We all have reasonable expectations, especially when we have absolutely no reason to think otherwise. It’d be like entering 2 + 2 into a calculator and anything BUT 4 coming up on the screen.
On September 10, 2006 despite Lisa’s cramping, discomfort, and a lengthy ultrasound, we were assured by nurses that, “Everything is OK.” Therefore, as a father, husband, and human being I had absolutely no reason to think otherwise. My expectations as we drove away from the hospital on our way home were that everything was OK. Well, it wasn’t. A few hours later, in my mind 2 + 2 did not equal 4. At that time in my life 2 + 2 equaled everything BUT 4!
During the moments leading up to 1:57am the following morning I was in disarray. Here I was racing back to the hospital where just a few hours earlier everything was OK. What the heck was going on?!?! I still don’t know, and I never asked why. I never asked God why, that is. William was born 14 weeks early, under 2lbs, with multiple complications, yet I never asked God, “Why, my son?” Nope, not once.
I was going through hell, it seemed. The last thing that I wanted to be asked was “Are you OK?” NO!!! Of course, I’d lie. I wasn’t OK. I was in pain. Sometimes I’d hear, “I know how you feel.” NO YOU DON’T! Let me tell you something. When you’re in your own skin, no one feels it like you do! I was in a constant mental and emotional battle! At times it was as if I were in a trance. I’d walk past the nursery several times each day. That was torture. It was right outside the NICU. This is where the full term babies were placed right after birth, I guessed. For me, looking at the babies behind that paned glass was like looking at giants. Believe it or not, sometimes I saw them. Sometimes I did not. Sure, they were there every day. I just chose not to see them.
Perhaps that was my way of dealing with the pain. Ignore! Ignore! Ignore! In my mind, those babies were Goliath. William was David! It wasn’t long before I, myself, started calling William, Jumbo! Lisa hated that. Looking back, I guess it was my way of seeing my son as bigger than life. He was really tiny. But he was my world. It is said that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. If that’s the case, and William is the apple and I am the tree, then how strong am I? I just don’t see it that way. I see it as, “This is how it is. Now deal with it! Everyday is everyday.” I still marvel at William’s strength! He actually went through it all. A turbulent birth, several brain surgeries, spinal taps, central line surgery, eye surgeries, hernia surgery, and more.
Yet, I never asked God why, until I visited a friend and his wife in the hospital about 2 years after William was born. It was actually a few days before William’s 2nd birthday. They had a little boy, Brody. I held him for a while. I’ll never forget how blown away I was. I wasn’t blown away because I was holding a newborn. I was blown away because I was holding a newborn in a hospital, in a private room with a TV, carry-out pizza, with no monitors, no oxygen, no beeps, no Bradycardia and no apnea. I WAS HOLDING A BABY AND I WASN’T IN A NICU!!! Frankly, it was very strange. I didn’t say anything to my friends. I just sat there numb. Brody was gazing up at me and I was gazing right back at Brody, IN AWE! I said my goodbyes, held Brody one more time, then left. As I walked out of the room I began to cry. I held on until I got back to my car. I had all the happiness in the world for my friends. So happy that they gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy. On the other hand, I was in anguish! I lost it completely when I shut my door. Melt down. I had never held a baby in a hospital outside of a NICU. Why couldn’t we have been in a normal room with our son? Why was William so different? God, what have I done wrong? God, why my son? God, why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?!!! I drove away. I needed windshield wipers and it wasn’t even raining outside.
I never asked why because I didn’t think I had a right to question God. I was me and God was God. That was that. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I questioned God. I felt I deserved to know why! If God were going to punish me for questioning Him, then He couldn’t hurt me anymore than I was already hurting. I had hit the bottom. I had nothing left.