The baby boy unable to ever speak a word about what he endured in his fight for life went to his grave never knowing what a giant impression his tiny handprint had left on every heart he touched...leaving this world a better place than he found it.
For the little girl, the veil separating heaven and Earth was lifted . . . "Mommy, I see an angel!" Hoping to get a glimpse, her mommy searched the hospital room eagerly.
"Where do you see an angel?" her mommy asked.
She pointed overhead, "Up there . . . in the corner of my room . . . one angel with big, pink wings." Although her mommy didn't see the heavenly being, together they felt the comfort of its presence.
On their timeless journey of faith, hope, and love, their loving God went with them through it all: healing hearts, changing lives, sharing their deepest sorrows, and sending his angels to comfort and help them. Their stories, formed in the crucible of life and death struggles, were transformed by the grace of God into a thing of beauty. "He has made everything beautiful in his time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV)
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My Baby, My Baby
Our Timeless Journey of Faith, Hope, and Love Two True Stories, Two Mothers, Two Babies, One Amazing God!
By Alma Bramblett Allen, Jennifer Bramblett Sturgeon
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Alma Bramblett Allen and Jennifer Bramblett Sturgeon
All rights reserved.
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139: 15-16, KJV
* * *
My baby, washed in my tears, tucked safely into the treasures of my heart, and covered with the warmth of my love is forever a precious memory to me. I am so grateful to God for our short time together which forever changed my life. It all began as a game of hide and seek. I was seeking to further my education and for two years had made the 60 mile round trip commute from our little country home to a small women's college. I was enrolled there as a full-time student and was working on an Associate Degree in Nursing. I had maintained better than average grades but had to study long and hard, which did not leave a whole lot of time for anything else. However, our family had adjusted and my husband and three children were very supportive, taking over a lot of my responsibilities at home.
One morning, shortly after returning to school from summer break, I sat in nursing class listening to lecture and taking notes when suddenly I became very nauseated ... sort of like I was coming down with a virus or something. The lecture, which had been foremost in my mind, and the sound of my teacher's voice gradually faded into the background as I pushed my note pad and pencil aside, jumped up from my desk, and ran the short distance to the ladies' room. There I fell to my knees and gripped the side of the toilet; everything on the inside of me turned wrong side out, as I heaved forcefully, trying to expel whatever had invaded my body. Finally, the heaving stopped, leaving me empty and weak. I pushed myself up from my position on the floor and slowly made my way to the wash basin. I turned the squeaky water faucet on, and as the cold water ran over my hands, a stream of warm sunlight beamed through a tiny window behind me into the dimly lit room. The light struck the mirror situated over the wash basin, and as I gazed into the mirror, the pale face of a 39 year old woman with a very weary look in her eyes was revealed. Weary because she had missed her period that month; weary that right in the middle of seeking to obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing, evidence of an unplanned pregnancy was mounting.
While continuing to stare at the pale face in the mirror, I cupped my hands under the faucet, caught a handful of cold water, and slapped it onto my face. I turned the squeaky faucet off. I turned my back on the reflection in the mirror and the thought of being pregnant. I made my way to the open window, and the early morning breeze was refreshing as it filtered through the screen into the stuffy room. I took a deep breath and made my way back to class, where the lecture continued. Picking up my pencil and continuing my notes, I felt relieved that the sickness had passed for the moment. For my peace of mind, I concluded that it was probably a virus which would soon pass.
However, the nausea continued and I knew it was time to call my OBGYN. My doctor ordered a pregnancy test, so I had that done. I anxiously awaited the result, as there were no instant pregnancy tests in those days. Meantime, I tried to stay focused on school.
We lived in a little mobile home in a small rural area where we had been a part of the close knit community for 17 years, and all the neighbors were just like family. Upon arriving home, I found my 42 year old husband, of 17 years, in the yard with our three kids, along with several other neighbor children. He was working on a bicycle, while the kids enjoyed their last few days of freedom together before returning to school from summer break.
My husband called his new line of work, such as fixing bicycles, peddling. He had taken up that occupation after becoming disabled with heart and kidney disease. His disease had first manifested itself at age 37 with extremely high blood pressure. He was taken from work to the hospital and was admitted to intensive care. Upon release, he was treated with medication, but finally had to undergo a quadruple by-pass open heart surgery. Tests revealed that he had extensive heart damage and diseased arteries. The disease progressively grew worse, and he was unable to maintain gainful employment. The doctor declared him permanently disabled. However, it was not in his nature to give up; therefore, he used his time and talent helping neighbors fix whatever they had that was broken. It gave him a feeling of usefulness. He often commented that he wished that he could go to work in their place. However, we understood because of his poor health that it was not to be.
We also understood that our years together might be cut short due to his illness, and I lived with the thought of that everyday. In that event, I wanted to be prepared to support myself and our children. As part of that preparation, I was going to school—which was my top priority, while he assumed a supportive role, helping in whatever way he could. He had always been supportive, helping with our children and with housekeeping as well. He seemed to enjoy cooking, and occasionally on the weekends, would make pancakes and smother them in butter and syrup and serve them to me. He did not even seem to mind washing the dishes afterward, but at times became a bit overwhelmed by the massive amount of them.
