This is a part of my memoire, and one of my most powerful personal arguments against the existence of God. It details a newborn infant fighting desperately for her life and her victory, not through a god, but through humanity and lucky chance.
That night of November 20th, my grandmother made dinner and Rob and Grampa and I sat down anxiously awaiting news. The news came late into the night. I wasn’t awake to hear it… I only received bits and pieces of info on the birth of my sister Holly over the years. She was born one month prematurely to my mother who only got to hold her for a second before the tiny infant was whisked away to the Natal Intensive Care Unit. I find it ironic to this day that I, who was force into the world from a very sick mother had no complications, and my sister who’s mother was healthy, nearly died within days after she entered the world.
The doctors knew something was wrong when they tried to start the child’s breathing. Holly was trying, surely, but her breathing, when it did start, was shallow, irregular, and highly labored. As it turned out, she had not yet developed a crucial mucosal lining to her lungs that would keep them from sticking together, so her lungs were contantly collapsing in on eachother and sticking to eachother and the baby had to fight desperately to get any air into them.
I did not know at the time. For indeed! Who would tell an almost 6-year-old that her baby sister, for whom she had prayed for every night, was fighting for her life from moment one?! Who would tell a young child that the infant she had desired so badly was in such distress that she could not even cry?! This information was all revealed to me years later, when I was ready to take it.
I had prayed to God constantly for a baby sister. Looking back, I cannot help notice the cruelty of a God who would grant my wish, and then make the infant suffer, nearly taking her life away. My religious parents argue that the fact that he did not is evidence for his existence. I beg to differ! What sort of sick bastard of a god would put an innocent infant through what my little sister went through? It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t remember her early pain now because of the natural human phenomenon of “Infantile Amnesia.” What seems to matter to me is the total depravity and pointlessness of putting a baby through a fight for her life that she almost lost! It this was God’s sense of humor, then he must be a sick evil bastard! I will never know the suffering that the tiny five or six pound little human went through. I cannot imagine. However! I also cannot imagine a good god that would put such a helpless, innocent creature through that for no discernable reason.
When I said that she almost died, I was not being overly dramatic. On day two of this child’s life, a day in which she was secluded in a hospital intensive care unit for infants, surrounded by other babies who were fighting for their lives, the doctor called my father in to sign a release to air-lift her by helicopter to children’s hospital if necessary.
I was allowed to come see her a few days after she was born. Well… sort of. There was a glass window peeking into the natal intensive care unit that I was allowed to press my face against. I didn’t really see her. I saw a huge alien device, that made strange beeping and hissing-breath noises and was covered by a transparent dome. I couldn’t see the baby because she was covered by the dome. I’m kind of glad that I couldn’t see her, because she was, apparently, a horror to see.
For those who did see her, they said they saw a semi-conscious tiny infant lying on a little bed inside of a transparent bubble with heat lamps and tube-openings that constantly pumped air with a high-concentration of oxygen into the “bubble-baby’s” living space. Her face seemed constantly purple from her desperate battle to get air, and she looked like some kind of alien-abductee being experimented on. You could barely see the infant beneath a tangled mass of wires and tubes. Wires were taped to her head, chest and midsection. Tubes of IVs and other things were taped to her arms, legs, midsection, and other nefarious places. The future of this newborn was unknown. The doctors were human, and there was only so much they could do. However, they were working as hard as they could to save her.
In the end, a couple months later, the doctors were certain she had pulled through and we were allowed to take her home. My Christian family thinks it was the “grace of God” that saved her. I disagree. If the “grace of God” had saved her, then it would also have been God who made her incomplete like that in the first place! No, it was no god that saved her. It was the medical science at the time, it was the doctors and nurses who refused to give up, and it was the tiny human being who stubbornly refused to die. [That stubbornness has never gone away, in case you were wondering. She’s still a stubborn young mule who refuses to do what she’s told… sometimes, and thinks she has the authority to order others around.] Humanity and a lucky break saved my sister… nothing else.