Simple Life Note: 24 hours – Father

This is a simple note about one unforgettable moment of life beauty. A note from a man who became a 24 hours – father. A note from my husband. Translated into English on his permission.

Glen S Tanihatoe, October 2004

This note began when an expected great news arrived, three months after the beautiful moment of holy matrimony, the day we sealed our love with eternal promise to love and cherish till death do us part.

My wife got pregnant. I was preparing myself to become a father. A great responsibility given from the Creator. I remembered vividly, the baby grew perfectly. During the pregnancy period, we experienced no complication. When the pregnancy getting older, I sometimes saw the baby kicking and move circling the belly. We went to one senior obstetrician and follow the regular check-ups completely for 9 months. We, and the big family members joined this happiness with one wish, a safe birth process.

On 14 December 1998, my wife felt the birth signs. The long-waited day has come. We went to the hospital, arrived at 4 pm and ready for further examination. Finally, after the painful hours my wife has been through, the baby was ready to see the world for the first time.

Life is sometimes unexpected. For one short moment, we were rejoiced but only in one blink of an eye, everything has changed. I heard the nurse shout, “The fetal membrane is dark green!” “Call the doctor, now!” It was chaotic. When the doctor arrived, he helped the delivery process as quick as he can. He found out that the baby need more assistance. He must vacuumed the head, to help the baby out of the womb.

I heard my baby cried. A cry from one little born baby. Our little angel. The perfect gift from God to our family. One important and full of meaning moment. A father. I felt jubilant.
But only few minutes after that, my world, again, turned upside down. Our baby had complication. The hospital is not well-equipped. We must go to bigger hospital. I was totally confused. Less than one hour, I have to left my wife alone, my baby was inside the incubator with oxygen aid and within 45 minutes transferred to bigger-well-equipped hospital. What would happen to him? What would happen to us?

The following hours felt like nightmare. I struggled to understand what exactly happened. His lungs fully covered by sticky fetal membrane. He cannot breathe. The doctors must found other way to make him breathe. Immediate actions have to be taken, including slicing his scalp to find blood vessel, to stream the pure oxygen. All the actions made me cry. He’s not even 24 hours old, he just too small to experience all the painful process. I wish, I can do something to obviate the pain from him.

Nothing, as a father, that I can do to help him. I only stood in front of the NICU room, starred at my baby with devastating feeling. I saw his feeble heartbeat and one single breath, with all medical equipment around him, to support his life. “Dear God, I surrender now. Please give him strength. To You only I pray.” I fell a strong urge to scream but I have no longer strength to do so. That time, I even felt that my pray only reached the hospital’s ceiling.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die.”

I sat silently. I tried my best and pray for him. I had heard his first cry. I had seen his tiny angelic baby face, felt his first breathe, and heard his first heartbeat. I had caressed his chick and his soft hands. He was my son and I was his father.

I know that the Creator has the authority. He can give but He can also take. The next day, on December 15, 1998. He took my son back to HIS arm. I called my wife, 24 hours after the birth and told her, “Our son has gone.” I remembered she said, “Bung, God knows the best. Praise the Lord.”

Life is short. “They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.” We never knew, when the time is come. When I remembered HIS goodness in our life, I was relieved. I have done my part, my responsibility as a father, though it was only for 24 hours.

4 months after one of the greatest unforgettable moment in our marriage life, God granted us another chance to have a baby. 18 January 2000, a baby boy was born. We both knew, he was not a substitute to our first, Hizkia Barrack. He was the chance for us, through the experience of losing one child, to become a stronger and wiser parents.