The day my family and a lot of friends have been waiting for finally arrived. The signs were all there. We kept being told the day would come but... we had to wait until the right time had arrived.
My daughter-in-law had to have an emergency c-section when she was 31 weeks pregnant. While the survival rate is much better than it was even a few years ago, the situation is still very critical even though my grandson was over four pounds when he was born. He simply was not ready to be born yet and even at this age the lungs underdeveloped.
My grandson spent several weeks in NICU. He was breathing on his own completely in less than 24 hours but still, he remained in NICU. He developedneonatal jaundice which is not uncommon even for newborns. I wasn't too worried as his father had that as well though he never had to be hospitalized. Sleeping in the June sunshine cleared it up for him. My grandson on the other hand, spent time under the lights wearingshades and looking like a beach baby. I actually chuckled that first day because the little blanket he was laying on was covered with tiny ship anchors. With a little imagination, he really did look like he was catching some rays at the beach.
Little by little he was disconnected from machines until nothing was left except a feeding tube as he was too little to suck very well. We were elated when we got the news that he was going to leave NICU but... he was not going home yet. Instead he was being sent to ICC where he would transition from the isolette to a crib, get bigger and stronger, and develop his sucking and swallowing reflexes so he no longer needed a feeding tube.
As he grew bigger and stronger, eventually to the untrained eye, he looked ready to go home. Indeed, it seems that some hospitals actually release a baby automatically when they reach five pounds, placing an additional burden on parents who are usually poorly equipped to care for an underdeveloped baby. and are quickly overwhelmed. A stress-filled home is not good for anyone, including baby.
Though we were all eager to have my grandson go home, neither his parents nor grandparents wanted him to go home until he was ready. In that matter, we had to trust the experts, his healthcare team and so we did. They knew what we did not and we knew it! While we might ask how long his stay was expected, it would have been foolish for us to say, "We think he should come home now, regardless of what you say!"
Last week, there were more signs that his time at the hospital was drawing to a close. He took seven bottle feedings (2 ounces each) in a row in the required timeso his feeding tube was removed. All that remained were the sensors that monitored his stats. He looked ready but it was not time to go home yet.
Late Saturday afternoon, when I stopped by the hospital to visit him, his nurse came in and told his mom to pack up his things and take them home because he was expected to be leaving soon. She packed his things before she left and loaded them into her car. I stay a few hours longer to rock him, cuddle him, sing to him and give him his supper. I left the hospital knowing that I might not return again as I would not be able to stop by on Sunday. Do you know what? I was right.
On Monday morning, I got the word that they were doing a car seat inspection and if the car seat passed the inspection, he would be coming home today or Tuesday at the very latest. I called my son late this afternoon and do you know what? He had just pulled up the car to the front of the hospital to pick up his wife... and his son. It was time to go home!
There is coming a day when we will finally go home as well. Sometimes we think we are ready to go this very moment. It looks like the right time or even if it doesn't, we really want it to be. Sometimes we will even go so far as to demand that God do it this very moment. I am glad He understands our impatience but that doesn't mean He changes His mind. He knows exactly the right timeand when the time is right, we will go home.
We can be confident, however, that the day will come when God will say, "It is time to come home, Child" Oh, what a glorious day that will be when we finally go home!