Happy Birthday!

Psalm 145:6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.”

On July 29, 2000, just before 5:00 p.m., we welcomed the arrival of our precious daughter at 27 weeks, 1 day. Her due date was October 27, 2000. Though I had been in the hospital 23 days and was ready to be at the end of such intense physical pain, I knew that the end of my pain would mean the beginning of hers.

Because I was under general anesthesia for the c-section, it took several hours for me to wake up and regain clear vision. When I did at around 3:00 a.m., I told my husband, “I can see; show me the pictures!” He turned on the light in my hospital room and handed me the two polaroids that the nurses had taken. There she was, so small, looking just like her older brother did at birth (he was 9 lbs.), but smaller (she was 2 lbs.), and with a severe grimace on her face, with tubes everywhere. I cried out, “We have to pray right now!” It’s all I knew to do, helpless as we were.

As we prayed, the neonatologist came in: “I saw your light on…. I was hoping I would find you awake to talk to you… she’s touch and go…. we don’t know what will happen….” She had had a reaction to something called surfactant, a substance given to help premature babies’ underdeveloped lungs. They had sucked it back out, and she was on full vent, maximum oxygen, struggling for her little life. That wasn’t the only problem, but one of many.

The following day, I was wheeled to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to see her for the first time. She was on a small rectangular flat bed, covered over tightly with what looked like a piece of saran wrap. I just looked at her and talked to her and prayed for her.

I spent the next 3 months going back and forth to the hospital, taking care of my son at home and taking care of her in the hospital. Little by little, day by day, enduring many ups and downs, we got to her original due date and discharge on October 27, 2000.

I saw God’s hand in so many details. We have so many amazing stories of this time. The verse at the top is significant to me because it’s one the Lord gave me as I was awaiting her eye surgery. She had “retinopathy of prematurity” which had advanced to stage 3, level 2. ROP has 5 stages with stage 4 being retinal detachment and stage 5 being blindness. They were prepared to do the surgery at her stage 3 to stop the rapid progression. I was told that the surgery was effective in 80% of the cases, but I also knew that the surgery could bring long term negative side effects regarding her vision. We prayed intensely for the 3 days leading up to the surgery.

The day of the surgery arrived, and they sent me across the hall to the waiting room so they could check her eyes before they began. As I continued praying, I opened the Bible in the waiting room and saw this verse from Psalm 145:6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.” I knew in my heart at that moment that she would not need the surgery, that it would be an awesome act on her behalf, and that I should profess to the eye surgeons God’s greatness.

The nurse came to get me very soberly, saying, “They want to see you now.” As I walked into the NICU, the two doctors were standing there, and they turned around to see me with their faces beaming. “We wouldn’t have expected this!” one of them said. “Her eyes have improved! They’re not totally better, but we aren’t going to do the surgery. We’ll come back and check them in a few days.” Though her eyes were followed regularly for the next several months, she never needed surgery and today is only borderline for glasses (slightly nearsighted). I told the doctors, “The Lord did this” and did testify to His greatness.

This is just one example of many where I saw God intimately concerned about the details of our lives. In fact, I would tell people when I would tell them about her in the days and years that followed that “we saw God in every detail”!

About 4 or 5 years after she was born, I found a journal I had kept when I was pregnant. At that time in my life, I did not regularly journal, but every so often, would attempt it, and it would last for a few entries, then be set aside! So I was surprised these years later to find an old journal with a few entries of when I had been pregnant. I read and found that I had been in a bit of a spiritual pit, not seeking the Lord as I should, feeling very depressed. I journaled as I was flying to Memphis about the pregnancy and not knowing what was going on, but it didn’t seem right. I then wrote something to the effect of “I would hate for something horrible to have to happen to my baby to make me see that God is involved in all life’s details.”

Stunned. I was simply stunned by this. How could I have written this and gone on to have this premature baby who did indeed teach me that God cared for us in every detail of our lives! This was the reality I had learned that I had verbalized to everyone since her birth. And here I was reading this journal entry that that’s what I had been needing to be convinced of. And I was. And God is good. And His ways are right. And I love Him. And I give Him praise. And I thank Him for being in all life’s details.

Today, she is a healthy (though still small), 8 year old little girl. She loves stuffed animals, arts & crafts, writing, reading her Bible, but most importantly, she loves God. I am sharing above a picture from family camp last week. They did facepainting at the carnival at camp, and she asked if she could have this painting on her face.

She writes poetry constantly. Below is just one of her poems. They are always very theological and praiseworthy. When I wonder where she gets these thoughts, I am reminded of all those prayers when she was in the incubator that God would be close to her when no one else could be there or hold her. I trusted that He held her, and I see indications that He has made Himself known to her in very real and powerful ways. I praise Him for all He has done and all He will do in this precious one’s life.

Jesus, I love You

“Jesus, I’ll tell people about You,
Then they’ll actually know You’re true.
So that’s why Your love keeps pouring out over me;
Because I love You and I know You’re holy.
So breathe into me breath so I can tell people about You
And then they’ll know You, too!
So Jesus, You’ll be in my heart forever
And stop loving You is what I’ll do NEVER!
Because You are my King,
and You love everyone and everything!
And I’ll meet you in the holy place;
and then I can actually see Your face!”

Praise You, Lord! We weren’t promised 8 seconds, 8 minutes, or 8 days, and yet, here we are at 8 years! You have been gracious to us, patient with us, revealed Yourself to us, and lovingly helped us. To You alone be the glory!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    Beautiful, this story, and beautifully written. Poignant and powerful. Thank you for this.

    Like

  2. Melissa says:

    Carolyn, I love this story. I can’t believe that poem. Unbelievable!

    Like

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