Five years ago I was laying in a hospital bed, halfway through my first pregnancy, shocked by the sudden, unexpected news that I would have to deliver this baby now. But I wouldn’t get to bring him home. He wouldn’t survive.
I wouldn’t get to introduce him to family and friends. I’d never sing him to sleep or buy him cute clothes. I wouldn’t get to watch him grow, to learn to walk and talk and run. I wouldn’t teach him how to play soccer or the guitar. All the dreams for his future, gone.
Mostly silence filled our hospital room as questions filled our minds. The nurses said he may live for a short time and we would get to hold him.
How do we hold such a tiny baby? You’ll know how, the nurse assured us.
What do we name him? Some people choose the name they always had in mind for their baby. Yet others pick a new name now that you know this baby won’t survive.
What would labor be like? Because the baby won’t survive, many pain relieving options were available. However since the baby might have a short time alive, I wanted to make sure I was completely coherent.
Our nurse who specialized in situations like ours, answered our questions before we even asked.
Our parents joined us in the hospital room. Tears, small talk played in the background as Jeff and I tried to secretly discuss a name. We didn’t even know if the baby was a boy or girl. This name has to mean something. I thought of some favorite Bible stories but needed a Bible. Of course since I landed in the hospital via ambulance, my phone wasn’t charged, I didn’t have a Bible or my iPad or anything. The nurse tracked down a Bible for me. Thanks Gideons.
Where is the story about Moses sending 12 spies into the Promised Land? After some scanning, Dad found it for me: Numbers 13. God had promised the Israelites this land but told Moses to send these 12 men ahead to check it out. They returned and declared to the people “It does flow with milk and honey and here is its fruit! But…” They were scared of the giants that live there. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.'”
But the others spread a bad report among the people so they grumbled and wept and doubted God’s promise. But Joshua and Caleb believed in the Lord and were not afraid. Because of the others God said the Israelites would wander through the desert for 40 years until everyone in that generation had died, except Joshua and Caleb. “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”
Caleb believed God, followed Him wholeheartedly, and coincidentally was the son of Jeff, or more specifically “Jephunneh.” Good thing the baby was born a boy. We had no girl name picked out.
And so Caleb was born. His heart stopped beating. No first cry. No happy tears, only sad ones. Our first family picture – do we smile? We held his tiny body but his soul was already in heaven.
All the lost dreams, the won’t haves, the hopes broken have changed.
Caleb made me a Mom, even though he never called me Mommy. He taught me the incredible power of love as my heart burst with love for him. Because of Caleb my faith was tested and survived. I grew dependent on the Lord in a way nothing but heart-wrenching sorrow could make possible. The Word of God literally sustained me.
I could always list the “won’t haves” with Caleb – and often I do think of them. But because of Caleb, I have new dreams I get to fulfill every day with Jack and Parker. God has given me many blessings, and Caleb is one of the best.
Oh Debbie, I can’t stop weeping. Your story is incredibly touching. You are so strong. Praise God for your faith thru it all! I’ll be thinking of and praying for you and your family today!