FamilyLife Today® Podcast

The Joy of Birth in the Shadow of Fear

with Bill and Pam Mutz, Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Jake and Rebecca Mutz | November 25, 2013
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Rebecca Mutz wanted to be a mom ever since she could remember. Hear Rebecca tell how her dreams came true in a labor and delivery room in a small Colorado hospital. When baby Molly didn't cry for four minutes after delivery, however, a new mother's worst fears began to materialize. Joining Rebecca this week is her husband Jake, her in-laws, Bill and Pam Mutz, and her parents, Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Rebecca Mutz wanted to be a mom ever since she could remember. Hear Rebecca tell how her dreams came true in a labor and delivery room in a small Colorado hospital. When baby Molly didn't cry for four minutes after delivery, however, a new mother's worst fears began to materialize. Joining Rebecca this week is her husband Jake, her in-laws, Bill and Pam Mutz, and her parents, Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

When baby Molly didn’t cry for four minutes after delivery, a new mother’s worst fears began to materialize.

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The Joy of Birth in the Shadow of Fear

With Bill and Pam Mutz, Dennis an...more
November 25, 2013
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Bob:  Saturday, June 14, 2008.

Dennis:  We really didn’t know what was wrong. I do think—when we went back to the room and we encountered this little seven-pound little girl, who had multiple tubes going in her mouth—you could see her little heart beating in her chest. It was really beating. She was being fed through her bellybutton for IV. She was receiving heart medication. She was sedated to keep her from being anxious because of the tubes and everything.

You know, you walk into that setting and you’re unprepared—you know, you’re just not seeing a baby. I had—we just were not prepared for that moment. I just remember—it just kind of took your breath away.



Bob:  And welcome to a very special edition of FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. It was five years ago, this past summer, that your family stepped into one of the most difficult seasons your family has ever been through.

Dennis:  Yes, and, you know, there’s no way to describe the rollercoaster of emotions—of finding out that you have a new granddaughter—and that your daughter, who has never had a child before, is giving birth to her firstborn. There’s the hype, the elation, and celebration of that; and then, there is the plunging into a valley—



I mean, into a dramatic journey—that there are not enough words in the vocabulary to describe the emotions that we went through over a period of a week.

Bob:  Yes. Your daughter, Rebecca, gave birth to Molly Ann Mutz. It was on June 13, 2008.

Dennis:  That’s right; Rebecca and Jake were married three years before they had a child. There’s a lot of anticipation around this—even though we’ve had other grandchildren—but it was a delight because it was, as I mentioned, Rebecca and Jake’s first.

Bob:  And as our listeners are going to hear, the joy of the successful birth quickly gave way to concern about Molly’s health. Over the course of this week, we’re going to hear about her short life and about the impact that short life had on her parents and on the whole extended family.



Dennis:  This may be the most profound week of broadcasting that we’ve ever hosted, here on FamilyLife Today. [Emotion in voice] It’s a journey into a drama. Unfortunately, there are no actors. These are real people. The recordings you’re going to hear are the actual voices of Jake and Rebecca, and Jake’s parents, Bill and Pam Mutz, and Barbara and me. You’re going to hear actual recordings from the delivery room—a doctor and a nurse. You’re going to hear a heart monitor. All week long, you’re going to hear the voice of God.



Isaiah 45:3 says, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by name.” This is real life. I realize our listeners are not involved—most of them, more than likely, right now—in anything quite as profound as this, but all of us are involved in a journey—a journey of encountering God. I want you to know—He shows up on the mountaintops, and He’s really there in the valley.

Bob:  Actually, the story of Molly’s life began when your daughter, Rebecca, and her husband Jake first got the news that they were going to be parents. Those days, throughout their pregnancy, were days of real joy and anticipation.





Rebecca:  I just loved being pregnant. It was so fun. I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t horribly tired.

Jake:  A lot of my joy would have been seeing all the joy that Becca had in being pregnant.

Rebecca:  I just enjoyed everything that was new about being pregnant—you know, not being able to fit in my pants anymore.

Jake:  I thought, you know, “How cute she looks.”

Rebecca:  You know, and then I’m showing. That was really fun because then it was like, “Okay, I really am pregnant,” and then having people notice you, and ask you when you’re due, and, “Do you know what you’re having?”

Jake:  We decided not to find out her sex just to be old-fashioned.

Rebecca:  You know, “Do you know what you’re having?” “Well, I think it’s a boy;” and I heard everyone say, “It’s a boy.” Nobody ever said, “Oh, it’s a girl.”

Jake:  I said, if it was a boy, a really cool middle name would be Danger. So then, he could always say, “Danger’s my middle name.” Becca kept saying, “Well, what if we have a nerdy little boy?” I said: “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of that. We don’t have to worry about that.”



