Wonderfully Made: My Amazing Miracle Birth Story

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don’t take time to thank God for them.

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Have you ever read the Old Testament and wondered how in the world the Jews could see so many miracles and keep turning away from God? 

I know I do.

Especially shocking is the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt after all the plagues and the angel of death passing over the Israelite homes. God leads them as pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Despite witnessing God’s CLEAR, miraculous intervention, at the Red Sea, they cursed God and Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die. 

 A few days after God parted the sea, they’re complaining about the lack of water and food. God provides water FROM ROCKS, then manna and quail. They still doubt and complain. They had God walking with them and still forgot the miracles He had done.

So how does this relate to my life?

Because sometimes I forget what a miracle it is that I’m even here. My miracle birth story is pretty amazing. I’m truly appalled sometimes at how often I forget what a miracle God wrought in my life from the very beginning.

Back in 1971, when a couple went to the hospital to have a baby, they didn’t know what they were going to have: boy or girl, one or two, healthy or not. And I was not.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

I was born with a fairly rare birth defect called gastroschisis, in which the abdominal wall does not form properly. All my abdominal organs were outside of my body. My abdominal muscles and skin did not close.

My dad says I came with assembly required.

My dad says I came with assembly required, but I really needed a miracle. I got several! Click To Tweet

While he jokes now, in 1971, babies with gastroschisis didn’t live. Only about 18% even survived initially.

But this is where the story gets good!

The best part of my miracle birth story started before my conception.

The doctor, obviously taken aback, was not sure what to do with this seriously damaged, tiny infant.  In this moment, God’s hand had been so evidently working things for my good years before I was born, because my mother’s obstetrician was the father of a young man my father had befriended in college.

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV / “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

As the doctor contemplated what to do, whether the kindest act was to let me die, he said he couldn’t bear to write his son that evening and tell him that he hadn’t done everything possible to save Bill’s daughter.

I love that God planted a relationship between my father and this young man years before I was even a possibility.

Once the doctor had a plan, things moved pretty quickly. They decided to transport me 30 miles to Children’s Memorial in Chicago.

Then, I almost died in the ambulance because I had ingested so much air. With exposed organs and without stomach muscles, I had no way to expel gas. My stomach expanded frighteningly.

However, the doctor had absentmindedly stuck the nasal bulb in his lab coat pocket. He said it was something he had never done before. He used it to save my life.

When we arrived, the emergency team couldn’t get an IV into my tiny body. My father’s army medic training kicked in. He told the nurses to use a cutdown. And they did it! I actually have three tiny scars from that procedure.

At this point, the nurses realized they didn’t recognize my father as a doctor. He laughingly recalls saying, “I’m not a doctor. I’m the kid’s father!” They promptly escorted him from the OR.

Again, God’s hand is in the details.

The number one expert in the world in gastroschisis was on call that day. He was able to close up my abdominal skin with one surgery and I lived pretty much consequence free until I was in college and developed some scar tissue that was causing issues.

I grew up hearing this story, but only as an adult did I realize how truly miraculous my birth really was and how many steps reflect God’s hand in all the details.

When my own daughter was in the NICU, her doctor was amazed that I lived and was so healthy.

My miracle birth story is a true testimony to how God works all things, even before our births. Click To Tweet

God wanted me here. 

Of course God plans all of our lives, but because of my miracle birth, I am more aware God has a plan and purpose for me.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

This story has really been on my mind this week, as today is my birthday, but also because my daughter’s memory verse reminded me to consider truly how wonderful my life has been, despite my body’s failings and the difficulties I have faced.

Psalm 139:14 ESV / I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

I just have to stop and praise God for saving me that day. My body isn’t perfect. I’ve had my share of challenges, but God has always used them for my good. And now I just bask in His patient grace, waiting so many years for me to recognize His presence in my life, to wake up to His miracles.

Which takes me back to Moses. God was also evident in Moses’ life from his birth. The Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him from the reed basket in the Nile, saving him from her father’s orders to eradicate all Israelite male infants. Raised Egyptian, Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace, making him the perfect intercessory for the Israelites.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

Yet, before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he spent 40 years in hiding for killing a vicious slave driver. Despite God’s miracles in his life, when God called him, he felt unqualified.

Due to Satan’s manipulation of those around me and my own resultant sins, I had turned away from God. I lived like hell off and on for 20 years.

But God never let me go.
I could see God in my life, but let the world distract me. I forgot my miracle birth really was miraculous, not just a great story.
Like Moses, who had a pretty incredible birth story, I needed reminding that God had a purpose bigger than my sins. Today, I celebrate being 46 and walking again in the light, as a precious child of God.

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Dear Birthmom,

Have you ever had a letter you wanted to write, but knew you could never send it? It would be too real, too raw, too vulnerable? What about talk to someone who is out of your life? Sometimes, I have so many things I’d like to say specifically to our daughter’s birthmom due to our unique circumstances. This is not a letter to any birthmom. I will share that letter soon.

