Isaiah's Call
Thursday, June 13, 2024
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The McAlpine's

Our story starts out in 1994. We were expecting our first child due in December. I had a perfect pregnancy and everything looked good. On October 7th my water broke and we were off to the hospital. I was young and scared not knowing what to expect. I was put in the hospital and monitored very close. The baby was in no hurry to come out so we waited for another whole week. October 14th the baby started showing signs of distress and it was time to go. We tried to induce but her heart rate dropped to a dangerous level and we had to get her out immediately. I had an emergency c-section and our daughter was born. I never heard her cry and didn't get to see her after she was born. I knew she was sick because she was early but I had no idea what we were about to endure. I remember laying in the recovery room all alone and dreaming of taking my new baby home in a few weeks when she was big enough to leave the hospital.
After about 2 hours, they finally wheeled me to the adjoining children's hospital. The first person I saw was my husband and I knew something was terribly wrong. He looked as if he had been crying and had a worried look on his face. The doctor came in and told me that this beautiful baby I had just given birth to was in critical condition and most likely would not make it through the night. All I could see was this tiny baby full of tubes. I could only reach in the isolette and touch her head. I was then taken back to the other hospital to wait. My husband stayed behind with her in case she didn't make it. I remember every time the phone rang saying "please don't tell me she died, I can't take it". I spent that night in the worst pain of my life. None of the pain medication took effect on me. We started a long battle that night. I was finally released from the hospital but my baby was not. She remained in the NICU fighting for her life.
 My husband and I came from two very different religious backgrounds and never attended church together as a couple. We both believed in God and knew he was out there but actually going to church and living our lives for him wasn't happening.
My mother who lives in Iowa contacted a local church and asked if by chance they knew a pastor in our area. They did! Dennis Murphy who was the pastor of a small church just fifteen minutes from our home. He took the call, God's call, he and his wife Kathy came to the hospital along with some of their church members and started praying for us and with us.They had never met us or any of our family but knew we were in trouble and needed help. That was our first experience with a church coming to aid someone in need. A kind of unconditional love that only comes from God.
Tom was working nights so we would spend our mornings at the hospital, drive home, have lunch together and prepare for our evenings apart. Tom went off to work and I would head back to the hospital to stay with our daughter. Sometimes until one or two in the morning, just depending on how she was doing. We were almost a month into her hospital stay and we thought we were on the up swing. She had been given what is called a perk line so they didn't have to continue going in her tiny veins with all the medication. This line was used as one central line, it was fed from her wrist all the way up to her heart. We were told that they had to get it very close to her heart and there could be complications but overall it was pretty safe.
We had been there in the morning and she looked a little grey but we held her and thought all was well. She was still very sick but we thought we were beating it. She was still on the breathing machine but they had taken her off one of her medications that paralyzed her. She was able to open her eyes so we felt like we were really connecting with her. We came home to have lunch. We had just finished and were in the clean up mode. I was in the kitchen and Tom still at the table when the phone rang. Usually this wouldn't be strange but we normally didn't have many calls during the day and our families knew we spent most of the day at the hospital so we weren't expecting a call. When we heard the ring, Tom looked at me and I looked at him and for some reason we both knew it was trouble. Tom picked it up and with in 2 minutes we were in the car racing for the hospital. They wouldn't tell him anything execpt come now and come quick. I know we must have run every red light we came to.
Our home was a good 45 minutes from the hospital and we made it there in record time. We parked and started running for the NICU. I was still sore from the cesarian but I didn't care. We took off, the hallway seemed like it was miles long. No matter how fast we ran I felt like we were in slow motion. We burst through the doors, her bed was the second in the room. The first thing I saw was that her monitors were still on and that was it, I collapsed in Tom's arms and started to cry. I knew she was still alive. After a few minutes I was able to calm down and learn that she had gone into cardiac arrest. That perk line they put in punctured the lining of her heart. All the medications they had been giving her had built up around her heart and eventually stopped it. By the grace of God there was a doctor doing an ultrasound on her heart the moment it stopped. He jammed a syringe in her heart 7 times to pull out all of  the fluid and get her heart going again. We knew this was seious but had no idea how serious. They continued trying to treat her but nothing they did helped.
