Thursday, May 6, 2010

And Then There Were Five

This is a longer-than-usual post. I've penned it for my youngest son, but you're welcome to read on. It's actually far more than a blog post or story. On so many levels it's a miracle; and it continues to be that! Marvel along with me, if you like:

With a wide-eyed, glassy stare, the look on my face told the doctor I was incredulous, stunned. Beyond stunned.

A little background ...

It had been a particularly difficult Summer, 1972. Since giving birth to my daughter in 1970 I had been plagued with a common plight among the women in my family, hemorrhoids. I decided it was time - long past time - to do something about them, so I agreed to a surgical procedure that would, hopefully, end that particular brand of suffering once-and-for-all.

So, in the Fall of 1972 I underwent the surgical procedure and, within days, began to feel a tremendous sense of relief. Problem was, for many weeks following, I simply had no energy, and just couldn't seem to rally my usual stores - - not good for a mother of two small, lively little ones - then 3 1/2 and 2.

Finally, come January I decided I had better get to the bottom of my malaise so I again visited the doctor. He very quickly assessed my lingering impediment: I was four months pregnant. Pregnant?! Four months pregnant?

Here then, was the source of my referenced stunning!

I'd given little thought to the bazaar behavior of my body, concluding the surgery must have sent it into a tailspin. By his calculation and mine, I was barely pregnant at the time of the surgery, which meant the wee one within had endured that invasive process too.

Worry set in; and throughout the drive home, and for many nights following, I wondered how I could deliver a healthy child given the surgery, the anesthetic, the shuffling of his own secret lodging during exams & surgical procedure, and the pain medication following.

Furthermore, this baby was not at all planned. I'd given away the crib and infant paraphernalia thinking we were a complete family at the whole number, four. Besides, it was an era in our marriage when affections were threadbare; times troubled and money scarce. Surely it would not be prudent to expand our borders (and belly) with a larger family. Surely.

When I shared the news with hubby, we sat for a long while in a stuporous state, just staring at each other. Then we broke into fits of laughter. How funny it was to consider the question:
"How'd this happen?" We knew exactly how, and we knew exactly when.

As I looked ahead to a late June delivery, it was with a mixture of excitement and fear, joy and trepidation. How would I manage three children? Was the infant growing beneath my heart a boy, or a girl? Would that wee one (how prophetic such a term came to be) survive; and would it be OK? What if my marriage couldn't withstand one more pressure? So many "
what"s, "would"s, and "how"s ...

In April of 1973, nearly 2 months ahead of my delivery date, my body began to ready itself for the baby's arrival. We made a midnight run to the hospital because of the early onset of labor. The doctor was quick to share his concern, as well as the reasons why they'd do everything possible to stop the labor. It was simply too early for this little one to show up. To their credit and our relief, the labor ceased and I was sent home.

For several weeks I laid low, or as low as a mother with two toddlers could lay anyway. But just after midnight on May 6, 1973, my body made it enormously clear that it meant business. Labor came on with a vengeance.

Once I'd been admitted to the hospital, I was quickly hooked up t
o monitors and tubes while the nursing staff hustled to make ready a delivery. The heart monitor clearly indicated the baby's distress, so they opted NOT to give me anesthesia until they could do a para-cervical just ahead of the doctor's arrival.

But this little one would not be deterred. He fully intended to arrive with or without the doctor, and with or without a pain-free mother! Thus labor progressed rapidly.

Almost before we had time to settle in, and just as the doctor arrived, a tiny bundle - just 4 pounds,
10 ounces worth - made his grand entrance. Kelly Michael had arrived, and his fragile little frame was quickly whisked away for special attention, and then into an incubator.

For quite some time I was not able to see him, though hubby assured me he was beautiful - fully formed, and quite capable of letting the world know he was on the scene now. My mother's heart would not believe it until I actually laid eyes on him myself; and that meeting seemed hours in the coming.

With tremendous apprehension, I was taken by wheelchair to the nursery. As if it were yesterday, I vividly recall our first encounter. So tiny. So fragile. So utterly beautiful.

The nurse watched closely, then asked: "Would you like to nurse him?"

I hadn't been successful nursing either of my other children, but I felt fiercely confident now.
"Yes!", came my immediate reply.

Slowly and gently, Kelly's tiny body was placed in my arms as all the worry of prior days fled. I searched his face, his feet, his minuscule fingers. I wondered then - and again, and now - how a mother's heart can contain such incredible, incredulous love?

And then there were five, a WHOLE number. Our family was, and is complete!

