Distant Heartbeat

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard
2011 3 Jan


The first time you listen, it sounds like an old-fashioned train chugging down the tracks. The engine beats with a constant rhythm. You can imagine the pistons pushing power to the drive shaft that turns the wheels that move the locomotive down the track while white clouds billow from the smoke stack.

It's not a thump. It's deeper and stronger than that. Chug is the only word that comes to mind. And you remember the story you heard long ago of the "the little engine that could."

Listen again and at the seven second mark, you hear a woman's voice say, "Aw," and then, very faintly, a man's voice doing the same.

This chug, chug, chug is the sound of a baby's heartbeat, recorded inside the womb at nine weeks.

Nine weeks.

The little baby is only the size of a bean, a tiny little thing, but that little baby has a heartbeat.

You could never hear it on your own, but through the miracle of technology, the baby sends forth to the world the good news that all is well.

Chug, chug, chug. The little engine that could.

Coming soon, but not too soon, one hopes. Maybe in July. That's what the doctor told Mark and Vanessa several weeks ago.

What a miracle that a nine-week-old baby in the womb should announce itself to the world. The distant heartbeat sounds so clear, so strong, the engine of a new life coming our way.

How fearfully, how wonderfully we are made by the hand of Almighty God who with tender care watches over the beating heart of a baby in the womb.   

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