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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)

TITLE: Winters of Despair, Summers of Joy
By Patricia Protzman


One summer night, five years ago, my husband and I sank into an oatmeal-colored sofa in an empty hospital waiting room to await the outcome of our daughter’s emergency Caesarian section. Worry pushed aside my weak faith while my mind screamed the question, will God take this grandchild, too?

I leaned on Bill and whined, “I don’t think I can handle the loss of another grandbaby.”

He took my hand and said, “Let’s pray.”

I listened to his plea for the Lord to protect our daughter and her unborn child. But my spot of faith lay trapped beneath years of sadness and grief and I believed this infant would die.

Ten years earlier, our daughter Amy and son-in-law Steve had lost their first baby. Brian was stillborn at eight months for reasons unknown.

The next day our minister held a graveside service. I stared at the tiny white casket during the entire ceremony and asked, Why, God?

Steve and Amy decided to wait a few years before trying to get pregnant again. A few years dragged into nine. Like desperate Hannah, who for years asked God for a child, I was just as desperate for a grandchild and prayed daily.

In 2000, I experienced another loss—my father died suddenly from an acute illness. My faith spiraled downward and sorrow took the lead. I again asked God, “Why, Lord?”

Over the next five years, our son Jeff’s wife miscarried five times. The last two were boys lost at twenty and twenty-two weeks into the pregnancy.

I felt my life was one long mourning period until Christmas 2005. At dinner, with all the family present, our daughter announced she was pregnant. Bill and I were ecstatic but I held back in preparing for this happy event until late into the pregnancy. I thought, What if this little one dies, too.

We learned the baby was a boy in Amy’s fourth month of pregnancy. She and Steve named him Christopher. After Amy reached her eighth month, I knitted and crocheted blankets, booties, and sweaters.

As Amy’s delivery time drew near, I stayed with her on the days Steve worked. Today, ten days past her due date, her physician admitted her to the hospital to induce labor.

Somewhat apprehensive I telephoned Bill who joined me at the hospital at 11 a.m. I also notified our minister who stopped by later in the afternoon to pray with us.

The day passed slowly while we waited. Nurses came in and out of the room, Amy’s physician stopped by a couple of times to say labor was progressing. An anesthetist performed a spinal block.

At 10:20 p.m., the fetal heart monitor alarm sounded. I glimpsed at the numbers; the baby’s pulse had dropped from 158 to 51. Christopher was in trouble.

A nurse rushed in and told us she had to take Amy to the O.R. for an emergency Caesarian section. She instructed Bill and me to go to the waiting room. In the hallway I looked back to see two nurses pushing Amy’s bed toward the O.R. Oh Lord, please keep them both safe.

After a gruesome twenty minutes of worrying and praying in the waiting room, a nurse and Steve emerged from a side door pushing a glass cart towards Bill and me. I yelled, “Steve is everything alright?”

My heart raced. His silence led me to think, the baby is dead.

I glanced at the bundle inside the cart. Bright, blue eyes greeted me. Christopher was alive. I could not keep my eyes off him and said, “Hello, Christopher. Its grandma, I’ve been waiting a long time for you.”

Bill and I thanked God for keeping Amy and Christopher safe. I asked His forgiveness for my years of disbelief. When I asked Steve why he did not answer me earlier, he said he had not heard me. Amy was fine, but during surgery, the doctor found the umbilical cord wrapped four times around Christopher’s neck.

Our omniscient and loving father had ensured his safe delivery. Today Christopher is a happy, healthy five-year-old who is home-schooled by Amy. The blessings did not stop. Two summers ago, God blessed our son and his wife with a baby girl.

I have learned not to rely on my circumstances but to trust in the Lord for everything. Although I experienced winters of despair, God is faithful and gave me summers of joy.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/22/11
As a mother who is looking forward to grandchildren your story grabbed me from the very beginning. My heart hurt for you and your family. Then while describing Christopher' berets my OB nursing experience made my heart thud. Great story with a wonder-ful message.
Joanne Sher 01/25/11
I could feel your anguish and fear. What a wonderful ending to this story. Thank you for sharing it.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/28/11
Congratulations for placing 10th in level 3!.