June 9, 2011
“ Call understanding your intimate friend. ”
Proverbs 7:4 (NAS)

On June 9, 1989, I gave birth to Robbie, our third child and first son. More than anything, I’d wanted a little boy. Robbie was born two weeks past due, with a severe birth defect called anencephaly. He lived for twenty minutes.

As the doctors discovered the truth during labor, I wanted to say, “Stop everything! There’s been a mistake. We’ll come back later.” Afterward, I glanced out the picture window at the rain. Will I always hate rain? Will I ever laugh again?

After Robbie’s birth and twenty-minute life, my husband went home to be with our girls, who were six and eight. My mother-in-law Carolyn offered to stay with me that long night. I didn’t think I needed anybody. I don’t have anything to say. I can’t talk—only cry.

Carolyn understood. She plumped my pillow and covered me with a blanket. Without a word, she poured my water and held the straw to my mouth. She didn’t ask any questions; she didn’t offer Scripture; she didn’t even pray. She was just there. I didn’t know how much I needed a quiet someone. Maybe that’s why I didn’t completely reject what she told me a few months later: “God’s going to give you another baby."

“I’m not going through that again."

“You’re going to have another baby. A boy."

I told her it wasn’t going to happen. But deep down, I sensed an unexpected, undeniable flicker of hope.

On August 6, 1991, our fourth child, Richard Thomas, was born—whole and healthy.

God, thank You for giving me Your quiet compassion and Your healing promise through Carolyn.

By Julie Garmon

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