pretty pictures

Our son came home late last night.

Merrick, of course, was quick to call Duncan dibs. After a few feedings in front of the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree beside a roaring fire in the wood burning stove, we got dressed in our most comfy sweats and headed to his first well-baby check-in with our trusted pediatrician.

I watch him chug 3 to 4 oz of milk at every feeding. I hold him right by my heart. I delight in my baby boy and get to enjoy endless cuddles. And life is good and Insta-worthy.

Honest thoughts?

Back at the hospital, our daughter waits. She is still bleeding, and the answers range from a milk protein allergy to a dread infection that eats away at the walls of her intestines. She can’t eat, she can’t rest well, and can’t be held or comforted. X-rays and bloodwork come back reassuring and also unsettling, depending on who you ask.

What was such a happy week for us has quickly and unexpectedly spiraled into somewhat of a nightmarish territory, and NICU life–just gonna say it–is kicking my ass, you guys. I don’t wanna call, or text. I don’t wanna respond to messages. I don’t wanna update my status, or post another adorable sleepy newborn pic.

I had her in my arms for less than two days, but returning her to the hospital–the place where she’s cared for the very best–felt like a part of my body was ripped off.

I’m spent. I’m humbled. I’m crushed.

My brain and my heart cannot begin to grasp the idea of Indie alone in a NICU bassinet at 3 am; or 3 pm, or anytime, even though all the doctors and nurses have been kind and caring and knowledgeable.

This is unbearable.

Things change hour to hour; I can’t keep up.

I am in a fog. Caleb reminds me to pray, and eat, and sleep, and bathe, and brush my teeth and I’m almost mad at him for it. Except I’m not mad.

I just have to have my baby girl.

I get stuck right there

despite having five delightful children in my very face at home, and despite the fact that our entire community have covered us in prayer and dinners these past couple weeks–four glorious women have even stepped in the giant gaps at home to babysit our 4 older kids when Caleb and I are both required at the hospital. This has probably been our most pressing need, and these dependable, selfless friends meet it time and time again, even though they all have jobs and plans and children of their own to worry about.

I am overwhelmed with both gratitude and guilt.

I am thankful for all the help and love we’ve received, but I feel so bad imposing on people’s busy lives and schedules during such a hectic time of year.

I feel guilty for feeling happy to have Duncan in my arms, and guilty for feeling sad while longing for my daughter.

One of my favorite bible verses is Genesis 28:15: “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” I know a catchy little song that goes with it, and I know some third grade kids who once had a pretty solid dance routine set to its beat (back when they were 3 years old). It’s a comforting verse but I find myself singing this song and saying the words to myself over and over,

knowing that God made this promise to His people in Genesis–I want so much for Him to be with Indie every time we leave her in the care of strangers, every time we trudge to our car, empty-handed in the cold dark, whenever she’s hurting and alone.

I don’t know how anyone can manage the regular ups and downs, these rocky paths through this fragile life without the hope our God gives us.

God will be with her and watch over her wherever she goes

even if I’m not with her.

Look at her smile!


About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

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