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close to my heart

October 1, 2008

I think I’ve finally figured out why this year’s 40 Days for Life is so close to my heart.  The end to abortion and restoration of the dignity of life has always been at the top of my prayer list, and participating last year was a moving experience, but not like this year.

The reason this year’s campaign has had a profound impact on me can be summed up in three words: Samuel Santonio Benedict.  Three small words, one amazing little man.

Samuel was born in early May to my dear friends, Tennille and Joe and their five other children.  Sam was seven weeks early and in severe distress when the doctors delivered him via emergency C-section.  In addition to the expected complications of a premature baby, there were also concerns of brain damage.  The first week of Sam’s life was intense and emotional.

Sam will be five months old tomorrow.  He has been through several surgeries, is still wearing a trach collar, and was diagnosed with Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome (google it for more info).  In his five months, he has been a witness of love, hope, trust and determination.  Sam is a miracle and I know God will continue using his life to further His kingdom.

Samuel’s first two and a half months of life were spent in the NICU.  Tennille had to split her time between Sam and the other kids at home, which was not easy.  Since I live about five minutes from the hospital (compared to the Benedicts’ twenty minutes), Tennille put me on approved persons list, which meant I could visit Sam without a parent present.  “Please go hold my baby whenever you can.” she said to me.  So I did.  I spent several wonderful evenings with Samuel in the NICU.

As I sat there cuddling, singing and praying with Sam, I watched the doctors, nurses and the wonders of modern medicine all working together to keep Samuel and the other babies alive.  My heart was pierced by the thought that about one mile away other doctors and nurses were working together to end the lives of babies the same age as the ones in the Neo-Natal unit.  The contrast was sobering as I stared down at the perfectly formed angel asleep in my arms.  Abortion had never been so real to me than those evenings when I saw life in its most fragile moments.

Samuel is not only another blond-haired Benedict for me to love, he is my reminder of a stark reality.  I will be forever in his debt, even though my heart weeps more than ever over the precious lives lost and the sorrow of their mothers.

me n' sam

Me with Sam (almost five months) after his Baptism party

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