"To become a mother is to forever have your heart walking around outside your body."
Any mother knows the truth of that statement, and at no time does it hit harder home than when you child is hurt or in danger. I have many stories I could tell you of times like that, this is just one of them.
When my husband and I got married, we were going to follow the world's wisdom and just have two children. We did, two beautiful daughters.
For a while, I was content. Then I began to do foster care, and soon got a newborn baby I loved with all my heart. I did not get to keep him, although I wanted too, and in my grief, begged my husband Bill for another baby. Soon, we had our first son, Gage. Then we got a surprise - not an accident - a surprise being something wonderful that you didn't even realize you wanted, and son Max was born.
Two girls and two boys - it seemed like the perfect family - until I read the book "The Way Home" by Mary Pride, and realized that the big family I had always wanted was actually God's heart, too. We decided to become "quiverful", which means we let God bring the children whenever HE wanted to bring the children.
I was very excited to think I would have many children, and if I admit it, a bit scared, too. But soon, I was pregnant with baby #5...
...which ended in my first miscarriage. I was devastated. Our family just didn't have miscarriages. My heart was broken completely, and I went into a bit of a spiritual tailspin. After all, we were trusting God, why did He do this to us?
It took me a while to get my grief under control. And six months or so later, I was pregnant again. This one took, and my third son, fifth child, Spencer, was born.
He was big - 9 pounds 1 ounce coming from my small framed 4 foot 11 inch body. A sympathetic doctor gave me a pretty big epidural which made me unable to help him much as he tried to be born. Finally, the doctor used forceps to pull him from me, breaking my tailbone in the process. It was pretty hard to sit for a long while.
But that didn't matter to me. I had a beautiful baby, my first blue eyed one. I thought he was gorgeous. I was very pleased.
Spencer grew, and one day, when he was about 18 months old, he toddled after his two older brothers and his dad into the back yard, where daddy was trying to fix the lawnmower. I was in the house, I don't remember now what I was doing, but I do remember my horror when Bill ran into the house with my choking baby in his arms. He thrust him at me, crying out, "He swallowed gasoline!" It seems Bill had poured the gas from the mower into a cup, which Spencer found and drank.
I rushed to the kitchen sink while Bill called 9-1-1, and frantically washed what was left of the gasoline out of my baby's mouth.
I think any mom who has experienced the horror of a poisoned or hurt child, will understand what the Bible is talking about in Romans 8:26, which says "The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness...(and) prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words." I remember praying over and over only the words: "Oh, God, PLEASE! Oh, God, PLEASE." Spencer's choking began to lessen a bit, but my horror did not. I pictured a burned esophagus. I pictured a poisoned baby who might not recover. We soon heard the approaching ambulance, and I ran out the front door and down the driveway with my baby in my arms, handing him to the first paramedic to step out.
They soon calmed me down as they examined Spencer. They assured me that gasoline was NOT poisonous, but that there was a danger of inhaling it into the lungs, which would cause a deadly pneumonia. They told me Spencer needed to go to the ER and have a chest x ray in three hours to make sure his lungs were clear. They could drive him for me, they said, or I could take him myself.
Since he wasn't in immediate danger, and his choking had stopped, I decided to drive him myself. What should I do in the meantime, I asked? "Well, you might give him some milk," one paramedic suggested.
They left, and I took my baby back into the house. Although I had weaned him recently, I nursed him again, more to comfort myself than Spencer, I think.
Then I cleaned us both up, and leaving Bill home with the older children, I left for the hospital to have Spencer x rayed.
I was almost out of gas, so I stopped on the way to fill the car. It was ironic to read on the gas pump, "Harmful or fatal if swallowed."
We got to the ER, where Spencer was admitted and dressed in a tiny hospital gown. As he toddled down the hall, doctors and nurses alike stopped to watch him and comment on how cute he was. A doctor asked me if he had eaten anything, and I told him the paramedics had suggested milk, so I had been nursing him. The doctor shook his head, saying "That's the last thing I would have told you to do. We don't want anything on his stomach, because throwing up could be diasterous!"
Great, I thought...
We were taken into a pediatrics room with a rocking chair, and I rocked him, all the while, singing softly to him, "All night, all day, Angels watching over me, my Lord. All night, all day, Angels watching over me." I can never hear that song now without remembering that day.
After three hours had passed, Spencer was x rayed and his lungs were clear. We were discharged and went home.
Spencer had very strange, white diarrea the next day, but that was the only lingering effect of the ordeal - except for the many jokes we had to endure about Spencer "having gas".
That was twenty years ago, and Spencer has grown up to be a man now, my tallest child, towering over his older and younger brothers. He had a few more mishaps, stitches twice, a fall from a bike which I still believe at least cracked his wrist even if the x rays didn't show it, but nothing that stopped my heart the way his drinking gasoline as a baby did.
Spencer will quickly tell you it did nothing to his intelligence, and that he is very smart, as proven by the words that miraculously appeared on our trampoline one frosty morning:
I'm sure that was a miracle, and Spencer had nothing to do with that message. It's true, after all!
He attends college at the University of Texas in Austin, and I miss him a lot.
Go with God, Spencer! Mommy loves you!!