Many people who hear this story say that it was a miracle. I, honestly, do not think of it as a miracle. I am not offended when someone says that, for I am also in great awe as to God’s actions, but I see no suspension of the created order in this story – this is no virgin birth! But what I do see, and what I hope to accurately display, is how God uses all his creation (especially, people and technology) as a means to extend mercy and to work His good will. In my case, He desired to be overwhelmingly merciful to me – granting things to me that not only did I not merit, but that I actually demerited. He gave to me blessings, when I earned His condemnation. My God is a gracious, merciful God who delights to do good to those who love Him. And I especially thank Him for his mercy and saving grace granted to me almost 11 ½ years ago! Who is like God? Who is like God that he would take a miserable sinner weighted down with guilt, rejecting God, and hating what He requires of her, and save her from her sins? Who is like God that He would save a sinner like me, and my baby, from physical death, that we might have time to enjoy and glorify Him a bit longer on this earth with our blessed family and friends (past and future)? And that is why the name Michael is perfect for our baby boy, for “Who is like God?”
On Monday, December 15, 2008, some facebook friends may remember that I was not feeling very well. I had worked pretty hard over the weekend preparing and celebrating the Third Sunday in Advent, which was glorious. I also had been fighting a cold and it was getting the best of me. And when I hit the last month of the pregnancy, I started feeling nauseated. In fact, the Thursday before I had gotten sick and thought I felt some contractions.
In any event, on Monday, after getting my eldest daughter off to school, I essentially watched movies with the two little ones and rested on the couch until lunch and nap time. After retrieving Sissy from school, I was still not feeling well. In an effort to procrastinate doing the evening activities, I checked email, facebook, bloglines, Drudge, etc. Then, with a strange feeling, and wondering if it was possible that my body was preparing for delivery, I used the potty. Without realizing what would have been obvious to anybody else (that I was hemorrhaging), I calmly asked the eldest to bring me the phone and called my hubby, told him I was bleeding profusely and that he needed to come home now. He told me I needed to call the doctor. I did so, and upon describing my condition, the doctor asked where I lived, who was with me (the three children), and how long until I could leave. I responded probably 15-30 minutes. His response was, “No, no, no, no, no, you need to get an ambulance,” or something to that effect. That’s when I began understanding that this may be serious. I called 911, they told me to go lie down on my left side and wait. I did so and called my neighbor and explained the situation and asked if she could come watch the children – she readily agreed (she is a dear and is always so good about helping us – a neighbor near is better than a brother far away). She was here in a flash, looked at me, went and got a wet wash cloth and started wiping my face (She told me later that I looked so pale that she was very scared, but tried not to show it). I called Sissy’s and The Boy’s teacher, who is also a beloved friend (because school is right around the corner and I suspected that she and her husband would still be there, and I thought the children would be more comfortable with her because she is more familiar to all the children, particularly my baby girl, who really only likes mom and dad). She arrived before the ambulance, although the fire department had arrived. I still had my wits about me and was trying to prepare the children, and urged them not to worry, and if they did begin to worry (because they were seeing me taken away by myself in the ambulance, all the emergency personnel in our living room, you can imagine the scene), then to pray to God and trust Him to take care of me and the babe. They know that God created all things and governs all His creation, and that we belong to Him, that He loves us and does everything for our good, and so it really was not difficult to keep them calm. Sissy was quite concerned, but was comforted at those words. I am not sure The Boy understood the gravity of the situation, and The Baby Girl was quite upset (she turned two today) – she is very perceptive. After doing what I could to prepare them, I put a movie on to distract them.
In the ambulance, I started to feel nauseated and told the woman I thought I was going to pass out. I was trying hard not to. She kept saying we are almost there (without traffic, the ride is like 14 minutes – with traffic it can take 45 minutes). I remember being pulled out of the ambulance. I remember hearing someone say, “We got a sleeper,” so yelled out that I could be awake if they needed me to be. I remember hearing the baby’s heart beat when we got to the ultrasound machine. It was super slow. I knew then that there was no way that I would have time to try to labor. The doctor came in and said, “Wow, she looks pale, doesn’t she?” or something to that effect. My impression was he was surprised at all the blood and blood clots (there had been a load at home, too). I was only dilated to 1, and he got right in my face (He has been my doctor almost my entire marriage and has delivered all my babies and is a Christian and we have a great relationship – so it was in no way alarming), and he said, “I have to put you under now and do a c-section and that’s all I have time to tell you.” That was alarming. I knew then that it was a matter of life and death for me and my babe.
