The morning that Joshua died.
I'm going there again.
I'm going there again because I know that God has a purpose for the experience of Joshua's death.
I'm going there because I want to understand, as well as I want YOU to understand how God is working.
I had been up late the night before, making sure that Joshua was stable. The nurses had strict orders to call me if there was any sort of trouble. They knew they needed to call me if he needed a blood transfusion. I was exhausted. 50 days of living in the NICU watching my baby struggle was more than I could handle. I was at the end of my rope, unsure of how much more I could take.
I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing. It wasn't a nurse. It was my dad. He was coming for a visit and wanted me to know he was leaving home and would be at the hospital in 2 hours. It was 7:30am.
I was going to try to go back to sleep, but instead I decided to get up and take a quick shower and head over to the hospital. I wanted to spend some time with my baby before my dad got there. I was hoping to get out of the hospital for a little bit that day- it was a time with my dad that I needed.
I drove over to the hospital. I walked into the lobby. I almost veered to the left to go visit my nurse friend. I knew she would be in her office. I visited her often- she had become a good friend of mine and such a support for me. Instead, something inside me told me to go straight up to Joshua's room. There was an urgency within my soul. I NEEDED to see my baby before anything else.
I got up to his room right at 8:00am. As I walked past the window to his room, I saw that he was kicking his blankets. I entered into his room and he was fussing. I picked him up and he immediately calmed down. I held him for a few minutes, said good morning to him and kissed him- just as I had every other morning (at least the mornings I was able to hold him.)
Then alarms started sounding. His oxygen levels were dipping. This was typical for him. His alarms were always going off. I ignored it for a minute because they always corrected themselves.
This time they didn't. His oxygen levels went from the upper 80's to the upper 40's. I watched the numbers on his monitor fall. I tried to play it cool. A nurse came in and turned up his oxygen a little bit. But that's when it happened.
His heart rate dropped.
It had NEVER done this before. I watched Joshua code 3 times and his heart rate had NEVER dropped. I knew in my heart that something wasn't right.
As panic welled up inside me, a nurse started screaming for the doctor. The doctor rushed in. I fumbled around, Joshua still in my arms, to get him to his bed, so the doctor could start CPR. I was so worried about his dumb mobile hanging in the doctor's face. I tried desperately to get that dumb mobile off the bed so she could see.
Joshua looked up at me with those beautiful wise old eyes. The doctor performing CPR, yet there were his eyes. A picture that has haunted me and blessed me over the past 2 years. He looked at me and all I could think was he was begging me to help him. I have no words for the look that was in his eyes. I'm not sure if it was fear, peace, or understanding. I wonder if he saw Jesus Himself standing in the room, waiting to take him Home. The look in his eyes has been burned into my brain for the rest of my life.
It's strange where my mind went while I was watching my son die. There wasn't a thing that I could do to help, medically, so my first concern became getting the mobile off his bed. After I was ushered out of his room, my mind went to prayers. My soul was crying out to God- something I believe a mother's soul automatically does when she's desperate. My fingers went, automatically, to my phone. I typed up a quick Facebook status simply saying, "His heart has stopped. please pray." I needed others to storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of my baby. Then, I fell into a chair and I wept.
At that point, I remember praying for mercy. In my mind, I prayed for mercy for my baby- meaning mercy enough to let him live.
I was ushered to a quite room on the other side of the NICU, where a kind and unknown (at the time) nurse went back and forth from Joshua's room to me with updates. The last time she came, she told me I just needed to come hold my baby.
At that point, I believe my soul was praying for mercy for my baby in a way that I never wanted.
As I held him and heard what little breath he had left in him exit his body for the last time, I became aware of God's Holy Presence in that room. It was unexplainable.
Looking back at that morning, I remember so much, but for some reason, I specifically remember praying for mercy.
Looking back, I don't think I knew what I was praying. In my humanness, I begged God for mercy to let him live. I wanted my baby here. I didn't care if that meant a life of suffering. I didn't care if it meant that my family would be bankrupt, homeless, or unable to support ourselves. I didn't care about any of that. I wanted my baby.
I was selfish. I prayed for mercy and God granted it. And when He gave Joshua mercy by taking him Home, I was mad. I cried and screamed and cursed God. Those things didn't come immediately, but they came- and they were fierce.
Here we are 2 years later. I still scream at God. I still try to understand His ways. But now I can see. God truly was merciful. Not only to Joshua- saving him from the pain of multiple surgeries and a life of extensive medical needs, but also to our family. He has taken us on a journey that I would not have ever traveled willingly. Our faith has been tested, stripped away, and started new.
It has been the most painful ride of my life, and I don't really see an end in sight, but I know that through the pain, there has been mercy and blessings. There has been healing.
And even though it hurts and I don't understand it, I trust that He is in control. I trust that He has a plan for our lives. I trust that He used Joshua's life for a purpose that is greater than I can ever imagine. And even though I don't understand it, I know he answered that prayer for mercy.