Sometimes we say, do or write something without realising what life has waiting for us around the corner.
On the 16th January I wrote a post here about the beautiful rainbow clouds we saw while sitting on my verandah.
My last words were: I will take this beautiful sight with me as a reminder when difficult times come to trust in the Lord and know that I am never alone.
Three days later my daughter went into pre term labour with her first baby. As she was living with me at the time while her husband was still in Dar es Salaam Tanzania I rushed her to the hospital where the long anxious wait began.
With dad still in Tanzania, frantically trying to get on a flight in time, it fell to me and my younger daughter to stay with her through the labour process. Needless to say it was a long and anxiety filled day. The baby was born at 21h00 that night and yes dad made it with exactly 45 minutes to spare.
All was not well. The baby a little boy named Nico had to be delivered by forceps and came into life bruised, blue and ill. He was rushed past us into nicu, where he was put onto full body cooling to minimize the possibility of brain damage. The next 72 hours would be critical we were told.
Did I remember my words written only three days earlier.?
Yes of course I did, but being human, I succumbed to all kinds of feelings. Fear, doubt, anxiety, even anger at the Lord for allowing yet another “bad” thing to happen to my family. My own words seemed to mock me., seemed to say:” Now show the world how you handle this curveball life has thrown at you.”
In the midst of the crises I couldn’t pray, but countless others did. All I could do was hang on to my emotions and try to be strong to support the children.
72 Hours passed slowly, feeling like eternity. Then the warming up process began and disaster struck again. At three in the morning he “crashed”, nicu speak for he stopped breathing. This time he was put onto a ventilator, the verdict pneumonia and sepsis. Big words meaning he was critically ill with infection . Where did it come from? No one knows. He probably had it allready in utero and caused the pre-term labour.
Another anxious five days followed and then he slowly started recovering.Day by day I waited anxiously for news and the odd photo or video from the nicu. Day by day he slowly became stronger. Every small change was a celebration of life. We celebrated his first breaths without the respirator, the first day free from UV lights after jaundice, the first feed without a nasogastric tube, his first tentative attempt at breast feeding, his first bath and above all the first day his parents could pick him up and hold him.
The corridor outside nicu became my world as I often sat there waiting while his mom visited. Nicu staff became family and the nurses his substitute mothers.
Yesterday exactly three weeks and three days after he was born Nico was declared well enough to come home. Now he is at home and at last I feel like a grandmother. We still have a way to go as he will be susceptible to infections due to his illness, but every day he seems to be stronger than before.
In retrospect I can agree wholeheartedly with the promise in
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
I will remind myself to remember every time I feel discouraged or scared by life of this promise and hope you will too.