Title #2: Why you didn’t die at birth.
As my wife and I both looked at our newborn daughter,…
Wife: “She has your nose.” Me:
[internally] “I’m sorry, daughter. It’s not your fault.”
When we parents think about our newborns, we often consider inherited features, meconium (don’t Google it.), Baby announcements, and the like, but after seeing two babies born in bedrooms in the sticks of North Idaho, I’m just wondering how they survived the process. With all due respect to my tornado of boom (2.5 year old boy) and squeaky paperweight (1 week old girl), the biology behind their births leaves me floored that they are still among the living. Of course, they were simply showing off by surviving in such cute fashion, but my point is there are some serious miracles to consider here. And seeing as you were probably born also, this applies to you as well:
** Note: I’m not even gonna touch the miracles of DNA combining from two organisms to form a code to build and self-repair the most advanced neurological organism on the planet.
1. Why didn’t you die before implanting?
When you first entered Mommy’s uterus, your name was blastocyst, which sounds surprisingly manly, but not so in real life. You only consisted of several cells that were considered an intruder by Mom’s national guard. If a white blood cell were to discover you, well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be reading this list.
2. Why didn’t you die at birth?
Consider this. A prelaunch baby is well on his or her way to a scuba diving certificate after 9 months in amniotic fluids. All air arrives via Mom’s blood; thus, no lung breathing. In fact, baby lungs are usually filled with fluids and their own practice poops and pees. Even wilder, the heart doesn’t even pump blood to the lungs to pick up air. The heart has a gaping hole connecting the top two chambers, that if you had it still today would kill you, and another valve that diverts blood away from the lungs and back to the body. The lungs are not a part of your body’s working system. But, as soon as you hit the air, you expelled the fluids from your lungs, inflated them for the first time cuing your heart to seal both of the life-threatening holes in your upper chambers forever and diverting blood to the completely unused arteries leading to the lungs, where red blood cells collected oxygen for the first time. In your first breath, your body instantaneously and automatically recovered from conditions that should have lead to suffocation and cardiac arrest. No big deal though.
3. Why didn’t you die when the placenta separated?
The placenta is where mom and baby trade nutrients and waste through the blood. Baby’s survival is entirely tied to the umbilical cord. When you were born the cord was still attached to mom, but you switch your heart plumbing to solo mode. Blood still flows through the placenta to the Baby when suddenly the placenta inside mom severs from the uterus, leaving both mom and baby bleeding. At this point, Mom has significant internal bleeding and baby has one of the largest arteries in their body open like a garden hose. Yet again, instantaneously and automatically muscles on mom’s side and the baby’s side begin contractions to stop the bleeding.
4. Why didn’t you die when you cried…all…night?
God gives mom a drug that makes her love you forever, and He gives dad drugs that make him really like mom. In short, you barely made it.
5. Why didn’t you die in your teens?
The punishment for murder in most states is very harsh. That’s pretty much the only reason…Sorry about ages 13-17, Mom.
So let’s check the score:
Should have been killed by a white blood cell, but you weren’t.
Should have suffocated, but you didn’t.
Should have had a cardiac arrest, but you didn’t.
Should have bled to death, but you didn’t.
Please know that the last four lines do not come lightly. I have been sarcastic and whimsical to this point, but thinking of these dangers and the inexplicable life in my two bright-eyed children (and even in myself) causes me to type over the lump in my throat. These are miracles, and for such a description the word miracle should be reserved:
“A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency : the miracle of rising from the grave.”
Now reconsider the over-read and underappreciated glory of God in these verses:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)
Despite the way I often hear it read, notice that these verses aren’t about us; they’re about the Maker. Ever line speaks of the Maker except for the last. We should look at ourselves in mind, body, and soul, and our construction should cause us fear and wonder at the fact that this is all the work of a Maker. Our souls should know well that He is worthy of our fear, our wonder, and our praise.
I have to admit though. When I see that someone has actually knit a pair of gloves or a sweater that doesn’t look like a cat’s hairball, I’m impressed, and when someone knits something that looks like they bought it at a store, then I’m honestly awed. It is awesome to perfect a craft as intricate and complex and knitting can be.
Yet, I’ve see people everyday of my short life on this earth, and my response to them usually sums to about, “meh.” But the people I see daily are a confederation of miracles. A nearly endless parade of miracles brought each one of them into existence, through the birth canal, and into an oxygen-rich environment where they now exist as an imponderable orchestra of biological efficiency working in harmony so that we’ll probably survive the walk to the kitchen on our next snack run.
If I can be awed by a cable knit sweater, then how should I respond at the sight of a human?
If I can awe at the mastery shown by a knitter, then how should I respond to a God who “formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7) the human and breathed life into it’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7).
How then should I feel, how then should I respond, when I look at the helpless form of my newborn daughter or the closed eyes of my sleeping son?
Answer: I feel overwhelming, joyful thankfulness, and I respond by teaching them this same view of the world as made by and for Jesus, so that we can someday say together in praise:
Nothing is better than Jesus.
“[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:15-16 ESV)