It’s Almost My Birthday, But I Shouldn’t Be Alive

It was early September of 1988 and a woman was sitting at the hospital. She was in a discussion with her doctors about her pregnancy and some unforeseen complications with it. She didn’t plan on getting pregnant, in fact she had been taking birth control to ensure that she would not have to have her first child til she felt she and her husband were ready for one, but somehow the birth control failed and she ended up pregnant.

She was finding out this warm day in September that the baby in her womb was going to have to be born prematurely – 2 months early in fact – and would have to be taken out through C-section. The doctor then proceeded to inform her of the risks. He let her know that the odds that baby would make it alive through birth were slim, and that, even if it was delivered successfully, the odds of a good quality of life for that child would be highly unlikely. The baby would probably end up mentally handicapped, or have deficient senses or a physical handicap, or one of many other possible complications – many of which could lead to the child’s early death.

Months before this hospital visit, the woman went to Planned Parenthood – as she had many times before to pick up birth control pills – to take a pregnancy test. A nurse walked into a room and informed her that the pregnancy test came out positive. She was naturally very surprised and asked “how can I get pregnant on birth control?” The nurse told her that 3% of women on it can still get pregnant while on the pill. Immediately after the nurse casually asked her “so are you going to want to keep the baby or do you want us to take care of it?” This pregnancy may have been unexpected, but the pregnant woman responded immediately, a little disgusted as the question, “I’m going to keep the baby.”

While this choice may have seemed illogical to many, this woman believed that life – no matter how short or what quality – was a gift from God and should be embraced by all mankind. She disagreed with abortion wholeheartedly and wanted to give this child a chance. So her and her husband decided to have the child despite all the risks.

On September 16th, 1988 the doctors began to cut her open. After a long while the doctors pulled out a boy. This boy weighed two pounds and eleven ounces.

But something was wrong.

Their son had immediate complications – a hole in his heart and a heart murmur. The doctors were going to have to do surgery on this tiny baby’s heart to fix the problem. The mother prayed constantly, harder than she ever had, for her son to survive the surgery he was about to go through. But the day the surgery was going to happen one of the doctors approached the child’s mother. He told her that her son – without any logical medical explanation – no longer had a hole in his heart or any heart problems whatsoever… her son was completely healed! The parents of the child were overjoyed and the mother thanked God with tears in her eyes for the miracle he had done for her son.

Right after his birth their son was then put in a incubator for several months. They didn’t even get to hold their son for 3 weeks, but they came to the hospital faithfully every day to see their son in that incubator. They could sometimes feed him with the special utensils the hospital provided. But after several months the parents were finally allowed to leave the hospital with their son. They were overjoyed with what God had given them and loved him with all their hearts, even though they didn’t know whether any other problems would develop as his life went on.

They took him back to doctors as he got older to take tests so they could make sure he wasn’t mentally handicapped. He not only was not mentally handicapped, but he placed in the top 10% of all children in these tests. He also had perfect internal organ growth, perfect 20/20 vision, and everything else a normal boy should have and was predicted to live a normal healthy life.

I was that boy and I am now almost 27 years old. I have gotten to be an older brother for my two brothers and two sisters; a son that could learn from my parents and all those around me; a grandson that can bring joy to grandparents with every visit. I have also been a friend to as many as I can be. I’ve helped encourage friends when they’re down and celebrated life with them when things have gone well.

I will be thankful every day that my mother and father decided to give me life even though it would have been so much easier to take it away. It was unexpected, early, complicated, and likely had a bleak outcome regardless, yet they saw the value in life and let me live and loved me like God loved them. The joy of seeing a child smile at you every day is one I hope I will have when I find God’s perfect partner for me and we have children. I will continue to look at life like my parents did and make every day an experience I won’t regret.

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mom and me again

2 thoughts on “It’s Almost My Birthday, But I Shouldn’t Be Alive

  1. That was great Keith. I remember every day of it. Thank God for answered prayer. Most of our family went to church at Sheridan Road Baptist and the whole church prayed for you, along with your moms family and their church and
    our out of town family. I remember getting to put my finger through a hole in the incubator & pat you and talk to you. I called you my little angel . And I still do. I love you very much. Grandma Snelson 🍼😇 I’m proud of the strong man you have become!!
    :- ) g.s.

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