Joy for Mourning

We had a celebration on Saturday. Our youngest child, Gavin turned four. Friends and family came to his pirate party and enjoyed a time of swimming, snacking, games, gifts and laughter. It was a fun day. When birthdays roll around in our home we spend some time reflecting on the actual birth day. Even on my own, my Mom will reminisce back at specific times of the day which mark moments of my birth.  The time the nurse walked in and mentioned the big family who were having a party in the waiting room with donuts and coffee, and you guessed it, that family was ours; the time they wheeled her back to the operating room for her scheduled C-section, the time they woke her up and told her she had a baby girl. My Mom just beams when she speaks of the day of her child’s birth.

As joyous as Gavin has made our lives, unfortunately, his delivery was anything but. At 35 weeks gestation, I began having stroke like symptoms. I described these in my post, A Meaningful March. July 11th 2009, we were on our way to Oklahoma City for my best friend, Amber’s bridal shower. This woman has been my friend for 20 years. She was my maid of honor, and I was serving as her matron of honor. And considering that, I felt terrible that I didn’t want to go. I just didn’t feel good, but was ignoring it in order to be there as I should for my dear friend.

As the story goes, we didn’t make it to Oklahoma City. My husband took me to the hospital despite my protest. Upon arrival, the labor and delivery nurse instructed me to put on a hospital gown and leave a urine specimen in the restroom. I did the latter, but had every intention of going home to allow my baby more time to grow; therefore, the hospital gown stayed neatly folded at the foot of the bed. The perinatologist who saw me and delivered all of my children, came in and explained his plan to induce labor, and deliver our baby. I begged him to try something else which would allow little Gavin more time. My doctor delicately informed me that if he allowed me to even get up to use the restroom that I could seize and risk my baby’s death and my own death. I knew that despite every intention I had to prevent another one of my babies from going to the NICU that that is exactly what was going to happen.

Lying there that night, with my Pitocin and magnesium running, tears ran continuously. I looked at the clock the entire night, and I prayed and prayed. What I requested of the Lord was what I needed most. Peace. I asked Him to give me peace when the NICU team took my baby. I asked Him to prepare me for the situation and the emotion I would experience. I knew what lie ahead. It was something I never imagined when we went through it the first time, five and a half years earlier with our second child, Jaron. I simply wanted to feel okay with the unnatural, but necessary process of my baby being whisked away.

Is anyone surprised to know that God did indeed answer my prayer? Approximately thirty five hours after arriving to the hospital and a sufficiently difficult delivery, my Gavin made his entrance into the world. At 6:32 a.m. Monday, July 13th 2009. He was a scrawny little 5 pound 4 ounce, 19.5 inch long baby. And I was completely at peace as he headed to the NICU. Due to being on magnesium, I didn’t see him until about twelve hours later, but I had supernatural peace through it all.

What makes this story so incredibly special for me is, obviously, the fact that it’s about the day one of my little miracles came into the world, but that it’s also about God using one of our most difficult times to give me a personal passion for the care our family benefited from, twice. Our two NICU experiences were a night and day difference. The attitude and climate had changed drastically between our first visit with Jaron and our second with Gavin. I knew when Gavin was born that God’s plan was for me to become a nurse. The Lord began stirring that in my heart two months after Jaron was born. But I had no idea that the NICU would be where I was to minister. Not until our experience with Gavin. A seed was planted in that time that had me prayerfully explore the possibilities of becoming a neonatal nurse.

I marvel at the awesomeness of God. For how mighty and powerful He is. For how holy and righteous. How magnificent. And in all His majesty, He speaks and moves, and uses us in our humanity to accomplish His plan. My joy is infused from the fact that my Heavenly Father used one of our saddest moments to get us to where we are today. The fulfillment and sense of purpose today came out of a time of helplessness and sense of failure. It is so true, He makes all things good!

Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” (NIV)



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