FIrst Breath

The nursing student leaned over the isolette and peeked through the glass at the baby who was born just the day before. 

“How is she doing?” He asked. 

“Amazingly well,” I replied, as I watched her chest rise and fall with regular respirations. “Do you know what happened with her?” I asked. 

He shook his head no, so I started to explain how she was born with no respiratory effort at all. The team of health care providers – a doctor, midwife, two nurses, and an aide – spent forty minutes resuscitating the baby with stimulation, suction, and ambu bag with oxygen. Even with all that, she never took one breath. After forty minutes, they finally made the call to stop all interventions since their efforts felt futile and the baby was not responding. 

But the very moment they set down the equipment and took their hands off the baby, she took a small breath and gave a weak cry! They rushed back to her side and watched as she seemingly came back from the dead.

The nursing student looked at me as if he had misunderstood my french. “Forty minutes?” He clarified. 

“Forty minutes. Nothing.” I replied. 

He looked again at her chest rising and falling on its own, her pink skin, her open eyes, and he said, “That’s a miracle.”

“Yes. It is.” 

I leaned down close to the baby, almost sticking my head in the window of the isolette so that she could hear me when I said, “You hear that little baby girl? You are a miracle! And God wants you to live or else you wouldn’t be here!” 

The nursing student laughed because I talk to my babies like they can understand. But it’s not laughable, really. Devout Muslims whisper the name of Allah or the Muslim confession of faith into the ears of their newborn babies. I want my babies to hear truth. So I tell them about Jesus and sing songs of praise over them instead. 

“Jesus loves you,” I told her as I tickled her tummy and then straightened her oxygen mask. 

Forty minutes of resuscitation hardly ever works, and when it does, the outcomes aren’t always too favorable. A story like this is pretty unheard of, and it’s definitely something I’ve never seen before. Even our muslim midwife, when she saw that baby take her first breath, exclaimed aloud, Thank you, Jesus Christ. 
I said the same thing today as the oxygen machine was removed and she started breastfeeding. Thank you, Jesus Christ, worker of miracles, giver of life, the One who sees us and cares for us little ones. 

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