Will is 12 Today, By God’s Grace

On the morning of June 3, 1996, I awoke with ringing in my ears and my eyes didn’t seem to be quite right. I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with two other children to care for, so I lumbered out of bed and began the day. My fingers and my feet were swollen beyond recognition, my weight which had been 112 before baby was now 150 and climbing, and when I looked in the mirror, I hardly recognized myself. I had had to have my wedding rings cut off because of sudden swelling in my hands. My young doctor seemed unconcerned. That morning I remembered I had a doctor’s appointment at 3pm, and I sat down at the kitchen table trying to draft a grocery list to take along with me to my son’s 2pm piano lesson. I thought I might be able to get to the grocery store while he was with the piano teacher.

But as I dropped Sammy off for piano, the ringing in my ears became a growing buzzing sound, and my eyes didn’t seem to be focusing correctly. I decided to skip the grocery store after all. The doctor told me later that it probably saved my life. I drove directly to the doctor appointment after piano with the two boys in the back seat. I knew they could wait for me during the appointment. By the time I got to the doctor’s office, my eyes seemed to be worsening. I picked up a magazine in the waiting room and was alarmed that I could no longer read anything. The doctor walked in, took one look at me and did not smile a hello. He took my blood pressure and said, “you’re going to the hospital, now”. I became really frightened at that point and called my husband at work and told him to meet me at the hospital. I also called my mother to come and get the boys.

On the way to the hospital I remember wondering what was going on and asking the Lord for peace. Nobody had told me anything up until this point. What I didn’t know was that lab reports from a week earlier had come back showing that my liver and kidneys were failing. At the hospital, a very worried Tom met me, and I was taken to the labor and delivery section. “What are they doing with me?” I asked him. He didn’t know either. Finally, after what seemed a very long time, a nurse explained that the doctor was on his way in and that the baby would have to be induced immediately. It was too early, but it couldn’t be helped because our lives were in danger. They put me on an IV drip and hooked me up to monitors of every kind, one of which took my blood pressure every five minutes. A special IV was put in with anti-seizure medication. “It will make you feel like your burning up from the inside,” the nurse announced cheerfully. “And by the way, no water, period.” What a combination, I thought. Fire and no water.

By evening the labor was progressing and so was my blindness. The hallucinations I was having visually (like the face of Margaret Thatcher in the ceiling, ha! I’m a Reagan-era conservative, can you tell?) were replaced with a gray kind of mist. I asked the nurse about it and she airily dismissed me. “That’s just the medication you’re on,” she said. I was relieved but puzzled as to why my vision was going even before the IV started.

William was born in the 11th hour, and the Lord saved both our lives at the 11th hour. He was over 5 pounds (an amazing size for one so early!) and turning blue the nurse said, so I couldn’t hold him. His lungs just weren’t ready to be born so they whisked him away to the NICU. Meanwhile, everything got progressively dark. I was left hooked up to monitors all night in that room and repeatedly, I told the nurses that I couldn’t see. Not one of them believed me, I think. The next morning the doctor came by to see me, and I told him. He believed me. He shined a light into my eyes and told me, “something doesn’t look right”. All day, I waited to hear news of tiny William. The intensive care unit said he was very sick, and the only thing I could think of is that if he didn’t make it, I really wouldn’t have gotten to see him. Tom kept going between hospital floors to bring me updates. My pastor came but I couldn’t see him. He assured me that everyone was praying.

That evening, an eye specialist came in to see me and they started doing tests. “It’s the strangest thing,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Your retinas apparently were being bowed out by the fluid pressing on them from behind. You’re a lucky woman to be alive, did you know that?”

Not luck, sir. Just blessed. “Your retinas are damaged but I can’t tell you if it’s permanent or if it’s temporary,” he said.

