OCTOBER 3, 2015
Matthew had just had surgery on Sept. 29th. His dialysis catheter wasn’t working at all. He already had 8 surgeries at this point. I just remember him being so sick and so sleepy. He was very swollen and overloaded with fluid. His breathing had gotten worse and he was put on a ventilator. This morning we were going to have a meeting with all of Matthew’s doctors and the social workers to talk about Matthew’s health and the plan they have for him.
Leaving that meeting, my heart was shattered in pieces. The love I have for my son was the glue that was keeping my broken pieces together. How is this happening?? How can this be?? My son has come this far and has fought live for so long… how can anyone just give up on him like that? I was in shock. I remember walking back to my sons bedside and talking with his nurse. She was almost in tears after I told her what happened and what was said.
Hours went by and all Matthew did was sleep. I remember it was about 7pm when Matthew began to have problems breathing. His heart began to beat in funny little ways. I KNEW this was it. We had been warned that his health was going to decline. They said his breathing was going to get bad. His lungs would slowly get filled with fluid. Then his heart may not be able to take all the fluid that is surrounding his heart. And once that happens his heart may stop beating. They will do CPR but it will be too late at that point.
Matthew has been sedated and asleep for a few days now. His lungs had been getting worse and worse as each day passed. When I kept hearing the alarms over and over again…. I KNEW. This was it. More fluid was filling up in his lungs. It was getting hard for him to breathe. He looked so uncomfortable and in pain that I couldn’t even hold him. I didn’t want to raise his heart rate or his blood pressure any more than it was. And then…….. his heart. It began racing up into the mid 200’s. Far too fast for a 4 month old baby. His heart rate would race up then quickly come back down. Suddenly, there was, what looked like blood, in his dialysis solution drain. The Respiratory Therapist couldn’t seem to get a handle on his breathing. She called in for some help. Matthew’s primary nurse called in for a team leader. The team leader called in for a doctor. And suddenly there were 7 or 8 staff around my son. Alarms were going off and beeping every few seconds. Someone would silence that alarm and within seconds it would go off again. I remember at one point they were all so busy tending to Matthew that it just kept alarming…. that LOUD horrible PING! PING! PING! PING! To this day I still have nightmares of hearing that Ping.
So many people surrounding Matthew, I stepped back and sat in a rocking chair across the room. Two babies had recently passed away in that room, that there were no beds on one side of the room. I sat in the rocking chair and all I can do was pray. I cried and I prayed. I prayed for comfort for my son. I prayed that he wouldn’t be in any pain. There was so much chaos in that room I was getting dizzy. Voices echoing all around, the PING of alarms going off… I ran out of that room. I went to the hallway and asked to use the phone at the front desk. I told her that I left my cellphone in my sons room and I need to call my husband. I dialed his phone number and it just rang and rang. Finally after a few calls he answered… and I just cried. He asked me what was wrong and I could barely speak. Through my sobbing I just said, “He’s not doing so well.” My husband simply responded, “Come Home.”
But I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to leave. I was afraid if I left, I would only get that dreaded phone call. The one us NICU parents fear with everything in us to receive. The phone call only us NICU parents know about… the one when someone tells us to come back to the hospital because our baby wasn’t going to survive. The one when have to say goodbye. I was NOT going to leave just to get that phone call. I cried some more and he said again, “Come home.” After a few minutes of crying I said, “Okay.” I was calm… I had to put myself back together and compose myself before going back into that room.
I hung up the phone and thanked the front desk lady. She has seen so much herself, sitting at that front desk that she just smiled politely. I slowly and calmly went back to my sons room. As I entered the room the doctors and nurses were still “working” on my son. I sat back in that rocking same chair at the other end of the room. The Nurse Practitioner saw me sitting in that rocking chair in shock and she kneeled down next to me. I honestly don’t remember what she said to me but I know it was something comforting because she gave me a hug when she stood up. I stared blankly at the commotion over my son. It was a blur. The people around him were a blur. I remember making eye contact with his primary nurse at one point and she looked over at me and shook her head like, “I don’t know….” I took a deep breath and I looked up. At this point I became very light-headed and felt like I was suffocating. I looked up and to my right of me. There was a quote on the wall that said, “God, give us the strength and hope we need in this moment.” I read it over and over and over again as if it were my prayer.
