Throughout history there have been numerous accounts, documentation and stories of miraculous events that warm our hearts and spark our souls to the possibility of the unexplainable.
Most miracles are recognized when the majority of us would have concluded that all hope is lost — although I am sure they happen more than we give them credit for.
The more “rules” we have on what is or is not possible, the less likely we are to be witness of the miracles that present themselves on a regular basis.
Although I have heard many stories of miraculous recoveries I have actually had the opportunity one night to witness a miracle I will never forget.
It was my typical twelve-hour shift as a staff midwife at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. On the previous night we admitted a patient, I will refer to as Jane as I did not get her permission to tell her story. We were inducing for labor. Unfortunately her story was not your typical admission to the labor wing.
It was determined by early and multiple ultrasounds by different experts in the field that Jane’s baby did not have kidneys. The abnormality is called Potter’s Syndrome. Potter’s Syndrome is a rare condition in which the baby does not develop normal kidneys and as a result, the chances of survival to the due date are not promising. If the baby survives to term (close to the due date) it is not likely the infant would survive labor. Kidney function is very important in maintaining adequate amniotic fluid levels that help protect the baby as well as a multitude of other functions. At best, the prognosis is very poor.
Jane’s decision was to carry this baby until it passed or she delivered. Suburban Hospital has an outstanding bereavement program to help people in these very difficult situations. Jane’s doctor, nurses from the bereavement team and nursery personal were all very prepared for Jane’s arrival when the time came time to induce labor—amazingly she made it to her due date.
The staff was informed that the baby was likely to die during labor and Jane and her families were also aware of this. Because it would be very traumatic to watch a baby die right in front of our eyes, the decision was made not to monitor the baby during labor.
Here is where the story gets unusual. Jane was admitted at night. Sometimes the admitting nurse draws an extra vial or two of blood in case there is another test we may want to order. The extra tube was set on the counter. Somewhere during the wee hours of the morning, the vial of blood exploded. In twenty-five years of working in a hospital, I have never heard of such a thing.
My shift began at 7am. Jane was in advanced labor and we all knew it wouldn’t be long before she would have to push and deliver what was most likely a lifeless baby. Even with all the preparation, it is so very hard to prepare for this.
Jane’s wishes were to hold her baby and no efforts were to be made to revive or resuscitate. Her labor was uncomplicated and shortly before noon a very pink, beautiful and crying baby girl was born. Everything seemed so perfect, but we all knew that this baby was going to die in a short period of time based on a very confirmed diagnosis. We bundled that beautiful girl up and handed her to her mother. There was not a dry eye in the room.
About an hour later, Jane asked if she could feed her baby. With nothing to lose and wanting with all our hearts for Jane to make the most of this time, we saw no reason not to feed this baby. The hours went by and this baby was anything but sickly. How could this be? Three separate specialists confirmed this diagnosis. I will add that they are excellent, so an error was not likely.
Eventually we needed to take a look at this child. Here’s the miracle. Upon ultrasound, a small kidney was found. When I spoke with her later, Jane was convinced that at the time the tube of blood burst, her baby got a kidney. She went on to say that she had recently lost her grandfather and felt he had a hand in this as well. Jane and her baby were discharged days later and as far as her doctor is aware, years later, the little miracle baby is still beating the odds.
I am honored and feel very blessed to have witnessed this incredible and miraculous birth. I hope each and every one of you may come to witness the awe of being touched by a miracle. I will leave you with a very inspiring quote from Albert Einstein. “There are two ways to live your life — one as though nothing is a miracle, the other as though everything is a miracle.”
Catherine Stack is a doctor of naturopathy and certified nurse midwife. Her practice is located at Journey II Health in Niagara Falls. She can be reached at 298-8603 or at her website at journeyiihealth.com.