"The deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray:

'Thy Will Be Done'."

~Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the reason i'm marching

I was 24 weeks pregnant to the day when I went to the doctor for nothing more than an "instinctual feeling" that something was wrong and light spotting. Once being examined, my doctor told me that I was going to be transported to the hospital by ambulance immediately. I was already 6cm dilated...apparently having contractions back to back...the doctor told me I should be hemorrhaging! I was rushed to the hospital where I was met with my husband. When I saw him come through the doors, I seriously think I may have heard a superhero theme song! I was so relieved to see him. Immediately upon arriving at Women and Infants hospital, I was connected with my triage nurse, and also a pediatrician who explained the risks associated with a baby born prematurely including the statistics of survival...etc. I was also treated with my first steroid shot which was given to help develop the lungs faster and a medication to slow down or stop my contractions. I was transported to the Labor Delivery floor where I received only the highest quality care from my nurses. I loved my nurses!! At such an uncomfortable time, they did everything they could to keep me as comfortable as possible. From the moment I was at the hospital, my bed was tilted so my head was lower than my feet in order to take pressure off the uterus. I couldn't imagine being in that position for 10 weeks but they encouraged me that I could do it and I felt hopeful! Being on the Labor Delivery floor, I can clearly remember the sounds of other babies entering the world. It was amazing to hear the rush of nurses, the holding breath, the cry of life, and the welcoming cheers. I could only pray that my son's entry would be as perfect! I spent only a few days in Labor Delivery and then they transferred me to floor 5, High Risk Pregnancy. I spent only a few hours on that floor. That night I tried to sleep but I was so cold with uncontrollable shaking. We called the nurse and she came and took my temperature and it was still normal so she gave me heated blankets to try to help me warm up. After a half hour or so I was still shaking and my temperature spiked during that short time...this unfortunately signified that there may be infection. The doctor came in and did an ultrasound checking the position of my baby and decided the best option would be an emergency c-section delivery. What happened next was a whirlwind of mixed emotion- fear, anticipation, hope, wonder, faith. It is hard to explain the heart of a mother during a time such as this. When Zachary came out all I remember is his little cry...it was quiet, but it was there and surged my heart with hope. My husband was so excited! He went over and watched the doctors working on Zachary with such speed and precision. We felt like our son was in the best hands medically possible. I didn't get to meet Zachary for the first time until several hours later. When I finally saw him, I was utterly amazed! By all standards, my son was a beautiful miracle of God!! I couldn't believe that all of this had happened and could not possibly explain why it happened; but we trusted in God's all-knowing control over our lives and truly believed that His plans were bigger than the plans we could ever prepare for ourselves. Zach had several nurses who became his friends...it felt so much better leaving your child with people who you trust! Zachary started out with the most unbelievable head start! We had no doubt that our son was a fighter...a champion even! Every day was a roller coaster ride of medical diagnosis and emotional upheaval. It is so difficult to watch your child whom you've dreamed so many dreams for and hoped so many things locked up in his "womb with a view" with no access to hugs or kisses...the feeling is so helpless for a parent. Zachary lived a life full of love and victory for 18 short days and then he truly was in the best hands possible. He now lives with his Maker in Heaven and rests in our Savior's loving arms while waiting for our reunion. Life isn't an easy thing to understand. Everyone at one point unwillingly surrenders themselves to a plan outside of their own control. Death is an even more difficult thing to understand, especially the death of a child. With all the mystery of life and death, there is always one thing that is certain: God knows the plan for our lives. He loves us and is in control of that plan. We unashamedly admit that our relationship with our Heavenly Father is the only thing that brings us peace at this time in our lives. We still wonder what is in store for our lives without Zachary, but continue to trust in His perfect will. We will always love Zachary...he remains forever in our hearts and in our thoughts daily. He will always be our first child; and we will always look forward to Heaven!

Among the extensive medical team that worked closest with Zachary- his favorite nurses, his Doctor and many other wonderful people at Woman and Infants- We are also thankful for the March of Dimes support team present at the hospital and for the work they are diving into to find the reasons for prematurity and the cure for it. The money donated to their cause is money that I believe is well-spent. Besides the research, they provide very practical things such as tiny clothing and hats, blankets, books to read to our babies during the countless hours of being beside an incubator, and tremendous emotional and educational support….I remember that when Zachary was ready to go to Heaven, the hospital provided a room for my entire family to spend time with him away from the medical alarms, and during that time the March of Dimes support team provided a beautiful buffet to make sure that we took care of ourselves by remembering to eat. That meant a lot to us.

Donating to this cause may not guarantee that your children or your grandchildren won’t end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit….BUT; it does guarantee one step closer to the day when all babies will be born healthy.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13

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