Friday, September 4, 2009

A Mother's Reflection

Aleah's name means "God's being; exalted." And, in just a few short days that is exactly what her life has represented: Giving glory to God in the Highest. Aleah is a miracle. She was sent to us at just the right time. After reviewing at the events that have transpired in the past few days, her care team believes that Aleah's lungs were fully developed. They had struggled with the "why" factor:
"Why did labor start at 37 weeks and 5 days, if her lungs were not ready?" At this stage and size her lungs should have been fully developed.
"Why did a baby that appeared to merely be having a hard time transitioning from the womb to the world, suddenly after 24 hours make a drastic turn downward?"

Her blood tests from Tuesday revealed that Aleah had infection in her tiny body. A normal level would be .1 and her level was 3. Putting all the pieces together, they now believe that Aleah was developing a serious bacterial infection in her lungs before birth. If Aleah had not been born at the moment she arrived, it is very likely that the infection would have fully developed in utero and taken her life before she was born.

You look at a tiny newborn and wonder why God would allow her to struggle...and then you realize that a struggle is a gift, a chance at life, and supremely better than the alternative.

For much of my pregnancy, I had a strange feeling that something was not right. I did not talk about it often, but pondered the origin for months. In the weeks leading up to her birth I commonly used September 1st as a deadline. My plan was to have everything in place and ready for the baby by that time. Why September 1st? I didn't really have a reason, just thought that would be a good buffer "in case" Aleah would make an early arrival and it would give me a few extra weeks to finish up any last minute items. Little did I know that September 1st would be Aleah's birthday!

As the beginning of September approached I was getting very anxious about the birth and the baby's health -- often common in pregnancy, but to a much greater extent than I experienced with Alivia and Avery. I was nervous about everything from our joint family histories of birth defects and stillborns to the severe pain I was experiencing nightly for weeks, the swine flu outbreaks at Duke, and on and on. (Poor Mark...emotionally I needed lots of support.) I had shared my feelings of uneasiness with one of my doctors at my last OB visit. I just really felt like the baby needed to be born...and soon. I felt so strongly about this that I left the visit in tears, since ultimately she did not agree. I didn't know why, but I knew I needed to meet my baby and the sooner the better. Today I ran into the doctor who I had shared these feelings with. After updating her on the events of this week, she mentioned that often when things are not right a mother knows best. I knew. I just didn't realize that I knew. Looking back I believe God has been preparing me and strengthening me for the events that have taken place this week and the hard weeks to come. Even little things like starting this blog, were very important on my to-do list. And for those of you who know me well know that normally I would like to get to such things, but other items would take precedence. I never imagined that we would use this site to update friends and family on the health and milestones of our little one's struggle. Again, to God be the glory, for great things he hath done.

Mark and I are humbled at the extreme outpouring of well wishes, prayers and support we are continuing to receive from lands near and far. We know that Aleah is a gift from heaven and that great things she will accomplish. Her struggle for life is a testament to the grace of God. We hope that all who hear her story receive a blessing and a new outlook.

Please continue to keep our family lifted in prayer. Tomorrow I will be going home, without Aleah. It is hard to imagine and I know it will be a personal struggle for me. But I know who is in control and who holds the plans for my future and the future of my little Aleah.

1 comment:

  1. I remember so clearly having to leave the hospital without the tiny reason for which I had gone there in the first place! My heart hurts for both of you, but also soars knowing that God is working in that NICU! Aleah's little life is already a mighty testimony of God's grace, healing power, and mercy. Praying for continued healing and peace for you both. Also for rest. I know it's hard to come by right now, but know that Aleah is well cared for where she is, and that you must care for yourselves so you can be strong for her, Avery, and Aivia.
    Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name, you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:1b-2
    Melanie Simpson