By Meghan Tjaden
Show your ID, even though you’ve been there 100 times. Don’t forget to sign in.
Wash your hands for 3 minutes, all the way up to your elbows… don’t forget to clean under your nails.
Put on your hospital gown.
Head to his bed.
You greet the nurse with a smile, you don’t have the strength to give. You strike up a conversation that, quite frankly, you don’t feel like having.
Get his daily report. You know all the things he should have done, but couldn’t. All the things they want to see happen, but aren’t.
You watch her mouth moving, not hearing every word. You nod. The conversation finally ends. You sit down.
That God awful rocking chair.
It’s cold in the NICU, always cold.
You watch his monitor, see how he’s breathing.
You hear loud dinging. You know the sound.
It’s a ‘low sat’ alert.
You look back at your baby’s monitor. He’s breathing fine.
You look two pods over. Pod 33.
A preemie Mom, just like you, has backed away from her baby’s bed, making room for the nurse.
Her baby needs stimulation. He forgot to breathe for just a second. (Something you know all too well) After all, He’s still learning how to do that.
Mom’s face turns red.
She steps further away from her baby’s bed, holding back her tears, swallowing her fear.
The nurse closes his bed, “all good momma” she says.
Momma, feeling weak, returns to her baby’s side and stares [into] his bed.
I’m not 100% what she’s doing or what she’s thinking, but I think I have a pretty good idea.
She’s pleading. She’s begging. She’s praying.
“Please let this be over.”
“Please let him be healthy.”
“Please let us go home together.”
I hear her so loudly, because I’ve heard myself so many times before witnessing her.
There is something else I’ve seen in that NICU. God’s Grace.
See, lucky for us preemie moms and dads, God lives in the NICU.
He hears our prayers.
He sees our pain.
He is with us in our suffering.
God is with our children when we leave for work, or head for some [much-needed] sleep or to care for our other children at home. God stays in that NICU. He stays, because that’s what God does.
He’s fighting alongside our babies. Giving them the courage they need handle the next needle. Giving them the strength to pull themselves out of their next spell.
God is strengthening our baby’s nurses, RTs, and doctors. He is there to give them wisdom and peace in the tough decisions they must make.
God is preparing us to be resilient parents, ready to bring home these sweet, small babies. He is there when we speak, when we cry and when we have no strength to do either.
God lives in the NICU. I’m sure of it.
I’ve felt him there, I’ve seen him there.
He comes in the shape of fearless nurses, intelligent doctors, resilient parents and the strongest babies.
The day I felt him most, was the day we left that NICU. He celebrated with us! He brought us relief! He brought us peace. He brought us grace.
Hang on & always look for God.
He will always be where he is needed.
He will always be where he is welcomed.