...the birth of our second son, Jason Carder.
I was pastoring a church in Moultrie, Georgia, at the time, and our men had scheduled a trip to the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to see the Braves play on Saturday. September 24th.
Jennie was pregnant, and it had not gone well. Come to think of it, it didn't go well with any of the three children she bore. She was sick--SICK--all nine months with all three kids. We couldn't eat at home. We went through every restaurant in town and the county. We couldn't eat anywhere without her getting sick.
The worst happened one day after we ate in town and barely got back to the house before she bolted out of the car and began ralphing lunch. Simultaneously a school bus full of children went by in front of our home. You could hear a collective "eeeeuuuuwww" from them as they passed slowly.
I waved. She puked.
So, needless to say, we looked forward to the birth of this child. But it wasn't that way at the beginning.
My sweetheart had to have surgery in early January. Before they did the operation the hospital did a routine pregnancy test. It was negative.
She had the pre-op tests, the x-rays, the anesthesia. The operation was successful.
Days later, just before she was released, they did another routine pregnancy test. It was positive.
She was pregnant.
Our family physician recommended we have an ultrasound to check the viability of the baby. He also told us with some hesitation that the best course, for mom and baby, would be an abortion.
We went back to the hospital.
All I could see with the ultrasound was a blip on the screen. But that blip was throbbing. With a heartbeat.
We chose to go all the way, good or bad.
Late that Friday night in September, Jason Carder came into this world, full of life. The doctor said he looked healthy, but that there were some problems he needed to check on. We pressed him, and he said our son might have spina bifida, but they'd have to test him to find out.
We knew we had done the right thing in going full-term, and now this. We prayed. And prayed again.
Then we got the results. He was fine. Still is.
Oh, and the bus driver for the trip to Atlanta couldn't go. So guess who had to drive? Yep.
Jennie was livid. "There isn't a man in that church that could drive? We just had a baby!"
At that time in my life, I was more concerned about what the church thought. I had to go.
I've learned a lot since then. It started on that trip.
On I-75, just south of Vienna (pronounced with a long "i"), the bus died. A little bit of me did, too.
This was way before cell phones. We were on the side of the road, the Braves game an unattainable goal. A couple of guys walked to the rest area, and later the rest of us followed.
I called Jennie. She made some caustic comment about seeing me in the outfield seats, but then she realized they were empty. Thirty-five of them.
The bus got towed back to Moultrie. Some folks from another church brought their bus, and took us back. I went straight to the hospital.
Jennie was sleeping when I got there. She'd wake up soon enough.
I walked down to the nursery window. There, in all his blue blanket-wrapped glory, was our son.
Everything would be okay. Because he was.