“Beep, beep, beep…” The noise again startled me. It’s probably just another false alarm, I thought as I raised my dark, anxious eyes to survey the green, digital numbers on the white machine that monitored my mother and the small baby still inside her. What I saw made my heart sink. Something is definitely wrong. Those numbers shouldn’t be that low. The nurse who entered the small, brightly lit hospital room just then confirmed my suspicions. She took one look at the monitor, briskly asked my mom a few questions, and then stated that the doctor should be notified immediately.
It was a tense few moments while we waited for the doctor to arrive. I, being a twelve year old girl, did not grasp the full magnitude of the situation and kept hoping that it would just be a false alarm. The feeling of fear that turned my stomach in knots indicated otherwise.
The doctor soon arrived and gently informed us that my mom would need to be rushed for an emergency caesarean section, but not to worry. Everything would be just fine. However, the tense strain of his voice and concerned look in his eyes spoke louder than his optimistic words, and panic gripped my heart. No! I screamed inwardly, this can’t be happening. It was too early for the baby to come. At this point, he only had a ten percent chance of survival. And my mom, what would happen to her?
When she was only twenty-two weeks pregnant, my mother’s water had broken. Miraculously, her labor ceased and she was able to keep her unborn infant, but without the amniotic fluid, the baby’s development was severely hindered, especially that of his lungs. This was just the beginning of a long journey that would bring us together as a family and ultimately, closer to our Heavenly Father. Now, three weeks and five days later, both my mother and little brother were in critical distress and all we could do was wait for this terrible nightmare to end.
The next few hours were some of the longest of my entire life. Time slowed to a crawl before seeming to come to a complete standstill. I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could possibly do but wait. And I did so apprehensively, the fear gnawing on my heart. I can’t stand this. What can I do? My mom is probably dying in there and all I can do is sit here? It was then that I realized that even though I could not do anything, there was One who could. Throughout this lengthy ordeal, God had taught me a great deal about trusting in Him. I knew that I needed to let go and have faith in Him. So right then, I looked to my Heavenly Father and completely relinquished all of my apprehension and anxieties to Him. I earnestly implored Him to protect my mother and the brother whom I had never even met. Although it was still difficult not knowing what was going to happen, I was able to wait, secure in the knowledge that God was watching over them. They were safe in His hands no matter what the outcome.
Behind the closed doors of the surgical unit, nurses began to prepare for what they perceived as just another operation. Little did they know that they would be fighting what could be a fatal battle with death itself. The nurses strung various wires and tubes haphazardly until everything was hopelessly tangled in a complicated web. As they methodically worked to undo the terrible mess, the doctor rushed in and demanded to know what was going on. Why weren’t they ready? This was an emergency! Finally grasping the seriousness of the situation, the nurses hurriedly completed the rest of the preparations.
Everything was ready and not a moment to soon. The doctor lowered his gleaming instrument and as he pushed it through the flesh to create a neat incision, a blood clot burst, covering his hands with the dark red, oozing fluid. If he had been even one second later, it would have ruptured inside my mother, sending both her and her son to a premature death. The doctor later revealed that he had never come so close to losing both mother and child in all his years of practice.
At 8:58 p.m., the doors swung open, and nurses pushing a clear, plastic incubator rushed past, pausing only momentarily to allow us a brief glimpse into the case before rushing their precious load into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Looking down, I saw my new baby brother who was even smaller than the dolls that had been my “babies” as a young girl. His delicate, wiry arms were nearly the same size as the little finger on my dad’s hand, and his perfectly formed hands were the size of my dad’s fingernails. Thick, dark hair covered his miniature head. Instead of the healthy pink color of a newborn baby, his skin was dark and almost blotchy. That did not matter though. Right now, what mattered most was the fact that he was alive. It would be a long and daunting road for this one pound, twelve ounce miracle, but I had the confidence that no matter what happened, God would take care of him.
The next few months were never easy. There was the constant fear of losing him without warning. But after eleven blood transfusions, several more close encounters with death, pneumonia, an operation to correct a double hernia, time on ventilators and oxygen, feeding tubes, gentle loving care, and so much more, he was ready to leave the hospital that had been his home for eighty-five long days. By God’s grace, we had finally completed that phase of the journey.
Due to being on a ventilator, my little brother had sustained some damage to his lungs and for the next two years, we had to be so careful that he did not contract even the common cold as this could be deadly for him. It was never easy, but as I have been watching him grow from miniature baby, to being a stubborn, naughty little toddler, then on into being a healthy ornery, energetic five year old boy, I wonder at the awesomeness of our God, the one who can perform miracles, even today. It is because of him, that little Joshua’s journey has just begun.
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