Two years ago today our lives were profoundly changed forever. Carolyn and I found out we were having a baby! That day I wrote a five-page letter to our brand new child. It’s kind of awkward to share something so personal, but to celebrate this special date, below is an abridged version of that letter:
September 30, 2008
Dear Laura Marie or Connor Stephen,
Today was one of the happiest days of my life, because I found out about you. The only moment that could possibly compare was the day that your mother and I exchanged marriage vows. It feels weird to say “your mother”—I’ve never referred to my wife that way before!
You didn’t exist at the beginning of this month, and now you do. You’re microscopic, and yet you’re every bit as alive and valuable as any other human being.
It was just after midnight last night that I found out you’re here. I can’t even explain the depth of feeling I’ve experienced today and the new perspective in which I now see the world. It’s unreal, to say the least.
Just after midnight, about 22 hours ago, I was lying in bed. I’d only been asleep about 15 or 20 minutes when your mom slid out of bed to go to the bathroom. When she came back, she lay there for a minute before I heard her saying, “Hey honey, are you awake?”
Well, I was at that point, so I said yes.
She then said, “I got a plus sign.”
She murmured something else and went back to sleep. So anyway, when she said something about getting a plus sign, I figured she was talking in her sleep, maybe dreaming about getting an A+ or something. I asked her, “You got a plus sign?”
“Yes,” she said, “two of them. I got two plus signs.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. She didn’t sound like she was asleep.
“I took two tests and got a plus sign twice.”
Now my light came on. Were we really having this conversation? I hardly knew anything at all about pregnancy tests, but suddenly I learned a whole lot. These pregnancy tests made a horizontal line to show that the results were negative. A test that showed an additional vertical line was the sign for positive results. And she had two of them. Two plus signs. My world changed at that moment and will never be the same: That’s when I knew you were here.
We talked and joked for about an hour, then we prayed for you and went back to sleep… after awhile of tossing and turning. It’s a little difficult to get to sleep after receiving news like that!
When I prayed for you, I felt a strong inner resistance to pray specifically for either a boy or a girl. Whichever you turn out to be, I couldn’t love you more any other way. I realize that now. Laura Marie or Connor Stephen, it makes no difference. You’re our child.
This morning when the doctor’s office opened, I called and scheduled an appointment for your mom at 5:45 p.m.
We spent about 10 minutes in the waiting room. We watched a little girl who was probably about one and a half. She took her uncle’s keys and refused to give them back. As we watched her, I know we were both thinking about you.
They called your mom back about 5:50 and I went with her. After checking temperature and pulse, they gave her a pregnancy test. The nurse said that pregnancy tests, especially ones that come back positive, are usually pretty reliable. Without even pausing, she turned around and said something like, “And this confirms it. Congratulations!”
If God made words to describe what I felt in that moment, He hasn’t let them out of heaven yet. I never knew until then that it was possible to feel so profoundly happy. Even though you’re too small right now to even be seen with the naked eye, you’ve changed my life completely. Mine and your mom’s. We are so excited about you! We both love you so much—I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. I can’t even imagine the overwhelming , rapturous joy that will overtake us when we actually see you and get to hold you when you’re born. I’m sure my heart will burst!
You’re still practically nine months away from being born, and I already feel like your father. I never knew this is how parents feel! It’s like I’ve just developed a new sense and can now experience life on a new dimension. It’s unbelievable. Someday if you have kids you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
In the few hours I’ve known of your existence, my eyes and heart have already been opened to an amazing degree to comprehend more about God’s love for us. The love of a Father. Complete, unconditional love. I’ve never seen you, felt you, heard you—in fact, you’re smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. But it doesn’t matter—I already love you so much! I’d imagine that I’ll discover even greater depths of love in the months and years ahead.
When we left the doctor’s office, we ran some errands for an hour or so. Your mom was so hungry at this point (I’d had a very late and very big lunch), so we stopped at Panera Bread for a quick dinner. I was so excited I barely even remember the meal—my mind was so far from there that near the end of the meal I asked your mom why she only got soup and no sandwich since she was so hungry. She gave me a blank stare, smiled with a what’s-wrong-with-you look, and told me she’d just eaten a turkey sandwich. And I’d even carried her sandwich to her from the counter!
When we finally got home, your mom was so tired—she got ready for bed but then realized she hadn’t taken her prenatal vitamins. She takes two each day—she’s been doing this for two weeks at the nurse’s recommendation. After she takes the one at night, she can’t lie down for two hours. Your poor mother! After a restless night, it was already late and she was exhausted, but she had to take the vitamin because now it’s no longer preparation—you’re actually here with us! So she took her vitamin and sat on the couch reading her Bible, and fighting sleepiness, until 10:30 or later. And I got started on this letter.
I know she’s going to be such a great mom! Children are her passion, and people have told us for years that we should be parents. You’re going to bring her such great joy and delight. What an amazing blessing you already are!
It’s late now, and as you now know, last night didn’t hold much sleep for me. So now I’ll try to sleep once more as my mind races with thoughts of you and I drift away on waves of joy.
P.S. Wow—that’s the first time I’ve ever referred to myself as “Dad”! How weird. And how profoundly neat.