“You can pace around here or sit in the rocking chair over there.” A nurse told me outside the operating room.  

I was jazzed, bouncing on my toes like I used to before my basketball games in the sixth grade, ready to finally meet my baby. After a short while, they called me in and Shaleia was there, glassy-eyed but finally no longer in a great deal of pain. The surgical team was all around and the screen was up below Shaleia’s lower body. It was go time.

I loved Shaleia and felt intense gratitude for her in that moment. It was really scary seeing her like that, about to undergo surgery. She was finally calm after a long, difficult ordeal. I looked into her eyes, she looked back into mine. I thanked her, she thanked me. I told her I loved her, she told me she loved me.

I was scared, a lot of tugging and movement was going on and her body was moving around. She was in a state of total surrender and acceptance. In that moment I realized the enormous risk we had taken and the stupendous trust we had to have in the people around us. 

I had to lay down all I loved most dearly to God. My beloved wife, my world, my love, my everything. My everything. My whole life.  I had to lay down my dream of our baby, everything we did to get this far. All in the hands of God. I could lose it all right here. I surrendered completely and was with Shaleia as if it was our last moment together ever. I was with her with everything that I was, I was with God.

She calmed me down some just by being there with me, talking to me. She told me she was glad it was over. They pulled the baby from her body. I was scared.

She sighed in relief and told me how much better she felt in that moment. A nurse encouraged me to stand and look over the screen. “NOPE.” No way I was going to chance seeing my Ultimate Lover cut up like that. I can’t stand seeing her get a paper cut, this would haunt me personally. I instead looked up at the faces of the surgical team as a contained but clear emotional expression erupted from them. I turned to Shaleia. I wanted the baby, but I wasn’t willing to lose her or abandon her for my dream.

“Do you want to see the baby now?” A nurse said.

“I’m with her.” I said, holding tightly to my wife.

Grace started crying as a horde of medical professionals surrounded her, cleaning and measuring, inspecting and checking her. I looked over at Shaleia who was definitely staying put. She nodded in permission and I rushed over to greet my baby.

Grace was crying out in spiritual pain. I knew in that moment how connected she had been to us the whole time. All the stressing we had done over the birth day. How much we had struggled to bring on labor and bring the baby to be born. All the wild smashing of delusions to get to this moment, Grace was on the other side working furiously, with the same spiritual fervor as we were. 

My God, “That which you seek is seeking you.”

I rushed to her side to be with her. I cried out to her “Daddy’s here! Daddy’s here!” I wrapped her up in my arms, the medical team backing off a bit so I could be close.

“Daddy’s here.” A layer of fear and confusion at having been born fell away from Grace, and the emotional enormity of it all erupted from within her. I knew she felt responsible for it all, like she was doing something wrong to have such a difficult birth. She wanted so badly to be perfect for us.

“You’re perfect.” I told her, kissing her face and holding her close. “You’re perfect. You’re perfect. You’re perfect.” Over and over again I said with my whole heart, tears gushing profusely down my face. “You’re perfect, Grace, you’re perfect. You’re perfect you’re perfect.” I said again and again until she calmed down completely. She stopped crying and found a moment of perfect peace.

I stole a glance at Shaleia, whose face was soaked in tears, her eyes shining with pure happiness. An utter privilege to see her this way, the honor of a lifetime.

Grace returned to crying as the medical team weighed her and measured her. Eight pounds, seven ounces. A healthy baby!

“Daddy loves you.” I told her before prodding the medical team if we could go to mom yet. Every ten seconds I asked again and again. It took minutes before we could finally go see Shaleia.

“Daddy loves you, daddy loves you. Daddy loves you.” I said again and again. “You’re perfect.” I said, absolutely shining all my love and comfort to her with all my heart. She was comforted, but was wailing at the top of her lungs. Skin to skin on mom, all the Glory of God was upon us in this moment.

Perfectly healthy, normal baby girl.

They stitched Shaleia back up and wheeled her out. I got to hold Grace, swaddled up, and sit with her in the rocking chair while they evaluated Shaleia post-op.

Heaven had opened up and placed into my arms the other Love of my Life. I have never been happier. I have everything. I have all the Love. I am complete.

The nurses kept coming by and cooing over my baby, a few dozen minutes old, completely relaxed in daddy’s arms. “She loves your voice! She must recognize the sounds.”

I smiled and told her it must be that “We read her “The Good Book” every night.”

Written by Jeff Divine

Written by Jeff Divine