Rebecca:  Jacob’s other grandpa, in Florida—he even kept saying, “How’s my grandson? How’s my great grandson doing?”—you know.

Jake:  Or “the” because, if he could have been named Jackson the Mutz, think about how neat that would be!

Rebecca:  So, I just expected a boy, you know; but I wanted a girl.

Jake:  For a girl, we liked Molly as the first name and Ann as a middle name. I was still kind of hoping that maybe when Becca saw him, if it was a boy, that she’d be like, “Looks like a Danger”.

She kept thinking she maybe was having contractions and wasn’t sure. So, she talked to her mom about it.

Barbara:  She went into labor on a Thursday morning sometime. I didn’t talk to her until later in the afternoon because she wasn’t really sure it was really it. I mean, you know, on your first one, you don’t know anyway.

Rebecca:  It was more of an uncomfortable feeling—other than just a tightening—it was tightened, but then it’d also hurt. I said, “Jake, I think we’re going to have the baby today.”

Jake:  So—had a little bit of dinner. She didn’t feel like eating very much.



Rebecca:  He’s like: “Do you want some food? You should eat! You’re not going to get to eat anything when you get there.” I’m like: “I’m not hungry! Can we just go?”—you know. He’s like, “How about some guacamole?”

Jake:  They had said in the birthing classes—that you’re not going to get to eat for a long time.

Rebecca:  “This is really good guacamole,”—he’s eating the guacamole. I’m like: “I’m sure it’s great. I don’t want any! I’m hurting! Can we please…” you know. He’s like, “Oh, come on, you need to eat some food.”

Jake:  So, she had a few bites.

Barbara:  And then, they called—I think on their way to the hospital—about 8:00 at night or something. We went to bed, pretty sure that there was going to be a baby. We told them to call us in the middle of the night.

Dennis:  I woke up at 4:00. Of course, we hadn’t heard anything. Barbara had her phone; I had my phone. I text to Jake, going, “What’s up?” 

Rebecca:  Phone became a really big problem.

Jake:  I was coaching—encouraging her—while simultaneously emailing people my BlackBerry®, kind of, status updates.

Rebecca:  So, he’s got my leg. Then, he’s got his phone; and he’s punching away and working on it.

Jake:  I just figured—in between contractions, you know—it’s an excellent time to be emailing status updates to friends and family.



Dennis:  He emailed me back and said, “She’s beginning to push.”

Rebecca:  And I’m like: “Put the phone down! I need you to help me!”

Bill:  I got a text from him, right before I was going into a meeting on a Friday morning—that Jacob said, “I can see the crowning of the head.”

Jake:  The nurse, one time, told me she was going to throw my phone out the window if I didn’t put it down.

Rebecca:  She was a good nurse.

Dennis:  The next thing I got was an email back that said, “It’s a girl!”

[Hospital Recording] 


Jake:  There’s Miss Molly.

Rebecca:  Oh! Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it!

Jake:  Great job, Baby. You did it.

Rebecca:  She’s here! She’s perfect!

Jake:  I can’t believe it’s a girl.

Rebecca:  I can’t either! I really thought it was going to be a boy.


Barbara:  We knew it was going to be Molly if it was a girl.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake: I love that name, Baby.

Rebecca:  I’m so glad it’s over.

Jake:  Me, too.


Barbara:  The first message was, “It’s a girl.” I think he put what time she was born, but it was real short. That was all the information he gave.

Dennis:  And then, nothing for 90 minutes.



Jake:  All those texts were about ten minutes apart: “I can see the head.” “She’s here.” “There’s a problem,” and she wasn’t really crying. She whimpered a little bit.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse: Come on, Sweetheart. Let’s hear a nice big sound.


Jake:  So, they went ahead and were wiping her off to try to stimulate her—kind of—wiping her off roughly, and put her on Becca’s stomach, and were kind of tapping her a little bit. And she still—Molly still wasn’t crying.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  She had a little whimper earlier.

Nurse:  Chomping her fingers.



Jake:  You know, they said—you can tell it was a little bit of a concern, but it didn’t seem anything that serious.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse:  She’s a little bit stung.


Jake:  Then they took her off of Becca’s stomach.

[Hospital Recording]


Rebecca:  Oh, she’s precious. I want to see her again.

Jake:  They’re working on her.

Rebecca:  I know, I know.




Jake:  And put her over into the warming cart.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse:  I’m going to take her over here to warm her.


Jake:  They had the heart monitor and stuff—and so they started to hook them up. They—you know, people kept talking about, “She’s not crying.” They were doing that—and that Becca kept asking—

[Hospital Recording]

Rebecca: Is she okay?


Rebecca:  I wasn’t hearing anything. They were all over there with her. I kept asking: “Is something wrong? Is she okay?” Nobody would respond, and that’s when I started to worry.

