It all started with every parent’s nightmare. A mother knew her babies were in danger when they came early (even for twins). Then, in what must have been a surreal moment of anguish, doctors came and told her that her son had died, and there was nothing more that could be done. They put his body in her arms so she could say goodbye.
“I wanted to meet him and to hold him and for him to know us,” Kate Ogg told Ann Curry in her interview. “If he was on his way out of the world, we wanted for him to know who his parents were and to know that we loved him before he died.”
But then something surprising happened. He began to move. Nurses told her this was reflex, and should not be misinterpreted as signs of life. Then he opened his eyes. Then he began to breathe regularly, and took milk. Her son is still with them, and is just as healthy as his sister.
What can we take away from this? More than just warm fuzzies, to be sure. This is a powerful reminder that there is science underlying things we take for granted. All our science and best minds can point us in the right direction, but we don’t know everything. Sometimes, life can throw you a surprise. Sometimes, all we have to do is try, or be in the right place at the right time, and miracles really can occur. Simple touch is powerful enough to help newborns manage pain, develop specific parts of the brain, and sometimes give them the strength to make it through the impossible. Science also shows us this effect carries over to adults. Have you hugged someone you love today? If not, maybe you should. It would be good for both of you.
Simple but profound acts of kindness and compassion can bring the emotional equivalent of this turnaround. I have volunteered for years and heard so many times, “I was about to give up when [insert random act of compassion] brought me back.” We should never forget that a kind touch, personal connection or good deed has the ability to make a big difference.