I remember it well even though 26 years have passed. At the experienced, or not so experienced, age of 22, my list of traumatic events included teenage heart ache and abstract algebra. Little did I know the happiest moment of my life would soon become the most frightening.
August 1, 1992
overflowed with excitement. The day began celebrating my niece, Sabrina’s, seventh birthday. My parents hosted a swim party and all of our family attended. Following the swim party, my elementary school teachers threw me a baby shower. The generosity and kindnesses were overwhelming. Such a wonderful day!
Then, my water broke. It was too soon. My due date wasn’t for 5 to 6 more weeks! Nervously, we called the doctor, and sure enough, we had to drive the hour long journey to Tyler.
My personal doctor was not on call this Saturday evening, and my insecurities increased as I visited with the doctor on call. She said she believed my baby’s lungs were not developed enough, so I needed to transfer to a Dallas hospital for delivery. She explained I would be care-flighted to Methodist Hospital. Your dad would not be permitted to ride in the helicopter with me. I imagined being alone, and my anxiety grew. I refused the helicopter ride and opted for an ambulance ride where your dad rode shotgun. It was on the two hour ambulance ride that my contractions began. I was indeed in labor.
Mama Mc and Grandmother rode in the car with Big Mc. He followed swiftly behind the ambulance, so they arrived at the hospital alongside us. Uncle Paul and Aunt Debbie came, too. It seemed that Sabrina might get her birthday wish of a new cousin on her birthday! I wish she wished she had never made after a few years of joint parties! LOL!
I long and painful night ensued. Labor is called labor for good reason. I’ll save the details of all that and sum it up like this:
When you get to the point where you are certain you are about to die, that’s when you have the baby. And, at 5:33 AM, August 2, 1992, you were born.
Our little miracle baby. All of our questions as to why you came early were answered when the young doctor announced your umbilical cord was in a complete knot. She actually asked if she could keep it. Ha! She explained that if you had grown to full-term your supply would have been cut off, and you probably would have died. Praise the Lord for breaking my water!
You scared your daddy upon birth, too. Your head pointed more than normal due to passing through the birth canal early. His first thought upon seeing you: “We are going to be on Geraldo for cone headed babies!” He almost passed out. The nurse reassured him that your head would return to normal shape.
I barely saw your face, and they swept you away to the NICU. As soon as allowed, I went to see you. You were so tiny and frail. Disheartened I gazed at your preemie body hooked up to so many machines. Worried your lungs were under developed, they kept you in the incubator.
Within hours they discovered your lungs just had fluid on them but were developed. The NICU nurse finally wrapped you in a blanket and handed you to me. You felt so small. Nervously I wrapped my arms around you, and I never wanted to let you go. Every time we walked away from the NICU, I cried.
I was released from the hospital the next day, but I would not leave. Dad and I took all of our bags and camped in the waiting room. One of the nurses noticed and offered us a night in a transition room because we thought you were going to graduate from the NICU. Disappointment flooded in when we discovered you indeed were moved to a new bed but could not stay with us because you were jaundiced and required to stay under a blue light. Seeing the small blindfold taped to your cheeks to cover your eyes brought me to tears again. We spent another lonely night away from you, but setting our alarm every three hours we would come hold you and feed you.
The third day another family needed the transition room, so Dad and I moved our things back to the waiting room. As often as we were allowed, we visited you. Another nurse discovered our plans to sleep in the waiting room, and the hospital offered us a room in the old section where traveling nurses stayed. Thankfully we had beds to sleep in free of charge and still in the hospital, so we regularly visited you for feedings.
All the while, we stood upon the scripture Psalm 138:8:
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me….”
The word “perfect” means bring to full maturity. Over and over we sang the chorus of James Payne’s song, “I’m Persuaded”, which we later learned Steven and Camilla Charles wrote.
He is able
He’s able to do exceedingly
More than all I ask
Or even think is possible
According to the power
That’s in me.
This became our testimony song concerning you because on day four, straight out of the hospital nursery, they released you to come home. Filled with joy and thanksgiving, Dad and I brought you home from the hospital.
Aunt Jill and Aunt Debbie had prepared the way by cleaning the house, putting the cradle and changing table together, and buying groceries. You were so early, I just was not prepared. Mama Mc came and stayed the first week with us (One of the best weeks of my life ☺️), cooked for us, did laundry, and helped with everything.
You fought jaundice for another couple of weeks. We took you for heel pricks seven days in a row. It was terrible. Your little feet were tender and bruised. We laid you in front of the window in only a diaper to let the sun shine on you. I feared you being admitted into the hospital again. Fortunately, you improved.
Through the years, you’ve brought such joy into our lives. Certainly, we’ve had our moments. You are a lot like me, you know. I know I expected perfection for you. Many times I determined my will power to be stronger than yours. I was young and idealic. I look back and see somethings could have been different, however, I look at you today and believe I did something right.
I am proud of the man you are. The circumstances surrounding your birth fell short of the expectant mother’s handbook, but who you are today has far exceeded my expectations. You are exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have asked for.
Happy Birthday Jacob❣️