The Testing Room

The Testing Room

The Lord is with me. He had not abandoned me. He had not abandoned GraceAnna or our son. God is sovereign. He put me in this closet. He had put GraceAnna in the surgery room. He had prepared us for this moment. And He was with us. I realized that all I could do in this moment was to “wait for the Lord.” He must act. Whatever seemed good to Him would be right. His will for GraceAnna, our son, for me, and our family was all that mattered. 

My worst possible fears played out before my eyes. My wife, GraceAnna, and I were in the delivery room for the birth of our fifth child. But this delivery would be different from the others. Our previous deliveries were relatively smooth. Textbook deliveries, you might say. Speaking of textbooks, when our second child, Evangeline, was born, I even studied for a Greek exam for seminary while we were in the delivery room (only in the early stages, I promise)!

Nothing would be textbook about this delivery. Our son had been breech, and there had been discussions about a possible scheduled c-section. However, he ended up turning into the head-down position on his own, and GraceAnna went into labor naturally at about 2 AM on a Sunday morning. Even though this was our fifth child, once we checked into the hospital, we were never able to truly relax. Maybe it was because we were older. Maybe it was because GraceAnna went into labor a week early. Maybe it was because it was our first delivery in North Carolina. But it didn’t feel like the previous deliveries. It never would.

After GraceAnna’s water broke, something disturbing begin to happen. Every time she had a contraction the baby’s heart rate would dip on the monitor. The first time it happened, it alerted the nurses and the doctor. That had my attention. “What could be causing the heart rate drop?” I thought. The doctor, seemingly reading my mind, explained that the umbilical cord could be compressed during contractions. So she asked the nurses to move my wife into different labor positions to see if the situation would resolve itself. Through all this, I thought to myself, “Should we just go ahead and ask them for a c-section? After all, I would rather be safe than go through a risky delivery.”

Code Green

Sometime later, the doctor came in and told GraceAnna, “I wasn’t comfortable with that last heart rate dip. We need to move you again.” When the nurses started to move her, GraceAnna suddenly felt very lightheaded. She told the doctor, nurses, and me that she was about to pass out. The doctor quickly asked for some meds to be given through her IV, which helped stabilize her. At this point, the doctor noticed that GraceAnna was bleeding significantly. Almost simultaneously, the baby’s heart rate plunged on the monitor and didn’t bounce back up. Everything seemed to be going wrong at the same time.

What was I doing during this time? I wish I could say I was sitting at GraceAnna’s side, calmly reassuring her. But instead, I was pacing the room, praying out loud. How could this be happening?

The next thing I knew the doctor initiated a “Code Green,” which is an “all hands on deck” signal for an emergency c-section. GraceAnna told me later that the doctor had told her, “Everything is about to happen really fast. But we need to get him out.” When she issued the Code Green, seven or eight nurses hurriedly entered the room and began unplugging the IV and all the other electrical cords. Though I didn’t know what a Code Green was at the time, I knew enough that it must mean an emergency c-section. The Marine in me kicked into gear, and I started moving all obstacles that stood between the hospital bed and the door. The doctor then came to me and said, “Everything is going to be alright.” I didn’t know if the doctor was just telling me that to try to reassure me or if it was because she meant it. I have seen too many war movies to know that sometimes you tell someone it will be ‘alright’ to calm their fears, even though nothing is right! There was no time to explain more. They then rushed her out of the room. It happened so fast that I quickly moved GraceAnna’s leg as she was going through the door so it wouldn’t hit the door frame. I knew we were in a serious moment.

The Testing Room

I sat down in the chair in the now empty delivery room and began to pray, but before I could pray for more than a minute, a nurse came and asked me to follow her. She took me to a very small room down the hall. It was so small it was almost a closet. There was a small sofa on one wall, and it faced a television maybe five feet away on the other wall. Underneath a small table was a mini-fridge filled with drinks. Against another wall was a locker filled with medical scrubs for dads to scrub up (apparently to go into c-section surgery). I realized that this little room was, as I have jokingly called it, “the daddy timeout room.” It is the room where they take dads awaiting news or needing to change to go into surgery.

Read More

Scroll to top