With our children and all the neighbors stopping by, we always had a sink full of cups and glasses. It seemed there was never a clean glass when I needed one, so I purchased a bunch of light weight plastic ones so we would have enough to go around. The cabinet was stuffed full of them when they were all clean and put away. Occasionally, upon opening the cabinet door, pastel color glasses galore would tumble out and hit the floor, bouncing slightly, rolling under foot—leaving me to understand why the glasses were called tumblers. One day, upon arriving home from school, I went to the cabinet for a glass and nothing tumbled out. The glasses were not there. They were not in the sink. There were a few half clean ones turned upside down in the dish drainer. Then I noticed the bulging dark green garbage bag. I peeked inside, and the mystery of the missing glasses was solved. My husband had thrown them in the trash!
I went out to the front yard where he was still working on the bike and quietly confronted him concerning the glasses. He told me that it was his remedy for too many glasses to wash. He had instructed all of the kids to be responsible for keeping their own glass clean. That resulted in the kids running a little water over them and turning them upside down on the dish drainer. Since I had completely turned the responsibility of dishes over to him, I accepted his remedy without question and was thankful that he had fully taken charge of them, as well as the cooking and a lot of the other household chores. I went back into the house, gladly washed my tumbler, and filled it with ice tea. I sat down on the soft, cozy brown sofa in the living room, and propped my feet up. Cool air from the vents circulated throughout the house as the central air unit hummed quietly outside our back window. My husband came in, announced that the bike was fixed, and that he wanted to talk to me. I presumed about the glasses. He quickly let me know that the glass issue was settled, and he actually wanted to ask about the pregnancy test. I was to call the following day to check on the result, and even though we both felt apprehensive about the possibility that I might be pregnant, we agreed that we should try not to worry. There was nothing we could do but wait. While the children continued to play, trying out the bike he had successfully fixed for them, we fixed supper.
That night I tried to study, but couldn't stay focused; therefore, I told the family goodnight, dressed for bed, and lay down early hoping to get some much needed rest. In the quiet room I lay staring into the darkness, running my hand over my warm belly. Was there a new life hiding there? Growing there? Was there a baby needing to be loved? A blessing as our other children had been? Tears welled up in my eyes and ran silently down the sides of my face. "Oh God," I prayed, "God I am torn with the possibility of being pregnant, and the fact that a pregnancy could interfere with my plans. God, help me!" But then, why would He ... with my attitude I had concerning the matter. I finally allowed my tired body to sink down into the mattress, and I fell asleep. I awoke a little after dawn to the sound of birds singing and my husband's snoring. The heaviness that I had gone to bed with still enveloped me. I pulled myself from bed and quietly slipped to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.
While the family continued to sleep, I got my coffee and sat down in my chair to read my Bible, as I did every morning. I desperately needed God's help and despite my attitude, I felt God's patient love for me. I knew from His Word that He understood my thoughts, my anxieties, and my fears about being pregnant and becoming a widow ... alone, and responsible for our family. I got ready for school and left a note on the table, letting the family know I would be home early after my nursing class.
Stepping outside, I breathed in the fresh country air as I walked to my car. I got in, started it up, and took one last look into the rear view mirror as I headed off to school ... knowing that before the day's end I would know whether or not I was going to have a baby. If I was, I'd be forced to face that reality, but first school.CHAPTER 2
LOOKING AT REALITY
... thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. Psalm 139: 13b, KJV
* * *
The reality that I was pregnant was already beginning to sink in, even before the test results were back. I had all the same symptoms I had experienced before with my other pregnancies, and as I drove along to school that morning, I had not traveled very far when I had to pull over. I lost my breakfast, I lost my strength, and I was beginning to lose my desire to go to school that day. However, it was Friday and I only had one class; therefore, I continued on.
After class, I walked across the campus alone, carrying my heavy nursing binder and book. I felt so relieved when I finally got to my car, dropped the heavy books onto the seat, and headed back home. When I arrived, the family was in the kitchen making sandwiches for lunch. We sat around the table and as we ate, we talked about shopping for school supplies and clothes as the long summer vacation was about over. Over as well was the long wait.
It was time to call and get the results of my pregnancy test. I told my family I was going to use our neighbors phone (we did not have a phone at the time) to find out about a test I had taken. The children looked confused, as if to ask why I had not received my test result while at school that day. I explained that the test I had taken was not a school test, but a pregnancy test to see if I was going to have a baby. The admission brought a sigh of relief from within, while our children looked shocked. Immediately, our little daughter jumped up excitedly, announcing that she was ready to go to see if she was going to have a baby brother or sister! Our younger son was also enthusiastic, while our older son seemed quiet and reserved over the entire matter.
As for me, I had read that morning in the Bible about how God has a plan and purpose for everything that He allows to come into our lives, and that in the end everything works out for our good and His glory. However, that day it seemed to me that I was the person at the heart of His plan and purpose, which would ultimately work out for our good, but I was at odds with God. I was not accepting the plan—whatever the purpose or the good that could come from it. If I was pregnant, would I eventually accept the plan? The purpose? The process of finding the good at the end of the journey? I was about to be brought face to face with my true heart's condition. Holding to my daughter's hand, we went to make the call. It was time to face the reality of what I already knew in my heart to be true.
