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{SFTH}   *The Slingshot*  5/15/01


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The Slingshot

By Jennifer Oliver

"Mrs. Oliver," he said, tapping the screen of the ultrasound monitor.
"Here's the problem."

And there he was, staring back at me with big blank eyes, his heart

"Say hello to your baby, Momma!" my doctor said, grinning.

My mouth gaping, all I could do was wave weakly at this marvel floating
inside of me.  The nurse and I exchanged teary-eyed glances.

After six heartbreaking years of infertility, this day was finally here with
the help of prayers and modern medicine.  Because of long-standing
female problems where I missed cycles for several months at a time,
I had failed to notice the obvious signs of pregnancy.

I was nearly 12 weeks along.

The week before Christmas, severe spasms shot up my back, which I
would later find out to be back labor pains.  Dismissing the pain for a
normal side effect of pregnancy, I draped a heating pad over my side.
The pain receded, then flared up periodically, interrupting my sleep.

Finally it was at two in the morning when during a trip to the bathroom,
I stood up from the toilet and found to my horror blood trickling down my
legs.  I frantically shook Stephen awake and showed him the blood all
over the bathroom floor.

At the hospital, Stephen selected the one wheelchair out of the whole
crew with a broken wheel and began pushing me with some effort to the
emergency room.  I hadn't felt the baby move in a while.

The ultrasound relieved my gnawing fear.  The baby was fine.  No one
offered a reason for the premature labor.

They parked me in a room alone with an IV dispensing medication to
slow down the contractions.  I was dilated at four centimeters.

"Mr. Oliver, your wife will be here for a while," the doctor said.  "Go home
and get some rest.  Once she's stabilized, we'll move her to the sixth floor."

With that reassurance, Stephen wearily kissed me and left.  I settled into
my new environment, the situation not quite sinking in.  Throughout the
night, my sleep was interrupted by the sounds of women giving birth in
the room next to mine.  And the applause and cheers that followed each birth.

I hungered to see one baby, just one baby.  Perhaps as a sign that
everything would bode well for us.  I continued to feel severe contractions
every hour in spite of the medication.

When my obstetrician examined me the following morning, she remarked
with sadness, "Oh, bless your heart.  I can feel his foot."

His foot was lodged in the neck of the cervix.  A breech baby.

Late that afternoon, I was on the phone chatting long-distance with my
sister, when--

"Uh, nurse," I called out.  "My water just broke."

Suddenly everyone sprang into action. 

"Gotta go, Beth," I said to my sister and hung up.
I tried desperately to dial my home number, forgetting that it was
considered long-distance.

"I need to call my husband!" I cried, as they swarmed around me.

"No time for that, Mrs. Oliver," someone shouted.

I was quickly wheeled into Labor and Delivery, where I delivered via
C-section under general anesthesia.  While coming out of labor, I
whispered groggily, "Is my baby alive?"

"Yes, Mrs. Oliver.  You have a boy!"

"His name," I said, before passing out again, "is Cody Travis."

"Beautiful name, Mrs. Oliver!  Beautiful name."

Waking up, I found myself alone between drawn curtains.  On the other
side of the curtain were excited chatter and laughter.  Judging from the
joyous sounds, it was family and friends celebrating the arrival of a new
life in their circle.  Finding that I was fully awake, the attendants pushed
aside the curtain and began to wheel me out.  As they did, I passed the
 visitors, whose chatter died instantly.  The center of attention, a mother
cuddling her newborn, looked apologetic.

"Congratulations," I croaked.

No one stirred nor smiled.  Their pity burned in my heart all the way
to my room.

It was morning, and I was told to make my first step out of the bed.  After
a classic C-section, that was asking quite a bit.  It was the vertical kind
that sliced into some serious muscle.  Somehow I managed to get my
feet flat on the floor and shuffle across the room.

I need to see my son, I thought.  I need to get better and see him.

And still, there was no sign of Stephen.  I didn't want to face our son alone
until my husband was there by my side.  Since we lived out in the country,
I couldn't dial long-distance, and no one was willing to help me make that
one important call.  When I tried to call collect, I would be greeted by the
answering machine and disconnected automatically.  I drifted in and out
of drugged sleep.

I was given a sponge bath just before lunch and fainted.

"Congratulations, Mrs. Oliver!" the nurse laughed.  "You just earned
yourself an Oscar for that performance!"

Lunch came and went.

Still no Stephen.  No phone call.

Dinner came and went.

The phone rang.  It was after five.

"Hey!" Stephen said.  "I guess they've stabilized you after all!"

"Uh, no, sweetie."

"What do you mean?  Haven't they stopped your contractions?  They
said you're on the sixth floor now--"

"Stephen," I interrupted.  "You have a son."

After a moment of stunned silence, the news sunk in.

"Oh, dear God," he said, his voice breaking.  "Oh, hon, I'm so sorry.
Here I was up all night working on a surprise for you, and oh my..."

My heart melted with the burden he felt, missing the birth of his first child.

An hour later he burst through the door, bearing an armload of gifts.  Slippers
and books for me, toys for the baby.  One of them an antique slingshot he had
bought as a surprise for the big day.

We scrubbed our hands, donned gowns, then stepped into a world that
would mark us forever.

And there he was.  At station number two was our son asleep on his
back, a tiny cap pulled over his patched eyes.  We watched his chest
rise and fall rapidly.  Wires snaked all over him, attached to LEDs that
recorded his body's activities.

We took turns cupping Cody's head as instructed by the nurse.  Then
Stephen lifted the saran wrap that stretched across the bed warmer
and gingerly placed the slingshot inside of it.

The blue sign above our baby's head boasted, "Cody Travis Oliver.  1 lb, 6 oz."

Someone once said that life is not measured by the number of breaths
we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

This was such a moment.

Jennifer Oliver

E-mail Jennifer and let her know what you thought of her story!

Copyright 2001 by Jennifer Oliver, All rights reserved.


Other real-life vignettes by Heartwarmers Gem Jennifer Oliver, 37, are
waiting for you at and  Jennifer resides in the heart of Texas
and has three full-time jobs as a computer specialist for the
government, wife to awesome househubby, Stephen, and mother
to four beautiful kidwarmers, ages 6 months to 6 years.  One of
her stories, "Anthony's Wish" was published in latest Heartwarmers
book that came out last month.


Thought For The Day:

"When  written  in  Chinese, the  word  "crisis" is composed of two
characters -- one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."
--John F. Kennedy, 1959

Verse for the Day:

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong
enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a
superman cape."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be."
-- David Bly

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"Behind all upsets -- a great desire to win."

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Sign seen in restaurant: We Reserve The Right To Serve Refuse To Anyone!"



Dear Michael,

Would you please pray for my Dearest cousin Heidi.
She is in Texas, She is 42 and has twin daughters 18.
Her life has been hard, with a lot of losses in her life.
She now suffers from liver Cancer and has no health insurance, so she cannot even have a biopsy. She is in a Clinical trial of medication.
Please Please Pray for her. She is so generous with her love and Caring.....I don't want to lose my dearest cousin. Her name is Heidi Galvin, She is in El Paso, Texas
Thank you, God Bless
Dale Hercules
I wanted to thank you for the prayers for my grandson and Travis from church. My grandson is much better. Travis has been transferred to a rehab hospital in Atlanta. I don't know what the outcome will be for him but we are trusting God for a full and speedy recovery. Thanks again for all the prayers and the letters I have received.

\_\  /  
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
\_\/\ \   Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live for the Son
   \_\/   of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 


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the songs were perfect for the video too!  Thanks again!"
Kelli-- College Station, TX

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