By: Paula Mills
In April of 2008, I became really sick while my husband and I were expecting our first child. After several trips to the doctor, I had been treated for bronchitis, asthma, and other similar disorders, but my symptoms just kept getting worse. Soon, I lost my voice and was told that I had developed laryngitis. This newest affliction really troubled me because I couldn’t use my voice, and I had been singing for the Lord since the age of six. I desperately needed and wanted to get over my ailments, so I could get back to normal and truly enjoy all the blessings in my life.
My symptoms were so common that no one really considered looking for something out of the ordinary or serious. However, in May I also began to develop serious breathing problems. The beds of my fingernails had started to turn purple, and I knew in my heart this was more serious than laryngitis.
During a visit to my OB doctor for a scheduled ultrasound, they noted my vital signs were not good. By this time, every breath I took was a struggle. My doctor admitted me to Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin for tests.
The results showed significant abnormalities, and I was transferred to Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington for more specialized analysis.
When I arrived there, my breathing difficulties had reached a critical level, and I couldn’t even utter a whisper. As my oxygen level continued to drop, the doctor performed an endoscopy to determine if something was restricting or blocking my airway. Very soon he brought the devastating news; both of my vocal chords were completely paralyzed and my airway was reduced to only 4 mm. I was immediately rushed into surgery for an emergency tracheotomy; without this intervention, I would have only lasted a few more hours.
After the surgery, I was placed on a ventilator and sent to ICU. With little else to do, troubling thoughts raced through my mind. I was scared for my baby most of all, but I also feared never being able to use my voice again. Singing and talking to people about Jesus was such a huge part of my life, I couldn’t imagine my life without that.
The doctor had managed to stabilize my breathing issue for the moment, but other problems continued to occur. While still hospitalized, I went into pre-mature labor and began to have contractions. Everyone tried valiantly for several weeks to postpone the inevitable, but my water broke and on May 26th I delivered a beautiful baby girl. She was only 4 lbs and 4 oz…such a tiny little blessing. I couldn’t hold her or touch her, and I will always remember the pain I felt in my heart when they took her from my arms to begin her fragile care.
My baby’s situation was not good. Two days after she was born, she had to be moved to the Neonatal ICU and placed on multiple medications and ultimately life support. When I was finally able to make the trek from my room to her unit, I held her close to my heart and managed to softly sing “It’s Just Amazing What a Prayer Can Do.” God had given me the comfort of being able to hold my baby in my arms and to sing to her in the process. I grasped these blessings and relied on my faith that God would continue to send more.
If I could tell every detail of the struggles we went through, I could write a book. But for now, just remember this: In times of trouble, never forget where your strength lies, it is in faith. Your faith in God and His plan for your life may be the only thing that can sustain you in those lonely, scary hours. I kept my faith, and God blessed me more than words can ever express.
Because of my heartfelt prayers, and the prayers of countless people and churches across the state, God healed my child. She is now healthy, happy and almost two years old. The Lord also restored my voice, and our singing ministry, “Voices of Praise,” continues to share God’s message through song and personal testimonies.
God has done so much for me, but the greatest miracle I ever received was that of Salvation. Without God, I am nothing. I will continue to do my best to share all He has done for me with anyone who will listen. If you don’t know the Lord, it is my prayer you find Him, and don’t forget…it truly is amazing what a prayer can do.
Paula is a vocalist and pianist for “Voices of Praise.” Reach her at (606) 546-6835.