Today, as I continue my theme for this month, Love of God, I want to share the story of my father’s birth. I shared this initially almost two years ago on my previous blog. But this is a story worth re-sharing. The strength of my grandmother amazes me every time I read this story. My father is one of my hero’s. He shows the Love of God abundantly as he serves his family, in church, and in his community. He’s taught me to never give up, and to trust God with all my struggles.
My father’s birth is amazing and a miracle. He was born in the winter of 1951. He was born six weeks early. At that time in our country, there wasn’t much knowledge yet about how to help these tiny little babies survive. According to A CDC study on infant mortality at that time for a male baby with my father’s gestational period and birth weight, the infant mortality rate was around 92.7. Not good odds.
I hope you will enjoy reading about my father’s birth in his own words.
“I would like to relate the circumstances surrounding my birth. My mother has related this to me a number of times throughout my life and even though I do not remember my birth, because the miracle of it, it has brought to me a deep feeling that my Father in Heaven did watch over me, preserved my life and the life of my mother.
I should have died at birth but I did not, and only though the faith and prayers of my mother, my father, my brothers and sister, and by the power of the priesthood am I alive today. I was born November 20, 1951 in Ogden, Utah in the Dee Memorial Hospital located on 24th street and Harrison Blvd. I was born six weeks premature.
My mother relates that she was home doing things around the house. My father was a salesman at the time and he was out of town. My mother bent down and lifted something and all of a sudden she started to hemorrhage. My mother did not have a car to drive. She called a taxi. She prayed that the taxi driver would be a woman driver. In those days there were not very many women that worked and usually they were the taxi drivers. The taxi pulled up to the house in the driveway. The driver of the taxi got out and it was a woman. She told the taxi driver what was wrong, and told her to take her to the hospital. My mother told the taxi driver that she only had ten cents but that her husband would pay her later. My mother lived only a few blocks from the hospital. My mother was self-conscious, so she told the taxi driver to go around to the back of the hospital to let her out instead of going to the emergency room entrance.
As my mother was walking into the hospital several nurses were coming out. They recognized what was going on and took her immediately to the elevator and up to the operating room. My mother said they started taking off her clothes as she was riding up in the elevator. The hospital called my mother’s doctors. In order to save the life of my mother and my own life, the doctors had to take the baby by c-section. My mother asked the doctor to give her a blessing since my father was not there and could not be contacted at the time.
The doctors delivered me and stopped the bleeding of my mother. I had a very difficult time breathing. I weighed 4 lbs 11 oz. My entire chest cavity would collapse when I breathed. I was put in an iron lung machine to help me breathe. In those days, they did not have all the advances in medicine we have today to help small children that had problems at birth. I was in critical condition. The doctors told my mother and my father that I would not live. They told my father to give me a name and blessing in the hospital because the doctors did not think I would survive. My father refused to do so. He and my mother felt I would live.
I remained in the hospital for about 11 days while my mother went home without me. She told me that it was very difficult for her to leave the hospital without me since a year previous, she had a stillborn birth and that was the most difficult experience she had gone through.
I finally was able to come home. My father and grandmother brought me home from the hospital. I was still fragile and could not eat much at a time. My mother and father and my mother’s mother came and helped take care of me around the clock. I had to be fed baby’s formula with a duck’s bill nipple that worked similarly like an eyedropper every two hours. The feeding took about one hour or more each time. I cannot imagine how exhausting this was for my mother, my father and my grandmother.
Over time I did regain my strength. My mother told me that my brothers and sister would keel down in prayer and pray that I would live. My mother told me she would never forget the prayers of her little children praying for their brother to live.”
Oh how I wish I would have talked to my grandmother about this experience! It is amazing to me that my father lived. He grew to be 5’11” from his tiny birth weight.
Let me share the 6 lessons I learned from this story.
- Trust the inspiration you receive from God- even if that inspiration is “against the odds of success”
- God is a God of miracles-yesterday, today, and tomorrow
- The power of the priesthood provides blessings in our time of need. And you never know as a priesthood holder when that power from God will be called upon.
- Miracles can take A LOT OF WORK, but that work is always worth it in the end
- The prayers of children are some of the most powerful, honest, and faith-filled prayers ever spoken
- One reason Heavenly Father gave us families is perfectly illustrated in this story–there are times when we will desperately need people to help us. The power and strength of families united will be what carries us through our hardest trials.
My dad is the rock in our family. He has the most tremendous faith just like his parents. He shows though his example that being faithful to the commandments of Heavenly Father will bring blessings seen and unseen. My mother and father are just about to head off to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to them for teaching me to believe in miracles. I am also grateful for my grandparents. They exuded strength and Love of God through everything they did. I will forever be grateful Heavenly Father allowed the miracle of my father’s birth to be, and that He blessed me with an amazing family.
If your family is struggling right now with unity, I encourage you to seek ways through prayer and pondering that you might be able to bring healing to your family in order to have the strength of a united family. In my own little family, I have seen when I make small changes, relationships have been strengthened. I have learned that it starts with me. I am the one who can love more, be more patient, be more understanding. There is power in family.
Today there is a reason to hope.
If you want to read an awesome article from Penn Nursing about the history of helping preemie’s in the US, check out this link:
I also found this particular paragraph interesting as it talks about the time period when my father was born.
"During the 1950’s, as smaller and more premature babies were saved with increasingly technological treatments and the intensive care of these infants expanded across the country, several problems surfaced. Oxygen, the miracle cure for the respiratory distress associated with prematurity, did save many lives. However, its unregulated use in higher doses and for prolonged periods appeared to be detrimental to some babies. In 1942, the American Journal of Ophthalmology published an article about an apparently new condition, retrolental fibroplasia, or RLF. By 1950, this disorder of the retinal vasculature became the leading cause of blindness among children in the U.S. By 1956, it became the first acknowledged complication of the treatment of prematurity. Physicians and scientists worked zealously throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s trying to identify a cause for RLF, ruling out geography, heredity, lack of prenatal care, and early exposure to light. They examined the medical and nursing care of the infants for any discrepancies or omissions that might have triggered RLF. They focused on newer treatments including vitamin therapy, blood transfusions, and various medicines and hormonal supplements. Physicians and others did not seriously consider oxygen in the search for a cause of RLF until the early 1950s. A large scale, multi-hospital study of the effects of oxygen began in 1952 and culminated in 1956 with solid evidence pointing to it as the culprit. Oxygen use was immediately curtailed throughout the world, and rates of RLF dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, without oxygen treatment, deaths due to respiratory failure increased by 1960 even as the incidence of RLF began to rise again. Known now as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), it continues to affect preemies today. Physicians now believe ROP has many causes. Standard screening procedures identify infants at risk early, and doctors plan treatment accordingly. Clinical studies continue to sort out the best way to prevent the disease and to treat it once it develops. Oxygen, once seen as a panacea for all preemies, remains a major component of respiratory support, however it is carefully controlled and regulated according to individual needs."