I was thrilled to have Norah in our lives now. But, we were tired, and my patience was wearing thin with the hospital staff. Through the eyes of a profoundly fatigued and protective father, the staff seemed condescending and insensitive. They probably weren't. Sometimes, it's just the lenses you wear.
We had been asleep in our delivery room for about 15 minutes when (at about 2:30am) the lights in the room were turned on we were told we were to gather our things. They were moving us to our recovery room. OK. Fine. Could have done without the lights and the abruptness…but fine.
We were then notified that we would be sharing a recovery room with another family.
Not OK. Not fine.
4 adults, 2 newborns. 400 square feet and a shower curtain between us.
No beds or futon chairs for the dads. Just a chair. No padding. No reclining. A good ol' chair was my bed for the night.
My attitude started going south in a hurry.
It's a blur now…but suffice it to say, we weren't happy. We weren't down with sharing a room for the night. I'm sure the Fuentes family wasn't either. But, they got stuck with the Spiveys. The Spiveys…stuck with the Fuentes'…at 2:30am.
Well, overnight and into the next morning, Norah began choking to the point of turning blue. That changed everything. All of sudden, sharing a room with the Fuentes family (they had a little boy by the way) didn't really matter much. Norah was headed to the NICU unit. That's what mattered. They did their best to assure us it was precautionary, but necessary. That morning the Fuentes' moved out and we were left to think about what was going on.
Again, my propensity to whine about things like this showed its head. I was bummed that no one would be able to see the baby–not grandparents, not Anna and Olivia…no one. I was bummed about other things, and I was scared for Norah. I was there when she had these choking spells, and it's really scary to watch your newborn rushed out of the room looking like a diapered blueberry…unable to breathe. But the hospital staff was responsive and almost pastoral in its response.
Guess what? My opinion of the hospital staff went up tremendously and instantly. I watched them do great work with Norah. And, when I saw the difficulties other newborns were having in that NICU unit, God seemed to whisper, "Count your blessings, Son," into my ear. With that whisper, God brought some much needed attitude adjustment.
There are couples who would love to have children at all…healthy or sick…but aren't able. God has provided three beautiful daughters for us. There are parents with children in the NICU who will never leave it. We took our daughter home healthy after a couple of days. I had blessings to count. I just didn't. Fatigue, concern, and some selfishness had removed my ability to count. When we lose our ability to see our blessings, we enter a really dark place.
Norah is fine now, and we're enjoying her lots. All the grandparents have seen her and adore her. Anna and Olivia are elated. But, I'm hoping I'll remember the NICU. I am blessed. I need to count those blessings more and troubles and inconveniences less. "In this world, you will have trouble," Jesus promised just as he promised the more warm and fuzzy promises. Kids will get really sick. We'll lose sleep. Things don't work out the way we'd wished. But we can remember that God has blessed us in ways worth counting, especially that last part of Jesus' promise, "Take heart! I have overcome the world."
That's a blessing worth counting.