Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baptism - Part I

Jim and I finally set a date for the babies' baptisms.  They will be baptized next month in the church in which my husband grew up.  Brenna was baptized when she was 3 months old; the babies weren't even out of the hospital at 3 months old.  We were asked if we would like to have the babies baptized in the NICU.  I immediately said no to that offer.  To me, it felt like a death sentence.  If I gave permission for a pastor to baptize them, it meant that I thought they were going to die.  I knew the grim statistics; they had a 50-60% chance of death.  Cade's chances were probably even higher after his difficult first night.  Even though I understood this, I could not let myself think they would die, and I definitely wasn't going to have a ceremony of baptism to prepare them for heaven.  I needed them to stay here on Earth with me for a long time.  I already loved them - all 2 combined pounds of them!  I needed them to fight and to live.

I had a lot of talks with God during their NICU stay.  Most went like this - "Why?  Why me?  Why my babies?"  Later they became, "Why did my babies live while others did not?"  Tragedy can either turn a person to or away from God.  For me, it brought me closer to Him than I had ever been before.  I knew there wasn't much I could do except sing/talk to the babies and pray!  I did a lot of praying.  I prayed every waking moment, and I think I prayed in my sleep too!

One of the first times that I visited the babies I decided I would "baptize" them.  I know that I am not ordained, but it was what felt right to me.  I traced the sign of the cross on the top of their isolettes just above their heads.  We weren't allowed to touch them due to their extremely underdeveloped nervous systems.  Tracing the sign of the cross on their heads would have hurt them.  I did not do it because I thought they might die; I wanted them to know that I loved them and that God loved them.  There were no baptismal waters, just lots of mama's tears. 

I am excited to have the babies baptized in the church and for everyone to share in their baptism.  I'm really excited to dress them up in cute little baptism outfits!  I'll definitely be posting pictures of them at the end of next month in Baptism- Part II.

This is a picture of Camdyn (she is in there under all that equipment) when I first saw her.  The nurse took this picture for us.  I don't know if the rest of you can see it, but I can see the worry not only in Jim's face but just in the way his hand is resting on the isolette.  Cade's isolette is right behind us.   Having multiples was an added difficulty of being in the NICU.  I remember checking the time often.  "I've been sitting here with Cade for 15 minutes; now I'm going to go sit with Camdyn for 15 minutes."  I didn't want them to think I was being unfair!

I don't know if I'll ever get over seeing them like this on oscillating ventilators for over a month.  Now, I look at them walking/taking steps, and I can't help being in complete awe knowing this is where they came from!


Jessi said...

I so agree with what you say in your second paragraph - you can either distance yourself or become closer to God when your little ones are in the NICU. For me, there was never any doubt in what I believed. I just had to cling to God. And constant prayer. I've also had all of those same questions, too. Lately, I've allowed myself to really celebrate Jack's life and try my best not to worry about the future. It's not always easy, but what more can I do?

Alyssa said...

Hi! I just noticed that you left a comment on one of my blog posts last summer. I'm the one who also has 24-week twins...with almost the same birthday as your babies!

I just quickly read through a few of your posts and was amazed at how similar our stories are.....I feel like I almost could have written exactly what you wrote!

Your kids are really cute and it looks like they are doing so well....walking already!! We're not quite there yet, but the girls are developing really well.

This post of yours was really touching to read. Our Olivia had to have heart surgery on Day 3 and we did an emergency baptism. It was so horrible, because I knew the doctors were only telling us to do it because it was most likely that she wouldn't survive. There's a picture of my husband and I with our arms above Olivia during the baptism and that picture makes me cry so hard every time I see it (actually just writing about it makes me cry!) because you can see so much pain on our faces. Those moments when the babies were close to death were almost unbearable.
We are so lucky!!!

Sarah Pope said...

I'm ready for Baptism part II!!!!