Our story is one of hope and despair, of joy and tears and of faith and fear. During this experience my wife and I were living in New Delhi, India. In February of 2009 at the 20-week ultrasound our doctor saw a “white spot” on Daniel’s heart. We were immediately referred to a pediatric cardiologist. After a long ultrasound he informed us that Daniel had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We were shocked. What did that mean? A few days later we went to see another specialist who spent about 3 hours doing an incredibly thorough ultrasound. His conclusion was stark and overwhelming: Our pregnancy was fatal. He advised an immediate abortion before the legal time for abortion had passed. Sarah rose from the bed, walked a few meters to get outside the room and then collapsed in tears. What were we to do now?
Over the coming weeks God carried and encouraged us. He gave us strength to continue to work and live. He also gave us a clear leading, “Today, I place before you life and death – choose life.” And so we did. Weeks before this we had visited an Ashram in Sattal – that of Stanley E Jones. On the altar, hidden from view, we saw a small sign that read EXPECT A MIRACLE. I photographed it wondering what miracle I should expect. Little did I realise I would be praying for a huge one just weeks ahead.
Late on the 9th of July 2009 – one day past our official due date – we checked into the Fortis Le Femme hospital in New Delhi. Daniel was born the following day at 12:55pm. He was taken to the nursery for an ultrasound to check the status of his heart. My heart was in my throat for this was our moment of truth. Would God give us the miracle we had been praying for in faith? Were the doctors about to look up in disbelief? I stood by the door peering in as the ultrasound progressed. They then called me in and showed me the pictures. The ventricle was still closed and the syndrome still present. There was to be no miracle of healing.
We talked about what to do next as it was made clear that our choice of “compassionate care” was permissable with the following caveats: Firstly we were not to bring the child back to the nursery as once he was in the nursery or ICU the hospital staff would be obliged to do whatever they could to preserve life. Secondly I had to sign a waiver stating that we declined further specialist care. It was an impossibly difficult signature to have to sign but Sarah and I had discussed this in detail before and I knew what I had to do.
The hospital staff were so kind to us. They allowed us to spend the three days with Daniel in our room. They permitted endless streams of friends and family to visit at any time and were as flexible and compassionate as they could be. Over those three days we showered Daniel with all the love and care we could, watching as his condition slowly began to deteriorate. He was unable to feed after the first few hours and after about 24 hours they put him on a glucose and morphine drip to ease his pain. I loved spending time with my son – the bittersweet idea of taking hold of the present despite the future was constantly pulling on my mind.
Daniel passed away in the arms of Sarah at 6:35pm on Sunday the 12th of July, 2009. Our friends and family were praying and singing in the corridor outside our room as this happened. Our loss was so difficult and when I look back I am not sure how we did it. I know though that we were carried by the love, prayers and care of an amazing group of believers at the Delhi International Christian Fellowship. Throughout this time our prayer was, “A miracle expected, God’s will accepted.”
We never got our miracle of healing but we did get 53 hours of abundant life with our son and we saw God work miracles all around us. He chose not to heal. He chose instead to give us the strength and love that we needed to walk alongside our son on his journey home.
We are grateful for Daniel. We miss him and look forward to meeting him again one day.
David & Sarah
DVD content & Original Website content Copyright David Seabrook 2012 (c)
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