“He is going to be okay, isn’t he?” she asked me again, perhaps the one hundredth time I had heard that question.  She asked that question numerous times throughout the course of a normal day.  She asked it more frequently before visiting the doctor’s office, and she asked it every night as I prayed with her before bed.

Weeks earlier, prior to breaking my back, I had lied and said, “Yes, he is fine.  Stop worrying.”  I always told her to stop worrying, even though I was guilty of it myself.  I worried about Samuel having some type of birth defect.  I worried about Leah’s body reaching its physical limit and shutting down, potentially harming her and Samuel.  I worried about Leah’s health as each new day became a struggle for her.

I used worry in the past tense because I no longer worried about it.  In the midst of my own personal conflict, namely breaking my back, I had the time to reflect upon what God was doing in mine and Leah’s life.  Lying on my back with very limited mobility, I had time for plenty of introspection.  I was angry at God for our overall situation.  I was angry at God more specifically because of my wife’s health and the potentially bad health of my unborn son.  It was only after carefully consideration of Christ on the Cross, no less through the leading of the Holy Spirit, that I realized any suffering I endured in this world paled in comparison to Jesus’ suffering.  From that point forward, my burden of anxiety, which in turn produced my burden of anger, was lifted as I sought forgiveness from God and strength to move forward.  Thankfully, He is an ever gracious God to His children when it comes to forgiveness.

By this point in Leah’s journey, fatigue was the greatest enemy and it was only compounded by frequent bouts of insomnia.  Despite having placenta previa and placenta accreta, there were no serious complications that prompted the doctors to order an emergency delivery or bed rest.  There was no bleeding, major abdominal pain, nor were there any severe contractions.  She went twice weekly for Samuel’s heart monitoring and life continued onward.

It took weeks for me to recover from my injury to the point where I could function semi-normally.  I am blessed to pastor a church family filled with Christ-like servants.  We were flooded with kindness both personally and professionally.  After a few weeks, I tried to transition back into a normal routine; after all, Samuel’s delivery date was fast approaching.

Samuel’s original due date was May 28, and this date was established long before there was a sign of complications.  After it was determined Leah would need to deliver by c-section, the date was pushed ahead to May 20.  This change was of no consequence at the time.  However, as Leah’s ailments began to be unveiled, the doctor was beginning to eye the first week in May.

As a side note, Leah wanted to deliver Samuel on May 4th because she thought I would enjoy having a child born on Star Wars day.  She was absolutely correct, I think that would have been very cool.  Yet realistically, it was never going to happen because her doctor performed surgeries on Thursday, so May 2nd would have been the day.

Anyway, none of these dates would be relevant because Leah’s placenta accreta continued to advance and her surgeon decided April 25 was the day Samuel would make his appearance to the outside world.  All the tension that had been building since Leah’s diagnosis would finally be coming to a close.  The mystery surrounding Samuel’s health would be solved.  We were ready for the ordeal to be over and we finally had a day for the climactic scene of our story!

If you have been following along closely, you know there is going to be a big twist in the story before there can be any form of plot resolution.  At least, you expect a shocking plot twist at this time when you are reading a good book.  It adds to the conflict of the story and brings it to life for the reader.  Our story is no different, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Four weeks of planning for Samuel’s arrival soon turned into three, but in one fell swoop of a doctor’s visit, we only had two weeks left to prepare.  April 25th was the day and we were going to utilize every moment of it.  Or, we thought were going to utilize every moment.  Leah’s fatigue became increasingly worse and during those final two weeks, she began to have back contractions.  In the midst of caring for our older children, keeping the house in order, and working a full-time job, I was also doing my best to insure Leah did as little as possible.

Tentative plans were made for our children as the day approached.  Leah’s parents, who had traveled extensively for ministry through much of the month of April, were coming to be with us, along with Leah’s two sisters.  They were set to arrive on April 24.  They would find a hotel close to the hospital and keeping our two children with them.  Our goal was to minimize the trauma on our other two children by keeping their routines relatively normal.  Having gone on family vacations with Leah’s parents and sisters in previous summers, we knew I children would see it as an adventure.

Leah and I did I best to prepare in the midst of doctor’s appointments, preschool, and church.  Though the big event was still days away, Leah packed travel bags for Daniel and Ellie and placed them in the minivan.  There were a few tasks that remained incomplete when we left on the afternoon of April 24 to meet Leah’s parents and sisters in Newport News for dinner, but they could be easily dealt with when we returned home.

I am not exactly sure who loves Red Lobster in Leah’s family, conceivably all of them because we go there a lot, which is awesome because I love it too.  We found ourselves at Red Lobster in Newport News this night enjoying time with family.  The kids were naturally excited because our family was visiting, but they were also anticipating staying in a hotel with Grampy and Grammy.  Or, they were anticipating the hotel having a pool.  It was surely a combination of the two.  Leah’s family appeared equally excited at all the possibilities before them with our children for a few days.

The evening was going well.  We made it through the appetizer and salad phases without major incident, which means only three or four calls for bathroom breaks with the kids.  The waiter brings out the main course dishes and splays them before us like a seaside cornucopia overflowing with fried shrimp, scallops, fish, and clams.  After the initial excitement of the food before us wore off, Leah arises rather quickly and goes to the restroom.  She returns a few moments later to inform me that she is bleeding and we need to go to the hospital immediately.  The table erupts as if someone has pulled a fire alarm.  I head out to get the van and plot my course for Norfolk General Hospital.