"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me..."
God, have mercy, David prayed. God, please, save our baby. Give her chance. If the doctors were right, David wouldn’t even get a chance to hold her and kiss her before she passed away and the truth was tearing his heart out.
He hadn’t even been aware of how strong his love was for his unborn child, his wife that carried her, and his daughter who waited anxiously to become a sister. But when he had first heard those dreaded words it had felt like the world was crashing down around him. “She isn’t developing normally. There is a problem with her skull.” He had swallowed and stared, terrified, at the tiny baby on the screen.
That had been the moment that turned his life around. He dropped everything that Sunday and took his family to church. Friends called him over for another wild party but he stayed home and wrapped his arms around his wife. He didn’t want to drink. He didn’t want to fool around.
They got better insurance and started calling other doctors. They drove for hours to bigger cities with high-tech ultrasound machines and specialists, but the diagnosis became bleaker as they got closer to the day that Elena would deliver their child. They didn’t know how to talk about it with their daughter, Diana, but they knew she sensed the worry.
It was only at church or when David was praying that he had ease from the anxiety and fear. He could feel God reach out with strong hands and wrap him in his peace. If it hadn’t been for that, David might have gone crazy.
The day came. Elena went into labor a month early. David and his family didn’t stop praying for second. And, though they prayed for God’s mercy, they also prayed for strength to be able to hold themselves together if they lost their baby.
There were many doctors and nurses there to battle to keep her alive. The delivery room was so crowded that David couldn’t stay. He held his wife close for a few seconds and told her, “I love you. It is going to be ok.” As he left his eyes darted to the incubator which stood in anticipation for their baby. In the waiting room he held Diana’s hand and prayed. It felt like time stopped and the only things left were his thoughts as he begged God to be with his wife and their baby. God, help us.
A nurse came walking swiftly towards him. David swallowed and stood up. She briskly addressed him, “Are you the father? You need to come now.”
“What happened? Is the baby alive? Is Elena ok?”
“Just wait, we are going to her now.”
The nurse wouldn’t answer anymore questions. When David entered the room the first thing he saw was Elena. She was crying, sobbing, and her mother was holding her. David felt like he just knew it then. They had lost her. The baby hadn’t survived.
“What happened?” He asked Elena, tears making his voice come out hoarse and forced. “Is she alive?”
Then, to his disbelief, Elena nodded and gestured to the incubator. There, underneath the plastic, being prodded and examined was a newborn baby girl. She was crying and the doctors were exclaiming in disbelief, “Her skull appears to be fully formed.” “Those lungs are healthy enough. Hear how she is crying?”
Finally, another doctor reached in the incubator and lifted their girl out. He placed her in their arms and said, “She doesn’t need that incubator. She needs your love.” She quieted as they held her. David could feel it then, God peace and goodness reaching out to them and giving them that miracle. They were holding their baby girl.
As the doctor wrote something out on the chart he remarked, “You need to hold her close now. She won’t live long. Minutes. Maybe hours.”
But, though those words hurt, David could only thank God for letting them have that moment. “What do we name her?” Elena asked through happy tears.
David smiled, “Liliana.”