Jesher is now 116 days old! Age corrected—the age he would be if he was born full-term—our son is three weeks and three days young. Honestly, it feels like six months have passed. Time truly does inch its way forward during a trial. There is no doubt, we have witnessed the power of Biblical community and fervent prayer over the past months; however, tribulations never seem to just “move along” according to our wishes. Trials are like migraine headaches…the dull irritation returns even after the best of days. Although it oftentimes seems unbearable, our marathon misadventure has revealed to us one of life’s concealed secrets: We are more resilient than we think we are.
If someone would have foretold this life-altering event back in February, outlining the upheaval headed in our family’s direction, I would have instantly turned pale. The words “There is no way!” would have played on a continuous loop within my brain. I would have surrendered before the mayhem commenced. I would have run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. I would have traversed the terrain we’ve traveled over the last hundred days.
That’s why I see our inability to see the future as a blessing! If we knew what we had to endure before it came, the majority of us would give up before the challenge started. This is why we often find ourselves in the throes of ‘unexpected’ travail. This is why I think psychics are overrated. This is why I believe omniscience is a hazardous proposition. If we knew what problems were just weeks away, we would most likely annul the possibility of discovering how durable we are. As the patriarch Job asserted, “When [God] has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Translated into our contemporary language, Job is saying, “When I am tested, my true mettle will come out. When I am refined by struggle, priceless, pure metal will appear.” But admit it, if we knew what trials lay ahead, we would probably spend our time strategizing ways to circumvent the oncoming tumult.
After almost four months in NICU, Lhorraine and I still don’t know what the future holds, and we are trying to make peace with this. Like the tide, our thoughts about “what’s next” ebb and flow. At times, we are overwhelmed by the portent of future complications. Then, there are also times when we are covered in a deluge of optimism. Back and forth we swing, hoping the next day is filled with more good news than bad news. And here is where I’ve discovered a refreshed empathy for all people. Every person, on every day, awakes with one central plea emanating from their heart—we want the present to be better than the past and the future to be better than the present. Problem is, we can’t control the future, and the future doesn’t feel obligated to cooperate with our aversion to conflict. So we are left to believe that our fortunes hold more blessings than curses.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
CONSTIPATION–Jesher is now on a formula called NeoSure that will promote weight gain and brain development. We love the supplemental support he is receiving; however, it is pretty hard on his digestive track. Since starting it, Jesher has been experiencing a high level of constipation and gas. He strains all throughout the day and the discomfort disrupts his sleep. Like so many prescriptions, a remedy for one area sparks issues in another area. We want Jesher to reap the benefits of NeoSure, but we also need him to sleep well too. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO MATURE JESHER’S IMMUNE SYSTEM SO IT CAN PROPERLY PROCESS HIS FORMULA AND REAP ALL THE BENEFITS IT PROVIDES…PRAY THAT ALL GAS AND BOWEL DISCOMFORT BE REMOVED IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
INGUINAL HERNIA–Jesher is still showing signs of inguinal hernia. This is caused when weakened or immature intestinal walls give way to growing entrails, resulting in a protrusion in the groin area. Although this is a common condition among male preemies, only requiring an out-patient procedure to remedy, Jesher will not be eligible for said procedure until he reaches the 52-week mark (this is 52 weeks adjusted from his original birth date). So Lhorraine and I have been asking God to perform another miracle for our son. We have been asking God to visit Jesher, touch his hernia, and cause it to retract into its proper place. PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS PRAYER; ASK THE LORD TO SEND A DIVINE MESSENGER TO VISIT OUR SON AND HEAL HIS HERNIA.
DISCHARGE–Jesher is discharge eligible! Jesher, Lhorraine, and myself have met all the requisite criteria for discharge consideration. Now, we will wait for a call requesting us to Room-In. This is done the night before one’s set discharge date. The baby and parents are supervised by hospital staff to make sure all parties are ready to take on life without NICU aid. Lord willing, we will receive this call sometime over the next 48-hours! PLEASE PRAY THAT LHORRAINE AND I WOULD RECEIVE SPECIAL FAVOR FROM THE LORD AND BE PREPARED TO PROPERLY CARE FOR JESHER WHEN THE TIME COMES.
One of my favorite singer-songwriters penned a beautiful line about accepting the difficulties of life. In her song entitled “Soulbird Rise,” India.Arie posits this remix of a timeless adage:
“What did not demolish me / Simply polished me / Now the clearer I can see.”
You are probably more familiar with the more traditional take on this principle: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But that doesn’t necessarily bear out. Trauma can make you weaker. It is a known fact that survivors don’t always return from a harrowing experience a stronger version of themselves. Many of us know people who survived and came back diminished. What doesn’t kill us doesn’t always make us stronger. So I side more with India.Arie. I’m no longer aiming to emerge from this ordeal stronger than I was before. I just want to shine brighter than I did before. I want Lhorraine, Jesher, and myself to come out of this tribulation with a fresh coat of polish, shimmering like rare gems.
“Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.” Psalms 126:4-5