By Dennis Rainey
How was your weekend? I know, you’ve slept since then!
Ours? I’m glad you asked. It was FANTASTIC!!! Barbara and I had a VERY productive, memorable weekend.
Our daughter Laura and hubby Josh were expecting their second baby in early August. They had decided to not learn the sex of the baby and allow the rest of us to participate in God’s “Greatest Reveal Party” at birth! Laura was scheduled to have a C-section at 7 a.m. on Monday. Man plans, but God determines the outcome …
On Friday about noon Barbara received an urgent call from Laura: “I think you need to hurry over here. NOW! I think I’m in labor early. I’m running by the doc’s office to confirm.”
Barbara immediately moved into “mom overdrive” and announced to me, “Pack your bags, Laura thinks she in labor. She may be headed to the hospital soon!”
I saluted and matched Barbara’s intensity with my own “dad overdrive” and began throwing clothing and gear into Barbara’s car.
As I packed, I remembered our first pregnancy and Barbara’s declaration, “I think I’m in labor! We need to go to the hospital …. NOW!” I sprinted into action, threw Barbara’s packed suitcase into the car then calmly broke every driving law in the universe as we raced across town toward the hospital. We’d passed the halfway point when I turned to Barbara and with a degree of youthful male pride said, “You know, I don’t know why people make such a big deal out of having a baby. I’m not nervous. There’s really nothing to it!”
To which Barbara calmly pointed out, “Oh really? Is that why you just ran that red light?”
As it turned out, Barbara was experiencing false labor. We went back home, well under the speed limit.
On the edge of our seats
As I was thinking about this false alarm from almost 46 years ago, the phone rang again with Laura confirming the change of plans: A C-section would be performed at 5 p.m. “HURRY!”
“Hurry” turned to “scurry” as we quickly locked the house and headed east, Barbara texting Laura and her siblings the whole way.
We arrived at 4 p.m. Of course, the hospital was on Covid-19 lockdown for visitors, so we went directly to their house to care for their son, Lincoln. Laura was being prepped for the C-section.
Five p.m passed. A text: “Another mom is pushing … it’s her sixth … have to wait a little longer.”
Six o’clock came. Still no info.
Laura’s five siblings, their spouses and kids are spread out in five cities from Nashville to Arkansas to Dallas to Colorado. Collectively, all were on the edge of their seats and all were texting, demanding to know what was going on.
Then came the word that the baby had arrived at 6:08. Mom and baby were healthy. We exhaled.
The Great Reveal
But Laura’s husband, Josh, was in stealth mode.
God’s GREAT REVEAL was top secret. Josh curtly texted, “Stay tuned.”
At 8:02, the phone rang again with yet another urgent directive from Josh. “Jump in the car and hurry to the hospital. NOW!”
Josh went on, “Park in the parking deck and come around the back of the hospital and you can see Laura and baby through the first-floor window … but hurry, the nurses are wanting to move us to our room.”
We sprinted to our car, made an unlawful U-turn (similar to the ones when our daughter Ashley was born) to get there in time to see the baby. As I “put the pedal to the metal” I was thinking about what I’d say to the police when they pulled me over. “Officer, my youngest daughter just had a baby … and we are from out of state … ” Well, you know how the mind works while on adrenalin overdose.
We pulled into the parking deck with another mystery to solve … where was the back of the hospital? As we ran by rooms I felt like I was trespassing … would someone official come tell us to leave? And Josh was still on the phone giving us directions … “You need to hurry! They want to move her now!” We dashed around a corner of the building … looking for a window that displayed Laura, Josh and the baby.
Finally, after sprinting by a half dozen windows, grateful their curtains were closed … then … suddenly … we were face-to-face with Josh and the baby … separated by a window.
At this point in the drama, Barbara instantly made a pronouncement. Because she is an artist she notices things that I don’t … like color. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was thinking, but I wasn’t looking for color … I was staring at the baby and at this point all of life was reduced to black and white. I just wanted to hear the words “boy” or “girl” and celebrate with our daughter and husband. I just wanted to see the baby, Laura and Josh. I was breathless physically, emotionally and if it’s possible, spiritually!
There we were in the twilight of the evening, standing face-to-face with Josh holding our new grandchild, and Laura in bed, beaming through tears in her eyes. It all happened too fast; crying and screaming, sort of quietly! At first Barbara made no sense saying, (now I’m getting choked up again) “There’s a pink hat” … “A PINK HAT!” … “It’s a girl! IT’S A GIRL! IT’S A GIRL!!!”
Tears of my own spilled over and slid down my cheeks. Yes, life has some dark moments, but it also has some inexpressibly exquisite peaks!
This was a “Rocky Mountain 14er”.
We took 118 pictures in 120 seconds.
And Barbara and I gave thanks to God for a healthy birth for Emma Catherine and her mom, Laura.
What is it about babies and children?
There’s just something about a newborn baby.
Since the birth a week ago both Barbara and I have been reflecting on our lives together, (coming up on 48 years of marriage September 2), six children (all married), and now 14 granddaughters and a dozen grandsons. (The count was tied at 12, but the last two baby girls have tipped the scales toward a sorority.)
As a young man I didn’t care much about children. They were okay … I just wasn’t into children. Until Barbara and I dated and started talking about how many children we’d like to have, I had never given children a conscious thought. And grandchildren were alien to my vocabulary and aliens to me on planet earth.
But early in our marriage I read Psalm 127 and found that God loves children. Take a look at what He says:
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Read those words again. It’s an MRI of God’s heart for a generational relay race: Children are a blessing. A heritage and a reward from God.
A couple questions I’ve asked God over the last four decades are, “Why do many of those who don’t want or value children seemingly get pregnant so easily?” and “Why do those who so want to have a child struggle to get pregnant or can’t have children?” God’s ways are not ours. I don’t always understand Him, but I do trust Him.
I know His words are true.
I also know God made it clear in the Garden that He wants His people to raise children who will reflect Him and share His truth with others.
God is “BIG” on children and we should be too. They are image bearers. Emissaries to a fallen world.
Welcome to God’s world, little Emma Cate! We are so grateful God gave you to Josh and Laura and us.
This is too good to keep to yourself! Share with a friend or family member using the links below!
PS. And if you want to grow as a parent and train your children to love, may I suggest you take a look at our book, The Art of Parenting. Available here for a limited time for $15 (25% off).