I will always remember the birth of our first child. I was 21 and in my second year at Augsburg College. It was in the early evening on June 16 when we arrived at Swedish Hospital. The delivery was to be induced. We met one of my professors on the elevator. He was on his way to visit his wife.
"And who have the Nelsons come to visit this warm summer evening?" he inquired. "We are going up to have a baby," we said. "Oh," was his only reply. We could tell what he thought: "Young people these days don't even know how a baby is born."
It was a long wait in the fathers' room. Fathers were not allowed to be a part of the birthing process in those days. Some fathers had filled ashtrays to overflowing. Others had not shaved for a couple of days and were pacing the floor. They seemed almost angry when the nurse popped her head in the door and said, "Is Nelson in here?" "Yes," I replied, feeling the glare of the other waiting fathers. "Come with me. You are the father of a beautiful baby girl."
I was allowed to look through a glass and see the bassinet with the tag, "Baby girl Nelson." She was beautiful. She was a miracle. She was red from top to bottom. I was allowed to hold my daughter about 8:00 a.m. I looked at her and there were long red marks on either side of her head. I called to the nurse, "You have brought me the wrong baby. I saw her last night and she was perfect."
Before I became too aggressive, the nurse explained that they had to use forceps in the delivery, and the marks were not permanent. I had asked, "What child is this?" twice in the first 12 hours after birth. I would continue to ask that question for the next 55 years.
It is also an appropriate question to ask as we approach Christmas again this year.
We continue to be overwhelmed, Lord Jesus, that you were born a child, like our children, that you might be our Savior. Amen!