Becky asked if I might write something for her blog, and the moment I read the title of the website, I was inspired. I have found that the site’s phrase, “Everything is holy now,” could not resonate more true since my daughter, Anna Kate, came into this world. Since her birth, I can see God much more clearly, as if with her birth, He gave me a new set of eyes.
I was 29 weeks pregnant when my doctor told us we had to deliver our baby. My husband, Jason, and I trembled with fear. We hugged each other close, and we prayed for a miracle. Minutes before my c-section, Jason read to me from his daily prayer book and the message brought us to tears, “Jesus tells us in the gospel, what is impossible for us, is possible for God.” That message radiated in our hearts, and it held us together as Anna Kate was born 10 ½ weeks early on October 11, 2009. She was only 2 pounds, 4 ounces, and Jason’s wedding ring fit around her tiny hand.
Seeing her for the first time made me feel closer to God than ever before. My mind kept playing the verse of Amazing Grace: “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed,” because although I have been a lifelong Christian, it was as if I was discovering the wonders of Christ’s love for the first time…it was that powerful, a re-affirmation of my faith…just to see our little miracle.
Anna Kate spent 10 ½ weeks in the neonatal ICU before going home. She fought every day, and she overcame so many obstacles. She was small, but she displayed so much courage. She was our constant reminder of God’s love for us, and it gave us incredible strength. I would stand over her incubator and bilirubin light, and it broke my heart that I couldn’t fix it, that I couldn’t just put her back in me so she could finish her much needed growth and development before being brought into this world. I prayed for answers and guidance…then, Anna Kate would look at me as if to say, “Don’t cry mom. I got this.” God gave Anna Kate the strength to fight through her prematurity, and it gave me an overwhelming sense of peace.
It was hard to keep the faith while watching your child be fed through a tube, needing oxygen to help her breathe, and the worst…we were only allowed to hold her for 20 minutes a day in the beginning so she wouldn’t get cold outside her incubator. (I was her mother! Who were they to tell me when I could and couldn’t hold my child?) I couldn’t have been more helpless. That’s when we had to remember that God was in control. It was the most humbling experience to rely 100% on God’s will and intentions for our new family. Each time we left the hospital, we prayed for His continued blessing, and we put our trust in Him.
Anna Kate’s miraculous story involved so many. Her doctors and nurses were angels on earth, and she received the best medical care. We were so blessed with such amazing friends and family that stormed the heavens with their prayers. There was not a prayer list anywhere that did not have her name on it. As the prayers grew, Anna Kate also grew…more healthy and more strong, becoming her own unique self, full of life and personality. Her every noise, every expression, every movement is the perfect gift from God. She reminds us to never underestimate the power of prayer.
She came home weighing 4 pounds, 14 ounces on December 23, 2009, just 2 days before Christmas. As I held her, sitting by the fire, gazing at our Christmas tree, I was more full of the Christmas spirit than ever before. I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops, “Anna Kate is HOME AT LAST!” It was the best Christmas present ever.
We’ve come a long way since our days in the NICU with only one major setback when she returned to Children’s Hospital with pneumonia in February. It was another scary time, but we knew just where to turn…and again with our trust in God and with constant prayer, she bounced back with the incredible courage that she’s had since birth.
Currently, Anna Kate is 7 months old, weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces and she is always smiling. Healthy and happy, Anna Kate has filled our home with joy and our hearts with love. She teaches us that miracles do happen. You don’t have to look any further than those in front of you to realize that God is with us every day. Like this website says, “Everywhere you look, God is in all things.” I see it clear as day: everything IS holy now. “For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)
Where do you see God in your life, even during the challenging times?
-Emily Lemann (5/11/10)