Sunday, September 16, 2012

Giving God Permission

A recent talk with my mother and a sermon at church reminded me of something that happened with Early Bird's birth and it felt like something worth sharing. So although it is not strictly about homeschool, it is about my kids, so I thought I would post it here.

I never thought I would have a premature baby. I have no family history of any complications during birth (and I have a BIG family.) I was the first, and still only, one to develop pre-eclampsia or be required to have an emergency c-section. But that's what happened with my first pregnancy, with Builder Boy. I developed HELLP Syndrome, didn't present with any of the outside symptoms, and was almost sent home with a failing liver before they caught it in a blood test and I had to have an emergency c-section. Thankfully he was two weeks overdue, so he was not any longer in the hospital than I was. At the time I was so grateful that I got to keep him and I got to bring him home with me. I thought of the mothers with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Mothers who had to go home empty handed, and my heart broke for them.

I prayed at that time to God that I would never have to go through that. But then I remembered "not my will, but Yours be done," (Luke 22:42) "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts," (Isaiah 55:8-9) and "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him." (Romans 8:28) So even though I didn't want to have to endure that I changed my prayer to "this is what I want. But your way is best, so you do what is your will." Even praying that, I never really thought that would be His plan for me.

And then it happened. I got pregnant and 7 months later I collapsed with severe pre-eclampsia. I spent the night in the hospital and when morning came I wasn't any better and my blood oxygen levels started dropping rapidly. Out came my baby with an 80% chance of survival and for over 36 hours I could not see him because I was too sick to get out of bed and he was too fragile to leave the NICU. And then for almost a week I could not hold him, could not even touch him. I had to drive in the car 45 minutes to get to the hospital every day from home. I could only hold him for half an hour every three hours when needed to be fed, and he couldn't be breastfed.

The hospital gave us some information about how parents, especially the mother, go through something very similar to the stages of grief. I had my moment when I asked God "Why? Why did this have to happen?" But, because I had already thought about this possibility, had already submitted to God's will, I was able to transition to "What am I suppose to learn from this?" For seven and a half weeks I commuted to the hospital with my husband. We were sustained by God's strength and grace as we dealt with Early Bird's glucose processing problems, low platelet count, transfusion, and non-health threatening (but needing a later surgery for him to function properly) birth defect.

Looking back at that prayer it looks like to me that I was giving God permission to "do this to me." I wondered if I hadn't prayed that, if I had been insistent on asking that it never happen to me, would it still have happened? If I had prayed against it, would God have listened and made it so Early Bird wasn't early? I don't know what might have happened if I hadn't submitted to God's plan for me. But I know now that that prayer prepared my heart for what was to come. Because I had already considered this possibility, because I had already submitted to God's will, I didn't feel like God had abandoned me, or that I was being punished. I felt His love and His guiding hand. He reaffirmed that love and support through the prayers and actions of our family and church family. And looking at our son now I can positively state that he is here because God wants him to be here; and that he has a plan for him, just as he does for us all.

I got to bring him home just a few days before Mother's Day, 2009, after 7 1/2 weeks in the hospital. He was just over 5 lbs.


  1. Thanks for such a heartfelt post! I have 2 boys, both preemies due to pre-E, as well. Like you, my eldest was able to come home with me, he was 35 weeks. But my miracle child, who I had severe Pre-E with, was born at 29.5 weeks. He stayed in the NICU for 40 days. Sometimes it is still difficult to think back to that period of time. But I know God has a plan for us all, even when it's not what we expect. Sometimes I look at my 28 month old and I am in awe- he is more than I could have hoped for!

    PS-I found your blog because my 2 year old learned his letters thanks to Leapfrog and I was looking for more resources. :D

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