14 days ago, a journey started that we knew was coming; but, we thought we had a little more time before it began. To inaugurate our joint blog, Justin and I would like to share the story of our daughter, Tessa. We’ve decided to take turns sharing our perspectives of the last few weeks.

“Going in Different Directions”

After nearly 2 weeks of study at Biola University, I departed from campus at 6:15 am on Sunday, June 30 for LAX. My final flight arrived in Indianapolis at 6:30; Emily picked me up, and took me home to her freshly prepared Barbeque Chicken. After dinner, she asked me to clean up, claiming that she wasn’t feeling well. An hour later she was calling her mom, 3 hours later she was calling her OB doc. At 11:20, we arrived at the hospital. By 5:20 her contractions had calmed a bit, and I was able to close my eyes for the first time in nearly 24 hours. 2 hours later, I was up and preparing for the most drastic change my short life has known. I won’t go into great detail about the actual delivery; however, being a bedside supporter of my wife who refused the epidural, easily ranks as the most intense experience of my life. On her 4th set of pushes, we had a baby. she is one tough chic!

“Bye Bye Baby”

After popping out blue, Tessa proceeded to make zero attempt to breathe. We had 14 medical professionals in the room for delivery, and our baby was quickly whisked away to some other special unit they called the “NICU.” Of course, I didn’t know what this meant, but I figured it was something like the hospital equivalent of transitioning from AM radio to 1080p HD television. The following 13 days brought a flood of new terms, new problems, new people, but most importantly, new realization of just how merciful our God has been to us.

“I’ll Fly Away! Oh Glory, I’ll Fly Away!”

I’m driven by goals and deadlines. The main premise to departing from the NICU is that timelines don’t exist. Our last 13 days have thus felt like a giant time warp. The beauty of 16+ hours per day at the hospital with nurses working 12 hour shifts is the establishment of new relationships. After about 3 days, Tessa’s urgent needs were resolved and it became a mere waiting game for her lungs to develop and her weight gain to reach acceptable levels. While waiting, we met Sierra (a young black girl committed to spending time with her baby each day), Paige and Ashley (outstanding nurses that told us of their faith in Christ as we began to share ours), Jon (a technology geek who works for Avon schools), and Jesus (who showed me that Psalm 127 has a lot more to say than just the blessings of children). We really didn’t suffer much at all (if any), but God’s goodness was so evident. I’m so thankful that he allowed me to be home before Em went in to labor. I’m so thankful that our baby is healthy after being delivered over a month early. I’m so thankful that my wife is healthy after suffering a partial abruption. I’m so thankful for Christian nurses shaping the culture of St. Vincent’s NICU through excellent nursing care. Most of all, I’m thankful for Jesus, who died for the wretched sinner currently typing, as well as the one he helped to create. God is good, and his love endures forever.