My Birth Story Sixty Years Later

Some parents have a family tradition of telling their children their birth story every year on their birthday. God tells Jesus’ birth story to us in the Christmas narrative. Telling our stories defines us. My mother told my birth story quite often but since she is no longer with me to celebrate the occasion of this milestone birthday, I tell myself the story through her written words I recently discovered in her personal letters.

On April 26th [1963], our 6th child, Eva Maureen was born in the Lae Hospital after a quick early morning flight to Lae, [Papua New Guinea].

We did not have pre-natal facilities in our mission clinic at Ukarumpa [Wycliffe Bible Translators/SIL mission base], so I saw a doctor in the coastal city of Lae. I expected to come down to Lae two weeks before my due date to be there when contractions began.

I had booked my flight for early morning two weeks prior, but the afternoon before the scheduled flight, the coordinator called to say he had moved my flight to the afternoon. I wasn’t too happy about that but put it in the Lord’s hands thinking I still had two weeks. I was looking forward to those two weeks—no responsibility of caring for five other children, cooking, cleaning, housework—I considered it a vacation!

But during that night, I started having contractions. So very early [my husband] Ray called our director who came to see us and asked if I wanted to go to the hospital six miles away or to Lae to my original doctor. I wanted to go to Lae, so he called the hanger and told them to unload the plane and take me to Lae with a clinic nurse.

The pilot said during flight, “I surely am glad the nurse is with us. It would be rather difficult to pull over to the side of a cloud.” Upon arrival, the ambulance was there and whisked me off to the hospital. Baby Eva was born within an hour.

But complications came with a retained placenta, so I was thankful to be under the care of a skilled physician. (One month later, this same physician treated baby Eva’s recurring fever for malaria. One year later he put baby Eva’s broken leg in traction due to climbing up and falling out of her play pen Ray had built for her at the end of the veranda.)

Eva is enjoyed by every member of the family and we are thankful for the extra love she brings to us.

We ask you to pray for missionaries’ children that they might receive the security, love, and instruction they need to mature to be well pleasing unto God.


Lord, I am grateful for the story of my birth and your protection over the details. But I am even more grateful that you gave me a real birth story four years after this. I praise you that my mother led me to kneel beside her bed and express my belief that I needed you to be my Savior and cleanse me of my sin (John 3:3). Thank you for my first and second births. And thank you for sixty years of life.

What is your real birth story?

Jackie Roese speaks eloquently about how God tells Jesus’s birth story. Listen to her podcast.

8 thoughts on “My Birth Story Sixty Years Later

  1. Happy Birthday Eva!! So glad the pilot didn’t have to pull over to the side of a cloud!
    Amazing that your mother remembered and wrote such details with six children! And also took wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing! blessings! Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for revealing these personal details about your birth experience. I feel I know you even better and appreciate your independence and surprises to those who know and love you. And it is even more revealing of how God has blessed and protected you from your very beginning of life to now.

    Liked by 1 person

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