I don’t typically post personal items here, but so many prayed for us that this seems the easiest way to provide an update and not leave anyone out.
With the words of the benediction reverberating in the air, I looked down at my phone to see the text message that had just buzzed in:
“Evie had a seizure. Going to Kosair children’s downtown.”
My wife and I have a kind of signal. If there’s an emergency, she can call repeatedly, and even if I’m in class I’m to answer the call. Yesterday as my class came to an end, I missed three calls in a row. I didn’t answer because it was right at the end of class.
I like to end class with everyone saying the words of 2 Corinthians 13:14 to one another: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” With those words lingering in the air, I read that text message about our little girl who just celebrated her first birthday.
At that point I had a new experience: that of the helpless parent. Would that the seizure had been mine not hers. Would that it had come when I could at least be there.
Trying to be as polite as possible to students asking about papers, reading, and questions of interpretation that have never felt more irrelevant, I fought my way outside to call my sweet wife. My apologies to anyone who found me preoccupied at that moment. You never know what nightmare text a guy might have just read.
When my wife answered, she was in an ambulance with our baby girl. I hadn’t expected an ambulance. I told her I was on the way, and went to the door of my next class.
Would you ever dream that a PhD student who knows his stuff could play the part of the hero? You thought he was just a Garrett Fellow, a fancy title for a grader, but a man at ready could be a hero at any moment. Praise God that Mitch Chase wasn’t late, either. There he stood in the hall outside the classroom.
“Mitch, Evie’s had a seizure. I need to go to the hospital. Do you know today’s material? Can you teach today’s class?”
“Absolutely. Don’t worry about a thing. I’m ready to go.”
“Thank you, brother; thank you.”
I don’t know if that’s exactly how it went, but it was the gist.
I crossed paths with Chris Smith and Jerod Harper, who issued a call to prayer, and then I ran into Edward Heinze, my fellow elder, who offered to go to the hospital with me. I declined, but he prayed for us before I left campus.
What a unique place Southern Seminary is. Over the next twelve hours we got emails, texts, and phone calls communicating love, support, prayer. What a blessing not to be alone. What a blessing to be part of the family of God. Thank you all.
My wife and I have often observed that we don’t know how people live apart from the knowledge of God, apart from trusting him, apart from knowing that he is sovereign and good. As I drove from the school to the hospital, the feeling that a helpless, desperate parent has gave way to the feeling that a child of a wise, good, sovereign Father has.
To be the child of such a Father is to trust that he intends good, even if the precious baby girl faces a handicap, a lifelong condition, or even death. To be the child of such a Father is to know that his presence and help through the risen Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit is enough. Enough for whatever a helpless, desperate parent faces.
Our neighbor next door happens to work at the hospital, Kosair Children’s. Not long after I got there, she came to visit. Her words ring true about every experience we’ve had in a hospital. She said, “You come in here, and it’s like entering a time warp.” It’s stunning how quickly time passes when you’re waiting in a hospital room.
When I got there Evie just seemed sleepy, lethargic. She took naps in our arms. After several hours they ran all their tests, including a CT scan. Everything looked fine, except for an elevated white blood cell count, as a result of which they wanted to do a spinal tap to rule out spinal meningitis. We were thankful that our physician friend Paul Tennant happened to have visited us and was in the room when they told us about the spinal tap. It was a comfort to have Dr. Paul say if it was his son he would have it done. After all these tests, Jill was finally allowed to feed the baby, at which point Evie really got active and seemed her normal, happy self.
What a blessing to have good neighbors. Our across the street neighbor, the 85 year old lady with the green thumb and the beautiful flowers in her lawn, kept the boys until the next door neighbor who works at Kosair’s got home, at which point she took the boys. Around 7pm I went home to get the boys in bed and gather things for what I thought would be an overnight stay at the hospital for my wife and daughter. When I got the boys in bed, the good Dr. Denny Burk came over to keep the wolves away as they slept.
When I got back to the hospital our little girl was even more herself than before I left. I think she won the hearts of all the nurses, and I’m pretty sure the parent-hospital liaison guy was smitten with her. I’m gonna need a stick to beat the boys away.
And we waited. We thought we might hear the results of the spinal tap by 9:20pm, but they didn’t come. Sometime around 11pm we heard that those results were clear. Praise God.
Evie was doing so well that there had been some indications that we would get to go home and not have to spend the night at the hospital. Thankfully that’s what eventually happened.
Evidently babies can have seizures for all kinds of reasons. Since all the tests and things look normal, our best guess is that as she stood up and bumped her head slightly on that chair, she held her breath in response to getting hurt. She held her breath so long that she passed out, and at that point she turned gray and began to convulse. We’ve seen our boys hold their breath, but Jill had never seen anything like that, so she called 911.
Thank you all for your prayers. Thank God that all seems well with Baby Evie.