JANUARY 11, 2004: “Hello, Goodbye” …


How could I ever have imagined that on this bright, sunny morning I would leave my house blissfully fat and pregnant only to come home two days later once again empty and shattered? At 8am, at a little more than halfway through my pregnancy, I woke up with what I thought were only cramps. I wasn’t too worried though, and in fact had even tried convincing my husband, who wanted to take me to the hospital just to be safe, that I was fine and that I could wait until Monday to see the doctor. We had finally gotten settled into the new house and on this particular Sunday there were NFL playoffs that I didn’t want him to miss. He was completely exhausted from the move and deserved a day off, and I knew that even a “quick trip” to the emergency room could possibly mean hours and hours of our Sunday which I just didn’t think were necessary.

On the way to the hospital, I thought about calling my parents, but decided I didn’t want to worry them unnecessarily. I truly believed that everything was fine, and since it was so early in the morning, I didn’t want to wake anyone up.  When we got to the hospital we sat in the lobby and waited for almost an hour, all the while, my pains continued increasing.  By then it was 9, and so I decided to go ahead and have Pete call my parents since they were probably awake by now, but again, just to keep them in the loop.  Pete never even spoke to my parents, but instead, an aunt who was staying with them at the time. Pete told her what was happening and asked her to let my parents know, but also tell them that everything was probably fine, not to worry, and we would call them when we got home. Meanwhile, as Pete was on the phone I had gone to the restroom of the lobby. No sooner did the door shut behind me did I realize that something was drastically wrong. As I began walking towards Pete I passed out in the lobby and was soon being rushed into the ER. Meanwhile, my aunt had gone ahead and alerted my parents, and against our instance to the contrary, they had already left their house which was less than 2 miles away from the hospital.  Ten minutes later, and not less than 30 seconds before I delivered my daughter, my Mother had found her way to my room. There she stood holding my right hand while Pete was holding my left. Gina Maria Embach, our precious baby girl, was 9 inches long and weighed just over a pound.

The four hours that she lived were the longest of my life and there are no words to describe my anguish. The baby that I had prayed for day after day had been cruelly ripped from my womb and now, I held her broken little body in my arms. She kept trying to hold on to my finger but her tiny hand was too small to grasp it. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and helplessly watched her gasping for air and struggling to live and then watched her take her last breath. I struggled for so long to find a single good thing that came from that heartache and trauma, as it is something I will never truly understand, but I can tell you that there in that room, racked with pain, grief and agony and in my very darkest hours, I had never felt so loved!

How blessed was I to be surrounded by the people in this world who I loved and cared for the most and who all the while had loved me in all the best ways they knew? My husband, Peter, who, after all he went through to bring that little girl into my life, and who despite my best efforts to push him away never once in our lifetime together at that point had ever physically left my side. My father, who despite his shortcomings did then seem to love me the best that he possibly could, and despite our many battles, I know would have traded his life for my daughter’s in that moment. My sister, my one true and unconditional rock, there at the foot of my bed on her hands and knees sobbing inconsolably for the indescribable pain that I was in, that if she could have, I know she would have taken from me. And, of course, my beautiful, faithful mother who has loved me all the days of my life I have been lucky enough to have stand beside me when each of my children came into this world, and then again when one of them left it.

As for God? While of course, at the time I couldn’t exactly feel Him, every single shred of my being knows that He was there in that room with me, just like “The Footprints In The Sand”. He was weeping as He was holding me as I was weeping and holding her as she was dying in my arms during this, the most bittersweet moment of my life. After all those years of praying for a baby, I’d gotten an angel instead.


Where’s the Navigator of your destiny? Where is the Dealer of this hand? Who can explain life and its brevity, ’cause there is nothing here that I can understand. You and I have barely met, and I just don’t want to let go of you yet. Noah, hello, good-bye. I’ll see you on the other side. Noah, sweet child of mine. I’ll see you on the other side. And so I hold your tiny hand in mine for the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. Heaven calls for you before it calls for me. When you get there save me a place. A place where I can share your smile and I can hold you for more than just awhile. Noah, I’ll see you on the other side. {Michael W. Smith}