Photo by Lynnesy Catron Photography
Right after we got married, my husband and I began trying to have a baby. I got pregnant but had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. My husband and I prayed often about our desire to have a child and we continued to try, but after 18 months we sought a fertility specialist. For six months I was on fertility medicines, hormone injections, and for three months we tried intrauterine fertilization. Nothing was successful. We decided to let go and let God handle it. We knew He had a plan for us.
Three months later, with no fertility intervention, I became pregnant. My pregnancy was normal, with no complications or sickness. It was truly a joyful experience. Close to my due date I went into labor and was admitted to the hospital. I was hooked up to a monitor and the doctor began to go over what to expect. Then she just stood there and watched the monitor. She told us every time I had a contraction the baby’s heart rate dropped drastically. After about one minute she said, “We need to do a C-section NOW!”
They rolled me down the hall and the anesthesiologist came up behind me, put his hands on either side of my face, and told me to just look at him as he gently explained to me what was happening. I believe that God sent him to me in that moment of uncertainty, as his words were so comforting to me. There was no time for an epidural. They gave me general anesthesia and I was out.
I thought once our baby was born, he would be okay, but when I woke up I saw that the nurses around me had on royal blue scrubs. I work at the hospital and I knew that royal blue scrubs meant they worked at the Children’s Hospital. The neonatologist confirmed this. “Your son is very sick.” Our son, Henry, had a bowel movement (meconium) while he was in utero and had inhaled a large amount of this. His lungs were coated and he had no lung function. The doctor said he had never seen a baby survive with that amount of meconium in the lungs.
In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) they struggled to intubate him, trying three times. The doctors tried standard treatments but all failed. That night we saw him for the first time in the NICU. I took pictures of him and talked to him but I have no memory of it. God protected me from seeing him that sick. It would have been too much for me to handle.
When we got back to my room that night, my husband I prayed out loud that God would save him. We knew it would take a miracle. The last resort was to put Henry on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. This is the machine that people are put on when they have a heart transplant. They pump the blood out of the body, put oxygen in it, and then pump it back into the body. This comes with the risk of the brain bleeding and permanent brain damage, but Henry’s chance of survival was very low without this treatment. We prayed about what to do and with God’s guidance decided to proceed with ECMO.
At 2 a.m., the surgeon placed a cannula in Henry’s neck and hooked up the ECMO machine. Henry improved immediately. After seven days, he had improved so much that they were able to discontinue the treatment. After one month in the NICU, Henry had recovered and we took him home. Henry is now two years old and has no developmental delays. Everything is perfect physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Throughout this whole experience, I never felt scared or hopeless. I felt very peaceful. I knew that God had brought us to that point and there was no way He would abandon us. God’s peace and hope transcended the fear.
Looking back now, it is clear how God worked in advance to save Henry. In December 2013, I was offered and accepted a job in administration at a large university medical center. This was just six months before Henry was born. This allowed me to have new insurance that would cover the care. The total cost was $500,000 and my out of pocket cost was only $200. More importantly, because I switched jobs and insurance plans, Henry was delivered at the university hospital where there was a team of highly trained medical providers, with experience and training in the very procedures that were needed to save Henry’s life. The neonatologist was very experienced in lung problems in newborns. There was a surgeon available who was experienced with ECMO at the very time Henry needed him. There was an ECMO technologist available to ensure the machine worked properly. Because the ECMO treatment is so expensive and risky for newborns, a leadership team from the university hospital has to vote on whether or not to allow the treatment. This team was available to vote and they voted yes. The ECMO treatment itself was not even offered at the hospital where I would have delivered had I not changed jobs. In fact, I believe that there is only one other hospital in the state that offers ECMO. Everything fell into place for Henry to receive life-saving care. God gave us Henry and then God saved Henry. He is a pure joy and blessing to us.
Our second child was born a few months ago—a healthy baby girl. May God be glorified for everything He has done and continues to do for our family.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.