I remember Anne Marie's first night. We had lots of hard nights during our time in Dallas, but for me that first night was one of the hardest because I thought I might lose her before I even got to know her. At about 2:00 in the morning two neonatologists and a pediatric cardiologist came into my hospital room to wake us up. They came to tell us that Anne Marie wasn’t doing well on her ventilator and that she probably would have to go on ECMO. The cardiologist also told us there might be a problem with her heart that we hadn’t known about. A lot of things happened that long, long night, and I remember being more scared than I’d ever been in my entire life. I remember praying so hard, “Please don’t take her now. She just got here. I’ve hardly had a chance to see her. Please, don’t take her now.” And He didn’t. He gave us more time with her. Time to see her smile and her bright eyes. Time to stroke her and talk to her and sing to her. Time to have her baptized and time for our close friends and family to see her. Thirty-seven days that God sovereignly ordained for her on this earth, and yet I still struggle with trusting in his sovereignty because for me 37 days wasn’t nearly long enough.
As today comes to a close, we have had Oliver for 37 days. For 37 days we have held him, seen him smile, and stared into his bright eyes. I have nursed him and rocked him and sung to him. We have sat on the couch with him and studied him up and down and talked about how beautiful he is. One of the hardest things for me has been wishing I could have given Anne Marie all that we are able to give Oliver -- again, my struggle with God’s sovereignty. I hold Oliver and nurse him and think about how Anne Marie never got that. When Oliver cries I pick him up and do everything I can to soothe him. Eventually he settles down and falls peacefully to sleep. I think about when Anne Marie used to “cry” -- even now just thinking about it makes me cry. She would open her tiny mouth and yet she wasn’t able to make any sounds. And I would stand by her and rub her little face and rub across her forehead trying to soothe her. I can’t begin to understand God’s plans. I don't know why Anne Marie’s 37 days had to be so hard. But I do believe that she now has quite a reward because of it.
None of us knows how much time we have with our children. It could be 37 days or 37 years. But no matter how long it is, it wouldn’t seem long enough. And yet God has ordained our days even before the foundation of the earth. Even though I don’t understand God’s ways, there is great comfort in resting in the knowledge that his plans are perfect. I am grateful for the 37 days we had with Anne Marie, and the 37 days we’ve had with Oliver.
|Anne Marie's first night|
|Oliver's first night|