Today is National Adoption Day and my spunky lil’ punkin woke up ready for Christmas. She has been a bright light all morning. She told us that to feel the Christmas spirit you have to stretch your arms out wide, take a deep breath, and spin. It is mornings like this that make me feel so blessed to have a chance to mother this tiny tornado, and wish I could talk to her birth mother.Christmas Spirt

Every year as soon as the first signs of spring appear, I start mentally preparing to write her birthday update to our birthmom; I carefully craft the letters and select perfect pictures to tell the story of her year. The first few letters came easily, I was just so grateful for this gift of an amazing child. But this last year I struggled more than usual. I always keep the letters light, warm, and open, but I have things I wish I could say to her.

Dear Birth Mother,

I haven’t heard from you since she was still in the NICU, the day you planned to come back to see her one more time, but never called and never answered a call or email again. How did you walk out of that hospital without her? She has your ears, you know.The first time I saw her yawn, I could see your mouth in hers.

She’ll lay in bed with me in the mornings and tell me her dreams. Her dreams of being a bear trainer and a circus clown, and I’m awed by your sacrifice that built my family. I want to call you or send a picture right that minute, hoping to catch the way joy sparkles in her with my clumsy iPhone camera. But just like my phone’s lousy ability to capture the truth of her beauty, a picture wouldn’t capture her spirit either. Although this video is one of my favorites.

Sometimes, I’m really angry with you. You put cocaine into her tiny body, and I couldn’t stop you. While they scanned for brain damage, I held her tiny head, frantic for her. Despite being premature and some early breathing difficulties, she seems alright, but tiny signs make me wonder. We can’t know the future battles she may face due to the alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

I also don’t understand not wanting to know her. I have emailed a few times, willing to keep communication open. Not one reply. There are moments that I feel like a mother is the one person who can celebrate all the tiny, insignificant, earth-shattering, wonderful things she does. Then, I wonder if you would understand, if you have that mothering instinct at all?

Or if that instinct is what encouraged you to give her away? Because you did bring her into the world. You gave her life. Not every woman would make that choice.

Maybe you’ve never answered an email because a single word to me would open a floodgate of regret. Maybe you have a hole in your heart, shaped just her size. I don’t want to remind you what you’ve lost. That’s why I stopped emailing so long ago.

Every time she calls me “Mommy” my heart wants to burst. The other day we were talking about her adoption and if babies remembering being born. I asked if she remembered her “real” mom. I don’t know why that word came out of my mouth, because I always use “birth” mom to describe you. Maybe it still doesn’t seem possible that she is mine. But, you know what, she looked right at me and said, “You’re my real mom.” And I am. I’ve been branded in snot, puke, poop, and hugs. I’ve played dress up and tea party, and had to discipline her when watching her chubby cheeks stained with tears was breaking my heart. I’m as real as it gets, but you’re still a part of her, too.

I try not to worry about how she’ll feel in the future. I don’t know if she’ll be more than curious, but I do know she will always have a hole in her heart for the people who gave her away. I pray I’m doing my job so well, it will be only a tiny thimble space of emptiness that won’t ever bother her. But I wonder if she’ll ever come looking for you. Will she turn toward your family, aching to know why you gave her away. Part of me doesn’t want her to need you, but I want to be OK with her loving you, too. Our hearts aren’t limited in how many people we can love.

I tell her that God always meant her for our family, that she grew in my heart as part of His plan for her. Yet, during those teen years, will she ever yell, “You’re not my real mom!” at me? I pray that she doesn’t ever feel like that, or even if she does, we’ll both know she didn’t really mean it.

Dear BirthmomToday is just another Saturday, even though we know it’s National Adoption Day. And I’m celebrating her and our family. Daddy made traditional Belgian waffles, so delicious they didn’t even need syrup. We’re gonna stay in our jammies until lunch time.

We’re having a pillow fight. We’ve never had one before. I handed her the pillow and walloped her. Her eyes got wide with surprise, she was allowed to hit me? Then the laughter started to bubble up bursting into huge giggles, dissolving into giant guffaws as we bashed and bonked, great reckless pillow fun.

And you’re missing it. You’ll never know how her tiny, baby chuckles could fill a whole room with laughter. You’ll never see her jaw drop in amazement when she learns something new.

When I write to you each year, I worry over ever word, wanting you to be happy you chose us to raise her, wanting you to agree that I’ve been the best mom I could be for her, but I worry you’ll judge her height and weight and wonder if I’ve been feeding her too much junk food. I worry that you’ll hate her haircut or the mural I painstakingly painted on her bedroom wall. I wonder if you’d approve of the deep faith she is developing. Then I think, you gave her up because you couldn’t take care of you, should your opinion matter to me? Two seconds later, I hope you’re doing alright and are making better choices.

And I have times, I wonder if letting her go left a huge hole in your heart, if there is anything I could say that would make it hurt less, feel better. You did the right thing. She has a stable home, a family that adores her, and close friends who practically live at our house.

She will ask lots of questions in the future, I’m sure. I know my feelings will change too. So for right now, this minute, I’m grateful but wonder if you know what you’re missing.