After researching it further, the doctor told me that there was not much medical literature on such cases as they were so rare. To shorten the long saga, William began to grow stronger. Despite his early arrival, he was one plucky little boy. He was fed through a gavage tube for a week, and then moved on to tiny bottles that looked like they were made for little rabbits or something. He wasn’t jaundiced and his lungs were developing just beautifully because of Surfactant, the wonder drug. It is so wonderful what they can do with these little preemies now. I praise the Lord for that. After 15 days in the NICU, William came home.

My full vision had come back just about the same time. It came back little by little. The darkness started lifting and then one day I stepped outside and millions of little diamond-like specs appeared from the sun. The doctor said that was the light being picked up by the eye again. What a beautiful thing it was to see that light. Post Tenebras Lux.

I was told that if I had chosen the Wednesday appointment instead of the Monday appointment, I would have died because the fluid build-up was so far advanced causing the kidney/liver failure, and the blood pressure was so high that I could have gone into seizures from the pressure on the brain. The young doctor later admitted to me (when he found out I wasn’t going to be litigious about it) that he had never had a situation like mine emerge. He should have discovered the pre-eclampsia early on. It’s one of the basic things doctors are supposed to look for. The tests all pointed to it early on, I learned, but he missed it. But like the saying goes, all’s well that ends well. The Lord for some reason had a plan for both William and me, and it wasn’t our time to go yet. The experience was a sobering reminder of just how frail life is, and how gracious the Lord is, again and again.

Today, William is 12 years old. He is playing a Bach prelude downstairs that I wish you could hear. He loves football, Super Soaker battles with his dad, pipe organs and pianos, and he wants to be a military historian some day, (after hours from his organist job). He’s also studying for his amateur radio license. Best of all, he loves the Lord Jesus who rescued him 12 years ago tonight. We pray that he will be a man of godly courage and integrity and a strong witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a living example of God’s grace. Soli Deo Gloria.

(This is Will’s 12-year-old portrait, courtesy of Babboni Photography Studios.)

14 thoughts on “Will is 12 Today, By God’s Grace

  1. Hope Wilkinson says:

    Praise God! He also did a similar miracle for me and my son. I was 39 years old, unexpectedly pregnant, and a type I diabetic who had never planned to have children because of the diabetes. I had gotten pregnant as the result of a sinful sexual affair. I had contemplated abortion – 39, unmarried, financially unstable, spiritually bankrupt – but then I prayed. I asked God to first of all forgive me, then I asked Him for the strength and the courage to go through with this pregnacy. He gave me a dream that let me know that He had indeed forgiven me and I would be o.k. – I would not die – from having this baby. I decided, with the Lord’s help and guidance, to place the baby for adoption. My pregnancy actually went well. I, too, was swollen suddenly from the tips of my toes all the up to the bottom of my belly. At 7 months along, I went for a doctor’s appt. My blood pressure was high and the baby was growing too fast; he already weighed 6 pounds, 7 3/4 ounces at 7 months. I was also sent to the hospital and hooked up to all sorts of monitors and given drugs to stop the contractions I was having, but I didn’t know I was having them – I felt nothing. The drugs they gave me made me feel absolutely out of it and I could not sleep. I had awful nightmares. I was exhausted and probably delusional. The nursing staff at the hospital I was in also treated me with that same air of indifference that you speak of – as if not telling me the truth about the situation would make it all better. After 2 days in the hospital, I had to have an emergency C-section due to the pre-eclampsia I also had. The delivery went fine. The baby was fine. I was still feeling very strange and not able to see much either. due to diabetes, I already had retinopathy and other eye problems, so this did not surprise me that I now had very blurry vision. I was told it would clear up. It did within a few days, but what I didn’t know was that it would come back to haunt me in a few months. The adoptive couple I chose came to get their son and the adoption was completed. God blessed us all through that, and we now have a great open adoption relationship. My son is 3 1/3 now and just splendid! I, however, am now blind in one eye and legally blind in the other. No one – neither my retina specialist or my OB/GYN doctors, can to this day explain to me why this happened. It should not have, but it did. I do not know why God allowed me to go blind. I feel it is the natural consequences of my sinful behavior in getting pregnant outside of holy matrimony. I do not blame God for this, and I do not think He allowed this blindness to happen to punish me. I truly believe He has allowed me to experience the natural consequences of being a diabetic who was not physically ready to have a child and have now suffered the affects of doing so. I praise God that He allowed me to bring this beautiful child into the world, and that He had the perfect parents waiting to adopt him!

