Yes – that is natural sunlight on his face. For Henry, the first of its kind. On Saturday around 2pm, Henry left his NICU corner to finally come home; 75 days later. It was a quiet affair.
Now that Henry is home, we have met a different baby. The hospital does a great job keeping preemies alive – but lacks the positive care that only a home can provide. Henry is soaking in his crib, his parents’ touch, the quiet, the soft light. He does not apparently miss the beeps, alarms, crying neighbors, & rounding doctors. So Henry is much more alive. Much more alert. And much happier.
His parents are relieved. Though we are entering a challenging new chapter in Henry’s life, it is a new chapter. So we are thankful. You can still pray for us. God seems to give new parents a reserve of adrenaline when they have new-borns. If I remember Jude’s birth correctly, this reserve lasts about 3 months. However, as you can well imagine, this reserve has already been well depleted! So we are tired. But, as one pastor says before he preaches: with the help of the Holy Spirit and Red Bull we will get through this.
We have met many dear people during our NICU stay. We cry when we think about our primary nurses. They took to our boy, when their job understandably demands hard emotional boundaries against this. We are thankful to Jesus for them. We met dear friends with a baby of their own in the NICU – our shared experiences have kept us sane & given us hope, as well as the freedom to be sad.
As I shared months ago, I have been particularly comforted by the truth of Psalm 41. God is our divine doctor – yes. But he is also our divine nurse who changes our bed & cares for us when weak. 75 days later I can say that Josie and I were as much recipients of this divine care as Henry.
Many of you have mentioned that our faith has been inspirational to you during this trying season. We are thankful for this, and can relate. I know that part of me crumbles when I see others crumble. But I would also like to make clear that it was not our faith that made us strong – it was the object of our faith: Jesus. I strongly believe that faith itself is a gift of God (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” – Eph 2:8); and I can honestly say that we have made it through this NICU experience because of God’s relentless mercy to us; not our relentless grip on Him, but His relentless grip on us. In this way, God is the hero in Henry’s story.
The promise of resurrection and God’s final restoration of all things. The conviction that Jesus alone is the happy ending to our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals for Henry. The truth that Jesus weeps with the hurting. The promise that suffering is not for naught. The integrity of these truths are proven in trials like this. Yes, our faith in these things have been strengthened these past few months – but this too was a gift to us from God. Again, God is the hero.
We will continue to post updates on this blog so you can continue to take part in Henry’s story through prayer. He has a long road ahead of checkups and therapy. But he is home. Thank you Jesus, he is home.
Thank you everyone for your encouragement and prayer. This too was a gift from God.
Joe & Josie