While my daughter sat close to me, I dialed the number and held the receiver close to my ear, with a shaky hand. As I listened to the ringing, my heart was pounding. I took a deep breath and sighed, just as an energetic voice on the other end asked if she could help me. I requested the result of my pregnancy test, and she directed me to wait a moment. That moment, in the familiar present seemed to be a far better place than the unknown future I might shortly be thrust into if the test was positive. I waited for what seemed like a lifetime.
Then my thoughts were interrupted by the same energetic voice as she congratulated me, stating that the results of the pregnancy test proved positive. She made me an appointment for Thursday, September 13, 1984, for prenatal care. I agreed to keep the appointment and quietly hung up the phone. The word positive had never sounded so negative to me. I hung my head and felt as though every ounce of my energy drained from me. My daughter was very excited as I explained to her that I was going to have a baby. We hugged each other and I looked into the innocent face of my little girl, my miracle child—my Rose. Her eyes were sparkling, full of tears of joy and excitement over a new life ... and I realized how far I had drifted from the most important things in my present life while chasing my plans for an uncertain future. I thought, if only I could exercise the faith of a child as my little daughter was doing, then I could be joyous as well, with no worries about the future no matter what it held.
It was that same child-like faith that our oldest son had exercised when he was a little boy and had prayed for a little brother or a little sister—someone to play with. Nothing would have pleased me more than having another baby, giving my little boy the answer to his prayer. However, I understood that due to the complications I had suffered after his birth that it would take a miracle. When he was 17 days old, I awoke in a puddle of blood—nature's way of trying to rid my body of a severe infection that had resulted from afterbirth being left behind. At the hospital they worked frantically to save my life—scraping and scooping out the infected and dead tissue from my uterus. My life was spared and I have never taken for granted how blessed I was to have been able to come back home to my only child to take care of him ... to watch him grow ... to listen to his prayers and to pray with him that God would hear and answer.
However, as the months passed by and I did not get pregnant again, I had finally faced the reality that the doctors' prediction might be correct. They told me that the possibility of life attaching itself to the hard, scarred surface of my uterus and growing there was a million to one chance. If by some miracle I did get pregnant, I would lose it.
Then our miracle came! I was pregnant! I called my baby Angel. However, after five months of pregnancy, I lost my little Angel and was left with only the hope that we would meet in Heaven someday.
Once again, I got pregnant, and two days before my son's 5th birthday the answer to his prayer was finally delivered. His little sister arrived just in time for the party someone to play with. I remember holding her close in my arms, it was hard to believe the miracle of it all; the miracle of God's creation; the miracle of my baby ... Jennifer Elizabeth ... my Rose. Indeed, God had taken special care when he formed my little Rose and gave her to us.
We had waited for her for so long, and at times I felt anxious that she might suddenly be whisked away from me. The thought of that inspired a little rhyme that I made up and would whisper to her, "Dear little darling, dear little Rose, how I love you no one knows; but if separation should be our lot ... dear little darling forget me not." However, she would not be separated from us. Dear little Rose was ours to take home, to love, to be ever so grateful for, and to be a playmate for her brother, Jody Lee, who had prayed for her.
Excerpted from My Baby, My Baby by Alma Bramblett Allen, Jennifer Bramblett Sturgeon. Copyright © 2014 Alma Bramblett Allen and Jennifer Bramblett Sturgeon. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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Table of Contents
ContentsMy Baby, My Baby Part 1, 1,
Chapter 1 Looking in the Mirror, 3,
Chapter 2 Looking At Reality, 11,
Chapter 3 Looking For Mother, 19,
Chapter 4 Looking At Life on the Big Screen, 27,
Chapter 5 Looking For an Escape, 33,
Chapter 6 Looking At the Heart, 41,
Chapter 7 Looking At My Baby, 51,
Chapter 8 Looking Deep Into the Soul of Suffering – Part 1, 59,
Looking Deep Into the Soul of Suffering – Part 2, 69,
Looking Deep Into the Soul of Suffering – Part 3, 77,
Looking Deep Into the Soul of Suffering – Part 4, 87,
Looking Deep Into the Soul of Suffering – Part 5, 95,
Chapter 9 Looking Forward to Independence Day, 103,
Chapter 10 Looking at Precious Moments Together, 123,
Chapter 11 Looking to God for Mercy, 141,
Chapter 12 Looking at the Present, 151,
Chapter 13 Looking at Our Only Hope, 157,
Chapter 14 Looking Death in the Eye, 165,
Chapter 15 Looking Beyond the Grave to Eternity, 177,
My Baby, My Baby Part 2, 193,
Chapter 1 Stepping Out on Faith, 195,
Chapter 2 Holding on By Faith, 215,
Chapter 3 Walking Daily in Faith, 231,
Chapter 4 Finding Hope with Faith, 257,
Chapter 5 Still Walking by Faith, 287,