I have always been a checklist kind of girl. I had checklists for my groceries, husband qualifications and wedding preparations. So as expected, I had my own pregnancy checklist. I think I ticked all the items humanly possible, even including some nontraditional ones like custom-made maternity gowns and blue nail polish. However, there was one box I didn’t check: my baby staying at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 33 days.
I’ve always prayed for patience and God had His ways of teaching me. I prayed and waited so long to be a wife. My husband, Alvin, and I prayed and waited so long to be parents. So you can imagine our excitement when the day finally came. On September 24, 2011, I was scheduled to give birth to our first son, Patrick, who would complete our small family of three.
The day came but there was no Patrick to bring home. All I got was to touch his hand before they transported him to NICU 45 miles away. I felt so helpless. I didn’t even know if I would see him again. They weren’t sure if he and I would survive after my traumatic delivery. How could the most anticipated day of my life end up in tears?
I am usually happy to see our priest but when I saw him next to me in my recovery bed, I knew something was wrong. Alvin, just like any good parent, had to make a decision best for his son. Knowing Patrick’s life was in critical condition, he had Patrick baptized the same day, which is a blessing in the midst of all the chaos.
As desolate as our situation seemed to be, with my baby and me both in the ICU, each day gave me hope. I found myself praying even more. I didn’t have the heart to get mad at God for how my son’s birth went. I could have questioned Him why my delivery went haywire after all our prayers for a healthy baby, but I needed Him more than ever. As mind-boggling as it was to need an emergency C-section due to excessive bleeding even after 40 weeks of good OB checkups, I had to accept that this was God’s will and trust that He would save us.
After a series of blood tests, medications and blood transfusions, I got discharged. I thank the Lord for saving me so I could be there for my son and my husband as we faced my baby’s uncertain future, given his brain and kidney injuries. The only certain thing was I had my strong and loving husband holding my hand through all the uncertainties.
As heartbreaking as it was to see our fragile baby looking lifeless in his incubator, seeing Patrick gave me a glimpse of hope that he’d be all right. By the doors of the NICU, a quote read: “Every day holds a possibility of a miracle,” and every day we walked through those doors, that’s exactly what we prayed for.
And God answered our prayer. Patrick improved every day and passed all his tests! He was a fighter. Patrick was admitted as critically ill but was discharged by the NICU doctors and nurses as the “miracle baby.”
Now that we’re finally home, we look back at this chapter in our lives with much gratitude for the newfound strength in our marriage, our newfound faith in God, and the newfound friends we met along the way.
Finally, we can hug baby Patrick as much as we want minus all the tubes!
As for the luggage of necessities I prepared according to my checklist, they weren’t necessities after all. I realized all we needed was each other, our faith and the love and prayers of our family and friends. We are ever grateful to our Father God for saving our son. We believe He has great plans for him. And so we pray that his life will bring glory and honor to His Holy Name.