Today's guest post comes from Melissa Weaver, who shares the stories of two small miracles...
The first time I ever seriously thought about a NICU (newborn intensive care unit), I was 32 weeks pregnant and in the hospital. We had gone in for a non-stress test and a check-up and were sent to Labor and Delivery because I was having contractions two to three minutes apart! I remember laying in the hospital room, looking out at the mountains and thinking something to the effect of, we could have a tiny preemie. We could be navigating the NICU. Not some family on TLC 's “Baby Story” but us. The thought was sobering. Thankfully, we were sent home after things calmed down and my daughter was born at 39 weeks. The care we didn't need to receive was soon forgotten in a blur of receiving blankets to wash and late-night feedings to endure.
I wouldn't have guessed that two families close to me would be walking through what we worried about within the next year. The first was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law with our niece, born unexpectedly at 32 weeks. In another time, we wouldn't have her radiant face shining from a picture frame in our living room. She spent six weeks in the NICU, learning to breathe, nurse, regulate body temperature, and keep her heart calm while coordinating all of the above. The care she received was amazing: nurses who knew the difference between her coughs, machines that helped her liver and x-rayed her lungs. It was a place of miracles: babies who shouldn't have been born yet thrived yet because of years of research and advocacy from groups like the March of Dimes and people who stand with them. It was holy ground: our family met mothers who shared the emotional roller coaster that comes with being a NICU warrior, breathed out awed thanks when our niece's dangerous bacteria levels dropped after people prayed and prayed. Almost a year later, our niece is joyful and robust, a living testament to the amazing things that happen when science and faith collide.
I spent time in the sunshine with our second living testament today: Henry. Our dear friend's second son is another NICU success story; the fact that he and his mom are alive and healthy today makes me remember that God exists and works through the people who have partnered with him in caring for the most vulnerable of his creations. Henry's healthy birth was a hard-fought battle. Blood thinners to prevent a stroke in his mom, ultrasounds that revealed vasa previa that would have taken his life had he dropped in preparation for delivery, rounds and rounds of medication that kept him safe inside for as long as they could. His mom, Melody, had to spend two weeks under the supervision of a team of dedicated doctors at the University of Virginia, trusting their years of expertise in the exceptions. A exceptional surgeon brought them both through to the day Henry arrived and the NICU stepped in from there. It was a place of miracles: tubes and lights took over what his little body wasn't ready to do yet; networks of people praying and fine-tuned technology meant his transition to home only took a week. It was holy ground: on one of the hardest days, Melody was cared for by a nurse with the same name as her grandmother who had passed away. Before she left, the nurse quoted Jeremiah 29:11, the same verses about God's good plans for our future that this grandmother used to love. Henry, like our niece, reminds me that though God is ultimately the one who heals, he also uses expertise and expensive medical treatment to do his work.
That's where we come in. While I believe the most important and urgent thing we can do for babies and mothers is to pray for God's power to be released in their fragile stories, I also believe we're invited to join in making success stories possible. Organizations like March of Dimes are fighting for the health and hope of the ones who might be the answers to the prayers for our future. You can help!
Consider supporting the teams walking in March for Babies. As you do you'll be supporting those who make places of miracles, of holy ground a reality for more babies like our niece and Henry.
Melissa Weaver - http://lifeasweknowittheweavers.blogspot.com/