Jake:  I was just kind of watching everybody. You could definitely see—every second that went by—you could see an increase in the level of frenzy.

Dennis:  I just remember being—I wouldn’t say troubled—but a little concerned.

Barbara:  Dennis said he felt like something must not be right that we didn’t—he thought something—it was kind of odd that they hadn’t called.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse: They’ll tell you—ask you who you are.



Jake:  Molly Ann. There she goes.  She needs to cry a little bit here.


Dennis:  I think, at the end of the hour-and-a-half, we got a phone call from either Rebecca or Jake saying that Molly had been whisked away after birth because she didn’t cry for four minutes.

[Hospital Recording]

 [Molly whimpering] 

Jake:  There you go.

Nurse:  Yes, let’s just see.

[Molly crying louder]

Jake:  There you go—little girl.


Barbara:  If I had been there, I would have panicked with her not crying right away; but they’d never been through this before. I don’t think they realized the fact that she didn’t cry right away was an indication that something might be wrong.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  Looks like she’s still got some goop in her mouth.



Pam:  Now, this is where my mind begins to flag—red flag.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake: You scared us so much.


Pam: So that’s when I was wondering: “Are we go out sooner?” or, “Are we going to just wait to go out?” or, “Is it imperative that we get out there?”

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  I should know this better.


Rebecca:  You’re watching it now, and you’re going: “There’s something wrong! Come on! Get her with oxygen.”—like, “Hurry up!” As soon as they put her oxygen on, she was so much better.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  That’s her oxygen level—is 45 percent?

Nurse: Yes.

Jake: So, what would be normal?


Rebecca:  You could just tell—they would take the little hood off, and she would start to cry again.

Jake:  The more they worked it on her, the less sense of peace I had.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse:  I’m just curious with her murmur.


Jake:  I think I overheard them talk about a heart murmur.

[Hospital Recording]

Nurse: The echo of it we got. It didn’t show anything obvious just yet. So, what we need to do is we need to have a pediatric cardiologist take a look at it.


Rebecca:  I got to hold her before Flight for Life took her away to Children’s.

Barbara:  Well, that’s disconcerting because you just don’t take a baby to Children’s over nothing.

Rebecca:  And if anyone can fix it, Children’s can.



Jake:  We are in the United States of America. You know, this is a great country; and they have great technology. I’m definitely an optimist—and that’s something—and I’d say that Becca’s an optimist.

Rebecca:  I thought she might have to have surgery. It’s really sad, and that would be really hard; but she’s not going to die.

Pam: I’ve seen God just walk beside us through so many valleys, and floods, and fires—and knowing that He could give Jacob and Becca that same grace for whatever the situation that they were going to begin walking through.

Rebecca:  They let me hold her. They had the oxygen mask right in front of her face so I really didn’t get to see her all that well. Then, they put her inside the little cube and took her away.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  Would you do it all over again?



Rebecca:  I would do it all over again.

Jake:  You know, I would marry you all over again, Baby. I love you.

Rebecca:  I love you, too.

Jake: I love you.

Rebecca: I love you, too.

Jake:  You’re the joy of my life.


Bill:  To be able to be there and to make sure we had our arms around them is the only thing we wanted to do. So, getting there was extremely important.

Pam:  One of my good friends has a daughter who is a doctor in Denver—in the pediatric area. It ended up that she does work at that hospital. She got a hold of Bill, after she had seen the MRI, and said, “Mr. Mutz, it would be very important for you to get out here as soon as possible.”

Bill:  Pam and I immediately packed everything up.

Barbara:  I already had a ticket to fly out that day. So, I started throwing my things together because I was going that day anyway.



Dennis:  But I had booked a flight to go directly in the evening after work.

Rebecca:  They said that I could leave, you know, “…once you feel better.” They started giving me some pain meds, and I started to feel better. When your baby’s somewhere else, you don’t care how you feel—you just want out. I didn’t care what I was feeling—and it hurt. I was in pain, but my heart hurt more than my body did.

Dennis:  We met Jake right outside of where Molly was being cared for. He said: “It’s not a heart problem. She’s going to need brain surgery.”

Bill:  And that is when my concern gravely shifted because, frankly, there’s been a lot of wonderful work done on heart problems, with kids today. When you get into a brain issue—and I, now, know that there’s a heart issue, as well—and, “How does the heart issue relate to the brain issue?”—then you get very, very concerned.

Dennis:  The brain surgery news did not go down well with me. At that point, the alarm started going off with me.

Bill:  But when I turned, and I looked at Molly, then, I just wept.



Dennis:  We encountered this little seven-pound little girl, who had multiple tubes going in her mouth. She was being fed through her belly-button for IV. She was receiving heart medication. She was sedated to keep her from being anxious because of the tubes and everything.

