It is 3:50am on April 28, 2017. The room is dimly lit and full of anticipation. Emily is laying at a 45 degree angle on the bed with a team of doctors and nurses at her feet and at her side (I was by her head lol). Everyone is around her with eyes focused on the monitors waiting for the next contraction. As the contractions build like crashing waves Emily pushes with all her might. During the pushes the doctors and nurses get into position and hold Emily as the waves of contractions pound against her body. Then the contractions stop and everything goes still. All eyes re-adjust back to the monitors to wait for the next one to come. My eyes zeroed in on Blakely’s heart rate monitor to see if she was still alive and I was relieved each time to see the rhythmic pulse of her heart still drumming. Everyone knew that it was only a matter of a few more contractions before Blakely arrived and the world seemed to stand still – very still. Then the clock hits 3:58am and the next wave of contractions build and the medical team takes their position and Emily pushes and pushes and pushes and then piercing through the tension a gritty cry floods the room – it is Blakely and she is alive!
As I write reflecting on Blakely’s birth in room 26 at the NICU with Blakely fast asleep in her crib and the neon lights of the monitors, I am in awe. I am in awe of a God who answers prayers, a God who gives life and a God who reveals himself in his people. Blakely’s birth was a holy and sacred ceremony. It was a communion with the living Jesus embodied by the church and ministered by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word was spoken out loud so all who were present could hear. Prayers were petitioned across the world and songs were tenderly sung. It was worship – it was beautiful.
I will always remember looking at Blakely’s face and holding her to my chest those very first few moments and thinking, “God this is good, this is what you are all about, do what you must to my family, we are in your hands.” I can’t really explain it but as I held Blakely with Emily by my side I was convinced full heartedly that God was more good than I could imagine. He heard my cries and he fathered me and he held me and he loved me.
I remember the people and their faces. I remember the doctors and the nurses and the friends and the family. I remember the prayers, the countless conversations, the emails, the texts and the letters. I remember the gifts and the love and the support from all of you. It was beautiful, it was overwhelming and it was joyful.
When I held Blakely for the first time, I was melting in her presence with each blink of her eyes and crinkle of her lips. I had underestimated the power of life and the explosive feelings of love it can deliver to the heart. As each second passed with Blakely in our presence I felt like love was a hammer and my heart was the anvil. I was being beaten into fatherhood and I could feel my selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness and malice breaking away. As the hammer kept pounding my heart gushed with love. I was soaking in love and was snotty and puffy eyed and goo-goo-ga-ga for Blakely. It could not be any sweeter to be her daddy – nothing else mattered.
So as I write to all of you now I want say, “Praise God.” He has listened and he has answered and he has shown his love to my little family through all of the hugs, notes, gifts and prayers. There is a long road ahead of us and it will be full of good moments like her birth and hard moments like her seizures, but God is with us. My prayer during this time has been, “God here we are do what you must.” God must do what he has to do and I trust him. My family trusts him and whatever must be done to us let it be done. He is making all things right and I cling to the promise that one day all will be made new including my little family.
But for now in the good and the bad I am seeing God. Even in the suffering I feel God’s presence. He has been in a position where he has witnessed his own Son (Jesus) live, suffer and die. As I write this right now I am awake because Blakely’s heart rate plummeted during the night. Emily and I stood by her crib as we watched it plummet a few more times. We didn’t know what was going on but we had to sit in that moment looking over our daughter and praying to God that we can have more time (She is stable and doing great right now!). It is up to him, but I know that he knows what it feels like to be in our shoes. He has been where we have been and he will see it through. I can’t do anything but let the pain sting and let the joy fill up and trust God to be God.
Born: April 28, 2017 at 3:58AM
Length: 21.6 inches
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Food: Chick-Fil-A
Favorite Activity: Watching Lebron James with Daddy
(1) Pray for Blakely’s surgery early this morning at 9am central time. She will be getting a G-Button in her tummy so she can eat without a tube in her mouth.
(2) Pray that Blakely will not have any more seizures. We have her on medicine to try and control them but we want to pray that they stop happening.
(3) Pray that we will be able to make wise decisions for Blakely in regards to her medicine and interventions that she may need. This weighs heavy on our hearts.
Thank you all for doing this with us!
– Michael, Emily and Blakely