My daughter was already a little over two weeks old the first time our whole family had been in the same room postpartum. Since little Madeleine came six weeks early, she had to spend about 10 days in the Neonatal ICU. The doctors thought she would be there longer, but, being my child, she figured out how to eat sooner than the average premature baby.
Those ten days were a lot of work for us—especially for Kristian after I had to return to Arkansas. We had to be at the hospital every three hours during the day to feed her. Outside those times, there was really nowhere for us to be up there, so numerous trips were made all day, every day.
We had dealt with a NICU baby before, but it was new territory to care for one while caring for an 18 month old son at home. Benjamin loves his little sister, but only got to see her once while she was in the hospital, for about three minutes, and without his mommy there. It’s been a big adjustment for him too.
In all of this, we are so grateful to have her, though. Having lost two that we desperately wanted, hearing the way so many people talk about children as though they’re an imposition makes Kristian and me angry, to be honest. We know as well as anyone the truth behind the verse I often quote, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). Children are precious, and not to be taken for granted. And we are enjoying having ours home, finally.
During the last two weeks of Kristian’s pregnancy she experienced some serious symptoms that greatly concerned her doctors. Her obstetrician made it clear that the delivery could potentially have been fatal. So we prayed. Within about two hours of that event, Kristian went into labor and was given a c-section. And God was good to take care of both of my girls.
But Madeleine’s birth was a bittersweet event. If you have known my wife and me very long at all, you know we planned on having a big family. With the complications that arose, we discovered it will be impossible for us to have any more children of our own. We had always discussed and prayed about adoption anyway, and it may be that the Lord is steering us in that direction.
Madeleine Grace Byrns was born on Thursday night, September 13, 2012, in Norman, Oklahoma. (Her name seems to be hard for people to pronounce, but it is mad-uh-line. The final syllable rhymes with “fine” not “run.”)
In my post after Benjamin’s birth, I said that I like names with a special meaning. Kristian chose Madeleine’s names because she thought they were pretty; but they’re not without meaning. Madeleine is a French version of the word “Magdalene,” as in Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was a woman who was under the power of Satan, but when Jesus set her free she devoted her life to following him (Luke 8:2; John 19:25). She then became one of the first to bear witness to the resurrected Christ and to testify of what she had seen (John 20:11-18).
What better hope could a believer have for his daughter—or any of his children—than this: that she would come to trust Christ to set her free from the sin we’re all shackled to, that she would devote her life to Him, and that she would tell others about our Savior Who died and rose again.
As for the name Grace—His grace is amazing, need I say more?
Please join us in praying for little Madeleine as she grows.