If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.
I am a planner. Yep, I was that 8 year-old kid with the day planner in fourth grade. No Lisa Frank for this girl, I went straight for the working woman’s official black cover with contact list in the back. So, flash forward and the pregnant me has an official Word document with a list of Labor Plan A, B, and C eight weeks before the baby is due.
My husband and I like to consider ourselves responsible parents, and I was pregnant with our second child, so we felt like we knew what to expect. We had almost five weeks to go and had planned a special date night (dinner and a movie) for what we thought might be our last date for some time.
Then, things started to fall apart. The movie we planned on seeing was not being shown anymore, so now what? I felt the hormones starting to rage-how could our last date night be ruined? I’m too pregnant to do anything BUT sit and watch a movie. What now? Being true to my womanly instincts, I decided we would just go shopping for the baby. My poor husband had no choice but to say, ‘yes.’
We walked up and down every baby aisle in Target and bought what we still needed. We even went to Sam’s club and bought diapers! On the way home, we picked up a pizza to complete our romantic night out. Only God knew our baby was coming in four days.
Three days later: our daughter jumps off the couch and hurts her ankle. Not bad enough to drive to the hospital, but bad enough to be concerned. My husband and I debated whether or not he should even stay home with her. I was leaning towards, “No, she needs to tough it out-she’ll be fine.” But, he stayed home. Six hours later, he gets the phone call my water broke. Any other Wednesday he would have been an hour away at his job; only God knew he needed to stay home to be five minutes away from me that day.
Five weeks early-nothing prepares you for this.
It’s starting to sink in. My baby is not coming home with me. Our son is having trouble with his suck/swallow/breathe reflex-which is typical for premies. I hate hearing him be called that. Until this moment in time, a premie to me was just an adorably small size in children’s clothing. Our daughter is stuck at home with kind relatives because it is flu season, and she is not permitted entrance into the hospital. 11:00 PM the last night of our hospital stay, we whisper, “I love you’s,” through the plastic box and leave our two day-old son. Nothing prepares you for this.
Thirty miles later, we are greeted by our happy, but worried little girl who wants us to take off our hospital bracelets, so we don’t leave her again. She wakes up crying, saying, “I miss my brother!” I didn’t know it was possible for a three year-old to miss someone she’s never met. The next morning, we kiss her good-bye and tell her, ” I love you.” Nothing prepares you for this.
The back and forth days begin, and my heart breaks with each good-bye. How can I be two places at once? Only God could sustain an impatient, control-freak through 10 days torn between her son in the NICU and her daughter, at home.
Only God brought us home together after 10 days of heartache. Now, I appreciate and savor every sleepless night, every beautiful, strong, healthy cry, yes–even every dirty diaper. When you are stripped of all motherly duties the day your child is born, you treasure each moment you lost. God’s plan was much bigger than my plan, and only God can create such beauty from a mess.
Psalm 94:11 The Lord knows all human plans; He knows that they are futile.