Lessons from the ICU

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Mothers are a peculiar bunch. They love and adore their children one minute, and then scream at them the next. They gush about the joys of motherhood, but have a growing list of woes since giving birth. They give so much sacrificially, but hope for some kind of recognition in return … especially on Mother’s Day.

There was a time in my life, though, when I thought I would not live to see another Mother’s Day or any other day. My son was almost two years old, and my daughter was 5 months.

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It was like any other day. Towards the evening, I felt feverish, but like most moms, a little fever wasn’t enough to halt all household activities. But as the evening drew to a close, the slight fever turned into nausea. It must be the flu, I thought. I spent most of that night hunched over the toilet, vomiting.

The next morning, I thought I would feel better, but I didn’t even have the strength to pick up my daughter. My husband took the day off from work and promptly brought me to the doctor. What I thought would be a quick visit became a day of being wheeled from one hospital department to the next. My last stop was the ICU, where the doctors inserted an IV line in my neck, and shortly after, I was alone in that dimly lit hospital room. Everything happened so quickly.

What just happened? This was only the flu. When a nurse came in to check on me, I could barely speak, but I mustered up the strength to whisper, “Can I go home now?” The reply was not at all what I expected. “I’m afraid you will be here for a while.”

The doctors discovered that I had a serious staph infection, which entered my blood stream and sent my body into septic shock. My body was pumped with fluids and all sorts of antibiotics. During my hospital stay, I wondered if I would see my family again. My husband brought pictures of my precious babies, but it was not enough to kiss and hug those pictures. I longed to hold them again.

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All my typical complaints about sleep deprivation and endless chores seemed insignificant while I laid down in that cold hospital room.

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By God’s mercy and grace, one of the antibiotics worked, and the symptoms of the infection eventually subsided. However, I came home weak and thinner than when I was first admitted to the hospital. Not exactly the weight loss plan I was hoping for.

That experience seems like such a tiny speck in my life, but as I recall those events from 8 years ago, it’s as if they just happened yesterday. Life, of course, went back to normal. And this mother, who once thought she would never see her children again, has settled back into her frequent frustrations with parenting. But, God mercifully brings me back to that hospital room time and time again and reminds me of the precious lessons He taught me there. I will always remember …

  • That our next breath is not guaranteed to us.

“… you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

  • That celebrations, like Mother’s Day, are reminders that everyday ought to be spent in continual rejoicing.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

  • And, that my children truly are precious gifts from my Lord.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

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24 thoughts on “Lessons from the ICU

  1. Amen! What a great way to lead into Mother’s Day. It’s times when we, or one of our loved ones, comes close to death (even if it’s only perceived as such, and not a true danger) that we realize just how fleeting life is. Praise God that you recovered fully!! XO

    1. Yes, those reminders from the Lord that life is a vapor help us to keep our eyes fixed on Him and reminds us to make the most of our brief time here. Hope you had a wonderful Mothers Day!

  2. Wow, I’m so glad that you are able to get more time with your family ! This definitely made me more thankful for my mother and I’m so happy your family still has you! I was blown away by you talking about how God brings you back to the hospital room time and time again out of His mercy ! That is a much better perspective to have on it and I would . I think I would be too caught up in how frustrating it would be to go through that pain and be stuck there that I would lose sight of what He was trying to tell me . It’s great that you’re beyond that point and you can actually listen to him better m and I’m sure your children and your husband’s lives are richer for having a woman like you to learn from . Thanks so much for posting, this is great !

  3. Such a scary experience! I’m so glad everything turned out ok and that you got such a valuable lesson out of something awful. What an important reminder in the hustle and bustle of motherhood.

    1. Yes, I’m thankful! It was as if God took away motherhood from me for a brief time, so that I would have a more thankful heart about it. Motherhood is truly a gift from Him, and I shouldn’t take it for granted.

  4. Great reminder that life is so precious. Thank God you went to the hospital when you did and I’m so glad you are okay! It would have been so hard to be away from the little ones! Happy Mother’s Day.

  5. I am so glad u made it through. It is a scary experience and I can so very much relate to it. My daughter was admitted to NICU right after birth and we were scared to death. She stayed there for 22 days and each day was difficult to pass. Sometimes I wonder how gossamer life is. We make a beautiful world, with our family and friends around us and all of sudden things run out of control. Scary.

    1. Our days are numbered, Jaya, but since we don’t know when our time is up, it’s important that we make the most of each day given to us. It was an important lesson for me to learn.

  6. So glad you are okay and made it through! But thanks for sharing – what a wonderful reminder of how precious every day we live is … and how precious life is….because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

  7. Such a great reminder to rejoice and be glad in every moment and season. So glad you are ok and out of the danger zone so to speak. Thanks for sharing.

  8. My goodness! This is an excellent reminder that we need to savor each moment and breath that we take. It also reminds me that I need to live fully and in a positive way, rejoicing to God ALL THE TIME. Negative thinking is a black hole, especially about being a parent, and we all do it on occasion I am so glad that you came out alright and I know that this post will help more than just myself to remember what is truly important. 🙂 Beautiful post!

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