I shared with you the "Story of Brian." He was not our last born---Mary Leora was. November 5th was her birthday, and a sweet voice is prompting me to share her story too. Mary Leora, was a very special gift in more than one way, as you will see.
Before I even knew of her presence in the womb, I became very sick with the flu. This illness ruins the family’s Easter that year, as I run a fever of 103 degrees for three days over the weekend. Not realizing there was a baby on board; Aspirin was taken every four hours practically to keep the fever at bay. On Monday a trip to the Doctor that included a chest x-ray, which was necessary, as my cough and congestion worsened. The diagnosis of pneumonia was made and antibiotics prescribed to take. (This was in 1976, before we knew that taking certain medications while pregnant could cause harm to the baby.) My uncle, who was a priest, also came the same day to bring me Holy Eucharist or the precious Body of Jesus. I was well and up being mom again the next day. No more fevers.
When I realize that I am pregnant, I remembered thinking, “God you are going to put me to the test with this child.” I am referring to the fact that many times people would say—“oh I don’t care if it is a boy or girl as long as it is healthy.” Whereas, I would always add, “I don’t care if it is healthy or not, I will still love that child.”
I knew now that there would be the strong possibility of a deformed or handicapped baby, for while I was so sick, I was one month pregnant with Mary Leora. Even without the benefit of ultrasound test, I knew in my heart this was a girl. A name was even given, something that was never done before seeing my unborn child. As she grew within, I would talk to Mary, speaking to her in a loving assuring way of how much I loved her.
One day at work, a patient who I cared for said, “God has impressed upon my heart to pray for you and this baby.” The patient did, and for good reason, for a week later I would experience heavy spotting. When an ultrasound was done, it revealed that the placenta was right at the cervix and would be coming first. She was going to be born six weeks early, and a cesarean section had to be done. What happened as the staff waited for my obstetrician to finish with another surgery in progress, was again examples of God’s great love.
In the radiology department, Susan, a dear friend and prayer partner was working. As she and I prayed together, I said—“God I just give this child to you. You do what is best for her.” The reply that came to my heart was gentle with love.
"Do you know what you mean, and do you mean what you say?”
“Yes Lord, You do what is best for this child.”
God did; Mary Leora would live only 12 hours after her birth. While in the nursery, another friend who worked there would baptize her. The doctor said that the virus that I had that first month weakened the baby’s lungs. In 1990’s she would have lived perhaps, but I always remembered the prayer prayed and the God’s reply. It was best for this child to go home to be with Jesus.
There would be another special Word sent too, in reply to my plea for added comfort from God a week later. His reassuring Word would come in the mail the morning after this plea was made. The night before, perhaps at the same time I had prayed--a friend mailed a letter espressing thier sympathy and love and sent this Word:
Wisdom chapter 4 vs. 13-14 “Having become perfect in a short while and upon reaching the fullness of his career, his soul was pleasing unto the Lord and He sped him out of the midst of wickedness.”
God only knows what wickedness would have entered into that child’s life and where it would have led her. Many times later I would thank God as I thought, “I am glad you are safely home.”