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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: The Hero
By Rhonda Clark


Her days are filled with poking and prodding. Doctors and nurses keep a watchful eye over our little darling as they adjust and administer medications. Every moment her tiny heart beats is one more moment we have with her.

My days are filled with learning hospital jargon as I sit in the brightly painted rocking chair near my daughterís NICU bed. Today, I get to hold heróbut only for a brief time. Sheís so tiny, frail, and weak. Her six-week-old body has survived one surgery, and only God knows how many more will be required to mend her malformed heart. The God-given talents of special surgeons will make her heart right. The second surgery will happen as soon as the doctors believe she can handle it. We call her Faith because we have Faith in God that he will restore her frail and ailing body.

The nurse lifts Faith from the crib and places her gently into my arms. A tangle of monitor wires and IV tubes extends from her little body and cascade to the floor. Iím careful how I rock, so as not to disrupt the flow of necessary fluids or the recording of any information.

I look into my babyís sweet face and I think of how everyone looks to me as a hero. They see me as a tireless woman who has sacrificed selflessly to spend every moment possible at my babyís beside or in the NICU waiting room. When I greet visitors, I most often do so with a smile. I do this not only to hide my tears, but because Iím glad someone has taken the time to minister to meóas well as Faith. Also, itís great to see a friendly face so far from home.

Living here is difficult. We traded our nice, comfortable home for a cramped travel trailer in the back lot of the hospital, and we are the lucky ones. Many families with babies here have no choice but to live in the waiting room because they canít afford a motel.

When friends do visit, itís sometimes hard to swallow the constant lump that sits in my throat, especially when I get those pitiful looks from them. And if I hear another, ĎGod is in this,í or ĎHeíll bring you through,í Iím liable to scream. I know Heís in this and Heíll sustain us. I just wish He would have found another way to make His point than giving my baby a malformed heart.

No, Iím not a hero. Iím just a mother trying to survive, knowing there is nothing I can do for my sick baby. The real hero here is Faith. Sheís the one who doesnít give up. Sheís the one who takes the breaths necessary to stay with us another minute, another hour, another day. I kiss her tiny head and stroke her precious cheek. Two of the smallest, darkest eyes Iíve ever seen open and stare at me. A distorted smile forms around the tubes taped to her face. From under her blanket, a fist appears and flexes open. I place my finger inside and she clamps her fingers shut around it.

Yes, Faith is the real hero.

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This article has been read 848 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Eleanor Joyce05/03/07
I've had a baby in ICU...I've done the careful holding, watchful of the tubes and wires...you have captured my feelings exactly as I remember them. Very well done!
Delia Latham 05/05/07
Your story brought back so many memories! My grandson spent the first 3 months of his life in UCLA's ICU, had seven surgeries during that time, and wore tubes everywhere one could be inserted - including the awful IV in the top of his little head. I felt your pain vividly. Excellent visualization, nicely written.
Jess Godwin05/07/07
Jacquelyn Horne05/08/07
Heartfelt story. I could feel your mixed emotions. That's good.
Jan Ackerson 05/08/07
How very tender! Lovingly and beautifully written.
Cheri Hardaway 05/08/07
I had a little one in ICU too, and you have done a beautiful job of capturing the anguish of the mother's heart. Nicely done. Cheri
Mariane Holbrook 05/08/07
What a tender story and written from a heart of love. I'm so glad I got to read it. Very nice job.
Joanne Sher 05/09/07
This is so vivid and real. You stirred my heart. Your last line is perfect.
Kate Grey05/14/07
Beautiful. You really bring the reader into the story to experience the setting and the emotions.
Emily Blakely05/29/07
Good telling of a real life situation. I could identify precisely with the hospital environment, long waiting, fatigue, etc. I like how you gave insight to the MC's feelings of well-intentioned comments from visitors. Good job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/21/07
This is well-written and very touching, even more so because I know of a baby named Faith who had a heart defect. She lived a hero for three months.