[ Miracles ]

Cradled in His Perfect Grace

I was doing my routine clean-up around the house one morning after my daughter had gotten on the school bus. She was only in kindergarten and I had two sons at home that were not old enough to go to school yet. My husband and I had found out that I was pregnant again only about a couple of weeks before. I knew that this would be our last child and I was praying for another little girl, but it honestly didn't matter as long as the baby was healthy.

As the boys were playing in their room, I went to the bathroom. I discovered I was spotting. It really didn't worry me at first because I had done the same thing with my last child. But with him, it had stopped within the same day or so. This time, however, the spotting turned to bleeding within a couple of days.

I called the doctor and then called my husband, Chris, at work to tell him the doctor wanted to see me. The doctor examined me and ordered an ultrasound and some routine blood work. During the ultrasound, I was so scared that I had lost the baby. But there was still a heartbeat, so we went ahead with the blood work.

Still bleeding like I was menstruating, the next week Chris to me back to the doctor for the results of the blood work. The doctor explained to us that I had "placenta previa". I had already had three C-sections and my uterus was so scarred from the other babies that, with this pregnancy, the placenta had attached itself to the mouth of my womb – the only remaining unscarred area inside my uterus. The placenta was sending the baby a type of protein that caused it to either be Downs Syndrome or have Spina Bifida.

The doctor asked us to consider abortion since we already had three other healthy children at home. The best we could ever expect for this special-needs child, he said, was modest improvement from physical therapy. We didn't know what else to do, but I knew that I could not even consider abortion, even though the doctor said that I was not in danger at all– just the baby.

Because I was still bleeding, the doctor ordered weekly ultrasounds to make sure I was not miscarrying. After many ultrasounds, the doctor told us that the baby had an 80%-85% chance to be born with Spina Bifida. He had seen the open spine on the ultrasound.

We told the doctor we were going to take what God was going to give us. Being a minister, my husband called everyone he knew to pray. I'll never forget one Wednesday night we went to our home church, Kushla Assembly of God. Chris preached that night and at the end of his sermon, he asked everyone to gather around me and pray for our baby. I had never prayed to God for "His" peace for anything in my life until that night. That's what He gave me that night.

The next Monday, Chris took me to the doctor yet again for another ultrasound. Although by now I was only in the middle of my second trimester, it felt like I was in my last month of pregnancy – the time for weekly doctor visits. During this appointment, for some reason, the doctor told the technician that had performed all the other ultrasounds on me to use a different instrument – a probe. I said okay, whatever, because I was just so tired of this routine.

After only about five minutes of performing the ultrasound, the technician let go of the probe and ran out the door. I starting crying, telling Chris, who was standing beside me like the many times before, that something was seriously wrong. The door swung open and the doctor came in. He walked over to the ultrasound machine and looked at it. He pushed a few buttons on the machine that had a keyboard that looked like a typewriter. Chris asked him, "Doctor, what's wrong? Has she lost the baby?"

The doctor said, "Do you see that?" His finger touched the screen that was holding the picture of my baby and his closed spine. The hole that was visible in the previous images of weeks past was no longer there. The doctor and the technician that had seen us every week for the ultrasounds started to cry as my husband began praising God for what He had done. During the next week, the bleeding stopped and I had a pretty routine pregnancy after that.

By July 16, 1996, the baby was so large the doctor wanted to perform a C-section on me the next day. But since the many ultrasounds I had taken showed my due date was August 4, 1996, first he performed an amniocentesis to make sure that the baby's lungs were developed enough to survive outside the womb. The procedure confirmed as much, so the doctor scheduled the C-section for 10:00 AM the next morning.

At 3:00 a.m. on July 17, 1996, I woke Chris up to tell him I was having hard contractions. He told me to go back to sleep and that we didn't have to be at the hospital until later. But as I sat up on the side of the bed, I realized that my water had broken. Soon Chris was wheeling me into the maternity ward in a wheelchair. The nurse that was on duty told me that they had been trying to call us trying to reschedule my C-section and that I could not have the baby that morning after all. "Oh no,” I said, “I'm having contractions two minutes apart and my water has already broken." She didn't believe me until she hooked up the monitor and examined me.

Given the state of my uterus, the C-section was a necessity. To Chris’s great concern, he was not allowed to see the procedure – unlike with our first baby. He was told he couldn't even cut the cord; he would need to stay right beside my head and talk to me. Worried, I kept asking him what they were doing, because I didn't hear what I had yearned to hear all those months: the cry of my baby. For I knew if I could hear him cry, he at least had a strong pair of lungs.

Finally, Chris could wait no longer. He left me and walked behind our pediatrician, who had taken the baby and was now cleaning him up. Chris asked, "Dr. K., what's wrong with him?" Dr. K. turned with our baby in his arms and handed him to Chris, saying, "Chris, if anything is wrong with this baby, I can't find it."

Our baby weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces and was 22 1/2" long and was born perfectly healthy. We named him Isaac Caleb. We call him by his middle name, Caleb. He is now 8 years old and weighs 110 pounds.

There have been a lot of changes in our lives since then. But as I was sitting on my back porch yesterday, Caleb ran out the back door with no shirt on to get his football out of the back yard. I opened my mouth to tell him to put on a shirt, but something stopped me. Instead, I watched his beautiful, perfect back as he ran and bent down to get his ball.

All I could think was, "THANK YOU, GOD, FOR YOUR PEACE!!!"

Rachel McG.

Mobile, AL