WARNING: If you’re uncomfortable with hearing about breastfeeding, you might want to skip this post. But I promise, I’m not sharing anything too personal or graphic, just awe and wonder at what God continues to orchestrate. And if this can be any encouragement to the many moms who feel the most basic of hopes and dreams shattered when they have a micro-preemie…it does get better, and God has a way of giving us little surprises in the most unexpected times and places.
Exactly six months ago, I was introduced to our new son, a new life, a whole slew of new medical professional friends, and surprisingly, an entirely new vocabulary. One of the first things I learned during our NICU experience was our son’s need for something my body would eventually produce. I knew that I wanted to try to breastfeed, but I had no idea what I was doing, and I was even further perplexed at how my body would possibly know what to do when Struthers was cut out of me three months early! Not to mention the fact that it didn’t seem like eating was anything our little purple/translucent 1-pounder attached to a ventilator would be doing anytime soon (and he didn’t for nearly 3 months). Oh, but the things you learn in the NICU would soon have me in recurring wonder at what God had created.
While I was whisked away to Cardiac ICU, and Struthers to Neonatal ICU, my body had already been told I was now providing for a little guy who needed me. And only hours later when I was somewhat stabilized, a Lactation Consultant came to provide guidance and instruction, and she introduced me to a little yellow machine we have now dubbed “My Sucky Friend”. I was new to this whole process, and all I knew was that as soon as the tiniest volumes were available, they were whisked up to the NICU. A day or so into my CICU stay, I talked one of the nurses into wheeling me up to see Struthers and deliver the itty bitty syringe myself. And when we rolled in (with all the cardiac monitoring machines still attached), our sweet nurse said, “Oh, yay mom! You brought him some liquid gold!”
I wasn’t really sure what was meant by that, and I’m not sure I really understood it until this morning. Yes, this 6-months later morning.
You see, shortly after my body began producing the high-calorie, early “colustrum”, Struthers’ little body was overrun with infection that meant we had to “hold” the feeds he was receiving through a tube. So while continuing to provide Struthers with life-saving ’round the clock care, his nurses went through their fairly routine process of ensuring freshness of the milk and freezing that which had been in the fridge by his bedside close to its maximum time. And I thought nothing of it at the time. Then as I was organizing by date our deep freezer full of frozen milk sent home with us, I came across two tiny yellow syringes dated 11/19/14. Hmm…I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I put them in the back of freezer.
That is, until this morning. Poor Struthers is struggling through his first little cold, needing the nebulizer every four hours plus the maintenance inhalers and a prednisone boost. As I’m sure it does with any mom, it’s breaking my heart, and stirring up a fear I have been pushing back of ending up back in the hospital. This little guy is such a trooper. He smiles even with tears in his eyes and when you know he doesn’t feel well. So I figured it couldn’t hurt for us to give him that 3mL of Liquid Gold this morning, when he didn’t even feel well enough to take his whole feeding. He’s used to syringes being full of medicines, most of which I gather don’t taste very good. So he dutifully opened his mouth for the syringe of colustrum, and immediately gave me the biggest grin upon first taste. I needed that this morning. He needed that this morning. And I’m once again in awe at how God orchestrated the tiniest moment that almost seemed to erase some of the grief over not getting to have that connection other than through our third party “Sucky Friend” in the beginning. And I thought to myself, “Now how many moms have the opportunity to see their child smile up at them like that when they get Liquid Gold?” I would bet not many, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see You this morning in the most unexpected way. Indeed, I believe you worked this one for Your good.