The letter that hangs over the hand washing station, which I mentioned in my first blog post, synchronously soothes and haunts me. It reads:
“For years I had been telling parents, having a baby in the NICU is a roller coaster ride. Although accurate, the analogy pales beside the reality. The range of emotions is beyond imagining. There is the moment of joy when she opens her eyes peacefully, followed by panic at the slightest hint of trouble”.
The letter soothes me because it let’s me know I’m not alone. Isn’t that one of the deepest longings of our human frame? We want to inquisitively look someone in the eyes and hear back the response, “Yea, me too”. We want to assuredly know that as we inhabit this orb that is barreling through space there are others who are strapped in on the same unpredictable roller coaster ride as us.
The letter also haunts, because it reminds me that I’m on a roller coaster I don’t want to be on and that I never know when the next emotional hair pen turn will appear out of nowhere.
Today, was one of those days where I was reminded that the range of emotions is beyond imaging when your kid is in the NICU and that your emotional disposition can shift instantly.
Chelsea and I were ecstatic about the day because Davy girl was getting extubated (having her breathing tube removed). I left my team meeting early so I could get to the hospital to watch our daughter attempt to breathe again on her own for the first time since she had to have the breathing tube put back in.
The procedure went smoothly and Davy fell fast asleep making us think that she was handling the transition well. However, Chels’ motherly instinct had a nagging sense that we should be cautiously optimistic. After time passed rapidly by, we could tell that Davy was struggling to breathe. As she continued to struggle she became inconsolable. I tried to soothe Davy through holding her, but it was only a temporary fix. Something needed to change.
Our doctor came in and decided that Davy needed some more pulmonary aid. That meant shifting her from the nasal cannula and moving her to a CPAP mask. Let’s just say that it was terrible. Davy was distraught and comfortless. The gnawing feeling of helplessness flooded over me as I had to hold my baby girl’s arms and legs down so that medical team could finish the transition. It was completely deflating as a father. I’m supposed to be her protector and defender, but here I am holding her down doing neither of those things as others invade her personal comfort.
To go from elation to discouragement within a matter of 8 hours was depressing to say the least. We had gone in believing that our daughter would be taking steps toward breathing on her own for good and here we were taking steps back. Emotional schizophrenia.
The hospital was gracious enough to provide a sleep room for Chels and I to lay our weary bodies and hearts. As my head situated upon the unwelcoming pillow and my body positioned itself underneath the paper thin blanket I heard my soul cry out in exhaustion. Not just any type of exhaustion, but exhaustion that comes from 53 days living in and out of the hospital with no end in sight, while watching your little girl struggle and not be able to do anything about it. Laying there, I just wanted to call it quits and throw in the towel. I didn’t want to put in the work to fight off the lies of my flesh any longer. I didn’t want to encourage myself with the Truth. I didn’t want to run to God.
God, in His loving kindness, did what any loving father would do for his soul weary kids – he beckoned me to come to Christ to find rest (Matt. 11:28). He kindly brought to mind the truth of Isaiah 40:28-30
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
So on the days that we’re exhausted and feel like we can’t go on let’s call to mind these truths. Our strength runs out, His is abundant. We grow weary, He never does. Humans grow exhausted, but our God is inexhaustible and on the days that we need to be renewed we can run to Jesus who will renew us through His rest.
- Calm – Pray for a spirit of calmness over our little girl. Often she works herself up, which makes everything else harder to accomplish.
- Lungs – Pray for Davy’s lungs. She is having trouble breathing and we need those lungs to start going into overdrive to help her stay away from reintubation.
- Rachel – Pray for our friend Rachel and her daughter Ivey who have been in the NICU since June. Ask God that He would give endurance to Rachel and that they would be able to take Ivey home soon.
- Michael & Alex – Pray for our friends Michael and Alex, along with their little boy Austin. They were in the NICU for 5 months and then were dismissed to go home. They have since come back because of some issues with Austin. Pray that they would be strengthened by the Spirit and that they would be able to get Austin back on track.