Wow, these past 2 months have been full of many ups and downs! We feel so blessed that Asher is doing so well, and has had several calm days in a row. He's been struggling with eating a little. They are trying to watch his reflux or spitting up and make sure he's not spitting up too much. Reflux is common for full term babies and even more common for preemies. The muscle between the esophagus and stomach is very underdeveloped and stays open allowing food to easily go back up. He should eventually out grow this. It's hard to see and hear that he spits up a lot because right now all he needs to do is eat!! But, I will say, I'd rather be talking about spitting up than than about major issues with the heart and lungs. We will continue to pray for him to be able to eat and grow, and also for healthy development of all his organs- especially his eyes, brain, and lungs!
I have had several thoughts about the things that I have felt lately and the information we've learned about how preemies develop. In the past week or so, Asher has had several (and his whole life really) brady's and desat's. A brady is when is heart rate drops pretty low- like down in the 60's and 70's. And desat is when the oxygen level in his blood goes down in an unsafe range. Both of these alarms we have gotten very used to when they go off. However, anytime his heart rate drops, we stop and immediately pray and pay attention. It's not fun to see! But, we've learned a lot about how his little body works. Sometimes his heart rate drops because he's basically really asleep and comfortable and his underdeveloped brain doesn't know yet not to shut everything down..including breathing..when he's really resting or asleep. The nurses often say "well, he just forgot to breathe". Crazy- have you ever even thought about breathing?? Me neither, but for our little guy it's quite the task! It's just amazing me to that when a full term baby comes out, they know how to breath..whether awake or sleeping..and they can do that while they eat! When Asher accomplishes that, he will be like a full term baby! And then also sometimes his heart rate drops because he's spitting up, so it's like choking..and our hearts would do the same if we were choking.
Revelation #1-- So, all of that has stirred in me a lot of thoughts about breathing and the rhythm of breathing when I think about Asher. Asher is still trying to learn how to breathe. He's still learning the rhythm and pattern of it. And when he tries to do his own thing and breathe too often or out of the rhythm God designed for his body, alarms go off, and his whole body is "thrown off". When Asher doesn't do enough, and freezes up, and doesn't breathe..alarms go off then too- and again..he's out of the rhythm God designed the lungs to follow. It's slow process of him getting in sync with the rhythm. And he gets a little better at it everyday, but he still has moments where he gets "off". So, I can't help but compare this to me- to us. When I'm not in sync with God, everything is off. When I try to do too much on my own, and fight His perfect plan and rhythm, "alarms" go off, or it becomes clear to me at some point that things are not right, and I can't do everything myself. When I don't do enough in my relationship with the Lord, and I'm lazy..that's not staying in sync with His rhythm either. And I will see the consequences of that either in my life, or my soul and attitude. When I don't do my part, I begin to see more of everything else, and less of Him. And that never equals joy or happiness.
So, Asher's learning to breathe, in a physical way. And mom is learning too. How to take one breath at a time, one day at a time, and submit to the perfect rhythm God created for creation and for my life..learning to stay in sync with Him is a daily exercise.
"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." Genesis 2:7
I pray the Breath of Life is in me, and in Asher!
Revelation #2-- I have struggled lately with accepting and embracing the loss of normalcy in our lives. I think I definitely idolize normalcy and comfortable and "easy". So, I found myself in the last 2 weeks or so being just very frustrated with the lack of "normal" in our lives the last 3 months and just wanting that so much. And part of what took me to that spot was actually looking ahead into the future. I have thought a lot about how I just want Asher to be home, and I just want to live life with him in it. And then, I remembered that he won't get to do what full term babies get to do. He won't get to go with me to friends houses for play dates, or go to church, or go out to eat, or to the store..whatever we are doing in life-- he still won't be out in the world with us. Now I know this is getting several steps ahead, but that's what women do! We get 12 steps ahead in our heads and stress about those future steps. :) This may be a given, but I'll explain. Most likely, because Asher was so premature, dr.'s will tell us it's best for him to not be in contact with very many people (aka germs) until he's older. Sometimes this means until the baby is 2! That was overwhelming me to think of the next 2 years keeping him away from people, and it just flat out makes me sad. I've pictured/dreamed about having a baby for a long time. I've been with my friends a lot while they are out, and people comment about their kids, and I've longed for that myself. So, again, I was having to and will have to continue to swallow more "not normal". And in my heart I was just basically throwing a little temper tantrum at God! I asked him a question. How long will normal elude us? And then I think He asked me one, because this was the very next thought I had...How long will I let the frustration of our lack of normalcy and "easy" define my state of happiness? Ouch. That was a huge conviction. I mean how flimsy is my faith? God has pressed hard on us for 2 1/2 years in the area of having a family..and in that time, there have been about 6 weeks of happy and easy. (When I was 13-18 weeks pregnant...we were still pretty nervous up until 13 weeks.) And so this convicts my faith. I know many men and women in the bible who were hard pressed much longer than us. And it makes me think of this verse:
" We are hard pressed on every side, but NOT crushed; perplexed, but NOT in despair; persecuted, but NOT abandoned; struck down, but NOT destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8,9)
So, after going through all those thoughts, to me, it comes down to being thankful for what I have right now. And realizing that I may be hard pressed, but I'm not crushed. I may be perplexed and frustrated at times, but God has not left me in despair. I have been struck down in my heart in many ways these past 3 months, but I am not destroyed. There is such power in those words...in God's words, I love it! And in this experience of "not normal" we have gained SO much to be thankful for that normal would have never given us. Asher will never be a "normal" baby. He will always be my special miracle baby, and he will probably be that to many people. It's special to share a miracle unfolding with so many people--it's so special there aren't always words for it. Would we have gotten that experience with our full term healthy twin boys? No. Are there days where I wish for that instead? Sure. But, God already decided that's not what we needed. He decided this was to be our story instead. So, I have to rest in that. And right now, I have a 2 month old, 2 lb beautiful baby boy to be thankful for! He very well could not be here right now. He could have been taken home to be with the Lord at 19 weeks, or at 23. And God chose not to have him go home yet. And when he comes home to Bryan and I, wow..that will be so sweet and so special, and I just hope in that moment I am filled with thankfulness and not frustration with the continued lack of normalcy that will follow. That frustration should just get smaller and smaller in light of what really matters. I'm praying for that. I'm praying for a grateful heart. I'm praying against my sinful nature that tends to have an insatiable hunger for the next thing, and that nature that takes one blessing and immediately demands more. I'm also praying I stay in sync with the perfect rhythm God created for my life. I can definitely do those things..but only with His grace and mercy!