Around 11 p.m. things began changing. It became clear that Keller would be born shortly. Our Doctor and nurses began getting the room prepared. A huge swell of emotion broke over us – this was it. It was time. The wave crashed over us. We spun and sputtered in the water. The wave broke, and we eased into shore. Every time we had to meet a seemingly insurmountable task, the waves broke. The water would become still, even for only a moment, and allow us to come to our feet and meet the next wave face to face. This is God.
I made a play list for delivering Keller. It was filled with songs that inspired me to deeper trust and communion with the Lord. We were trying to get the music to play before I began pushing. We kept fiddling with it and the phone kept telling us that the music was playing, but we couldn’t hear anything. We quickly realized that when we pressed play on my phone, the play list began playing on our home computer. Which means at about 11:45 p.m. our neighbor Christine shot up in terror on our couch because incredibly loud hymns began mysteriously playing from our computer. This makes me laugh every time. I was talking with Christine about this a few days ago, and she said that the more she thought about that moment, the more she saw it as a “God moment”. She didn’t know how or what happened, but she did stop and pray, moments before we began pushing Keller’s body into this world. This is God.
We figured out the music and “Be Strong and Courageous” began playing as I began pushing.
“The Lord goes before you through the trouble and strife and he will protect you all the days of your life. He’ll never forsake you. Don’t be afraid.”
His delivery was beautiful. I pushed for 15 minutes. I was surrounded by loved ones, an incredible medical team, prayers of the saints, angel armies, and the Holy Spirit. I could focus in and tell my body just what it needed to do to push our son’s body into this world. “How Great is Our God” played when his lifeless body was effortlessly delivered at 11:57 p.m., just in time to make his due date, and Keller entered my arms. This is God.
“How great is our God. Sing with me, How great is our God. And ALL WILL SEE How Great is our God.”
This moment. Oh this moment. Keller was not alive. His body was limp and lifeless. His body was cold and grey. His death became reality. Every ounce of hope vanished for everyone in the room. This moment brought Nathan, my parents, Wendy, my Doctor, and the nurses to their knees. They all quite literally hit the ground and cried and screamed out in desperation. Anger filled the room. No. No. No. No! Keller was so very dead. Everyone was forced to face his little body and fully accept right in that moment that our son would never cry out or breathe.
My mom became ill and nearly threw up. Our Doctor (our wonderful, incredible, God-given doctor [more to come on her goodness later]) held my parents as they all sat on the ground and audibly cried out in pain of the assurance of his death. I remember Nathan falling to his knees in a sorrow I never knew existed. We raged at his death. Everyone could barely look at sweet Keller because the more we stared at him the more we had to accept his death. The more we had to accept that we would never know our son in this life. The moment Keller was born the fragile glimmer of hope we had all been tenderly cradling dropped to the ground and shattered. It shattered and it was heard in the wailing of those that loved Keller most.
But for me, for me it was different. The doctor immediately placed Keller on my stomach. I was holding my son. I couldn’t look at him, but I could hold his tiny hands. Tears fell down my cheeks. I had delivered our son. I was his mommy, and I was holding our boy. I lay there for a long time, eyes closed, holding and rubbing Keller’s sweet newborn hands. I could hear the chaos death causes around me, but for that moment, I was at peace. The Lord caused the peace that absolutely surpasses all understanding to blanket over me. It’s the most “present” I have ever been. It was a “Heaven moment”. This is God.
The crushing wave broke momentarily and eased my family and loved ones ashore. They were able to come up from their knees and meet Keller. I didn’t want anyone to move him off of me, but I did want everyone to touch him. I remember saying, “Holding his hands is absolutely incredible. I can’t look at him quite yet, but feeling his weight on me and holding his hands is amazing. You should all come and touch him. Come meet Keller and touch his sweet little body.” I can so perfectly recall holding tightly to Keller in those initial moments. Nothing will ever feel as incredible as it felt to hold Keller. “He’s a big boy. This is an 8 lb. baby.” And he was. I sat there and stroked his hands and basked in the peace of being united with our son.
I finally was able to look down and scoop him up into my arms. I cried as I cradled him in my arms. I was immediately fiercely protective of Keller. I wanted him to have as many baby moments as we could fit in. I wanted his lifeless body to be respected and treated as if it were a screaming and thriving newborn. I held Keller close and Nathan and I looked at our son together. All three of us sat there in that moment and let every emotion that came with it wash over us – anger, love, devotion, grief, hopelessness, emptiness, fear, trust, devastation, brokenness, helplessness, peace. It was the most intense and beautiful moment I have ever known. This is God.