What's happening for the Dehnarts?
Below are a few highlights of God's great work in our lives,
which doesn't always leave time for a full narrative.
In fact, before we tell you about God's great gift of our first son's birth in 2012, we have a brand new announcement for you to see in this family-friendly home-video!
I am overjoyed to the rim of my heart to the depth of my heart, to tell you of my first born son, who sleeps on my chest as I type. I was given the greatest Father's Day imaginable, from the Father of Lights and Creator of DNA, Opener of the Womb, Stitcher of Chromosomes, Giver of Life, Healer of Wounds, and Holder of Breath: Yahweh. At least twice in the Bible it is said that Yahweh holds our breath in His hands. He gave our boy his first breath, and from the deepest core of my soul, I thank Him for the new life, and for returning Katie's breath to her on the same day.
But I suppose my story picks up on the day before Father's Day. After using our buy-1-get-1 coupon at Bob Evans for lunch, (Thanks, B0b) we ventured into Lowes to buy wood for a treehouse. Not too surprisingly, after Katie walked the length of the store three times, she began feeling irregular labor pains. Some bleeding prompted a call to the baby doctor, who prompted a side trip to the hospital to get their input. Over a number of hours, we checked in to the hospital where a nurse ran a test and said the water had broken. A few hours further, the doctor arrived and said the water had not broken, and that she may or may not be on her way to active labor, but that we could stay the night and reevaluate in the morning. So we decided to settle in for the evening and rest, and see what the dawn of Father's Day would bring.
…chuckle… but there wasn't any rest. Katie's labor irregular labor pains continued to become longer and harder through 8 o'clock…. 10 o'clock… midnight… The passage of time became blurry and we didn't know whether the irregular contractions would progress or diminish. Eventually, they progressed further and further, though never became "regular" until they became so irregularly close that you couldn't tell if it was a regular pattern. Katie faced each one with steel determination, and for the first few hours, interspersed the time with a few jokes and smiles. She had suffered a lot of back, front, leg and foot pain through the last 3 or 4 months of pregnancy. She called it "useless pain", because it didn’t' seem to have a direct benefit for the baby. So when labor finally came, Katie took it on bravely, willing to trade out her useless pain for pain that would bring the face of her baby boy.
Katie did so very very well through Labor and Birth, giving all her focused determination towards the health and safety of our baby boy. One example (amidst the 9 months of her difficult care for the baby's health) of this was that when the nurse offered pain medication during the onset of the worst contactions, Katie's first concern was any side effects for the baby, which included slugishness and possible breathing complications, so Katie declined and pressed forward without medication.
Before we knew it, the time to push came, and a short time (which seemed like a long time) after, a pudgy purple face emerged, followed by healthy broad shoulders, a sturdy trunk, and the big strong feet that had been bouncing against Katie's tummy for months. For me, the daddy, watching a skull unfold into a huge purple face… my heart stopped, my breath stopped, my mind spun a million thoughts a second. There was a face of one that I loved, had spoken to, had planned with and for... and the face was so new, so uniquely individual, that I didn't recognize him. A delightful, emotional paradox. Questions, Fears, Joys, Rejoicing, Prayers, Pleas, Helps, Hopes, and others that have no words, raced through my head in an instant. Finally, after 3 more long, hard contractions, at 1:28am on Father's Day, our baby boy was given his first breath, like Adam, breathed into by the Holy Spirit.
The instant he was delivered, Katie was delivered, too. The pain and concentrations vanished from her face and she held out her arms to hold him and with a smile and joyful voice, "I get the prize. I wanna hold my baby boy!" were her words with outstretched fingers. We soaked in the pure joy and relief of our cuddly son. Teri (Katie's Mom) took a few quick pictures, which I shared with family in the hallway, and then took family in two-at-a-time to visit. Chloe was fast asleep, but Joanie's eyes were bright and her hands folded beneath her chin… her mouth hung open with a smile of delight, and I invited her to touch her brother's golden hair. She touched it for a tiny moment with one finger, and then withdrew with a delighted laugh. She turned her wide eyes up to me and said eagerly, "Can I touch him again???" After a thorough ear-to-ear grin inspection of her newest sibling, Joanie stated.."He sure has fluffy cheeks. ....He's fluffy everywhere!" (referring to all his pudginess). Grandparents all congratulated us and were so proud of Katie for her valiant courage and determination.
