This is a truly incredible story; I got it from my buddy Doug Hankins. An Australian woman was told by doctors that one of the two twins she had just prematurely birthed at 27 weeks was dead after they tried for 20 minutes to help him breathe, to no avail.
Instead of letting tiny Jamie go, the woman–Kate Ogg–took her son, placed him on her chest “skin-to-skin” (called “kangaroo care” by the Aussies) and hugged and talked to him for two hours. She didn’t really think he would live, but she wanted to hold him close. Incredibly, according to Ogg, he started gasping for air just five minutes after she started stroking him and giving him breast milk. The doctors informed Ogg that his movement was likely “just a reflex,” but she kept going, nurturing him and touching him. Eventually, he opened his eyes, though even then, his parents thought he would not live. But his mother, tenaciously nurturing her tiny boy, refused to let him die.
This story is over a year old, but I missed it back in the day, and it’s worth passing on. I’m more inclined toward intellectual blogging than your standard Today Show fodder, but this one stirred me. There is such power in a mother’s love for her children, though biblical and traditional motherhood is under attack in our day. Too often, the intangible blessings a mother gives her children through constant care and attention are devalued. Human-interest stories like this one show us how important such work is. This woman literally brought her child back to life.
Few mothers will experience such drama, but every committed mother blesses her children in untold ways, especially when they reject the culture of death and embrace the culture of life. This fallen world makes it hard for us to prize life; witness the obstacles Kate Ogg encountered in trying to coax her son to life. Medical professionals–doctors!–who seemingly would be disposed to do all they could to lead Jamie to life, gave up on him and even seemed to dissuade her from trying to revive him.
We are reminded that we who fight for the dignity of human life in myriad forms are up against principalities and powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). We are also reminded that God and righteousness are stronger still.
I don’t think that many of the news media made this connection, but this is an almost perfect illustration of Ezekiel 16:1-14, one of my favorite biblical passages. The Lord is speaking to his wayward children in this passage (represented by the city of Jerusalem), reminding them of how he first loved them and how they have strayed from him. Here is what he says of their origins (vv 4-6):
And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’
As with his chosen people then, so with his people now. The Lord has found us, loved us back to life, and renewed us through his gospel. Kate Ogg’s story gives us a powerful glimpse of the kind of tenacious love that God has lavished upon us. He has refused to let us die. He has refused to let us cry, with no one to hear, in the wilderness.
God has said to us “Live!,” and now we can. The aforementioned story is a marvel, but it pales in light of the greater work of our adoptive father.