While their prayers became habitual, they never lost fervency and an amazing faith grew strong within David’s family. They had come to grip with the fact that all things were best left in the hands of their Heavenly Father. David thought back on his life the way it was only a few months before and shook his head. He had left behind a world of senseless living that had hurt his wife and family. He had thought then that life was about making money and doing whatever pleased him. But, in the wake of his transformation he had more strength and peace than he had ever felt before. It was a great gift to come home to his wife each day, kiss her, and hug his two precious daughters. The older girl, Diana, was so patient with their new family member even through all usual drama that accompanied the life of a newborn. The hospice nurse eventually gave up and left them after Liliana turned two months old.
Liliana was a beautiful baby. She looked around at the world with her soft brown eyes and smiled with melting sweetness when she looked up at her parents. They had long since decided that their little girl would be given all the love they possessed for as long as God willed them to have her. But, as Liliana drew near to completing four months, he and his wife hoped they would get to keep her much longer than the doctors predicted.
David and Elena decided to get away to the lake with family for the day. It was nice to get out into the sunshine and the sweetness of caring friends and family. But, when they left Liliana’s side and in the care of another, something happened. Liliana hadn’t been away from her mother and father hardly at all, and not having them near threw her into a frenzy of crying. When the crying wouldn’t stop they took her to the emergency room. This time the doctor that looked her over told them that they couldn’t let her cry. Her body was having too much trouble getting oxygen to her brain. There wasn’t a way to repair it. As a parting remark the doctor told them, “You knew you wouldn’t have her for long. Considering her developmental problems it is amazing that she has lived to this age.”
They doubled our efforts. Liliana wasn’t given an opportunity to cry. Diana was a vigilant older sister, always doing her best to entertain the little baby and her parents soaked their little girl with love. Fourth of July came and Liliana was eight months old. Their little miracle baby hadn’t given up on life. They thanked God for his goodness and marveled at the way their family was growing. Not only did they now have two beautiful daughters, but their family was stronger and their marriage happy. Looking around at friends and other families around them, they felt truly blessed. The fireworks they watched at the family gathering made Liliana smile and laugh, but later that night she started crying frantically. By the time Elena had Liliana in her arms again it seemed to be too late. Her face was turning purple. Something horrible was happening to their little girl and they couldn’t stop it. By the time the ambulance arrived she had stopped breathing. Even after they resuscitated her the EMTs were worried about her oxygen levels. They knew something wasn’t right with the little baby and decided to fly her to Amarillo.
It was the longest drive of David’s life. There was only room on the helicopter for one, so Elena climbed in and David took Diana in the truck. About half-way down the road Elena got a hold of David on the cell phone and told him that Liliana was stabilized and that they doctors were looking at her. As soon as he got to the hospital he was asked to sign forms giving permission for surgery. There was a massive build-up of fluid around her brain. They might be able to save her with a shunt, a small tube placed so that the liquid would drain safely into her stomach.
The surgery worked. Another miracle had happened. Their baby which was not supposed to have lived at all, had survived major surgery. And for a while life with Lilianna returned to ordinary. The swelling around her head went down and her eyes looked normal. They took extra care with her, doing their best to prevent a self-inflicted injury or infection. They knew their baby wasn’t made as all other babies were. But they also knew that God had crafted her life for a special purpose and they could already see the impact of it on their home and family. The shunt worked fine for six months until the infection set in.
There was vomiting and bleeding. The shunt started to come through the skin. Even with morphine the pain continued and their little baby couldn’t stop crying. Eventually the trauma of it all did its awful work and Liliana could be kept alive no longer. “We could keep her alive artificially,” one doctor told them. But David and Elena knew that it would not be a real life for their little one, so torn by her infirmities. They held each other close, watching monitors give off the signs that they were losing her fast. “We need to let Diana say goodbye.”
Through it all they never stopped praying. Though they prayed for another miracle, they thanked God for every second that they had already enjoyed their beautiful child. They cried. Diana wasn’t ready. Her prayers weren’t quiet, but said out loud as she pleaded, “God, please save Liliana. Please keep my baby sister alive. I’ll take care of her. I don’t care if her head isn’t ok. I’ll take care of my baby sister.” Her words were those of a child with complete faith in her Heavenly Father and as she came into Liliana's room the monitors changed dramatically.
Liliana was coming back to them.
Doctors and nurses streamed into the room and the family was ushered outside. The change in her vitals was amazing and sent them into frenzy as they took on another fight to save her. When the nurse came to get them, she was smiling. Liliana had been stabilized to everyone’s amazement. She had died for the second time in her short little life and came back to them yet again. God’s angels had her safe in their arms.
It took two weeks of hospital care for Liliana to recover from the infection and another surgery to replace the shunt. Liliana celebrated her first birthday as a miracle child. Therapists come to see her, full of hope as they work to help her develop her mind and body. David thanks God each night. His Heavenly Father has given him so much.