[This photo was taken at my parents house in Half Moon Bay right before we left for Indonesia in 2003. Notice Anna’s book. Typical.]
Anna was born this day 13 years ago. That is, she was born into this world then. It was a wonderful day for us. Timberley has a kind of tradition with the kids that on their birthdays she would recount the events during the day leading up to their birth. Sam was born in the evening and so her labor and delivery was all on that same day. For Anna, everything began the night before. Timberley started the early stages of labor at church the day before. Or, at least she knew things were starting to move. We did a lot of walking that evening. We walked at the park by the Ohio River. We had a forgettable meal at some Louisville chain restaurant. We walked around Seneca Park until about 10 PM. I decided we might be in for a long night, so we went on home to get to bed.
I laid in bed much of the night wondering when Timberley would say it was time to go to the hospital. She, on the other hand, laid awake reading her pregnancy and baby magazines. She found one story that she thought was particularly interesting that she wanted to read to me. It was about a woman that waited so long before going to the hospital that she finally delivered the baby at home in the bathtub! All the while, I am laying next to her through her increasingly painful contractions, saying, “Okay, time to go.” She just laughed and told me to stop worrying. I told her to stop reading me those stories.
Anna’s birth did not go as smoothly as Sam’s. He had some problems, too, such as there not being a delivery available at the hospital, so Timberley was forced to sit in the waiting room until about an hour before she delivered him. That, and there wasn’t a full nursing staff apparently, so I had to do double duty watching my wife and helping the doctor turn machines on and off and holding things, etc. In Anna’s case, we had a nice big room, plenty of nurses, just no doctor. He apparently did not like getting up early in the morning and didn’t show up until after Anna was born. All I could think of when he finally came in, with hardly an apology, was “Do you still get paid for all this?”
The most memorable part of Anna’s birth, I suppose, was the nursing student who came from school to observe some procedures. She sat at the side of the room with her pad and pencil, taking notes. Very studious and professional. Poor girl.
Timberley doesn’t do drugs. She doesn’t really mind pain. She’s pretty tough. The nursing staff, it seems, wasn’t really used to that. We found out later that out in the hallway they had given her the nickname “Prairie Woman”. We took that as a positive thing. But the whole event was pretty traumatic, loud, tense. With no doctor there, the nurses had to decide whether to continue with the delivery without him. At the last minute a resident making rounds came in and took over. And then Anna was born.
After things settled down a bit, the nursing student came over to Timberley and me. She was a puddle of tears. All she could say was, “That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Thank you.” Then she turned and walked away.
Anna’s birth was beautiful. And Anna grew to be truly one of the most beautiful children I could imagine. It is rare, but once in a while we meet someone with a little girl who is such a combination of pleasantness, wit, and physical beauty, that we tell the parents, “She might be as cute as Anna.” But it is rare. And we always say “might”.
While today is Anna’s birthday, I never come to this day with real satisfaction, because I know that for Anna now, today is not very significant. Her real birthday came later, in 2004, when she accepted Jesus as Lord and became one of his children. And a day perhaps more significant came May 7, 2008 when God called her home. But the most significant day is yet to come. Anna is awaiting, as we are, the day of the return of her Lord Jesus, who will raise the living and the dead to new life. Paul tells us that those who are dead will rise first and meet him in the air. So we have this promise. We have this hope. And we wait.