The Trip of a Lifetime
by Grace Fox
Tuesday, March 19, 1985, forever changed my life. That’s the day my oldest daughter was born with massive hydrocephalus—too much water on the brain. Stephanie needed a shunt inserted in her head to drain the fluid into her abdominal cavity. Trouble was, she was born at a mission hospital in Nepal, and the doctors lacked the equipment for the procedure.
Doctors told us to return to North America on the first available flight, but the airline’s agent refused to issue me a ticket when she learned I’d just had a C-section. “You’re a medical high risk,” she said. “We don’t want you on the plane.”
The agent sold a ticket to my husband Gene, so we bid tearful goodbyes to our neighbors and then drove 12 hours by jeep to Kathmandu. On Friday morning, Gene wrapped Stephanie in a big blanket, packed a diaper bag with overnight supplies, took one bottle of mother’s milk, and headed back to Seattle. I remained in Kathmandu for a week, not knowing whether my baby girl would live to see a reunion. Praise God—she did. And she turned 33 last month.
We celebrated Stephanie’s birthday with a pilgrimage of sorts. Unbeknownst to me and my husband, she and her hubby had scrimped until they’d saved enough money to buy airline tickets to Kathmandu. Then they invited us to accompany them—at their expense.
We saw the room in which Steph was delivered. We toured the pediatrics ward and donated several dozen stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, and balloons for its little patients to enjoy. We also delivered donated receiving blankets to the maternity ward.
This journey fulfilled a lifelong dream for Stephanie to connect with her unique beginnings. For me, her mom, it brought healing. The last time we were there together, I was on morphine after surgery and struggling to comprehend how my world had flipped upside down. Now I relived that day, more mature in my faith for all that it brought, and I did so with my beautiful daughter at my side. The trip of a lifetime indeed.
Grace Fox is an international speaker and the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She co-directs International Messengers Canada, a ministry that partners with 200 missionaries in 25 countries. www.gracefox.com