All children are miracles, gifts from God. My children certainly are.
Ava is a miracle baby because before we knew we needed her in our life, God put her here. Defying the odds on the birth control information sheet, Ava made her appearance several years before we would have chosen to paint the nursery. We felt assured that God wanted us to be parents, and that He had a plan for this precious one. She was the easiest baby alive: she started sleeping eight hours very soon after her appearance, and 12-13 by 10 weeks.
Benjamin was not born premature, despite the fact that at 28 weeks my blood pressure was high, and I had protein in my urine, confirming that I had preeclampsia. Preecclampsia is a mysterious yet common condition that affects pregnant woman.
My specialist explained it to me like this: “You are basically allergic to your placenta. We don’t know why this happens, but your body is reacting adversely to your placenta. We can manage and monitor it while it’s at this level, but the only known cure is delivery of the placenta, and, also, of course, the baby.”
What he didn’t say, what I had read on the internet when I was diagnosed late in my last pregnancy with preeclampsia, was that it can also lead to a host of serious other complications like seizures, organ failure, or death for me, and weight loss, oxygen deprivation or death for the baby.
The specialist I had been referred to was also one who was recommended by a friend. She hailed him as a “non-alarmist.” He was not easily panicked. So, at 29 weeks when he somberly told me that I should go home and pack my hospital bag, I wept. He told me that I could be admitted at any time. If I had a persistent headache, I was to go to the hospital. If I was seeing spots, I was to call right away. I would likely be sent to the hospital after any of the weekly appointments I would have between then and 32 weeks. He did not even talk about the possibility of carrying Benjamin longer than 32 weeks. When preeclampsia is diagnosed so early in the pregnancy, things tend to degenerate very quickly.
I sobbed. And then I worried that I was increasing my blood pressure. And then I sobbed some more. And then I solicited prayer from every praying person I knew. That Sunday, four or five women from my church prayed for me. While they were praying for me, I got very hot and felt sick to my stomach. In the midst of it, I had to sit, and I made sure that I sat next to a trash can because I was sure I was going to throw up. When they were done, I still felt sick, and I don’t remember feeling too hopeful, just thankful for such wonderful, faithful friends.
When I went that Tuesday, the specialist remarked that things were holding steady. He was hopeful that we might make it to 32 weeks, or maybe even 35. I was surprised because I was sure my blood pressure should be through the roof with how anxious I was about the diagnosis.
The next week, he said that we should inject me with steroids at 34 weeks so we can prepare the babies lungs. Meaning he thought I might be able to carry Benjamin for longer than 32 weeks.
At 31 weeks he cautiously admitted a trend, “You seem to be getting better. Understand. As a specialist, I see a lot of women with preeclampsia. I see some women who hold steady until they deliver but I have never seen anyone improve. This is a slippery condition, and it might be an illusion.”
I continued to blow my doctor’s mind until, finally, at 38 weeks, he and my OB decided it was safe to deliver Benjamin, who was now considered full-term.
We had been home for a day or two when I got a call from my specialist’s office. Just one of the nurses who called like they did every week, delivering the results of my urine test. “I just wanted to let you know the results of your last urine test.”
“Oh, but I already had the baby.”
“Yes, well, I just wanted you to know that your last urine test didn’t have any protein in it.”
“Wait, what? You mean, while I was still pregnant?”
“Yes. You did not have any protein in your urine.”
“What does that mean?”
“By the time you delivered your baby, you did not have preeclampsia.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
I was sleep-derived and confused, and my specialist had outlined that preeclampsia never goes away apart from the delivery of the placenta. And yet. I believe that God healed me and Benjamin.
By the way, Benjamin, evicted two weeks before his due date, he put up quite the fuss. My inducement started at 6 AM on a Monday, and Benjamin wasn’t born until 3:30 AM on a Wednesday. But he was born at nine pounds. 9 pounds, two weeks early, with a diagnosis of preeclampsia, which usually causes weight loss in babies.
Yeah. So. God. Ain’t he something?
1.5 Pounds of Drumettes or Chicken Wings
3/4 Cup of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Salt, or To Taste
1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper, or To Taste
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
1 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1/3 Cup of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Dijon
Sriracha, to Taste
Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees.
Put the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Lightly beat the egg in a bowl.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the flour again.
Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown, turning as needed.
Finish cooking the chicken in the oven until done, about 8 minutes or until juices run clear.
Meanwhile, combine the honey, mustard and sriracha in a bowl.
Toss the cooked chicken in the sauce and serve.