Clark...our 4th child. He was prayed for, wanted, planned. We nearly lost him 3 times during my pregnancy. I remember wondering why the people at my Christian, pro-life clinic...weren't as upset as I was about all the problems I was having in this pregnancy. I didn't know there was a certain length of gestation that had to be reached, before all necessary protocol would be put into place to save this baby. I didn't know, when I went into pre-term labor with Clark, that I had just barely met that deadline.
But here's the thing: the Clark who met the deadline...the Clark who now had a medical team medical working to save and keep his life...was the same Clark who was just a blip on the screen when I first saw him at 7 1/2 weeks gestation. He was the same Clark who grew and moved in my tummy...the same Clark who kept trying to get OUT early and see the world. He was the same Clark I prayed for, that I begged God to preserve and save; the same Clark who, with every ounce of my being, I willed to live...even as some in my hospital room were quietly discussing a funeral and a cemetery.
They didn't think I heard them, but I did.
I know it was never in my hands...Clark's life. But I was determined to do everything in my power to help him have the best chance at life...so that, whatever happened, I wouldn't have any regrets.
This was the same Clark who ended up being delivered way too early. Twelve and a half weeks early, to be exact. Just a little over 3 pounds. Thin, red skin, delicate features...so very tiny. We couldn't hold him for a long time. We couldn't even touch him for weeks. They didn't want him to have any stimulation. He just needed quiet and rest and time to grow.
How big he was, how early he was, how sick he was, how wanted he was...none of those factors change the fact that he.was.LIFE. He was Clark.
Today is World Preemie Day...also known as, "The Holiday of Clark's People." It could also be called, "The Day That Scared His Mommy Half-to-Death." I know that not everyone has the same outcome with a preemie...that we had with Clark. I'm so sorry. I am THANKFUL to have been born in an age of advanced medical knowledge. I am THANKFUL for the medical care Clark received at delivery...and in the 7 1/2 weeks he spent in the NICU at Baptist. I am THANKFUL that God spared Clark's life. And I am THANKFUL to know that none of the circumstances of Clark's life have taken God by surprise.
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit me together in my mother's womb...You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139: 13, 16