I haven’t written in a while.
Some days I didnt know what to say, others, I didn’t really think what I had to say mattered, and yet others I knew I wanted to say something but how to put it on paper eluded me.
And sometimes, sitting with a pen in hand and paper before you in the silence can bring you to a place where you feel you can try again.
We have had our share of struggles this past year. We had a daughter who literally turned gray in front of me and was noiseless from birth. As she was rushed out of the L&D room to the nursery, We relived the moments that were the worst of our lives…wondering and waiting in silence not knowing if our little girl was alive or gone. All the staff was in the nursery. The windows had curtains and you couldn’t see in. I had an epidural and literally could not get out of bed. Nobody was around to tell her dad and I what was happening. We sat and waited in silence. What is there to say in those moments, where life and death intermingle and you just pray ” Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”. No other words will come. Finally 2 hours or more later my doctor came in.
“Is she alive?”
“Yes, she is right now”
And with trembling breath I dared to ask, “Is she going to die?”
” I hope not. We dont know what’s wrong with her. They’re trying to figure it out.”
“Can we see her? If shes going to die I want her to be with one of us that she knows. One of us should hold her if shes dying.”
“I’ll update you more when we can.”
And with the click of the door latch shutting, the silence returned. My husband and I looked at one another but no words came. We already knew no words could fix this. No words could make it better.
About a half hour later, she came in and told us our little girl was being transferred to the hospital NICU downtown.
We wanted to ride with her. But because she was being transported via critical care ambulance, there was no. room with the nurses, paramedics and doctor along with all her equipment.
They brought her in with tubes and wires surrounding a tiny little body inside an incubator. I finally saw her for the first time, 3 hours into her little life, for about a minute, and reached in and touched her fragile body, not knowing if I was saying hello or goodbye. They rushed off and from my window I watched my little girl be driven away in an ambulance, wondering if I’d see her alive again or not.
I had some complications and wasn’t
able to get to the hospital until hours later to meet her, to know how she was.
While I was waiting, i asked what happened, why was she so sick…and the nurse looked at me and told me point blank, “shes having complications from medication you were on. We told you this could happen.”
I did this?
I had been really struggling with depression at the end of my pregnancy and my doctor who dealt in particular with depression in pregnancy, had decided to try a antidepressant with me. The only complication my baby was supposed to have is possibly a little drowsy when they were first born for a few minutes. Weighing the good and the bad, we we decided together to it was better to risk my baby being sleepy then me continuing to be depressed during my pregnancy.
As if I wasn’t questioning myself already enough, now if my baby died it was going to be my fault. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
My husband left at this point per my request and went to the hospital to see how our little girl was. I waited in that room alone for the next few hours, wondering what was going on. Finally, he called to tell me she was “alive and pink and looked a lot better”.
Hope returned. But fear squashed it.
It would be 7 hours from when she entered this world, before I would get to hold my little girl for the first time.
She had oxygen and IVs and wires coming off her body in every direction, but I looked down and I held tightly in my arms my little girl who was alive and breathing and pink.
And I finally exhaled the inhale that I took in when she was first born.
Relief washed over me. Challenges ahead, probably…but..she was alive. We had a chance to experience this little girl.
And I don’t think I have been more glad to hold any of my children for the first time than I was in that moment.
There’s something about almost losing someone and being given the chance back to watch them grow up and have a life after you’ve had to say goodbye before that is so precious it’s hard to describe in words.
To be given the chance I missed with Philip.
She spent the first two weeks of her life in the hospital and there were was a lot of tubes and wires. Ups and downs with heart rate slow and oxygen dropping. She had no feeding skills, they looked at a neurological deficit…and At one point, Her medical team did tell us that she essentially dropped her heart rate to zero for a bit of time but they brought her back in those first few hours .
She’s a bit of a mystery to everyone. She spent the next year seeing speech on a weekly basis and working on feeding therapy. She had complications with her GI system and had had many tests, and medications… and to this day we’re still trying to figure out what’s going on.
It was busy, an unexpected and quite likely one of the most challenging years we have experienced…But we have had life to experience with Miss Esther Grace.
And through all the challenges we have been so thankful to have had this opportunity.
She certainly doesn’t replace Philip and the life we miss with him daily. But in a way God has used her to show us His divine grace. That through all these challenges, His grace is enough.
We have learned that in spite of struggles, God’s provision and Grace surpasses all. And that he uses these challenges to keep us reliant on him, as we navigate these uncharted waters that life holds for us.
Shortly before she was born, I had a dream where I felt God was telling us that if we had a girl her name was to be Esther Grace. I didnt understand why. But the next day when I sat down to talk to my husband, he said he had a name suggestion…”Esther”. And we both knew, not they ‘why’ of it, but we knew that this baby, if she was a girl, was to be called Esther Grace.
Now, we know.
To this day my daughter remains a mystery to many doctors as to why she has so many complications and why certain things are so severe. She takes medicines 6 times a day right now. But she is growing and she is living. She just started walking. She smiles and laughs. She gives hugs and carries around her baby dolls. She says “Mama”.
And in her short life, she has taught me just how beautiful every moment is despite it’s challenges.
And Esther has taught me just how graceful our God is. And she reminds me everyday the his grace is enough for even the deepest challenges we walk through in life, and that my weakest moments, allow His grace to abound.
‘Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.’
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT