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Samuel David

Samuel David, baby with anencephaly

It was September 2004 when I discovered I was pregnant. I was a 28 year old mother of three beautiful girls. Lexi was 5 years old, Brooklyn 3 years old, and Gabby 1 year. My marriage to Jason was struggling so badly and I had not planned the pregnancy. I thought that I had an agreement with God that I was going to wait for a while before my next child. So when I got the news I had anger and confusion. So I questioned God. What could He be thinking? How could this be the right time? Why was I pregnant? I kept the pregnancy to myself for close to two months. Then I heard God’s answer. He told me that this was my son, a special son.

Time went by and there was always this feeling of something being different about my pregnancy. I would just tell myself that it was a boy, and yes it was different. In late December I begin to question that. The baby had not moved yet and I had not gained weight. I did not even look pregnant and I was nearing my fifth month. I mentioned it to friends and family in passing but we always thought positive.

Then my fifth month came with no change and my marriage continued to fail. On January 12, 2005, I made an appointment with my spiritual director, Fr. McMillin, to discuss a separation from my husband. When I left that appointment I headed to see Dr. Darbonne about my suspicions with my pregnancy. Dr. Darbonne entered the room positive as always. He begin the ultrasound like usual. But then he began to focus on the baby’s head. It seemed like forever then. He stopped, looked at me and said “Jessica, there is a problem. The baby has anencephaly.” And he gave a small description of anencephaly, a lack of a brain and such. I asked about the chance of survival. He said there was none. I then asked to know the sex of the baby. It was my boy.

That was when time stopped. I do not remember being surprised. One part of me felt relief to have an answer to my long time suspicion. But the other part felt lost, confused, and alone. I wanted to keep it to myself so that I could really take it in. But I called Father McMillin. He advised me to leave the marriage issues alone and begin to focus on my baby. I then called my mom, Betty. At the time I did not want to tell my husband but I felt that he needed to know. It was his son. So I called him. Jason was angry and had lots of questions that I could not answer. That same day I begin my research on anencephaly. I found many sites on the internet that were very informative. All of my questions were answered but I desired to be connected to someone.

It seemed like only a day had passed when I felt the baby move for the first time. This made things even more real to me. I knew that I had to find a name soon. I was connected and wanted to call him by his name, a name with great meaning. After a lot of prayers and searching I found Samuel David which together meant God speaks with the beloved.

Samuel David, baby with anencephaly

Even though time seemed to have stopped, so much took place in the following four months. I met four women from my area that had babies with anencephaly, Mayah, Nicole, Tiffany, and Michelle. I met Kay, who was researching anencephaly. I also met a group of women online in a support group. These women helped me prepare for Samuel’s coming. They were so supportive and caring. They were there to help me in any and every way. They showered me with gifts and love. They shared their stories and their precious babies. I was so blessed to have them. I felt like I was totally prepared because of them.

Then there was my family. They too experienced so much with Samuel. He was the 15th baby to be born in our family. We had 14 healthy children. No one expected anything of this sort. I do not know how they stayed so strong. All of them were there for me in their own special way. My brothers hugged me with strength and support. My sisters and sister-n-laws took me in their embraces and never let go. My mom protected me. My dad, Mitch, listened and prayed. The children helped us to keep things simple and to carry on. My children got me out of bed in the morning and kept me positive. Jason stood beside me.

I also had the support of my extended family and beautiful friends. Always reaching out to me and always praying for me. And my community. Such a Christian community. Such a concerned community. A community that reached out in their own little way.

And through it all I had God. I had Jesus, Mary, the Saints and the Angels. They carried me. They provided all of my support. Support from the family, friends, community, and from strangers. They helped me to accept my situation and feel peace.

Samuel David, baby with anencephaly

Samuel continued to grow and show his personality. I continued to prepare. March, April, and May flew by. June 1, 2005, I entered the hospital to be induced. I was anxious but positive. I was ready to meet my son. I was ready to share him with my family and friends. Hundreds were present for his birth. In the delivery room cameras were ready. In the halls and waiting room everyone prayed. Tears were being shed. At noon, Samuel gave me one last hard kick and then entered the world. He was alive and breathing and I was happy. He was so big. He looked like his daddy and sister, Lexi. He weighed in at 6lbs. 2oz. He had broad shoulders, big hands and feet, and beautiful full lips. When you held Samuel, he would hold your hand. He was an angel. So much love was present. So much peace was felt in the room. I wanted it to last forever. It did not matter to me that Samuel had anencephaly. He was there and so were all the people who meant so much to me. It could not have been better or more perfect. I could not have been happier.

The hospital staff was wonderful. My nurses, Cheryl, Tina, and Tricia were so supportive. We all connected so well. They were compassionate and comforting. They saw to my needs and amazingly the needs of the hundreds that visited.

On the third day, I was able to take Samuel home. First Jason and I showed him our house and his horse, Sport. We took pictures and then headed down to my parents where all were waiting. Samuel seemed to be doing so well. I begin to have hope and thought that he would be with me for some time. At 9:45pm, my girls arrived home. The entire family and close friends were present. Samuel knew it was time. He was waiting for this moment. At 10pm Samuel went into a seizure. When the seizure ended he struggled to breathe. I begin to cry and pray. I called for my dad and asked him to pray. The entire house hit their knees and joined in. Jason and I took Samuel and the girls to my parent’s room to spend our last hour with our son. He continued to fight for breath and I continued to pray. I begged God to give me more time. I pleaded with Samuel to hold on. At midnight his little heart took its last beat and my heart split in two. I cried out in pain. Pain so deep, tears so deep that only a mother could feel. The family and friends joined us in the room. For hours we all cried and held each other. No one asked why. We just asked for strength.

Samuel David, baby with anencephaly

It was June 5th, my due date, and Samuel had joined the other little angels in heaven. Jason and I held him together and cried. I kissed and kissed him. I held his hand. Then it was time to let him go. Jason kissed Samuel and asked him to go to heaven and pray for his family. We wrapped him up and handed him over to God. I lost a part of me at that moment. My life was permanently changed. Everyone’s life was changed. But there were no regrets. No what ifs. Just peace.

We buried him June 7th. The funeral was beautiful. So many people came. So many lives continued to be touched. Samuel was buried on my parents land. He was buried at home. In heaven, he continues to work. Jason and I continue to heal. My family continues to heal. I ask Samuel daily to pray for us and I know he does. He is our little angel. He sits on Jesus’ lap and tells Him of our prayers. He is watching over us. He is our miracle!

 

Update:
Jessica had four healthy babies after Samuel David: William 7-19-06, Presley 5-1-08, Sianna 12-31-09 and Jesse 7-2-12

 

Read Samuel's saga, a tribute to Samuel's life written by his aunt.

 

Last updated September 15, 2014