And it is so easy to feel lonely when exhaustion creeps in. Sabbath is here and I'm sitting home in my apartment alone. Well, with my cat.
It was a LONG day at work. One of those super busy days that I wonder if I will disappear in my chair by the end of the day because I've sunk so low into it. But I choose to believe that God was still there through every moment. Weaving long strands of good through all the knots of craziness. Long strands of good, that if I took a moment, I might be able to follow back through the day and recognize where God was.
I work in the Neonatal ICU at a hospital. Not always the most light-hearted place. At the moment we have close to 50 babies in our unit. That's a lot of babies! Especially when they all need such crucial life-saving care. A couple weeks ago I saw a baby over in labor & delivery and exclaimed, "He's huge! How much does he weigh?!" And was shocked to hear that he was a normal 7-lb baby. My eyes have been changed by seeing dozens of 2-3 lb babies every day. At the moment we even have one that is only 14 ounces. That's tiny!
We joke around and laugh a lot in the unit. You have to in a place like that. But nobody was laughing this morning. One of our preemies came down with necrotizing enterocolitis yesterday. The intestinal tissue was dying and resulted in a perforation. Preemie babies face nasty complications like this every day, but it is easy to forget all the life-threatening possibilities when you see the baby day after day for weeks and months as they grow. When relationships are built it is easy to start always believing the best for them. This baby went in for emergency surgery and they had to take a lot of bowel out. I came on to my shift this morning, hearing the difficult turn of events, but no one expected it to go downhill so quickly. The baby was dead within two hours.
Probably 50 percent of my job is to know the parents/families of these babies. To greet them every day as they come to visit. To remember their family situations. To make them feel at home. To reassure them as they have to watch other people save their baby. I have enjoyed it. Enjoyed making relationships. Enjoyed even the crazy parents on drugs. There are definitely some parents I end up connecting more with than others. And the mom of this baby that died today was one of those. She was so good and so cheerful every day. So much hope for her baby. And then her baby just died.
I've dealt with more than my share of dead babies before I ever even ended up in the NICU. It is one of those familiar things that doesn't freak me out anymore. I ended up holding the dead baby for a while this morning while the nurse was trying to arrange things with the morgue and all my secretary coworkers looked at me like I was from another world. "How can you just hold it?!" "Doesn't it bother you?"
No. It doesn't bother me in a creepy way. But it does bother me in that it dampens everything for the day. It bothers me now sitting at home, just feeling sad. And I don't feel like that's bad. Sitting here, I can reflect on the day and how such a sad event triggered so many open deep discussions with my coworkers. Death brings up thoughts on the meaning of life, beliefs, and choices. There is God, weaving a strand of good through the bad. And that strand hasn't broken. It is continuing on and will uncover so many more truths about God if I continue to search for it.