But the night was not over. The afterbirth proved a difficult and excruciating ordeal, and the bleeding did not subside until the doctor scooped out nearly a quart of bloodclots. Katie was in terribly horrible pain, and the soft coos of her baby gave her comfort. Finally when we thought the worse was passed, another trial had already started.
Grandma & Grandpa took our girls home for sleep, and the doctor went home. After a short time, it became clear that Katie was having difficulty breathing, so they gave her some oxygen. To constrict her womb and reduce the bleeding, the doctor had given Katie a drug called hemobate. The normal side effects were vomiting and diarrhea, but for Katie, it stopped her lungs. Katie began to gasp and signaled that her chest hurt, and a nurse yelled into the hallway for everyone to come help. An alert echoed through the hallway into our room while Katie gasped for breath: "Rapid Response Team to Room 330" and "Crash Cart" were the only words that registered in my head.
Crash Cart was serious, and I called family for emergency prayer. For nearly an hour or more, I held my boy in view of Katie and prayed fiercely for God's rescue. At least a dozen hospital staff crowded the room and I listened to the Rapid Response Team try to determine the cause of the problem. When a break in the small crowd would open, I would step forward to hold Katie's ankle and pray to the Maker of All… the Giver of Breath.
I don't remember all that my son and I prayed. Minute by shaking minute, we shared a way of prayer without English words. He yearned with all his heart for his mother… and so did I. Together, we called on the Creator, the Healer, the Savior. We called on Yahweh by His names… Holder of Breath, Giver of Life, Designer of the DNA, Opener and Closer of the Womb, Stitcher of Chromosomes, Maker of Katie, Lord… God… Friend.
Slowly… -too slowly-, Katie's breath was returned to her, and slowly, our parents, our son, and myself, began to breathe gratefulness. Panic, Fear, Horror, Tragedy had each had their moment, but Yahweh, Namer of the Stars, Stretcher of the Heavens, Maker of the Atom, Father of His Katie, Ruler of Eternity, had not let her heart stop, or her breath escape His strong hands.
Over days and nights of constant interruption from nurses, doctors, technicians, and of course, our beautiful infant, Katie, me and our son, were permitted to leave the hospital and return home. Katie's blood count had dropped from 14 to 6.3, but her recovery was steady and swift. Mother and Child bonded like super glue, and the bnablaughter was our little son's first regular sound he took in, aside from the regular laughter he heard while in the womb. We are so extremely blessed by our Lord, Maker and Father, to have given breath to this new life, and preserved our own.
And we named him-- …chuckle… but his name is another story altogether, coming soon. :-)
My son, resting on the promises of God.
Naming my Son, Rigby Caleb Richard Dehnart
By John Dehnart
how did I decide on my son's name?
I've often held an interest in symbols. The Fish symbol, the peace symbol, the question mark symbol, baptisms or the Statue of Liberty, to name a few. From hyrogliphycs to ear piercings to the pictures on our money, it doesn't take me long to tilt my head and start the gears of speculation towards the origins of these visuals. Most people probably don't give them a second thought, and dismiss them as symbols too old to matter, or too new to bear any real significance.
I have rarely adopted symbols for myself. Nixon may have held up two fingers for Peace. Ranchers may have branded letters in their cows. And youth may have chosen a dragon or a ying-yang to tattoo onto their attitudes. But there are precious few, --and those few, precious-- that I have found worth identifying or adopting into my own life. In reflection, I've rarely even worn shirts with logos or messages on them. I suppose it's a little ironic that it could be the same drive for individuality and specialness that made my peers choose contemporary symbols for cars, clothing and skin, that prompts hesitation in me to identify myself with someone else's symbol.
But there have been a few symbols that I have been drawn to, supported and represented at times in my life. My Superman jammies, my Lone Ranger mask, or my detective trench coat were gradually outgrown and retired, and I was given new symbols that represented something more lasting and significant. I don't doubt that you've already seen some of them on this website. My CrossTimber logo, the cross and empty tomb of Jesus, the American Flag. And you might have seen my adventure hat in photos of me. No, I didn't tattoo any of these on me, but they have become an integral part of how I live, and who I seek to be.
But I digress, and you, patient reader, have probably already begun to wonder what in the word these thoughts on symbols have to do with the name of my first born son, Rigby Caleb. So I will pursue a faster course of story.
