The last 48 hours have been filled with God’s presence. Little moments of stillness amidst the storm of welcoming a new baby in which God whispered in our ear gentle reminder:
“You are Mine.”
“Jackson is Mine.”
“I’m in charge.”
The change started Tuesday morning as the sun came up. In the 24 hours preceding we had been in the hospital trying to get labor going nothing had happened. Like literally, we progressed backwards!
We fell asleep exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged. We woke up refreshed, optimistic, and encouraged.
I turned on the lights and I changed the music in our room to a playlist I call, “All U2, All Crowder, All the Time.”
That little room reset set in motion a series of things where God loudly presented His voice.
First, the nurses examined Kristen. A 25 year veteran and then the senior nurse on the ward both said… “I’ve never felt anything like that. I have no idea what that means or what’s going on.”
We laughed. And both Kristen and I soaked in the reality that it wasn’t just that Kristen was a newfound medical mystery– it was that God was going to reveal Himself in an unexpected way.
Then, the doctor came in. She answered all of our questions and was matter-of-fact about what was going to happen. His head was too big to be born
As the hours progressed our anxiety about the realities of how Jackson would be born significantly decreased, too. We rested knowing that while we hadn’t intended for a C section, it wasn’t the end of the world. But it clearly a little test of our dependency on God as our Father.
As a dad I like to be in control. Our kids are old enough where I’ve learned how to keep things in my family within parameters of my control. Those boundaries are often wide for plenty of room to be brave yet stringent enough to keep everyone out of harms way. Control is a necessary function of parenting. In many ways it isn’t that I like to be in control. It’s that my role as a father means I need to be in control.
Yet, in this situation we were removed from the control position. We knew nothing about having a baby this way. We were going to have to completely give up control to people we barely knew and trust that they would take care of us in our most vulnerable state.
On one side of the teeter totter was the birth process we knew. Being a known process, even if it ended in more frustration, seemed good to us because we knew it. On the other side of the teeter totter was the birth process we knew of, knew a lot of facts about, but couldn’t trust from our experience.
Back and forth we went.
All afternoon, we teeter-tottered between rationally knowing that the surgery was the only way to go and the fear of the unknown. And yet God’s peace began to fill the room with each passing hour.
Finally, the hour arrived. With all of the preparations complete an OR nurse came into our room and started to pull Kristen’s bed out of the room.
We were helpless with what was about to happen. We had zero control. We signed consent forms. Our “yes” was in writing! This wasn’t some sort of metaphysical letting go anymore… literally, Kristen’s life and Jackson’s life were being wheeled down the hallway.
Kristen went down the hall into the operating room and I was left alone behind the big double doors. Alone in the moment. I was trying to think about anything but “what if?”
My mind swirled in those moments. Thinking about seeing Jackson in a few minutes. Thinking about the order of who to call after he was born. Thinking about news of an earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. Thinking about the deliveries of Megan and Paul. Thinking about if I had watered the plant above my desk at home. Thinking about all the episodes of TV hospital drama I’d seen and never actually been into an operating room. Thinking about how I was going to juggle taking pictures with both my iPhone and my still camera. Thinking about what I wanted to say to Kristen when he was born.
Round and round my brain went. 1,000 miles per hour and 1,000 directions at once. My world felt very small in those few moments. My whole world was limited to the two 12×12 tiles my feet were frozen in.
There was never a place in my life so alone as in that hallway. And for Kristen, I’m sure there was never a more alone place than laying on that table getting prepped. If marriage is about oneness than we shared in the oneness of our aloneness in that moment.
Finally, the door opened and a nurse moved me to another room. A real waiting area. More like a closet. I’d be brought into the operating room just before they were ready to pull him out. Fortunately, there was a chair there so I could sit down. I collapsed into the seat– still swirling and full of emotion. There wasn’t anything I could do. Just sit.
As the nurse closed the door leaving me alone I felt God’s presence arrive and fill the room. It’s hard to explain. But I just started to feel the same phrases over and over again. Not audible, not in mind mind… but somewhere in between. “You are mine. Jackson is mine. I’m in charge.”
I don’t know how long I was in there. Probably just a couple of minutes. But it was glorious! Now, all of a sudden, it felt like the whole experience was holy ground.
The nurse came back to get me. I put on my surgical mask. And the next few minutes were a blur of seeing Kristen, hearing the doctors talk, and culminating with the phrase, “Time. Seventeen-eleven.” I leaned to my left and there he was… Jackson Tucker McLane.
The bottom line is simple: When God shows up– Everything changes.