I have been dying to share this story and images with all of you, but waited on God's timing. Joy and Dustin are sweet friends of ours that have an amazing testimony of God's grace, mercy and faithfulness. Their sweet son was born early...but it's amazing how God showed up when they needed him. God promises to never leave us...and he never left Joy and Dustin. He was there when the hospital room walls felt like they were closing in on them, He was there as Joy struggled to figure out why this was happening, He was there as they learned to walk by faith, He was there. Read Joy's testimony below! It will move you to tears. Thank you Joy and Dustin for sharing your lives with us. Watching you through this journey, grew our faith as well!
"It was a beautiful Sunday. 11/1. 10 weeks away from our due date. And I was wearing my favorite purple dress. We had not long come from church and hearing a message entitled, "From a Wrestling Place to a Resting Place." I have since reread the sermon notes and the parallels I feel that there is a specific message in there for me, as it relates to what I was about to experience. At the very least, God was about to bring me to the most literal resting place - 24/7 bedrest.
It was around 1 o'clock that afternoon that I first noticed something wasn't right. Later that evening at the hospital, it was confirmed that my water had broken and I would be there until I went into labor. Statistically, I would most likely go into labor within 48 hrs; but that if I could make it a week, I would have great chances of making it to our new goal of 34 weeks, which was the standard for women in my situation.
The first 48 hrs came and went in a blur of nurses, obstetricians, neonatologists, techs and reactions to the meds they have given me. My husband beside me all the while. Those first days, we pensively waited for labor to begin. "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies are fresh every morning" resonated in my heart every morning. Because, every morning was a blessing that I had made it through the night and that he has sustained me the day before and all the days before that. And, every night was a relief that I was almost to another morning. I counted the number of sleeps I had until my goal of 34 weeks. With a month as the goal, the number days I needed to make it became this daunting, tangible thing set before me. The lyrics of Bethel music - "The mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea" was a mantra. Time was my mountain and every day was a stone of that mountain moved. At night when I would wake with worry, I would play that song and sing those promises with all of my might, through my tears and into my pillow with my husband sleeping always within reach in the chair beside my bed. Every morning before I even opened my eyes, I would visualize another stone behind me and one less ahead. Day by day, there was less mountain ahead of me and more behind.
With ups and downs, every day had its challenges. Some days I bled, most days I leaked, and every day I prayed. I prayed for his amniotic fluid, my water, to be replenished. And I thought of his promise to "make streams in the wasteland." My fluid was replenished from a low of 2cm to 8cm. We prayed his promise that God take him from the 3lbs he was estimated at when we arrived in the hospital to at least 5lbs. If only he could make it to 5lbs, we thought; and our friends prayed fervently along with us.
On Thanksgiving Day 2015, our sweet boy was born. We had made it to our goal. And, what's more, he was exactly 5lbs - not a single ounce more nor less. I am certain it was God's very tangible way of showing me that it was him in all of it, right down to the very specific weight we had asked for.
The coming weeks had challenges all their own; but he never needed a breathing or feeding tube. There were a few instances of apnea and a rehospitalization with RSV. Ask mothers even with a full term, healthy baby if they have stood over their child watching closely for the rise and fall of their tiny chest, most will answer yes and recall that feeling of fear and vulnerability vividly. The constant shrill of the monitors going off was a constant reminder of this vulnerability. I cried every time I was alone in my car traveling to and from the NICU, reminding myself "it's your breath, in our lungs."
Today our baby boy is 5 months old and 15lbs. No lasting effects that we can tell and he is meeting all of the milestones for his actual age. "And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him."
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works."