This warm spring day was made for being outdoors. The afternoon rays of
light played on the swing sets as an unseasonably warm breeze rustled the early
foliage overhead. Doc sat on one of the well-used park benches as he watched an
energetic young girl chase butterflies across the playground.
The idyllic scene is only momentarily interrupted when a young mother
approaches pushing a stroller. Doc had occasionally seen the mother pushing the
pram, but had never spoken. She took a seat on the bench and continued to gently
rock the stroller as its cargo, an infant of about six months, continued to sleep.
Several minutes passed and the mother commented to Doc. “Your grand daughter is
Doc responded to be polite, even though he had a twinge of resentment at the
interruption the moment. “Actually, that’s my daughter.”
The lady flushed and answered, “I’m sorry for my mistake. Its just that you
seem, well, you seem a bit mature to have a young child.”
Doc sensed her embarrassment and decided to be conversational. “Yes, I
suppose my gray hair and a few wrinkles make me a bit old, and I have been around
a while, but that’s my daughter, all the same. After a moment of awkward silence,
Doc had the unexplained impulse to explain.
“Sarah and I were never blessed with children. We always expected to have a
family. We both worked hard to be able to support a house full of children. As our
friends were busy with little league and ballet classes, we played the roles of good
neighbors and relatives and waited. Finally, it seemed that time had passed us by.
Sarah and I have led full lives and were both resigned to being an aunt and uncle
rather than parents, but over time there was a lingering regret and a too many
thoughts of what might have been.
“Sarah and I didn’t grow apart, but perhaps we allowed our lives to grow
stale and even a little bitter. As many childless parents do, we showered attention
on our pets. We were both especially fond of our cat. One morning I was returning
from morning rounds at the hospital. For some reason that day I was dwelling too
much on the direction our lives had taken. As I passed our drive on my way to the
office I saw our tabby cat at the end of the drive. I looked closer as I passed and also
saw a white cat smeared with blood that had become road kill.
“I didn’t want the poor cat’s body to stay on the edge of the road and I didn’t
want our tabby cat to be around it or to also get run over, so I stopped to dispose of
the body and shoo our pet back to the house before I went to the office.
“But I know I’m boring you on such a splendid day, and I seem to be prattling
The young lady was now paying close attention and realized a story was
coming, “No, Please continue, Ralphie’s sleeping and I’m enjoying the day as well.”
Doc continued his musing, “I parked the car in the drive and got out to
retrieve the body and received the shock of my life. The bloody white body was not
a cat at all. It was a newborn human infant. She was as pale as snow, smeared with
blood, and abraded as though she had been thrown from a car with the umbilical
cord was still attached.
“I was trembling as I picked up the lifeless body. She was totally limp, cold as
ice and limp without a pulse. The rest of that morning is a blur. I carried the body
wrapped inside my coat as raced my car to the office. My nurse Angie was as
shocked as I to see the tiny body. As she called 911, I applied oxygen over the small
mouth and nose as well as possible, hopelessly felt for a pulse and began cardiac
compressions while Angie puffed small breaths of the oxygen into the newborn.
“We attached our oversized electrodes to the tiny limbs in a vain effort to
find a heart beat. Nothing. Then an occasional blip occurred. Angie and I just looked
at each other. We knew it was just a sign of a dying heart, but all the same it spurred
us into activity.
We warmed the infant and I realized that the dehydrated infant needed
desperately needed hydration. I pulled the smallest plastic tube I had from its metal
stylus and cut a small segment from the end of the frayed umbilical cord to “freshen”
the vessel’s end. Then, by some miracle I was able to thread the umbilical artery
and start some fluid for the dead child.
“I could hear the whine of a siren in the distance and knew that help would
be there in a few minutes, but seconds counted. IV fluids were started for badly
needed hydration as we counted the compressions and breaths and watched the
EKG monitor. We didn’t keep drugs on the premises, so we had done our best. As
the seconds dragged past we saw a few more beats. They were erratic at first but
gradually occurred with some regularity. The monitor climbed for twenty to forty
and finally seemed to settle at sixty as the EMTs burst through the door. As they
assumed the duties of cardiac compressions and breathing, Angie thought she
noticed an eyelid flicker. The EMT announced by feeling the child’s groin, that he
now felt a pulse!
“The hospital was called, and in another minute the EMTs were out the and
on their way with the sirens wailing.
“Over the next few days we all followed the course of events. The mother
could not be found and no one had a clue as to the origins of the infant discarded as
easily as an empty beer bottle.
“In the Intensive Care Nursery, the neonate was expected to have severe post
resuscitation problems, but surprised the pediatricians. Eventually the time arrived
for hospital discharge. Adoptions were considered, but with the uncertain past
history, and questions regarding the mother’s drug or alcohol use, few applications
were received. Sarah and I watched and prayed that in spite of being told that our
age made adoption impossible, God may yet have a plan for us.”
Doc stood to stretch and mobilize his arthritic joints that had rested a bit too
long. After a moment he looked over at the playful child. “Tabatha, come over here,
it’s time to go.” The youngster bounced over to Doc and grabbed his hand. “I’d like
you to meet my new friend.” Doc turned to the young mother and her infant. “This