This is day 7 of our hospital stay. It seems like a blur and an eternity at the same time. There is not a word to describe what Lindsay and I felt on Saturday morning. We were suddenly awoken out of a deep sleep by several quick knocks on the door. The doctor makes his way in and sits on the arm of the chair that Lindsay was sitting up in to sleep, and says "There is just nothing we can do. I wish he could have stayed in a little bit longer. You should probably get over there and hold him in your arms." Right as the doctor is exiting out of our room the phone rings. I answer and it is the nurse practitioner hurriedly telling me, "His heart just dropped. You really need to get over here and hold him!"
We float over to the NICU West and when we arrive at Pierce's microcosm, we see the doctor and several nurses with looks on their faces that proclaimed Pierce was already dead. The doctors and nurses had written him off. They were strongly encouraging us to hold him while he was still alive. From the time I woke up to the doctor's bone-crushing news to our standing there beside Pierce's bed, I was praying. And it was prayer as I had never experienced it before. It was a prayer of utter brokeness. I have been broken numerous times in my life, but never like this. When I first became a believer, I was completely broken and even in danger of physical death. But I don't remember it being like this. What could I do when death had its hands around my son's throat? I could do nothing but beg the only One who has the power over death to intervene. And God was there. For some reason, I didn't believe the doctor or the nurses. In that moment, I felt God there and I felt Him saying "Do not give up."
When the nurse practitioner had called, they had just given Pierce a shot of calcium to keep his heart protected long enough for us to hold him before he died. Pierce stabilized a little shortly after we got there and they closed him back in the incubator because we refused to hold him. We ran beside the incubator and prayed as the nurses and doctors watched and waited for Pierce's heart to stop at any moment. They left us alone and told us to come get them when we were ready to hold him. Which they suggested we should do soon. We stood there and kept praying. We felt like holding him would be giving up. But God suddenly gave us both a peace about holding him. And that was truly a grace of God. God gave us the faith to hold Pierce and not feel like it was giving up. We somehow trusted God to save him, whether we held him or not. He stayed plugged up to everything while we held him. We were not going to take him off his ventilator and monitors. Though they expected him to die, we were not going to give up on him like that.
As Lindsay held him and I wrapped my arms around the two of them, to call it pain is beyond inadequate. Tonight, we took a look at the pictures they took of us as we held Pierce in our arms that morning and balled. We thought about how he went back and forth with his eyes, looking at each of us. I will never forget the way he looked at me that morning. There was so much life and spirit in Pierce's eyes. How we can allow any babies to be aborted is beyond me, but what is even more beyond me is how some states can allow for the abortion of 24 week old babies. Lindsay and I were both completely dismantled as our souls conversed with our son's.
I am not sure how long we held him, but his vitals were staying steady. So, we had them put him back in the incubator. We sat in the chairs beside him with eyes glued to his monitor, waiting to see what would transpire with his little heart. An hour goes by, then another. At some point, the nurse is talking to Lindsay and tells her that she can use some cabbage leafs to dry up her milk. Again, they thought death was eminent, without question.
Well, here we are. Pierce is still alive and our souls and faith have been stretched in ways they never have before. We will never be the same. God has once again shown Himself to be so real to Lindsay and myself. What a grace that is. We have come to know God more intimately within this last week. And we thank Him for that. We can know a bunch of facts about God, but that is nothing like knowing God as a living Father and friend.
We trust God in this situation. He is going to do what is best for Pierce, for Lindsay, and for myself. That is just the kind of God He is. I have been praying that Pierce will grow up to do great things for the Kingdom of God. I have prayed that Pierce buries me and his mother, not vice versa. God has snatched him out of the mouth of the lion once and He can certainly do it again and again as we continue down the long road of this trial.
Over the next four months, we will continually say:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
We cannot thank everyone enough for all your love, prayers, and support. We are so grateful for you all.
Grace and peace,
Nik, Lindsay, and Pierce.