The constant beeping in the room was now reassuring and familiar. It meant that everything was alright. Only alarms caused the feelings of panic to rise again. Even that fear had lessened due to the constancy of alarms in this surreal environment.
“I’m so proud of you sweetheart. You are doing such a good job. I love you my sweet Josiah.” Katy never stopped crooning words of love to the tiny baby in the humidicrib before her. “I can’t wait to hold you close little one. You are so brave. Keep resting, keep growing. God loves you Josiah, I love you. You are doing such a good job.”
Her arm was aching but she refused to remove her hand from the plastic window of the humidicrib which she was allowed to open only a few times a day. This was as close as she could get to touching her baby. She would not stop. She was willing her strength into him.
Katy had not slept in two days, and as she watched her baby, and listened to the monotonous beeping, her mind wandered.
She had first noticed the cramping feelings at church on Sunday. Having never had a baby before, she wasn’t sure if it was contractions, but she hoped not, because her due date was just over 6 weeks away.
By Monday lunchtime, she could deny it no more.
“Wayne, I think I’m in labour.”
“What? Are you sure? Isn’t it too early for that?”
She started to answer him, but her breath caught as another wave of contractions came upon her.
“Oh. Katy. Should we go to town now?”
“Yeah, the suitcase is by the bed. I hope I’ve got everything, I packed it last night just in case.”
Katy knew that Wayne had tried to drive gently over the rough dirt roads, but when the contractions hit on the trip, she really wished she had taken her mother’s advice and stayed in town in the months before the baby was due.
The little town had no hospital, but Katy had called her mother, and she knew the doctor would be waiting for her at her parents’ home.
When Dr Phillips admitted that she was six centimeters dilated, his face was strained.
“Will it be OK?” Wayne voiced the question she could not bring herself to ask.
“I will do everything in my power to make it so Wayne, you know that, but I have to tell you, I’m not equipped for a premmie baby here. I think it would be best to call the hospital. They have a neonatal intensive care unit. I’d like them to be on standby just in case.”
When Josiah finally arrived, Katy could see Dr Phillips’ concern reflected in his face. Josiah managed a weak cry, but he was tiny.
“Katy. I need to get you and Josiah to the hospital. He needs to be on oxygen. His lungs aren’t fully developed. He needs to be kept warm. We can’t let him work for anything. If he has to use energy on feeding and keeping warm, he may lose weight. We can’t let that happen. The helicopter is waiting. We need to go now.”
Katy held Josiah close as her mother hugged them gently.
“Bon voyage.” she said, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Good trip, safe trip. We will be praying. I’ll have everybody praying.”
Her father joined their embrace. “God will be with you even though we aren’t. Do not fear Katy. He is always with us. We will be praying for all of you. Safe journey.”
The pressure of Wayne’s hand on her back reminded her that Dr Phillips was waiting.
On the helicopter, Josiah went straight into a humidicrib and onto oxygen. The transport unit for babies had only been purchased the month before after a big fundraising effort. Prior to that, Josiah would have had to endure the hour long flight without help. Many babies had died as a result.
An alarm sounded and broke her thoughts. Her pulse raced, then she sighed with relief. It was not Josiah’s.
“Thank you Lord” she whispered “Thank you for Josiah. Thank you that he’s holding his own. Thank you for our safe trip here. Thank you most of all for the transport unit and those people who gave their money to buy it. Bless them Lord for their kindness. And please, please, give Josiah the strength that he needs. Let him be OK.”
Author’s Note: One of these transport units has just been purchased in our area. It has already saved the lives of little ones born in remote areas. This story is fictional, but could easily be true. I am grateful to God for the people who have made this possible.
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