“You made my whole being… I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.”~Psalm 139:13-14

Judy was 34 weeks pregnant and absolutely terrified when she was transferred to our high-risk antepartum unit. Her high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia symptoms were worsening. Her condition became even more serious when she was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome (a life-threatening condition thought to be a variant of pre-eclampsia).

She had previously experienced two miscarriages and could not stand the thought of losing this baby, too. She already did not feel well from the IV medications she was receiving and had one of the worst nights of her life worrying about her baby who still needed six more weeks to fully develop.

Both the perinatologist and neonatologist talked to Judy and her husband about the delicate balance between the risks to Judy’s health if the pregnancy continued versus the potential major problems and challenges for a baby born too soon. When I started my shift on the morning of December 1, the unborn baby was showing signs of being in trouble and we immediately started preparing Judy for C-section.

Fortunately, the delivery went smoothly and as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, the 3 lb. 11 oz. baby boy was whisked off with the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team. After he was stabilized, someone from the NICU was planning to come to Judy’s room and show her a picture of the son she had not yet seen. However, when Judy was ready for transfer to her room, I decided to take a detour through the NICU. After rearranging chairs and tables, we were able to move Judy’s stretcher right next to Tommy’s isolette and I was privileged to witness the joy of mother and child meeting each other for the first time.

“I know Tommy is going to be okay because he was born on my birthday,” I whispered to Judy.

As a gift, Judy gave me a glass angel and for years when I took it out with my Christmas decorations I prayed for Tommy and wished I could find my birthday baby. Years passed. I was unaware that the family had moved out of state and that Judy was remarried and Tommy had two little sisters.

While baking Tommy’s cake for his twelfth birthday, Judy decided to look for me on Facebook and found my profile immediately. I was so excited to get her message-we had so much catching up to do!

Now, Tommy is a 16-year-old Eagle Scout who is active in his church and loves to play lacrosse. He is a handsome young man who is healthy, smart, funny, and thoughtful. Miraculously, Tommy did not experience any permanent negative effects from being born prematurely.

Max Lucado wrote, “Your place in this world was created by the love, purpose, and will of God-you are His incredible handiwork, His special creation, His ongoing joy!”

-Lorrie Leno is a former labor and delivery nurse and childbirth educator who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is currently director for a company that offers homecare for high-risk pregnant women.