An upcoming birthday (Sweet Pea will be 1 two weeks from today!) always takes me back in time to the days and weeks spent waiting for our adoption journey to come to an end with the birth of the baby.
As Sweet Pea’s due date got closer and closer, I began making plans for how I was going to juggle a 2 year old at home and a newborn in the NICU.
I was fully prepared for a longer NICU stay with Sweet Pea because she had been exposed to methadone for six of her nine months in the womb whereas her sister was exposed to methadone for only about 6 weeks.
I had devised a plan with my mom so that she would be at the NICU most mornings with Sweet Pea while I would be spending the morning with Little Bug. Then I would lay Little Bug down for a nap and my mom would come stay with her while I went to the NICU to be with Sweet Pea. Then I would be back at some point after naptime and go back to the NICU in the evenings once Little Bug was in bed. Although that last part of my plan didn’t fly over well with my family because the hospital is located in a very bad area of town and it would not be safe for me to go up there alone at night. But that is besides the point, now.
I knew it would be a crazy life, but I also knew it wouldn’t last forever.
And then the monkey of all monkey wrenches was thrown into my best laid out plans.
Just a few weeks before her due date, Melody was moved 1.5 hours away from our city!
Now, I was faced with the fact that I was going to have two babies 1.5 hours apart from each other and, before Sweet Pea was even born, I already felt torn between my two babies. Also, my mind was overloaded with where we would stay, how much money it was going to cost us and how would we “do this” for weeks and possibly a month or more??
But, you know what?
God worked out every single detail, big and small, regarding the fact Sweet Pea was going to be born and stay in a NICU 1.5 hours away from our home.
I will never forget a Sunday morning sitting in our small group at church. We were sharing the predicament we were in with our friends in our class. My friend, Katie, looked me square in the eyes and said, “Do not worry, Elaine. I have friends in [the city Sweet Pea was born in]. God is going to provide a place for you to stay.”
Those first three words were exactly what I needed to hear.
Oh, how quick I am to just immediately worry!!!
It wasn’t but probably a day or two later and Katie called me saying her friend would be more than happy for us to stay in her extra bedroom in her house!
We spent the first four nights of our stay at her house. It was such a tremendous blessing to not have to pay a hotel bill on top of all the expenses that come along with adoption.
My parents took over Little Bug’s care as soon as TPR was signed and we hit the road. I knew this was going to be the longest I had ever been away from my firstborn, but I also knew she was in very capable hands and would be very well taken care of. Little Bug didn’t miss a beat with my parents and for basically a week straight, they were Little Bug’s primary caregiver.
We arrived at the NICU on August 4th, which was a Thursday. We planned to stay through the weekend and then go back home because Dave would need to get back to work and then I would have to figure out what I was going to do.
The day after we got there my mom called me and couldn’t stand it any longer – she said they were just dying to meet Sweet Pea. She asked if they (my dad, my mom and Little Bug) could make a day trip and come meet Sweet Pea the next day. I said yes and was thrilled they were coming. I wanted my Mama and baby girl and was elated I would get to see Little Bug after just barely 24 hours.
As my parents were about to arrive, I received a text from my brother saying he was on his way to the hospital. He was doing a summer internship in a city about 2 hours from where we were and he had decided to drive over to meet his new niece! I kept it a secret that he was on his way too and we ended up surprising my mom. It was so special for my family to meet Sweet Pea together in the NICU. The nurses allowed us to break the rules so that I could bring my parents, my brother and Little Bug back to meet Sweet Pea at the same time!
During that time, we were also looking into possibly getting Sweet Pea transferred to the NICU in our city, but then we got the very surprising and unexpected news that there was a very real possibility that Sweet Pea would be discharged on Monday, at less than a week old!
Dave and I stayed through the weekend and woke up Monday morning hoping for good news when we arrived at the hospital. Instead, we got a phone call from Sweet Pea’s incredibly awesome doctor who we just absolutely adored who told us some discouraging news. Sweet Pea had had a rough night and she felt to discharge her that morning would be too soon and she really wanted to keep her a few more days.
Meanwhile, back at home, through a connection at church yet again, my mom had been told that our entire family could stay at the home of this family who lived near the hospital and was going out of town and had opened up their home for us to use for the week!
My mom and dad packed up and came back bringing Little Bug. We all stayed together in this house that was generously given to us by a family we didn’t even know! Dave and I had the master bedroom, my parents had the son’s room and we set Little Bug’s pack n play up in the office. For the next few days we camped out at the NICU. I had such sweet memories of sitting by Little Bug’s side in the NICU with my mom and I wanted those memories with Sweet Pea too. God gave us that those two days my family was there.
Dave’s work was incredibly understand and supportive of our adoption. Dave was allowed to log in at a Panera for 3 hours each day to take care of some things and call that a day’s work! Such a blessing in many ways. He was able to stay with me the entire time Sweet Pea was in the NICU and he actually needed an “excuse” to leave the hospital for some time each day so going to “work” was it. I would have slept by Sweet Pea’s bedside given the opportunity but Dave got antsy just sitting there all day and needed to get out and see the light of day. So he would go to “work” and I kept my vigil at Sweet Pea’s bedside. Such a tremendous blessing to have my husband there the entire time but for him to not have to take more days off from work.
My parents left to go back home on Tuesday (or maybe it was Wednesday). I remember feeling so sad when they pulled away and tears streaming down my face. I didn’t want my Mama and my girl to be leaving me. But I put my focus on where I needed to be – and that was by my youngest baby’s bedside so that she could improve and come home where she belonged.
I didn’t have to wait long to see my Little Bug again! Thursday, Sweet Pea was discharged and we made the 1.5 hour drive home with our newest bundle of joy. Oh that was a happy day.
Nine days in the NICU was all it took and Sweet Pea was ready to come home!!!
God had spared us from a long NICU stay, God provided not one, but TWO places for us to stay free of charge the 7 days we were there, God provided a very special doctor to care for Sweet Pea, God allowed Dave to stay with me the entire time, God allowed a time that could have been very unsettling for Little Bug to be a time of happiness and joy for her and…God taught me another invaluable lesson.
He’s got it all under control!!!!
As I sat worried, He knew just how He was going to provide for our EVERY need that week.
I love sitting back and thinking about that time and all God did for us in the days surrounding Sweet Pea’s birth and NICU stay.