You know, you walk into that setting and you’re unprepared—you know, you’re just not seeing a baby. I had—we just were not prepared for that moment. I just remember—it just kind of took your breath away.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  Dear Lord, just thank You for this precious, precious gift—this little girl.


Bill:  What a great picture this is of the fact that we don’t have control over circumstances in life and how dependant we truly are.

Dennis:  You begin to realize how fragile and frail life is, as it starts out—the gravity of the situation begins to grow.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  We pray that You would just continue to prepare us, as parents.



Bill:  There’s such great dependence on God, and such total dependence on whether or not He works a miracle through this—which would be our heart’s desire—or whether or not we trust in what He’s trying to accomplish through it, which is ultimately His desire.

[Hospital Recording]

Jake:  And Lord, just for her heart—that You would bring glory—quickly, miraculously do it. In Your name, Amen.


Dennis:  I mean—it’s like a descent. You’re descending down into a valley.

Bill:  When we saw Molly, I think that personified all of that emotion. You realize that that’s where they’re going to be, and that’s what this week’s going to be about.


Bob:  You know, I remember you saying, many times in the days that followed this story beginning to unfold, that you don’t know what people do in these moments if they don’t have a faith that there’s a God who is in control of all that’s taking place.



Dennis:  I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine. You would only be left to profound denial—almost like a denial of gravity—because when a little baby is suffering, it is—it’s riveting—I mean, all of life blurs out. Everything is focused in that little life. Earlier, I talked about descending into a valley.

Even listening to it again here, today, I wrote down the word plunged into the valley. There was no descent. I was immediately taken back to those moments. Until I heard, just a few moments ago, some of the recordings from the delivery room, I had never heard Molly cry. I’d never heard any utterance from her.



I’d not heard any of the dialogue from the delivery room and the concern that began to be expressed by the doctors.

Obviously, I know where the story goes for the next few days. I’ll tell you—it was an interesting emotion—just to think back on that moment of how the birth of a baby represents so much hope, and expectancy, and such gratefulness to God. We can so take it for granted. We can so take that moment that God gives life for granted. He’s a good God as He gives life, and He’s a good God when He takes life.

Barbara and Rebecca, sometime later, got together and have put together their thoughts and experiences that have become a book. At the beginning of the book, they have written—Barbara writes something I just want to share with our listeners because it’s a great description of what you’re going to experience, this week, on FamilyLife Today.



She writes:

When I hear Handel, Beethoven, or Bach, I think how profoundly moving music can be. I feel my soul lifted, called to something higher—something nobler—something more perfect than this fallen world has to offer. It invades my mundane, ordinary existence; and as I listen, I feel transported, as if the music has escaped from another realm.

A grand and glorious symphony has been written; and for seven dark but beautiful days, I heard the strains of its melody. The musical score came from heaven, with the debut of a tiny, helpless baby.



Her song was complex, yet perfectly written. Frail as she was, this little one took center stage and, without uttering a word, stirred the passions of the thousands who listened.

Elegant music has a lingering effect, and so did the hymn of this tiny life. She touched me, and I am left with a divinely beautiful memory, changed forever by having heard a few measures of His symphony in her brief but mighty life. [Emotion in voice]

Be still and listen. May you, too, feel the wonder of this great mystery—that one so small could lead so many to hear the everlasting song.

I realize, as I’m reading this, that I have an emotion that, again, I know listeners aren’t necessarily experiencing right now.



But I pray, before this week is over, that somehow Almighty God—the same One who met us in the midst of the valley—will meet you and give some fresh meaning to your faith, in the midst of the mundane. I pray that you will hear a symphony because it really is a beautiful story. It really is.

Bob:  You know, Barbara and your daughter, Rebecca Mutz, reflected on Molly’s life and her death in a book that they wrote called A Symphony in the Dark, which has recently been revised to share some of Rebecca’s reflections on Molly’s life, from five years after her death.

And we have copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.



I want to encourage our listeners—if you know someone who has experienced something like this—the loss of a child in infancy—you might want to consider getting a copy of this book, A Symphony in the Dark. It’s available at Go online to order copies; or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. So again, the website:; the toll-free number: 1-800-FL-TODAY. Ask about the book, A Symphony in the Dark, when you get in touch with us. We’ll make arrangements to get a copy of the book sent to you.

Now quickly, let me mention that, when you go to, you’ll see a link that says “Subscriptions”. If you’d like to sign up to receive Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s daily devotional, “Moments with You”, or our weekly “Marriage Memo” that goes out every Monday morning, or if you’d like to receive our e-zine called The Family Room



these are free subscriptions. You can sign up for them online. Simply go to, and click the link that says “Subscriptions”, and sign up for the subscriptions that you’d like to have sent directly to your email inbox.

And I hope you can join us back again tomorrow when we’ll continue to reflect on the life of Mighty Molly. That’s tomorrow. Hope you can be here with us.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today

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