I scrambled into the ambulance with my four-year-old in my trembling arms. The paramedic laid him on the seat and began checking his vitals. He smiled soothingly at Zach and comforted him with a fluffy white teddy bear.
“Everyone said this was just a routine surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids; just an afternoon in the hospital and then lots of Jell-O and popsicles.” I knew I was babbling, but I was just so scared. Zach buried his blood smudged face into the bear’s soft fur.
“How much blood was there?” The paramedic continued checking his pulse.
“He soaked a dishtowel and part of a bath towel.” I smoothed his hair (Zach loved to be touched) and tried to keep my voice calm.
Four hours and another bloodbath later, the intern was obviously alarmed. “We need to operate again.”
I hesitated. Zach’s reaction to anesthesia was to wake in a fright, frantically fighting everyone and everything.
“If it was my son, I would want it done immediately, Ma’am.” His serious tone mirrored his expression. Fear squeezed my heart and I had to rip the words out of my guts. It was as if I was about to freefall from a plane and needed to make the jump. I almost couldn’t say it. “Do the operation.” The abrupt words broke me and I had to slip away so Zach wouldn’t hear my sobs.
“You should try to sleep for the hour it will take to prepare.” I stared blankly at the nurse knowing she couldn’t possibly have a child of her own.
As I sat beside Zach’s bed and watched him sleep, the panic sank its claws deep and my heart raced and skipped. “Lord, protect my baby and guide the surgeon’s hands. Give him wisdom and skill.” The words were vacant noises in comparison to the crying out of my very soul.
Still the was panic was physically painful. “I bind you, Fear, in the name of Jesus and through the power of His blood.” I felt a shudder pass through my body. “Lord, let Your Spirit fill me and leave no room for evil spirits to harass.” A tingle warmed me through and the fear was gone.
When they wheeled Zach away to operate, the terror threatened again. An hour passed, then another. “God, they said an hour…!” I repeatedly rose to peer through the little round window.
Then I saw Him. God was standing with me in the room, His arms outstretched… waiting. So, I laid my baby in His arms. “It hurts, God. I am so scared you’ll take Him.” Tears burned my cheeks.
“What if I do?” The question haunted me, yet flooded me with a peace that I had never before experienced.
He stayed with me, cradling Zach like an infant. “I know that no matter what happens, You are with my baby, holding him and comforting him.”
I tried to look over His shoulder but He laughingly reminded me, “No peeking. You gave Zach to Me. I have him and nothing can come between us. He is safe in My hands.” I giggled… and tried to peek again. His smile was teasing but firm. “I love Zach too, Sweetheart.”
The time still crawled, anxiety twinged, yet it all seemed surreal… as if I floated.
Then they brought news… “There were complications, but Zach is fine now. He had four bleeders; three were cauterized and one was stitched. He’s coming out of the anesthesia and needs you immediately.”
Later, Zach lay in his hospital bed and repeatedly asked for… something. He was speech delayed and frustration often caused him to bang his head or gag himself. And now, at his deepest need for me, again I didn’t understand his cry.
My heart tore and tears poured down my cheeks. “Do you need a drink?”
He shook his head, “dhgkayf.“
“Are you cold?
Do you need Daddy?
Does it hurt?
Want me to read to you?
Want to watch a movie?”
Every offer was met with the same garbled entreaty. I was desperate and close to breaking, but his pleading brown eyes continued to search mine for understanding.
Finally, God spoke the answer into my heart. “You want to cuddle.” The tears spilled onto his cheeks and he nodded. My heart was full to bursting. I lay down on the bed beside Zach and enfolded him in my arms. We sobbed together and a new relationship was forged in the midst of our menacing night.
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