The miracle of a birth…one thing that can make a grown man cry. Every life is precious no matter how small. Although I am not a father, I come from a large family. Through my sister’s premature birth, I have come to believe that within the heart of every man is the knowledge that every life has value.
I recently saw an online video about a premature birth at 24 weeks. Memories of my sister’s life came flooding back.
In 1992, my mom had a premature birth to my younger sister and brother. They were born at 23 weeks and 4 days through an emergency C section. My sister came first and what amazed us was that she was extremely underweight yet survived. She was so small that you could cradle her limp body in your hand or put a wedding ring over her harm.
For the first 100 days of her life my sister she slept inside of a humidicrib until she was strong enough to live outside of it. Each time one of us held her we had to scrub out arms and faces and wear gowns in the off chance that her immune system could not cope with the air born bacteria. Indeed she was a miracle.
While I write about the miracle of her life, sadly, death also touched our family. Her twin brother died not long after from a cyst on his heart. It was something that ripped at our heart strings, but caused us to pull together through the support of friends and church family. If we did not already value the preciousness of life with my little sister, my little brother’s death gave us an extra reason to value every moment with those we love.
As men we have a mandate to go out and look after every living thing. This inner primal calling is to protect, cover, and help young lives in need. Men naturally slide into that role of protector when they have a child.
3 valuable lessons my sister’s premature birth taught me:
Each life has meaning
The first lesson my little sister’s life has taught me is that no matter what people say, every life is meaningful. Just after my sister was born the doctors literally told my mum that she would never be able to walk, hear or speak. They used “deaf, dumb, and mute.” However, she defied them all. Each day she grew stronger and stronger. Each day she clung to life and showed all the non-believers what true strength and determination is. My sister was and still is a fighter.
Each life has value
The second lesson she taught me is that every single life is precious and that no amount of value can be placed on people. One morning during those first 100 days, our family received a phone call my sister needed blood. I stayed home while my parents drove 2 hours away to the city to give blood to my sister. She was struggling and showed severe warning signs. On hanging up the phone, with no money in the bank, mum had enough faith to get to the hospital and give my sister the blood she needed. I learned that day that her life was worth more than our weight in gold and beyond.
Each life has purpose
The last lesson my sister’s premature birth taught me is that every life has a purpose. While her brother didn’t live, his death and her life had a greater purpose. The hospital nurses became surrogate mothers to my sister. They treated her like one of their own children. One nurse told my mum, “Each life has a greater purpose.” My sister, the fighter and champion, challenged every doctor in that children’s ward. Each life can fight no matter how small and insignificant.
As a man and an older brother, I can look back at and say how proud I am of her. Many obstacles have come her way. We were not close for many years, but her heartbeat chose to live and run through life with perseverance. It is what makes it all worthwhile. She has accomplished so many things and encourages so many people around her. If we listened to the initial reports from the doctors, we might have given up. Instead, we followed her lead and acknowledged every precious life is worth saving, and every life has worth.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 NASB