Since this is June and the month to celebrate fathers, I hope to honor my father and share the story of his birth. It is amazing and a miracle. He was born in the winter of 1951. He was born six weeks early. At that time in our country, there wasn’t much knowledge yet as to how to help these tiny little babies survive. According to A CDC study on infant mortality at that time for a male baby with my father’s gestational period and birth weight, the infant mortality rate was around 92.7. Not good odds.
I hope you will enjoy reading his words.
“I would like to relate the circumstances surrounding my birth. My mother has related this to me a number of times throughout my life and even though I do not remember my birth, because the miracle of it, it has brought to me a deep feeling that my Father in Heaven did watch over me, preserved my life and the life of my mother.
I should have died at birth but I did not, and only though the faith and prayers of my mother, my father, my brothers and sister, and by the power of the priesthood am I alive today. I was born November 20, 1951 in Ogden, Utah in the Dee Memorial Hospital located on 24th street and Harrison Blvd. I was born six weeks premature.
My mother relates that she was home doing things around the house. My father was a salesman at the time and he was out of town. My mother bent down and lifted something and all of a sudden she started to hemorrhage. My mother did not have a car to drive. She called a taxi. She prayed that the taxi driver would be a woman driver. In those days there were not very many women that worked and usually they were the taxi drivers. The taxi pulled up to the house in the driveway. The driver of the taxi got out and it was a woman. She told the taxi driver what was wrong, and told her to take her to the hospital. My mother told the taxi driver that she only had ten cents but that her husband would pay her later. My mother lived only a few blocks from the hospital. My mother was self-conscious, so she told the taxi driver to go around to the back of the hospital to let her out instead of going to the emergency room entrance.
As my mother was walking into the hospital several nurses were coming out. They recognized what was going on and took her immediately to the elevator and up to the operating room. My mother said they started taking off her clothes as she was riding up in the elevator. The hospital called my mother’s doctors. In order to save the life of my mother and my own life, the doctors had to take the baby by c-section. My mother asked the doctor to give her a blessing since my father was not there and could not be contacted at the time.
The doctors delivered me and stopped the bleeding of my mother. I had a very difficult time breathing. I weighed 4 lbs 11 oz. My entire chest cavity would collapse when I breathed. I was put in an iron lung machine to help me breathe. I those days, they did not have all the advances in medicine we have today to help small children that had problems at birth. I was in critical condition. The doctors told my mother and my father that I would not live. They told my father to give me a name and blessing in the hospital because the doctors did not think I would survive. My father refused to do so. He and my mother felt I would live.
I remained in the hospital for about 11 days while my mother went home without me. She told me that it was very difficult for her to leave the hospital without me since a year previous, she had a stillborn birth and that was the most difficult experience she had gone through.
I finally was able to come home. My father and grandmother brought me home from the hospital. I was still fragile and could not eat much at a time. My mother and father and my mother’s mother came and helped take care of me around the clock. I had to be fed baby’s formula with a duck’s bill nipple that worked similarly like an eyedropper every two hours. The feeding took about one hour or more each time. I cannot imagine how exhausting this was for my mother, my father and my grandmother.
Over time I did regain my strength. My mother told me that my brothers and sister would keel down in prayer and pray that I would live. My mother told me she would never forget the prayers of her little children praying for their brother to live.”
Oh how I wish I would have talked to my grandmother about this experience! It is amazing to me that my father lived. He grew to be 5’11” from his tiny birth weight. My dad is the rock in our family. He has the most tremendous faith just like his parents. He shows though his example that being faithful to the commandments of Heavenly Father will bring blessings seen and unseen. I love this picture of my Dad. It was taken a few years ago. He met me and my sister with our kids at the zoo during his lunch break. That’s the kind of grandpa he is.
I hope that today if you have the privilege of having your parents or grandparents alive, that you will take a moment to call them, reach out to them. Ask them stories about their life. Ask them to tell you the miracles they have seen. We all have them in our lives. We need to write them down. I am grateful to my Dad that he took the time to write this story down.
Life is Good. Share the Good.
PS “The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Our Heavenly Father delegates His priesthood power to worthy male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The priesthood enables them to act in God’s name for the salvation of the human family.” If you want to learn more about my church and what we believe, click on this link:
Our church also celebrated recently the 40th year anniversary of when every worthy male could receive the priesthood. You can watch this here:
We believe men who have the priesthood authority ordained upon them are able to give blessings of comfort or healing to others. This is what my father was talking about when his mother asked the doctor (who was a member of our church with the priesthood) to give her a blessing. I know that many miracles have happened in my life because worthy men gave blessings using the priesthood to bless others according to God’s will.
PSS If you want to read an awesome article from Penn Nursing about the history of helping preemie’s in the US, check out this link:
I found this paragraph interesting as it talks about the time period when my father was born.
“During the 1950’s, as smaller and more premature babies were saved with increasingly technological treatments and the intensive care of these infants expanded across the country, several problems surfaced. Oxygen, the miracle cure for the respiratory distress associated with prematurity, did save many lives. However, its unregulated use in higher doses and for prolonged periods appeared to be detrimental to some babies. In 1942, the American Journal of Ophthalmology published an article about an apparently new condition, retrolental fibroplasia, or RLF. By 1950, this disorder of the retinal vasculature became the leading cause of blindness among children in the U.S. By 1956, it became the first acknowledged complication of the treatment of prematurity. Physicians and scientists worked zealously throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s trying to identify a cause for RLF, ruling out geography, heredity, lack of prenatal care, and early exposure to light. They examined the medical and nursing care of the infants for any discrepancies or omissions that might have triggered RLF. They focused on newer treatments including vitamin therapy, blood transfusions, and various medicines and hormonal supplements. Physicians and others did not seriously consider oxygen in the search for a cause of RLF until the early 1950s. A large scale, multi-hospital study of the effects of oxygen began in 1952 and culminated in 1956 with solid evidence pointing to it as the culprit. Oxygen use was immediately curtailed throughout the world, and rates of RLF dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, without oxygen treatment, deaths due to respiratory failure increased by 1960 even as the incidence of RLF began to rise again. Known now as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), it continues to affect preemies today. Physicians now believe ROP has many causes. Standard screening procedures identify infants at risk early, and doctors plan treatment accordingly. Clinical studies continue to sort out the best way to prevent the disease and to treat it once it develops. Oxygen, once seen as a panacea for all preemies, remains a major component of respiratory support, however it is carefully controlled and regulated according to individual needs.“