Celebrating Life for 15 Minutes


Fifteen Minutes.

What if we got stuck in traffic for 15 minutes?

What if my wife would’ve said “Yes” when I asked if we needed to make a quick stop at the store for something to ease her pain?

Fifteen minutes.

What if we followed our first mind and waited for the obvious and traditional signs that my son was ready to come into the world before going to the hospital?

If any one of these very likely scenarios would have played out, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I likely wouldn’t be celebrating life today. I very well may have been loathing it. If any of these things would’ve happened, I wouldn’t be able to type this next sentence:

My son, Micah was christened today.

Today, we made a public declaration of what my wife and I had already privately determined. We would do all we could to give our son’s life back to the One who gave him to us in the first place.

As a minister and pastor, I’ve christened a few babies, but this was the first time that I had the privilege of being on the other side. And as sweet as this day would’ve been under any circumstances, a certain 15 minute period made it even sweeter.

Have you ever seen the show, “ER?” I hadn’t. But on May 11th, 2011 at Dekalb Medical Center in the Atlanta, GA suburb of Decatur, I got a pretty good idea of what a trauma scene might have looked liked.

I don’t remember what they were saying. I can’t recall the medical terminology that the doctors and nurses bandied about that day. But when the floodgates of my mind are opened, there are two specific memories that come streaming out.

I remember seeing my usually brave-hearted, unflappable wife looking afraid for the first time in the six years I’d known her.

I remember the urgency of the medical staff as they pushed my wife’s hospital bed out of her room and whisked her away down the hall toward the surgery room. I remember hearing: “emergency c-section.”

The doctors and nurses were passing papers over my wife’s head for her to sign…things that normally would’ve been taken care of in a more relaxed setting. They prepped my wife for surgery as they rolled her down the hall. One person already in the operating room was bumped aside. The doctor who was scheduled to perform that routine procedure saw the seriousness of our situation and volunteered to assist.

My son’s heart rate had dropped. My wife was losing blood. I was taken to a separate waiting room. Unbeknownst to me, we were running out of time.

I sat in the waiting room for what seemed like hours. I can’t remember if someone told me of the worst case scenarios or not. But I remember that I prayed as if I already knew.

It felt like hours. In actuality it was just minutes — 15 to be exact. The time between my entrance into the waiting room and the entrance of the nurse who would briefly accompany me.

“Do you hear the music?” she asked. There was the lullaby song they play in hospitals when a newborn baby comes into the world. I smiled. Then I shouted. Then I cried. I immediately pulled out my phone to call my mother who lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Mom, he’s here,” I said in between sobs. “He’s here! My son. Your grandbaby!”

I left the waiting room and stood out in the hallways, pacing and crying. Jumping and expressing thanks to God as I waited for them to roll out my son. Nine pounds, six ounces and 21 inches long, my big bundle of joy was laying in a newborn’s bassinet, soundly sleeping without a care.

They took him to the NICU. Soon after, I went to find my wife. She was just starting to wake up from surgery — still groggy. I handed her the picture of our son that the NICU nurse gave me. My wife saw it and immediately began to cry.

It wasn’t until later that my wife would share this story with me:

The doctor who assisted with my wife’s surgery came to see her after she woke up. He looked at her, congratulated her, and with tears welling up in his eyes, said, “If it had been another 15 minutes….” His voice trailed off. He didn’t need to finish the sentence. My wife knew, and now I knew.

On the evening of May 11th, 2011, I walked into that hospital with my wife and a soon-coming son. If we would’ve arrived just 15 minutes later, I would have walked out of there without either.

So today wasn’t just another baby christening for me. It was a chance to celebrate life and to celebrate the God that spared the lives of the two most important people in my life.

Right now, my home is filled with the sounds of my two-year old nephew and my 10-month old son laughing at the “Chuggington” theme song on television. I’m going to end this blog and enjoy them as they enjoy their show.

It only lasts for 15 minutes. šŸ™‚


Until Next Time,

B+ (Be Positive!)


~ by gabrielcstovall on March 11, 2012.

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