When last I left you, we were in the three ring circus that was Maggie’s birth. Moms were drugged, Dads were fainting (“Sue, we have a dad down!”), and nurses were scurrying around trying to hold both of us together.
It really was a mess.
But sweet Maggie was born and, as I told you, I held her for about 30 seconds before the nurses took her from me. Not because I was still sleepy, but because there was a little something going on with her that I was not aware of right away.
Our doctor noticed something ever-so-slightly wrong with the way she was breathing. The nurses didn’t believe him, insisting that she would clear up in a few minutes.
I had never seen a doctor do this before, but he very nearly stomped his foot and yelled at the nurses saying, “NO. We need to get her downstairs. Now.”
The nurses wrapped my newborn and placed her in an isolette and quickly whisked her away.
My fuzzy head cleared quickly and my eyes opened wide as I realized something wasn’t right. Downstairs? What did that mean? Where were they taking her?
“We’re taking her to the NICU,” one of the nurses explained. “Dr. thinks she’s having a little trouble breathing.”
This was serious.
If things were circus-y before, they were all-out chaos at that point.
Maggie was born around 11 p.m., so by now it was literally the middle of the night. We had no family there with us; we felt very much alone. I’m pretty sure that B and I just clung to each other and prayed. Hard.
A few hours later we were able to go see Maggie in the NICU, and here’s what we saw.
In one way it was tragic—all those tubes and wires—and in another way it was very funny to us. Yes, our baby was sick, but she was also 7 pounds, 12 ounces and compared to the other babies in the NICU, she was HUGE.
I held onto that, sensing that her size was an advantage. She was strong, I told myself. She had to make it.
Maggie was born with a pneumothorax which is kind of like a pocket of air that develops around the lung. This then caused a collapsed lung. That then turned into pneumonia. Combine all that with severe jaundice, and you’ve got one sick little girl.
(This is her under the bili lights--don't you love her faceband?!)
Thankfully, within 24 hours the doctors told us she was pretty much out of the woods, but they wanted to keep her there for a while. “A while” turned into seven days.
During those days when Maggie was in the hospital I learned a lot. It seems God is always teaching me to just plain trust Him, and I had to at that point. I couldn’t control Maggie’s health. It was (and is) entirely up to God to decide whether she would live or be healed. It was up to me to decide whether I would trust Him with His decision.
I also learned that I should not worry about what I could not control. Over and over again throughout my girls’ lives, I’ve come to realize that I have absolutely no control over them, ultimately. It would be wrong for me to worry about what is out of my hands.
This morning in church we sang one of Maggie’s favorite hymns, “In Christ Alone.” The fourth verse really hit me today, as I was thinking about this post and the early days of Maggie’s life. Here’s what it says:
"No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand."
From Maggie’s first cry until her final breath, I believe that Jesus commands her destiny. Nothing can pluck her from His hand.
Today Maggie is just fine. She’s a strong, healthy 11 year old who just went outside to ride her bike. She does have asthma—my only daughter who does—but I don’t know if that was caused by what happened at her birth of if it’s genetic. I’ll never know.
I do know this. God caused Maggie, but even moreso B and I, to go through this situation for a reason. I really believe He wanted to show us His power to heal our little girl, but also to give us a benchmark to look back on—a time when we needed to trust Him completely for our daughter. And, on those days when I just don’t want to be a parent, I look back on those early days with Maggie and realize that I wouldn’t want any other job. I am so lucky to have this beautiful little spark of energy in my life.
Last summer Maggie went to camp and had quite a time with her asthma. But the thing her counselors were impressed with was how she carried on, despite her illness and difficulty breathing. “She’s a real trooper,” they told us . . . several times.
You know, I think those counselors were right. Maggie has been a trooper since the day she was born. She doesn’t let those little things (like breathing well) stop her from doing all she wants to do in life. She pushes through, and she succeeds.
So, Maggie, our trooper, I wish you another happy birthday. We are so thankful you made it.
[edited to add: P.S. I forgot to mention Maggie's froggie legs in the pictures! Aren't they funny?! She had been breech for so long that her legs just went like that for a while. They settled down after a couple weeks, and now her legs are just fine.]