The Back Story
Sometimes we are tempted to falter and lose confidence as we face the scarecrows of our past. There was one such a scarecrow in my family tree.
My grandmother’s firstborn child was a baby girl, my mother. Soon grandmother gave birth to another girl, Polly; then a baby boy, Denver Lee, who died at age two of complications from pneumonia. 1924.
My mother’s firstborn child was also a baby girl: yours truly, Carol Yvonne. Her second child was a boy, Charles Ray, who died from complications of the Rh factor when he was less than two days old. 1942.
Now, I was the third generation and, just like my grandmother and my mother, my firstborn child was a healthy baby girl, Caroline Julia. More than four years later, I had a positive pregnancy test indicating our second child was on the way. The trial was here. The scarecrow was staring me in the face. Would family history be repeated? 1978.
Imagine the fear that was grabbing my mother. When I was about 24 weeks pregnant, three doctors could get no heartbeat and the ultrasounds lent suspicions that I was carrying a fast-growing tumor rather than a live fetus.
I went home from that appointment, made dinner for my husband’s uncle who was visiting from East Germany, and chatted with the guests. Later in the evening, after saying good-bye to them, I shared the gloomy news with my husband. About that time, there was a knock at the door. A somewhat inebriated but delightful elderly gentleman, Lou Myers, had come to ask for prayer. This was common. My husband invited him in and after some conversation about Lou’s need, he shared that it looked like we weren’t having a baby after all. He told Lou: “I’ll pray for you, and you pray with us that, if it’s God’s will, we’ll have this baby.” Lou responded quickly: “I don’t give you a dime for those preachers that say if it’s God’s will; you know it’s God’s will for you to have this baby.” And he began to pray: “Thank You God for giving Pastor and Mrs. Karl a healthy baby boy.” (The whole church knew we had hoped for a boy!) My mind was struggling. Does God hear a drunk man’s prayer?
While the doctors were planning to surgically eliminate the tumor, God was doing something in me. A few days later, the doctor said, “Whoa! No heartbeat, but it sounds like we could have a placenta swish here. Let’s wait a few days and see what develops.” About three months later, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1978, my handsome son was born by C-section. The date was assigned in advance by the obstetrician. Long before all the drama began, we had chosen his name: Robert Julius. He weighed 7lbs 12 oz.
Had three doctors been wrong in their diagnosis? Or had God turned the tumor into a live fetus? In my mind, it doesn’t matter. I’ll always believe God did a miracle.
Oh, but the fiery trial wasn’t over yet. The pediatrician came to my hospital room that evening to inform me that my son had an incurable blood disease. More prayer. My husband went to a pastors’ conference where he requested prayer for our newborn.
After an extended stay in the hospital, the doctor allowed us to bring our baby home on the condition that I bring him in for daily blood monitoring. He advised eventual removal of his spleen because of the blood disease. However, before the surgery was scheduled to take place, something miraculous happened.
One day after taking the slide to the lab to test our baby Robert’s blood, the doctor returned to the room with a huge smile on his face. There was no trace of the blood disease. It had totally disappeared, and tests repeated over the next few weeks showed no trace of it.
At age six, Robert made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout his school years he excelled in academics,* and at age eighteen he graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry. At age twenty-two he graduated from medical school (after taking a leave of absence for one semester to care for his dying father). He is a family practice physician and has a beautiful wife and three gorgeous, healthy, children.
The curse is broken.
To God be the glory. “He does all things well” (Mark 7:37).
“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done” (Psalm 105:1).
*When he was 15, local newspapers ran feature articles on Robert, and a local TV station sent out a reporter to interview him as “Doogie Howser” for the evening news. The news reporter expected to see his certificates and awards, but Robert had stowed them away in a drawer. He was never interested in showing them off. Read the stories here: Rob-DetFreePress
Update 2019: Rob started his Family Practice in Henderson, NV and was there for ten years before joining the staff of Family Physicians of Spartanburg, SC in January 2015. http://fpofspartanburg.com
Robert’s baby dedication, Riverside Park Church of God, Livonia Michigan, Mother’s Day 1978. Rev. Robert McFarling led the dedication.
M.D. Graduation Day, June 7, 2001
Published 02/14/2015; Updated with family picture 02/14/2019.