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TITLE: God Has Heard
By Evelyn Mann
10/30/11
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“Your son will die”, proclaimed the neonatal intensive care doctor loudly. My mother in law standing next to me only added to my embarrassment. I thought to myself, “You too will die one day”. I was getting the” reality speech”. This speech is given to parents when the child is not expected to live. What the doctor didn’t acknowledge was that our son’s life was in God’s control and in His control alone.

Our son was born with a lethal form of dwarfism. It is called Thanatophoric Dysplasia. The term thanatophoric in Greek means "death bearing". When we researched this genetic disorder on the internet we did not find encouraging news. The expectation we found stated that children with this disorder are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth due to respiratory failure. I understood why the doctor was giving us “the speech”. Indeed, our son was breathing on a machine called a High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilator. This machine was delivering up to 200 breaths per minute and required my son to be on morphine to tolerate it. One nurse told us that she didn’t think my son would be able to get off the machine but I knew that God was at work even then.

Once the doctor saw that I did not collapse or cry hysterically after his pronouncement, he left the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. A nurse came up to me afterward and apologized for the doctor’s delivery of the speech and gave me a hug. The loudly given speech was heard by the whole unit it seemed. Our son was in a small pod surrounded by six other pods and/or incubators. There were no dividers between the pods but instead it was a wide open area with machines in-between for each child being treated.

We named our son, Samuel which is a Hebrew name that means “God has heard”. There were many people praying for our son. These prayers helped immensely given the reports were encountering at the hospital. We were even told not to expect him to live past birth. It was even recommended that we have an amniocentesis done while I was still pregnant in case there was no time to test for a diagnosis after he was born. We refused testing and accepted the prayers believing for our son’s life. After a c-section at 35 weeks, he was born needing immediate assistance to breathe. Yet despite the prognosis given by the medical community, he continued to survive. Very few of these children live, we were told. But God. But God had another plan for our son.

- He was weaned off the Oscillatory Ventilator.
- He survives still.
- God has indeed heard.
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