I got a call from the nurse’s station in ante-partum. Ante-partum is where they put expecting mothers who require bed rest and medical supervision. It’s a difficult place to be.
There was a 15 year old girl who was 20 weeks pregnant with triplets. She had preeclampsia which is a condition that can emerge during pregnancy that puts a mother at risk of both stroke and liver and kidney damage. More often than not it can be managed with bed rest and proper medical care. It goes away after the baby is delivered.
Angela’s condition was very serious. Her blood pressure indicated that she could have stroke at any time and her kidneys were on the verge of failure. The babies within her were healthy, but they would need to be at least 23 weeks in gestation to have any chance of survival at all. She would never make it three more weeks in her condition.
The doctor recommended that they abort the triplets to save the mother’s life. Her pastor and parents did not approve.
The situation had thrown both the doctor and the nurses into a panic. The doctor was furious at the parents and distraught over the girl. The nurse said over the phone, “We need a chaplain down here to pray with this girl.”
I had visited with Angela a few times over the last week. I had even met the father of the babies, a scared boy. I had never seen the parents or the pastor.
I walked into the room and she would not make eye contact. She would not talk. Her face was closed and her jaw was clenched. Fifteen year-old girls should not be lying in this part of the hospital having to make a decision like this.
I sat down and asked her if she understood the seriousness of her condition. No response. I told her that she could have a stroke at any time. Nothing.
I knew I should pray, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to pray. Should I pray that she decide to abort against her family and her own conscience? Should I pray for God to heal her condition? I had been doing that for the last week!
As I pulled up my chair to her bedside, I prayed silently for direction. Nothing. So I asked if, she would give me her hand and I just started praying out loud about the unfairness of Angela’s dilemma. Then the words came, “Lord, take this decision away from Angela!”
Angela was squeezing my hand tight. Tears were escaping from her eyes. It was in God’s hands now.
It was Friday. I had to get back home to Austin from Dallas. I prayed off and on throughout the drive reminding myself that it was in God’s hands now.
I came back to the hospital the next Monday. There was a note from the weekend chaplain. “Visit room 703. 15 year old-girl. Miscarriage. Triplets. Friday- 10pm.”
I entered the room. Angela was a 15 year-old girl again, chatting away on the phone with a girlfriend. Her mother was with her straightening up the room. The pastor had just left. The dilemma was gone.
She held up a picture of three tiny babies in blue with little warm hats and said, “Aren’t they cute? They look like they’re sleeping.”
They were in God’s hands.