks of his life. I was still a pretty sick mommy, so off I went to the ICU myself. 

Honestly, my memories of those first few days of his life are hazy. The day of his birth, I was in the ICU, being given morphine for pain. I woke up, thinking it had been just hours and hours, and I was crying, begging for Mr. T. to come in to the room. The nurse told me he had gone home to shower and rest, and I was satisfied with that explanation, so I let myself go back to sleep. The next time I awoke, I asked again for him to come in, and they said it had only been ten minutes or so. I could hardly believe it, but I said okay and went back to sleep. I did this for about 3 hours. I must have asked 20 or 30 times if he was back yet! I know the nurses were tired of me asking, but they were so patient with me. After he did come back, I talked with him in my exceedingly drugged-out state and told him I just felt terribly sick and could he please fix it. I know he was thinking how silly I was: here I am in a hospital and asking him, my non-medical hubbs, to fix it! The doctor did come in to check on me, and he thought it might be the morphine making me sick. Yep, that was it! The change from morphine to a non-narcotic pain reliever did the trick and I no longer felt like I was in Wonderland. 

I stayed in the ICU for 3 days before I was sent up to the post-partum unit. It was time for me to see my wonderful miracle baby for the first time. I had already been given his birth statistics.

Weight: 485 grams [17 ounces = one pound, one ounce]

Length: 28.5 cm [11.22 inches]

Apgar scores:  1 minute = 9; 5 minute = 10

Seeing those statistics in no way prepared me for the reality of having a one pound baby. His length was almost exactly the same length as a Ken doll. He was so small we could cover his entire body with one hand. His skin was so frail I could see almost all of his blood vessels. The first time I saw him, he was 4 days old. He had an IV line secured using gauze and an "arm board." It was a finger splint, I think - it was longer than his whole arm and hand, by at least an inch. He had a CPAP machine supporting his breathing. The mask was actually too big for his face, so he had a nasal cannula. The smallest cannula they had was too big. He had on the tiniest, thinnest little diaper I have ever seen. They are actually smaller than the diapers for Baby Alive, if you've seen those. It was too big.

Despite all this, he was the most beautifully formed, perfectly proportioned baby. God knows what He is doing, friends. At the time my son was born, a woman in Georgia had the right to abort a child exactly his gestational age (the limit was 24 weeks; he was born at 23 weeks 5 days; in 2012 the Georgia legislature passed a bill placing strict limits on abortion beyond 20 weeks). A child in one operating room given all possible life support and specialized care. A child in another room brutally ripped apart as he is vacuumed from his mother's womb. TELL ME THE DIFFERENCE! Tell me. Convince me that beautiful soul was NOT A BABY - not alive. Not "real" yet. You cannot. David described it so perfectly: 

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to You because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made is secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop. Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day [of my life] was recorded in Your book before even one of them had taken place* 

Even the prophet Jeremiah tell us that the Word of God told him, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for MY holy purpose**." Do you see this? God MADE us, every one of us. He knew us before anyone else. He knows every day of my life. How on earth can you justify the destruction of something so lovingly and attentively created by God? He, the Creator of the universe, lovingly created ME. He lovingly created you. Every life is precious to Him.

[As you can see, this is a particularly emotional and important topic to me]

I've gone on too long. More of Jay's journey in the NICU, and the strange and awful feeling of leaving the hospital while your baby stays will be addressed in Miracles Do Happen, part 3.

Scripture taken from God's Word translation of the Holy Bible. Any emphasis is mine.
*Psalm 139:13-16
**Jeremiah 1:5a