In the summer of 2009, my wife, Patricia, and I found out that we were expecting our second child. At only 19 years old, and having already had our first child, Ivy, I think that you will understand why I don’t think “nervous” quite covered the emotions that I had when the pregnancy test came back positive. I had yet to start college (I would that fall), I was jobless at the time, and I had no idea what I was doing. Truthfully, I was completely terrified.
Because of the fears that we had, Patricia and I were not sure if we even wanted to have another child at that time. We always knew that we wanted more children, but we had planned on waiting for several years to get pregnant again-not five months. The thought of her being pregnant again did not cause me to jump for joy as it had when I found out that she was pregnant with our oldest. But then, she got sick.
Because I had no job, and therefore no insurance, I did the only thing I knew to get her seen by a doctor…I drove her to the emergency room in the dead of the night. When the doctor heard that she was pregnant (coupled with the extreme nausea and stomach pains she was feeling), he ordered an ultrasound. Having watched many ultrasounds be performed on my wife during her first pregnancy, I knew that something was wrong when, at the bottom of the screen, there was a solid line running across it.
“Is that supposed to be its heartbeat?” I asked the ultrasound technician.
“I can’t tell you,” she replied. “The doctor will go over the results with you two.”
But I knew already what he was going to say.
We went back to the room they had assigned us, gripped with apprehension. We knew that something was terribly wrong, or else the tech would have simply told us. Then, after an eternity of waiting, the doctor finally came back into the room to speak with us.
“Mr. and Mrs. Davis,” he began. “I’m afraid I have to give you some bad news. It appears that your child has not yet developed a heart, and it is well past the threshold where we would expect to see one…”
I felt like I had been doused with freezing cold water. I lost my breath, my vision became foggy, and I was unable to process any more information. My unborn child, the product of the love my wife and I share, was heartless.
Patricia will tell you that the doctor kept speaking for several minutes. Apparently, he said some things about giving her the medication that would cause her to abort the pregnancy. Otherwise, we could go home and wait for her body to “expel the fetus” naturally.
When we left the hospital that morning (we went late the night before), we barely spoke to one another. Our daughter was with my in-laws, who had taken her at our request the night before, so we wouldn’t have to take her to the ER late at night. We had nothing to do, so we did nothing.
I went to the second floor of our apartment, and I cried the most bitter tears I have ever cried. Patricia did the same on the first floor. Each of us was inconsolable, and each of us wanted to be alone. We each faced the loss of our child by ourselves.
Sure, I called my mother, grandmother, and sister, telling each that we had lost the baby. They all tried to console me, but I couldn’t be touched. Even though I had been unsure as to whether I wanted another child right then, I was dealing with the pain that only a father who has lost a child knows. It was the worst day of my life.
One thing did get through to me though. As I lay on our king sized bed, my wife entered the room, and sat down next to me.
“I just got off the phone with my doctor’s office,” she said. “And Dr. V’s nurse said that I need to come in next week to do another ultrasound. She said it is strange for there to be no heart this far on, but that there is still a chance.
I did the only thing a desperate man can do…I held on to the only ray of hope that I had.
A week later, we went to the OBGYN’s office, as planned. Nervous and scared, I held Pat’s hand as together we prayed, pleading with God, begging him to put a heart in the baby we hadn’t thought we wanted.
When they made the machine record heartbeats, the first bounce in the line told me what I needed to know…my child had a heart. My child was alive.
In less than one week’s time, God had given the child the one thing it needed most: its heart.
Our heartless baby, our miracle child, turns six today. Born on March 11, 2010, weighing 8′ 11″ and being 21 1/4″ Long, Nathaniel Aaron is not heartless in any sense of the word. Patricia and I are convinced that the reason God did not give our son his heart on the “normal” schedule is because of one thing: He took a little extra time to make it. You see, Nathaniel (or “Bubba”), is one of the sweetest, most loving children that either of us has ever met, and many others agree.
Today, nearly seven years later, I still marvel at the miracle that God gave us. Occasionally, Patricia and I still talk about that day, and how badly it hurt…how painful it really was for us. However, at the end of the day, none of it really matters…our son is happy, healthy, and strong.
Happy 6th Birthday, Nathaniel Aaron “Bubba” Davis…your daddies (both earthly and Heavenly) love you very much.