Chronicles of Sadie

Big Days and Big Hands (Sadie’s First Birthday)

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(originally written on July 15th, 2009)

It’s hard to believe, but today is the day! One year ago today, Laura and I were in totally different circumstances, to say the least. We were thinking of totally different things and our lives were about to take a totally different turn.

One year ago today, our little Sadie was born.

Since we were having a scheduled c-section due to Laura’s medical history, our birthing experience did not begin as dramatically as in the movies. There were no sudden contractions. There was no screaming on Laura’s part. Mine is a different story. But at any rate, I never fired up the car to screech down the road at breakneck speed while Laura huffed and puffed her lamaze breathing in the back seat.

No, the morning was quiet. If you know my wife, then you know that our bags had been packed for weeks. All was ready—except us, that is. We were not scheduled to go in until about 11:00 am, so the morning was very strange. We sat on the couch and waited. And waited. And waited. We made what small talk we could, but mostly we waited.

Then suddenly, someone burst through the door from our garage with the scream of a blood-curdling Rebel yell at Gettysburg. I almost had a coronary. It was only Greg, Laura’s brother. He and Laura’s mom had arrived early for the big day and were just stopping in to say “hello.” Once my pulse returned to normal, we embarked for the hospital. It was a weird drive because I kept thinking that when I would drive back home in a few days, there would be three of us in the car instead of two. Yikes!

After we had checked in, more waiting ensued—it is sort of the hospital way. Laura’s family and my family both showed up for a pre-baby show of support and then we were finally whisked away to the operating room. After prepping Laura, they prepared to give her the spinal (an injection into her spinal cord that deadens her from the waist down.) I already felt numb from the neck up. Laura, however, was a trooper as usual.

They put her on the operating table and invited me back into the room. She was completely covered in like twenty-seven surgical blankets and was wearing a lovely matching surgical hat and mask. The best part was that I got to wear the hat and mask too! Finally, I was just another one of the doctors… well, minus the money, intelligence, and respect of course.

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You’ll never guess what happened next! We waited some more. As she was on her way to our room, our doctor kept getting caught up with other patients’ emergencies and since we were more than happy to not be in an emergency situation, we passed the time talking “medical-speak” with the other nurses and assistants. Well, Nurse Laura did most of the talking. I remember that we were on the top floor of Centennial Women’s Hospital in Nashville and I could clearly see all of downtown from where we were. I also distinctly remember thinking it odd that there was a radio mounted in the wall that controlled the speakers in the ceiling. I was allowed to choose whatever station I desired. Again, not your typical birthing experience.

Finally, our doctor arrived and the procedure began with little pomp. A sheet was raised up around Laura’s neck so we couldn’t see the actual procedure, but we could see each other. It was a very interesting experience, mainly because Laura literally could not feel anything as the result of her spinal. I kept asking her if she was okay, and she just smiled and talked to me as if we were watching television together at home. She even commented that it felt a little bit like they were tickling her.

I assured her that what was going on behind that curtain was no tickle—later on when the drugs wore off, she agreed.

Since we were having a c-section, Laura had warned me that Sadie might not be as pink or cry loudly like other babies since she hadn’t been through the full-birthing process. I was emotionally prepared for a little slightly blue, quiet baby that they might have to help breathe for a while. Sadie would have none of it—in a matter of minutes, she entered the world bright pink and screaming bloody murder—much to the delight of everyone in the room.

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Because she was doing so well, the nurses even brought her back around the curtain for an extended amount of time so that Laura and I could both spend time with her. Everyone was so relaxed that the nurses were snapping pictures for us. It was a glorious moment.

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But it got even better. They allowed me to carry the little princess down the elevator and into the nursery—and to stay with her as all the measuring, poking, and prodding commenced. She was perfect—even with her slightly misshaped head and crooked foot from being lodged against Laura’s hip bone (it’s okay, we got her ironed out over time.) As I stood there with all of our family watching from behind the glass, my little Sadie held my finger in her hand and all was right with the world.

The rest of the day was long and full of events, but I will always remember that moment when Sadie first held my hand. Today, she’s still holding it. One day, she will hold it as I walk her down an aisle to give her hand to some other, lesser-man’s hand (I joke of course—mostly.)

The instinct to grasp the hand of her father is a striking similarity to our ability to find the hand of our Father in the midst of every situation. You may not understand where you are in the “hospital” of your current mindset or situation. You may not be able to understand the words that are being spoken over you or why life keeps poking you in the foot with sharp objects (spiritually, of course.)

But what you can count on is the hand of God as described by Isaiah: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

You don’t have to understand where you are, just reach up and take hold of his hand.

On this celebrated day, I’m still holding to the hand of my Father asking him to help me as my precious one holds to mine.

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