Crossing From Life to Life

Some days in the maternity are harder than others, and today was one of those days. 

When I went back to check on the nurse with whom I was working, I found her standing at the incubator, stroking the head of the baby girl she was so tenderly caring for. All day the baby had not been doing well, so this nurse spent every unoccupied moment with her, watching over her and comforting her in her suffering. 

Just as I arrived, we both watched the monitor as the baby’s oxygen in her blood started to slowly drop. It was just gradual enough that we had time to call the doctor, who came quickly. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, we shot into action to try to save the baby’s life – giving medicines, transfusing blood, and helping the baby’s lungs breathe and heart beat. But despite all of that, her blood oxygen fell even further. 

I called out to Jesus, fully believing that he could make the oxygen saturation climb and the heart rate increase even when we were powerless to make such a difference. I prayed and then watched the monitor, but nothing changed. I pictured him touching the dead girl and raising her to life, and I asked him to come in the same way to this scene. 

In that very moment, I pictured him standing there with us. He brought such a calm as he entered the room. It was actually the calmest code I’ve ever been a part of, because Jesus was there; I could sense his reassuring presence. It reminded me of when Jesus came to Bethany after Lazarus died, bringing a peace and a calmness with him, reminding those who grieved that he is resurrection and life. But this time Jesus didn’t come to resurrect, he came to take his baby girl home. 

After at least thirty minutes of doing all we knew (and were capable) to do, the reality silently swept over us without any of us saying a word, and we knew that we now would have the honor of carrying this baby home to Jesus. 

The family was called to come over and we explained what was happening, and it was the grandmother who wanted to hold the baby girl, just a few days old, as she passed from this life to the next. 

I know this sweet little baby actually got the better end of the deal. She got to skip this life of suffering and just go straight home to Jesus’ arms. 

As we placed her in her grandmothers lap, I didn’t want to leave, for it was a holy moment. Although it would make more sense to not want to witness the actual moment of death, I felt the opposite. I wanted to be with her until she made it home. 

Although the loss of a child is the most difficult loss of all, we still do not grieve as the world grieves, as if we have no hope. Rather, we trusted Jesus to take care of this baby girl, and witnessing her last breath was like seeing a battle fought and won. An empty tomb two thousand years ago already won the victory for this baby’s battle. One very cruel death on a cross on Calvary took the sting away from death and made her death at two days old a very precious moment, one that was holy and as sweet as it was painful – a crossing from life to eternal life. 

In that instant, death didn’t win; it was defeated. We heard more than a final breath; we heard angels singing in the throne room. And we didn’t just see what meets the eye; we saw something more. We understood that life is fragile and that Jesus comes to us in our most desperate moments with the gift of his calming presence and peace. 

My thoughts and my prayers now turn towards the family of this little one. Tears didn’t come to my eyes until I saw the grandmother’s eyes glistening, and as she wiped hers, I found myself wiping mine. I grieve with them and pray for them, and I sense Jesus’ presence again, assuring me that he can use even this to help this Muslim family to believe in him. To discover that he is resurrection and he is life. 

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