In the darkness

“For you, darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day.” —Ps. 139: 12


It’s been on my mind, but I didn’t realize just how terrified I was of losing this baby until I had waited an hour and a half past my appointment time last Friday. It was an unusual backlog, even for a doctor who takes his time with patients and never makes them feel that he’s in a hurry. I wasn’t upset over the delay, but after reading 150 pages of very non-life-giving nonfiction, I tossed the book aside and lay back on the examining table to pray.


When the doctor came in a minute later, I was already on the verge of tears. He pulled out the Doppler with the warning that it’s sometimes hard to find a 10-week-old baby’s heartbeat. And indeed, the only heartbeat we heard, a whisper of a pulse, was mine. I knew that because it was far too slow to be a baby’s.


“Let’s move you down the hall and get an ultrasound,” he said.


Soon, I was prone in the darkness with the wand pressed against my skin, and the fuzzy, silent image appeared. The baby was wiggling…not the trembling, uncontrolled movement that I remember from early ultrasounds, but the measured, deliberate kicking of hands and feet. The baby stretched its back and pointed its tiny nose up in the air. And in the center of the image was a little shimmer of gray, like stardust caught in a single point in space and time, struggling to escape. It was that moment when I fell in love with the child nestled beneath my heart…a child I can see only in shadows and obscurity.


Later that night, back at home, with Julianna cradled in my arms in the darkness, I gazed into her gleaming eyes and hummed a lullaby. I am as familiar with the contours of her face as I am with my own, but in that dimness her features were blurred and indistinct, like those of her unknown sibling. In the dark places of the world, we are known only by the one for whom darkness is light. May God bless my child of shadows, and bring him or her into the light.