Friday, June 18, 2010

Thirty Years Ago Today

I was born.

Now, birth's always a miracle, but for me it was a special kind of miracle. You see, I was born early. Way early. Which makes it ironic that I am always late to things.

Here I am as a baby. (I'm not sure when this picture was taken, but since I was alow to crawl compared to normal timelines I'm going to guess about 10 months.)

I've heard the stories, of course, since even though I lived this miracle I wasn't self aware enough to remember all the details. So if I get some things mixed up, please excuse me. But I am sure of one thing: God has been at work in my life since he knit me together in my mother's womb. And he had tiny knitting needles.

My mom was put on bed rest about the time most moms find out the sex of the baby, around 20 weeks. Then, after two months of book reading and watching soap operas, her blood pressure suddenly spiked. She was at 28 weeks. Combine the preeclampsia with placenta previa, and off she went to the emergency room. My mom tells a better story of how they rushed her in an ambulance three hours to Birmingham from south Alabama on June 17th. All I know is that the next day, probably very early in the morning, they performed an emergency c-section and I came into the world on Wednesday, June 18, 1980. I was born at UAB hospital weighing only 1 pound, 8 ounces and was only eleven inches long, like a hefty sheet of paper.

My favorite photograph after my birth probably still sits on my dad's desk. It is a picture of his hand (or someone else's, I don't know), holding me, while I was connected to all manner of tubes and machines. My head is cradled in his fingers and my miniscule feet barely grace his wrist. Every time I see it, I'm reminded of the God who holds us in the palm of His hands.

The doctor who performed the surgery at the moment of my birth didn't believe that I would live. So it amazed him, a week later, when he came by to visit me and I was thriving and off oxygen. My mom still keeps in touch with him. Perhaps it was the first time he'd ever believed in a miracle.

I am ever grateful for all the things people did and reminded me of throughout my life. The prayers and tiny knitted caps and the doctors and nurses that helped sutain me. They say that the preemie girls are fighters. I know I must've been. Mostly, though, I've realized that it was God's grace that abounded and kept me alive. He upholds all life and His glory is revealed in His good Creation. Especially babies. I know this because now I have two of my own.

When our friends came to stay in my little hometown on the eve of our wedding, the hotel keeper remarked, "You here for the Miracle Baby's wedding?" Yep, that's me. The Miracle Baby. And I'm proud of it.

The picture below was taken when I was about four months old. After months in the neonatal unit in Birmingham and then intensive care in Dothan, I had finally come home. I think I weighed about 6 pounds. Maybe I was unhappy because I wanted clothes on.

Here I am a few years later, no worse for the wear. At that point, I was catching up to my peers. I imagine I was a pretty normal toddler. Don't you see that mischievousness behind the smile? I probably was thinking about how fast I could get that dress off so I could go climb a tree.

Happy birthday to me. God is good! All the time. And I am grateful.


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