Five years ago today I was in West Virginia. A soft snow flurry was gently falling on the fall leaves – it was rather calming. And beautiful. And cold.
I went in to be induced at 38 weeks because of complications with my pregnancy – namely, my high blood pressure from preeclampsia.
We prayed together in the car on the way to the hospital. “God, we’ve been praying all along that you would use our daughter. Thank you for giving us this day to finally meet her. We can’t wait to see how you’ll use her for your glory!” we said.
We had ultrasounds done to determine her development. “She looks great!” they all said.
She was born after about 12 hours of labor. I didn’t mind so much – after all, I was a mom! “We did it!” my wonderful husband, friend, and labor coach said to me.
A few seconds later, our little 8lb-7oz-not-even-19-inches-long chunker with spiky black hair was taken out of our arms back to the nursery, “just to check her oxygen levels”, they said.
A few hours later, I hadn’t held her yet. “She’s breathing 172 breaths a minute. She won’t be able to keep this up for long. We’re calling in some specialists.” they said.
A few hours later, I still hadn’t held her, and a doctor came in the room. He tapped my leg to make sure I was paying attention.
“She will make it. Or she won’t.”
It’s funny, he said a lot of words. But those are the words I’ll never forget. Ever. She had just as much of a chance of not being here as she did…being.
She was intubated, then carried away to another hospital 80 minutes away. “We can’t life flight her like we want to because the ice is too dangerous for the chopper.” they said. So down she went I-77 to Charleston Women’s and Children’s Hospital in an ambulance.
When she was 22 hours old, I followed behind. “Don’t touch her – it makes her worse,” they said.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God said.
They could never determine what her problems were. “Respiratory distress,” they called it. But she had 72 hours. There was nothing they could do – she had to decide to breathe on her own. She didn’t start until around hour 69.
Around the time Chris and I finally surrendered our daughter to whatever He wanted for her life. When we realized that we had given our daughter to the Lord already for mission work across the world, or to a low-income public school system that could leave her heart broken. But we hadn’t surrendered her now. We hadn’t surrendered that first kiss I would lay on her cheek. Or the first time I’d get to hold her.
But now we had. We knew that God would be just as gracious to take her to Heaven with Him, or to leave her here with us.
Eight days later, we would take her home.
Our God has been so good to us. A lot of people say this. “Look at how God painted the leaves of those trees,” they’ll say. Or “I passed my History of Civ Test!” they’ll say. Or “I had a great day at work,” they’ll say.
But I see it. Every morning when my little girl walks in the bedroom with “Good Moooorning, Mommy! Can I have some breakfast?” And at night when she says, “I love you Mommy. You’re my favorite Mommy.” When she walks in a room and makes people smile. When she says “I wanna go see Jesus in Heaven, Mommy. Can you take me in the car? It’s all fixed now, we can take it to Heaven.”
My God is good. And today I can say,
“Bless the Lord, o my soul. And all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
And, thankfully, joyfully, tearfully, today I can say,
“Happy Birthday, little one.”