There I sat on the futon by the window of the large postpartum suite at the hospital, filling out necessary paperwork to get Matthew’s birth certificate and Social Security card lined up. It was fairly standard government paperwork. Date of Birth? July 26, 2009. Weight? 7 pounds 14 ounces. Mother’s information. Father’s information. The second page got a little more invasive, wanting specifics about the birth and any nasty habits during pregnancy, like smoking. Lots of questions about race and ethnicity. The Libertarian in my blood got me wondering what kind of social engineering was going on with this line of questioning, but I answered them nonetheless.
Then the questions began to focus on Heather and her care during pregnancy. How many prenatal visits? Date of first visit? Date of last visit? Any abnormalities during pregnancy? How many previous pregnancies? The outcome of those pregnancies? I reluctantly answered.
The form asked questions about previous pregnancies that ended well. We thank God every day for our first pregnancy that produced Gabe. We cherish him and are proud of him. Gladly I wrote his birthday down on the form and gladly checked the box that indicated he was still alive.
Then it asked about pregnancies that did not end well. As you may know, Heather and I lost a pregnancy in between Gabe and Matthew. Though we can’t be sure, we think that pregnancy was our little girl who now plays at the feet of Jesus. But with some amount of pain, I indicated that we had a previous pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. Remembering that event conjured up all of those emotions that had hidden dormant in my soul for the past two years. The next question, I was not prepared for. Hadn’t even crossed my mind. This social engineering government form was transformed into a messenger of God’s marvelous grace. What was the date that the previous pregnancy ended?
So, I thought to myself, “When did we lose the baby? It was 2007. It was August, no, it wasn’t that late in the summer. It was July, late July. It was July twenty…No, it couldn’t be.” As I realized what was happening, tears began to well up in my eyes. I asked Heather, who was doting over her brand new baby boy, “When did we have the miscarriage?”
She slowly looked up at me, with tears in her eyes, “It was July twenty…sixth.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Check your calendar. I’m sure it was July twenty sixth.”
So I pulled out my calendar and went back two years. There it was. Thursday, July 26, 2007. The magnitude of this thought was more than I could bear and Heather and I began to weep. Not tears of sorrow, at least not completely. Not tears of joy, at least not completely, bur rather tears of appreciation – if such a thing exists.
I am reminded of the words of the psalmist, “What is man that you remember him?” I am not really worth remembering. I mess up all the time. Sometimes, I think God would have less to worry about if he just forgot me. But he doesn’t. And in a not so subtle way, he reminded me yet again that he remembers me and my family. Every time I look into the eyes of Matthew I will be reminded that God doesn’t forget us.
Skeptics will say that all this is just a coincidence. I tend to think God is far more creative than a game of random chance. For me, July 26 will always be a reminder of that. For this Daddy, I gladly offer praise to my Heavenly Father who doesn’t forget the needs of his children.