24 is a good number, don't you think?
Today is a big celebration in the Harrell Delaney household! We've made it to the 24 week mark in my pregnancy. 24 weeks is the point of viability with babies. If they're born today, the medical world knows what to do. If they were born just a few days ago, they wouldn't have had much of a chance. It's a milestone, a mountain to have climbed in the 3 weeks the babies and I been on bed rest together.
Three weeks ago, as Tyler and I sat in the doctor's office reviewing what was going on and why we needed bed rest, we kept hearing these words: "We just have to get you to 24 weeks. We just HAVE to." The next day, as we sat in yet another doctor's office, she said, "If you go into labor before 24 weeks, there isn't much the hospital can do. They might admit you, but the babies probably won't survive."
Woah. Talk about serious words. I much preferred Doctor #1's approach. We just HAD to get to 24 weeks...and we did!
So, today I celebrated with a visit to the outside world! (Okay, so it was only the hospital/doctor's office. But at least now I know the world still exists beyond my driveway!) I'm "getting out" for weekly doctor appointments these days and today the doctor and I held a small celebration. I almost brought cookies, but then I remembered that I was scheduled to do the glucose screen test (the one where they make you drink something that reminds me of McDonald's orange drink on steroids), and I decided not to add any more sugar to my afternoon than I had to. So we celebrated with a high five instead.
Since our hospital is a university based hospital, there are always students and residents around. Today was no different. As Dr vB and I shared a high five, he looked at the resident and said,
"24 is a lucky number, right? We've gotten this far on luck. Pure luck."
"Whatever it is, I'll take it!" I chipped in. But, just as the words came out of my mouth, my heart said, "but, it's way more than luck."
Sure, it might be true that Dr. vB was "certain" we would miscarry 3 weeks ago.
Somehow, we didn't.
It might be true that in the coin flip of a decision made 2 weeks ago, Dr vB thought either option was highly risky.
Somehow, Tyler and I made the right choice.
It might be true that bed rest is not a guarantee of success when it comes to delaying labor and birth.
Somehow, it's working.
Dr. vB says that our "somehow" is luck. But it isn't pure luck, is it?
People of faith have another word for luck. We call it prayer. Or grace. Or God. As Tyler and I breathe a sigh of relief with each day that passes safely, we know deep within that our "somehow" is the grace of God mixed in with more prayer than we have ever known before. Truly, we have more people praying with and for us than we are even aware of. From Ohio to Washington D.C., Nebraska to Florida, Arizona and Colorado, we are completely surrounded in prayer and hope and love. So the "luck" that our doctor talks about? I has to be more than that. We feel it.
I haven't always known what to think about or do with intercessory prayers of healing. In fact, that's a generous statement; I haven't often believed that intercessory prayers do much of anything. My scientific and rational self can't figure out how it works. My spiritual self believes God is always working toward healing in every aspect of our lives, anyway -- God is already on the job, so to speak -- so what difference would a prayer make?
But last summer, a good friend of mine had a very sick little 2 year old, and I couldn't stop praying. I prayed the traditional word-prayers, I prayed "in color" with my crayons, I prayed with every breath and every blink. I wasn't sure what my prayer was doing, but I couldn't not pray. My prayers came as naturally and constantly as breathing. At that time I realized that through my prayers, the spirit-connection I had with one beautiful little 3 year old, her parents, and God, was unbreakable. I knew then that prayer was important. I knew that whatever happened, God was with that young family, God was with me, and God was in every particle of space in-between. And that knowledge brought us peace.
Today, the mom of that little two year old (now three), holds Tyler, me, and our two babies in prayer in exactly the same way. So do our families in Nebraska and in Ohio. So does our entire church family. So do friends we keep in touch with through email and facebook. And, "somehow," that knowledge brings us peace.
I felt that peace deep within during one of our scariest moments two weeks ago. It was one of the most critical times we've had so far, and instead of thinking about the risk, I was thinking about prayer. I thought about the family members who were praying at that very moment. I thought about how many prayers had been said and breathed for us in the last 24 hours. Most significantly, I felt those thoughts and prayers surround me like a warm bubble in the midst of a cold hospital room. I felt the prayers of the people. And while I still felt an overwhelming uncertainty about what would happen that day, I knew that I wasn't alone in my worry, my fear, or my hope.
I wasn't alone. We are not alone.
Remembering all of the prayers, yes feeling all of the prayers, reminded me that never in our lives are we apart from the one who created us with love and who continues to create in and heal us. The holy Spirit of life is always as close to us as the air we breathe.
And it isn't luck in the air. It is LIFE. What we feel is the holy spirit of God working to bring healing and life into the world. What Tyler and I feel is the holy spirit working toward life in our lives...in whatever way that happens for us and these babies. So we breathe in all of the thoughts and prayers like air and feel peace deep within. Peace that comes in knowing that no matter what happens, we are not alone. That "somehow," with prayer and the presence of God, life will be sustained.
So, today, we celebrate lucky number 24...
...knowing that "somehow," 24 isn't the last lucky number we'll see.