And Baby Makes Two

Sowing in tears, reaping in joy.

by Harriet E. Michael

“M. . . I’m pregnant.” My twenty-year-old daughter, a junior at a Christian college, spoke in a calm voice, rocking my world and changing it forever.

The phone had rung a little before midnight, waking me from a sound sleep. My daughter continued, “I’ve made one mistake, and I don’t want to make more. I’m not going to marry the baby’s father — at least not now. And I’m not going to abort my child.”

Tough decision

My daughter had spent most of the day contemplating her situation and resolving some things before she called me. Carrying her child to term would mean confessing to the authorities at her Christian college and facing any consequences.

The life growing inside of her would alter her forever. She would become a topic for gossip and would probably have to give up her starting position on the school’s volleyball team.

Even so, she explained, abortion was out of the question.

Keeping control

My heart sank. Tears welled in my eyes, and I swallowed hard to keep from letting her hear my reaction. Although I supported my daughter’s pro-life position, I needed some emotional support.

Keeping a check on my tears, I told her I needed to share the news with her father and that we would call her right back.

Emotional call

Working late in his home office, my husband was surprised to see me awake and walking toward him. I sat down on the chair near his desk and broke our daughter’s news to him.

Then we called her back, each of us on a different extension. My husband was wonderful, telling her that he loved her and was proud of her for choosing life. But after he hung up, he broke into tears, and I cried with him.

Breaking the news

My daughter was sick right away with constant nausea.

When she shared her news with the college, the staff took it well. The dean of students told her that the school was not pro-premarital sex but was pro-life. Being pro-life necessitated being pro-single mom, as single moms were the ones who most often sought abortions.

The school offered an option to her for staying, which included a change in housing and counseling.

First image

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5).

In her eighth week of pregnancy, my daughter had her first sonogram. She called, excited, saying she didn’t know if her baby was a boy or a girl, but he or she had a head, body, arms, legs, fingers, and toes!

My daughter’s voice overflowed with joy as she told me how her baby had wiggled around on the screen in front of her, moving its arms and legs.

Living person

Then she added, “And Mom . . . when I got back to my dorm room after the sonogram, I had an e-mail from a friend telling me it wasn’t too late to take the abortion pill. I still had one more week left before it would be too late!”

The abortion pill, Mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486, can be taken for up to nine weeks after a woman’s last menstruation period, or until a woman is up to seven weeks pregnant.

My daughter continued, “Mom! My friend was telling me that I could take a pill and make my ‘problem’ go away. But it’s not a ‘problem’; it’s a baby! I’ve seen him! He has arms and legs and even though I can’t feel him yet, he is moving all around inside me!”

Returning home

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting (Psalm 126:5).

My daughter moved back home after the fall semester. Though she could have stayed at college, she didn’t want to be that far from us when the time came for the baby to be born in the spring, so she opted to come home. While living with us, she attended night classes at a local college.

Early labor

One morning at four o’clock, my daughter stood over me, shaking me gently by the shoulders. “Mom! Mom! Wake up. I think my water just broke.”

Her baby was not due for another six weeks, so I was surprised and concerned at the news that her water had broken so early. The two of us quickly made our way to the hospital just as the sun began to peek over the horizon.

Complications

Unfortunately, my daughter’s labor and delivery were not without incident.

I sat in a chair across from my daughter while she labored. Her contractions were mild, so she wasn’t uncomfortable. My grandchild’s heart rate began to have late decelerations, a potentially dangerous and even life-threatening condition.

Worsening condition

Being a nurse, I first noticed the late decels on a monitor but wasn’t too concerned at first. It had been years since I worked in labor and delivery, so I figured if the staff was OK with the heart rate, maybe I was reading the numbers wrong.

Still, I wondered why the nurse at the nurses station hadn’t noticed. They get the strip readings there too.

Twice the late decelerations were prolonged in duration. After the second prolonged late deceleration, I hopped up like I was stuck by a pin and ran to the nurses station.

When the doctor finally entered the room, my grandbaby’s heart began a third prolonged late decel.

Panic mode

With his eyes on the monitor, the doctor said to the nurse, “If this baby’s heart doesn’t come back up in thirty seconds, we are getting him out in three minutes.”

Then he yelled, “THREE MINUTES!”

The hospital staff flew into action, unplugging monitors, wheeling my daughter across the hall to the operation room, plugging the monitors back in, and prepping her for a C-section.

Surgery

I was whisked off to a nearby room, where a nurse handed me a scrub gown, mask, and foot covers to don, and instructed me to scrub my hands before entering the operating room. It all happened so quickly, I hardly had time to even think.

When the monitors were plugged back in, the baby’s heart rate had come back up to a normal range. The doctor recommended she go ahead with the C-section nevertheless, given this pattern of prolonged late decels.

Once in the operating room with my daughter, I sat on a stool by her head. A drape was placed between her head and abdomen so that neither of us could see the surgery.

Grandson’s birth

After a while, the doctor told me I could peer over the drape and see my grandson.

I have seen a handful of deliveries and C-sections, but I had never seen this before. The doctor held my grandson in a sitting position on my daughter’s tummy — all 5 pounds, 9 ounces of him — and he still had the amniotic sac around him, like puppies often do. He looked like he had a stocking over his head. Only this stocking looked more like a clear plastic bag.

And there behind that bag were his two big brown eyes. They were wide open and looking right at me! He was one of the most beautiful little creatures I had ever seen!

More problems

He seemed healthy despite being six weeks premature. But unfortunately, within hours it became apparent, through his blood work, that he was septic.

They ran two antibiotics through an IV inserted in his arm and taped to a little board to keep it stable. He pulled at my heartstrings looking so delicate and fragile in his little bassinet, all hooked up to wires and tubes. I found myself praying earnestly for this little guy I had fallen in love with.

Perfect timing

The day my daughter was to be discharged, I drove to the hospital to bring her home, only to find her hooked up to IV’s and not coming home after all. She too was septic and had spiked a fever in the middle of the night.

I understood the danger she had been in, but by the time I knew of her situation, she was mostly out of the woods. How I thanked God for His timing! Had she become septic a night later, at home, it might have been too late by the time we could have taken her back to the hospital.

By God’s grace, both daughter and grandson lived and made full recoveries.

Treasured life

Sometime around Christmas of the next year, my daughter told me about a discussion she had with a friend about abortion — specifically, late-term abortion.

My daughter explained that her baby had been born at 34 weeks gestation, a point at which some babies are still aborted. She said that her baby had nearly died at birth and that both he and she had nearly died after his birth. He had spent the first two weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which had cost her a fortune.

She added, “Don’t talk to me about late-term abortions! When others are killing their babies, I did everything I could to save mine. My baby was treasured. His life was valued, and I went to great personal sacrifice, pain, and expense to keep him alive!”

Joyful reaping

I agree with my daughter. My little unplanned, out-of-wedlock grandson is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to me. This child has my heart wrapped around his little finger. I cannot imagine my life without him!

My daughter gave up dorm life, volleyball, and her independence. She moved back home, took a part-time job, continued in school, while also learning how to be a mother. I could not be prouder of her courageous fight to give her child life!

My husband adores his grandson, too. As I see my grandson’s dimpled smile lighting up the world around him, I remember the tears my husband and I shed when we first heard that our daughter was pregnant. Surely, God’s Word is true: Those who sow in tears do reap with joyful shouting!

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.