This post is all about a woman who is a personal heroine of mine. I had the good fortune to meet her through Margaret Paul’s healing site, Inner Bonding where we’ve come to know each other, exchanging conversation and stories over the years. What I’ve come to respect about Barbarie is that she has taken a life full of horrible adversity and challenged that in every way possible. There simply isn’t a hurdle that she’s failed to overcome and what strikes me most is what a gentle and kind soul she is today. Most would have succumbed to this life and become bitter. I hope you all are moved as I was by her story and am proud to know her as a friend, a survivor, soldier and mother. This is her story of her and her Miracle Child, Courtney when she spoke to her congregation at the urging of her pastor. I’d like to introduce you to my friend Barbarie.
My Miracle Child
Courtney Who Survived Against All Odds
Good Morning – Pastor Jen approached me and asked if I would give a short testimony of God’s resurrection power. So I am delighted to be able to share with you the incredible miracle of the birth of my daughter, Courtney Marie.
In the Fall of 1992 I was an Active Duty Soldier in the United States Army returning from Operation Desert Storm to my duty station in Germany. Upon my return to post; I received relocation orders to Ft Bragg, NC. It had been a very long and lonely two years in Germany and I was ecstatic to be returning stateside.
One evening, just as our overseas tour was drawing to a close, a few of my fellow soldiers and I went out to the club to celebrate the end of a successful tour in Germany. At the end of our evening, as I was taking a shortcut back to the barracks; I was violently confronted by four uniformed men. Without warning, I found myself being gagged, my head covered with a pillowcase and dragged into a very dark alley. Once I was subdued in the alleyway; I was viciously gang-raped by all four men. It happened so quickly and without warning that I scarcely had time to think or react.
When it was over; I returned to my room, shaken and terrified to my core. I was convinced that if I reported the rape I would be dishonorably discharged. Being a soldier was my life and it was the only life I knew. I told no one what had happened that night and I did everything within my power to block out the memory of the attack so that I could go on being a Soldier.
I left Germany and reported to my new Unit at Ft Bragg. I went on with my life as a soldier. It reported for Physical Training – running six miles a day and completed 15 mile ruck sack marches. I qualified at the rifle range and I reported for duty every morning at 8 am. I worked with radar, ran drills as a member of the missile crew and endured training in the NBC gas chamber. I was an active duty soldier in constant readiness condition to deploy at the drop of a dime.
Being a soldier was literally my lifeline. I had no family support and I certainly did not have any positive parental role models or happy family memories. I had been orphaned, abused and refused entry back into my family as a child and then made a ward of the state. I had no one that I could turn to; I had nothing but the Army. I had absolutely NO desire to be a parent and have children of my own.
I had joined the Army to following in my Father’s footsteps. Though he had passed away when I was three years old; he was only person with whom I had a soul and spirit connection and I clutched onto that memory with both my hands. It was that one and only thread of connection and hope that gave my life’s journey meaning and purpose.
It was the one thing that kept me going and I felt that I was in danger of losing it.
I managed to deny, hide and block any conscious thought of being pregnant until I was in my sixth month. I even fell 12 feet off of a Radar Tower, breaking my wrist and requiring full body X-rays and surgery, and the baby was never identified or noticed.
It was about that time when I started to feel movement within me that scared me. Even though I felt the movement I still denied the possibility of a pregnancy. I know that sounds impossible to believe but I did not have morning sickness nor did I show any symptoms of being pregnant even with the demanding physical training and physical exertion each and every day.
It was about the middle of the eight month when I began hurt so bad that I was doubled over in horrible, horrible pain. This lasted for several days and over a weekend. I said to myself, after buying Tylenol and some anti-acid over the counter medications, that if the pain does not subside or go away by Monday morning I will go to sick call.
Sure enough that Monday morning after reporting to sick call and a urinalysis, the Dr. came back and said “Mama you going to have a baby and you going to have it today!” Go to the hospital and report in on the 9th floor to Labor and Delivery.
Courtney Marie (though she was yet unnamed) was born 8 hours later that day. I had no preparations made for a child, no clothing, no diapers and no name. I had not wanted to believe that it was going to happen.
But there she was. She was real and she was here and I HAD GIVEN BIRTH … WOW.
The social workers and other workers asked over and over what I was going to do with the child. My unconscious mind already knew and spoke to me through spirit that there was absolutely NO WAY I could or would give this child up.
Due to complications during the birthing process – meconium aspiration – she was whisked away immediately to NICU – I barely saw her for 30 seconds. 4 hours later they had to life flight her to Duke University Medical Center because the military hospital did not have the means to care for this critical newborn.
Courtney spent the first 7 weeks on life support (ECMO) with a 15% chance of survival. She only weighed 4.8 pounds, but she had a head full of curly brown hair. After I was discharged from the hospital three days later; I was finally able to see her for the first time. Courtney was so small and so frail that all she could do was hold my little pinky. She was hooked up to so many wires and medical equipment that I nearly fainted when I saw her for the first time.
I spent those first 7 weeks with Courtney 24/7 in the hospital. In the midst of feeding, learning to diaper and dress and bathe her; I told God that I did not understand all this. But I vowed that I would do everything within my power to keep Courtney and raise her. I told him that he would have to provide all the means necessary for me to be a loving committed parent and that he would need to ensure that all our needs would be met because I had no one else to help us.
When Courtney was 18 months old, I found out that she would have permanent nerve damage and a hearing impairment due to the complications at birth. So added to the trial of being a single parent was the challenge of having a 98% deaf child.
The journey was extremely challenging for us. After the first year of a compassionate reassignment to stay at Ft Bragg due to Courtney’s medical needs; I had to return to work. This meant a new duty assignment that brought us here to Ft Lewis. I was deployed twice for 6 months while Courtney was under the age of 5 and had to take several leaps of faith while leaving Courtney with a family (strangers) or very new Friends when I was deployed for a six month tour in Saudi Arabia.
I share all this to share how GREAT our GOD IS. What a blessing it is to speak it out and share God’s Redemptive Resurrection Blessings. God had a different plan for my life; One that I could have never imagined. God created a child within me that is a precious part of me that can never be taken away nor devalued. God created and brought forth Courtney Marie White against all the odds. God sustained me and brought me through tragedy and heartache so that I could be her mother. To Him be the Glory Forever.