I remember one time when I was in college this guy asked me to give him a ride to the hospital to visit a friend who had a baby. So, I gave him a ride and I went inside with him. While we were there, we saw these babies in the neonatal intensive care unit who had been born prematurely and I was in shock at how tiny and helpless they looked. It was a picture that would never leave my mind. They were about the size of a burrito and they couldn't breath on their own and it was one of the saddest things I had seen at that point in my life. I remember wondering why they even tried to help these tiny, tiny babies because in my way of thinking, there was nothing that could possibly be done and they would probably die before they ever grew enough to go home from the hospital. After seeing those babies, I always had this big question mark in my mind of "WHY?" Why not just let them die -- even if they live, there will be something wrong with them and they won't have a good life. (Remember, I was only 18 at the time and had not yet learned about the sanctity of life.)
Well, it's funny how sometimes God lets you wonder about these things a while and then when you least expect it, he answers it for you. Over ten years later, he answered this question for me and has continued answering it every day since. Here is my story...
It was July 28, 1987 and I was only 24 weeks into my pregnancy. (One year earlier my baby boy, Michael, had been born much too early to live, so I knew I didn't want that to happen again.) But here I was, months from the due date of November 16 and I knew something wasn't quite right and I needed to see the doctor. When I called, the doctor's office said they were double booked that day, but because of my history they would try to work me in. Sure enough, when the doctor checked me he determined that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. I actually had to continue lying down from that point until the baby would be born. They immediately started giving me IV medicines that would stop any labor; because this medicine speeds up the heart rate, I also had to be put on a heart monitor. And they also put me on a blood pressure machine that automatically took my blood pressure every 15 minutes. In addition to all that, I was constantly hooked up to the fetal monitor also. So there I was in the hospital, not allowed to even sit up, hooked up to all kinds of machinery, and throwing up because the medicine was making me so sick. Needless to say, it was NOT fun. All I could do at that point was just pray -- and that is exactly what Eddie and I did. He would read to me from the Bible and we prayed like we had never prayed before. And God answered -- as sick as I was and as frustrated as I was to possibly be losing another baby, God spoke to me so clearly that day. I didn't hear an audible voice, but God spoke to my spirit and gave me a peace that I can't describe. He didn't tell me that the baby would live, he just told me that everything would be okay. For the next few weeks, if I became discouraged I would always remember how clearly God spoke to me and how he told me that everything was going to be okay. During my stay in the hospital, my doctor noticed how God was working and he saw all the support from our church family. It was all such a great witness to him.
I stayed in that hospital bed (without getting out) for the next four weeks. Then at 28 weeks into the pregnancy, the medicine was no longer able to stop the labor and my little daughter was born weighing 1 lb. 14 1/2 oz. That is, just under 2 pounds. I won't go into all the details of the next three months and her journey through the neonatal intensive care unit, or the months following and keeping her at home and away from people, but I will say that God was with us through it all. I learned that God is faithful and that his word is true. Sometimes in life there is nothing that man can do to change a situation, but God is in control and he is able to do so much more than we can ever imagine.
So, I ended up being the mother of one of those little tiny premature babies I had seen back in my college days. And nothing mattered to me except that the doctors do everything possible to try to save my child. Yes, she was tiny, not even 2 pounds. But she was our daughter and we loved her and wanted nothing more in life than to see her live. That is the reason they help those tiny babies -- as helpless as they look, they are a human life with a purpose and they are loved by someone.
I found out that babies who have this kind of start in life actually can grow and have a very full life. Leah was so blessed to have no problems left from being tiny. She's gone all the way through school and graduated. And now, what amazes me so, is that she is going to college and is such a beautiful person. She is one of the most caring people I've ever known. She sticks by her friends who have problems and tries to help others when they are beyond help. She's an amazing person, and I just wanted to write this to say how proud I am of my daughter, Leah. I will try to add some pictures of her tomorrow.
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