Touched by God
Our first child was born a year ago today – September 18, 2007. He was three weeks early, born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice. My wife had spent the better part of four days in the hospital as doctors tried everything in their powers to get her body to cooperate and bring this new life into the world. She sat hunched over on the edge of the hospital bed, the nurse rubbing her back while the anesthesiologist needed three tries to correctly find the soft spot between her vertebrae with the epidural needle. She laid under three blankets shivering, dry-heaving into one of those kidney-shaped basins, as the drugs took over her body.
I will never forget the look on the nurse’s face, and the feeling in my stomach, when she looked at the monitor at the baby’s dropping heartbeat. She rang for the doctor, the lights came on, and a cart full of instruments appeared from nowhere. The doctor came in and very delicately, but firmly, told my wife: “Everything is going to be fine, we’re going to get this baby out, but it needs to come out NOW.”
I stood by the bed and held her left leg – those movies and TV shows with men pacing in the waiting room are a fairy tale – and coached while my wife summoned the strength, after the most exhausting day of her life, to bring our son into the world. Doctors and nurses spent twenty agonizing minutes massaging his body, coaxing life into his tiny lungs, before they let my wife have her child. He weighed five pounds, eight ounces when we left the hospital two days later.
My wife breastfed him for three months, trying every day to will this child to take the nipple. Premature boys don’t latch well we were told. But he did eventually, thanks to my wife’s love and patience, and he grew. And he grew. He weighed twenty-three pounds on his first birthday. He is trying to walk. He babbles non-stop. He has never stopped smiling. He has big, beautiful blue eyes that sparkle. He loves to listen to the birds sing and watch the wind blow through the leaves. He loves to clap. He is curious. He loves water. He eats anything you put in front of him. He rarely cries. We can’t remember life without him.
This has confirmed my belief that I cannot watch a woman I love go through agony and summon the strength to bring life into the world, and I cannot watch a tiny child learn and laugh and grow into a magnificent little boy full of wonder, without believing in the extraordinary, all-powerful grace of God.
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