Some of you have asked about whether I was going to write about the events of this past week. And while I definitely will at some point, I’m just not able to do so in much detail yet. To take myself back into those moments and to reflect on the thoughts and emotions running through my mind and heart is just too overwhelming at this point. The sheer elevation change from a point of such extreme joy, with the birth of our healthy twin boys, to the lowest point of desperation I have ever felt in my life in just a few short hours was a shock to my system that I am not prepared to re-enter into, at least not yet. Those 72 hours felt like a bungee jump, at least what I imagine a bungee jump to feel like since the thought of actually doing that makes me pee in my pants a little bit. It felt much like a free fall that stopped just short of the concrete, swinging me back upwards, only to drop me again and again and again.
I can honestly say that I am a very different person than I was on Tuesday, when we went into the hospital. Some of that is due to the circumstances, but even more than that, I have been changed by some of you, the people who were with us through all of this. So, here are a few thank yous that I just had to make public before too much time had passed…
Thank you Facebook friends that immediately began to pray and spread the word about what was happening. So many of you shared and re-posted the prayer requests and updates so quickly that within an hour of hearing the news of Erin’s complications, I received notifications of hundreds of people praying. Those hundreds would literally turn into thousands over the next several days. People from all over this community, people from so many different phases of our lives, high school friends, college friends, bible study groups, churches all over the country (and some in other countries) that began to pray for our family. You pounded upon the doors of heaven for us and you changed things. Thank you!
Thank you to our family. To my parents, who were with me waiting, crying and praying during the surgery and rejoicing with me afterwards. To Erin’s parents, who left Georgia immediately, driving through the night, to show up at her bedside by 4am. Most of you probably don’t know that Erin’s father lost his wife when she was around Erin’s age, leaving him with four kids at home. The similarities were shocking and, I’m sure, quite terrifying for him. And in spite of all of that He remained the picture of strength and confidence, as a Father should when his daughter is scared. Also, Erin’s brothers and sisters came driving and flying in from as far as Virginia to stand with us through this. I watched as Erin and her siblings told stories and laughed and even cried together over those next two days. It was amazing. You changed things. Thank you!
Thank you to our church family. I have never known a community as caring and compassionate as The Church At South Lake. You exemplified the love of Christ to us in a more tangible way than I could have ever imagined. Within minutes – and I mean minutes! – of receiving the news that Erin was having major complications there were already people beginning to gather in the hospital waiting room praying for her. It blew me away. They stayed late into the night and fought with us through this entire ordeal. They visited and prayed and carried our burdens along side of us as the body of Christ is meant to do. We love you. You changed things. Thank you!
Thank you to my pastor, Brian Hammond, who showed up at the hospital almost immediately with his wife Tandy and waited with me to hear if Erin was going to live. He prayed with me. He cried with me. He stayed with me late into the night and even into the next morning. He even showed up again before he went into work the next day. He is a dear friend and a man who I hold in the highest regard. You’re presence changed things… I know it changed me. Thank you, Brian!
Thank you to the South Lake Hospital nursing staff who cared for us before the delivery, during the surgery and afterwards. You showed amazing compassion. You cared for our boys as if they were your own and it allowed me to be by my wife’s side as much as possible. You were flexible with us and apparently even broke a few rules and procedures for us. 😉 You changed things. Thank you!
Thank you to all of the Doctor’s at The Women’s Centre For Excellence. Each and every one of you played a significant role in these events:
Dr. Lewis and Dr. Lewis (I know right… how awesome that we had two Dr. Lewis’ delivering our twins… is that the right plural form – Lewis’, maybe Lewi…anyway), you pulled off an amazing delivery, even flipping the second baby in utero so we could avoid a C-section. Erin doesn’t remember so much about it, since she was freaking out about her epidural not working, but I remember everything. You were both amazing! You changed things. Thank you!
Dr. McLaughlin, you set our minds at ease and began the procedure to remove the balloon, which thankfully was the final procedure in this whole drama. You changed things. Thank you!
Dr. Texier, you rushed into the OR late into the evening, when you were not on call and didn’t have to, and you assisted in the emergency surgery that saved Erin’s life. You changed things. Thank you!
Dr. McLean… I can hardly find the words that communicate what to say here. You were the exact person that I would have chosen to be in that room. You delivered both of our first two children and you have been a part of our life for over six years. God designed you with an intellect and boldness that make you a great doctor and an amazing surgeon. I believe that it is in God’s hands to give and to take away life, but I also believe that God chose you to be the doctor in that room Wednesday night. You were the one who had to be there. The one who was talented enough to identify a potential disaster and take action, the one who was calm and collected enough, in the midst of all of that chaos and insanity, to remember an article you had read about a relatively new procedure, the one who was brave enough to try something you had never done before in order to save the life of a mother of four, the one who was passionate enough to stay up all night pouring over lab results to make sure you didn’t miss anything and that you knew what you were going to be up against in the morning. And I’ll never forget how you came to sit down with me and break the devastating news of Erin’s condition. You were a perfect balance of compassion, realism and confidence. I’ll never forget that night and I’ll never forget what you have done for our family. Thank you for all of the work that you have put in to be the doctor you are today. At no point in this entire ordeal did I ever feel like just another patient file. You changed things. Thank you!
Thank you, Erin, for being the most amazing woman I have ever known. You are more beautiful to me now than when we first met. The more we walk through life together, the more I fall in love with you. I can’t imagine how I would move forward without you by my side. I am a better man because of you. God has used you to shape me in more ways than I could ever recount. And, let’s be honest, our kids would be on the fast track to delinquency if I was a single dad. Thank you for fighting to live. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for all of the days we have spent together and for all of the many that still lie ahead. You changed things. Thank you!
And most of all I would like to thank my God who loved me enough to watch His own Son bleed and die on my behalf. He walked with me through fire that night. I felt His hand on me when I was certain I was alone. He shined light into the darkest period of my life. I can honestly say that, although I was scared and uncertain about what the future would look like, I was confident that He held me, and Erin, in His hands and that there was nothing that would come upon us that He would not sustain us through. He is my Rock, my Shield and my Defender. He is Faithful and True and He is, and always will be, the friend that sticks closer than a brother. You have most certainly changed things. Thank you, Father!