Female, 60 days of life.

“Female, 60 days of life.”

That became her name for a week.

After an exhausting week of having four of my six daughters sicker than anything, and urgent care visit after urgent care visit (five in one week), little to no sleep for me and everyone helping me, it then became her turn.

One week after one of the most joyful moments of her life, her blessing day, fear enveloped me as never before had I seen any of my babies so sick.

During what I hoped would be a routine urgent care visit: antibiotics, maybe some shots like her sister had needed, she plummeted into an illness that still won’t let her go just yet, a week later.

After getting no sleep for most of the week, and zero sleep the night before, the ambulance ride was dizzying.  Helping to load my tiny baby onto a gurney that engulfed her was absolutely gut-wrenching.

The next few hours, I was in full battle mode:

You better believe I’m riding along.
No way are you putting unhumidified oxygen on my baby.
I don’t care if you want me to leave, I’m staying and holding her.
Insisting there is something more wrong, when the nurses don’t see it at first.

She became, “Previously healthy female, 60 days of life.”  I must have heard it a million times.  She got too bad too fast for her name to be of any consequence.

I wanted to scream.  “There’s more to her than that.  She’s not just ’60 days of life,’ she’s my entire life.  She is everything to me.  She is my daughter, my baby, my gift from God.  She’s my assurance that everything will be okay.”  

When they had to bump up her oxygen to ten times what she had been admitted at, and still no improvement, it became apparent that she would have to be admitted to ICU.  She went into respiratory distress, and my heart began to be torn out.

Everything I was praying wouldn’t happen was happening.

When I entered the ICU, I saw it on every face.  She was really in trouble.  Her little eyes pleaded with mine for help.  The doctor told me she would give her one hour, and if she couldn’t improve with the forced air and continued deep suction, she would be intubated.

Her eyes pleaded with mine, and my heart pleaded with God.  I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my entire life.  I couldn’t stand the thought of that happening to my tiny baby.

I called Matt and asked him to pray.

Literally 5 minutes before her “deadline” was up, her little body improved just enough to keep the tube out.  I have never been so grateful.

For the next two days in ICU, I felt like I was being taught by a loving Father.  If my heart swelled with all the love and compassion in the world for my child when she looked at me with those eyes, I could only imagine the infinite love He had in His heart for me and for her, both His children, both looking to Him in distress.  I knew He was there, and somehow I knew I could trust Him, and that brought me immense peace.

She usually couldn’t rest unless she was in contact with me somehow.  She was so afraid.  I felt the same.

There were so many close calls…she was so close to being put on a ventilator several times.  I became desperate for help and started to post updates on facebook and text friends and family, begging people to pray for her.  The response was absolutely humbling.  I felt so much love and faith pouring into that tiny corner of NICU, all for my sweet baby.

I cry every time I think of it.  I will never be able to express, to anyone, how much it meant.  The calls, the texts, the kindess, and most of all, the prayers.

If there is anyone out there who wonders if prayers are heard and answered, I just hope that they will read this someday.  Once people began to pray for her, she began to improve.  I could say it more eloquently, but that’s the simple truth.

The doctors were stunned.

“Every other RSV baby in NICU had to be intubated.  It’s remarkable that she hasn’t had to be.”
“When I left 15 minutes ago, her fever was 103.  How it is gone already?”
“Her IV shouldn’t still be open.  Infant IVs are never open this long.”
“There’s no way she should be well enough to leave ICU yet, but she is.”

I had prayed so hard that she wouldn’t have to go to ICU, but in the end, I realized it was the best thing that could have ever happened, to her or to me.  The care she received there was remarkable.  The people on each shift were different, and so precisely, perfectly what she needed at that moment.  It taught me to trust, really trust, even when the answer is different than what I asked for.  I felt so sure of the kindness of God’s plan for me.

Every painful thing that happened to her tore out another piece of my heart.  But it’s amazing how God can fill that empty space with something better.

It’s hard to explain.  It was a different realm of faith.  I’ve had all the faith in the world before this…belief that my faith was strong enough to give my prayer reason to be answered.  But it became different, as I watched miracle after miracle work in her life, sometimes a miracle that was unasked for, or a miracle that was opposite what I had asked.  But it became different.  I had such a clear view of His love, that I was finally, for the first time, able to truly mean it when I asked that His will be done, then let go and just trust Him that it would be right somehow, that His kind plan was in place.

She was in the hospital for five days, much shorter than most doctors thought she would have to stay.  On our last morning there, I woke up early after sleeping for the first time since we got there.  I laid her back down in the crib and watched the sweet little sunbeams glow on her face.

It had been a horrific experience.  So painful, so humbling.  But in that moment, I had so much peace.  I was no longer caught up in this “WHY did this happen to her?” feeling.  Without it, I could see miracle after tiny miracle that had happened.

Now, she’s here with me, smiling again.  Still fighting through it, still using oxygen, but home with me.  I find myself thinking of two weeks ago, when she was blessed.  In our faith, babies are blessed and given their names not long after they are born.  They receive a special blessing for their life, and it is always a beautiful experience.

This time we shared it just with family.  She is such a miracle, it just felt right.

She will have a full life, and I hope it will be a glad one, full of love and faith.

She is a miracle, in every sense.

She has taught me joy from sorrow.  I should never have been able to have her, and yet I do.  Her existence is a miracle, her birth was a miracle, her life is a miracle, everything about her is a miracle.

She’s not just “60 days of life.”  She is life.

Blessed am I.  

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