So our sleep study with Mercy... for those of who aren't on Facebook or haven't already heard, SHE PASSED and we are OFF the heart monitor!!!

I've been so excited to share this news, and I wanted to just share some about the experience... it was good... interesting... not so unique, I would say more... familiar.

From the minute I walked through the door and sat down outside of admitting, I had a hard time holding tears in as my mind took me back to January 18th, waiting to be seen for my non-stress test.

The chaplain who loved us so well in the NICU spotted us and came by to see Mercy. We talked for awhile, and I wondered if he noticed my wispy eyes as I remembered how he prayed for us and how the Lord used him.

When they came by to bring us upstairs to our room, they brought a wheelchair. I asked if I could walk and they told me to "Relax and enjoy the ride." So I sat down, and immediately was back in the same wheelchair I was in when they wheeled me to and from the ultrasound that was the determining factor in my emergency c-section. The tears were closer and closer to the surface as I remembered the fears and the unknowns. Chris met us at the elevator and we headed up. This time, when we got off on the third floor, we took a right instead of a left and headed for pediatrics.

We got in our room, a regular pediatrics room with a huge crib, a hospital bed and a couch and we visited with the nurses for a few minutes. It would be a little bit before the respiratory team would come up to get her all hooked up and ready, so the three of us took a walk to the New Family Center and visited with some of our NICU nurses. These people will never fully know how much they mean to me and how deeply I love them for how they loved and took care of my daughter for seven weeks. Being close to tears already, I handed Mercy to the very first nurse I met during our hospital stay. It was a JOY to hand her over, and as I remembered the many times I had to hand her back to the nurses, the only thing that held the tears in was the amazement of her growth and the enjoyment of visiting with these nurses who had become like family to us.

After a bit we headed back to our room and waited just a few minutes. I was sitting in the hospital bed holding our eleven pound(!!!) Mercy girl when respiratory came in. They got her all hooked up with instruments that would measure her respiratory rate, heart rate, movement, sats...

So familiar, every bit of it. My eyes were immediately drawn to the screen that showed her sats.... and my mind was immediately drawn back to the screen I stared at every day for seven weeks checking her sats, and the tears began to resurface...

I looked at the band around her foot, the same foot that held the same band four months ago, but it looked so different.

The band on her foot in the bottom left is the same size as the band from the NICU pictures!
When I put her to bed that night and got myself into bed, every bit of me wanted to burst into tears looking at my child hooked up to those monitors. It was as if I was back in room 319, with soccer balls for knees, a whole lot of questions and fears, and a baby down the hall hooked up to machines keeping her alive.

And yet... I didn't. Not one tear dropped from my eyes the entire time we were at the hospital.

Everything was so familiar, so many hard memories were brought to the surface and made fresh again...

Yes, familiar... but completely different.

My baby girl wasn't hooked up to any machines, just monitors! She was sleeping in the room with me! She's just about five times the size she was back then, breathing beautifully with sats at 100%!

The memories were hard, sure, but they are not bad memories.

Those are days, events and tears that we never want to forget, memories we never want to lose. Never have we seen God work in such miraculous and amazing ways in our lives... remembering His peace, feeling His love wrapped around us, those are some of my very best memories!

Never take the hard times for granted, friends. God is working through every trail, and He promises to work ALL things together for the good of His children! Including the really hard stuff... including ventilators, PDA's and soccer ball knees!

Yes... The tears did finally come...

Thursday night I laid her in her bed to sleep for the first time ever with no monitors attached to her body. Before I even let her go, I had to pick her right back up and hold her so tight... the tears flowed.

Tears of gratitude, so proud of how she's grown, so grateful for the gift that she is. The heart monitor was the last hurdle and she is over it! For a momma who struggles with TRUST, this is a big deal! God has shown Himself so faithful in our little family and we are more blessed than we can fully understand!

I'll leave y'all with some more photos we took during the sleep study. She could not have done better! She seemed aggravated with the strip under her nose for a couple of minutes, but got used to it so fast. She slept peacefully for nine hours and gave a perfect reading for the doctor and nurses who told us, "She was the perfect patient!"

Thank you, friends! For all of the prayers that have brought us to this place. The peace of God has truly held us together in the hardest of times, and sharing our joys and victories with you has been so good for us!