Carter was born in February and as his birthday rolls around each year I am reminded of God’s amazing grace in that we are able to celebrate yet another year of his life. Here is part of Carter’s story.
It’s a Saturday in May 2002. I am holding our 3 month old baby and something doesn’t feel right.
I look at his lashes, gently curled on his pink baby cheeks and feel as if I’m saying goodbye, as if he is slipping away from me, as if he’s dying. I try to push the thoughts aside, but they persist.
I had wondered about this baby from the beginning. During my pregnancy he rarely moved, when he did the movements were slight. I chose not to worry. I chose to look forward to a calm and peaceful newborn.
Toward the end of the pregnancy I suffered some extreme physical symptoms.
I’m unable to sleep for four days and four nights straight.
I have night sweats and uncontrollable shaking episodes.
I’m unable to eat. Any food that I put into my mouth comes right back up.
I am able to sip fluids and by the fourth or fifth day am able to eat small bites of food.
I have the flu when labor begins. I’m running a fever, coughing, sneezing and vomiting. As we leave for the hospital I hang onto a friend’s neck and beg her to pray for me.
Active labor has arrived and the baby’s heart rate drops. It drops too low. It is not rebounding.
They put in an epidural in case a c-section is necessary.
Our smallest baby is born, running a fever. Our other four children come to visit, but may only look at their new brother through the glass in the nursery. The doctors aren’t sure what, if anything, is wrong.
Carter and I recover at home together and he is the calm, peaceful newborn that I had imagined.
I have a healthy, laid back 3 month old and can’t explain why I feel like something is so terribly wrong on this sunny Saturday morning in May.
I share my thoughts with Mark and he doesn’t think I’m crazy.
I say that I think that we should call our pediatrician. “What would you tell him?”
That stumps me. “Hi Dr. G. this is Kimberly. I think that there is something wrong with our baby.” “No, he’s not sick.” “He’s been eating fine.” “He looks good.”
I decide not to call.
Our family heads to a friend’s birthday party. Our gaggle of small children is excited about a special afternoon playing with friends.
I try to squelch my fears.
“Everything is fine,” I think to myself.
Verses are running through my head,
‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God.’
“Dear Lord, please protect my baby.”
“Please give me your spirit of peace.”
The party is in full swing when Carter falls asleep in my arms. With four other children ages 5 and younger and all the fun activities available, I normally would have placed Carter in his car seat nearby and helped some of the other children blow bubbles or swing.
This was my one concession to fear: I could not put him down. I needed to keep him with me.
So I stand and hold our sleeping infant.
I watch his face go from baby pink to white.
“You are really letting your fear get the best of you.”
“This isn’t happening.”
“This is just your imagination.”
“You’re being paranoid.”
I need someone to reassure me.
I ask my friend, “Does Carter look all right to you?” Carter begins to turn blue.
My friend jumps into action.
For me things are a blur. “Dear God, please don’t let me baby die.”
Someone calls 911. “Dear God please make him breath.”
I try to wake Carter.
“I can’t do this.”
“I can not stand here and watch my baby die. Dear God please do something.”
Carter remains unresponsive.
There is discussion about driving to the hospital or going by ambulance.
I am unable to make any decisions. I feel that if I do the wrong thing, he will die.
I can do nothing.
I am paralyzed by fear. I can’t think. “God, please don’t take him away from me.”
I can’t decide. Car? Ambulance? “Please wake up. Please start breathing.”
I can’t even remember how to get to the hospital. “God, please.”
By the time the ambulance arrives, Carter is awake and breathing. His color is beginning to return.
When we get to the hospital all of his vitals look good. They put him on a heart monitor and send us home.
Our pediatrician says that he believes the incident would have been billed “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” if I had not been holding Carter.
I’m thankful that God’s Spirit spoke to me on that day in May 2002 and I’m thankful that God preserved the life of our son and that we’ve been blessed to celebrate 8 years with Carter.
I’ve mentioned before that I tend to be very aware of the fragility of life. (Yes, I’m fearful at times.) Part of this comes from my mom being diagnosed with cancer when I was 11. Our experience with Carter was another life changer for me. In the midst of my fear, I often remind myself of God’s goodness and grace, specifically in His preservation of Carter’s life.
He is the only reason that we celebrate ANY birthdays. We just don’t see His preserving hand in all situations as clearly as we do in some of them. Blessed be the God of all life!