Our kids let my wife and I know they’d like for us to back off from bragging about them. We’re guilty, of course, because our goal as parents was to make it possible for them to actually live their dreams. We celebrate them. Nonetheless, they’ve basically asked us to disband our parental booster club.
That’s all well and good, but they don’t have our perspective, thus don’t understand why they’re so very special to us.
Our generation came along when birth control pills were brand new, or in their infancy, so to speak. The first few years of our marriage my wife took “the pill,” which was potent enough in those days to cause personality changes.
When we elected to discontinue the pills, my wife still resembled the woman I’d married, but at times she surely acted like a stranger.
Our first two tries at having babies resulted in miscarriages. Young and still pretty naïve, we attributed them to the lingering effect of those potent pills. We were overjoyed later when our first child arrived, with all the fingers and toes where they were supposed to be.
Three years later our second child came along, but not before we’d experienced another miscarriage, this one further along and more serious.
No longer naïve, we knew what we’d lost, which perhaps multiplied our happiness when our third and final bundle of joy arrived three years later.
Looking back, we can laugh about many things. For example, our son was actually airborne when the OB/GYN rushed into the delivery room from surgery and caught him on the fly.
But our children represent three little medical miracles, each attesting to the sanctity of life, each having garnered our full attention growing within the womb, kicking every once in a while, sometimes showing the imprint of a hand or foot pressing from inside my wife’s burgeoning belly.
But now, even as we celebrate three grown children, the poignant memories of the miscarriages remain.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, penned: “I hold it true, whatever befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Birth, to me, is purely a medical miracle. A unique little person, a life cherished and nurtured from the moment of conception, bursts forth into our world and changes everything. Birth is love personified, from inside out.
This weekend our area celebrated another sort of medical miracle: the Newton Medical Auxiliary’s Annual Gala.
Having furnished state-of-the-art mammography equipment for the Women’s Diagnostic Center, the Auxiliary now hopes to bring the latest in neonatal intensive care capability to our hospital.
Neonatal care for babies in physical trouble also constitutes a medical miracle. Not all babies can be saved, but with state-of-the-art neonatal facilities, they at least have a chance.
Another medical miracle of a very different nature, but closely related to these others, is the work being done by the Anna Jo Evans Perinatal Bereavement Foundation, established in July 2007, to aid parents and medical personnel affected by the loss of a full term pregnancy.
Next Saturday, May 8, the inaugural memorial golf tournament is raising funds for this cutting edge work will be held at the Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte.
Proceeds benefit the foundation, named for the infant daughter of Covington’s David and Allison Evans, lost through a tragic circumstance at birth, and are administered in conjunction with the Carolina Healthcare Foundation.
Providing educational training for nurses throughout the Southeast, along with cameras, printers and essential materials for labor and delivery nurses and keepsake boxes for bereaved parents, this foundation establishes a network of outreach and communication for people experiencing heartbreaking loss.
Our own Newton Medical hosted its first perinatal loss awareness event in October 2008, titling the conference “Anna’s Gift.” Local nurses coordinating the effort were sponsored by the foundation, resulting in further training and development for other Newton Medical nurses and staff.
Through their inspired desire to help others encountering such loss, David and Allison have found a way for their little girl to make the world a better place as the foundation named for her approaches the start of its third year in operation.
The couple subsequently celebrated the birth of a healthy son, Broughton Thomas Evans, last May, who will doubtless learn one day of his older sister’s legacy.
Golfers interested in the first Memorial Golf Tournament may access www.annasgift.org online. Others interested in making a tax-deductible donation may post to Anna Jo Evans Perinatal Bereavement Foundation, c/o Carolina Healthcare Foundation, P. O. Box 32861, Charlotte, NC 28232.
“I must lose myself in action,” Tennyson wrote, “lest I wither in despair.”
The loss of a child is surely the most profound of all, for parents are not supposed to bury their children.
Yet from the depths of wrenching sorrow, David and Allison have found a way for their daughter to be eternally engaged in helping others and never, therefore, to wither in despair.
And that, it seems to me, qualifies Anna Jo Evans as a unique medical miracle in her own right.
Nat Harwell is a resident of Newton County. His column appears in The Covington News on Sundays.