The symbol that comes to mind when I think of the name Rigby is one that has been around for thousands of years, and still identifies committed parents today. And we would not -and could not- have come to a decision for Rigby's name without the steadfast commitment that this symbol represents. The wedding ring. Since June 11th, 2005, I have adopted, engrained, and identified my commitment to my wife with the symbol of a wedding band on my finger. Few symbols of family commitment and loyalty have endured the ages, but the wedding band has continued to be a symbol of unending love, support and commitment, and I am proud to hold fast to that commitment to my wife.
In the hospital, as Katie and I were deliberating the name for our baby boy, I heard that two thirds of the babies born in that hospital were to unwed mothers. Sons and daughters that began their lives without a father who would commit his life to one woman, until death do they part.
I'm sure you've heard the statistics, or at least know that they're terrible. Children who are raised in a home without a commited father and mother, --who are husband and wife-- suffer dire consequences. And I can boldly, strongly and steadfastly proclaim, that I love my wife, and I am committed to being her husband for life.
What does this have to do with choosing the name Rigby? Well, the process of choosing a name for our son was surprisingly difficult. Dealing with names and meanings every day in my business, researching origins, writing NameStories, flipping through baby name books... there were a lot of serious things to consider for the name of my son.
Katie and I wanted a name that would inspire our boy to use creativitiy and imagination to overcome problems and inspire others around him. Watching the current trends of culture and education, I think the next generation will have a great need for a leader that can think outside the box, to show others that "With God, all things are possible."
This theme in our discussions brought us upon James Barrie's stories of Peter Pan an Never Neverland and the strict, stiff culture that Barrie was in when he wrote such a wildly unconventional piece of fiction. I didn't much care for the author himself, nor the imature follies of his boy who would never grow up. But in the context of the culture around him, his fanciful play rekindled imagination and creativity beyond the bounds and thinking of the society around him.
As we considered this association for our son, we considered and discarded most of the names of his characters. Katie decided on the name Rigby, from the gold-metal winner Cathy Rigby, who had gone from being the highest scoring American gymnest in 1968 to play the character of Peter Pan in the broadway play for nearly 40 years. Later, we even got to meet Cathy Rigby on one of her last performances, and introduce her to our Rigby Caleb. (video: Rigby Caleb meeting Cathy Rigby)
During the pregnancy and plans for our firstborn son, God impressed upon me the heritage that is in a name because of the namesakes that have carried it in the past. He repeatedly gave me references to the story of Caleb in the Bible, who defied the thinking of the culture and people around him, and chose instead to hold fast to God's promises, even to the threat of death. Caleb was a leader and outstanding example of courageous faith. (more on the NameStory for Caleb here.)
I want my son's name, Caleb, to connect him with his steadfast faith in our Almighty God. Four times, the Bible says that Caleb wholly followed Yahweh. "But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land that he explored; and his children will own it." Numbers 14:24 (also Numbers 32:12, Deuteronomy 1:36 and Joshua 14:14) Out of all the Israelites that were older than 20 when God rescued them from Egypt, Joshua and Caleb were the only two that God allowed into the Promise Land, leading the children of Israel.
These stories in Biblical history painted a unique picture of God's plan for us today, and our need for God's Salvation through Jesus. Rigby Caleb's name carries a heritage of an important part of that story.
Moses, representing the laws of God, could only take God's people to the edge of the promised land. Their repeated rebellion and stubornness required great leaders to stand and speak God's promises in the face of deathly persecution, and God chose Joshua, whose name means "Yahweh's Salvation", to lead His people.
This beautiful symbol of Caleb assisting Joshua (Jesus) to lead the people into God's plan is what I want to share with my son through the meaning and heritage of his name.
Shown right: The Warrior, a great work of historical fiction about the life of Caleb, by Francine Rivers
By John Dehnart
Well, you all deserve a note about the video contest. If you haven't seen our Father's Day video, click below. And if you have, you've probably been wondering whether we won the jeep & vacation.
Alas, after getting 4 times as many views and votes, the judges instsead chose a video which was submitted just 3 days before the voting ended. We feel jipped.
Nevertheless, we came out with a FANTASTIC video, comlete with flying children and tree-borne cat rescues. Take a look! And let us know what you think of the fun video.
P.S. The day they were going to announce the winner of the contest was the day my son was born: Father's Day. It was impossible to be bummed about the contest when I was holding a healthy, handsome treasure, worth more than a thousand jeeps and vacations. If you haven't read First Breath, then click here.