Thursday, June 23, 2011

Licia's Lullaby

There's a song that we've been singing for Alicia every time we go to visit her. We also recorded it on her MP3 so she listens to it quite often. It's kind of our lullaby that we sing for her.

In Your Hands (So Close)

I'm so secure

You're here with me,

You stay the same

Your love remains,

Here in my heart.

So close I believe,

You're holding me now

In Your hands I belong

You'll never let me go

So close I believe

You're holding me now

In your hands I belong,

You'll never let me go

You gave Your life

In Your endless love

You set me free

And showed me the way

Now I am found



All along you were beside me

Even when I couldn't tell

Through the years

You showed me more of You

More of You

Ironically, though we call it her lullaby, it seems that every time we sing it to her these days she responds by waking up rather than going to sleep. It almost as if she's like, "Oh! I know this song!" And I'll confess that over the past few days I have sung this song as a way to wake her up so that I can see her open her eyes. Bad Daddy. I know.

Anyway, ever since Linda first got pregnant, I've been searching for a song that I could sing to my daughter as a lullaby. The first time I saw Alicia in the NICU, I broke down into tears and somehow this song came to mind.

Alicia's in our Daddy God's hands. Actually, we all are. And there's no more secure place than that. He's holding us close.

This song along with others have been a huge comfort for us, and every time we sing it, it's a reminder for us and for Alicia that we're in good hands. There's no need to worry.

The past couple of days in the NICU have been interesting. Alicia's condition is considered pretty stable now. She's eating more and more. She's up to 9cc per feeding. And they're giving her fortified milk, so she's been putting on weight nicely. Yesterday, she broke the 600 gram mark, and today she's up to 610 grams! Another 44 grams and she'll have gained back her birth weight and we pray that it'll straight up from there. She's also pooping and peeing pretty well on her own, so that's all a huge praise.

The main thing right now is her breathing. Yesterday, during both visits, her blood oxygen levels dropped pretty low, setting off alarms and alerting the nurses. At first the nurses did the usual raising of the ventilator settings and giving her some extra breaths. When that didn't work, they had to resort to sucking out the mucus. It kind of alarmed us cause we'd never actually seen them suck out the mucus before. We'd only heard reports of it needing to be done. When we asked the nurses if something was out of the ordinary, she said that actually, it mucus sucking was rather routine for preemies. So that put our hearts at ease.

What I'm realizing is that many of the things that freak us out, and we feel are "out of the ordinary" are actually quite common and ordinary for preemies. And I'm always amazed at how calm and steady the doctors and nurses are, which is definitely a good thing. I mean could you imagine them freaking out every time the alarms went off? It would be chaos, I tell you.

It goes back to what I was saying yesterday about a new "normal." But I think I need to remind myself that this "new normal" is only temporary. These alarms and tubes and monitors, they're only here for a short time. I think so often I get so lost in the here and now and thinking that this is going to be how it's going to be forever, that I forget, that no, this is only for the time being.

Over the past couple of days God has reminded me of Philippians 4: 6, 7.

" Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Pray with thanksgiving. Rejoice always. Give thanks in all circumstances. Definitely a lot easier said than done. How does one give thanks FOR your child being born early, and give thanks FOR her needing to have all of these tubes inside of her and FOR her needing to have surgery. No. I don't think I can give thanks for those things. But the thing is the passage doesn't say, "Give thanks FOR every circumstance." It says, "Give thanks IN every circumstance."

What I'm realizing is that while sometimes it maybe hard to be thankful for every circumstance, IN every circumstance, there is something to be thankful for.

Each time that I'm tempted to grumble about needing to drive back and forth to the hospital, or I want to complain that our family has been uprooted and that this has been an inconvenient interruption to the normalcy of my life, I am reminded that I need to give thanks. Each time I want to say, "Forget this! I'm tired of the anxiety and worry. I'm exhausted." I am reminded there is a huge thing that I need to give thanks for.

The fact that we're still driving back and forth to the hotel, the fact that our lives have been interrupted and continues to be interrupted, the fact that we have to deal with these anxieties means that Alicia is still ALIVE! She's ALIVE! And that is a huge thing to give praise for.

And speaking of her being alive, I can also give thanks for modern medicine, and for her doctors and nurses that help to maintain Alicia's life. We can be thankful that she's born at a time when there are such advancements in medicine that a child as small as Alicia can still survive despite being born in less than ideal circumstances, and not only survive but thrive! We can be thankful that Linda and I have a place to live rent-free. That our needs are taken care of. We can be thankful for the family and friends - all of you - that have surrounded us with your prayers, love and support. We can be thankful that our daughter is growing day by day and that her condition is slowly improving. We can be thankful that we live in a country that has universal healthcare so that we can have some help with Alicia's hospital bills.

So, yes, Lord, I thank you. I thank you that we are secure in your hands. I thank you that you love us and that you love Alicia more than we could ever love her. She is your child. And we thank you that you have entrusted her to us, and that you take care of our needs. I thank you that Alicia is still alive and despite the complications and bumps on the road, she's ALIVE. Despite needing surgery, she's ALIVE! And we're alive. And thank you that you are good.

Speaking of being alive. Something interesting happened to me last night.

After getting back from our evening visit to the hospital, I decided I'd take a shower. I had just stepped into the shower and was standing under the water with my eyes closed, when all of a sudden I heard a loud BANG! I opened my eyes and I saw that the shower stall's glass door that I had closed not more than a minute earlier, was completely shattered. I stood there baffled for a few seconds, trying to process what had happened. I mean, the glass door was in pieces all over the floor. Shattered. It was as if someone had shot at the door and it cracked into a million bits. When I came to my senses, I had to figure out how I was going to get out of the shower stall in my bare feet with glass all around me. I stepped gingerly around the glass, and got dressed quickly after shaking the glass out of my clothes. I called Linda over and showed her the mess and she was just as shocked as I was.

I honestly don't know what happened. I've taken a shower in that bathroom plenty of other times and that was not some flimsy glass door. It was solid and sturdy, but it just shattered, with no one touching it. Shattered! And you know the amazing thing? With all that flying glass and me standing there naked, you'd think that I'd be pretty cut up. But the only mark I sustained was a small nick on my foot.

I mean, seriously, I keep thinking back on what happened and I'm just amazed at God's protection. I went back to the bathroom later last night and you know what I saw? A two-foot circle where I was standing under the shower head that didn't have any glass. There was glass everywhere else. And based on where the glass was lying in the rest of the bathroom, my guess is that the glass cracked and flew outwards. I don't even want to think about what would have happened if the glass cracked and flew inwards towards me. Ouch.

Anyway, I'm alive and well, praise the Lord.

Back to Alicia. She's doing well today. As I said, she's eating well and she's resting. Right now the biggest thing is for her to grow. Once she grows and her organs mature, many of the problems she's struggling with now will take care of themselves.

We asked today when we would be able to hold Alicia, the doctor says that we'll need to wait until she weighs over 1000 grams and is off the ventilator. So we pray that those things can happen soon. I really want to hold my little girl.

She really is a precious, precious girl. I love her very, very much.


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