I was 19 weeks into my difficult pregnancy when I was told by our local hospital that I would miscarry and there wasn’t much they could do. I wanted to give our child every possible chance at life, so I started receiving blood transfusions. But at 23 weeks, I ran a high fever and began to hemorrhage. I was rushed two hours away to UAB hospital, the only hospital with a Level IV NICU in the state. I gave birth to our son, Cullen, but he weighed just 1.7 pounds and was considered a micro-preemie. The doctors only gave him a 10% chance of survival. During the next 137 days in the hospital, he came very close to dying three different times. But he survived by the grace of God. We saw God’s hands at work throughout those long months. Being two hours away from home, we had no place to stay. A local church had some apartments for people going through extended hospital stays and, somehow, they heard about our family. They let us live there, for free. Someone set up a fund for us and that money took care of all our financial concerns. In fact, the fund ran out of money on the very day we took Cullen home. People, many of whom we did not know, showered us with food, parking passes for the hospital, and toys for our older two children. When we were discharged, the specialists told us they didn’t know what complications his premature birth might cause Cullen in the future–would he have heart issues, learning disabilities, or need oxygen for the rest of his life? No one knew. He was on oxygen for almost two years. But now, this five-year-old boy runs around like any other child. He may be shorter than other kids his age, but that’s it. Now, God is using me to help others going through something similar. Friends will call me, saying they know someone who just delivered a child prematurely. I will call the mom, and encourage her. I tell her to be realistic, but don’t let anyone discourage you. It’s a tough road and can be ugly, but you are not alone. God is with you and He’s always there to comfort you.
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