With sweating dripping down her face, Barb gave one big push. Her husband, Stanley, was at her side encouraging her. “Come on, Honey, push.” Barb was tired but she knew it would be worth it all in the end.
Stanley held her shoulders and with the final push she heard the doctor exclaim, “It’s a girl!” Barb reached out her arms to hold her; but the doctor turned away and placed her on the warming table.
Tearing up, Barb grasped Stanley’s arm. “What’s wrong with Rebekka? Why are the nurses taking her away? I can hear her crying. She has to be fine, please.”
The doctor reached up and patted Barb’s leg. “It’s okay, she seems healthy. Don’t worry. It looks like she has a birth mark. They just want to take her into the other room and examine her. She does have a great set of lungs. Try not to worry. We’ll finish up here, get you cleaned up and the pediatrician will be out to talk to you soon."
After what felt like an eternity, a doctor walked in and offered her hand. “Hi, I’m Dr. Seema. This is the nursery nurse, Leah. We’ve been examining your beautiful baby from head to toe. Her lungs and heart are working fine. The only thing that doesn’t seem normal is that she has a large birthmark on her back.”
Sniffing, Barb looked at the doctor, “Babies have birthmarks all the time; why are you so worried? Is it cancer?”
“No, after careful examination we’re pretty sure it’s just a birthmark. Often birthmarks will fade quite a bit the first weeks of life; if it doesn't, we can talk about a biopsy then.”
Stanley and Barb looked at each other and nodded. “When can we see her?”
Nurse Leah spoke up, “We do want to prepare you. She doesn’t look like most newborns. The birthmark is a vivid purple and it appears to have words on it.”
Shaking their heads, Barb and Stanley just stared at each other. Leah continued, “It appears as if someone took a purple permanent marker and wrote on your daughter’s back. I’ve never seen anything like it. But she’s beautiful and healthy in every other respect.” Leah started to walk away, but then she turned and looked at Barb, “Do you believe in God?”
“Oh no!” Barb covered her face. “Why? Is there something you’re not telling us?”
“No, I just wondered if you had prayed while you were pregnant.”
Barb choked back another sob; she just wanted to hold her baby. “We have a strong faith in Jesus and we prayed that I would be strong and healthy, and of course that the baby be healthy.”
Stan interrupted, “Barb was nervous because she knew I wanted a boy, so she prayed we would love him or her no matter what the sex. Barb was hoping for a girl. I thought I could be a better father to a boy because I know what boys do and Barb felt more comfortable with a girl.”
Laughing, Barb grabbed her husband’s hand, “When the Church heard that we both wanted a different sex because we were afraid, they gathered in a circle and prayed that God would grant us the wisdom to be the best parents possible. The minister even joked that he would pray the baby would be born with an instruction sheet."
Leah’s eyes almost popped out of her head. The clinking of the wheels of the bassinette could be heard coming down the hall. Dr. Seema lifted Rebekkah up and handed her to Barb. She then turned her on her belly so they could see the birthmark. Both parents gasped as they fingered the purple writing on their daughter’s back. “No way, it is writing! Look it says Love me. Feed me. Change my diaper. Teach me about Jesus. Don’t give me everything I want. Read to me every day. When all else fails, pray and read the Bible.”
Dr. Seema laughed, “You have one powerful God. I’ve heard plenty of parents say they wish babies came with a cheat sheet or a tag with directions, but little Rebekka is the first one with an actual 'How To' sign on her back in the shape of a birthmark.”
Stanley and Barb looked into each other’s eyes. Barb wiped a tear from her husband’s face, “Well, she is a miracle isn’t she? And God is good.”
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