I heard someone say something about getting blood ready. I shouted my blood type and that my husband was the same as I and that he was on his way to the hospital.
Then I felt overwhelmed. I wanted to cry. I closed my eyes. I began to pray fervently. I thought of losing my life — the affect on my husband, my children. I am not a Christian who rests easy in an assurance of my faith (which shamefully shows my lack of trust in God’s promises), but I can actually say that I was peaceful in what God chose to do with me. I was not scared. I truly believed I would go to heaven and not hell. But I begged that he would spare me and let me keep this earthly life I love. I thought of losing my baby, my child. How hard that is. But I remembered that this baby does not belong to me. He is God’s and God just lets us have our children for a time. I was willing to submit to God’s providence even if that meant the baby must die and go to Him. But again, I wanted him to live and I begged God to be merciful, to let this child live, and to let me have him much longer than the 9 months in utero. This year, I had reread Stepping Heavenward, and the main character lost a child and handled it so Christianly, so beautifully. Providentially, I think it was very helpful to me. Later, I also found out that my sweet hubby was praying at the same time and in the same manner as I as he was trying to get to the hospital.
They put a mask on me, and I was out.
I woke up and Andre was there, and I just remember asking him if the baby was OK, when I would get to see Baby, when I could nurse, and telling him that I was sorry for all of this happening. I was on the med Dilaudid and did not entirely have my wits about me. I did not like it at all – it was hard to communicate and often times I could hear myself speaking and not making sense…very frustrating under the circumstances. Andre had to go call his mom so that she could come to stay with the chirren and then they would not let him back in. I guess I finally was taken to the hospital room about 8 or 8.30pm and he was anxiously waiting for me, ready to do something a little drastic to see me.
I was still not really grasping the gravity of the situation (placenta abruption), but over the next several hours and days, I learned of such things as “it was touch and go” for me and the baby; that if “10 more minutes [had passed] bad things would have started happening;” that I had a thready pulse and there was fear I might have a cardiac arrest and code; that the baby was born not breathing; that the placenta looked horrible and was small; and so on.
But despite both Michael and I being brought so near to death, God may have used this to save Michael, for he had a true knot in his cord, though it was not yet tight. I would not have been to the doctor for another 4 days, and because the last week of school, also the week before Christmas, was to be very busy, I am not convinced that I would have detected decreased movements of the babe. I am convinced there was a real chance that he could have died in utero. Regardless, he was born at 37 weeks and weighed only 3 pounds, 7.9 ounces. I think it is fair to say he was not being nourished, and may in fact have the opportunity to thrive outside my womb. And seems to be doing just that, as he has progressed remarkably well considering all the trauma he suffered.
22Dec2008, The best mother-in-law a wife could ask for, a.k.a. “The Fastest Emmy Ever,” because The Boy expressed that he is impressed that she “goes in my room fast, puts her jammies on fast and comes back in the den fast.”
That God saved, and continues to save, my little baby boy is another reason his name is perfect. For another meaning associated with the name Michael is “Gift from God.” And as I look at that precious baby boy, I am reminded again and again that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (KJV).
The delivery of Michael, from start to finish, happened in manner that Andre and I would have never allowed (going by myself by ambulance; my having a c-section; my using general anesthesia; my being separated from the babe (I have never even let a baby go to the nursery, and if it was required that a babe leave the room, then I would “make” Andre follow the baby and nurse); and initially pumping rather than nursing). Although I still think in principle the way we would have chosen to do it, and the way we have done it in the past, is best, I love how God works through exceptions. As I have heard say: He draws straight with crooked lines; He overrules the bad in a situation and uses the circumstances to work good.
I am thankful for His mercy, life and blessings in this situation. And I am thankful for this trial and that He found my family worthy to go through this trial for the glory of His Holy Name.