Ben, a before Roe baby, now a Dad PDF Print E-mail
Written by Martha Lou Beaird   

Diagnosed with severe anemia before birth, the doctor said he would never go home. God had a purpose for Ben--a purpose that might never have been realized if Ben had been conceived after Roe v. Wade.

January, 1973, Dallas Texas
Father and Son © urcis - Fotolia.comWhile Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade's office was working hard to change the law of the land, I was working hard too—to save a life.

My husband Dan and I were excited about our pregnancy with our second child. The baby was due in February of 1973, and everything was fine until November 21, 1972. My private physician ran a special blood test on me because I have Rh negative blood. Dan and our (then 5 year old) daughter are both Rh Positive. The doctor was alarmed by the high antibody count and sent me to the Medical School for further tests.

There I met Dr. Juan Jimenez, a young physician in "Obstetrics Complications." After a sonogram and amniocentesis he called us into his office. He described the situation as very grim. He said, "The baby is in a hostile environment. Your blood cells are attacking the baby's red blood cells and serious anemia is the consequence." This was on Dan's birthday, a very sad day.

Everywhere we went the next few days somebody was quoting a verse about, "Be thankful in everything," or "in all things give thanks." I was screaming inside. They wouldn't be saying that to us if they knew what Dr. Jimenez had told us!

Well, after a while we realized that God wanted our hearts, and He wanted us to thank Him for the way He would work it out. That was actually very hard. However, we honestly committed the whole situation to Him.

I thought that now everything would be better. It was not. I saw Dr. Jimenez often for sonogram and amniocentesis (both of which were space age medicine in 1972). The graph on which he recorded the baby's anemia became more and more grim. He told me, "Don't fix the baby's room. It cannot survive."

We kept all this to ourselves, we made it through Christmas, and then things got going.

The test on December 28 showed the baby had mature lungs, so the C. Section was planned for Friday, January 5.

The night before the surgery a very grim faced Dr. Jimenez came and talked with me. He patted my shoulder and said, "Good night." I then met the Neonatologist, Dr. Jacob Kay, who told me he would take the baby straight to his room and probably do an exchange transfusion or two. He told me he had once had a baby who had 8 of those but that was the record.

Well, Ben was born that Friday at noon and Dr. Kay whisked him away. His birth weight was 5 lb 4 oz But that was not the problem.
They used the cord to remove all old blood and replace it with fresh new blood. Our problem was that Ben's blood attacked the new and they needed to start another exchange immediately.

So, now it is Wednesday, January 8 about noon. After 10 exchange transfusions Dr. Kay came in to say, "I think he is going to make it." What a whoop went up!!

We had been praying and praying...waiting to see what God would do. Our church friends had flooded the blood bank with donations. Many called to pray over the phone.

Ben stayed in the NICU until January 30. We visited every day looking through the glass. One day I noticed bandages on his heels and asked, "What's that?" They said, "That is where we get the blood to test to see how he is doing." Ben, at 40 now, still has scars on both heels.
As January 21 came and went I really didn't pay too much attention. Later, however, the thought hit me with a resounding thud: What if Roe v. Wade had been in place that Fall? Would Dr. Jimenez have wanted to spare us the agony of a dead baby? Might he have kindly persuaded us to end this pregnancy early?

Philippians-2Praise God that was not the plan! Ben grew up to be an athlete, good student, and widely loved by his peers. He is a strong Christian man, happily married, father of three, and involved in all kinds of Kingdom business. Praise the Lord!!

On a serendipitous November of 2003 Ben and Meg were awaiting the arrival of their second child. I was wandering the halls when I saw a tall man in a white doctor coat, I glanced at the name—Dr. Juan Jimenez! I looked at him, thought about the difference 30 years might make, and said hello. When I said, "10 exchange transfusions," he immediately replied, "I want to see him!"

In 1973 he had seen a pitiful preemie—newborn, a little yellow, not much to look at. When Ben stood up and smiled and shook hands– well the look on Dr. J's face was priceless. I was quick to say to him, "We are so thankful to God for Ben and for your good care."

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.

Rhesus (Rh) factor is an inherited trait that refers to a specific protein found on the surface of red blood cells. If your blood has the protein, you’re Rh positive — the most common Rh factor. If your blood lacks the protein, you’re Rh negative.


Martha Lou & Dan Beaird reside in Dallas, TX. They are members of Highland Park Presbyterian Church.



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