Delba and her husband, Nelson, live in San Paula City, Philippines, where he is the Executive Secretary of the South Central Luzon Mission. This article won first prize during the third Adventist Writers' Seminar Workshop in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. It appeared in Mizpah, July-August 1991. Used with permission.—Via Shepherdess International
"Your daughter is dead!"
Speechless and trembling, I held my breath as my six-month-old baby girl was pronounced clinically dead by the doctor. Instinctively I cuddled my daughter's lifeless body closer in my arms.
People who witnessed the unusual event on October 23, 1990, in Room 223 of the St. Paul Community Hospital will never be the same again.
The day before, Merose, the younger of my twin girls was admitted at the hospital. The diagnosis—bronchopneumonia. The afternoon of the following day her twin sister, Marcie, joined her. She had a hacking cough which convinced us that she needed hospitalization too.
Many of our friends came to visit that evening. While we were exchanging pleasantries, we saw the nurse walk in. She proceeded to the bed, lifted and looked closely at Marcie's arm where minutes earlier she had administered a skin test.
The doctor had prescribed similar medicines for both Marcie and Merose. Since Merose was admitted one day ahead, she had been given her shot earlier that day with no adverse effects. Then the nurse turned to me and asked, "Could you carry your daughter while I'm doing the IV push?"
Without further prodding, I cradled my six-month-old baby girl and leaned on the headboard.
"This will take about five minutes," she added.
My daughter had been sleeping for sometime so I was confident that she would not feel anything. I was wrong.
When the medicine started to flow into her IV, she stiffened. I patted her and smoothed her hair away from her face. She settled in my arms and went on sleeping.
Halfway during the IV push, Marcie again fidgeted. She tried to move her arms. Her fingers twitched.
The nurse finally emptied the syringe. She picked up her tray and left the room.
Then I felt my little girl grow limp in my arms. Her head drooped to one side. One of our visitors screamed, "Look! your baby!"
I tilted my daughter's face toward me. Her face was ashen! I felt for her pulse and heartbeat but there was not even the slightest flutter.
"Get the doctor!" somebody shouted and one of them ran out.
The nurse who injected the medicine came running back when she heard the commotion. At a glance, she took in the deathly pallor of my daughter. Without touching my baby, she raced back to call the intern who was on duty.
My mom, a retired nurse, was on the other bed with Merose.
I demanded. "Can't something be done?" She shook her head and spoke, "The medicine is in Marcie's bloodstream. If she's allergic to it, there's nothing anybody can do."
Only then did the realization hit me. If nobody in this hospital can do anything for my baby girl, I know Somebody who can!
I yelled above the din to one of the visitors—a minister. "Pastor, pray for my little girl." He prayed and I prayed silently with him.
It seemed like ages before the doctor arrived; two nurses following closely on his heels. He came straight toward me. Without saying a word, he placed his thumbs on Marcie's chest and applied pressure. My daughter's body jerked!
"Lay her on the bed, ma'am."
Slowly, I placed my dead child on the bed and stepped out to the veranda.
My control broke and tears flowed freely down my cheeks. How will I ever accept my daughter's fate? My sister's tragic death three months earlier had traumatized me. What will I tell my husband? He's not even around to see his daughter die!
Then I poured my heart to God. "Father," I sobbed, "if it is Your will that my little girl will live, then let her live to be a witness for You. If, however, her brain has been affected because of this experience and she will not lead a normal life, take her. Do as You see fit, dear Lord. Only, help me to understand the message You want to convey."
All our visitors were inside the room watching and waiting to see what would happen next. Patients from the other room crowded at the door to observe and offer sympathy. By that time, three doctors worked feverishly on Marcie. Minutes passed.
Suddenly, my close friend rushed out, hugged me tightly and exclaimed, "She's breathing!"
She pulled me into the room. My daughter, who still looked pale, was propped on the pillow. I sat beside her and tenderly touched her face. The doctors briefed me on her condition. Again, I requested for a special prayer of thanksgiving.
A few minutes later the medical team left. Soon our friends who stood by during the crisis also left.
The succeeding medicines and the IV were discontinued. After five days, my babies were discharged from the hospital.
On our way out to the parking lot, we dropped by the nurses' station to thank them for making our confinement tolerable.
The doctor, who was instrumental in resuscitating my baby girl, was there reading the charts. He stood and walked over to shake our hands. He seemed to think for a moment.
I held my breath. What's he going to tell us next. That Marcie will not develop into a normal child? That her brain had suffered from lack of oxygen?
Then he uttered these words I'll never forget. "I can't believe what happened. I've had many cases similar to your daughter's, but this was the first time I've seen one come back to life. It's really a miracle!"
For several months, Marcie went through inconsolable crying fits. When awakened suddenly, she would move her head from side to side with eyes half opened. Her hands with fingers outstretched would shield her face and tremors would shake her tiny frame.
Today, she can say many words clearly and count one to five—quite early for a 15-month-old toddler.
Each day I thank God for the doctors who understood our anxieties and explained to us that this can happen to anyone.
Marcie's experience has inspired many of the sermons of the ministers of our Mission. Occasionally, I met some brethren who tell me how their faith has been strengthened because of Marcie's "rebirth." Jesus does truly love to answer the prayers of workers' wives.