This is When Things Get Hard

Life in the NICU is really unlike any other place. On one hand, everything is so medical and sterile. Everything is done according to procedure and an official doctor’s order has to be put in for anything to be changed. On the other hand, as the doctors make their rounds they are discussing things like spit up and wet diapers. To be honest, it’s a nice place. The nurses are (mostly) sweet and the doctors are extremely friendly. Everyone offers to answer questions, bring (somewhat) comfy chairs to our baby’s bedside when we arrive, and even get us bottled or ice water.

With Lydia, I noticed a bit of a progresion. The first week in the NICU was a whirlwind, so busy and exciting. The second week, we fell into a routine and it was almost (I did say almost) fun going to the hospital each day to get our updates and hold our baby. But by the third week it wasn’t fun anymore. No matter how sweet the nurses or kind the doctors, all those runs back and forth to the hospital got old.

In the NICU, your whole life is put on hold. Your schedule revolves around Baby’s eating times (every three hours). You go back and forth to and from the hospital, returning home only for meals and sleep. You don’t keep up on anything that isn’t necessary. You boil your activities down to the most important: washing dishes and clothes, cleaning the bathroom frequently enough so that it doesn’t grow mold, and paying bills. Everything gets done efficiently or it won’t get done at all.

Last night I hit the same wall that I did during Week 3 with Lydia. Yes, there were overwhelming moments in those first couple of weeks. This is a different kind of hard, a long sad hard. We miss Abby when we’re home. I’m just a little down most of the time, and really down some of the time. Even when I’m holding her, I’m wishing for “normal”.

Abby is doing well. Yesterday a physical therapist looked at her left foot, which has been turned inward since she was at least 20 weeks gestation. So now during each “hands on” time we or the nurses do some “exercises” rotating her foot. Today Abby had some blood work done which came back mostly normal, but her sodium levels are low. So she’ll be getting a sodium supplement added to her feedings probably for a couple of weeks at least. Her weight last night was 1320 grams, down from 1330, but the nurse was also using a different scale, which probably accounted for the difference. Overall, she’s just eating and growing with no major concerns.

It’s still hard.

I know that God is still good. I know that Abby won’t be in the NICU forever. The time will go by quickly for everyone else. (But it would probably not be best to approach Dan and I in a couple of months and comment on how quickly the time passed) I know that suffering is used for good in our lives. But it’s still suffering. It still hurts. We’re still hoping and trusting and hanging on, but we still miss our baby.

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

4 thoughts on “This is When Things Get Hard

  1. Oh, bless your heart…this is a bitter sweet time I’m sure! It sounds like Abby is progressing as expected (or even better?) and it is encouraging for our prayer life to have you send these personal and honest updates! Don’t forget that your hormones are still adjusting at this time, so soon after birthing her…so don’t forget to take care of you! This time will be over before you know it and the witness you are being for the glory of our Father will bless many.

  2. Justine, our hearts go out to you and Dan, having to go through this experience again, Like you, we Know that our God is good, and still in control…we don’t know why sometimes things are the way they are. I’ve never had to walk the path you are walking, so it really helps to read your honest writings…it helps to know how to pray. and I pray that each day as you hold your little Abby, or play with precious Lydia, or hold hands with Dan, that God will give you some very precious moments to give you peace and lifting of your heart. May at those times of longing for “normal”, may you feel the love our Father, the love and caring of your family and friends wrapping our hearts around you and your little family. We love you very much.

  3. Justeen: I love your honesty and “real-ness”. As Jeanette said, we know how to specifically pray. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly. We love you all, and are praying for you all daily.

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