My journey into motherhood was not what I expected. After trying to conceive for almost five years, my husband and I were blessed with a twin pregnancy. When I first saw and heard their two little heartbeats, I was overtaken by God's faithfulness. As I watched them form limbs, faces and mannerisms through weekly ultrasounds, I became more and more amazed by the miracle taking place in my womb.
My joy would be short lived as complications began in my 14th week of pregnancy. By week 22, I'd suffered multiple threatening bleeds and my doctor told me my cervix was shortening. Thereafter, my doctor put me on strict bed rest. I complied, took my medication and tried to be as still as possible (which was hard for a type A busy-body personality). We did everything we could. There wasn’t a book I didn’t read or a vitamin I failed to take. Unfortunately, my greatest fears would become a reality when I went into labor at 23 weeks and two days. In spite of our doctors trying ever effort to delay their arrival, our little Sophia and Emmanuel would come into the world weighing 1 lb and 4 oz each.
They were supposed to be dead on arrival, based on what doctors told us. But in the dead of night on July 24, 2017, entered the tiniest humans I'd ever seen. I couldn't conceive that at 23 weeks, these babies had every limb and organ needed to survive, though none of these organs were anywhere near ready for the outside world. As a first time mom, I was traumatized, emotional, hormonal, and trying my best to wake up from the nightmare that would be the next year of my life.
At 29 weeks we would suddenly lose our daughter Sophia without warning. Sophia was the "the strong one", she only needed milk and CPAP. She had an issue with her kidneys, but the doctors were not concerned. They assured us she would be home soon. On the other side of the NICU lay Emmanuel, fighting through too many ailments to name. After Sophia passed away, we became the talk of the NICU. Here our little girl, who was supposed to make it home (from what doctors could see), had suddenly passed. Yet Emmanuel, who every doctor counted out, kept on pressing. The Lord continually spared his life, week after week.
One day, as I cried about a negative report I received from the doctors, I stared at Emmanuel’s isolette and heard in my heart, “Prophesy to the dry bones.” When I looked up the term, I was brought to Ezekiel 37 where God asked Ezekiel if dry bones could live again. I should mention here that one of Emmanuel’s diagnoses was Osteopenia, or simply put, weak, brittle, dry bones. Emmanuel was born so early that his bones didn’t have the opportunity to absorb calcium and other essential nutrients in the third trimester, which made him extremely fragile.
With the little faith I had left I started to prophesy over Emmanuel, “Dry bones, come alive…you are mighty in the land, you are gifted in all wisdom, you are the head and not the tale, above only and not beneath… you shall live and not die. At first, it looked like nothing was changing, but as I kept speaking, Emmanuel overcame odd after odd. My little Emmanuel pushed through and finally came home.
While we have crossed a major Red Sea, we remain in the wilderness of over 12 doctors, six therapists, nurses and complex medical needs. Being Emmanuel’s mother has forced me to use every prayer, talent, and skill I ever had. It called me into oceans deep where my eyes must remain on Jesus for daily strength and wisdom. It pushed me into a realm of faith I never imagined. It gave birth to a me I didn’t know existed. As Emmanuel’s bones came alive, so did a fire on the inside of me. Every trait that represented dry bones in my own life also came alive. God moved in me through Emmanuel.
Today, Emmanuel which means "God with us", is my greatest teacher. I still prophesy to that little boy believing that indeed, dry bones can live again. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Stay tuned for more NICU Chronicles...
Song: Evans Ogbi, “Dry Bones"
Scripture: Ezekial 37
Sermon: TD Jakes, ”When You Pray & Things Get Worse"