I’ve been a Christian for 30 years. I know that God walks with me and is always there for me, but the moments that I’ve been absolutely certain of His physical and spiritual presence beside me are few. But when God shows up like that, there is no mistaking it.
Giving birth to Logan, my second born, was such a difference than what I went through with my first. Everything went smoother, quicker, and easier. I was able to avoid a c-section which was a blessing in itself. We got to bring Corban up to the hospital to meet his baby brother, and we were looking forward to going home a family of four. On the day I was to be released from the hospital, we made arrangements for my dad to pick me and Logan up and take us back home. CJ had to get in another day of work before he could take the week off to be with us. With all of our stuff packed up, I hung out in the hospital room with my sweet new baby and waited to be given the all-clear to head out.
After feeding Logan, I ended up having to change his clothes and clean him up once again because he just wasn’t taking to his formula well. With Corban, we ended up having to switch to soy formula so I suspected that was the case with Logan as well. We’d been trying it and changing onesies frequently as he’d spit up all over his clothes. I remember thinking it was kind of funny how quickly I’d forgotten how to dress and redress a newborn. I finally got to make the call to my dad that he could head up to the hospital, and I was ready!
The nurse came in and went over all my discharge info with me, but she also asked a few more questions about how Logan had been eating. She told me she wasn’t really concerned but would feel better if she could take him in and run a few tests on him. I didn’t see any reason to say no, so I sent her off with my 2 day old baby and called my dad to have him wait a bit longer. I also called CJ to give him a heads up that testing was being done. I knew they were going to come back and tell me to stick with soy formula, so it wasn’t anything to worry about.
I’m not sure what red flag or gut feeling that nurse experienced that prompted her to suggest testing, but I’m so glad she listened to the warning. The tests revealed that something was going on with Logan’s gut. There were no air bubbles visible on his ultrasound—something that apparently should’ve shown up—and so the doctor was being consulted. I made another set of calls to let CJ know this was no longer routine, that something was going on with our newborn baby. He let me know he was on his way.
Sitting at the hospital, waiting for my husband to join me, worry about my baby starting to grow, the nurse came back in to give me more details about what was going on. I’m not sure what I would’ve liked to hear at that particular moment, what would’ve eased my mind, or given me a measure of peace, but I can tell you that hearing the surgeon was really excited about what was going on with my baby was NOT it. The nurse came in with almost a contact high from the doctor’s enthusiasm and explained to me that they believed Logan’s stomach lining and his intestinal lining never grew together. The formula that I’d been feeding him was hitting the bottom of his stomach and just coming back up. He hadn’t been digesting anything I’d fed him since being born. That’s some pretty scary stuff. But she followed that up with telling me how the doctor, the surgeon who was preparing to operate on my TWO DAY OLD, fragile newborn, was currently researching how to perform the operation because it was so incredibly rare that he’d never seen a single case of it! Their excitement came in because he was already talking about publishing an article regarding a surgery he was about to perform for the first time. On. My. Baby.
Can you see why I didn’t quite share their enthusiasm? Is it understandable that I wasn’t looking forward to my baby being the guinea pig for the surgeon’s newest skill?
By the time CJ made it, they had Logan in a hospital gown and were prepping him for surgery. They sat us down and gave us the possible scenarios—they wouldn’t know the extent of the damage until they opened up his tiny belly. Best case scenario was they could go in, sew everything up, and he would heal normally. There was also the possibility that there would be extensive damage and Logan would live life with a feeding tube. And of course, the outcome they always have to prepare you for is the one where a tiny, newborn baby can’t handle going under anesthetic and doesn’t make it through surgery. But, you know, that’s always a risk. These were the outcomes they were discussing with us as our 7 pound, 14 ounce baby was laid out on a full-size stretcher and fitted with an IV for his imminent surgery.
I’ve lived my life as a high-stress person. My first stress-induced ulcer showed up when I was in the first grade; my second ulcer hit me at 17. I was never a “glass half full” kind of girl—I was always a “prepare for the worst” kind of girl because then I could handle it better when life crapped out on me. But as the doctor and nurse kept on about how exciting an opportunity this was for the surgery team and what the future might hold for us with a baby on a feeding tube, as we prepared for them to wheel away our tiny little bundle that we’d been waiting nine months to take home while our almost 2 year old waited at home to see his brother again, God made His presence known to me.
Holding tight to my husband, I looked at Logan and I knew—I KNEW—that no matter what the outcome, no matter how the surgery went, we were going to be okay. Our baby was going to make it through okay. I was fully prepared for the possibility of more surgeries or a lifetime of dealing with feeding tubes and procedures, but even then I knew that God was in control. He had this.
For the first time in my life, I was filled with such a sense of peace that I knew it could only come from God. There was nothing within myself that was capable of being calm in that moment; God provided me with the comfort I needed.
And then they took him back to surgery while we waited.
They were able to connect his stomach lining with his intestinal lining with no issues. Once they opened up his little belly they found a few other issues. His intestinal tract was twisted and they fixed it. He had a kink in his bile duct they were also able to repair. They discovered he had a floating appendix but decided to let that be in order to let everything else heal.
After surgery, Logan was sent to the NICU to recover. They loved him there; he was the only full-term baby and looked huge compared to all the other residents. We split our time between being home with Corban and seeing Logan in the hospital. My parents, sisters, and friends stopped into the hospital to see Logan when we were home with Corban and they stayed with Corban when we needed to be at the hospital. We posted a family picture in Logan’s isolette, brought him a little stuffed puppy, and read him stories. And we prayed for the day we could bring him home.
After two weeks, Logan had left the NICU and was ready to come home with us for good. By all accounts he was healing well. He didn’t have any trouble with formula and bottle feeding. He was digesting everything and having normal diapers. He had come out the other side of his operation to the best case scenario. The only thing we needed to keep on our radar was if he should ever had stomach issues that could indicate an appendix problem—there would be no telling if it was truly his appendix without opening him up again.
I was ready, I was prepared to deal with a lifetime of issues but thankfully it didn’t come to that. What it did come to was me accepting that even in the midst of stress and heartache and uncertainty, God is still in control. Even if the outcome had been less than ideal, God is still good. And there is a peace that can’t come from me, because I just don’t possess it—it can only come from God.
He is there. He is ready. He is waiting.