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A year ago last night the pains were beginning. The pain was much-anticipated and at the same time, much feared. Unlike the five other times labor had begun for me, this time brought a new sense of angst and worry coupled with prayerful hope and peace. It was the strangest combination of emotions.
As labor intensified over the next 12 hours, I was reminded of the heartache we had experienced earlier in pregnancy, being told that the baby I was about to deliver in just hours, would die. She had >1% chance of making through the first and second trimesters… but by God’s grace, she beat those odds.
Yet with the pain of labor I was knew that while we had experienced a miracle in my womb and she DIDN’T die, Phoebe would have a long road ahead of her during her first and possibly many, years of her life. Her heart was diseased and she would need open heart surgery within days of her birth.
The pains reminded me that once she was out of my body, it wasn’t just “me and her” anymore. I would have to share her. I couldn’t just cradle her in my belly and say, “I love you, little one” over and over, and whisper my thoughts straight to her heart. Now people who didn’t know her like I did, or love her like I did or cherish her like I did, would be taking care of her and making her well… we hoped.
The pains progressed to unbearable and suddenly we heard a cry. A LOUD, ANGRY, “I-WANT-MY-MAMA!” cry.
It was beautiful.
Our little bright, radiant Phoebe was put on my chest very briefly before being rushed away for an echocardiogram and tests to check the condition of her heart.
Within a few hours she transported to Children’s Hospital, her via ambulance, me in the car not long afterward.
Seeing my girl, hooked up to tubes and monitors and loud beeping machines, I clung to the hope that the God who allowed us to get this far wouldn’t quit what He started.
For 3 days we waited for the “today’s the day we’ll operate” announcement. Doctors and nurses came in and out of her room, checking vitals, drawing blood, running tests. But little girl wasn’t having any of it. She was hungry and hadn’t been allowed to eat because of the impending surgeries. She had been receiving nutrition via IV, but her tummy wanted the real deal. And she screamed and SCREAMED until the doctors and nurses relented and said, “Okay, you can nurse her.” Girlfriend went to town, gaining ounces every time.
By God’s amazing grace, instead of spending her first month of life in the hospital having open heart surgery, we spent 4 days and instead were told, “GO HOME. Her heart is stable. We’ll see you in a month.”
MIRACLE. Her heart was so, so ugly in-utero. Now they were sending us home?
The last year with Little Miss P has been nothing short of wonderful. She has brought us joy beyond our imagination and laughter until our sides ache just by being her sweet little self.
And at each appointment, of which there have been many, we’ve learned that she continues to improve all around.
PRAISE THE LORD.
She’s growing. She’s THRIVING. Her last cardiology appointment we were told the most beautiful thing, “Her heart doesn’t look like the one we saw when she was born. It’s functioning beautifully. IF she needs intervention, it won’t be for a long while.” This was so different from, “She’ll need to have her chest cracked and sewn up as a 2 or 3-day old infant.” (words mine, but that was the general message of her cardiologist).
PRAISE THE LORD!
Our Phoebe is the most joyful, bright-eyed, active, chattering, wonderful baby girl.
And today is her first birthday.
She’s crawling, pulling herself up on things, trying new words, playing games, laughs HYSTERICALLY at herself (she’s like her mom)… she is awesome and such an incredible, wonderfully unexpected gift.
Friends, this is the little girl you prayed so diligently for. You prayed for months and months for her healing and the hearts of her parents and siblings. Thank you. Thank you SO much for interceding on our behalf because this little girl has been such a game-changer for our family. Every smile, every laugh, every dirty diaper, every piece of food thrown on the floor, every little thing is a reminder to us that God hears us. None of us are worthy of His attention, yet He listens to us as soon as we cry out to Him. We may not understand His “Yes’s” or His “No’s” or His silence while we wait or why there is pain and suffering in the world or in our lives, but friend, He IS listening. We may not see what He is doing or how, but that doesn’t mean we’re invisible to Him.
“You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Each one of us was carefully formed by a loving God for wonderful purposes, whether our days be long or short, filled with difficulty or not.
Thank you for lifting your heart’s concerns for our girl and our hearts before the One who can actually do something, as because of your faithful prayers, we have a girl to celebrate.
Glory be to God!
“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.”
-Psalm 71:5-8, 14