Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On His Hands

On His hands. Yes, that is correct. I know we usually say "in His hands". My previous post was talking about how things that have happened were by His hand.

I came across a verse today that brings a special memory to me.

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palm of mine hands..." Isaiah 49:16 (Geneva)

Eleven years ago I had just entered the club stay-at-home moms. I was loving it! I was finally able to spend time in some of the ministries of our church that met during the day. One such ministry was Women on Missions. I loved meeting with these ladies who had such a heart for missions and missionaries. Some of the elderly women had been missionaries themselves. Naturally, as a daughter of former missionaries, I felt right at home with this group, regardless of the fact I was several decades younger.

One particular meeting of that group stands out in my memories. It was in May. The woman giving the devotional was teaching us about Isaiah 49:16. I must admit, I had never really studied that verse; maybe (to my shame) never had come across it. She had made paper hand-shaped cutouts with the verse written on the palm of the cutouts. Think of the time this woman spent cutting each of those out and writing by hand the verse on all. Think of the time the Father spends on me!

I held the cutout in my hand and studied the verse. I was really drawn to that verse. What comfort to know not only was my life IN His hands, but my name was also written ON His hands.

Little did I know at that time, but God had a special reason for me to have that verse brought to my attention. Two days later, I was in the hospital and we had just been given some pretty grave news. We were about to lose our baby.

 I was thirty-two weeks pregnant with our daughter. We already knew we were having a girl and had her name already picked out. My pregnancy had been textbook. Great blood pressure, great fetal movement, great blood sugar, great everything! However, the night before, I had mentioned to my husband I had not felt the baby move. I rationalized that I probably had just been too busy to notice. We were in the throes of remodeling the room that was to be her nursery. I mean, strip the walls down the studs and all. After all, it was a small room and we still had two more months before she came, right?

The next morning I awakened very early only to be filled with a tremendous sense of dread. I had just been having a nightmare, so maybe that was what I was feeling. No. It was something else. I realized I had not felt the baby move. I was so scared I started singing Jesus's name and praying. Slowly, I felt more control coming on but knew there was something wrong with the baby. But what if I go to the hospital to have it checked out, and nothing was wrong? I would look foolish. My husband was still asleep. I prayed asking God to give my husband the wisdom to know what to do. I woke him up and all I said was: "The baby is not moving." He immediately stated we were going to the hospital.

All the way to the hospital, which was twenty miles since we lived outside of the city, I planned to tell the nurses my husband made me come, should there be no reason to have panicked. I was still trying to convince myself that maybe it was nothing really wrong.

As soon the monitor was placed on my abdomen to pick up the baby's heartbeat I knew there was definitely something wrong. Her heart rate was only in the 70's. I did finally feel her move but it was a very sluggish move. Just did not feel right. To make things worse, I was starting to have contractions.

The doctor could only guarantee us one thing: if we did not have an emergency c-section, she was going to die. And even if we did, she still might die. He said things were really not looking good at all. In the middle of telling my husband the full situation, her condition worsened and the doctor simply said, "Get the room ready!"

We assured our doctor we knew he would do his absolute best and we were praying for him. As a Christian doctor, he was appreciative.

Our precious baby daughter was in God's hands. I thought of the hand cut-out. Her name was written on God's Hands already. He would take care of her. We felt a peace that God was in charge of our daughter's life.

This was not a peace we took lightly or flippantly. We very well knew God could easily take care of her by just bringing our little girl home to Him. We even prepared our dear older son, who was eight, that his little sister may go home to Jesus that day. We truly did not know how the situation was going to turn out.

By God's provision, a hospital policy was overlooked, and my husband was allowed to be in the operating room with me, even though it was an emergency c-section. I was so grateful. I was to be under general anesthesia, so I would not be awake. I wanted my husband to be in there so if she did end up not surviving, one of us could at least hold her as she left this world.

While I was out, they were able to get our daughter out only to discover things did not look right. She was not breathing either. It took the team working on her for four minutes before she even took a breath. My husband vividly recalls the nurse watching the clock and calling out each minute that passed before our daughter began to breathe. I continue to be grateful I was asleep for that!

While coming out of anesthesia, I remembered there was something important but I just could not remember what it was. I struggled to come out of the fog. Finally, the realization of what had taken place dawned on me. Thankfully, my husband was there. I asked, "Did she die?"

I hated asking, but I hated not knowing more.

She did not die. She was in serious trouble. Not one of her major organs worked on their own. Her heart, lungs, and kidneys were not functioning. It was discovered she was born with only a fourth of the blood she was supposed to have. The blood she did have was acidic. A very strange and rare condition. Her blood did not transfuse to her organs or even to me. She immediately underwent four transfusions, back to back. Her neonatologist told me later that in all his years, he had only seen two other cases like her and they were fatal. Local nursing colleges used her as a case study and she was called the Baby Who Was Born Without Blood.

But what wondrous blessings the Lord brought through this really trying time! People in the community who did not even know her came forward to donate blood in her name. People rallied around us to encourage us with prayer. People all over the globe, even as far as Malaysia, were praying for this baby girl. My husband and I connected with other parents in the NICU and we all encouraged one another.

She did have to fight to survive, but God continued His promise. She was engraved on His hands. The next few weeks were long, but we finally got to bring her home to her unfinished nursery. By this time, she had lost weight so she was a little more than four pounds. Feeding her was stressful and her heart monitor seemed to go off far too often, but she was home.

We had already picked out her first name. With all she had gone through, we felt Hope was the best choice for her middle name. God continued to give us hope through the entire situation. Hope because we knew He was in control. Hope because He had her name written in His hands.

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