This was it…
I stood up and looked out the large bay window. It was about 6pm. The time when the sun was just about setting behind the Cliffside. I never realized until this moment that his NICU room had a beautiful view of the area. I was finally able to take a few deep breaths. Life was slipping away… my sons life…. my life…. was dying. I continued saying that prayer… Lord, just give me the strength to go on. Comfort my son. Don’t let him be in pain. Comfort him, Lord. Please. I beg you, don’t let him feel pain. Please. Please. Please….
Then out of nowhere I heard His voice. “Turn around.” Without question I turned and looked at my son’s bed. And I saw the most beautiful and most awkward and most unbelievable sight… there were angels hovered around my son. Real, actual angels. I stared and saw about five human size angels…wings on their backs and all. It actually reminded me of that movie with John Travolta called ‘Michael’. These angels looked so real. I never saw any of their faces, but I saw their wings; large, white, feathery and fluffy. I honestly can not describe them perfectly. No description would do justice for how beautiful they were. They were so real and so amazing. What was I seeing? Is this real? Can this really be happening?? Angels……. they were here for my son.
And then I heard God’s voice again, as clear as day, I heard His voice directly into my right ear …. “Let Go.”
My heart sank into my stomach. What?!
I didn’t want to.
“Give him to me.”
But he’s my son. The one you promised me.
I have always believed that our children are borrowed. Our children, although given to us, do not actually belong to us. We are gifted these beautiful babies who we are supposed to raise and tell them about Jesus. We are supposed to teach them about who He is and show them His love. And then they go on to tell the world about Him. Then they have children and so on and so forth.
But the grasp I had on my son was so tight I couldn’t imagine ever letting him go. But he was slipping away from me. His little body was fighting to live and stay strong and it was just getting too much for him. I had to let him go. All these years I believed that our children were always borrowed, and here I was… fighting with God to keep him. He was mine!! My son belonged to me!!
It was this moment that I felt the closest I had ever felt to God. The moment my human heart broke. This night, after months and months of asking and sometimes begging God to heal my son, I had to let him go. For the first time, I had to accept the fact that my son was not mine. And as physically painful this was, I knew what I had to do. I had to let go of my son. I was holding on to him so tightly that I felt like I was the one hurting him. This ENTIRE journey I have always said.. its in God’s Hands. It’s all in His timing. Its all up to Him. It is His will. Let Go and Let God….. but I never really did. I still worried a little. I still had fear in me. I still had wonder. I never really did let God take care of it….until this moment. Now I had to. I was so tired of worrying. I was tired of seeing my son in pain. I was so hurt with seeing my son fight for his life. I didn’t want that for him anymore. I needed to finally….. Let Go.
PEACE… For the quick moment that I made this decision, I felt peace. Peace because it was going to be over. Peace because my son would finally be able to truly rest. Peace in knowing that our family would finally be moving forward from this nightmare. Peace in believing that the Lord was going to push us past this valley, over this mountain and moving on with life. The peace was within me for the few deep breaths I was able to physically take.
I took a picture of that prayer on the wall. I walked over to Matthew’s nurse and I said that I had to go. I couldn’t really get close to Matthew because of all that was going on… but I blew him a kiss and whispered goodbye to my son and I left.
I turned my back on my son and walked away.
I walked out of that room.
I walked away.
I felt the sharpness of a hot dagger pierce my heart. My heart burned. The broken pieces of my heart began to become unglued and fall to pieces. I felt like I was betraying my son. I felt like I was giving up on my son. But I felt I had to do it because the Lord told me to Let Go and I needed to TRUST in Him. For whatever reason the Lord told me to let go… I had to let go. I had to listen and be obedient to His command.