  2. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    What a beautiful name. What a beautiful story, and what a beautiful gift you gave that couple because of the love you had for your son. I am so moved to hear your story today, thank you for sharing it with us. Your son is the rich recipient of his mother’s selflessness and heart to do the right thing before the Lord by giving him life.

    Praise the Lord.

  3. ann says:

    Hi Ingrid. Thanks for sharing this story and the handsome pic of your son. We have an 18 year old fellow at our church who kind of looks like William and is very much the organist these days also – and he watches Diane Bish on WVCY!;-)

    Hope, thank you for sharing your story as well.

    Peace in Christ,


  4. rose says:

    Happy Birthday Will!! Thrilling story of his birth and of your recovery. I’m thankful things weren’t worse. Hope, God bless you for your attitude.

  5. iliketomakesoup says:

    Ingrid… in your WordPress backend, go to Design, then Extras. I think it’s the second option down. It reads something like “Hide related links on this blog”. I think that’s how you get rid of those “possibly related posts”.

  6. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Thanks for the information. I was able to delete what I needed to. I’m glad they did provide an option after all. I was told by my technie/web person that I couldn’t change it!

  7. Marcia says:

    Amateur Radio! He’ll pass the test with no problem, I’m sure. My compliments to Will, and happy birthday, too.

  8. Libby says:

    Oh Ingrid!

    How proud you must be. I pray that someday, if it’s God’s will for my 3 year old daughter to be married someday, that He would see fit to bring her someone like your son!!

  9. Robert Higginson says:

    Thank you, Ingrid, for being willing to share such a testimony in this public forum. And Will is a real credit to the family, as well as showing his individual talents.

    Health suggestion. I heard that an injection of magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) is a standard treatment for pre-eclampsia. Chemically, this is valuable for a lot of body chemistry, and is the basis of the spa treatments which William Wilberforce used to treat his colitis. It is absorbed through the skin, hence the health value of bathing in spa waters or having bath salts (perfumed magnesium sulphate). I heard of this in the context of biochemical mechanisms for autism (incurable, but the symptoms can be controlled) where lack of sulphate is a possible factor through inability to absorbe adequate sulphur from normal diet. Using a solution of 1 ounce of epsom salts in a pint of water, a few drops daily applied to the skin as a supplement does help general health. Do this in the morning, as the tonic effect can keep one awake at night. I have since heard of epsom salts as helping with some forms of arthritis. The detailed biochemistry of both magnesium and sulphates (helping digestion, clearing toxins, helping build vital organs, etc) is too extensive for this comment.

    I hope this suggestion will help other mothers to reduce their risk of pre-eclampsia.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Dear Ingrid–
    God bless you for sharing this awesome testimony to His mercy and faithfulness!
    And a very happy birthday to Will…may this year be full of blessings from the Giver of all good things!

  11. Aaron Kendall says:

    What a wonderful testimony. It always amazes me how people can treat life so cheaply. When there are woman who have to go through such struggles and dangers to have children. We take it for granted what medical advances have taken place to save children that a hundred years ago or less would have been lost, Along with the mother. God has blessed us so, on one end of the spectrum, but we keep cheapening it on the other. Lord have mercy. I think back to when I was born. Me and my brother were both born pre-mature he was four pounds. Mom said she could hold him in the palm of her hand . But we all know it was really the Lords hand. I was also preemie, spent weeks in ICU with under developed lungs. On the other hand my nephews who just turned 16 and 13 were gargantuan babies. I think they both weighed 10 pounds and if not for cecerian (sp) would have been lost along with the mother. I cant imagine life without them now and my face lights up whenever I see them. The Lord is truly gracious.

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