Michael was a bright, four-year old boy who loved to sing. He had grown up as an only child, but his wish was to have a baby brother or sister. Needless to say he was overjoyed when Kevin and Karen, Michael’s parents, told him he was going to be a big brother. Every night, he would sing his favorite preschool song straight into his mommy’s tummy, “You Are My Sunshine”, and his mommy assured him that even though his baby sister was tiny, she could still hear his voice.
The first of May was slowly approaching, and Karen experienced some complications due to injuries received in a terrible car accident earlier in the year. The severe migraine headaches and related problems caused the doctors to schedule a C-Section delivery on Thursday, May 7, 1992. Much thought went into the next few weeks as Kevin and Karen prepared Michael for the arrival of his baby sister, Marlee.
As the delivery team wheeled Karen to the delivery room, Kevin stopped at the waiting room and said to Michael “we will back with your baby sister in about thirty minutes”. No one could have prepared for what happened next.
As soon as Marlee was delivered, Karen heard Marlee making little hiccup sounds and whether do to the anesethia or the excitement, she laughed about her little girl having the hiccups. The nurse looked at Kevin and Karen with a worried expression and immediately took Marlee away from the delivery room, and the staff alerted the NICU that a emergency baby was on the way. Moments later, Kevin followed out of the room to get more information. As Karen lay on the operating table, she was unable to move because of the epidural and the fear.
A few minutes later, Kevin returned and a doctor followed to explain Marlee’s condition. She was suffering surfactant, a condition of the lungs where the chemical needed for flexibility hadn’t developed. When she began to breathe oxygen, her lungs hardened like paper bags. As she exhaled, the lungs collapsed together and holes were torn in the lining. Air was escaping from Marlee’s lungs into her chest and her condition became critical.
Many prayer chains from several churches were called to pray for a miracle. Michael was devastated because he couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him see his baby sister. He told his mother, “Mom, I know Marlee would feel better if I could sing my song to her!”
Two days had passed without any improvement, and no setbacks. Kevin went home to shower and gather some personal belongings. While Karen waited in the room, a hurried knock came on the hospital room door, and the doctor rushed into the room with a worried look on his face. He said “Mrs. Simmons, there has been a serious complication in Marlee’s condition. One of her lungs has a large hole in it and the air is escaping into her chest much too fast. Her belly has swollen due to the air and it could be fatal if it continues to fill her abdomen. We must have your permission to proceed with the emergency surgery.”
A tube was placed between Marlee’s ribs that allowed the air to be drained out of her abdomen, but her condition did not improve. The doctor explained that the damage was too great to Marlee’s lungs, and if she did survive, she would most likely remain on the ventilator.
Michael desperately wanted to see his sister so he could sing to her like he had during the pregnancy. But the hospital policy wouldn’t allow children under the age of fourteen into the NICU. The next day was Mother’s Day, and Marlee’s condition was worsening. Michael asked his dad, “Can I go see Marlee now? I want to sing my song to her.” In spite of the hospital rules, Kevin took Michael to the door of the NICU, scrubbed him with the disinfectant sponge and draped him in an adult gown and proceeded to carry him across the room to stand beside his sister’s bed. A nurse stepped in front of Kevin and said, “You can’t bring that boy in here. The doctor and hospital rules won’t allow it.”
Kevin was determined that no one was going to stop Michael from seeing his sister. He looked straight in her eyes and said, “My baby girl is on the verge of death. Michael will see his sister!” The nurse backed away, then the doctor started walking toward Kevin to stop him. Kevin was visibly angry, and the doctor quickly turned around and walked out of the room.
As the staff looked on with disbelief, Kevin held Michael up to Marlee’s bed as he sang, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine You make me happy, when the skies are gray You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
When Michael finished his song, there wasn’t a dry eye in ICU. The nurses were crying and wiping tears from their eyes. The rules that were so important just a few minutes earlier didn’t seem to matter anymore. Immediately Marlee, lifted her and turned toward to sound of her brother’s voice. That simple song, sung to her while in the womb, created a spark of life in here. Michael’s childlike faith, expressed through his singing, breathed life into his little sister.
By early evening, the doctor came bursting through the door of Karen’s room saying, “This is the most incredible thing I have ever seen” There is no physical reason why, but Marlee has improved two hundred percent within the last hour. For the first time, all of her gas levels are normal”. He was ecstatic as he continued telling more of Marlee’s miraculous recovery. “Never in all the years of working with neonatal situations, have I seen a child with such an injury improve in such a short time. This boy of your must have been the key.”
The doctor went over to Michael, knelt down and said “Young man, you really made a difference today. I think your sister liked your song.” He ruffled Michael’s hair as he stood up. “Kevin and Karen, tomorrow morning, the regular neonatal doctor will in and he can look at these results. But as for now, I have ordered that Marlee be taken off of the ventilator.”
The next morning, Marlee had completely recovered. The doctor’s only comment was, “There was something bigger than all of us involved in this one!” Today, Marlee is a healthy and very active young lady with no residual effects from her lung problem at birth except one tiny scar on her chest.
Her brother had a song from his heart that allowed God’s great healing work to enter that room that day. Some call it “A Brother’s Song”. Others refer to it as “A Mother’s Day Gift”. But for all those involved, they know that a true miracle happened that wonderful Mother’s Day, 1992.
This story has allowed the kids and I to witness on many occasions. There have been many versions of their story spread across the Internet and through email chains around the world. Still many people don’t believe that it is true. But there is a fact that has remained constant throughout all the tales…GOD STILL PERFORMS MIRACLES TODAY. Our earnest prayers, and the heart-felt prayers of our families, our friends and many strangers led to that one moment when God used a little boy to shed God’s “Sunshine” on Marlee so that one person might believe.
Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You