There are more times than not that we don’t recognize blessings and tender mercies or miracles, whatever you want to call them, until after the fact. I know my life has been blessed with those tender mercies more times than I can count. Many times these blessings work through the inspirations and good will of others, our angels on earth. For the birth of my fourth son, we were blessed with so many angels who were inspired and willing to work miracles for me and my family.
I knew immediately when I woke up the morning of July 31, 2009 that something wasn’t right. When you’re 32 weeks pregnant, bleeding is never a good thing. My husband and I were supposed to be going to a wedding that morning for a cousin and Grandma was already set to come over to babysit. I shook my husband awake and told him he needed to call Grandma to come over sooner. She lived 30 minutes away, so my bestie came from down the street to fill in. (Angel count: 2: Bestie, Grandma)
At the time we were living in a city in Utah that did not have a huge hospital and everyone drove into Salt Lake City for most of their medical needs. That morning my husband and I made the decision to stay in our city, and go to the emergency room at the local hospital. I was terrified. Anyone would be. After suffering from seven miscarriages, I couldn’t believe Heavenly Father was taking another baby away from me.
I’m pretty sure my husband made more than one driver mad on the two-minute ride to the hospital. I can’t positively say, but I think I saw a few fingers shoot up at us as he sped us there in record time. Having to go to the small city hospital that I had, up until this point, heard many negative things about, was not doing much to help ease us and calm our nerves. It also didn’t help when we walked into the hospital and the nurses basically couldn’t figure out why we were there. There was no room clean and they told us to sit and wait. Sit and wait?!
I think my husband was ready to explode and he certainly wasn’t going to let that happen. As we were standing there feeling so hopeless, we looked at each other and both said the same thing, “Should we go into Salt Lake? Is there enough time?” But it’s as if something or someone kept us from leaving. He started to walk away, I assume to clean a room himself, when, thankfully, another nurse realized I was in a lot of trouble and cleaned a room in about two seconds flat. I am still amazed that it was fully disinfected! (Angel Count: 3: Cleaning Nurse)
The next 30 minutes happened in a blur. The doctor came in and had the nicest bedside manner ever and made me feel as much at ease as I could feel. I know now that he never let me know how much trouble the baby and I were actually in. That was exactly what I personally needed. (Angel count: 4: Knowledgeable Doctor)
We found out that my placenta had abrupted. Not good. Meanwhile, the Bishop from my church had rushed over and given me a blessing. I kept listening for the words, “The baby will be fine. The baby will make it.” Those words never came, but he did say everything would work out. All would be well. I didn’t hear the exact words I wanted to hear, but I felt the peace that I needed. (Angel Count: 5: Loving, Caring Bishop)
Here’s where the real blur starts. The second the Bishop left, my water broke. They gave me a shot to stop labor as they wanted to life flight me to Salt Lake so that I could have the baby in the hospital there. I would find out later that it was also because they knew they were not fully equipped to handle the issues the baby and I would likely have.
No sooner than had the shot been given, I could sense the atmosphere in the room change. It was tense before, but now it was as if the air was sucked out of the room. I don’t think my husband will ever tell me what the baby’s heart rate dropped to and I’m not sure I ever want to know. All I know is that within ten minutes I had a C-section and the baby was out. I could barely make out a tiny pathetic cry, but I did hear it, even through the fog of so much medicine that made me constantly throw up. My husband had barely made it in and cradled my face into a bowl. (Angel Count: Countless: My husband and all the surrounding angels from Heaven, whom I know came down that day and were in the operating room.)
I barely got a glance of my son, whom we had already been calling Callen, before they whisked him away to the helicopter and to the hospital in Salt Lake.
Rest assured I spent one night in the hospital and begged for them to let me go. That was the only way I would be able to see my baby. I didn’t care that I could barely move and had my own issues.
Our son would spend one month in the NICU. We had three children still at home. My husband and I would take turns driving the forty minutes to SLC between work and kids and church commitments. A constant feeling of being torn between two worlds, the hospital and home, was never-ending and nagging. We had to keep life going for our sanity and for the sake of the kids at home. Life doesn’t stop just because you have a trial going on. It was one of the most stressful times in our lives.
There was one drive to the NICU with my husband where I had never seen him so upset and I could see there was a breaking point on the horizon. We knew we needed more help. Sometimes it’s a much easier thing to give service than receive service. I felt prompted to remind him of all the service he’s given; to his family, his friends, and his neighbors. It was time to let others in. We still had angels that had service to give and prayers to answer. The miraculous thing is that we didn’t even need to ask. From that moment on, our prayers were answered.
When we got home, there were bags of food on the porch. Young women would come over and shoo me out the door to the hospital and babysit my kids for free. Neighbors took my kids to church and we would spend the day at the hospital. There were so many times dinner was brought and people would show up to help that I can’t even count. That month my son was in the NICU, as stressful as it was with the issues he was going through, suddenly didn’t seem so dark.
We had wonderful nurses who were there no matter what. We could call, and we did, any time of night and get a report of how he was doing. We were given blessings of strength and experiences that showed us our son had angels with him at his bedside protecting and watching over him. This allowed us to get the rest we so desperately needed.
He overcame so much more than they ever thought he would. He has very little lasting effects from being 8 weeks premature. And those I know he will overcome also. I know others who had babies in the NICU who would not get to bring their babies home. There were others who had babies much worse off than our son. I don’t know why some people experience what we feel are harder trials than others, but I do know that our trials are personal.
Our blessings are personal. How we make it through those things is what defines us. I also know that there was a special spirit in that NICU. The veil was thin. It was something that could not be explained or explained away. I know we have angels among us, some seen, some unseen. Some we recognize right away, some take longer to find out about and some will always remain unseen and unknown, but they are always there.
Guest Post by Gretchen Free of Panaca, UT