“I think I need an ambulance. My baby is having seizures”, I told the dispatcher. My extra petite 7 month old, this sweet little girl that we prayed endless prayers for during my pregnancy, was starting to have seizures one right after the other. She had this happen before, and her doctors believed they identified the possible triggers. But this time, there were no predictors. And this time, I was alone with the kids. The first responders came, and sent us to a local hospital, where my husband met us. Our baby had numerous tests and attempts at blood draws. My dad was also in the hospital for having seizures and was not doing well. My mom had just made a concerning call to me days prior, and, now, I was making a concerning call to her. While focused on her medical care, we were also arranging for who would keep our other children, get one off to school, and care for our dog. This was not what we had planned that week at all. Two family emergencies within days of each other is beyond complicated and exhausting. My dad and my infant daughter. My mind was filled with worry.
Several hours later, we were transferred to a children’s hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, we noticed several things: the friendly staff, top notch medical care, several options for food, and murals and sculptures to make the stay more pleasant. No matter the effort, you are still left with the understanding that you are not at a children’s park, museum, or zoo. You are certainly in a hospital. A children’s hospital: the saddest place you hope to never be. There are many reminders of this. The frequent visits by numerous staff, the repeated retelling of information, the wires, the IVs, the cage bed, the uncomfortable cots, the exhaustion, the lack of sleep. And the uncertainty. What would they find? Were the seizures related to her small size? Was all this related to symptoms they saw during my pregnancy? Would she be in her grandpa’s shoes one day? We would find out more answers after more tests, which required fasting. I was dreading this challenge as she still nursed every 2.5 hours and mostly wanted me.
There came the time that she woke up while fasting and wanted to nurse. My husband told me to go to the lounge so he can try to calm her. Even if a nursing baby can’t see mom, baby still knows mom is there and will cry until satisfied in mom’s embrace. There I went hearing my hungry baby crying for only me while my husband rocked her and cradled her closely in his arms. I groggily walked with my crappy cup of coffee down the hall passed the other screaming baby, passed the other families, and passed the children alone whose parents had to go home. There are no words for what you see.
I sat in the lounge while waiting thinking about how my dad was doing. Hoping that no one accidentally told him his granddaughter was in the hospital while he fought to recover basic functioning. Wondering how my other kids were doing. Wishing God would let me take the place of my baby in anguish. Praying that she could go back to sleep and make it through the test until she could be with her mom again. And I got the text. The baby was sleeping. Her dad was able to rock her to sleep despite being hungry and longing for her mom. She was able to find comfort in her father’s arms. A sense of relief swept over my heart. Sometimes, we can not take our children’s pain or challenges away. Sometimes, we can not give them what they are crying out for. Sometimes, our love seems to fall short in these moments when they hurt the most. But where our human ability ends, the Heavenly Father’s ability is only beginning. In His infallible arms, He can take away pain, give comfort, and give peace that goes beyond any understanding. The Father’s arms do not end there, they extend to us parents as well. He strengthens us, and graces us. He gives us wisdom, and endurance. He fathers us while we mother and father our own children. And we are always within His reach. We are always within the Father’s arms: the most comforting place we could ever want to be.