Al Roker Says Life Only Comes from the ‘Power and Grace of God’
By Movieguide® Staff
Meteorologist and anchor on NBC’s TODAY, Al Roker, said that his family, and especially his children, takes precedence over everything else in his life.
“You’ve probably noticed—if you start your morning watching me on the Today show—that I don’t take up as much of the screen as I used to. Not since I had my stomach stapled. It’s a very risky operation that I don’t recommend for everyone. But I was willing to take my chances, as much for my family as myself. I want to be around for them as long as I can,” Roker wrote in 2003.
“My wife, Deborah—who’s a correspondent on 20/20—and I had been married for about a year when we decided to have a child. We already had an adopted daughter, 10-year-old Courtney, from my previous marriage,” Roker said. “To me, there is no difference between ‘natural’ and ‘adopted.’ My own childhood showed me that when it comes to loving your kids, concepts like that don’t apply. I was the oldest of six, and three of my siblings were adopted. Mom and Dad even took in foster children. ‘There are no limits to how much you can love,’ Dad always said.”
Roker recalled the critical role that his parents played in his life as a child and wants to be there for his children in the same way.
“Dad would do anything for us. He’d get up early and leave our house in Queens to go to work as a New York City bus driver. He put in back-to-back shifts and took odd jobs to provide for us. But to him it wasn’t work; it was an expression of his love. And the more kids, the more love,” Roker said.
However, Roker’s hope for more children was only met with disappointment.
“That’s why I wanted to have a child with Deborah. But try as we might—for more than a year—she didn’t conceive. ‘This is taking longer than it should,’ Deborah’s ob/gyn, Dr. Janice Marks, told us. ‘Let’s get you both tested,” Roker remembered at the time. “The problem was me. I was more relieved than anything else. Now we knew for sure what the trouble was. Besides, as a weatherman I’m used to a certain amount of failure.”
“Dr. Marks recommended we pay a visit to the New York Fertility Institute for a consultation. Deborah hesitated. ‘Let’s try it on our own just one more time,’ she said. ‘If it’s meant to be, then God will make it happen,'” Roker added.
Roker confessed: “Every time I saw one of those commercials showing a happy couple with a positive on their home pregnancy test, I wanted to throw something at the TV.”
However, after three weeks, Deborah’s pregnancy test was positive.
“I wouldn’t let myself get excited. Not yet. We tried another test. That one came back positive too. Oh, man. We’re pregnant! We stayed up almost all night talking. What do we do now? Who do we tell and when? What about Courtney, who had ruled the roost for so long? We decided to wait to give her the news, just in case,” Roker said. “I didn’t sleep much that night. I got out of bed around 3 a.m.—a little earlier than usual—gave Deborah a peck on the cheek while she slept, then left for Studio 1A at Rockefeller Center. ‘You’re looking mighty chipper, Al,’ Katie Couric said. ‘Really?’ I answered nonchalantly.”
He continued: “Inside, I was ready to burst. I wanted to tell Katie, Matt Lauer, everyone. But I kept quiet and gave the weather report as usual. ‘Nine months from now,’ I felt like telling the whole country, ‘It looks like we’re due for a nice, warm baby. And a high probability of an overly sunny dad.'”
But news from Dr. Mark informed the Roker’s that their new baby would not make it to term. However, amid tragedy, Roker and his wife’s perspective of God changed.
“It wasn’t that we weren’t parents already. But ever since the day Deborah showed me that test strip, we’d both felt something new at work in our lives. The incredible mystery of God working through us to create a new life. I think we both knew then and there that there was no turning back,” he said.
Despite the doctor’s warning the Rokers of the long and challenging road ahead, they had their minds set on having a child.
“We opted for in vitro fertilization. It was a success; Deborah got pregnant again,” Roker said. “This time I was afraid to be too happy. The doctors told us how critical the first trimester was. I prayed every day, asking God to keep my wife and our unborn child in his hands.
“Twelve weeks later, we went into the sonogram room together. I had years of live TV under my belt, and thought I was well past the butterflies-in-the-stomach phase. But I’d never felt so unsettled before. The doctor turned on the monitor and the screen flickered to life. He ran the wand over Deborah’s belly. ‘There,’ he said,” Roker recalled. “He flipped a switch and the room filled with sound. A steady, thumping beat. ‘Good, strong heartbeat. Congratulations!'”
Roker added: “In that moment, all my doubts and worries, all my questions about whether or not Deborah and I had done the right thing, completely vanished. Science may have helped us on our path to pregnancy, but it couldn’t get us all the way to the end. The only thing that could do that was the power and grace of God. He’d been with us on this journey every step of the way. This was his miracle; the beautiful, glorious, humbling mystery of life.”
View this post on Instagram