Maddalena Douse is literally a miracle baby. She was born at just 23 weeks, and is said to be the youngest premature baby ever to survive in Great Britain.
It’s not Maddalena’s birth that is the miracle, but that she survived the guidelines. Under current medical guidelines in England, a baby born so young is not entitled to active care. In other words, the doctors would ordinarily just leave her to die. However, the guidelines also provide that if a child weighs at least one pound, they are considered viable, and should receive care. When Maddalena was placed on the scales, she came in at just one pound, and her doctors decided to work hard to keep her alive. They fought for her life, and succeeded to the point that she could survive on a ventilator.
Now, here’s the miracle: after Maddalena was safely on the ventilator, her doctors noticed something strange. Lying on the scale on which Maddalena had been weighed was a pair of scissors, accidentally left there and overlooked during the weighing. When Maddalena was re-weighed, this time with no scissors to tip the scales, she came in at only 0.84 pounds, or about 13 ounces. If it had not been for those unnoticed scissors, she would not have received care, and would have died.
But she did receive care, and not only survived, but apparently is thriving. In December her mother, Kate, was able to report that “She now weighs 5½ lbs and is getting stronger by the day. She’s our little miracle and we’re so glad to have her home in time for Christmas.”
Were the scissors that saved Maddalena’s life just an accident of fate, a fortunate coincidence? After all, her twin sister did die. Was Maddalena just lucky? I believe the Bible gives a clear answer to that question.
Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
It’s impossible to know why Maddalena lived while her twin sister died. But the one thing we can be sure of is that Maddalena survived according to “the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
The doctors and the British medical guidelines had one plan for Maddalena’s life. God had another.
My takeaway from this story is that every human life is precious enough to fight for. Rather than human caretakers deciding the fate of a helpless child, or anyone else, based on bureaucratic rules and regulations, we should do the absolute best we can to preserve that life, and leave the results in God’s hands.
Otherwise, let’s at least make sure there’s always a good supply of scissors on hand.
Photo credit: Nick Normann via Freeimages.com