“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
. . . Isaiah 30:15
It was as if I was 12 years old, wiggling the antennae of our Black & White TV in order to get the picture to come in clear.It was 1992. I hadn’t had an ultra-sound with my first pregnancy. But with my second, I ended up in the hospital, due to early labor. I was staring at the screen, eyes large from fear and some wonder at what I might see there.
The doctor squirted a blob of clear gel on my protruding belly, pressed the cold bar back and forth, up, down, and around – trying to get a good picture. It had to be at least 20 minutes. Eventually he determined I’d need to “fly” by ambulance to a hospital in the Twin Cities that would be equipped to handle preemies. He determined I was at least six weeks early and administered the drug to stop my labor.
The nurse warned me before leaving about the doctor that would be seeing me when I arrived. “He has a bad bedside manner, but he is an excellent doctor.”
Upon arrival in what turned out to be an $800.00 ride, I was ushered to my room, and met the man who, true to the nurse’s description, was partly chilly. How thankful I was, in my emotionally vulnerable state, for that bit of info.
I was stunned to see the Monitor at this larger hospital more resembled the 1992 TV we had at home, the picture clear, colorful, and it took a whole six seconds after gelling my belly for him to tell me, “I don’t know who is giving you your dates, but you can have this baby. Let me order an amneo to make sure the lungs are developed adequately.”
I’d heard about those amneo’s. Needles the size of a ruler that they stuck in your belly. It turned out not nearly as bad as that, and it was determined that I was 36.5 weeks along and all would be well with baby.
So they took me off drugs and after many excruciating hours of my body contracting but not advancing the process enough, the doctor finally came back and pricked my water sack, causing them to literally run me down the hall to the delivery room, and hold my knees together until Dr. “gloved up” . . .
And Ethan was delivered into Dr’s hands, my body the quarterback.
Safely, at 5lbs 13 oz.
Six weeks later on a Tuesday, still under 8lbs, Ethan began to projectile vomit, the stream reeked of rotten eggs.
I continued to feed him, and he continued to vomit. By Friday I went into the Dr. who ‘felt for something’ in his tiny belly, didn’t find what he was looking for, sent me home with instructions “Give him pedialite, and if he isn’t better tomorrow, bring him back in. We don’t want him dehydrated.”
Saturday morning we were back in. Exrays were ordered. The barium was fed to him, he was put on a conveyer belt for photos, the barium was syphoned out through a tube in his nose, and we were sent back to the hospital in the Twin Cities.
He had Pyloric Stenosis and would have to have surgery. It was scheduled for 10:00 am Sunday.
Upon arrival, they sought to get an IV in him to keep him from dehydration. First they pricked the needle into his hands, then his feet, each time unsuccessful in piercing a vein. On the seventh try, they had success getting the needle in the top of his little head. They taped a dixie cup over the top of the needle so it wouldn’t get bumped.
I was alone with my baby and the sympathetic nurses during that time. They had so wanted to save me the trauma of seeing a needle in my baby’s head, but actually served more trauma in the long run. Bless their hearts. I was thankful for their empathy.
Seven pricks in my tiny little man was much trauma for this mama.
But through this journey, and the resulting $30,000.00 worth of medical debt that weighed on us for years, eventually causing us to “sell the farm” to get out from under it, the Lord sustained us with His strength.
That season of my life was very isolated. We had moved an hour away from home, my husband commuted an hour to and from work. My car had broken down and we couldn’t afford another. I was in a position where the only thing I could do was quietly trust in God.
Trust Him when I called the neighbor at 10:30pm to take me to the hospital, and left my little girl at home with her 15 year old.
Trust Him when I “flew” in the ambulance alone. [Dale worked nights]
When I was flying down the hall of the hospital, body ready to “throw the baby”.
When I set him on that x-ray conveyer belt to go through the radiation tunnel.
When I watched them syphon the barium from his nose.
When I watched the nurses prick my little baby’s hands and feet.
And trust Him when they finally got the needle in his head, I knew he was going to live.
Then they left me alone in the room. And that’s when I leaned over the bassinet in those quiet moments after the storm, and I shared the gospel with my son.
“Mama’s sorry that you have to experience so much pain. It is so that you can have life. That is what Jesus did for us Ethan, He died so we could live.”
It was a holy moment. I knew his heart somehow heard it.
So the next day, with him in my arms, paper cup on his head, I was sitting in the waiting area. In a short amount of time, I watched the doctor walk through two swinging doors and when he reached me, held his hands out to take my baby, and as he turned to disappear behind the doors, I knew he was in Good Hands and I would receive him back whole. Healed. Alive.
In quietness and trust is your strength.
Ethan and his family. 🙂
More “Wedded Word” stories HERE