The Next Day
Nikolas, Lucky, and Zander went to the mall to pick out something special for the babies to be baptized in. They couldn't be dressed, or even taken out of the incubators because of all the tubes and wires, but they could put a little hat and a pair of booties on them for the special occasion. Lucky quickly found a cute pale blue hat and matching booties. Zander choose a pale yellow set for his daughter after a little more thought. Nikolas however couldn't decide what to buy for his daughter. He finally chose a light green hat and booties that had a checked design like gingham on them.
Elizabeth, Emily, and I in the meantime were trying to get ready to see our babies for the first time since they were born. We had been in bed for almost 2 weeks, and we were starting to feel better. Dr. Wexler had finally given the okay, because of the baptism, for us to go upstairs to see the babies. The boys insisted that we sit in our wheelchairs the whole time just in case we pulled the staples out of our stomachs straining to stand up and keep our balance since we had been in bed for most of the last 6 months, except for a few times when we had been allowed out of bed, like the night we went into labor.
In The NICU
The chaplin set up everything he needed to baptize these babies. He had the candles, the holy water and chrism (holy annointing oil), the bibs, and the little baptism books and rosaries. He said a silent prayer to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, that he might bless and watch over these babies and keep them safe during the surgery. Then he stood outside the NICU waiting for the parents and the rest of the family to arrive.
Everyone had dressed up in their church clothes. Nikolas, Zander, and Lucky put the hat and booties on the babies and took a few pictures. Even Elizabeth, Emily, and I had been allowed to change into street clothes and were now wearing dresses, which were the easiest and most comfortable to get into. Luke and Laura brought Lulu who stared at the babies and said "they're so tiny," in a very quiet "church" voice. Sonny and Carly were there as well, although they left Micheal with Leticia. Bobbie, Lesley, Alan, and Monica were there to round out the family and friends.
"Are we ready to begin?" the chaplin asked.
"Yes father," I said quietly.
"Alright, Sons and Daughters of God, we are gathered here today to celebrate the addition of 3 more souls into the loving care of their parents, who in turn ask for God's blessing and guidence in their lives. And at this time a special prayer of protection in all that lies ahead for them. The parents, family, and godparents ask you O God to bless and keep these souls and guide them through life. Do we have at least one set of godparents?" the chaplin asked.
"Yes we do," Nikolas said. Sonny and Carly stepped over to where the chaplin pointed and he continued his prayer.
"Finally, the parents today entrust you Oh God with the spiritual well-being of their children, especially in their time of need, be with them Lord, Amen," he said.
"Amen," everyone answered.
"Baptism is rebirth, it is the symbolic washing away of original sin passed down from Adam and Eve, and it is a covenant with God that these lives are in his care. Please say "I do" after each statement," the chaplin said, starting the baptism prayer:
"Do you believe in God, the father almighty?" he said.
"I do," we said.
"Do you reject Satan and all his works, all his temptations, and all his false promises?" he said.
"I do," we said.
"Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the only son of God?" he said.
"I do," we said.
"Do you believe in the Holy Spirit," he said.
"I do," we said.
"Do you believe in the apostles, the saints, and the one holy Roman Catholic Church," he said.
"I do," we said.
"I bless you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, Amen," he said.
"Amen," we said, as we did the sign of the cross.
"Would the godparents take the baptism candle and the bib, and place the items inside the incubator for a few moments for the ceremony, at this point the candles would normally be lit to purify the spirits of the people being baptized, however with the situation as it is we cannot light the candles," he said as he prepared the last step in the baptism ceremony.
"Do you as grandparents take responsibility for the spiritual and if need be, physical well-being of these people of God," he said.
"I do," Carly said.
"I do," Sonny said.
"Do the parents have names picked out?" the chaplin said.
"Yes father," Emily, Elizabeth, and I said. We wrote the babies names down in the book the chaplin gave us, formally introducing them to the community by signing their names, and then saying them outloud, which would happen next.
The chaplin walked over to Elizabeth and Lucky's son and looked at the name written in the book, "Lucas Lorenzo Spencer III, I bless you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, Amen," he said as he annointed the baby with the holy water and chrism.
He then walked over to Zander and Emily's baby and read the name out of the book, "Lila Paige Spencer, I bless you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, Amen," he said.
Finally he walked over to Nikolas and I and read our daughter's name from the book, "Leilani Grace Spencer, I bless you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, Amen," he said.
"The service has ended, go now in peace to love and serve the lord," the chaplin said.
"Amen," we said.
Later that day
"Leilani Grace Spencer, that is an unusual name, where did you find that?" Luke said to Nikolas and I.
"We did an internet search since we couldn't decide what to name her and we both liked Leilani," I said, looking through our daughter's baby book which was already 1/3 of the way full with pictures.
"What does it mean?" Laura asked from her seat on the other side of the room.
"It means heavenly flower in Hawaiian, and Grace was my mother's name, and also my middle name," I said quietly, starting to get tired, now that I knew my little girl was okay.
"I will leave you guys to sleep now, come on Luke, let's let them rest, they had a long day, we will see you tomorrow," Laura said, leading Luke out of our room. We fell asleep not too long after that.
For the first time in a week my dreams were peaceful and I didn't wake up in the middle of the night sweating and panicking as I had been doing. Elizabeth and Emily also slept peacefully, and the guys even got some sleep, which was rare lately for them. It had been a good day.