At this point we were now sleeping at the hospital knowing she could go at any moment. We were approached by her doctor and told that there was nothing more they could do for her. They had tried everything they knew of and nothing was working.  They were no longer doing things for her but to her. The best thing we could do for her was to take her off of life support and let her die. I felt so sick, all I wanted to do was cry. I remember sitting with our families and talking about what to do. I knew I didn't want her to stay here and suffer for me. If God was calling her to go home to him I wanted her to know that it was ok with me. That was the hardest thing I had to do. I told her that I loved her but if God needed her to go that it was ok and that I loved her and she could go. Well, she didn't. I can't tell you how happy I was that she was still here but also how sad because the doctors still wanted us to let her go. I guess part of me thought that it would be easier if God just took her rather than having to make the decision ourselves. We had a consultation with her doctor and he went through all that would happen. We could take her off life support, she would likely live for a few minutes up to a few hours. We could dress her and hold her until IT happened. We didn't want make the decision. Nobody wants to make that decision.At one point her lung specialist came up to me and very abruptly told me that our daughter had the worst cast of lung disease he had ever seen. He had only seen one other child with lungs similar to our daughters and that child died before they turned two.I was in shock. They gave us no hope. All we heard was do this, do that. How do you just say ok let's do it? 
 Our entire families were there along with Dennis and Kathy our daughter was to have an x-ray at 4:00. We went into the doctors office and he explained what he wanted to see on this x-ray. He said if she had any chance at all, they needed her lung to collapse. They had been trying everything they could for 36 hours and nothing was happening. The doctor asked if he could pray with us and we said of course.It was all we had left.  I was so scared I couldn't pray out loud but prayed as hard as I could to myself. We left his office and went down to the chapel with our families and Dennis and Kathy. We had prayer time like I have never experienced before or since. You could feel God in that room! We didn't know what we were going to face when we got back upstairs. If her lung did not collapse then we would have to take her off life support and let her go but if it did then we were going to fight for as long as we could. As we went into the doctors office to get the results of the x-ray we were scared. He showed us her x-ray and her lung collapsed! Just like it was supposed to. That was it, we knew we were off to fight some more. We went in to tell our families what happened and that it was an answer to prayer. This little baby that was so sick and the doctors had given up on came off the respirator with perfect healed lungs two weeks from that x-ray, two weeks from that she came home. We spent a total of two months and two days in the hospital. To this day she has never had lung problems. Medically she is not supposed to be here. Thanks to God she is.
We knew what God had done for us and started going to church as a family. We knew she was our miracle baby but yet we slipped and started to make up excuses to not go to church. It wasn't for another 5 years that God gave us another jolt.
I was pregnant again with a baby due in December. Sound familiar? I had problems early on with this baby. I was put on bed rest and prayed everyday for the health of this baby. I just felt if I could make it past October 14th then we would be fine. Well, October 15th my water broke. We ended up in the same hospital with the same doctor yet again. I couldn't believe it was all happening again. I had a c-section on October 17th and our son was born. He cried, I heard him cry. I was so excited because I thought since I heard him cry he was out of danger. Everything looked great for a few hours then he took a turn for the worse. He was in critical condition and we were right back where we started with our daughter. The thing that was different this time is that we knew what God could do. We saw what God could do.  We started reading the bible to him and singing songs. I remember being alone and crying out to God why are you doing this to me again? I can't do this again ! God knows what we can endure and he never gives us more than we can endure.We had faith that God would bring him through just like he did with our daughter. Prayers were answered, he was able to come home after six weeks.
Our kids are now 13 and 8. I love to share this story. It is a powerful story of Gods love. We are now living our lives for Christ and we'll never forget the lessons we learned and the wonderful gifts God has given us.
  (Sheila McAlpine)