My pregnancy went really well. Together we attended prenatal classes at the local health unit
and joyously awaited the birth of our firstborn. How lovely it was to be invited out for an evening,
and upon arrival to find myself the guest-of-honor at a baby shower. Our friends were so generous
in their gifts for our baby.
The only dark cloud in our lives during this period of time was the fact that my precious dad
had been diagnosed as having bone cancer, and we prayed constantly that God would keep us all in
the hollow of His hand.
On December 16th, 1970, Jerry was working the evening shift and so I attended the annual
Sunday School Christmas program by myself. I jokingly commented to a nurse friend of mine
halfway through the program that I felt I could truly portray Mary, the mother of baby Jesus. She
realized I really was having contractions, and after timing my pains, she advised me to call Jerry to
come immediately and take me to hospital. I was so excited!!
On December 17th, 1970 at 2:10 A.M., our family physician's prediction came true. As I
looked into those wide blue eyes of my little son laying next to me on the delivery table, I felt a joy
that was completely indescribable. Precious, precious, little Jeffrey William McMillan, all seven
pounds, four and a quarter ounces of him! My heart rang out with
praise to God for His goodness. There is no miracle that compares
with the miracle of a new life being born, perfectly whole.
Our birth announcement in our local newspaper read as follows:
"At this happy Christmas season, Joan and Jerry McMillan
thank God for the gift of their first child, Jeffrey William, 7 lbs.
4¼ ounces, born Thursday, December 17th, 1970 at the
Brockville General Hospital."
As well, we included thanks to our doctor and the wonderful nurses on the maternity floor.
As I so much wished to enjoy the
complete experience of motherhood, I
discovered the thrill it is to breast feed your
baby. We brought our son home on
Christmas Eve. I'll never forget the joy in
our hearts as we dressed our little one in a
red Santa Suit and placed him under the
Christmas tree with the rest of our gifts.
Surely this was the best Christmas present in the whole wide world!
When Jeffrey was two weeks old, I suffered a severe gall bladder attack, and two days later,
another one. The pain was so intense on both occasions I had to be rushed to hospital as I could not
even get my breath. X-rays and tests followed, and I discovered, to my dismay, that surgery was
inevitable. Oh, the tears and frustration -- to have to leave the baby we'd waited so long for and had
only had with us for two weeks. However, the doctor was adamant, the surgery must be done at
once. My parents took over the care of Jeffrey and Jerry stayed at their home as well.
I'll always remember the many, many times my dad came to visit me in hospital. With tears in his eyes, he'd say, "Joan, if there was any way I could climb in that bed and let you go home to care for your little Jeffrey, I'd be so glad to do it." He really meant it, and he had already spent lengthy periods in hospital due to his cancer. I loved him so very, very much. My stay in hospital lasted three weeks, but even after being discharged, I had problems with my incision not healing properly, and for another three weeks had to return to hospital every other day for out-patient treatment. Of course, through all of this, I had to give up nursing my son and I felt really badly about that.
Jeffrey was a good baby, who quickly
turned into a very loving, but headstrong, little boy.
He was an outgoing child. He talked at a very
young age, and by the time he was twenty months,
he could sing many little gospel choruses such as
'How Great Thou Art' all the way through. Jeff
loved music and he loved people. When he was
about two years old, he would run to the front
door when he saw our mailman coming and holler, "Hey George, come on
in for a coffee". Of course, as he became older he was a little more shy
Oh, how we enjoyed our little son! His grandparents would frequently offer to babysit him
and let us have an evening to ourselves, but we usually both felt
we'd just rather have him with us .
In March of 1972, my beloved dad went Home to be with
the Lord he'd loved and served for so many years. He had spent
over four long months in hospital. I had wanted so much for him
to be around while my family grew up. He would have been such
a wonderful influence in Jeff's life. However, God chose to take
him and we could not question that. So we put our complete trust
in a loving Heavenly Father, but of course we missed 'Grandpa'