Editor’s Note: A Divine Accident

One simple fall on a city street leads to a miraculous discovery.

Liz Vaccariello
Photograph by Steve Vaccariello; Wardrobe Stylist: Elysha Lenkin
I’m as sure-footed as they come. That’s why I was so surprised when I stumbled on a subway grate on the morning of December 5, 2004.

As a crowd gathered to help, blood trickled out of a three-inch gash on my knee. Unable to stop the flow, I hailed a cab. “To the nearest emergency room, please,” I said. I e-mailed my boss to say that I’d be an hour late.

At the ER, I explained my need for stitches to the admitting nurse. She stared at me and said, “You’re going straight to the maternity wing.”

“No, no, you don’t understand,” I said, patting my enormous baby bump. “I didn’t fall on my belly. There was no trauma. I feel fine.”

She would have none of it. I was seven months pregnant with twins. Maternity would be taking a look-see. After my exam, the attending physician looked serious. “You’re one centimeter dilated and having contractions,” she said.

I spent five days in the hospital disbelieving the monitors. I was in early labor. If I was having contractions, I kept asking, how come I didn’t feel a thing? As everyone fussed and fretted, I remained calm. I was certain the babies weren’t coming, but I was being pumped with magnesium sulfate to promote development in case they did. Six weeks of bed rest followed, and my healthy girls arrived close to their due date.

I’m reminded of that day as we publish this month’s “Lucky Me.” Was it luck or divine intervention that guided David to foil a robbery, Steve to find his birth mother, or Virginia to win the lottery—twice? I’ve often asked myself, Was I simply lucky to trip and fall that morning, leading my doctors to discover and treat an obstetric crisis I had no idea was happening? Or was a greater force at work?

My daughter Olivia has drawn my favorite conclusion: “Mommy, I think an angel pushed you.”

—Liz, @LizVacc, [email protected]

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest