My son is three today. As I recall all that today means to me, I can’t help but feel a huge wave of emotion. Of course, I am excited, happy, and joyful to be blessed with such a healthy and happy little boy. But, I can’t experience this day without feeling fear, devastation, and deep pain. You see, my sweet little boy was born lifeless, almost stillborn. That is not something that I share often. In fact, only a handful of people know this, perhaps because it’s so close to my heart and deeper than I can bring myself to fathom or verbalize.
I remember it like it was yesterday. After laboring for 28 hours, he was finally here! Only . . . there was no cry, no movement, no breath. His still, lifeless body was calm and deep blue. I remember the raw emotion and fear that gripped me as the doctor hit the dreaded emergency button. I remember every staff member on the floor rushing in to surround my baby so I could no longer see his limp body as I waited in desperation for a sign of life, of hope. I remember how loud the deep silence felt. All of the smiles in the room had quickly soured when they laid eyes on him. All I could do was pray and beg God for my son’s life. I was helpless, more helpless than I had ever felt in my life. I HAD to believe he would be okay as they worked on his tiny body. After what seemed like forever, I heard it: the beautiful cry of hope, and I cried with such joy and thanksgiving in my heart.
My son lived, but many do not, and that is something that I remember EVERY birthday that he celebrates, and choose to not take for granted. Every baby matters, no matter how long or short his or her life is. It could have been him that was taken so young. It could have been him who never saw the light of this world. I praise God every day that it wasn’t, but it could have been. So today, I remember all the sweet babies that are born without breath. I remember my son’s lifeless body and the helplessness I felt as the staff worked relentlessly to bring him back. I pray for all of the sweet families who have lost a little one too soon, and I remember.
My son is three today, and I will rejoice in his life. Life is so short, and each day is a precious gift. Today, I will cherish every smile, every laugh, every hug, and every “I love you” a little more than normal. I will laugh harder and forgive quicker. I will play cars for hours and enjoy. every. minute. Today, I will spend a little more time thanking God for the GIFT He has given me and remembering that this life He has entrusted me to raise is just that, a gift. I did nothing to deserve him, but I am ever so thankful.
And when the candles are blown out and I am singing my son to sleep, I will squeeze him a little tighter and rock him a little longer. I will cry with thanksgiving and in humility as I rest in the truth that there is nothing I did to deserve such a gift. Oh, and how I will rejoice! In that hospital room, I didn’t know if he would see this day, but he did. I didn’t know if he would be healthy or happy, oh but he is.
My son is three today, and above all, I will choose to rejoice with an overflowing heart . . . but I will always remember.