After the first night in the hospital, things settled into somewhat of a routine. As much of a routine as can be expected when you're fully expecting to deliver an extremely premature baby literally at any hour.
Some of you might be asking - what was going on at home while you were in the hospital, hoping to stay for the next ten weeks? And that is a very excellent question. One that I am so thrilled to be able to answer for you.
My family experienced the mighty work of the Body of Christ. We had people from all over volunteering their time and resources in order to care for our family. My homeschool friends had a little meeting to figure out how they were going to help me. I had one friend that coordinated all the care for our children, because my husband still needed to work. We had people coming to our house in the morning and afternoon every week day. We had meals being delivered to our house 3-4 times per week so my husband never had to think about what to feed the family. At the time our children were nearly 7, 5, and 3.5 years old and their little homeschool routine went on as always. They were being picked up for park days and taken on field trips. And even put down for rest time every afternoon!
One amazing way that God provided for us was through the mother of a good friend of ours. She had been teaching in Afghanistan and needed to come home for medical reasons. She was staying with her family here in our town and she came to visit me one day in the hospital, very soon after I was admitted. While she was there, I asked her what her living situation was and it was really all up in the air. On the spot, I asked her if she would be willing to come and live with my family, helping to care for the children and keeping our homeschool going. She just happened to be a second grade teacher and our oldest daughter just happened to be in second grade!! Definitely God ordained.
While my family was being so lovingly care for by numerous people, I was also being well-cared for at the hospital.
Daily, I was visited by the staff obstetricians and various specialists and students. I learned quickly that there is a big difference on the information I got from the specialist obstetricians (perinatologists) and the neonatologists, who would be responsible for caring for my baby once he was born.
The perinatologists wanted to get me to 24 weeks gestation, which was only a little over a week away. In their mind, based on research and statistics, this was the point of viability, the point at which the baby had at least a chance of surviving the birth.
The neonatologists wanted me to stay pregnant until at least 28 weeks gestation. Statistically speaking, 90% of babies born at 28 weeks or later will survive the birth and be discharged from the NICU after a very lengthy stay.
The OB decided to change my due date for some reason, so my gestation was changed from 22 weeks, 5 days, to 23 weeks 3 days.
I knew that it really didn't matter what either one of them said. I was going to be pregnant for as long as I was going to be pregnant! Arguing about a certain date on the calendar wasn't going to change anything! So, I settled in for the long haul.
My husband brought me an early (very early!) Christmas present - an iPod Touch - so I could have easy access to Facebook, which is how I communicated from the hospital. The first night of my stay I had a hard time sleeping, unsurprisingly, so I wrote this little story:
If you send Michele to the hospital she probably won't sleep well. If she doesn't sleep well she will probably have a lot of time to think. If she does a lot of thinking, she will start praying for her friends. She will pray and thank her gracious God that her baby boy is still inside her, growing just as fast as he can. She will be comforted to know that God loves him even more than she does.
If she is praying, she will begin to be overwhelmed by God's goodness and His provision of many people who will help her family and she will want to get on her knees, but that's forbidden! So she will do it in her mind anyway. Such a rebel!
If she is on her knees , figuratively of course, she will remember that another positive thing about being in the hospital is that she doesn't have to clean a bathroom! Woohoo!
And since she is in the hospital to rest and help this baby grow, she decides to try to get back to sleep.
And the baby grew. And the waiting continued.
Life in the NICU: Part One