By Denise Bossert
Catholic By Grace
On Jan. 14, I prayed for my newborn granddaughter in the chapel at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. I paused at the door to sign the guest register and write the name Eliana Noel in the prayer request space next to my name.
A couple of days earlier, my son called to tell me that their baby had been born. The call was not the call I expected. “Mom,” he said, “we have a baby girl, but it has been a terrible night. She’s 9 pounds, 9 ounces.” I gasped. My daughter-in-law is extremely petite, with a pre-pregnancy weight of about 110 pounds. Candice had just delivered a baby that was about one-half of her pregnancy weight.
“The baby was stuck in the birth canal for a very long time. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. The doctors finally just pulled her out by her arm. She didn’t have a heartbeat, Mom.” Tears streamed down my face as I listened to my son describe the birth of his first child. “She wasn’t breathing. They worked on her for about 12 minutes, and she didn’t breathe on her own until 13 minutes after delivery. She’s being transferred to Cardinal Glennon Hospital, and they aren’t sure if she’s going to make it.”
He listed the possible scenarios. Paralysis. Cerebral palsy. Brain damage. The next day, Eliana had two seizures. For three days, the neurological team said the MRI would show some brain damage.
As I prayed in the chapel, I asked for the intercession of Blessed John Paul II. I asked everyone I met to pray and had become a beggar of prayers. Clergy, the curia, seminarians, countless orders of men and women religious, faithful Catholics, and perfect strangers agreed to pray for Eliana. I asked for prayers through Facebook and LinkedIn. I asked them to lay this petition before Blessed John Paul II.
Thousands were storming the heavens.
Eliana means “God answers prayer.” Her parents chose the name last summer. They prayed throughout the pregnancy that their little girl would give glory to God.
Outside the chapel is a sketch of John Paul II with a quote: “I want the young boys and girls being taken care of at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and all sick children everywhere to know that the Pope prays for each one of you.”
The next evening my son called. “No brain damage, Mom ... none. Her mind is perfect, and the doctor says that her brain function now depends solely on the DNA she received from us.” And then he laughed while I cried tears of joy.
God not only saved their little girl, He had protected her throughout the birth. Eliana’s nurses have said, “This child is miraculous. We have never seen this happen. Babies just don’t go through what she went through without suffering some brain damage.”
I have seen the power of intercessory prayer. I don’t know that this will be a Church-declared miracle for the canonization of Blessed John Paul II, but I am confident he prayed for Eliana at the throne in heaven, and God heard his prayer.
Bossert is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in New Melle. Read her blog at www.catholicbygrace.blogspot.com.