My Daughter Gave Birth to Quadruplets!

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalms 112:1-2

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bengal Booties/God's Bowls

Cousin Kathy made sure that the quads are ready for football season. Who Dey!

Landon(A) is very alert.He tries to find his mother when she talks. Sarah fed him a bottle and he sucked it right down. He is very strong. In order to keep the babies awake while feeding, they are held away from the body at an angle. The babies need to feel almost as if they are falling or they fall asleep.(I wish someone would have shared that trick with the rest of the class when my preemie (Eric) was born. That child slept through every feeding for a month after he came home. It was torture trying to wake him!) We are starting to wonder if Landon will be the first to come home.

Jackson is still the little "rock star." He has never given us any trouble. All the quads really like their pacifiers. (We call them "boo-boos." It's a family name my mother-in-law started when Sarah was a baby.) The nurses are surprised how well they hold in their pacifiers since they are so young. We explained that we have no problem getting babies to take them. It's the taking away that is the hard part!

Jackson does not like his beauty sleep disturbed. He prefers to "be and let be." Are clean clothes REALLY more important than sleep?

Weigh-ins are not appreciated, but necessary.

Isabella has not been feeding well, so the doctor sent in an occupational therapist, who awarded her with a confetti-filled bottle for finally finishing a feed. The nurse puts Isabella on Sarah’s chest for tube feeding. Isabella loves being held while she eats. They give her the pacifier so she will make the connection between sucking and food. The tube feedings, while necessary, can set preemies behind in learning to suck/swallow/breathe. Isabella is on oxygen because her levels drop when she is fed.

The nurses tell us that the boys are much more laid back than the girls. Great. Like we need any more drama.

I took Sarah down to the hospital for a late night NICU visit. While she was holding the boys, I heard a baby crying and wondered if it could be Samantha. Sure enough, it was. It is kind of sad that she has cried so much from all she's been through that I recognize that cry. I carefully picked her up, trying to avoid pulling on any tubes or wires, and put her under my chin. I wanted her to feel my heart beating.

One of the nurses warned us earlier that NICU babies don’t like rocking or patting or talking. On the other hand, my roommate from college (who had her own NICU preemie) told me the opposite. She said, “Tell Sarah to sit, hold, rock and pray with them as often as she can—good for the healing of the babies and for mom.” So I took a chance. Feeling like a rebel, I rocked, patted, and whispered. At the same time, I watched the monitors for red flashes and alarms--signs of respiratory distress that will bring the nurses running.

Samantha’s nurse was busy on the other side feeding someone else’s baby, so Samantha’s readings were being sent over to her on a split-screen monitor. After a few minutes, she called out, “I don’t know what you’re doing over there, Grandma, but keep it up. Samantha’s oxygen levels look GREAT!” I guess Judy was right.

The oxygen swooshing into Samantha’s nose is rather loud, as are the monitors that are constantly going off. No wonder the girls sleep more soundly than the boys. They are used to noise.

We were rocking in the dark a long time while it thundered outside the window. Every few minutes, lightning would flash and light up the NICU. It is amazing to consider God's power being so great that He commands the storms, yet He is gentle enough to care for a sick preemie. So many prayers have been prayed for Samantha and the quads.

One day, shortly before the quads were born, a casually dressed man with a well-groomed beard came to the hospital. He identified himself as a local pastor that had heard about Sarah. Something about his voice sounded so familiar, but his face brought no memories. "Where do I know him from?" I wondered.

Before I quit my jobs to help with the quads, I was on staff at my church. Sunday mornings kept me busy, so each week I would prepare my heart by listening to sermons on the radio. One of the local broadcasts features a preacher who is direct and down-to-earth. His sermons are practical and motivational. I finally figured it out. The voice in Sarah’s hospital room that day belonged to the same radio preacher I have been listening to every Sunday.

He said something that I will never forget. "The Bible tells us that God bottles up the prayers of the saints. All these prayers that have been prayed for the quadruplets will not be forgotten."

I know that God honors our prayers. They don’t just float up to Heaven and disappear, nor do they die when we do. But this pastor’s confident claim about God’s bottles intrigued me. I decided to do some research, and what I learned was fascinating.

The Bible compares our hearts to altars. From those altars, our prayers rise up to God like a sweet-smelling incense. Revelation 5:8 give us a glimpse inside Heaven. I learned that every prayer, every cry, and every heart’s desire is caught and bottled up in golden bowls. Psalms tells us that God even bottles up every tear. It may seem like our prayers are not always answered, but sometimes God is preparing blessings so great they can’t be ready in a day. Prayers are never lost or forgotten. They are actually treasured by God.

Thank you for praying for us. Your prayers must be broad-spectrum, like a powerful antibiotic. I see God at work every day--the babies surviving/improving/growing, encouraging emails just when I need them the most, so many opportunities to witness, my car "check engine" light fixing itself, caring friends giving clothes/coupons, my son's basketball scholarship, getting through our busy season, good parking spots in the scary hospital garage, and the strength to keep going every day. God bless you for filling up God's golden bowls on our behalf. Who knows what God has around the next corner for these prayer-covered kids! I can't wait to see it all unfold.

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8


Becky said...

I am so so glad you held Samantha! When Andrew was in the NICU, the nurses told us the same thing- don't hold him, stop stroking his back, you are messing up his 'levels.' But when I did (rebellious, I know) His breathing wasn't so rapid and his saturation level went up! I'm sure that there is medical 'expertise' to back up their claims, but this Momma experienced the opposite- same as you! I am continuing to pray for each and every one of your sweet ones(Momma and family included)!

Christie said...

Crying now, thinking about how miraculous our God is, even with the little things like parking spots. Guess my bowl is filling up!