Gift from Heaven

Told by Jeannine Eisenbacher

It started out as a routine ultrasound on October 27, 2005. We were pregnant with our fifth child, and were excited to see this little one growing in me. It took a sudden and unexpected turn when the doctor said, “There’s something wrong.”

The baby had anencephaly, a neural tube disorder. Our little daughter’s brain was not properly formed, and there was nothing the doctor or anyone else could do. She would not survive. As the appointment came to an end, we just held each other, sobbing, not sure what to do next. We immediately began praying very hard for a miracle. Everyone we knew was involved in various novenas, storming heaven for the healing of our little girl, who we named Angela Marie.

We would have a little angel in heaven.

To be sure of the diagnosis we had more ultrasounds. We will never forget one, in which the doctor said to us, “Let’s step into my office and we can talk about your ‘options.’” Our options? We said, “We are having this baby, no matter what.”

He couldn’t understand that we didn’t want to even consider abortion.

God gave us this baby for a reason, and only He could take her back to Him. The months went by, and it was now Lent. Angela was due to be born the beginning of March. We were still praying very hard for a miracle, but also asking God that she at least be born alive so that we could baptize her. What a Lent that was! We felt so close to the sufferings of Christ. The Stations of the Cross had a whole new meaning for us, as did the first Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, the Agony in the Garden.

Knowing what was coming, submitting to the will of God was so hard! After I was a month overdue (not unusual in these cases) I was finally induced on April 3, which is my husband’s birthday. God answered our prayers! Angela was born alive, and Danny immediately baptized her. She was born with part of her brain outside her head, which we covered with a hat.

Beyond our wildest hopes, Angela lived for three days, even getting to spend the last day at our home. She was surrounded by family and friends her entire life, and never knew anything but love. She was held her whole little life. On the afternoon of her third day of life, she was taken to heaven while in her mommy’s arms. She had been baptized, confirmed, and received the Anointing of the Sick.

We are so blessed with our faith, knowing that our little Angela was taken straight to heaven. As parents, our number one job on earth is to get our children to heaven. We have succeeded with this one, and thank God every day for our precious gift from heaven. Angela Marie, pray for us.

[This story is part of the collection of faith stories found at keys2heaven.com, a place where you can share your own journey of faith. Every month, the nationally-known piano duo, the O’Neill Brothers, pick one of the contributed stories and write an original piano composition to accompany it. The story of Michael Biasini is the story for September. The stories and music are available for a subscription, and the entire inspiring package will be wrapped up in a compilation CD and accompanying booklet in November, 2008. The music is also available as mp3 downloads.]

Greg Schlueter

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Greg Schlueter is an award-winning Catholic film producer, writer, speaker and movement leader committed to building up Catholic family through their nonprofit, Image Trinity. Find out more at http://ImageTrinity.com. Greg lives with his wife and six children in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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