When Adeline was in the NICU she got her feedings through a feeding tube that was in her nose. Every 3 hours the nurse would come in and hook up her feedings. Twice a day they let her try and drink from a bottle. This was one of the most exciting parts of the day for two reasons: we got to actually feed her and this was one of the key parts in bringing her home. I usually fed her in the morning and Lawson at night.
When we first started feeding her she would drink about half the bottle before she got too tired. The speech therapist would work with us during the morning feeds to help figure out how to get her to drink more. As the weeks went on Adeline would do really good one day and the next hardly take anything. Sometimes it would look like she was drinking, but when you held up the bottle to see how much volume was left it would be 0.5 ml less than we started. The therapist called this “non-nutritive sucking.” We then tried different bottles and nipples. We discovered that the green nipples were better than the yellow ones. The only problem with this was the hospital had begun switching to the yellow (they were both slow flow nipples, but the green was definitely slower). So her nurses found what was left of the green nipples and hid them in her room. Everyone wanted Adeline to succeed.
As we moved to the new hospital in preparation for her heart surgery I was having a conversation with her nurse for the day about her feedings… She said “Almost all heart babies get gtubes (a feeding tube placed in the stomach), so don’t be surprised when she gets one.” Those words are forever burned in my mind. Here is this nurse, that says she has been a NICU for years, yet she just takes one look at my baby and thinks that she knows her. I knew Adeline had the knowledge and the potential, but something seemed to be holding her back.
This fall I’ve been doing a bible study at church on Hebrews. At first I had second thoughts about going because it’s a Women’s Bible Study and I’ve found that after losing Adeline it’s sometimes hard to be in groups of women. I feel that in the world we live in, people only want to bring to surface the good things. It’s evident just by scrolling through social media. It’s hard to navigate that when you have suffered something so deep. So I prayed that maybe this group would be different, and it has been! It’s truly been such a different experience than anything I’ve experienced. And I praise God for that!
One thing that stuck out to me in our reading from last week was Hebrews 6:18 “hold fast to the hope set before us.” I had this picture of this journey that I’m on and at the end is Adeline in the arms of Jesus. I feel that it’s hard to submit to that journey because I just want want what is at the end. But God has called us to persevere through the race that is set before us. I feel that Hebrews 12:1-3 says it best.
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’
Wow! Those verses are packed with so much goodness. The word that sticks out to me the most is “hinder.” I think back to little Adeline trying to take those bottles and seeing in her eyes that she was able, but her body was hindering her from completing them. What is it that hinders you from running the race set out for you? God has set out individual paths for each of us. Some paths are marked with suffering, loss, financial struggles, but we have a Savior that has gone before us that has endured it all. What a beautiful reminder! So throw off what hinders you, fix your eyes on Jesus, and continue the race that you have been called to.