Due to complications which endangered the lives of both mother and child, my grandson Isaac arrived two weeks ago... nine weeks early. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law had already been hospitalized almost a week earlier when her blood pressure had soared and an alarming amount of fluid was accumulating. As of several days ago, she had dropped over 70 pounds in less than two weeks so when I say an alarming amount, I mean it!
When she was admitted to the hospital, the possibility of the baby needing to be delivered immediately was very real and we began to pray. It was too early. His estimated size was about four pounds but his lungs were not fully developed yet. Steroids could be given to accelerate lung development but they needed time to work.
Everyone was very relieved when things stabilized and although she needed to remain in the hospital until her son was born, he was not going to be born that night. He would get a chance to grow a little bit more.
Almost a week after my daughter-in-law was admitted to the hospital, my son let us know it was time. For the safety of both mother and baby they could not wait any longer. The only cure for pre-eclampsia is for a mother to deliver the baby and it was becoming too dangerous to wait any longer. I called my husband who was at work and then met up with my son and my daughter-in-law's parents at the hospital. My mom arrived as well and we all began to pray. It was a very long day but baby safely arrived late that afternoon.
We waited long into the night before we could see mother and baby. Despite their efforts, my daughter-in-law had to have surgery and baby was in NICU. When my husband and I finally could see him, I forced myself to look beyond the the mass of tubes and the bleeping machines that almost hid his tiny body. Instead I marveled at the handiwork of God.
He was so tiny and yet so perfect. I couldn't, at this point, touch his tiny fingers, but I marveled at their delicacy and teeny-tiny fingernails so perfectly formed. His tiny lips suddenly curled upwards as if to smile and I longed to touch his soft dark hair and run my finger down his little cheek. He had none of the plumpness of a full-term newborn. In fact, I chuckled a bit and recalling a storybook I used to read to his father, I called him the "saggy, baggy elephant" but oh, his thin legs still looked so shapely and the arches on his tiny feet were so well-defined. I have seen pictures of premature infants before but never had I seen one close-up.
His grandfather, my husband, was a preemie back in 1960. In fact, he was more than a pound less than our grandson, born at a time when it was unusual for babies born two months early to survive. I thought about that as I stood by the incubator watching my grandson. My husband not only survived... he thrived. He too had spent his early days in an incubator but emerged strong and healthy.
I had to be realistic about the situation but I also had to look beyond it. My grandson as well as his mother are in God's hands... no matter what. I do not know what the future holds for them but God does and I have to trust Him no matter what. I just do. We cannot trust God only when the outcome pleases us. We must also trust Him when it does not.
As I am writing this, I am watching my grandson via a webcam as he sleeps. After initially losing weight (like all newborns), he began to gain weight a few days ago and yesterday he surpassed his birth weight weighing in at 4 pounds 4 ounces (1996 gms). He is too small to suck very well so he is getting nearly all of his nourishment via a feeding tube which contains milk from his mom as well as some donor milk as she regains her health. I am thankful that nowadays they can do that because when possible, that is preferable to formula.
My grandson is starting to stir. I can't see his face but I know it is close to feeding time so I know his little lips are starting to go into action. Isn't it amazing how that happens?
His eyes are starting to rest on objects and yesterday he stared deeply into my eyes for a few moments as his fingers gently curled around my pinky when it brushed up against them.
How I long to hold him but I must wait! He is too small and at the moment that sacred privilege is reserved for mom and dad alone and rightfully so. I must be patient as must my grandson. Right now, this is his world. He is warm, safe and fed. His basic needs are met but there is a better place, a far better place which awaits him and that place is called Home where he will live with his mom and dad, surrounded by their love.He doesn't know it yet but the very BEST is yet to be and so it is with us. Some day we too will get to go home.