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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

From the other side

I sit here in a darkened ICU room. Everything all so familiar. The sounds, the smells, the people. Except this time it is totally different. This time I'm on the other side of the crib. This time I'm holding my son. This time it will be my son who is having open heart surgery.

Countless times I've been the one to get a child ready to go to the operating room. Straighten all the IV tubings in my typical OCD fashion. You would think we got awards for the neatest ICU bed. But no, that was just one of the innate characteristics of being an ICU nurse. Everything had to be in its place. The pumps in order, the lines straightened, the bed clean. Patient ready. All of those I enjoyed doing. Ultimately though it was my way of controlling a horrible situation. I mean let's me honest, it's not normal for babies to be sick in an ICU. It's actually awful. Being a nurse in the ICU taught me so many things about life, but I never imagined what it would prepare me for. This time it's not my patient. It's my son. I can't straighten enough lines, change enough sheets or organize enough pumps to make this go away. Now I look into the eyes of my colleagues not to talk about my patients, but about my son. So many times I've coached and encouraged families on their child's heart surgery and hospitalization. Now I am experiencing the anxiety, the fear and the heartbreak of trusting my child's life in the hands of a miracle worker. I am the one watching the team roll my child away to surgery. It's awful.

I feel the need to apologize to every single mother I've told "it's going to be ok" to. It's not ok. There is nothing ok about this. I will never understand why these things happen, especially to babies. What I do know is that God created these lives and Reid's life in his own image. He numbered their days long before I ever knew we would have him. Lord, I thank you for giving me a heart to work with heart babies 15 years ago. I thank you for giving me one of the few spots to work in the Cardiac ICU as a new graduate nurse. And thank you to Jean Storey for giving me a job :) Lord, I thank you for giving me the job I have now. One that I wasn't even looking for, but instead just came out of no where. I never imagined how all these things would one day bring us to Reid. So many times I question why things are happening or why the Lord allows these seasons of suffering. The thing I don't appreciate is I can't see the greater story. I can't see His bigger picture. He is constantly working behind the scenes and weaving our stories together for a greater purpose.... for His glory. So today, tomorrow, and the next day I will remind myself that while this is so very difficult, while I don't see the greater purpose now.... one day it will all be clear. One day we will understand why this is all happening. I just pray that day is on this side of heaven. The Lord never said it would be easy, but he says it will be worth it. In this truth alone, I place my complete trust. I never imagined I would have cancer. But I did. The Lord allowed that season for many reasons, one of which  was to take my faith in Him to a whole new level. I could never have made it through this without having gone through that first. "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good."  Romans 8:28 Jesus, you are worth every second. I pray that you continue to work out every single detail in our lives. Most of which well beyond what we would ever expect or deserve. Allow us to continue to place our complete trust in you. Lord, Reid was yours before he was ever ours. May we raise him to know and love you.  Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.  Jesus, this is all for you.  Holly 

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