I walked out that room, not because I wanted to, but because I was commanded to. I walked out of that room… through the hallway… down the elevator… outside the hospital… through the maze of a parking lot and I got in my car. By the time I realized I was driving away I was halfway home. It felt like I had snapped out of this fog. And I got angry. I got angry at God because He told me to leave. I got angry at God because He told me to Let Go. And I was angry at myself because I turned my back on my son. I screamed and yelled and let all my anger out. I was yelling and crying hysterically. U began speaking in tongues as if He were transforming me into something not of this world. This feelings was euphoric. Suddenly I was in His presence and I was telling Him how angry and hurt I was…. It felt as though God was just letting me get it all out and rant and rave… But as soon as I was done I felt at peace. He placed His arms around me and I felt like everything was okay. I even started apologizing to God for yelling at Him. I felt bad because I got mad at God. And then I cried some more.
After the hour drive home, I pulled into my garage and I expected to walk into the house to see my husband standing there. I expected to get back in the car to go back to the hospital because they had called him to tell us to go back and say goodbye to our son. But he wasn’t there waiting for me to go back. As soon as I walked in the house he hugged me so tightly and said, “We haven’t gotten a phone call yet.” He knew what I was expecting. So I wiped my tears and took a shower to try to relax. I took some deep breaths when I started to think about what he said… we haven’t gotten that call… And then I started thinking about what God had said, Let Go…
Matthew doesn’t belong to me. He has never belonged to me. God gave me what was promised to me. The only thing He never promised me was time. Our time on earth has never been promised. Time will never be promised. I was happy when I began to realize that I have a son. My dreams came true. I had a son. And no matter what happens, from here on out, The Lord blessed us with a son.
I began to thank the Lord for our son. I was happy knowing that we had a son. I was happy knowing that whenever God decides to take our son “Home”.. he will be in a better place. Our son will be waiting for us in heaven.
I walked out into the living room where my husband was sitting. And I stood in front of him and said, “From here on forward Matthew is going to get better.” I don’t know why I said that. Something had just come over me to say it. And I BELIEVED it… and I SAW it! For about two seconds when I was in my sons room and I saw those angels, I thought, am I really seeing this?! I was. Spiritually, I was seeing angels. Spiritually, I heard the voice of God.
I decided to go to bed without calling the NICU. I wanted to show God that I did have that faith in me. I didn’t need to call. I didn’t need to hear how he was doing. If it was bad, they would call. I already know what kind of shape he is in… there is no reason for me to call.
The next morning my husband helped take care of our other daughters. He let me to sleep in. I woke up about 9am and I instinctively picked up my phone and dialed the NICU. Before anyone can answer, God said “Hang Up.” So I hung up. As much as I wanted to talk to his nurse and get an update, I had to continue to be obedient. I kept thinking, if it was bad, they would call.
I wanted to go visit my son so badly, but it wasn’t my day to go. Today was my husband’s day to go visit his son. My husband and my father in law went to the NICU to see Matthew. So I stayed home. I had breakfast with my girls and just sat around the house. I was still traumatized about what happened the night before. I was in constant prayer for what was going on. It was about two hours past the time that my husband had left. He normally texts me that he has arrived at the NICU. But he didn’t this time. I was desperate. I wanted to know what was happening, but I kept thinking how I NEED to have trust in Him. I need to hold on to His word. I waited patiently when suddenly I read the text message on my phone from my husband, “He’s fine. His dialysis is working, it is running clear.”
I cried… I cried for JOY like I had never cried before. MY SON WAS GOING TO LIVE!! My son has since been doing well and has been home for 10 months. We have had more than a few bumps in the road, but it has never been as hard as the day when I had to Let Go of my son and give him back to God. This was confirmation to me that Matthew has a purpose. He will be someone GREAT. He will do GREAT things!! And it is my duty as his mother to tell the world about God’s Miracle. I have to continue to tell the world of how powerful prayer is and who is really in control. I have to give encouragement and hope to those families who are going through a similar situation. I have to do what I can to reassure those families that they truly are in His presence.
October 2nd is the day that everything about me changed. I life differently. I see my children differently. I have learned to cherish every single moment I have with them. I can sit for hours and hours just watching them… they are my blessings.
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. ” Mark 10: 13-16