Thursday, July 1, 2010

Confessions of a Prayer Warrior

"Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord..." Lamentations 2:19

For this Child I have Prayed (a 2 part series)

“For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him.” 1st Samuel 1:27 (ESV)
My father delivered many, many babies in his years as a physician. Every birth is a miracle and every new life is an example of God’s creative power – even all the normal births that happen routinely, without any complications. Nevertheless, sometimes a second special miracle accompanies the birth of a child. Such was the case in the two stories I will tell in this post and the next one a couple of weeks from now.

The Baby that would not breathe

My father was sitting at his desk seeing patients at the hospital in Ogbomosho, Nigeria when an orderly came running from the Maternity Center telling him that Mrs. Ladeji, the midwife matron of the Maternity Center wanted him to come quickly. My father jumped up and ran to the delivery room where Mrs. Ladeji was holding a newborn baby on a delivery table giving it mouth-to-mouth respirations. She paused long enough to tell him that she had delivered the baby about thirty minutes earlier but that it would not breathe.

My dad could see that she was exhausted from giving mouth-too-mouth respiration, so he took over the job. He gave continuous mouth to mouth reparations to the baby, pausing occasionally to see if the baby would breathe on its own - but there was no response. The baby’s heart beat was around 130 beats per minute which is normal for a new born. (If a baby’s heart rate drops below 100, the baby is in trouble.)

My father asked for a small syringe with a tiny needle and gave the baby a small dose of Caffeine Sodium Benzoate into the muscle of the thigh. He and Mrs. Ladeji rubbed the muscle so that the baby’s body would pick up the medicine. The baby took and occasional weak breath, but would have died if left to breathe on its own.

Mrs. Ladeji and my father alternated breathing for the baby, but by this time an hour had passed since the delivery and the baby was still not responding as it should. The two health professionals discussed the situation and concluded that the baby was not picking up the mild respiratory stimulant that had been given. In desperation my dad asked for another small syringe and tiny long needle through which he administered a small dose of Coramine, a stronger stimulant, and plunged the tiny long needle directly into the baby’s heart. He withdrew blood to be sure he was in the heart and then injected the Coramine. The infant responded with some stronger breaths, but still did not breathe as it should.

After about fifteen more minutes of mouth to mouth resuscitation, my father turned to Mrs. Ladeji and said: I have done all I know to do. We need to pray.”

They held the baby on their laps between them and bowed their heads. My dad prayed: “Lord, I am at the end of my rope. I do not know anything else to do. If you want this baby to breathe, you will have to do it.”

When they opened their eyes they saw the baby take its first real good breath. Within a few minutes the baby was breathing normally and it had no further trouble. Mrs. Ladeji and the midwives watched it very carefully for the next couple of days. They allowed the mother to keep the baby by her side. After a few days the mother took the baby home breathing just like any other baby.

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