The rest is history, as they say. But oh what a history it has been! I'll save the larger telling for another time, but suffice it to say that Kelly Michael was, and is, a gift indescribable.

Unplanned ... unexpected ... but never unwanted, the tiny form that showed up early that portentous May night (the ONLY time he's been early) has grown into a fine man these 37 years. He is ...
  • a brother of laughter & affection
  • a friend of loyal leanings & gaiety
  • a husband of devotion & honor
  • a father of fierce love & pride
  • and a son most noble & affectionate
Today I thank God for him (again), and send heartfelt wishes for a very ...


For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made; your works are
wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your
thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:13-17


Shirl said...

*sigh* What a wonderful story of God's grace, given in ways We don't always understand! I know this kind of grace...a grace you just don't recognize as such at first, but as time progresses you see it more and more, and then one day you are totally floored by it.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Isn't is just amazing how God takes care of our little ones in the womb like that?

Such a great post - Happy Birthday to your precious boy!

Loren said...

This is such a beautiful post Kathleen! Tears are rolling down my face as I read your words and just marvel at the Love of a Mother!

Happy Birthday to your Son!

Many blessings to you my friend

Debbie said...

Oh how I loved this!! I am in the midst of writing a mother's day post and I have used this Psalm as well. I love it soo...

What a handsome man your son is and PRAISE GOD for him and the joy of being his mama...HAPPY BIRTHDAY to him...

HUGS, Debbie

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Happy Birthday to Kelly. I love the story! Praise God!

a portland granny said...

Wonderful event in your lives!! Thank you for sharing that blessed time in your life and what a lovely tribute you pay to this handsome son of yours.

God IS good!

christy rose said...

Happy birthday to your son!! Isn't it amazing to look back and know that God's ways are so much higher than ours. And isn't it wonderful to be walking the pathway that He has set before us instead of treading through the ones we try to conjure up for ourselves. What a blessing He always has in store for us!! I loved reading this story Kathleen! It brought tears to my eyes! I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

"When I shared the news with hubby, we sat for a long while in a stuporous state, just staring at each other. Then we broke into fits of laughter. How funny it was to consider the question: "How'd this happen?"

That was also my story 16 years ago! Dear son was our surprise bonus baby after we also were "done" and had given away all the baby things. He's been such a blessing. He's so funny and God knew I'd need some comic relief as I went through menopause!

RCUBEs said...

Happy Birthday to the unexpected blessing! That was a great story!I love how you wrote: "Unplanned ... unexpected ... but never unwanted..." That is a mother's heart accepting God's plan even when she is going through uncertainties. Happy Mother's Day to you also sister and God bless you and your family.

Beth E. said...

Happy birthday to Kelly!

What a great post, Kathleen. This is a precious story, and I love the pics!

So....does Kelly's personality take after you or your hubby?

Angel Muly said...

Wow what a great story. You have me in tears here. I love how we love our kids! What blessings the Lord has bestowed!! Thanks for sharing. Love and Blessings, Angel

Sonja said...

Oh the stories of our lives... This is a particularly precious one Kathleen! Happy Birthday Kelly, and how CUTE is he!!!

Wonderful post! I'm with you sister, these chapters of our lives are becoming increasingly dear to me too!!

Love you.


Diana said...

Great post!

Debbie said...

Kathleen, thank you for sharing this background story of your unexpected pregnancy. Gosh, I was doing my OB training at that time!

I'm so glad everything worked out despite the uncertainty that surrounded his birth. Kelly is one good looking guy. But then I'm not surprised as he has two very good looking parents. :)

I saw your photos on Facebook today.

Love you,

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Just a little something from Judy said...

What a riveting post! What a story from the heart that captured my undivided attention through every word. From a gifted writer, this is one very special story, and a wonderful tribute to your handsome son. Happy Birthday to him! Thank you for sharing this story from your heart. It certainly blessed mine. What a God we serve!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Children, what a blessing from the Lord...I love the testimonies of our children. What a true blessing!
Happy Mother's Day,

LisaShaw said...

O Kathleen, I'm so late in saying this but Happy belated Birthday to your handsome son and what a beautiful sharing of your heart!

I smiled, laughed (at the only time he's ever been early) and cried. Thank you for sharing!

I see a family book on the horizon as I know you have stories to share (smile) and you write with such passion and love.

Love you and Happy Mother's Day!

Nel said...

What a wonderful story. Bless his heart and bless yours. Isn't it amazing how wonderful our God is! I am finally trying to get caught up on my reading.

until next time... nel

bernardquincy said...

Such a beautiful story. A family blessings like this should be treasured in our hearts. Love this post.