The following Mom’s Story was written by Shannon Huber. This is Shannon’s third year in Heart2Heart. She has previously served as a Table Leader and she is currently serving on our Steering Team as the Treasurer and Fund Raising Coordinator.
My mom’s story begins - like many others - at a hospital. Years later, I never thought that any building would be so sentimental to me, but seeing this building still evokes great emotion and many tears. This is because it is the place not only where my journey as a mother began, but it is also the place where I realized my strength. It was not my own strength that I discovered in those first few months of motherhood, but the strength I possess in Christ that I never knew I could have. In this hospital I learned of God’s great love for me, at the same time that I learned the capacity of love I could have for another.
In the middle of November 2011 when I was 26 weeks along, I started to feel some cramping. After being sent home two times from the hospital, we went back again and it was discovered that I was in labor and dilated to a 2. After an ambulance ride to a different hospital we learned that they were going to try and stop the labor for as long as possible, but that it was likely that our baby was going to be coming way too soon. The estimate was that he weighed about 1.5 lb. My husband and I were in complete shock. Instead of continuing to prepare the nursery at home, we were in the hospital talking to doctors about medical terms that we didn’t understand and looking up pictures of what a 26 week old baby might look like. The stress and fear were overwhelming, but God showed himself from the beginning. At one point I was trying to relax my body to see if I could calm some of the contractions and I started to imagine and picture that God was holding me. I closed my eyes and pictured his arms around me. I did this for awhile, and then I realized that I didn’t have to picture it anymore and that he was. I felt at peace. I was able to relax just a little bit and it was like I was given a time of rest. I’m not sure how long this lasted, but I know that God was holding me during this most difficult time of my life and I felt in a physical way the overwhelming love of my Father for me in that moment.
After only a few days in the hospital, our little Luke was born. He weighed 2 lb. 2 oz. which was much bigger than expected. I held my breath until I heard his cry, and when he cried, we all cried. They took him away immediately to see if he needed any supplemental oxygen, but amazingly he didn’t, which is rare for a baby as premature and tiny as he was. He proved himself to be a fighter from the beginning as our God proved himself to be mighty in caring for him. The two and a half months that Luke was in the NICU were the most difficult of my life. In the early days I had to learn that seeing numbers plummeting on his vitals screen showing that his heart had stopped beating was just part of the preemie experience. I had to learn to help change and care for a 2 lb. baby. Some days I would wake up and know that I had to face a day when an ultrasound tech was going to be taking pictures of my baby’s heart to see if he had any issues that would require major surgery, or that they would be doing scans of his brain to see if he had brain bleeds which would be a sign of brain damage. I had to sit and wait for the news and listen as a doctor came to tell me the results of these tests, which could have meant devastating and even fatal news for my baby. There were many tears during the long walks through the hospital parking lot, but the blessing came when I realized I wasn’t alone. During this time I learned what it really meant to lean into Christ. In order to make it through each day I had to put all my trust and faith into my Savior. I had to be in conversation with him, and aware of his presence there with me. God showed himself to me in little ways during Luke’s time there. One day they had to perform a painful eye exam and I knew that there was nothing I could do for him, so I left and walked around, and prayed. I prayed for God to hold my son when I couldn’t and to comfort him. When I came back and asked the nurse how it had gone she told me that it had gone well, and surprisingly he hadn’t cried much at all. Another day when I was particularly discouraged my husband and I ended up talking with a nurse who we had never talked with before. We were commenting on the wonderful level of care in the NICU, and she told us that many of the nurses feel that it isn’t just them there caring for all of the babies but that there is someone else watching over them and the babies too. God knew that it was exactly the day that I needed to hear this reminder.
After a 2.5 month stay at the hospital and weighing in at 7.5 lb. Luke was able to come home! He is now a sweet, happy, smart 3 year old and has no significant complications from his prematurity. He amazes me on a pretty much daily basis and will always be my little miracle. He will never remember what he had to endure: all the pricks, painful procedures, blood transfusions, etc. I, on the other hand will never forget any of it. I won’t forget the hopelessness, fear, and worry that turned into peace. I will always remember the NICU rooms I sat in for countless hours feeling alone and then through God’s gentle reminders realizing that I wasn’t. These will always be among the hardest memories of my life, but also among the most blessed. God gave me the gift of an amazing son at the same time that he showed the depth of his love and his strength in my weakness. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
To the one whose dreams are falling all apart
And all you’re left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think you’re on your own
But you’re not alone
You will be safe in his arms
You will be safe in his arms
‘Cause the hands that hold the world
Are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with you always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in his arms
- “Safe” by Phil Wickham