28: Never Above a Whisper

28: Never Above a Whisper

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Never Above a Whisper

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother.

~Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

My daughter Patty writhed on the rumpled sheets. Her sweat-matted blond hair and pale face revealed the pain she endured silently. I held back my tears and faked a calm demeanor.

Patty’s story reflected that of many young women. Meet a man. Fall in love. Love turns sour. Patty’s courtship had spiraled down into an abusive nightmare. She decided to end the dangerous relationship rather than subject her yet-unborn baby to it.

It had led her to this maternity ward in this teaching hospital. She had arrived early that morning to have her labor induced. So far, many hours had passed with no progress.

The worst labor nurse in the history of the world attended my daughter. I privately dubbed her NurseZilla the Hun.

To each of Patty’s requests to walk or turn on her side, NurseZilla the Hun would respond brusquely, “No. We have monitor lines on the baby. Just lie still.”

To our great relief, after hours of NurseZilla’s “no, no, nos,” Super Nurse took her place. She smiled at Patty and said, “Let’s make you more comfortable.” She commenced doing everything NurseZilla had nixed.

Patty was checked throughout the day by the obstetrics team.

One doctor examined her and frowned. “You’re not dilating as fast as we’d like. We’ll hold off on the epidural for now.”

Patty grimaced. “The pain’s pretty bad.”

“We’ll keep checking you,” he said, and walked out of the room.

Patty groaned and drew her knees toward her chest. I held out my hand. “Squeeze it,” I urged. “Squeeze as hard as you need.”

She shook her head. “No, Mom, I’d crush your hand. I don’t want to hurt you.” Patty gripped the bed’s side rails in a white-knuckled hold instead.

Time slowed to a crawl. Shadows shifted across the walls as darkness fell. Footsteps echoed past our quiet room. The monitors tracked the vital signs for mother and baby. I wiped away the sweat trickling down Patty’s face and longed to ease her suffering.

More pain-filled hours passed. Finally, a doctor examined her and pronounced, “Good news. You’re dilating. You can have that epidural now.”

The anesthesiologist arrived and prepped Patty’s back for the spinal injection. “Sit up and hold still,” the young man cautioned. He worked carefully while Patty fought to stay motionless. After what seemed an eternity, the man said, “Done. It’ll take effect soon.”

A relieved smile spread across Patty’s face. “Wow, I feel so much better. Thank…” She slumped to the side in mid-sentence. The man caught her and laid her back on the bed. Her head lolled on the pillow.

The monitor showed Patty’s blood pressure dropping steadily. I pointed to it. “Is that normal?”

Her vital signs became erratic, and the anesthesiologist called for help. A nurse appeared, checked the monitor, and made another call. The next person came in and requested more back-up. Super Nurse hurried in and laid a comforting hand on my arm. “It would be best if you stepped out. You can wait in the family lounge.”

Instead, I slipped back into the corner of the room. More staff members rushed in. They ignored me as they entered “save-the-patient mode.”

Every motherly instinct screamed, “Go to your daughter!” The rational part of my mind warned, “Stay out of their way so they can help her.”

There was only one thing I could do for my precious daughter. I clasped my shaking hands together and prayed: “Lord Jesus, please save Patty and her child.” Softly, quietly, I sent my whispered prayer past the confines of the chaotic hospital room.

The unnerving racket of clattering instruments and beeping monitors filled the air. The fast-moving medical professionals called out instructions.

I remained in the corner, whispering prayers.

After what seemed an eternity, Patty’s blood pressure stabilized. Faint color tinged her cheeks. She opened her eyes blearily, and the medical team visibly relaxed.

After that, the labor and delivery progressed normally. I experienced the incredible joy of witnessing my grandson Asher’s birth.

Patty looked like she’d been through a battle. But with her newborn son cuddled to her chest, she radiated absolute joy.

When the nurse took baby Asher out so Patty could rest, I smoothed the tangled hair from her forehead and thanked God that she and her new child were alive and healthy.

Patty reached out. “It’s safe to hold hands now,” she joked. Our fingers intertwined, and she drifted toward sleep.

“I love you, Mom. And I know you’re going to stand there and pray,” she murmured. “But please pray quieter this time.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“After the epidural, I just wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t. You were praying too loudly.”

“Honey, things got pretty hectic when you collapsed.”

Patty looked at me, uncomprehending. “Mom, what are you talking about?”

“You passed out. The staff worked frantically to save you and the baby. It got really noisy in here.”

Patty’s eyes widened. “I don’t remember any of that. I only heard you praying super loud.”

Astonished, I asked, “The beeping, the clattering, the staff yelling instructions to each other? You didn’t hear that?”

Patty shook her head. “No. I only heard you praying. It sounded like you were shouting.”

Realization jolted through me. God had used my prayers to get Patty’s attention and tether her to life when she was drifting toward death.

And those prayers she perceived as being so loud? I’d never lifted my voice above a whisper.

~Jeanie Jacobson

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