May is my son’s birthday month and I am revisiting the very first story I ever wrote for this column over five years ago that explores the miracle surrounding his birth. I was so excited to share this story to the world and most people who read it were very grateful to hear how, through prayer, a healing took place.
“When I was in middle school, my parents, my brother, and I lived in Georgia. My middle school “boyfriend,” Tommy, used to hang out at the restaurant my parents owned. Every day after school Tommy would come in and ask if I was there. And, everyday, my Dad would say the same thing. “No. She is out with Tough Tony from Tennessee.”
Then he would laugh and retrieve me from the back office. My father loved to tease Tommy, and he, being only fourteen years old, would fall for it every time.
We would then share a burger and fries under my fathers direct supervision and listen to the restaurant jukebox. This routine went on for almost a year until Tommy and I went our separate ways. My family moved to Florida, where we lived until I graduated high school, and then on to Greeneville, Tennessee. I got married and went to East Tennessee State University. Tommy and this story were a distant memory.
At 21 years old, my first child was born. In fact, I was almost 6 months along before I knew I was pregnant. Six weeks later, I gave birth to my son by emergency C-section. Premature and very sick, he was flown to Johnson City Medical Center where he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and where lots of people were praying for him. It was very hard to see this little body grasping for air and life.
Then — a Miracle! After nine long days, they were releasing my baby boy. We rejoiced, took him home and loved on him. This alone would be a good place to end the story, but, it is not the end. It is the beginning.
Two years pass and I was back in college studying to be a respiratory therapist. I was doing my internship at the Johnson City Medical Center and decided to write my case study on my son. I sat in the archival library reading his chart. Page after page, his vitals were listed and copious notes were taken.
For those that don’t know about the infant intensive care unit, let me explain. There is one nurse assigned to one baby during their shift and they make a note of everything. For seven days he made no improvements. Day after day of notes looked bleak. Then I got to day eight. The nurse noted the date and time and stated that the family pastor was there to visit the baby. She noted that he lay hands on Baby Boy Price and prayed. Then she charted his departure time. He was there a mere 9 minutes. The very next entry in the chart read something like this…
‘REMARKABLE IMPROVEMENT… VITALS ALL WITHIN NORMAL RANGE. CHEST SOUNDS CLEAR.’
And so on, and so on … They released him directly home the next day. No step down unit or regular hospital nursery.
When I entered the library that morning, I thought I was doing a routine medical case study on my child. When I left the library later that day, I knew there was nothing routine about it.
Baby Boy Price, who I named Anthony, Tony for short, became “Tough Tony from Tennessee”! My Dad could have never known that eight years later, his joke to my middle school crush would someday be a reality! Nor could any of us have ever dreamed that I would be witness to my son’s incredible medical records.
Was I reading proof of the power of prayer? Or, was I reading about how tough Tony from Tennessee really was? You decide…I have my answer! To this day whenever I tell this story, I well up with tears. Not many people get to witness miracles in black-and-white.
I graduated from respiratory therapy school and went on to raise three wonderful children. Tony is certainly tough, and grew up to be Marine, a Veteran of two foreign wars and has pursued a career as a first responder. My life has taken amazing twists and turns and I am still being schooled on life and faith. But the only thing I know for sure is that Life is indeed mysterious.”
That’s how the story ended 5 years ago, but, what you do not know is that the miracle of Tough Tony’s life didn’t end there. You see, Tony’s birth father chose to not be in the picture. That could have given Tough Tony more battles to overcome but love intervened with its own kind of miracle. My husband, John, fell in love with Tony and adopted him as his own son. When that adoption happened, the state went all the way back to his birth certificate and changed the name on it. Tough Tony is indeed and unquestionably a Price, according to both the law and our hearts.
His legal birth certificate reads “Price”, but more importantly, what is etched on his heart is the bond he and his Dad have. When his adoption took place a transformation happened that only God and Love can make. They are father and son forever and always. Not only in the birth records of the state but in their hearts. As Paul Harvey always said, “Now you know the rest of the story.” Life is mysterious