No one told me what it was going to be like in the NICU. No one had ever mentioned that it was going to be the hardest and scariest emotional roller coaster you will ever be on.
When we were pregnant with our twins, we had no idea how anything was going to turn out. We knew for a fact that our twins were not going to be full term, but we had no idea what it was going to be like. We knew our son was sick. We knew his kidneys were damaged and not working. We knew his lungs were not developed. And we knew he already had brain bleeds. We knew our daughter was going to be small. We knew that she was developing perfectly. And we knew that she had no complications or anything wrong with her. So as we were signing the papers to have fetal surgery on our son, we had no idea what was going to happen.
We told everyone that at the end of all of this, God’s Glory was going to shine. But we had no idea how we were going to get there. We had no idea how much this was going to hurt. We had no idea how hard this was going to be on us, on our family, on me… I had no idea. No one told me.I think the most significant of surprises was the emotional toll the NICU journey had on me.
I like to think of myself as the strong and silent type. It is very rare that I show any emotion. Especially tears. It takes a lot for me to cry in front of people. Other than church, it is very rare that I cry in public. And if I do cry in public it is probably because I have just lost all control.When we were going through our high risk pregnancy, we were actually given a tour of the NICU. We met with the neonatologist, nurse practitioners and some NICU nurses. Our MFM doctor thought it would be a good idea to meet them all because based on what was already known and the high probability of prematurity, he thought maybe it would help to get familiar with the unit. So we went in, met all of these people and walked through the NICU. We were even given permission by a couple parents to take a peek at their babies, and to speak to them and ask questions. Which we, of course, didn’t because at the time… what would we ask?? We had no idea about anything. What was there to ask?? What we didn’t know was what would really happen. We didn’t how hard it was going to be. And I especially didn’t know how hard it was going to be on me.
I had no idea that I would ever feel my heart being ripped out of my body. I had no idea that I was ever going to feel so much pain in my heart, my mind and in my soul. I didn’t know that it was possible to ever feel so desperate for Jesus. The feeling of begging God to save my son… to heal him…. to spare his life. I had absolutely no idea the depths of my own personal darkness. I didn’t know about the emotions that would be flowing through my mind and my heart. I had no idea how debilitating they can be. How deceiving they can be. No one told me.
No one told me that through this NICU journey I was going to fall to the feet of Jesus and ask Him to have mercy on me. No one told me that I was going to be thrown into this abyss of hurt that was so painful, I was begging God to let me go. I didn’t want to ever hurt myself or do any harm, but if something were to happen to me and if I were to go, then I would be free. Free from this torture. Free from this pain. Free from seeing my child on deaths bed. I hoped that the Lord would choose to take me before he took my son. I could not bare to bury my child. No one told me that there may a time that I would pray for God to have mercy on my child. I prayed for my baby’s pain to go away. I prayed for him to be free of this disease. I prayed for God to give my son Peace. No one told me that I would be begging God to give me Peace so I can let my son go.
No one told me that there would be a night that I would look out onto the horizon and take a deep breath and suddenly be okay with the direction the Lord had my life going. No one told me that I would see angels around my sons bed. No one told me that I would hear God’s voice. No one told me that I was ever going to have to make the decision to Let Go of my son. No one told me that there was going to be a time where I would be told that there is no hope for my son. No one told me how to react to that. No one told me what I was supposed to say to that.
No one told me what to say to the mother I made friends with, prayed with, spoke with and dreamed with while in the NICU. And no one told me what I was supposed to say or do when her baby passed away. No one told me what to say to any of the mothers I met while in the NICU. No one told me that I was going to forget some of their names. No one told me that the only was I was going to remember their baby’s names were by the room number our son was in.No one told me that I was going to meet these amazing nurses that were going to care for my child and love both my children as if they were their own. No one told me that I was going to depend on these nurses for life and death. No one told me that I was going to make life-long friends with these women that would one day save my sons life. No one told me what to say to them. No one told me how to be with them. No one told me how life was going to be without them. No one told me….
No one told me that the time our twins were in the NICU… the many many months my son would spend in the NICU, were going to be the most frightening, most powerful, most unbelievable, and the most amazing and miracle filled moments of my life.
No one told me that my life and the way I see EVERYTHING was going to be forever altered. I am different because of the NICU. I am someone I never knew I would be…or could be… No one told me that the NICU was going to be just a stepping stone for what is to come for our family… for our daughter… for our son… for me.
No one told me… but I learned. I learned the hard way. I learned the best way. I learned the only way… with God’s Grace and in His Merciful Healing hands. We got through it because we had to. And we continue to get through it every day. With time, we will get through it.