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Peggy Horton: My hands are blessed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Do you believe in miracles?

A young mother I know was convinced that miracles are possible when she gave birth to a son and was told by doctors that his chances of survival were slim. She wrote a moving account of the experience. With her permission, I share Jolita Raine's story:

On July 1, four years ago, my son was born in Cincinnati. I don't remember much about that morning because of the complications I was having with Mirror Syndrome. That's when the mother's symptoms mirror those of her newborn child. He had a condition known as hydrops, a life-threatening problem of severe edema in a fetus or newborn.

I desperately wanted to see my son, but I only got to see him in the pod as they wheeled him out. The doctor came to see me and gave me an update of his condition, which was not good. He said they didn't expect him to make it through the night. He also said I could have him baptized if I wanted and that, later, they'd wrap him up and let us say our "goodbyes."

That was it! That's all they had planned: just to wait until he died.

So I had my son baptized. And I prayed to God. "There is nothing we can do here, Lord," I said, tears streaming down my cheeks, "He is completely in Your hands."

They took me back to my room and, as I lay there waiting to say my goodbyes, I talked to God again. "I may not understand it now, Lord, if you take my child, but someday I will. Just please don't let him suffer."

The minister who had baptized him came to see me, and a nurse came to tell me my child was "still kicking." We didn't have to say goodbye just yet.

He made it through the first night. Then he made it through the second night. And many more. I visited him in the NICU. I will never forget the thumping noises of the oscillator or the beeping alarms of the monitors attached to him. I wasn't allowed to hold him; I could only touch him. It was heartbreaking!

The doctors said there was no surgery to correct the hydrops. It was up to him to correct it himself.

When he began to improve daily, I started to think every day he was alive was a miracle! He eventually came off the oscillator and onto the nasal cannula. The time finally came, after he learned to eat a certain amount and was at a low oxygen level, that we were able to bring him home.

When the doctors and nurses sat down with us to explain what to expect, one doctor said, "He'll run out of energy faster because his lungs and heart are not one hundred percent. That may cause delays in his daily life." The thing I remember most is the doctor saying, "Keep doing what you're doing." My reply was, "We're praying and we have a number of prayer groups praying for him as well." He looked at me and repeated, "Keep doing what you're doing."

So, with appointments arranged for regular check-ups, and all the supplies we needed, including oxygen, we took our son home.

Coming home was a little scary! From time to time, I wished we were back in the safety of the hospital just in case something went wrong. Days and nights went by with monitors beeping while we constantly checked oxygen levels and monitored food intake. But within a few months, the doctor took him off the oxygen and after one more visit, he said he didn't need to see him anymore. Sooner than anyone expected!

My son is now 4 years old. If you saw him you'd never know there was anything wrong with him. Besides the scars under his shirt from stents and drainage tubes, there are no signs of what he went through.

I look back now and remember that the doctors had no plan, but God did. I couldn't hold my son at first, but God held him in His loving arms the whole time. No one at the hospital could cure him, but God could!

Some say that my son has a purpose. That purpose is clear to me. He is living proof that if you give your problems to God, He will take care of them. No matter what we have planned, it is His plan that we have to trust.

I don't know how people cope with losing a child, or how they take care of children with special needs. I just pray that they look to God even when it seems that they are not in the comfort of His arms.

I would like to thank everyone who prayed for my son. And I'd especially like to thank my family: my husband, for the weekend trips to Cincinnati, my parents and sister for always being there when I needed them, my mother-in-law for babysitting and praying and my young daughter, Maranda. She didn't always understand what was going on, but she brought a smile to my face when I needed it.

My son is on the go all the time -- non-stop. I'm hoping I will never see him get worn out as doctors predicted. His middle name is Boot, which fits him perfectly since he is "still kicking" to this day.

When someone says, "You have your hands full!" I reply, "My hands are blessed!"

Thank you, God!

Horton is a writer who lives in Nitro and can be reached at pegylu@suddenlink.net


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