Building a Family: When Everything Suddenly Changes
We now return to our regular programming. This is the final chapter in Building a Family.
After having four children, Ashlee and I were scared to show much intimacy to each other. All four of them were within 2 years of each other. This left 6 months for recovery from C-sections, and 9 months for the next to be born give or take a few months in between. Basically, one of us were too fertile. It didn’t help that we were now members of a catholic hospital.
It was only a matter of time before Selah was born at 28 weeks gestation. Ashlee was in labor on magnesium for 48 hours. The IV had her like a zombie. The doctors finally decided that there was nothing they could do to stop the labor. They prepped the operating table.
Out of all our births, this one was the most….. interesting? The anesthesiologist did her work in numbing Ashlee’s body, and the doctors got to work. Radio music was blaring in the background with the OB singing along. Total Eclipse of the Heart. They found a tear in Ashlee’s uterus where Selah was peaking her hand through. If they would not have taken her, neither would have survived pregnancy. Selah was taken from the womb. Seconds ticked away waiting for a normal baby response. Our hearts were near their breaking point. Nurses flocked around her. Ashlee pleaded with me to make sure she was okay. It had never taken this long before. But the moment did come. Selah began to cry. Her lungs worked.
The doctor finished up the procedure, and closed the womb. We heard counting. They were taking inventory of tools.
Doctor: Oops. Where’s 13? Has anyone seen 13?
That would be just our luck. All in the clear, but with lucky number 13 stapled up inside. It wasn’t, but that would be our luck. They found it.
Selah had a 5 month stay in the NICU on and off. She brought home with her a feeding tube that went past her stomach, and into her duodenum. It was rare for her to ever get to use a bottle because her reflux was just that bad.
Despite everything, Selah was an absolutely happy baby. She learned to smile faster than any of the other 4. People all over fell in love with her the moment they met her. She demanded your attention. If she didn’t have it, she would literally yell until you looked. Once you looked, she smiled.
December 10th, 2012 at 5am, Selah transitioned from this world into eternity. She took with her our faith, our comfort, and our sanity.
People came from all over the state to attend her funeral. Specialists cancelled their appointments for the day. People who only met her fleetingly paid their respects. The funeral home’s overflow room was filled to overflowing. She had made an impact on so many in her short life here.
People told me that they were sorry for my loss. I corrected them. You see. Selah wasn’t lost. We knew exactly where she was, and still is. She’s in eternity.
Both of my oldest children had a dream. We had never described Heaven to them, but their dream was vivid. They saw a street of gold. Along the side of that street was a playground. Jesus stood at the bottom of the slide waiting to catch Selah in his arms. You see, Heaven really does have a playground. And now Jesus has his hands full with my mischievous little girl who likes to play pranks like her mother, and laugh like her father.
We got to share the pictures they drew at the funeral, as well as an invitation. I’d like to share that invitation with you today word for word from the day of her funeral.
“I want to invite everyone to Selah’s wedding day. It’s very important for all her friends and family to be there. We know not the hour or the day, but angels will sound a trumpet when it’s time. Her groom is everything I could have ever wanted for her. He’s a king. He has unconditional love. He has a large family that will take care of her. He has even invited all of us to come stay in His house. My Selah is going to make a beautiful bride. I’m excited that I get to see her wedding day even through all that’s happened. Hope to see you there.”