She suffered two miscarriages, and then her son was stillborn. As soon as she knew she was pregnant with me, Mom obeyed the doctor’s orders by staying in bed–flat on her back–during the entire pregnancy.
When I still hadn’t arrived by the tenth month, Mom found little humor in a friend’s comment: “I thought only elephants gestated this long!” My mother, usually a stickler for proper etiquette, retorted, “Oh shut up!” as she slammed down the phone. She felt frustrated and undoubtedly fearful. At age 37, she had little time left for her dream of being a mother to come true.
But my September 30, 1953 arrival, a full month after the due-date, failed to be the joyous occasion my parents had expected. Because I weighed only five pounds and had extreme jaundice, the doctors immediately whisked me away to an incubator. I remained in the incubator for a month, during which time the doctors urged my mom to put me in an institution and forget she ever had me. They explained that I’d be little more than a vegetable, and faced a life of severe physical and intellectual disability.
My parents brought me home.
As I look back on the history of my birth, I admire the courage and determination of both my parents, and especially my mom. They were both from Christian Science backgrounds (and attended a liberal Presbyterian church once my little sister came to complete our family), so I suppose their faith was in their love for me. And I certainly praise the Lord for blessing me with parents (particularly a mom) who refused to accept the predictions and advice of medical “experts.”
Obviously, even at my conception, God worked sovereignly in my life, showing that He had His plans and purposes to glorify Himself through me. Of course He won’t change the world through me, but He has use for me in His kingdom that I’ll understand one day. Meanwhile, His protection of me during Mom’s pregnancy and the first month of my life reminds me of Psalm 139:13-16:
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)
The Lord blessed me with parents who wanted me. He used their tenacity in the face of hopelessness to make sure I had a life that would lead me to Him.